by Borderstan.com December 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm 1,393 0

"Aura"

Construction has begun for Aura Spa at VIDA Fitness on U Street. (Courtesy of Urban Adventures Companies, Inc.)

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

Urban Adventures Companies, Inc. announced last week that construction has begun on Aura Spa, located at VIDA Fitness (1612 U Street NW). The new 5,000 square-foot space will be right off the gym’s main lobby and will feature modern decor, several treatment rooms and a menu of services, such as facials, body treatments and massage therapy.

The spa, which is the company’s third location, is expected to open in April 2013 with $1 million in development costs. Later this month, Aura Spa plans to launch a new website at www.auraspa.net, highlighting the new spa’s offerings in late January 2013.

VIDA Fitness and Bang Salon opened at 1612 U Street in the summer of 2011, and the Penthouse Pool Club opened in spring 2012. The building also currently houses a first-floor restaurant space and executive office suites marketed to local professional services businesses.

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by Borderstan.com December 27, 2012 at 3:00 pm 0

"Theaters"

Borderstan Theaters (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Luis Gomez. Catch his photos at One Photograph A Day. Follow him on Twitter @LuisGomezPhotos.

Check the listings below for full details on performances at six neighborhood theaters.

Howard Theatre, 620 T Street NW

Keegan Theatre at Church Street, 1742 Church Street NW

  • An Irish Carol runs through December 31: “A Keegan holiday tradition, AN IRISH CAROL by Dublin native Matthew Keenan, premiered in 2011 to sold out houses and rave reviews. An an homage to Dickens’ classic, AN IRISH CAROL follows one evening in the life of David, a wealthy pub owner who has distanced himself from others and lost touch with his own humanity. But on this Christmas Eve — challenged by a voice from the past, provoked by those in this present, and faced with the reality of lonely future – David’s life may change forever. AN IRISH CAROL is a modern fable, told with the biting humor and incisive candor of its Irish playwright.”

Lincoln Theatre at 1215 U Street NW

Source at 1835 14th Street NW

  • Check the website for upcoming events.

Studio Theatre at 1501 14th Street NW

  • An Iliad, opens December 21, “First sung around a campfire 2,800 years ago, The Iliad remains a soaring ode about humanity’s seemingly timeless attraction to violence and destruction. In this theatrical telling, a storyteller grapples with the mythology, brutality, and humanity of Homer’s epic poem. An intimate and immediate look at rage, grief, and the heroism and horror of a seemingly endless war.” (Studio Theater)
  • Contractions opens January 2. “Emma’s boss is concerned that she is in breach of contract. An office romance is dissected over a series of increasingly bizarre meetings in this ink-black satire from one of Britain’s most provocative writers.” (Studio Theater)

Theater J at 1529 16th Street NW

  • Apples From The Desert, runs through January 6. “A poignant drama about love and reconciliation adapted by one of Israel’s most beloved authors from her own short story, this hit Israeli play follows the young Sephardic Rivka, a religious teenager, who falls for Dooby, a secular kibbutznik, at a dance class in Jerusalem. (Theater J)

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by Borderstan.com December 27, 2012 at 2:00 pm 1,255 2 Comments

"Erik Wemple"

Erik Wemple. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Alden Leonard. Contact him at alden[AT]borderstan.com and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.

Here at “Borderstan People,” we like to profile local movers and shakers who are spicing up the neighborhood in a variety of ways. Recently, we caught up with journalist Erik Wemple to catch his beat.

Currently a media critic at The Washington Post, Wemple formerly served as editor of the Washington City Paper and did a stint with with the short-lived TBD.com. In this interview, Wemple discusses everything from trying to keep up with today’s fast-paced and integrative field of journalism, to Borderstan coffee shops and safety tips.

Borderstan: Where did you grow up?

Wemple: I grew up in Schenectady, New York a few hours north of New York City on the New York State Thruway.

Borderstan: What got you interested in politics and/or the media?

Wemple: I think my interest in politics and media came from my father, who served nine terms in the New York State Assembly. He very much enjoyed “working” the media. And I’ve just always had a knack for writing and reporting.

