Interview in the Washington Post
I was interviewed by the Washington Post for their DC Dream Day feature. From WaPo "In D.C. Dream Day, we ask our favorite people in the area to tell us how they would spend a perfect day in the District. See previous dream days from Mayor Muriel Bowser, BYT’s Svetlana Legetic, Story District’s Amy Saidman and more."
Story here and copied below:
AJ Dronkers has always been the guy with the restaurant and bar recommendations — so much so that he made it his job. Dronkers is the associate publisher at Edible D.C., a quarterly magazine all about food and drink in and around the District, part of a network of Edible publications across the country. Dronkers, 32, has put his wine and spirits know-how to the test this year, heading up the first local distillery guide in the magazine’s four-year history and creating a local wine guide for this fall’s issue, coming out Sept. 15. “It was born out of a love for local distilleries and local bartenders and mixologists that have been getting national recognition for our bar scene,” Dronkers says. You’ll want to take notes on his dream day: True to form, he’s got hacks for making your D.C. eating and drinking experience better.
After sweating it out at SoulCycle, my dream is to find a farmers market. What I love about the D.C. region is, especially in summer, there’s a farmers market almost every day of the week. I’d probably leaf through a cookbook the night before and flag a couple recipes I want to try so I know what I’m looking for. Mountain View Farmis definitely one of my favorite [vendors] for produce, and they always have tons of fresh herbs. I just grabbed a bunch of purple basil and fresh chives, because I was making a mascarpone, chive, wasabi spread to go with a tomato salad. I love to do a little prep work just so it’s easy for dinner later.
I like getting together with friends across the District and finding a fun brunch to go to. We just did A Rake’s Progress and that was really fun. A Rake’s Progress has whimsical storytelling that accompanies every meal. What’s really cool is you’re drinking local wine at brunch. So on top of getting this locally made, amazing brunch food, you’re drinking Early Mountain Vineyards rosé and Thibaut-Janisson sparkling, which are some of my favorite Virginia wines, throughout your meal.
I love going out to Virginia wine country. One of my hacks is going a little more than 45 minutes out. Almost everyone is going to the usual-suspect wineries that are 30 to 45 minutes out. Once you go about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes out, you start to hit Purcellville and some of those areas that are quieter. I love Otium Cellars, I love going to RdV Vineyards. There’s some really cute wineries if you’re willing to drive just a little farther.
You come back late afternoon, early evening, and you start to mobilize for dinner. I really am all about simple cooking, like not overwhelming. There’s lots of ways to make a really simple, fresh meal without it feeling like you’re slaving away in the kitchen. We’ll tell everyone to bring drinks and maybe some appetizers and we’ll amass on some rooftop. I’m a little bit of a freak when it comes to social games. I love to play charades, and I have a crazy box of games. There’s another version of charades called reverse charades, where there’s one guesser and everyone else acts. Usually I’ll try to sneak that on the group.
We usually barhop or end up dancing. We love Trade. They always have DJs, outdoor space until like 11 p.m. and drag performances during the week. It’s one we consider our go-to.