4 Things You Need to Do during Cherry Blossom Season in D.C.

Have you ever wondered how to fully embrace cherry blossom season in Washington, D.C.? It’s one of the busiest times of year in the area, and the perfect time to do any and everything you can before the blossoms go. Strolling, or being stuck in foot traffic, around the Tidal Basin is a given. Indulging in the cherry blossom-inspired food and events are some things that you must consider to fully experience this special time of year. Peak bloom is April 1, which means at least 70% of them will be fully bloomed on that day. You definitely want to partake before it comes to an end!

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Cherry Blossoms on the Tidal Basin 2016

This time only comes once a year, so this is the perfect time to explore! Check out my list of things to do in D.C. to compliment your cherry blossom viewing activities. Note: This time of year brings a LOT of traffic to D.C. area. Driving times are based on low traffic times. Expect some traffic patterns to change and a lot of tourists.

  • Visit the Cherry Blossom Pub pop-up – This pop-up has been super popular since its beginning. It tends to be super busy after 6:30 pm, per their FAQs page. They have cherry blossom-themed drinks and ramen. It’s located near the Shaw-Howard University metro stop, which isn’t super close to the Tidal Basin. It’s about 30 minutes by metro and 15-20 minutes away, if you’re driving. Street parking is available. (Shaw) 1843 7th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001 
  • Munch on cherry blossom dessertsAstro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken – Cherry Cheesecake doughnut. This Astro location is about a 10-minute drive or a 15-minute metro ride from the Tidal Basin. 1308 G St. NW, Washington, DC 20005
    • District Doughnut – A cherry blossom doughnut made up of vanilla bean dough, cream cheese glaze, and cherry pie filling, topped with crumbled pie crust and cream cheese drizzle. The Wharf location is about a five-minute drive from the Tidal Basin and about 12 minutes via metro. (The Wharf) 5 Market Square SW
      Washington DC, 20024. 2 other locations on Capitol Hill – Barracks Row and in Georgetown.
    • Baked & Wired – A cherry blossom cupcake made up of vanilla cake with maraschino cherries in the batter topped with a cherry buttercream. (Georgetown) 1052 Thomas Jefferson St. NW, Washington DC 20007
  • Sip Rosé at the Watergate Hotel on the weekend. – Until Sunday, April 14, the Watergate Hotel offers cherry blossom-themed afternoon tea on Saturdays and Sundays. The menu includes Veuve Cliquot Champagne Rosé and cherry blossom macarons. Reservations are required. The hotel is 26 minutes from the Tidal Basin via metro and eight minutes by car. 2650 Virginia Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20037
  • Learn about Japanese culture at the Japanese Street Festival. – Formally known as Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Street Festival is an opportunity to learn more about the culture and traditions through food, performances, and art. This part of 7th St. NW is about six minutes away, if you’re driving, and 25 minutes by metro. Pennsylvania Ave., NW between 3rd and 7th Streets.

Check out the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Inc.’s official 2019 event guide.

Until next time.

An Absolutely Awesome Bottomless Brunch Sunday at Dos Caminos

Finding a bottomless brunch restaurant can be hard when most recommend reservations. You might end up bummed if you do it too late. Thankfully, some places still have spots available even the night before, which are hard to come by.

Dos Caminos is a restaurant, which has a few different locations in Manhattan, that offers a two-hour bottomless brunch add-on for $18. This prices is one of the cheapest I’ve ever seen. You can choose mimosas, frozen margaritas, bloody Mary’s, screwdrivers, or sparkling wine. This add-on is truly worth it, since the waiters don’t leave you with an empty glass for long.

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The front of Dos Caminos’ menu

Dos Caminos’ menu has so many great drink and meal options that it was hard to choose! After weighing my options, I ordered bottomless frozen margaritas and Mexican French Toast.

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Frozen margarita

This dish already sounded amazing. It tasted even better! This dish is described in the menu as “crispy pan torrejas, rum, and cajeta caramel roasted bananas. Cajeta is a syrup which is usually made of sweetened, caramelized goat’s milk, according to Wikipedia.

