Eater DC’s regular Restaurants to Try this Weekend feature has looked a little different since the spread of the novel coronavirus. Here, Eater DC editors and contributors will share some of their favorites from the takeout, delivery, and patio dining options available across the area. For Christmas Day takeout options, go here.
Friday, January 22
For crunchy Cali-Mex tacos and tostadas: My appetite for tacos knows no bounds, so the Gonzo pop-up from erstwhile Californian Nick Olivas would have called out to me even if I wasn’t within walking distance of its lunchtime weekend home at strong Sichuan spot/cocktail bar Astoria on 17th Street NW in Dupont. Olivas, an alum of Pineapple and Pearls, has built hard-shell tacos stuffed with braised beef and fistfulls of shredded cheese that I’d love to crush after too many Coronas. But the favorite crunchy bites for me and my wife came from meat-free guacamole tostadas that must have had a full mashed avocado (at least) on each tortilla. The cotija cheese tasted extra fresh, and black bits of fried jalapeno were another pleasant touch to chomp through. Order online through Astoria from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday; 1521 17th Street NW — Gabe Hiatt
For Turkish meze with garlicky grilled bread: I made a note to try H Street NE cafe Sospeso back in the summer, when I first noticed Turkish expat Tuğçe Salihoğlu-Curtis had come on as executive chef. After finally swinging by to pick up a multi-person meze platter (a good deal at $40) for curbside pickup, I’m kicking myself for taking so long. The chef’s quick-pickled red cabbage and airy falafel with whipped garlic toum were both special, but it was the simplest part of the package that kept drawing me back for seconds. Smoky, grilled sesame bread painted with garlic-heavy olive oil was delicious in its own right, but of course I dragged it through labneh, hummus, and baba ghanoush, too. A market section of the online menu made me feel like a winner for snagging a 4-ounce jar of homemade harissa. Order online here; 1344 H Street NE — G.H.
For booze in a bubble: Shaw staple HalfSmoke just converted the parking patch across the street from the Howard Theater into a 100-person patio dotted with glowing igloos and picnic tables, where servers briskly walk over dishes and drinks from the restaurant a block away. I called one heated bubble home for a post-4 p.m. brunch. A Bluetooth-enabled speaker (and a friend with a good playlist) helped set the scene. With menus plumped up by pandemic-era pizza and breakfast sandwich pop-ups and carafes of pineapple mimosas that kept coming, I didn’t move until after dark. My “Battleship” passionfruit-mezcal order, served in a massive martini glass, managed to make it to our white-clothed circular table without any spillage. For his first orders of business, new chef Brian Dunbar makes gloriously greasy pan pizzas like a “Bromance Worthy BLT,” with smoky bacon and garlic confit to go along with reliable sausage in gooey mac and cheese. Halfsmoke’s Winter Wonderland opens daily at 10 a.m. 625 T Street NW — T.P.
For TGIF sushi outside: All the inauguration excitement on TV made me want to exit the house and celebrate IRL at one of the few places open that day. As I walked to Union Market district, I remembered O-Ku has a solid happy hour (Monday through Thursday). The sushi spot blasts music outside its steel door to signal service at 5 p.m., and its upstairs patio fills up fast with those in the know about the deal. There are $7 cocktails like a mulled tequila-and-plum wine with soft Asian pear slices at the bottom of the glass mug double as a spiked dessert. For around $6, diners can load up on elegant crab or tuna rolls or crispy beef gyoza dumplings — recommended for a weekend splurge, too — dunked in black vinegar soy. Fine dining details even at happy hour include a welcome board of bright lemon and lime slices that waiters plop into water glasses with metal tongs. Happy hour (5 p.m. to 7 p.m.) Open for dine-in, takeout, and delivery daily. 1274 5th Street NE — Tierney Plumb
For outdoor happy hour: Sure, drinking outside when temps drop in the low 40s is a bit ... ambitious . But a friend of mine found Liberty Barbecue to be as comfortable an option as possible for an outdoor hang following a neighborhood walk last weekend. Outdoor seating is plentiful — both on the restaurant’s deck and in its parking lot — as well as accessible without even having to venture inside the restaurant. Tables are spaced out well and service is friendly and kind: our waiter went to extra lengths to make sure our table’s heater was working full-blast to keep us warm. We shared a bottle of wine, some easy-to-devour queso, and a dozen of their meaty smoked wings (Alabama sauce on the side is the move). Things almost felt normal for an hour or so. Order pickups online here; 370 West Broad Street, Falls Church — Missy Frederick
Friday, January 15
For picturesque Peruvian takeout: As someone who spends a significant chunk of their work time sifting through promotional food pics, I’ve learned not to let professionally styled and lit photos jack up my expectations. But when I popped the lid on a few takeout containers of a two-person dinner package from Peruvian pop-up Criollo, I let out an audible “wow.” Chef Carlos Delgado, the Lima expat who helped get Taqueria Xochi up and running after being furloughed from China Chilcano, managed to transfer fine dining plating into stackable takeout containers. The ring shape of a cold causa held intact while I walked it home, with a citrusy potato whip supporting sliced avocados, a quarter of a hard-boiled egg, and a kewpie chicken salad splashed with a sunny aji amarillo and a purple sauce. Another yellow plate, arroz con mariscos, featured tender shrimp, calamari, and octopus with pease and red onions popping against the creamy, cheesy rice. Oyster sauce adds a pinch of funky depth to a lomo saltado with beef tenderloin, soft fries, hunks of tomato, and slightly sweet onion petals. Order takeout online or grab a seat at Service Bar’s streetside patio; 928 U Street NW — Gabe Hiatt
For fiery fried rice: If it wasn’t for Postmates’s aggregated suggestions nearby, I likely never would have tried Royal Thai, an unassuming spot in Chinatown I must’ve walked by dozens of times. For my first order, I went with some go-to Thai dishes that didn’t disappoint. Whole mushrooms bob inside a container of tom yum soup, and generous chunks of chicken hold down the bottom. The garden roll — incorrectly advertised as “one” — went a long way for just $6.99: The app is actually two massive rice paper rolls, wrapped tightly together in cellophane. Spicy tofu fried rice, a fiery main made with garlic, chile, bell peppers, and fresh basil, lived up to its a two-asterisk warning. Ubiquitous mango sticky rice featured fresh chunks of the orange fruit and sweet, steamed sticky rice that’s finished with sweetened coconut milk. Have silverware ready, unless you specify plasticware at checkout. Order online for takeout or delivery. 507 H Street NW — Tierney Plumb
For replacement fajitas: I was craving fajitas for takeout courtesy of a suggestion put in my head by your intrepid food editor Gabe Hiatt. We were going to give Cyclone Anaya’s a whirl for takeout; turns out it’s been closed quite awhile in Merrifield’s Mosaic District. Instead, we experimented with Taqueria Cancun, which treated us to a generous portion of mixed fajitas with rice and beans. Adding shrimp was unnecessary, but the beef and chicken were well-seasoned. We also tried crunchy tacos fritos, which were basically chicken flautas. Warning, carne asada nachos are much more topping than chip. They could use more cheese, to be honest, so you have to down them quickly before they get soggy. Order online here. 7810-G Lee Highway, Falls Church — Missy Frederick
Friday, January 8
For mozzarella bars and limoncello martinis: Antsy after lockdown, I got in a solid walk last night for takeout from Mozzeria on H Street NE. The welcome addition to the end of the strip is a deaf-owned and deaf-operated pizzeria born in San Francisco. Upon entry inside the soaring and immaculately lit space, the massive, mosaic-tiled oven tasked with making its Neapolitan-style pies immediately stole the show. I went with two of its best sellers: the Margherita and Salumi, blanketed with generously sized orbs of thinly sliced coppa and soppressata. Pies returned home still warm inside their glossy black boxes, but I threw some slices in my own oven to make both the already-charred crust and the edges of the Italian meats delightfully crispy. Its best-selling “mozzarella bar” appetizer lives up to its name: a bar of fried cheese surrounded by a moat of marinara in its box. I didn’t wait to get home to drink a tangy limoncello martini that relies on local distillers Don Ciccio & Figli and Republic Restoratives. Served on ice in a portable plastic cup, I sipped it all on the walk home. Can you blame me after this week? Order online for takeout and delivery. 1300 H Street NE — Tierney Plumb
For a healthy helping of coconut rice named after the VP-elect: While Detroit-style pizza, ramen, and short-lived fried chicken sandwiches might have attracted others’ attention to Ghostline, the carryout-centric food hall in Glover Park, I’ve been most excited to try Tokri, the option focused on Indian khichdi bowls from DC Dosa’s Priya Ammu. I liked what I found when I finally made to the Ghostline after a soggy hike through the park. I couldn’t pass up the “Coco Kamala” full of black urad dal and broken rice cooked down in coconut milk that gets more enticing as you fold in supporting players like a daikan and cabbage salad in a sweet-and-savory sesame tamarind dressing (my favorite), a tomato apricot chutney, a couple red lentil fritters, and light, bite-size rounds of papadum I would buy by the bag (if possible). My wife was feeling pizza, and the deck-oven pie we got from Little Beast had pleasantly chewy, slightly tangy crust we both appreciated, even if we felt the topping combo of pulled pork, mumbo sauce, and what was advertised as collard greens but had to be kale, didn’t quite work. Order Tokri for takeout or delivery (in range) here. 2340 Wisconsin Ave NW — Gabe Hiatt
For a colorful dinner that lasts for days: After too much roast beef and ham over the holidays, I wanted anything but meat one night. Shaw’s reliable Ethiopian go-to Habesha Market overdelivered for my non-carnivorous craving. Its deluxe veggie combo, served in a massive metal tray fit for a casserole, required both hands to bring upstairs to my apartment. After uncovering the hefty order, I was dumfounded on where to start. The beautiful and bright spread of 10 traditional veggies, each neatly partitioned, sits atop a bed of spongy injera bread. Spicy lentils, yellow peas, collard greens, cabbage, shire, house salad, mild lentils, spicy potato, tomato salad, and yemetad shiro, oh my. The generous dish that lasted for days ($22) comes with the extra perk of not having to find a clean fork: a hefty bag of folded injera included in the order is there to help grab each veggie at leisure. Order online for pickup or delivery. 1919 9th Street NW — T.P.
For a pickle in a cocktail pouch: It’s great to see Pete Sitcov back at a sandwich counter. The former Yang Market proprietor and Crush Subbies cook has a new sub shop on 14th Street NW called Compliments Only. Aside from enjoying the “Marisa Tomei Eats Free” —fresh basil and arugula strike a bitter note against soft blocks of mozz, capicola, Genoa salami, a and honey chili aioli — I got a kick out of the whole deli pickle packed loosely in fluorescent green brine inside a to-go cocktail pouch. Order carryout here; 1630 14th Street NW — G.H.
Wednesday, December 23
For nourishing bento boxes: In the rush to support restaurants through takeout, it’s easy to neglect your health; as a sanity measure, my household has implemented a regular ice cream Sunday. Turning to Teaism’s pan-Asian menu left me feeling light and satisfied without sacrificing any flavor. The 24-year-old D.C. staple brought back original chef Arpad Lengyel’s palak paneer, which douses the green spinach curry in coconut milk with a golden tint of turmeric. A vegan curried lentil soup brimming with carrots and a small side of pappadum is anything but thin. And, as during dine-in days, a bento box stretches your dollar far. Go for sweet chili-glazed salmon with sides of sweet potatoes in a punchy miso sauce and ginger-packed cucumbers mixed with rice vinegar and soy tosazu. Order pickup or delivery from locations in Dupont (2009 R Street NW) or Penn Quarter (400 Eighth Street NW) — Gabe Hiatt
For snapper-shaped pastries: Santouka, a global ramen chain from Hokkaido that recently touched down in Tysons Corner, has nailed down the art of takeout on a notoriously travel-averse dish. To ensure its pork belly cha-shu shio ramen stays in tip-top shape on the road, one container of noodles, bamboo shoots, and kikurage mushrooms hovers above another housing pearly white broth that’s made by simmering pork bones for 20 hours. I simply dropped the top into the (still hot) liquid, threw it all in a bowl, and there was lunch. Starters that shine in their own right include bite-sized chunks of karaage, or Japanese-style fried chicken, marinated in soy, garlic, and juicy pork gyoza that I drenched in chile oil. Taiyaki pastries filled with sweet red bean filling were a perfect dessert to drown out 2020. They’re shaped like a red snapper because the fish is associated with good fortune in Japanese culture. Order online for takeout or delivery. 1636 Boro Place, McLean, Virginia — Tierney Plumb
For steak frites with all the condiments: I got the chance to try a new-to-me addition to the Mosaic District, Parc de Ville, over the weekend, as part of a Christmas-y celebration at home with my husband. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that croque Madame and steak frites travel about as well as a Caesar salad. The frites did benefit from a quick blast in the air fryer, but everything came carefully packed with a variety of condiments, including a cute little jar of mustard. It all felt slightly transporting, and as an added bonus, the Hilton brothers’ bistro offers curbside pickup. Order online here; 8296 Glass Alley STE 110, Fairfax, Virginia — Missy Frederick
For Chinese-American classics: I was craving Chinese last Friday — granted, I’m craving Chinese most Fridays — but I didn’t have a hankering for bamboo fish or mapo tofu. Instead of Sichuan dishes, Chinese-American classics like egg rolls and wonton soup were on my mind. We decided to turn to Peking Gourmet but passed on the namesake duck in favor of crispy black pepper beef, an excellent pork fried rice dotted with large strips of char siu, perfectly fried wontons, and solid versions of the aforementioned appetizers. It was a little greasy, but in the best possible way. Call (703) 671-8088 for takeout; 6029 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, Virginia — M.F.
Friday, December 11
For surprisingly solid New York-style pizza: My husband has always had good things to say about Tony’s Pizza in Fairfax, but I’ve never really had the occasion to try it myself until we went hiking nearby on a recent weekend. We decided to get a slice of Sicilian, a NY-style pie topped with pepperoni, and an antipasto “salad” that was mostly meat and cheese — in a good way. Both pizzas were perfectly respectable renditions of the kind of pies you’d find in a random, non-destination shop in New York. I wish we had more options for casual by-the-slice pizza, and I have to give them props for creatively roping off a portion of the strip mall parking lot to create “patio” seating during a pandemic. Order online or dine-in daily 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; 13087 Fair Lakes Shopping Center, Fairfax, Virginia. (There’s another outpost in Oakton). — Missy Frederick
For a stellar almond shortbread cookie: Atwater’s is a superb stand at the Falls Church Farmer’s Market that’s largely known for its breads; the kalamata olive loaf is great in a Greek panzanella. I’ve been making more bread this year, and have been trying to avoid buying it for that reason, but I did stop by Atwater’s for another reason a few weeks ago: to try their almond shortbread cookies. This may be my favorite cookie in the D.C. area right now. It’s large enough to be a treat, with a delicious base and a little pool of jam in the middle. I’ve already stopped by for a second batch. Will this become a weekly purchase, like my expensive Greenheart juice habit? The Farmer’s Market is open every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon; 300 Park Avenue, Falls Church, Virginia — M.F.
For pastrami on rye: One of the sentiments I keep seeing from restaurant owners on social media is telling diners to support the restaurants they want to survive. So this week I placed a spontaneous lunch order at Loeb’s NY Deli, figuring its downtown location can’t be helping the daytime-only operation extend it’s 61-year legacy. I usually go for matzo ball soup, but a pastrami sandwich was calling to me. Thin ribbons of beef with an assertive crush of pickling spices were unctuous and tender thanks to the deli’s steamer, and my custom order of kraut and Russian dressing brought me back to lazy Sundays with my dad. When I arrived to pick up my order, a saw a small patio set up with QR code ordering, an unexpectedly modern touch at a D.C. classic. Walk in or call ahead (202-965-5632) for carryout or curbside pickup; 1712 Eye Street NW — Gabe Hiatt
For crispy Brussels sprouts that are anything but boring: Residents, the chic all-day cafe in Dupont Circle, has amassed a solid following over its first year of business. A cozy heated patio and a new mezzanine level inside next-door neighbor Muncheez are both consistently busy with socially distanced customers sipping espresso martinis that pair with creative Mediterranean dishes. Crispy Brussels sprouts here are anything but boring, placed atop a bed of charred butternut squash with crunchy bresaola and pickled mustard seeds that pop. A seasonal schnitzel plate stars sesame crusted Amish chicken and barbecued bacon. It’s finished with homemade ranch, a dusting of charred corn, and sun-dried tomatoes. Carryout cocktails, portioned for three to six people, come in thoughtful packaging. Glass bottles get corked and dipped in colorful wax, then mixologists write the contents labels that look like burnt scrolls. Reserve a seat or order takeout and delivery; 1306 18th Street NW — Tierney Plumb
For works of can art: Brooklyn brewery OtherHalf opened a shiny, sprawling Ivy City facility in October, offering takeout-only cans of its IPAs out to a line of cars waiting out front. These days, visitors can sit and sample a lengthy list of brews across a big wooden deck that has tables with a two-hour time limit. The brewery just set up the draft system for a walk-up taproom this week. The cans are absolute eye candy, splashed with light-catching holograms and awesomely weird graphics like broccoli florets floating in space or alongside Chinese food containers (I already have a growing collection of empty souvenirs at home). A D.C.-specific “Northeast” double IPA (8 percent ABV) is covered with a map of the D.C. quadrant. Tap room guests can pair beer with snacks from Ivy City neighbor Baker’s Daughter. Order online for curbside pickup or delivery, and the patio is on a first-come basis from Friday to Sunday. 1401 Okie Street NE — Tierney Plumb
Friday, December 4
For neatly packaged chicken Parm subs: I’ve been undertaking some sandwich research lately, which gave me an excuse to walk over to Pizza Policy, the carryout window that represents catering company W. Millar & Co.’s response to the pandemic. I was impressed from start to finish, happy to wait 15 minutes for a fried-to-order cutlet inside a chicken Parm sub that handled the short walk home well in its tight foil wrapper. The chicken was crispy — not drowning in tomato sauce — and the melted provolone was generous but overwhelming. The garlic bread roll took it to a higher level. A flaky homemade breakfast tart with a fig filling was a solid dessert, and a friend tells me the breakfast burritos are on-point, too. Walk-up or order online; 1335 14th Street NW — Gabe Hiatt
For Jackson Pollock-type takeout: I gave Seven Reasons’s new deconstructed dinner set a whirl this week, and the plating work got me feeling like a pop artist for the night. Open two big shoeboxes to unlock all the five-course fixings needed to recreate one of chef Enrique Limardo’s artsy Latin meals at home (warning: make sure you’ve got a canvas of clean plateware ready to go). A “painting” set — mini squeeze bottles filled with beet syrup, sea bean oil, and shishito puree — can be zig-zagged and swirled on and around their designated dishes. Tender duck, plantains disks, and a hollowed squash filled with rice and pecans all require a 15-minute trip to the oven first. The meal felt like a feat at first, but color-coded containers for each course, plus Limardo’s minute-long Instagram video tutorials, make the edible art project pretty seamless. For some creative inspo, blast Seven Reasons’s playlist on Spotify. “Plate at Home” is available for takeout and delivery ($150 for two). 2208 14th Street NW — Tierney Plumb
For pre-shopping mac and cheese: Penn Quarter looks a little livelier these days, thanks to an outdoor holiday market where Vice President-elect Kamala Harris just bought stocking stuffers. Before my own visit, I ate brunch at beautiful brasserie the Smith nearby. I haven’t been to the New York import in ages, and I was happy to see its skillet mac and cheese hasn’t gone anywhere. To offset the cheesy carbs, I went with a tangy kale and quinoa salad and added charred flatiron steak for more shopping energy. The weekend menu, served until 4 p.m., includes a complimentary mimosa or bloody mary with Benedicts, scrambles, and steak and egg dishes. It was nice to hear staff remind customers to wear masks when waiters come by tables, too. Reserve a table for limited indoor and patio seating or order delivery online. 901 F Street NW — T.P.
