Saturday, June 30, 2012

Power out all over the place and it's hot -- do you have power?

Apparently there are tons of power outages. I must have been in some kind of vortex, because I was at the Red Derby last night and didn't even notice the storm! Or maybe I had too many canned beers. But in any case, the radio said 1 million people are without power, and it seems that Pepco's site is down.

So how about you? Do you have power? (I am assuming you can read this on your cell phone, if you don't.) Let us know in the comments where you have it and where you don't!

And unfortunately it's also going to be extremely hot today. Here's the Capital Weather Gang's guide for how to stay cool in the heat (scroll down a bit for dos and don'ts.) You could also visit a local establishment that has power and chill out there to keep cool -- maybe a coffee shop, restaurant, or bar. Why not try a new spot? Coffy's Crepes, or The Pinch, or El Chucho's or Mama Chuy or Salt and Pepper Grill! (Some of which aren't open for lunch, but still.) Or an old fave, like Wonderland, Looking Glass, Sticky Fingers or Room 11. There's also the pool, but I bet it will be packed.

What are you doing to beat the heat?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Want to adopt a cute rescue cat? Check out Mr. Biscuit




Say hello to Mr. Biscuit.

I just got this from a reader who was fostering a cat from the Washington Animal Rescue League. Unfortunately the person who was going to adopt the cat fell through, so they're looking for somebody else. Interested? See below for more info. And Mr. Biscuit also appeared on the Cats in Sinks tumblr -- pretty funny.
Biscuit is a young, neutered male, appx 1.5 - 2.5 years. He is a light orange and white tabby, very affectionate and out going, has the cutest little squeak of a meow, but is otherwise silent. He is up to date on all shots and is kitty-litter trained. He loves to play and has lots of energy. He and my 2 year old male cat Ollie became fast friends and love to wrestle and chase each other around the house.

Biscuit is a snuggler and will cuddle up in the crook of your arm while you sleep. He once plopped right down on my chest while watching tv and stayed there purring for a solid hour.

He's a Washington Animal Rescue League rescue but needs to find a comfortable new home..... yours?

For more photos, videos and to for interest in adopting, email jacquelinemarks (at) gmail (dot) com. Please spread the word so we can find Biscuit a great home!

The Pinch on 14th now serving brunch! (and bottomless drinks)

Sweet, more brunch options! Just heard from owner Daniel Maceda, who says The Pinch, the American restaurant that opened in May at 3458 3548 14th Street NW, is now serving brunch. They'll be open every Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm. Great to see, as there aren't many brunch options up 14th.

He also sent along the menu, and there's a lot of traditional brunch fare, plus bottomless mimosas, screwdrivers and bloody Marys. Can't beat that. (Plus they also have 4.5 stars on Yelp, literally can't beat that.)

Here's their Facebook page. Have you been?
Pinch Brunch June 16

Thursday, June 28, 2012

El Chucho opens on Friday! A first look at their food and drink

Yum El Chucho Cocina Superior, the Mexican spot coming to 3313 11th Street NW, is opening this Friday! Great news. Yesterday I poked my head in and was invited to the soft opening/mock service, so we got a chance to sample some of the food and drinks, and now I am even more excited.

Like I talked about before, the menu consists of some traditional Mexican food, and some Mexican items with a bit of an Asian flair. There are tacos, tortas (sandwiches), salads, and more, plus a whole bunch of drinks -- margaritas and cocktails, a wide range of tequilas from inexpensive to super fancy, and soon to be beer on draft, wine, and mezcals (they're still working out what to serve.)

We tried the elote callejero (corn traditionally served as street food),  the pollo (chicken) tacos, and th pulpo (octopus) tacos. All were good, but the corn was amazing. It's grilled and coated with herbs and cheese. The flavor is really in the corn though, not on the outside, and I have a feeling I am going to be eating this corn all the time. The chicken taco was tasty but not your traditional taco, and the pulpo was interesting, kind of chewy (which octopus is) with veggies and green beans. It was kind of sweet, kind of Asian, and worth getting if you like trying new things. Each taco order comes with 2, and they are pretty good sized, which is nice.

Somebody asked me about Mama Chuy's on Georgia versus El Chucho, and to me Mama Chuy is more traditional, and this place is more funky and different. Both are really good though, and I don't see there being competition or overlap. (At least, I hope, because I like both.)

Elote callejero. AmazingThere's a million other things we hope to try too -- the milenesa torta sounds awesome, and co-owner Gordon Banks said the moronga soup (blood sausage) was really good. They also have tacos with carne asada, pastor, tripe, and Mexican squash, so there's a wide range, plus lots of other dishes I want to check out, like the chicken flautas with huitlacoche. The bartender explained that huitlacoche is kind of a Mexican version of truffles, it's a black fungus that grows on corn. The Sonoran dog sounds great too, a hot dog wrapped in pork belly with beans, cheese, pico de gallo and more.


