ExploreTravel

When most people think of the top “foodie cities,” New York, Nashville, or New Orleans likely come to mind. But I think there’s another city climbing its way up the culinary ladder – good old Washington, D.C.! That’s right, the city I call home has quite a few restaurants that my taste buds just can’t get enough of. Next time you’re ready for a mind-blowing meal, try one of my favorite D.C. spots.

Located in the charming, Eastern Market neighborhood, Sona Creamery & Wine Bar is the place to go for a satisfying meal or a quick gourmet snack. This restaurant is known for its wide variety of decadent cheeses (they even make their own in-house) and perfectly paired wines. I recently went here for brunch with a group of my closest friends for my 22nd birthday, and we each ordered an entrée and split the most delicious five cheese board imaginable. The cheese made me seriously consider signing up for Sona’s weeklong Cheese Tour in Ireland – yes you read that right, cheese tour in Ireland. If you find yourself here, I recommend the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes or Pork Gyro. You can’t go wrong with either.

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I just moved to D.C.’s Van Ness area, so I have been doing quite a bit of exploring. During my strolling, I came across Bread Furst Bakery. This quaint neighborhood bakery serves all kinds of pastries, breads, breakfast foods, pies, cakes, jams, preserves, and so much more. The relaxing patio out front is constantly full of families enjoying the weather, joggers taking a quick break, and dogs relaxing in the shade. Bread Furst is a must-do not only for the nice atmosphere, but also because of its Lavender Honey Tea Cakes and those perfectly soft chocolate cookies. Sometimes, you just have to thank serendipity for discovering gems like this.

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For the more adventurous eaters, here is the restaurant for you – Das Ethiopian Cuisine, nestled in the heart of Georgetown. First, a quick disclaimer: wearing stretchy pants here might be a good idea. This classy establishment serves all types of flavorful fish, meats, and vegetables customary of Ethiopian cooking. I usually go for the Das Chicken and Beef Combination Sampler because, like its name suggests, it has a little bit of everything. The staff is forever accommodating and it is obvious just how much pride they take in the restaurant, as all the white tablecloths are impeccably pressed and napkins expertly folded. Eating with your hands is expected here, which makes dining even more of an experience.

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Finally, located in the up and coming D.C. neighborhood of Bloomingdale is Old Engine 12 Restaurant, a new spot serving creative versions of traditional American dishes like Deviled Eggs with shrimp and squid ink or grits with heaps of extra sharp Cheddar. I first went here when my parents came to visit me and we were impressed with the neat architecture. The restaurant is actually a renovated firehouse and its integrity has been maintained with the industrial fireman poles and open garage doors. Not only was I fascinated by the unique dishware at Old Engine 12 (clear mugs make tea much cooler) but I was also happily satisfied with the homemade grilled meatballs and beet salad – it all felt like real comfort food.

Next time you want a food adventure, try one of these restaurants! I would love to know how you like it. Happy eating!

 

Health

Life gets in the way of a million things: plans, expectations, and more importantly, meals. Maybe you were already seven minutes late for that meeting and the idea of breakfast was pushed aside onto your mental list of irrelevant things you should do but don’t, such as wearing your retainer six months before your next dental appointment. But what if I tell you that skipping a meal translates to skipping out on a million ideas, brain connections, and memory collections. If you’re getting a clue at where I’m going with this, meals are not meant to be a burden, but more so, a fundamental supporter. They provide for the building blocks of your body. If you are having trouble keeping up with your meals, try out different things and explore a little change. And by this, I mean take more control of your days. Meals should be consistent and here are a few reasons why:

  1. Sugar roller coasters are not theme park-fun

In other words, eating lunch at 12pm and then at 4pm interchangeably between days calls for chaos in your system. When you have not eaten for a while, your blood sugar drops drastically and the next time you do eat, it sky rockets. In turn, you are setting yourself up for a diabetic lifestyle due to the constant insulin blasts. Doctors say that eating as many as five to seven small meals a day is a healthy way to keep your blood levels at a more-or-less steady level for most people. Take control of your schedule. If you are in the middle of work or class when you should be taking a lunch break, take the time to pack a meal in some tupperware or bag up a sandwich to squeeze in a chance to refuel your body during that busy time of day. It is essential that your body collects the appropriate vitamins and minerals in order for it to function properly. This also brings into consideration the content of your meals and snacks. Refined sugar will drastically spike blood levels unlike whole natural foods which, in turn, slowly and steadily raise your sugar levels. Sugar rushes not only cause disorder in the body but they also cause blood sugar to suddenly drop and this causes hunger shortly after. We all know that this isn’t exactly the most convenient of cravings when keeping an eye on health and weight.

  1. Your metabolism is like a muscle

People skip meals because a) they are incredibly busy or b) they are trying to lose weight. Either way, your muscles will weaken if they are not worked and likewise, your metabolism will get slower when it is not put to use. Each time you eat and digest food, your metabolism is making use of itself, as it should. A great portion is transformed into energy for daily necessities and a small portion, depending on the food of course, is turned into lipids. Skipping meals, on the other hand, halts this ongoing process and essentially affects your metabolic process. The next time you do eat, much of what you put into your system will not be as quickly broken down as it once was. Another way to view your metabolism is by thinking of it as a computer. If you turn it off, you must wait a while for it to start up again. Promoting its regularity is vital.

  1. Untimely meals translates into formless days

When a person lacks the discipline of eating on time, it only leads to a sense of disorientation. Putting off meals creates an entire shift when it comes to eating regularly. If breakfast is belated, your lunch will be too. If lunch is skipped, dinner will become your lunch and a late night snack will undoubtedly creep into your nocturnal endeavors. The cycle is eternal and one way of avoiding this is by making sure that you get something in your body shortly after you wake. Be it some yogurt and chia, toast with hummus, or even a vine of grapes, breakfast is the turning key to your engine. When outlining or scheduling your day, make it so your meals become your bullet points and your daily activities become your sub-points.

Eating on time is fundamentally important. It allows for a poised body ready to be productive. Living by a healthy meal routine will only help you conquer each day through a balanced system, a clear mind, and better access to the well of information your brain houses.