For goat biryani in Fairfax: I miss having Curry Mantra in my Falls Church neighborhood (it’s been six years; I probably need to move on), so I was pretty excited to learn that we’re actually in delivery range of their Fairfax location. This discovery led to a delicious dinner of complex goat biryani, satisfying butter chicken, rich lamb korma, and comforting dal. Mulligatawny soup and samosas are worthy starters. You probably want to buy more naan (one piece per order) than you think. Order takeout or delivery online. 9984 Main Street, Fairfax, Virginia, 22031 — Missy Frederick
For punishingly hot chicken tenders: I have a friend who doesn’t like meat cooked on the bone. We’ll be nice and refrain from exploring this quirk further, since we were celebrating his birthday when we decided to indulge said preference and order the chicken tenders from WooBoi chicken, which has a new location in Alexandria. Those tenders were terrific! A quick warning: I’m very enthusiastic about spicy food, and would still consider the No. 5 level of spice here to be punishingly hot. Prepare to have a glass of milk on hand if you go that route. The mild tenders still have a pleasant kick, but I’d recommend going in the 3-4 level range, depending on your own spice tolerance. No matter the heat, you’ll end up with juicy meat and plenty of flavor. Order takeout online; 531 Montgomery Street, Alexandria, Virginia, 22314 — M.F.
Friday, October 29
For a syrup-soaked cake that’s not too sweet: In the midst of some morning pastry research, I popped into Yellow, the French-meets-Middle Eastern bakery run out of chef Michael Raifidi’s Albi in Navy Yard, the other day. I walked out with a white box containing olive oil cake for breakfast. To be exact, this was a square of Lebanese basbousa ($7), a semolina-based crumb soaked in a flower syrup. My tastes lean sweet anyway, but a pleasantly salty topping of crushed pistachios helped defuse the sugar bomb. A single hot round of Rafidi’s excellent pita ($3), with potato and yogurt in the dough and a dusting of za’atar, was a more practical day-starter I’d happily order again. Walk in or order for pickup online; 1346 Fourth Street SE — Gabe Hiatt
For Vietnamese coffee doughnuts worth a wait: Later the same day, I timed a visit to Rose Ave. Bakery so I’d arrive right around the 10 a.m. opening time for one of their weekly walk-in days (the preorders sell out in a flash). Even after walking into the Block’s new Asian food hall downtown a minute after 10, I must have been the fifth person in an appropriately spaced out line. The variety box I picked out for some friends who love doughnuts was full of memorable flavors: ube purple halo halo doughnuts with coconut cream, a Saigon cinnamon and banana cookie, a white peach and miso doughnut, and a standout passion fruit curd doughnut. But the best vehicle for the soft, sweet potato brioche dough was a bittersweet Vietnamese coffee cream that was every bit as bold as an espresso shooter waiting to be blended with ice and sweetened condensed milk. Preorder here and check the site for weekly schedules; located in the Block DC at 1110 Vermont Avenue NW — G.H.
For an out-of-the-way cheeseburger: My itinerary for a long weekend trip out to the Monongahela National Forest included a pit stop at Farmer’s Daughter, a butcher shop and market in tiny Capon Bridge, West Virginia, that I’d been thinking about since Emily Heil wrote up the cheeseburgers in the Washington Post. They were every bit as good as she said, with the combo of Duke’s mayo, pickled red onions, and seasoning on the dry-aged beef patty creating a ranch-like flavor. If you go, get some of the shop’s city ham sliced from the butcher counter, and order extra. You’ll want to pop plenty of slices layered with creamy, pristine white pork fat into your mouth every time you build a sandwich. Walk in for service; 2908 NW Pike, Capon Bridge, West Virginia — G.H.
For lobster all ways: Dupont Circle seafood mainstay Pesce has always had plenty of options for lobster. The crustacean fills out a new three-course special ($45) that includes a creamy bisque, a refreshing Waldorf salad, and a fricassee finale — a broken-down lobster perched on a bed of butter. On a recent visit I got to taste an impromptu shipment of abalone (sea snails), a slippery delicacy from West Coast waters that chef Andrew LaPorta brought in. His popular grilled Portuguese octopus is always around, currently plated next to tomato risotto. A bowl of crispy clams joined by celery, chile, and cabbage is also a good way to start. Pesce just upped its pouched cocktail game, too, with a dark purple “Mull Me Maybe” that can be heated up at home. Open for dine-in, patio service, takeout, and delivery. 2002 P Street NW — Tierney Plumb
For borek for breakfast: I’ve discovered my new favorite Falls Church farmers’ market breakfast, and it isn’t a croissant, muffin, or a doughnut. It’s the borek from local Turkish vendor Borek G (they have a newish Falls Church storefront as well). The meat borek recalls my college memories of ordering large pies of the similar Albanian burek from the Bronx’s Arthur Avenue, which should be famous for more than just Italian food. The potato burek and shareable meat flatbreads are worth considering here as well. 315 S Maple Avenue, Falls Church, Virginia — Missy Frederick
For red and green sauce: Another pandemic discovery: I can get Tex-Mex staple Anita’s delivered to my house. The restaurant’s comforting emphasis on red and green chile sauces translates well to such dishes as the generously-portioned arroz con pollo and the cheesy, smothered enchiladas. Appetizers that don’t often travel well (loaded nachos, beefy taquitos) actually held up rather well here. A warning: tacos arrived on the soggier side. Open for dine-in, carryout, curbside pickup, and drive thru service across all eight NoVa locations. Locations in Ashburn, Burke, Chantilly, Fairfax, Herndon, Leesburg, Vienna, and Springfield. — M.F.
Friday, October 23
For a rebooted patio in the heart of Dupont: The Dupont Circle hotel reopened its classy Doyle bar about a month ago. Its buzzy patio is as cute as can be, adorned with twinkling lights, hay, and fall foliage. Waiters whiz around in PPE, dropping off throwback cocktails and a solid cross-section of cuisines. Think: juicy meatballs swimming in pomodoro sauce and duck confit in a hoisin glaze tucked inside pillowy steam buns. Seeing a crab cake on the menu confused me at first (summer’s long over!) but then I remembered the crustacean actually achieves its plump peak this month. The fat, filler-free orb worked well with a neighboring pea shoot salad dressed with a tart drizzle. Chunks of marbled potatoes slathered in gooey Swiss raclette help usher in the cold. The mid-century modern bar honors its genre with spins on 1950s cocktails like a barrel-aged Manhattan and a tangy gin and tonic that arrives in a gold French press-like contraption. The hotel’s owners are Irish, so the frothy Irish coffee is naturally on point. Open Monday to Sunday from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. 1500 New Hampshire Avenue NW — Tierney Plumb
For cookie crumble galore: Chocolate chip cookies are the ultimate comfort food, and there are three options around town I seek out whenever I need something sweet. The first comes from Cameo, the new coffee bar inside The Roost. This Capitol Hill food hall bakes an extra chewy cookie to golden brown perfection that makes for an ideal mid-day snack. Then, there’s a cookie so big, it’s actually the size of a softball. Satellite Sandwiches is a new “ghost kitchen” located inside downtown’s Astro Doughnuts, and it makes a cookie mound choc-full of semi-sweet morsels. Last, but not least, you have to try the chocolate chip masala cookie at fast-casual Indian chain Rasa (multiple locations). I love this cookie because it mixes subtle spices with rich, milk chocolatey flavor. All three cookies are top-notch picks should a sugar craving hit hard this weekend. Multiple locations — Tim Ebner
For an UberEats pick for the win: On a recent boring (and starving) Saturday at home, I started scrolling mindlessly on the app for a fast-casual “linner.” I landed on Spice 6, the budding Indian chain currently situated in Chinatown, Hyattsville, and Vienna. For my first taste, I clicked on some admittedly tried-and-true options: samosa chaat and $16.49 chicken tikka masala. The latter was a winner, but I just sampled a better version for less (an $11 combo platter at the new Butter Chicken Co. near Union Station). The star of Spice 6 show was a $3.59 add-on: surprisingly massive (aka pizza-sized) spheres of garlic naan that held up well for days via subsequent trips in the oven. The pair of extra crispy, potato-filled samosas were each huge in their own right, perched atop a generous helping of chickpeas. Order pickup or delivery at all three area locations — T.P.
Friday, October 16
For fluffy Guamanian doughnuts: Move over, cronuts. There’s a lighter, fluffier, and more Instagrammable doughnut in town. Known as buñelos dågu, the sugary, fried-dough snack made from yams comes to D.C. by way of Guam. Chef and military vet Manuel “Manny” Grey runs a Union Kitchen startup called Para Hita that specializes in Guamanian cuisine, hot sauces, and snacks like those sought-after, sugary spheres. There’s just a dozen doughnuts for sale each day, and they’re reportedly selling out regularly. In addition to his elusive doughnuts, he’s bringing a line of grocery products, including red rice, that offer a taste of his home island. Available at Union Kitchen Grocery locations on Capitol Hill and in Arlington, Shaw, and downtown. — Tim Ebner
For Vietnamese barbecue and boba: I can’t help but miss Dino’s Grotto, the Italian restaurant full of salumi and wine steals that closed last year in Shaw, but I was also interested to check out the casual Northern Vietnamese shop that took over the space. 1914 comes from Kolben Conceptor, a group that runs a variety of Asian restaurants in Texas. A takeout bowl of com tam (broken rice with barbecue pork) came with slices of meat in a sticky sweet sauce that tasted fresh off the grill. A to-go cup of tra sua (milk tea) comes with a bamboo straw that can be used to suction up black boba (for a 75-cent surcharge). Order online here; 1914 Ninth Street NW —Gabe Hiatt
For a fantastical vegetarian prix fixe: The glitzy Conrad hotel just found an adorably romantic way to welcome back diners for the first time since the pandemic. Its plant-filled terrace on the second floor was the ideal canvas for a new storybook dinner with three “chapters” inspired by the Secret Garden, and each thought-out element has a vegetarian component. “Chapter One: Down the Garden Path” arrives inside a locked jewelry box (patrons also receive a gold “key” upon entry past an ivy-lined hidden door). Micro vegetables, avocado vinaigrette, and charred cippolini onions sit on a bed of pumpernickel soil in the top drawer. Two others slide open to reveal local cheeses and charcuterie. Paired cocktails are also interactive. A glass contraption planted tableside brews and pours a bright medley of Botanist gin, Seedlip Citrus, and white vermouth. QR codes at each table preview each “chapter,” complete with literary menu drawings from Cuban artist (and Conrad staffer) Raydel Blanco. Book a table for the $75 Hidden Terrace Garden Tasting (food only) Friday and Saturdays. There’s also an a la carte option on the terrace Wednesdays through Saturdays. 950 New York Avenue NW — Tierney Plumb
For eating and drinking like the press: Access to bar food and cocktails inside downtown’s historic National Press Club is a perk traditionally reserved for members and guests who visit the wood-lined Reliable Source bar on the 13th floor. During the pandemic, the club decided to open its menu to the public for the first time. Orders favored by reporters and communications pros include a crab cake sandwich, burgers, crispy wings slathered in Frank’s Red Hot sauce, and a butternut squash salad. Instead of the regular Friday taco night — a free buffet for journalists on a budget — there’s a party pack of six quesadillas. To-go seasonal cocktails enclosed in mason jars include a cranberry mojito punch and bourbon apple cider. The new takeout option also includes bottles of liquor and wines. Fun fact: NPC is the proud recipient of D.C.’s first-ever liquor license, assigned to the club on the opening day of the taproom right after Prohibition lifted in 1933. Pickup and delivery runs weekdays 11 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. (with weekend hours coming soon). 529 14th Street NW — T.P.
Friday, October 9
For Japanese short rib skewers: My first bite of takeout from Shibuya Eatery was an eye-opener. As I futzed with containers containing udon noodles, dashi broth, and a variety of meat and vegetables blistered by binchotan charcoal, I used my teeth to wiggle a cube of short rib off the top of its skewer. At the new izakaya and noodle bar, just one piece of chef Darren Norris’s multi-level Japanese complex in Adams Morgan, beef kushiyaki perform a neat trick. Thanks to a six-hour sous vide cook, the rich, fatty cut is as tender as pot roast, but the grill caramelizes exposed fat and firms up the outside. Bites of chicken thigh cured in koji — the mother mold for soy sauce, sake, mirin, and miso — were standouts, too. Sticky ume plum and yuzu citrus sauces added salty and sour character to charred baby leeks and white asparagus, respectively. Order for takeout or delivery using third-party apps or reserve a spot on Resy for sidewalk patio seating; 2321 18th Street NW — Gabe Hiatt
For baked squash as sweet as a summer peach: Years ago, my college girlfriend was the first person to drag me out to the farmers market and introduce me to the joys of locally grown tomatoes. I thought of that revelation when I bit into creamy orange flesh of a koginut squash, sweet as a summer peach, from Oyster Oyster’s four-course vegetarian prix. Chef Rob Rubba stuffs the center of the pumpkin with a mix of grains (sorghum, oat berries, sticky rice) and foraged mushrooms, kale, mustard greens, and a benne seed miso. I’ll never look at a gourd the same way again. Order takeout prix-fixes through Tock Wednesday through Saturday; 1440 Eighth Street NW — G.H.
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For fried calamari and pepperoncini that’s on-point: From solid starters to attentive service, beach-y getaway 801 Restaurant has clearly hit its stride four years in. A breezy, upstairs patio dotted with turquoise stools and tropical faux flowers welcomes guests with “Good Vibes Only” neon signage, setting the de-stressing stage to watch sports or take in street scenes below. Fried food is on point here, including a basket of crispy calamari and pepperoncini or beignet balls filled with lobster and mac and cheese. Pasta and seafood play well together in a sizable scampi linguine loaded with jumbo shrimp, scallops, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes. A rum-fueled “Frosty Flamingo” pays homage to the pink bird splashed across the wallpaper in the bathrooms. Chances are you’ll make fast friends with an upbeat and tight-knit staff that genuinely wants customers to chill out during 90-minute visits. Reserve a seat for dinner or weekend brunch across three levels and an umbrella-covered parklet, or order online. 801 Florida Avenue NW — Tierney Plumb
For a taste of summer in the fall: Union Market’s massive new rooftop bar, Hi-Lawn, is one of the more ingenious uses of space I’ve seen since COVID-19 forced restaurants to rethink everything. The entirely alfresco artificial turf setup atop the Northeast food hall houses two seating arrangements: plop down right on the fake grass in marked off circles or claim a picnic table lining the perimeter. Snack sets are adorably packed in picnic “basket” coolers, stocked with an assortment of glass-enclosed dips, rye crisps, charcuterie, and caramel brownies. A la carte options from chef Nathan Beauchamp include a generously portioned lobster roll dressed with brown butter mayo. Another way to savor summer is a potent “Morning After Seacrets” cocktail (prosecco, vodka, and peach liqueur) named after the beloved Ocean City bar. Next Saturday, the lawn flips into a pumpkin patch with Oktoberfest brews and candied apples. Book a table (or lawn spot) online. 1309 Fifth Street NE — T.P.