And drinks -- also good. They make their own syrups for use in sodas or to put in margaritas. We tried a blackberry poblano syrup in a margarita, which the bartender suggested, which was really good, and also a blue Curaçao margarita. The blue Curaçao is also house-made. Both were tasty, and there are also three kinds of salt you can pick -- regular, spicy, or cilantro. The spicy went well with the blackberry poblano but didn't work as well with the blue curacao. There's also lots of other cocktails, some designed by Banks, and we really enjoyed the Blue Hawaiian, which is rum pineapple, coconut and blue curacao. Would be a great after-the-pool drink.


The roof deck is open too, they have a little shrine/soon to be herb garden in the front, and there's a canopy too. 


In short, I'm really looking forward to coming back often. You should too.


Here's their Facebook, and lots of pictures below.




Cool events at Bloombars this week, including late night movies for post-bar!

The folks at BloomBars, the great arts space at 3222 11th Street NW (next to Wonderland) have a lot of neat events coming up this week, including a clever one: late night movies. The idea is that people come from the bars can hang out and do something fun rather than trying to drive or drunkenly walk home. Here's more details for that and other events:


Thursday (6/28/12)

Voices of Health Benefit featuring The Torches
Join us for a 2-part benefit event: Audio Installation and Live Musical Performances at BloomBars. All proceeds from the night support the installation of Voices of Health Listening Stations in connection with “AIDS 2012” an International AIDS Conference July 21-27th.
Live Musical Performances Include: “The Torches”. The 7-piece DC swamp rock band features bajo, oboe, cello, bass, drums, harmonica, fiddle and a stomping good time. http://www.thetorches.net/
Saturday (6/30/2012)
Washington Sound Museum 7:00pm
Born and bred in Rio de Janeiro, the capital of Brazil known most for its rich culture and passion for life, Cissa Paz will be performain as the featured artist in this month’s Washington Sound Museum, which will be broadcasted live thanks to a new partnership with VisionViewTV. http://cissapaz.com/

Sunday (7/1/2012)

Sunrise Cinema 2:30am-6:30am
Don't Drink & Drive! Watch movies until sunrise at BloomBars. Event features late night/early morning screenings of indies, comedies and classics. All movies are selected by the audience. Learn more :http://www.bloombars.com/category/garden-of-the-arts/film-digital-arts/sunrise-cinema

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

11th Street corner stores going (relatively) upscale

Sonya's getting fancy I've noticed something recently at a few corner stores around 11th and Girard -- they're getting fancier stuff. Sonya's at 11th and Columbia Harvard recently put up a sign for some new craft beers (see right) and is also selling some fancier snacks like Whole Foods-ish cookies, crackers, healthy bars and stuff like that.

The Fairmont Market, at 11th and Fairmont, also has signs up for Goose Island beers, but I haven't noticed too much new in the way of fancier food.

This comes about a year after the 13th Street Market at 13th and Otis got a complete makeover with new floors, nice shelves, lots of wine and even a coffee shop. Nothing that drastic for Sonya's or Fairmont, but you never know -- as the market builds for higher quality stuff, we may see fewer male virility pills and more organic granola bars in the windows. Maybe even less bulletproof glass.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

RedRocks opening their third location, this time in Arlington

Columbia Heights is taking over! RedRocks, the pizza joint on 11th (and part of the "Hip Strip") is opening its second location in Virginia, this one on Columbia Pike in Arlington. This will be the third RedRocks location, with the original opening in 2007 plus an Old Town Alexandria outpost that opened in 2010.

This continues a theme that I've noticed: places starting in Columbia Heights and then expanding. For example, Pete's Apizza opened on Irving Street in 2008 and since expanded to Clarendon and Friendship Heights, Tynan Coffee and Tea opened new locations in Friendship Heights and "NoMa", while Pho 14 is opening a second location in Adams Morgan. (I guess nobody in Maryland likes Columbia Heights stuff.)

