I'll admit, summertime is not my favorite season of the year -- preferring the beauty of the new flowers and bright green baby leaves in Spring, the smells and crisp air of Fall, and no stifling D.C. humidity -- but it does bring some definite pluses.  Here are some of my favorite things about  summer:

1. Berry season!:  I know I just wrote about this yesterday, but I've been eating the rewards of our hard work today, so it's still on my mind!  The raspberry ice cream I made was fantastic!  I used a vanilla custard base with whole milk, heavy cream, 3 eggs and 4 egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla - not low fat! - then added the raspberry puree in before it was churned.  It really is a shame that so many farms have been sold to land developers and made into housing communities now, but I understand the economics of it.  Still sad.

2. Orange and yellow bell peppers with hummus:  I don't know why I've never tried orange and yellow bell peppers before this year.  I suppose it is because I despise green and red peppers, or what I call airplane food seasoning because it makes tasteless food moderately edible.  Plus the name, pepper, implies spicy to me.  Anyway, I just started to eat them as a dipping veggie, and I'm loving it!  Even if the yellow ones turn my nails yellow.  If I'm out of peppers, I just discovered these delicious Blue Diamond Nut-Thins nut and rice crackers with a hint of salt are a great hummus-dipping alternative.
3. Tennis!:  Yes, I know the tennis season is practically year round, but summer means the French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open.  Watching Rafa Nadal win his 7th French Open last Monday was fantastic!  I like to go to at least one tournament every year, and it's convenient that Washington D.C. hosts some of the professional men every August for the Citi Open (formerly Legg Mason Tennis Classic).  But, if I'm looking to see all of the top pros in a less crazy environment than a grand slam tournament, I love going to the Cincinnati Masters tournament.  This year, I'm going to miss Cincy, but I'm replacing that experience with a ticket to watch everyone during the London Summer Olympics at the grounds of Wimbledon!!! Not a bad trade-off!
4. Outdoor Concerts and Movies: We have several great outdoor venues in D.C. for concerts, but the only one that lets you bring in picnics and bottles of wine and sit on the grassy lawn behind the seating area for cheap is Wolftrap.  I have really bad luck, for some reason, when I buy lawn tickets, though.  Inevitably, a thunderstorm always hits!!  No joke!  If concerts aren't your thing, then there's Screen on the Green on the D.C. National Mall during July and August, where you can spread a blanket on the lawn and watch old movies on a giant screen.  The 2012 movies are:
  • July 16 - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  • July 25 - It Happened One Night
  • July 30 - From Here to Eternity
  • August 6 - Psycho

Photo from Washington Post
There's also the NoMa Summer Screen on Wednesday evenings May 23 to August 8 on the Loree Grand Field at Second and L Streets, NE. The event starts at 7 p.m. with music, giveaways, family fun, food vendors (food trucks!!) and picnicking. Films start at dark. This year's film theme is 2012: Is it the End of the World? If those two locations don't work, there are also outdoor screenings in Rosslyn and Crystal City.  WTOP has a complete schedule for the whole summer!

5. Summer BBQs:  Summertime is simple.  The weather is warm and there's no snow to shovel.  Flowers are blooming and scenting the air.  Citronella candles are burning.  And there's nothing better than lounging on the outdoor patio set, catching up with friends, drinking beer from a cold bottle, and smelling the food grilling.  Oh and a giant bowl of seedless watermelon for dessert!  In fact, it's time for me to head over to my friend's house for a BBQ right now!