Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Homestead, new bar coming next to Qualia Coffee from the Blaguard folks, making good progress

The other day I was at Qualia Coffee at 3917 Georgia Ave NW and noticed some serious construction next door at 3915 -- workers were pouring concrete and there was a new balcony that wasn't there before.

I asked the Qualia folks and they said it was a new bar coming from the folks behind the Blaguard, the pretty relaxed bar in Adams Morgan. I spoke to the men working on the building and they confirmed it was a restaurant and bar.

We first heard about this years ago and there wasn't much news lately aside from a brief update from PoP a few months ago.

The Homestead folks also have a Twitter account with updates and have named a chef, Marty Anklam, who according to his bio has cooked around the country and went to the Culinary Institute of America. So far he's tweeted about making catfish nuggets for Homestead. That sounds good to me.

They've also tweeted about their balcony, which looks pretty good. There seems to be a good deal of outdoor space.
I'll be talking to the Homestead folks shortly, so stay tuned for more updates this week! I'm looking forward to it, can always use another restaurant and bar.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Deal for NCH readers: save 10% off house cleaning from Ecoverde Maids

I like getting deals for blog readers, and am happy to announce a new one to help get your house clean.  Ecoverde Maids, a neighborhood house cleaning business, have teamed up with me for a deal for New Columbia Heights readers: you can save 10% off house cleaning if you use the code NCH10 when you are booking.

Here's a bit more about Ecoverde, who also just updated their website. They have 5 stars on Yelp too!
Dedicated to providing convenience for residents of the nation’s capital city, as well as its surrounding vicinities, the newly designed website is easy to navigate and even easier to use. The convenient online booking feature can be used by simply clicking the “Book Now” button at the bottom right of the site’s screen and filling in simplistic details. Once booked an email confirmation is sent and a team of two professionals will arrive on the scheduled date and time with supplies in hand leaving one to ask, “What could be simpler?” 
Carolina Rodriguez, CEO of Ecoverde Maids said of the new website with the online booking option, “Ultimately purveyors of convenience. With that in mind, we want to assure that our clients need not have to think about the cleanliness of their homes for longer than it takes to book our cleaning service. And now, because of the Ecoverde Maids booking online feature, they will only have to think about it for about 30 seconds.” That said, the new website’s flat fee rates and online payment option via credit card are a substantial added perk as well.  
Offering discounts for recurring services the company keeps the convenience of their clients top of mind. The cleaning service in Washington, DC keeps client’s safety in focus as well. They can rest assured that the Ecoverde Maids service team of professionals have gone through rigorous training and background checks before ever arriving at their home. Additionally, the company provides ongoing training and routine performance quality checks with field experts to allow for the highest standards to be met. 
About Ecoverde Maids
Ecoverde Maids is based in Washington, DC and provides optimum cleaning services to areas in and around the city. Embodying the height of convenience Ecoverde Maids offers an online booking and payment option that is available 24/7 as well as a live chat option for any incidental need.  
For more information visit

Google Express same-day delivery is now in DC, have you used it?

I've been hearing about Google Express for some time, their same-day delivery service, kind of like Amazon's similar service (or and DCSnacks back in the day.) And then the other day I received a mailer with $25 off my first order, the first I've seen them around.

They'll deliver items, things like groceries, clothes, baby items, pharmacy stuff and more from lots of big retailers like Giant, Costco, Staples, Walgreens and others, plus even our local Logan Hardware. Apparently they don't deliver booze or beer though, better check our other options for that.

It's kind of an interesting idea, and sounds pretty handy. Anybody tried them?

Monday, September 28, 2015

New coffee shop coming to corner of Georgia and Irving

Looks like there's another option for coffee in the Park View area: the other day I spotted a permit on the door of 3100 Georgia Avenue NW, which is at Irving Street, and then I chatted with a worker inside, who confirmed it would be a coffee shop. The permit says "deli, coffee shop" so maybe they'll have sandwiches and such too.

I'm always in favor of coffee shops, but this is right down the block from Colony Club, another block from Heat Da Spot and two blocks up from Harrar Coffee Roasters. Then again, Colony Club often has good crowds, so maybe another coffee shop is necessary.