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Mexican French Toast

The cajeta roasted bananas, whipped cream, and syrup made the perfect topping combo for French Toast. Dos Caminos got it just right, and it was so hard not to order some to-go. If you like or want to try French toast, this is one you definitely need to try!

Dos Caminos’ bottomless brunch is absolutely worth it. If you’re looking for a place to brunch in NYC during the weekend, definitely check it out!

Until next time.

And the Beat Goes On

Happy New Year! I was out of town for the first time ever on New Year’s Day for my friend, Donia’s, birthday. She organized a trip to New York that was super fun.

I had heard good things about Beatstro, a hip hop-themed restaurant located in the Bronx AKA the birthplace of hip hop. We decided to make the trek to the Bronx from Brooklyn, and I’m glad we did. Per my friend, Remi, it’s strongly recommended that you make a reservation. Shout out to her for recommending this spot, too! This place is poppin, especially on the weekends.

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This restaurant felt just right. It felt home-y to me. I’ve been a super hip hop fan ever since 2011, when I started college at St. John’s University. This was my kind of place: the vibe, the food, the people, the art-covered…it was dope.

The drink menu had a lot of great options. I chose the sangria before dinner and (finally) tried limoncello after. This was the best sangria I’ve ever had! It was the perfect balance of alcohol and fruit, and I definitely wanted another one. Instead, I chose to try limoncello, like I’ve been meaning to do for years. I don’t regret a single calorie. It’s the sweetest alcoholic beverage I’ve had, which is right up my alley.

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Limoncello

I chose the Thick Thighs & Hot Waffles, which is a waffle topped with fried chicken, pickled strawberries, and syrup. I’m a big fan of chicken and waffles, and this dish did not disappoint. The chicken was made to perfection, and the waffle was fluffy and delicious. The strawberries complimented everything, particularly the syrup, very well.

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Thick Thighs & Hot Waffles

I absolutely would get this dish again and can’t wait to go to Beatstro the next time I visit NYC. There are so many great options for food and drinks that it’s hard to just choose one! If you’re looking for a great brunch or dinner spot, this is it!

Until next time.

A Taste of Fall at District Doughnut

There are so many dessert options in Georgetown: pie, ice cream, cupcakes, doughnuts… you name it. District Doughnut is one of the most popular doughnut shops in D.C., and I finally got the chance to check it out.

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This District Doughnut location is not in plain site. Surprisingly, it isn’t on the busiest street in Georgetown, M Street. It’s down an old brick path that is just wide enough for one car and some pedestrians in Cady’s Alley.

This shop is very chill and welcoming. I love that they let me know that their fall flavors were about to leave soon, which made my decision easier.

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Top, left to right: Caramel Apple Streusel, Cranberry Crumble, Pumpkin Glazed; bottom, left to right: Pumpkin Spice Latte Creme Brûlée, Salted Dulce de Leche, Maple Butter Pecan

Fortunately, I go to try a bit of all of them. My absolute favorites were Cranberry Crumble and Maple Butter Pecan. I’m a huge fan of cranberry, and this doughnut won my heart. The dried cranberries were like the cherries on top. The doughnut itself would even be delicious without it. As for the Maple Butter Pecan, I’m surprised that I liked it as much as I did. The maple butter glaze was impeccable, and the pecans weren’t bothersome. If you’re someone who prefers chopped nuts over halves and wholes, this is perfect for you.

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Cranberry Crumble

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Pumpkin Spice Latte Creme Brûlée

I didn’t dislike any of these doughnuts. They were all delicious, soft, and fresh. You honestly can’t go wrong with any of them. There is truly something for everyone at District Doughnut! If you’re ever in D.C., this is a great option.

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District Doughnut just debuted their winter menu, so I’m hoping to try them soon.

Until next time.

 

 

Iron Rooster

My sister has talked about Iron Rooster for so long and said that I needed to go for some time now. She’d spoken so highly of this place, so I knew I had to try it. She decided to take our family to brunch there. Iron Rooster is a restaurant located in downtown Annapolis, MD that has plenty of breakfast and lunch/dinner food options. When you peruse the menu, there’s plenty of super Maryland dishes, which is fitting since it’s located in our state’s capital.

