by April 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm 0


Patios of Borderstan. What are your favorite places to eat, drink and people-watch? (Luis Gomez Photos)

DC finally got a taste — albeit brief — of spring weather this weekend. And with April officially here, there’s no better way to ring in the season than with a meal or a drink outside. Thankfully, there are several restaurants in the area (some new, some old) that have patio and rooftop outdoor spaces.

Here at Borderstan, we write about outdoor dining quite frequently. (What can we say? We like it.) To make it easier on you, here is a master list of some of the areas best outdoor dining — and drinking — spots. Of course there are many more. Feel free to leave your favorites in the comment section.

The Borderstan Patio and Rooftop Guide

Our three-dozen spots in the neighborhood:

  1. 1905 Garden, 1905 9th Street NW
  2. American Ice, 917 V Street NW
  3. Bar Dupont, New Hampshire Avenue/Dupont Circle NW
  4. Bar Pilar, 1833 14th Street NW
  5. Brixton, 901 U Street NW
  6. Cafe Saint-Ex, 1847 14th Street NW
  7. CIRCA, 1601 Connecticut Avenue NW
  8. Commissary, 1443 P Street NW
  9. DGS Delicatessen, 1317 Connecticut Avenue NW
  10. Donovan House, 1155 14th Street NW
  11. El Centro D.F., 1819 14th Street NW
  12. Hank’s, 1624 Q Street NW
  13. Jack Rose, 2007 18th Street NW
  14. Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe, 1517 Connecticut Avenue NW
  15. L’Enfant Cafe, 2000 18th Street NW
  16. Lauriol Plaza, 1835 18th Street NW
  17. Le Diplomate, 1601 14th Street NW
  18. Level One, 1639 R Street NW
  19. Local 16, 1602 U Street NW
  20. Logan Tavern, 1423 P Street NW
  21. Lost Society, 2001 14th Street NW
  22. Mandu, 1805 18th Street NW
  23. Marvin, 2007 14th Street NW
  24. Masa 14, 1825 14th Street NW
  25. Matchbox, 1901 14th Street NW
  26. MOVA,  2204 14th Street NW
  27. Nellie’s Sports Bar, 900 U Street NW
  28. One Lounge, 1606 20th Street NW
  29. Sette Osteria, 1666 Connecticut Avenue NW
  30. Solly’s U Street Tavern, 1942 11th Street NW
  31. Standard, 1801 14th Street NW
  32. Tabaq, 1336 U Street NW
  33. Trio Fox & Hounds, 1537 17th Street NW
  34. Ulah Bistro, 1214 U Street NW
  35. Vinoteca, 1940 11th Street NW
  36. Zorba’s Cafe, 1612 20th Street NW


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by March 21, 2013 at 8:00 am 0


The RAMMY nominations are in. (Luis Gomez Photos)

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

The Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington‘s annual RAMMY awards will take place on June 23. And on Tuesday night, the nominees for this year’s dining scene categories were announced at the Hamilton.

Old and new Borderstan restaurants, bars, chefs and managers received a handful of nominations — Blue Duck Tavern, Bar Pilar, Birch & Barley/Churchkey and Estadio were among some of the most popular in a variety of categories.

