Friday, October 31, 2014

New fitness studio, From the Core, opens on Georgia Ave; discounts this weekend

 If you're looking to get fit, there's a new fitness and Pilates center open at 3111 Georgia Avenue NW, near Irving: From the Core Studios. They offer various classes and disciplines and there are deals this weekend, starting today. Here's their press release:

New Fitness Studio Opens in Washington’s Columbia 
Heights/Park View/Petworth Neighborhood
WASHINGTON – October 30, 2014 – After months of renovations to create a space perfect for fitness, From the Core Studios, a fitness and Pilates studio located at 3111 Georgia Avenue NW, is now open for classes and will host its grand opening the weekend of October 31 through November 2. The two-level studio is the first of its kind in the neighborhood, offering a wide variety of classes suited for all levels of fitness.

The first level includes five brand-new Peak Pilates reformers and towers, perfect for a challenging workout that lengthens and tones muscles, providing a full-body workout while improving balance and flexibility. The second level will be home to wide variety of classes, such as Pilates mat, Pilates chair, strength and conditioning, TRX, kettlebell, kickboxing and boxing, interval and circuit training, barre, Zumba, African dance, and boot camp classes. It also features a one-of-a-kind aerial silk system for stretching, flexibility and core conditioning classes.

To celebrate its grand opening, From the Core Studios will offer free classes Halloween weekend from October 31 through November 2. Visit to sign up for all classes. Additionally, if you purchase a class package before November 2, you will receive 20 percent off. Just send an email to to get the discounted rate.

The studio also features two showers and changing areas, along with a juice bar that will offer fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies/juices that can be ordered in advance and prepared for clients either pre- or post-workout.

About From the Core Studios

From the Core Studios was founded in 2014 by Dee Ross, a fitness professional with 15 years teaching multiple formats, including Spinning, Pilates mat, Pilates reformer, Pilates chair, Masala Bhangra, kickboxing, Zumba, strength and conditioning, aqua aerobics, hatha yoga, and senior fitness classes. Dee is also a personal trainer who has managed several gyms in the DC area in addition to working as a fitness specialist for the United States Army. She entered the fitness industry after learning of her pre-diabetic and pre-hypertension conditions. Being nearly 300 pounds, she began to exercise and learn about fitness and health. After losing her first hundred pounds and receiving a clean bill of health for her former health conditions, Dee turned fitness into a successful career. Classes at From the Core Studios have a strong emphasis on building core strength, creating a solid foundation to maximize performance in classes and life. To learn more about From the Core Studios, visit

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween extravaganza on Friday: costume parades for kids & dogs, food & drink specials, more!


Halloween is here! It's my favorite, and the neighborhood is getting into the spirit (despite an unfortunate lack of decorations.) The North Columbia Heights Civic Association is organizing their 4th annual Halloween Extravaganza, and it sounds awesome. Here's the info! 

The North Columbia Heights Civic Association (NCHCA) and the friends of the Trolley Turnaround Park are teaming up to give you the Fourth Annual Columbia Heights HalloweenExtravaganza*! Be sure to drop by 11th Street, between Monroe and Kenyon, from 5-7 P.M. on Friday, October 31st for all the great events including: costume parades for kids and dogs, contests, holiday decorations, Halloween food and drink specials, and giveaways from local businesses. All events are free - bring your kids, dogs, and friends!

Schedule of Events:

5:00-5:30pm: Kids Costume Contest (giveaways), 11th and Monroe Trolley Turnaround Park

5:50pm: Dog Costume Parade and Contest, Columbia Heights Dog Park

5:30-6:30pm: Trick or Treating at 11th St Businesses- giveaways and contests - both sides of 11th between Monroe & Kenyon

6:30-7pm: Halloween-themed Mask Making/Face Painting at Bloombars

Participating Businesses:

The Coupe: handing out candy to trick or treaters; having a "pin the spider on the web" event for kids with a small cup of hot chocolate as a prize. Happy hour extended to 10pm for people with a kid, which includes: $5 Saison draft beers, house white/red wine & sangria. Also, $.50 sriacha glazed wings, corn hush puppies & deviled eggs.

Maple: handing out candy to trick or treaters, having Halloween cocktail specials.

Red Rocks: handing out goodies to trick or treaters; Halloween-themed drink specials.

KBC: handing out candy to trick or treaters, having a pumpkin beer on special.

El Chucho: handing out candy to trick or treaters, having some sort of food/drink special.

