Best of Del Ray: Gourmet on the Go

You can get the makings of a pretty great meal in Mount Vernon Avenue's impressive selection of gourmet food shops.

Steve Gatward’s butcher shop, Let’s Meat on the Avenue, sells some of the region’s highest-quality cuts of meat.

The nearly 2,000 domestic and imported bottles lining the shelves at Planet Wine (2004 Mount Vernon Ave.; 703-549-3444) include 60 red and white options for less than $15 as well as a section devoted to Virginia labels. Round out a party spread with charcuterie from Red Apron—a fellow member of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group—as well as artisanal cheeses.

There are lots of ways to indulge a sweet tooth at ACKC Cocoa Bar (2003-A Mount Vernon Ave.; 703-635-7917), where truffles—made at the store’s DC location—are packed with fillings both elegant (Provençal lavender with pistachios and almond with amaretto) and unusual (Brie with black sesame seeds). Other gift-worthy treats include chocolate-dipped Oreos, maple-caramel popcorn, and fudge.

The long cheese case at Cheesetique (2411 Mount Vernon Ave.; 703-706-5300) holds more than 200 varieties—each neatly labeled with provenance, milk type, and flavor profile—and shelves are packed with anything you’d ever want to pair with them.

One of the area’s best butcher shops is just down the street. At Let’s Meat on the Avenue (2403 Mount Vernon Ave.; 703-836-6328), Steve Gatward procures a good range of carefully raised meats, such as free-range veal, hormone-free tri-tip steak, and freshly cut bacon. The shop makes its own sausage, and if you need a whole pig for spit roasting, Gatward will special-order it.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.