Kind of cool to see the neighborhood as an incubator of good ideas. And in the case of Pete's and RedRocks, I haven't noticed any change since the new places opened.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Eat at Chipotle today from 5-8pm to help the Community Marketplace

This is a cool event! Go eat some burritos! Help the Community Marketplace!
Dear Neighbor, 
On Monday, June 25th between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., the Columbia Heights Chipotle location (3113 14th St NW...east side of 14th Street, NW, just south of Kenyon Street) will donate half of sales to the Community Marketplace, a 501c3 non-profit organization. However, for us to receive this donation, please tell the Chipotle cashier that you are there for the Community Marketplace benefit.
Please tell your friends and neighbors to come to Chipotle in Columbia Heights to support the Community Marketplace and our programs, including Festibucks, Fruit& Vegetable Prescription and our Youth Garden project.
Thanks and hope to see you at Chipotle on Monday between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Is this the oldest campaign sign still up in the city?


The other day I spotted this sign at 11th and Irving -- it's for somebody named Tom Brown running for the at-large DC Council. Except that election happened on April 26, 2011.  According to city law, signs for an election must be taken down 30 days after the election. You're about 400 days late.

Mr. Brown is now running for Ward 7 council. Hey Tom, how about you take down your sign? It's basically litter.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Go Skateboarding Day was yesterday: hundreds of skaters went down 14th Street

This is pretty cool. Yesterday was Go Skateboarding Day, an annual event that aims to encourage skateboarding.

You may remember that in past years, the Palace 5 skate shop at 14th and Florida has had a lot of events in the past for it, and skaters gather there before skating down 14th to downtown and the Mall.

They did the same this year, and my buddy who works on 14th reported "hundreds" of skaters at about 3 pm. Pretty cool stuff. Here's a video, with some shots of the mass skate downtown and various tricks and such, and M.V. Jantzen has a bunch of photos of the kids around 14th and Florida (see one below the video.)


Waiting for Good Stuff
Photo by M.V. Jantzen

Kangaroo Boxing Club is open: a very brief intro

The new barbeque spot on 11th Street NW, Kangaroo Boxing Club, opened really quickly -- it was only announced in late February or early March, and as of June 19th, it was open. That's an amazingly fast turnaround, and good for the owners, the folks who run the PORC food truck, a barbeque truck whose acronym stands for Purveyors of Rolling Cuisine.

So, how is it? I don't know. I tried to go on Tuesday, and it was extremely packed and hot, so we didn't stick around. It's gotten 4 reviews on Yelp so far, which are very laudatory, so that's a good sign. They don't seem to have a website yet, but I checked out their menu. In short, it's similar to their truck, with a fair amount of veggie options. Appetizers range from hummus and pita to a meat board or sausage, with four kinds of barbeque as entrees, plus other fare like a burger with (or without) pulled pork, bacon and ham and healthier stuff like a farm salad and a hummus and veggie sandwich.

Inside the place looked pretty nice, with a big wood bar and very dark, moody lighting. It wasn't huge, but that might have been accentuated by the big crowd inside and trying to get in.

Plus Urban Daddy reports they have a lot of infused liquors and also serve Olde English malt liquor, which is pretty funny. I feel that would go with barbeque pretty well. And apparently they're going to have brunch too, according to their Facebook page. (Plug, if you know them or are them, please email me. I want to write about you.)

Hopefully it'll be less crowded soon. Have you been? How was it?

Kangaroo Boxing Club is located at 3410 11th Street NW

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Another abandoned house gets fixed up: 13th and Otis



This warms my heart: an old abandoned house at 13th and Otis, that sat for years and used to have a hand-painted "FOR SALE" sign is today fixed up into nice condos -- check out the interior of one here. Above are the before and after shots.

Love seeing this kind of thing.


Columbia Heights: #1 Reddit neighborhood around

Are you a Redditor? If you don't know what that is, Reddit is a popular website where people can vote up or down various interesting stories, funny things, political issues and more. The site calls itself "the front page of the internet."

The City Paper reports that among Redditors (Reddit users) in DC, Columbia Heights has the biggest user base. The City Paper's reporter says this is a bad thing, but like any website, it's how you use it. There are stories of Reddit users raising lots of money for charities, urging Stephen Colbert to hold a rally in DC (which became the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear) and for exposing criminals, but also for doing some bad things.

In any case, it's interesting, and I wonder what it means for the neighborhood. Are we more computer literate? Or, more likely to waste time, or have time to waste, on the Internet?

Any Redditors care to comment?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The pool is now open on weekdays!!

"A Bigger Splash," David Hockney, 1967
Sweet! The city's public pools are now open on weekdays, starting the 18th.

The Banneker Pool at Georgia and Euclid, the nearest one to most of Columbia Heights is open 8am-9:30am for lap swim, then 1pm-8pm for general use every weekday except Thursday, when the pool is closed. On weekends, it's open noon to 6pm.