Borderstan: How did you get your start as a journalist? What does a “typical” day entail? What recommendations or tips do you have for journalists getting their start?

Wemple: I worked my way in to journalism slowly, beginning decades ago when I edited a newsletter on federal export regulations. It was a lot of work – a lot of reporting, a lot of meetings in dingy federal office settings, a lot of calling around to industry types and asking precisely what were their problems and priorities were. Never underestimate the corporate confusion over U.S. re-export controls.

Then I started freelancing for Washington City Paper and the InTowner, among others. I really began to get into it, and I got a job at City Paper, eventually becoming the publication’s editor. After eight years, I caught on with TBD and hired the staff there. From there I moved to the Post. It’s really not a very compelling career story, to be honest.

Borderstan: You’ve been in roles from editor to blogger. What has been the most rewarding, memorable, or challenging?

Wemple: It’s tough to attach a superlative, but this current gig is plenty challenging. The challenge is to have something to say about media-related news stuff, as well as to do conceptual stuff and quirky fare. Keeping things fresh is a handful. Thank god there’s cable TV out there – without it, there’d be a fodder deficit.

TBD.com was also quite a challenge, needless to say. We were charged with trying to launch a profitable local, web-only news site from scratch, and we failed (though we didn’t have a lot of time to succeed). That said, I really loved working on the project. The lesson from it, and it’s a pretty narrow one, is that any organization that tries to knit together a traditional TV news operation with a news site driven by print folks has a lot of managing ahead of it.

Both media cultures have their strengths, but they also have sharp incompatibilities. And I’m not talking only about the different personalities of the folks who do TV and those who do print. A good TV story needs, first and foremost, visuals, something that most print journalists think about secondarily, tertiarily, or not at all. Usually not at all.

In this vein, it’s hard for me to compare working for the Washington Post to TBD.com/WJLA, which I’m frequently asked to do. Both are media organizations, and right there the comparisons stop.

Borderstan: How has journalism’s shift to the online environment changed the profession, and how have you adapted to these changes?

Wemple: Journalism’s shift to the online environment has changed every aspect of the profession. I’ve adapted to these changes by scrambling, quite frankly. Scrambling to keep pace with the social media imperative. Scrambling to understand search, scrambling to figure out why my embed code didn’t work, scrambling to figure out why the copy desk says it can’t get access to the post I just filed, scrambling to appreciate why “via” is such a key component of a good tweet, scrambling to watch three cable news channels at virtually the same time and gauge Twitter feedback at the same time, scrambling to nail interviews via phone, e-mail, DM and FB, all at the same time. Just scrambling.

Borderstan: It seems your interest in politics brought you to DC, but what brought you specifically to Borderstan? When did you come here, and what about the neighborhood caused you to stay?

Wemple: I bought a two-bedroom at the corner of 15th and O Streets NW in 1991 for a song. The neighborhood attracted me because at the time I was concerned about my environmental impact on the world; I wanted to live where I wouldn’t need a car too much, where I could commune with others who felt the same way about the planet. And that is all a total lie.

In truth, I moved to Borderstan because it was close to work, and the apartment was better than other places I’d looked at. The environs at the time were a bit dicey, though I had no idea about the degree. For instance, 15th and O taught me to look fixedly at the mirror when I brush my teeth. That’s because one night, as I was brushing, I was gazing through the back window, which overlooked what was then an empty and open lot on O Street NW between 15th and 16th Streets.

Everything looked pretty quiet, though I noticed a Subaru station wagon that was wiggling a bit down there. A little squinting brought into focus a little flagrante delicto inside the Subaru, which I’d prefer to have missed. As I’d later discover, that lot and other spots in the vicinity were popular refuges for fellows who’d cruised nearby blocks for prostitutes.

