Before my big move from Georgia to Rhode Island, I decided to take a little break to enjoy the finer things in life (re: naps and food). I wanted to take advantage of this down time and take a real life vacation. Luckily, my friend Jules was in town from a year in Indonesia and I asked if I could steal her for a week or so. After looking at the price of flights to various amazing cities in Europe, we settled on Washington, D.C. I know it seems like a weird place to go for a summer vacation, but I’m completely obsessed with museums. We also found a really cheap Airbnb in a great neighborhood. Sold!
Like public transportation pros, we took a train into D.C. and walked to our amazing temporary home in the DuPont Circle area. Right after we settled in, the food tour was underway! We started at Commissary, where we enjoyed a light dinner and great company in one of my oldest friends from summer camp. We shared a bottle of white and politely kept track of how many hushpuppies we each had. Commissary had a great environment for a late meal, friendly staff, and a great selection of food for all types of palettes. It could work well for a girls’ night out or first date, but not for a family dinner or any type of intimate conversation–it can get a little loud.
On one of our first days, we popped in Krammerbooks & afterwords for a caffeine boost. We grabbed some cappuccinos (pictured with a cute-as-Hell Jules below) and then we spent a while going through all the books. I ended up picking one out to “come back for later,” but at the end of our trip, Jules surprised me with it! Best travel buddy ever.
The next night is the most important (food-wise) because it was the night I ate the best thing I’ve ever had. After a long day of museums, we met up with a friend from college, Barrett. I was hardcore craving Italian food, so Barrett gave us some choices. I’m so glad we went with RPM, which will go down in history as one of my favorite places ever. We showed up at Happy Hour and ordered some refreshing fizzy drinks (the Spritz & Giggles was epic). We started with some amazing appetizers: crimini mushroom and Vermont pepperoni “pizzettes,” fried olives, fried mozzarella, and tuna bruschetta (Jules’ favorite).
Barrett stopped at that point, but I was in it for the pasta. I ordered some sweet corn ravioli with truffle oil and Parmesan cheese shavings that actually changed my life. I genuinely think about it regularly, which either proves how sad my life is or how delicious this pasta was. RPM is perfect for Happy Hour with friends, but you just need to go. Pick anytime they're open and go. You won't regret it.
In the middle of our trip, two more friends joined in the fun. Our friend Lauren and her boyfriend Tom drove up from Pennsylvania. While they were en route, Jules and I decided to pop in a Sushi Burrito restaurant called Buredo. On our walk from the National Mall to the restaurant, it started raining hard enough to have us soaked within 30 seconds. By the time we got to Buredo, it looked like we’d just jumped into the Reflecting Pool. Regardless, we were on a sushi burrito mission.
We walked in, ordered our burritos, and sat down, creating puddles of rainwater below our table (we cleaned up thoroughly before we left). I’ll give the experience a 10/10, but the sushi burrito gets a 6/10. It was very interesting and worth trying, but it was certainly not the tastiest thing I’ve ever had. Nonetheless, Buredo is a great place to stop in for a quick bite or a grab-n-go meal on your way to sightseeing.
What would vacation be without BRUNCH? (The answer is: “absolutely nothing”.) When we had the whole crew in town, we made a brunch reservation for five at Founding Farmer’s. We were seated right away in a fun corner booth. Each of us ordered some form of caffeine or morning booze and a delicious meal. I ordered Florentine Benedict (+ avocado) and, not to say I’m some sort of trendsetter, but I’m totally a trendsetter. Three of us ordered the veggie bennie and the other two got amazing dishes as well. Everything was cooked perfectly and very tasty. The only problem: we were all incredibly full. It was definitely a difficult transition from the comfy booth at Founding Farmer’s to walking around D.C. in the summer heat. Not the best plan, but we powered through. The rest of the day was filled with wandering (including a stop by a weird hidden treasure) and lots of day drinking. A group favorite was The Board Room, where we sipped on cold beer and played 100 rounds of Codenames.
Jules and I took a “solo day” in D.C. so we could divide and conquer. After eating breakfast in our Airbnb, Jules hopped on a train to meet friends and check out some markets while I went to the Smithsonian exhibits I wanted to see more of. I wanted to see if there were any “hidden gems” among the restaurants and cafes in the museums. I’d already tried the Mitsitam Cafe in the National Museum of the American Indian and it was incredibly unique (also delicious!). This time, I checked out the LeRoy Neiman Jazz Cafe at the National Museum of American History. I loved being able to get specialty coffee in the middle of such a touristy area, so I got a cappuccino to go along with my smoked ham and cheese sandwich. It was very much overpriced ($18 for my meal), but it was filling and yummy. I recommend this spot for anyone who needs a quick lunch during a museum day, but is willing to pay a little more than the price of the hot dogs and burgers off the food trucks on the mall.
Last, but certainly not least, was a great Mexican restaurant in DuPont Circle: Mission. I met a friend there for my last dinner of the trip and it was truly the perfect end to a great foodie tour of D.C. Mission has the perfect environment for everything: indoor/outdoor seating, bar area, private room, large tables, intimate tables, etc. I arrived a few minutes early completely drenched in sweat and my phone was about to die. The staff was kind enough to charge my phone and our serve brought over cold water right away. When Rachel arrived, we ordered some drinks–I went with an amazing white sangria. The menu is full of amazing options, so I decided to get one of everything that looked good. We split the fresh guacamole and I ordered the nachos and some plantains. It was so filling, which was perfect for the end of an incredibly long day of walking around. I highly recommend this spot for good food at a reasonable price.
- Grab drinks and a light meal at Commissary
- Get a caffeine boost and some downtime at Krammerbooks & afterwords
- Enjoy Happy Hour at RPM
- Quick bite at Buredo
- Brunch at Founding Farmer’s
- Day drink at The Board Room
- Take a museum break at the Jazz Cafe
- Get a group together at Mission