Most Washingtonians can empathize with my biggest pet peeve. It’s a conversation — And it goes something like this:
New person making small talk (not from around here): Where do you live?
New person: Oh, like Northern Virginia? (Then they probably mention something about how swell it would be to live near a mall like Tysons, which — purely a reflex — makes my eyes roll.)
Me: No. Like, DC.
Then comes the look of confusion.
“Oh I didn’t know people actually live in D.C…”
When I moved to the area four years ago, I didn’t know people actually live in DC, either. In fact, I was told that no one stays in DC for long.
“It’s a transient city,” I would hear.
Someone once described DC as a layover for the young, well-educated and eager types who want to “change the world” or “dip their feet in politics” before moving out to the suburbs to get married and make babies.
That was only four years ago. And the sad thing is, that sentiment still stands.
What is even more upsetting, is that I often hear that phrase, “transient city,” repeated by people who live in this city that I call “home,” not “hub.”
It’s time to put an end to that misconception. Because DC is not a transient city. It’s an amazing place to live — and especially now.
DC is a city in which one can find a job, start a business and start a family.
District residents can eat at a new restaurant every week, catch live music at an endless number of venues and watch theatre in the same neighborhood where the country’s political theatre takes place.
Without leaving city limits we can kayak on two rivers, cheer on five professional sports teams, go on a hike, take a bike ride and walk among the nation’s monuments.
DC is rich in history and promises a bright future. It’s creative, it’s vibrant and it’s on the move.
Now, what about that list sounds transient?
In the past, the most “desirable” places to live in the District were often too expensive for those not making millions.
Now, areas formerly viewed as “a little too far from downtown” are attracting younger demographics, along with small and local businesses.
Neighborhoods and communities have always existed in the District. But a sense of community — especially among the young who move here without intentions to stay — is really taking root.
What people used to see as abandoned and disjointed sections of the city are seeing a revival in their playgrounds, their public schools and public works.
It would be naive of me to stand here and say that all of DC is perfect. There are still a lot of problems here. Many neighborhoods in the city need more funding, added jobs, better teachers, access to grocery stores and lower crime rates.
But looking at how much things have shifted in the last several years, I see nothing but hope — and love — for the District.
When I look at this city, I don’t see transient, I don’t see temporary. I see home.
Despite a tropical storm aiming straight for the southern part of the East Coast this weekend, I braved my way down I-95 and took a road trip to Charleston, S.C.
Yes, ma’am — I had plans for sun, paired with Southern cuisine and a side of Seersucker.
Boy, was I disappointed.
What I always remembered as a traditional, southern little city did not live up to my “leave your pinkie out while you sip your tea” and “remember to tie your bow” expectations.
In fact, it was quite the opposite. Charleston has transformed into the capital of cool.
Sure, the Seersucker, manners and bows are still around — and will always be preserved — but on top of all that is a top-notch local food movement, a booming boutique business, a cocktail scene like no other, skateboarders, and, oh yeah, beaches.
The whole trip home I was wanting to turn around and just head right back to Charleston. But since I can’t get back there for a few more months, I’m going to do my best to find a bit of Charleston in DC.
That’s right, I am on a mission to get southern in Borderstan.
Bourbon: One thing they take very seriously in Charleston is bourbon. And thankfully, so does Bourbon on 18th Street. Not only does this place have lots of — well, bourbon — it also serves bowls of tots, fish and chips and grilled BBQ salmon. 14th Street’s Back Whiskey also has you covered in terms of beverage selections and locally sourced small plates.
Locally-Sourced Southern Food: Shrimp and grits, crab cakes, fried green tomatoes, hush puppies — I could keep going. But I’ll stop. Thankfully, there are several places in the area that serve up some great southern food. Next time you have a hankering, try the cornmeal fried oysters and Spoonbread at The Pig.
Chic Boutiques and Local Businesses: Finding chic designs isn’t too difficult in Charleston — and it’s pretty easy to find the same in Borderstan. Classy outfits? Check out Ginger Root Design. Something a little more edgy? Redeem. Home decor? Good Wood.
Greenery and Gardens: One of my favorite parts of Charleston is the courtyard gardens, visible from the streets in downtown Charleston. While the gardens in DC. are not as popular as the ones in Charleston, you can catch some great greenery up and down the side residential streets in Dupont Circle or at Meridian Hill Park.
Surfers: Sorry. Charleston still wins on this one.
‘Tis the season for cookouts. And if you’re looking to bring something other than potato salad — while still trying to stick with the classics — you must try this recipe for the perfect chocolate chip cookies. They’re sweet, they’re gooey… and best of all, they’re salty.
So the next time you get invited to a barbecue or the beach, fill your cooler with a batch of these (and a beer of choice, of course).