Worse were the smash-and-grabs. I had a 1986 Honda Accord – nothing sexy, but still a target for monthly break-ins, even though I learned early never to leave anything in it. No matter. One time, I hopped in the car ready to go to a friend’s place and she didn’t start –  didn’t even turn over. I checked things out and found that someone had stolen my battery. On my way back from the 14th Street Trak Auto, trapezoids burning from the weight of my new battery, it hit me: The thief wasn’t after the old battery; the thief was after the replacement battery. Determined not to fall prey to such a scam, I took to parking the car miles away, on an unregulated street in Ward 3. I’d run or ride my bike to fetch it.

Now to answer the question of why I’ve stayed: Because I don’t do change that well. Once I’m in a place, it’s hard to move me. Someone recently told me that she’s “so done with DC” I believe that, but I have no idea what that feels like. They say people have trouble imagining their deaths, but I see mine as falling flat on my face on a piece of concrete between 12th and 18th Streets NW, south of Florida and north of Massachusetts. Hopefully not too soon.

Borderstan: What are some of your favorite Borderstan spots for drinks, coffee, dinner, to get a good book or have a meeting?

Wemple: I’ve got two young kids who aren’t quite ready for swillfests at Stoney’s and don’t have the palates to appreciate the flatbreads at Birch & Barley, so my hanging out at neighborhood joints is limited. That said, I’ll put in a good word for Java House. It predates the boom in the neighborhood and has a feel consistent with its age. It’s just a nice space with nice ownership and nice clientele. Peter Rosenstein and his crew are always there talking civics; my family and I go on Wednesday mornings each week. It’s always a good time.

Borderstan: Anything else you would like to share with the readers of Borderstan about your life or work?

Some safety tips: Watch yourself at the intersections of the bike lines on 15th Street. People tend to be preoccupied by auto traffic and may step off the curb, ignoring a cyclist who is just about to clip you. I hector my kids to watch out for the cyclists, because they whisk by very fast.

Another hotspot is the southwest corner of 16th and Q, right there in front of the PETA offices. I’ve seen a car plow right into the sidewalk there, because it had swerved to get clear of a car turning left from 16th southbound onto Q Street east. When waiting at that intersection, get behind a tree or light post.

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by Borderstan.com December 27, 2012 at 12:00 pm 1,407 0

"New"

From Alejandra Owens. You can find her at her food blog, One Bite At A Time. Alejandra also writes for City Eats DC, a Food Network site, where you can book dinner reservations. Email her at alejandra[AT]borderstan.com and follow her on Twitter at @frijolita.

New Year’s Eve. Synonymous with champagne, kisses and that scene from When Harry Met Sally.

For the cynics among us, New Year’s Eve is just another night — a night with unreasonably high expectations for merriment and finding someone at the bar to smooch with. Yet, for the hopeful, it’s about new beginnings, good times with friends and making memories. No matter which side of the coin you fall on, we can all agree on one thing: New Year’s Eve is all about the booze.

I mean, really people, those memories aren’t just going to make themselves, now are they!?

For starters, make sure you’re all set up and ready. The Bon Appetit Cocktail Party Manual has all the golden rules for throwing a boozy party — and more. Don’t forget food, Stephanie has you covered with tons of easy recipes to make, and, in some cases, make-ahead treats that you can serve. But now, on to the reason we’re all here.

Be Safe: If you are out and about for the evening, please drink responsibly and remember, you can even get free taxi rides (see our 2012 article on SoberRide). Whatever you do, please don’t drink and drive Borderstanis!

Punch Cocktails

"New"

Punch cocktails are the original big batch party drinks. You may poo-poo these at first glance, but don’t let rings of lemon slices frozen in water fool you.

These drinks pack a… no, I won’t say it. It’s just too cheesy. I like the idea of these drinks because (1) you don’t have to fiddle with recipes to make them for a crowd, and (2) they’re a nice way to ease everyone into a festive spirit.

Boozey, but not too much, so it’s not going to get anyone hammered in the first hour. This is a marathon, not a sprint, after all.

Wine

For the oenophiles among us, having a well-stocked wine counter, one featuring sangrias or mulled options even, is good for friends and family who don’t do hard liquor. Not everyone can love bourbon as much as I do, and I can respect that.

