Thursday, January 29, 2015

Mothership restaurant to close, last day in Feb.

Some sad news from Park View: Mothership, the restaurant at 3301 Georgia Ave NW known for their mussels and brunch (and good pizzas, too) will be closing for good in February.

The City Paper reports that owner Stephan Boillon said he wasn't breaking even lately, citing being the only restaurant around and a lack of local customers.

I always liked the place, but he's right, it's not really near anything. Boillon also mentioned that numerous condo buildings were supposed to go up nearby a few years, thereby giving him lots of local customers, but they haven't even broken ground. Some bad luck.

Their last day will probably be brunch on February 22.

He did say his food truck, El Floridano, will return. If you recall, the business began as the food truck, which became very popular. They launched a Kickstarter to help fund a brick-and-mortar restaurant, and the Mothership was born.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Columbia Heights is good at funny signs; realtor puts up Grumpy Cat sign

I'm a sucker for funny signs. The other day I spotted this sign outside Greenline Real Estate on Georgia, with a drawing of Grumpy Cat (that cat famous on the internet for looking unhappy.)

This continues a tradition, our neighborhood seems to have some funny (or weird) people -- I've seen a lot of other good ones in the past.

Here's a few of my favorites: the electric tomato man van, the store selling womens' jeans called Chickass (now just Chickas, sadly, but still sells butt-enhancing pants,) Happy Milk Was Here, mean cat found, a lost shark at 11th and Park, the bank sign for "looking at my butt" (they also offer "great rats") and the recent handsome man rewarded handsomely sign for a lost wallet.

Nicely done, everybody.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Qualia Coffee on Georgia Ave. offers a "Junkpunch" drink -- espresso over ice, a big topic of debate

The other day I was in Qualia Coffee at Georgia and Randolph and noticed something on their menu: a drink called a Junkpunch. I asked what it was, and the barista said it's espresso shots over ice.

A funny name, but it comes from an even funnier story from DCist.

A few years ago, a customer named Jeff Simmermon went to Murky Coffee and ordered the same thing, espresso over ice. The employees refused to serve him, saying it was against their coffee policy, and responded rudely, rolling their eyes. Instead he asked for a triple espresso and a cup of ice, and received it with more eye rolls. He then got in a debate with the barista, who said they didn't like people doing that because it affects the taste of the espresso and he said he could drink it however he wanted, basically.

Simmermom got angry, later ordered another drink, then wrote "fuck you and your precious coffee policy" on a dollar bill and tipped the barista with it. He then wrote a blog post about the experience, which got picked up on various other sites.

Then Murky's owner, Nick Cho, responded on his own since-deleted blog angrily, mentioning the coffee policy and threatening "if you ever show your face at my shop, I'll punch you in your dick." Cho mentioned something about Simmermon threatening to burn his store down, but I can't find that. (Another reason Cho was opposed to the practice was that people could theoretically get espresso shots and add lots of milk, making their own form of a latte but avoiding paying full price.)

The argument caused even more hubbub, with most people siding with Simmermon, who admitted on his blog that he acted like a dick too. The Washington Post wrote about it and the whole story took wings, with Junkpunch becoming a common joke on DCist and elsewhere -- Big Bear amusingly promised not to punch you if you ordered it. Simmermon later did a spoken word/story thing about it.

Espresso over ice is still kind of a big debate too. (And Cho was later charged with tax fraud after not paying sales tax or corporate tax for years, so there's that.)

And now you can get a Junkpunch in our area! Kudos, Qualia.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Wonderland Circus on Wednesday: music, comedians, burlesque

This sounds like a fun event: the Capital City Showcase folks, who put on variety shows around the area, are hosting their latest Wonderland Circus at the namesake local watering hole on Wednesday the 28th.

Here's the details.
WASHINGTON – A reminder that the producers of The Capital City Showcase, the variety show that brings you some of DC’s finest performing artists, return to The Wonderland Ballroom with their latest installment of The Wonderland Circus this Wednesday, January 28th  at 8:30pm. The Wonderland Circus is the variety show where anything goes! See a wide variety of performers do their stuff. Much like any circus, expect thrills, chills, and amazement! The show is Free Admission, though donations will be collected for the artists. The January Circus will feature (in alphabetical order): comedian Yoki Danoffband Spencer Joyce and The Record Machineburlesque artist Bella La Blanccomedian Chelsea Shortecomedian Haywood Turnipseed, Jr.  Doors open at 8:00pm, show starts at 8:30pm. Seating is on a first come, first serve basis. Full bar service is also available. For more info, call 202-431-4704. Step Right Up! 
What: The Capital City Showcase presents The Wonderland CircusWhen: Wed Jan 28th @8:30 pmWhere: The Wonderland Ballroom - 1101 Kenyon Street NW, Washington DC 20010Tickets: FREE ($5 suggested donation)Info: Call 202-431-4704

Friday, January 23, 2015

Hank's Oyster Bar folks opening cocktail bar, Twisted Horn, on Upshur

Upshur Street is really blowing up lately! Recently we heard about a diner from the Room 11 folks, to go with their Upshur Street Books, Petworth Citizen and Crane & Turtle, plus Domku and some cool vintage stores, and now the folks behind Hank's Oyster Bar are getting into the fun.