I'll report back when I have more info.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Cider tasting and Basque grilling pop-up tonight at Colony Club

Colony Club, the cool bar and coffee shop at 3118 Georgia Ave NW, is hosting a pop-up cider event tonight called "Drinking with Basquach," which focuses on international cider and Basque food. I spoke to Max, the owner of Colony Club, and he said they had organized a big collection of ciders from around the world for the event.

The event is organized by folks from Anxos, which is a cider bar and Basque food concept -- their logo says "cider and pintxos," which are meat skewers popular in Basque cuisine (and also Latin America, where they're called pinchos.) They're looking to open and brick-and-mortar space and will be having pop-ups in the meantime.

Sounds like a pretty neat idea.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Pope drives down U Street twice yesterday

If you were around U Street yesterday afternoon or evening, you had a chance of seeing the Pope's motorcade. He cruised by in the afternoon and then again around 7:30 pm, shown above.

Presumably the first trip was when he was going to or from St. Matthew's Church in Dupont, which was followed by a Mass in Spanish at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Northeast.

For the second time, I happened to be on U Street last night around 7:30 and spotted a huge motorcade coming. Lots of people ran out to the sidewalk as an SUV with papal flags drove by, greeted by raucous spectators. I like the two high fiving dudes, personally.

He was headed west, presumably to the Vatican Embassy on Mass Ave where he's staying, but who knows, maybe not? Maybe he was getting a nightcap at Stetson's or Local 16, grabbing a jumbo slice, hitting Hana Japanese Market for some Pocky or going bar hopping up 18th Street?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Photos and tweets from the Georgia Avenue-Petworth Metro debacle last night

Earlier I wrote about the huge problems last night at the Georgia Avenue-Petworth Metro, where power went out and hundreds were trapped for hours. I compiled a bunch of photos and tweets about the event as it happened. Check it out, and let's hope Metro figures it out and doesn't happen again.

Huge Metro snafu last night at Georgia Avenue-Petworth station: hundreds trapped for hours in tunnel

Let's hope you weren't riding Metro to Petworth last night, as Metro experienced a huge problem. Power went out on the train about 6 pm, stranding it a few hundred feet from the Georgia Avenue-Petworth station, with about 250 people stuck inside, though NBC4 reports that it was more like 500-600 people. Emergency personnel did not arrive for more than an hour, maybe up to 2.5 hours according to Petworth News, and in that time some people self-evacuated by walking away.

The Post has a short article, but leaves out to me what are the damning details. On TV last night, people reported a pregnant woman relieving herself into a plastic bag on the train while shielded by other passengers, and very hot temperatures. Thankfully there were no major injuries. NBC4 has a much more thorough article than the Post.

Metro is not sure what happened, and is investigating. Power came back on around 11 pm. Petworth News has a ton of photos of the aftermath.

It's also crazy that this happened while the Pope was in town, surely one of the worst commute times in recent memory.

It sounds like a real cluster. Metro has to do better.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Here's a rundown of some good places for weekday lunch in the neighborhood

I recently started working from home, so I've been hitting a lot more neighborhood places for lunch in a quest to get out of the house. And with the Pope's visit upon us and the government recommending people telework this week due to traffic of potentially biblical proportions (ha) it seems like a good time for a writeup of some of my favorite options so far. And if you have a favorite, please leave it in the comments!

I've been to the Coupe once or twice so far, and they have lunch fare plus breakfast all day, in case you want to pretend it's brunch. There aren't really any lunch deals, however (which seems like a common theme among local spots that are open for brunch.)

Coffy Cafe at 3310 14th Street NW is open every day starting at 7 am, and they have some delicious crepes, although they are not the quickest. They're a decent inexpensive option, too.

Lyman's Tavern starts serving food at 2 pm with a small menu. I really enjoyed their pulled pork sliders with red cabbage for about $8.

Lou's City Bar is also open for lunch -- on Monday they had a 1/2 price burger deal, but that was just because the Redskins won the day before. My buddy was a fan of his veggie burger, too.

Shanghai Tokyo, the new Asian spot at 1376 Park has a pretty decent lunch special too, but avoid the bubble tea if you've trying to save money. I wrote about them a few weeks ago.

Room 11 has lunch options as well -- tasty but not inexpensive. Maybe good for a special occasion lunch.

DC Reynolds at 3628 Georgia, El Tio at 14th and Monroe and Dulcinea at 2618 Georgia all have lunch open for lunch too, though I haven't visited any yet during the week. El Tio seems to have periodic deals for lunch, as yesterday I saw a lunch special of a steak for $10.99, though I think I might fall asleep if I ate a steak and then had to work.

