In Wonderland

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Madhatter is a remarkably fun little place in Washington DC’s Dupont Circle district. The Alice in Wonderland theme manifests itself in large full-color images from Lewis Carroll’s classic story and a giant top hat above one entrance (see picture at bottom). In keeping with this theme, our waitress brought us all a small cup of the house tea — a gingery concoction that was mildly sweetened and surprisingly delicious (penultimate picture).

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I technically ordered two appetizers: the edamame (immediately above — so delicious!) and the Hatter’s House Pizza (pictured at top). These two appetizers made for a very satisfying meal. The edamame was lightly salted and perfectly delicious, while the pizza was fresh and crispy.

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But I think the best thing about Madhatter was the atmosphere. It was interesting, eclectic, and really pleasant. In fact, as I was taking pictures of the cute dining area, one of the managers happened by and invited me to come upstairs to their private party space (he was showing a couple the space so they might use it for their engagement party) so I could take pictures from the little balcony that looks down into the dining area. All of the staff turned out to be really friendly and helpful, and it made for a really great dining experience.

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Tabard Inn Restaurant

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We The Restaurant at Hotel Tabard Inn is a lovely old joint. It’s full of nooks and crannies, and the bar staff is incredibly sociable and nice. While I was a guest at the hotel itself, I made a habit of swinging by the bar in the evenings on my way up to my room and grabbing a hot cup o’ tea to take with me. They serve Harney & Sons tea, and always gave me my tea with a side of cream, sugar, and lemon. I also ate at The Restaurant for the complimentary breakfast. Oh man, this was the best complimentary breakfast I’ve ever had. The scones were literally fresh out of the oven (I was there really, really early), so they were all warm on the inside, and steamed when I broke them open. They were some of the best scones I’ve ever had. So yummy! On my last day in town, I also spent a few hours in the lounge portion of the restaurant — a cozy room with dark wood walls, an eclectic assortment of old stylish old furniture, and a cozy candlelit vibe.

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Creative & Fresh

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Floriana is located in the Dupont Circle area of Washington, DC. It’s a lovely little establishment with a creative menu, friendly staff, and good food. The restaurant itself is in a converted house, so each room is very intimate. We were in what I presume was once a living room space, with a fireplace, a large bay window, and deep red walls.

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The complimentary bread (pictured at top) is served with a mild and refreshing minty spread. The drinks (pictured above; they made me my favorite non-alcoholic drink: a ginger ale with cranberry and lime juices) were yummy, and the food was even better. I ordered the Gnocci al Pesto (pictured below), which is relatively self-explanatory — although the pesto is a Walnut Pesto that gave the dish a nice nutty flavor. While my picture doesn’t do the dish justice (the lighting was very low and romantic at that point), I will say that it was a very tasty and satisfying meal.

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Casa Deliciosa

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My trip to Casa Blanca was 100% fate. I was in town for a conference and found myself wandering around downtown with a couple of conference buddies during the allotted lunch break. I ordered their cheese enchilada, which was very inexpensive but extremely good. It was simple, classic Mexican fare. The service was fast and friendly, the atmosphere was pleasant, and the food was yummy. A great accidental find!

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Green Food

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I found the vegan restaurant Cafe Green (Dupont Circle area) on the internet, and I’m so glad I did. I went in alone on my first night in town (it was a short 5-minute walk from my hotel). What a great decision! The staff wasn’t just friendly, they were downright conversational and fun. I ordered the Mac & Cheese Platter (pictured above). The noodles were made of quinoa, and the vegan cheese sauce was creamy and delicious. It was served up with the corn bread, steamed kale (doused in lemon juice, which was incredible), and candied yams. It was really, really good. You really have to go here if you’re in town! It was so good I grabbed a mint chocolate cupcake (pictured below) to take back to my hotel room. This was by far the best dining experience I had in Washington, DC. I’ll be back next time I’m in town!

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Rainy Day Fare

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I had never heard of Le Pain Quotidien prior to the day I ended up on their doorstep during a rainstorm. I was wandering around Dupont Circle in Washington, DC, when this happy bit of inclement weather occurred. Luckily, Le Pain Quotidien’s Dupont Circle location was nearby, and what a great place it ended up being for me to dry myself off and have a delicious lunch. The waitstaff was friendly and efficient, and the food was really tasty. I started with the Organic Black Bean Hummus Tartine (pictured below) — one of their signature open-faced sandwiches. In this case, it was served with avocados, roasted red peppers, radishes, black bean hummus spread, and spicy tahini (which I opted not to use). I did use the lemon wedge to spritz some extra tartness onto the tartine, and it was a yummy choice.

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After my main course, I ordered a pot of Earl Grey tea (below), which came in the cutest little tea pot and bowl-like cup ever. To complement my tea, I ordered a tart sampler (pictured at top) consisting of a chocolate tart, blueberry tart, pistacio tart, and (my personal favorite) a lemon tart. It was a delicious experience, and even though I’m not usually a fan of large chains (and Le Pain Quotidien is a huge worldwide chain!) this one is vegan-friendly, healthy, and fun. I’d recommend it to anyone, especially if you’re caught in the rain while wandering around Dupont Circle!

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