Adams Morgan, Food and Drink, We Love Drinks

Friday Happy Hour: Roofer’s Union

Welcome to the rest of your spring and summer, people. You’re going to be spending it with me, going out in Adams Morgan. I was skeptical, just like everyone else, when I heard 18th Street was undergoing a bit of revival, but then I went to Roofer’s Union and I finally saw the light.

Good food, good drinks, friendly staff, great concept, you know the deal. The team from Ripple isn’t messing around. The drinks menu reads like my wish list–sour beers, Gansetts (Rhody pride!), amari, quinquinas–and the food is certainly a step above Jumbo Slice. Though one thing they have in common is I’m certainly going to start craving that andouille at three AM.

But what sealed the deal for me was when “Too Afraid To Love You” came on the radio. I was relaxing at the bar with beer before work and realized this would be my new go to spot if I lived around the block. Which is exactly what Adams Morgan had been missing for so long, a low key spot to hang out.

I’ve spent too many nights drinking too many whiskies at Jack Rose, followed by pints next door at Blaguard, and a bleary-eyed brunch at Cashion’s. But that was all that could get me up to Adams Morgan for a long time. Now there’s Smoke & Barrel for even more whiskey and even more pints, Dram & Grain for fancy cocktails, and mainstays of the neighborhood like Bourbon and Tryst. Slowly Adams Morgan is changing from a destination neighborhood to a more central hub, like 14th Street or Shaw.

And Roofer’s Union is going to play a big part in changing Adams Morgan’s image. I really digged everything I had there, the food, the drinks, the vibe, but what stood out to me was the downstairs bar. All the drinks are the same–beer, wine, cocktails–but there’s no food. That means less of a wait during weekend dinner rush and less of a crowd during happy hour. Which is great news for those of us just interested in the drinks and not the crazy Adams Morgan crowd.

Most people will file into the downstairs bar and have a few drinks while waiting for a table to open up upstairs. But if you’re really there for the drinks, downstairs is where you want to camp out all night. Continue reading

Food and Drink, We Love Drinks

Friday Happy Hour: Lion’s Share Cider at Tryst

I was asked recently what I consider my guilty pleasure drink. I didn’t know what to say. Most of the time I’m drinking rather straightforward drinks. I like to get a little extravagant sometimes and experiment a bit, but I wouldn’t consider that a guilty pleasure. That I reserve for marshmallow vodka or whiskey from a plastic jug. I thought about it and decided that the closest thing I have to a guilty pleasure is day drinking. Even when I had a more traditional 9 to 5 style job I had a tendency to mix up a sherry cocktail before I made my way into work. It was how I got my morning OJ.

Before brunch cocktails became a weekend staple, I had such a hard time cajoling my friends to commit to serious day drinking. Bottomless Bloodies, Mimosas and Bellinis are some of the greatest things to happen to recent cocktail culture. Now it’s suddenly trendy and it’s not just me and Hemmingway drinking Daiquiris at ten in the morning. And thankfully cocktails for brunch are such a big thing in DC. Working as much as I do, I’d never get a chance to go out for a nice cocktail if it wasn’t for brunch. Which is exactly why I hoofed it across town to Tryst on a Sunday morning, to get my day drinking on (the food was good too).

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Adams Morgan, Food and Drink, Special Events, The Features

We Love Food: Speak Easy at L’Enfant Cafe

Photo courtesy of M.V. Jantzen
Le Soir courtesy of M.V. Jantzen

The French get it. At least when it comes to food and romance. Mix Paris with a little New York and you have yourself a seriously original duo. Enter L’Enfant Cafe, a tiny bistro in Adams Morgan, and you see that America à la France at its greatest. It boasts only 16 tables, but dishes out some serious french fare that transport you to a cafe in the center of Le Marais. On a weekend, it is a great spot to find a croque madame and espresso, and on a weeknight, a perfect date spot for intimate conversation and glasses of rouge. This place is just as one imagines a Parisian bistro to be: effortlessly fabulous.

But that’s just the half of it. L’Enfant is so much more than just a restaurant. Co-owned by Christopher Lynch and Jim Ball, two New Yorkers who wanted to bring the art-y to Party, L’Enfant has turned into an institution of fun fare. Known for their yearly Bastille Day French Maid Relay Race, as well as their infamous Saturday Le Boum brunches, these guys keep it coming. Now, they are making Sunday the new Funday with a one of a kind dining experience. What does that entail? One word: Cabaret.

