…because sometimes you just need to get the hell out of Philadelphia for a few days.
I absolutely love DC. I’m not sure if it’s the city’s vibe which just exudes power and ambition (maybe I’m just watching too much Scandal) or the multitude of charming neighborhoods frequented by well-dressed readers of the Official Preppy Handbook but when the City of Brotherly Love isn’t being too lovable, a refreshing weekend in Georgetown is the perfect antidote and only three hours away. Plus there are always stereotypical but fun perks like getting chatted up in the line at Starbucks by a lobbyist for the coffee industry.
As my sister is a resident of DC, she had the good fortune to be dragged around town by me for the past 48 hours. Saturday morning started with a trip to Union Market, located in northeast DC. Similar to Philly’s Reading Terminal Market but I’ll admit way nicer, Union Market is a carefully curated collection of artisanal shops and restaurants. I had ulterior motives for being there than to just “look around” and immediately bee-lined it for the home and tabletop boutique, Salt & Sundry. Salt & Sundry is like the “greatest hits” version of Terrain and features an impressive array of local products, including Sydney Hale Company candles, hand poured in Virginia. With scents like Bourbon & Brown Sugar and Tobacco & Sandalwood, they’re classic, rustic and masculine. I picked up one in Woodsmoke & Amber and my apartment currently smells like a sexy lumberjack. I’m not complaining. I’ve also lived without hand towels in my bathroom for about two years now so I also bought a set of really beautiful Turkish ones. We rounded out the trip with a very hungover brunch at Bidwell (great spicy Bloody Mary’s) and a few oysters at the Rappahannock Oysters Co., both just steps away from Salt & Sundry.
After a quick trip to Georgetown Cupcake (naturally), we capped Saturday with a trip downtown for dinner. Nominated for a James Beard Award in the category of “Best New Restaurant” (and joining my beloved Serpico in the running) is Rose’s Luxury. Rose’s Luxury is a study in dichotomies. Located in tony Capitol Hill, it happens to be conveniently nestled next to a tattoo parlor and what may be DC’s best restaurant (if not the Eastern Seaboard’s best new restaurant) does not take reservations. This means getting in line at 4:30pm for the 5pm first seating and as the Barbour-clad women behind us in line informed, “there’s a four hour wait if you get here after 6.”
But the four hour wait might be worth it. At 5pm on the dot, Rose’s neon green sign lights up, the line starts to move, and in almost perfect military fashion, we are shown to our seats. What happens next can only be described as “hipster fine dining.” Over a soundtrack of Vampire Weekend, Echo and the Bunnymen and west coast rap, I started with a cocktail of Bulleit Rye, Dolin Rouge and meyer lemon simple syrup laced with rose water. Rose’s Luxury specializes in small plates and so my sister and I split four dishes, starting with a burnt romaine covered in avocado, poblano and cotija cheese and ricotta-stuffed gnocchi with roasted maiitakes and pecorino.
Absolute highlights included pickled fried chicken with honey and benne seeds (which was accompanied by small bottles of Crystal’s hot sauce and just solidified my love affair with this place) and a pork sausage, habanero and lychee salad (salty meets sweet meets incredibly hot meets delicious). We ended the meal on yet another high note and ordered the wild yeast sourdough donuts with apple cider, vanilla ice cream topped with cabot clothbound cheddar and all served on vintage floral china. Like everyone else around us, we spent the entire meal talking about how incredible everything was. From the friendly servers to the eclectic decor, Rose’s Luxury is about as close to perfect as you can get.
Union Market: 1309 5th St. NE; Washington, DC
Rose’s Luxury: 717 8th St. SE; Washington DC (No reservations. Get in line BY 4:30pm on weekends to guarantee a table)