5 Places You MUST Eat When Visiting DC

DC is a foodie’s paradise. When you go to the capital of the United States, you may only think about its relevance in politics, history or the many Smithsonian museums throughout the city. But, DC is also home to a massive range of diverse cultures and a thriving restaurant environment. In fact, it’s thriving so well that it can almost be overwhelming the number of food options you have, from swanky restaurants to hole in the wall eateries that locals crave daily. For someone who’s never lived in or visited DC, it can be a harrowing experience, and making a decision as to where to eat can be difficult based on where you plan to stay or what you plan to do.

Thankfully, pretty much all of the best locations to eat in DC are easy to get to because of the extensive metro system. So easy in fact, the metro is the number one way to get around the city, and out into the suburbs of Maryland and Virginia. Take advantage and grab a bite to eat at these amazing restaurants DC has to offer!

1. Founding Farmers

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A major DC favorite, located near George Washington University in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood, Founding Farmers is a beautiful restaurant that serves up amazing brunches, lunches and dinners. The restaurant is owned in a co-op style fashion, by the North Dakota Farmers Union (a collective of over 47,000 family farmers!). This means every ingredient, wine and liquor is made right in the US by hardworking families. FRESH. You can expect to eat true American comfort food here, with true American portions.

2. Le Diplomate

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A local hotspot for french cuisine, Le Diplomate is a brasserie with authentic french baked goods and entrees. The restaurant interior is beautiful, and the outdoor patio is a fun place to enjoy good weather while eating and drinking. But really, the food is the best you could ask for. The extensive menu has all sorts of french favorites like fresh seafood, Beef Bourgignon, Steak Au Poivre and Lamb Navarin. If you’re not sure what some of these things are, it’s okay, I didn’t either but it was all delicious. Pair it with a nice french wine, and you’ve got yourself a great dinner to start off your night!

3. Old Ebbitt Grill

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Old Ebbitt Grill is one of the more famous DC restaurants. Not only is it just across the street from the White House, it’s also the oldest saloon in DC. Originally opened in 1856, this saloon has had many famous guests like President Roosevelt, Grant, Cleveland and Harding. To this day, it’s still a popular location for journalists, theatre goers, politicians and celebrities. The food is very American-oriented, popular and tasty. With such a large menu, it’ll be hard for anyone to not find something they’ll love!

4. Kinship

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If you’re looking for a nice date night dinner spot, then you should absolutely visit Kinship near Mt. Vernon Square. Although relatively new, this restaurant has been making big waves in the DC culinary scene. The food here is very interesting and unique, with the menu arrangement based on themes like: craft, history, ingredients and indulgence. The chefs here use their traveling experiences to add new takes on American cuisine, and it definitely pays off.

5. Rose’s Luxury

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It would be a travesty not to add Rose’s Luxury to this list of DC must eats. Another dinner only restaurant, Rose’s Luxury has been a huge success since it’s conception in 2013. Ever since, you’ll find lines waiting outside the restaurant every evening waiting to reserve a space to eat at this incredible restaurant. At Rose’s, you’ll find contemporary and modern takes on American classics in small-plate tapas form, great for sharing and trying a little of everything. Paired with great drinks and good weather, it’s easy to see why they became such a huge success. Not only that, but they use that success to help feed children through the World Food Program. For every meal you eat at Rose’s, they donate money to the program to give a child a meal (they’ve already donated over $30,000 so far). So, eat up and feel good about it!

 

 

Author Byline: Kate Howard is a loving mother and wife who has lived in, and visited, DC for years. When she’s not teaching preschool, eating new food or looking up funny animal videos, she’s helping people plan their trip to DC through her and her husband’s website: www.hotelsneardcmetro.com.

 

 

 

Where to Have the Best Breakfast in Sydney

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Sydney is one of the most vibrant cities in the world. It’s easy to get disoriented on the sidewalk if you are a newcomer and completely lose yourself in the beats of this metropolis. In order to fully enjoy everything Sydney has to offer, you’ll need a quality meal to kick start the morning before you embark on your urban adventure. These are the places where you can have the best breakfast in Sydney.

