A Weekend of the Best DC Restaurants

My sister and I don’t get to see each other often, but when we do we always make it a point to try out some new restaurants together. In March, I flew to DC to photograph a Saturday wedding in Charlottesville. I stayed with Natalie in Arlington while I was there and we went to some of the tastiest restaurants I’ve ever been to. Literally everywhere we went was amazing.

Best Beer Garden | Courthaus Social in Arlington, Va

After a long plane flight into DC, I was ready for a drink. My sister suggested this place since it was within walking distance of her apartment. After dealing with endless rain in Portland, I just needed a restaurant with an outside patio and alcohol. This was the perfect place. We ordered a giant pretzel and a few different happy hour items. We people-watched and took way too many photos of our food and ourselves. If you’re looking for beer, a fun atmosphere and delicious happy hour plates, go here.

Best Thai Food | Sawatdee in Arlington, Va

Also within walking distance of my sister’s apartment, we weren’t sure what to expect. However, this thai food was delicious. Perfectly fresh vegetable rolls and a tasty pad thai. Also with an outdoor patio and refreshing drinks. Definitely recommend if you’re looking for Thai Food in Arlington.

Best Happy Hour | Thunder Burger Bar in Georgetown, Va

We kind of accidentally stumbled upon Thunder Burger Bar. I had read an article online that it has amazing burgers, but we were just on the look out for some appetizers and a happy hour drink (yet again). We both ordered margaritas and an assortment of items off of the happy hour menu. Everything was delicious, the only problem was that we had tons of leftover food to eat for later! And that’s not really a problem. 🙂 Next time I’ll have to try a burger!

Best Cupcakes | Georgetown Cupcakes in Georgetown, Va

We always make it a point to get cupcakes when my sister and I are together. Georgetown is our go-to. They have festive flavors and amazing icing. While I wouldn’t say these are the best cupcakes I’ve ever had, it’s always an experience going there. The line is usually pretty long so it’s a nice time to just enjoy the hustle and bustle of Georgetown.

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Best Brunch | Bearnaise in Washington, DC

SO GOOD. It’s a little off the beaten path, but totally worth it. We were worried that it would be packed with people on a Saturday but we didn’t even have to wait in line! It has a lovely French vibe and the food is incredible. The Eggs Benedict was perfect, and the Croque Monsieur was one of the best I’ve had in the US. I thoroughly enjoyed this brunch spot. It was quiet and bright, the perfect brunch vibe.

Best Coffee | Le Pain Quotidien in Arlington, Va

We ended up going here twice because we loved it so much. While it is a chain restaurant, it’s one of the best chain restaurants I’ve ever experienced. Everything was impeccable, from the coffee to the Belgian Waffles. A bit on the pricey side, so I’m glad I don’t have one of these in my neighborhood, I’d go there all the time! I ended up going home with some of their Speculoos spread, yum!

Best Italian | Il Porto Ristorante in Alexandria, Va

I love Italian food. I was looking forward to this meal from the second I arrived in DC. Sometimes you just need a good glass of red wine and a pasta dish. Il Porto Ristorante did not disappoint. Incredible service, food and dessert. The atmosphere was perfect with the stone walls and dim lighting. Definitely on the fancy side, but I would go here again in a heartbeat. Everything was incredibly fresh and full of flavor. My sister said it was the best lasagna she’s ever had!

Best Ramen | Momofuku in Washington, DC

Hands down my new favorite restaurant in DC. I love ramen and any kind of asian-fusion food, so this place was a dream. My dad had never tried ramen or pork buns or any sort of dish like these (crazy, I know), but he loved it! The pork buns melt in your mouth, the ramen is about as tasty as ramen can get and I love that it’s encouraged to share food here. Plus, the simple fact that Milk Bar is attached makes it the ideal restaurant. We got here right before the crowd so we didn’t have to wait in line, but I’d definitely recommend getting here early.

Best Dessert | Milk Bar in Washington, DC

OMG. If I could go here every day I would. Cereal & milk flavored ice cream, confetti cake truffles (my all time favorite dessert now) and crack pie. TRY ALL OF IT. My only regret is that I couldn’t stuff more in my face.

Let us know if you’ve tried any of these restaurants and what you thought of them!

