Empanadas, old and new
Julia’s Empanadas opened a branch in Columbia Heights last month. I missed the news then, but hearing about it today, decided to go there for lunch. Julia’s is one of the better healthy alternatives in town, though I wish the vegetarian empanadas would always include beans, not just sometimes.
Columbia Heights was absolutely buzzing with energy at 2pm on a Tuesday. What surprised me most of all was the ubiquitous construction, which I’d wrongly assumed had ended when the big DC USA complex opened. The neighborhood is still in the process of reinventing itself, with buildings-in-progress stretching north towards 16th Street Heights. But the central area, around where Park Rd. meets 14th Street, is pretty much done. It’s pretty great, too, with a semicircle of restaurants and cafes and even ice cream shops surrounding an open area. I know, I know–gentrification, prices, displacement, etc. Still, an area of the city that didn’t feel super welcoming in the past has opened up to more District residents.
Anyway, some things aren’t too different. Not everyone in the area has somewhere to go, or a way to get there. A really nice guy stopped me as I left Julia’s, asking for $.85 to get across town so that he could show up for his bimonthly urine test. I gave it to him, and he thanked me, saying he’d pray for me that night.