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Short weekend trip - LA to DC

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My husband and I will be coming from LA and spending the weekend in DC after heading to his company's holiday party in Alexandria, VA. We'll be staying in Dupont Circle and I'd like to make the most of our meals during this very short time.

I have a dinner reservation at Zaytinya and am wait-listed for Obelisk.
As the small plates menu is huge at Zaytinya, are there any recommendations for what to order there? There haven't been very recent posts on Zaytinya I could find.

Also, I'd like to check out Eastern Market while we're there and have read about the Market Lunch pancakes. Are they worth braving the lines and in case we don't make it, what other stands in Eastern Market are recommended (and what to order there please)?

We'll probably only have time for a lunch or two other than that, so I'd appreciate any recs for casual lunch spots with good food. No real preferences for cuisine, but will probably avoid Asian and Mexican as we have an abundance of that in LA.

We'll be on the Metro a lot and don't mind cabbing around.

Thanks very much!

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  1. If you can't make it for breakfast at the Eastern Market, lunch is good too. Get a crabcake.

    At Zaytinya I really like the swordfish kebab and scallops, shish taouk and hunkar begendi, but I haven't eaten a lot of their more fall dishes as I haven't been in a few months. Their pita is really good, and I always get hummus to eat it with.

    For other casual lunch spots you might check out Brasserie Beck, if in the Dupont area I like Cafe St. Ex too. Or maybe Hank's Oyster Bar for good soup and seafood. Weekend lunch can be a little tricky sometimes. Potenza might be worth a shot if you don't have Italian for dinner. Cafe Atlantico has good lunch. Bistro Bis is really good French food and has great brunch, but it is a little fancier.

    1. I don't know how the Ethiopian food is in LA (lived there about 15 years ago, well in Long Beach anyway, and am sure things have changed) but Etete and Dukem are places for lunch. There is Ben's chili bowl--more for the history than the food, IMO. It's a place I'd bring out of town visitors, just as I'd bring them to the Washington Monument, not out of beauty but because it's an institution. In the same neighborhood is Oohs and Aahs. It's a soul food restaurant (debatable on this board on how southern it is) but I really like their meatloaf and sides. I can pass on the fried chicken,

      For something different, there's the cafe at the American Indian museum of the Smithsonian. It's fun just wandering around the cafe to see the different types of food. The hard part is deciding what to get.