Thursday, March 29, 2012

Market Today

Don't forget, the Market is back in action on 8th Street as of last week.  We're loving the images FreshFarm Markets is tweeting.  Below, check out the pansies from Anchor Nursery, the condiment cart at soon-to-be-neighbor Red Apron Butchery's hot dog cart, and the asparagus available at the market until 7p today.

Anchor nursery has pansies for your garden at penn quarter ffm! Condiment heaven at frank the cart.  Penn quarter ffm Asparagus at penn quarter! Come early! Penn quarter still jamming

Plan for a Pedestrian Mall

DDOT is shopping a plan to close 10th Street between E and F to vehicular traffic and instead make it a pedestrian mall.

This plan would necessarily relocate the many tour buses that are often idling on that block, and replace them with little tables and chairs and perhaps booth vendors.  We love the idea of a pedestrian mall, providing that traffic is accommodated for (particularly those idling buses).  It could alleviate some of the sidewalk congestion, like this line of school children waiting to get into the Petersen House:

We're told that ANC2C will be addressing the issue at their next meeting, next Wednesday at 6:30p at the Shaw Library, but we don't yet see the item on the agenda.

Giada de Laurentiis at 6th and I

imageA preemptive celebrity sighting: on Saturday at 8pm, Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis will be at Sixth and I Synagogue in conjunction with the release of her new cookbook, Weeknights with Giada: Quick and Simple Recipes to Revamp Dinner.

Giada will be interviewed by Bonnie Benwick, Food Editor of the Washington Post.

Last time Giada was in town, she ate at Mike Isabella's Graffiato, declaring it one of the "best meals in a long time."  No word on where the Italian chef will be eating on Saturday, but keep your eyes peeled (and be sure to tip off your favorite PQ blogsters!).

Fuel Opening Today

Fuel Pizza will open its doors today!
A call to their sister location reveals that they believe the doors will open at 11a.  Online ordering has not yet been set up but we anticipate it in the next few days.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

City in Bloom

Tonight through Sunday, F Street will be aglow in pink for the citywide City in Bloom initiative.  Locally, the Verizon Center, National Building Museum and Newseum will be awash - but so will Reagan and Dulles Airports, and the Reagan International Trade Center building, seen above.

March for Mustaches

You might see a lot of facial hair around the neighborhood on Sunday -- the American Mustache Institute will be leading the Million Mustache March from the Capitol the White House at 2pm as it seeks adoption of the Stimulus to Allow Critical Hair Expenses (the STACHE Act).

The act would provide a $250 annual tax deduction for expenditures on mustache grooming supplies.

While it may be appropriate that the march is occurring on April Fool's Day, the cause it supports is a real one: for each supporter either marching or showing their support at, H&R Block will donate to Millions from One, which provides clean drinking water to people in need.

The march will conclude with a post-march celebration at Cap City Brewing Company (at 11th and H) with a performance by the appropriately mustachioed band, the Flavor Savers.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

TJ Maxx Bumps Opening Back; Starts Hiring

Back in February we let you know that TJ Maxx was on the way to 13th and G, and was scheduling their opening for April 22nd.

Now, the folks at TJ Maxx have let us know that opening day will now be April 25th, and their hours will be 8a-9:30p Monday-Saturday and 11a-8p on Sunday.  We love that the store will be open early on weekdays, for when you need to grab something before heading to work.

Also: they're hiring assistant store managers.  For immediate consideration, email your resume to or fax to (703) 847-2088.

Hill Country at Harris Teeter

Can't get enough of Hill Country's barbecue sauces?  Soon, you'll be able to snag their "If You Gotta Have It" (based on Texas-style-BBQ's tradition of sauceless barbecue, and is peach/vinegar/chipotle based) and the "If You Can Stand It" (habanero based) at Harris Teeter stores throughout the area.

The "If You Gotta Have It" is the only sauce you're able to buy online, and it will run you $8.  We expect a similar price point for supermarket sales.

