Eat Like Me, Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup

First Look: District Kitchen


Photo Courtesy Tricia Barba

After driving right by it and then almost walking past it, I finally made it into District Kitchen. It’s not really as bright in the dark as the picture makes it appear to be. Open just almost two weeks, the Woodley  Park restaurant has almost mastered its customer service skills, and it’s a great addition to the neighborhood.

On the inside, District Kitchen looks rustic, simple, yet open. It reminded me of almost a Sonoma/Graffiato hybrid, but with more space to move around. The restaurant only sits about 70, but it feels like there’s more room and not like you’re sitting so cramped in. And, don’t expect to hear others’ conversations…not because it’s quiet or because there’s great noise absorption, but because it’s so loud you won’t be able to distinguish who is saying what. Still, I liked the ambiance…cool and neighborhood-centered.

As more restaurants are doing these days, the menu is printed on card stock and divided into: Snacks, Small Plates, Salad & Produce, and Mains. There aren’t too many choices, so you won’t be overwhelmed by an almost unmanageable selection.

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Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Food

We Love Food: A Look at Medium Rare

Photo courtesy of Plantains & Kimchi
service @ Medium Rare, Cleveland Park
courtesy of Plantains & Kimchi

I’ve wanted to try Medium Rare ever since it opened earlier this year but, for some reason I rarely make it north of Dupont Circle. However, I managed to make it to the steak-frites restaurant twice before I decided to write it up.

Simple concepts can be executed nicely and Medium Rare almost hits the mark. As you might already know, the restaurant’s menu is based around one main dish: steak frites. Unfortunately, it’s nothing to write home about as the steak’s sauce was forgettable. While the concept of Medium Rare is excellent, it’s hard to compete with many other places in DC that do a better steak frites.

I did like the restaurant’s décor–it’s dark, fun and energetic. The restaurant has a great vibe and is a good spot for a variety of occasions, whether you go for a casual date, with a group of friends, or with family. Medium Rare is a nice neighborhood place and always seems crowded.
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The Daily Feed

New Chef at Ripple in Cleveland Park

Photo courtesy of
‘Making gnocchi at Ripple’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

In the most recent chef news in DC, Logan Cox has taken the helm at Cleveland Park’s Ripple. Previously, Cox was the executive chef at New Heights and had also worked with Frank Ruta at Palena and Tarver King at Woodlands Resort and Inn in Charleston, SC. He started working at Ripple in May.

From the looks of it, the menu won’t be changing much. There’s a farm-to-table emphasis (which I’m pretty sure existed previously), and dishes like the crispy duck breast, gnocchi and baked-to-order chocolate chip cookies remain on the menu with slightly different twists. Cox studied for a  year in Italy, so perhaps we can expect this influence to peek through on the menu. For example, there’s a smoked quail agnolotti with hazelnuts and English peas that is available, according to a press release.

As for the previous executive chef, Teddy Diggs, word on the internet indicates he has moved to Martha’s Vineyard where he is the current chef at Home Port Restaurant, an 80-year-old institution. Sad to see Diggs leave Ripple, but it should be interesting to see if and how Ripple’s menu will change under the new chef.

Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs – Teddy Diggs of Ripple (Part 2)

Photo courtesy of
‘Gnocchi with creme fraiche sauce, spinach and beans’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

Man, am I a big fan of gnocchi. It’s easy enough to make. It combines pasta and potatoes, the two powerhouses of starchiness. What’s not to love? So since it’s unpleasantly cold this weekend, make a nice, warm bowl of this gnocchi, courtesy of Teddy Diggs, executive chef of Ripple. In the recipe, Teddy uses a potato ricer. I usually follow the Alton Brown school of thought that “uni-taskers are bad.” But a potato ricer is a fantastic invention. Once you have mashed potatoes (or this gnocchi) that went through a potato ricer, you’ll never go back. You can use a fork to mash them instead, and use a fork to shape the gnocchi (you are forgiven for not having a gnocchi paddle).

The full recipe is after the jump.
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Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Teddy Diggs of Ripple (Part 1)

Photo courtesy of
‘Teddy Diggs of Ripple’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

At some point in our lives, most of us have had a moment where we stare at the television screen and say to ourselves, “That’s what I want to do with my life.” For some it’s fantasy but for others, like Teddy Diggs, it actually becomes reality.

Diggs, the executive chef of Ripple, grew up on the “old Food Network” as a kid living in Oklahoma. You know, back when Food Network was actually good (that’s my opinion, at least) and aired shows with real chefs, like Bobby Flay and Emeril. So after watching the pros, Diggs became more interested in cooking, went on to take culinary classes in high school in Chantilly, VA, and eventually attended the Culinary Institute of America.

