Do you know there are places that do not serve things like sangria at lunch on weekdays? Or technically will serve it, but you might be the only table in the place drinking while everybody else is sipping Diet Coke because they have to go back to the office? Apparently in DC this is pretty widespread, which I think is just ridiculous. How will we ever be taken seriously as a top-tier international city if you cannot pass a couple of hours with friends and wine in the middle of the day at any charming little cafe? That is pretty basic “civilized lifestyle” stuff.
Luckily, the people at Estadio have things figured out, which makes them one of the go-to spots for me to meet a friend for lunch. (The other, notably, is Proof, which is by the same team.)
Estadio can be a bit of a scene some evenings, but it is really great at lunch. When I walked in on Thursday afternoon, my friend was already seated at the bar, big tumbler of Mencía in front of him, taking guilty pleasure in some intensely chilly air conditioning after his bike ride over from the Hill. While I, too, generally pick a lunchtime glass from Sebastian Zutant’s tasty wine list, for my own sunny summer day refreshment this time, the only thing I wanted was their sangria.
The red sangria at Estadio includes cachaça, lime, and mint. I believe it to be the very best sangria in DC – and I assure you I do not come to that conclusion without having done a bit of field research. It is a cold, plum-colored slurp of intense deliciousness. (There is also a white version with tequila, which I do have intentions of trying one day – but the red one is so good, I never actually order the white.)
This is not served with big chunks of oranges or what have you, bobbing about in a stocky glass. This, instead, is in a petite, curvy little cup, filled with chipped ice, with just a big, bright green sprig of fresh mint sticking out the top. The mint’s aromatics go straight to the nose when one takes a sip, followed by juicy flavor of the drink itself.