Hill Country is just one of the local Penn Quarter hotspots that is expanding to grocery distribution: Rasika plans a frozen food line for later this year.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mike Daisey at Woolly Mammoth

Mike Daisey, the man behind the one-man show The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs which played at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company last year, has since had his work retracted by This American Life after it was discovered Daisey may have fabricated much of the story.

The folks at Woolly Mammoth found themselves in a bit of a quandary, as they had plans to run the show again from July 17 - August 5, 2012.  You can read Woolly's honest and cogent appraisal of their situation on their blog, but now you'll have a chance to hear it for yourself -- direct from Woolly and Mike Daisey themselves.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) at 7pm, Daisey will join a public forum at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company "to engage... patrons in a detailed discussion about Woolly's decision to go ahead with the scheduled remount of the production.  Mike Daisey will now join Artistic Director Howard Shalwitz and Managing Director Jeffrey Herrmann to directly address D.C. audiences and answer their questions.  The event is free and open to the public.  Please reserve your tickets with the Box Office in person or on the phone (202-393-3939)."

The Protest Continues

Image from 12:15 - police blocking 7th
No word on when the police department will be reopening the streets closed by the Student Labor Action Project protest.

As of right now, there is still a police vehicle blocking north and southbound traffic on 7th Street.  You can activate the live stream below to keep an eye on it for yourself.

12:45 update: traffic appears to be moving normally again.

Chick-fil-A food truck coming to the District

Food trucks have taken over D.C. and Chick-fil-A has taken over America.  Now the two shall meet. 

After years of hearing stories of people going out of their way to get to Ballston or sneaking into the food hall at George Washington University, Chick-fil-A is finally coming to the District.

Chick-fil-A is coming to D.C. by food truck however, not brick-and-mortar locations, reports MSNBC.

The food trucks will begin offering Chick-fil-A's signature chicken sandwich and waffle fries beginning April 9th.

2 weeks until chicken!

Jaleo's Reopening Pushed Back

Last week we reported that Jaleo would be reopening today.  It looks as though we're getting pushed back to Wednesday, however.  Jose himself just tweeted:
The earliest OpenTable reservation is next Wednesday (and the only time available is 4:30, oddly), if you're looking for a guaranteed table.

7th and Penn Closed by Protest

According to Washington Post columnist John Kelly, 7th and Pennsylvania is closed by the Student Labor Action Project protest.  Check out Kelly's twitpic of the protesters, sitting in the crosswalk, here, and a shot of the protesters at 7th and D from Ben Murray here.

11:15a UPDATE.  MPD has closed off 7th between Pennsylvania and E, and Indiana between 6th and 7th.

Trivia(l) Matters

Question:  Where can you find a good trivia game in Penn Quarter?

Bonus Round:  Tomorrow (Tuesday) the National Portrait Gallery is doing an 80's Trivia Night.  6:30pm.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cherry Blossoms

Looking for a cherry blossom themed activity away from the Tidal Basin?

Head over to the National Building Museum this weekend for some family fun.  From 10a - 4:30p on Saturday and from 11a - 3:30p on Sunday, there will be tons of hands-on activities (make kokeshi dolls, construct origami teahouses, color at the Peter Max art station) and performances (Nen Daiko taiko drummers, the Washington Ballet, pianist Motoki Hirai, and others) to honor the 100-year anniversary of the gift of trees. Snoopy and the Lorax will be on hand to greet the kids, while you can watch the USPS issue the Cherry Blossom Centennial Forever stamps.  

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Rasika to be Renamed

In conjunction with Rasika West End opening next week, we're hearing that the original Rasika will be renamed Rasika Penn Quarter.  We haven't seen any signage changes yet - we imagine residents of the Lafayette will be the first to know, so feel free to drop us a hint or send us a picture if and when that happens.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Market Reopens Tomorrow

Tomorrow looks like perfect weather to get outside and enjoy the neighborhood - and we have just the ticket for you:

Also, for the first time, the Market will be accepting SNAP (EBT/Food Stamps) and will also be offering $15 worth of matching dollars to be used towards any SNAP eligible foods.   

Jaleo's Reopening

It's been just over a month since Jaleo closed, and we know many of you have been in sangria withdrawal.  Fear not: Jaleo reopens next Monday, March 26th.  It has not yet returned to OpenTable so you may just have to press your luck for a table.

