by September 26, 2012 at 5:00 pm 1,466 0

"City Dogs Rescue"

Adopt a pair: Daisy and Buttercup meet community members at this year’s 17th Street Festival. (Photo courtesy of City Dogs Rescue)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]

City Dogs Rescue, a local organization that rescues adoptable dogs from high-kill and overcrowded shelters, is constantly looking for foster and permanent homes for its rescued pups.

Currently, the organization is looking for a home for two rat terriers, Daisy and Buttercup. And unlike most adoptable dogs, Daisy and Buttercup are a package deal. According to Darren Binder, a director at City Dogs Rescue, Daisy (9-years old) and Buttercup (5 years old) have bonded since their rescue, and so City Dogs is looking for someone willing to adopt them both.

Binder describes the two dogs as being sweet, calm girls that are very low maintenance. City Dogs is currently treating both dogs for Heartworm, but predicts that the pooches will be better very soon and will be ready to find a new home.

For more information on adopting Daisy and Buttercup, or for more information on adopting other rescue dogs from City Dogs Rescue, visit the organization’s website.

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by September 26, 2012 at 3:00 pm 1,397 0

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]


Whitman-Walker Health at 14th and R NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is on Thursday, September 27, and Whitman-Walker Health will observe the annual day with expanded HIV testing at various locations.

“Getting tested is the first step to, if needed, getting treatment that will not only keep you healthy but protect your loved ones,” said Whitman-Walker Executive Director Don Blanchon. “If you do not need treatment, it’s an opportunity to learn again how to stay safe.”

HIV Testing Locations

This Thursday, Whitman-Walker Health will offer free and confidential testing at the following locations:

  • Human Rights Campaign, 1640 Rhode Island Avenue NW: 11 am until 1 pm
  • MPD Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, 1369-A Connecticut Avenue NW:  5 until 9 pm
  • Whitman-Walker Health Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center, 1701 14th Street NW: 9 am until 5 pm
  • Whitman-Walker Gay Men’s Health & Wellness Clinic, 1701 14th Street NW: 6 until 8 pm
  • Whitman-Walker Health Max Robinson Center, 2301 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue SE: 9 am until 4:30 pm

According to Blanchon, one in seven gay or bisexual men in DC has HIV, and one in three Black gay or bisexual men in DC has HIV. No appointments are necessary at any of the locations.

For more information, visit

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by September 26, 2012 at 2:00 pm 1,337 2 Comments

From Cody Telep. Follow him on Twitter @codywt, email him at cody[AT]

ANC 2B/Dupont and ANC 2F/Logan Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) will be holding a joint meeting Thursday night (September 23) to discuss bicycle safety issues in the Dupont and Logan communities. The meeting is from 7 to 9 pm in the Chastleton Ballroom at 1701 16th Street NW (corner of 16th Street NW and R Street NW).

Bike rules sign at 16th and U Streets NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

This event is a follow-up to the Dupont public safety forum held in June (Dupont Safety Forum: Homicides, Bikes, Smartphones, Bias Crimes).

Discussion topics at this listening and education session will include new bike lanes, rules and laws for street and sidewalk biking, and plans to make the District more bike and pedestrian friendly.

Representatives from a number of community and government organizations will be in attendance, including the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA). The Dupont Circle Citizens Association, the Logan Circle Citizens Association, and the Urban Neighborhood Alliance are also partnering with the ANCs to put on this event.

The bicycle safety meeting is being organized by ANC 2B (Dupont) Public Safety Liaisons Kishan Putta and Noah Smith and Chris Linn, the Chair of the ANC 2F (Logan) Crime and Public Safety Committee. For more information, contact Kishan Putta at [email protected].

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by September 26, 2012 at 12:29 pm 1,080 0

"gun robbery"

Crime news from Dupont-Logan-U Street.

From Cody Telep. Follow him on Twitter @codywt, email him at cody[AT]

A victim was robbed at gunpoint at about 10:30 am Wednesday morning, September 26, in the 1300 block of Florida Avenue NW, according to a tweet from the Metropolitan Police Department. The suspect in the gun robbery was described as a black male with short hair, wearing a black skull cap, yellow shirt, and black pants. He was last seen heading southbound on 13th Street NW.