The restaurant is mostly narrow and opens up a bit more the further in you go and has an upstairs. If you’ve been in any old town or historic area buildings, that’s how it’s built. The staff kindly greeted us and took us to a table upstairs, which has a little cafe-like area by the front window. Interestingly, this place has a homey feel to it.

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My sister ordered RoosTarts (homemade “Poptarts”) for our table while we looked at our meal options, since it was the rest of our family and my first time there. There are different flavors available daily. We ordered brown sugar and chocolate banana, which they thankfully warm up for you. The brown sugar cinnamon was absolutely amazing! It tastes 10 times better than the Pop Tart version and is much thicker. This treat melts on your mouth and would be great with or without the whipped cream and powdered sugar. As for the chocolate banana, I thought it was okay. I think I would’ve liked it more if it was a bit sweeter.

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Brown sugar RoosTart

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Chocolate banana RoosTart

After mulling over the menu, I chose to get brioche French toast topped with strawberries (optional) and spiced maple bourbon butter. I didn’t know this butter existed until going here, and I absolutely loved it! The French toast would’ve been good without it, but the butter elevated this dish. The toast was made with apple and vanilla bean egg batter, which was complimented well by the butter, syrup, and strawberries.

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French toast (before adding syrup)

I’d absolutely visit Iron Rooster again. The food didn’t disappoint, and there are so many other dishes I want to try. If you’re ever in Annapolis, MD, give this place a try!

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Until next time.

Fryguys

During my recent day trip to NYC, I went to EEEEEATSCon and left hungry. Thankfully, I made a list of places to go after while I was on the bus ride up there. I know myself well enough that I knew I wasn’t going to be at that event for 6 hours by myself.

I had a couple of dessert spots in SoHo on my list, so I hopped on a train back to Manhattan. After walking in the weird weather that day through droves of people styled like Tumblr, I finally made it to Dominique Ansel’s bakery…and saw the long line. It’s wild that the line has been long since I’ve known of its existence. I quickly dipped and looked for the hot spot, Bar Pa Tea, to get some ice cream. Another. long. line. I chose not to give up and went to another place on my list. I needed something to hold me over.

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Creamy Peach at C Tea NYC

Thankfully, CTea didn’t have a line and plenty of options to choose from. I finally narrowed it down to the Creamy Peach, which was as delicious as it looked! I would absolutely get this perfectly fruity drink again. It was so rewarding to finally get something I’ve been wanting to try after being let down twice and before I was let down again.

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Take Me Back to Sugar Shack

I may or may not have an obsession with donuts. I’ve been controlling my cravings as much as possible, and by no means is this strictly a dessert blog. There are definitely a lot of good donut shops popping up and making their marks in the specialty food part of the industry.

Sugar Shack Donuts & Coffee is a mostly Virginia-based donut shop. A few are located in the DMV area, and the newest one is in Washington, D.C.

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I’ve been in NoVA (Northern Virginia) more often lately, so I’m glad I remembered Sugar Shack was on my list of places to go. I was able to get there about 40 minutes before they closed, which could be the reason for not knowing what flavors were available for the day. One of the employees suggested some donut flavors to me, and I choose a few from the list: maple bacon, red velvet, and Rice Krispies (August’s flavor of the month – please forgive me for the late post).

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Lately, I’ve been pushing myself to get something I’ve had before and something new. Maple Bacon was my safe choice this time, and it truly didn’t disappoint. The maple icing is one of the best I’ve ever had. The bacon was so good! I wish this donut had bacon bits instead of bacon pieces. I bought the Rice Krispies donut since it was that month’s flavor. I thought it was decent. I wouldn’t have gone to buy a whole dozen of these after trying, but I’d buy it again. As for the red velvet, I absolutely loved it! This cakey donut was my favorite out of the three flavors I purchased for myself. If I couldn’t have any other flavor at Sugar Shack ever again, I would choose this one. It’s one of the best donuts I’ve ever had.

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If you’re ever in Virginia, Sugar Shack Donuts & Coffee is definitely worth a try. I can’t wait to go back!

