Is 14th Street becoming THE dining destination in the city? It's appearing that way as the onslaught of restaurants moving into the 14th Street corridor continues.
We made mention a couple of weeks ago that the team from Penn Quarter wine bar "Proof" were looking to set up shop in Logan, and it seems today that the move finally became official, as the "For Lease" sign has come down from the window in their new space, and the ABRA hearing notice has been posted.
"Estadio" will be opening in the space formerly occupied by the Garden District at 14th and Church streets, across the street from soon-to-open wine market "Cork and Fork".
The 125-seat establishment, which will be looking for a late sprint/early summer 2010 opening, will be an upscale restaurant serving Spanish cuisine. Considering that the Proof guys are behind this, it's a safe bet that the wine selection will be top notch as well.
Operating hours are completely non-threatening, with a proposed 1 AM closing time during the week and 1:45 AM on Fridays and Saturdays, so hopefully the VA agreement negotiations with the ANC will go smoothly.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Is 14th Street becoming THE dining destination in the city? It's appearing that way as the onslaught of restaurants moving into the 14th Street corridor continues.
A couple of Halloween tidbits for fellow Logan-ites:
Tomorrow at noon, the 14th and U Farmer's Market will be hosting a Halloween Party, replete with a costume contest for both adults and kids. Prizes for the best costumes will be awarded to the winners, with prizes donated by local businesses Saint Ex, Cork Market, Pulp, Mid City Caffe, Biaggio, and Adventures in Shaw.
Judging the contest will be Amanda from Metrocurean and Diane Gross of Cork. I'll be there, hoping my swine flu costume garners at least an honorable mention.
We frequently receive emails or comments to the effect of: "Do kids trick-or-treat in this neighborhood?" The answer is an unequivocal "yes".
Now, we don't get hordes and hordes of kids as you typically see in the 'burbs, but we do get our share of football players, ballerinas, ghosts and goblins looking for treats. The 14thandyous typically set up shop outside for a couple of hours to pass out candy, however it seems that not many others in the neighborhood do.
Thus, if you want to make some of the neighborhood kids happy, head out to CVS and pick up a few bags of Kit-Kats and Snickers (but no Jujubees or Necco wafers, 'cause they're gross) and spend a couple of hours passing out candy.
14th Street is about to get totally crepe-tastic. In what appears to be a remarkable coincidence, not one but two creperies are set to open up across from each other at the corner of 14th and S streets.
First up, we have Crepes On The Corner (pictured below), the product of a collaboration between Garden District owner Joe Carmack and local executive chef Vincent Bradberry. "Crepes..." will occupy the space formerly held by the Garden District, which has since moved across the street.
They promise "a genuine creperie" that will serve as a "place to get a healthy quick bite for lunch, an after dinner dessert crêpe, and to stop by as the bars close." In addition to crepes, they will serve a selection of homemade soups, salads, and coffee. The outdoor patio section will serve as both a seating area and a garden for fresh produce and herbs. It appears they are gunning for a December opening (although likely NOT for the garden).
Across the street, and flinging sticky gobs of crepe batter at their competition, will be guys at Point Chaud Cafe & Crepes.
Details on the operations of this creperie remain a mystery. All we can tell you at this point is that they're opening in the former Circle Boutique space and have not, as of yet, applied for a liquor license.
Now, all we need is a new wine bar serving small-plate organic crepes, and our dining options will have truly come full circle. (I kid, of course...the 14thandyous are looking forward to soon being able to enjoy some wonderful creperie goodness in the neighborhood.)
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Just a few short, disconnected thoughts that I've had rattling around my head for a while. Take 'em for what they're worth...
Monday, October 26, 2009
If it's almost Halloween, that means more than trick-or-treaters for the residents of Dupont and Logan: it means that it's time once again for that vaunted DC institution, the High Heel Race. the race takes place on the Tuesday before Halloween every year, along 17th Street between R Street and Church.
If you're new to the neighborhood, or simply retreat into your bat cave every October, the race goes a little something like this: starting at 7 PM, the parade begins, featuring floats, dancing, drag queens and excessive amounts of techno and dance music. The festivities lead up to the 9 PM main event, when an assortment of men in drag (and, of course, heels) dash for 0.2 miles down 17th Street. The winner takes home a lovely trophy, as well as bragging rights.
