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Planning a D.C. Vacation around food

My wife and I always plan our vacations around food and sightseeing so I'm looking for a little help in both departments.

We are going to be in D.C. for a Saturday and a Sunday in the last week of September and Annapolis on Monday. We need to do all of the tourist things like look at the landmarks and such, we aren't really into musuems but we always check out must see exhibits.

We are looking for some breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas based around a day of sightseeing. We definitely would like to eat ethiopian since we know D.C. has the best. We are coming from Los Angeles so Asian and Mexican are not really the top priorities but we really want good food and food that we can't get in D.C. We like places that people know are D.C. (in LA we have Phillipes and Pinks, etc). We are looking for reasonable meals and maybe one more expensive dinner around $20/entree.

Is it better to stay in D.C? I'm going to be in College Park the week before, should I just stay there and ride the metro in for the weekend?

Help us with some food recs based around sights (anything in Annapolis is welcome too). Thanks

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  1. the Metro is excellent but I've never stayed in College Park. There is certainly nothing wrong with doing it that way. Look into special packages available at St. Gregory's. Dupont Circle area has lots of restaurants and shops. A great place for a different yet good b-fast or lunch or just a snack is Teaism. there are a few but we go to the one in Dupont. they have outrageous homemade Chai and other teas. Salty Oat Cookies, and asian stuff (sorry!)

    Meshkarram (sp) is a Ethiopian classic, lookup Washingtonian magazines food section. there are also some good restaurants
    out past the zoo in Cleveland Park area. Georgetown is another food destination. great French, b-fast/lunch at Patisserie Poupon I believe on Wisconsin.

    Enjoy - great city!!!

    oh, almost forgot major restaurant row and hotel selection in Bethesda!!!

    1 Reply
    1. re: 42duffy

      I would choose a different ethiopian place than Meskerem...Dukem or Etete

    2. Ethiopian: Etete, get the fastening food platter, add the fish for $2 and order the derek tibs.

      Near tourist points of interest:

      College Park, MD The Nixon Tapes are kept here as part of the National Archives. Pick out a tape and listen. Then eat at Woodlands for dinner, purely vegetarian Indian in Langley Park. Paper dhosa, mutter paneer.

      Smithsonian Museums: Jaleo for lunch. Spanish tapas at 7th and E. Many recs on this board.

      Near the National Cathedral: 2 Amys. Also many recs on this board. Please do a Search.

      Georgetown: your splurge dinner could be at the lounge of Citronelle. Small a la carte menu. Also do a search for recs.

      Other recs: two true hole-in-the-wall-tourists-never-go-there recs: Oohs and Aahs for Soul Food and Pyramids for Moroccan. Both are near the U St/Cardozo Metro stop. (same neighborhood as Etete)

      1 Reply
      1. re: Steve

        There are good spanish tapas places in SoCal, better than Jaleo IMO. For something a bit different but also of the small plates genre, perhaps try Zaytinya...mediterranean and middle Eastern. www.zaytinya.com

        I'm actually not that big of a fan of the place, but everyone I know likes it and everyone on this board seems to like it, so I'm assuming the problem is with me and not the restaurant. might be worth a try if the menu looks good to you.

      2. Neither much charm or dining riches in College Park, unfortunately. A few exceptions, but I don't have enough experience to detail.

        Dupont is a great base for a hound.

        If you're eating while visiting Smithsonians, consider the American Indian Museum cafe. Gets a wide range of reviews here, but for what it tries to be, it's always worked for me.

        For a nice Maryland experience, head up to Jimmy Cantler's near Annapolis for blue crabs.

        Sign up for the Galileo e-mail and you have a good chance of hitting a grill opening. One of the best bargains for cheap chow in town, right there with Old Ebbitt Express.

        1 Reply
        1. re: repete

          Since the OP will be in DC on a weekend, the grill at Galileo will not work. Besides, the whole place is closing down for long term renovation.

        2. My advice: Steve speaks truth. You definitely want Etete rather than Meskerem for Ethiopian.

          Not at all in the tourist area, you may want to check out the Colorado Kitchen, which is one of DC's local gems. Eastern Market is a fun destination for food lovers (though I don't necessarily recommend eating something substantial there, it's fun just to walk around. Some people like Market Lunch, I think it's just ok).

          You don't say if you'll need recommendations in College Park, but if so, drop into the Food Factory, an Afghan place with very good bone-in chicken kabobs and fantastic naan, all cooked in a wood-fired tandoor. The other dishes here are so-so. Another good option is South Street Steaks, a philly-style cheesesteak place.

          I work in College Park and live nearby. Please trust me when I say: don't stay in College Park over the weekend. It's not a bad place, but you'll have a much nicer experience in Washington.

          1. Agree with ALopez - you'll enjoy your time in DC much more by staying in the city. Have fun!