Cocktails

There’s no reason you can’t turn your favorite cocktail for one into a pitcher for 10. Just carefully convert the recipe to suit a larger crowd and provide the appropriate cooling option — ice cubes and a shaker for a shaken/stirred cocktail — at the table.

Also, if you like, you can always print out simpler cocktail recipes and leave them on a table with all the appropriate measures, liquors, mixers, bitters and garnishes. That way everyone can make the drink to their liking and get in on the mixologist fun. (Cause don’t we all have that one friend who used to bartend in college…)

Last but not least, some resources in case you need help or more ideas:

Champagne

Oh! And how could I forget? Don’t forget the champagne! Bubbly and kisses. That’s what New Year’s Eve does! Julian Mayor, the sommelier at Bourbon Steak DC in the Four Seasons, contributed to this really lovely list of boutique champagnes. I have Julian to thank for a serious love for Pierre Peters — a champagne you should still be able to get at Cork & Fork on 14th Street. Many others on this list are easy to find as well — just give your liquor/wine store a ring and undoubtedly they’ll have an option for you.

This article was originally posted on December 27, 2011. But, it’s that time of year again, and we find that this type of advice remains true throughout the years (and especially around the holidays). So get out your glasses, put on your party hats and pour your poison of choice!

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by Borderstan.com December 27, 2012 at 10:00 am 0

"politics and government"

Five of the 10 most popular 2012 Politics and Government stories were related to local ANC races. (Collage by Luis Gomez Photos)

It’s that time again… a look back before we start 2013. Like last December, we will provide you with a list of the most-read stories on Borderstan by category. Today are the Top 10 from the Politics and Governmenet section.

The web is forever, so they say. Posted stories continue to get hits a long time after originally going up on the site. As a result, some of the most-read stories for the year were sometimes published the year before — especially if they were published late the year before (although that was not the case with following stories, all from 2012).

Top 10 Politics and Government Stories of 2012

These Politics and Government stories were Top 10 most read last year on Borderstan.com. Five of them were related to local ANC candidaes/races in Advisory Neighborhood Commissions 1B, 2B and 2F. section.

  1. Meet Walt Cain: Candidate for ANC 2F-02 (Rachel Nania)
  2. Where to Follow the Election Online Today (Borderstan)
  3. Mayor Gray Dines at Hank’s Oyster Bar, Shows Support for Restaurant (Tom Hay)
  4. Know the Candidates in Contested ANC Races (Rachel Nania)
  5. Have Our National Monuments Become Too “Disneyfied?” (Maggie Barron)
  6. Streetscape Project: U Street Rehabilitation To Begin June 11 (Tom Hay)
  7. Contested ANC Races: Compare the Candidates’ Positions (Borderstan)
  8. Borderstan ANC Races: Six Contested Races in 2B, 2F and 1B (Tom Hay)
  9. Meet Zahra Jilani: Candidate for ANC 1B-12 (Rachel Nania)
  10. Poll Closes Sunday: Should Just 5 People Be Allowed to Protest a Liquor License? (Rachel Nania)

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by Borderstan.com December 27, 2012 at 9:00 am 0

"Weekend"

End of 2012 edition. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Katie Andriulli. Email her at katie[AT]borderstan.com and follow her on Twitter @kandriulli.

Hey guys, how was your holiday? I ate my body weight in lasagna and watched Mrs. Doubtfire with my parents, so basically par for the vacation course for me.

Luckily for you, the weekend is already upon us, and it has a few things going for it, not the least of which is that it’s the last one of the year (good riddance to 2012, amirite?) So let’s see what’s on the agenda.

Thursday

Give your holiday-addled liver a brief reprieve tonight and stare in wondrous, childlike joy at holiday lights in the shape of lemurs at the National Zoo. Their annual ZooLights celebration (which is free, by the way) runs from 5 pm – 9 pm and ends on New Year’s Day.

Friday

Stop reading this, and go watch this CBS Sunday Morning interview with Georgetown grad Bradley Cooper. How cute is he? Eat some popcorn for dinner tonight and go see Silver Linings Playbook, because he and the movie are both equally delightful.