❤ Myles Katherine

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Our 7 Favorite Picnic Spots in Paris

By Natalie Anne ❤

I know there are sooo many blog posts and recommendations of what to do, see, and experience in Paris. As there should be. Paris is one of the most magical places in the world and in my opinion, is certainly not overrated. Myles and I studied abroad in Paris together one summer and it transformed our lives one Pom’Pote at a time.

One of our favorite parts of living in Paris briefly, was finding the perfect Parisian spots to seek peace and feast on pastries and picnic food. So here we will invite you to discover our favorite spots in Paris to seek solace while munching on croissants and macaroons:

1. Parc de Buttes Chaumont

Myles and I lived in the 19th arrondisement right beside the Ourcq metro stop. It is perhaps not the most well-known area, but it offers some great Patisseries and one of our favorite parks in the world. The Parc de Buttes Chaumont has an incredible view of the city, a beautiful lake, and multiple pathways and trails winding throughout. It is hilly and has a beautiful bank by the river to pull out a blanket, lie down in the grass, and indulge in Parisian bliss.

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2. Le Petit Palais

In the middle of Le Petit Palais is Le Jardin du Petit Palais, a cafe, inside a beautiful, open atrium. This oasis has floors with beautiful mosaic tiling and there are large marble columns and little tables and chairs set up. It is incredibly decadent and idyllic, plus the art collection inside the Petit Palais is one of my favorites in the world, and surprisingly enough, there never seems to be an overwhelming crowd.

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3. Square du Vert Galant on the Île de la Cité

While the Notre Dame de Paris is one of the most beautiful and well-known cathedrals in the world, the island that it sits on is just as special. The Île de la Cité is an island on the Seine right in the middle of Paris. The Square du Vert-Galant is a miniature park area right on the tip of the island underneath Pont Neuf (the oldest bridge in Paris). It provides a perfect hangout area for locals and tourists alike to sit on the river and marvel at the architecture as boats pass you by. Luckily enough, it is also right beside a port where you can hop on a boat for an hour trip up and down the Seine (Vedettes du Pont-Neuf).

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4. Jardin des Tuileries

Located right beside the Louvre and running along the Seine in the heart of Paris, Tuileries is a centrally-located gem that is home to the Musee De L’Orangerie, multiple fountains, and rows of trees with benches. It offers a slower pace than the city streets while still offering beautiful scenery. There is also a Ferris wheel and fun amusement park for those still seeking a little thrill.

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5. The Grassy Lawn beside the Eiffel Tower

Just because this may be one of the more obvious places to go, does not make it any less special. Who doesn’t want an awe-inspiring picture of themselves lounging in front of the Eiffel Tower and relishing in its splendid beauty? Perhaps not one of the more peaceful locations, the grassy lawn in front of the Eiffel Tower is still a popular spot to lie in the grass with a baguette and some brie.

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6. Sacré-Coeur

Another popular location, the Sacré-Coeur is a dramatically stunning cathedral situated on the hill in Montmartre and offering one of the most famous view of the City of Love.

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7. Jardin des Plantes

The Jardin des Plantes is not the most popular destination for tourists, which makes it ideal for peace and an undiscovered treasure. Its Alice in Wonderland-like pathways, hedges, and trees create an enchanting experience that feels almost secretive. This botanical garden is home to the Museum of Natural History and houses a small yet delightful zoo.

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Here is a map to every place listed

Best Desserts in Portland, Oregon

by Myles Katherine ❤

I’m obsessed with sugar. It’s bad. On every birthday, holiday or weekend day I treat myself to something extra sweet. As you’ll probably tell from the list, chocolate is my go-to. Plus, my birthday is on Valentine’s Day so it’s absolutely necessary and understandable to indulge in dessert. So, if you’re in the mood for a decadent treat, check out some of my favorite Portland dessert spots.

