The Hottie at Comet Ping Pong
Post Food critic Tom Sietsema has praised this laid-back joint for its “tomato sauce that smacks of summer” and the “puffy, plate-size pizzas” coming out of the wood-fired oven. This particular pie features pepperoni and slices of jalapeño pepper with the signature tomato sauce and a mellow fontina cheese that balances all the zestiness. $11. 5037 Connecticut Ave NW. 202-364-0404.
Ma po tofu at Great Wall Szechuan House
Sure, you can order the standard Chinese-American fare at this go-to spot for downtown residents and workers. But the Sichuan menu is a big attraction for those who like heat. One of the stars is the ma po tofu, which combines soft tofu with tongue-numbing Sichuan peppercorns and tiny black beans that add a smoky saltiness. $9.50. 1527 14th St. NW. 202-797-8888.
Fried chicken and bread at Maketto
This is one of the signature items at Erik Bruner-Yang's restaurant devoted to Taiwanese and Cambodian cooking. Available on both the brunch and dinner menus, the double-fried chicken is marinated in fish sauce, breaded in sweet potato starch and electrified with both pickled chilies and Sichuan peppercorns. The accompanying bread can be used to sop up the sauce or tame the heat. $26. 1351 H Street NE. 202-838-9972.
Camaron Diabla taco at Taco Bamba
Chef Victor Albisu (Del Campo) brings a fine-dining sensibility to his pair of casual taco shops (a third is on the way). The spicy shrimp dish camarones a la diabla was the inspiration for this taco, which features corn-flecked rice made green with cilantro along with shrimp drizzled with jalapeño crema. $4 each. 2190 Pimmit Dr., Falls Church.
Spicy beef noodle soup at A&J
A murky, blackish beef broth, rich with meat and spiced with anise, chili bean sauce and Sichuan peppercorns, serves as a vessel for thick ropes of hand-pulled noodles, the house specialty at this Taiwanese restaurant. Need more heat? Douse the soup with fiery, garlicky Sichuan chili oil. $8.55. 1319 Rockville Pike, Rockville, 301-251-7878; 4316 Markham St., Annandale, 703-813-8181.
Mysore masala dosa at Woodlands
This vegetarian Indian restaurant offers a wide selection of dosas, large rice-batter pancakes from South India. The spiciest on the menu is the mysore masala dosa, which is smeared with a thin layer of chili paste to accompany the filling of potatoes and onions. $9.95. 8046 New Hampshire Ave., Langley Park. 301-434-4202.
Correction: An earlier version of this article listed an incorrect price for the Camaron Diabla taco at Taco Bamba. It is also only available at the Falls Church location. This version has been updated.