Meridian Pint: kid happy hour with warm cider, caramel apples, and crafts from 5pm-7pm. Handing out homemade goodies to kid trick or treaters.

Room 11: handing out candy to trick or treaters.

The Paisley Fig: handing out candy to trick or treaters.

Arthurs: handing out candy to trick or treaters.

Claws & Paws: handing out candy to trick or treaters; putting on the dog costume contest in the Columbia Heights Dog Park.

Bloombars: handing out candy to trick or treaters, having either a mask making/face painting station, and also an enchanted forest.

Wonderland: handing out candy and toys to kids, having a special Jack O' Lantern drink for $3, $2 off draft beers and $1 off rail drinks, and hosting an adult costume contest at 10pm.

Check our website for updates on the events -

Nice Ethiopian coffee selection at Columbia Heights Food Market

Ethiopian coffee

If you're a coffee fan, get yourself to the Columbia Heights Food Market at 14th and Oak NW -- they have a display with lots of Ethiopian and other coffee, much of which it looks like it just came direct from the country. They also have Mayorga, a local roaster, and others.

The market, if you haven't been, is a pretty cool spot -- it has a nice selection of international food and produce; I got some tasty avocados there the other day. The folks are friendly too. Give it a look.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Taqueria Habanera, new taqueria at 14th and Spring, is tasty

A couple weeks ago I wrote that there's a new taqueria coming to 14th and Spring, just down the block from the Red Derby, called Taqueria Habanera. The other day I stopped in and it was pretty delicious.

It's a friendly, family-run spot with about 8 tables for dine-in, plus a counter where you order so you can do to-go. I chose that option and got a shrimp taco, which was on special that day, al pastor (shawarma-style pork with onions and cilantro) and a chicken with spices. That, with a Mexican mango drink called Boing (I bought it for the name) ran me about $11. They also have fish tacos, barbacoa (beef), tortas (Mexican sandwiches) and full dinner plates that come with rice and beans.

Back at my place, I dug in and thoroughly enjoyed them. The shrimp taco came with a tasty sauce that I couldn't place, but went well, and the pastor was made very well. The chicken was also quite good and had a lot of things on it.

The tacos were a bit different than the also tasty 3 Salsas down 14th Street: 3 Salsas are simple (in a good way) while the Habanero ones were a bit heartier.

I was a big fan and will definitely come back to try the rest. Yelpers give the place 5 stars and really like the chicken milaensa torta (breaded chicken cutlet.)

Taqueria Habanero is at 3710 14th Street NW.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Early voting is open in Columbia Heights, elsewhere around town; also you can same-day register

The elections are nigh, and the city is working to make it as easy as possible to vote. One of those ways is by allowing early voting, and another is by allowing same-day registration at your polling place or early voting center.

Everyday until Saturday, Nov. 1 from 8:30am-7pm, except Sundays, registered voters can cast their ballots at nine early voting centers throughout the city, including one in Columbia Heights. That way you can avoid any line and get it done early.

If you aren't registered in DC or need to change your address, you can also register as you vote, either at an early voting center or on election day at your regular polling place. You must also provide valid proof of residence: a current government photo ID, government check or payment or other government document with your current name and address.

Here's how you can find where your polling place is.

Here are the voting centers, and more from the city on early voting. You can vote at any of them, no matter your ward.

  • Ward 1: Columbia Heights Community Center
    1480 Girard St, NW
  • Ward 2: One Judiciary Square
    441 4th St, NW
  • Old City Council Chambers (1st floor, right side of building)
  • Ward 3: Chevy Chase Community Center
    5601 Connecticut Ave NW
    Multi-Purpose Room
  • Ward 4: Takoma Park Recreation Center
    300 Van Buren St, NW
    Multi-Purpose Room
  • Ward 5: Turkey Thicket Recreation Center
    1100 Michigan Ave, NE
  • Ward 6: King Greenleaf Recreation Center
    201 N St, SW
  • Ward 6: Sherwood Recreation Center
    640 10th St, NE
  • Ward 7: Dorothy I Height-Benning Library
    3935 Benning Rd, NE
    Meeting Room
  • Ward 8: Malcolm X Elementary School
    1351 Alabama Ave SE
    Multi-Purpose Room

The mayoral election is Nov. 4: Vote for David Catania

As you probably know, DC's mayoral election is this coming Tuesday, November 4th. It's an interesting one, since it's the first competitive general election in a long time -- usually the race is decided in the Democratic primary and the general election pits a heavily favored Democrat versus a virtually unknown Republican or Statehood-Green candidate.