Saturday

Bibiana restaurant is kind of incredible, which is why I’ll forgive them for calling their black truffle tasting dinner tonight “Truffle-rama.” The three course menu will set you back $60 (because, truffles) but admit it: you’re sort of curious to see how they’re able to make a dessert out of them.

Sunday

For the first time in (maybe ever?) Washington has a shot as seeing TWO of its professional sports teams make the playoffs in the span of a year, which is almost as good as having Congressional representation. Even if you haven’t watched one Skins game this year, Google RGIII and head to a bar to watch them throw down against longtime rivals the Cowboys in the last game of the regular season. Because DC is DC, there are more sports bars here dedicated to out-of-town teams than the Skins, but Borderstan stalwarts Nellie’s, Solly’s and Stoney’s are all good locales to catch the game, which starts at 8:20 pm.

Monday

I’m sorry you guys, but objectively speaking, 2012 was pretty terrible (there are a lot of reasons why, but may I present Exhibit A and Exhibit B). I don’t begrudge you the chance to pay a bunch of money to spend the night trying to avoid getting rail drinks spilled on you. However, if you’re more like me (re: a 85-year-old woman in a 30-year-old-body) you might be more inclined to go out and grab an awesome dinner, or head to one of the many bars around town that will be cover-free and low key tonight.

Better yet, stay in with some takeout, some friends and some whiskey and play the Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest drinking game (take a shot every time Seacrest has more money than you). You’ll forget all about the year that was in no time.

Whatever you do, have fun, be safe and remember to take the metro or a cab home if you’ve had too many cocktails. Take it from this guy: starting the New Year off with a DUI is so not chic.

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by Borderstan.com December 27, 2012 at 8:00 am 0

"crime"

The December 10 gun robbery on the 1400 block of P Street NW topped the list of 2012 Crime stories. (Luis Gomez Photos)

It’s that time again… a look back before we start 2013. Like last December, we will provide you with a list of the most-read stories on Borderstan by category. Today are the Top 10 from the Crime section.

The web is forever, so they say. Posted stories continue to get hits a long time after originally going up on the site. As a result, some of the most-read stories for the year were sometimes published the year before — especially if they were published late the year before.

Top 10 Borderstan Crime Stories of 2012

These Crime t stories were Top 10 most read last year on Borderstan.com. Crime writer Cody Telep had five of the Top 10 stories while in the Crime section.

  1. 6:30 PM Monday Gun Robbery, 1400 Block of P Street NW (Cody Telep)
  2. Man Shot in Vicinity 17th and Corcoran NW Saturday Afternoon (Luis Gomez)
  3. Stabbing at Tabaq Bistro Early Saturday Leads to Temporary Closure (Cody Telep)
  4. Police Tips: Protect Yourself From Robbery, Assault (Bordertan)
  5. Update on 17th and Corcoran Shooting: Second Suspect Sought (Cody Telep)
  6. 10:15 PM Shooting on Saturday, 1400 Block of R Street NW (Borderstan)
  7. Update on Early Saturday Morning Shooting, 1100 Block U Street NW (Cody Telep)
  8. 2 Victims in Early Sunday Morning Stabbing at 14th and U NW (Borderstan)
  9. Logan Prostitution Operation Nets 10 Arrests (Cody Telep)
  10. Gun Robbery Early Sunday Morning on 14th Street NW (Borderstan)

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by Borderstan.com December 27, 2012 at 6:00 am 0

"Multiverse"

Multiverse is by contributor TheRobbStory from the Borderstan Flickr pool.

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

Today’s photo, Multiverse was taken by TheRobbStory. The photo was taken on December 14.

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 Borderstan.com December 26, 2012 at 7:54 pm 0

"Omega"

Omega Bar suddenly this Wednesday. (Luis Gomez Photos)

The Washington Blade ran a story today that the bar, Omega, has closed, effective immediately. Located in the alley just off the 2100 block of P Street NW, the bar had a decades-long history. It was formerly The Fraternity House, an establishment well-remembered by members of DC’s LGBT community, especially in the 1970s and 1980s.

