Top Five Eats to Beat the Heat

DC is at the height of swelter season and so we thought we’d provide some recommendations on five treats to eat in the heat. If you venture out in the humidity, head to the following five spots for these cool dishes.

Mari Vanna's Borscht1. Mari Vanna’s Cold Borscht

Borscht is the perfect chilled, colorful summer soup. Unlike its hot winter counterpart, laden with beef, potatoes and sour cream, this vegetarian version is light and refreshing. Just don’t wear your best summer whites to eat beets. For more on what to order at this charming Dupont Circle Russian establishment (besides vodka), click here.

B TOO's Fried Orange Sherbet2. B TOO’s Fried Orange Sorbet

This is like the tempera ice cream you would beg your parents for when they “dragged” you to a sushi restaurant to “expand your horizons” when you were little. Fried ice cream is back with a bang at B TOO. This temperature impossibility sits atop sweet, candied fennel and is surrounded by fried basil leaves. Quite simply, it’s summer on a plate. For more on this Top Chef-studded Logan Circle restaurant click here.

Sushi Taro's Sashimi Omakase3. Sushi Taro’s Sashimi Omakase

You may not know the meaning of the Japanese word omakase, but chances are you’ve eaten a tasting menu or two in your time. Omakase essentially means you’re getting the top, chef-recommended selections of the day. And at Dupont Circle’s Sushi Taro, where they fly in a large portion of fish from Tokyo, you’re in for a wild ride. Sometimes, it’s far more fun to let the experts decide! There’s nothing steamy about sashimi, it’s light and fresh and the perfect summer eat. For more on Sushi Taro, click here.

Del Campo's Scallop Ceviche4. Del Campo’s Grilled Scallop Sushi Ceviche

It’s sushi, no it’s ceviche, no wait, it’s both! Del Campo continues to turn out great grilled items and this one in particular is perfect for warm weather. The scallops sit atop nigiri sushi-like rice mounds and are adorned with a smoked uni sauce. A little bit of raw, and a little bit of heat. We just visited Del Campo in Chinatown and had the special opportunity to interview Chef Victor Albisu. Click here to hear his thoughts on the most popular, and most daring, menu picks.

Teddy's Crab and Avocado5. Teddy’s Crab and Avocado

Teddy’s is a great second edition to the presidential-themed dining establishments in DC. We admit that Dupont Circle’s Teddy might be a little more fun in the winter, when it’s time to pack on the pounds by eating game meat, carbs from the heartland and rich desserts. However, there are a couple items on the menu today that are ripe for summer consumption. The best of which is their crab and avocado dish served with grilled corn and a sauce that’s worth soaking up with their homemade breadbasket. See our pick for Best Thing on the Menu here.

Agree/Disagree with our top dishes? Tell us in the comments section or on the BTM Facebook page.

Mari Vanna: Siberian Pelmeni (пельме́ни)

Russian restaurant Mari Vanna is a welcome, quaint and quirky addition to Dupont Circle. It’s hard to believe that the brick country-kitschy interior that was the background to a lazy Sunday dinner also serves as a hot nightlife spot.  Especially since it has little in common with its cousin up the street, Russia House, except for the leggy hostesses and flavored vodka of course. It is something special to see an innovative Russian restaurant come to town. On the bottom of their menu, you’ll find a notice that you can receive a free vodka shot by checking in on Facebook. On Monday evenings, they appear to turn into some kind of Slavic speakeasy.

The Best Thing on the Menu: Siberian Pelmeni (пельме́ни) are small dumplings filled with mixed meat and made of unleavened dough. They are close dumpling friends with Ukrainian vareniki, also offered at Mari Vanna, and the Polish pierogi. The pelmeni, though vaguely resembling Chef Boyardee ravioli at first, are gamey, salty and delicious. They are served with sour cream (as are all dishes at Mari Vanna) and come in a small kettle. According to the School of Russian and Asian Studies, store-bought pelmeni are considered fast food in Russia and are associated with students’ or bachelors’ lifestyles, much like instant ramen.

Speaking of college cuisine, beer drinkers headed to Mari Vanna should note that although not on the menu, beer is available. A Russian insider explained that you order Russian beer by the number. The higher the number, the darker the beer. So, don’t be surprised when your server says they have 4, 8 and 9.

Siberian Pelmeni not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.