Over-the-top cocktails, Black-owned pop-ups and oat milk – yup, you read that right, oat milk – highlight the summer’s hottest food and drink crazes across the city.
DC is the place to be if you crave unique foodie experiences. From Union Market to weekend farmers’ markets to mouthwatering dishes served by celebrity chefs, check out the food crazes that color the city's dining scene.
The oat-milk craze is here to stay. More and more coffee shops are offering dairy-free alternatives to cashew milk, almond milk and soy milk. Ellē, a BIPOC woman-owned coffee shop in Mt. Pleasant, is known for its oat-milk lattes with a baked good on the side. If you want some Northwest vibes, visit Little Red Fox in the Van Ness neighborhood, where you'll find nods to the classic TV series set in Washington state, Twin Peaks, throughout the shop (only take-out orders are available right now). Make sure to grab the honey cinnamon latte with oat-milk, which will inevitably lead to cozy feelings. The Village DC is known for their locally sourced food and drinks from underserved, aspiring entrepreneurs, serving as a platform for those businesses to showcase their talents and connect with other communities, while also serving an amazing date latte with a splash of your favorite dairy-free alternative.
Gone are the days of eating in the shopping mall cafeteria. Food halls have emerged as one-stop shops for consumers, where visitors can check out local vendors and pop-ups that reflect the area's trendiest flavors. Union Market is DC's pioneer in this realm, equipped with numerous food options (barbeque, arepas, seafood and more) and small retail shops. You can see outdoor movies there in the summer. Nearby, La Cosecha celebrates Latin American culture, cuisine and conversation. The Block Food Hall located in Downtown DC features minority-owned vendors serving cocktails, a twist on Filipino food and lychee donuts that will have your mouth watering.
Birria is a traditional Mexican dish, originally made with goat meat, but can also made with other meats. This dish can be served as a stew or as taco filling and the taco version of this traditional dish has taken the social media world by storm. You can find Birria, Sopas, or Boing at Taqueria Xochi on U Street from Chef Teresa Padilla who is a 16-year veteran of José Andrés ThinkFoodGroup restaurants. The next stop on the journey to find Birria is Little Miner Taco. Little Miner Taco has two mortar & stone locations and a food truck. Stay on top of their where to find then by checking out their Instagram page. Get ready to order, dip and eat your taco!
On weekends, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' grand expansion, The REACH, hosts Victura Park, an outdoor pop-up wine garden and cafe. The Hilton Brothers and Chef Erik Bruner-Yang collaborated on this winery-inspired setting that offers charcuterie boards and light snacks, as well as beer, wine, adult seltzers and other beverages. Looking for that American Chinese takeout nostalgia? Chef Tim Ma and Andrew Chiou offer American-Chinese cuisine in the compostable white rectangular cartons we all grew up with at Lucky Danger. You can dig into dumplings, hot and sour soup, kung pao chicken and more at Lucky Danger in Prather's Alley or Arlington's Westpost shopping center. If you're looking for a place with great drinks and rotating Black-owned restaurants, look no further than Sandlot Southeast, where restaurants can gain rent-free access to two kitchens to showcase their work. While you're there, pick up a cold-pressed cocktail that was developed with the help of none other than Turning Natural.
If you're looking for an escape from the day-to-day look no further than stepping through the doors of Primrose. This French-inspired wine bar from Sebastian Zutant and Lauren Winter delivers you to the streets of Paris with it's fun decor and food. Primrose is on Michelin's Bib Gourmand list, so make your reservation today. Take a trip south to Cuba when you visit the Colada Shop, with their vibrant color scheme and outstanding flavors. From their food to their coffee, everything is served with a Cuban flair at one of the three Colada Shop locations in DC. Transport yourself to a carefree time at Tiki on 18th in Adams Morgan. You can expect Jo-Jo Valenzuela’s acclaimed traditional Filipino food paired with the delicious cocktails when you go.
Lunch at the Farmer's Market
Sure, we all know a trip to the local farmers’ market means loads of fresh produce. But what if you’re craving a little something more? Luckily, DC farmers’ markets have got you covered. Tuck into a personal pizza from the award-winning Timber Pizza at the FRESHFARM CityCenterDC market on Tuesdays, or a bagel breakfast sandwich from its sister restaurant Call Your Mother at Sunday’s Dupont FRESHFARM Market (get there early - these sell out fast). With 10 different markets running Tuesday through Sunday, you can explore flavors from all over the globe, including falafel sandwiches from Hilana Cuisine, locally sourced fish burgers from Fishscale and gourmet Chinese dumplings from Pinch.
Immigrants are taking their families recipes and sharing them with the world through their kitchen. This long-awaited day for recognition of traditional meals has finally come. Moon Rabbit, a modern Vietnamese restaurant in the heart of Washington D.C., by Kevin Tien serves food that evokes emotions and honors history. It is a 50-seat restaurant at The Wharf, so make your reservations for Moon Rabbit today. Immigrant Food by Chef Enrique Limardo brings together a mash-up of foods from some of America's largest immigrant groups that result in dishes like Mumbai Mariachi, inspired by immigrants from Mexico, India and Greece, that is a mix of spice-rubbed steak on spinach, cilantro, roasted potatoes, corn, feta cheese, mango chutney, carrots and green onion. Besides food, Immigrant Food wants to bring together volunteers that help with a wide array of duties with local NGOs that they have partnered with to help immigrants in the community.