Friday, October 2
For rotisserie chicken, Israeli style: Dating back to the pastrami and lox that he used to serve at DGS Delicatessen, Nick Wiseman has a way with curing. Although the Dupont deli has been closed for a couple years, the chef and Little Sesame co-owner is flexing those salt-sprinkling skills again with the advent of a new item at the hummus bowl counter’s Chinatown location: a rotisserie chicken that’s dry-brined in shawarma spices such as cumin, coriander, and lots of white pepper. After focusing on various charitable endeavors throughout the pandemic, Little Sesame reopened for takeout and delivery in mid-September. Wiseman and partner Ronen Tenne installed a rotisserie oven with the idea that whole birds and heads of cauliflower would meet demand for family-style takeout. When I tried it this week, the chicken easily pulled off the bone, and the center of the breast meat was nearly as soft as schmaltz. Family meals ($36 to $45) feature a whole chicken, a cauliflower, or half of each. Customers also get to pick from two sauces — go with a labneh ranch that gets boosted with za’atar and sour cream or harissa barbecue sauce with a sweet pucker of vinegar to balance out the chiles — two sides, a half-pint of hummus, and pita. Chickens are also available a la carte for $22 (or $12 for half). Order takeout or delivery online; 736 Sixth Street NW — Gabe Hiatt
For meatless Eastern European eats: SpacyCloud, a funky art gallery/vegetarian restaurant in Adams Morgan, gives off Haight Ashbury vibes with skate decks on display, an autographed Opus One wine board, and a camo jacket splashed with Jimmy Hendrix’s face that hangs over the kitchen. Owner/longboarder/hemp advocate Tati Kolina used to live out by the Bay, and she just brought on Maria Brezinsky, a tenured chef from Moscow by way of NYC, to lead a largely vegan menu. I barely missed meat in her cabbage schnitzel, jazzed up with a bread crumb crust full of paprika, garlic, and pepper, and served alongside Russian-style roasted potatoes and pickled veggies. Tonight Kolina starts serving chebureki, deep-fried turnovers attributed to the Crimean Tatars. The chef’s version is filled with a meat substitute, herbs, and spices. The star of the show on a recent visit was her take on harcho, a traditional Georgian soup with rice and a generous amount of herbs. A delicious espresso martini on ice arrived in a SpacyCloud-branded mason jar. Drinks also includes giant bottles of hard-to-find Baltika beers from Russia. Open for takeout (in eco-friendly packaging), dine-in, and outside service starting at 6 p.m. (and 4 p.m. on Saturdays). 2309 18th Street NW — Tierney Plumb
For takeout ramen: As the weather is turning cooler, soup seems to be on my agenda. I’ve had equally good luck with delivery orders from Jinya Ramen and Marumen. Turn to the former for excellent karaage (Japanese fried chicken) and less traditional flavors and broths. I also love adding chicken wontons as a random topping to any bowl. Marumen is stellar for traditional varieties like shoyu and shio ramen. Be sure to add an order of their puffy, togarashi-flecked chicharrones. Jinya Ramen offers online ordering with locations in Logan Circle, Fairfax, North Bethesda, and Reston; Marumen’s Fairfax location (3250 Old Pickett Road is open for takeout (703) 352-6278) and dine-in — Missy Frederick
Friday, September 25
For an Ethiopian-American fried chicken sandwich: The potent scent of berbere — the Ethiopian spice blend mixing warming spices, red chiles, and fenugreek — unfurled from a white takeout box in my passenger seat and flooded every corner of the car, making the short, rainy trip from Mélange in Mt. Vernon Triangle back to my apartment seem interminable. I was already curious to see how the National, a fried chicken sandwich that chef Elias Taddasse created as a 21st century doro wat, would work out in practice. The answer? Even better than I hoped. The berbere is the dominant flavor, but a turmeric cabbage slaw, a runny egg, niter kibbeh (clarified butter) aioli, and a soft onion bun complemented it well. The crust around a thin cut of chicken breast kept its crunchy integrity. A reasonably sized portion of meat made it both easy to bite and not too filling. Order takeout online; 449 K Street NW — Gabe Hiatt
For Parisian gnocchi with a rotating cast of vegetables: Sitting at a table plunked in a street lane at Lutèce, the recent reincarnation of Café Bonaparte in Georgetown, is a bit of a thrill ride. Every time a huge red bus rumbles down Wisconsin Avenue NW, a partition separating diners from drivers rattles and shakes. Seasonal dishes from chef Matt Conroy are just as exciting. The menu has already changed a good deal from the late summer meal my wife and I enjoyed a few weeks ago. Parisian gnocchi — made with flour, not potato — came with sweet corn, sungold tomatos, and poblano peppers on our visit. The latest menu describes pasta pellets with maitake mushrooms, shishito peppers, and comté cheese. In late August, ricotta made on-site and served as a base for stone fruits and purple shiso leaf was a home run of a recommendation from our masked server. Now the fresh cheese comes with figs, honey vinegar, and basil. If you don’t mind a vigorous brush-by from a bus, or you’re comfortable eating inside right now, you should snag a seat soon. 1522 Wisconsin Avenue NW — G.H.
For curry wings off North Cap: I was recently reminded the Pub & the People slings some of the best starters in town. Shielded from North Capitol Street by lots of plant life, patio diners are offered Off spray for a bug-free evening. A piping hot bowl of Christmas-colored shishito peppers, dressed with sake, soy, and togarashi, are a fine slippery snack. Best-selling tempura cauliflower comes with hoisin-Sriracha sauce and a ginger and sesame emulsion. I was about to go for grilled hot wings until I scrolled through the QR code-enabled menu and saw an alternative bathed in green curry sauce. The cilantro-packed poultry arrives with a bowl of bright white garlic yogurt for dipping. Beer is also a star player here. I went with the Dinner double IPA from Maine Beer Company — a hard-to-find brew that boasts a perfect score on Beer Advocate. The “Ruth Bourbon Ginsburg” cocktail — a sharp mix of Redemption bourbon, sweet vermouth, caraway, coriander, white pepper, and lemon — was on the menu before the late Supreme Court justice became the first woman to lay in state. Call 202-234-1800 for takeout or to reserve a seat, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily. 1648 North Capitol Street NW — Tierney Plumb
For mussels marinière at home: Et Voila!, the Tom Sietsema-approved Belgian-French fixture in the Palisades, is taking all the right sanitization steps these days: silverware arrives inside sealed baggies, warm bread gets plopped in a paper bag, and plenty of partitions provide privacy between tables. Start with its popular endive and roasted pecan salad, with square-cut leaves acting as crunchy counterparts to creamy blue and Chimay cheeses. Because mussels don’t travel well, the team translates brothy orders to takeout. Two pounds of Dutch mussels come alongside ingredients (and instructions) to recreate sauces like a leek, celery, and white wine-filled marinière. Cups of airy chocolate mousse are already pretty portable. Chef-owner Claudio Pirollo was ahead of the curve when he added a grab-and-go market in 2017 — they’re now everywhere during the pandemic. Inspired by the Italian grocery he watched his dad run as a kid in Belgium, he stocks the mini market with everything from sleek mussels pots to Greek olive oil to Heinz ketchup. Order takeout online here. Shop at the market or dine in starting at 11:30 a.m; 5120 MacArthur Boulevard NW — T.P.
For an icy Filipino treat: Bantam King confection queen Mary Mendoza just rolled out a pair of September desserts at the Chinatown ramen bar. A Halo Halo cup ($7) is a delicious compilation of layered Filipino shaved ice, bright purple ube swirl, coconut ice cream, and sweet plantains, with a sugary cream drizzle. She suggests mixing it all up before reaching a squishy red bean bottom. It’s only available Friday to Sunday for dine-in (4 p.m. to 9 p.m.), but you can ask a server to get the treat to go. Nearby sibling spot Daikaya just added an online konbini (mini market) stocked with Japanese essentials like Kewpie mayo, soda, tea, dried ramen, and a few packaged foods from chef Katsuya Fukushima, like spam musubi and sandos. Its name — 11-7 at Daikaya— reflects operational hours. Fukushima’s group already includes orders of its own ramen bowls with heat-and-eat instructions stapled on the side of each bag. Order online for carryout/delivery daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. 501 G Street NW — T.P.
Friday, September 18
For hot pupusas and sweet plantains: The Union Market district has been our go-to for outdoor hangouts with a couple other couples during the pandemic. On our last visit, our group checked out the improvised patio at rum distillery Cotton & Reed, then meandered over to La Cosecha to browse the latest options at the Latin American market, which always has a few tables available outside. More vendors have trickled in to the long-delayed complex, including an outpost of South American wine shop Grand Cata that has a carryout food menu. A grocery kiosk there gave me an excuse to bring home a jar of guayaba marmalade. Silver Spring-based La Casita has set up shop, too, and the audible sizzle of revuelta and loroco flower pupusas made my dinner decision for me. The real treat was one of my favorite guilty pleasures: a sweet, caramelized side order of fried plantains. Walk in or order pickups online; 1280 Fourth Street NE — Gabe Hiatt
For an Andouille-loaded spin on oysters Rockefeller: Sleek new seafood spot Brine is a complete breath of fresh air for the H Street corridor, starting with the view passers-by get of staff shucking oysters from behind a glass facade. Head to the back to find an absolutely adorable patio, lined with nautical touches, a lobster mural, and electric blue lighting that gives off deepwater jellyfish vibes. Look up and you can peer into sister bar Biergarten Haus, a worn-in staple on the strip. Brine’s tangy ceviche, plump tuna tartare, and fresh Rhode Island squid are all good introductions to the new restaurant. Chef Aaron McGovern spent time in New Orleans, and he’s selling a “Bourbon Street” spin on oysters Rockefeller with broiled Andouille sausage, red pepper and corn succotash, and corn bread crumble. Super colossal shrimp live up to their name, requiring multiple bites to reach each tail after dunked into a lime chili butter dip. A wreath of hot peel-and-eat shrimp, swimming in a bowl of flavorful sauce, is ideal for sharing. Props to the team for making everything — including raw bar towers and mussels — translate to takeout. Happy hour runs 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Dine in or online for takeout. 1359 H Street NE — Tierney Plumb
For tried-and-true pomodoro: Downtown’s RPM Italian is a longtime favorite, and the mood at the dimly lit, matte black bar area always makes me think of a Las Vegas lounge. Strict social distancing guidelines in makes it one of the more exclusive seats to snag these days. Outdoor dining is an option, too, but be ready for a wait. Ordering off the QR code was a quick task. I went with the reliable dishes I already know well. RPM’s Brussels sprouts are like no other — taken apart, leaf by leaf, to create a huge shredded pyramid along with avocado, toasted breadcrumbs, and pickled peppers. The Mama DePandi’s pomodoro remains one of the best — and more affordable ($14) — pastas in town. The not-too-filling portion is a tightly woven nest of spaghetti, covered in a snowfall of Parmesan and finished with a handful of delicate Genovese basil leaves. A loaf of truffled garlic bread helps sop up the rest of the pasta’s light red sauce. Celebrity couple Giuliana and Bill Rancic’s brand made smart pivots to meet family-style demand during the pandemic. That delicious truffle bread can be supersized for four (40 pieces), with a 48-hour notice required. Dine-in, takeout, and delivery are available for lunch and dinner. 650 K Street NW — T.P.
Friday, September 11
For Hawaiian shrimp sliders: Hawaiian food truck Mana rolled through Wundergarten, NoMa’s neighborhood beer garden, on a recent summer night, and it’s back today. Fans of the mobile operation have requested its garlic shrimp roll, so Mana brought the fried seafood sandwich back in the form of sliders. Every order gets stuffed with furikake-filled macaroni and served on a banana leaf. A flat haupia pie is a gorgeous medley of layered purple sweet potato, Hawaiian coconut pudding, and macadamia nut shortbread. The neon lights above the bar’s canopy made the dessert absolutely glow. Speaking of Wundergarten, it’s one of the more solid places to hang out if you’re not comfortable drinking indoors. The CaliBurger truck is a regular option there, too. After a quick contact tracing check-in, head straight to the back and plop down in a cabana. Each table gets its own Toast QR code, which means customers can easily order and pay for a la carte drafts without getting up or splitting tabs. Order ahead, and view Mana’s full weekend schedule here. 1101 First Street NE — Tierney Plumb
For bagels with super summer tomatoes: On their own, the bagels from Pearl’s are impressive. The months-old shop in Mt. Vernon Square produces rounds that perform the proper push and pull of crackly and chewy, with some help from a sourdough starter. Throwing red and yellow slices of locally farmed tomatoes from Black Rock Orchard upped the ante for color and peak summer flavor inside a Pharmacy Special I took home the other day. That bagel sandwich also comes with scallion and chive cream cheese and bacon from Epic Curing, the Landover, Maryland, company started by the guys who used to run Kangaroo Boxing Club and the Good Silver in Columbia Heights. Order takeout online; 1017 Seventh Street NW — Gabe Hiatt
For Spanish croquetas: Since we’re still sticking to takeout, one place I really miss is SER; the Spanish restaurant in Arlington is great for celebratory feasts with family in the dining room, or festive happy hours with rosé flights and tapas on the patio. We decided to bring a bit of that tapas experience home, and it made for a fun Friday night full of snacking. Tomato bread traveled surprisingly well, garlic shrimp was impossible to stop eating, and the bechamel-stuffed croquetas were the clear hit of our order. Do we dare splurge on the $60 paella for a future special occasion takeout order? Time will tell. Order takeout online or delivery on third-party apps; 1110 North Glebe Road, Arlington — Missy Frederick
For pupusas and Sal-Mex fajitas: Most of our experience so far with Pupuseria Mana has been with its pupusa and taco truck, which operates during sporadic hours out of a parking lot in a Falls Church shopping center. We recently gave their full-service restaurant — located in that same center — a whirl, finding generous takeout portions of fajitas along with various Bolivian and Tex-Mex dishes (make sure to add a side of plantains). Gotta say, though, my favorite item remains the melty pork and cheese pupusas. Extra rice and beans are a good move for adapting leftovers into fun new concoctions, particularly for breakfast. Call 703-204-0593 for takeout; 7236 Arlington Boulevard, Falls Church — M.F.
Friday, August 28
For a brunch of fluffy Japanese pancakes: Brunch goes beyond noodles at Kitsuen, the months-old ramen bar on H Street NE backed by rapper Pusha T. I was excited to learn that Andrew Chiou, the chef behind now-closed skewer standout Momo Yakitori, has taken a job in the kitchen at Kitsuen. Chiou makes comforting bowls of maple-braised beef short ribs served over a bed of whipped potatoes with baby carrots and shiitake mushrooms. There are perfectly greasy pork belly buns flanked with fried garlic chile, adorably fluffy Japanese pancakes sweetened with maple meringue, and shiitake and bacon-stuffed arancini. A patio out back filled with glossy, Ferrari-red chairs is an ideal spot to chill while downing carafes of fresh strawberry or orange mimosas ($25 with a 90-minute time limit). “K”-branded cocktail napkins include one of my favorite quotes from Ernest Hemingway: “I drink to make other people more interesting.” Reserve a seat online for brunch, starting at noon; takeout is also available. 1362 H Street NE — Tierney Plumb
For spicy Thai pumpkin curry to go: Opening the black, plastic takeout containers at my kitchen table feels like a sad substitute for past visits to Thai X-ing. The banana leaves lining boxes filled with pumpkin curry, pad Thai loaded with red chile powder, and purple sticky rice with perfectly ripened mango take me back to the Shaw staple where, once upon a time, you could show up with a group of friends for a ridiculously affordable prix fixe served in a row house on Florida Avenue NW. The red curry, with a winter squash cooked down to a creamy texture and rich sauce that throbs with heat, reminds me, too, that the food outshines the atmosphere in the converted living room that felt much homier than the average restaurant. The COVID-19 crisis has pushed the Thai X-ing outpost nearby on Ninth Street NW to offer a la carte orders, so at least it feels a little more accessible. Order takeout on DC To Go Go or delivery through GrubHub and Caviar; 2020 Ninth Street NW — Gabe Hiatt
For rooftop ice cream sandwiches: The Riggs hotel in Penn Quarter originally wanted to use its 12th story rooftop as a private events space to capitalize on its prime, panoramic city vistas. Now that the market for corporate functions and weddings is obsolete, the London-based ownership group made it a rooftop bar that’s open to everybody. A Mediterranean menu, led by chef Patrick Curran and Co. from lobby-level Cafe Riggs, is still fit for a fancy gala. Start off with his bite-sized melon cubes topped with prosciutto or a plate of diced peaches perched atop whipped ricotta. Smoked red pepper and chickpea relish, an early favorite, gets scooped up with crudités and chips. Dessert was a light delight: strawberry or orange creamsicle ice cream sandwiches come stuffed between a thin, round cracker crust. An Aperol spritz, further spiked with Rosa Vermouth, seemed right on a recent summer night. Servers are impeccably professional; many formerly worked at its pristine basement bar Silver Lyan, which remains closed for now. Book a table for Friday (4 p.m. to 10 p.m.), Saturday (2 p.m. to 10 p.m.), or Sunday (2 p.m. to 8 p.m.) seatings. 900 F Street NW — T.P.
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Ricotta and peaches, now available on the newly opened #rooftopatriggs . Come enjoy a cocktail and a bite with us while taking in great views of the DC. Reservations encouraged! #rooftopbars #dcbars #dcrestaurants #dcstrong #dctogether #dceats #eatdrinkdc #pennquarter #foodporn
Friday, August 21
For Spanish chorizo and arepas Benedict: I recently made the trek out to Vienna’s quaint downtown to visit Blend 111, the Latin wine and coffee bar that may have made a game-changing hire in chef Andrés-Julian Zuluaga. The 27-year-old already has an impressive resume, working under Chiko chef Scott Drewno at the Source, then under Fabio Trabocchi at Fiola Mare and Del Mar. Zuluaga had a job lined up at El Cielo, the modernist Colombian restaurant setting up inside La Cosecha market, but Blend 111 came calling. Zuluaga’s Colombian and Puerto Rican roots show through at brunch with a chorizo Benedict that uses arepas as a base. Confit sunchokes come with a tangy mojo verde. Ceviche rotates based on whatever catch comes in from ProFish. Last weekend it was a gorgeous snapper topped with finger limes. Virginia’s Root & Marrow farm also brightens up the menu. A “superfood” vanilla matcha latte was delicious (definitely get the espresso add-on). Zuluaga says he’d like to turn a parking lot-turned-twinkling patio into a “high-end barbecue” spot, serving early hits like his dinnertime tamarind ribs with ají de maní (peanut hot sauce). Carryout or limited dine-in is available for brunch, lunch and dinner. 111 Church Street NW Suite 101 — Tierney Plumb
For to-go rosé flights with Mediterranean meze: I recently tried Zaytinya’s new “RoZAY” brunch (ha), which pairs assorted meze with the pink drink. Customers can choose from a Greek or Mediterranean “flight” served in a trio of to-go bottles. Oblong, cheesy pide got a nice kick from chunks of spicy soujouk sausage spread on top. Rip apart the sizable, circular pita bread to dig into hummus. A tub of shakshouka — braised chicken swimming a sweet pepper and tomato stew — comes with a pair of perfectly poached eggs bobbing inside that beg to be broken and spread across just about anything. I ignored the fact the chilled apricot-and-Greek yogurt bowl was technically dessert and dunked anything and everything I could find in it, including garden veggie pretzels from the pantry. A la carte brunch is available until 3 p.m. and the RoZAY offering ($75 for two) runs until 4 p.m. Limited dine-in service is also available. 701 9th Street NW — T.P.
