Thursday, July 31, 2008

More power outages last night

Looks like that wacky Pepco is at it again. Portions of the neighborhood from about Georgia & Columbia to 11th & Park were out last night, lasting from about 8 am to midnight.

Pepco's website doesn't give any explanations, but NBC4 says there was a "crew equipment problem" at a substation, whatever that means. They also note traffic signals were out around the neighborhood. The NBC4 article says Pepco expected the power to come back by 6 pm, but my friend at Georgia and Kenyon said he didn't get his back until about midnight.

This makes at least the 2nd or 3rd power outage lately.

Anybody here lose power, or still don't have power?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Washington Sports Club is crowded

Maybe it was Obama's visit, but the Washington Sports Club is Columbia Heights is packed! So says a poster on the Adams Morgan listserve:
In the past two weeks it's almost impossible to workout during rush hour and later. In order to use the 'cardio' machines you need to make reservation...
My buddy who's a member of the club said something similar, "you have to plan your workout around what machines are open," but that it seems to be confined to the cardio machines.

Maybe all that working out will counter the Five Guys and donut places and ice cream shops in the neighborhood. Anybody else have problems with crowding there?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bank of America to 14th and Irving

I don't have a photo of it, but the other day I saw banners and signs for a Bank of America branch going in at 14th and Irving, next to Radio Shack. Kind of handy for those BoA people, though some people on the CH forum are saying there are too many banks in the neighborhood. Anybody think so?

And hopefully it's open on Saturdays.

What We're Missing: Apple Store?

The other day I got a tip about an Apple Store coming to DC USA - somebody saw a sign on the 2nd floor that said "Now hiring" and had the Apple logo on it. Obviously this was worth checking out, so I went over there. Turns out the sign was advertising the Apple shop inside Best Buy, a little section that has some Apple gizmos. So no Apple store in the neighborhood, at least for the time being.

But that got me thinking, an Apple Store wouldn't be too bad to have in the neighborhood. The nearest ones are in Pentagon City, Clarendon, and Bethesda, and people in D.C. love their iPhones. Plus each one of those gizmos is $300+, so that's a pretty hefty sales tax bonus for the city government. Of course, an Apple Store is about the yuppiest of stores, which is not a bad thing, necessarily - depends on how you look at things.

So, pro or con an Apple Store in the neighborhood?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Veggie hot dog eating contest photos

Hot Dog Contest 022
Originally uploaded by squidpants
Thanks to reader Ken for supplying me with a lot of photos of last Saturday's veggie hot dog eating contest. The event was put on by Compassion Over Killing at Sticky Fingers Bakery on Park Road.

Looks like a pretty fun event, but unfortunately I couldn't make it. The winner used the fake name of The Invader and ate 16 tofurky dogs in 8 minutes, followed by 14 and 8.5 for 2nd and 3rd place. Not bad! All of Ken's photos are here.

Wine bar coming to 11th Street

Is 11th Street the new 14th Street? Probably not yet, but there's a wine bar coming to the old 11th Street Deli at 11th and Lamont. DCist has a post on the as yet unnamed place, which will have wine from $8 to $14 per glass. Seems kind of high to me, but hey, I'm not a wine person. I've been told it's a very small space inside, "intimate" or "cozy" in restaurant parlance, and will have about 30 seats. They'll also have cheese, meats, and some hot food and espresso.

The place doesn't have a name yet, and they're looking for an October 1 opening.

UPDATE: Forgot to mention that it's being run by Paul Ruppert, who runs (ran?) the Warehouse art space. There was talk of Warehouse or Warehouse Next Door, the concert/theatre venue, moving to this location, but obviously it's going to be a wine bar instead.

Friday, July 25, 2008

We gotta Shot Spotta

Or Shot Spotter if you want to use proper spelling. Per the City Paper, there's a new Shot Spotter, one of MPD's gunshot triangulation devices, in Shaw, and it covers Columbia Heights as well. Pretty cool, and glad to hear.

The City Paper also had this map of where the Shot Spotter covers. Here's the company's website.

Hot dog eating contest tomorrow!

