Lady Camellia

Rating: ★★★★★

18644594_10155363314553011_1508415757_nTea time is commonplace in the UK, while in the US, it can be difficult to find it done properly, that is, with well-brewed tea, finger foods such as cucumber sandwiches and, most crucially, scones with clotted cream and jam. Clotted cream always makes me think of clogged arteries, since it’s somewhere between whipped cream and butter in consistency. But it is so worth it. Once you taste the deliciousness that is clotted cream and jam on a scone, you’ll just keep craving it. Fortunately, Lady Camellia, with it’s absolutely adorable interior and its location in an old row house on a Georgetown’s beautiful, largely residential Prospect Street, is an absolute gem that does high tea perfectly. While Lady Camellia sounds like a classic British name, its actually a clever pun on the fact that the Latin genus-species name for the tea plant is Camellia sinensis. I’m convinced that even the Queen of England herself would find nothing to turn up her nose at. There are a number of different options for what you can order with your tea, but I opted for the Full Tea, which includes tea sandwiches, scones or croissants and pastries. I got mine with (of course) scones with clotted cream and jam and macarons. This is a great 18678901_10155363314513011_1974448425_n.jpgplace to go for a special occasion. I went because I was the token guy at a female coworker’s birthday celebration. So bust out your Jack Wills outfit and your fascinator, and head over to tea time at Lady Camellia. 

Lady Camellia is located at 3261 Prospect St NW.

Rappahannock Coffee

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Rappahannock Coffee is a cozy, though not flashy, coffee shop that roasts its own beans in house. It has a bit of a faded feel to it, but I appreciated the fact that even though I was 16650232_10155029247953011_930048856_nthere on a Saturday, it wasn’t especially crowded and I could easily find a seat. That is not the case at many of the coffee shops in the DMV area. The menu is small and fairly basic, but this place gets the job done. It’s not the sort of coffee shop that I would make a destination out of (there are some, like Qualia Coffee, that I will go out of my way to go to) but if you’re in the area, it’s solid.

Rappahannock Coffee  is located at 2406 Columbia Pike in the Pennrose section of Arlington.

Zeke’s Coffee DC

Rating: ★★★★★

14813006_10154669797603011_775198186_oZeke’s Coffee is a Baltimore transplant with a DC coffee shop and roastery located at 2300 Rhode Island Avenue NE in Woodridge. If you haven’t heard of Woodridge, you’re not alone. It’s a neighborhood located between Brookland and the Maryland border that’s still largely lacking in anything but carryouts, but which is home to a small group of trendy new establishments. Zeke’s Coffee is undoubtedly one of the coolest coffee shops in DC, but it’s worth noting that it’s not a place that has a ton 14800243_10154669797608011_1295340650_oof seating or a lot of food; it’s more of a coffee shop operation that has been set up inside a space that is largely dedicated to being a roastery (Zeke’s sells its small batch roasted beans all over DC). As such, it almost has the feel of a pop-up. The coffee is delicious and pretty inexpensive at less than $2 for a small, single-origin coffee. They also sell inventive kolaches (delicious stuffed rolls that are Czech by origin but have become a Texas delicacy) baked by Republic Kolache, a DC popup bakery. I had both the saag paneer kolache and the egg and chorizo kolache which were delicious but a bit pricey at $4 a piece. Friendly staff rounded out my tasty first excursion to Woodridge.

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Mom’s Organic Market and Naked Lunch

Rating: ★★★★★

14696951_10154633364253011_227324865_nMom’s Organic Market is a regional chain that contains a vegan eatery called Naked Lunch. The only location in the District itself is at 1501 New York Ave NE in Ivy City. I’d be willing to bet that you’ve never heard of Ivy City, a historically run-down and neglected warehouse district. However, Ivy City’s hulking Hecht Warehouse has been converted into snazzy condos, which have brought with them the typical harbingers of gentrification: organic food, a yoga studio, a CrossFit Gym, and other 14724181_10154633323233011_1911765214_oestablishments such as the New Columbia distillery (known for its Green Hat Gin). However you feel about gentrification, Mom’s Organic Market is a fantastic place. It’s bright and friendly and stocks a wide range of health food products, many of them local. Naked Lunch offers tasty and healthy veggie-based food options (kind of along the lines of Beefsteak, but what I had was tastier) along with fresh juices. I ordered the cauliflower steak and while a carnivore like me cringes at the idea that cauliflower would be called steak, it really was pretty tasty. The best thing about Mom’s Organic Market, however, is the FREE COFFEE. Yes, you read that correctly. There is FREE COFFEE right at the front of the store (as well as tea). I biked over there on a rainy, chilly day and that free coffee was a godsend for a caffeine 14686498_10154633364218011_191532060_naddict like myself.