For a roast pork sandwich with a satisfying spritz: Beuchert’s Saloon chef Andrew Markert is delivering a one-two-punch with Fight Club, a new sandwich pop-up that has temporarily replaced the Capitol Hill restaurant. Until Makert finds a chance to open a dedicated deli nearby, this is the next best thing. An early favorite is the Tonnato Melt, a roast pork sandwich with Tonnato sauce, an Italian condiment made with tuna, anchovies, lemon juice, olive oil, and mayonnaise. The sandwich comes stuffed with pickles, cheese, and bacon on toasted sourdough. An Aperol spritz, ice cream sandwiches, and sundaes are reasons to visit if the hefty sandwiches aren’t calling out to you. Order takeout online or delivery through third-party apps; 623 Pennsylvania Avenue SE — Tim Ebner
Friday, August 14
For resurgent sushi in Dupont: Sushi Taro recently returned from a 10-week hiatus with a takeout-centric format, and a recent boxed dinner was full of reminders why the 34-year-old Dupont Circle institution has such as a sterling reputation. Immaculate cuts of fish showed off subtle differences in resistance between bites of various nigiri and sashimi — buttery squares of yellowtail were a favorite. The other small dishes we tried from a “kitchen” section of the online menu were just as impressive. A snowfall of bonito flakes provided a pleasant dose of smoke to the fish broth that seasoned steamed greens and enoki mushrooms in a small serving of ohitashi. Flakes of salt covering skewers of miso-marinated pork belly and onions held their shape in transit on another standout snack. Order takeout online; 1503 17th Street NW — Gabe Hiatt
For chilled chili udon in Arlington: The menu at Shirlington’s Palette 22 is literally all over the map, featuring Mexican, Peruvian, American, and Asian takes on skewers, bao buns, and sliders (oh, and there’s pizza, too). They recently condensed offerings into themed to-go kits, each highlighting a cross-section of cuisines. The “skewer sampler” pairs sticks of spicy jerk chicken, sesame steak, and Peruvian pork loin with a veggie dish. Definitely go for the chilled chili udon — a fiery bowl of slippery noodles that swirl easily around the fork. The star in “sliders” trio was the juicy Nashville hot chicken, wedged between a toasted, buttery bun. A “vegetarian” package includes elote and a delicious, creamy bowl of avocado hummus paired with extra crispy “everything” chips. Order pickup online, call 703-746-9007, or get delivery via UberEats and GrubHub. 4053 Campbell Avenue, Arlington, Virginia — Tierney Plumb
For Bolivian salteñas and singani: Last weekend my girlfriend invited me to hang out in her newly manicured backyard. Filled with beach balls and pool toys for the day, she coined her landlocked pop-up “Brookland Beach.” In pre-pandemic times, all four of us would be having a summer Sunday Funday at a packed bar, but here we were. She introduced us to salteñas, the beloved Bolivian street snack she ate growing up. The flaky treats came from Saya Salteña, Maria Iturralde’s new takeout shop that operates out of the Mess Hall incubator nearby. Made of crispy, sweet dough, salteñas are similar in shape and size to an empanada. Inside, there’s an assortment of savory fillings: chicken or beef, potatoes, peas, olives, hard boiled egg, and spices. They naturally paired nicely with Bolivia’s Rujero singani (grape brandy), which helps make its Mocochinchi (dehydrated peach) cider and Chuflay cocktails. Order bottled cocktails with fresh or frozen salteñas online for pickup at Mess Hall; Saya Salteña is also on DC To-GoGo. 703 Edgewood Street NE — T.P.
For an unlikely cookie find on U Street: My roommate talked me into a drink at Dirty Goose during a recent stroll through Shaw, and I’m glad he did. The two-flight trek up to the roof came with some cheap entertainment: 360-degree graffiti art tributes to Britney Spears in her “Toxic” and “Slave For You” element. I almost went for a signature strawberry Grey Goose martini (when in Rome), but I stayed on brand with my go-to tequila and soda. D.C. bars have to serve at least one food item with booze these days, and Dirty Goose confidently goes with just the one: a surprisingly delicious chocolate chip cookie. Maybe it was the tequila talking, but I could have sworn some fabulous baker was behind the batch. Turns out they’re store-bought: upon request, an owner reveals they’re David’s Cookies by Restaurant Depot. Reserve a rooftop seat online or order drinks (and a cookie) to-go. 913 U Street NW — T.P.
For crab picking on a secluded patio: Usually, if I have a craving for crabs, I’ll take a trip to the Wharf or plan a drive to one of the many seafood spots on the Eastern Shore. But a new pop-up on H Street, Pier 1354, has helped feed my obsession for crabs doused in Old Bay with an option much closer to home. Earlier this month, the owners of Swiss restaurant Stable took over a neighboring patio space attached to Gallery O, which typically caters to private parties and weddings. Meals are timed out to two hours, and the experience feels like you’re picking crabs in a secret garden, smack dab in the middle of the city. Co-owners Silvan Kraemer and David Fritsche created the seafood-themed menu of Chesapeake favorites, including steamed crabs, peel-and-eat shrimp, and Chesapeake oysters, as well as beers from Eastern Shore Brewing in St Michaels and Stable’s signature frozen Schnapsicle cocktails. Pier 1354 is open Thursday through Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. with advance reservations required; 1354 H Street NE — Tim Ebner
Friday, August 7
For peanut butter dipped soft serve: Peterson’s Ice Cream Depot sounds like a place that would be storing barrels of the stuff, but the out-of-the-way soft serve destination in Clifton, Virginia, is more impressive for its outdoor spaces. Customers who make the trek to the quaint, wooded town in Fairfax County will find a plant-lined path off Main Street leads them to old-school shed that sells quarter-pound hot dogs and hard ice creams in wild flavors like Cash Cow, a dulce de leche variation with Heath bars. For $5, I got a waffle cone full of vanilla soft serve with a smooth peanut butter dip that was creamier than a chocolate alternative. Call 703-830-7898 for curbside pickup, or wait in a socially distanced line to order at the stand. 7150 Main Street, Clifton, Virginia — Gabe Hiatt
For supple, Indian-style scallops: Foot traffic has plummeted in Mt. Vernon Triangle, delivering a huge hit to restaurants like Karma Modern Indian. Chef Ajay Kumar still has it running on all cylinders with dishes like a perfectly grilled branzino or supple scallops dressed with red pepper sauce. Grilled blocks of paneer pesto are a good way to start. Another meatless winner: Kumar’s Mumbai sliders (vada pav), served with a bowl of potato-and-veggie toppings. Karma is also offering a six-course “inquisitive” menu for two ($65) on its patio with small plates full of colorful swirls and dollops of fiery sauces. Open for pick-up, delivery, and limited on-site dining; 611 Eye Street NW — Tierney Plumb
For mozzarella sticks (and sure, pizza): I get unreasonably excited any time I can work mozzarella sticks into a delivery order, and the ones DC Slices sent to a recent social distancing hang my friend’s yard were the best I’ve had recently. Theses stick stood out with gooey cheese and a formidable, crisp crust. Tater tots held up less successfully, but they probably would have been fine reheated. I’m fixating on appetizers here, but DC Slices puts out quite respectable pies, with a thin crust that has a lot of flavor to it. High-quality toppings include sausage offered in larger pieces, small crumbles, or slices. That’s attention to detail. Order delivery online; 1990 K Street NW — Missy Frederick
For Peruvian chicken with a side of plantains: Our friends invited us over for a socially-distanced backyard hangout with the enticement of a family meal from District Rico on H Street NW. I made a plate with a quarter piece of juicy, blackened rotisserie chicken and dunked each bite of thigh meat in the very spicy green sauce. This meal combo came with six side dishes, and the array of yucca fries, rice, black beans, chewy fried plantains, and coleslaw made it perfect for a picnic. Don’t sleep on the humble chickpea dish as a side choice. District Rico reminded me that I need to work Peruvian chicken into my dinner rotation way more often. Order online for takeout, 91 H Street NW. — Adele Chapin
For impressive Southern sides in Shenandoah: Before I even booked a hotel in Staunton for a little escape-from-NoVa weekend with my husband, I put together my takeout order for the Shack. It’s the very tiny restaurant where chef Ian Boden folds in his Ashkenazi Jewish roots into Appalachian and Southern dishes. That approach earned a rave review from Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema this winter. After exploring Staunton’s charming, tourist-friendly main drag, we walked over to the Shack to pick up one of its decadent “Smash Burgers,” piled high with beef, thick pickles slices, and a tangy “special sauce.” Since this was one of the big draws of the trip, we ordered another entree and sides to try too. Smoked zucchini was dressed up in queso fresco, like elote, and an order of crispy Carolina Gold rice came topped with an egg. The menu changes often, so these dishes are long gone and replaced with new creations. Honestly, I could’ve forgone the famous burger and made an entire meal of our sides, which showed off the beautiful, in-season produce we saw at the Staunton farmers’ market the next morning. Order online for curbside pickup. 105 S Coalter Street, Staunton, Virginia.
Friday, July 31
For pizza with a side of marinated octopus: One of my favorite pre-pandemic meals took place in a cozy corner at Tino’s Pizzeria, a converted Chipotle in Cleveland Park where chef Logan Griffith produces a Neapolitan-style pie with a puffy outer lip. I recently made a carryout run to pick up Da Tino, a spicy sausage and pepperoni number that features squares of smoked scamorza cheese camping out in between sweet tomato and mornay sauces. The pizzas are sized for one, and the four slices go fast, so order accordingly. If you’re into octopus, get the marinated version with tender tentacle coins all mixed up into a bright and briny mixture of Castelvetrano olives, cured tomatoes, pesto, Calabrian chile, lemon, and basil. Order takeout or delivery online; 3420 Connecticut Avenue NW — Gabe Hiatt
For bifurcated half-smokes: A summer swim put me in the mood for an old-fashioned hot dog, so I decided that day would be the day I finally bellied up to the ordering window at the last remaining Weenie Beenie, in Arlington. I was clearly a novice — ordering a chili dog with the works included a surprising spoonful of sweet relish — but walking away from a ’50s era food stand with a roughly $12 dinner for two offered a satisfying throwback in more ways than one. The griddled half-smoke was split in half for more char and more surface area to uphold a pile of raw onions and mustard. I didn’t venture to the other corners of the menu, but North Carolina-style barbecue sandwiches might require more investigation on my part. Walk up or call 703-671-6661 for takeout from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 2680 Shirlington Road, Arlington — G.H.
For Korean tacos in Shaw: Korean barbecue spot Gogi Yogi just added two takeout-friendly options ahead of celebrating its one-year anniversary in Shaw: pouched soju slushies and flour tortilla tacos stuffed with grilled meats and pickled banchan (kimchi or spicy cucumber and daikon salads). Customers can pick DIY-options full of beef brisket and bulgogi ready to be cooked at home. On a recent visit, I was happy to see three of my favorite starters hadn’t gone anywhere. That included savory-and-sweet japchae (potato glass noodles) with sautéed veggies, twice-fried Korean wings in a glorious glaze, and fries that come with a side of tangy gochujang aioli. Take a seat on its newly raised patio deck and take in timely sidewalk art from Chris Pyrate. Available for takeout, delivery, and limited dine-in service. 1921 Eighth Street NW — Tierney Plumb
For classic tapas on 14th Street: A recent trip to Barcelona’s plant-filled patio was just what the doctor ordered after a hectic day. The alfresco meal was sponsored by Ballston-based GoTab, which is partnering with the Spanish bar to provide digital ordering. I hovered my phone atop my table’s QR code to unlock the entire Spanish tapas, wine, and sangria menus — just scroll, tap, and pay from there. I started with slices of dry-cured jamón paired with six-month manchego. Next up: a refreshing, green gazpacho with cucumbers, tomatillos, and dill, and then a bowl of sauteed corn with smoky piquillo peppers. I ended up throwing kernels into the cold soup for a texture boost. I was jealous of a nearby table for two that sprung for the paella (Barcelona does half, full, or double portions). The dark brown olive oil cake doesn’t necessarily look like a winner, but it is. Limited dine-in or takeout. 1622 14th Street NW — T.P.
For a gyro salad: Greek salad is one of those dishes I could easily eat least weekly. I’m most likely to order it at a diner or make one at home, but it felt like a particular treat to get a takeout version from Plaka Grill on a recent weekend, on the way home from a nice socially distanced visit to Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. Plaka’s portion sizes are substantial enough to merit two meals for me, and its vivid Greek salad is especially tasty when topped with Chicago-style gyro meat, a mixture of lamb and beef. Order online for takeout; 1216 West Broad Street, Falls Church, Virginia — Missy Frederick
For chirashi: I’ve long believed that when going out for sushi, ordering chirashi is the move, and I’ve been applying this philosophy to takeout during the pandemic as well. McLean’s Tachibana does an excellent version, with a diverse mixture of fish, and plenty of their own accents, from delicate tamago triangles to pickled mushrooms. A lightly-breaded tempura appetizer makes for a good complement. — Call 703-847-1771 for carryout; 6715 Lowell Avenue, McLean, Virginia — M.F.
Friday, July 24
For Punjabi-American tikka sandwiches: One of the best nights I’ve had recently involved parking a beach chair in Crispus Attucks park and tucking into a golden-hour spread from Glassey, a months-old Indian takeout operation in Bloomingdale. Chef Anju Gill hails from the North Indian state of Punjab, and her menu reflects in part the approach she took to get her Americanized kids to clear their plates. A chicken tikka “burger” stuffs a nicely spiced, juicy tandoori chicken breast into a soft, warm roll with caramelized onions. Go ahead and add the side of crinkle-cut, masala-spiced fries smothered with chutney, yogurt, and cilantro. Given the amount of sauces and the generous amount of butter slathered onto the toasted roll, I couldn’t help but think how fitting it would be after a night of drinking. That makes sense, too. The family that owns the restaurant runs Sunset Wine & Spirits next-door. Call 202-483-8286 for carryout, or order delivery on Grub Hub; 1625 First Street NW, Unit A — Gabe Hiatt
For carry-out chaat in Bethesda: Following a desire to try some Indian cooking at home but finding my pantry lacking in items like dried Kashmiri chiles and fenugreek leaves, I took a drive to Guru Groceries and Chaat House to stock up. The couple running the Bethesda shop was friendly behind their masks, helping me complete my grocery list and reminding me to check out the freezers in the back to browse the full inventory. I was also able to buy a takeout container of papri chaat from a short menu of street food specialties prepared at the store. The mix of crunchy crisps, soft chickpeas and potatoes, cool yogurt, and sweet and sour tamarind chutney made for an affordable, refreshing lunch I housed in the driver’s seat of my parked car. Order takeout at the store or delivery via Uber Eats; 7817 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, Maryland — G.H.
For chips and smoky French Onion dip: Ellē, a must-visit all-day cafe and bakery in Mount Pleasant known to have a way with ferments, recently implemented same-day pickups at a takeout window out front. Everytime I’m there, I’m guaranteed to find something inventive with an eyebrow-raising concentration of flavors. This time, it was chef Brad Deboy’s French Onion dip, which came with the rare restaurant chip that meets or exceeds the quality of what you’ll find from a commercial bag. The dip didn’t have just a “kiss” or a whisper of smoke. It was more like a bear hug from a best bud. We bought some cucumber kimchi and a watermelon tomato panzanella as tart counterpoints to the creamy condiment, which came with a sprinkle-it-yourself cup of sesame-and-nori furikake. Sadly, we did not order Ellē’s version of a Choco Taco. Next time. Order online for same-day pickup Thursday through Sunday; 3221 Mount Pleasant Street NW — G.H.
For a Lao feast: Carryout from Paedek, the Laotian restaurant in Falls Church where chef Seng Luangrath first made her mark on the local scene, made up one of my favorite restaurant meals of the pandemic to date. My advice is to load up on appetizers, whether it be spicy herbal pork sausage, the iconic crispy rice salad, or savory grilled meatballs with tamarind sauce. Larger-format dishes are still worth a look — try the jungle catfish, served with a pleasantly pungent dipping sauce — but we practically inhaled the small plates. Pickup is contactless and online ordering is a breeze. 6395 Seven Corners Center, Falls Church, Virginia; 703-533-9480 — Missy Frederick.