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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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Adams Morgan, The Features, We Love Arts

A True Adams Morgan Original

All photos by the author.

From a lofty brick throne, a voluptuous redhead rules over Adams Morgan, watching and goading all manner of revelry like a contemporary Doctor T.J. Eckleburg. Her territory spans the 18th Street strip; her image an iconic symbol of throbbing crowds, vodka cranberries, and Jumbo Slice pizza.

But just two blocks away from her Madam’s Organ palace stands evidence of a rich heritage that long precedes her reign. Near the corner of 18th and Adams Mill (and now overlooking a Zipcar parking lot), a community has danced, sung, painted and played in the faces of danger and greed for over thirty years, their history preserved in a three-story mural titled “A People without Murals is a Demuralized People.”

Originally painted in 1977 by Chilean brothers and artists “Caco” (Carlos) and Renato Salazar (the first of whom studied at the Corcoran and founded the now-defunct Centro de Arte organization), the work is touted as one of the oldest and largest of DC’s few remaining Latino murals, the last beacon of a wider Latino artistic movement in the city, according to Quique Aviles.

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Adams Morgan

We Love Food: Cashion’s Eat Place

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘M.V. Jantzen’
If there is one thing I have to thank Cashion’s Eat Place for, it’s that it single-handedly convinced my parents that Adams Morgan is not the hotbed of crime and dereliction it once was. It’s a completely different kind of hotbed than it was in the 70′s and 80′s, but that’s a discussion for another time. Though my parents weren’t previously in to the world east of Connecticut Avenue, they came in the name of my birthday a few years ago and after a great meal were quick to tell me that it was in fact their idea to come to Adams Morgan. Parents, so predictable.

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News, The Daily Feed

Adams Morgan Hotel project in trouble

Photo courtesy of
‘Old Steps’
courtesy of ‘M.V. Jantzen’

Facing a shortfall, even imaginary spending becomes unpopular with legislators, and yesterday the finance and revenue panel of the DC council killed a $61M proposed tax abatement for a hotel project in Adams Morgan that was to have incorporated the First Church of Christ Scientist at Euclid & Champlain NW.  The hotel is estimated by its developer to have contributed $7M/year in various taxes which would have offset the property tax abatement that was proposed, according to a quote from the developer acquired by the Business Journal’s Michael Neibauer.

It’s frustrating to see something that wouldn’t have affected the bottom line of the city until 2015 get the axe, but when you’re facing the budget gaps that this city is facing, easy cuts with high dollar value seem like a good place to start.

Featured Photo, Life in the Capital, Special Events, The District

The 2010 Tweed Ride in Photos

The Starting Line (and all other photos) by Max Cook

Sunday was a perfect fall day for another perfect Tweed Ride.  Five hundred lovers of vintage clothing and bicycles gathered for the second annual ride that was magical to say the least.  Organized by Dandies and Quantrelles, the pre-ride festivities began in the morning at The Fridge where people were treated to music by Maureen Andary as they mingled and admired each other’s clothing and rides.  At noon the entire group gathered at the starting line in Lincoln Park where the ride commenced in packs of twenty five.  It was a true delight to ride along the golden tree-lined streets of Capital Hill, past the Supreme Court, the Capitol, and the White House, ending in Adams Morgan.  The post-ride social at Stroga featured bottomless Hendrick’s gin drinks, food by Coppi’s, a tweed fashion show, dance performances, and lots of love between riders. As easy as it would have been to leave my camera at home, it’s basically impossible for me not to document days like these.

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The Daily Feed

Beer + Baked Goods + Charity = Delicious Way to Spend a Saturday

Here’s an idea about how to spend the National Day of Service on Saturday: drink beer and eat cookies for a good cause. Adams Mill Bar & Grill will be hosting a Beer & Bake Sale from 1-4 PM on Saturday to benefit Share our Strength, which is a locally-based nonprofit that fights child hunger.  And not only will there be cookies, brownies, and cupcakes, but Adams Mill will also be offering drink specials throughout the afternoon.  So head out to Adams Mill on Saturday, watch some college football, eat some delicious baked goods, and know that you’re doing your part to end child hunger.

