Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Bizarre teeth cleaning videos broadcast towards the sidewalk at 14th and Columbia



 Do you ever want to see videos of a tooth cleaning in progress? If so, get yourself to 14th and Columbia, where Smile Center Dental Clinic is showing videos of dental work in progress broadcasted towards the sidewalk.

The shop, located on the southwest corner, has a big flatscreen TV in the window, which seems to be showing videos of dental work in progress -- things like fillings. I was walking by the other evening and stopped, dumbfounded to watch. A lady walking along must have seen it before, she stopped and said something like "isn't that crazy?" and explained it was a filling.

I agreed, it is crazy. I didn't expect to see somebody's mouth open with pointy things and ultraviolet lights zapping their teeth.

I like it, because it is very weird. It also makes me want to floss.

Here's another shot.

Weird dentist video

Friday, March 27, 2015

New restaurant, Provision No. 14 making progress in the old Diego space at 14th and V


There's a new restaurant coming to the corner of 14th and V: Provision 14. It's going to occupy the space that used to be Diego, a very short-lived Mexican restaurant that closed, then re-opened, then closed again.

According to the Washingtonian, the new spot will be focused on communal dining and drinking, like big wine-bottle sized cocktails to share, shareable food and rotating snack boards. Sounds interesting.

There's 57 seats in the main floor, plus a bar, with a 60 person outdoor patio and 80 seats upstairs with another bar. There will also be 20 beers on tap.

The owners, Naeem Mohd, Mike Bramson and Alex Lopez have worked in the restaurant and events scene for a while, Washingtonian reports that Mohd bought the Mad Rose Tavern in Arlington.
I hope they do better than Diego, which I never got to try due to it seemingly never being open.

They're looking at an April opening and passing by the other day, they seemed to be pretty far along.

(Please excuse the dirty bus window picture.)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Chief Ike's Mambo Room is closing on Sunday


This week some bad news came out: Chief Ike's Mambo Room, the storied bar on Columbia Road in Adams Morgan, is closing on Sunday.

The bar, which has been open since 1992, was once the closest bar to Columbia Heights, back before Wonderland opened in 2004. Columbia Heightsters of the day used to trek down towards Adams Morgan to get a drink or two.

The owner, Al Jirikowic, told the Express he was closing the bar and retiring, because “Adams Morgan is no longer where the hot, cool people go. It’s all becoming strollerified now.”

You might not imagine it now if you've visited lately, but the spot was pretty hip. Jirikowic said to the Post that people like George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh would come in, and it achieved some national notoriety when the Bush daughters were busted there for underage drinking.

The place had crazy decor, paintings of Dwight Eisenhower dressed like a Native American (hence the name,) the bar covered in who knows what, little cubby holes and hidden parts of the bar, and it hosted all kinds of events -- for example, my favorite local band of the time, the Assrockers, a mock metal band, played there a bunch of times.


Both the article about the bar closing and the Post columnist Clinton Yates point out that the bar had been declining for some time -- there wasn't the same vibe. But at the same time, maybe part of that is because of the changing neighborhood.

Yates's column is pretty interesting; he talks about the disappearance of a lot of popular older places, to be replaced by "$14 drinks and small plates." He continues:
D.C. is becoming a place where if you’re not in a very specific (read: high) income bracket, being a child-free adult living in the city just isn’t that fun anymore. 
For years, I lamented seeing vestiges of my childhood stripped away from the visual vocabulary of the city I grew up in. It was a bleak but understandable process of change that tugged at my young heart. But as the places that I still actively care about as a grown-up continue to shut their doors one by one, I find myself wondering if this next bubble will ever burst.
Heavy stuff.

I have fond memories of the bar too, I lived behind the Safeway in Adams Morgan in 2003 and 2004 and spent many nights at Chief Ike's. It was one of the cooler, crazier bars around, but in a who knows what will happen way as opposed to the getting-in-fights-over-Jumbo-Slice crazy on the 18th Street strip of bars.

There was also the less well-known upstairs bar-within-a-bar, the Cosmo Lounge. It was a relaxed bar with a couple cool bartenders and a chill, quiet vibe. It closed a few years ago.

And now, the whole bar is no more. Jirkowic talks about writing a personal history of the city: if it includes 1% of what happened at the bar, it'd be a hell of a read.