The City Paper reports they're planning to open Twisted Horn at 819 Upshur Street NW, next door to Domku in the Spring. There will be 40 seats inside and 40 outside around a fire pit, and some cocktails will include
the "Ghostwood Development" with gin, port wine, Sapins aperitif, Salmiakki Dala (Scandinavian fernet), egg, fresh nutmeg, and pepper as well as the "Louisiana Purchase" with cognac, dry and red vermouth, Bénédictine liqueur, and muddled cucumber. In addition to cocktails, there will be an extensive wine list.
Food-wise, there will be snack-type items such as pimento cheese finger sandwiches, deviled eggs, meatballs, and an interesting one: escargot in puff pastrty on a stick. They'll also get lots of ingredients from local places like Straw Stick & Brick (which used to be called Three Little Pigs, a butcher,) Qualia Coffee and such.

The manager will be Megan Coyle from Hank's in Dupont.

Sounds awesome, and great to see Upshur getting lots of neat places. I hope it's not too pricey.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Fun Valentines Day event: Columbia Heights Historical Drinkabout

If you like history, bars, or our neighborhood, here's a an awesome event from Washington Walks: a historical walking tour of our neighborhood with stops at some of our local bars (a hot toddy sounds like it would hit the spot.)

I did this tour a few years ago and it was fascinating -- you learn a lot about the people and places from our neighborhood, the local architecture, see some of the oldest buildings around, and a lot more. Definitely a good time, (and a good option for a nice Valentine's Day date too.) The guide also organized the Columbia Heights Heritage Trail, so he really knows his stuff.

Here's more from their press release, and here's their website.

Valentine’s Day 2015: Grab your sweetheart and join us for the sixth annual Columbia Heights Historical Drinkabout.  The Columbia Heights neighborhood in northwest Washington is home to an ever-growing number of cafes and bars–conveniently located along the walk route.  Participants will stop to imbibe hot or cold libations inside a select few.
Columbia Heights has experienced and reflected the ups and downs of American urban history since its early days nearly 150 years ago. Its 14th Street was a popular destination during the streetcar era, losing its cache during the heyday of the automobile and regaining it thanks to the advent of Metrorail, “big box” retail, and a slew of appealing dining venues. Yet the transition between these periods was anything but simple or seamless. The walk will trace the area’s development, demographics, and stunning turnabouts. We’ll also check out the smaller scale commercial strip nearby on 11th Street NW.  Has it emerged as The Place to Be? Form your own opinion during this winter walking tour that stops to warm up along the way. 
Guide for the afternoon is Brian Kraft, historian for the “Cultural Convergence: Columbia Heights Trail” developed by Cultural Tourism DC. Brian also penned the Columbia Heights chapter in “Washington at Home: An Illustrated History of Neighborhoods in the Nation's Capital." 
Saturday, February 14, 2015
2:00 - 5:00 p.m.
$25 per person
($5 discount with federal or military I.D.)

Reservations required.  BOOK NOW

Don't like Chick-fil-A at DCUSA? Here are some great local LGBT groups to donate to or volunteer with

Yesterday we heard that Chick-fil-A was coming to DCUSA, and there were a lot of mixed reactions. Some people were excited, others vowed never to go there because of the company's founders' anti-gay marriage views and donations to anti-gay marriage groups.

I'm torn -- I love their food, but I also strongly support gay marriage and LGBT equal rights in general.

So I was thinking -- what to do? Maybe I'll donate to local LGBT groups if I eat there!

A friend suggested a couple of great local LGBT groups that are worthy of support: SMYAL and the DC Center. SMYAL has a number of programs for LGBTQ youth like mentoring, tutoring, support groups, trainings and more, and the DC Center is a community center that "eduacates, empowers, celebrates and connects" the community through a number of events and programs -- health projects, groups for families, religious people, LGBT people in the military, GLOV, the city's anti-gay violence task force, and a lot more.

But don't take my word for it! Read about the groups yourself, or suggest other good ones in the comments!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Chick-fil-A coming to DCUSA! (According to a Chick-fil-A owner/operator)

Whoa! Might be time for chicken sandwiches and Polynesian sauce in our neighborhood.

A friend was eating at a Chick-Fil-A in Crystal City and asked the owner/operator about rumors that a location open in DC. The owner said "you heard correct," that there would be a Chick-Fil-A at 3100 14th Street NW, which is DCUSA, in the old Lime Fresh Mex space between Radio Shack and Payless. Dang.

There is one location in town at Catholic University, I assume in a food court, and there have previously been some Chick-Fil-As in other DC food courts, including at Howard U., George Washington U., and in the Verizon Center, but none were proper locations.

As you probably recall, Chick-fil-A made a lot of news a while ago about the owners' conservative views and opposition to gay marriage. (They're also closed Sundays.) And they have delicious sandwiches, chicken nuggets and waffle fries too.

So thus the debate begins -- good thing or not?

How awesome would a beer garden (or big outdoor patio) be at 13th and Upshur?


The other day I was walking to Annie's Ace Hardware on Upshur and noticed a few big, empty buildings. They looked like they used to be warehouses or light industrial facilities, and there was a huge open lot on the corner.

The first thing that came to mind was "wouldn't this be an awesome beer garden?" There's tons of room for tables and such, and the warehouse space would be good for a kitchen and inside bar. Or it could just be a bar or restaurant with a lot of open space. It's a neat looking building too and looks very open inside.

I don't really know any restauranteurs or bar-owners, but I hope somebody gets inspired and makes this happen! Upshur Street Beer Garden!

Funny lost wallet sign will reward handsome guy handsomely

There's a missing wallet El Centro on 14th, but more amusingly, the person who lost seems pretty funny. My friend spotted this yesterday at a bust stop at 16th and U: along with the usual lost wallet info it says "Will be rewarded handsomely, will be rewarded more handsomely if handsome..."

Bravo. I hope she (or he, Courtney could be a guy) finds it!