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astrid

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About astrid

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    Northern Virginia

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  1. It still isn't well labeled. One in our party alleged that he wandered around Taco Bamba for 15 minutes trying to find the place.
  2. We just made a visit. Overall the food was really good, the service was pleasant but inconsistent and scatterbrained (we had to ask 3 different waiters over a timespan of about 30 minutes to bring a dessert menu, the first two promising to do so and then nothing). They need to notify Google Maps that they exist so people can find them.
  3. I don't like the Ling Ling samplers that I have tried. They are chicken and really heavy on celery flavoring, and the filling is minced so finely that it's a weird spongy mass. The Bibigo bulgogi dumplings from the Gaithersburg Costco are pretty good (the vegetarian Bibigo dumplings are bland as heck). The Chinese brands might be iffier on ingredients, but most actually taste like Chinese dumplings. The Ling Ling samplers taste terrible to me.
  4. astrid

    Dining in Paris

    See Parisbymouth. Not sure how the restrictions are affecting Airbnb options but when we were there 3 years ago, it was 1/4 of the cost of remotely comparable hotels.
  5. And the tire guys will fill nitrogen for your tires for free! I don't have much exposure to Sam's or BJ's, but my impression is that Costco tend to stock more upscale brands and the Kirkland branded goods tend to be consistently of excellent quality and value. I have shopping there for so long that I am not even sure if they have things that suit me or I adapted to prefer their stuff. In any case, I like to bring snacks for coworkers and they tell me that they can't find what I bring in from a normal grocery store. Home delivery isn't available yet in my area so I haven't tried, but my browse through suggest that it's a really limited selection. Plus I see the random .97 discontinued discounted items when I am in the stores. We are a household of 2 adults and Costco supplies probably 85 percent of our food. We get an embarrassing amount of cash back because of my spending habits on food and non food items.
  6. The raspberries I have are frozen. You can thaw for 30 minutes or eat straight from freezer. My wardrobe is now mostly Costco clothing. They have some really comfortable clothing at good prices, and the no hassle return policy coinciding with normal shopping is great. The store buying experience is hit and miss, but the online experience is very easy and they often run $3 off per piece promotions as they are currently doing. I found Costco very useful for outfitting our house. The online site has lots of furniture and storage and appliance options, with periodic discounts. I probably saved hundreds of dollars on LED bulbs alone. Costco travel can offer very competitive prices for cruises and car rentals. The only caution I have is, avoid the Pentagon City location on weekends. It's completely bonkers.
  7. astrid

    Vienna

    Thanks for the recs! Will definitely look into them! I am really looking forward to the trip, we haven't had any vacation travel this year except for a weekend in Philly. I could definitely use a break from work.
  8. astrid

    Vienna

    Good to know! Though I can only take so many Madonna and Child paintings in a given week...
  9. astrid

    Vienna

    I usually Google for best of lists for the city, then verify against TripAdvisor and menu. That's why I was a little surprised by Oswald & Kalb, as it has a pretty modest internet profile. It does sound like a great find that I am looking forward to checking out. I strongly distrust Michelin as an authority, since Michelin 3 starred Akelarre was my worst restaurant meal of 2015 (though I also had one of the best meals of my life at 3 starred restaurant Martin Berasategui on the same trip). We graduated from literal car camping (sleeping in rental cars in campgrounds) to Airbnb just a few years ago. So not quite 5 star ready yet. Of the mainstream travel guides, I like Fodor for its consistency. Moon is variable by author but they have a few regional experts. Blue Guide can be really good for Europe and antiquities. TripAdvisor is getting more sells-y and less useful, but still massively useful.
  10. astrid

    Vienna

    Where did you look to research central Europe?
  11. astrid

    Pomegranates

    In DC, they freeze back to the ground every few years, and don't have the long hot sunny fall to properly ripen fruits. I did get a few on my community garden trees on their third year. Climate change in the short run means weaker jet stream and more polar vortices wandering down to mid latitudes, definitely not supportive of zone pushing fruit trees.
  12. astrid

    Cruises

    Thanks for the info! I will definitely look into Oswald & Kalb´╗┐. We are traveling with Viking. Uniworld has basically the same itinerary but for 2x the price. Plus Viking had a promo of $400 per person airfare (plus $100 to adjust dates and airports). It worked out to be about the same cost as ocean view on a mass market Adriatic cruise. Viking doesn't include tip, has less included excursions, and a limited free bar, but the cost savings are hard to beat. Plus Airbnb in our time frame for Prague and Vienna are around $50 a night for well rated, centrally located studios. So it seemed like a good time to take the plunge.
  13. astrid

    Cruises

    We just booked a fall Danube River cruise (Budapest to Nuremberg) and are adding on a few extra days in both ends for Prague, Munich, and Vienna. Anyone with any can't miss recs for them? (Now I must propitiate to the rain gods, lest the Danube stay at near record low water levels and turn the trip into a glorified coach tour).
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