Top photo by rockcreek, bottom photo by dcjohn

Update: Wonderland wasn't the first bar ever, but the first bar with a wide clientele.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Get free screenings, learn about preventative care at community health fair this Saturday at YMCA

This sounds like a good event to get some check-ups or learn more about preventing illnesses from happening in the first place. It's this Saturday at the YMCA on W between 13th and 14th.
This an event open to the community and a great opportunity for those who can’t make it to regular doctor visits to speak with one of the students about preventative care and get screenings

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Some ANC commisioners oppose, then support, the Mt. Pleasant Farmer's Market; all is well again

If you are a fan of the popular Mt. Pleasant Farmer's Market, don't worry: it's still happening.

Earlier today I saw a tweet from PoP about a meeting on the Mt. Pleasant Farmer's Market: apparently the popular market might be in trouble, as three ANC commissioners, Arturo, Rosa, and Franko, suddenly declined to support giving a permit to the market.

Normally the market receives a permit easily from the ANC, which allows it to remai open.

A meeting was called tonight for supporters of the market, and people were upset.

Turns out, it's all been worked out: ANC 1D commish Adam Hoey said there was a "a mix of valid concerns, misinformation, debate over process and poor communication" but now the objecting commissioners have agreed to support the popular market once again.

Here's his full note with all the explanations:
ANC 1D Commissioners, Mount Pleasant Residents & Stakeholders,

A group of commissioners from ANC 1D (Frank Agbro, Rosa Rivas, Arturo Griffiths) met with Mount Pleasant Farmers' Market owner Robert Frazier and Commissioner Adam Hoey on Sunday afternoon to discuss their concerns and learn more about the market as it seeks to renew its DPR permit for Lamont Park for the 2015 season now in its 12th year.

For the last several years, ANC 1D in cooperation with DPR, has required an initial review of permit applications before they are formally approved and granted by DPR. This process generally involves a submission of a DPR permit application followed by a separate letter sent to the ANC 1D email group for review by all commissioners. If there is no objection then the permit is approved and sent to DPR. In some unique cases (ex. a festival), a group may come before the ANC to present its event plan which addresses DPR/ANC guidelines and neighborhood impacts.

Over the last 2 weeks we've encountered a mix of valid concerns, misinformation, debate over process and poor communication regarding this permit renewal process. I'm pleased to announce that with some constructive face-to-face dialog, the permit is nowunanimously approved by ANC 1D commissioners.

The discussion include the following topics:

1. Inclusiveness and support for Mount Pleasant's Latin American and African American communities as well as other cultures and minority groups at the Farmers' Market

This includes making minorities and people from diverse backgrounds feel more welcome to shop in the market by providing language support and other assistance especially in Spanish. Some members of the community have had difficulty shopping with some vendors. The market currently has some bilingual vendors staff but additional materials could be provided with translations of produce, baked goods and other items names.

2. Realization of the mission of the Farmers' Market, what is is and the future potential for other markets in the neighborhood

While some neighborhoods have large community markets, this market has traditionally been a farmer's market focused on fresh, locally grown produce from local area farmers occupying a small space in Lamont Park. Some have expressed interest in other types of markets and goods which could be purchased from our local businesses or from a new separate market.

3. A review of the ANC 1D DPR permit process

This includes ensuring that the ANC permit approval process is clear, consistent, fair and transparent and that new commissioners are educated on this process. Specifically ANC 1D will work to further clarify when groups should appear in person before the ANC at a business meeting or informal meeting and when a simple letter is sufficient.

Overall, ANC 1D will continue to work in 2015 to improve its communications and outreach to our diverse Mount Pleasant community including sharing available resources and reporting progress on these topics. As a best practice commissioners have also agreed on the importance of face-to-face dialog and informal meetings when discussing complex topics instead of relaying on email.

Kind regards,
Adam Hoey & ANC 1D Commissioners
Thanks to Twitter user @bicyclebug for the heads-up that it was resolved.

Free community brunch this Sunday hosted by Create Church


If you're interested in learning about a new church, or just wanted some free grub, here's an event this Sunday hosted by Create Church. Sounds fun.

More Osprey and helicopter sightings over the neighborhood: maybe it's for the Afghan president at Camp David?