Borderstan’s RAMMY Nominees

  • Blue Duck Tavern (1201 24th Street NW): Borderstan’s Kim Vu visited Blue Duck Tavern and raved about the wood oven roasted bone marrow, seared foie gras and glazed sweetbreads. This border-line “West End” restaurant is clearly favored by a lot of District diners. It was nominated for Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year, Rising Culinary Star of the Year, Pastry Chef of the Year and Manager of the Year.
  • Birch and Barley/Churchkey (1337 14th Street NW): Another favorite among the categories is Birch and Barley/Churchkey. This Logan Circle restaurant and beer haven picked-up nominations for Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year and Beverage/Mixology Program of the Year. In addition, its parent group, Neighborhood Restaurant Group, picked up a nomination for Restaurateur of the Year.
  • Bar Pilar (1833 14th Street NW): Perhaps it’s Bar Pilar’s dim and intimate setting. Or maybe it’s the craft beers, small plates and delicious cocktails. Whatever it is, Bar Pilar is a District staple. It’s nominated for Casual Restaurant of the Year and Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene of the Year.
  • Estadio (1520 14th Street NW): Estadio’s owner is brining a new restaurant to the neighborhood, but Estadio is still raking in the praise from DC’s diners. This 14th Street tapas favorite was nominated for Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year, Chef of the Year and Manager of the Year.
  • Cork Wine Bar (1720 14th Street NW): Nominated for Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year.
  • C. F. Folks (1225 19th Street NW): Nominated for Casual Restaurant of the Year.
  • Nellie’s Sports Bar (900 U Street NW): Nominated for Neighborhood Gathering Place of the Year.
  • Boqueria (1837 M Street NW): Nominated for New Restaurant of the Year.
  • DGS Delicatessen (1317 Connecticut Avenue NW): Nominated for New Restaurant of the Year.
  • Vidalia (1990 M Street NW): Nominated for Pastry Chef of the Year.
  • Jack Rose Dining Saloon (2007 18th St NW): Nominated for Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene of the Year.
  • Black Restaurant Group: Nominated for Manager of the Year.
  • Matchbox Food Group: Nominated for Restaurateur of the Year.

For a full list of the RAMMY nominees, visit the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s website.

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by February 20, 2013 at 8:00 am 0


Le Diplomate soon to open at the corner of 14th and Q Streets NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

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

Fourteenth Street will soon be home to another restaurant, Le Diplomate, set to open in March at 1601 14th Street NW.

The 260-seat French restaurant from Stephen Starr will serve brunch, lunch and dinner and will have patio seating for the promise of warmer days ahead. The menu will focus on classic French cuisine and will include items such as steak frites and poulet roti. Of course, there will also be a selected list of wines and a variety of cocktails.

Stay tuned for more information on the opening date and menu for Le Diplomate.

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by August 30, 2012 at 12:00 pm 1,885 0

From Sarah Lipman. Follow her on Twitter @LipmanSarah or email her at sarah[AT]

Black Restaurant Group chefs/owners Jeff and Barbara Black are throwing a fundraising bash in honor of the first anniversary of their dual 14th Street restaurants, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and Black Jack. The party is Thursday, September 20, from 7 pm to 1:30 am.

"Pearl Dive Oyster Palace"

Pearl Dive  Oyster Palace and Black Jack at 1612 14th Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Pre-sale tickets are priced at $150 and include unlimited fresh seafood (including oysters, of course!) with signature dishes from Pearl Dive’s menu, live music, and an open bar. Proceeds from the event will be donated to Food & Friends on behalf of the Black’s Family Foundation.

Guests will also have their first opportunity to taste two new exclusive Black Restaurant Group oysters, “Old Black Salts” and “Black Pearls”, which are making their public debut that evening. The oysters were created as part of the partnership between the Blacks and Rappahannock River Oyster Company in Chincoteague, Virginia along with Toby Island Oysters in Topping, Virginia.

Get more information about purchasing tickets for the event. Pearl Dive and Black Jack are located at 1612 14th Street NW, between Q and Corcoran Streets.

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by August 15, 2012 at 12:00 pm 4,674 3 Comments

"Great Wall"

Great Wall Szechuan House on 14th Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

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

Anyone who has spent time in the Borderstan area knows that if you want to get good Chinese food, Great Wall Szechuan House on 14th Street NW is the place to go.  And if you have a hankering for some spice in your life, the ma la menu items are a surefire source of happiness.

The owners of Great Wall, Mae Kuang and Yuan Chen, recently renovated the space, giving it a modern update that replaces the former hole-in-the-wall feel the restaurant has long been known as. Their recent renovations replaced the black-and-white floor tiles and drywall with exposed brick walls and floor tiles that resemble stones.