Until next time.

EEEEEATSCon

I saw a lot of promo for EEEEEATSCon in New York City on Instagram and decided to go on a whim. I had never gone to a food event that sounded like this one, so I was down to try it. This was the first big event away from home that I’ve gone to by myself, so this was different for me. I was hoping for the best.

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The lines in the first section were pretty long, so I skimmed over the menus to see if there was anything that jumped out at me. I didn’t see anything I wanted. It was great that they had a giant map posted, but I had never been to this stadium before. Winging it was the best option for me.

What really got my attention was Bailey’s Treat Bar. There were quite a few pastel-colored chairs and tables set up for eating the desserts offered in that area of the stadium. I had my eyes on Dulcinea, a churro spot, first.

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I Screamed for Cookie Butter Ice Cream

Word-of-mouth recommendations are still very important when it comes to spreading the word about good restaurants, galleries, events, etc. I love telling people about some of my favorite spots because I believe things like that should be shared. Lately, I have been using Instagram to share and find new things to see and try, and it’s been a huge help.

I’ve seen Munch Ice Cream on a few of the ice cream- and DC-focused Instagram pages. There are so many colorful ice cream posts with this place geotagged that I just had to try it!

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When my GPS said my mom and I had arrived to Munch, I was confused. I didn’t see a sign that made it stand out. There wasn’t a list of places in the plaza where it’s located. Just something that said “the block.” I had heard of this place before, but that’s not why I was there. One more circle around the large parking lot, and we pulled up closer to the block. There’s a list of places in there, and Munch Ice Cream was one of them.

Cafeteria-style places like this seem to be the trendy thing now. The block VA has a few other vendors such as Snocream, Roots, and Pokeworks.

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We walked through the chatty space to our destination. We looked at all of the ice cream flavors unsure of what to buy. If you know me personally, I usually look at the menu and decide what I’ll order before getting there. They had so many flavors that I wanted to try, that I’d have to come back!

The employee who helped us was super sweet, made suggestions, and gave us samples. I tried cookie butter, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and ube (purple yam; pronounced oo-bay–which I learned how to pronounce that day).

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They have quite a few choices for their ice cream: bowl, cone, shake, donutwich, and cookie ice cream sandwiches. I chose to keep it simple and ordered a one scoop of cookie butter and one scoop of ube on a rainbow cone with Fruity Pebbles. My mom ordered a cup with one scoop of cookie butter, one scoop of ube, and one scoop of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. The first thing I noticed after getting it was that this ice cream started melting faster than I anticipated. Since ube was a new flavor for me, I had no clue what to expect. I thought it was really good. I wish I had had it as the actual food before trying the ice cream so I had something to compare it. The cookie butter was my absolute favorite out of the two flavors. It tastes just like cookie butter! I was completely blown away and will absolutely get it again the next time I go.

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I plan on going back to Munch Ice Cream to try the other flavors that sounded good. Note that this ice cream is very much on the pricier side. Full disclosure, the total was almost $20 for the 3-scoop bowl and 2-scoop cone. They show the cost for a cup and a cone per scoop. After two scoops, they charge $3 per scoop. I think the ice cream is good, but the cost makes me not want to frequent this place.

Until next time.

Baked & Wired

I don’t know about you, but I may or may not be addicted to dessert. I don’t have it everyday or anything crazy. I just often want to go out and try a new doughnut or cupcake flavor.

I finally went to Baked & Wired, which is a busy dessert shop in Georgetown. My sister and I had to wait outside in line because it was so busy! Finally getting inside felt like an accomplishment! We looked at a menu and looked down the line of sweets in amazement.

There are a lot of treats you see while the line is moving, so it’s helpful to look at the menu or know what you want before arriving.

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Since the line moves steadily, you don’t have a lot of time to choose what you want. This process is a bit easier because they have menus at the door for you to look over once you get inside. Once it was my turn, I ended up making quick decisions because a couple of my desired sweets were sadly sold out. I bought Tessita, Elvis Jailbird, Dirty Chai (for my sister) and the Oh My God bar.

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