Monday, April 30, 2012

Local Vine Cellar Opening This Week

A quick drop by Local Vine Cellar (11th between Pennsylvania and E) showed that things were up and running, and a note in the window apologized for their delayed opening (for what it's worth, they'll miss their April 2012 target by only a few short days).  They'll be open "later this week."

The place looks great - we can't wait to stop by for a tasting!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gwyneth Paltrow "Goops" PQ

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow evidently has been sneaking around (without so much as a sighting!) Penn Quarter recently - praising it as one of "DC's most happening neighborhoods."  In her blog GOOP, she reviews Central, Jaleo, Minibar, Columbia Room, and the Hotel Monaco.  Check out what Ms. Paltrow has to say about us.

Market Market Market!

Soupergirl LogoIt's a little chilly and gray now, but fear not: we're due to hit almost 70 this afternoon and there's only a 10% chance of rain.  Either way, we think it's a great day for soup, and Soupergirl will be on hand with curried lentil and gingered sweet potato soups to chase the gray away.  As always, you can head down starting at 3p.

Red Apron is bringing Frank the Cart; their full list of available meats is on their Facebook page.

Finally, Ramon Martinez from Jaleo will be doing the chef demonstration today at four.  We're hearing he's preparing grilled asparagus.

Dining Out for Life

Haven't had time for lunch yet?  Good: we have some suggestions.

Locally, Mehak, Ella's, Poste, and Tosca are participating in Dining Out for Life, an initiative that donates proceeds to Food & Friends.  Just by eating there, you'll ensure that thousands of children and adults facing HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-challenging illnesses receive the daily, nutritious meals so vital to their care.

Kudos to Tosca, which is donating 100% of lunch proceeds today.  The other restaurants are participating at a 25% level.  And - if you've already eaten lunch - Ella's is participating at dinner tonight, too.

Street Work at 11th and F

DDOT is out in the neighborhood today investigating those pesky (and car-jarring) metal plates at 11th and F.  The plates are there because the roadway was giving away, but now, several agencies have assembled to investigate the root cause of the damage.  We're curious to see what they'll find...


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Supporting the Caps

This is it: a "best of one" series tonight for the Caps.  After tonight's game, only the Caps or the Bruins will be moving on.

To support the home team, Caps fan-blog Brooks Laichyear has suggested boycotting Boston-based products today.  Here's the problem: in our neighborhood, we're practically a mini-Beantown.  Brooks Laichyear wants Caps fans to avoid Dunkin Donuts and Staples.  DCist has pointed out that Au Bon Pain and Legal Seafoods are all Boston-immigrants.  All here in Penn Quarter.

While we certainly don't support a boycott of any Penn Quarter establishments, if you're a Caps fan, try showing your support for some independent establishments before puck drop at 7:30p.  Sure, forego the Sam Adams tonight, and instead try DC Brau's Penn Quarter Porter.  

Go Caps!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Metrobus driver diagnosed with meningitis

WMATA  has removed a bus driver who has been diagnosed with meningitis.  The bus driver apparently drove several routes while he had the highly contagious disease.

He drove a Route 52 and 54 bus, which has been removed from service to be thoroughly sanitized.

Last Friday, he drove the following routes, according to DCist:
  • Route 52, from 14th and Buchanan Street N.W. to L'Enfant Plaza at 7:13 a.n.
  • Route 54, from L'Enfant Plaza to 14th Street and Colorado Avenue N.W. at 8:03 a.m.
  • Route 52, from 14th Street and Colorado Ave N.W. to L'Enfant Plaza at 9:00 a.m.
If you were on any of those routes, watch for symptoms which include nausea, vomiting, altered mental states, and sensitivity to light.  Infants and young children may have trouble waking up or seem irritable while adults may have severe headaches and loss of appetite.

Sticky Streets

Last week, Nightly News ran a light piece with native Washingtonian Luke Russert interviewing the Gum Busters, an outfit that removes the gum spots from sidewalks.  The spot was filmed entirely in Penn Quarter - so we were (very thankfully) the beneficiaries of the news story.  Check it out, see if you recognize your shoes walking by...