This time, however, Democrat and Ward 4 councilmember Muriel Bowser faces independent at-large councilmember David Catania, as well as former councilmember Carol Schwartz running as a Republican an independent. However, it's mainly down to Bowser versus Catania. And I believe you should vote for Catania.

There are two main reasons I'm endorsing him: he's a smart, hard-working and honest guy, and Muriel Bowser has not impressed me in the council or in her campaign.

Even in articles and arguments that support Bowser, seemingly everyone agrees that Catania is hard working, extremely knowledgable about local laws and policies, and gets things done. Colbert I. King in the Post, for example, said "They don’t come any smarter, more dedicated or gutsier than Catania. And no one works harder."

I don't support Muriel Bowser. For the past two years, I've lived in northern Columbia Heights on the Ward 4 boundary, which is Bowser's ward. I have never seen her around, and whenever I attempted to get in touch with her about issues I needed help with or to let her know my feelings on things the Council was voting on, I never heard back. The alley behind my house continually had a lot of problems: there were prostitutes and johns doing their thing (including in our yard at one point), people were frequently fighting and yelling, drunk people were passing out, and we found human feces and lots of used condoms back there. My roommates and I called the police numerous times, and they would always respond quickly and patrol the area, but when I asked for help from Bowser about putting up additional street lights or if there was anything else she could do to improve the situation, I never received a reply. I also tried getting in touch with other people on her staff about it, again to no avail.

I also emailed her about 14th Street gridlock issues, the DC United stadium, and Uber, all things the Council was considering, also all without a response. That didn't stop her from signing me up for her campaign emails, however, just to add insult to injury. The only time I did hear back was a few years ago when I asked about what was going to happen to the vacant Washington Hebrew Home on Spring Road (recently in the news), she responded once saying she wasn't sure, and I didn't hear back after that.

That's a distinct contrast to Jim Graham, who when I lived in Ward 1 would always reply quickly to issues or questions I had about traffic light problems, crime, abandoned buildings, and the like, and connect me with the appropriate people to address them. If I wrote him about other topics (DC United's stadium or medical marijuana, for example) he would always reply. Bowser writes on her website about improvements in development and crime in Ward 4, but she never responded to me when I had problems or questions on those very issues. To me, that's one of the main jobs of a councilmember, to help their constituents and to listen to their concerns. On that, Muriel Bowser has completely failed.

In addition, also unlike Graham, I have never seen her around the area. I'm told she is a nice lady -- I wouldn't know. Graham appeared at many events, local meetings, and so on, and was happy to talk to his constituents. I never saw Bowser and have never spoken to her. Being present and available for your constituents is important to me. Bowser has failed at that as well.

I also think Bowser hasn't done much on the Council, and won't do much if she's elected. She made news earlier in the campaign by refusing to debate Catania or Schwartz until very recently, which to me continues a theme: do nothing. Bowser is the chair of the council's housing committee, which hasn't done a lot to address the housing crises in the city. They've only passed one bill written by her, which was a symbolic resolution asking Metro to consider affordable housing, and the DC Tenant's Advocacy Committee called her tenure a "finger in the eye" for affordable housing advocates.

When asked about her lack of progress on education legislation, she seemed to undermine her previous campaign promise:
Bowser said she has not written more education legislation because she doesn’t view her role as managing the schools, even though her 2012 campaign declared that she “staked her first campaign on the promise to reform DC Public Schools.”
So, which is it? Run on reforming schools, or not managing schools?

Even her supporters have a tough time saying nice things about her. Jack Evans, who ran against Bowser in the Democratic primary but later endorsed her, sent out a blank mailer during the campaign: the idea was that it listed all of her accomplishments. A supporter quoted in a Post article about her short record, who even donated to her campaign, said she "hasn't left a lot of footprints."