There are also pho options, as both Pho Viet and Pho 14 are open for lunch.

As for places that don't offer lunch, Mama Chuy, Looking Glass, Wonderland, El Chucho, and the Upshur Street spots are all closed.

Stay tuned for more lunch ventures in the coming weeks!

Looking Glass opens early Tuesday and Wednesday for Pope-teleworkers

If you're teleworking on Tuesday or Wednesday due to the Pope's visit (or just around during those days,) the Looking Glass Lounge will be opening early and serving brunch.

The bar at 3634 Georgia has posted a funny Facebook event for the two days, calling it "Pope Day Snow Day!":
Get your Pope Party Pants on! The Looking Glass Lounge is opening at 11am this Tuesday and Wednesday so you may "work from home" with beer and brunch in front of you! Brunch food and bottomless mimosas will prevail!
Sounds pretty awesome. Kudos to LGL for doing it.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Columbia Heights now has a good sports bar scene

It's taken a few years, but our neighborhood now has a lot of good options for sports bars: Walter's on Georgia, Lou's City Bar, the Airedale and the Pitch. You may recall that if you were a sports fan in years past, the only nearby options were in Adams Morgan.

The earliest of the group was Lou's City Bar, the big place on the 1400 block of Irving Street NW, which has a zillion TVs and lots of food. I've been for the NCAA tourney and it's hopping for college and NFL games. Walter's, the joint venture of Looking Glass Lounge and DC Reynolds at 3628 Georgia, has figured out how to make a good vibe in that location -- previous tenants the Blue Banana and Park View Patio just couldn't figure it out. It's a great spot with some good deals.

The Pitch a few blocks up at 4015 Georgia has two floors with TVs and shows American sports plus European soccer, cricket and rugby, and the Airedale at 3605 14th Street NW has an awesome European-pub menu and a focus on European soccer, Formula One and and motorcycle racing.

The best thing is, all of them are good to great for various sports and vibes, from neighborhoody too crowded and rowdy.

What are your go-tos for watching sports in the neighborhood? Are there any I forgot?

Friday, September 18, 2015

Have you seen these condo building burglars? (And be careful!)

A reader just emailed me a pretty scary and crazy story: some guys broke into the lobby of a condo building near 14th and Columbia and made off with about $7000 of items, things like small electronics and jewelry. The security camera managed to snap photos of them -- recognize any of them? (You can click the photos for bigger versions.) If you do, call the police.

Here's more from the reader, who said it's a pretty large building. He asked to cover up the building name for their security. It's a good reminder to be careful with your packages, keep your doors locked even if you're in a locked building, and not to open doors when you get buzzes you weren't expecting.
A unit in my condominium complex in Columbia Heights (I'd rather not say the exact building) was robbed at 130pm on a Friday 2 weeks ago. The police/camera footage show they were professionals, entering the building, picking the lock, "ransacking" the place and stealing ~$7,000 worth of electronics and jewelry in literally 10 minutes.

The cameras caught perfect pictures of them (attached) so if there is anything you can do to help us catch them, please do! It's scary how quickly they did everything. Also, people have been getting additional mysterious buzzes from the call box so we think they keep trying regularly.

Mt. Pleasant Library book sale fundraiser this weekend: lots of great deals to help the library

If you like books or libraries, get yourself to the Mt. Pleasant Library this weekend for their next book sale fundraiser. There are lots of great deals and also raffles for tickets to UNcensored, a celebration of banned books.

The events organized by the Mt. Pleasant Library Friends.

The Library is at 3160 16th Street NW.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Columbia Heights Day was last Saturday, and it was a blast (with photos)

This past Saturday we celebrated the 10th annual Columbia Heights Day: our neighborhood's festival of music, food, events, arts and more. This year's had some gloomy weather (as usual, it seems like) but was well attended with lots going on.

I stopped by in the late afternoon and it was still hopping. The beer garden on 11th Street was mobbed, so instead we walked around, ate some food (the Airedale, the Coupe, KBC and others had food stands) and bought some lemonade from some cute kids. There were also some artists, I bought a Columbia Heights print before seeing there was another booth with more prints, so I need up coming home with multiple art pieces about the neighborhood.