According to a quote in The Blade, ” ‘I can confirm that,’ ” said Chris Smith, who performed there about 15 years as his drag alter ego Kristina Kelly. ” ‘Joey (Oldaker) called us all today.’ Oldaker, who managed and DJ’ed there for nearly six years, said he doesn’t know who bought the building or what the plans for it are.’ ”

According to a 2011 story in MetroWeekly, Omega/Frat House celebrated its 35th Anniversary last year.

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by Borderstan.com December 26, 2012 at 2:00 pm 1,472 0

"dog"

A dog is always hungry. (Rachel Jones)

From Rachel Jones. Email her at rjones[AT]borderstan.com. She is  she is the owner of K-9 Divine and a professional dog trainer,

No matter how much you feed your dog, she always wants more, especially when you are eating. All dog owners have received desperate pleadings for food at the dinner table. Is begging a necessary doggie ritual? Absolutely not!

The first thing to remember is that dogs are domesticated wolves. Their DNA is still nearly identical to that of wolves. In the wild, food is hard to come by. Wild canids sometimes go for many days without eating, and they must learn to bear hunger patiently.

Pet dogs possess the same level of patience. Unfortunately, most pet dogs do not learn to be patient; by always getting what they want, they develop intolerance for frustration that manifests itself in obnoxious behaviors like barking, whining and jumping.

When a wolf is in between meals, he cannot afford to waste precious calories on unnecessary activities. Therefore, when not actually hunting, wolves try to stay as still as possible. Domestic dogs have the same programming:

They will not engage in behaviors that get them nothing. This is the most important fact to know about your dog. If you do not reinforce your dog for begging, he will stop! Not reinforcing behavior means not paying any attention to the dog when she is engaging in the behavior. Attention can be positive or negative. In order to completely ignore your dog when she is begging, you must avoid all eye contact, talking, yelling, touching or correcting.

In or Out of the Room During Your Mealtimes?

How do you ignore your dog during mealtimes? First, your dog does not always need to be in the room with you when you are cooking or eating. If you have a puppy, put him in his crate or in another room during dinner. This will prevent him from being able to engage in begging at all.

If you want to have your dog in the room while you are eating, you must be prepared to ignore barking, whining, staring or jumping. It will take your dog several weeks to catch on to the fact that he is getting nothing from begging, so you must consistently ignore him every time, no matter how annoying the behavior gets. If you feel yourself losing your temper, it is always better to quietly move your dog to another room than to yell or correct the dog. Punishment is just another form of attention.

Remember that a well-fed dog has no reason to beg for food. If she is doing so, it is because you are reinforcing the behavior in some way. Eliminate the reinforcement and you will eliminate the begging.

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by Borderstan.com December 26, 2012 at 12:00 pm 1,015 0

"Groh"

Sam Groh’s local food business, GrohNola. (Namita Koppa)

From Namita Koppa. Email her at namita[AT]borderstan.com.

Author’s Note: At Borderstan.com, you’ll always find the latest food & drink news from writers who actually reside and eat in our neighborhood. That’s why we’re giving you the opportunity to get to know some of the culinary geniuses behind Borderstan’s food businesses.

Borderstan: What is the name of your business and its mission?

Groh: The name of my business is GrohNola, which is a local DC granola company. It all stems from my last name “Groh” (pronounced ‘grow-nola’). My main reason for starting this business is to provide people with a healthy yet nutritional snack, with only a little bit of sugar. I want people to appreciate quality snacks and put something good in their body.

Granola should be enjoyed by every single person, including children. It has become a huge consumer product within the past couple of years. I would like to make a change with the current granola market and also develop another market who become GrohNola eaters.

Borderstan: Tell us about yourself! How did you conceive of the idea for your business?

Groh: I started in the food business when I was 16 years old. I worked in kitchens during my summer and winter breaks of high school and college. I have always loved food and wanted to be a part of the food industry. I conceived my idea when I got into running and leading a healthier lifestyle about 2.5 years ago.

