Photos of the Day are pulled from the Borderstan Reader Photos pool on Flickr.
If you don’t already have a Flickr account, you will need to sign up for one, and then join the Borderstan Reader Photos group. Already a Flickr member? Join the group! You can submit up to five photos per day in the Borderstan reader pool. We are looking for photos from DC’s Dupont, Logan and U Street neighborhoods.
By now, you know the signs: the unforeseen and seemingly arbitrary road closures; the excited tweets from food bloggers; the ominous white tent outside a restaurant’s front door. It’s clear: the Obamas are out on the town again.
And more exciting for foodies is that, perhaps more than any other sitting president, our First Couple eschews the power lunches and steakhouses in favor of our fair city’s more imaginative culinary hot spots; I mean the Obamas just took their last donors dinner at Adams-Morgan’s Mintwood Place.
It’s pleasant to imagine our Commander-in-Chief as a food nerd, just as obsessed with the Washingtonian Top 100 as the rest of us… or well, at least that he has someone on his staff report out to him on it.
So what new spots, dishes, and drinks in Borderstan are about to get the Obama bump? Here’s the crib sheet:
The donor dinner: Obelisk. The Obamas have already shown they’re fans of restaurants that combine the intimate date night with world class food (see: Komi). Dupont Circle’s own Obelisk meets many of the same criteria. Warm and charming dining room? Check. Prix fixe menu filled with small tasty delights building into complex and wonderful entrees from a James Beard nominee? Check; Chef Peter Pastan’s dishes are some of the most composed and elegant in the city. Ability to close down the entire restaurant for one large group table? What better than a second floor townhouse walk-up tucked away on P Street?
That one must have dish: The si krong muu at Little Serow. Among all of the superlative plates at Johnny Monis’s it restaurant, the one that the Obamas will close off 17th Street to try will most certainly be the pork ribs marinated in Mekong whiskey and dill. Bright, herb-forward, and with heat for days, this tender meat is the definition of a presidential dish.
The burger craving: Shake Shack, BGR, Black and Orange. For all his foodie-friendly restaurant choices, our President seems to consistently love ordering bacon cheeseburgers. Time to expand his burger palate with three of DC’s premier burger palaces, all located within the Borderstan area. For his likely lunchtime pop-by, our bet is he goes for Rogue State’s Square One (sea salt and black pepper).
Date night: Iron Gate Inn or Cork. If you need a table where you can sequester off space but still retain that romantic candlelit night? How about the back room of Cork, with its dim but friendly vibe and extensive wine list? Or if he’s patient enough, perhaps Barack will wait for the impending revitalization of DC legend Iron Gate Inn? Something tells me Chef Tony Chittum, who’s already served the First Couple at Vermillion, can save his best opening night table for a visit from the White House. Plus both restaurants can provide that tucked-away, private backdrop where the Prez can feel free to serenade Michelle with some Al Green along with great food and wine.
The photo op: Florida Avenue Grill. If BO’s stop at Ben’s Chili Bowl tells us anything, it’s that he appreciates DC’s rich history and local businesses (and knows exactly when to stop by for a well-publicized lunch at a small greasy spoon). Bet on Barack to affirm his DC cred by patronizing a diner with 68 years of serving the Washington community, and some of the best hotcakes on the Eastern seaboard.
From Matty Rhoades. Email him at matty[AT]borderstan.com.
Featured photo: Sign in the window of the Claude Taylor Photography Galleries store, 1627 Connecticut Avenue NW.
You never know who you might run into when you live in this neighborhood. It’s just not that unusual to spot some well-known face from politics or the media in Borderstan. Remember when actor turned White House staffer Kal Penn was regularly spotted in the hood?
In addition, presidential, vice presidential and diplomatic motorcades roaring up local streets are not that unusual. (Our proximity to The White House helps.) In fact, it seemed as though former Vice President Cheney’s motorcade would speed through almost every other day along 16th Street NW.
The Obamas have paid non-political visits to the neighborhood at least twice. The President and First Lady dined at Komi, and President Obama and daughters shopped at Kramerbooks on Small Business Saturday.
Now it’s the Vice President’s turn to visit us (but you’ll have to pay to see him). Yes, Joe Biden is coming to the area (for a political fundraiser, admittedly) next Tuesday, April 17 at the Howard Theatre.
Organizers tell Borderstan that two of Biden’s children, Ashley and Hunter Biden will accompany the Vice President. The event is billed as the Gen44 Reception with Joe Biden (Obama is the 44th president) young professionals event, “which means the contribution levels are relatively low.” Tickets start at $44 and the event is from 5:30 to 8:30 pm at the Howard Theatre, 620 T Street NW.
So even if you aren’t an Obama-Biden supporter or don’t want to pony up the bucks to a fundraiser, you just might catch a glimpse of Biden near the Howard Theatre next Tuesday. Yes indeed, these things do happen around here.