1. Shuk

Finding the best breakfast in such a big city is like finding a needle in a haystack. Wouldn’t it be nice to start off the day at one of the most iconic locations in Sydney, Bondi Beach? Situated at the corner of Murriverie Road and Mitchell Street, this charming restaurant was a carefully hidden secret of the cuisine aficionados that really know the beat of the city.

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However, it seems the rabbit is out of the hat. Visits have increased significantly over the last few years and there’s really nothing surprising about that – the food, which is a mix of Mediterranean and Israeli sensibilities, will give your taste receptors a whole new palette of impressions. Shakshuka, which is a combination of scrambled eggs, tomato, onion, olives and spices, will give you a solid energy boost for a busy morning.

2. Blackwood Pantry

Even though it sounds like a location straight out of David Lynch’s nightmare, don’t let the name fool you, (considering his nostalgia-stricken all-American sensibilities, he’d probably be thrilled with its gentle diner-like setup).

Located on Cronulla Beach, it’s off the beaten path for many people which are visiting Sydney for the first time. The chow is worth the trip! Blackwood offers an array of salads that rotate based on seasons, and some of the lightest yet nutritious breakfasts you can have.

Want to try strawberries on a toast? Here’s a place where you can do it. For something more substantial for breakfast, we’d recommend you to opt for Turkish eggs.

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3. Bernasconi’s Cafe

You can’t have a solid breakfast without a cup of coffee. On the corner of O’Sullivan and Plumer Road lies one of the most comfortable breakfast spots in Bellevue Hill/Rose Bay area. It’s not only a casual place with relaxed atmosphere, it’s a place with a twenty-year long tradition.  And it sports some of the best coffee around which you can have with a healthy and filling meal.

If you want a calm start to your morning, this is a perfectly cozy place hidden away from the scorching tropical sun by over-arching treetops. If you are up for a no-nonsense meal, you can have a complete ham and eggs breakfast, French toast with crispy bacon etc.

If you are up for something more adventurous, Bernasconi’s Café has its own share of grilled bananas, gluten-free ricottas, mashed avocado combos, smoked salmon, and other meals that will lend something new to your palate.

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4. Blackbird Cafe

Are you looking for a place that is situated in a dynamic urban area? You can hit one of the gorgeous Darling Harbour restaurants in the popular Cockle Bay Wharf dining precinct for a top-notch meal and enjoy arguably the best cocktails in the harbor.

Blackbird has both indoor and outdoor seating options but the choice offers the same visual stimulus. The Cafe overlooks the waters of Cockle Bay Wharf and a vivacious river of passers-by. Since the place is so popular, it is always filled with various visitors. If you are up for just watching people as you dine, you won’t miss out anything if you opt to go inside.

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As far as breakfast is concerned, the Spanish Omelet is amazing, and it goes with onions, mushroom, cheese and served with toasted Italian bread. There’s a variety of coffees and tea options at your disposal, as well as smoothies for a true morning energy boost.

5. Ruby Lane

Cities like Sydney have quality food joints for everyone’s taste at every corner. However, up north, just beside Manly Beach, lies Ruby Lane Wholefoods, a place for those who are bound to more subtle dietary regimes.

It is a health food club with a variety of colorful meals that will give you all the needed nutrients through organic food with no gluten, added sugar, salts and, if you are lactose intolerant, no dairy. The main selling point of Ruby Lane is that all meals are absolutely delicious and irresistible.

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Sydney is not only a bustling metropolis, it is a place that can offer something for everyone. Sydney hotel choices abound! Go around the block a few times, and we bet you’ll find all the perfect breakfast places, parks, and “it” spots. You’ll end up fashioning your own Sydney out of the existing one. Just make sure to get a substantial energy kick with a solid breakfast before you embark on conquering the town.

 

 

Where to Find Europe’s Best Beaches: Spain vs. Portugal

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Posted by Sam Schuler

Spain and Portugal are two top vacation destinations in Europe with beautiful sandy beaches, a warm sunny climate and a low cost of living. Spanish cities and beaches attract over 60 million visitors each year and the country ranks #2 in Europe for tourism.

In comparison, the country of Portugal does not even make it into the Top 10 most popular destinations with a mere 14 million visitors. However, if you are looking for authentic fishing villages, cultural experiences, rolling surf and less crowded beaches, Portugal may be more to your liking than the high-rise Spanish Costas!