For chocolate chip brioche: Furloughed from their jobs at a luxury hotel downtown since March, executive pastry chef Thiago Frare and Nina Fagaraz, a front-of-house manager, have been making the most of the time they’ve spent confined to their Arlington apartment. The Brazilian-born couple are operating a virtual bakery — aptly named “From Our Oven” — out of their house that sells scrumptious breads and pastries. My roommates and I recently put in an order for two pans of his pillowy focaccia (one topped with bright grape tomatoes and rosemary, and another with caramelized onion and goat cheese). A circular tray of quiche — jam-packed with mushroom, spinach, and asiago cheese — provided breakfast slices all week. The dough for best-selling chocolate chip brioche loaves takes three days to prep, making it the trickiest order to time right (every item is delivered while it’s still warm). Fagaraz puts her client relations skills to work, fielding requests via social media and personalizing each baked good with handwritten notes. DM orders via Instagram for pickup, with weekly specials announced every Sunday. — Tierney Plumb
For spicy mezcal margaritas: Decked out with tapestries of the Mayan calendar, woven lanterns made in Mexico, and a DJ booth framed with a candle-lit altar, Shaw’s hip rooftop bar El Techo is D.C.’s next best thing to Tulum (I’ll take it). On a recent return, I sat in an area that’s normally a packed dance floor (those days, of course, are on a pandemic-caused pause). I immediately reunited with its top-selling spicy mezcal margarita I’ve missed dearly, along with its overnight brisket tacos with queso fresco. Huge, blowing fans helped beat the steamy summer heat. This Sunday marks the revival of brunch (one entree, bottomless drinks), complete with a fun drinking incentive at play: The table that spends the most at the end of each two-hour seating wins an extra hour of mimosas, Bloody Marys, Tecates, and those mean margaritas. 606 Florida Avenue NW; Call for takeout and delivery options; Book brunch ($45 per person) from noon to 2 p.m. or 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. — T.P.
Friday, July 10
For Puebla-style chicken cutlet sandwiches: I plan all my visits to Chevy Chase (and Van Ness) around stops at Politics & Prose. For the past few weeks, I was waiting for the bookstore to prepare a paperback for pickup with growing anticipation for the cemitas torta and quesabirria tacos I planned to grab from Taqueria Xochi, a new Mexican pop-up operating for takeout and delivery out of neighborhood bistro Little Beast. Teresa Padilla, a former pastry chef at China Chilcano and 16-year employee of ThinkFoodGroup, is representing her home state of Tlaxcala, which borders Puebla and the state of Mexico, with a selection of cemitas on her own pressed sesame roll. A double-wrapped sandwich held up well in transit. When I untied a piece of string holding it together, I found a square package bursting with flavors and textures: crunchy, breaded chicken Milanesa cutlets, squeaky Oaxaca cheese, pureed beans, firm tomato, creamy avocado, and a generous smear of chipotle sauce that danced with every ingredient. The pint of guacamole we ordered was simpler and better than most versions I find at restaurants. The avocados were mashed at their peak, not overly grassy and green nor bordering on brown and bitter. Salt and lime were applied in the exact proportions I prefer. A cucumber lime agua fresca was a refreshing, zero-proof drink option. Padilla’s morita chile salsa is available in 8-ounce bottles, and I’ll be back to buy more of the super smoky, crimson concoction. Order online for takeout or delivery; 5600 Connecticut Ave NW — Gabe Hiatt
For a new contender in Texas brisket rankings: Between Hill Country Barbecue, Texas Jack’s, Federalist Pig, DCity, Sloppy Mama’s, and a handful of other smokehouses, the D.C. area has a respectable selection of smoked brisket. Salvadoran pitmaster Fernando González is putting them all on notice with the wagyu beef he’s producing with 100 percent wood smoke at 2Fifty Texas BBQ in Riverdale Park. The small storefront smells unmistakably smoky, and you can watch González’s crew slice through fatty, wobbly slices of wagyu beef ($27.99 per pound) with the equivalent resistance of a hot knife cleaving butter. Walk in for carryout and patio service; 4700 Riverdale Road, Riverdale Park, Maryland — G.H.
For brisket-topped pupusas: Maybe 2Fifty will eventually reach the same conclusion that Republic Cantina has: Texas-style brisket is a suitable partner for a Salvadoran pupusa. Over its first year, the innovative Tex-Mex cafe in Truxton Circle has shuffled through a number of executive chefs responsible for churning out its standout breakfast tacos. The latest has brought on masa pockets stuffed with Chihuahua cheese that come with a rustic cabbage curtido and the option of a couple Sal-Tex-Mex upgrades on top: carne guisada or smoked brisket. I’d love to see eventually see the beef barbecue inside the pupusa, sort of like traditional pork-and-cheese revueltas. Order online for takeout or patio service; 43 N Street NW — G.H.
For short rib tacos served on paratha: Global plates place Gerrard Street Kitchen had big shoes to fill when moved into the Darcy hotel in place of Michelin-starred seafood restaurant Siren last fall. On a recent first visit, I was sold — and satisfied — after just two star starters. A pair of tacos use flaky, thick Indian paratha instead of tortillas, providing a strong base for hefty helpings of braised beef short rib topped with pickled onions, Indian spices, and tzatziki. Chips and salsa come highly recommended by a welcoming wait staff donning black latex gloves. Made-to-order chips scoop up salsa and a bright and creamy guacamole that’s served in blue ceramic bowls. The hotel patio, surrounded with tall trees and bushes, blocked off traffic from Scott Circle right outside. You’ll likely get talked into a Darcy Devil, a fiery mezcal cocktail with bright red bell pepper and lime wheel garnishes. Book a seat on the patio, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and noon to 7 p.m. on weekends. 1515 Rhode Island Avenue NW — Tierney Plumb
For scallop crudo with pickled peaches: Shilling Canning Company just celebrated its 1-year anniversary in Navy Yard. To celebrate, chef-owner Reid Shilling shows off some of the Mid-Atlantic restaurant’s best sellers on a three-course menu this weekend. Peaking greenery and flowers frame an outdoor patio garden that contributes hyper-local accents to many dishes and cocktails. Start with the delicate scallop crudo, which dresses the pearl-colored seafood base with pickled peaches and basil. Stuck at home for months, I had forgotten squash blossoms are in bloom until they pleasantly appeared atop my dinner mate’s charred eggplant puree appetizer. The opening amuse bouche — a sizable starter in itself — is a plate of Virginia “Surryano” ham with benne cakes, Deviled eggs, and preserved veggies, all served with a splash of bubbly. For my main, a bowl of pillowy potato and ricotta gnocchi paired well with plump Maryland mushrooms (another version, with chicken, is also on the takeout menu). I cleaned the plate of the crumbly blueberry crisp with cream cheese ice cream but still had room for the grand finale: a bite-sized version of Shilling’s whoopie pie. Book a spot for the anniversary menu ($60, and $35 wine pairings), running through Sunday, July 12. Its takeout menu is also available, including Sunday brunch. 360 Water Street SE — T.P.
For all styles of Chinese food: It’s no secret that Hong Kong Palace is an excellent destination in Falls Church for Sichuan fare, whether it be cumin lamb, dan dan noodles, or my personal favorite, beef and vegetables in pepper broth. But our latest takeout order also sampled from American-style Chinese dishes, and it proved to be a nice reminder HKP does those well, too. Beef and broccoli, often a generic disappointment, came with perfectly crisp broccoli florets and a subtly sweet sauce. Other worthy additions to our takeout order range from fried wontons to Singapore-style noodles, a sleeper favorite that always takes me back to late-night orders in my college dorm room in the Bronx. Order online for takeout or delivery; 6387 Seven Corners Center, Falls Church, Virginia — Missy Frederick
Friday, June 26
For walnut tacos that render beef obsolete: Happy Gyro is your favorite food writer’s favorite quarantine pop-up. I’ve read so much fawning over the (mostly) vegetarian Greek diner menu from Komi chef Johnny Monis that I’m inclined to roll my eyes, but I have to admit a recent takeout order lived up to the billing. I wanted to give my wife, firmly in the pineapple-belongs-on-pizza camp, a pick-me-up, so I shelled out $32 for a pizza that replaced the ham on a traditional Hawaiian pie with prosciutto, then added spicy slivers of jalapenos and cilantro. The naturally leavened crust was miraculously sturdy and crunchy considering how thin it was. Strawberry buttermilk ice cream with a coarse polenta crumble also justified the price tag at $15 per pint. But the real treasure here are the vegetarian tacos in which Monis works some kind of alchemy to make a mash of black walnuts taste like an improvement on the seasoned ground beef in a crunchy shell that recalls a fast food indulgence or a suburban dinner at a friend’s house in the best way possible. Order online for carryout; 1509 17th Street NW — Gabe Hiatt
For a tented patio with mood lighting: I headed to Alexandria last Friday night to check out an outdoor addition at Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza + Tap that sprawls across its adjoining parking deck. Dubbed Lena’s Oasis, the stunning setup under a soaring white tent looks straight out of a six-figure wedding (just add diners spaced 6 feet apart, waiters wearing masks, and table stickers showing proof of a deep clean between seatings). Violet mood lighting, modern white furniture, and (real) tropical palms set the scene for a romantic Italian meal. Unlike most sub-par wedding fare, the menu lives up to the atmosphere. The best-selling “giant” meatball stuffed with mozzarella works well as a starter for two, and the kitchen gladly split one prosciutto and arugula salad across two plates. The star of the show was the Diavola pizza, which gets a nice crunch from fried kale and a kick from Calabrese pepper hot honey. A lit marquee spelling “Ciao Bella” upon exit was a nice way to say goodbye. Reservations for the patio are required (with takeout and delivery options too). 401 E Braddock Road, Alexandria — Tierney Plumb
For grilled cheese with a pup: I’ve been meaning to swing by Del Rey’s Hops N Shine since it opened last year, and a dogsitting gig nearby marked my chance on a recent clear night. The casual backyard setup, flanked by string lights, wooden beer barrels, Adirondack chairs, and picnic tables, is a perfect fit for Fido and their human. The beer list shows lots of love for locals, and two cans of Solace’s Seeing Stars double IPA (10 percent ABV) were more than enough for the night. The bread and butter of the food menu is an impressive grilled cheese selection. My waiter talked me into the cheesiest one of the bunch: the Holy Cheesus, stuffed with cheddar, pepper jack, American, and muenster, with a fried shredded cheese finish on the exterior. I got it to-go and can happily report an accompanying tomato soup dipper didn’t leak out on the walk home. Delivery, carryout, and patio service (until 1 a.m. on weekends). 3410 Mt. Vernon Avenue, Alexandria — T.P.
For rice and beans for days: It’s been years since I’ve eaten at El Paso Cafe. The Tex-Mex and Salvadoran restaurant was a regular in my rotation back when I lived in Arlington, so when I saw they deliver all the way to Falls Church, I figured a little nostalgic takeout was in order. Fajitas and pupusas held up well for delivery, and my husband was happy that the restaurant’s generous combo platters don’t require him to narrow down the field of choices too far. The best part: all that we ordered resulted in three helpings of fluffy rice and savory beans, which means that I’ve been having breakfast burritos, quesadillas, and more with the leftovers for several days now. Order delivery on third-party apps; 4235 N Pershing Drive, Arlington — Missy Frederick
For giant meatballs and spicy green pepper pork: Peter Chang delivery has been a staple in our household since the pandemic began, but when I heard the news that Mama Chang had reopened, I figured some carryout food from the sibling restaurant was in order. This time, we discovered some new-to-us dishes: green pepper pork has an assertive but not bracing amount of heat to it, and the texture of the meatballs in the Yangzhou meatball stew is juicy and appealing. Savory gravy is a terrific accent, too. Order online for pickup; 3251 Old Lee Highway #101, Fairfax — M.F.
For a steamed crab feast: We haven’t done much socializing during the pandemic, which is why a socially-distanced backyard gathering with another couple felt particularly special a few weeks back. And nothing says celebratory summer occasion to me like Maryland crabs. Our order of two dozen larges from Captain Pell’s delivered sweet and meaty specimens, and I highly recommend complementing your order with some fried hushpuppies and steamed shrimp. The restaurant had just opened for dine-in that weekend, but still handled carryout orders with friendliness and efficiency. If you’re like me and have the patience and stamina to pick any remaining crabs for leftover meat, crab etouffee is an easier dish to make than you might think. Call (703) 560-0060 for carryout; 10195 Fairfax Boulevard, Fairfax — M.F.
Friday, June 12
For fried chicken with miso-honey dip: I can’t believe I have yet to step inside Rooster & Owl, the hot 14th Street NW newcomer up for a few RAMMY awards this year (not to mention a James Beard semifinalist nod). I finally got a first taste via its four-course takeout menu, with a handful options for well-rounded entrees: lamb stew, ricotta cavatelli, and fried chicken. The latter was one of the tastiest, juiciest executions of the Southern staple I’ve ever had, and miso-honey dip was a fancy flourish. Cut-up stalks of asparagus, prepared dan dan style, were actually better cold the next day. I threw the spicy spears into its gem salad, dotted with sunflower seeds and crisp radish disks. Peas that perfectly pop also play a role across the super-seasonal menu. Even sharable cocktails show off what’s growing right now. I went with the “Party Fowl” — a clean-tasting combo of bourbon, cucumber, and basil. I give props to a resealable pouch that helps liquid leftovers stay fresh in the fridge. A resealable tub of key lime cheesecake, balanced atop spiced graham crumble, also holds well for a second day. Order online for pickup ($45 per person) Tuesday to Saturday after 5 p.m. 2436 14th Street NW — Tierney Plumb
For alfresco hoagies: Adams Morgan cocktail bar Grand Duchess is hosting the Hoagie Boyz pop-up, a new Philly-style sandwich shop from chef Alex McCoy at nearby burger bar Lucky Buns. I originally ordered a sizable sandwich to go but opted to sit and stay on a blooming, plant-filled patio that screams summer (I only wish I remembered sunscreen). Peaking greens like basil, arugula, and fresh herbs also make appearances inside sandwiches. I went with the prosciutto-packed Old Calabrian on toasted rustic bread ($15). Calabrian chile, slathered inside a lengthy hoagie fit for two, offers a welcome kick. Grand Duchess makes bottled Negroni and Boulevardier cocktails to go with the food. And don’t let the small vessels filled with amari fool you. Despite a solid carb base, I felt pretty buzzed after one drink. Pickup or delivery 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and noon to 8 p.m. on weekends. 2337 18th Street NW — T.P.
For trusty Chinese takeout: On a recent night full of physical and emotional exhaustion, the plexiglass takeout window installed in the front door at 14th St Cafe Asian Bistro felt like a beacon. Great Wall Szechuan House gets a lot of attention, but the cafe on the corner of 14th and P Street NW has become our standby for Chinese carryout because of the impeccably stir-fried vegetables, the fried rice with just the right touch of soy sauce, and the Sichuan style beef noodle soup. It was a muggy night, so we ignored the red broth brimming with chile oil in favor of some fairly plain staples: beef and broccoli and veggie chow fun studded with bamboo shoots. After watching the restaurant temporarily close for months despite its proficiency at takeout and delivery, it came as a relief to see it’s not gone for good . Order online or call 202-588-0695 for carryout only; 1416 14th Street NW — Gabe Hiatt
For Peruvian chicken and more: Peruvian chicken tends to be our go-to when home-cooked dinner plans fall through for some reason: we get too busy, we can’t salvage what we cooked, or in this case, our garbage disposal breaks and the kitchen instantly turns into a mini-disaster as we try to fix it. I decided to give Spin Pollo a try after seeing they were available for delivery. The chicken was juicy and well-seasoned, but what helps them stand out from the pack is the large variety of other Peruvian specialities, from ceviche to lomo saltado. We didn’t venture too far into the depths there, but I can recommend the generously portioned beef-accented chaufa fried rice entree. Pro tip: throw the leftovers into an omelet the next day with a little spicy green sauce on the side. Order online for pickup or delivery. 6672 Arlington Boulevard, Falls Church, Virginia — Missy Frederick
For comeback Vietnamese: Local favorite Four Sisters took a break during the first couple months of quarantine, but I was happy to discover they’re back in action for delivery. Shaking beef (marketed here as “shaky beef”) involves plump portions of meat and a sharp accent of lime dip. The spring rolls continue to be some of the best in the area. There was only one disappointment: the restaurant’s beloved shrimp toast isn’t currently available for takeout. Place takeout and delivery orders (3-mile radius) via phone 703-539-8566 (the website says online ordering is down) from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily. 8190 Strawberry Lane, Falls Church — M.F.
For celebratory filet mignon: I celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary with a long hike and a classy takeout meal from nearby 2941. The restaurant’s “Chef Inspired Meals for Home”, which serve two, are $100 to $120, which feels more than reasonable to me given they include soup, salad, two sides, high-end entrees, and dessert. We went with the filet mignon with thyme jus, which reheated perfectly with a one-minute sear on each side. Don’t miss the porcini veloute; 2941 has always had a way with soups, and this creamy mushroom concoction is no exception. Order carryout online; limited dine-in service (tasting menu only) starts Friday. 2941 Fairview Park Drive, Falls Church — M.F.
For a slice and a hoagie: It had been ages since I went to the Italian Store, and in hindsight, I don’t know why I don’t consider them more frequently as an option for either a quick slice or an overstuffed hoagie. The deli’s offerings are somewhat limited during the pandemic, and they’re clearly making sandwiches ahead in batches (you can’t ask for substitutions), but luckily their standard combinations offer really everything you need in an Italian cold cut hoagie, and my sandwich didn’t suffer from any sogginess. Pizza by the slice can be hard to find in Virginia, but the Store sells a reliable thin crust version that stands up to travel. Open with limited hours: Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Multiple locations. — M.F.