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Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Food

We Love Food: Vace Italian Delicatessen

Photo courtesy of
‘Vace Italian Deli’
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’

Vace in Cleveland Park isn’t just an Italian market, it’s a way of life. The best way to explain this is with this little story. A friend of mine loved the pizza from Vace so much that every time he ordered it, he never made it home without eating a good portion of his order mid-commute. Not so interesting? Well, let me set the actual scene. He would order a large pizza while on the train at Metro Center, head up to Cleveland Park and spend the walk down Connecticut Avenue to his place in Woodley Park chowing down on half his pizza. I certainly hope some tourists leaving the zoo snapped a picture of this crazy dude, box top askew with pizza down his face. Now THAT is love.

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Food and Drink, The Features

First Look: Hot N Juicy Crawfish

Photo courtesy of
‘DC All-Louisiana Crawfish Boil 05’
courtesy of ‘maxedaperture’
When I first saw the sign for Hot N Juicy Crawfish in Woodley Park, I thought, “wow, they put one of those Chicken/Chinese/Wings/Subs places in, weird.” Then after a little bit of Internet chatter, it came to be known as “the place from Man v. Food” which isn’t normally the best judge of gourmet cuisine, but at least I knew a high volume of their food didn’t give Adam Richman deathly food poisoning. And then in honor of their grand opening, the restaurant was offering a pound of free shrimp, no questions asked. With that offer legitimacy was down but intrigue was up. I decided to go for it. Food poisoning isn’t as bad when you don’t pay for it, right?

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Food and Drink, We Love Food

We Love Food: Comet Ping Pong

Photo courtesy of
‘Outdoor Ping Pong’
courtesy of ‘M.V. Jantzen’
Over the last couple of years, I’ve eaten in a lot of nice restaurants. And after the foie gras, the caviar, the course-upon-course of decadent food, what have I learned? I’ve learned I love pizza. I really love pizza. I love it in all its forms – artisan Neopolitan right down to the new crust at Dominos. But if I have to pick one incarnation, it’s always going to be the personal pizza with the funky toppings. That leaves me with 2 Amys, 7th Hill, and my personal favorite, Comet Ping Pong.

The first time I tried Comet, I had high hopes for the pizza. The food didn’t disappoint, but I was most impressed with the feeling of the place. It left me a little bummed that I wasn’t, ahem…a few years younger and that I couldn’t turn this restaurant into my high school hang out. My Peach Pit, if you will.

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Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Food

We Love Food: Palena Cafe

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘AlissaS24’
There are plenty of restaurants here that serve smart American food, and there are plenty of places that serve burgers. But there are few that combine the two in a way that satisfies me when I’m feeling fancy and when I’m feeling like…well…a burger.

Selling Palena Cafe as a burger restaurant isn’t really fair. It resembles Five Guys just as much as the Hay-Adams resembles a youth hostel. Palena Cafe is actually the front part of Palena–a high end price fixe restaurant in Cleveland Park. Unfortunately located next to a pretty spectacular gas station, Palena has done a great job of still feeling cozy and warm and like the little bistro you discovered by mistake while studying abroad.

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The Daily Feed

Haiti Survival Kit Drive This Sunday

Photo courtesy of
‘Haiti Earthquake’
courtesy of ‘United Nations Development Programme’

Update: This event did receive mention on FOX 5 News (still link-hunting on that) and has a listing on Yelp and on Meetup. Still confirming officially if this is indeed occurring, as it is (obviously) difficult to contact the Embassy at this time.

In the meantime, the Embassy of Haiti and ServeDC are asking for volunteers to man the embassy’s telephone banks. If you’d like to help in that capacity, contact ServeDC at 202.727.7925.

There will be a Survival Kit Drive on Sunday, January 17 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Embassy of the Republic of Haiti located at 2311 Massachusetts Avenue, NW. In appreciation of your assistance light refreshments will be available. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact 718-755-0119.  Continue reading

The Daily Feed

DC in Cookies

Courtesy of the Four Seasons Hotel

Courtesy of the Four Seasons Hotel

This week, the Four Seasons Hotel unveiled a gingerbread replica of the Smithsonian Castle. Talk about a sugar rush. To make this three-foot-high confection, Executive Pastry Chef Charles Froke used 100 pounds of gingerbread dough, 50 pounds of icing, 30 pounds of icing for snow, 20 pounds of sugar, and five pounds of chocolate. It will be on display at Seasons restaurant, open during breakfasts and weekend lunches and brunches.

To see the Mall and more in sweets, day or night, head to the lobby of the Marriott Wardman Park.

