Summer is coming.
And hopefully, it will not be as morbid or bloody as a Game of Thrones winter! Fall is actually my favorite season, but there is something about summertime that is always so magical. It is PRIME beach season. It becomes socially acceptable to eat ice cream all the time. The fact that I can wear shorts outside and not be judged that it is not “shorts weather”.
Personal choice that shorts weather is all the time weather.
The one part of summer that I don’t love, ESPECIALLY living in a city like Washington, is the tourists. OY VEY! It is not for the reasons you probably think it is. Except it does drive me nuts when I am trying to walk home and a hoard of people are blocking the sidewalk. I’m trying to get HOME people!
Mostly because I want to snuggle in my jammies
No, what makes me sad when I see tourists lined up at chain restaurants. Now, I love Applebee’s as much as the next person, so this is not a dig . But I think to really fall in love with any city, you need to have exposure to parts of its culture. Like any city, DC has SO many different and delicious places to try. One of the number one questions I get asked are places to eat and drink in DC. So, like any friendly neighbor, I am here with my recs so that you can have a KILLER holiday!
Favorite Coffeeshop (DC): Compass Coffee
Compass Coffee was the first coffee shop I visited when I moved to DC. When they actually asked me if I had an “h” at the end of my name, I could tell it was going to be a winner! They have five locations and they all have wifi. My favorite shop of theirs is the Chinatown location, mostly because there is always space to get work done. I adore their cappuccinos and their chai lattes. If you’re going to get something at this coffee shop, I highly recommend trying their Nitro cold brew. I swear it is unlike anything you have had before. The top actually foams (much like a beer would) and it is creamy without any sort of milk, dairy or non-dairy.
Compass Coffee (Chinatown), 650 F St NW, Washington, DC
Favorite Coffeeshop (VA): Commonwealth Joe
If I am feeling more adventurous (ie taking the Metro somewhere to get coffee), then Commonwealth Joe is your place! Located by the Pentagon in Virginia, this coffeeshop takes cold brew SERIOUSLY They have 3-4 types on tap at all times and will let you sample each to find your perfect fit. If you’re not so much of a coffee person, I HIGHLY recommend their cascara soda. Made with the coffee berry (bet you didn’t think coffee came from a berry!) this soda is so refreshing on a hot day.
Commonwealth Joe, 520 12th St S, Arlington, VA
TOAST! (and Other Goodies): Slipstream
It is no surprise that toast has a special place in my heart. Slipstream makes all of my toast expectations a reality. The interior is snazzy, modern, and is a great place to study on the weekdays. Their French Toast for weekend brunch reminds me of a muffin. It is so cinnamon-y and sugar-y, I can’t stop thinking about it. If you’re more of a savory person, you cannot go wrong with the savory rice breakfast bowl. The preserved lemon and poached egg freaking makes it!
Slipstream, 1333 14th Street NW, Washington DC
Favorite Study Spot: Emissary
I have to admit. It has been difficult finding a go to place that I can sit and do work in. I LOVE the vibe of this place. The exposed brick and cavernous rooms make this place so cosy on a cold day. Their matcha and espresso are unreal. I am absolutely obsessed. Not only that, but if you want to stay a while, they have some snacks that I always end up ordering. That white bean hummus just always is calling out to me. Stay a little while, and try some of their delicious cocktails while you are at it!
Emissary, 2032 P Street NW, Washington, DC
Simple, Yet Pretty Perfect: Farmbird
If you are looking for a simple meal that truly caters to every type of diet, look no further than Farmbird. The menu at Farmbird is pretty simple, your main of either chicken or tofu and one to two sides. But simple does not mean less flavorful at ALL. My friends all say that the chicken, humanely raised on local farms without any hormones, is super juicy and, as the vegetarian of the group, I am happy they have a tofu option as well. I normally get the fresno sauce with cauliflower rice (at NO additional charge!) with bok choy. SO DANG GOOD
Farmbird, 625A H St NE, Washington, DC
Feed Your Inner Manhattanite: Neopol Savory Smokery
Located inside of Union Market, this place has the BEST smoked fish I have ever tried. And, being Jewish and living in New York for 4 years, I have some pretty high smoked fish standards. All of their smoked fish is nitrate free and is smoked at a higher temperature to prevent foodborne illness. Sounds like a winner in my book. I always ask for the smoked salmon BLT with avocado instead of bacon. It is probably the most insane sandwich I have ever had the pleasure of eating. Also, you cannot go wrong with the smoked mussels or the egg salad.
