08 Sep WHERE TO EAT IN WASHINGTON, DC WITH PORTER ESCAPES
Theres no surprise that I will always travel for food. Joelle and I are great friends because we LOVE to eat, always have the travel bug and are always looking for a quick getaway. We both had New York City booked this year so we wanted to explore somewhere different. When Joelle suggested Washington DC, I was excited but also realized I knew nothing about it. To be honest, Washington was never on my radar of places I HAD to visit for food. I knew I’d want to visit Washington to see The White House and Lincoln Memorial one day, but had never thought of it as a food destination. But to my surprise, Washington is actually a pretty cool place with pretty cool restaurants. Keep reading to see Where To Eat In Washington DC on our amazing trip with Porter Escapes.
Travelling with Porter Escapes was a breeze, their packaged vacations made it super easy to book our flight and hotel. We took an early flight with Porter Airlines from Billy Bishop Airport which is right downtown, perfect for these city girls! Since Joelle and I only travel with carry-on suitcases, getting to our gate was no big deal! Early mornings call for one thing: COFFEE. We had a couple cups of coffee and stocked up on treats at the Porter Lounge while we waited to board. The flight to Washington DC from Toronto is just a little under an hour and a half. If you follow me and Joelle on Instagram, you know that whenever we have drinks in hand, we have to do a boomerang for the ‘gram. The flight attendant was so lovely, he swapped out our orange juices with white wine cocktails. Seriously, the best way to start the trip!
WHERE WE STAYED IN WASHINGTON DC
Travelling to a new city, it’s always a tough decision as to where to stay. Porter Escapes made it so easy for us, when booking, you can click on the hotel details to read about how far the hotel is from the airport, the amenities, you can sort by star rating or budget and most importantly check to see where exactly the hotel is in the city. The Embassy Row Hotel is located in Dupont Circle which is a trendy neighbourhood NorthWest of Downtown Washington and sandwiched in between Georgetown (the oldest part of the city and so charming!) and Logan Circle (where you’ll find the coolest restaurants and shops).
It was perfect. We loved that the Embassy Row Hotel was central to all the neighbourhoods we wanted to visit. The hotel is modern, the rooms are light, bright and so spacious and the staff are super welcoming. But what we were most excited about was the rooftop pool! Which came in handy because I didn’t expect Washington to be as hot and humid as it was. 28 degrees in Toronto is not the same as 28 degrees in Washington, it feels more like 35 degrees, so a pool day was definitely in order!
The first meal in a new city, I feel like always sets the bar for the rest of the trip. We did some digging on Google and came across Iron Gate, an Italian and Greek restaurant that serves small plates. Tapas? We are in! The entrance of the restaurant is beautiful with white brick walls, string lights and so many plants. Actually Washington is full of beautiful flowers and pink trees! We sat on the covered patio which was super cute because it was canopied by grape vines and string lights. We were STARVING so we ordered a few things to share, it’s the perfect way to get to try a little bit of everything.
We order their Maplebrook Farm Burrata with fresh peaches, torn spearmint and a red wine glaze. The burrata was so creamy and paired so well with the crispness and freshness of the peaches and the red wine glaze added the perfect amount of sweetness to the dish. Next, the Caramelized Ricotta Gnocchi, omg just saying it brings back memories of when we ate it.. it was the BEST ricotta gnocchi I have ever had. It was pan-seared, so it was crispy on the outside and light and pillowy on the inside then, tossed in a Calabrian chili tomato sauce and topped with pecorino cheese. Hands down the best decision we made that day, lol. Finished by some Crispy Russet Potatoes because we are crazy about french fries, served with a tangy yogurt sauce. I’d say we were off to a great start in Washington!
Next on the agenda, was Georgetown. It’s an historic, picturesque neighbourhood that has lush trees and beautiful old homes. It has a little bit of everything, shopping, character and great restaurants. It also has the MOST delicious cupcake I have ever had in my entire life.
Georgetown is pretty walkable from the Embassy Row Hotel, even through the heat and humidity. It’s the PERFECT place to hunt for cute, pink houses and cute shops! Seriously, SO cute.
We stumbled upon Take Care, which is a skin, body and lifestyle shop. This place is BEYOND cute. It’s white, bright, clean lines, the most beautiful shelving and products and gorgeous flower arrangements in the window. It was Instagram heaven! We chatted with two ladies local to Georgetown who guided us towards the most beautiful pink floral shop! Along the way there was no shortage of cute houses with cute, colourful doors.
At home in Toronto I have about three cups of coffee a day, so with all the walking and exploring, we needed all the coffee we could get! We stumbled upon Dolcezza to recharge ourselves and our phones. We treated ourselves to an Affogato (gelato and espresso) while we researched our next stop.
We ventured into the downtown area of Georgetown and it was bustling! The streets were full of people and the shops were endless. We found the famous Sprinkles cupcake shop and considered treating ourselves but the shop itself isn’t super cute and neither were the cupcakes (lol). I’ve also heard mixed reviews about how good the cupcakes were so we decided against it.
There was also another cupcake shop we wanted to check out that had it’s own TV show, DC Cupcakes. They have a rep for making the best cupcake but they also always have a massive lineup. To be honest, I’m not even that big of a fan of cupcakes.. sometimes theres just too much icing and its just way too sweet!