The new bar area under construction on March 8th.
Also: if you're missing Jaleo's gazpacho, even more good news for lunch today: Pepe the Food Truck will be serving it up just outside of Jaleo today.

Odds and Ends from the Quarter

Penn Quarter painting available on eBay
  • The Huffington Post sources us on their story about Wagamama, which aptly compares waiting for noodles to Waiting for Godot.  The reporter spoke to Jaleo's foreman who "knows a guy" who spoke to the folks at Wagamama.  According to him, it's "real soon... it won't be long."  Meanwhile, Bisnow has a report from JT O'Neill Company, the real estate brokerage bringing Wagamama to DC.  "Fall," we're told, and we should blame the poor economy abroad for the delay.
  • Rasika's sister restaurant, Rasika West End, opens next week, on March 30th.  We're hoping this means Ashok Bajaj can now turn his attention to the frozen food line he has plans to release this year
  • In other news about Penn Quarter establishments expanding elsewhere, Luke's Lobsters will be opening on Bethesda Row in May.   

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bikeshare on the Mall

Just in time for cherry blossom season, Capital Bikeshare has opened two new locations right on the Mall.
One is at Ohio Drive and West Basin drive, SW, near the MLK Jr Memorial; the other is on Jefferson Drive between 14th and 15th Streets, SW, close to the Washington Monument (the new locations are noted above with the yellow Bikeshare logos)."We are delighted to offer Capital Bikeshare to our residents and visitors as they traverse the historic landmarks and monuments on the National Mall," said Mayor Vincent Gray.  "We strongly believe that a Capital Bikeshare presence on the Mall will promote greater use of bicycling and other sustainable transportation options throughout the five week festival and beyond."

Three more locations are planned for the Mall in the near future, though their exact location has not yet been announced yet.

Video Games as Art

This weekend, The Art of Video Games opens - an exhibit at the American Art Museum at 8th and F.

"The Art of Video Games is one of the first exhibitions to explore the forty-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium, with a focus on striking visual effects and the creative use of new technologies.  It features some of the most influential artists and designers during five eras of game technology, from early pioneers to contemporary designers.  The exhibition focuses on the interplay of graphics, technology and storytelling through some of the best games for twenty gaming systems ranging from the Atari VCS to the Playstation 3."

This weekend, the exhibit gets kicked off with GameFest!, a three day festival with open play, craft activities, live action gaming, and musical performances all day tomorrow and Sunday.  Here's the full schedule.

Oh, and to answer why there will be so many Mortal Kombat characters running around downtown this weekend (and why you should be one of them): costumes are encouraged.

This Weekend

No plans this weekend?  Here are some suggestions from a few of us here at PQ Insider...

  • Root for Georgetown!  March Madness is upon us, and Georgetown plays today at 3:10, and hopefully again tomorrow (time hasn't been released yet).  We compiled this list of local sports bars awhile back, and each of them would be great to watch the game.  Looks like the official Georgetown bar is Blackfinn at 16th and I, however.  
  • Cheer on the runners.  The Rock n' Roll marathon (and half marathon) is tomorrow.  Here's the route (important for enthusiasts and for drivers trying to get in/out/around the city tomorrow, also).  If you set up shop at 7th and Constitution, you'll see runners at mile 3 and then they'll be doubling back for mile 15 there as well.  
  • Enjoy the weather!  Your rooftop pools may not be open yet, but you've got nearly two miles of National Mall for your backyard.  Our favorite nook: Bartholdi Park

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Don't Test Your Luck of the Irish

As they've done in the past, AT&T and the Washington Regional Alcohol Program have partnered to offer free cab rides home (up to $30) to those 21 and up between Saturday at 10pm and Sunday at 6am.

We've given you lots of ideas for a fun night - and now you won't have to worry about your cab costs that night either.

AT&T customers can call #TAXI; others should dial (800) 200-TAXI.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Found Ring

Did you lose a diamond ring?  If so, you've got a friend on Craigslist who's found it.  The post says it was lost on D Street.