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  1. Petit Provence‘s ANYTHING – One of my favorite places to go in Portland if I have the travel bug and want to feel like I’m in Europe. The Brioche Banana French Toast is incredible, and they give you a free tart on your birthday (photo featured above)! They have multiple locations throughout Portland but the one on NE Alberta is my go-to. Their dessert case is beautiful and colorful and delicious. Fleur de Lis Bakery comes in a close second. I’m biased to this bakery because they are in my neighborhood and hello, convenience. But in my opinion, they have the most authentic tasting croissants this side of France.
  2. Chocolate peanut butter pie from The Pie Spot – This is my I’ve-had-a-terrible-day-I-just-need-a-dang-chocolatey-treat dessert. Whenever I’m sad I need one of these or I can’t move on with my life. I like to take it home and warm it in my toaster oven. The chocolate and peanut butter combination is perfection.
  3. Bourbon Ball from Papa Haydn  – My boyfriend and I go here every so often for the Bourbon Ball because it’s enough for 2. It doesn’t look gigantic but it is so rich and filling. Plus, it has bourbon in it, and is there anything better than alcohol and chocolate? And if you don’t like chocolate, there are TONS of delicious options to choose from here. A lovely date night spot.
  4.  Cookie Monster Babycake from Petunia’s Pies & Pastries– This bakery is gluten free AND vegan. This cupcake is the best one I’ve ever had. EVER. ANYWHERE. So good. And sugary.
  5.  Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache Ice cream from Salt & Straw – In my opinion, the BEST ice cream in Portland, and possibly in the world. They rotate their flavors every month and use local ingredients. They pair up with restaurants around town to create completely unique flavors depending on the time of the year. I’ve been meaning to head down there this month to try their February flavors. They’ve paired up with a few chocolate shops around town to make flavors like Maple and Rose Chocolate and PB&J. CAN’T WAIT. The Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache is my go-to flavor but you really can’t go wrong. The Snickerdoodle is AMAZING too.
  6. Chocolate lava cake from Pix Patisserie – Another fabulous date night spot. A wine bar AND dessert bar?! Count me in. The atmosphere is amazing. Everything I’ve had there is incredible. Macaroons, chocolates, cream puffs, etc. It’s like going to Paris without spending $1300 on a plane ticket. They also give free birthday desserts!
  7.  Alma Chocolate‘s Boozy Box – I make my boyfriend buy this for me every year for my birthday. These chocolates are the best in Portland (in my opinion, of course). They are intensely flavorful and rich. I’m a dark chocolate person, so I crave the bitterness and simplicity of a strong chocolate. The boozy box is filled with alcohol-infused chocolates. Their drinking chocolate is also incredible.
  8. Saint Cupcake‘s Classic Vanilla Cupcake – In case you don’t like chocolate and want a simple, delicious basic cupcake, Saint Cupcake has you covered. I don’t typically enjoy simple cupcakes because I’m one to go for the cookie-dough-caramel-chocolate-coconut-peanut-butter all-in-one deals. But the vanilla cupcake with vanilla icing is everything you’d ever need in a cupcake. SO GOOD.
  9. Cannoli from Bacchi’s Italian Delicatessen – Made to order, these pistachio crusted cannoli’s are the best I’ve ever had. I could eat them every day.
  10. Blue Star Donuts Original Buttermilk – Yes. BETTER than Voodoo Doughnuts. Obviously, Voodoo Donuts is a nice tourist spot and fun to visit (I still go there for an ODB when I need oreos and peanut butter in my life).  But Blue Star is where I go for quality and pure bliss. Pip’s Original Doughnuts is also amazing if you like tiny doughnuts and delicious coffee.

Best Brunch Spots in Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia

By Natalie Anne ❤

I moved to Northern Virginia less than a year ago, and in this short time, have brunched as much as possible. Luckily, in my neighborhood there are plenty of delicious restaurants that know how to brunch well. For my brunching experience, I almost exclusively order some combination of Eggs Benedict, my absolute favorite dish of all time. So if you really don’t like poached eggs topped with a creamy, delicious Hollandaise sauce blend, then this list may not be for you, unless of course I can change your mind.

Bayou Bakery

The first morning I woke up as an official Arlington resident, I walked down the street to check out the nearby bakery and cafe, Bayou Bakery. I was hoping for a trendy, fun experience with tasty food, and it definitely fulfilled my expectations. Their beignets are warm and rolled in a generous portion of powdered sugar. And if you want to try a bit of heaven catch a slice of their Quiche du Jour.