The normal Chinese food options (Kung Pao Chicken and other Americanized dishes) are better than most places in the area. But, you don’t go to Great Wall for just their normal items (unless you are me and cannot get takeout without ordering Crab Rangoon). You go for the heat. You go for the numbing, searing pain of ma la sauce chock full of Chinese peppercorns.

Ma La dishes are famous for their combination of high heat (think: chili peppers) with numbing heat (think: tingly peppercorns) that make your mouth tingle, burn, and crave more.

Favorite Ma La Dishes

The Ma La menu contains many winning dishes. My top three favorite dishes are presented as a F%ck, Chuck, and Marry:

  1. F%ck: Ma La Twice Cooked Pork. Like eating spicy, slow-cooked bacon in a delicious goopy sauce. It’s dirty, raunchy and ready to rock your world.
  2. Chuck: Ma Po Tofu. Don’t get me wrong, the dish is absolutely delicious (and one of my favorites). But it is also everyone’s favorite and one of the most popular dishes on the menu. Don’t be a poser.
  3. Marry: Ma La Kung Pao chicken. Believe me. I’ve ordered this dish probably at least 50 times. It is a keeper and can become your new life partner.

Great Wall Szechuan House: The Details

  • Where Am I Going: 1527 14th Street NW (just south of Q Street)
  • When Am I Going: Open Monday through Thursday from 11 am to 10 pm, and Friday until 10:30 pm. Open Saturday and Sunday at noon. Delivery available for orders over $15.00.
  • Paycheck Pain: Not much. Entrees are around $8 to $11 and come with rice and fortune cookies.
  • Say What?: The new space provides eat-in choices for diners in a relaxed atmosphere.
  • What You’ll Be Eating: Spicy as hell Szechuan-style Chinese food.

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by June 25, 2012 at 10:00 am 2,226 0

From Dan Segal. Email him at dsegalAT] and find him on Twitter @segaldg.

By now, you probably know a lot about Pearl Dive Oyster Palace. It’s got some of the freshest oysters around (Hank’s, we still love you too), it dishes damn-near authentic southern creole food, and it houses one of the coolest bars to drink at in the 14th Street area (its sister bar, Blackjack).

Pearl Dive, Jeff Black, 14th Street NW, Logan Circle, Borderstan

The inside of Pearl Dive Oyster Bar on 14th Street NW. (Borderstan)

So, I won’t try to convince you to go to Pearl Dive by telling you the food is delicious. I won’t try to convince you that the single best hangover dish in DC is a C.E.B.L.T po’boy (Fried catfish, a runny fried egg, crispy Benton’s bacon, lettuce, and tomato, all on toasted bread).

Instead, I present my two tailored meal plans at Pearl Dive: one for those with a sensitive stomach, who may not be able to handle a bowl of gumbo and fried oysters without spending the rest of the night on the bathroom floor, and one for the diner on a budget (I’m talking to you, hill staffers).

Meal A: The Non Gut-Busting, Non Fart-Inducing, Weak Stomach Meal

  • Drink: Fleur 75. Light, fruity, spritzy, and overall a delightful start to a meal. Unlike beer, this won’t leave you bloated and gassy (your significant other will thank you).
  • Appetizer: Local butter lettuce salad. The theme here is non-fried and light fare. Apples, blue cheese, and pecans are a perfect pairing.
  • Entrée: Wood grilled bass. The Blacks (owners of Pearl Dive, Black’s, Addie’s, Black Market, and Black Salt) know how to do seafood right. You can’t go wrong with a grilled piece of fish from any of their restaurants.
  • Dessert: Florida key lime pie. This is a must-have. You will go home satisfied (and feeling fine).

Meal B: The Broke as a Joke, But Still Trying to Eat Out All the Time Meal

Note: Pearl Dive isn’t actually all that expensive. In fact, it’s quite affordable. But let’s just say you got too drunk at the bar, spent $100 on a girl who promptly left with her girlfriends, and then did some retail therapy. I’d go with the following.