As for other nearby pools, the Upshur Pool at 4300 Arkansas (near 14th and Upshur) is open the same times, but without the lap swim portion, and is closed every Monday. The Harry Thomas Pool (that's Senior, not his son the crook) at 1743 Lincoln Rd NWNE, near North Capitol and T, is open the same times but is closed Tuesday.

Personally I am a big fan of the Banneker Pool, which is free if you have a DC driver's license or other official DC-issued ID. You have to get there early though. I know others have had issues with it, but I've always had a blast.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Have an idea for a neighborhood project? Get $500 for it!

This is pretty neat. A tipster sent in a program called Neighborhood Wishlist from PNC Bank, who are giving $500 to help fund neighborhood projects. Here's more, and you can enter on their Facebook page (you have to like it first.)

You'd better get the project in fast though, they're only taking the first 500 projects that come in before they pick finalists. There's also a voting aspect, with the projects that get the most votes going on in the contest.


Get up to $500 for your neighborhood!
Introducing PNC Neighborhood Wishlist, an exciting new community program that can help you make good things
happen in your neighborhood.
Here's how it works:

1- Submit a project
Tell us how you'd improve your community for $500 or less. We'll choose up to 100 ideas to post on the Wishlist.

2- Spread the word
If your project is picked, get your friends to vote for it. You'll need one vote for every dollar you ask for.

 
3- Make it happen
If you reach your goal, we'll give you up to $500 to turn your project into a reality.

Submission starts June 18th, but we'll only be reviewing the first 500 projects that come in before July 1st to pick our 100 finalists, so submit yours as soon as you can!

Even if you don't have an idea, you can support and share other people's projects when voting begins. It's all part of working together to make our neighborhoods better.

Visit our Facebook page now to find out more and submit a project now!

Sincerely,
The PNC Neighborhood Wishlist Team

Food Truck Night in Mt. Pleasant, this Thursday

If you like food trucks, get yourself to Mt. Pleasant this Thursday evening.


They also had one in May, which sounded like an awesome time (photo here from then.)


There's already 103 people signed up on their Facebook page, so it sounds like a good time.
The first one was such a success, I hope that you all are ready for the next one! Join your Mount Pleasant neighbors for an evening of food and fun! 
For Food Truck Night Round Two, we have more trucks and more vegetarian options! 
Takorean, Porc, Tasty Kebab, Fojol Brothers and Pleasant Pops will be meeting you at and feeding you at Lamont Park.  
Date:   Thursday, June 21
Time:   5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Place:  Lamont Park (Mt Pleasant and Lamont Streets)
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/events/335363229866475/

Monday, June 18, 2012

New covered seating outside for Room 11, Red Rocks




If you like outdoor dining, you're in luck. This weekend I noticed that the patios at Room 11 and Red Rocks both have some cover from the sun -- Room 11 now has some umbrellas at the outdoor tables and Red Rocks has a canvas tarp-type thing over most of the patio.

I like both those spots, though it can get pretty hot out there in the summer, especially around brunch time. Nice to see this kind of thing. You can now enjoy your breakfast pizza (RR) and savory chili French toast (R11) in the shade.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Latino LGBT community center opens in the neighborhood

This is pretty neat: the Blade reports on Casa Ruby, a new Latino LGBT community center. Located at 2282 Georgia Ave NW, the center "will offer assistance with immigration-related issues, HIV testing from Transgender Health Empowerment and other services in both Spanish and English."


It was founded by Ruby Corado, who moved from El Salvador in the 1980s, and who said it's funded entirely by private donations. Everyone is welcome, regardless of immigration status, country of origin, or gender identity or expression.


The Blade continues:
Statistics continue to show that Latinos and other underrepresented groups within the LGBT community remain particularly vulnerable to employment discrimination, health care disparities and hate crimes. 
A 2011 National Center for Transgender Equality and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force study found that unemployment rates among trans people of color are four times higher than the national average. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs noted late last month that 40 percent of the reported 30 anti-LGBT homicide victims in 2011 were LGBT people of color. 
Here's an interview with Corado, and their website:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Some of the most "whitened" zip codes in the US are in Columbia Heights

The Post and DCist have an interesting story: according to a researcher at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, DC has 3 of the country's most whitened zip codes between 2000 and 2010 -- that is, the biggest growth in percentage of white people in those zip codes.

And two of those zip codes are in Columbia Heights: 20001 is 10th, going from 5.6% to 32.8%, and 20010 is 14th, going from 22% to 46.7% white. 20005 is on the list as well, which is Logan Circle, Shaw, and downtown. 20001 includes part of Columbia Heights, Pleasant Plains, Shaw, Bloomingdale, LeDroit Park and Truxton Circle, while 20010 has parts of northern Columbia Heights, Mt. Pleasant and Park View. (You can see the zip codes in the map I made below, using DC GIS data from data.dc.gov.)

