Happy November! I can’t believe it’s November—part of me mentally is still back in March. Work has been really busy for me lately, but I’m feeling really invigorated by what I am working on and am now starting to get into the holiday spirit. Because it’s 2020 and there are no rules, I started watching Christmas movies a few weeks ago, and have absolutely no regrets. I think I need the mindless escape and predictability now more than ever.
If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know dining out and enjoying restaurants with my friends and family is one of my favorite pastimes. I woke up this morning—as much as I hate that it now gets dark so early, I did really appreciate the extra hour of sleep this weekend!—to an email from Wendy, the owner of Screwtop, my favorite restaurant, probably in the whole world, talking about how winter is going to be so hard on independently owned restaurants. While heaters work for now, when the temps really start to drop, they still won’t make it comfortable enough for people to want to sit outside. Not to mention, the propane needed to power the heaters is costly and eating into their already slim margins. (This article from Washingtonian does a good job highlighting these challenges!) That email made me really want to double down on supporting my favorite restaurants, whether that be through al fresco dining while it’s still tolerable or through takeout during the cold, dark days we have ahead of us.
Reading that email also reminded me it’s been a while since I wrote a dinner club post for the fall, so I wanted to round up a few of the places I’ve eaten and loved around the DC area lately. I always shared the restaurants I am going to in real-time over on Instagram and save them to my highlights, and if you’re looking for a specific recommendation, feel free to DM or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org), I am always happy to help! And, you can look through the archives of past dinner club posts here!
PUPATELLA | BALLSTON, DUPONT CIRCLE, SOUTH ARLINGTON
Pupatella is one of my favorite pizza places! In the past couple of months, I’ve been to both their new Dupont Circle location (it’s in the old Rosemary’s Thyme spot) and the Ballston location. Both have great patios; I especially love what they’ve done to the Ballston one, since they didn’t use to have a patio and they’ve created such a special, colorful, warm place—it’s pictured above! They have a great in-house wine brand, and I hope at some point, they bring back their sangria, which I loved enjoying in the “before times.” All of their pizzas are great, but I am partial to the burrata pizza, the mimosa pizza, and the margherita pizza.
CHLOE | NAVY YARD
Chloe was my dinner club’s September meeting spot. (ICYMI, me and two friends from college meet up once a month to try a new-to-us restaurant in DC, and we usually opt for splurge-type spots!) We went here the night that RBG died and it was the first chilly night of the fall—we sat on the patio and definitely wish we had brought an extra layer! That being said, the food was delicious. We did the grilled bread, hamachi crudo, cauliflower, broccolini, smashed potatoes, penned, and roast chicken and everything was delicious. One thing that was a little weird is our waiter left during the middle of our meal and we didn’t get assigned to a new server, so it was hard to get drink refills or order more food—but we understand it’s a tough time for restaurants right now, so in the grand scheme of things, pretty minor!
TATTE | WEST END
My best friend Molly has raved about Tatte Bakery ever since she visited one in Boston a few years ago. So in September when she was in town visiting, we went here and oh my gosh, I totally understand the hype. The space was stunning and the food and pastries were so delicious. I got a piece of apple pie and an avocado BLT when we went and I loved the food so much, I went back a few times that week. I really hope they put one out in Arlington, not only because I think it’d do so well here, but so selfishly, I could go more often. They’re also putting one in Dupont on Connecticut and N where the Starbucks used to be, and I am sure that location will be just as packed as the West End one. Also, don’t be intimidated if you go and there’s a long line—it moves really, really fast. You can also order ahead online for carry-out! We sat on their patio, but I am looking forward to the day when indoor dining returns as the norm, because I’d love to spend an afternoon dreaming up things in Tatte’s inspiring space!
ROOSTER & OWL | COLUMBIA HEIGHTS
Last week was our October dinner club, and we went to Rooster & Owl—it’s been on our list for a year now and it was such a treat to check it off! They’re doing a “phase two” feast for $75/person and you get to pick your own starter, side, main, and dessert. We also did the mixed media drink pairing for $35/person, which included either a cocktail or wine with each course. To start, I did the pig ears—I’m normally not that adventurous with food, but the waiter sold me on them and he didn’t steer me wrong. This course was paired with a brut sparkling apple cider that was delicious. For my main, I did the tortellini and we each ordered a different side and split them—the mashed potatoes, the brussels sprouts, and the broccoli. The mashed potatoes were definitely my favorite! The drink pairing for this course was a great glass of red wine. Then, to wrap up this very indulgent meal, I opted for the cheesecake, which was such a treat. The drink pairing was their take on an old fashioned and I just can’t do whiskey—so my advice would be if you also don’t like whiskey, to split a bottle of wine with your group instead of doing the drink pairings.
I’ll do another round-up of restaurants like this before the end of the year, but like I said at the top of this post, I’ve got a ton of restaurant recs in the archives archives here and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need a DC restaurant recommendation. I am really passionate about making sure we help as many of our favorite neighborhood spots survive the pandemic!