Eat Like a Tourist, Plan Like a Local

Posted on Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017

As a self-proclaimed foodie, one of the greatest joys of being in our nation’s capital (or any metropolitan city larger than College Station) is the wide assortment of delicious, ethnic, and unique cuisine. Although it is tempting to buy your favorites at the grocery store and stay in, it is important for any resident of D.C. to branch out and discover all the city has to offer.  

Below are some of my big take-aways on maximizing your foodie experience:
  1. Open-Table and the Endless Crowds
When attempting to dine at a popular restaurant in D.C. (e.g. Founding Farmers, Old Ebbitt), it is important to keep in mind that every tourist visiting the city has also read online how great this restaurant is and will likely be attempting to eat there as well. To beat this, use Open Table or another reservations app to plan ahead and make sure you will have a table available.
  1. Breakfast at 11, Lunch at 3
The best trick for being in an expensive city (or college, really) is to plan out your snacks and eat a large meal in the middle of the day. One weekend, my roommates and I ate a hearty "lunner" (lunch/dinner) at 3 pm. This is a great trick for both your stomach and wallet!
  1. Be Adventurous with the Menu
If you’re trying something new (that you typically don’t find in Texas) such as Uyghur, Ethiopian, or Peruvian, be sure to ask what is best rather than simply finding something that looks familiar! The most American thing at an Indian restaurant is likely not the best dish!
  1. UberEats
Another great thing about food in this city is access! It is fun to go out and eat with your roommates, but for a night in, don’t be afraid to try UberEats. They really will deliver right to your door! The best part is first time users will get $10 off their order! 
  1. Remember, you can always go back!
The best part about going to great touristy food trucks, restaurants, and food stands while living in D.C. is knowing that I can return and try something different. While living here, it is great to try the local stuff, and then return if it was great! As the summer continues, I hope to try new places, and develop a list of favorites. Any suggestions are welcome! Thanks and Gig’em.

Rachel Keathley
U.S. Dept. of Commerce - International Trade Administration
Washington, D.C. | summer 2017