Temperatures this August in Washington, DC have reached record highs.
Anyone who’s anyone has decamped to Martha’s Vineyard.
That means restaurateurs are trying to fill their tables by offering fixed price menu specials: $22 for lunch, and $35 for dinner.
Over 260 restaurants in DC, Maryland, and Virginia are participating in DC Restaurant Week, which runs from August 15 – 21, 2016. It’s a good opportunity to try some of the region’s highly acclaimed (and expensive) restaurants. Several that are tempting me include:
Del Campo — Latin American in Penn Quarter
Dino’s Grotto — Italian in Shaw
Jaleo — Spanish in Penn Quarter
Oyamel — Mexican in Penn Quarter
Rasika — Indian in Penn Quarter
Zaytinya — Mediterranean in Penn Quarter
Restaurant Week at Ford’s Fish Shack
We snagged a great deal at a fabulous seafood restaurant in Loudoun County: Ford’s Fish Shack.
You can search for nearby restaurants, read reviews, and make a reservation online. The website is owned by TripAdvisor.
You can also find restaurants offering twenty to fifty percent off menu prices with a prior reservation via the La Fourchette app.
On our recent trip to Paris, I opened the app to search for nearby restaurants.
We were staying at the Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan hotel in the 16th arrondissement — on points, of course.
20 Percent Off Radisson Blu Metropolitan Restaurant
The Radisson Blu Metropolitan hotel is in an upscale residential district near the Trocadero Gardens. The hotel has modern decor, an indoor swimming pool and steam room, a mid-sized restaurant, and a head on view of the Eiffel Tower.
The first restaurant to pop up when I opened the La Fourchette app was the hotel restaurant at Le Metropolitan.
The offer was for a 20 percent discount off of menu prices if you made a reservation on the app.
Other restaurants had offers of 30 percent or 50 percent off, though many of these offers excluded the set price “menu du jour.”
The app lists tens of thousands of restaurants in France and elsewhere in Europe; not all restaurants offer discounts.
In Paris, I noticed that many of the places with special offers were ethnic restaurants serving sushi, couscous, kebobs, or other specialities.
Click here to get an idea of other restaurants that are offering discounted meals in Paris.
Earn Loyalty Points with La Fourchette
You can earn loyalty points for each reservation you make with La Fourchette. They call the points “Yums.” You can cash in your “Yums” in for discounts at participating restaurants.
If you have Club Carlson points to burn and you need to burn them fast — consider the Radisson Suite Hotel Oceanfront in Melbourne Beach, Florida.
Melbourne Beach — where’s that?
That’s the question I was asked repeatedly whenever I mentioned our Spring Break trip to Florida.
Melbourne Beach is on a barrier island about half an hour south of Cape Canaveral. This area along the eastern seaboard in Florida is known as the “Space Coast.” Melbourne Beach is a low key beach town. There’s no boardwalk or amusements — just a broad sandy beach, the wind, the waves, and the Atlantic Ocean.
Melbourne Beach is a quiet residential area with four high rise hotels, some condos and and garden apartments, and single family homes. The beach is very clean and not crowded at all. Day visitors will find free beach parking at a municipal park next door to the Radisson.
Burn Your Club Carlson Points at the Radisson Suite Oceanfront in Melbourne, Florida
The Radisson Suite Hotel Oceanfront is a gem of a property, and is especially well suited to families traveling with kids. It was built in 1984 as condos, but was immediately purchased by Radisson for use as a hotel.
The view from my balcony at the Radisson Suites Hotel Oceanfront
We used 44,000 Club Carlson points to stay for two nights at this magnificent property where every room is a suite and has a balcony overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Through the end of May 2015, holders of the Club Carlson credit card can get a second night free when redeeming award nights.
As a Club Carlson Gold member (due to having the credit card), I landed a top floor suite. The welcome gift was a bowl full of fruit and pastries.
The “rooms” are actually more like one bedroom apartments. Both the bedroom and large living room have floor to ceiling windows overlooking the ocean, and all the rooms have an oceanfront balcony. The decor is modern. Each room has a king sized sleep number bed in the bedroom, and a queen-sized sofa bed in the living room. I especially loved that the floors were travertine tile, which is so much cleaner than carpet.