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Fontaine Caffe and Creperie

Old Town Alexandria is the most idyllic location for brunching. The brick buildings and waterfront offer a pristine atmosphere to wake up and smell the coffee to. Fontaine’s had a bit of a wait when we arrived on a Sunday morning due to limited space, but their menu was worth it. Although it is a creperie, and I love crepes, I was dying to try their “Breakfast Bruschetta” on the menu. It is composed of brioche bread topped with two fried eggs, pancetta, tomato, and drizzled with a pesto aioli and olive oil. It was amazing to say the least.

Fuego

If indulging in a surplus of Mexican food and margaritas is your idea of a perfect brunch, then you absolutely have to try Fuego in Clarendon. It offers a three course brunch menu for a fixed price with everything from tacos, queso, guacamole, enchiladas, omelettes as well as savory desserts. Their portions are no joke so be ready to take some boxes home. I of course recommend the Mexican Benedict with Chorizo and Chipotle Hollandaise. Their Churros are an absolute must as well.

Del Ray Cafe

Del Ray in Alexandria is situated in a quaint two-story country house and emphasizes an organic farm to table experience. It feels like you’re eating at a neighbors house and enjoying the simple pleasures of life. Myles and I were on our way out of town to our grandmother’s annual Christmas party and stopped here for a little detour. We split the Eggs Benedict on a Croissant and the French Toast topped with Strawberry and Rhubarb Compote. It’s always so hard for us to decide between savory and sweet, so we opted for both.

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Fireworks Pizza

I wasn’t really expecting a pizza-focused restaurant to have the best brunch options, but I was gladly proved wrong by Fireworks Pizza. They have a smaller brunch menu, but I usually like this better so I don’t have to make so many decisions. I went one morning with a friend who was visiting for a weekend from New York. I texted her the brunch menu and when we saw the description of their Eggs Benedict served over Parmesan Polenta and topped with avocado, we knew we had to try it and we suggest you do too.

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Best Burgers in Charlottesville, Va

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By Natalie Anne ❤

Charlottesville is a thriving small city with a lovable historic downtown surrounded by breweries and vineyards. It boasts having a large number of restaurants per capita, and in this case, quality and quantity are very closely tied. Charlottesville is home to some of my favorite restaurants, most of which offer southern-style cuisine paralleled with welcoming atmospheres and an abundance of beer options. Not only is there a huge variety of awesome eateries but almost all of them use fresh ingredients and support local farms. Plus, if you’re not the biggest fan of beef like me, most of them offer poultry and veggie options. Below is a guide featuring some of the best burgers and fries in Charlottesville.

Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint

Featuring diverse flavors of burgers mixed with southern-style food, Jack Brown’s is completely affordable and certainly a unique experience. They have multiple locations across Virginia and the South, so if you’re in the area, try to find one near you. My favorite burger is the Greg Brady which is topped with macaroni & cheese and BBQ chips. Don’t forget to try their secret sauce with a side of their crinkle fries and if you’re looking to relax a little try one or more of their local beers on tap!

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Citizen Burger Bar

Citizen burger offers tasty burgers and ingredients that are come from local farms. If you’re not in the mood for a burger, they also offer grilled cheeses, salads, appetizers, and sides that compliment the meal perfectly whether you are a type who likes fried pickles, beer battered onion rings or truffle fries with aioli. I personally can’t keep my paws off their addicting truffle fries and always make sure to order extra so I can box them up.

World of Beer

World of Beer offers hundreds of beer choices and a nice patio atmosphere on West Main Street. More importantly, their food hits the spot especially while you’re sampling a beer tray or drinking a pint of one of your favorite ales. Don’t miss either the giant traditional-style pretzel or their loaded tater tots with bacon and jalapenos.

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Best Restaurants in Krakow, Poland

by Natalie Anne ❤

Poland was one of those places I never thought I would actually get the opportunity to travel to. My sister, Millie, and I are part Polish, and it has sort of felt like a mystical place that doesn’t exist in our world. After growing up in rural Virginia, Eastern Europe seemed anything but tangible. When imagining Poland, I seemed to always fantasize about medieval pathways and towering Gothic cathedrals. When we magically got the opportunity to venture to Poland, my sister and I found ourselves staying in the historic Jewish quarter of Krakow and we certainly saw our fair share of cathedrals. But what caught us by surprise was just how delicious Polish cuisine is. We expected to experience the pierogis and Kielbasa sausage, but other than that we weren’t too familiar with what exactly classifies Polish food. We blindly found restaurants in every corner of Krakow. And not one of them disappointed us. We have compiled a short list of our favorite restaurants in Krakow to give you just a taste of what culinary delights Krakow has to offer!