Sunday Booze Buying

Mayor Gray's proposal to keep bars open until 3a on weekdays and 4a on weekends has been met with some opposition - but now there's a compromise on the table: keep the hours the same, but allow Sunday liquor sales.  The idea comes from Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) and would generate an estimated $710,000 in sales tax revenue for the city.  Notably, this pales in comparison to the estimated 3.2 million the city would get by keeping bars open until 4a, which in turn is dwarfed by the city's 2013 172 million dollar deficit.

"sun closed" could change
This would be in conjunction with the new allowance to start boozy-brunches at 8a.  Cheers!

Donate Your Used Electronics Tomorrow

Metro is hosting a system-wide collection day tomorrow for the electronics that are collecting dust in your apartment: bring your used cell phones, digital cameras, iPods, laptops, etc. to the Gallery Place/Chinatown metro stop so that George Washington University's GW+Phones=Hope campaign can recycle them to fund maternal and child health mobile technology projects in Mali, Malawi, and Nepal.

Volunteers will be on hand at fifteen different metro stations from 7a to 9:30a.

You can check out the project's video here:

TJ Maxx Opens Tomorrow

We're only one day away from filling the void that Filene's Basement left when it closed a few months ago:  TJ Maxx has its grand opening tomorrow.

Expect a big to-do: this is TJ Maxx's 1000th store.  Doors open at 8am and the celebration goes through to 9:30pm.

TJ Maxx has provided us with this sneak peek.  Nice to see some high-end designers have made their way to us!

City Center's New Online Presence

Last night CityCenter DC had its residential advisory committee meeting, where they kicked off a new online presence.  Not a ton of new information, but we liked this map that lays out their intent for the retail space.
The website promises more information shortly.

Now... we wonder which of those blocks is being slated for Eataly...

Monday, April 23, 2012

National Picnic Day

It seems that someone forgot to notify the weather gods that today was National Picnic Day.  Normally we'd suggest heading to the Sculpture Gallery and camping out there for a lovely lunch, but given the chill in the air, how about an indoor picnic at Kogod Courtyard?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Today at the Market

Another Thursday, another day at the market.

Today we recommend sorrel from Evensong Farm, purple asparagus from Black Rock Orchard, Earthquake cheese (a Piedmont base with cracked pepper and vegetable ash) from Everona Dairy, and truffle or bacon dogs from Red Apron Butchery (we could not be any more thrilled that they're moving in soon!).

Also of note: the folks at Cedar have made a habit of collecting delicious looking things from the market and getting them straight to your table.  Make your reservations, people.  Cedar continues to be one of the most underrated restaurants here in the 'Quarter.

Wizards Special

Washington WizardsWell, it's no thirty cent ticket, but LivingSocial is running a deal today: you get a ticket to the Wizards game and a t-shirt for just $20.  The game is on April 23rd and against the Charlotte Bobcats, which means the home team actually has a shot of winning...

Leica Camera Store Opens

Leica Camera Store marked its opening last weekend, making it Leica's very first retail outlet in North America.

The official opening will be May 2nd and 3rd, and the store will have a gallery set up with photos taken by Leica cameras.  Photojournalist Peter Turnley's work will be on display - and he'll be on hand May 2nd at 7p for a lecture series.

If you're looking to stop by, their hours are Saturday - Wednesday 11a-6p; Thursday & Friday: 11a-7p.  One commenter has already pointed out how early that is, particularly in our neighborhood.  Private appointments can be scheduled for weekdays between 10a and 11a.

You can also check out their two day street photography course May 18th and 19th.

Lululemon's Trunk Show at Bar Method

Lululemon, the workout gear brand that "turned fitness into a spectator sport," will be stopping by Bar Method this Saturday, April 21st, from 10a to noon for a trunk show.

While you're there, sign up for Saturday's free class at 4p (class will be held by a (very capable) teacher-in-training, hence the 100% discount).

