1.5.24

My DC Dinner Club: Restaurant Directory

Editor’s Note — this post was originally published in January 2023, but I am re-publishing it in January 2024 as I’ve gone through and added the 11 new restaurants my DC dinner club visited in 2023. Bon Appétit

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Over the years, I have shared where my DC Dinner Club has eaten throughout many of the posts in my ‘DC Dinner Club’ blog series. (FYI – within those posts, I shared DC area restaurants I dined at in addition to the ones we visited for dinner club.) But I have never had a centralized place where I keep a running list of restaurants we visit as a dinner club — which is why I am excited to share this comprehensive restaurant directory of all the delicious spots we’ve dined at as a dinner club.

As our dinner club dines at a new restaurant each month, I will be sure to add it to this post in addition to sharing over on Instagram Stories. I will also add this post to the right sidebar so that it’s easy for you to refer back to it later when you’re looking for a delicious restaurant to try.

For those of you unfamiliar, I wanted to provide a quick recap of my dinner club, which started organically in December 2018. My friends Julie, Taylor, and I went to dinner one month and said “we should do this again next month” and never really stopped. It’s truly been such a blessing in my life — I get to dine on wonderful food across Washington, DC with great company. As a young twenty-something, I always wanted to have a pulse on the dining scene in this city — and now, because of dinner club, coworkers, friends, and family often come to me for restaurant recommendations and I love being able to help them pick the perfect spot!

With dinner club, we take turns picking the restaurant and share everything family style, even if it’s not a tapas-style restaurant. It allows us to try more of the menu and since we typically like the same things, it works really well. The other key to making dinner club work is scheduling — we pick a date for the following month while we are at dinner so it’s on the calendar well in advance. We typically try to dine on Fridays, but during some crazier times of year — like summer or the holidays — we sometimes pivot to a Thursday or Saturday. From time to time, we do a pre-dinner drink nearby or one of us will host a little happy hour.

One note of housekeeping is that given I dined at some of these restaurants nearly four years ago — and before the pandemic — the menu or details may have changed. I highly recommend checking out the restaurant’s website before you dine — they will have more accurate information than I do!

DINNER CLUB DIRECTORY — & you can find full restaurant descriptions + menu recommendations below this list

2018 & 2019 —

The Smith
Officina
Iron Gate
Primrose
Maydan — top spot of the year
Maketto
The Dabney
Himitsu
Red Hen
Seven Reasons
The Pembroke
Filomena

2020 —

Bad Saint
Tail Up Goat
Anju
Millie’s
Lulu’s Wine Garden
Chloe
Rooster & Owl
St. Anselm
Le Diplomate

2021 —

Nostos
Mi Vida
Albi — top spot of the year
Imperfecto
Supra
Makan
Thompson Italian
Jackie
ilili
Centrolina
Cranes

2022 —

Caruso’s Grocery
Little Pearl
Nobu
Dolce Vita
L’ardente — top spot of the year
The Point
Del Mar
Vermillion
Rasika
San Lorenzo
Shilling Canning Company
1789

2023 —

Irregardless
Shoto
Lutèce
Amazonia
Grazie Nonna
Rumi’s Kitchen
dLeña
Villa Yara
Lapis — top spot of the year
Baan Siam
Medina

Read more “My DC Dinner Club: Restaurant Directory”

1.4.24

My Top 10 Moments of 2023

Happy New Year! I am lucky enough to still be off work for the holidays — I took two full weeks off, meaning I have 16 straight days off from Slack notifications, work emails, and Zoom meetings. Unlike the past few years, I decided to stay home for NYE, and it has been so nice to have this extended time at home to truly relax + recharge for what I am sure will be a busy year ahead.

The first week of my vacation was very much dedicated to the holidays — I spent the days leading up to and Christmas with my family, then did a one-night staycation at the St. Regis with my friend Molly, then spent an entire taking down my Christmas decor and deep cleaning my apartment (why does Christmas decor have to have so much glitter?!), and then had a wonderful cozy New Year’s Eve at home, cooking a sun-dried tomato pasta and enjoying a bottle of Veuve Clicquot. The second week of my vacation has been very much dedicated to the things I wanted to do during my time off — I’ve reorganized my closet and kitchen, made a huge stack of clothes and accessories I’ve wanted to sell on Poshmark, gotten back into a consistent workout routine, and have been able to spend a lot of time working on my creative projects, like this blog.