Oh, New Year’s. The hype of a birthday party but with the results usually reserved for hometown reunions; too much to drink in unfamiliar places with tons of strangers. That aside, I had a wonderful new years break all over Route I-95 from Camden, New Jersey to NYC and Boston — and was thankful that it fell on a weekend giving us a short week back to the grind.
But, as the weather turns frigid (it’s snowing as I write this), what can we look forward to next year? What can DC hope to accomplish in 20-dozen?
Make Navy Yard Matter
I mean this in two ways. First, there is a rumor floating around (and these things do change often), that monster slugger Prince Fielder is in talks with the Nationals. This is a game changer for a team that showed signs of life last year, and is desperately seeking a bat to help them compete with the Phillies. This would automatically give the Nats a serious attendance boost in 2012, and a shot at the NL East (okay, maybe not, but I know I’d go just to watch Prince).
Second, even though the area around Navy Yard is getting better, we have to keep up the momentum. Hopefully soon, developers and nightlife investors will be able to patch together some fun bars and good restaurants in that area. Then we can replace Georgetown’s waterfront and M street areas with a spot more Metro accessible.
Don’t Let Bikers Run DC (But Do Use BikeShare)
I am somewhat ambivalent to the biking cause in DC, as some of you may recall from a previous column — I still think bike lanes could be a great place for joggers. (As for utilizing bike lane lanes, DC politicians do it with their cars.) However, I do recommend using Capital Bikeshare more when it gets warmer. This is a pretty amazing and still under-utilized piece of infrastructure in DC. Biking is a great alternative to get to more places in the city without a car — and without depending on the inconsistent subway and bus system.
If You Want to See Winners, Go Caps!
The Caps are the best team in DC, hockey or otherwise. The Redskins did their predictable late season swan dive while lying about fan attendance. The Wizards have yet to win a game (I will be attending their Friday game vs. the Knicks, review to come). The Caps may have to fight hard for a playoff spot, but their fans are passionate and their games are always exciting. Even nosebleed seats are great and right on the red line so “Rock the Red,” as they say.
Vote for Barack Obama Again
Way better than whatever Iowa decides.
Of course there are more, but it’s a start to what I think should make a 2012 great (that and we need a diner in Borderstan, a real 24-hour diner). Hope everyone had a great New Year celebration, finished strong in their fantasy leagues (for me, two 4th Place finishes and one 10th Place, not great), and starts off the year well in all ways.
Thought of the Week
Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!
How on earth is it the end of November? It seems the weather is finally recognizing that December is nearly upon us, unfortunately. The rest of us have been jolted into submission by Black Friday, spending most of Monday waiting for a website to load to use a 50% coupon or the arrival of a (shudder) holiday Justin Bieber album. At any rate, here’s the news.
Last Day for Koi Rescue at Meridian Hill Park
The Washington Humane Society says today, November 30, is the final day for volunteers to come out and help rescue the Koi in the pond at Meridian Hill Park. According to a spokesperson for WHS, “This summer, a resident brought several koi fish to the “pond” at Meridian Hill Park in an attempt to beautify his neighborhood. However, the fish multiplied tremendously and now the pond is now scheduled to be drained for the winter season. There was no plan in place for these fish and the community was concerned. When our officers learned that these fish might not survive, they immediately contacted groups across the region to help ensure these fish could be safely removed from the pond and given a new home.
“Eventually, we connected with G and G Aquatics, a trusted organization that serves the mid-Atlantic region including the National Zoo and National Aquarium, who agreed to help to find homes for these fish. The rescue efforts began on November 17, and quickly proved to be a very large task with hundreds more fish than originally estimated, so we have been recruiting volunteers to assist with our efforts and placement as G and G is unable to take additional fish.”
Transience: A Good Thing for DC?
The Washington City Paper takes the positive spin on how transient DC is, citing an expert that finds changes in population may mean more diversity, less poverty and more happiness. While that may mean that few people are born and raised Caps fan (and therefore knew who Dale Hunter was prior to Monday) and Yankees games are promo-worthy at Nats Stadium, it’s a much more pleasant way to view the in and out nature of our population. It’s worth checking out the map and figuring out which states are ‘stuck’ and which are not. I bet there’s at least one that surprises you!
Non-Transient DC: Barry to Run Again
This time, who knows what “b*&^h” set Marion Barry up; for another run at DC Council, that is. The Washington Post got the tip off Tuesday after Barry filed papers to run again in Ward 8. Despite his checkered past, seven opponents and extremely long tenure in DC politics, observers think the seat is his for the taking. Barry has spoken of the importance of job training in his ward, and has recently announced his intent to provide ex-felons protection from employers who are ‘biased against’ employing them given their records. I have to confess, when I heard this news, I thought he was running for mayor again…
What Did the Obamas Buy at Kramerbooks?
