SUMMER RULES is a series where we ask people to share with us how they’re staying safe and sane during this very different summer season; from mask suggestions to soundtrack selections, we’ll take a peek into how others are making these challenging times work.
Today we’re speaking with Silvan Kraemer and Chef David Fritsche of Stable (who are opening up a pop-up seafood shack, Pier 1354, as of today!); they recommend the Beach Boys, raclette, a strong work-life balance and more to ride out this unusual summer:
How do you usually feel about summer, as a season overall, and how do you feel about THIS summer, by comparison?
David: We are two Swiss guys who prefer the colder temperatures. We don’t get too excited about summer. DC dies down and it’s always a slower time.
Honestly, though, this summer is much better because we have so much more free time than we usually do.
Silvan: On a business level, the summer sucks and, this one, sucks even more. On a personal level, it is fantastic.
What is your summer shaping up to look like?
Silvan: Stable is only open three days a week right now and, the upside to that, is we have more time to get out, be more active and spend time outdoors. I haven’t been to the pool in my building once since I’ve lived there. I’ve been three times this summer. And it only opened two weeks ago! I’ve also been doing much more hiking and playing golf.
David: Our work/life balance is much better this summer.
Silvan: Turns out we actually have hobbies besides running a restaurant!
Is there anything in particular you’re actually looking forward to this summer?
David: We just broke the news that we are opening a patio seafood shack, Patio 1354, a few doors down from Stable. So, we will be in opening mode for the rest of summer! We are really excited to bring a new laid-back, fun and delicious (!) outdoor space DC can safely enjoy.
What are some of your tips for staying safe and sane right now?
David: Obviously follow the guidelines of social distancing, wearing a mask and just generally protecting yourself and, in our case, our employees and guests.
To stay sane, do things you like to do, cook at home, find some new hobbies. Get outside, go hiking.
Silvan: Find hobbies and stay busy. For me, there’s nothing worse than having time and nothing to do. Try to reinvent yourself and your business. Evolving and adapting at Stable and the introduction of Pier 1354 has been really important to staying sane
But, to keep it simple: Stay hydrated and drink a lot of water to stay healthy and drink beer to stay sane.
Go-to summer wellness practice advice? Any spots in particular that have been helping you on that front?
David: Being Swiss, I would say get out of the city. Get out of the concrete jungle and go to lakes or rivers. Somewhere the world is sort of okay.
Where did you get your mask from? And what, aside from that, has been your more or less go-to summer uniform?
Silvan: We’ve gotten masks from a lot of places. We got masks from the Power of 10 Initiative, an effort to rehire restaurant staff to feed frontline workers. We’ve gotten masks from DC’s PPE program.
A while ago, we brought the dry cleaner next door (Capital Cleaners) a few berliners (Swiss-style doughnuts) and, a few days later, she brought us custom-made face masks.
What (if anything) are you reading right now, and why do you recommend it? (Alternatively, just share a favorite book.)
David: (Laughs) I’m usually too busy to read anything. I think I speak for Silvan too.
Do you have a go-to summer hang-out recipe that still works for a socially distanced gathering? And/or just a favorite general summer recipe that’s still a go-to, even now?
David: We try not to do gatherings right now, obviously. We stay away from that because we are the owners of the restaurant, which is currently operating with a 3-person skeleton team, so it would be pretty disastrous if we got sick.
But we get together the two of us and we like to cook big pieces of meat outdoors. Something that takes us hours to do, so we can have a few beers with it and make a day of it.
Silvan: A very Swiss summer recipe is Raclette [cheese] on an open-fire when camping.
What about great summer cocktail or mocktail recipe?
Silvan: Spritzes are awesome for summer. I love an aperol spritz or Hugo or any type of white wine spritz. A shandy with beer and lemonade is also great. A good summer drink has a little lower alcohol content and is really refreshing.
What’s on your summer playlist this year, or are there three songs that are permanent summer favorites for you?
Silvan: Yesterday, we were listening to The Beach Boys. Starts singing “Aruba, Jamaica…”
Where do you wish you COULD GO this summer, if there were no restrictions or safety risks?
Silvan: I would like to go back home to Switzerland. Originally the plan this summer was for my family to come and visit here, and then my plan switched to visit them there, but now because I live in the US, I would have to quarantine when I entered Switzerland.
David: My plan was to go home, too. But honestly, with this virus, I want to save my money to go somewhere when this is over and I can actually enjoy myself. Anywhere I went right now, I would be worried, and that’s not really vacation.
And is there anywhere you’ve been safely going that you could recommend for people who live nearby? Any day trips or local spots worth mentioning, for example?
Silvan: The National Arboretum is great. There’s not a lot of people nearby, so it’s great to walk or bike around. I go to the Shenandoah in Virginia to go hiking. Then, of course, the golf course.
Visit Pier 1354
Thursday through Saturday from 5-10 PM