Neopol Savory Smokery, 1309 5th Street NE, Washington, DC
The ONLY Pizza I’ll Eat In DC: Timber Pizza Company
I’ll be upfront: this place is crowded, far away, and small. However, I WILL travel to Pentworth and brave the crowds for this place because the pizza is that darn delicious. In fact, Bon Appetit named it one of the best new restaurants in the United States in 2017. My friends and I will stake out a spot and grab a “Green Monster” (pesto, zucchini, and kale on a ). It actually turns me into a pizza monster.Timber Pizza, 809 Upshur St NW, Washington, DC
Quick Brunch Place: Chaia
It is no secret that DC is not necessarily known for their Mexican food. However, Chaia does not try to be an authentic Mexican place. And hey, they do what they do best and that is a OK with me. It is no wonder their restaurant’s description is ‘farm to taco.’ Everything is so fresh, seasonal, and the flavors are spot ON. The beet taco is by and far my favorite, especially with a fried egg on the weekends. If you like it spicy, their hot sauce is also on FLEEK!
Chaia, 3207 Grace Street NW, Washington, DC
Hole in the Wall for the Adventurous: Keren
If you have never had Ethiopian food, then you are definitely missing out! It is one of the most flavorful cuisines I have ever had. This place probably has the deal of the century as far as dinners go. It is definitely a hole in the wall and at first, you might be confused how such a small place can serve delicious food. For less then $15, you can have injera (that is the delicious, spongy bread), a drink, and a HUGE spread of different vegetarian dishes. Make sure you grab a bite of the yellow split peas and the cooked greens. They are my absolute favorites!
Keren, 1780 Florida Avenue NW, Washington, DC
My FAVORITE Cocktail in DC: Oyamel
All I have to say about Oyamel is get their salt foam margarita. It might be pretty pricy for a cocktail, but I like to think about it as an EXPERIENCE. I have never had a margarita that has been so delicious and so perfectly well balanced. If you are looking for other noshes while you’re there, get the brussels sprouts and any of the ceviches. If you are feeling brave, the cricket tacos are delicious, but definitely not for the faint of heart.
Oyamel, 401 7th St NW, Washington, DC
The Best Bread Since Europe: Seylou
I think the first thing I noticed when I first walked into Seylou was the SMELL. Y’all, Seylou is incredible. Not only do they bake their own, whole grain sourdough bread, but they mill their own flour at the mill next store. I normally get their Mischbrot loaf, which is a mix of sourdough, rye, and buckwheat. Their almond croissants, all whole wheat, and their chai, served by the ladleful, are also to die for!
Seylou, 926 N St NW, Ste A, Washington, DC
“Pho” Real: Pho Anh Dao
I used to have to go all the way to West Falls Church in the middle of Arlington to get good pho, so when this place opened close to my apartment, I KNEW I had to stop by. It is very rare for a Vietnamese place to have so many vegetarian options, but man did this place deliver. I got the vegetarian pho with perfectly fried tofu and it was incredible. Make sure to look at the bun (rice noodle and veggies) bowls too!Pho Anh Dao, 1915 18th St NW, Washington, DC
A Little Outta Your Comfort Zone: Purple Patch
Although I am a pretty adventurous eater, I had never had Filipino food until I went to Purple Patch. Now, I can say I am HOOKED. For brunch, I ordered the ube (purple sweet potato) pancakes, and I have to say I am forever changed. If you are heading there later in the evening, the red snapper escabeche was absolutely to DIE for. Definitely worth a stop!Purple Patch, 3155 Mt Pleasant St NW, Washington, DC
Post Saturday Night “Cleanse”, Beverage Edition: Jrink Juicery
Jrink is the place I normally end up after a night of too many “adult” drinks. They have amazing juices, nut milks, superfood lattes, and bowls. Normally, I go for the Clean Me Up 1 (Lemon, Cayenne Pepper, Cucumber, Pineapple, Grapefruit), the Fuel Me Up 2 (Kale, Spinach, Romaine, Cucumber, Celery & Parsley), or the Fireball (Apple Cider Vinegar, Ginger, Lemon, Turmeric, Cayenne, Cinnamon, Apple, Black Pepper, Honey & Himalayan Pink Sea Salt). I swear, it is the best medicine.
