Category: Washington

Just in Time for Thanksgiving: Reveal Your Inner Chef with Gourmet Gifts!

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By , November 17, 2015 1:04 pm

This is the time of year that everyone (not just foodies) starts thinking a little more about delicious food, favorite recipes, and unique twists on tradition.  Turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce might be the first foods that come to mind for Thanksgiving, but this is also a fun time to experiment in the kitchen with festive flavors and exotic spices.

Whether you’ve been looking to beef up your culinary skills for a while now or have an aspiring chef in your life, we can set you up with some exciting gourmet experiences that will change the way you look at food. Here are a few of our favorite cooking experiences…just in time for Thanksgiving!

Introduction to Baking

Holiday season is the prime time to get into baking, with so many parties and events just around the corner. Our Introduction to Baking Class is in the DC area and teaches students the basics of creaming butter and sugar, knowing when a cake is ready, and design techniques. The class lasts about two hours and is great for beginners!

Photo credit: Sugar Daze Cupcakes via Flickr

Photo credit: Sugar Daze Cupcakes via Flickr

Sushi Making Lessons

Do you love sushi but have always been too intimidated to try making it yourself? Our Chicago-based Sushi Making Lessons will teach you how to handle seafood, wrap sushi rice in nori, slice fish, and shape nigiri and maki by hand. This is a fun hands-on learning experience that lasts about three hours and will demystify one of your favorite foods.

Indian Cooking Class

Another delicious type of ethnic food that stumps many first-time chefs is Indian cuisine. Traditional Indian food involves pretty of spices and prep time, but expert Ayesha D’Mello will walk you through the basics in this Miami-based Indian Cooking Class. The recipes you’ll learn are easy and healthy, and classes run on Saturdays and Sundays for about three hours.

Photo credit: nAok0 via Flickr

Photo credit: nAok0 via Flickr

World Cuisine Cooking Class

If you can’t decide which type of cuisine to cook, why not sign up for a World Cuisine Cooking Class and try a bit of everything? This DC-area class features traditional foods from places like Mexico, Morocco, France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Vietnam. These 2.5-hour classes are split into demonstration and participation sections and end with enjoying a wonderful meal with wine.

Chocolate Making Class

Chocolate is pretty much impossible to resist any time of year, but especially when holiday season kicks in and sweet treats are all around us. Our New York Chocolate Making Class is designed for everyone who loves chocolate and wants to learn more about it. Students will learn how to make truffles, a ganache, and other treats with milk chocolate and dark chocolate. Techniques like molding, dripping, drizzling, and coating, as well as skills practiced by top chocolatiers, are also covered. This particular class is held in the Midtown West neighborhood and lasts about four hours on Saturdays.

Take a moment to browse our list of gourmet experiences in your city to find a fun and informative cooking class near you this holiday season!

Plan an Awesome Vacation with These Pro Tips

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By , November 3, 2015 11:04 am

Are you a “Type A” travel planner that organizes every last detail of your vacations and leaves nothing up to chance? Or are you more of a “Type B” traveler who prefers to “wing it” and leave plenty of downtime for spontaneity?

Aside from living with your friends and family members, traveling together is one of the quickest ways to get to know the people around you…for better or for worse. Within just a short amount of time, it’s easy to tell how “travel compatible” you and your companions are, from sleeping habits to sightseeing styles and food preferences.

But regardless of your travel personality and goals, there are a few things you can do to set your trip up for success. Keep these pro tips in mind to plan a better vacation for your next trip.

Strategically Use Technology

Vacation is a wonderful time to temporarily disconnect from technology and un-glue your eyes from the screens that you look at every day. However, smartphones are incredibly useful to look up directions, read reviews to decide on a restaurant, and make reservations on-the-go. Try to focus your device usage on essential travel planning only so you can live in the moment and be observant of your new surroundings. Forbes and Huffington Post have published helpful lists of websites and apps recommended for travel planning.

Photo credit: Mr.TinDC via Flickr

Photo credit: Mr.TinDC via Flickr

Agree on Key Points of Interest

Chances are that there are a few key sightseeing points that everyone in your travel group can agree on. Over breakfast each morning, identify a travel goal or two for the day and plan your day around those sites. Depending on your group size and how safe your destination is, you may be able to split up between or after must-do attractions. The important thing is to be realistic about how much you can see and do in one day and not stress out about it…it’s vacation after all!

Scope Out Discounts

Looking for discounts while traveling can be time consuming, but it makes a huge difference if you’re on a limited budget. You can often find student discounts and military discounts online before your trip, and you can use mobile apps to find deals between activities along the way. Consider checking out deals sites, like Groupon, while out and about to find discounts on things to do at your destination. You can also ask your hotel concierge for coupons or deal recommendations nearby.

Photo credit: Ben Seese via Flickr

Photo credit: Ben Seese via Flickr

Leave Time for Randomness

Even if you’re a hardcore “Type A” traveler, it’s important to schedule in some downtime and set some time aside for randomness along the way. Some of the most memorable experiences that come out of travel are the ones that aren’t planned. These are the times to open yourself up to casual conversations with locals, other travelers, and friendly staff that can help you discover new things.

Look for Local Experiences

Sure, you can float from one organized tour group to the next and check every item off the sightseeing list in a popular travel guide, but where’s the uniqueness and authenticity in that? Some of the best travel experiences are the ones that locals who actually live in the area would do themselves on any given day. Check out our list of experiences by city for activity inspiration, and pick up local newspapers to learn about events going on nearby.

What’s your best vacation planning secret? Happy travels!

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