Friday, May 29
For Trini pork belly: The menu at Cane, chef Peter Prime’s Trinidadian restaurant on H Street NE, is full of assertively spicy and rich dishes that would fit in at street stalls and rum shacks across the Caribbean country. One of these “cutters” — meant to help diners cut potent rum drinks that would be served at the bar in normal times — is the geera pork, fried cubes of pork belly in a peppery cumin sauce (packed separately for takeout). After a brief car ride away from the pickup spot, the first morsel of meat I plucked remained surprisingly tender, with a creamy white belt of pig fat offering little to no resistance underneath my teeth. Prime’s jerk chicken’s wings are still exceptional, a high bar for the new competition in town. The sleeper pick at Cane, though, is the crispy kale. The $6 side came with the biggest box in the carryout set, giving breathing room for fried fronds to preserve their crunchy integrity amid chickpeas that offer an audible component to the side. Call 202-675-2011 for takeout or order online via delivery apps; 403 H Street NE — Gabe Hiatt
For New England subs from a native: Virtual sandwich shop Subbies is a refreshing addition to the Union Market district, shipping grinders out of chef Adam Greenberg’s cheery Coconut Club. I went with his top sub seller — the Italian “Ponza Scheme” (clever). Tightly packed in a sheet of white paper, this sandwich contains a thick stack of shaved ham, capicola, genoa salami, and pepperoni, along with provolone, shredded lettuce, hot and sweet peppers, and Subbies’ vinaigrette. The service even held the onions at my request. Playful accessories include a Monster Tabasco Slim Jim or a drink combo with a PBR and a shot of Rittenhouse Rye, a weekday lunchtime option for teleworkers who have given up on the meaning of time. Subbies’ branding also makes me smile. A pic of Justin Bieber crushing a sub is front and center on the homepage, and each order comes with a green decal of a giant sub perched on a bus. Takeout or delivery Wednesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 540 Penn Street NE
For award-winning pizza crust: I recently spotted a neighbor’s Oath Pizza delivery bag in my lobby, reminding me I’ve been meaning to try out the Navy Yard location that just celebrated its 2-year anniversary. I’ve heard the Nantucket-based chain is best known for its crispy crust that’s grilled and seared in avocado oil. I tried two of Oath’s most popular pies: the balsamic-drizzled Bella (roasted cherry tomatoes and garlic, dollops of ricotta, grana padano cheese, fresh basil) and “Muffled Trushroom,” a medley of truffle oil, mushrooms, and more ricotta. Each 11-inch pizza can easily be housed by a single diner. Cheesy garlic breadsticks get presented as a cut-up, oblong pie with pieces that get dunked in a tub of Oath’s tomato sauce. Pick-up or free delivery (with FEELGOODPIZZA code), 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and until 9 p.m. on weekends. 110 M Street SE — T.P.
For springtime Italian: We got takeout pizza and pasta from a local favorite, Pizzeria Orso, last night, and they’re clearly leaning into spring. A rich, decadent gnocchi and sausage dish with cream sauce was dotted with everything from morel mushrooms to fresh peas, and my seasonal pie was topped with shaved asparagus and ramps, among other ingredients. Pizzeria Orso generally nails it, but the order felt even more special this week thanks to those seasonal accents. Order takeout online; 400 South Maple Avenue, Falls Church, Virginia — Missy Frederick
For DIY seafood: I was intrigued to hear Jamie Leeds, the chef from one of my favorite haunts, Hank’s Oyster Bar, was partnering with War Shore Oyster Company to put together fresh seafood boxes for Current Catch ($99 to $139). By including sauces from Hank’s, the delivery service makes preparing fish and shellfish at home pretty damn easy. This means that over a long Memorial Day weekend, I had mussels fra diavolo, scallops in a garlic cream sauce, and homemade lobster rolls — all with minimal cooking effort on my part. The scallops in particular were probably the freshest I’ve had at home. The kits come with refrigeration and freezing instructions, which means I’m able to save some of this seafood for a future occasion. I can’t wait. Order online by 5 p.m. Sunday for Thursday delivery to D.C., Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Loudoun, Montgomery County, and Annapolis — M.F.
Friday, May 22
For Northern Mexican quesadillas: Shelling out an extra $8 to add carne asada to a Chihuahua cheese quesadilla was the best decision that my wife and I made when we placed our to-go order with Muchas Gracias, the new Mexican pop-up from chef Christian Irabién and the owners of nearby Comet Pizza in Forest Hills. Irabién traces his family roots through El Paso and into cattle grazing ground in Northern Mexico where a Mennonite population produces the off-white cheese that’s subtly buttery and prime for melting. The chef wraps 12-inch flour tortillas made with pork fat around thick slices of hanger steak that’s marinated in citrus. The beef reminds me of my favorite fajita spots from my own Texas hometown. A side of slightly salty crema marked an upgrade from commercial sour cream, and raw tomatillo salsa helps cut through all that dairy. A chicken tinga verde swaps chipotles with serrano and hatch chiles. Irabién says the Brussels sprouts in the stew are a callback to the cabbage his grandmother used in a red version. A serving of garlicky white and a scoop of mashed frijoles from it-bean of the moment Rancho Gordo would’ve made for fine tacos all on their own. I’m surprised when Irabién tells me the beans are vegan. Their pedigree is responsible for starchy character that makes the fruity black turtle beans extra smooth. Order for pickup or delivery online; 5029 Connecticut Avenue NW — Gabe Hiatt
For hot, numbing pickles: Speaking of supplements, I highly recommend adding a $3 container of Sichuan spicy vegetables if you’re going to order Chinese-Korean takeout from Chiko. Cubes of carrots and radishes shot through with the peppercorns and vinegar added a whole new dimension to stir-fried wheat noodles interspersed with fatty cumin lamb when I picked up from the Dupont location the other day. Order takeout or delivery online; 2029 P Street NW — G.H.
For udon and more: We’d held off for a bit from ordering takeout from our go-to neighborhood Japanese restaurant, Maneki Neko, since it was the last place we were able to dine in before everything shut down. But we still want to be sure to support them, so they made it back into the rotation last Friday. Crying shrimp tempura rolls, various nigiri, nabeyaki udon, tonkatsu, and tempura made for a visually appealing spread. For the tonkatsu and tempura, a little reheating in the oven brought things back to optimal temperature. It all added up to a refreshing, reasonably light meal, as well as a comforting flashback to the days we would stop in there and be greeted warmly as regulars. Call 703-534-8666 for takeout; 238 W. Broad Street, Falls Church, Virginia — Missy Frederick
For takeout doughnuts: Something about getting doughnuts delivered to the house feels particularly indulgent, even over-the-top, but that didn’t stop me from doing it as a surprise for my husband last weekend. Astro Doughnuts offers online delivery, and it didn’t take long before a half-dozen doughnuts, a breakfast sandwich, and a side of tots — do not skip the tots — ended up on our doorstep. The key lime doughnut in the current seasonal rotation is worth adding, and the basic sprinkled chocolate cake doughnut proved to be a house favorite, too. 7511 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, Virginia — M.F.
For sweet and spicy Italian: I felt a pizza craving on a recent weeknight, so I went with a D.C. classic: All-Purpose in Shaw. I clicked on its longtime best-seller, the Buona, which offers a medley of tomato, mozzarella, pepperoni, and basil, all drizzled edge to edge in fiery Calabrian chile honey. A friend raved about their chicken wings, which I never would have thought to order. The antipasti added more breaded goodness to my meal, built with garlic, ginger, and a Sicilian hot sauce. Accompanying feta ranch also translated nicely as a dipping sauce for pizza crust. My delivery order wasn’t cheap (over $40), but I was able to stretch the wings into a second meal. After bringing them back to a crispy state in the oven, I cut off the remaining meat from their bones and threw them into a penne-marinara concoction I made on the stovetop for an improvised chicken Parm. Open daily 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. for takeout and delivery. 1250 Ninth Street NW — Tierney Plumb
For raw fish and cocktails that travel well: Sushi-and-sake bar Zeppelin recently celebrated its first year of business in Shaw. A spacious patio overseen by a towering Godzilla mural is sadly bare (for now). But the restaurant is making good use of a to-go window, sending out attractive cocktails like the “Sunshine Daydream” — rye, pineapple and cedar rum, and bitters that swim around a large ice cube in a capped container. Snap an outside pic of the slushy “Champagne Supernova” cocktail in the sky before slurping up the refreshing red whirl of Redemption Rye, apricot liqueur, Umepon, raspberry, kalamansi, and bubbles. Neatly packaged sets of nigiri, sashimi, and maki rolls feature fatty tuna (toro), Japanese barracuda, and seasonal soft shell crab. Open daily from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for takeout and delivery. 1544 Ninth Street NW (sibling ramen restaurant Chaplin’s is also offering takeout/delivery from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and noon to 9 p.m. on weekends). — T.P.
Friday, May 15
For fragrant beef rendang and mustard greens: Presented alone within a plastic pint container, the milk chocolate-colored heap of a Southeast Asian braise I had delivered the other day appeared unremarkable. But I knew better, even before I peeled off the lid and lowered my nose to inspect what turned out to be a spoon-tender beef rendang from Makan. I was disappointed I hadn’t made it to the new Malaysian restaurant in Columbia Heights before “stay-at-home” orders went into place in March, so seeing it reopen for takeout and in-house delivery gave me something to look forward to. Depth of flavor came through in the complex rendang, with lemongrass and coconut milk taking turns flitting past my palate while a backbeat of heat took up residence in the back of my throat. Assembling it with white rice, cucumbers, and pickled mustard greens made for an even more interesting package. More rice arrived wok-fried in a rectangular box of nasi goreng that interspersed soy-stained kernels with shrimp, still-crispy baby anchovies, sweet Chinese sausage, peas, and egg. In the days since I’ve placed my order, chef-owner James Wozniuk has added a banh mi, pork vindaloo, and a yellow curry mee with egg noodles, chicken, and tofu. Order online for pickup or delivery; 3400 11th Street NW — Gabe Hiatt
For reviving your pho habit: I’ve been sad to read the news about Eden Center restaurants struggling, so we decided to get our takeout from the Vietnamese shopping center last Friday. A massive order from Hai Duong included everything from dill-laced fish to crispy noodles adorned with tofu and mixed vegetables to an appetizer-sized version of shaking beef. I didn’t realize until then that I was truly missing pho, accented in this case with rare steak and meatballs. In non-isolated times, I constantly consume pho whether I have a cold or just find myself with a random craving on an 80 degrees day. The first sip immediately made me want to bring back the habit. Make sure to include some in your Hai Duong delivery or pickup call. Throwing in a double order of crispy spring rolls wouldn’t be out of line, either. Call 703-538-5289; 6795 Wilson Boulevard #7-9 — Missy Frederick
For dressed-up chicken sandwiches: I’ve been cooking so much while I’ve been at home, and I’m not half-bad; I feel a burst of pride when my husband says my dinner is “restaurant quality.” But I was reminded that I have a long way to go after tasting the celery seed slaw on my takeout sandwich from Rustico. I had just made cabbage slaw the night before, and the difference between the two were night and day. Rustico’s version was so much brighter and about as compelling as coleslaw could be, especially when sandwiched between a bun, a piece of crunchy fried chicken, and smoked garlic mayo. The pub from Neighborhood Restaurant Group is definitely worth considering if you’re in a sandwich mood: I also tried a pork meatball sub with salsa verde and a bit of heat to it. Order online for takeout or delivery; 827 Slaters Lane, Alexandria; 4075 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington — Adele Chapin
For mushroom arancini with caramelized onion dip: Adams Morgan brasserie Mintwood Place is still going strong after eight years in, even though plenty has been switched up lately. Chef Harper McClure, an alum of Le Diplomate and Brabo, has been working as the new executive chef there for a few months. Definitely start with his wild mushroom arancini — crispy, melty spheres that come with a crazy-good caramelized onion dip. McClure, who moonlights as a DJ, keeps repeat customers engaged by switching up the menu often. It looks like the creamy mac-and-cheese orzo I loved is taking a break, but tagliatelle bolognese with shaved pecorino just made a comeback. I’m also not seeing the perfectly-cooked, juicy filet I recently tried on the menu now, but I’m guessing his grilled bavette steak frites will not disappoint. A happy hour-at-home menu (5 p.m. to 6 p.m.) includes a rotating $8 cocktail, $3 beers, and a discounted burger. Open at 5 p.m. for takeout and delivery. 1813 Columbia Road NW — Tierney Plumb
For meatless Mexican: I got takeout from Taco and Piña a couple days after the new Shirlington taqueria opened on Cinco de Mayo, and I was so sad I couldn’t sit and stay. The place is adorably whimsical, filled with pineapple art, mermaid ornaments made in Mexico, and basket seats hanging from the ceiling. Take it all in before grabbing a white-and-pink paper bag filled with your order. Chef Graham Bartlett’s opening menu is stacked with creative vegetarian options. Empanadas packed with queso Oaxaca and roasted corn were sweet treats, and I wish I ordered more morita salsa to dip. Dollops from a tub of bright guacamole can be added to pretty much any dish. Taquitos are also available in a meatless variety packed with potato, queso, poblano chile, and bean puree. My favorite taco was full of local mushrooms, with avocado verde cruda and guajillo tamari. Fried onions offer a crunchy finish. Carnivores like myself will love the open-faced chicken quesadilla built with queso Chihuahua and chile mayo. Wild-caught Gulf shrimp swings sweet to spicy inside a taco filled with Sriracha mayo, coconut shavings, and pineapple chunks. Order online for pickup or delivery. 4041 Campbell Avenue, Shirlington, Virginia — T.P.
For oat milk lattes made with nitro tea: Bubble tea brand Spot of Tea recently reopened its tiny kiosk inside the Streets market in NoMa with limited hours. One new drink dropping this weekend is the nitro tea latte — a frothy beverage the owners claim is nowhere else in D.C. Roasted oolong is steeped with malty Assam black tea, then nitrogenated, chilled, and married with oat milk. Watch as its high-tech BKON tea machines swirl and steep black tea with dried rose petals to make the refreshing “Strawberry Rose,” finished with pureed strawberries and a dash of rose water. Open 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Pick-up or order online. 51 M Street NE — T.P.
Friday, May 8
For a dumpling fix in Union Market: Dumplings are popping up everywhere these days, and for good reason — they easily translate from the freezer to the stove for an anytime snack. Laoban Dumplings is operating out of Union Market with chef Tim Ma behind the wheel under the title of culinary director. I tried his stir-fried chicken lo mein meal kit with ginger-scallion puree and veggies. Laoban preps and individually packages all ingredients ahead of time, so all I had to do was throw everything in a hot pan — easy peasy. The airtight bag of noodles seemed to multiply while cooking, leaving leftovers aplenty. Frozen dumplings come in many flavors: Beijing pork, ginger chicken, veggie, and pork xiao long bao. A tiny sheet spells out steam, boil, or pan fry instructions — the choice is yours (just don’t boil the broth-filled ones). Laoban’s hip, neon-lit home inside the former Toli Moli space, now lined with cute images of smiling dumplings, begs for a proper visit once lingering is allowed again inside the food hall. Order online for takeout or delivery Thursdays through Sundays; 1309 5th Street NE — Tierney Plumb
For dairy-free milkshakes and meatless nugs: A weekend trip to a crowded grocery store sounded horrible, so I gave fast-casual HipCityVeg a try on a lazy Sunday last week. I went with an under-$10 combo of sweet potato fries and six-piece “nugs” (the Philly-born chain is vegan). I’m not sure what’s in the “HipCity sauce,” but I wish I threw in an extra order to dunk the fries in, too. The top of the Caviar page told me “not to forget” about its strawberry milkshake for May and June, and I’m glad I caved. The fry-and-nugget portions dipped into kid’s meal territory, so I was still in need of more calories. The delicious dessert-through-a-straw did the trick. Order online or takeout or delivery from Chinatown and Dupont locations — T.P.
For Thai soup with corn and carbs: Pasta and tom yum are both my jam, so when I noticed Nooshi Sushi has a take on the Thai soup with noodles, I immediately clicked online. The Pan-Asian mainstay on Capitol Hill did not disappoint with the delivery order. A heavy tub of spicy red broth with chicken and veggies swimming inside was expertly packaged (no spillage). I slipped in an ask for baby corn in the comment section, and my wish was granted free of charge. Pour the loaded liquid over an accompanying bowl of rice noodles, mushroom, cilantro, and bean sprouts, and dinner is served. I figured I should also sample sushi, so I went with another forever favorite: a spicy crunchy tuna roll. There was a little too much rice and not enough fish in each bite, but my crunchy craving was satisfied nonetheless. Order online or pickup or delivery; 524 8th Street SE — T.P.
For a well-constructed bologna bomb: Mortadella is one of my great loves, so I knew it was only a matter of time before I headed over to Blagden Alley to pick up a neatly engineered “Mort & Mootz” hoagie from the aptly named Get a Hero Be a Hero pop-up at Columbia Room (every hero sold covers a sandwich donation to a hospital worker or someone in need). The combination of Italian bologna and thick slices of mozzarella cheese was one I’d never encountered before, but I’ll be looking for it from here on out. Some might call the swipe of Duke’s mayo insulating the soft roll from the rest of the ingredients gratuitous, but I was fine with it (I may or not have a painting of a Duke’s jar in my apartment). Piling pickled red peppers into the middle of a tightly wrapped meat and cheese roll ensured I got a little bit of everything in every bite. Because the sandwich was made inside one of the city’s most thoughtful cocktail bars, I carried it out with two old-timey soda bottles. One was filled with a salted watermelon Americano, and the other a sherry-and-gin-based kalimotxo, a fancy upgrade on the cheap red wine-and-Cokes I drank abroad as a college kid. Popping the tops and hearing the hard sodas fizz was half the fun. Order for pickup or delivery online; 124 Blagden Alley, NW — Gabe Hiatt
For the richest lentils anywhere: The human body is something like 60 percent water, but I’m fairly certain ghee claimed the majority once I had finished the wonderfully rich dal makhani from old standby Rasika. Editing a map of Indian takeout options sparked my craving, and I knew I could count on the stylings of executive chef Vikram Sunderam to provide something out of the ordinary. My wife and I got our basic chicken tikka masala and spinach needs covered, while a butternut squash bharta — a charred eggplant dish everywhere else I run into it — and a lemon cashew rice added more excitement. Still, the humble dal was the standout, with just enough tomato and garlic to keep it from feeling overly heavy. Call 202-637-1222 for pickup or order delivery through Caviar; 633 D Street, NW — G.H.
