Author Topic: Family Trip to Washington DC...Food?  (Read 1170 times)

Spiffy

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Family Trip to Washington DC...Food?
« on: June 10, 2019, 07:28:31 PM »
We are taking a trip to Washington DC soon and our hotel provides breakfast, some dinners (cheap burgers and chips, probably) and a kitchen. We plan to go to the grocery store and get some stuff to make basic meals, but we like to eat the local specialty when we can. So...what should we eat? Crab cakes? Ethiopian? Our hotel is about a mile north of the National Mall and we are only using the Metro, buses and our feet to get around. Any suggestions? Also, I think we need a travel section on the forum!

CupcakeGuru

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Re: Family Trip to Washington DC...Food?
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2019, 05:59:27 AM »
My family went to DC for spring break. One of the bus drivers told us the best place to eat was at the Department of Agriculture Cafeteria and she was right. It is open to the general public. The lines can be long but it was one of the cheapest eat out meals we had in DC.

ctuser1

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Re: Family Trip to Washington DC...Food?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2019, 06:09:39 AM »
Look up restaurant dot com.

You can get their GC codes on the cheap during special offers and such. Also look around in auction sites etc.

There are some hassles and fine prints you need to pay attention to - but Iíve regularly saved tons of money using them. I found plenty of restaurants around DC that accepted them during a trip 5 years ago - including a renowned Ethiopian restaurant.

You will be saving 30-40% of the total cost is you plan well ahead while using them.

If you are cooking in the hotel, please note that we found the DC proper to have extreme variations of grocery prices. So please do a little bit of research where you will buy groceries. I remember that my wife was shocked at the grocery prices at a store close to our hotel. We finally found some big chain superstore a few miles away with reasonable prices. All the chains over there were unfamiliar to me, coming from NYC/CT area.

DCteach

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mm1970

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Re: Family Trip to Washington DC...Food?
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2019, 11:04:28 AM »
a couple of decades ago, I lived in NoVa.  Pretty much my fave thing to eat in DC (Adams Morgan) was Ethiopian.  I miss it.  Last time we visited friends in San Fran, they asked "any kind of food you want?"  I said "Ethiopian!!"

The restaurant we ate at in DC is closed, sadly.  Not surprising as it's been more than 20 years.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Family Trip to Washington DC...Food?
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2019, 02:21:54 PM »
If you like pizza, il Caneli (I think that's how it's spelled) has outrageously good pizza.  Little more expensive than pizza at home but overall a cheap meal in DC.  Oh, and like I said, the pizza is outrageous.

dcheesi

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Re: Family Trip to Washington DC...Food?
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2019, 02:30:40 PM »
If you like pizza, il Caneli (I think that's how it's spelled) has outrageously good pizza.  Little more expensive than pizza at home but overall a cheap meal in DC.  Oh, and like I said, the pizza is outrageous.
This place? http://ilcanale.com/

remizidae

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Re: Family Trip to Washington DC...Food?
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2019, 07:12:48 PM »
Try Ethiopian. Crab cakes are more of Maryland thing, plus they're overrated and hard to get cheap. The Giant on O street is probably the closest reasonably-priced grocery store to you.

flannel

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Re: Family Trip to Washington DC...Food?
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2019, 08:34:14 PM »
I live in the DC area and my wife works a north of the Capitol.

The best option for affordably accessing the local food scene is food trucks. The locations change, but you can find them at FoodTrckFiesta.com. There are lots of them near Union Station, which sounds close to where you are?  I recommend the Puddin Truck, Crepe Parfait, and the Red Hood Lobster truck. You can also check out Union Market, a really nice food hall at NY ave and Florida (NY ave/NOMA Metro stop).  Also, I highly recommend Indigo, a counterservice Indian place on the North Side of Union Station that is really good and affordable.

Spiffy

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Re: Family Trip to Washington DC...Food?
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2019, 05:59:38 PM »
Thanks for these tips. I'll report back if we find anything praiseworthy.

nereo

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Re: Family Trip to Washington DC...Food?
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2019, 07:08:51 PM »
I mean, if you want to eat a signature food of DC you should get some half smokes, perhaps at Ben's Chili Bowl.