Interested in attending? Well, the crowds get pretty thick (and arrive early). The prime viewing area is around 17th and Church, near JR's and Annie's Steakhouse. Those looking to ensure a prime seat can purchase one of 50 "VIP" seats. In addition to a seat in the prime viewing area near the finish line, ticket holders will also obtain a "Bar Fast Pass" that will get you to the front of the line at several 17th Street establishments the night of the race. Proceeds from the ticket sales will go to benefit the Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets Association.
A collection of photos from past High heel races can be found here and here (which includes a fantastic one of DC Mayor Adrian Fenty). Crowd estimates of past attendance are in the 15,000 range--so get there early, and don't forget your heels.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
It seems that that JJs Cheesesteaks--home of the "World's Greatest Cheesesteaks"--will (finally) officially be opening this Saturday at their location on 14th Street just south of U (in the space formerly occupied by the 14U cafe).
Somehow, I maintain some level of doubt as to whether JJ's can actually deliver on their rather grandiose statement; still, this does appear to be one of those "cheaper, sandwich-focused" offerings that people in the neighborhood are always saying we need more of.
Ustreetgirl has a photo of the interior, including their nice brick countertop.
If you get a chance to stop by and check out the sandwiches that will apparently be the envy of Philadelphians everywhere, do let us know how it is.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Update: Both the Birch and Barley and ChurchKey websites are up and running. Not much info on either of them at the moment. Also, the ChurchKey team is maintaining a blog, where you can learn all sorts of useful information about how to properly serve beer. Mmmmm...beer.
This evening, 14thandyou got a sneak peek at the new beer-centric establishments Birch & Barley and ChurchKey--which we learned will be having a soft opening tomorrow evening.
So, what's the former Dakota Cowgirl space (located near the interseciton of 14th and Rhode Island) looking like? Well, you're looking at the dining room of first floor bistro "Birch and Barley", whose cuisine is being dubbed "rustic Americana." Hey, whatever--so long as it doesn't involve small plates, it's all good.
Chef Kyle Bailey, a New York transplant, will be manning the kitchen, while another ex-New Yorker, Tiffany Macisaac, will be serving as pastry chef. One of her creations--Roasted Apple Beignet served with cinnamon chantilly, golden raisin purée and mulled cider sorbet--sounds just about good enough to eat.
Upstairs at ChurchKey, the focus is on the beer. We got to chat for a bit with beer director Greg Engert, who told us in a very excited fashion about the three chilled coolers where the establishment's 50 (!) on-tap brews will reside. There is the super-chilled 42 degree cooler, for lighter beers, a 48 degree cooler for medium-bodied brews, and a 54 degree cooler for the beers Mrs. 14thandyou might describe as "chewy"--a method that is not used by any other DC beer-serving establishments, Engert told us.
They will offer a pub-style menu as well, but the focus is clearly going to be on the booze--in addition to the aforementioned 50 on-tap beers, ChurchKey will also offer over 500 bottled beers, 5 casks, 60 wines and 40 ciders. Which is good, because there is a very long
55 75' bar from which one can enjoy the libations.
As if further proof were needed, the beer selection is currently residing in the space that will become the lounge--and as you can see, it took up a lot of it.
Curious to find out more for yourself? Stop over tomorrow evening for the un-grand opening. The 14thandyous will be unable to make it, but if you get a chance to go please post comments and let us know what you thought.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Is 14th Street ready for another small plate restaurant? Let's hope so.
After months of construction and a soft opening last week, the latest entry into the 14th Street dining world, Masa 14, officially opened its doors for business yesterday.
Image courtesy of Thrillst.
Masa, as you may recall, is the product of two esteemed DC chefs--Kaz Okochi (of Kaz's Sushi Bistro) and Richard Sandoval (of Penn Quarter's Zengo). Together, they have created a large (5,000 sf) dining establishment and bar/lounge. According to Masa's team, the bar itself--at 65 feet in length--will be one of the largest bars in the DC area.
As for Masa's culinary offerings, the "Asian and Latin small plate" establishment will offer a selection of sushi rolls, and seafood, meat and vegetarian small plate dishes, as well as a small selection of noodle dishes, for enjoyment in their 100 seat dining room. There is also an extensive wine and sake list.
Masa's full menu is available here.