I joined several run clubs and after the runs, people would go to bakeries for cupcakes and other sweet desserts. I just could not eat those sweet desserts right after my run. I found a random recipe for granola and started making it myself to eat after the runs. The recipe has changed and developed over time, and now has become what I currently serve.

"Groh"

Sam Groh of GrohNola. (Namita Koppa)

Borderstan: Why granola? Where do you source your ingredients from?

Groh: Granola is something which is filling, yet not heavy. It tastes good in numerous ways (yogurt / frozen yogurt, ice cream, milk, straight out of your hand). I source as many ingredients locally as possible, Right now I source maple syrup and honey locally, and I am working on sourcing more.

Granola is a difficult thing to source locally because it involves nuts and seeds, which mostly come from the Midwest or California. I expect to have more local ingredients within the next month, as I have spoken with some farmers and even a Reverend who is working on teaching children how to grow seeds.

Borderstan: Where’s your favorite place to eat/drink in the neighborhood?

Groh: My favorite places to eat in the neighborhood are Hank’s Oyster Bar and Bar Pilar. I absolutely love seafood and simple food!

Borderstan: What are your impressions of DC’s innovation/start-up scene?

Groh: I love it! Think First Local DC is great, as I participated in their first Start-up market on H Street about three weeks ago. I made a lot of different connections and everyone was so friendly and promoting for each other. Stacey Price did a great job of organizing and managing all the different food vendors.

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by Borderstan.com December 26, 2012 at 10:00 am 0

"business"

The top business story in 2012 was one of a series (most by Tome Hay) on Hank’s Oyster Bar’s ongoing dispute with a group of neighbors and its interactions with the DC Government. (Luis Gomez Photos)

It’s that time again… a look back before we start 2013. Like last December, we will provide you with a list of the most-read stories on Borderstan by category. Today are the Top 10 from the Business section.

The web is forever, so they say. Posted stories continue to get hits a long time after originally going up on the site. As a result, some of the most-read stories for the year were sometimes published the year before — especially if they were published late the year before (not the case with any on the following list).

Top 10 Borderstan Business Stories of 2012

These lifestyle stories were Top 10 most read last year on Borderstan.com.

  1. Hank’s Forced to Shut Half of Patio; Owner Seeks Community Support (Borderstan)
  2. Plans Unveiled for the Louis at 14th/U; Will Remake Famous Corner (Gomez and Rhoades)
  3. BakeHouse’s Business Plan: Do Everything Really Well (Ashley Lusk)
  4. Owner Christopher Torres Explains Reincarnations’ Closure (Maggie Barron)
  5. Atlantic Plumbing: 375 Units and 25,000 Square Feet of Retail Space (Rachel Nania)
  6. 14th Street: Reincarnations Furnishings Closing (Luis Gomez)
  7. Mila Clothing: Zoning Variance For 14th and U Street Property? (Tom Hay)
  8. DC Noodles Closing for 1 Year; Stem Boutique Closing Doors July 1 (Luis Gomez)
  9. New Dupont Development on 17th and O Starting Construction Soon (Rachel Nania)
  10. No Hotel for 13th and U, Project Will Be Residential Says JBG  (Tom Hay)

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by Borderstan.com December 26, 2012 at 8:00 am 2,105 0

"Coffee"

Thanks tremendously to Patrick Otthofer for poring his Heart. (Jonathan Riethmaier)

From Jonathan Riethmaier @DistrictBean or email him at jonathan[AT]borderstan.com.

Stop by any of DC’s finer coffee establishments and order an espresso-based beverage (say, a latte, cappuccino or macchiato) and you’re likely see a fanciful decoration sitting atop the drink. This creation, commonly known as “latte art,” adds a touch of beauty and class to the coffee experience. But despite its good looks, latte art is an assurance of quality, or at least that certain conditions have been met that make its presence possible.

Latte art is created using a technique called free pouring, referring to a barista’s ability to pour steamed milk from a pitcher into a cup of espresso to produce a design. Though pretty, the design in your cup is more importantly indicative of three important factors in espresso drink preparation.

