Re-Doing the District

I (Daniëlle) am sitting at Dolcezza, at the new DC Wharf, contemplating how much DC coffee has changed since I left for Alaska last summer. When I knew I was returning I asked Lauren where I should go first – what HAD to be my first stop back in the District? Since I got here in January, I’ve made every effort to visit as many new places as possible. What’s crazy? That using Lauren’s last post as a guide, it’s taking nearly two months to make some progress! A few other places have also popped up just since she published her post early January (Elle, Bluebird, Bluestone Lane)

Allow me to run through a few of the beautiful cafés I’ve had the pleasure to get to recently:

Qualia. We were excitedly anticipating this opening practically from the first time we wrote about them – it had been a long time coming. An early Saturday was the perfect time to soak up the sun through their big windows and take over the arm chair corner and linger. With tons of single origin offerings just like at the at their first location, it added up to a perfect morning.

Blue Bottle in Georgetown. DC became the hub for West-Coaster ‘Philz’ to start launching its East Coast expansion, so it was exciting to see Oakland-native Blue Bottle make its way down. They opened in Georgetown last summer, and are set to open a second location soon, near Union Market. If anyone has ever flipped through James Freeman’s book, you’ll know he takes his coffee, and his cafes, very seriously. They didn’t skip a beat in creating a beautifully simple and bright space in Georgetown to sit and enjoy some millennial toast and a pour-over.

Velo Café. I don’t know how bikes and coffee came to be a thing, but it certainly is a thing. Serving up Vigilante Coffee alongside their bikeshop and small hardware store is the perfect one stop shop. District Hardware has been around for decades and their warm and friendly staff reflects this mom-and-pop feel.

Bluestone Lane in West End. Reportedly the largest Bluestone Lane in the US, their newest café co-located with the West End Community Library is stunning. When I visited, some of their corporate managers were there and it was delightful to hear the Australian accented individuals talk about their passion for coffee. I think it’s part of the culture. Flat whites, avo toast, and table service all around.

The Cup We All Race 4. Instagram photos of this café led me to the Line Hotel in Adams Morgan – I may not have found it, were I not actively searching for it! Perhaps the mystery is part of the allure. The Cup We All Race 4 is in the front lobby of the hotel, but you are welcome to enter through the doors into the main lobby and linger while you sip on your Counter Culture cappuccino. Super friendly bar staff will even come by and bring you some water to sip on. The hotel also boasts two bars and a restaurant.

Little Pearl. I have been a fan of the coffeeshop part of Pineapple and Pearls since its inception, and the beautiful space at their new location came at no surprise. Paired with some of their famous baked goods, adorable cutlery and bright openness, our morning there was heavenly. And they serve wine in the evenings, so win-win! 

Café Chocolat. They serve La Colombe coffee here, but do yourself a favor and also order the drinking chocolate! They come in three different varieties and they’re as beautiful as they are delicious. If you have the chance, engage in conversation with the shop owner about craft chocolate- I’m a relative newbie to the culinary category but I can tell you I’m here to stay. Craft chocolate is in my future!

Pluma by Bluebird Bakery. It’s no secret that I have a slight obsession with croissants and I’ve always held the bluebird bakery ones with the highest esteem. I was thrilled when I heard they were opening up a store front, and it met all my dreamed-up expectations. Beautiful décor, Stumptown coffee, and perfectly situated in the seriously exploding Union Market area.

Dolcezza at The Wharf DC. All the Dolcezza locations are so instagrammabe and their newest location is no exception. Giant windows with spectacular views, I can’t wait to see it during Cherry Blossom season! Dolcezza also serves Stumptown and they make all their gelato from scratch.

Gregorys (three locations). Did Gregorys kind of sneak into the District without a big fuss? Allow me to add a little fanfare by explaining that DC is the first place outside of the New York City area where Gregorys is making its mark. That’s NY- 26, DC -3 . Pretty impressive that they saw the DC market as being the one to focus on next. Try their mylks – activated charcoal is on the menu folks!

Swing’s on G Street. Swing’s closed their oldest location about 18 months ago due to renovations being made to the building, but they sure did their best to keep with the classic charm of the original while sprucing up the broader space. They also have bins and bins full of whole bean coffee where you can customize your blend.

I did make it to Crimson Diner (with Lauren!) but we got there too late for espressos. Fried green tomatoes anyone? (they were amazing. And HELLO there’s a whisky bar downstairs!)

I still have a handful of cafes to explore and while initially I was in a rush to get to them all immediately (clearly, and I had to get this blogpost done!), I’m going to slow down and revisit a few of my other favorites too. And a couple more are slated to open soon, so I’m not running out of new places yet! It’s good to be back, even if just for a little while.

