Archive for the ‘Washington DC’ Category

Chinatown Coffee Company A Welcome Perk

Photo courtesy Chinatown Coffee Company

Photo courtesy Chinatown Coffee Company

Earlier this week I met with the big man himself, Sean Bonner (the father of Metblogs and all around mysterious person.) We talked about all sorts of business and other matters over a coffee at Chinatown Coffee Comapny. I learned while I was there that it’s operated by former Murky Coffee owner Nick Cho. I’m happy to see that their operations and some of the baristas found a new home in DC after they left Clarendon.

The coffee is definitely top notch and the baristas make sure that your special cup is perfect before they hand it off, all hallmarks of Murky, and from my view the experience was rather drama free. I didn’t know how expressive Chinatown Coffee Company’s current Coffee guru was until I read the write-up on WCP’s Young & Hungry.

Besides great coffee I was intrigued by the environment. Fans of Murky would remember a hodge-podge of second-hand couches and chairs. For Chinatown Coffee, owners Max & Katie Brown enlisted Robert Gurney to create a space that is both minimalistic and modern. When you walk in you’ll see an undecorated orange wall on the right side of the store and exposed brick on the left. Don’t write off the design as lacking however, I thought the metallic finishes and bare lights above the prep areas tell you that the design was thought out- not unfinished.

I walked in to see the typical crowd of laptops, indicating that the store’s Wi-Fi was alive and kicking; and I was happy to have been able to grab a street parking spot right next to the store- however the easy parking was probably more because the store’s location is on the fringes of Chinatown. Despite it’s somewhat odd location, Chinatown Coffee Company should be a hit to those in the neighborhood looking to escape the corporate chain brews and environments.

Chinatown Coffee Company
475 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 559-7656
www.chinatowncoffee.com

An Ohioan’s View Of The Suddenly Downtrodden Cleveland Park

(Captain’s Note: The sudden emptying of Cleveland Park sparked some conversations between my pal Suburban Sweetheart who happens to live in the neighborhood. I invited her to share with us her unique take on the situation. I hope you enjoy and I encourage you to check her out. Well check out her blog at least- but she’s pretty cute too.)

Photo courtesy of Flickr user M.V. Jantzen

Photo courtesy of Flickr user M.V. Jantzen

I’m from the Cleveland area, so I know what it’s like to hear the hometown you love trashed by others who feel that their place of residence is superior to yours. Nearly everyone seems to hate “The Mistake on the Lake.” Haven’t you seen the videos? And believe you me: When King James (LeBron, of course) finally abandons the Cavs’ ship, you can bet our beloved city will resume its spot right back at the bottom of pile of Cities Other People Love to Not Live In.

But it’s a new Cleveland’s turn to be bashed – and I happen to live in this one, too. DC’s own Cleveland Park, once a bustling ‘hood full of local amenities & friendly faces is dying. Hey, it may even be dead – I declared it so in a blog post on my own site, Suburban Sweetheart, just days before local media outlets began reporting on the tragic & mysterious demise of Cleveland Park.

Our Cold Stone Creamery closed first, hanging a curious sign that read “Closed Until Further Notice,” though all the ice cream topping remained on the counters & the logo signs still hang in the windows. But that was just the beginning. Our friendly neighborhood stores have, one by one, closed up shopped & shipped right on out of Cleveland Park:

  • The consignment shop went under soon after. My reaction? “Oh, hey, I’ll miss the weird shoe-shaped chairs you sometimes displayed on the sidewalk.”
  • Next, Magruder’s farmers market went out of business, sending a ripple of fury across the Internets. “It’s an institution!” folks yelled, but were they giving that institution their patronage or buying their groceries at the nearby (cheaper) Brookville Market, like me? That’s what I thought.
  • And then the unthinkable happened. Two bastions of consumerism & capitalism went under. In June, we said goodbye to Starbucks. In July, we bid adieu to 7/11.
  • Two more are on their way out: Supercuts is taking off, and so is the tailor next to that vacant Cold Stone. Who’s next?

That makes for eight vacant storefronts in little old Cleveland Park, not a very large strip of neighborhood to begin with. (PS: If you were counting, you’ll only have noted seven closings, but an old McDonald’s has been vacant for five years.)

