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Ask T+L: D.C. Dining, Layoff Insurance, Baja Coast

Q: What restaurants should I put at the top of my list for a visit to Washington, D.C., next month?—Ed Parker, Apex, N.C.

A: There are several great places to consider. Just off Dupont Circle, chef Eric Ripert (of New York’s Le Bernardin) serves classic comfort food such as pork cassoulet with sherry, fennel, and onion compote at Westend Bistro (dinner for two $120), which sources ingredients from nearby farms. At Wolfgang Puck’s The Source (dinner for two $150), expect contemporary Asian fare—Assam prawns with a mustard-yogurt curry—in the upstairs dining room. And at the 146-seat Central Michel Richard (dinner for two $90), chef Cedric Maupillier prepares savory braised rabbit with herbed spaetzle in an exhibition kitchen.

Q: I have heard that layoff insurance is available to travelers. How can I find a good policy?—Daniel Evans, Fremont, Calif.

A: Before beginning your search, it’s important to understand the difference between layoff insurance and the add-on “cancel for work reasons.” The former refunds prepaid deposits in the event of job loss and is included under the “trip cancellation” clause of most travel-protection policies, while the latter pays out for work emergencies and can increase your premium by up to 40 percent. Check out aggregator sites such as squaremouth.com or insuremytrip.com, where you can enter your age, destination, and trip cost to compare plans offered by companies including Travel Guard, CSA, and MedJet. Another option: Purchase a plan directly through a tour operator or cruise line. Some, like Disney and Norwegian Cruise Lines, offer this type of coverage; just don’t forget to ask whether your refund will be paid in cash or in travel vouchers.

Q: My husband and I want to explore the East Cape of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula this summer. What should we do and where should we stay? —Sandra Moore, Westwood, N.J.

A: The remote East Cape has dramatic cliffs, empty coves, and cactus forests. Pick up a 4 x 4 at Los Cabos International Airport (nationalcar.com; from $65 per day), then head 35 miles north along Highway 1 to Los Barriles, a sleepy artists’ community filled with colorful houses and green palms. Eight miles south you’ll find the stone-walled Rancho Leonero (doubles from $150, including meals), which organizes dives at Cabo Pulmo, Baja’s only living coral reef, populated by whale sharks and manatees. From there, it’s a 40-minute drive south to colonial San José del Cabo; in the afternoon, stroll down historic Obregón Street, where galleries showcase works by local painters such as Ezra Katz and Rafael Chávez.

Ask an Expert: T+L Deputy Editor Laura Begley

Q: “Can you suggest a few inexpensive hotels for an upcoming trip to the Hamptons?” —Randy Michaels, Ann Arbor, Mich.

A: “There aren’t many affordable hotels in the Hamptons, and rates get higher as summer progresses, so it’s best to book as far in advance as possible,” says T+L’s resident East End expert, Laura Begley. “Just two blocks from downtown Bridgehampton, the 10 motel-style rooms at the Enclave Inn (doubles from $149) are outfitted with crisp white linens and flat-screen televisions. Hidden in the dunes beyond the center of Amagansett, the White Sands Resort Hotel (doubles from $175, six-night minimum) isn’t the height of glamour, but it has steps leading right onto a private beach. And in the easternmost town, the Montauk Yacht Club Resort (doubles from $149), fresh from a $6 million overhaul, offers countless activities, with a 232-slip marina, a 2,500-square-foot spa, and four restaurants.”

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