  • Drink: Microbew. I suggest Abita Amber Ale for an authentic New Orleans experience. It also pairs really well with greasy, fried foods.
  • Appetizer: Cornmeal-crusted Chesapeake oysters. Only $9 for five oysters full of Andouille sausage and sweet potato hash. Food coma set to commence in t-minus.
  • Entrée: Oyster po’boy. Where y’at? This is the best dish on the menu (IMHO) and the cheapest entrée (only $13). Those two things rarely combine at most restaurants.
  • Dessert: Are you kidding? If you happen to have room for dessert after all of that, get the Brazos River Bottom pecan pie for two. A La Mode, of course.

 Insider Tip: Pearl Dive doesn’t officially accept reservations. However, if you identify yourself as a “Logan Circle resident” exceptions are known to be made.

Pearl Dive Oyster Palace: The Details

Where Am I Going: 1612 14th Street NW (Between Q and Corcoran)

When Am I Going: Dinner: Monday to Sunday, 5 to 11 pm; Brunch: Sunday, 11 am to 3 pm. Lunch: Friday and Saturday only, noon to 3 pm. Happy Hour drink and food specials offered Monday to Friday, 4 to 7 pm.

Paycheck Pain: Appetizers around $8 to $11. Sandwiches priced at about $13. Main entrees cost $19 to $25.

Say What?: The restaurant is small and tables are fairly close together. Expect a wait and very loud atmosphere. Outdoor bar or upstairs at Blackjack are good spots to wait for your table (they will text you when your table is ready).

What You’ll Be Eating: Seafood-centric southern creole food (think New Orleans).

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by June 12, 2012 at 8:00 am 1,570 0

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

The Washington City Paper has posted its list of the area’s most valuable restaurants, and Borderstan’s cuisine is well-represented. Don’t confuse this for a simple “best restaurants” list — rather, it is a diverse survey of the places where your money is best spent.

How do the folks at WCP make such a distinction?

Each food contributor is asked to respond to the question, “What makes your dining experience valuable” in his or her own way, and the results are appropriately diverse: some selections are noted for their ambiance or vibe, while others are featured strictly for their food and/or price point.

Borderstan restaurants offer great options. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Borderstan inclusions are:

  1. Taylor Gourmet
  2. Great Wall Szechuan House
  3. Bar Pilar
  4. Standard
  5. Blind Dog Café
  6. Sundevich
  7. Little Serow
  8. Sushi Taro
  9. Smoke & Barrel
  10. Estadio
  11. Obelisk
  12. Komi (of course)
  13. Brasserie Beck made the list as well, and although it lies beyond the borders of, um, Borderstan, I’m giving it a nod because it’s a personal fave.

Note that five restaurants on the list are on 14th Street and three more are on 17th Street NW. Get eating!

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by April 17, 2012 at 10:00 am 1,690 2 Comments

Kim, Vu, Borderstan, restaurants

Kim Vu’s poster-sized map of restaurants in the Borderstan area. (Kim Vu)

Borderstan welcomes a new food writer to the team, Kim Vu. A DC resident since 2005, he works in international development by day. He also has his own food blog, DC Wrapped Dates. Follow him at@dcwrappeddates or email him at kim[AT]

My roommate and I are notoriously bad at making decisions on where to eat dinner. And for the last seven years or so, we’ve gone through the same process each time. We’ll play the game of seeing who can say, “I made the decision last time” first (no matter who actually did), then we’ll start throwing out things we don’t want (“dude, we ate Chinese last week”), until one of us gets hungry enough to break the Mexican standoff and just goes with the time-tested “let’s walk until we see something.”

This would be fine if the indecision didn’t predominantly end in us scarfing down an embarrassingly large bag of McDoubles and twenty-piece chicken nuggets.

