As the chaos of the semester begins to overtake our lives, it’s easy to get lost within the UVa bubble and forget that there is a world outside of the university. Real people spend time to make real meals unlike me whose diet consists of alternating between cold Easy Mac and soggy corn flakes for meals.
So, when the rare opportunity presented itself, I decided to take a quick weekend trip to DC with a friend. I’ll admit that the Jefferson Memorial wasn’t number one on my “must-sees,” instead what predominated my list were names of eateries that I simply could not miss. Clearly, I had my priorities in order. How could I not embark on a serious food adventure when in DC?
For those of you headed to DC this semester, here are the highlights:
Sprinkles may be known for its cupcakes, but at 9 am, I was lined up to get a steaming cup of their seasonal drinking chocolate. This is no standard hot chocolate. Sprinkles’ drinking chocolate is densely enriched with chocolate instead of sugar.
Its intricate presentation in a small shot-sized mug enhances the experience of drinking chocolate. To top it all off, they place an all-natural, vanilla-infused marshmallow in the steaming Belgian chocolate drink.
Location: 3015 M Street NW Washington, DC 20007
Hours of Operation: 9 am-9 pm Monday-Saturday, 10 am-8 pm Sunday
Walking into this popular diner, it’s hard to miss the dazzling display case of finely crafted pastries, among which sits Ted’s true treasure—the pop tart. The last time I ate a pop tart was back when I rocked the overalls on the regular, which is how you know that this experience was monumental.
With all the hype surrounding Ted’s, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the homemade, rainbow-sprinkled pastry—and let me tell you it not only lived up to expectations, but it was downright magical.
After the three minutes I spent properly savoring it, I wasn’t even bothered by the sprinkles and jelly that had completely covered my hands and face. I definitely looked and felt like I was back in second grade.
Location:1818 14th Street NW Washington, DC 20009
Hours of Operation: 7 am-10:30 pm Monday-Thursday, 7 am-11:30 pm Friday-Saturday, 7 am-10:30 pm Sunday
If you’re looking for fast, fresh Mediterranean food, Cava is the place to go. With the vast array of options and toppings for your salad, rice bowl, or pita, it’s nearly impossible to end up with a meal you don’t love. If that doesn’t win you over, Cava’s homemade juices are so fresh and delicious, it will convince even the most devout juice haters.
I ordered a falafel salad that consisted of red pepper hummus and tzaziki sauce. The chef beautifully crafted my salad by topping it with brightly colored pickled onions and cucumbers—a masterpiece almost too impressive to eat. Almost.
Location: 707 H Street NW Washington, DC 20001
Hours of Operation: 11 am-10 pm Monday-Friday
Mike Isabella, owner and season six Top Chef contestant, serves small Italian-American dishes at Graffiato, a restaurant in the Chinatown neighborhood of DC. The vibe in Graffiato is undeniably snazzy. There is a wood pizza oven on the first floor and an open ham bar on the second.
Graffiato creates comforting dishes from seasonal produce, locally cured hams, hand-rolled pastas, and marinated vegetable arrangements. The artisanal pizza at Graffiato is the best of its kind, with slightly charred crust and fresh cheese; your taste buds will be sure to tingle.
Graffiato’s beverage menu is also extensive, as all wine and beer are sourced domestically from the East Coast. Be sure to look out for unique cocktails, domestic wines and Prosecco served right from tap.
And don’t worry—if you want to hit up Graffiato when all other DC kitchens close, you can. The pizza oven stays fired up until 12 am on weekends for those people who want a late-night bite.
Location: 707 6th St NW Washington DC 20001
Hours of Operation: 11:30 am-10 pm Sunday-Thursday and Bar & Pizza Oven Open Until 11 pm, 11:30 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday and Bar & Pizza Oven Open Until 12am
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