For smothered, green chile-studded burritos: Local NoVa chain Taqueria Poblano is my neighborhood go-to when I’m craving Mexican comfort food with all the trimmings — refried beans and pico de gallo included. The restaurant’s chorizo-stuffed queso is a standout, but recently I was in a burrito mood. I went with the green chile pork option, with tender meat packed in a fresh flour tortilla and served “al arriba,” or covered with tangy ranchero sauce, guacamole, and crema. With a bag of chips and salsa thrown in, there was more than enough for lunch the next day. My dinner was ready for pickup just 10 minutes after I called at 5 p.m. on a Friday, with an easy pickup from a station set up outside the door in Del Ray. 2400-B Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria; 2503A N Harrison Street, Arlington; 2401 Columbia Pike, Arlington — Adele Chapin
For new pizza in Virginia: We decided to give Falls Church’s newest pizza offering, Badd Pizza, a try last Friday after seeing it mentioned in a recent Washington Post roundup. We’re not lacking in good pizza around us, but Badd turned out to be an interesting option for variety: the crust is bread-y and substantial, the sauce is slightly (but not overwhelmingly) sweet, and the quality of the toppings is respectable. It reminded me a bit of the pizzas I had growing up in Cleveland, before New York-style and Neapolitan dominated the conversation. It’s very filling; I found myself only really eating a slice at a time before feeling stuffed. Badd’s pizzas are reportedly Buffalo-style (not a pizza denomination I’ve heard of before), so it’s not a surprise that the place also has quite good (if not all that spicy) hot wings that held up well as leftovers. Bonus points in my book always go to any pizza delivery operation that offers mozzarella sticks as an appetizer, too. I recommend using your own dipping sauce for these rather than the pre-packaged marinara they send along. Order online; 346 West Broad Street, Falls Church — Missy Frederick
Friday, May 1
For incendiary papaya salad: Because I often ascended the stairs leading up to Baan Thai in Logan Circle, I never considered checking out the ground-floor restaurant underneath it, Thai Tanic. But Baan Thai has left — it plans to reopen as Baan Siam in Mt. Vernon Triangle — and Thai Tanic has undergone a rebrand, so I gave it a test run for a takeout lunch this week. Now known as Ammathar, the nearly 20-year-old restaurant looks to capitalize on the departure of its old upstairs neighbor by adding chile-flecked Northern Thai dishes to a deep menu. We marked “spicy” on our order of som tom parah ($10), a pounded green papaya salad with tomatoes and green beans. (For $6 more, you can buy a set with pickled blue crab, grilled pork skewers, crispy pork skin, and sticky rice). Chasing bites of the arresting, sweat-inducing salad with sips of Thai iced tea mixed an endorphin rush with a sugar high. A green catfish curry dispensed a slower, steadier burn. Two other sources of sugar helped extinguish — or at least manage — the fire: the radish peanut caramel inside our tapioca chicken dumplings and the soy-based dipping sauce for our steamed wontons. Call 202-588-1795 or order online; 1326 14th Street NW — Gabe Hiatt
For dumplings in ‘survival mode:’ Mulan Dumplings, an LGBT, women-owned business out of Union Kitchen, says it’s in “survival mode, like all other small restaurants in D.C. We want to give it our last fight [to stay] afloat.” There’s just four types of bite-sized packages to choose from: chicken curry (hormone- and antibiotic-free); shrimp and chives; vegan; and pork and cabbage, all made fresh daily and steamed or pan fried. A small menu means more attention to detail, which can be found in its dipping sauces (basil chile or ginger soy vinaigrette). The delicious smell wafting out of the neatly-stapled brown paper bag filled up my elevator fast. Live nearby Ivy City? There’s free delivery. Order online or call for pickup or delivery, Tuesday to Sunday, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. 1369 New York Avenue NE — Tierney Plumb
For hip cafe vibes at home: When I want to spend some laptop time with an iced latte, Maketto on H Street is my go-to. Well, that’s not happening any time soon, so I did the next best thing and gave delivery a whirl. The Cambodian-influenced menu marks which items are “popular” online, and I checked out two. Lo mein is a heavy helping of pork shoulder, chicken confit, tofu, assorted mushrooms, and sweet soy sauce. Crystal shrimp dumplings were delicate and squishy delights dressed with fragrant herbs. To recreate fashionable Maketto vibes at home, I busted out my fancy wooden chopsticks from Japan and a sleek white bowl to plate the meal. Naturally, its to-go aluminum containers are pretty cool, too. Use code “ABIEBW” via Caviar to get $5 off $20 orders. 1351 H Street NE — T.P.
For char siu and chow fun: I seem to fallen into a habit of getting Chinese takeout every other Friday, and I am not disappointed by this development. I turn to XO Taste when I crave the Chinese food I miss from days when I regularly spent time in New York’s Chinatown. That means big platters of char siu and slippery helpings of beef chow fun. Consider a generous portion of XO Taste’s spicy black pepper beef (gotta love a restaurant that has an entire “sizzling” section on the menu) and an order of fried wontons. You’re set to fall into your own personal Friday food coma. Call 703-536-1630 or order online for takeout or delivery. 6124 Arlington Boulevard, Falls Church, Virginia — Missy Frederick
For flaky baked empanadas: I love reading good news stories right now, so I was encouraged that the pandemic isn’t stopping brothers Giuseppe and Mario Lanzone from expanding their Peruvian Brothers brand. The siblings opened an outpost at the Stand, a pavilion within the Crystal City Water Park, in the beginning of April. The menu at the Stand focuses solely on baked empanadas, but the location at the La Cosecha market in Northeast has the popular sandwiches and Peruvian chicken. I ordered two empanadas with the hopes of saving one for later. but the flaky, doughy concoction dunked in rocoto hot sauce was so good that I broke my promise and ate half of the second empanada immediately. Spinach and cheese turned out to be my favorite filling, and I definitely think you should add an alfajor cookie with gooey dulce de leche to your order. 1601 Crystal Drive, Arlington, Virginia — Adele Chapin
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To bake your frozen empanadas at home, preheat oven to 350°. Place Empanadas on parchment-lined baking liner or greased baking tray. Brush tops with egg wash. Bake for ~35 min or until golden brown + Rotate baking sheets. Please do not thaw your empanadas prior to baking. Sprinkle a dusting of powdered sugar, garnish with a lime wedge. Enjoy! ------ Visit Us Today: @LaCosechaDC Latin Market 1280 4th St NE, Washington DC ⏰ 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM @TheStandVA Waterfall Park 1601 Crystal Drive, Arlington VA ⏰ 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM Delivery available via @GrubHub @Postmates @DoorDash @UberEats #PeruvianBrothers #PeruvianBrothersFoodTruck #PeruvianBrothersLaCosecha #PeruvianBros #PeruvianFood #PeruvianCuisine #Peruvian #PeruvianRestaurant #PeruvianFoodTruck #PeruvianGastronomy #PeruvianStyle #PeruvianChef #PeruvianFoodPorn #DCFoodPorn #WashingtonDCFood #BestFoodDC #DCFood #DCFoodies #DCFoodTrucks #FoodTruck #FoodTrucks #FoodTruckFood #Entrepreneur #EntrepreneurLife #Entrereneurship #Empanadas #PeruvianEmpandas #EmpandasPeruanas #ArribaPeru
Friday, April 24
For an anticipated Reuben burger: The little brown bag I carried home through the rain this week contained some precious cargo I had been thinking about in one form or another since I moved to D.C. eight years ago. I never got to try chef Frank Ruta’s famous, fine-dining cheeseburger at Palena. Ruta’s latest comeback, opening contemporary American Annabelle, began in January with the promise of a new burger for a casual bar menu. The patty didn’t emerge out of the refurbished aging cellar in the old Restaurant Nora space in Kalorama until the coronavirus outbreak reached Washington. Now customers can get Ruta’s Barlow burger ($16) that riffs on a Reuben for curbside pickup. The hype felt justified with the first bite, when what looked like a busy sandwich on paper asserted itself as a burger first. A pervasive, beefy flavor that comes from clever blends stood out while the melted Gruyere, sauerkraut, “Two Thousand Island” dressing, and pastrami — two thin sheafs crisped up to render out any fatty bits — stayed in check as background players. We were bummed to find that pastry chef Aja Cage’s mint chip ice cream wasn’t available that night, but a chocolate mousse cake with a chocolate crumb crust and raspberry sauce was a fine consolation prize. Call 202-916-5675 for takeout or use Caviar for delivery; 2132 Florida Avenue NW — Gabe Hiatt
For takeout chaat: Shirlington stalwart Aroma Indian Cuisine recently relocated nearby into the former Hula Girl space. Owner Daljeet Singh, a New Delhi native, has completely renovated his new home with sleek and modern touches, which you can admire while browsing pantry staples by the entrance. Definitely start with tokri chaat — a crunchy potato nest filled with chickpeas, onions, and tomatoes. Pour accompanying cups of yogurt and chutney all around the attractive appetizer. Red-tinged butter and cream sauce surrounding the salmon tikka masala is a standout. Chicken korma was a nutty, light, and flavorful version of the North Indian classic with a kick. Try not to fill up on tandoori breads, which beg to pulled apart to sop up any dish. Spinach and paneer naan stuffed with cottage cheese disappears fast. I almost threw in the towel, until it came to the semi-sweet finale — a bowl of gulab jamun, rose water, and wontons swimming in a white pool of Indian pudding. On a Sunday night visit, the Shirlington strip was active with delivery drivers popping in and out of places. Order online for pickup or delivery; 4044 Campbell Avenue, Arlington, Virginia — Tierney Plumb
For mobile pupusas: With “carryout” in its name, pint-sized Pendleton Carryout Co. was set up well to serve “stay-at-home” customers. The latest pop-up inside the Old Town restaurant incubator serves Sal-Mex food under the moniker Pupuseria Rivera. Affordable eats from the family-run team include Salvadoran pupusas and chicken and bean tamales wrapped in banana leaves for $2.50 a pop. The burrito “grande” ($10) was just that — a heavy helping of beans, rice, and steak that was nearly impossible to finish in one sitting. The chicken quesadilla is almost just as filling — each huge, crispy triangle was all the right kinds of greasy and cheesy. Order online; 807 Pendelton Street, Alexandria, Virginia — T.P.
For healthy-ish Indian bowls: RASA in Navy Yard is an excellent option for vegetarian meals when you’re too busy to cook and want to eat healthy-ish. The online ordering and contactless pickup system is a breeze, and I’m a huge fan of the “Aloo You Need Is Love” bowl, a vegan option that comes with sweet potato tikki, char-grilled eggplant, pickled radishes, lentils, cucumber, and a mix of tamarind-ginger chutney and coconut ginger sauce. I also always order a few masala chai cookies for dessert, so it’s not a completely healthy meal, but it’s worth the indulgence. Right now, co-founders and Eater Young Guns (‘18) Sahil Rahman and Rahul Vinod are raising funds with partner Vernon Davis’s foundation to supply 5,000 donated meals to school children and medical workers. 1247 First Street SE — Tim Ebner
For emergency chirashi: I had a hard week last week, but the bright spot at the end of it was learning that one of my all-time favorite neighborhood restaurants, Takumi, had just reopened for takeout. I was able to order my go-to dish, the chirashi. After replating it in a nice little bowl complete with garnishes, the world felt a little more civilized. We rounded out our order with their seared scallop nigiri with lime zest, some karaage, and a bit of tempura, all of which held up even better than expected for takeout. Call 703-241-1128 to order. 310-B South Washington Street, Falls Church, Virginia — Missy Frederick
For no-big-deal diner food: My husband and I were streaming something-or-other on Netflix and saw the characters gathering together in a diner (Ozark, maybe?). “That’s what I miss,” he said. “The chance to just go into somewhere random, and have a meal out that doesn’t have to be a big deal or a big decision.” I couldn’t quite make that happen for him, but I did see if there was at least somewhere we could get simple diner food for delivery. The answer was Annandale’s Jukebox Diner, which I wasn’t familiar with until last weekend. Turns out it’s a reliable source for everything from mozzarella sticks to chicken fingers to chicken cheesesteak sandwiches: those food items that aren’t necessarily special or complicated, and that’s totally the point. Order online; 7039 Columbia Pike, Annandale, Virginia — Missy Frederick
Friday, April 17
For pizzas in so many styles: A whiff of mystery adds to the appeal of Della Barba, the pan-regional pizza operation that was running only takeout and delivery long before the novel coronavirus reached D.C. due to its home base out of the Union Kitchen space in in an Ivy City alley. It’s drawn notice from the local food media corps for taking on so many styles; the Washington Post highlighted its 5-pound, Chicago-style deep dish full of meatballs, but there’s also an en vogue Detroit-style, Sicilian square pies, and home-style “nonna” pies. I went with the classic New York pizza with pepperoni and diced jalapenos. The bottom crust was envelope-thin, but not droopy, and expanded out into chewy dough bubbles with nicely charred edges. Sauce that skewed sweet was as light distraction, especially considering the thin layer of cheese felt a little skimpy. But overall it was a standout pie, right on par with what you’ll find in the NYC slices at Andy’s Pizza or Wiseguy. I’ll be calling again to dig deeper into the deep dish menu. Call (202) 845-3033 for takeout and free delivery in-range (Northeast and Southeast); 1369 New York Avenue, NE — Gabe Hiatt
For Hong Kong-stlye barbecue ribs: I really miss working from coffee shops, particularly Junction Bakery & Bistro’s cafe and mini-market in Del Ray, where I could set up my laptop next to a latte and a flaky croissant. I hadn’t made it there in person for the Alexandria bistro’s Asian-influenced dinner service, which rolled out last year, but I’m going to remember it after trying one of Junction’s family-style meals at home this week night via UberEats. A $25 Hong Kong Barbecue set included two servings of tender pork ribs slathered with a shiny char siu glaze and a dollop of Kewpie mayo coleslaw to share, along with spicy pickled peppers and an order of fries. We threw in two chunky chocolate chip cookies for dessert. It was a nice “date night” at home meal, and I’m thankful for the gigantic leafy green salad that ended up in my bag too. I had enough salad for a very virtuous lunch the next day. Call (703) 436-0025 for curbside delivery; 1508 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria; Junction’s Capitol Hill location is also on UberEats for delivery — Adele Chapin
For a heavy dose of quarantine carbs: A second location of local favorite Call Your Mother bagels opened its doors for contactless carryout in Capitol Hill this week. This means the Hill is now officially a bagel paradise, considering there’s also a Bullfrog Bagel and Buffalo & Bergen in the neighborhood. This week I tried two options: CYM’s za’atar-seasoned bagel with candied salmon cream cheese, and B&B’s “Rude Girl,” with jalapeño and cream cheese on a sesame seed bagel. It’s impossible to pick favorites, but I will say B&B gets an edge for its bloody mary and frozen orange crush cocktails, now offered in to-go cups. Order Call Your Mother carryout online; 701 Eighth Street SE; Order Buffalo & Bergen online; 240 Massachusetts Avenue — Tim Ebner
For quesadillas for breakfast: Get Mexican delivery for Easter dinner? Sure! We ended up ordering from nearby El Tio on Sunday night after an ambitious kitchen organization project left us less than enthusiastic about cooking. Ordering from here takes a little strategy. Dishes like lechoncito al horno (marinated pork morsels) travel better than, say, Peruvian-Mex lomo saltado. Beef taquitos require a little warming time in the oven. But it was a comforting meal all the same. I’m not one to normally choose a chicken quesadilla as a delivery item — they’re pretty much the definition of an easy dinner to make myself — but when your grocery delivery is sold out of everything from tortillas to salsa, it quickly becomes justifiable. Also justifiable: housing the rest of those quesadillas for breakfast the next morning. Order pickup or delivery; 7630 Lee Highway, Falls Church; Other locations in from McLean, Great Falls, and Gainesville (takeout only) — Missy Frederick
For a late dinner deliveries of veggie bowls and rolls: I find myself eating dinner late these days, so I was happy to see at least once place near me does delivery until 9 p.m. Pow Pow is a fast-casual gem on H Street I haven’t tried in years. Scroll through the menu for a laugh. Everything is “100% plant-based” and kosher certified, just like vegan actress Natalie Portman, so naturally there’s a dish named “Natalie Porkman.” I went with the General’s Chicken that promises to be “Tso’s awesome!!!” — chunks of Taiwanese-style fried “chicken” with tomato, burnt broccoli, scallions, and a thick and flavorful sauce. At checkout, plug in the “PowPowFamily” code to get 20 percent off. A fortune cookie was a pleasant surprise. Mine read: “Trust yourself and anything you do will be right.” Pick-up, carry-out, curb-service, and delivery (within 5 miles); 1253 H Street NE — Tierney Plumb
For can’t-miss pasta kits: Loads of restaurants are entering the to-go grocery game, and I gave the options from Mia’s Italian Kitchen a whirl last week. The goods from Old Town that got dropped off in my lobby were presented in a proper picnic basket lined with a bed of attractive cloth napkins that (I guess) I’ll use one day. My order included bottled sangria, charcuterie, heavy orbs of Italian cheeses, and salad staples like fiery pickled cherry peppers and giardiniera. The main events — and only items that required prep work — were two huge tubs of fresh spaghetti and rigatoni. They required a mere six minutes in boiling water. I jazzed up quarts of accompanying beef bolognese and San Marzano marinara sauces with spices while simmering them in the pan. Each packaged pasta is designed for two or three. So if you’re alone like me, make it all, reuse the tub, and store it in the fridge for multiple days of meals. Order online from noon to 9 p.m. — T.P.