By the end of the year, I was very much ready for this break, but I think overall, I did a much better job creating a sense of work/life balance in my life in 2023 than I have in more recent years. At my day job, it truly was a banner year — my teammates and I were able to work on so many high-visibility projects that I am so proud of. But, I also had a great life outside of work, too — and, as much as I could, really tried to leave the stress of work at work. I stayed on top of my health, took vacations, got outside nearly every day, spent quality time with friends and family, read before bed every night, enjoyed my creative outlets, and worked towards my own personal goals. If 2024 continues down the same path I took in 2023, I will be one happy and lucky gal.

I say this every year, but this blog post is always my favorite to write. You can read the ones from year’s past here — 2022, 20212020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016. Putting this post together was such a good reminder that the days are long and the years are short — it’s amazing how much can happen in a year. So, without further ado, here are my top 10 moments of 2023, in no particular order!  Read more “My Top 10 Moments of 2023”

1.3.24

The 10 Best Books I Read in 2023

I am excited to share the 10 best books I read in 2023 with you today! This is always a fun list for me to put together — and I always love hearing about what other people’s favorite books of the year were, so please drop them in the comments below. Reading has been a lifelong passion of mine — and after having put reading for pleasure on the back burner during undergraduate (2009-2013) and graduate school (2015-2016), I am glad that I rediscovered reading for fun in 2017. I’ve shared my tips for reading more before, but my number one tip is to find the type of books that you love reading, and read more of those. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel bad for reading what you love!

I read so many great books this year — and to make this “best of” list, it was bit of an art and a science. I went through all the books I rated five stars on Goodreads (the science part) and combined that data with the books I couldn’t stop thinking about long after I read them (the art part).

As a reminder, you can read fully summaries of all the books I read this year here, here, here, and here. (A note that moving forward, I am not going to be doing these quarterly recaps of what I’m reading — I’ll still be sharing my book reviews over on Instagram though!)

Before we dive in, I also wanted to share my reading stats for the year. I started keeping track of the number of books I read each year back in 2017, and setting a goal has helped me keep reading a priority in my life. While I used to increase the goal number of books I wanted to read each year, I’ve found a really sweet spot in the ~75 books per year range. If I try to read more than that, reading starts to feel like a chore and I have to sacrifice other things going on it my life in favor of reading — which I just don’t want to do! As much as I also love reading, I also love balance, which is why I am keeping my reading goal for 2024 the same as it was in 2023: 75 books. And, as you’ll note, 2023 was the first year since I started tracking the number books that I did not increase the number of books I read — and that is totally ok with me!

  • 2017 goal — 24, 2017 actual — 30
  • 2018 goal — 52, 2018 actual — 52
  • 2019 goal — 62, 2019 actual — 72
  • 2020 goal — 72, 2020 actual — 82
  • 2021 goal — 75, 2021 actual — 85
  • 2022 goal — 75, 2022 actual — 95
  • 2023 goal — 75, 2023 actual — 90
  • 2024 goal — 752024 actual — TBD!

I set my goal on Goodreads and it helps keep me accountable and tracks my progress for me — it will even tell me if I am behind, on-track, or ahead of meeting my goal. Feel free to follow me over there, too! And, if you’re curious about other books I’ve loved, you can see my past roundups of the best books I read each year here: 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 20182017.

Before we dive in, one housekeeping note — the list below is representative of the best books I read in 2022, but that doesn’t mean they were all published in 2023. Some of these are older reads I just discovered, and some of them were published this year. I know some people separate their “best of” lists to create one for books that were published in prior years and one for books published this year, but I chose not to go that route.

So without further ado, here are the 10 best books I read in 2023: Read more “The 10 Best Books I Read in 2023”