La Mano Coffee Bar

Rating: ★★★☆☆

13435609_10154292218458011_1822606170_nLa Mano Coffee Bar is a coffee shop located in Takoma at  304 Carroll St NW. Once you get past the fairly unattractive exterior with fogged up windows, this is a cool little place (though seating is pretty limited and it’s not a comfy spot to hang out for too long). The coffee drinks are tasty, with a number of single origin choices, and the staff is friendly. Hours are limited, though (they close at 6 pm daily).

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Compass Coffee

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13296145_10154248627943011_631507160_nCompass Coffee is a popular local coffee shop with two locations in Shaw at 1921 8th St NW and 1535 7th St NW. It’s easy to see where this place’s popularity comes from; they roast their own coffee and make an innovative array of coffee drinks, such as nitrogen-infused cold brew. They also offer kolaches, which are savory, filled, pastries of Czech origin, but have become popular in Texas. Compass Coffee‘s Kolaches are made in the Texan style but with a twist; the day I was there, there were saag paneer kolaches and half smoke kolaches. I wish my half smoke kolache had been warm, but it was otherwise tasty. Seating at both 13288816_10154248627948011_357103512_nlocations is tight, which is probably Compass Coffee’s main drawback. It isn’t like Tryst where you can lounge on a couch, but I can’t dock them too much for being victims of their own popularity.

Dos Gringos

Rating: 

13153480_10154199040923011_298360266_nDos Gringos is a coffee shop and restaurant located at 3116 Mt Pleasant St NW. This place is an amazing cross between the sort of hippie, health-conscious cafe you would find in Vermont and Latin American fare. You can (as I did) did into a tasty scrambled tofu breakfast burrito while sipping a cafe con leche on the adorable porch. The place is in a very cute converted rowhouse and boasts reasonable prices, a friendly owner, and a neighborhood everybody 13153482_10154199040858011_1516093707_nknows everybody vibe. A large number of the patrons are clearly regulars whom the longtime owner knows personally. Like Mount Pleasant itself, the crowd is a big mix of people. If you manage to snag a seat outdoors on a nice day, this is a particualrly excellent spot to enjoy a low-key, inexpensive, healthy, and tasty brunch.

Calabash Tea & Tonic

Rating: 

13112670_10154199084363011_434477166_oCalabash Tea & Tonic is a friendly, funky, and awesome tea shop located at 1847 7th St NW in Shaw. Calabash Tea & Tonic boasts a colorfully decorated interior and, more importantly delicous and creatively-named teas. Names of teas include “Teayoncé,” “Nefer-Tea Tea,” and “Kiss Me Guido,” among many others. The teas are a bit pricey, but this place is a unique gem so it’s worth paying to drop in here from time to time. The owner is a fifth-generation Jamaican 13199151_10154199084343011_1674613831_oherbalist, so you know she knows what’s she’s doing!

Boccato

Rating: 

13147911_10154189344023011_488313914_oBoccato Gelato & Espresso is a gelato shop and coffee house located at 2719 Wilson Blvd in Arlington. It is a spacious coffee shop with a cozy atmosphere and plenty of seating. Since it was St. Patrick’s Day weekend, I ordered a chocolate Guinness-flavored gelato which was a cool concept. The gelato itself was a bit too icy and not creamy enough for my taste, but my latte was good. Overall this is a solid coffee shop in  Arlington to hang out in and work in.

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Simit + Smith

Rating: 

13128719_10154189377983011_1885071649_oSimit + Smith is a Turkish bakery, sandwich shop, and coffeehouse located at 1077 Wisconsin Avenue NW in Georgetown. Simit + Smith is a small chain that currently has a handful of other locations in the NYC area, but this location is its first in the DMV. The namesake food at Simit + Smith is the simit, a Turkish, ring-shaped bread somewhat similar to a bagel but a much closer cousin of the Jerusalem bagel aka Jerusalem ka’ak. It’s covered in sesame seeds, savory and delicious. I had a classic simit sandwich with feta and tomato, which reminded me a lot of the delicious “bagel toast” sandwiches I ate almost 13169891_10154189377918011_1738572715_oevery morning for breakfast at the famous Arab bakery called Abulafia when I lived in Tel Aviv. They also make spot-on Turkish coffee which is an excellent accompaniment to a simit sandwich. Friendly service and a very cute atmosphere rounds out the experience. The only additional thing I’d like to see is a cheaper way to buy plain simits in bulk. Since this bread has a unique texture and flavor, I’d love to be able to buy a dozen to host a brunch. However, at $3 per simit, that would be awfully expensive just for some bread, however excellent that bread may be.

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