In fairness to remaining vendors, Cleveland Park still has lots going for it – t’ain’t no better spot for a blockbuster than the Uptown, & Brookville has the kosher meat market cornered. I eat at Paragon Thai weekly, indulge in Yogiberry closer to daily & live so close to the library that I hang my head in shame at my exorbitant fines.

But what gives? Some say Cleveland Park is racist; maybe this is our karma. Some say it’s the parking, but that hasn’t hindered growth in other neighborhoods. Some say the Cleveland Park Citizens Association charges too much for retail space, which seems like the most likely culprit. Will realtors & landlords be able to continue charge as much as they currently do for apartments in a neighborhood suddenly lacking in luster & amenities? Who pays $1,200 a month to live in a ‘hood void of Starbucks AND Slurpees? (Me, I guess.)

I moved to Cleveland Park because its subtle vibrancy & friendly, suburban feel made me feel like I could live an Ohioan’s life in a Washingtonian’s land. But as my adopted neighborhood begins to go under, I’m left wondering: Is it worth it? Take note, Cleveland Park. It’s time to reassess your value & reinvent yourself. As neighborhoods like Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant gain go-to tenant traction, Cleveland Park is losing both its relevancy and its luster, & even the most devoted among us are beginning to reassess.

Daily DC Item: Z-Burger Holding Burger Eating Contest

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Michael McDonough

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Michael McDonough

I know I just wrote about Z-Burger on Friday, but I found out that the place I just reviewed is holding a burger eating contest this Thursday on July 2nd at high noon. They are calling the competition eating event the, “Independence Burger Eating Championship.

I love it. It’s about time some burger place tried to compete with it’s sister food: The Hot Dog.

For the winner that can eat the most burgers, Z-Burger is rewarding the first place $1,500 in cash and $1,000 of Z-Burger food. Wow I don’t know what I’d do with a G’s worth of burgers…

A portion of the proceeds from the event will go to the Hope House Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps children of incarcerated parents. So at least we are eating burgers for a good cause!

The showdown will take place at Z-Burger’s Tenleytown location at 4321 Wisconsin Ave.

So if you want to see people stuff their faces be sure to come on down on Thursday, however if you want the chance to EAT LOTS OF BURGERS you can e-mail them at zburgerdc@gmail.com at and register as a contestant!

Z-Burger New Kid On The Burger Block

lAs you know I’m a fan of a good burger. So you can understand that I was intrigued when I learned from Lemmonex that there was a new burger place in town. I was so intrigued that I trekked all the way from Arlington to Tenleytown to check out Z-Burger.

The reviews of this place make lots of mentions of milk shakes, onion rings, and comparisons to Five Guys-  the golden standard of burgers around here. I drove by it and I noticed the Z logo, complete with a ribbon that resembles a superhero cape- is Z-Burger here to save us from the burger monotony?

The storefront is sleek and smooth, brushed metal describes the decor rather well and the signage explained simply what I could expect: “Z-Burgers, Z Fries & Shakes.” When I walked in the menu was rather familiar for fans of Five Guys:  Fresh burgers and toppings (that come with either 1 or 2 patties) and generous portions of fries cooked in peanut oil. What makes Z-Burger different are a few extra menu items which includes the aforementioned onion rings and milkshakes (75 flavors to choose from!) If you go to their Glover Park location you can also order salads. The Tenleytown location I visited also had a neighboring store inside called, “Sandwish” but it didn’t looked opened yet and I’m unsure of the status on that.

The food itself was great and honestly, kinda hard to tell apart from Five Guys. I ordered the seasoned fries which gave an extra kick out of the fries I’d usually expect. All in all, Z-Burger makes a solid product but I’ll need repeat visits to see who has the edge. I’ll also need those visits to try their other menu choices as well.

Z-Burger is definitely made a splash jumping into the Five Guys dominated DC burger market, but time will tell if this town is going to be big enough for the two of them.

Z-Burger
4321 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC 20016
(202) 966-1999

2414 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 965-7777

http://www.zburger.com

Spy At Night: Check Out Free Community Nights At Spy Musuem

dsc02220I’ve always wanted to check out The International Spy Museum, one of the more popular tourist attractions in DC, however trying to pony up the admission fee and make the 5 PM cutoff time during the week was daunting. Well for thrifty spenders like me, or those looking for a fun and free activity this summer should check out Community Nights at the Spy Museum.