Or see a gingerbread version of the White House within its State Dining Room — you know, if you’re a random tourist or someone unmentionable.

The Daily Feed, We Green DC

Holiday Shopping to Save the Tamarins

Photo courtesy of
‘Cotton-top Tamarin’
courtesy of ‘suneko’

If there’s anything more so-ugly-it’s-cute than a cotton-top tamarin, with its dark little face and long white mohawk, I’ve not seen it. And tomorrow night, you can help save these critters at the Supporting Conservation Through Art Eco-Mochilas Exhibit, presented by the Cotton Top Tamarin Project, from 5:30 – 9 p.m. at Studio Gallery near Dupont Circle.

Just in time for holiday shopping, there you can buy hand-woven bags called eco-mochilas. All proceeds will be sent directly to the communities in Colombia that make the bags, which serve as an alternate source of income to replace hunting endangered wildlife like the tamarins.

Still not sure? Just listen to these guys chatter. It’ll melt your heart.

The Daily Feed

Learn to Pole Dance. Really.

Photo courtesy of
‘Miss Pole Dance-22’
courtesy of ‘litonali’

This Saturday at an open house at Balance Gym Thomas Circle, you can learn all sorts of things, including how to work up a sweat while becoming very friendly with a pole. For fitness, people. Still, please do not practice on Metro.

You also can learn about boxing, Budoken and CrossFit, which will keep you limber and ready to kick some serious butt, in case you need to fend off anyone who’s gotten too brazen from your pole dancing performance. The day concludes with an electrifying drum and dance performance.

But let’s get back to the pole dancing. Continue reading

The Features, Where We Live

Where We Live: Cleveland Park

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘melody.a.thomas’

Cleveland Park is the focus of this week’s Where We Live.  This neighborhood has so much to offer, including great Metro access, proximity to major attractions, charming residential character, and some very cool neighborhood hangouts.  It’s one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the city, with its views of Rock Creek Park and tree-lined streets, and it is a bit removed from the urban grit of downtown.  Read on for more information on Cleveland Park, including how it got its name and what to check out when you’re there.

History: Back in 1793, an aide of George Washington named Uriah Forrest built an estate called Rosedale.  More estates were constructed in the area, a suburb of Washington City, throughout the nineteenth century.  This was considered an upscale suburb in that era, as the higher elevation and breezes were an escape from the hot, humid air of the city.  In 1886, President Glover Cleveland purchased a house in the area and remodeled it as a summer estate.  Even though Cleveland lost his bid for reelection in 1888, the name Cleveland Park stuck with the neighborhood.

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Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Drinks

We Love Drinks: Gin at New Heights

Gin Flight, New Heights

"Gin Flight, New Heights" by Jenn Larsen, on Flickr

The first spirit I ever tasted was gin. It was that obligatory illicit shot from your parents’ liquor cabinet, the “hmm, what’s this all about?” experimentation. And – UGH – that first sip was enough to put me off “Mother’s Ruin” for life. For years afterwards the smell would provoke an instant reaction of, well, ick. 

It’s unfortunate, really, as gin’s complexity is overlooked by many like me whose introduction was less than ideal. But this lady with a past (I love the old Hogarth engravings of depraved Gin Lane in the 1700’s) is beloved by mixologists and enjoying a revival.

Case in point – New Heights restaurant has turned their downstairs bar into a gin joint, complete with a “Gin Manifesto” menu and gin flights. 

Wait, flights of gin? I just about fainted dead away when Rebecca first alerted us to this. In order to make it through a tasting without a PTSD attack, I needed back-up. It wasn’t hard to convince a gin-swilling friend – let’s call him Hogarth – to come along and help me get over the psychological trauma of my childhood sip, and enjoy a historic cocktail along the way.

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The Features, Where We Live

Where We Live: Glover Park

Photo courtesy of
‘Glover Park hawk’
courtesy of ‘Julie Lyn’

Welcome to another installment of Where We Live. This week we’ll look at Glover Park, a neighborhood that often gets overlooked because of its two loud neighbors: Dupont Circle and Georgetown. But there’s a lot of charm in Glover Park, and it offers residents a perfect balance: living on a quiet, tree-lined street while being just five minutes from restaurants, shops, and attractions. (And, for the record, it seems that no one is quite sure how to pronounce the name of this neighborhood, but it’s actually Glover– rhymes with lover, not clover — Park.)