Jrink Juicery, Multiple Locations in DC and VA
Post Saturday Night “Cleanse”, Food Edition: Beefsteak Veggies
There are those mornings when you wake and all you want is something green. For those mornings, I also happen to find myself at Beefsteak. Even if you are not a vegetarian, this place will get you to eat your vegetables. They are always changing up their sauces and toppings (the Frieda Kale with the black bean sauce is my absolute favorite). Also, if you want to channel me to the extreme, you can also ask for the seaweed salad on the side. It is life CHANGING
Beefsteak Veggies, 800 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20036
Comfort Food 2.0: Unconventional Diner
As a Jersey girl, the one thing I craved when I moved to DC was good diner food. However, after stopping by Unconventional Diner, I got my fix and much more! Think of the traditional diner food with an upgrade! They cater to all dietary restrictions with unique and numerous options. For brunch, get the brussels sprouts and fried eggs, the shakshuka, or the avocado toast. I know that sounds basic, but oh my, is the menu good! For dinner, the swiss chard lasagna is to DIE for.
Unconventional Diner, 1207 9th St NW, Washington, DC
Lunch/Dinner with Your Parents: Zaytinya
There is nothing that warms my heart, both figuratively and quite literally, the way that warm bread does. At Zaytinya, the bread keeps coming fresh from the oven, so now is not the time to hold back on your carbo loading. The baba ganoush, halloumi cheese, and Brussels sprouts are some of my favorite things on the menu. If you are trying to live your best life on a budget, their four course lunch special is definitely not one to be missed. Trust me.
Zaytinya, 701 9th Street NW, Washington, DC
Desserts to Blow Your Damn Mind: Baked and Wired
This place is THE place for baked goods in DC. They are know for their cake cups, particularly a peanut butter chocolate one called Pretty Bitchen. However, if you need a personal recommendation, just get the OMG Bar. Don’t ask questions. Just do it.
Baked and Wired, 1052 Thomas Jefferson St NW, Washington, DC
Sweet Treat (That Can Double As Lunch): Ice Cream Jubilee
I kid you not. I got SHIVERS eating this ice cream. Now, you might think it is because it is so cold, but this is seriously my favorite ice cream place in Washington. And that says a lot because I love ice cream. The owner of Ice Cream Jubilee actually left her government job to pursue her passion of creating unique and delicious ice cream flavors. And y’all know I love my boss ladies. Started in the Navy Yard, their recent move to NW allows me to indulge myself all the more frequently (for better or worse!). I love all of the unique, delicious flavors you can get. My personal favs are the Thai Iced Tea and the Earl Grey Lavender. They even have boozy options that are so freaking delicious, so if you’re feeling adventurous, I recommend the Dark and Stormy. Also, sprinkles are free. Always
Ice Cream Jubilee, 1407 T Street NW, Washington, DC
Picnic Tables and Food for Everyone: Indigo
I have been invited over for a lot of authentic Indian food. I also love spicy food more than life itself. So, whenever I go out for Indian food, I’m usually sadden to see that the flavors have been “dumbed down.” The food at Indigo is not only as authentic as you’re going to get, but it is affordable and casual as well. There are too many options to list, but I personally love the spicy pumpkin, the palak paneer, and the roti. On a warm summer night, the patio is the best thing that will ever happen to yo.
Indigo, 230 K Street NE, Washington, DC
Bonus: Dupont Circle Farmers Market
If you have been following me for more than a second, you know that I am OBSESSED with the Dupont Circle Farmers Market. While it is not a restaurant so to speak, it is definitely a DELICIOUS place to grab some goodies (and eat plenty of snacks). Some of my favorite eats include the kombucha from Hex Ferments, the handmade ravioli from Cavanna Pasta, and the sauerkraut and kimchi from Number 1 Sons. It is open all year round, so check out the seasonal produce from four different states! I swear you will never be bored!
Dupont Circle Farmers Market, 1500 20th Street NW, Washington DC
Now go forth! Eat your heart out!