On the last Wednesday of the month, the museum opens itself up for local DC citizens to check out the permanent exhibition at the museum for free! All you have to do is to RSVP for any one of the times which are more friendly for those 9-5’ers to make.

Last night I attended one of these nights with PQ of PQ Nation and we had a great time. The exhibit was very interesting to walk through, something I could actually go again to explore and take in further.

So for a little mystique that won’t steal your wallet, check out the Spy Museum Community Nights!

Celebs Raid Adams Morgan, We Forget About The Real World DC For A Minute

Making a Movie

Courtesy Washington City Paper

Is DC jumping the Hollywood shark?

All of a sudden we’ve become the new Toronto or Vancouver in terms non-LA filming locations. Forget about the slew of reality shows including Real World DC which should of started filming at their house on the corner of S & 20th. Forget about SilverDocs, the film festival that’s eaten most of my time this week. We got a new Hollywood distraction in town this weekend!

If you have been living under a rock (or maybe the Bethesda Metro Station), filming on Untitled James L. Brooks Project (however it’s speculated that the title is How Do You Know?) has been under way in Adams Morgan for the past few days and will wrap up at the end of next week.

The cast is packed with names like Jack Nicholson, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon and Paul Rudd. Which has caused everyone in DC to momentarily stop planning ways on how to get into the MTV hot tub and into Paul Rudd’s pants. My friends have already had their own personal encounters with the cast: The Pumpernickel made eye contact with Rudd and my friend Sarah got to go on a bike ride with Owen Wilson.

According to DCist, “other scenes will be filmed inside the lobby and outside of the office building at 875 15th Street NW, aka The Bowen Building, for big chunks of the weekend — a security notice sent to workers in the McPherson Square-adjacent building says they’ll be there pretty much all day Saturday and Sunday, and then again overnight at the end of next week.” The film is expected out this December.

Here are some clips of the filming, note Paul Rudd was filming a scene for the movie and probably wasn’t really hit by a car- but when you are trying to walk DC it’s totally possible.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-U3Rasnfws[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Erx0_WGhF5k[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_D42jOTJOQk[/youtube]

The Real World DC: Speculating On The Bar Scene

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Eighteenth Street Lounge courtesy Flickr user dionhinchcliffe

I feel like a reality show extra just thinking about it.

I was a little excited to hear that a new reality show was going to be filmed in The District. Blonde Charity Mafia doesn’t sound like anything lasting more than a season so it would of been nice to see some random rich people frolic around DC for our amusement and ridicule while it lasted. It was also entertaining to hear that Bravo is bringing The Real Housewives franchise here as well, that to me is more of a yawn- BCM is more my age group. But now everyone is buzzing over speculation and confirmation of The Real World DC and all of a sudden it’s exciting to live in DC again. Not that living in the Capital of the United States and center of politics means anything.

While everyone is talking about it, not everybody is a fan of the future season of the show, and could care less. But that alone means something because as Brightest Young Things has written so elegantly, “DC loves to care about not caring about stuff.”

why.i.hate.dc has already made some predictions of what the next six months could hold, I started thinking if I would run into while I’m out enjoying myself.

Now I’m not one of those that are already planning stake-outs around 2000 S street NW, but with all this buzz and news I started thinking what kind of bars and clubs would the cast of The Real World visit. I don’t watch the show but still I tried to put myself into the shoes of a Producer or Location Manager and come up with the best bars for running into The Real World cast.

Even though the house is in Dupont Circle, most bars are probably fair game given that it only takes a short cab ride to get around town. But let’s say they wanted to stay close to home, where would they go? Let’s look at some options:

Bar Around The Corner: The Black Fox Lounge

Located on 1723 Connecticut Avenue, NW, The Black Fox is one of the closest nightspots to The Real World home. Not much else is known about the place, the website sports an, “Opening 2009” target. What better way to open a brand new place than to get some future D-list MTV stars to hang out there?

Gazuza courtesy of Flickr user M.V. Jantzen

Gazuza courtesy of Flickr user M.V. Jantzen

Glam, Yet Chill: Gazuza

Gauzuza maybe more of a dark horse since the atmosphere is more laid back however the look is sleek, modern, and what DP would pass up a crane shot of the cast dining on the Hookah Lounge’s signature patio overlooking Connecticut Ave?