So what does this mean? The researcher, Michael J. Petrilli, says it means those areas are gentrifying, which may be true, but to me isn't totally correct. I would argue that a lot of the people moving in are younger and don't make too much money -- think of the group house set. But it also depends on how you define the G-word, is it more white people, or more wealthy people, or a combination of factors?

In any case, it's an interesting analysis (though some geographer buddies point out the analysis doesn't account for spatial autocorrelation bias, which in general assumes that things, in this case white people, are spread evenly when in reality they may be clustered. You can read this lecture if you want to get into some hardcore geography.)

Anyway, here's the map. What do you think of this research?



Tuesday, June 12, 2012

That was fast: Kangaroo Boxing Club opening June 19

This might be a record for fastest restaurant opening ever: Kangaroo Boxing Club, the spot from the owners of the PORC food truck coming to 11th and Park, is going to open June 19, according to the Post. It was only March when I first heard about the idea, though I've seen people working in the spot nonstop whenever I walk past.

The Post says the place will serve barbeque, like their food truck, and have about 60 seats. If you recall, the name came from bar debates about animals' physical superiority over man -- it would presumably be tough to beat a kangaroo in a boxing match. (Sort of like those Spiderman vs Batman debates.)

Kangaroo Boxing Club is at 3410 11th Street NW, in the old Acuario space (that's right next to Meridian Pint.) Here's their Facebook page.

Monday, June 11, 2012

14th Street bus study final meeting on June 21


Here's your chance to hear what's happening with the 14th Street bus lines. A few months ago, WMATA began a study of the 14th Street bus lines (52, 53, 54) including a survey and some public meetings in order to identify what problems there are and what solutions may be. On the 21st, there will be a final meeting to explain proposed solutions and get people's feedback.

WMATA posted the problems identified and the potential options from a previous community meeting: predictably, the problems were that the buses are crowded, there's bunching with no buses for awhile then 2 or 3 at once, and the trips are too slow. I calculated awhile ago that it takes about half an hour to go 2 miles from Columbia Heights to downtown, which equates to about 4 miles an hour.

Here's their website with more info on the 14th Street study.

Dear Metrobus 14th Street Line riders and community,

WMATA and the District Department of Transportation are holding the final public meeting for the 14th Street Line study:

Thursday, June 21, 2012WMATA Northern Division Community Room4627 14th Street NW (at Decatur St)
Anytime between 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm
As you probably know, Metro and DDOT have been working over the last six months to develop improvements to service and reliability for Metrobus routes 52, 53, and 54.  The purpose of this meeting is to show participants a set of preliminary recommendations, and get your feedback on them.

Everyone is invited, and no advance registration is required.  Please spread the word to your neighbors and co-workers!

The format of the meeting is “open house”, meaning you can come by any time between 5:30 and 7:30 pm to learn about the improvements – project staff will be on hand to field your questions and listen to your comments.

The meeting room entrance is immediately next to the bus stop at 14th & Decatur NW.  The facility is handicap-accessible.  A Spanish-speaking member of the project team will be present, for participants who prefer to speak Spanish.  Sandwiches and soft drinks will be served.

You can find out more about this and other WMATA bus projects at http://www.metrobus-studies.com/ .  Or, please contact me directly if you have specific questions or requests related to this public meeting.

Thanks, and we hope to see you there!

Patrick A. GoughAECOMMetrobus Studies Team

Friday, June 8, 2012

DC Square Dance Collective square dance this Saturday

Grab your partner, do-si-do! There's another square dance coming up, and judging from the photo it looks pretty fun. Here's more details:

Hey, DC! It's time again for us to join hands and dance the night away. Join us on June 9 for all the things that make a summer evening right: hot tunes, cool drinks, clapping hands, and scootin' feet. Yep, it's a bona-fide old-fashioned square dance, with do-si-dos and partner swings and plenty of live fiddle & banjo music.

No experience needed! All the dances will be taught and called by Nancy Mamlin, who's traveling up from North Carolina to call for us. The Wabash Cannibals will be joining her with some sweet old-time string band music: Ron Cole on fiddle, Bill Schmidt on fiddle & banjo, John Schwab on guitar, and Kevin Enoch on bass.

No partner or costume required - just bring $5 to help us pay the band and the hall. Optional: a drink or snack to share, potluck-style, and a water bottle.

Date: Saturday, June 9

Time: 8:30 to 11:30 pm

Admission: $5

Address: St. Stephens Church, 1525 Newton St. NW, Washington, DC

Metro: Columbia Heights

RSVP: on Facebook!