The Post has a choice column on this. It calls Bowser's council record "medicore" and "undistinguished." It added "Bowser seldom goes in depth to discuss particulars of what she would do as mayor. She relies on broad objectives and well-rehearsed talking points. She likes to say she would address key issues by bringing together people to study them." Then it illustrated an example from a recent debate at Anacostia Senior High School:
Bowser talked generally about the need to reduce inequalities in investment and concluded: “The biggest thing that I think that remains is making sure our middle schools are ready, that we’re telling parents that we’re going to have great buildings, great leadership, great curriculum.” 
Catania first talked about two bills that he pushed through the council to curb social promotion and increase spending on at-risk students. He ended by listing three nearby schools that had recently lost their principals — Simon Elementary, Kramer Middle and Ballou High — and said he would make it “a focus” to improve stability among principals
To me, it's clear that Catania knows the issues back and forth. He has a very long and detailed platform with specific, tangible actions that can be taken, while Bowser either doesn't know the issues or doesn't want to risk upsetting anybody by taking a stand on them -- and either way, that's a big problem.

Bowser might be a nice lady, but she's also part of the establishment of DC politics. I'm getting tired of a constant string of politicians getting in trouble: Kwame Brown's Lincoln Navigator and bank fraud, Vince Gray's shadow campaign, Jim Graham's chief of staff taking bribes, Harry Thomas Jr. diverting city money for kids to buy a car and fancy vacations, Michael Brown's unpaid taxes, and so on. I believe Catania will steer clear of any ethical issues, while Bowser has been mentioned recently in relation to a few.

Bowser, while not accused of issues as serious as those of other councilmembers, has made news about the Park Southern, a large apartment complex with many serious, unaddressed problems: mold, water leaks, living and dead rodents, broken utilities and more. The operators were also over $600,000 behind on payments to the city for a loan, an audit found that security deposit money disappeared and they didn't pay the city all of the rent money they collected. The complex's operators are supporters of Bowser, organizing voters for her and donating $20,000 to her campaign. Then during the fracas about the building, Bowser blocked requests by Mayor Gray to hold hearings on the issue, tried to let the organizers sell the building before the city seized it, and then questioned the city's ability to seize it. Bowser, for her part, denied blocking attempts to investigate the issue and refused to return the $20,000 donated by the operators. The Post put it this way in a fact check on the issue:
“I don’t see any reason to return contributions when the people who are have — these are accusations that have been made against them, and none of them have been founded,” Bowser said.

Moments earlier, Bowser used a different logic when explaining why she did not hold a council oversight hearing but called for an independent investigation:

“I think there have been enough allegations of misusing funds, allegations that money wasn’t properly spent, so yes, I think the IG who has investigators and auditors, is the exact right place to go.
There's also been concerns recently about an unregistered group made up of ex-offender activists and a former city official who were supporting Bowser and opposed to Catania. The group appeared with Bowser supporters like Marion Barry and made signs and shirts with anti-Catania messages, but did not put disclose who paid for them, which is required by law. It turns out that an investigation a few years ago requested by Catania found that the group's organizers had mismanaged city funds, including diverting money for an AIDS program to fund one organizer's strip club. He was fined $1 million. Catania supporters called it another shadow campaign.

Despite being in the Council for many years, Catania is not part of the establishment: he's an independent and former Republican -- he left the GOP in 2004 over opposition to George W. Bush's policies, including indifference to cities and opposition to gay marriage, and Catania supported John Kerry that year. I like that. At this point, after so much scandal, I think DC needs someone who isn't part of the regular group of politicians who does the same old thing.

The only knock against Catania I've seen is that his personality can be abrasive. Councilmembers don't like him. Being able to work with the Council is important for the mayor, but then again, at one point half the council was under investigation. Outgoing councilmember Jim Graham, who supports Bowser, said this comparing Catania and Bowser: "One gets things done with a few broken bones, and the other doesn’t get things done."

I'd much rather have someone who may be abrasive but works hard, knows the issues and gets things done for this city than somebody who is nice but does nothing, or just continues the status quo. I don't even see how that's a contest. I endorse David Catania, and I hope you vote for him.

Photo from the Catania for Mayor Facebook page

Monday, October 27, 2014

Rapper Drake visits Columbia Heights Z-Burger on Saturday night

Well, this isn't something you hear every day. Via DCist comes the news that Drake, probably the most famous rapper around today, was spotted at the Z-Burger at 14th and Park on Saturday night, the day after his birthday.

Twitter was aflutter (atwitter?) about it and one person appears to have snapped a picture of said rapper (and former Degrassi actor) with a friend sitting in one of the booths. I hope he enjoyed it. The kiwi shakes are pretty great.

Drake had celebrated his birthday in our city and apparently dropped a lot of cash (literally dropped on the ground) at a strip club.