For deliveries of pantry staples: Speaking of unsuccessful grocery orders, I’m sure I’m not the only person who has struggled to keep herself in eggs and flour during self-isolation. Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s new Neighborhood Provisions service has helped fill that void; I’ve now relied on them twice to deliver, getting products like dried pasta and olive oil. They have some other sought-after groceries like butter (and even yeast). You can pad out your order with some treats as well, such as s’mores cupcakes from Buzz Bakery. The whole smoked chicken from Red Apron makes for some flavorful chicken salad, too. Place next-day delivery orders online — M.F.
Friday, April 10
For Food Network-famous Moroccan “cigars:” Carving Room owner Oded Weizmann has opted to completely close his hit sandwich spot near Mt. Vernon Triangle for the duration of the dine-in ban. But 9-month-old sister spot CR Noma is accepting online orders for takeout. I immediately clicked on the “cigars” — fried spring rolls stuffed with Moroccan-spiced ground brisket — that made an appearance on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives years ago. I held back from eating two of the six sticks, and a short trip in the oven the next day led to a perfectly crunchy late-night snack. I’m trying to save these days like everyone else, so I went with the half-order of the slow-roasted ribeye flatbread ($10 versus $16 for the full). I was pleasantly surprised by the substantial size of the pie, dressed with provolone, garlic, thyme, onions, and zig-zagged squirts of fiery harissa. Weizmann handed me the order himself, offering a warm smile despite the dark days all owners are having. The Israeli-born owner has also added a to-go matzo ball soup to his limited menu. (For more to-go dining recs for Passover, go here.) Order online for pickup, 2:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. 140 M Street NE — Tierney Plumb
For neighborhood Thai that travels well: We haven’t been venturing too far from home during social distancing, even for takeout — our goal so far has been to support our favorite local destinations in the hopes they make it out of the crisis. Our go-to for neighborhood Thai has always been Elephant Jumps. While we’re used to dining in the restaurant, we discovered they do an excellent job with delivery as well. Dishes such as sen yai ladd na moo mug (a noodle stir-fry similar to pad see ew) and chicken cashew in taro nest are packed carefully, separating out ingredients like rice noodles and crispy taro to ensure they don’t get soggy. Give their spicy steak salad a try if you’re looking for a little heat. And whatever you order, be sure to add on an order of crispy flat bread shrimp (similar to shrimp toasts); they basically go with anything. Call (703)-942-6600 for pickup and free delivery. 8110 A Arlington Boulevard, Falls Church, Virginia — Missy Frederick
For a “stay-at-home” birthday splurge: The loss of minor celebrations for the cubicle class hardly seems worth mourning while the restaurant industry is being obliterated by the coronavirus crisis, but I wanted to keep my wife’s birthday from being a bummer all the same. We’d typically ring in another trip around the sun with a tasting menu or a seafood tower. After some consideration, I figured out a worthy carryout substitute. Ziploced blocks of ice were suitable sleeping bags for stone crab claws and shrimp cocktail from Joe’s Seafood downtown. We feasted like leathery, tanned Floridians on the portable raw bar, a medium-rare filet mignon, cottage fries sprinkled with herbs and huge flakes of salt, a wedge salad with thick squares of fried pork belly, and two slices of pie — key lime and fudge. We didn’t get to the bread basket, sealed in an oven-safe container, until the next day. Available for pickup or delivery 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. 750 15th Street NW — Gabe Hiatt
For a funky tropical cocktail kit: The Cotton & Reed rum distillery by Union Market is accepting visitors to a responsibly managed takeout bar — social distancing is enforced with marked off spots for customers — Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 7 p.m. For $45, you can buy a Coco Mono kit that includes a bottle of white rum ($30 on its own) and a quart container filled about halfway with a pina colada mix that barman Lukas B. Smith bases in lacto-fermented coconut. When you get the seafoam green solution home, fill up the rest of the container with ice and pour it out into a blender with the instructed 6 ounces of rum (I used 8, because, well, look at the world right now). I garnished our glasses with slices of blood orange I bought from a carryout market at the Pluma by Bluebird bakery nearby. The only downside to the drink is it will ruin every cloying, canned coconut pina colada you’ll ever have afterward. 1330 Fifth Street NE — G.H.
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We’re back with a Piña Colada home pack, hearties. Hot from the Redbeard labs, we call it the Coco Mono. (It’s essentially a deconstructed Cocomotion, for the kool kids.) Just add ice to fill the container and throw the lot into a blender with 6oz rum and, as soon as she’s ready to pour, she’s ready to rock. Available only through the C&R pickup window W thru Su. #monkeykingdc #pinacolada
For comforting cold cuts: I’ve had multiple cravings for hoagies while working from home, but two sub shops are a slice above all the other cold cuts. Grazie Grazie, also known for its Philadelphia cheesesteaks and roast pork sandwiches, and Mangialardo’s, an Italian deli in Capitol Hill that’s operated through 67 years and four generations. At Mangialardo’s you must order the notorious G-Man ($9), which comes loaded with ham, salami, mortadella, pepperoni, and fontina and provolone cheese. I order it with “the works,” including sweet and hot peppers. If you’re really hungry, I dare you to try the double-stack meat option ($11.50). Both Grazie Grazie and Mangialardo’s have an online order and delivery set-up on Yelp, but I prefer the contactless pickup method instead. Mangialardo’s, 1317 Pennsylvania Avenue SE; Grazie Grazie, 85 District Square SW — Tim Ebner
For a double shot of consumerism: Continuing the budget-conscious theme, I succumbed to a Chipotle craving when I saw the fast-casual giant’s ad for free delivery in April. There is a $10 minimum, so I was forced to add $2.50 in guac to make my $7-something bowl’s price hit the mark (still much cheaper than the $26 Taco Bell delivery Helen Rosner wrote about in the New Yorker). The Chipotle checkout page promised delivery in 30 minutes, which ended up being 50. I should have just walked eight minutes to the Union Station location where the driver picked up. The good news was I got two meals out of the reliably massive helping of chicken and rice. For another dose of normalcy this week, I recharged my Starbucks card and mobile ordered at my go-to NoMa location, which recently reopened for takeout until 1:30 p.m. The three-shot iced espresso drink I religiously tap came with an added touch taped on the side: a green heart reading, “Stay safe + thank you!” — T.P.
Friday, April 3
For Vietnamese and fire ice cream: I have to admit my skeptic’s Spidey sense was tingling when I heard Emilie’s was charging $12 for a banh mi — double or triple the price you’ll find for Vietnamese subs around Eden Center or at fixtures like D.C. Banh Mi Sandwich — but the cost felt justified while I chomped my way through an Amoroso’s roll stuffed with grilled lemongrass pork that was fatty and tender enough to be mistaken for a lobbyist’s ribeye. The same pork came in my wife’s $16 rice bowl. Doused in sweet, bright nuoc cham and rounded out by a fried spring roll, slightly sticky white rice, a fried egg, and pickles, the package contained enough food for two separate meals. A simple gem lettuce salad with a soy vinaigrette and a sesame seed and fried garlic crunch was our requisite vegetable. If you only order one thing, though, skip dinner and make a beeline for executive pastry chef Willa Pelini’s campfire marshmallow ice cream. Smokey but not bitter with a muted charcoal color, it should come by the gallon. Everything traveled well, even the ice cream (with an assist from a soft cooler). All in all, it felt like chef-owner Kevin Tien and his crew had hacked the casual pivot as well as anyone. Order takeout or delivery online. 1101 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE — Gabe Hiatt
For brunch terrine worth showing off: During a recent virtual brunch meetup, I felt lucky to be tilting my computer camera downward to take in a spread from Convivial. Cedric Maupillier’s neighborhood bistro in Shaw seems have to skewed more old-school French lately (RIP to the fried chicken coq au vin). That explains the rich rabbit and hazelnut terrine, devoid of gristle and complimented by a few gherkins, portable ramekins of dijon and whole-grain mustard, toast, and a fricassee salad drizzled with a bracing vinaigrette. A bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich on a buttery bun was filled with delicately folded layers of egg, lending a skillful touch to a basic breakfast. Our cinnamon roll felt smartly restrained, took with a dusting sugar creating the best bites on the bottom edge of the crust. I also have to commend the place on its pickup protocol. There was plenty of space between customers in the bar area, and Convivial even had two different containers for pens: “sanitized” and “used.” Order online for pickup or delivery. 801 O Street NW. — G.H.
For cocktails catering to Fauci fans: As soon as Shaw’s Capo Deli posted its brand new “Fauci Pouch-y” carryout cocktail to Instagram last week, I decided that the vodka-spiked mint lemonade would be my ticket to fly the coop. Another timely, to-go cocktail is the “Tiger King” — a fiery reference to the Netflix hit with cayenne and chili powder, coconut water, aloe, and El Silencio mezcal. Capo’s hot and cold subs, loaded with Italian meats like Genoa salami, soppressata, and mortadella, are already portable. Order a full-sized sandwich to ration half for lunch the next day. Fancy up dinner with a bottle of Veuve ($56) or keep it simple with Jack Daniel’s ($33.99). Order online. 715 Florida Avenue NW — Tierney Plumb
To support a local coffee biz: Pre-coronavirus, Brookland’s Alchemist Coffee was brewing kegs of specialty nitro coffee for 40 restaurants, coffeeshops, and bars in the area. But with the dine-in ban in effect, that wholesale business went up in smoke. Now the owners are doing no-contact home deliveries of 32-ounce glass growlers ($20) to get remote workers through the week. Turn your house into a restaurant and get a pressurized mini-keg of nitro coffee, which stays fresh in the fridge up to 30 days. I’m still sipping through a Wednesday delivery of the “Hologram” growler — a strong-as-hell blend of Central American and East African coffees roasted by Counter Culture. A green tea-based kombucha from small-batch brewer Bruja, infused with dragonfruit, damiana, guava, and ginger, is a refreshing, fermented drink over ice. Tonight I’ll probably add liquor. Orders are available for pickup/delivery the next business day. Pick up orders weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at its Tastemakers facility at 2800 10th Street NE — T.P.
For Asian-American comfort food: Cathal Armstrong’s Filipino/Thai/Korean restaurant Kaliwa introduced takeout and delivery at the Wharf this week, and I got a first taste. A pair of jumbo spring rolls, dense with pork and shrimp, are a good way to start. The Dublin native has beefed up the menu with American comfort foods like mac and cheese. The heavy helping of creamy carbs, topped with a bed of garlic bread crumbs, was a deal at only $7. While the red curry crab entree is jam-packed with lump seasonal meat, I wished the $16 portion was a little larger. A $3 side of atchara — a popular pickled condiment in the Philippines — features thin strips of papaya, bell peppers, and carrots. Takeout and delivery (free within a three-mile radius), 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday and until 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. On UberEats, DoorDash and Grubhub, or call 202-516-4739 — T.P.
For kebabs with a plethora of sauces: I wish I could’ve eaten Maydan’s Middle Eastern, North African, and Caucuses-inspired food within view of its blazing hearth. But it was a nice consolation prize to find little containers of every single one of the hot spot’s famous condiments (normally $1 each) included in my $55 to-go order of chicken and ribeye kebabs. I got to try them all, from roasted red pepper-based muhamarra to cinnamon and sesame-laced tomato jam. There was enough left over to perk up plain old chicken breasts and other home cooking projects for the rest of the week. The freshly baked flatbread that came with our meal also put grocery store pitas to shame. Maydan’s ordering process went smoothly (we scheduled pickup at the restaurant on the earlier side, FYI). Takeout orders accepted from noon to 2 p.m. with pickup from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. 1346 Florida Avenue NW — Adele Chapin
For standby pizza in Virginia: Sometimes you just want a decent pizza. In lieu of adventurous takeout, my husband and I decided on an order for Lost Dog Cafe last Friday (we considered Pizzeria Orso, but that had been one of our last meals out before social distancing; memories). Lost Dog’s multi-meat Italian pie, topped with everything from pepperoni to red onion to ham, is my favorite there, and it didn’t disappoint. A Greek side salad was forgettable beyond the zesty feta vinaigrette, but it’s worth adding an order of their similarly named Italian fries (seasoned waffle fries, ordered extra crispy and reheated in our oven), because clearly a large pizza on its own does not provide enough carbs for (another) night in. Order online for pickup or delivery. 2729A Merrilee Drive, Fairfax; Additional locations in Arlington, McLean, and Alexandria — Missy Frederick
Friday, March 27
For a hero we need right now: Among the treasure trove of tomato cans, olive oil tins, and wines from all over Europe, I found an alarming sense of normalcy at A. Litteri, low-key the best little Italian market in D.C. The usual crew of cops waited for subs at the deli, and I penciled in a sandwich form myself, participating in an old-school noncontact ordering system. I customized my hero with a hard roll, mortadella, salami, Gouda, and white American cheese, taking particular pleasure in hot pepper pickles with a blast of salt and oil to rein in their more spicy and sour characteristics. I scored a bottle of Chianti Classico to go with a future pasta project, and my wife and I plopped down a curb a block away from Union Market to keep a respectable level of social distancing. Going halfsies made me wish I ordered the soft roll. Afterward, we checked out the takeout operation at the Creamery, which replaced the food hall setup for Trickling Springs late last year. The mint chip was on-point, but the cookies and cream left us with an artificially sweet flavor we could have done without. Pickup orders can be placed online. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday. 517 Morse Street NE — Gabe Hiatt
For high-level homey meals: Wearing a reduced-red gloss of Sriracha glaze and sporting attractively charred edges, square slices of to-go meatloaf from Unconventional Diner present well, even inside a takeout container. Chef-owner David Deshaies is presenting several packaged takeout meals that, at $40, provide at least four meals. While the 1-pound portion of meatloaf was the main event, I was enamored with Deshaies’s creamy pommes de terre. Instead of a uniform mash, he smashes some Redskin potatoes to make a puree full of butter and reduced cream, then folds in some reserved chunks. A rich morel mushroom gravy shot through with red vinegar begs to be eaten with a spoon, but go ahead and pour it on the whole plate. Oh, there are Brussels sprouts and a salad, too. Available for pickup (2 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.) and delivery via Caviar. 1207 Ninth Street NW — G.H.
For DIY date-night crab cakes: I got my seafood fix this week at the Alibi, the British pub in Capitol Hill pub that’s getting retooled by Charlie Palmer alum Mike Ellis. He’s prepping to-go cooking kits that require little work at home. Two huge, filler-free crab cakes can be baked at 450 on a lightly-oiled baking sheet for 15 to 20 minutes. Finish on the stovetop to ensure a nice 360-degree crust. A pair of packaged sides — green beans and roasted potatoes — need just a little time on the stovetop for a foolproof meal at home. The Alibi was also one of the first D.C. restaurants to double as an on-demand pantry, offering everything from eggs to bleach to bubbly as grocery store shelves remain ransacked. Live within two miles of the restaurant? Ellis will come right to your door, with free TP in tow. Available for pickup or delivery the following day, Monday to Saturday, between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. 237 Second Street NW — T.P.
For an admirably portable wedge: I wish my first trip to La Betty, the year-old neighborhood restaurant from the Baked & Wired group, came under different circumstances. I desperately wanted to linger inside the space, covered in colorful art that pops next to wood banquettes and austere paint, but had to settle for a brief takeout cameo. My call-in order was ready in 20 minutes and traveled well despite a rainy walk home. The Bukowski burger features a patty seared in a cast-iron skillet. It’s classically built, with American cheese, lettuce, organic tomato, onion, and pickle. The family-run brand packs the burger between a soft pain de mie bun, made at A Baked Joint next-door (also doing to-go pizza or sandwiches). An essential wedge salad stars a hearty slab of bacon, accented with bright grape tomatoes and thinly sliced cucumbers and radishes. Long strands of hand-pressed spaetzle, finished in a pan with brown butter, lasted through dinner and turned into a legit late-night snack eaten straight from the fridge. Call 202-408-6985 for takeout or order delivery on GrubHub, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. 420 K Street NW — Tierney Plumb
Switch it up online: One way to battle boredom is to surprise your palate and order the last thing you’d normally pick. At King Street Oyster, my new NoMa go-to, I held off buying the popular lobster roll and went with a vegan Impossible burger instead (I’m suspicious of faux meat, but pic looked tempting). IRL, the patty was delicious, joined by a mouth-watering medley of barbecue sauce, vegan cheddar cheese, and mushrooms. Fries did need an extra trip to the oven at home to achieve crunchy carb nirvana. Pickup or delivery, 11 a.m to 8 p.m. 22 M Street NE — T.P.
For dependable Sichuan delivery: My husband and I have decided to do “Delivery Fridays” while we’re cooped up at home as a festive finish to a stressful week. First on the docket last week was Peter Chang in Arlington, which delivers orders via DoorDash. We ordered what was definitely an unreasonable amount of food for two people (no leftovers have gone to waste). Discoveries: 1) Bamboo fish reheats well in the oven. 2) Double-cooked pork belly and shredded beef with scallion and onion (order spicy) are worthy new additions to the rotation. 3) Beef chow fun gets a little gummy in transport, but I don’t regret ordering it. 4) Add an order of fried rice to any Chinese food delivery you get during this crisis. Next-day fried rice omelets are one of the best breakfasts out there. 5). However many dumplings you order, you’re probably going to regret not getting even more. 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. 2503-E North Harrison Street, Arlington, Virginia — Missy Frederick
For hot chicken without leaving D.C. I am a huge fan of Kevin Tien’s spicy chicken sandwich ($12). The Hot Lola’s sandwich debuted at Emilie’s last week, and I have already ordered it twice, plus probably more times in the coming days, weeks, and months. Maybe we can keep it on the menu for forever? Available for takeout 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. 202-544-4368 or e-mail FeedMe@emiliesdc.com; 1101 Pennsylvania Avenue SE — Tim Ebner
For sushi with a wide delivery radius: I was also surprised and delighted to find that Sushi Rock in Arlington delivers all the way to Capitol Hill. The chef’s special, chirashi sushi, is 12 assorted sashimi and sushi rolls for only $24.60, a pretty excellent deal. Available for pickup or delivery; 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. 1900 Clarendon Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia — T.E.