News & Politics

4 Early-Bird Washingtonians and Their Morning Routines

They share what it's like to wake up—or finish a day of work—around dawn.

Erica Skolnik.

1. Erica Skolnik

Owner of Frenchie’s Artisan Pastries and Desserts

11 PM Preparing the kitchen: “We use a catering kitchen, Healthy Bites [on Georgia Avenue in Brightwood Park], that operates during the day so we have the nighttime hours. On Fridays, when we have the farmers market, other wholesale accounts, and La Colombe [cafe] the next day, we start a little earlier. One person rolls croissants, which can take up to four hours because they’re rolled by hand. While they’re rolling, somebody else is baking off cookies.”

11:30 PM-1:30 AM Rock ’n’ rollers: The first croissants are rolled, shaped, and left to proof—the final rise before baking.

1:30 AM Baking begins: “The time it takes to roll and proof the next batches of croissants is how long the first batch bakes, so once the trays start to go in, it’s several hours of back-to-back trays of croissants going into the oven, often six to eight trays at a time—about 100 croissants and our morning buns and danish on a slow day, upwards of about 300 on a weekend.”

4 AM The waiting game: “I may go home for like an hour to put my feet up and mentally prepare for interacting with customers.”

5-6 AM Pack & deliver: The croissants get boxed up for delivery and put on the truck while the kitchen gets cleaned.

7 AM Refuel: “I drink a lot of coffee, so I get to know a lot of baristas.”

2. F. Joseph Warin

Attorney at Gibson Dunn

“I wake up at 5 in McLean and am in the office by 6—unless I’m having breakfast with clients, in which case I make calls, then go to the Mayflower.”

“I start early because it gives me a chance to work the time zones. I start in Hong Kong or Beijing or Shanghai, then Moscow. I’ll talk to continental Europe just as they’re going to lunch. I’m over 60. I’m pretty jazzed up in the morning.”

3. Miriam Plotinsky

English teacher at Montgomery Blair High School, Silver Spring

“I wake up a little before 4:30. I haven’t used an alarm since my kid was born. I keep my work clothes on a different floor. That way, I have to wear my workout clothes.”

“I work out and am at work by 5:45. It’s all about preparing the night before. Everything’s packed—purses, lunches. That way, I don’t have to think.”

4. Priscilla McNeely

Senior Airman, US Air Force

“I get off work around 6:30 AM. I make eggs and toast, then shower and go to bed.”

Go Back to Our Waking Up Early Guide ››

This article appears in the December 2014 issue of Washingtonian.