So when we moved with a third friend into a house in Borderstan last year, I set out to make our lives (and heart health) a little bit easier. Needing a project, I decided to make a handmade poster-sized map of the area’s restaurant corridors. Sure, there’s always Google Maps. But it never shows every restaurant, except for when you zoom in to myopic levels, and it probably forgets all of the hole-in-the-wall pizza shops and takeout places.

And what better way to celebrate my arrival in the neighborhood than getting to know its food? My inner 5th Grade art teacher even took over with flashes of interesting albeit difficult-to-implement ideas: “Ooh, all of the restaurant’s should be logos from their business cards! I can fill the residential space with pictures from the neighborhood! This is gonna be great!”

•  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •

“This was a terrible idea,” I say to my other roommate. She gives me a mixed smile, half bemusement, half why-are-you-taking-up-half-the-dining-room-table. “There are just so many.” Sitting there, I realize I have bitten off more than I can chew. In my mind’s eye, I had only imagined 50, maybe 60 stops, but the actual number was in the hundreds. Everyone can rattle off the big ticket restaurants on 17th Street: Komi, Little Serow, Annie’s, Level One… but what about the tucked away Chinese carryout place that my friend Mike swears by? Hell, what about McDonalds?

But perhaps more problematically, I have essentially signed up to map the unmappable; by the time I finish the map, like some sort of food hydra, restaurants will shutter and debut, making my creation instantly passe. Indeed, the moment I finish collecting 14th Street is the weekend Pearl Dive Oyster Palace finally opens. The physical act of walking through all that Borderstan has to offer makes this effort like the scene in Vegas Vacation where Chevy Chase tries to plug all the holes in the dam wall; I literally just can’t keep up.

•  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •

Months have gone by and the map sits on the table, taunting me with its incompleteness. I’ve visited basement bars and Thai restaurants and ice cream shops; one manager at an unnamed lounge actually interrogates me as to why I want their business card. I’m forlornly updating the map when my roommate finds me, and peers over my shoulder at the map. “Oh, hey,” he says, pointing at a spot, “I didn’t know there was a restaurant there.” “Oh yeah, it opened like a couple months ago. It’s got this really cool setup…” And I decide, at that moment, it doesn’t really matter if it remains unfinished. It matters that in the last few months, I’ve walked all over this area I call home, learning all the ins and outs and exploring all the nooks and crannies of Borderstan.

“Screw it,” I say to my roommate, “You want to go to Taylor for a sandwich?”

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by March 27, 2012 at 8:00 am 1,527 0

"Borderstan" "Rammy's 2012"

A plethora of Borderstan-area restaurants picked up 2012 nominations from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. (Luis Gomez Photos)

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] and follow her on Twitter at @frijolita.

Each year the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington names a group of outstanding restaurants, chefs, mixologists, sommeliers, pastry chefs and restaurant staff that have helped develop and advance the DC food scene. Not only are these folks outstanding at what they do, but they are also an integral part of our neighborhood. They help us make memories, create an ambience and environment where friends can gather, families can relax and so much more.

We are incredibly lucky to live in a neighborhood with not just so much wonderful food, but also with so many wonderful people who live and work to make it happen every day. Cheers to this year’s list of nominees for the awards — known as the RAMMYs — and good luck to all when the winners who will be announced this June. Last year four neighborhood restaurants took home RAMMYS in June (see Logan Circle Restaurants Take Home Some 2011 RAMMYs).