This isn't the first rapper to be spotted in the area -- a few years ago I saw British rapper Lady Sovereign at 14th and Columbia, Questlove of the Roots was spotted (and took a picture of our neighborhood's skateboarding dog), and Malice from Clipse and DC rapper Wale were also in the area for events or videos. There have been many other famous folks in the area, too -- Chris Rock on Georgia Avenue, the First Family a zillion times, Joe Biden at Pete's ApizzaCate Blanchett at Target, Jessica Alba and Keri Russell, and lots of others. Check them all out here.

Help stop street harassment with Collective Action for Safe Spaces, free rides home for women & LGBT folks on Halloween

Street harassment is unfortunately an issue in our neighborhood, as it is around the world. A few times I've witnessed it and many people I know have experienced it first hand. A few weeks ago I saw a man catcalling a woman and wasn't sure what the best way to intervene was, so I reached out to Collective Action for Safe Spaces, a DC area nonprofit that focuses on the issue, to learn more. They answered some questions about street harassment, and also announced their yearly event called Right Rides, which offers free, safe rides home for women and LGBT people on Halloween.

Read on for more about street harassment, what you can do to stop it, and the Right Rides program.

Tell us about Collective Action for Safe Spaces.
Founded in 2009 as HollaBack DC!, Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS) works to empower people in the DC metropolitan area to build a community free from public sexual harassment and assault, or street harassment. We do this through workshops, innovative direct services, policy advocacy and community outreach. Some of our proudest moments have been helping push the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to address sexual harassment and assault on metro and helping pass critical legislation to protect survivors of sexual assault in DC.

At CASS, we believe everyone should be able to get to move in public spaces without fear of being harassed or assaulted because of their gender or sexuality -- but sadly, that’s not the reality for the 65% of women and 25% of men who experience the “gender safety gap”. CASS works to close this gap by using diverse strategies that help meet DC residents’ immediate safety needs and also empower them to change the culture that allows this violence to continue.

What do you recommend someone do if they're a victim of street harassment?
Getting harassed when you’re trying to go to grocery store, get home, meet friends, or simply trying to enjoy a nice walk can really put a damper on your day.  Sometimes, it can be really scary, especially if there aren’t a lot of people around, or the harasser is being really aggressive. CASS believes that there is no wrong way to respond.  People should say or do what feels safe and right in that moment. This can be as simple as saying, “You’re harassing me; stop it,” in a calm but firm voice.  I’ve heard some great responses over the years, including “Hi, my name is _______. That made me feel disrespected, but I bet your ma taught you better.” Sometimes if you see someone who is coming towards you on the sidewalk, make eye contact and say hello. By being the first to speak, you’re establishing your agency and self control with a would-be harasser.  More often than not, they’ll say hello back and leave it at that. If the person chooses to harass you anyway, you can follow up with a simple all-purpose statement, like “Stop harassing people. I don’t like it, no one likes it. Show some respect.”

You can also get creative. You can ask a Socratic question: “That’s so interesting--can you explain why you think you can hiss at me when I walk by?” Once, when a guy started grunting at me, I let the chewed-up bite of sandwich I had in my mouth just fall out onto the sidewalk, and he was so caught off-guard (and probably disgusted) that he turned and walked away.

Regardless of how you choose to respond, safety comes first. If you don’t feel comfortable or safe responding -- or just don’t want to -- you don’t have to say a thing.  

How about if someone witnesses it?
One way to stand up to street harassment is to actively intervene. This approach is referred to as bystander intervention in the sexual violence prevention field, and there’s a lot of evidence that it’s an effective approach. An easy way to remember your options is to keep the “3 Ds” in mind: Direct. Distract. Delegate.
  • Direct means that you are directly interacting with the people involved in the situation and addressing that you are concerned: “Hey, it doesn’t look like she/he wants to talk to you,” “Is everything okay?”
  • Distract focuses on creating a diversion. You can diffuse a situation by diverting the attention of the people involved, and giving the person being harassed a chance to leave: “Do you have the time?” “Do you know where Euclid St. is from here?” “Is there a metro station nearby?” It doesn’t matter what the question is, it breaks up the harassment and also lets the harasser know that you’re watching the situation.  
  • Delegate is a useful approach if you feel unsafe or uncomfortable intervening on your own. You could grab a friend to come with you, alert the bar bouncer or a store employee, or if the situation seems to be escalating, call law enforcement.