Adams Morgan, Featured Photo

Featured Photo

2010-02-19 AdamsMorgan Time Series Pano – 20×30 by m hoek

When I think of Adams Morgan, I think of twenty year old kids drinking enough cheap alcohol to bring themselves to the brink of death.  I think of Big Slice with the smell of puke and hookah drifting through the air.  I think of breakfast at The Diner, coffee at Tryst, and the occasional dinner at Cashion’s.  No offense to those who love Adams Morgan, but if it ceased to exist, I wouldn’t shead a tear.

The great thing about today’s Featured Photo is that it encompasses nearly all of the memories I have in my head about this particular part of DC.  I recommend that you look at the big version to get a better look at all of the images that went into making this montage.  I love that you can see the different personalities of Adams Morgan, from the sober girl drinking coffee, to the woman carrying her groceries, to the stretch limo (which no doubt is carrying a gaggle of drunk bachelorettes with penis-shaped lollipops), to the lack of parking, to the flattened pizza box on the sidewalk.  This is Adams Morgan in all of its glory.

Adams Morgan, Entertainment, Night Life, The Daily Feed

Rachel Levitin Live At Chief Ike’s Mambo Room Wednesday Night

up close

Chief Ike’s Mambo Room in Adams Morgan hosts live local musicians all night for your viewing and listening pleasure. This Wednesday just so happens to be the night that yours truly (Rachel Levitin) will be playing a full 30 minute set, along with Producer/Musician Paul Derlunas. What makes this EVEN BETTER is that we’ll be debuting three new songs never before played live on-stage!

There’s no cover charge and drink deals are available depending on Chief Ike’s day-to-day specials.

But — here’s the kicker — show starts at 11:30 p.m. So if you like good music (you can check out some tracks here and be the judge), good atmosphere, and good Wednesday night drinking (and don’t have a Cinderella complex that keeps you from staying out past midnight) you have no excuse to not come out and show your love!

CD’s will be available for purchase.

Come early. Hear the other acts. Mix and mingle. I know I’ll be there.

Chief Ike’s Mambo room is located at:

1725 Columbia Road Northwest
Washington, DC 20009-2803

Entertainment, The Features

Meet Noah Baron From “Adams Morgan: The Movie”

Photo Courtesy of Noah Baron

Now that DC’s got her own movie BY her people ABOUT her people FOR her people, it only makes sense to get to know one of the people who made this film possible. John Sales (played by Noah Baron) has high expectations for life but a low self-esteem, making him a glass  half empty kind of guy. But who’s the man behind the John Sales? There’s more to the character than Paul DeVeaux’s script.

Noah Baron took a few moments to chat and tell us a little about himself, his experiences on-set with the cast and crew of Adams Morgan: The Movie and about his character John Scales. Here are the highlights of that conversation:

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Where are you from? How long have you been acting? What made you start?

Well, I was born in raised in Cambridge, MA (a die-hard Red Sox fan). I’ve been acting for about 15 years now. One of my friends was in the Boston Children’s Opera in Belmont, MA. I had always wanted to perform, so my mother signed me up on the waiting list (there were no auditions). I still remember the exact second I was cast in my first role. I was 9 years old and sitting at my mothers computer in her room. The phone rang. My mother came upstairs to tell me that a role at Boston Children’s Opera had opened up and that I was going to be playing Professor Van Helsing in Dracula. One of the happiest days of my life. I continued working with Boston Children’s Opera for about four years and took part in thirteen shows. I was hooked. However, I had no idea that I would turn this into a profession. I ended up graduating from American University with a dual BA in Theater and Broadcast Journalism. I have just moved out to Los Angeles to further my career. So far, I’m loving every second of it.

How did you get involved with “Adams Morgan: The Movie”?

I really lucked out. Paul gave me a call after seeing me at a mass audition in Baltimore, MD. He told me that he enjoyed my work and was interested in having me come in to read for a role in “Adams Morgan: The Movie.” I went in to read for the character of John Sales. He shot me an email about a week later offering me the role. I called him from Spain (I was traveling with my family at the time) and accepted.

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Adams Morgan, Entertainment, Essential DC, Life in the Capital, Night Life, People, Special Events

Adams Morgan: The Movie

Photo courtesy of
‘Where have you gone, Philip Marlowe?’
courtesy of ‘LaTur’

If there’s one thing Paul DeVeaux and I agree on, it’s that DC lacks what some other major cities don’t – a movie about “us.” There is no such recounting of District life from the perspective of an actual resident — or least none that come to mind at a moments notice.

