I had to make a spontaneous trip to D.C. this weekend as I prepare for the next stage in my life (I'm terrified and ecstatic at the same time. It's weird). My trip has mainly consisted of going from apartment to apartment to try and find something vaguely affordable (hint: securing housing in a city may be trickier than actually securing a job in line with your major/interests), but I won't bore you with those details.
Instead, I'll focus on what I'm doing when I'm not apartment hunting: Eating.
I love food. I love sharing food. I love making food. I love giving food away to my unsuspecting friends…and the occasional random stranger. So whenever I travel somewhere, besides the sights, art, and overall vibe of the area, I focus on the food.
Aiming for local is always better when traveling. If I can try out specialty recipes, freshly picked produce, or regional brews, I'm happy. And the best part is that finding small, hole-in-the-wall places is often more affordable than going to big name restaurants. And you can usually get a more authentic feel for the people who live in the area without being a complete tourist.
That being said, I've already been to D.C. to visit family and friends before. I also lived here last summer and therefore am very familiar with the area. However, since I came here with my mother (I swear I do things with friends, too – just give me a few more posts), we revisited a few favorite haunts and tested out some cool new ones, too!
We just arrived in D.C. after a four hour train ride, so we went simple and ate at an old favorite: Rosa Mexicana.
The ambiance is beautiful – tiled walls, vibrant colors, large windows so you can see the bustling city – and is centrally located a few blocks away from the Capitol, so it's a very convenient restaurant to get to.
And once there you MUST have their guacamole. It's made table side and caters to how mild or spicy you would like. Perfection!
The rest of the meal was delicious, with a shrimp quesadilla being the highlight of my dinner.
This chain of Asian fusion lunch and tea restaurants have something for everyone and are the perfect place to catch up with friends. Definitely a great place to stop by if you pass it. I recommend their black bean bento box and curry bowls.
And my personal favorite is the coconut rice pudding with almonds and a hint of cinnamon. Treat yourself!
Another great lunch spot? The classic Hamilton, located in the heart of D.C. Just a block from the White House and Treasury Building, this is the place for hearty food if you need a break from being a tourist.
Their chowder, mezze platter, and heirloom tomato salad were the ideal mid-day energy boost.
This restaurant was a complete surprise. The concierge at The Mayflower Hotel brought this Tuscan restaurant to our attention and we were blown away!
My mom and I trudged in torrential rain to this cozy spot located between the White House and Dupont Circle. When you step inside, you're transported to a Tuscan villa with greenery hanging from the ceiling, frescoes on every wall, a faux skylight, and the BEST Italian food.
(The thick Tuscan spaghetti – Pici – and tortelloni are unbelievable!)
Apparently the restaurant only does a few dessert specials a month, so we were encouraged to try the berry cobbler and it was perfection. The warm, fresh berries melt in your mount alongside vanilla ice cream and a crust that expertly toes the line between crispy and chewy.
Basically, what I learned is that if you go to i Ricchi and they offer a special dessert, you better take the special dessert.
My mom was convinced that she wanted to eat nowhere else for dinner (and the next night was to be our last in D.C.), so she made a reservation in the middle of dinner to come back. So this is what we had for round 2 at i Ricchi:
(Their tiramisu is amazing, of course- and be sure to try the grappa raisin ice cream!)
The limontini is a delightful summer drink, for the 21+ crowd.
The Mayflower Hotel
For breakfast every day, we ate in our hotel before heading out to look at apartments. They make a mean avocado toast, which I had two days in a row! And my mom was more than happy with her omelets.
That's all for now on my foodie update! I'm heading back home tomorrow to pack up and get ready for this next chapter in my post-grad life. Updates to come!
And please let me know if you have any Washington, D.C. Restaurants I need to try out. Feel free to leave recommendations and I'll try to get to as many as possible!