minibar and the spark of a major gastronomic journey

When I lived in Alexandria, Virginia from June 2013 until August 2016, I took advantage of every opportunity to explore the culinary landscape across the national capital region. I began in Old Town, conveniently located less than two miles from my apartment. On the weekends, I rode the metro train into Washington, DC to dine at the multitude of restaurants there, both vanguards and newcomers alike. I Uber-ed endlessly around the political heart of the nation, eating solo at first and later with an eclectic mix of friends and strangers. I was constrained neither by time nor by distance. I indulged in all types of food buoyed by unbridled enthusiasm and an unapologetic appetite. Without realizing it at the time, I was also falling in love with food, not just the diversity and availability of cuisines but by the idea of what food could be, what it could represent, and also its ability to shape and evolve my perspective on life. Food quickly became both metaphor and philosophy.

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A Lucid Dream Named Somni

When speaking to foodies knowledgeable about dining in Los Angeles, they are likely to point you toward the city’s tremendous offerings of ethnic cuisines. A quick Google search will validate their assured opinions. You have popular neighborhoods that begin with either “Thai”, “China”, or “Korea”, appended with the word “town” at the end. And you also have Little Armenia, Little Ethiopia, and Little Tokyo—each is a microcosm of their international counterpart. From north to south and east to west, some of the best taco trucks anywhere are scattered throughout the city, both famous establishments and hard-to-locate ones parked at obscure street corners. Ethnic foods certainly have a powerful foothold here as evidenced by its ubiquity and its seemingly 24/7 availability.

There is, however, another side to LA’s culinary scene: fine dining.

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