Yesterday and the day before, we heard a lot of very loud, very low aircraft noise in Columbia Heights, which turned out to be at least one V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, presumably from the military. It was so loud that it shook my windows.

And today I have a theory as to why. Twitter user @suburbanfoodnrd reported seeing the Osprey yesterday headed north along Interstate 270 in Maryland accompanied by four of what look like the helicopter that serves as Marine One, the President's helicopter.

Also, the President of Afghanistan is in town and is meeting with the Secretary of State and others at Camp David in Maryland, which is in that direction.

So maybe the Osprey and other helicopters are ferrying back and forth US and Afghan officials? That's my guess.

Playback the Tape, fun found VHS footage event, now every month at Petworth Citizen: next show March 26

I've written a few times about Playback the Tape, the fun event showing screening of vintage VHS clips that takes place every month: they find or are given VHS tapes and organize a screening around some theme at a bar or restaurant. There's vintage hilarity and weirdness (often complete with the original commercials.)

In October I went to a hilarious Halloween event (complete with Garfield's Halloween special) at the Mothership, and since then they've had events at various places around town.

However, they now have a permanent home at Petworth Citizen at 829 Upshur Street NW. The first show there is "The Birds and the Bees" with shows on sex-ed and sexual politics. Sounds like a fun one. They're also giving out free Sticky Fingers cupcakes to the first 20 folks.

Here's their full press release.


PLAYBACKTHETAPE CELEBRATES ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY WITH “THE BIRDS AND THE BEES” AND PERMANENT HOME/SCHEDULE AT PETWORTH CITIZEN
 
March 20, 2015 - Washington, DC –
 
Following a full year venue-hopping month after month,PLAYBACKTHETAPE celebrates its first anniversary with a now-permanent home venue in the Reading Room at Petworth Citizen, and a regular schedule of shows on the fourth Thursday of every month.
 
Kicking off the second season is a One Year Anniversary Show called“The Birds and the Bees,” featuring an assemblage of recorded television specials demonstrating an evolving view of sexual education, politics, and liberation on TV from the 1980s through the 1990s. Plus,free first anniversary celebration cupcakes for the first 20 attendees, compliments of Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats.
 
What:    PLAYBACKTHETAPE presents: The Birds and the Bees
When:    Thursday, March 26th @ 8:00 p.m.
Where:    Petworth Citizen’s Reading Room – 829 Upshur Street NW, Washington, DC
Tickets:    Free (all ages)
 
The program includes four home-recorded television specials, each complete with vintage commercials and ancillary content captured from original broadcast:
  • "Hickory Hideout" (1984) – episode of locally-produced kids show teaching where babies come from
  • "Cathy" (1987) – animated special based on the newspaper comic; Cathy and her boyfriend decide to see other people (NEVER RELEASED ON VIDEO)
  • "Seinfeld" The Mango episode (1993) – Elaine opens up about faking orgasms
  • Barbara Walters Special (2000) – interview segment grilling Ricky Martin about his sexuality
Plus, special thanks to our sponsor, Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats, who is providing complimentary first anniversary celebration cupcakes to the first 20 attendees!
 
ABOUT PLAYBACKTHETAPE:
Always free, all ages, and always nerd-tastic, PLAYBACKTHETAPE is a monthly mashup of informal academia and cheeky nostalgia, using donated, rescued, and submitted VHS content as its springboard. Submission guidelines and more information can all be found at playbackthetape.com
 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Big, loud, low Osprey aircraft over Columbia Heights this morning


Helicopters over Columbia Heights aren't rare, with many police, military, or civilian birds (or Marine One) traversing the skies on a regular basis. However, today was unusual, in that a very loud, very low aircraft seemed to be circling the area. It was so loud that my windows were shaking, which I can't remember happening before.

Twitter user @grahammcdonald snapped a picture of the machine, which is a V-22 Osprey, a tilt-rotor aircraft. That means it can take off like a helicopter but its twin rotors can tilt so it can fly like a plane as well.

They're used frequently in the military, like in Afghanistan to transport troops, and there's also one in the Presidential helicopter fleet.

It's unclear what that one was doing in the skies above our neighborhood -- exercises, perhaps? Though another one was spotted last Thursday as well near the Pentagon, with a guess that it was for a funeral at Arlington Cemetery.