 Let us know which of the newest cafes have tickled your fancy!

 Stay grounded,

Daniëlle

 

 

 

Advertisements

Date Night in Del Ray

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and who better to outline the perfect date night than Capital Couple?! Don’t worry, coffee is definitely involved. Already have plans for the big day? Their suggestions would work for any date night (or day). So grab your sweetie and enjoy exploring one of the cutest neighborhoods in the area! And don’t forget to keep caffeinated!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and if you’re anything like us, you’re probably really busy with life and haven’t planned anything yet! Honestly, you may be too late to get a reservation at that “hot” spot in DC – or maybe you just don’t want to deal with the hassle and expense of the crowds and menu prices at most of DC’s best eateries for an occasion like Valentine’s Day. Well, if you want some quality time with your beau or gal to celebrate V-day and (a little) less craziness, might we suggest a date night in Del Ray? Or if going out on a week night isn’t your thing, a date day in Del Ray over the weekend?

1

Nestled away near Potomac Yard and just north of Alexandria, Virginia, many of our D.C. followers have probably never even heard of this charming neighborhood. Del Ray consists of quiet streets lined with beautiful homes, spacious yards (by DC standards), dogs being walked, community fundraisers selling used books or Girl Scout cookies…it just feels like home. Walk or drive a few blocks in and you’ll find Del Ray’s “Main Street” – Mount Vernon Avenue, lined with bustling coffee shops, handfuls of popular restaurants, and cute little shops.

Del Ray is a popular neighborhood, but it’s likely you can still squeeze in a Valentine’s Day reservation if you act now. According to OpenTable, there are still spots available at several Del Ray favorites.

2

For dinner, there are several great options. Feeling a sushi date? Taylor is always down for a spicy tuna roll (or 2) at The Sushi Bar in Del-Ray, an adults-only sushi lounge. They even justify the no-kids rule “to create the perfect environment for…couples out on ‘date night.’” Last time we visited, we ate outside to enjoy the nice weather, but the inside offers a cozy respite to February’s cold.

Not a sushi fan? Taqueria el Poblano is a fun alternative with delicious margs and tacos to make for a boozy celebration!

Or for a more casual atmosphere, Pork Barrel BBQ serves up the best BBQ we’ve found in DC – truly a great place to have a few craft beers and some smoked meats. We’re both from down south, so you won’t hear us say it’s the best BBQ we’ve ever had, but it certainly gets the job done!

If you’re looking to eat somewhere a little nicer, check out Cheesetique, a gorgeous wine and cheese bar. Walk through the adorable wine shop to the bar and restaurant area in the back. Plus, Valentine’s Day falls on a Wine Down Wednesday, where you can get “wallet-friendly offerings by the glass.”

After dinner, grab a sweet treat at the Dairy Godmother, where you can grab a cup or cone of delicious frozen custard.

9

Don’t have a sweet tooth? Continue your dinner conversation over a cup of coffee or tea at St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub.

11
How cool is this mural?!

So you might be thinking going out on actual Valentine’s Day on a Wednesday night sounds like a hassle, so consider heading out to Del Ray on Saturday or Sunday to celebrate your love. Rather than a post-dinner cappuccino, head to St. Elmo’s for a latte and pastry to start your day. St. Elmo’s has a great vibe in the mornings – students studying, book clubs meeting, friends catching up.

St. Elmo’s serves up some tasty pastries, but Del Ray residents swear by Stomping Ground, a “down-home” coffee shop located just across the street from St. Elmo’s that serves “a biscuit that will change your life,” according to one Yelp reviewer. We’ve yet to withstand the constant long line out front of this uber-popular spot, but the crowds and reviews suggest you won’t be disappointed!

After you’ve had your daily dose of caffeine, walk around all of the cute shops up and down Mount Vernon Avenue.

Want to cook a nice Valentine’s Day dinner at home? Head to Market 2 Market to buy various local brews or pick up a new bottle of wine. We always enjoy picking from the local brew and wine selection.

Then head to Let’s Meat On The Avenue to pick up some meat to cook for dinner. There’s definitely no shortage of options – we’ve never seen so many types of meat at a butcher before!

Lastly, head into Cheesetique for some cheese and prosciutto to make a Charcuterie board to enjoy before dinner. And maybe even pick up a nice cheese board or knife as a nice Valentine’s Day surprise!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Capital Couple is a couple of attorneys, Ethan & Taylor, living in our  
nation’s capital. We are your local guides to DC, showing you the best  
food, drinks, shopping, sights, and adventures the city has to offer.  
Follow along with @CapitalCouple on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and  
on CapitalCouple.com.