Masa 14 joins an ever lengthening list of establishments along the 14th street corridor serving "small plate" offerings. Now, we've been to pretty much all of them, and have largely found them to be good to excellent. But it does beg the question: how many small plate establishments does one neighborhood need? Sometimes, I'd be thrilled with just a bagel sandwich, rather than pork belly al pastor tacos. But maybe that's just me.
Monday, October 19, 2009
A quick bit of restaurant news to pass along: it seems that the team behind trendy Penn Quarter wine bar Proof are headed to Logan. They are planning to open a Spanish-themed restaurant
called "Prado" that is current unnamed in the space at 14th and S streets formerly occupied by the Garden District (before they moved across the street). No word on how much of a focus wine will be at this new establishment, but if Proof is any indication, it will feature a fine selection.
No opening date has yet been set for the new establishment.
With Cork already firmly entrenched, and the forthcoming Cork Market and Cork and Fork, is 14th Street becoming the city's hangout for oenophiles?
In other restaurant-related news, nothing's official yet, but...we have received a tip that the folks behind the long-awaited Birch & Barley and ChurchKey--the restaurant and beer-themed bistro, respectively--set to move into the former Dakota Cowgirl space are aiming for a soft opening as early as next week. If you've been by the space recently, you see that they're putting the finishing touches on the interior, while staff training is commencing as well.
Anyone who has followed these two establishments knows that there have been several false starts, so any discussions of opening dates should be taken with several grains of salt. However, the opening date does appear to be imminent, and who knows...they might be able to coax a couple more pleasant evenings out of the weather in order to test drive their rooftop deck.
Friday, October 16, 2009
If you're wondering why it's been a bit quiet here over the last week, that would be due to a nasty bout of swine flu that Mr. 14thandyou has been fighting off for the better part of the last week. Whatever the news reports may say about this thing not being as bad as it has been made out to be: they lie. The H1N1 flu is awful; I think this was the sickest I have been since I was in grade school. It's the kind of flu that makes raising a glass of water to your mouth and successfully taking a sip a feat of superhuman strength.
So, take this as a public service announcement: wash your hands, sneeze into your shirtsleeve, and don't stick your tongue on the handrails of the Metro cars. I've sure learned my lesson.
Just received this note from Natalie Avery at MidCity:
MidCity BA President, Kamal Ali wrote today to say that there will be a Memorial Tribute for his father Ben Ali on Friday October 16th at 12 Noon at the Lincoln Theater. He said the Ali and Ben's Chili Bowl family thanks you all for your love and support.
No further details that I could find, so if you're interested in attending...I guess you just show up?
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Sad news this morning, courtesy of the City Paper: Ben Ali, owner of U Street institution Ben's Chili Bowl (as well as the recently opened Ben's Next Door) passed away yesterday evening at the age of 82. According to a statement from the family, Ali died peacefully around 9 PM yesterday evening.
Ben's Chili Bowl, one of the longest continually operated businesses in this area of DC, celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, and also received a visit from President Obama (whose family, along with Bill Cosby, are the only individuals allowed to eat for free at Ben's).
A statement on Ben's website reads: "The Ali Family and all of the Ben's Chili Bowl and Ben's Next Door Family want to thank Ben Ali for leading this legacy and allowing us to follow in his dream. We miss you and love you."
R.I.P. Mr. Ali.
EDIT (10/8/09): NBC4 did a story on yesterday's newscast about the club, which has now been identified as both a "gay sex club" and a "men's social club". ANC2F Chairman Charles Reed has also indicated that he would like to see the operation shut down.
EDIT: Amanda Hess over at the City Paper has more information about the investigation into the man's death.
At this evening's ANC2F meeting, DCPD PSA307 Lt. Vanessa Moore was questioned about the recent death of a man inside the sex club located at 1618 14th Street, and a few new details emerged.
It seems that a 47 year old white male was found at the bottom of a staircase in the building, possibly with a broken neck. Moore indicated that the circumstances of his death, or even the cause of death, remain unclear, and that the police were not yet ready to rule as to whether or not the death was a homicide. Lt. Moore did indicate that the police were looking into allegations of illicit drug use at the club, which is unlicensed and operating as a nonprofit.
