Archive for the ‘Logan Circle’ Category

Olmec heads in Logan Circle?

It seems that Olmec culture is back, or at least some kind of post-apocalyptic, neo-Olmec culture anyway. If you find yourself wandering around Logan Circle in the next week or so take a sec to peer into the window of the G Fine Art Gallery at 1520 14th Street. You’ll see three giant stone heads lying in what appears to be an abandoned building. But it’s not really an abandoned building, and it’s not really giant Olmec heads, it’s an art exhibition by South African artist Ledelle Moe. It’s the perfect way to impress your date with your knowledge of art/culture without having to spend any money or more than 5 minutes of your time.

Art + Development = More

Back in February and March, I touched on the battle over Source Theater’s future, and the future of arts development in my rapidly revitalizing ‘hood. Now it appears that the outcry of locals and the theater community over the possibility of a billiards bar in that spot has borne real fruit. As detailed by the Post today, the building will be bought by the Cultural Development Organization (CuDC) for development into a performing arts space.

Being the skeptic that I am, I was a little surprised that art won over pool cues, and more than a little, ah, skeptical over the potential for success, especially given the legacy of debts and accusations of mismanagement that have dogged the Source, a once successful and nationally known small theater that was the proving ground for several Washington theater professionals.

But it’s still an exciting idea to me, adding an arts venue to one of the more interesting blocks in town. As I’ve said before, I want it all for my 14th Street – shops, bars, restaurants, art galleries, theaters, concert halls – more more
more! One only has to look at Studio’s impact on Logan Circle’s revitalization to see what a successful “art fuels development” plan can do.
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Space for All?

Sometimes it feels like the city is rapidly revitalizing, with the potential to finally become a truly vibrant international metropolis. Other times it feels like the forces of retroactive resistance threaten to strangle that dream in vitro, and keep us in the clutches of special interests that have long ceased to be of any true value.

Two particular stories have highlighted this for me lately – the ongoing battle over the religious parking policy, and the battle over a bar’s liquor license. Both affect my Shaw neighborhood and strike at the heart of my personal hopes for the city I’ve called home for half my life – space for all.
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Are We Really That Indifferent To Neighborhoods?

Now, I realize that Daily Candy is just trying to help out one of their sponsors, but are we as bad as the author there suggests? “Folks in these parts just don’t seem to take the same pride in their neighborhoods as those in other towns.”

Sure, we’re no Chicago or New York in terms of our love for neighborhoods and names, and the District doesn’t officially recognize the names of the neighborhoods here, but I’d say there’s some serious love for the neighborhood in DC. Jenn even feels bad she can’t get into the ANC meeting!

What say you readers? Are we as neighborhood apathetic as Daily Candy says? If you’re feeling like you want to represent, though, check out DistrictTees or Neighborhoodies.com.

Got Property?

Bubble? Bubble? What Bubble?

Real Estate assessments are up 21% on average. Trinidad is up 47%. Congress Heights up 41%. Median House price in the District is $400,000 right now. But it’s not all painful news, as the homestead exemption’s up to $60,000, and the rate per hundred dollars has gone down to 92 cents, but that does make the annual tax bill on a $400,000 house over $3,000.

I know from personal experience that the assessments went up in Arlington, as I’m looking at yet another net increase in my taxes, though the rates won’t be set until mid April. How’d your assessment go this year?

Viridian?

We at DC Metblogs seem to have caught the foodie bug lately! Continuing on this theme, twice in the past few days I’ve passed the gallery space of Hemphill Arts at 1515 14th Street, right next to Studio Theater’s new entrance, and noticed a new restaurant is going to open on the ground floor. I peeked in to see what looks like a very open, elegant space, with large black-n-white photgraphs on the (seemingly) white walls and a cool bar area. It just says, “Viridian – Opening Soon!” – no date, though the tables are set. The only gossip I can find are a couple of older blurbs about it being a restaurant with a seasonal menu and the involvement of the former pastry chef from the late lamented Ruppert’s.

Definitely looks intriguing, and certainly will pull in those theater and gallery crowds starved for some haute cuisine. Foodification continues! Anyone have any other scoop on this place?

Update 11/8: The always clued-in Amanda from Metrocurean is reporting that it may open this weekend – very cool. Except that I’ll be in NYC. Oh well, if anyone checks it out let me know!

Logan’s Latin-Asian Fusion

Last night we decided to try out a new restaurant in Logan Circle – with the soft breezes it was the perfect temperature for a dreamy walk to Merkado Kitchen.

“What did you say?” my husband Chris was craning over the table to hear me.

“I said this could be a really romantic spot,” I shouted.

I was prepared to possibly not like Merkado Kitchen. There were a few mixed reviews online, but then again, who takes any of those seriously? ;)

We went for a late dinner around 9:30pm, thinking perhaps it would be calm. No such luck – the place was packed. We headed to the bar to wait with some far too syrupy mojitos and to ogle the beautiful people. The dining room has very high industrial ceilings and a bare floor, which leads to some ear-cringing decibels. The warm orange walls and flattering lighting adds to an overall feeling of vibrancy.

Though we had an initial upset when Chris’s salad turned out to be just a plate of watercress (when they say “salad of greens” they really mean greens), the food turned out to be absolutely delicious. I had a very yummy ceviche (which more than made up for the blah ceviche I had earlier in the week at the over-rated Rosa Mexicano) and then a firey yet creamy grilled squid stuffed with crabmeat in a coconut curry sauce. The salad fiasco was salvaged by Chris’s entree of a lovely salmon over shrimp and dashi risotto.

At about 10pm the sound level normalized as most diners had finished and left, and we got to enjoy the rest of our meal in relative quiet. It was at that point that I really began to like the place. The warm glow of the walls with their kooky murals, our relaxed waiter, the open kitchen – I could see it being a great place to relax and try out some innovative new flavors. Just not at peak times, unless you’re with an equally raucous group of friends!

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