Weird. Did you see (or hear) the Osprey today?

Photo by @grahammcdonald

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Run with the dogs! Help the Washington Humane Society's dogs get exercise (and get some yourself!)


This is pretty awesome -- there's a group called the People and Animal Cardio Klub (PACK) which works with the Washington Humane Society: you join the club and then run with the dogs, so they get some needed exercise, and you do too! 

You pay just $10 to join, fill out the form, and after some orientation and an interview, you can help out. 

It sounds like a great idea, and helps a great organization find homes for dogs. Rock Creek Park seems like a great spot for it too.

Here's more from their website:

By jogging alongside other dogs and people, adoptable dogs gain:
  • Exploration of new scenery and fresh air
  • A positive outlet to channel tension and energy
  • An opportunity to stretch muscles, improve cardio health, & strengthen bones
  • Stability and socialization that a pack (human & canine) provides
  • An additional opportunity to be seen by potential adopters
  • Training that may continue to develop with a new family
PACK volunteers gain:
  • New friendships
  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • A volunteer opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of DC animals
H/T to Active Life DC for the heads-up

Photos from Pack's Facebook page.

Weekly comedy show at Petworth Citizen and Reading Room, every Sunday starting March 22

This sounds like a neat thing to check out: starting March 22, the Petworth Citizen and Reading Room at 829 Upshur Street NW will be hosting the Reading Room Comedy Show. The event runs form 7:30 to 9:30 pm, with host Chris Brandt and other comedians in the Reading Room, their neat little events space.

The Citizen also hosts a lot of other neat events, including talks and an upcoming Playback the Tape event with vintage VHS tapes -- I really enjoyed one of their events a few months back at the Mothership (RIP.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

New pop-up restaurant at Eatsplace on Georgia Ave: seafood and spring veggie spot Delilah



Eatsplace, the "pop-uppery" or restaurant incubator located at 3607 Georgia Ave NW, has announced a new restaurant: Capital Taste Presents: Delilah, which uses spring vegetables, ingredients from local farmers, seafood and meat. Sounds like a tasty, fresh and healthy place, and there are lots of vegetarian or vegan options.

Previously the spot has hosted a Southern restaurant, an Asian dumpling house, a biscuit restaurant and more.

Here's more from them, and here's their website.

EatsPlace, the food incubator and pop-uppery, announces its next chef in resident. Capital Taste Presents: Delilah. Delilah will make abundant use of early spring vegetables, seafood and meat to highlight the freshness of the season, such as butternut ravioli, Nantucket Bay scallops, green papaya and grilled skirt steak. Dessert will include peanut butter and chocolate napoleons and caramel apple fritters. 

Chef Mackenzie Kitburi is the owner and executive chef of Capital Taste. The much-buzzed about young chef has been busy on the underground dining scene. Past events from Capital Taste include a field to plate dinner at East Lynn Farm, a Thai inspired dinner series dedicated to Kitburi’s late aunt and numerous other underground dinners. Kitburi seeks out personal relationships with local farmers and purveyors is proud of using local and sustainable ingredients.

Chef Kitburi's residency at EatsPlace will start Thursday March 12 at 5:30 pm and continue  through Saturday, April 4, 2015.

Delilah: 5:30 – 10 pm Thursday
Delilah: 5:30 – 10 pm Friday
Delilah: 11:30 – 2:30 /  5:30 – 10 pm Saturday
Closed for private events Sunday 
New pop-up TBA Monday
New pop-up TBA Tuesday
New pop-up TBA Wednesday

Capital Taste Presents: Delilah at EatsPlace
[Amuse]
Nantucket Bay Scallops, Avocado Purée, Grapefruit  7
[v] Green Papaya, Quinoa, Tomato Confit, Yuzu Aioli  7

[Starter]
[v] Cauliflower, Green Curry, Virginia Fuji Apple  10
[v] Mushroom Salad, Lychee, Chinese Sausage, Peanut Soil  10
[v] Artichoke Soup, Smoked Mussels, Radishes, Lemon  11
Prosciutto, Fennel, Mixed Greens, Almond Milk Gel  12
[v] Spring Pea Risotto, Caramelized Onion, Bacon Compote  12

