10 Eating and Drinking Experiences to Have in August

Washington clears out this month. What better time to explore our culinary offerings?

Get it while it's hot: August is a great time to experience the city's buzziest spot. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Stuck in the city during prime vacay season? Here are 10 excellent ways to eat your pain throughout the dog days.

10) Go to the Virginia wineries

Sweaty Metro rides, monument tours with relatives under the punishing sun, oddly uneven air conditioning systems at the office—right now, Washington summer might seem like no fun, but come February you’re going to be dreaming about al fresco dining and 9 PM sunsets. Make a few memories by heading out to wineries such as Philip Carter for some cornhole on the lawn, or Boxwood for a romantic tasting of estate reds in a sleek, modern setting.

9) Hit up the Pepe truck

If midday wait times have kept you from trying the best food truck in town, now’s the time to go. In addition to the tasty Spanish-style sandwiches, José Andrés’s mobile restaurant serves up real-deal Iberian gazpacho: cold and creamy and exactly the right thing on a hot day.

8) Play hooky at Union Market

If you can cut out of work early on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday­ (it’s August in Washington, of course you can), head over to this foodie funland, where Gina Chersevani has set up an airstream trailer bar, Suburbia, that serves excellent piña coladas and other frozen boozy treats. Inside, Rappahannock Oyster Bar is the place for raw shucked snacks on the half shell or a composed salad of crab and avocado. The crowds hit Union Market on weekends, but on weekday afternoons, the place is virtually yours.

7) Work upstairs at Northside Social

Skip scorching downtown and telecommute from the upstairs bar at this great Clarendon coffeeshop. Laptops are welcome during the day; after 5 you have to order a glass of wine if you want to keep on typing, which is our favorite rule in a restaurant ever.

6) Try Malmaison

The new restaurant from the owners of Napoleon Bistro is an interesting mixture of gritty and pretty—purple tinted glasses and upholstery contrast with industrial garage doors. We love sipping one of chef Gerard Pangaud’s light summer soups while looking out onto this forlorn section of K Street. It sounds weird, but it works.

5) Eat a doughnut ice cream sandwich

We hear Astro has them. You can start the fitness regimen when Congress is back in session.

4) Camp out at the bar at Le Diplomate

Nothing can stay hot forever—just as summer will pass into fall, Stephen Starr’s French restaurant will, eventually, be just another restaurant. Experience the lushly appointed bistro in its heyday by camping out at the bar, ordering a few cocktails, and watching the Beltway boldfacers saunter in.

3) Get an Italian ice at Bub and Pop’s

This isn’t the first time we’ve mentioned it. But seriously, try it.

2) Find your way to Frederick

Another hooky idea: Grab a coworker and sneak up 270 for some seriously delicious diner food at Bryan Voltaggio’s Family Meal. Not to be missed: pickle-juice-brined fried chicken and biscuits, spicy mac and cheese, chicken pot pie fritters, chocolate doughnut holes with coffee ice cream. Walk it off afterward at the antique shops without having to work your way through the weekend crowd.

1) Dine at Little Serow

The famously long lines at Johnny Monis’s Dupont Circle restaurant are considerably shorter these days. On particularly warm evenings, we’ve heard reports of diners sailing right through when the doors open at 5:30. And since your boss knows you’re only pretending to work anyway, what better time to cut out early and experience this exceptional Thai spot? Update: Little Serow has closed for summer break and will resume service on September 4.

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