Looking forward to dancing with you soon,

~The DC Square Dance Collective

Thursday, June 7, 2012

El Chucho's Cocina Superior opens June 17, we spoke with the co-owner

 El Chucho's Cocina Superior, the Mexican spot coming to 11th between Park and Lamont and Kenyon, is opening June 17th. It's owned by Jackie Greenbaum and Gordon Banks, who also own the popular Jackie's, Sidecar and the Quarry House in Silver Spring. I stopped by on Saturday to talk to Gordon about the spot, and it sounds really fantastic. (You can see a few photos in this post, and more in the slideshow at bottom.)

Basically, it's going to be Mexican street food with some Asian influence: Banks says chef Diana Davila-Bouldin , who is from a family that runs a number of taquerias, half-jokingly called it "authentically Chinganized."There are about 38 seats inside with tables plus a bar and stools, about 10 seats out front, plus another 32 on the roof, which will also have a shrine/herb garden with the herbs used in cocktails (cilantro, mint, etc).

The first floor will have a window that can slide up, making it almost an outdoor space, and the decor will look like a 1950s or '60s Mexican border town, which is a fun idea. They'll play things like 60s Mexican garage and Texas outlaw music as well as more traditional Mexican music. They'll be open every day at 4 and can close as late as 2 am on weekdays and 3 am on weekends, but Banks said they'd have to see what demand warranted for the late nights.

I also heard some of the ideas for the menu, which sounds pretty much completely great, though he also mentioned it wasn't yet finalized. There will be traditional Mexican street food like elote, which is corn on the cob with cheese, chile powder, crema and herbs on it (which is generally delicious), fried Oaxacan cheese, a mole with 40 ingredients, homemade sausage, and 6 kinds of tacos, from traditional (al pastor) to squash & chile tofu prepared like refried beans, to tripe and foie gras.

In addition, Banks mentioned Mexican kimchi and a lot of tortas, which will be drowned in a smoky chile arbol sauce. In fact, since the tortas are covered in sauce, Banks said they'd be served with plastic gloves. There's also a fair amount of vegetarian dishes and salads, as well as Mexican and Mexican-inspired desserts like a chocolate tamale. In all, the food sounds pretty different and delicious, and he said they wouldn't be too expensive. Where possible, they'll use locally-sourced food and local purveyors.

There's also a nice drinks selection. For one, they'll make their own sodas, from things like lemon lime to coconut with kaffir lime, Mexican root beer, and blackberry poblano, plus they'll carry Mexican coke. They'll have a number of different margaritas, and there will always be a $5 on tap, and all fresh-squeezed juices. There will also be 6 draft lines, probably the traditional Negra Modelo plus American craft beers, as Banks said it was hard to come by good and reasonably priced Mexican microbrews. They'll also have a wide range of tequila and mescal, from about $5 a glass up to super-premium ones at $50 or so a pop.

The space has come a long way, as Banks said when they bought it, there was a tree growing out the back wall. Now there's a wood bar, nice stools, interesting lights over the bar made from torpedos, plus paint and decor reminiscent of the border.

In short, I am really looking forward to this place. It sounds awesome. Here's the slideshow of all the photos I took:

Searching for a place to live sucks: here are some tips for people renting

So recently I've been looking for a place to live, as my landlord is selling the house where I currently reside. This means asking friends and keeping my ears open, but mostly browsing Craigslist. Looking for a place to live on Craigslist has been a pretty frustrating experience, and I have some tips if you are renting your place, both to help future renters and maybe make it easier on yourself, too.
  • Number one, please be specific about where the place is. It's nice to have the actual address, but if you aren't comfortable with that, at least put cross streets or the block (1100 block of Kenyon or whatever.) It's almost like people don't want responses: "Washington, DC" is not helpful at all. Too many times I've gone back and forth with the person in the ad, only to learn the place is at 5th and Rock Creek Church or something farther away than I'm looking, and then we both wasted our time.
  • Also, please get familiar with where the neighborhoods generally are. I know Columbia Heights is a hip place and people want to be here (which itself is a pretty cool and interesting thing,) but there is no such thing as "Columbia Heights North" like this culprit says. Or if there is, 14th and Montague certainly isn't it. It's barely even Petworth. I wouldn't consider 14th and Shepherd to be Columbia Heights either, like in  this ad. (I mean, just look at the Google Map in the ad, it's on top of the "Petworth" word.) I know there is some debate about where the boundaries are (just see all my posts on the subject), but at least get close. If you're north of Spring Road or west of 16th Street, you are probably not Columbia Heights. Plus to me putting driving time rather than walking is sneaky, like an ad in Takoma that says it's 10 minutes from Columbia Heights.
  • Unless you want to get tons of emails asking you, put all the details in there -- how many people live there, how big the room is, how many bedrooms and bathrooms, and so on. Then again, if the ad is super terse and makes no sense, that probably means a renter should avoid it. A corollary to that is don't write a ridiculously long survey for people to fill out, I've seen a few of those. Most reasonable folks probably won't want to do it, so you are filtering out people you'd probably like.
  • This one is kind of anathema to how DC seems to operate for housing, but posting ahead of time is always good. It's crazy how many places I see where the lease starts the next day so they want an answer immediately. I don't know if people wait too long before posting the ad or what, but it seems to be that it'd be much easier and less stressful if you post the ad a few months before (assuming you know in advance, of course) and then getting people locked in early.
If you have any tips for people posting ads, or for those looking, post them in the comments.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