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tax Day celebrations

Many of us in the District had Emancipation Day off, but we are back at work today and--worse--it's Tax Day.

But fear not - there is plenty of reason to celebrate not having to pay taxes for another whole year.

McCormick and Schmick's is extending their very popular happy hour hours from 3:30 until 11:00 p.m., where you can get some cheap eats and plenty of drinks.

Let us know by email or in the comments section if you know of other Tax Day specials in Penn Quarter.

J. Crew confirms August opening

We reported a couple weeks ago that J.Crew is coming to Penn Quarter and would likely open in August.

The signs are now up in the windows at 950 F Street confirming that the 8,625 square-foot store will be opening in August, adding to Penn Quarter's ever-growing shopping scene:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The beach comes to you

The summertime in D.C. is fun and the outside areas at all our of neighborhood restaurants tend to fill up quickly.  If only we all had enough time to get to the beach every weekend.

Now, just when we thought our neighborhood had just about everything, the beach is coming to us.

Warehouse Theatre will soon
have a new neighbor
Tom Brown the owner of Passenger is opening an outdoor bar next to the Warehouse Theatre at 7th and New York Avenue.  He is bringing in 80 tons of sand to fill the space in an effort to bring the beach to you.

You can bury your feet in the sand, listen to the beach music, and have a rum punch or some other fruity cocktail that is more acceptable at the beach than at most Penn Quarter bars.

Brown will bring in trailer bathrooms along with plenty of beach chairs, umbrellas, and picnic tables.  Food will be served from food trucks surrounding the 5,500 square-foot "bar."

New York Avenue Beach Bar is expected to open by Memorial Day.  See you there!

Market Today

Thursday already?  Yup - which means you should head over to the market.  Today we know they have Black Rock's purple asparagus, morels, and Garner's strawberries.  You have until 7p!

LivingSocial's Offices

It seems almost a monthly occurrence that we're writing about LivingSocial's new office spaces (and their transformation of Penn Quarter into "Silicon Hill").  Here we are again: the daily deals outfit has moved into its sixth space here in our neighborhood: this one at the corner of 7th and New York Ave.

LivingSocial has 956 employees in and around Penn Quarter, and they expect about 1,850 by 2016.

Interestingly enough, the Douglas Development building proposal for 650 New York Avenue has the LivingSocial emblazoned on its side.  Douglas has been tight-lipped about whether Living Social is considering consolidating into that building, but you'll recall that Living Social was reportedly looking for 350,000 square feet of office space here in the District.  The consolidation sure looks like that's in the works for this 380,000 square foot office building:

Free Beer at 901 Tonight

901 will hold a grand opening of their new patio tonight, and you'll get one free beer just by showing up, and another for liking them on Facebook.  The revelry starts at 5p.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

International Film Festival

Filmfest DC, Washington's international film festival, kicks off tomorrow April 12th and runs through the 22nd.

The festival is largely centered here in Penn Quarter - you can grab movies at the Goethe-Institut, Landmark E Street, the Naval Heritage Center, and Regal Gallery Place (as well as at Avalon Theater in Friendship Heights).

The festival has three themes this year: The Lighter Side, a series of international comedies; Caribbean Journeys, new films from Jamaica, Cuba, Trinidad & Tobago, the Dominican Republic and more; and Justice Matters, a series exploring issues of social justice.

Tickets are available online and onsite.  You can also grab bulk discounts (10 tickets for $80, a $110 value) or a weekday package (4 tickets for $33, a $4 value, valid for screenings Monday through Thursday).

You can see the preview here:

Chinatown's Gritty History

Modern-day Chinatown
A lot of ink has been spilled on the state of DC's Chinatown: mostly about how gentrification will affect the future of the neighborhood.

But as for its history, we'll bet you didn't know Chinatown was actually centered at 3rd and Pennsylvania in the early part of the 20th century (where the Canadian embassy now stands).  Or that the Washington Post reported that Chinese gunmen were "more daring and cunning than the American gangster and racketeer," leaving "in the wake of their bloody activities a record so weird and tinged with the deep rooted mystery characteristic of the Oriental as to be almost unbelievable" back in 1929.