How can men (or anyone) help prevent this from happening?
Everyone can play a role in preventing street harassment. If you witness someone getting harassed on the street, step in (if you feel safe doing so!) and say something.  Even if it’s a friend of yours who is street harassing others, let them know what they’re doing is wrong. On a broader level, community building plays a critical role in holding harassers accountable. Be active in your neighborhood, get to know your neighbors, watch out for each other.  

I once saw something about construction companies firing workers who harass women, is this common?
Companies respond in a variety of ways to complaints of street harassment by their employees -- and unfortunately, some companies don’t respond at all. CASS believes it’s important for businesses and companies to be held accountable and to get ahead of the problem by establishing clear anti-harassment policies. Businesses should also provide anti-harassment training to their employees, which -- thanks to CASS’s advocacy -- is currently the case with WMATA. We’re continuing to push for similar anti-harassment efforts by Uber and the DC Taxicab Commission (DCTC), which play a huge role in safety from sexual harassment and assault.  Back to construction companies, we recognize that there are many stereotypes around street harassment, especially around the profile of who harasses. I’ve been harassed by men in hard hats and men in three-piece suits. So while we’re fighting street harassment, we also want to challenge folks to examine their own assumptions and stereotypes.

How common is street harassment?  Is harassment more common in some areas rather than others?
Street harassment is very common.  According to a recent national study by our sister organization, Stop Street Harassment, 65% of women and 25% of men have experienced some form of street harassment. And we believe that’s a conservative estimate; other surveys have found that close to 100% of women have experienced some form of street harassment, including leering, groping, catcalling and sexual assault. Harassment happens everywhere. I think there’s a perception that this happens more frequently in urban areas; however, I grew up in a small midwestern town and I remember being street harassed for the first time at age 11. That said, people of color, people from low-income communities, young people, and LGBTQ people are disproportionately affected by street harassment. It starts early, especially for those who identify as LGBTQ.
Do you have any upcoming events?
Why, yes, we do!  We’re excited to announce the launch of RightRides DC, a free, late-night safe rides program for women and LGBTQ folks. Our first night of service is Halloween, October 31, where we’ll provide free rides home between the hours of 12am-3am. We’re celebrating the RightRides DC launch on Wednesday, October 29th from 5:30-8pm at Right Proper Brewing Company in Shaw.  You can find more details on the Facebook event page here, and you can register here (it’s free!).  

Even if individuals can’t make it to the launch event, they can save the RightRides DC number in their phone and tell their friends to call or text 202-556-4232 for a free, safe ride home from 12am-3am, October 31st. With enough support, we will be able to sustain the program with the goal of operating every Friday and Saturday night.

How can someone get involved with your organization?
CASS’s work is made possible by volunteers, and we’ve got several opportunities right now: volunteering for our RightRides DC program, and joining our Fundraising Advisory Committee.  You can fill out a volunteer application here. You can also donate at any time. When it comes to community safety, we’re all in this together!

Filipino restaurant coming to 11th from Room 11 folks to be called Bad Saint, opening this winter

The Room 11 family is growing as a new Filipino restaurant is coming to 11th Street.

A few months ago I wrote about the restaurant coming to the old El Rinconcito Deportivo space next to Room 11, shown above. El Rincocito Deportivo was a Latin American restaurant that was open very late on the weekend -- a good spot to get some cheap burritos or tacos after a night out. It closed about a year ago, and we learned that its replacement would be owned by Nick Pimentel of Room 11 and Genevieve Villamora. It sounded promising, but there wasn't much more to report.

But now we have more details about its replacement: it's going to be called Bad Saint; the chef will be Tom Cunanan, who has run his own Filipino catering company and has cooked at local spots like Vidalia, DC Coast, Zentan and more; and they're aiming for a winter opening.

As for the name, Pimentel tells PopVille
Our name is a hat tip to the fishing village of Saint Malo, Louisiana. In the late-18th century, Filipino sailors deserted Spanish galleon ships plying the trade between Manila and Acapulco. They settled in Saint Malo, establishing the first permanent settlement of Filipinos in what is now the United States.
Here's their Facebook page. I don't have many more details so far, but Filipino food sounds pretty tasty: main dishes include adobo, which is meat cooked in garlic, vinegar, soy sauce and oil, kare-kare, a stew with peanuts, and lumpia, a type of spring roll. There's also Filipino sausages and some Spanish influence. Cunanan's catering company only has one Yelp review, but it sounds tasty.