Three Factors of Latte Art

  1. The espresso must meet a minimum standard of quality, whereby a layer of crema — the thicker, speckled brown layer of the espresso — is lasting and of sufficient body to hold the milk that will be poured into it.
  2. A trained barista must carefully steam the milk to exacting specifications, as a pre-condition of latte art is luscious micro-foam with thousands of tiny bubbles. Baristas spend countless hours perfecting their steaming technique.
  3. The pouring action itself requires an extraordinarily delicate touch. Through practice, a skilled barista perfects their pouring motion by developing muscle memory and fine motor skills that enable them to carefully dive steam milk into espresso and develop an intricate latte art design.

And while free pouring can yield some impressive results in your morning beverage, most latte art is derived from three basic shapes: rosetta, heart and tulip. The following images show a closer look at these fundamental free-pouring designs.

'Rosetta"Rosetta

The rosetta is a traditional floral pattern that’s similar to the leaves of a fern.

This design is created by carefully pouring steamed milk from side-to-side through the drink, creating striations, then pouring straight through the design from top to bottom to “close” the leaves in the pattern.

"heart"Heart

The heart shape is created by developing a spot of milk in the center of the cup.

The pourer then pushes the milk stream from the pitcher through the spot to drag the spot into a heart shape. Some hearts (as seen above) also include striations similar to the lines created in a rosetta.

"tulip"Tulip

At its core, the tulip is a modified heart.

The creation of the tulip utilizes a similar technique as the heart in developing the spot of milk in the cup. Only with the tulip, the pourer pulls up and briefly stops the stream of milk from the pitcher, and then re-enters, splitting the would-be heart to create the tulip design.

Combinations and Variations

Advanced baristas can also create variations of the these three fundamental designs. Advanced designs can include multiples of one, such as two or more rosettas poured into a single cup, or any of the three basic designs combined in the same cup.

Below is a pour that features elements of all three basic designs. In the “smiling man,” you can see the striations of a rosetta that form the mouth, the nose created by a similar stop action as in the tulip, and eyes created from hearts.

You can get a closer look at free pouring and watch many of DC’s most talented baristas each month at area barista competitions. These events, known as Thursday Night Throwdowns, are community celebrations of the barista craft, and free to the public. You can find details on the monthly venues and dates by visiting DMVcoffee.com.

A tremendous thanks to Patrick Otthofer and Donte Gardner for taking a moment to demonstrate free-pouring designs. You can see Patrick and Donte in action at The Coffee Bar at 1201 S Street in DC.

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by Borderstan.com December 26, 2012 at 6:11 am 0

"gun robbery"

Crime news from Dupont-Logan-U Street.

DC Police reported a gun robbery involving one suspect at 2:25 a.m., Wednesday, December 26, on the 1500 block of Massachusetts Avenue NW. Police reports say the man used a silver handgun and as driving a silver Toyota Highlander; a complete description of the suspect is belowl

From DC Police Alerts: “2072 CONFIRMED A Robbery (Gun)/ 0225 hours/ 1500 Massachusetts Avenue NW/ LOF: (1) B/M, mid 20’s, 5’10”, 170 lbs, dreads, dark complexion, gray hooded coat with a silver handgun; (1) B/M, mid 20’s, 5’10, 180 lbs, goatee, dreads, black sweat shirt, black jeans operating a silver Toyota Highlander DO NOT TAKE ACTION CALL 911 W/EVENT #I20120644516, Sent on: 12/26 03:00.”

From the DC Police Twitter feed: “2D/ Robbery (Gun) 0225hr 1500 Mass Ave NW/ LOF: B/M, dreads dark compl gray coat ,silv gun/ B/M, goatee, dreads, silv Toy Highlander / 7044.”

Police Alerts, More Information

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 follow the DC Police on Twitter @DCPoliceDept.

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 Borderstan.com December 26, 2012 at 6:00 am 0

"Conversations"

Conversations with a Ghost is by contributor ep_jhu from the Borderstan Flickr pool.

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

Today’s photo, Conversations with a Ghost was taken by ep_jhu. The photo was taken on December 7 at Gallery Place.

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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