Tacos El Chilango
The food truck opened its brick-and-mortar doors near U Street in early August. Southwest natives and taco aficionados can order from a selection of nine authentic Mexican tacos ($2.50 each) from the “Al Pastor,” a combination of slightly salty pork and sweet pineapple, to the vegetarian options of queso with avocado, bell peppers or mushrooms. All tacos come double wrapped in corn tortillas and are topped with cilantro, onion, cucumber, radishes and a choice of salsa verde or rojo. Tacos El Chilango is the perfect quick bite before a show at nearby 9:30 Club or a late-afternoon snack after an afternoon of U Street gallery hopping and vintage shopping.
1119 V St. NW
Nestled between Adams Morgan bars and clubs, Sakuramen offers serenity in the form of ramen. The Japanese classic comes in six varieties ranging in price from $11-$15. Described by the owners as the ultimate comfort food, the noodle-based fare includes mild and spicy options, as well as options for meat-lovers and vegetarians. For a few dollars extra, bowls can be finished with such toppings as roasted pork belly, homemade kimchi or extra spicy fire balls.
2441 18th St. NW
At the corner of 19th and M sits the four-month-old Spanish taparia popular for its $5 happy hour sangrias, ranging from the signature red to the adventurous blood orange. Sharing small plates ($6 – $14) of bacon wrapped dates, patatas bravas, creamy croquettes and tortilla española will guarantee a second date. While girls’ brunch is soon to relocate to Boqueria’s patio for nutella stuffed churros ($8) and mimosa rosada ($9), the boys will be heading to the bar during soccer season to drink Estrella beer ($9), pop pimientos de padron ($7) and munch on jamon serrano ($9) while cheering on their favorite teams in La Liga.
1837 M St. NW
New York Avenue Beach Bar
Break out your bikini and flip-flops because the beach just got a lot closer to the District. Since Memorial Day weekend, the former Warehouse Theater parking lot has been transformed into a tropical oasis, complete with 70 tons of Ocean City sand. Catch a tan outside while lounging on a beach chair with a frozen margarita or can of Red Stripe beer from the tiki bar. Food trucks regularly rotate the grub, and happy hour, from 4 to 7 p.m., offers varying drink specials.
645 New York Ave. NW
Grilled Cheese Bar at Ripple
Known for monthly menus with local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients, the Cleveland Park neighborhood restaurant has once again pushed its boundaries, this time in the form of the classic grilled cheese sandwich. Available Sunday through Thursday during happy hour and at late night hours, grilled cheese creations such as the “Swiss Bank Account” made with hand-sliced prosciutto, Challerhocker cheese and truffle butter offer grown-up versions of our favorite childhood sandwich. Craving something custom? Build a sandwich (starting at $7) with a selection of 15 cheeses, six homemade spreads and toppings ranging from roasted red peppers to jumbo lump crab. The Grilled Cheese Bar is Ripple’s second expansion after the March opening of Sugar Magnolia, the gourmet market specializing in artisan ice cream sandwiches.
3417 Connecticut Ave. NW
EatWellDC, affiliated with the Dupont breakfast shop Commissary and seafood haven Grillfish, opened a carnivore’s fantasy on P Street in May. Small plates ($8 – $12) of succulent braised cheek with herbal Spanish sofrito and wild boar ragu pair with creative farm salads ($6 – $9) that feature ingredients like crispy pig ears and pickled celery root. Those favoring more traditional meats can revel in a craft burger ($15) with pork belly, cheddar, chili aioli and tomato jam. Vegetarians can try the chickpea hash ($8), slightly spicy with chard and salsa verde and a decadent mac and cheese ($6) topped with a truffle crust.
1320 14th St. NW
DC New Orleans PoBoy Shop
Slated to open late August in Dupont, the New Orleans-inspired sandwich shop will feature 15 traditional po’ boys ($7.50 – $12), all served on crisp crust and dressed with lettuce, mayo and tomato, in addition to other Louisiana specialties like seafood gumbo ($4.50/$8) and crawfish etouffee ($9.50). Classically trained in French cuisine, Chef Cam McNair looks forward to sharing his talents at what he describes as a “Po’ Boy Price” with the “Because We Can!” board that will feature such specials as grilled house made andouille and blackened cat fish with dirty rice, always priced at $7.50.
1205 19th St. NW