ColaMan

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Re: Family Trip to Washington DC...Food?
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2019, 09:34:30 PM »
a couple of decades ago, I lived in NoVa.  Pretty much my fave thing to eat in DC (Adams Morgan) was Ethiopian.  I miss it.  Last time we visited friends in San Fran, they asked "any kind of food you want?"  I said "Ethiopian!!"

The restaurant we ate at in DC is closed, sadly.  Not surprising as it's been more than 20 years.

Meskerem?  Used to love that place.  Like you, it's been many years since I lived in the DC area

Saving in Austin

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Re: Family Trip to Washington DC...Food?
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2019, 09:43:57 PM »
I used to buy crab cakes at the Dupont Circle Farmers Market on Saturday morning. If you have a kitchen you can just broil them for a few minutes and serve.

Dicey

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Re: Family Trip to Washington DC...Food?
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2019, 01:12:13 AM »
https://www.washingtonian.com/2018/08/23/cheap-eats-around-washington-dc/
Great looking list! I used to spend a fair amount of time in DC. The cafeterias at the Library of Congress were always a good meal at a fair price. Breakfast and lunch, weekdays only, IIRC.

mm1970

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Re: Family Trip to Washington DC...Food?
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2019, 10:42:28 AM »
a couple of decades ago, I lived in NoVa.  Pretty much my fave thing to eat in DC (Adams Morgan) was Ethiopian.  I miss it.  Last time we visited friends in San Fran, they asked "any kind of food you want?"  I said "Ethiopian!!"

The restaurant we ate at in DC is closed, sadly.  Not surprising as it's been more than 20 years.

Meskerem?  Used to love that place.  Like you, it's been many years since I lived in the DC area

The Red Sea.  Sooo long ago. 

BlueHouse

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Re: Family Trip to Washington DC...Food?
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2019, 11:36:23 AM »
I live in Capitol Hill and there are so many options it all depends on what you like and who "we" are.  Couple? or are you bringing kids?

I love the food trucks, but $15-20/meal isn't my idea of inexpensive.  Not sure you can find a complete "meal" for less when eating out, but usually kids don't want a "meal", if they'd rather just have a sandwich. 

Do you love food and the experience or do you just want to eat for energy?  Do you want to combine sightseeing with buying food?  Eastern Market is the longest continually running farmer's market in the US, and you may want to buy some of your staples there. 
Do you want to combine an "eat-out-meal" with one of the museums?  In that case, I would plan an eat-out-lunch with a visit to the Museum of the American Indian  -- consistently gets the best reviews of all the museums and the food is based on food available to different Indian tribes. 
If you like the idea of government cafeterias, they can be great, but I would guess that Dept of Ag was cited because a bus driver can park/idle his bus in that area of the mall.  I've been to that Caf and eh...there's something for everyone, but it's a Caf.  As an alternative, I'd suggest the cafeteria in the Longworth Office Building.  Much less expensive than eating at any of the museum cafs, and an incredible selection.  I do NOT, repeat NOT, recommend eating in the cafeteria for Voice of America. 

I also love the cafeteria at the Newseum and if you're a family or a couple, buying a membership ahead of time can pay for itself.    I think you might also be able to get a library pass for the Newseum. 

If you're a foody, I recommend the chef's counter at ChiKo (coordinate with your trip to Eastern Market).  For $50 each, you get enough food for 3-4 meals while being able to try a little bit of just about everything on their menu.  I love chef's counters but feel they are usually too expensive for me.  This one was affordable for a special night. 

I love Ethiopian food too!  Lots of great choices at great prices.  (my favorite is Ethiopic on H. Street).  The Wharf is new and fancy, but expensive.  You may want to walk through the Wharf, see the sights, experience the tourist-places, then go right next door to the original Maine Avenue Fish Market (also renovated, but still much much cheaper than anything at the Wharf) and buy some fresh mussels or crab and have them steamed right there for you. 
 
Tell us more about what you want, and many of us can provide more recs.

One other suggestion:  include the option to use bikes and scooters to get around.  There are bikeshares and dockless options ALL OVER.  You can get so much done and have fun when you're on a bike or a scooter.  You may want to download apps for CapitalBikeshare, Jump, Bird scooter, LimeBike.  So much fun!!!  If this is an option for you, bring your helmets with you.