Ghosts of DC has turned up a lot of this history in their Washington's Chinese Mafia Wars post.  While you're there, also check out their post on a hold up at an opium den in Chinatown in 1909.

Hank's Oyster Bar to (the Hill... sorry!)

UPDATE:  This post originally had the Hank's Oyster location as 633 Pennsylvania NW.  Sadly, our source was mistaken - the location is 633 Pennsylvania SE.  

A third outpost of the popular Hank's Oyster Bar will be opening in June (soon!) on the hill.  The restaurant calls itself "urban beach food."

It joins the Dupont and Alexandria locations - you can check out their menus here.  We hope they get the Dupont location's late night half-price raw bar (from 10p-12a).

Even better news - renowned chef Jamie Leeds will be joined by Gina Chersevani - the mixtress formerly of PS7's and probably best known for her creation of the "cuptail."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Woolly Mammoth's Pay-What-You-Can

Head down - right NOW - to the Woolly Mammoth Theatre to "pay what you can" for tonight's showing of Arias with a Twist.  The line is already up past Pitango Gelato!

Scoutmob is there with mustache giveaways for those in line.  Recognize this mustachioed celeb-chef?

Chick-Fil-A Truck Pushes Roll Out Back

Well, yesterday was to have been the day our peanut-oil-fried-chicken dreams would be fulfilled.  And yet: no Chick-Fil-A truck hit the streets.

NBC4 reports it'll be about two more weeks - that their truck was too big to fit into a parking space and had to be reconfigured.

Even more of a let down: the truck won't have waffle fries, sweet tea, or lemonade.  Chick-Fil-A staples, people!  Once street legal, you WILL be able to get sandwiches, nuggets, salads, and brownies, however.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Downtown Neighborhood Association Meeting

Tomorrow (Tuesday's) Downtown Neighborhood Association meeting is a "must-attend for residents and others who work downtown," according to the notice.  They'll be meet at Calvary Baptist Church from 6:30-8p.

Eulois Cleckly from DDOT is on the agenda, to discuss the potential pedestrian mall on 10th between E and F.  "This concept has support and opposition in the community, the latter for the traffic obstructions in an already congested downtown.  Mr. Cleckley will discuss the proposal, field questions from the community and talk about possible workarounds."

Paul Millstein from Douglas Development will discuss the building at 7th and H (soon-to-be home to Walgreen's, Yo! Sushi, and Panera Bread).  According to Urban Turf, at the ANC2C meeting last week, he discussed how the Walgreen's will have an on-site doctor, fresh food, a coffee shop, a bakery, and even a nail salon.  He'll also discuss the office building slated for 7th St and New York Avenue.

Of course, crime and other neighborhood issues will be on the docket as well.

Late Night Movies

If the Hamilton's decision to close overnight has left you wanting plans for the wee hours of the morning, fear not: E Street Cinema released its Midnight Madness schedule for the Spring:

Tickets are already on sale.

National Mall Redesign

We've been reporting on the National Mall's redesign competition (which goes much further than the rehabbing they are currently undertaking), and now the country's top design firms' plans have been released to the public.

There are four designs each for Constitution Gardens, Sylvan Theater at the Washington Monument, and Union Square -- and all of them show an incredibly bright future for the National Mall.  Some additions we may be seeing - a glass enclosed restaurant on the mall; an ice-skating rink; a grass-covered "hood" for amphitheater seating above and touring below.

Below are just a smattering of the plans -- head to the website and provide your comments on each of the plans -- your insights will be shared with the Competition Jury on April 16th and, according to the Trust for the National Mall, "will be invaluable to [the] selection process."

Friday, April 6, 2012

Some Developments to our East

The folks at neighbor-blog The Triangle have some interesting scuttlebutt on goings-on in Mount Vernon Triangle:

Free Fuel Pizza

In less than a week, Fuel Pizza will "officially" open.  The first fifty people in the door on April 12th will get free food for a year!