This is the second armed robbery in Borderstan today. Early this morning, a victim was robbed at gunpoint in the 1300 block of P Street NW near Logan Circle (see Midnight Armed Robbery 1300 Block of P Street NW).

You can sign up for alerts through Alert DC and get alerts  by e-mail, cell phone, pager or wireless PDA. When signing up, you can select alerts on crime, transportation, utility outages/issues, government closings, breaking news, DC-sponsored events and Amber Alerts.

You can get more information about crime in the Borderstan area through the MPD listservs for the Second and Third Districts on Yahoo! Groups.

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by September 26, 2012 at 12:00 pm 0

"High Holy Days"

High Holy Days food. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Dan Segal. Email him at dsegal[AT] and find him on Twitter @segaldg.

Us Jews, we don’t just eat to live, we live to eat. And now that were in the High Holy Days, waist lines and belt buckles are starting to expand. You may have heard that the High Holidays are all about ringing in the New Year and sounding the shofar (aka Ram’s horn), then repenting and, well, Fasting. But, don’t be fooled because eating is really the star of the show.

Yom Kippur, the highest of High Holy Days (not that kind of high, although this will help your eating), is upon us. And, I’m here to help you figure out how to maximize your eating potential after a full day of fasting.

The Quick Plan

  • Fast! (Funny because the day goes by slow as s#%t). As a Reform Jew, this has always been a little open to interpretation (Rabbi, if you are reading this, I’m only kidding)… have a little coffee, have only breakfast, eat only one piece of bacon… actually, skip the bacon for today.
  • Figure out where you are going to break the fast. If your Jewish, this is probably at your mother’s or aunt’s house. If you are not, find a Jewish friend. Chances are their mother may have already invited you.
  • When you arrive to the break fast (not to be mistaken with breakfast, although similar food items), take it all in. Don’t go jumping in on the heavy items all at once. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Sample it all. Take some small portions and taste around. See what you like. If what you like is gefilte fish, get the hell out.
  • Now it’s time to start with the real winner. Your classic bagel and lox spread. Some go open-faced and some go sandwich style. Personally, I like mine on an everything bagel with chive cream cheese, tons of lox, lettuce, tomato, onion, capers, all eaten sandwich style. Otherwise known as the “triple onion, high and holy mouth orgasm.”
  • Quickly find a breath mint. You just had a sandwich with three types of onion on it.
  • Hurry back to the spread. Hungry fasters are not going to leave food sitting around for long.
  • Now is when I really like to dig in. It’s time to load your plate up with the sides. Kugel, check. Challah, check. Cheese blintzes, double check.
  • Sit down and relax. You have just fasted for a day and then eaten an entire day’s worth of food in one meal. You are a sick human being and I suggest you go get help.

It’s that simple. See you next year.

Disclaimer: Sorry if I offended anyone… especially with my comment about gefilte fish. I know it is loved by many. But seriously, that stuff is disguising. 

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by September 26, 2012 at 10:00 am 1,374 0


Time for pumpkin beer! (Photo courtesy of Brian Hussein Stanton)

From Rob Fink. Follow him on Twitter @RobDFink or email him at rob[AT]

As we have seen with Oktoberfest beers, Autumn swiftly ushers in sensations of harvest, and within the American craft beer paradigm, a generalized style (deemed “Pumpkin Ale”) reigns supreme.

The History of Pumpkin Ale

Unlike Oktoberfest beers, pumpkin ales are as uniquely American as a beer style can get. Indigenous to North America, pumpkins for purposes of brewing were an alternative source of nutrients compared to barley, a more expensive alternative. As a result, pumpkins made their way into the beer and wine of colonists as a result of their relative cheapness and their abundance of starch, which enzymes eventually turn into sugar for yeast to feast upon.

Fast forward several centuries and Pumpkin Ale is arguably the most ubiquitous fall seasonal in our country today. In my opinion, modern craft interpretations are not as concerned with the essence of raw pumpkin flavor so much are they are with emulating pumpkin pie in liquid form. More assertive examples of the style will infiltrate the nostrils with a potpourri of nutmeg, cinnamon, clove and ginger.

Generally speaking, beer can often be reminiscent of spices due to the individuality of the yeast strain used. In the case of Pumpkin Ales, you actually do smell some, or perhaps all, of the aforementioned spices due to their purposeful inclusion in the beer.

