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Mike Isabella’s DC

You may recognize Mike Isabella from his recent Top Chef: All-Stars second-place stint, but, in DC, it’s his growing epicurean empire that’s creating a buzz. From his Italian flagship, Graffiato, to his recently opened Mediterranean hot spots, Kapnos and G, the New Jersey native has become a culinary mainstay in the nation’s capital. We caught up with Isabella and asked him what his perfect DC day looks like.

Mike Isabella

10am Get your morning caffeine fix at Chinatown Coffee Co. in Penn Quarter. “At home, I usually start the day with English breakfast tea with milk and sugar,” says Isabella. “But if I have an early start, I’ll head to Chinatown Coffee Co. for a cappuccino with caramel.” 475 H St. NW, 202.320.0405

Noon After a relaxing morning, hit up one of the city’s newest noodle bars, Toki Underground, for lunch. “I love the kimchee and curry ramen noodle soups here. So glad they are open for lunch now. It’s less crowded and easier to grab a seat.” 1234 H St. NE, 202.388.3086

1pm Spend an afternoon at Nationals Stadium taking in a game and, of course, enjoying some stadium snacks. “Hitting up a Nats game and grabbing a beer and frank in the afternoon is a great way to spend the day.” 1500 S. Capitol St. SE, 202.675.6287

5pm Isabella is friends with chef Victor Albisu, who’s at the helm of the Latin American steakhouse Del Campo. Grab a preshow drink at the bar. “I love the bar at Del Campo. My go-to drink there is a classic mojito.” 777 I St. NW, 202.289.7377

7pm Head to the nearby Verizon Center. “So many talented artists perform at the Verizon Center. I love to catch a show there when I have an evening out of the kitchen.” 601 F St. NW, 202.628.3200

10pm Enjoy a light, post-show dinner. “After the show, I’d grab a late dinner at Sushi Taro. I order some sashimi, hamachi collar and a nice bottle of sake.” 1503 17th St. NW, 202.462.8999

1am End the evening at 2 Birds 1 Stone. “The menu changes weekly, so I usually order one of Adam Bernbach’s bourbon or rye cocktails.” 1800 14th St. NW, 202.733.5131