The Fuel Pizza location on K Street ran the same promotion when they opened back in January.  Luckily, we'll have much nicer weather for camping out for our free calzones.

DC Culinary Kitchen Graduation

Take a late lunch today and head over to the Navy Memorial, to congratulate the 87th culinary job training class to come out of DC Central Kitchen.

We've long been supporters of DC Central Kitchen, and here's why:  In 2010 for example, 77% of a 92 person class were ex-offenders.  After the 14 week program, they achieved these pretty significant milestones:

  • 90% job placement rate upon graduation
  • 73% job retention rate after six months of employment
  • Over $11/hour average starting wage
  • $285,000 in payroll taxes were contributed back to the community by the graduates

There's a reception at 2pm and a ceremony at 2:30pm.  They'd love to have you!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Hamilton's New Hours

Citing the stress of 3-6 live shows a week, high turnover of employees, and the difficulty of cleaning the restaurant while always patronized, The Hamilton is scaling back considerably.

Though the website still says "open 24/7," their new restaurant hours are:  Monday-Thursday 7:30a - 1a; Friday: 7:30a - 2a; Saturday: 8:30a - 2a.
The bar will be open until 2a on weekdays and 3a on weekends.

No Hamilton employees will be laid off as a result (in fact, they're hiring, according to a Guest of a Guest article).

We are disappointed by this news, but admit we had yet to patronize the joint outside of their now regular business hours.

Still planning to be 24/7: Grand Trunk, the South Asian American fast food restaurant opening soon (we hope) on Indiana.

J. Crew in P. Quew

According to the Washington Business Journal, J. Crew has signed a lease at 950 F Street NW, and will open in August.

J. Crew's 8,625 square feet (over two stories) brings Penn Quarter ever-closer to the 1.1 million square feet of shopping space that's expected here by 2018.

With that news came confirmation that The Art of Spyn, which we've reported on in the past, is still slated for a Spring opening.  Last we heard they were moving towards "late Spring," but we'll keep you posted.

At the Market Today

It's a cool-ish, but crisp and incredibly beautiful day out. The Market just opened.  You know what to do.

Sample delicious-looking item you could buy today:  dijon bread.
Dijon bread is back at penn quarter FFM!! Rejoice!

Rather have gelato?  Dolcezza will be on hand with this week's flavors, which, according to their website are blood orange, champagne mango, lime cilantro, meyer lemon vodka, valrhona chocolate amargo, black sesame, Thai coconut milk, and pistachio siciliano.  Looks like they may have snuck in an extra, also!
A ffm dolcezza favorite! At Penn Quarter this week!

Weschler's Charity Auction

In two weeks, Weschler's will open its doors for a charity auction and cocktail reception.

One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to Sasha Bruce Youthwork and their Building for the Future project.  The project helps to construct new affordable housing in South East for homeless youth.

Tickets are $30 in advance and $40 at the door.  You can purchase tickets here, or call (202) 675-9340, ext. 118.

If you'd like to donate an auction item, door prize, or food/beverages, you can email Jenny Lytle for more information.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

More News on CCDC

Carol Ross Joynt at Washingtonian has a great interview with Howard Riker, Vice President of Development for Hines - the developer of City Center DC (or CCDC as those in the know are now calling it).

Here's our favorite part:
Riker:  "We are considering the possibility of integrating a market-like concept into our retail strategy... We've also been evaluating some of the market-restaurant concepts."
Washingtonian:  "Such as Eataly?" 
Riker:  "Yeah.  We may have a farmers market too."
The article also confirms that condo sales should start late Summer of this year, and CCDC's one- and two-bedroom condos will "be in the average range of $800 to $900 per square foot."

A quick perusal of Zillow shows that the average Penn Quarter condo is at an asking price of between $530 - $690, so this would certainly be a step up, if CCDC goes for that asking price.  Of course, our condos aren't sitting on top of an Eataly, either.