Rachel’s Summer Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 2 ¼ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 2 sticks butter
- ¾ cup of granulated sugar
- ¾ cup of brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 bag of bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks of good chocolate, broken into small pieces
- In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter completely.
- Mix the brown sugar and the granulated sugar in with the butter and stir for a minute until chunks are dissolved.
- Then (once cool, please do not add to hot butter), add in the eggs and vanilla and continue to stir. Set aside.
- In a separate dish, combine the flour, the baking soda, the sea salt and mix.
- Add the chocolate chips and coat them with the dry ingredients (this helps to keep them from completely melting in the baking process). Then, combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until fully incorporated.
- Spoon the dough out onto a baking sheet and bake the cookies at 375 for 10-12 minutes (just keep an eye on them and test frequently).
Taylor Gourmet is bringing Steak & Ice to four of its DC locations, for one day at each location, including the Dupont Circle location (1200 19th Street NW) and the 14th Street location (1908 14th Street NW).
Taylor Gourmet co-owner Casey Patten will be at each Taylor Gourmet location on its specific day, making each cheesesteak.
- May 28: Penn Quarter (624 E Street NW)
- May 29: DuPont Circle (1200 19th Street NW)
- May 30: 14th Street (1908 14th Street NW)
- May 31: City Vista (485 K Street NW)
- Starting at 11 am, select Taylor Gourmet locations will serve up Steak & Ice’s Philly cheesesteak goodness.
- There will only be 50 cheesesteaks per location, first come, first serve.
- Menu options include the Original Ribeye Cheesesteak (or chicken breast)
- Wit or Wit Out (with onions or without onions).
- Choice of original whiz, house made white whiz, provolone or American cheese.
- A small Italian water ice is free for each cheesesteak purchase.
Borderstan certainly has options when it comes to an expensive night out. From wining and dining at the latest restaurants, to evenings filled with theatre and live music, Borderstan offers a little bit of everything for a top-shelf experience. Hell, even parking (or a parking ticket) will cost you a chunk of your wallet.
However, just because the price tags on some of the neighborhood’s items are higher than you’d like to pay, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a great night out at a moderate price.
Often, I put myself on a budget of $20 – but that doesn’t stop me from going to some of the area’s best spots. Here’s what $20 will get you in Borderstan.
- Floriana: Crepes with Meyer lemon, housemade ricotta and mission fig glaze AND a glass of pinot noir. Nothing beats Floriana (1602 17th Street NW) for fantastic Italian food in an intimate setting. And the best news: You don’t need a Benjamin to experience it all. My secret is to order a starter and a good glass of wine. That way, you can enjoy a delicious and seasonal taste (and wine!) for under $20.
- 9:30 Club: An evening with Best Coast. The 9:30 Club (815 V Street NW) is one of the best venues on the East Coast to see the nation’s best bands. And thankfully, most tickets are right around (or less than) $20. On June 4, California-based indie band Best Coast is bringing its Los Angeles-inspried rock to (what I like to call) the best coast. Tickets are $20 and include two opening bands.
- Local 16: One personal pizza and three drinks. Local 16 (1602 U Street NW) has one of the best happy hours in the neighborhood – and it lasts until 8 pm, which is arguably the best part. For $20, you can get a pizza (tomato, mozzarella and basil) for $5 and three glasses of wine or three featured cocktails ($5 each), like the mojito.
- Local galleries and The Pig: An evening of art, plus lentil and bacon stew and a cocktail. Exposing yourself to culture doesn’t mean you need to expose your bank account to the negative sign. The best thing about having so many art galleries around is that you can browse various exhibits for free. Check out Contemporary Wing (1412 14th Street NW), Gallery plan b (1530 14th Street NW) and Hamiltonian Gallery (1353 U Street NW) for their latest exhibits. Then, head over to The Pig (1320 14th Street NW) for a Lentil and bacon stew with pomegranate reduction and herbed crème fraiche ($10) and the Wilbur cocktail (redemption rye and pineapple-rosemary syrup for $9.50).
- Black Cat: Titus Andronicus and a beer. On Sunday, May 19, catch favorite band Titus Andronicus at the Black Cat (1811 14th Street NW) for $15 and score a beer before the show for $5. Opening band is So So Glos. Enjoy your night!
- Masa 14: Two appetizers and two cocktails. The happy hour at Masa 14 (1825 14th Street NW) is very friendly toward the $20 budget. For less than $20, you can score two mojitos (or margaritas) and two appetizers (like a crunchy shrimp handroll or marinated portobello pao buns). Everything on the happy hour menu is $4 each.
Of course there are many other $20 combinations in and around the neighborhood. What are some of your favorites?
The deputy mayor for Planning and Economic Development (PED) has selected the developer for Parcel 42 — a plot of land in Shaw at 7th Street NW and Rhode Island Avenue NW, and a rectangular lot at 7th and R Streets.