Just got this press release. Sounds awesome, although unfortunately the registration deadline was yesterday. (No babies will be eaten, I assume.)
D.C.’s First Veggie Hot Dog Eating Contest is on Sat., July 26

Event is hosted in honor of National Veggie Hot Dog Month

Washington, D.C.—As our nation celebrates National Veggie Hot Dog Month throughout July, Compassion Over Killing (COK), a D.C.-based animal advocacy charity, and the award-winning all-vegan Sticky Fingers Bakery are teaming up with Tofurky to host Washington, D.C.'s first ever veggie hot dog eating contest.

More than 25 vegetarian and non-vegetarian contestants, including “The Tofurkenator,” “Torfurky Libre” and “Tofuzilla,” will be competing for the top veggie dog title while also showing others how fun—and delicious—it is to choose meat-free fare.

“National Veggie Hot Dog Month offers a positive way to celebrate compassion for animals and introduce people to animal-friendly foods,” says Erica Meier, COK's executive director. “Leaving animals off our plates and switching to vegetarian alternatives is both fun and flavorful, and that’s what this contest is all about.”

The event is free to everyone, and all attendees will have an opportunity to sample free Tofurky franks. Additionally, a portion of the day’s sales at Sticky Fingers Bakery will be donated to Compassion Over Killing.

WHAT: D.C.’s First Veggie Hot Dog Eating Contest

WHEN: Sat., July 26 at 6:00 p.m.

WHERE: Sticky Fingers Bakery at 1370 Park Rd., N.W., D.C.

More details are available at

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wonderland's Guitar Hero night on the news

Wonderland has a Guitar Hero night on Tuesdays, where bargoers can show their (video game) chops. WUSA has a report:

New arts venue on 11th

Anybody hear of Bloombars? It's a new arts venue next to Wonderland. I saw the painted door a couple of weeks ago, but it looked to me like a flower shop that had been closed for years, so I didn't pay any attention to it. Turns out it's a new art venue/concert space/etc - they call themselves "Columbia Heights' version of 'Artomatic.'" Apparently it's been open since June 26 and there was a concert there recently.

Sounds cool to me, I'll be keeping eye on it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cool old mansion

I saw this on Flickr user rockcreek's treasure trove of old photos, it's an old mansion called Belmont, which used to be on Clifton between 13th and 14th (here's a map).

Pretty cool looking house, would be neat if it were still there. There's more info on it here.

Bike Shenanigans

Yesterday at about 6:30 I noticed a strange occurrence on 14th Street. There was a guy on a bike who slapped a car pulling out from the curb, yelling "F%(# you!" or something like that at the car. The car went about 50 feet then stopped, and the biker stopped. They waited a bit, like gunslingers, then the bike guy started to ride again. He started to turn around, then the driver got out of the car, and the biker sped off in the opposite direction.

As far as I could tell, there wasn't any damage to the car, and the biker looked like a normal guy, not a weirdo. I couldn't tell who was at fault, but the bike rider was pretty angry.

Anybody have any issues with cars or bikes on the street of Columbia Heights?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Neighborhood Bits: Garage Sales and Fruit

Here's a couple things for the weekend:

--Big garage sale at 1205 Harvard Street NW on Saturday from 9am-5pm, rain or shine. They promise computer stuff, bikes, and lots more.

--The Mt. Pleasant Farmer's Market tomorrow will have some new fruit: blackberries, watermelon, and cantaloupe. (Via DCist via Climbing the Mount.)

Another cleaners coming

Just noticed that the storefront at 13th and Florida has a sign saying "Cleaners coming soon." The place was a barbershop before. I guess that's good for people in that area, but does the neighborhood really need another cleaners? Do people in Columbia Heights have very dirty clothes? Do they roll around in the mud all the time? There are at least four cleaners I can think of on 14th between Fairmont and Park, and then there's the one across from the Giant, and I think a few on 11th too.

Personally, I would have rather seen a little bar or restaurant go in that location. Oh well.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Columbia Heights Coffee

Great Beans
Originally uploaded by adamsjp2010
The other weekend I went to Columbia Heights Coffee, on 11th between Monroe and Park, and I'm now a big fan. It's small but cozy inside with a good atmosphere, with lots of magazines and newspapers, and there are some outdoor tables. There's also a lot of community stuff inside, postcards, events, etc - it seemed more neighborhoody than your usual coffee shop.

The coffee was good (and I usually can't tell if coffee is good or bad) and the bagel with lox was excellent. I lingered for awhile in one of the inside tables then lingered for awhile longer outside, and it was great - nice and peaceful with good people watching. I recommend it highly.