History: Glover Park gets its name from Charles Carroll Glover (1846-1936), who donated much of the land that became Rock Creek Park and is responsible for the Washington National Cathedral’s construction. Glover Park started developing in the 1920s, with mostly residential rowhouses. The commercial district along Wisconsin Avenue developed in the mid-1930s, attracting corner stores and even a movie theater, while retaining the feeling of a small town. The Glover Park neighborhood was considered upscale compared to the “squalor of Georgetown” during this time, and through the years the neighborhood has preserved its residential nature and small-town character. Continue reading

The Daily Feed, We Green DC

Bright Ideas for Lower Bills

Photo courtesy of
‘Light Bulbs’
courtesy of ‘Marionaire’

If you want to lower your electric bill, try some simple changes to make your place more energy efficient. This really does work; the changes I made dropped my usage by 18%.

On Saturday from 10 to 2, you can find out how at a Green Your Home Expo on UDC’s outdoor plaza. There, you can learn about various ways to save energy in your own home. They’ll also have live jazz, bicycle eco-tours and farmers market goodies.

And since buildings account for nearly 40% of all carbon dioxide emissions in the US, while you’re lowering your own bill, you’ll also be doing good for the planet.

Adams Morgan, Essential DC, The Features, Where We Live

Where We Live: Adams Morgan

Photo courtesy of
‘Adams Morgan’
courtesy of ‘citron_smurf’

Welcome to another edition of Where We Live. This week we’ll be covering the ins and outs of one of the District’s coolest neighborhoods, Adams Morgan. Adams Morgan is unique in DC in that it actually feels like a neighborhood during the weekdays and weekend days, and completely changes character on weekend evenings as it transforms into a concentration of drunk non-residents.  Unfortunately, some people only ever see the drunken frat party of 18th Street in Adams Morgan and don’t get to understand the really wonderful neighborhood behind it.  Here’s your chance to learn what else there is to it!

History: Adams Morgan gets its name from the two formerly-segregated elementary schools in the area, the all-white John Quincy Adams school and the (now closed) all-black Thomas P. Morgan school (therefore, the area is not actually called Adam’s Morgan or Adams’ Morgan, both of which I’ve seen everywhere).  In 1956 the Adams-Morgan Better Neighborhood Conference formed to improve the neighborhood, and jump-start urban renewal (not the Southwest Waterfront kind, though).  Interestingly enough, the neighborhood’s name was hyphenated as Adams-Morgan in the Washington Post up until 2001.

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News, The Daily Feed

Five Members of the House Arrested

Photo courtesy of
‘PHOTO Tradewinds 2009 090306-M-7404B-011CB’
courtesy of ‘Exercise Tradewinds 2009’

At the Darfur protest outside of the Sudanese embassy, Rep Ellison (D-MN) and Rep Donna Edwards (D-MD) were both arrested after crossing a police line. No word on charges at this point aside from violating a police order.

Update: It’s now being reported that five members of the house have been arrested. The afore-listed Reps Ellison and Edwards, as well as Rep John Lewis (D-GA), Rep Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) and Rep James McGovern (D-MA).

For those of you scoring at home, that’s 1% of the House of Representatives currently under arrest.

Update 2: Huffington Post now has the video from the arrests. Let’s be clear: of all the reasons to get arrested, protesting genocide in a civil fashion is probably just about the best of them. This wasn’t an arrest for a violent mob getting out of control, just an arrest to make a point. And, let’s be honest, no one can be for the Sudan at this point. Expelling 14 aid agencies is just plain ridiculous when your country’s in that kind of shape.

Essential DC, Fun & Games, Life in the Capital, The Features, Tourism

Tourism: National Zoo


Pandamania! by flickr user needlessspaces

The National Zoo was the second major DC tourism spot that I hit after I moved here. The first was the Washington Monument. Our Zoo is great – it’s my second favorite zoo I’ve ever been to (second only to the zoo in Omaha, Nebraska. No I’m not joking, that zoo is phenomenal.) so when my parents came into town to visit, we decided to make the journey.

It sort of feels wrong, you know? Just walking right in without paying. Put aside the guilt and it’s actually a fabulous feeling. It allows people to come back and back again, and it seems like there are people who truly take advantage. As we were walking in a runner in full workout garb jogged past – what a great run! Aside from dodging all the bumbling people and strollers, you’d have incredibly entertaining scenery and quite a steep hill workout. Envious.

As you enter the zoo you’re faced with starting your zoo tour by heading down towards the pandas on the the Asia walk, or going down the entire hill and doing everything on the way back up. I don’t have an opinion either way. But I do recommend that you print out a map before you go – available on the zoo web site, you can save yourself money by printing it out on your own. Otherwise they charge for a take-with-you map. Fair, I think, since entry is free. So off you go to meet and greet all the animals. Continue reading