Several bidders met the qualifications of the previously solicited Request for Expressions of Interest, but PED selected Shaw 42 Developers, LLC, a joint venture between TenSquare and the Chapman Development Group.
The planned development includes a 105-unit residential building with ground floor retail, according to a previous profile from Urban Turf. The development will consist of studio, one-and-two-bedroom units, with room for retail.
ANC 6E-02 Commissioner Kevin Chapple says the proposal from Shaw 42 Developers was most attractive to the city because the group offers the city a 99-year ground lease. This means that after 99 years, the land and the building on Parcel 42 will revert back to the ownership and control of the city government, unless otherwise negotiated.
The fundraiser — which is the third largest for the school– helps Ross buy appropriate and updated books for its classrooms and library.
However, this book sale isn’t like most. Here’s how it works:
- Participants donate $25 to buy a book for the Ross library in honor of a loved one.
- The Ross PTA sends the honoree a letter informing them of the gift in their name. Letters are timed to arrive on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, depending on the request of the buyer.
- Then, the PTA inserts a book-plate inscribed with the donor and honoree’s names in the book purchased.
- Ross students enjoy quality literature for years to come, and loved ones are honored!
Here’s when you can take part in “Buy-a-Book-for-Kids.”
Dates and Places
- Friday, April 26: 8 am to 9 am in front of Ross Elementary; 3 to 4 pm in front of Ross Elementary School, 1730 R Street NW.
- Saturday, April 27: 9 am to 4 pm in front of the 17th Street Safeway, Church and 17th Street NW.
- Sunday, April 28: 9 am to 1 pm at Dupont Farmers Market, Massachusetts Avenue and 20th Street NW.
- Monday, April 29: 8 am to 9 am in front of Ross Elementary; 3 to 4 pm in front of Ross Elementary.
Glen’s Garden Market is opening this weekend, Sunday, April 21 at 20th and S Streets NW. Check out the photos of the interior of the new store.
Sunday may seem odd for an opening day, but owner Danielle Vogel planned to open the hyper-local focused specialty food store in conjunction with Earth Day.
Vogel, a self-described fourth generation grocer, decided to open her own store after several years of working on environmental policy on the Hill. After experiencing frustration with the job — and more specifically frustration with the climate bill — Vogel decided to take the climate’s destiny in her own hands, with a store that minimizes environmentally harmful practices.
What to Expect at Glen’s
Here’s what you can expect to see/taste at Glen’s:
- A bar/beverage area with local draft beers, bottled draft beers, a wide selection of local wines (lots of Virginia wines) and a wine dispensing machine.
- A fully-stocked specialty meat and cheese counter. Think: spicy bison pastrami, beef pastrami and other hand-sliced local meats.
- Locally-sourced chocolates. No need to say more.
- Recycled interiors, such as wood that was used at a cattle fence at one of the locally-sourced farms.
The 5,000-square-foot space focuses on food and drink from the states of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which includes DC, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and New York.
Vogel, who has been working to open the space for two years says she chose the location because she feels the neighborhood will “welcome a concept like ours.”
Glen’s is opening in the former site of a Townhouse Safeway grocery store, which closed in 2010.
ScratchDC — a local company that plans, measures and delivers organic and locally-sourced ingredients for a home cooked meal — is expanding its services to include Georgetown, Glover Park, Arlington and Alexandria starting Monday, April 15.
To celebrate the expansion, scratchDC is throwing a customer appreciation happy hour and celebration in Saturday, April 14, from 4 to 7 pm at Ulah Bistro (1214 U Street NW). The party will include appetizers, hors d’oeuvres and happy hour drink specials. There’s also talk of some free giveaways and other prizes.
For more information on the event, contact Ryan Hansan at hi[AT]scratchDC.com.
Overall, the Dupont Circle neighborhood pulled in a Walk Score of 98, followed by the West End and downtown.
The area’s mix of homes, apartment buildings, restaurants and stores — plus its proximity to downtown offices and buildings — makes Dupont an incredibly convenient and walkable neighborhood.
According to the article, America’s number one walkable city is New York, followed by San Francisco, Boston and Chicago.
If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, then look no further. We have your list of the food, music and cultural events going on in (and around) Borderstan April 5, 6 and 7.
Friday, April 5
- Wilmer Wilson IV: the FOREVER Aftermath: This exhibit at Artisphere focuses on the aftermath of performance art. It runs through June 30 and is free.
- Cherry Blossom Lantern Walk: It’s still Cherry Blossom Festival time, and since the blossoms are not past their peak, it’s not too late to hit up the lantern tour. The walk runs from 8 to 10 pm. For more information, visit the website.
- DC House Showcase at U Street Music Hall: The evening includes Sam Burns, Dimitri Max, AGFA and Smudge. The event is $10 and begins at 10 pm.
