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8 Summer Food & Drink Trends to Try Right Now in Washington, DC
Boozy juice boxes, ooey gooey ice cream treats and unconventional cocktails 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 and mouthwatering dishes served by celebrity chefs, check out the latest food crazes to hit the city.Looking for more food and drink trends? Check out these hot restaurants.
Boozy juice boxes
Calico, Blagden Alley’s backyard bar, opened in October, but this place was made for summertime. Feel like a kid again – but better because, booze – with their alcoholic juice boxes. The Blagden Rose is a light and fruity cocktail while the Sassy Kitty is infused with green tea and honey. Either one will hit the spot as you sip under the string lights. Adult juice boxes have also made their way to Nationals Park this season (one of the ballpark’s many unique food offerings). District Coolers come in flavors like blueberry mojito and pineapple tequila and can be found in section 108.
Yes, brunch is synonymous with DC, but who says it has to wait for the weekend? Plenty of DC eateries serve up to-die-for bites first thing in the (weekday) morning. Conveniently located next to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Unconventional Diner’s diverse breakfast menu features everything from avocado toast to omelets and Belgian waffles. Opt for a breakfast meeting at Farmers & Distillers, the farm-to-table eatery from the same team that brought you Farmers Fishers Bakers and Founding Farmers. Dolcezza may be best known their frozen treats, but the eatery is serving up something hot and delicious at its new Wharf location – we’re talking breakfast favorites like huevos rancheros and egg sandwiches on buttery croissants.
Everyone loves an umbrella cocktail in the summertime, but local bars are increasingly serving up some unexpected concoctions. Looking to add a little spice to your happy hour? SEI, located in Penn Quarter and offering modern Asian cuisine, has just the thing. The restaurant’s Liquid Wasabi cocktail features unfiltered sake, vodka, lime juice, habanero and ginger-infused simple syrup for an added kick. Bloody marys have long been a staple of DC brunches, but B Too's bloody puts a twist on the traditional celery stalk and tops its cocktail with celery foam (and bacon!)
Colossal ice cream treats
This one never goes out of style. It wouldn’t be summertime without ice cream! Local shops have kicked it up a notch with creations expanding beyond the cup and cone. #MadeinDC favorite Ice Cream Jubilee jams its creamy and delicious flavors between two freshly baked cookies for an ice cream sandwich you won’t soon forget. And Milk Bar’s classic cereal ice cream – yup, it tastes like the leftover milk in your cereal bowl – is as mouthwatering as it is photogenic.
Last summer it seemed like fast casual poké was everywhere. From Poke Papa to Poki DC, you could get your hands on the colorful (and totally Instagrammable) sushi-inspired salad all over the city. Restaurants have taken the Hawaiian dish to new heights this year, adding Mexican influences to create the hybrid poké nachos. Yard House in Chinatown serves up heaps of fresh ahi tuna avocado, cilantro, serrano chilis, green onions, nori, sesame seeds, sweet soy, sriracha aioli, white truffle sauce all on top of crisp wontons. Circa serves up its Asian-fusion dish with a heaping side of wasabi guacamole for an extra kick.
The finely milled green tea powder is the key ingredient in traditional Japanese tea but in recent years, matcha-flavored just about everything has popped up on the scene. From lattes to cocktails, ice cream and cheesecake, you’ll have no trouble finding the green tea flavor. If you’re looking for an absolutely delightful weekend treat, head to Bôn Matcha at Union Market and get your hands on a cone of matcha-and-milk swirl soft-serve. If you prefer your matcha in liquid form, Bôn Matcha also serves up iced lattes. Matcha do about something, right?
While chicken noodle soup and chili are reserved for the winter months, soup fans can still indulge during the summer, thanks to refreshing gazpachos. Chaia is the unconventional Georgetown eatery, serving up delicious tacos made only with vegetables. Pair your duo or trio of plant-based tacos with refreshing green gazpacho – cucumber, tomato and cilantro blended into a smooth, cool broth, perfect for a hot summer day. Also dedicated to fresh farm-to-fork cuisine is Jardenea, in the Melrose Georgetown Hotel. Led by executive chef Nelson Erazo, the restaurant’s mango gazpacho is the epitome of a sweet, chilled soup done right.
Mexican Street Corn a.k.a Elote
The recipe for this classico is pretty straightforward: grilled corn on the cob, slathered in crema, topped with cotija cheese and finished off with a dusting of cayenne. Sink your teeth into the summer specialty at modern pan-Latin steakhouse Toro Toro or head to Victor Albisu’s Taco Bamba for a little extra spice – the taquería offers corn on the cob with red chili. At DC darling and chef José Andrés’ Oyamel in Penn Quarter, sink your teeth into esquites – a cob-less version of elote sautéed and served up with a house-made mayo, queso fresco and chile pequin. You’ll find the antojito on the lunch and dinner menu.
Where to Try DC's Summer Food & Drink Trends
Here's where you can get boozy juice boxes, ooey gooey ice cream treats and more in Washington, DC