Columbia Heights Coffee is at 3416 11th St NW. Here's their Yelp page.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Outdoor seating in the hood

I've noticed something positive proliferating recently: outdoor seating.

Potbelly and Pete's Apizza both have outdoor seating, as do some other local spots - Wonderland has a big area as does The Heights, and Red Rocks Pizza and Columbia Heights Coffee have some tables too. Rumbero's has applied for it as well - not sure if they have any yet.

I'm a big fan of outdoor seating, and I hope to see some more as more spots come in. Any favorites out there?

Monday, July 14, 2008


This afternoon I saw some tourists at the Columbia Heights Metro. That's something new. They were unmistakable, mom and dad and two pre-teen kids, camera bags, confused looks on their faces, and white socks.

I wonder what they were doing up here? Just lost? Maybe taking another route to Adams Morgan? Or maybe they are big Methodists and wanted to visit the Bishop Francis Asbury statue at 16th and Mt. Pleasant Street? Who knows.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Haunted Mansion being repaired?

If anybody's been on Girard between 13th and 14th, they might have noticed a big, seemingly abandoned house on the north side of the street. To me, it looks like a haunted mansion from some movie. However, it's not abandoned - in fact, it's owned and lived in by two well-known DC (and especially Ward 1) political activists, Dorothy Brizill and Gary Imhoff. Both are whistle-blowers/agitators/gadflies, and have done a lot of good things for the city, mostly by asking questions of lawmakers.

But their place is a real dump - broken and missing windows, peeling paint, piles of debris in the yard, etc. It doesn't look like anybody lives there, or has for some time.

The City Paper has been covering the house for years, starting in 2002, and in May 2008 noted the house had been condemned, unless they did some repairs. It looks like that might be happening, as I noticed the other day that the first floor had what looked like some new windows. The upstairs still has missing windows, but hey, it's a start - I guess.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

First trip to Five Guys

I went to the new Five Guys at 14th and Irving last week. The verdict - tasty. It took awhile to get my burger, about 10 minutes, but it was good when I got it. However, another lady who had been in line said something like "I asked for no mayo!" when we were walking down the street.

They also have the signature free peanuts, though they're off to the side and kind of hidden. But the burger was good, fries were tasty, and the bag was nice and greasy. I wonder if Columbia Heights waistlines are going to start expanding.

Beer Run: Sonya's Market

Originally uploaded by squidpants
This installment of Beer Run takes me to Sonya's Market at 11th and Harvard. The store is small inside with a little counter and bulletproof glass just inside the door. The selection was decent, with Sierra Nevada, Dogfish Head, and a lot of tall boys and stuff, plus food. Prices were a bit high, however - Sierra Nevada was $8.99 and Dogfish Head (forget which one) was $11.99. Yuengling was $5.99, which is reasonable. I bought a tall boy of MGD for $1.50. I think it's probably better for that sort of thing, unless you're in a pinch.

The ratings:

Selection: 3 - not bad
Price: 2 - $8.99 and $11.99 is mucho
Ambiance: 3 - sort of crummy inside, but the shopkeeper was nice.

Sonya's is at 2833 11th St NW

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Neighborhood Bits

Couple random things going on:

--Mrs. DC, DC's rep for the Mrs. America pageant for married women, is Mrs. Columbia Heights. Markette Smith-Sheppard will represent DC nationally.

--There's a screening of In the Family, a well-reviewed documentary about a woman's decision about cancer. It's at the E Street Cinema on July 10th, but I figure it could affect many neighborhood folks.

Poltical Truck

I've seen this truck around the neighborhood, kind of an interesting set of things - United We Stand, Arrest Bush, and a bald eagle painting. This is the second interestingly decorated vehicle I've seen in the neighborhood, the first being El Carro.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Columbia Heights Day fundraiser last week

Apparently there was a Columbia Heights Day fundraiser last week at Wonderland, and I missed it. Which is a shame, because Columbia Heights Day is a good idea and could use more people, and I like Wonderland.

The big day is October 4, 2008, so mark your calendars.

Anybody go? How was it?

Beer and wine at Target within two weeks

I spoke the manager of Target on Sunday, and he told me he expects to have beer and wine in the next two weeks, but that the "powers that be" are still working things out - where to put it, what to sell, etc. They had their liquor license hearing a few weeks ago according to a sign on the door, and it must have gone well.