Saturday, April 6
- Pearl Dive’s Crawfish Boil: Crawfish, cornbread and Louisiana beer — plus much, much more. Tickets are $65 and are available online.
- The Vagina Monologues: The sixth annual community performance of ” The Vagina Monologues” will take place April 6-7 at the GALA Hispanic Theatre (3333 14th Street NW). Saturday’s performance will take place from 3 to 4:30 pm.
- DC MEET Market: DC’s local vedor market kicks off its season this Saturday from 11 am to 5 pm at 15th and P streets NW.
Sunday, April 7
- A new list of brunch spots: Borderstan recently re-vamped its brunch list to account for all of the great, new places in the neighborhood. Check it out and bottoms up.
- Poetry in Bloom: Learn how to write poetry this Sunday from 5 to 6 pm with a lesson at BloomBars (3222 11th Street NW). The monthly poetry writing group facilitated by local teaching artists.
A few years ago, we polled our contributors to find out where they loved to spend a leisurely Saturday or Sunday morning brunching with friends.
Since then, several more restaurants have joined the neighborhood, so we thought it was time to update the Borderstan Brunch List. Of course there are other great places to brunch in the neighborhood — tell us your favorites!
Oldies, but Goodies
- Cafe Saint-Ex, 1847 14th Street NW. On the menu: Fried Green Tomato and Ham Benedict.
- Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe, 1517 Connecticut Avenue NW. On the menu: Filet ‘Oscar’ & Eggs Benedict, Berry Berry Berry Pancakes.
- Bar Pilar, 1833 14th Street NW. On the menu: Bulls-Eye Toast.
- Commissary, 1443 P Street NW. On the menu: Potato Pancakes w/ Eggs, Smoked Salmon, Sour Cream & Toast.
- Darlington House, 1610 20th Street NW. On the menu: Red Flannel Hash.
- Scion, 2100 P Street NW. On the menu: Bottomless Beermosa. Need we say more?
- Florida Avenue Grill, 1100 Florida Avenue NW. On the menu: World Famous Hot Cakes.
- Maddy’s Taproom, 1100 13th Street NW. On the menu: Huevos Rancheros with Refried Beans.
- Drafting Table, 1529 14th Street NW. On the menu: Sexy Egg Sandwich.
- Matchbox, 1901 14th Street NW. On the menu: Bloody Mary Burger.
- The Pig, 1320 14th Street NW. On the menu: Gruyère & Smoked Ham Waffle.
- DGS Delicatessen, 1317 Connecticut Avenue, NW. On the menu: DGS Pastrami Hash.
- Brixton, 901 U Street NW. On the menu: Indian Papaya Curry
Bier Baron (1523 22nd Street NW) is well-known throughout the area for its impressive collection of beer. But now the Dupont Circle watering hole is adding another accomplishment to its list: live entertainment.
Bier Baron’s entertainment section seats 240 customers and has a stage that can accommodate a variety of acts, such as live music, theater and burlesque.
However, the new venue especially hopes to “fill a gap in DC metro area by offering a priority for local bands,” and the tavern plans to book a variety of musical acts, including americana, acoustic, latino alternative, jazz, blues and rock.
For a list of already scheduled events, visit the Bier Baron website.
Opening this Friday at 1323 Connecticut Avenue NW, GBD will offer doughnuts and Mad Cap coffee in the morning, fried chicken for lunch and and additional appetizers, paired with a bar menu, in the evening. (And since GBD is affiliated with Neighborhood Restaurant Group, you know the bar menu will be stellar.)
- The chocolate filled brioche doughnut (with milk chocolate glaze with Cocoa Krispies)
- The coffee cake doughnut (with spice glaze, oatmeal streusel and vanilla icing)
- The Luther (doughnut buns, fried chicken in the middle, bacon)
- Any of the fried chicken selections
GBD is expected to open on Friday, April 5. See you there.
It’s that time of year again — time to get it (your Marvin Gaye appreciation) on.
On Wednesday, April 3, the African American Music Association (AAMA) will hold its 29th Annual Marvin Gaye Day Celebration at the Howard Theatre (620 T Street NW). The celebration, which began in 1984, honors the life and legacy of Marvin Gaye.
The event begins at 8 pm (doors open at 6 pm) and lasts until 10:30 pm.
Attendees can expect a hand dance presentation, a music tribute to Marvin Gaye, guest speakers, a presentation of the Outstanding Community Service Award to Beverly Lindsay-Johnson (producer of the Emmy Award winning documentary, “Dance Party: The Teenarama Story”) and music from DJ Dr. Nick of WPFW 89.3.
The event also promises “a special cameo appearance by a surprise celebrity artist.” Tickets to the event are $25 and can be purchased on the Howard Theatre’s website.
Gaye was born and raised in DC, living in several different neighborhoods, and attended Cardozo High School at 13th and Clifton Streets NW while growing up in Deanwood.