Following a much too long and simply bizarre winter, Washington, DC is begging for spring to officially arrive. Though the beginning of the National Cherry Blossom Festival was feeling more like the heart of winter with anything but springtime temperatures and budding cherry blossom trees waking up to welcome the new season, the weather seems to be wanting to improve.
For many, while a walk around the tidal basin enjoying the sights and sounds of cherry blossoms, families enjoying the afternoon and the paddle boaters peddling their hearts out is perfection; it’s the time in DC spent exploring the food and drink scene to discover new cherry blossom features that warms their hearts and soothes their souls. For these culinary explorers, here’s a taste of what’s available this year in DC for the 102nd Annual National Cherry Blossom Festival.
Hotels With Something Special To Offer
For both tourists and DC locals alike, the hotels in the District and the surrounding areas always go above and beyond to also cater to the locals through tempting offers including amazing restaurants, enjoyable afternoon teas, ultimate rooftop experiences and more.
The Park Hyatt Washington’s Blue Duck Tavern will be offering their exclusive cocktail, which is not to be missed. The Southern Blossom is made with cherry-infused rye, lemon juice, carpano antica, simple syrup, and cherry bitters with a cherry and flamed orange peel for garnish. Not only delicious, but it's also a great presentation.
Peacock Alley at the Willard Intercontinental Washington DC offers a mouth-wateringly enjoyable Cherry Blossom Afternoon Tea. While there is certainly a cherry theme, many of the favorites that have made this hotel and the tea service historically famous are still included, but not to be missed are the tarragon chicken salad sandwiches with dried cherries and the cherry scones. Limited seating so be sure to inquire immediately.
The Hay-Adams Lafayette Restaurant is not only ideally located just across the street from the White House, but is also offering several weeks of remarkable cherry-themed dishes by Chef Jaime Montes De Oca. An example of this inventive Asian-themed menu is the Charred Scallop Sashimi with Pickled Cherries, Toasted Almonds and Soya. This is not your traditional DC cuisine.
The Sofitel’s Ici Urban Bistro is also in the middle of the action, and always an enjoyable little getaway. This year they are offering a very tempting appetizer of a Prosciutto wrapped asparagus poached egg with cherry jam and balsamic vinegar; and for an entrée, they have Atlantic salmon couscous pistachio and dried cherries, spiced pearl onion, lemon and cilantro relish.
Worth a visit outside of DC and into Old Town Alexandria is the Lorien Hotel & Spa. Their Pastry Chef Erin Reed at BRABO by Robert Wiedmaier has created the delicious cherry blossom cheesecake, which is a sweet combination of bubble gum meringue, lime graham cracker, and hibiscus gelée. A few minutes outside if DC, but is a great walking destination with historic places and streets to explore.
Other Tempting Specials Around DC
The entire District certainly gets behind the Cherry Blossom celebration. Together with the beautiful blossoms and the feeling of spring in the air, it’s also the time of the year when everyone is eager to enjoy patio seating and breath the fresh air while savoring their favorite food and drink getaways. Even the food trucks and vendors around DC are looking for ways to “cash-in” on the cherry blossom fever, but a few options around town are fantastic celebratory finds for both the locals, and the tourists.
Daikaya continues to be one of the hottest izakaya and ramen shops in DC, and they also have a few options this year to quench everyone’s thirst after an afternoon of enjoying the blossoms and putting another 20,000 steps on the Fitbit. The first floor ramen shop will be serving a Black Cherry Old Fashioned, which is modified Bird Dog bourbon, Daikaya old-fashioned bitters, and black cherry syrup garnished with a twist of lemon peel. The second floor izakaya will be serving a Bark & Bite Fizz, which is a Lento Kokuto brown sugar shochu and Wild Cherry Phosphate soda garnished with a lemon peel.
Jaleo by José Andrés, has several locations in DC and the surrounding areas with celebratory menu items that includes the Panceta Confitada con Salsa de Cereza, which is pork belly confit with cherry sauce; the Queso Murcia al Vino Tinto con Mermelada de Cereza y Pan Tostado, which is 'the drunken goat' with Murcia cheese, cherry marmalade and toasted bread; and finally the Sopa de Frutas Rojas con Helado de Queso, which is a wild red berry soup with Idiazábal cheese ice cream.
Olivia Macaron has been a huge hit since launching this past year, and their flavors to celebrate any and every holiday and festival imaginable is what keeps them not only attracting the tourists, but has also quickly won their way into the hearts of the locals. To celebrate the Cherry Blossom Festival, they have created the ultimate way to satisfy any sweet tooth with their Cherry Blossom Macarons, which is all-natural cherry with a luscious white chocolate ganache. Delicious!