Downtown Shopping

According to the Washington DC Economic Partnership, we can expect 675,000 square feet of shopping in downtown by the fall of 2013, and 1.1 million square feet by the spring of 2018.

In short, the few square blocks pictured below will have the same amount of shopping area as Pentagon City Mall (821,024 square feet) and The Shops at Wisconsin Place (305,000 square feet) put together.

According to the report, this kind of square footage positions Penn Quarter and downtown in general to be the primary shopping destination for the entire region.  Bring on the sales!

Pi Day!

If you remember your days in middle and high school, you remember today is Pi Day - March 14th - or 3.14... Appropriately, the District of Pi is celebrating:
  • Buy one pizza, get the second one for $3.14;
  • $3.14 Pi Common drafts all day;
  • A Pi memorization contest at 6pm - prizes awarded for reciting 50 or more digits; $100 Pi gift card for the winner; and
  • 50 free pizzas, claimed through Pi's Twitter account (and with award service Sqwid.)
Go ahead, embrace your inner nerd (it's OK - the First Family did it on Monday).

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Fado reminds you: can't drink all day if you don't start in the morning.
As St. Patrick's Day approaches, so might your craving for some Irish delicacies and ... adult beverages.  Penn Quarter has a wealth of resources for you:

  • The Dubliner.  Corned beef and cabbage will run you $14.95, but their entire menu is a tribute to Irish cuisine.  Sure to be a hot spot on St. Patrick's Day.
  • Like The Dubliner, Fado will be crazy on St. Patrick's Day.  Consider heading over early for their corned beef and cabbage ($13.95), or even their corned beef rolls ($7.95) -- but keep in mind that the $10 cover starts bright and early at 8am.
  • Againn is Gaelic for "with us," and they've got house-made corned beef on their menu also.  They're charging $10 at the door starting when they open at noon, or you can pony up more (think $100 for a 2 person booth; $200 for a 4 person booth, etc.) for seating.
  • Irish Channel Pub has corned beef & cabbage on the menu all year round, and for what it's worth, we think it's among the most underrated bar food in Penn Quarter.  Will be busy, but as of writing, no cover charge had been announced.
  • You may not think "Irish" when you think Capitol City Brewing Company, but on St. Patrick's Day they'll be serving up corned beef & cabbage, other traditional Irish fare and their signature Irish beers.  No cover, and beers are $4 all day long. 
  • Looking for something a bit more civil?  Poste has a plethora of options for St. Paddy's Day - corned beef and cabbage and Irish soda bread among them.
  • Just looking for a corned beef sammie?  Try Jack's - well-known for its corned beef.  

Celebrity Sighting

Several reports say that the First Lady was back in Penn Quarter last night, dining at Pi Pizzeria.  Mrs. Obama was spotted squirreled away in a back corner with her two daughters.

Frankly, we're surprised it's taken the Obamas this long to attend - the Chicago-bred Presidential family caused quite an uproar by declaring this St. Louis-based eatery their favorite pizza - going so far as to invite the owners to the White House.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Your Favorite Chef...

According to a survey at Food & Wine, the most talented up-and-coming chef in the Mid-Atlantic lives and works right here in Penn Quarter: Mike Isabella.  He beat out the others "because he's translating the simple Italian-American flavors of his childhood into a refined, well-edited Mediterranean menu."  Many of his competitors were in Philly, Pittsburgh, and Virginia, but locally, he beat out Nicholas Stefanelli at Bibiana and Karen Nicolas at Equinox.

You can check out the full field of Food & Wine competitors here.

Clown Around Downtown

Specials via Venga
Penn Quarter is celebrating the arrival of the circus (and the elephants, which will be traipsing through town and to the Verizon Center) tomorrow.  The Downtown DC BID has a great list of participating restaurants, each of which will be running specials from 5-7:30pm before the Pachyderm Parade.  Some will even be giving out red noses, glow necklaces, and other fun items to wear during the parade.

Friday, March 9, 2012

News from Wagamama!

About a week ago, we mentioned that we had been emailing Wagamama representatives to no avail.  Well, fine residents of Penn Quarter, we finally heard back.  