The warrior race and kids play area on Tubman Elementary School's field looked pretty epic, but by the time we had made a few rounds, ran into friends and gorged ourselves, it was time for a beer at Wonderland. All the local bars and restaurants seemed pretty busy, which is good to see -- the recently opened Bad Saint had a line out the door (more on that to come) while Wonderland, KBC, Meridian Pint, El Chucho and Red Rocks all had good crowds. I especially enjoyed the giant inflatable PBR can on top of KBC -- I wished the kept it. (Guys, if you need somewhere to store it, it would look great on the roof of my house.)

My only complaints were that there was not a ton of communication about the event: crowds were still healthy, but I had to a do a fair amount of sleuthing and emailing to round up information like schedules, lists of vendors and such. And sadly, there was no petting zoo. But to me, those are fairly minor for a fun event.

What did you think? (More photos below)

the Meridian Pint beer garden

Music stage about 5 pm

awesome prints

heck of a sunset

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Red Derby, Looking Glass holding GOP debate watch parties tonight with specials, more

If you wanted to check out the GOP debates tonight in a convivial atmosphere, check out the Looking Glass Lounge or Red Derby, as both are holding watch parties.

Looking Glass has their usual half price burger night from 5-8, plus debate bingo where you can win a free drink. The Derb' will be showing the debate on their big screen, which should be amusing.

Sounds like a good opportunity to keep up on current events while enjoying a drink or two at two great bars. Can't beat that.

I also enjoyed this Trump joke on Looking Glass's Facebook page:

Friday, September 11, 2015

More info for Columbia Heights Day: schedule, beer garden, kids carnival, more

I've just gotten some more info for Columbia Heights Day this Saturday. There will be a beer garden located on 11th Street, sponsored by Meridian Pint, plus a kids carnival. I also got a hold of the full schedule for music and arts stages. And earlier I wrote about the Zorb soccer tournament and other events. Read on!
We're so pleased that our first beer garden for Columbia Heights day is sponsored by Meridian Pint! Open during the full festival, noon - 6pm, there will be identification check at the entry point and a central location to purchase tickets/tokens to exchange for a variety of beers. They'll take credit cards, but we do prefer cash for the most of festival.

Our pie eating contest will be a little different than most; it will be based on the speed of eating a whole pie! (As opposed to - who can eat the most pies.) We are still working out the logistic on flavor, and time.
There's also a kids carnival, with a lot of different attractions and games:
1. dual lane slip n slide
2. paddle boats
3. special op obstacle course
4. 2 moon bounces
5. 5 in one junior sports games
6. trackless train
7. Soccer demonstration by Soccer Super Stars
8. Health & wellness information and giveaways provided by Community Wellness Alliance
And below is the full schedule for music and arts stages:

Main Stage
approx. 45min sets

Sitali Siyolwe

The Beat Fairy

By and By Bluegrass


Dante Pope

Elena & Los Fulanos

Party Like Its

Bloom Stage Tent

Harambee w/Baba Ras D.

Little Treasures w/Tamika Love Jones

Latin American Youth Center Youth Poetry Group

Young Women's Drumming Empowerment Project

Old School – Pre-School Music Foundations 101

Jalli D


BloomBars Indoor Stage

Bollywood Blooms (Dance class for kids 3-8)

Bollywood Blooms (Dance class age 9 and up)

Songs, Stories &Puppets w/Mr. David

FUNdamentals! Music and Movement Around the World

Samba Baby

Jazzy Ash

Also on the Tubman Field: yoga form 12-12:45 pm from Kali Yoga.

Sadly there will not be a petting zoo.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

More on Columbia Heights Day: giant bubble soccer tournament!

Some more news about Columbia Heights Day, our neighborhood festival that's happening this Saturday: there will be a Zorb tournament, or those giant inflatable balls you get in and bounce into each other with.

It sounds pretty awesome and hilarious. Signups for it are still open -- it costs $200 per team, but you can have up to 10 players. I would happily pay $20 to play soccer in a giant inflatable ball. And it's free to watch anyway, which is sure to be hilarious.

Here's a video of what the game looks like (from a professional videographer.)

As for the rest of Columbia Heights Day, I wrote about a lot of the details before: there will be vendors with food, arts and crafts, music, an adult obstacle course, and a whole lot more.