The following restaurants from Borderstan were nominated for a 2012 RAMMY:

Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year

  • Birch & Barley

Casual Restaurant of the Year

  • Bar Pilar
  • C.F. Folks
  • Hank’s Oyster Bar and Lounge – DC

Neighborhood Gathering Place of the Year

  • Bistrot Du Coin
  • Café Saint-Ex

New Restaurant of the Year

  • Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

Rising Culinary Star of the Year

  • Justin Bittner – Bar Pilar

Wine Program of the Year 

  • Cork Wine Bar

Beverage/Mixology Program of the Year

  • Neighborhood Restaurant Group

Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene of the Year

  • Black Jack
  • Marvin

Restaurateur of the Year

  • Michael Babin – Neighborhood Restaurant Group
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by March 9, 2012 at 12:25 pm 3,111 2 Comments

Parc, Deux, 14th, Street, French, bistro

Workmen were on site at the northeast corner of 14th and Q Streets NW this morning. (Kevan Marvasti)

Happy Friday, Borderstanis. Here’s a quick update on some items of interest.

Work starts on French Bistro at 14th and Q NW: Workmen are on site this morning at the former laundry location at the northeast corner of 14th and Q Streets NW. A liquor license application was filed in early January by Parc Deux Restaurant Partners, LLC — owners of the popular spot by the same name on Philadelpia’s Rittenhouse Square. However, the name of the new place is still to be determined, according to owner Stephen Starr in a November article in the Washington Business Journal.

U Street Hotel Update: Lydia DePillis at the City Paper‘s Housing Complex blog is brimming with local development news this morning after attending last night’s U Street Neighborhood Association meeting. The big news is that the planned hotel at 13th and U Streets NW (another JBG Cos. project) appears to be finally moving forward, and that an agreement has been reached with the Rite Aid on a temporary location for that store while work is underway.

However, neighbors in the area, particularly on Wallach Place NW (the street just south of that block of U)  have raised objections regarding the height of the planned structure — so there is probably a ways to go before a final plan is developed. Check out a 2009 illustration of the planned hotel development on the U Street Neighborhood website.

Nonstop flights to Los Angeles, San Francisco from Washington National: The Washington Business Journal brings us the good news that you will soon be able to fly nonstop from Washington Reagan National Airport to San Francisco (on United) and Los Angeles (on American). You presently have to schlep to either Dulles or BWI to get a nonstop to either city. Of course, the prices will probably match the convenience of flying out National. Oh, yes, Delta is adding a nonstop from National to Salt Lake City, too. (And thanks to the reader who contacted us noting that Alaska Airlines already has a nonstop to LA from National.)

by February 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm 2,377 1 Comment

"Borderstan" "Standard" "14th Street NW"

More seating planned for Standard BBQ at 14th and S Streets NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Luis Gomez and and Michelle Lancaster. You can follow Gomez on Twitter @LuisGomezPhotos and at One Photograph A DayYou can follow Lancaster and share your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email her at michellel[AT]

Given the weather of late, restaurants that usually keep patio furniture in deep storage until April have kept them out and open. Count Standard back into the patio and outdoor eating game — the BBQ joint reopens on Thursday, March 1. Washington City Paper has a preview of what you can expect this year, and it’s all good stuff.

Your old favorites are still on the menu, and Chef-Owner Tad Curtz plans to include a similar rotating menu of special meats. In 2012, though, special means more than chicken and short ribs; we’re talking lamb shoulder, crispy cheeks and Cornish game hens as possible options. Vegetarians hoping for tofu will be a little salty at his refusal to include it on the menu, but hopefully appeased by his move to put more veg-friendly stuff on the menu as sides. Also on the menu for 2012: the return of those glorious doughnuts, gluten-free beer, wine and cider. It’s so good to have this back open in the ‘hood, and now with a 30-foot table for private parties!

The good news are not only that Standard BBQ is opening March 1 but that it will have more room for at least 30 of us to sit. We spoke to Curtz, as he was measuring the right placement for the seats, which will be located on the S Street side of the restaurant. He told us that they were still waiting for the permit but that it will hopefully be approved for the re-opening date. As for the menu, Curtz said that we will probably find more veggies. Standard BBQ is at the northeast corner of 14th and S Streets NW.

Curtz has also filed for a liquor license application the former Well Built furniture store location at 14th and Q Streets NW for an Italian-themed restaurant.