Best Choices for Pumpkin Ale, Where to Find Them

With fall officially upon us, there is no better time to seek out a burgeoning American classic. And while taste and perception of flavor is inherently subjective, the intensity of flavor of these beers begs to be paired with the substantial fall fare. The production of pumpkin ales has more or less kept pace with their increasing popularity, but it’s still wise to seek them out sooner rather than later.

  • Southern  Tier Pumking – 8.6% ABV
  • Elysian The Great Pumpkin – 8.1% ABV
  • Schlafly Pumpkin Ale – 8% ABV

Fortunately, all of these beers and more can be found at Borderstan watering holes such as The Big Hunt or Churchkey, and your better beer stores like Connecticut Avenue Wine and Liquor (1529 Connecticut Avenue NW) and the Logan Circle Whole Foods (1440 P Street NW). More importantly, beers across the spectrum of the harvest season can be found at P Street location of Pizzeria Paradiso during their annual Autumnfest celebration.

Of even more profound size is arguably the cannot-miss event of the season put on by the Neighborhood Restaurant Group (which famously owns Churchkey in Borderstan) dubbed Snallygaster, which can allow you the enjoyment of nearly 100 beers via draft, cask and wood-clad gravity-fed keg. I’ll see you there.

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by September 26, 2012 at 9:00 am 2,236 1 Comment


1400 block of Corcoran Strreet NW:  Parking on the north side of the block is now restricted to Zone 2 parking permit holders from 7 am to midnight. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]

The District’s Department of Transportation (DDOT) is implementing a parking sign pilot program in the ANC2F/Logan area that that lengthens restricted hours for visitor parking. The new signs allow for only residents with Zone 2 permits to park on the designated side of a street block from 7 am until midnight. For example, on the 1400 block of Corcoran Street NW, the restrictions are on the north side of the street.

This pilot program is part of the DC Department of Transportation’s plan to limit visitor parking in certain restricted areas and create more parking for residents.

Restrictions in Place

The following streets and blocks already have these new signs or soon will have them, according to DDOT:

  • M Street NW: blocks 900, 1000, 1100, 1200, 1300
  • N Street NW: blocks 900, 1000, 1100, 1200, 1300, 1400
  • O Street NW: blocks 900, 1000, 1100, 1200
  • P Street NW: blocks 900, 1000, 1100, 1200, 1300
  • Q street NW: blocks 1100, 1200, 1300, 1400
  • R Street NW: blocks 1100, 1200, 1300, 1400
  • S Street NW: blocks 1100, 1200, 1300, 1400
  • T Street NW: 1400 block
  • 10th Street NW: blocks 1100, 1200, 1300, 1400
  • 11th Street NW: blocks 1200, 1300, 1400
  • 12th Street NW: blocks 1100, 1200, 1300, 1400, 1500
  • 13th Street NW: blocks 1300, 1500, 1600, 1700
  • 15th Street NW: blocks 1100, 1200, 1300, 1400, 1500, 1600, 1700
  • Corcoran Street NW: blocks  1300, 1400
  • Swann Street NW: 1400 block
  • Riggs Street NW: 1300 block
  • Church Street NW: 1400 block
  • Vermont Avenue NW: blocks 1300, 1500, 1600
  • Rhode Island Avenue NW: blocks 1300, 1100
  • Columbia Street NW: 1400 block

Stay tuned to for more updates on parking restrictions in the area.

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by September 26, 2012 at 8:00 am 0

From Cody Telep. Follow him on Twitter @codywt, email him at cody[AT]

The Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLLU) of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) will hold an open house Thursday night (September 27) in their office near Dupont Circle. The event runs from 5 to 9 m at 1369-A Connecticut Avenue NW (the entrance is on the Massachusetts Avenue NW side of the SunTrust Bank Building just off Dupont Circle).
The open house will bring together GLLU officers, along with representatives from area businesses and local community and government agencies. Refreshments will be provided.

The GLLU, founded in June 2000, serves the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) communities in DC. The Unit’s activities include responding to GLBT crime victims, advising Chief Cathy Lanier on LGBT issues, visiting GLBT organizations and businesses and providing training to GLBT groups and MPD officers.