Although professing to know next to nothing about the operation or its history, she did indicate that the DCPD was working with DCRA to "shut the club down." At 14thandyou, we question how sincere the District is at looking into the operations of the club. A fire at the club in 2005 raised similar questions about the legality of its operations, although to our knowledge nothing against the club was ever pursued.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Most if not all of you have seen the vendors for StreetSense--"Washington DC's only paper by and for the homeless"--selling their papers on street corners in our neighborhood. StreetSense is one of those institutions in our community who truly do strive to make a difference for the less fortunate out there--and they need your help in order to further their mission.
Tomorrow evening from 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM, StreetSense will be hosting a charity silent auction at the WVSA Arts Connection at 1100 16th Street. Auction items have been donated by numerous business, restaurants and individuals throughout the region and include some really cool stuff (including Caps tickets and a Bethany Beach getaway).
For more information, visit StreetSense's website, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A few weeks ago, I posted a story about the pending departure/closure of local businesses "Green Pets" and "Big Monkey Comics" from their current homes along 14th Street. At the time, owner Linda Welch had indicated that she was exploring relocation options for the businesses, but that nothing had been definitively worked out.
This afternoon, I received a note from Linda that indicated that she was close to relocating both Green Pets and Dogs By Day to larger spaces in the recently completed View 14 building near 14th and Florida Ave. According to Welch, the landlord at View 14 (which was developed in art by Universal Gear owner David Franco) is "very interested" in bringing the businesses north, and that negotiations are currently ongoing.
To anyone--such as the 14thandyous--who rely on Green Pets to provide food and other necessities for their pets/fur children, the fact that Green Pets is likely to remain in the neighborhood is certainly welcome news.
Is the additional 6 blocks a bit much to walk for your organic pet food? No sweat, Welch says. "We'll have pick-up and delivery available for those who think the extra 6 blocks to too far."
ANC2F has their monthly meeting scheduled for tonight, and all looks to be pretty much standard fare for ANC meetings: you have your church parking discussion, your ABRA discussion for a new cafe coming to 14th Street (Cafe Trebant), some assorted DC government reports, and so forth.
However, the most interesting part of the meeting may come from something that is not listed on the agenda. It seems that Washington CityPaper reporter Amanda Hess has been sniffing around the story of the death that occurred over the weekend at the sex club that operates at 1618 14th Street. City officials, it seems, have not exactly been forthcoming regarding the individual's identity, nor the circumstances under which the death occurred. Hess has indicated that she plans to attend this evening's meeting to raise the issue before the ANC--ostensibly, we can only assume, to urge the ANC to launch some sort of inquiry or investigation.
If you're thinking that this property has been in the news before, you would be correct. A few years ago, a fire broke out in an upstairs room of the building, leading to an investigation into the use of the property by the District. The club that runs the sex parties hosted at 1618 is the "DC Wrestling Club," which is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. However, the property is currently zoned residential, and nothing in the property records indicates that it is a staging area for functions conducted by a nonprofit entity.
There are many questions surrounding the property, and likely non of them will be answered tonight. But a good conversation could ensure nonetheless.
The full agenda for this evening's meeting can be found at the ANC2F website.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
At least, it is at the Columbia Heights Target. Spotted this display this afternoon while stopping in to pick up a few things. I love how even Halloween doesn't get any time by itself in the spotlight anymore...
Friday, October 2, 2009
So, you're out and about in our lovely neighborhood this weekend, looking for something to do. Allow us to make a few suggestions:
Go Mama Go is hosting the opening of a photography exhibit entitled "Small, Perfect Worlds," featuring the works of Jennifer Leeman and Bright Side Pictures. The opening will feature a reception with the artists this Friday from 6p - 8p. The exhibit runs through October 31.
DC's own Antonio Parker will be playing this Friday at HR-57. Saturday, Rhythmic Accent takes the stage. If you've never seen Antonio play, you should--he's one of the most talented performers we have in this region.
If you're a college football junkie (as I am - Go Bucks), head over to Nellie's on Saturday where they have more games on than you could possibly watch. For food, I recommend the sliders. Even better: at halftime, you can play a game of Jenga.
On Saturday, head up to Busboys and Poet for a live musical performance featuring Hiram King, Joy Ike, Brooke Annibale and Garret Heath. Conservatives be warned: you probably won't find much to read in their bookstore.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the DC AIDS walk, occurring this Saturday morning on the Mall. Mre details over at Borderstan, or just head over to the official event website.