Both countries have family friendly beaches, city beaches and more remote crescents of sand that few visitors choose to visit. Checkout our list of Europe’s best beaches before planning your next sun-and-sand vacation in Europe.

Best Beaches in Spain

For families, La Manga del Mar Menor in Murcia offers a shallow saltwater lagoon formed by a 22-mile long sandbar with several channels connecting it to the Mediterranean Sea. The result is miles of beaches on both the ocean and the lagoon with opportunities for snorkeling, sailing, windsurfing and canoeing in this scenic area.

Couples looking for a more high-end resort will find exclusive designer shopping, marble plazas and gorgeous beaches in Marbella on the Costa del Sol. The multi-million dollar super yachts in the marina may be out of your budget, but you can still enjoy the private beach clubs, tennis courts, golf courses, stand-up paddle boarding, waterfront dining and subtropical gardens in this classy resort.

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Looking to escape the crowds? Make your way further north to Tamariu on the Costa Brava. This idyllic area has sandy coves fringed with tall green pines and coral pink rocks. This area boasts some of the clearest waters in the Mediterranean making it a delight to go swimming, snorkeling or take a boat trip in this peaceful area. It’s the perfect place for chilling out on the beach, yet beautiful Barcelona to the south and the French border to the north are just an hour away if you fancy a scenic coastal drive.

The quieter northwest coast of Spain is popular with surfers as it is battered by Atlantic breakers. Consider the city of San Sebastian in the Spanish Basque region which has endless sandy beaches along this picturesque shoreline. The hilly backdrop and traditional houses in the Old Town make this almost unrecognizable as “typical Spain” but it provides the perfect haven for beach lovers.

Of course, many of Spain’s best beaches are on the Balearic Islands of Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza. In summer these sandy beaches are the perfect place for party goers to sleep off a night of dancing, clubbing and drinking, if that’s what you’re looking for in a vacation!
In winter, the Spanish Canary Islands are a popular choice. Located off the coast of Africa, these volcanic islands have some of the Europe’s best beaches, although they often consist of mainly black volcanic sand. One exception is Maspalomas Beach on Gran Canaria, which has gigantic wind-sculpted sand dunes of golden sand as a backdrop to one of the best beaches in Spain.

Best Beaches in Portugal

Most of Portugal’s best beaches are in the southwest of the country, south of Lisbon and scattered along the Algarve coastline. Praia da Rocha in Portimao is one of the longest, broadest and firmest sandy beaches in the Algarve, which can get crowded in summer. Sheltered by the cliffs, it is popular for sunbathing, safe swimming, surfing, walking or playing beach volleyball.

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The small town of Sagres on the Algarve has an undeveloped beach with orange cliffs and dramatic rolling waves. If you want to spend time exploring Portugal’s agricultural heartland by car, this town is the gateway to the Alentejo and the dramatic Costa Vicentina Natural Park.

Porto de Mos Beach certainly wins as one of the best beaches in Portugal when it comes to natural beauty. The golden sands, multicolored cliffs, caverns and rock formations are stunning against the turquoise sea. This gorgeous beach usually benefits from fresh sea breezes to keep temperatures pleasant.

If you want to combine your beach vacation in Portugal with a few city highlights, Playa do Guincho is just 30 minutes from Portugal’s capital, Lisbon. The golden sands are pounded by Atlantic breakers and the fresh seafood here is sensational! Nearby is the lighthouse and Cabo da Roca, Europe’s most westerly point which was once believed to be the end of the world!

Spain or Portugal? Which Beach Getaway is Right for You?

Whether you choose to explore the best beaches in Spain, or would prefer to catch some rays in coastal Portugal, a car rental will allow you to make the most of your visit exploring the surrounding area at your own pace. Visit Moorish palaces, tiny fishing villages and stunning national parks as part of your adventure. Of course, your car rental also makes airport transfers with your luggage very affordable and easy.

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From spacious van rentals in Portugal that are able to accommodate the entire family, to trendy sports cars in Spain and practically everything in between, Auto Europe has the vehicle that will best compliment your needs wherever you’ll be traveling. Reserving a car rental online is easy and can be done by using their secure booking engine – below.

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