1. Georgetown Cupcake, Georgetown and Bethesda. Think the lines were long last year? A hit reality show about the sister owners means you’ll wait even longer for those salty-caramel and red-velvet confections.
2. Baked & Wired, Georgetown. Oversize, paper-wrapped cupcakes with a sense of whimsy—try the Chocolate Cupcake of Doom or the blueberry-studded Smurfette.
3. Hello Cupcake, Dupont Circle. The icing is piled high on these sweets, inspired by Elvis (peanut butter and banana) and Prince (Raspberry Beret).
1. Taylor Gourmet, H Street, Northeast; Mount Vernon Square; and Bethesda. Philly-inspired cold-cut and chicken-cutlet hoagies served in eco-conscious settings.
2. The Italian Store, Arlington. Mortadella, prosciutto, and Genoa salami are layered liberally in these classic Italian subs.
3. Potbelly, multiple area locations. Shakes and toasted subs from a folksy Chicago-based chain.
1. The Gibson, U Street, Northwest. Antique cocktails are resurrected at this swank sister to neighboring hot spot Marvin.
2. The Passenger/the Columbia Room, Mount Vernon Square. Tom Brown presides over the craft-cocktail saloon the Passenger up front, while brother Derek Brown whips up cocktail tastings—and a world-class martini—in the reservation-only Columbia Room in back.
3. PX, Old Town Alexandria. The area’s first modern-day speakeasy is hushed and dark with a no-standing rule. Less stiff is the cocktail menu, which has had a drink named after Ron Burgundy, Will Ferrell’s Anchorman character.
BEST FOOD TRUCK
1. Red Hook Lobster Pound, DC locations posted at twitter.com/lobstertruckdc. Downtown lunchers routinely wait an hour (sometimes two) for the excellent lobster rolls—one served warm with butter and lemon, the other cool and stuffed with mayo-bound claw meat.
2. Fojol Bros., DC locations at twitter.com/fojolbros. A trippy band of prep-school alums—one on rollerblades—man this indie-pop-blasting, Indian-food-serving truck.
3. Sâuçá, DC locations at twitter.com/wheresauca. Wraps get redefined by this duo of trucks: butter chicken, turkey meatballs in marinara, bánh mì, and shawarma, each enrobed in flatbread.
This article first appeared in the December 2010 issue of The Washingtonian.