10 Places I’m Loving Right Now

I have just completed what I would consider a marathon summer of travel (64 days living out of a suitcase, although thankfully some of it was working from my beloved mountain house). This being Labor Day weekend, I’m going to officially call the summer travel season done. In looking back at where I’ve been between Memorial Day and today, allow me to share (in no particular order) some of my favorite places, should you find yourself on the road, as well:

  1. Spinasse (Seattle, WA): Just about the most creative and comforting pasta I’ve ever eaten. Tiny, jewel of a place. Make sure you take a friend, order too many plates, and share everything.
  2. Lotte Hotel (Seoul, Korea): Get a room on the club floor of the new wing. Hot breakfast (American and Korean), complimentary cocktail hour and heated toilet seats. What more could you want?
  3. Larkburger (Edwards, CO): I love their little lark burgers and their truffle, parmesan fries. I could eat there every single day, if I wasn’t concerned about fitting into my clothes. And it’s all organic and eco-friendly.
  4. Arches National Park (Moab, UT): Thanks to Susan, I spent a lovely birthday weekend being pampered and eating copious amounts of Mexican food. And the hike to Delicate Arch was a true highlight.
  5. Tenpenh (Washington, DC): We had a fantastic meal here one night after a film screening at our offices. I probably didn’t need to know it was so close. Don’t miss the soft shell crab if they have it on the menu.
  6. Vault Martini Bar (Portland, OR): It’s possible I’m too old for this place, but I have no intention of skipping it on subsequent trips out west. Located in the Pearl District, they serve the most amazing cocktails. Order off the 7 Deadly Sins section of the menu–I get Gluttony (natch).
  7. Flo’s Clam Shack (Middletown, RI): Ok, so the food is good, but not great, and the beer selection leaves me wanting. But you don’t come here for the best meal of your life. You come to eat some fried stuff and take in the amazing view. A very fun night (if you can get a table).
  8. The Monaco Hotel (Alexandria, VA): A singular night in this hotel literally changed my life forever. No lie. So of course, I love this place. But I’d still like it, even if it didn’t have sentimental meaning to me. Sometimes, hanging in Old Town is a lovely change of pace when in the metro area. Tons of good food up and down King St., too. The dog friendly atmosphere is a bonus.
  9. Insadong (Seoul, Korea): After we’d finished teaching for the week, I spent a magical afternoon in this Seoul neighborhood. One of the best meals I’ve ever eaten (and if I knew the name of the restaurant I would have posted it) and a gorgeous old, traditional tea shop (with tiny birds flying around and koi in the bathroom) made this the highlight of the trip. It’s also a great place to shop, since you can find many of the traditional crafts in numerous shops throughout the area.
  10. Greenhouse Tavern (Cleveland, OH): I know this is located in my hometown, but since I spend more time in DC than CLE these days, a little shout out to a local favorite. If you’re ever craving raw beef, this is your joint–they serve a steak tartar with rosemary fries that’s amazing. And the atmosphere is incredible. Located on Cleveland’s hipster E. 4th St., it has some of the best people watching ever. I’m not sure they even let you work at this place without a full complement of tattoos. Awesome. I’m heading there tonight.

I’m actually off to NYC this weekend with my two favorite girls, but I’ll be back Tuesday. I’m going to enjoy a little down time before I formally embark on the Fall travel madness.
Hope you have a great long weekend, wherever you’ll be!

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