If we were like ‘OK’, we’d file this under, “POTUS: Just Like Us!” Alas, we have slightly more self-respect and only cover the literary and fine dining adventures of the Obamas in the news section. At any rate, we told you the family visited Kramerbooks over the weekend. But what did they buy? Find out at Melville House. Am I geeking out that I own and love the first book on the list? A little. Please don’t judge me.
From Mike Kohn. Email him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter @mike_kohn.
Getting Crafty Wth It
Despite being cold and wet, Saturday’s Crafty Bastards Art and Crafts Fair was a well-attended event. The festival, now in its eighth year, featured more than 150 artists, a food court with local vendors and several food trucks. In addition to artisans, this year’s fair also hosted the DC State Fair, with homemade cupcakes and pies, as well as a homegrown “ugly vegetable” contest. Among the vendors was Project Runway season one winner Jay McCarroll, while just down the street at Town Tavern, hopeful hipsters auditioned for the next season of Real World. But, in case the rain deterred you from getting there and you want to buy something from one of the supporters later, here’s a look at all of the vendors from this year.
The Wells Fargo Wagon Is a-Comin’ Down the Street…
In less than stellar news from Washington City Paper, the new Wells Fargo in Adams Morgan at 18th Street and Columbia Road NW was robbed at gunpoint on Friday. It was so subtle that no one in the store (including a City Paper reporter) even knew it had happened until the teller locked the door.
POTUS in Action
President Obama made his second appearance at the annual Human Rights Campaign dinner and gave an engaging speech to the 3,000-plus attendees at the Convention Center. He referenced LGBT accomplishments during his presidency and took some jabs at his potential opponents, though he didn’t go so far as to fully endorse same-sex marriage equality, a slight disappointment. His full remarks are available at the MetroWeekly website.
Can’t Find a Spot?
There’s an app for that — but only if you live in Baltimore, at least for the time being. As Greater Greater Washington shared, two clever guys created an iPhone app called Parking Panda that lets people rent out their private spaces for as little as hours at a time, helping to reduce the stress of finding parking. If they can get 30 spaces, they’ll make their way down to DC, so spread the news!
Speaking of parking, apparently the District is now photographing the tickets that they leave for parking violations so people can’t claim that they never got the violation, according to DCist. They’re getting sneaky, aren’t they?
50 Nifty United States
I thought this was a fun project. A Greater Greater Washington reader biked all 50 avenues and put them into a video showing their landmarks. Worth a look if you have some time.
Enjoy this slide show of Inauguration photographs submitted by Borderstanians James Andrews, Kathleen Carr, Steven Henry, Vince Hurteau, Devika Levy and Susan Volman. “Thank you” to all of you for these 37 photos, most of them from Inauguration Day plus a few from the days just prior to January 20.
Happy post-Inauguration, Borderstanians. The hordes have left town and today I felt an eerie calm descend on the city. After gonig to the National Mall for the Inaugural ceremony, we had the good fortune to attend the Neighborhood Ball at the D.C. Convention Center last night. It was televised live by ABC and was an “official” ball… the first of 10 balls that President and Mrs. Obama attended.
UPDATE at 7:30 p.m.: Am I the only one who doesn’t see the concert on HBO (Comcast channel 3)?
UPDATE at 3:53 p.m.: Well, COMCAST is not providing HBO’s live feed of the concert for free. It was my mistaken understanding they would do so. Hope they show it at 7 tonight. But, the live online feed at HBO.com was great.
If you are heading down to the Inaugural Concert at the Lincoln Memorial, here’s some info from the D.C. Government’s official Inauguration 2009 Web site (below).
Actually, you don’t have to schlep to the Lincoln Memorial because HBO is televising the concert for all cable viewers–you don’t have to be an HBO subscriber. Watch ““We Are One: Opening Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial” live on HBO at 2:30 p.m. or at 7 p.m. tonight.
The line up of mega-stars includes Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen, Bono/U2 and Stevie Wonder. The rest of the lineup is just about as impressive.
You may have already heard the news, but it’s worth repeating for those in Borderstan who are thinking about renting their home to out-of-towners in January… for the inaugural festivities of Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
Borderstan is pretty close to ideal for anyone–resident or visitor–who wants to take in some of the January 20 Inauguration festivities. We can walk to the White House and Pennsylvania Avenue… restaurants, clubs and stores are right outside our front doors.
D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty has pretty much suspended the usual rules regarding permits, sales taxes and such for Washingtonians who want to rent out their homes as hotel rooms next month for the 2009 Inauguration.
The D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has even drafted a sample lease to use when renting to guests. You can download the sample lease online (PDF).
Local blogger Sebastian at Dust and Color has a great slide show (43 images) from Tuesday night with Washingtonians celebrating the election of Barack Obama at 14th and U Streets NW.