[Main] 
[v] Butternut Ravioli, Boquerones, Young Coconut  16
Half Roasted Chicken, Plantain Puree, Yuca, Poblano  17
Seared Salmon, Fava Beans, Farro, Cucumber Broth  19
Black Bass, Beet Puree, Glazed Carrots, Parsnips  22
Grilled Skirt Steak, Smoked Potato Puree, Asparagus  24

[Dessert]
Peanut Butter Chocolate Napoleon Caramel, Peanuts 6
Peach Upside Down Cake, Lemon Thyme Ice Cream, Peach Sauce  6
Caramel Apple Fritters, Honey Ice Cream, Caramel Sauce 8
*[v]= available as a vegetarian/vegan option

Order alcohol, get free boozy cupcakes for St. Patrick's Day from Klink


A few weeks ago I wrote about Klink, the new alcohol delivery service that will bring booze to your door, and which serves our area. (They also sell beer, wine, champagne, mixers and bags of ice.)

Now, for St. Patrick's Day, they're holding a special deal: if you order today or the 18th, you'll get a free car bomb Crunkcake, a boozy cupcake with Guiness chocolate cake infused with Bailey's and Jameson -- and if you use my blog's code when you order, NCHBlog, you'll get free delivery on your order too.

They've also just started delivering Crunkcakes in our area, so you can order those too -- the first one is the Bite the Bulleit flavor.

Might be a good option if you're having a St. Paddy's Day party, or just need something. (I also think this could come in handy for when a party is running low.

You can order online or on their iOS or Android app.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Associated Press discovers Columbia Heights: new travel article

A few years ago, the New York Times wrote about the 11th Street "hip strip" of bars and restaurants, and then more recently about Upshur Street's restaurants.

Now the Associated Press is getting into the act, writing about the neighborhood's African American history and many restaurants and bars. They talk about historical locations, like where Martin Luther King Jr. spoke, and other interesting spots.

As for places to go, they don't mention my faves like El Chucho and Room 11, but do include neat spots like the Museum of Unnatural History, the funky storefront that sells funny things to benefit tutoriting nonproft 826DC -- primordial soup, mammoth chunks, semi-formaldehyde, and so on.

There's also a photo gallery with some nice shots.

The article seems to be in dozens of newspapers around the country and the world, so maybe we'll see some more tourists coming up. Let's hope they don't clog the restaurants.

 (AP Photo/Beth J. Harpaz)

Friday, March 13, 2015

Don't Block the Box comedy show, the 27th at Wonderland

It's time for more jokes! The regularly held Don't Block the Box comedy show is back, coming to Wonderland on March 27th. Here's the info. I've been before and they are pretty fun times.
WASHINGTON – Don’t Block The Box returns to The Wonderland Ballroom located at 1101 Kenyon St NW, Washington DC 20010, on Friday, March 27th, at 7:30pm.
Don’t Block the Box is the longest running stand up comedy showcase at the Wonderland.. Hosted by Reggie Melbrough, it has featured some of the DC area’s finest stand-up comedians and national acts such as Rob Cantrell, Ben Kronberg, Aparna Nancherla, Jake Head,and Matt Koff.  
The March Don’t Block the Box will feature:
Nick Mullen ((Down from NYC! Montreal's Just for Laughs, South by SouthWest, Moontower Comedy Festival)


Parish Sashay (Young Funny)


Johnny Black (Arlington Cinema Drafthouse)


Benjy Himmelfarb  (The Jewish Jews of Comedy)


Reggie Melbrough (Black Cat)
TICKETS ARE: at  the door for $3
For more info, go to Don’t Block the Box on facebook or call 202-232-5263
See you at the Show!
Local. Live. DC.
What: Don’t Block the Box Comedy Show
When: Fri March 27th @7:30 pm
Where: The Wonderland Ballroom - 1101 Kenyon St NW, Washington DC 200010
Tickets: $3 at the door
Info: Call 208-861-9706

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Bike House bike clinics are back at Annie's Ace Hardware, every Saturday from noon-3

Bike House logoIf you have a bike and need to fix it, there's a great, free bike clinic hosted by the Bike House Co-op, every Saturday at Annie's Ace Hardware at 1240 Upshur Street NW. They had stopped for the winter, but I just received an email that they are opening up again.