For more information on the open house, contact GLLU Sergeant Matthew Mahl at [email protected].

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by September 26, 2012 at 6:42 am 1,133 0

"gun robbery"

Crime news from Dupont-Logan-U Street.

The DC Police reported that a gun robbery occurred after midnight this morning, September 26, at 1303 P Street NW. The 1300 block runs west from Logan Circle. There were two robbers, one armed with a handgun.

From the DC Police Alert:


No additional details were available from a DC Police tweet (@DCPoliceDept) at 12:50 a.m. this morning.

You can sign up for alerts through Alert DC and get alerts  by e-mail, cell phone, pager or wireless PDA. When signing up, you can select alerts on crime, transportation, utility outages/issues, government closings, breaking news, DC-sponsored events and Amber Alerts.

You can get more information about crime in the Borderstan area through the MPD listservs for the Second and Third Districts on Yahoo! Groups.

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by September 26, 2012 at 6:00 am 0

"P St Candids"

“P St Candids “is by thisisbossi from the Borderstan Flickr pool.

Photos of the Day are pulled from the Borderstan Reader Photos pool on Flickr.

Today’s photo, “P St Candids” was taken by thisisbossi. The photo was taken on P Street NW on September 19.

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.

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by September 25, 2012 at 4:30 pm 1,033 0

From Zak M. Salih Email him at zak[AT]

Almost as an afterthought to the 2012 Olympic Games in London come two new novels by a pair of prominent British writers committed to revealing the messy modern city hidden behind postcard images of the Thames, Tower Bridge, and Big Ben.

Zadie Smith’s NW

"London"The more optimistic of these two fictional exposés belongs to Zadie Smith. NW (named for the geographical section of London where the novel is set) gives us a picture of a down-and-out London neighborhood through the eyes of two childhood friends: Leah Hanwell and Keisha Blake.

The former, a Caucasian of Irish descent married to a devoted French Algerian hairdresser, spends her days in existential stasis working a menial community job and bumming pot off her neighbor. The latter, a black Caribbean who changes her name midway through the novel to Natalie, has pulled herself up through the educational system to become a lawyer and achieve the veritable “perfect life” of which her best friend is so envious.

In short, we have a story of the Haves and the Have Nots, each of whom thinks the other is living the more fulfilled (read: less boring) life. It’s a simple story told in a complicated manner: fragmented chapters, stream of consciousness prose and chat room slang. There’s a lengthy episode devoted to Felix, a Jamaican man from a troubled background whose attempt to change his life is shattered by a late-night confrontation; there’s also the occasional appearance by Leah’s childhood crush, Nathan Bogle, a drug addict and symbol of the bottom rung of the socio-cultural ladder.

As chaotic as the storytelling can get at times (after all, one reader’s experimental prose is another reader’s head-scratching mess), the beating heart of NW is the complicated friendship between these two women; the middle section of the novel, told in the aforementioned fragments, is a masterful, impressionist rendering of the two women’s lives from childhood up through college and on to adulthood and all its attendant problems. And the novel’s deft dialogue and its sharp eye for the cultural mélange of modern life, hallmarks of Smith’s prose, are frequently on display here.

One only wishes that, for all its engagement, NW left us with something a little more spectacular or memorable. Instead, Smith’s vision of London as a beautiful, complex mess of ethnicities and intentions — while certainly worth looking it — doesn’t leave us shaken or challenged. Instead, it just feels like any other day in a 21st-Century city.

Martin Amis’ Lionel Asbo: State of England

The dog-kicking, stomach-stabbing reprobates who flit in and out of NW take center stage in Martin AmisLionel Asbo: State of England, the story of one cultural degenerate’s rise to the top of the social heap. And subsequent fall back to the bottom.

"London"Taking his surname from the legal acronym for Anti-Social Behaviour Order, Lionel is a larger-than-life sociopath who spends his days and nights training his attack dogs (by feeding them beer and Tabasco sauce), reading the sleazy rag of a local newspaper, getting in bar fights, stealing property, and possibly even committing murder. He spends so much time in jail that it’s just a diversion for him. It’s during one of these excursions in the British penal system that he winds up winning almost 140 million pounds in the lottery.