According to Ingrid Williamson, Wagamama's Director of Marketing, Wagamama is "waiting to get confirmation from [its] landlords and property development on an exact date to when [they] will be opening."  She promised that as soon as they have it, they'll let us know, and she is hoping for a press release "in the next couple weeks."

We're heartened by the idea of a press release, but we have to believe this is just the latest in a series of stall tactics from a restaurant that's been tied to the space since Olsson's Bookstore closed in 2008.  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Farmer's Market Reopening

According to the lovely folks at FreshFarm Markets, the Penn Quarter market will be reopening on Thursday, March 22nd.  They will maintain their normal hours from 3p-7p, but they promise some exciting new farmers and producers this year, like Gordy's Pickle Jar among many others.  We've also confirmed that Red Apron Butchery, which will be making a permanent home just around the corner will be in attendance again this year.  Bring on Spring!

White Powder Envelopes Continue

For the third time this week, authorities have been dispatched to a Penn Quarter restaurant to review a suspicious powder.

As we speak, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Defense Sciences Office, and the Explosive Ordinance Disposal is at Bibiana (12th and H) responding to a report of an envelope containing white powder.  These packages have been discovered in many area of the United States recently, and each has been declared harmless, but we are glad to see the response efforts move so quickly.  For now, avoid the area - H Street is closed between 11th and 13th.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Elephants on Parade

The Ringling Brothers Circus is on its way, which means one thing: the annual parade of elephants to Penn Quarter.

This year's theme is "Fully Charged," and to prove it, the Ringling Brothers will be lighting up their route and holding the parade at night on Tuesday, March 13th.  The elephants are expected to start in SE at 8p, make a stop just in front of the Capitol on 3rd street for pictures, and then continue on to the Verizon Center.

What time the elephants arrive here in Penn Quarter is, frankly, up to the elephants, but you can call the Parade Hotline at 866-683-3670 or follow @DCElephantWalk on twitter for updates.

View 2012 DC Elephant Walk Route in a larger map

Neighborhood Deal

We like this deal because for many of our readers, it's across the street or in their building.
$16 on GroupOn today gets you a bottle of Flyte vodka from Central Liquors.

Bottoms up!

Suspicious Packages

White PowderThe last few days have brought a lot of police activity to Penn Quarter.  On Tuesday, a suspicious package was reported on F Street between 9th and 10th.  Just yesterday, police were summoned to Pennsylvania Avenue for the same.

A report from NBC4 reveals that both incidents were due to findings of suspicious powder.  Tuesday's was a letter with an unknown substance that had been delivered to Amorini Panini.  It was taken to the lab for further analysis, while HazMat ensured the block was safe and that no one was sick or injured by the powder.  Other white powder letters have been discovered in Texas, New York, Rhode Island and Massachusetts - tests have revealed nothing harmful, however.

Yesterday, the FBI responded to suspicious powder at Aria Pizzeria & Bar.  Tests revealed that the powder was not hazardous, and no one was hospitalized, but we have to imagine that Aria is still on edge after it was revealed that it was the potential target of a terror attack about a month ago.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Another Suspicious Package

After yesterday's suspicious package on F Street, it looks like yet another incident at Metro Center has large chunks of Penn Quarter closed off.

Per the DC Police Department:

It's unclear if those are separate incidents.

and per WMATA:

A map of the closures:

5p UPDATE:  All Metro Center entrances are open.

6:10p UPDATE:  Suspicious packages have been cleared; all roads are reopened.

This Week in Food

A lot to celebrate this week - 

In honor of National Meatball Day (March 9th), Carmine's is giving away one order of meatballs to each table of six or more, now through Sunday.  No word on if Meatballs is having any specials for the "holiday," but it seems they should, eh?

Image for Tequila & Mezcal Festival, Mar 5-18
Just down the block, Oyamel is celebrating tequila and mezcal - and if you stop by weekdays this week or next from 4-6, you'll get complimentary tastings (this week you'll get mezcal, next week tequila).  There are also tasting dinners ($90 exclusive of tax and tip) where mezcal and tequila representatives will be on hand.  You can check out the schedule here.