Going Out Guide: Holiday shopping is hard. Here’s how to avoid doing it on an empty stomach.

Originally published in Going Out Guide

Come December, the mall is Rome: All roads lead to it. As much as we’d like to sit in our pajamas and order every single present online — and we’re not just saying that because of a certain Web site that shares an owner with The Washington Post and rhymes with “Schmamazon” — at some point, you’ll realize you need to pick up a last-minute hostess gift, or that you forgot to buy a present for the cousin who’s coming to dinner next week. Or maybe you will want to scare the bejeezus out of your kid by putting him or her on Santa’s lap. For all of these things, you will need to set foot in a bricks-and-mortar store.

There will be miles of parking lots, and there will be crowds. It’s enough to suck the holiday spirit right out of you — and that’s why you need a drink and a bite to eat, pronto. Here, at four different destinations for shopping and other holiday cheer throughout the region, are our picks for the best places to fuel up.

Mosaic District

2905 District Ave., Fairfax. www.mosaicdistrict.com.
This chic open-air shopping center, a 15-minute walk from the Dunn Loring Metro stop, has a little bit of everything: big box stores and boutiques, kids activities and nightlife, and an Angelika Film Center.
At the center of the Mosaic District, Mom and Pop’s glass walls allow for great people-watching while enjoying coffee and quiche. (Photo by Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)

Mom & Pop
2909 District Ave. www.dolcezzagelato.com.
This cute little coffeeshop from the team behind Dolcezza Gelato is right in the heart of the Mosaic District, offering views of the town square through its glass walls. Its menu focuses on lighter fare — bacon-and-cheddar quiche, charcuterie, grilled cheese, Paisley Fig pastries — with Stumptown coffee, although wine and beer are also available. It’s the perfect place to steel yourself with a Gibraltar (double espresso and milk, $3.50) before braving the crowds to find something for your sister, or to reward yourself with a snack once the hunt is over.