What happens then? Lionel skyrockets to fame. He moves out of his tenement tower (where he lives with his ward and nephew, Desmond Pepperdine), lives the high life along with other wasted celebrities (one exceptional episode involves Lionel struggling his way through a fancy lobster dinner), and falls in “love” with the performance artist and poet “Threnody.” Meanwhile, his nephew slowly emerges from under his uncle’s monstrous shadow and builds a career as a journalist and a life with his wife, Dawn, and their infant daughter, Cilla.

Lionel Asbo is a Martin Amis novel, so over-the-top events (including a sub-plot involving Desmond’s incestuous relationship with his grandmother) and bold characterizations are par for the course. It’s a fun and amusing read, even though its views on celebrity culture and the media’s obsession with fame and crime aren’t anything new. Perhaps what’s most surprising is that, despise the forcefulness of the novel’s subtitle, it’s a bit wrong. The media’s rabid obsession with deviant behavior and Warhol’s proverbial 15 minutes of fame–these aren’t just England’s problems. They’re the modern West’s problems.

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by September 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm 1,339 0


TWBP: Baby vs. Cat (Leslie Jones)

From Leslie Jones. She writes about urban motherhood every two weeks in her column TWB Poo (There Will Be Poo). You can email her at leslie[AT] and follow her on Twitter @ThereWillBePoo.

Before I had Baby, before I even married Husband, there was Cat. She was my fur-baby. After we all moved in together, Husband nicknamed her Angry. Some of our friends didn’t believe we actually had a cat because they’d never seen her; and those that had perhaps wished they hadn’t.  I was enough for her, and the rest of humanity needed to stay at least four feet back. I was a little… concerned about how Cat would deal with the new addition to our family.

Cat mostly hid for the first few days after we brought Baby home from the hospital. She came out for an exploratory sniff or two, but she couldn’t really figure out what was going on. It was too small to be a human, but it definitely wasn’t another cat. Which was good, because she hated both of those things. Confounding.

Cat seemed to decide that whatever it was, it wasn’t big enough to cause too much concern. It just laid there most of the time and made weird sounds. Whatever, back to napping, butt-licking and tolerating Husband.

No, Cat’s Don’t Suck Babies’ Breath

I was worried about the old wives tale of cats sucking baby’s breath. Well, not worried, I knew it wasn’t really true, but I didn’t like the idea of this giant 12-pound cat cuddling up to my tiny six-and-a-half pound baby. I did some research about how to keep a cat out of a crib. There were some good ideas, like putting empty aluminum cans in the crib before the baby arrives so that if the cat jumps in, it will freak her out so much that she doesn’t try it again.

But it was too late for that, Baby was already IN the crib. I found a “crib tent” online that was supposed to cover the crib and be strong enough for a cat to sit on top without falling in. But some reviews were terrifying- stories of babies stuck in the mesh netting and possible strangulation. I decided to just keep Cat out of the nursery.

One night I was sleeping in the reclining rocker in the nursery and I left the door open. I had the rocker pulled right up to the crib so that I could put my hand on Baby’s belly and feel her breathing, of course. At some point I woke up and saw this giant shadow at the other end of the crib.  Cat was just minding her own business, curled up as far away from the weird, smelly creature as she could get. I flipped out and threw Cat on the floor and woke Husband up in a complete frenzy. Cat never got near the crib again, but I decided to keep the nursery door shut at all times, until Baby was older, and bigger.

Now Baby is bigger, much bigger. She’s got a good eight pounds on Cat. And Cat has figured out, much too late, that this is, in fact, another human.

Baby just loves Cat. She enjoys showing this love by “petting” her, which is more like hitting in a swiping motion. And sometimes she enjoys “singing” to Cat, which is more like screaming in her face. Poor Cat. I try to show Baby how to pet gently, and to redirect her attention when it’s just getting to be too much for Cat. But Cat has had to endure quite a lot of Baby love.

Cat has deported herself with remarkable grace. Husband even gave her a new, less “angry” nickname. She tolerates Baby with patience I never knew she had. She gives me weary, old lady looks, but she puts up with being crushed in baby hugs and having her hair pulled out for a surprisingly long time before skulking off.