It's a great group -- the idea is that they'll help you figure out what's wrong with your bike and teach you how to fix it; you just buy the parts at Annie's, and they have a lot of the tools you'll need to do the work.

And if you already know what's wrong or what needs to be done, they can help with the tools or tips.

I've gone a few times when I couldn't figure out why my tires kept going flat and they helped me out.

And unlike many bike store employees, the Bike House folks are friendly and patient.

They're also looking for volunteers and donations. Here's their press release:


Put away your wool socks, balaclava, and lobster gloves. It might seem hard to believe, but it's actually, finally, getting warmer. Wouldn't it be nice if you could go somewhere to clean and lube your chain and talk to a skilled mechanic about that weird noise your bike's been making all winter—for free? Well you're in luck.

The Bike House Saturday clinics are back for the season.
Come down to Annie's Ace Hardware this Saturday from noon-3 p.m. for our first clinic of the year. As always, Bike House clinics are free (although we do accept donations, hint hint) and open to anyone, whether you're an experienced mechanic or you've never picked up a wrench before. We'll be at Annie's every Saturday between noon and 3 p.m. from now until it gets cold again.

The Bike Housemates
http://www.thebikehouse.coop/

Columbia Heights now has its own Snapchat image


If you use Snapchat, the picture messaging app, you may be familiar with the images that go with certain areas -- places in LA, New York and famous places around the world have their own image you can overlay on the picture -- Snapchat calls them "geofilters."

And the other day, I discovered parts of Columbia Heights have their own! I was down at Meridian Hill Park walking around and enjoying the nice day, and snapped a photo of the statue of Pres. James Buchanana (more on that later.) Then swiping through the overlays, which include temperature, time and speed (that one is fun for train rides) I noticed a Columbia Heights one, showing some row houses, the Tivoli Theater, and the Metro pylon.

That said, it doesn't seem to work up around the Red Derby.

Pretty cool. We've made it -- at least amonsgt people who use Snapchat. Personally I think it's fun for sending quick pictures of funny stuff or places I visit, things that would be too boring or uninteresting for a text. I know people use it for other, not safe for work uses, too.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Interview: Suns Cinema, the Mt. Pleasant movie theater and bar who just launched a Kickstarter

A couple of weeks ago we heard about an awesome new plan for Mt. Pleasant Street NW: the folks behind Eastern Confederate, a salon on the street, were hoping to open a small indie movie theater, complete with a bar. 

They just launched their Kickstarter yesterday, hoping to raise $12,500 for furnishings, movies, equipment and permits or fees. There's also a funny video about the idea, with a mock Ikea catalog full of things they need.

We asked Ryan Hunter Mitchell, who is starting the project with friend David Cabrera, a few questions about it -- and it sounds awesome. Here's what he had to say.

How did you come up with this idea? 
David and I have been thinking about this for a couple years. He used to host these film nights where he would project odd movies on the wall of a living room and everyone would bring a botlle of wine and sit on the floor to watch. We just thought, how can we do this more often in a real space?
Can you tell us about the interior, vibe, drinks etc? 
We’re planning on an art deco interior. Old Hollywood regency wall sconces, eclectic seating. We really wanna play up the existing detail of the old building, like brightening up the moulding and wainscotting. The drinks will be centered around a strong craft beer list. We’d like to rotate interesting beers like sours and belgian ales, but also have solid session lagers and IPAs. Instead of a long cocktail list we’ll have a short list of 3 to 4 drinks at a time. These will be influenced by seasonal ingredients and loosely themed on the programming for the month.

Will there be food? 
Popcorn, and TV dinners. We are working on collaborating with local chefs to host occasional pairings with movies. We’d be interested to see different takes on “concessions” from chefs. 

What kind of movies do you plan to show? 
These will vary quite a bit, everything from Italian Neo Realismo and French Film Nouveau to 70s buddy comedies and 80s Punk documentaries. [Note: There's a sample movie roster below, from the Kickstarter.]

