With its bistro mirrors and chocolate-leather chairs, the sleek Epic Smokehouse (1330 S. Fern St.; 571-319-4001) doesn't look like the kind of place where you'd be tearing apart racks of juicy, sauce-slathered ribs, but the smoky pork inspires us to chow down with messy abandon. That—and an extra-vinegary pulled-pork sandwich—are the best of the barbecue offerings. (Slices of brisket are on the dry side.) Start things off with a Caesar salad enlivened with ancho chilies or a hearty bowl of chili topped with chipotle cream and cheddar and Jack cheese.
Meditation is one route to inner peace. Afternoon tea (Saturday 2:30 to 4:30, Sunday 3 to 4:30) in the clubby Fyve Restaurant Lounge at the Ritz-Carlton (1250 S. Hayes St.; 703-415-5000) is another. Sink into a couch or slipper chair and let them bring it on: elegant little sandwiches, currant-studded scones with thick Devonshire cream and lemon curd, and sweets including overstuffed macaroons, chocolate-mousse rounds, and strawberry tartlets, all arranged daintily on a tiered tray. Teas are custom-blended, and for those who crave something more bracing, libations such as a Bellini can be had, too.
After making decisions all day, what could be better than having dinner all figured out? Lebanese Taverna (1101 S. Joyce St.; 703-415-8681) makes it simple with two groaning boards of food. The Chef's Platter corrals nine dips and morsels including baba ghanoush, kibbeh, spinach pie (fatayer), and stuffed grape leaves on a tic-tac-toe-like plate. Add on a Taverna Platter and your main course is taken care of, too, with rice, fattoush salad with mint and pita chips, and a choice of lamb-and-beef or chicken shawarma or falafel.
True to its name, Denim Bar (1101 S. Joyce St., Suite B-8; 703-414-8202) is set up like a cozy bar, with stacks of premium jeans lined up along the mahogany wall like bottles of liquor—less potent, perhaps, but just as intoxicating. The store specializes in niche denim brands that are difficult (sometimes impossible) to find elsewhere in the area. Of special note are the men's brands, such as the Japanese lines Japan Blue and Momotaro, plus Sugar Cane, APC, and Nudie. Unsure where to begin? Think of the knowledgeable staff as your favorite bartenders there to guide you to a perfect pick—and don't forget the in-store hemming, alteration, and repair services.
This mall outpost of Club Monaco (Fashion Centre at Pentagon City; 703-413-6642) is the chain's only store in the Washington area. Come for the brand's pitch-perfect take on contemporary, minimalist-meets-eclectic chic. We love the effortless cocktail dresses, sharply tailored jackets, and on-trend accessories.