Contributing writer, Erum Jilani

A short one-hour flight (or 3.5 hour train ride) from NYC, Washington D.C. is the perfect weekend getaway for those who want to indulge in history, culture, and a vibrant food scene (Bon Appetit just named the nation’s capital the “Restaurant City of the Year”). Often given a bad rap, the capital of our nation has more to offer than just partisan politics and gridlock. Erum Jilani, Asia Advisor for the Secretary of Defense and fellow Parsons Grad, shows us five places to hit up for the weekend.

minibar and barmini

Barmini in Washington DC📷 Erum Jilani

José Andrés’ experiment in avant-garde cooking and cocktails is always an experience. With a fixed price menu at minibar, the twenty-five-course creations often involve liquid nitrogen smoke, a syringe, and test tubes. It’s part science class part cooking but as the Washingtonian recently touted “for the food-obsessed there is no better show”.

For those of us not looking to shell out $300 on a dinner, head to barmini next door. José Andrés applies the same surrealist concepts from Minibar into his cocktails. Reservations are a must as the bar books up as far as three weeks out. Try the “Ticket to Phuket” a lovely mix of Thai chilis, ginger, mescal and basil.

minibar and barmini
501 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20004

Tue-Thu 5:45pm – 1am
Fri 5:45pm – 2am

Nighttime Monument Stroll

WWII Memorial in Washington DC📷 Erum Jilani

There is no better nighttime activity than strolling the monuments at night in all their lite up grandeur. Pay tribute to our greatest founding father and start at the Washington Monument, follow the footpath to the World War II Memorial (pictured), Lincoln Monument, Vietnam and Korean War Veterans Memorials.

Hop into an uber to the nearby Thomas Jefferson Memorial and pay tribute to the author of the Declaration of Independence. It is by far my favorite monument for its elegance and view of the Potomac tidal basin.

Union Market

Union Market in Washington DC📷 Erum Jilani

Opening its doors two years ago, Union Market has quickly become a foodies’ haven and the go to market for DC’s finest purveyors. The market serves as an incubator for small business owners who often house their first brick and mortar stores in the market.

Be sure to hit up Peregrine Espresso for a smooth Americano and TaKorean for the best bulgogi tacos the city has to offer. For “responsibly sourced” American food check out Bidewell, housed in the corner of the market. Chef John Mooney offers weekend tours of their rooftop aeroponic garden. The food is literally ‘roof to table’. Just outside the

Just outside the market, you’ll find Argentine gelato at Dolcezza’s production plant and tasting room. On weekends they offer tours of the gelato factory and tastings of their latest creations such as Grapefruit Campari gelato.

Union Market
1309 5th St NE
Washington, DC 20002

Tues-Fri 11am – 8pm
Sat-Sun 8am – 8pm

Le Diplomate

Fabulous brunch at le diplomate📷 Erum Jilani

For the hottest brunch spot in DC hit up Le Diplomate. The former laundromat has been transformed into a little piece of Paris. Stephen Starr had designers scour France to find the authentic bar, tables, and chairs that fill the restaurant. The green tiled “greenhouse” room is my favorite in the wintertime especially when you can pretend you are dining al fresco even in a snow storm. The oysters and shellfish are so good that First Lady Michelle Obama took the French First Lady to this hotspot. For brunch definitely order a cheese plate and round of fresh west coast oysters.

The green tiled “greenhouse” room is my favorite in the wintertime especially when you can pretend you are dining al fresco even in a snow storm. The oysters and shellfish are so good that First Lady Michelle Obama took the French First Lady to this hotspot. For brunch definitely order a cheese plate and round of fresh west coast oysters.

Le Diplomate
1601 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

Brunch
Sat-Sun
 9:30am – 3:00pm

Mid-Day
Sat – Sun:
3:00pm – 5:00pm

Dinner
Sun-Thurs
5:00pm – 11:00pm
Fri-Sat
 5:00pm – Midnight

Georgetown

Georgetown, Washington D.C.

Spend an afternoon relaxing, shopping and walking along the Cheasapeake and Ohio Canal in Georgetown. The preppy neighborhood that houses Georgetown University is a picturesque mix of row houses, shops and cafes along cobblestone sidewalks. Make sure to stop by Baked and Wired for a cup of Counter Culture and choose from a dozen cupcake varieties. The little coffee shop is a favorite of Georgetown students and locals flock there on weekends for the baked treats. When you’ve had your fill of retail therapy (you’ll find local boutiques to 5th Avenue stores lining M street) sit down for a drink at The Rye Bar housed in the Rosewood Hotel. The dark wood interior, matched with creamy leather sofas and modern art is a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle that surrounds Georgetown. The bar specializes in rye whiskey but can conjure up just about anything to your liking.

Contributed by: Erum Jilani