Food and wine make for a great tag-team duo, assuaging stress while filling the belly with scrumptious sustenance. At GRAPE + BEAN, patrons can sample wines, small plates, and large plates to satisfy the pickiest of sippers and tasters. A knowledgeable staff helps customers pick out palate-soothing drinks and eats amid an inviting atmosphere that features original brick walls, exposed beams, and rustic wood finishes. Sample tasty bites off the lunch, brunch, or dinner menus, which offer selections such as the rosemary ham with melted aged gruyere ($11), truffled egg toast ($12.50), and duck confit with white-bean casserole ($22). Or, opt for smaller plates, such as artichoke with pecorino, fresh mint, and basil ($9) and organic heirloom tomato with serrano ham ($9).
Organic. Fair trade. Sustainable. Microroasted. Plenty of adjectives describe the coffee at Pound The Hill, but the staff is most concerned about one in particular: delicious. They partner their carefully curated brews with breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus. Breakfast sandwiches—such as the Italian Elvis, smothered with Nutella, bananas, and honey—segue into lunchtime ones piled with veggies, feta cheese, pesto chicken salad, and pulled-pork barbecue. At dinnertime, chefs switch sandwich bread for small plates and entrees, such as organic chicken breast stuffed with blue crab. The restaurant also hosts daily happy hours, which happens to be what clowns call each credit they need to graduate from clown college. During this time, guests sip wine and beer while noshing on discounted appetizers.
For the Goldilocks oenophile, wines are available in three sizes—wee baby tastes, glasses, and bottles. Pours are organized according to taste and include full-bodied reds and light, crisp whites, with prices starting at $3 for a taste and glasses ranging from $7 to $20. Pair sips with a selection of cheeses ($15 for three), or a charcuterie board served with grilled focaccia. Small plates include grilled calamari ($11), house-made meatballs ($8), and meaty scallops with baby Swiss chard, spring onion, and gingered vanilla velouté sauce ($13). For heavier hunger pains, try a pizza ($12) or a locally raised, dry-aged beef burger ($15). Sonoma also serves moderately portioned pastas, salads, and a smattering of sides. View a complete menu and wine list here.
Open City hosts a broad cross-section of patrons, from local hipsters and neighborhood families to conventioneers staying at the nearby Marriott and Omni hotels. Freelancers and students leisurely sip coffee and use the free Wi-Fi, and while the café is open all day long, the most popular meals here are breakfast and brunch. Look for omelets, scrambles, buttermilk or multi-grain pancakes, french toast, mimosas and everything else you might crave before noon, all served with a seriously relaxed vibe. While breakfast is served all day, those dining later might want to indulge in one of the homemade salads or sandwiches, or fawn over a cup of coffee – served with animal crackers on the side. No matter what your order, the big, yawning space will make you feel right at home, thanks to an abundance of natural light. Or, soak it all in from their sidewalk patio space.
Maple sits on a recently gentrified street in Washington’s Columbia Heights neighborhood. The intimate wine bar and bistro serves stylish Italian dishes to a wide swath of locals and in-the-know tourists, including a bruschetta combo appetizer that’s perfect for kicking off any meal. Celebrated main dishes include a lamb ragu with tagliatelle, featuring port-braised lamb, olives and parmigiano reggiano cheese, while rotating daily specials are posted on the chalkboard-covered back walls. And why is a place specializing in Italian cuisine called Maple? A slab of tiger maple wood provides the centerpiece for the restaurant design, transformed into a bar running the length of the space. Keep in mind, Maple’s limited hours means they’re only open for dinner and Sunday brunches.
Saigon Saigon's immersive Vietnamese menu features pho noodle soups, spicy curries, and entrees of lemongrass chicken or roast pork. Diners sip wine while nibbling small plates of shrimp-topped baguettes, mushroom-stuffed spring rolls, or skewers of marinated chicken satay. Main courses appease appetites with stir-fried noodle dishes, or Chef Vu's specialties of rice topped with Saigon sausage and lemongrass pork, flank steak in sizzling hot pots, and filets of ginger-infused salmon. Chefs garnish dishes with colorful fresh veggies and fragrant herbs, and diners enjoy their feasts amid the warm-colored walls and sprigs of bamboo of the interior or in the open air of the patio.