I met Alejandra while shooting my very first My City with Nikki. Managing Editor of AARP’s blog and a social media advisor by day and blogger by night on her site Frijolita. Not big on the word foodie, Alejandra is definitely a connoisseur of food considering that is the main topic she writes about on her blog and for other websites. She knows all of the great places around town, and she took me to a few places that I may have to make regular stops at now.
Alejandra: I spend most of my week in Dupont Circle and Chinatown/Penn Quarter, which are incredibly vibrant, exciting parts of DC. But come the weekend, I’m usually craving something a little quieter and low key. Woodley Park is a completely underrated neighborhood in DC, and it embodies that low key, casual vibe I need sometimes.
Next door to Allen Woods is Manhattan Market, just your ordinary neighborhood market, but on accident Alejandra discovered a delicious frozen ciabatta bread. She bought me a loaf to try, and she was right. It is delicious.
Making a beeline for coffee, we headed over to Open City. A place I’ve been wanting to try but just haven’t been into yet. On a drizzly Friday morning the place was packed.
My latte and guava pastry hit the spot.
Bright from the summer rain, Mitchell Park in Kalorama is in Alejandra’s neighborhood.
Alejandra: The Spanish Steps and Mitchell Park, located just a couple blocks from my apartment, are my go to spots when I need some fresh air. In the summer, Mitchell Park is the perfect spot to sun yourself and read a book. At dusk, The Spanish Steps are a gorgeous place to bring a date or girlfriend for a post-dinner chat or linger with a cup of coffee on cool evenings. My daily metro commute ends and starts in Dupont Circle so my evening and work-from-home Friday routines frequently involve these spots.
But there was one move in particular that I was sore from for days.
We worked up a good appetite after pilates and headed down to sweetgreen for lunch.
Also a wiz in the kitchen, Alejandra also wanted to make a stop in the cookbook section at Kramer Books.
Alejandra: I haven’t met a DCer who doesn’t love a bookstore yet! Kramer Books in Dupont Circle is my personal favorite for cookbooks, magazines, fiction and children’s books. (My mom is a preschool teacher, so I send her new books to read to the kids!) The café, Afterwords, located at the back of the store, makes a mean piece of cheesecake and a killer brunch – but you’ll likely find me at the bar sipping on a cocktail, reading my latest purchase.
What are some of your other favorite places to eat and visit in DC and why or what do you HAVE to get when you go to them?
1905 Restaurant – Braised Colorado Lamb Sandwich
Cashion’s Eat Place – Brad Parker’s Goat
Cork – Avocado Toasts
Fiola – Pappardelle or Caccio & Peppe
Zorbas Café – Aegean Salad with Chicken
In 2008, a friend and coworker at the time was telling me about this Twitter thing. She was playing around with it and suggested I give it a whirl while I had some down time at work. Thinking I’d go anonymous on this newfangled platform, I chose “frijolita” as my screen name. Four years later, my online pseudonym is more well-known than my blog name or even my own name! Frijolita has so much become my brand that when people meet me at parties and events, or even see me on the street, they’ll call me Frijolita! It’s sweet, but I still prefer Alejandra. Ha!
What have you learned from the blog?
I think the most important thing I’ve learned from blogging is that even I have a limit. I say yes to just about everything, but often forget in the midst of fun, friends, trying new things or learning something new that I need time to recharge at home. I’m an extrovert with introverted tendencies at times, so I need to build in restorative quiet time. I work on building that time into my schedule and in doing so feel much less guilty about it. Taking care of yourself isn’t an indulgence, it’s a necessity!
Have any opportunities come from Frijolita that otherwise may not have?
Oh goodness! I owe a lot to my blog, to be honest. Almost three years ago I started my blog as a New Year’s resolution and in that time I’ve met the most amazing people, friends have become like family, I write for Food Network/City Eats, I write and edit for Borderstan.com, I’ve met some of the most talented chefs and eaten some of the most beautiful food. I am beyond appreciative for all of it, but I am most grateful for the people I’ve met along the way.
Any great stories from your DC/food adventures?
I’m terrible at celebrity spotting so while I’d like to say I’ve seen or dined with someone famous, I think the most famous person I’ve seen out is Eric Holder. Oh lordy, that’s very DC of me.
We know you are a foodie, what else are you involved in?
I’m a reader and I love working out. I don’t do either of those things enough, especially considering how essential they are to making me feel like a more balanced, happy person!
You are the Managing Editor of AARP’s blog and a social media advisor during the week, what are your career goals?
I’ve always wanted to be the Chief Communication Officer of a large company, but lately I’m starting to think maybe I want to work in media. Maybe I’ll do both! I have 30+ years of working left to dabble around in things that interest me!
Have to ask, do you have a favorite meal?
Last Winter, La Strada, in the Del Ray neighborhood in Virginia, had this decadent rabbit ragu served over creamy polenta. I’ve never forgotten it, and am looking forward to attempting to recreate it!