Guided by our bellies, we walked toward the bakery anyway. I have no idea why but there was no line-up so we took it as a sign from the universe to at least see what all the hype was about! There are about two dozen different flavours of cupcakes from strawberry, birthday cake, carrot cake, chocolate, double chocolate.. you name it. I ordered the butterscotch and waffle and Joelle grabbed the strawberry because… it was pink. Haha. All I have to say is.. this was the best cupcake I had ever had in my entire life. And I’ve had my fair share of good and bad cupcakes. It was filled with a butterscotch filling, the icing was light and fluffy, sweet but not too sweet. It was perfect. Definitely worth any line up. Now I wish I grabbed a box of them.
Another day, another hunt for cute, pink spots. We walked to Logan Circle, just east of the Embassy Row Hotel (about a 10 minute walk). The city is pretty walkable, similar to Toronto, there are a lot of shops and restaurants along the way so it doesn’t feel like you’re walking for days. 14th street is where you’ll find all the cute shops and restaurants like Little Leaf, Le Diplomate and the famous PINK building.. not wall.. building!
First stop: Lunch. It’s hard to miss this restaurant. They play loud and fun Cuban music, the building is sky blue and the patio has fun red furniture. They also have the cutest floors inside! We looked like crazy ladies moving around furniture trying to get the perfect shot. Haha. We both order the Colada Shop Cuban sandwich which is stuffed with ham, slow roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and cilantro aioli, with a couple virgin Pina Coladas.. k I’m drooling again thinking of this sandwich. It’s massive and while I was full halfway through, I honestly could. not. stop.
aka PINK HEAVEN. With the help of Porter Escapes, we were able to reserve the perfect table at Whaley’s Rosé Garden. As you can probably guess.. Joelle and I loved this place. It’s all white with perfect pink umbrellas, greenery all around.. AND its right on the waterfront. We started the evening off with a glass of rosé, cheers’ing to the perfect girls getaway and dove into our platter of fresh River Keeper oysters.
River Keepers are exclusive to Whaley’s as they are part of an amazing initiative to help restore the Anacostia River (the river that runs right in front of the restaurant) so that one day it will be swimmable again. I love, love, love oysters and can probably eat two dozen on my own, these oysters were creamy, a little briny and were for a great cause.
Hazel was recommended to us by the GM at Whaley’s and we were not disappointed! Its located in an old plumbing building, the patio was super cute with a beautiful flower mural, string lights (obsessed!) and the food.. drooling again. This place is a delicious fusion of American and Asian flavours and everything on the menu sounded so interesting but so good.
We started with the Steak Tartare, and it wasn’t just any old Steak Tartare.. omg it had the same flavours of Korean Fried Chicken, it was sweet and tangy and served with crispy tater tots. I would travel back to Washington just for this dish. Next was the Sweet Corn Pudding with summer squash, cilantro and Furikake (a seasoning made from seaweed).
The Sticky and Crunhcy ribs are what rib dreams are made of, haha. Joelle and I had no problem polishing them off! Lastly, the Pork & Kimchi gnocchi with smoked Pecorino sounds amazing but it was honestly our least favourite dish. I ALWAYS save room for dessert but we were so stuff we needed someone to wheel us out of there.
Just because and totally worth documenting haha! I had never had Shake Shack before and needed to know what all the hype was about! We shared THE creamiest frozen custard and delish crinkle fries. It was worth every calorie.
WHAT WE SAW
LINCOLN MEMORIAL, WASHINGTON MONUMENT & THE WHITE HOUSE
You can’t go to Washington without visiting the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. It was about a 15 minute uber from the Embassy Row Hotel, we grabbed a large coffee and a massive croissant from the hotel lobby to start our day. I would suggest heading to the site early in the morning before the crowds get there so you can really enjoy it. The Lincoln Memorial is grand and so beautiful.
The White House is another site you have to visit! If you look closely towards the roof of the White House, you’ll see little black dots.. those were snipers. Ahh!
There are no words. Actually 5 words: OH EM GEE SO CUTE!!! The Little Leaf Shop is literally #goals. The shop is full of varying sizes and varieties of succulents, well-made stationary and cards and the most beautiful floors!
The feeling you get when you find the Motherload of pink walls. These walls are the walls of the Whitman Walker Health Center. It’s such a cool place, you can feel the positivity that they’re trying to promote through these colourful walls. We spent a good 45 minutes just snapping photos. How could you not?
WHAT WE WOULD COME BACK TO WASHINGTON FOR
District Doughnut – Who doesn’t love doughtnuts?! This bakery closed early while we were in Georgetown.
Le Diplomatico – Located in Logan Circle on 14th street, it’s a French restaurant with the cutest patio!
I hope you all enjoyed my food/travel diary to Washington! I had so much fun in Washington, we ate, saw and discovered so many beautiful things and places here and cannot wait to come back! We’re so happy we flew with Porter Escapes, booking with them made our mini girls getaway so easy and we can’t wait to book with Porter Escapes again.
Have you ever booked with Porter Escapes before? Been to Washington? Where are your favourite places for a mini vacation?
Thank you to the kindest people at Porter Escapes for sending us on the best girls getaway. All opinions are 100% my own.