When are you aiming to open? Aiming to open early this summer.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Checking out Beau Thai's Bangkok Street brunch: awesome

I had been meaning to check out Beau Thai, the Thai spot in Mt. Pleasant, for some time. It gets good reviews on Yelp and seemed like a neat spot, and I finally managed to stop by for brunch. Thai and brunch wasn't a combination I've seen before, but their brunch, called the Bangkok Street Brunch, was interesting and and really tasty.

Running from 11am-3pm on Saturday and Sunday, the brunch includes breakfast foods with a Thai twist, like a Thai omelet including a crepe and rice flour and egg-battered steak and eggs, but also more traditional Thai street foods. We opted for that second route.

I got the Hangover special, which was two sunny-side up fried eggs topped with a bit of crumbled pork, sweet Thai sausage and taro root (a starch like a potato) and a mango salad. I hadn't eaten taro before, at least that I'm aware of, but it served to be the fitting starchy bites you want with brunch, and the eggs with pork and sausage were really good, to go with. My dining companion got a pork omelet, which was less impressive but still nicely done, with tomato other veggies, plus  a nice, refreshing mango salad on the side.

We wanted to try the Kanom Krok, "One-bite rice flour shells filled with sweet coconut milk filling and garnished with a spring onion," but they were out, so we opted for Thai donuts -- not round, but light, fluffy fried pastries with dipping sauces of sweetened condensed milk and honey. I could have eaten about 50 of them.

That and some Thai ice coffee (more sweetened condensed milk) and it was a really nice, not expensive brunch. Many of the items are vegetarian, vegan or gluten free, as well.

The restaurant itself is a nice space too, big and light and open. They also have a full bar with half price Singha beer from 11am-5pm on Sundays.

Beau Thai is at 3162 Mt. Pleasant Street NW. They also have a location in Shaw.

Brown's Furniture on 14th, going out of business forever, is now Casa Furniture


If you've ever been up 14th Street in northern Columbia Heights, you've probably seen the Brown's Furniture store at 14th and Oak. It's had "going out of business" and close-out banners for basically as long as I can remember, at least a few years. Which obviously draws the question, how can you be going out of business for that long?

They always seemed to be getting in more and more merchandise, despite supposedly closing down. Google Streetview's old images form May of last year even have that same blowout sale sign.

And oddly, they're one of the businesses where Google Street View actually took their cameras inside so you can browse around inside the store from Google Maps. Previously I found interior shots of the Red Derby, Red Rocks and Looking Glass Lounge on Streetview, which are really fun to explore.

But anyway, it seems they have finally actually closed -- or at least changed names. The shop has the "Brown's" part peeled off and has new signs that say Casa Furniture, plus signs in Spanish saying they're hiring. I guess better a kooky furniture store than another cell phone shop.


Friday, March 6, 2015

Here's a music video about selling drugs out of Starbucks in Columbia Heights (and elsewhere): "Trap Out the Starbucks"



Here's something new: local rappers Pacman, Abu Rahss and Nine Five sing about selling drugs from Starbucks, in the appropriately named "Trap Out the Starbucks," with trap meaning drug house (and hence dealing drugs.) The video was filmed during one of our many recent snow days two weeks ago, and features the guys hanging out in various Starbucks and other local spots purportedly selling their wares.

The video includes the Starbucks near DCUSA (and the song even mentions it, saying they're across from Target,) plus other local spots like the Bestworld supermarket and Black Lives Matter posters in Mt. Pleasant and mentions of Girard, Monroe and Newton Streets.

The Post has an article about it, where Pacman does say it started as a joke, though it seems like they are taking it pretty seriously. I laughed out loud when Abu Rahss said come out the Metro, get these narcotics. Abu Rahss is Pacman's manager, real name Ramsey Aburdene.

Pacman got some notoriety a while ago when he went to North Korea with fellow rapper Pe$o to film a video, funded by Kickstarter. That's below.

Update: Dog has been found!! Lost dog! Have you seen Queenie the Chihuahua/Jack Russell?


UPDATE: They found her!

Have you seen this dog? Just got this note from the owners:

Help us! Queenie got away! Half Chihuahua half Jack Russell mix. Please call Kevin at (202) 669 4847 if you find her.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Mapping segregation in Columbia Heights and Park View: talks Thursday and Sunday


There's an interesting event happening on Thursday at the MLK Library downtown and Sunday at the Mt. Pleasant Library: a talk from historians and researchers on the history of residential segregation in DC, focusing on Columbia Heights, Park View, Mt. Pleasant and other areas.