BloomBars haiku contest: get your haiku on their wall!

BloomBars art space rules
11th and Kenyon Street
Make sure to go there.

That was a (bad) haiku. BloomBars, the awesome art space on 11th between Kenyon and Lamont, is working on updating their space. As such, they have a contest for people to submit haikus. Winning ones will be painted on their walls, which is pretty awesome. Here's how you sign up:


Dear Bloom Family,
Allow me to begin with an on-the-spot haiku:
You are part of the/ community that grows and/ the space that holds us.
We’re giving everyone who is interested an opportunity to have your words and sentiments become part of the physical home we create together.
This summer, we’ll be decorating the downstairs gallery wall with 10 haiku that reflect the theme “We Bloom” and capture some of the spirit and community of BloomBars. As you may know, haiku are three-line poems that follow a syllable count of 5-7-5.
To participate in the Bloomku haiku-a-thon, please post your haiku on Twitter [http://twitter.com/bloombars] and be sure to include both @BloomBars and #Bloomku for your haiku to be entered! Submissions will only be accepted via Twitter, with a deadline 11:59pm on June 7th. Individuals may submit up to 5 entries, which will then be narrowed down for public voting to select the 10 bloomiest of the bunch!
As we always say, “You Bloom… We Bloom.” If you’ve never tried your hand or heart at haiku before, we hope you’ll think of this as a chance to plant a seed!
Keep blooming,
Gowri Koneswaran http://www.twitter.com/gowricurry
Poetry Coordinator

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Wanna work at Target? Managerial jobs posted

Just saw this from Ward 1 councilman Jim Graham, who posted it on various listserves. Related, I've found that if you are wearing a reddish polo shirt there, people will stop you and ask where things are.
Target is proud to be a member of the community, and wanted to share the current employment opportunities located at the Columbia Heights location.
We are currently seeking Hourly Managerial Positions in the following areas:
Guest Service Team Leader
* Lead a fast, fun and friendly checkout team.
* Act quickly to resolve guest concerns.
* Manage team schedules and checkout traffic.
* Maintain a clean, great-looking store
* Coach and evaluate team member performance
* Some college preferred
* Prior Management Experience
* Rotating schedule, include nights and weekends
Merchandise Flow Team Leader
* Lead a team that maintains a fully stocked sales floor.
* Quickly and accurately load and unload merchandise.
* Monitor back room equipment.
* Coach and evaluate team member performance.
* Some college preferred
* Prior Management Experience
* Overnight Schedule and includes weekends 
How to apply:
Complete an employment application at the employment kiosks located near the service desk or apply on line at Target.com/careers 
Karen McCargo ¤ Executive Team Leader-Human Resources ¤ D412 T2259 Columbia Heights 3100 14th St. NW Suite 201 Washington, DC 20010 ¤ 202-777-3773(ph) ¤ 
Doing good in our communities | By shopping at Target, you help us give 5% of our income to support education, the arts, social services and volunteerism. That adds up to over $3 million a week for our communities. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Empty lots getting filled in at Euclid and Sherman

If you have ever walked down Euclid, you've probably noticed that there are some empty lots around Sherman Avenue. The SE and NE corner of Sherman and Euclid used to be an illegal used car lot and an abandoned corner store, respectively. The corner store was Chuck's Market, which was the 2nd worst of the corner stores I reviewed for the Beer Run series (Carolina's Market is the worst, by far. I think it's a front.)

But anyway, Chuck's has been demolished and is being replaced by what looks like a small retail and condo building. The property, 2601 Sherman, was purchased by Amanda Clarke, an architect who has received some good press for rehabbing old buildings, so that augurs well.

There's a small house going up where the used car lot used to be (see right.) The address is 928 Euclid and the plans were filed two years ago, but construction just started recently. There's going to be an English basement apartment and a 3 floor unit above it.

