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El Rey, Washington DC

As a Southern California resident, quality street tacos are as easy to come by as the corner Starbucks. On the East Coast, finding a spot to watch the Chargers game AND throw back a few tacos (or five) proved surprisingly easy – thanks Eater DC! Expecting the caliber of El Rey’s Mexican food to match my San Diegan palette however, proved otherwise.

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I may not know what it’s like to ride the subway in other metropolitan cities, but compared to the rides I’ve had in the cities I’ve visited, namely in Los Angeles and NYC, Washington D.C. may just be one of my top mass people movers in the country.

Clean, reliable, smooth. Passengers grasp basic mass transit etiquette, like waiting for all outbound riders to exit the car before filing in, or standing on the right side of the escalator to allow folks to walk up or down the left. Riding the Metro in Los Angeles was a bit of a cultural shock when I learned that the best way to secure a seat was to fight the outgoing traffic like a salmon swimming upstream and to always check your seat before sitting down lest you soil your pants with unidentifiable liquids.

Generally, the cars are well-lit and quiet, unless you’re headed to U Street on a weekend, or post-Nationals game. In LA, expect your eardrums to be blasted by an up-and-coming hip hop artist’s mixed tape, or thrown into a seatmate’s marital issues as she broadcasts her business into her cell phone and for everyone around to hear. Also expect terribly executed and sometimes creepy pick-up lines.

D.C. Metro lines are identified by color; red, blue, orange, silver and the stops come with fun names like Foggy Bottom, Friendship Heights and Shady Grove. The trains leave and arrive when they say they will, and the damp, sometimes moldy, musty, can’t-put-your-finger-on-it-smell is much more tolerable.

What do you think about the country’s mass transit systems? Leave me a comment below.

Photo credit: Seznam.name

Photo credit: Seznam.name

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The sweet smell of doughnuts frying tugged us in one direction, while waist-high barrels of artisanal pickles pulled us in another. The cash stuffed in my wallet held steady as we made our way past the food, bins of colorful produce and pots of fresh herbs and crossed the street into a converted parking lot, now marked “Flea Market.” I had one mission: score a one-of-a-kind accessory to accompany the modest, homogenous collection I had back home.

I circled the potential that overcast, slightly cooler D.C. day. I said no thanks to the beaded and sterling silver options and glazed over the gaudy, the overly ornate and the downright impractical. I began to wonder whether it was time for more coffee when a beautifully organized table of gold chains, pastel stones and geometric shapes came into focus just as we came full circle.

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