The flyer says eating contest and beer garden, which sounds great (although I am not sure of the details.) Those sound fun though!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Three Salsas closed over dispute with landlord, they hope to reopen in the neighborhood

A few weeks ago I wrote about the sudden closure of Three Salsas, the taqueria at 3439 14th Street NW. The place was very good so the rapid end was a bit of a surprise. It turns out there was more to the story: Washington Post food writer Tim Carman, who was a big fan of the place, found out the closure was due to a dispute with the landlord.

The owners of Three Salsas, brothers Marco and Luis Gonzalez, wanted to apply for a liquor license, and landlord Ana Maria Da Cruz refused to help. The landlord has to provide an affidavit for the license, and she did not. The Post article also mentions other unspecified disputes with Da Cruz.

The brothers are now looking for another location in the neighborhood, whites great to hear. Carman notes their food is based on that of their grandmother, who was from Puebla, Mexico.

As I can recall, this is the second time a good place has closed due to a dispute with an apparently uncooperative landlord. If you recall a few years ago, Tegeste Ethiopian at 3521 14th Street NW closed due to some dispute with the landlord -- who other previous tenants claimed was a scammer. Since then, Juanita's Restaurant has opened in that space.

Monday, September 7, 2015

The 10th annual Columbia Heights Day is this Saturday! Music, shopping, events, adult obstacle course, more!

It's that time again: the 10th annual Columbia Heights Day festival is upon us. Like in previous years, the event will be on 11th Street from Park to Kenyon and on the Tubman Elementary School field (bounded by 11th, Columbia and Kenyon.)

It runs from noon to 6 pm and there's tons going on: music, arts, local craftspeople, food and drink, an adult warrior obstacle course including a moon bounce (like the Ninja Warrior TV show) plus family and kid events. The event is always a blast, and often local businesses will have deals before, during and after the event, but I haven't heard specifically about that this year.

The organizers are also looking for volunteers, in particular four different kinds of positions: a volunteer manager, volunteers to help with setup, regular volunteers during the day, and volunteers to help take apart the event after it's over. All the volunteers will receive some gifts like t-shirts and snacks, while managers and set-up folks receive a bit more -- in the case of the managers drink tickets, $25 gift card form 11th Street restaurants -- a pretty good deal!

They're holding a volunteer orientation on Thursday at 6 pm Meridian Pint. There's a bit more info on their volunteer page.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Columbia Heights outdoor movie night starts this Friday, runs 4 weeks

It's summer (for a little while) so that means outdoor movies. Our neighborhood is getting into the act with movies each Friday at the Tubman Elementary School field. They start this Friday with  Ghostbusters and run four weeks total. The next movies are The Wizard of Oz, Muppets Most Wanted and Big Hero 6.

Gates open at 7:15 pm so you can get a good spot, and the movies start at sundown, around 8 pm. The event is sponsored by the Columbia Heights Initiative, BloomBars, Tubman Elementary and the Tubman PTA.

The field is bordered by 11th Street, Kenyon Street and Columbia Road.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Checking out Shanghai Tokyo, the new quick Asian spot on Park Road

The other day I stopped by Shanghai Tokyo, the new pan-Asian spot at 1376 Park Rd NW for lunch, and generally enjoyed it.

It's certainly not a fine restaurant, but if you want some quick Asian food, this is a good option. They have two separate places to order, one for Japanese fare like sushi, soba, tempura, bento boxes and more, and one with lots of Chinese and some Thai dishes. They also have bubble tea.

The menu is huge, but in this case I tried the sushi roll lunch special, it's $8.95 for two rolls or $11.95 for three, plus a little salad. I got two rolls and a bubble tea, which bumped it up to around $15 -- not cheap, but a lot less than individual rolls, which run from about $6 to $8 for regular rolls and more for the special rolls. I can't find their menu online, but a very similar one from a Maryland location is here. (The Park Road one doesn't have alcohol, I believe.)

The sushi was pretty good, though the rolls fell apart a bit. I tried the Boston (cooked shrimp, mayo, cucumber and avocado) and Alaska (salmon, avocado, cucumber). I liked them, though the avocado was a bit mealy.

The bubble tea was bubblicious, and the place was fairly crowded with other lunchtime folks, which was good to see. They were playing some cheesy country pop music, but otherwise it was fine inside.

Not amazing, but a pretty solid lunch option. I plan to check them out more.

Missing cat: Ramona from 1300 block of Kenyon

Have you seen this cat? Ramona has gone missing and the owners think she might be sick. Keep a look out!