I feel that on some level she’s experiencing this whole mothering thing right along with me. She has sleepless nights, and hardly a free moment to herself; she can’t eat or use the bathroom without an attentive baby audience. She has her moments of frustration; and Cat has given Baby the occasional bat with her paw. But she has never hurt Baby in any way, and Baby just thinks she’s playing; much like how Baby seems to think it’s really funny when I say “no”.

It makes me feel a little guilty about the times I’ve sacrificed Cat to the whims of Baby in order to get a few minutes’ peace. I find Cat and set Baby down in front of her, and just say “Sorry Cat.” And I really am, but hey, it takes a village.

A Vet’s Advice

I asked my friend, Dr. Jann Elliott of  Palisades Veterinary Clinic, if she had any advice for new parents with pets. She said that you should get ahead of the problem and seek your vet’s help.

“A major life and household change is coming, and your pet may need help adjusting. A consult with a trainer or behavioral veterinarian may be the next step, and your vet can guide you through that process. Most people expecting a baby already have a hunch that their pet has an anxiety issue, and that issue may be exacerbated by a newborn.

They may also have concerns about territorial, aggressive, or child-specific behavioral problems. Talk to your vet about troubleshooting specific issues you anticipate, or should look out for, given your pet’s personality. It is important to get a desensitization or training program going in advance, or even find a medication that helps your pet cope with household change, since you do not want to wait until the baby arrives home to tackle behavioral issues your pet may have with your child.”

If you are looking to add a furry friend to your household, Dr. Jann recommends Lucky Dog Animal Rescue and Homeward Trails Animal Rescue. Palisades Veterinary Clinic partners with both, and offers discounted medical and surgical care for the rescued pets. For a physical shelter, Dr. Jann loves Washington Animal Rescue League. “They also offer training classes and pre-screen the pets, classifying them into personality types to make it easier to pick an ideal match for each household.”

The smallish apartments we share with other humans and our furry friends in our beloved Borderstan often make space negotiations complicated. But furry family is worth the trouble. You do not have to find another home for your pet when baby comes. Baby safety is priority number one, but be smart and you can make it work.

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by September 25, 2012 at 1:30 pm 1,408 0

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]


The U Street Movie Series at Harrison Recreation Center field. (Courtesy U Street Movie Series).

The U Street Movie Series will show its final film of the summer-long season on Wednesday, September 26, at Harrison Recreation Center field (1330 V Street NW). The movie for the evening will be The Pelican Brief, staring Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington and featuring scenes from DC’s very own, Ben’s Chili Bowl.

Neighborhood favorites such as Marvin, The Gibson, Patty Boom Boom and Blackbyrd will provide DJ music starting at 7 pm, and the film will start at sundown. Be sure to pack a picnic for snacks, a blanket to sit on and a sweater to keep warm — the new fall weather could make for a chilly evening!

All movies in the U Street Movie Series are shown outdoors in a family-friendly environment and are free and open to the public. (However, four-legged family members must stay at home.)

Donations and sponsorships are accepted, and proceeds benefit Friends of Harrison Recreation Center (part of the U Street Neighborhood Association). For more information on the event, visit the website or the Facebook page.

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by September 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm 1,484 1 Comment


A wine and cheese pairing at The Cheese Course. (Rachel Nania)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]

Carolyn Stromberg knows cheese. And unlike most artisan cheeses, Stromberg has deep District roots.

The George Washington University alum cultivated her passion for sheep, cow and goat-derived dairy through experiences in well-known restaurants and cheese shops in (and around DC), plus a trip or two through Europe.

Now, the cheese guru and owner of Righteous Cheese (which opened this September at Union Market) is offering the public an opportunity to learn about the art of cheese through her intimate (and snob-free) monthly Cheese Course Classes at Seasonal Pantry and Righteous Cheese.

Recently, I purchased a ticket and joined Stromberg at a rustic community table with 10 local residents to pick her brain and learn more about, well, cheese.

The class I attended at Seasonal Pantry (where Stromberg runs the shop’s cheese program) explored six cheeses and three wines, all from Northern Italy.

Like myself, the other participants did not have culinary degrees. They were not fromagers or sommeliers, nor did they have any intention to be. They were just regular people enjoying an evening of wine and cheese, possibly hoping to pick-up a few tips useful for hosting future dinner or cocktail parties.

