It has become my favorite question to ask. After living in Washington for nearly 14 years, I am leaving the city I have grown to love dearly. And focusing on the restaurants I’ll miss is far more palatable than thinking about the friends I will be saying goodbye to.
When I get nervous about uprooting an established freelance career for a new city, I e-mail an editor and ask him to lunch. Somewhere new? Where have you been itching to go?
When I get verklempt about leaving friends, I dash off a text: People’s ramen for dinner tonight?
Inevitably, the conversation turns to food, and, I start to grill my dining companion: What are your favorite restaurants? What dishes would you have to eat one last time? Where should I eat before I go?
Then, when I’m avoiding cleaning off bookshelves or the other necessary-but-unexciting chores required by moving, I contemplate my list. Because my fiance and I are moving to Switzerland and I suspect I will be inundated with rich, creamy, French- and Italian-style dishes, my list is heavy on spicy, international fare.
Yes, I’ve met friends at Graffiato because I wanted the pepperoni sauce one more time. And we celebrated my birthday at Fiola (mmmm, burrata and smoked gnocchi). But overall my list includes spots such as Sushi Taro, Little Serow, Rasika, brunch at The Source, Sichuan Pavilion and Honey Pig.
I am sure I’m missing some of the area’s gems and not just spots that specialize in spicy, Sriracha-laced fare. So, where would you eat if you were leaving the Washington area for a long stretch? Think of these as your last meals.
Kelly DiNardo’s work has appeared in USA Today, The Washington Post, Glamour, Redbook and others. Her first book, “Gilded Lili: Lili St. Cyr and the Striptease Mystique,” was released in 2007.