February is a special month for many reasons, and here is one more: it’s National Cherry Month. Sweet, succulent cherries are not only tasty but also healthful, as they are brimming with vitamins and antioxidants. Available in multiple varieties, cherries have a short growing season but luckily are available all year round in the U.S. To help you celebrate National Cherry Month, below is a list of several of the best dishes and drinks made with the versatile cherry, including cherry compote, cherry chutney, and of course, cherry pie.
781 Seventh St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
For the best cherry chutney in town, head to D.C.’s favorite latin-asian fusion restaurant. Featuring dishes that combine the flavors of south america and asia, Zengo offers an unusual and exciting dining experience. One of the most popular desserts is the handi pandan waffles. Pandan waffles, which hail from Vietnam, are similar to Western waffles, but are made with coconut milk and pandan leaves. At Zengo, pandan waffles are doused with a thick and delicious cherry chutney. Chutney is an Indian condiment, made by cooking fruit with sugar and spices. Zengo’s cherry chutney is a beautiful, bright sauce that is both sweet and tart, the perfect topping for their crispy waffles.
4435 Willard Ave.
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Cherries can be used for more than just a snack or dessert, and Lia’s provides an excellent example of this. Try Lia’s red lined old fashioned cocktail. The heart of the drink is the cherry infused bourbon, which is made pouring bourbon over a cup or two of cherries and storing the concoction in a jar for at least at week. Once the jar is opened and drained the bourbon is combined with angostura bitters and garnished with an edible hibiscus flower and an orange peel. The result is a sweet, smoky drink with the essence of cherry blended with the warmth of the bourbon, the herbal flavor of the bitters and the brightness of the orange.
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Dangerously Delicious Pies
1339 H St. NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
This list of best cherry dishes in D.C. would not be complete with a classic American cherry pie. Made with local sour cherries, this cherry pie is a decadent delight. A homemade sugar dusted crust is stuffed to the brim with tart cherries that have been cooked with sugar, butter, and only a few other ingredients. More of the buttery crust covers the top of the pie. A local favorite, this pie epitomizes the sublime juxtaposition of sweet and sour. Try Dangerously Delicious’ pies at their store, or from their popular food truck. The location and menu of the truck changes daily, so be sure to check their website.
3400 11th St. NW
For the best breakfast dish made with cherries, Meridian Pint is the place to go to. This neighborhood hot spot serves thick, buttermilk pecan pancakes for brunch, topped with a gorgeous dried cherry compote. Compote means mixture in French, and refers to a condiment made by cooking any type of fruit in water and sugar. The mixture is then seasoned with spices. The warm cherry compote at Meridian Pint is thick and hearty, and the pancakes are merely a vehicle for consuming the delicious topping. For a healthier option, try the steel cut oats, which are topped with the same cherry compote.
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1924 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20006
For another adult cherry treat, order the nice coat! cocktail at Founding Farmers. This drink is made with gin, orange bitters, fresh lemon juice, basil and the key ingredient, luxardo maraschino. Luxardo maraschino is a special liqueur made with sour cherries, their pits and honey. Rich and sweet, this cherry liqueor adds a depth of flavor which serves as a contrast to the strong taste of the gin and bitters, making the drink well-rounded and ideal for a pre- or post- dinner cocktail.
Priya Konings is a freelance writer and restaurant critic in Washington D.C. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.