We’ve seen the White House blown up more times than we can count (anyone remember “2012″ or “Independence Day?”) and we’ve borne witness to the ups-and-downs of the political game thanks to “All The President’s Men” and “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” but what about a movie recounting the lives of all the folks putting their blood, sweat, and tears into making this the city what it is.

“That’s what I’m doing”, DeVeaux said. “This movie is my love letter to DC.”

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Featured Photo

Featured Photo

Nathan Kelly by MikaAltskan

Local photographer Mika Altskan appears to have unprecedented access to a gravity defying group of athletes (or super heroes).  Whether they’re pulling an E.T. move on their bike or skating horizontally through the air, he’s there to capture their raw talent with his camera.  Aside from the great stop action in the shot above, the color, the low point of view, and the timeless, carefree emotions that are portrayed make this shot a winner.  The icing on the cake for me is the lens flare, something that is sometimes accidental but adds a unique touch of cinematic beauty to the shot, a photographic snowflake if you will.  This photo makes me want to play hooky so I can practice my own skull cracking stunts in the final days of warm weather, but who am I kidding?  I’m only a daredevil when I’m in or on something motorized, preferably with an airbag.  I’ll leave the bone breaking activities to our youth.

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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Life in the Capital, The Daily Feed, The District

To Dream the Impossible Dream: Parking in Adams Morgan

Photo courtesy of
‘Adams Morgan’
courtesy of ‘N.S.’
Ah, Adams Morgan: quaint, bustling, and completely impossible to park in. The lack of a metro stop and the narrow streets has long been the bane of DC drivers out for a night on the town.  Apparently, this problem doesn’t extend only to non-residents.  The popularity of Adams Morgan is making it difficult for locals to find parking near their homes. WUSA reports that Councilman Jim Graham is proposing a solution: Enhanced Residential Parking. He plans to introduce legislation that would designate one side of each street for residential parking only. While this may be a welcome development for people that live in Adams Morgan, it is going to make the area much less accessible to outsiders. Hopefully the draw of the nightlife will be enough to induce people to walk long distances for it.

Entertainment, The Daily Feed

Stop “Lie To Me” Lies

Dont Lie to Me about Adams Morgan

Don't Lie to Me about Adams Morgan

Continuing the TV shows that feature Washington, DC, I’m watching Lie to Me and I’m finding the show actually lies about DC. In between indoor action scenes, they flash images of DC. Most are spot on, the DC Convention Center for example. While others, not so much.

Note this photo of Adams-Morgan. See anything a miss? I sure do.

Downtown, The District, We Love Food

We Love Food: Little Fountain Cafe

little fountain cafe

I believe I’ve already shared with everyone that I’m a regular reader of the local dc foodie blog Metrocurean. Matt and I were looking for a good date spot to celebrate Christmas together before I head home for the holidays, so I turned to Metrocurean’s “date spot” recommendations. Metrocurean author Amanda suggested a bunch of places I’ve been before, but one I’d never even heard of, Little Fountain Cafe. It’s getting pretty hard to stump me when it comes to good eats in this city. Between writing for WLDC and spending lots of time researching this town, most of the time I’ve at least HEARD of a place if it’s worth anything. But this one was new. A little googling, and an online reservation later, Matt and I were booked, and I was super excited. Everything I had read about said we were in for a treat.

Little Fountain Cafe is located on 18th street, right in the bustle of Adam’s Morgan. In the english basement below Angles Bar, Little Fountain is a hidden gem.

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Food and Drink, Penn Quarter, The DC 100

DC Omnivore 100: #67: Beignets, period

Photo courtesy of micky mb
Cafe au lait and a beignet, please
courtesy of micky mb

Item 67 on the Omnivore 100 list is “Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake,” but I have to say – this is one place where I take issue with the list. I grew up in Miami and had family in New Orleans, so I’ve bought many a pack of churros while stopped at a streetlight on Calle Ocho and eaten my fair share of beignets at Cafe DuMonde. Calling elephant ears and funnel cake the same thing is one matter, equating them with beignets and churros simply because they’re variations on fried pastry is just…. wrong.

I leave you to your own devices to find an elephant ear; the circus comes through town on a regular basis and you have a decent chance at any street fair of finding a booth selling the drizzled fried dough. Churros we might re-address later – feel free to share any local location you think is worth out looking into.

For a beignet, however, my devotion to you, constant reader, is such that I compared two locations where you can try one of the few Louisiana exports to surpass zydeco. Continue reading