Throughout the two-hour class, Stromberg went through each pairing, carefully explaining the cheese’s history, how the cheese was made, how long it aged, when it is best to eat the cheese and what you should eat with the cheese. In between bites, participants asked questions and commented on how each pairing tasted.

Stromberg did an amazing job at thoughtfully responding to each person’s question/comment, and was able to answer everything without so much as a blink.

Pointers from Class

In case you are wondering, here are a few pointers I picked-up from the class:

  • Prosecco is your best wine pick for a tasting. If you are looking to serve a selection of cheeses the next time you host, a Prosecco (or sparkling wine) is the best pairing for most. This is because the bubbles in the wine act like a palate cleanser, while the subtle, sweet flavor of Prosecco contrasts nicely with the saltiness of cheese.
  • Always serve from mild to strong.  Start with a nice, mild cheese and work your way to the stronger picks (like a blue cheese). Those over-powering blues are hard for your palate to forget if you devour them first.
  • What grows together, goes together. Just like our produce, cheeses are also seasonal, since the grass the animal grazes on differs, depending on the time of year. Because cheese often reflects seasonality, stick to pairing cheeses with flavors, meats, vegetables and/or condiments from the same season.
  • Finally, a use for dessert wines. If you are like me and shudder at the thought of drinking a dessert wine, don’t be so quick to judge the sugary bottles. Dessert wines pair beautifully with salty cheeses. Like Paula Abdul said, opposites attract.

So if you are interested in learning more about cheese, in an intimate, unpretentious and completely un-judged way, look no further than Stromberg’s Cheese Course Classes.

October’s dates are not yet set, but keep checking back on the website for upcoming class dates and times.

Can’t wait until the next class? Stromberg’s new space at Union Market, Righteous Cheese, has a 10-seat bar that offers wine and cheese (and beer and cheese) flight pairings.

Union Market is currently open Friday (11 am until 8 pm) Saturday (8 am until 8 pm) and Sunday (8 am until 8 pm). In November, the Market will expand its operating hours and open six days a week.

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by September 25, 2012 at 10:00 am 2,394 9 Comments

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]

Featured image: “2012 Fall Kickball opening” is from tedeytan in the Borderstan Flickr pool and was taken at Stead Park.

"Stead Park"

Stead Park: The recreation field is to the north. (Luis Gomez Photos)

The co-founder of Stonewall Sports, Martin Espinoza, started a petition last week, “Save Stead Park,” to protest a reduction in field space at Dupont Circle’s Stead Park (1625 P Street NW).

According to Espinoza’s petition, plans are being proposed to reduce the active field space at Stead Park by 25 percent, which would jeopardize current community leagues such as soccer, volleyball and kickball, while also keeping local schools from using the fields. The petition is to the DC Department of Parks and Recreation.

“DC already has a limited number of green space available for children and adults to play on, so reducing this unique gem in Dupont Circle would impact the health and wellness of residents who use the park daily,” says Espinoza in his petition. (He is also an ANC 2B-04 candidate, running against Kishan Putta and Stephanie Sheridan.)

According to one source familiar with the proposal, part of the space would used to create a track for running and walking — under one option being proposed.

The reduction in field space comes from a plan drafted by Friends of Stead that would allocate $400,000 to the park’s renovations. According to Espinoza, members of Friends of Stead will be present options for the renovation to the Department of Parks and Recreation. These options reduce the active green space, and, according to Espinoza, cost much more than $400,000 to complete.

On the petition one supporter writes, “The health of ourselves and our children is essential. We need green space to use for outdoor activities. I play kickball and through the experience I have made many friends.”

Another supporter states, “There is no need or reason to reduce the active field space at Stead Park. As the surrounding area continue to grow with new condo and rental buildings, there is an even greater need for residents to have an open space for activities and a sense of community.”

The petition, which already has more than 450 supporters, will be hand-delivered by Espinoza at a public hearing scheduled for Wednesday, October 3 ,at 7 pm at the Washington DC Jewish Community Center (1529 16th Street NW).

According to the meeting’s webpage, the October 3 meeting (called the Stead Park Field Re-Design Meeting) will be an opportunity for the public to review and comment upon a plan to re-design the park. More information is available on the DC Jewish Community Center’s website.

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