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by February 17, 2012 at 2:00 pm 1,956 0

"Borderstan""Tortilla Coast", Logan, Circle, Mexican, restaurants, DC

Happy Hour at Tortilla Coast, 15th and P Streets NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

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 [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @frijolita.

Tortilla Coast announced this week they’ll be open for happy hour – margaritas, sangria, two kinds of micheladas, beer and wine are all on special.

The details:

  • Monday-Friday
  • 3:30-6:30 pm
  • at the bar only

I know, you’re asking: what in the world is a michelada? Our dear fashion friend Khelan is in love with these things, and they are pretty darn tasty, I must admit! A michelada is a Mexican beverage made with beer, lime juice, tomato juice (or Clamato), and assorted sauces, spices, and peppers. Basically, it’s a beer bloody mary. Entiendes? Go get one, it’ll definitely make your day better.

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by February 13, 2012 at 10:00 am 3,738 0

"Borderstan""DC Condos""14th Street NW, Mark Kuller, Luis Gomez Photos

Restaurateur Mark Kuller will have a new spot on 14th Street in the residential-retail project under construction between Swann and S Streets NW.(Luis Gomez Photos)

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 [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @frijolita.

The 14th Street corridor just keeps on growing. As it grows up, up and up, smart entrepreneurs and restauranteurs like Mark Kuller snatch it up for their own ventures.

You probably don’t know much about Kuller. You might have heard of his chef/partner in food crime, Haidar Karoum. But  you’ve definitely heard of his master of libations, Adam Bernbach. I’ve never met Kuller myself, but I’ve dined and drank at his restaurants many times — Estadio and Proof — and they are probably among my top 5 favorite places in DC.

Last week we heard news that Kuller, Karoum and Bernbach will be opening another spot on 14th Street NW, this time a restaurant with Southeast Asian-inspired cuisine. We can expect a 40-seat “curated cocktail bar” and a bevy of soups, noodle and skewer dishes sometime in late fall or early winter. The location of the restaurant will occupy the first-floor space of the District Condos project (although the project is now “boutique” with rental units instead of condos) on the 1800 block of 14th Street between S and Swann Streets NW.

“Chef Karoum and I, and the rest of our team, are grateful for the fervor with which our Logan Circle neighbors  have embraced Estadio and are excited to launch our second restaurant on 14 th Street,” Kuller told me via email. “Chef and I share a love for the cuisine of mainland Southeast Asia and we hope to create a unique neighborhood restaurant which showcases, on an affordable and accessible basis, the diverse styles and flavors of this region.”

When opening Estadio, Kuller and team has a keen interest in getting Spanish style, or at least inspired, food right, I have faith that Kuller and his team won’t disappoint with this new venture.

Now. What do I have to do to sell Kuller on opening a legit Mexican food joint? (And we all know how I feel about Mexican food in DC.)

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by February 11, 2012 at 11:00 pm 2,372 0

"Borderstan""Diner Table"

 You’ve still got time to make Valentine’s Day reservations! (Luis Gomez Photos)

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 [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @frijolita.

There’s no time left. Or so it seems. You’ve no plans for Valentine’s Day. No reservations and like writer’s block when you’re on deadline, the best date you can think of is “dinner and a movie.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with dinner and a movie. But you can do better. And you don’t even have to try that hard. I polled the Borderstan contributors about where they’d like to be taken for their ideal Valentine’s Day meal — and as much one would think we’d all pick mainstream spots, there were some truly great off-beat spots that made the list too.

So, just how are these plans of yours going to come together at the last minute? Because honestly, word on the street is that reservations for the night of are all booked up, and this weekend and next aren’t looking great either. Here we go:

  1. Call them now. No really, now!
  2. When they tell you there’s no reservation, hit OpenTable and City Eats just in case.
  3. Consider an off-night. Monday being the best day to start with.
  4. Go early. Way early. You might feel like an AARP member eating dinner at 5:30 pm, but hey, you’re eating dinner.
  5. Screw dinner. Hit the bar and just do cocktails/appetizers. A boozey, long brunch is always fun.  Or how about a coffee/dessert outing after a well thought out dinner at home.

