June flew by so incredibly fast and it’s already July 4th!! I feel like I’ve barely had enough time to enjoy summer, and it’s just passing me by. At least the rain is slowly, but surely decreasing. Hopefully, the trend continues into the holiday weekend. The perfect drink to celebrate the holiday, is this refreshing Sangria. I got the recipe from my cousin who makes some delicious libations. We have her make jugs of this at all of our family gatherings. I’m visiting her sister for July 4, so hopefully she makes this for me! Did you catch that, Sonia???

See Recipe!

So, I kinda lied when I said I haven’t had time to enjoy the summer. I just want more time to explore…a lot more time! We have been taking advantage of the nice days and trying out restaurants in the city, specifically Capitol Hill. You might have noticed that I haven’t blogged much about any new restaurants lately, nor have I updated any that I have posted on. That’s because I hate writing, and I’m just not that good at really expressing myself. The hardest part about keeping up with this blog is the blogging! It would be so much easier to just post a recipe and picture, but I suppose that's cheating. Anyways, I have to come out of hiding because I'm so excited about some restaurants on Capitol Hill that are sure bets. We’ve been frequenting this area a lot this summer, and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite city spots. Most of their venues also have outdoor seating, which I think is lacking in most parts of the city. Also, the Eastern Market on the weekends is such a fun summer treat. Btw, I’ve noticed that the Hill doesn’t have heavy markups on their wine like most DC restaurants. Overall, they are much more affordable for food and alcohol, and provide a casual, unpretentious environment. I haven’t made my way to all the restaurants on the Hill, but here’s a few that I’ve enjoyed recently.

Sonoma - This is a very cute, little wine bar. It’s sister restaurant is Mendocino Grill in Georgetown. The menu is very small, but the offerings are very good, and simple. Portions are small, so don’t expect to get full. I think this is more of a lunch/afternoon spot for a light meal with a glass of wine. I had the pasta with confit of chicken, which was divine. The flavors and seasonings were perfect, and the chicken melted in my mouth. Neil had a pizza, which was very small, yet tasty. It’s no 2 Amys, but it hit the spot. Oh, and you get some very plump, delicious olives to start with. A large part of the menu consists of cheese and charcuterie which is the common theme amongst wine bars. We sat outside, so I only got a little glimpse of the inside. It’s narrow and very small, with simple décor. Sitting outside was fun to people watch :)

Cava- This restaurant is also in Rockville, but recently opened up on the Hill…..and what a fabulous addition!! The cuisine is Greek, and it’s mezze style… similar to Zaytinya in Penn Quarter. All night, our group was comparing them, and the general consensus was that Cava is the better of the two. The only thing that gave Zaytinya the edge was their fresh pita. Cava provides pita, but it definitely isn’t freshly made. However, they provide an excellent spicy dip and olives along with their pita. Pitas aside, the mezze menu is very vast for meat eaters and vegetarians…a lot larger than Zaytinya, and between the 7 of us, we thoroughly enjoyed everything we ordered. The lamb sliders are an absolute must!! You can’t really go wrong with this menu. The restaurant itself is also very trendy and dimly lit. It has outdoor seating with a rooftop lounge as well. As far as drinks go, it has excellent cocktails on the menu, and very inexpensive, decent wines. You definitely want to take a group to this restaurant, so you can try more items. Service was very attentive too, especially given how packed the restaurant was.

Café 8- This is the closest thing I’ve had to authentic Turkish food in DC, and I have been to Turkey. They even sell the spicy Turkish dip, Muhammara, which I haven’t seen on other Turkish menus in the area. It was excellent, as was the Adana kebab and Pides (turkish "calzone"). Even the chicken kebab was delicious....I'm use to dry chicen kebabs at most places. The dough they use for the Pide is very soft and tasty, and as far as I can tell, authentic. This restaurant is such a nice treat, and it really took me back to Turkey for an evening. The restaurant itself is casual, and nicely decorated. They also have two outdoor sections, one in the front, and a small garden in the back. The wine list isn’t so great, but I was fine with the offerings. I suppose it’s not for the wine connoisseurs of the world. Just stay away from the Turkish wines. The food more than made up for the lacking wine list, and it is very affordable too! This is another restaurant good for a group, so you can try everything.

Next up on Capitol Hill is Belga Cafe! Happy eating and July 4 :)

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