I'm looking forward to it, and will be looking for more info. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Someone on 11th Street is serious about No Parking signs

No parking, seriously

I spotted this on 11th Street during Columbia Heights Day: it's an interesting collection of No Parking and other signs affixed to a light pole. There's a smattering of signs that look like official city signs, then some others that don't, and one says it's reserved for #1-107" whatever that means.

I wonder what the story is behind it? There's a handicapped symbol and what looks like a handicapped permit on it, so maybe the person who lives there is disabled and needs parking close to their house. If that's the case, I hope it works.

There's also some hand painted signs and I first saw it during Columbia Heights Day, where there were lots of artists and craftspeople, so it could also be some kind of folk art. I was surprised that it hadn't been removed, since it seems to be building on an existing city-placed sign, but it was affixed by sturdy metal fasteners.

Another interesting thing about 11th Street.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Where's all the Halloween decorations in the neighborhood?

Halloween on 13th

Columbia Heights, where's your Halloween spirit? The holiday is only about a week away, but I've seen bery few houses with any decorations up -- even simple stuff like a pumpkin or a spider web.

This is too bad. To me, Halloween is one of the most fun holidays, both for kids and for adults -- you get to dress up, get (or give) candy, and constantly be amused by the variety of costumes. (There are also often awesome parties for us grown-ups as well.)

Walking up to Annie's Ace Hardware this weekend, I spotted this great example near 13th and Kansas, and there are a smattering elsewhere, but there are also whole blocks without a thing on them.

It's not like the decorations aren't available -- Target and CVS both have inexpensive and easy to set up stuff like cobwebs you drape over bushes or fences, foam tombstones, plastic skeletons and the like, and Annie's even had leaf bags that look like Jack-o'-Lanterns. Plus everybody sells pumpkins in all ranges of sizes. I've tried to put up a bit on my place to try to get the neighbors to do it too -- no luck so far.

So let's get on it, folks. I think decorating is fun on its own, but at least do it to amuse some local kids.

It's almost like people don't know it's Halloween.

Do They Know It's Hallowe'en - N.A.P.H.I - The North American Halloween Prevention Initiative from D.A.D.D.Y on Vimeo.

New York Times praises Crane & Turtle, Petworth Citizen, others: "future of DC dining"

Brand new place on Upshur Street, the Petworth Citizen. It's loud. I think that's a good sign for a place that just opened a day or two ago.

It's always nice to hear something good about our area. The New York Times, in a recent article on the DC restaurant scene, singles out Petworth Citizen and Crane and Turtle for praise. The article starts like this:
WASHINGTON — On a scrubby block in a working-class neighborhood east of Rock Creek Park, plopped down among cheap hair salons, a dry cleaner and a sad-looking liquor store, the future of dining in Washington, D.C., has arrived.

On one side of the street is Petworth Citizen & Reading Room, a warm little haunt with schoolhouse-style light fixtures and Art Deco wallpaper, where old-fashioneds, complete with a ground sugar cube, are mixed for $4 at happy hour

On the other is Crane & Turtle, a sewing-box-size Asian-influenced spot where an adventurous bouillabaisse with pan-roasted cobia and a delicate maitake-mushroom tempura dish are cooked by a former sous-chef from the soon-to-close CityZen, one of the city’s most upscale restaurants.
The article's argument is that DC restaurants are getting good and are moving into residential neighborhoods, but that's not exactly accurate: Upshur Street, where those two spots are located, has long been a commercial strip, albeit small. And that's not much different from New York, where restaurants pop up on side streets. A much better example of this would be the new restaurants on 12th Street NE in Brookland like Brookland's Finest, but even that is still a commercial strip.

The article continues with the rest of the New York Times dining bingo -- expense account steakhouses and the like, and mentions places like Rose's Luxury and Little Serow that are definitely not in residential areas -- Barracks Row and the 17th Street strip, respectively. Kapnos, Mike Isabella's Greek spot at 14th and V (again, not residential) is also mentioned in the accompanying photo gallery.

In fact, I was going to make a joke that the article sounds like it belongs on the @NYTOnIt Twitter, but they beat me to it:

That said, it's nice to get a shout out for our area (and the restauranteurs behind Crane & Turtle, Petworth Citizen and Room 11) and of course, the Times did call 11th Street the "Hip Strip" back in 2011 when they wrote about Room 11, Wonderland and BloomBars. I do like Petworth Citizen, and Crane &Turtle sounds awesome, though I haven't had a chance to visit yet.

Photo by Michael K. Wilkinson