And now, where will you do these things? Coming in at the top of the list, with multiple votes each:

  • Hank’s Oyster Bar
  • Bistro Du Coin
  • Tabbard Inn
  • Thai X-Ing
  • 1905
  • Little Serow
  • Home (no, that’s not a restaurant, that’s your couch)

Still high on the list:

  • Birch & Barley
  • Rice
  • Sette
  • Al Crostino
  • Level One
  • Floriana
  • Veritas

The ones in green? They’re all in the Dupont-Logan-U Street area.

Consider your predicament an opportunity to try somewhere new together. Or take a walk on the wild side and put together a date that doesn’t start at 7 pm! After all, eating good food and spending some ooey gooey time together is the goal.

And remember: If you can’t get into any of these great V-Day date restaurants on Tuesday, they are still great places to take a date — or on any other occasion.

by January 10, 2012 at 11:00 am 1,754 2 Comments

"Borderstan""Skate PArk"

Try skateboarding at the Shaw Skate Park, 11th and Rhode Island NW. (Luis Gomez Photos).

From Maggie Barron. You can reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @maggiebarron.

I haven’t picked a New Year’s resolution yet. Not because I’m so perfect, obviously, but because I haven’t found one that’s the right combination of virtuous and achievable, yet is also fun. For people in the same boat, I decided to come up with a list of five resolutions that are good for you and good for your neighborhood:

1. Go to a neighborhood meeting.

 My first neighborhood meeting was an eye-opener — it made me realize how little I knew the goings-on in my small section of DC. If it’s been a while since you’ve been to one, check out the associations for U Street, LeDroit Park, Logan and Dupont. Don’t forget your Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC – find yours here) and your local Police Service Area (PSA – find yours here). No need to go nuts, but resolve to check out at least one or two this year, and impress your friends with all your insider knowledge. Also, check out these two Borderstan articles on ANCs: What Exactly Do ANCs Do? and ANCs Part 2: What Do Commissioners Do?

2. Try a new restaurant.

It’s easy to get stuck in a restaurant “rut” when your local options include places like Cork, ChurchKey and Estadio. Why branch out? Because we’ve got a ton of new restaurants coming. Two of those restaurants, Boqueria and Herringbone, made Washingtonian’s list of “10 to Look Forward To.” This should be an easy resolution to keep. Remember to keep an eye out for reviews from Borderstan’s team of food writers — get an RSS feed for our Food & Drink section.

3. Move your money.

Do you know what Citibank, Wells Fargo or Bank of America do with the money you deposit? Me neither. By moving your money to a local bank or credit union, you can ensure that your money goes towards investments in local development and small business loans. Banks such as City First Bank of DC may not offer all the online perks of the big players, but many still offer free checking and no ATM fees, along with a sense of doing more for your neighborhood.  Find out more information, and a list of local banks near you, at the Move Your Money project.

4. Use the other side of your brain.

If you, like me, have a typical DC job that’s more analytics than art, start an activity that gets your creative juices flowing. There are Capoeira dance classes on U Street, improv and stand-up classes at DC Improv and drawing and painting classes at the Washington Studio School. If you’re not into a class, channel your inner high-schooler at the skate park on 11th Street and Rhode Island Avenue NW. It doesn’t matter what you choose as long as it’s different from your 9 to 5.

5. Remember to try other neighborhoods.

Last year, I went to New York City more times than I went to Georgetown. We are so lucky to live in a neighborhood that has everything we want, I sometimes forget the other places in DC that can make a short trek worthwhile. That’s why one of my resolutions this year is to leave home and see what’s new around H Street, Eastern Market, Waterfront, Woodley Park and maybe even Georgetown.

Got any other neighborhood resolutions that you’re trying to keep this year? Let us know in the comments.


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