I've touched on this before, but back in the mid-20th century, realtors and city officials conspired to keep neighborhoods racially segregated: some where totally white while others were totally black. The term, called red-lining, was sadly widespread and the subject of many legal challenges, where black residents were not allowed to buy houses outside of certain areas.

In our area, parts of Columbia Heights and Park View were redlined, even with separate neighborhood groups (civic associations or community associations) for white residents and black residents -- which is also why there is some confusion for neighborhood boundaries.

It's an interesting topic, and will be presented by three people, including Brian Kraft, who leads the Columbia Heights Historic Drinkabouts, a walking tour with stops at local bars -- highly recommended.

Here's the full press release from the Library's website
Please join us for Mapping Segregation in Washington, DC: Focusing on historic housing segregation in the Northwest DC neighborhoods of Bloomingdale, Columbia Heights, Mount Pleasant, Park View, and Pleasant Plains. 
Mapping Segregation in Washington D.C. is a public history project whose goal is to create a set of layered, online maps illustrating the historic segregation of D.C.’s housing, schools, recreational facilities, and other public venues. 
The first year has been focused on racially restrictive housing covenants mostly east of Rock Creek Park, and the legal challenges to them. 
Come learn why many of D.C.’s “historically black” neighborhoods were once exclusively white, and how more recent shifts in the city’s racial identity have been shaped by this history. 
Come see for yourself the maps we’ve created to show restricted neighborhoods, the legal battle lines, and who lived where over the years. Maps tell stories that words cannot. 
Mapping Segregation in Washington D.C. is a collaboration among historians Mara Cherkasky and Sarah Shoenfeld of Prologue DC, historian/GIS specialist Brian Kraft of JMT Technology Group, and others. It is funded in part by the Humanities Council of Washington, DC
Thursday, March 5 at 6:30 p.m.
MLK Memorial Library, Great Hall
901 G St. NW, Washington, DC 20001 
Sunday, March 8 at 3:00 p.m.
Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood Library
3160 16th St. NW, Washington, DC 20010
Questions to mara@prologuedc.com or sarah@prologuedc.com.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bowser apologizes for poor trash pickup during recent storms

The recent crummy winter weather has affected more than morning commutes: it's also affected trash pickup.

If you're like some local residents, your trash piled up in your alley for much longer than usual recently. The Post quotes a Columbia Heights resident saying their trash wasn't pickup up for more than two weeks, and my own seemed to sit back there for much longer than usual.

The mayor, as well as other city officials, put out an apology to residents, saying that the snow and ice made it hard for trash trucks to be able to retrieve the trash without getting stuck -- in fact, on one day when they were asked to try harder, five trucks needed a tow.

Bowser promised a "blitz" while other officials said all hands will be on deck.

How about you, did your trash get picked up?

Uptowner Cafe space in the Tivoli to be a Verizon Wireless store


Well, this is a little disappointing. The space that used to be the Uptowner Cafe, a pretty tasty deli just north of Z-Burger in the Tivoli, will soon be a Verizon Wireless store.

The storefront has been empty for about since six months since they closed, and I had been hoping for something more interesting -- another restaurant, a neat store or something. But unfortunately we get the most boring of all retail, a cell phone store. Which is kind of ridiculous with a Best Buy, or Radio Shack or Target and any number of other places to buy phones and accessories within a block.

I guess those kinds of places, along with banks, are reliable tenants for landlords, but real snoozefests for local residents. They don't really add anything to the neighborhood.

The Uptowner was a pretty tasty spot too, they had good breakfast sandwiches and the deli sandwiches where they cut slices of freshly roasted turkey, beef or ham.

The permit is hard to read, but basically it says buildout for a Verizon Wireless store.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Cool Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg shirts at Target: The Bryce is Right


Baseball season is upon us: pitchers and catchers have reported and spring training games start soon. Target in DCUSA is getting into the act, with some nice Nats shirts: a Bryce Harper one reading "The Bryce is Right" with the same font as the game show, and one for Stephen Strasburg of him pitching in front of the Capitol.

Good stuff. Let's hope this season Matt Williams leaves Zimmermann in (and we get some offense.)