RJ Cooper’s Rogue 24 showcases his culinary vision both literally and creatively by focusing the diner’s experience around the kitchen and allowing his chefs to precisely execute his gastronomic ballet. The expression, “culinary theater” has never been a more apt description as it has in Cooper’s two year old establishment. You wouldn’t assume such a sophisticated menu and execution awaits as you arrive to Rogue 24; located down a back alley in the Shaw neighborhood one block from the convention center.

The exterior of the building has wooden paneling and the inset “Rogue 24” is illuminated in bright white lights, in case you were lost. The abandoned auto shop next door covered in graffiti being a perfect introduction to the hip culinary destination that awaits you across the alley; mechanical execution, covered in artistic flair. The location is perfect for Copper’s pedigree; a Detroit native with stints cooking at Vidalia the DC seminal upscale southern comfort food destination; his elevation of simple dishes working side by side with his crew shows the level of art that this once humble working class profession has been raised in DC.

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Dolcezza? What is that? It may sound like the name of a mysterious Italian popstar, but don’t be fooled…Dolcezza is a foodie’s treasure right here in DC. Marketing themselves as “Artisanal Gelato,” the coffee and gelato shop has an underrated atmosphere and offers a nice respite from your average Starbucks.

I had my most recent Dolcezza experience in Bethesda. The shop had music playing that you would listen to when meditating or doing yoga, but you’re actually experiencing above average coffee and/or gelato.

The décor is nice. The walls are white and the ceiling and marble counter makes customers feel prestigious in a good way. You may feel like you’re in a foreign country, being transported away. You could go with a friend but you honestly might enjoy the company of yourself better if you have some time to kill. It’s a nice place to simply sip a cup of coffee, take in the atmosphere and reflect on your day.

Now onto the good stuff: the actual coffee. I ordered a skim cappuccino and was happily satisfied. It had a strong milky texture, and I hate to say it, but I know it would be better with a little cookie on the side. They should learn from the Europeans.

When it’s cold out, aka every day recently, settle for their thick and rich hot chocolate. But beware, it literally transports you to a level of chocolate that you may not know existed. Simply wonderful.

If you’re not a coffee person, become one, and if you don’t like gelato, you’re crazy.

Dolcezza has three separate locations, convenient if you’re in the Georgetown, Bethesda, or Dupont Circle areas.

For more information, check out their website or follow them on Twitter.

Written by FamousDC contributor Erica Finkelstein.