News & Politics

Best of Breakfast and Brunch 2012: Morning Joe

Wake up and check out our favorite places for a coffee fix.

Espresso and cappuccino, muffins and croissants—plus the day’s newspaper—add up to a leisurely morning at the Blind Dog Cafe. Photograph by Scott Suchman

1500 Union Ave., Baltimore; 410-235-1881

Any trip to Baltimore should include a stop at this charming
cafe not far from owner Spike Gjerde’s destination restaurant, Woodberry
Kitchen. Suspender-sporting baristas create perfect espresso drinks and
pour-over brews with coffee from Washington’s favorite supplier: North
Carolina-based Counter Culture. They taste great with the house-made
cornbread and buttery scones.

1700 First St., NW; 202-643-9222

This Bloomingdale hangout with ivy-lined windows, lots of
distressed wood, and a pair of antlers on the wall serves 12- and 16-ounce
French-press coffee from Counter Culture. In the evening, it’s one of the
best spots in the neighborhood to linger over a glass of wine, a bottle of
craft beer, or something stronger from the small but carefully selected
collection of spirits.

818 N. Quincy St., Arlington; 703-650-9676

Excellent Michigan-based Mad-Cap Coffee aims to open a
Washington location this year. In the meantime, you can try its carefully
sourced beans in drip and espresso drinks at the Ballston branch of Buzz.
Pair your drink with something sweet—pastry chef Tiffany Mac-Isaac has
stuffed the place with some of the best brownies, cupcakes, scones, and
cinnamon rolls around.

1726 20th St., NW, 202-234-5837; 1916 I St., NW,

Aussie expats know that these downtown DC spots are top
destinations for a drink from Down Under known as a “flat white”—simply
put, a shorter version of a latte. Espresso shots are capped with
“microfoam”—frothed milk scooped from the bottom of the

3211 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-465-0145

Counter Culture beans show up again at this neighborhood hub
with a farmhouse feel. Locals while away weekend mornings over well-made
espresso drinks and breakfast sandwiches featuring eggs from Polyface farm
in the Shenandoah Valley. The menu is overseen by Liam LaCivita, chef at
nearby Liberty Tavern and Lyon Hall.

660 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, 202-629-4381;1718 14th St., NW,
202-525-5127; Union Market, 1309 Fifth St., NE, no phone

These three easygoing cafes pull the city’s most consistently
excellent espresso shots using Counter Culture beans—which they also
deliver by bike to nearby doors. Just don’t plan to stick around
long—there are few places to lounge, and only the Capitol Hill location
has wi-fi.

944 Florida Ave., NW; 202-290-2865

The brainchild of three longtime friends, this pop-up coffee
shop is the daytime tenant of the LeDroit Park bar Darnell’s. Try a
cold-brewed iced coffee made with blends from Kansas’s great PT’s Coffee
Roasting Co., and while you’re there, pick up a few gooey chocolate-chip
cookies—all baked goods are made daily for the cafe by the sister of one
of the founders.

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.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.