I didn’t take any pictures of our suite because the panoramic photos on the hotel website are so drop dead gorgeous. But I can tell you this: every single room in this hotel is has a full oceanfront view. Every room is a large suite — modern, clean, and comfortable.
There is a pool, hot tub, sundeck, and poolside bar. Two beach chairs and an umbrella rent for $20 a day, but beach toys are free to borrow. My only concern: no lifeguard on the beach.
If you make your reservations before the end of May 2015, you can have a two-night stay in a gorgeous oceanfront all-suites hotel for just 44,000 points. Award room availability is wide open through December 2016.
There is a shopping center with a Walmart and a supermarket across the street from the hotel. The Walmart features a large selection of beach items at the front of the store. There’s also a pizza place, a Thai restaurant, and a Friendly’s.
Did I mention that there are laundry machines at the Radisson? That is a necessity for our family when traveling with kids.
If you love seafood you can’t do better than Shells of Melbourne, which features about a dozen different kinds of fresh fish and seafood daily. Shells of Melbourne is a family style restaurant located inland, near the Melbourne Mall.
Another place we tried was Squid Lips, located just over the bridge on the mainland. It’s a rambling bayside bar and restaurant, with a view of the fishing pier. The virgin coladas are highly recommended!
Earn Frequent Flyer Miles at Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company
To be perfectly frank, I don’t know if this is the best bagel shop in New York or not.
The bagels are very fresh and very good, and the place earns four stars on Yelp.
But the key thing is that this shop participates in the Rewards Dining program.
I favor the United Mileage Plus Dining program, but most of the major airlines run a similar rewards program with the opportunity to earn their frequent flyer miles at the same list of restaurants.
If you make ten purchases at participating restaurants in a calendar year, you can earn 5 times United Mileage Plus miles every subsequent time you dine at a participating restaurant. (You earn 3x miles for the first ten purchases.) Couple that with a rewards earning credit card to increase your savings.
Thus, if you stop in for bagels or coffee once in a while, you will be on the fast track to earning five times miles at hundreds of participating restaurants.
Do you earn frequent flyer miles through the Rewards Dining program? Have you find any gems that you would like to share?
Chef Jose Andres is Washington DC’s best known celebrity chef. He has several restaurants in the area that serve genuine Spanish food, as well as two top restaurants in Las Vegas.
Last Sunday, we enjoyed tapas at the Bethesda branch of Jaleo. It’s a fun place with indoor/outdoor seating and tables made of foos ball games.
The food was outstanding, though pricey!
We wanted to order the paella, but a minimum of six diners were required to do so.
At the end of the evening, they handed us a card advertising their Paella and Sangria Mondays — with unlimited paella, an individual salad and flan for $25 per person. The Bethesda restaurant also offers unlimited Sangria for $15 per person.
This bayside restaurant serves up bushels of crabs and other seafood specials. It’s not fancy, just a genuine crab shack by the Chesapeake Bay.
Price’s Seafood restaurant is a great midway stop if your driving between New York and Washington.
LivingSocial Deal on Price’s Seafood
LivingSocial is running a fabulous deal where you can get a voucher for $40 worth of seafood for $20. (Please note that the terms of the offer exclude Fridays and Saturdays.)
But you can do better than that!
If you collect United Mileage Plus points, you can get 6x points by going to LivingSocial via the United Shopping Portal, and an additional 15 percent off with coupon code UNITED15.
You must act quickly because this offer expires today, June 16, 2014! You’ll get the voucher for $17, plus earn 102 Mileage Plus points in the bargain!
100 points isn’t worth much, but can be useful if you need a transaction on your account to keep your miles from expiring.
Alternately, if you go through the cash back shopping portal at FatWallet, you can get 10 percent cash back. I have had very good experience with FatWallet. They track all your purchases and the cash back posts fairly promptly. With this route, you’ll get $2.00 cash back on your purchase.