1. Restauracja Szara

After finally getting checked in to our hotel after our 9 hour flight and layover in Belgium, we decided to check out Krakow’s city square and managed to find our perfect first Polish restaurant right in the heart of the city. Even though it was 4 o’clock in the afternoon and we weren’t sure if our meal qualified as a late lunch or early dinner, we eventually settled down with a glass of rosé at Restauracja Szara.

We may have been the only table in the restaurant given our unusual time of arrival, but we thoroughly enjoyed our meal with a bread basket followed by a salad with goat cheese and a perfectly tender chicken dish. This food soothed our empty and queasy souls after a long day of travel.

2. La Campana

Our second recommendation goes to La Campana, a whimsical Italian restaurant tucked on a quiet, picturesque street. We were nestled in a downstairs room wine cellar with brick exposed walls and a soothing ambiance. It was about an hour past noon and we were ready for pasta and red wine. La Campana exceeded our expectations with quite possibly the most delicious Pasta Carbonara we have ever eaten accompanied by an atmosphere that felt like Tuscany.

 

3. Restauraja AWIW

Right outside our hotel in the Jewish district was a slew of restaurants with patio seating and colored umbrellas, after a long decision process, we finally settled on a restaurant that appeared to offer classic Polish cuisine, pierogis and all. Restauracja AWIW was the perfect location for a relaxed Polish meal. We chose to be seated outside on the street and were given wool blankets to place over our laps after the sun went down. We shared everything we ordered, including pierogis with cheese, potato, and onion as well as a rich bailey’s ice cream sundae and a slice of the house cheesecake all downed with a few glasses of red wine.

4. Paprycyki

After going on an excursion to see Niedzica Castle, our tour bus dropped us off in the center of Krakow exhausted and hungry. Pizza was the move, so we found a nearby Italian restaurant that filled our every need. Paprycyzki Pizzeria won over our hearts and appetites with its laid back atmosphere and tasty food. I ordered a tasty lasagna made with asparagus, ham, and ricotta while Millie ordered a vegetable and cheese pizza that was both easy on the eyes and freshly flavored.

5. Manzana

By our last night in Krakow, we wanted a taste of home and found a Tex-Mex inspired restaurant, which offered comforting flavors, but with an added twist of sophisticated Eastern European style. We were seated on their peaceful Spanish-style patio in the back with beautiful mosaic tables and ivy covered walls. It was a warmer day outside so we ordered margaritas and a carafe of refreshing lemon and mint water. We indulged in the chips with salsa and guacamole for our appetizer before diving into a black bean quesadilla and fajitas. Before we could order dessert, it started pouring down rain and we moved inside where we finished our meal with mouth-watering chocolate covered cheesecake lollipops.

If you have a sweet tooth like we do, we suggest a few dessert spots as well.

6. Arlekin Cafe

Arlekin Cafe was a colorful escape from the world with a diverse array of delectable desserts and coffee. Once we saw their specialty ice cream sundaes being brought to a table beside us, we couldn’t resist and ordered a one for ourselves along with a few pieces of cake because it was impossible to pick just one thing.

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7. Cupcake Corner Bakery & Cafe

We always like to try cupcakes everywhere we go for a little pick-me-up if we are in particularly grouchy moods. Luckily, the Cupcake Corner in Krakow gave us the sugar rush we needed to cheer us up. We tried the carrot cake, peanut butter cup, brownie obsession and my favorite, the caramel apple. It’s just a few blocks away from Wawel Castle if you feel the need to treat yo self, and we strongly suggest that you do.

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https://www.mapcustomizer.com/map/Best%20Restaurants%20in%20Krakow

Click the link above for a map of these delicious locations.

If you have any other suggestions of delicious food in Krakow, feel free to comment and share!

❤ Natalie

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