LeoNora Bakery & Hill Country Barbecue | Washington D.C.

Delivery pastries from LeoNora Bakery, Hill Country Barbecue, Maple Syrup and Pork Cocktails

With the new season came an awakening of new restaurants and exciting flavors, from breakfast pastries to Texas-size dinners. Here are a few bites that put the spring in our step:

• Where pizza and Chinese food once ruled, now pastries prevail, thanks to LeoNora Bakery's delivery service. French-style tarts, baguettes and buttery croissants are so fresh that they're often still warm when they arrive at your door.

• Don't mess with Texas–or at least Texas-style barbecue–at Penn Quarter newcomer Hill Country. The massive two-story restaurant features pitchers of Shiner; tender, low-and-slow ribs; and desserts like bourbon-laced pecan pie and silky banana pudding filled with slices of fresh bananas.

• Warm, pancake-ready maple syrup may conjure images of Vermont, but Maryland actually bottles some of the country's best sap. Local producers transform their maple products into sugar, candy, cream and also jugs of syrup that are prized by local chefs.

• Bacon has reached the final frontier: beverages. Zola's new cocktail program includes seasonal and savory cocktails with house infusions, but the standout is a Scotch drink that arrives garnished with a skewer of smoky pork belly.

• At Trattoria da Franco, it's not over until the operatic lady sings. This classic Italian restaurant serves creamy carbonara and delicate puffs of gnocchi with your choice of sauce. As an extra treat, the restaurant transforms into a venue for live opera one Sunday each month.