The Neighborhood Hangout: The Front Page & Lucky Bar

Front Page and Lucky Bar are neighborhood favorites for me and others, I can see these two hangouts on nights where a dance club isn’t on the docket. The clientele is young, the places always look packed, and  it’s the perfect place to dish drama from the night before where they went to…

The Dance Club: Eighteenth Street Lounge

It’s may not be the stereotypical dance club in design, but that’s exactly why I think Eighteenth Street has a chance to receive a visit from the housemates. The unique layout and atmosphere will provide a new look for the predictable night ahead: the guys get drunk and hit on beautiful women, the girls get plastered and start a cat-fight (if the guys haven’t started a brawl already.) Plus the relationship between the lounge and music label ESL Music could also help negotiate a, “random visit” one night.

If you were the Producer, where would you send cast on a night out?


Paper, Plastic, or Canvas?

Yesterday, a fellow Metblogger Tweeted with a “Red Alert”:  the DC Council had passed the five-cent plastic bag tax!  The Post reported that “The D.C. Council voted unanimously yesterday to assess a 5-cent tax on paper and plastic bags to try to discourage their use, putting the District at the forefront of efforts nationwide to promote reusable shopping bags.”  The tax will apply to food-service providers, grocers, and pharmacies.  Could the District be on track to join San Francisco as the only major city to ban plastic bags outright?

The bag tax is designed to limit pollution in the Anacostia and its tributaries — proceeds will be used for the Anacostia River Cleanup Fund.  Will the city distribute any reusable bags to its residents to get them started?  Businesses who sell reusable bags will qualify for a rebate of one penny on each bag sold (or, of they offer a discount for using the bags, two cents).  Will they subsidize the price of reusable bags for their customers?

I’ve seen reactions to the news ranging from, “Hooray!  Let’s dance with glee,” to “Oh great.  Another tax for District residents.”  Regardless of the means or how one feels about the bag tax, though, I hope we can all agree that we don’t want the Anacostia looking like this any more:

Anacostia River, near Poplar Point

Anacostia River, near Poplar Point

The Council will need to vote again on the measure before it goes to the Mayor for his signature.  What do you think, DC?

Good Morning, Mr. President

Teddy Never Wins

Teddy Never Wins

This morning, I was greeted atop the Gallery Place Metro escalators by none other than No. 26 himself, President Teddy of the Racing Presidents Nats mascots.  He was passing out little red coupon cards to try and entice folks to head for the ball park this Memorial Day weekend.

That’s because this weekend the Nats and O’s engage in a little interleague play to kick off the summer season.  Now, the team is calling this the Battle of the Beltways, which might be a little generous.  Each team is in the basement of its respective division, after all.  But don’t despair, baseball fans…there’ll be fireworks on Friday night, Saturday is Hat Day (first 20,000 fans), and Sunday is Kids Jersey Day (#11 jersey for the first 10,000 kids).    Selected seats are 25% off with coupon code, “Battle”.  See you at the ball game!

Where Am I Going? 2 Amys

Pizza in The District is often associated with late night jumbo slices in Adams Morgan. Not the classiest of situations.

However there classy places to enjoy a slice, and 2 Amys in Woodley Park has been long reputed as one of those places. A few weeks ago I had the chance to trek up there and see what it was all about.

Tucked away just off Wisconsin Ave. next to Cactus Cantina, the restaurant was already packed with a wait on a quiet Sunday evening. My lady friend and I didn’t mind the wait, and joined the crowd outside since the back corner bar was already overflowing with patrons. The dining room was quite chatty when we were finally seated. When you open the menu you won’t be finding words like pepperoni or sausage. Instead we ordered a Calabrese (Tomato, onions, anchovy, fresh mozzarella, parsley, olives) and a Ripieno Extra stuffed pizza (Ricotta, grana, salami, prosciutto, pancetta, tomato.)

The Pizzas were fantastic, I was impressed how much I could enjoy a pizza with anchovies on it. I must be growing up. The Pizzas come in an interesting size that’s larger than a personal pizza, yet smaller than a Papa John’s large. I was skeptical about ordering two pizzas for two people but it appeared to be the norm around the place.

A good meal at 2 Amys proved to me why the small shop attracts large crowds when it comes to Pizza.

2 Amys
3715 Macomb St.
Washington, DC 20016
202-885-5700
http://www.2amyspizza.com

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