I'm happy to see it, always good to be able to avoid the lines at Giant. Expect to see a lot of these on tables in the neighborhood.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Power outages in the neighborhood

It seems like the power is going out a lot in the last few days, especially in the eastern part of the neighborhood. On the 4th and 5th it was out along 11th and Georgia (Wonderland was out around noon on the 5th, for example) and today it was out around 11th and Park Road - stores and such didn't have any lights and alarm systems were beeping. The odd thing is, there really hasn't been much severe weather that I've seen, just a little bit of rain.

Pepco's current map shows 100-250 out in the middle of DC, but I can't really tell what zip code. And yesterday I got this notification in my email:
PEPCO reports an outage on Georgia Ave. from Columbia Rd to Fairmont St NW. Pepco states that two feeders were tripped. 900 customers are without power and Pepco is on the scene making repairs.
In honor of that, here's a performance of "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)." Anybody in the hood lose power?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

What We Could Use: A Thrift Store

I'm going to start a new series: What We Could Use, posts about things that would be useful/nice/cool/fun in the neighborhood. The first one is a thrift store.

There are a few around - there's the Georgia Avenue Thrift Store at Georgia and Quackenbos (best street name in DC), Martha's Table at 14th and W, which always seems to be closed, a smallish one on Mt. Pleasant Street, a mediocre one at 14th south of U, and those kind of pricey vintage places on U Street. But a big, close one would be cool - it could serve the whole area. I'd go there both to buy and drop stuff off.

Anybody else want a thrift store?

Green Line to U Street?

I noticed this on Monday at Gallery Place around 6 pm, I hope it doesn't become more common. It would suck to ride to U Street and have to wait (or walk) to Columbia Heights and beyond. Hopefully it was just a random malfunction or something.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Ellwood Thomspon's still "very close"

I've been writing about organic grocer Ellwood Thompson's for awhile now - in early May, they were "hard at work on a lease" in DC USA.

I got in touch with them a few days ago, and the spokesperson said "We've been told that we're very close" but that the details haven't been disclosed to them. The spokesperson also said she wanted the neighborhood to know "how excited Ellwoods staff is about the future possibilities of being part of the community."

She also said I'd be the first to know when there are new developments, so stay tuned!

I sure hope this happens soon, as the Giant is still awfully slow.

Here's Ellwood's website.

Mayorga now has a Korean menu

Review by Robyn Mincher

Mayorga Lounge is a strange place. It's an upscale bar with a different owner than the coffee shop yet named after the coffee shop. Most people accidentally stumble upon the place when finding the coffee shop bathroom. The menu changes about once a week, one Friday night its dead and the next it's packed to the brim. What gives?

Ponder Mayorga's misdirection over a steaming plate of Korean rice and beef- with their new supremely tasty Korean menu. Each main course comes with three toppings-including controversial Kimchi (you either love it or hate it). After sampling the tasty food, we asked the owner of Mayorga if this good change was here to stay. He said since acquiring the skills of a Korean head chef that he means to keep the new menu, and let's hope he meant it. The Korean menu is reason enough to give Mayorga another try.

We suggest trying it before they change the food to Icelandic (though that'd be kinda neat too, no?).

Mayorga Lounge is inside the Tivoli Building at 14th and Park, on the second floor.

Clarification on the Express mention

If anybody reads the Express, you may have noticed that New Columbia Heights was mentioned in the Blog Log section, specifically yesterday's post about fireworks. However, they misunderstood the post, thinking I was referring to people shooting guns in the air. I wasn't. I thought I was pretty clear, saying I mistook fireworks for gunshots until I heard a fizzle, and I included a picture of fireworks. I guess the "shot" part threw them off.

But just in case anybody was worried, I meant watch out for kids and fireworks in the next few days, not people shooting guns in the air. This is Columbia Heights, not Detroit.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Five Guys is open!

My friend in the neighborhood says the Five Guys is open today! Go get burgers and let me know how they are!

(It's at 14th and Irving in the Highland Park building, facing Irving.)

DCist has a photo and such.

We're under attack

Not really - but I heard some fireworks last night, mistaking them for gunshots until I heard the fizzle.

If last year was any indication, get ready to hear a lot of this for the next week. Hopefully nobody's house gets shot - last year some kids on my block were having a good time shooting them near people's windows.