Both projects are fairly far along, though there are stop work notices from the city on each one. Unfortunately the fences around the buildings meant I couldn't get close enough to see what the permits are for and why they had stop work orders. 

Then farther up Euclid at 9th Street, next to those two strange, small adobe-ish houses, there's another condo-type building going up, though it's a lot larger than the surrounding places. The lot, 904 Euclid, has been empty for some time and was sold late last year for $66,500. It's owned by 904 Euclid Street NW Inc., about whom I can't find much, aside from the fact that their tax address is in Bethesda.

In any case, it's nice to see three empty and abandoned lots getting replaced by nice, new places. What do you think?

Street Booze: Remy Martin V on Girard


It's been awhile since there's been a Street Booze post, our series on booze bottles found tossed around the neighborhood.


I spotted this bottle of Remy Martin V on Girard Street. Sometimes you just want to walk around with a kind of fancy clear distilled spirit, you know? I don't know if this means our neighborhood is getting fancy, or maybe somebody just wanted a change of pace. (I don't think it fell out of a recycling bin because it wasn't really near any houses.)

V is made in Cognac, France, but isn't a cognac because it's not aged, and it's not really vodka either. Thus "clear distilled spirit."

Curious about more Street Booze? Check out the archive.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Bands in the Neighborhood: Elena & Los Fulanos


This latest installment of Bands in the Neighborhood is on Elena & Los Fulanos, local residents who play bilingual folk rock.


And if you're a Band in the Neighborhood and would like to be part of this series, email me.



How did the band form?
Front woman, Elena Lacayo (guitar, vocals), had been writing music for a number of years, playing as a solo act in the DC area when she was approached by Danny Cervantes (violin, vocals) to collaborate on her music.  His membership was quickly followed by the band's backbone, Andrew Graber (drums) and Matthew Mellon (bass) and most recently, in 2012, the band was joined by Craig Keenan (guitar, vocals).

Tell me more about being a bilingual group? 
I (Elena) grew up in both Nicaragua and in the U.S. and my life, personality and outlook has been deeply shaped by both languages and cultures very deeply.  I was alswasys drawn to music in English (Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, Fiona Apple, Counting Crows -- all considered "underground" in Nicaragua), but was also greatly immersed in Latinamerican music and love the music from artists like Shakira and Soda Stereo.  I felt that I could not fully express myself through music unless I did so in both English and Spanish and found that I needed to write in both.   



Can you explain the band name?
Haha! It's just a word I really like in Spanish. Fulano means "so and so", like a term you use when you don't know someone's name. I like it a lot and it gets good reception. I sometimes worry about the feelings of my bandmates towards it but they seem to dig.


How many members live in Columbia Heights? Whereabouts? (roughly)
I have lived on 13th and Columbia for the last 6 years and met Danny on Craiglist when he applied to live at my place.  Matthew has lived in Petworth for two years and Graber has lived in various parts of the city, including Petworth.  Craig also lived in Columbia Heights in 2010 and 2011, also at 13th and Columbia.

Do you practice in CH? How about play any gigs in the neighborhood?
We usually practice at my house in Columbia Heights and we've played at the Wonderland, the Velvet Lounge and at various house parties in Columbia Heights/ Mount Pleasant. 


What are your band's influences?
Our band has been influenced by a number of bands. Danny is also in a Mariachi band (Mariachi Los Amigos, who often play at Haydee's), so we certainly have some Latin American influence.


Do you have any records out? Not yet, but we hope to get some singles out soon!


Gone on any tours? Any crazy and terrible tour stories? Not yet!


What’s your take on the local music scene in Columbia Heights and DC?
Up and coming.  DC has some amazing musical history from Jazz to Punk and some great current acts. We hope that the growing multiculturalism in the city will make our music accesible and appealing to the transient and not-so-transient city inhabitants.


And if you had to rename your band for something in Columbia Heights, what would it be?
Wonderland Fried Pickles.


Here's Elena & Los Fulanos' Facebook page and some live videos.

Pho 14 opening new location in Adams Morgan

Nice to hear this for the Pho 14 folks -- they're opening a second location at 1769 Columbia Road NW in Adams Morgan, according to the City Paper. This is the old Pizza Hut space next to Burger King, just down from the Safeway.

They've also expanded their Park Road location a few months ago, so you have more options to get tasty pho in and around the neighborhood.

Obviously I wish the best for them, Pho 14 is good stuff. I don't anticipate a decline in quality or anything. They're also great for takeout or delivery.

Here's their website, and the Yelp page for the Park Road location.