Dupont Circle

Co-working in DC: How Cove is Changing the Game

Cove in Dupont

The second floor suite at the northern edge of the Dupont Circle neighborhood is compact, but cozy. There are several work tables and chairs setup in the center, and a glass partition blocks off a small six seat conference room at the rear, and an open and bright space at the front of the suite with a bar like you might find at a coffeeshop. There are a few people buzzing around, but it’s just 8am.  The track lighting is elegant without being jarring, and the space looks cozy. This is Cove, and they’re about to upset the city’s co-working apple cart.

If you’ve looked at co-working in the District, places like U Street’s Affinity Lab or Anacostia’s The DC Hive come to mind. They are full-service operations for teams and solo practitioners who need offices, and unfortunately their full-service nature comes with a hefty price tag. DC Hive starts at $100/mo, with private offices at $1200/mo, while Affinity Lab’s base offering is $325/mo.  While both are fine spaces to work, with quality staff and amenities, when it came time for me to consider an office that wasn’t a coffeeshop, the cost of these spaces pushed me back.

When I first read about Cove’s model, I thought it might be too good to be true. A part-time space at a common work environment (thought to be co-working’s strong social benefit) starts at $24 per month? For serious? Is it a condemned building? With no WiFi? And coffee that was last roast during the first Marion Barry Administration?

Not hardly. Cove’s Adam Segal is quick to greet you as your arrive at the space, help you to sign into their clever office management system (every user gets a QR code that’s unique to them. Pull it up on your phone, scan it at their door tablet, then claim your space!), point you toward their coffee bar and refrigerator for soda and water, and help you get a good spot to work. Their WiFi is backed up against Comcast’s business network downtown, and they’ve got a backup DSL in case of emergency, and the conference room is well appointed with a large flat-screen for presentations.

Cove’s plan is based around the folks who don’t need a full-time office, but do need a good space to work with solid connectivity and easy access. Plans start at 8 hours per month for the occasional user ($24/mo, with some rollover of hours), and go up to 50 hours per month for the dedicated user, topping out at $124/mo. Additional hours are available to those who go over at the rate associated with your plan, which would put “full-time” residency at or near Affinity’s lowest plan rates.

In addition to their Dupont location, the group is rolling out a new location in Logan Circle at 1624 14th St NW starting the middle of this month, and from conversations with Cove staffers, they have grander plans to spread out throughout the rest of the city. Look for an interview with co-founder Adam Segal in our next podcast episode, due around the time they open their second location.

Dupont Circle, Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Food

We Love Food: Casa Nonna’s Tavola 12

Photo courtesy of
‘Chef Amy Brandwein of Casa Nonna’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

If you told me that there was a restaurant in town where I could get a delicious, savory 12-course meal for $55, I’d at least raise an eyebrow at you. But Casa Nonna in Dupont Circle is offering just that at their new in-house concept, Tavola 12.

The 12-seat tasting bar is available on Fridays and Saturdays and showcases executive chef Amy Brandwein’s culinary talent. You can leisurely sit at the bar while chatting with Amy, watching each course be prepared by the chef and listening to the chef explain each course. You can add wine pairings to the dinner for an extra $30 per person.

While the menu changes based on what the chef wants to prepare for the night, you’ll find a quick recap of some of the highlights I tasted at Tavola 12 after the jump.
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Dupont Circle, Special Events, The Daily Feed

Capital City Ball

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘theqspeaks’

Since moving to DC, I’ve been wanting to play a socialite a la Real Housewives, but every time the opportunity arises my limo’s in the shop and my bank account is empty. Sigh.

If you face the same problem, why not check out the Capital City Ball this Saturday night? For $150 you get an open bar, heavy hors d’oeuvres, and a dance floor for the evening at The Washington Club. Not a bad deal.

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Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Amy Brandwein of Casa Nonna (Part 2)

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

It’s slowly getting a little cooler outside, which means that I can actually spend extended periods of time in my kitchen without melting. So here’s a recipe from Amy Brandwein of Casa Nonna for a homemade tortelloni stuffed with a delicious and soft cheese mixture. Don’t be intimidated by the length of the recipe or the idea of making homemade pasta. Turn on Netflix or your favorite playlist and spend a few hours in the kitchen with your pasta. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon on the weekend, if you ask me.

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Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Amy Brandwein of Casa Nonna (Part 1)

Photo courtesy of
‘Amy Brandwein of Casa Nonna’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

As I watch chef Amy Brandwein call out orders to line cooks across different stations while juggling dinner tickets and checking plates before they go out, I can see how she managed three jobs, planning a wedding and culinary school all at the same time. The executive chef of Casa Nonna says that even 10 years into her career as a chef she still feels like she’s just scratching the surface.

“The learning never stops. I’m an inquisitive person by nature,” says the chef who gravitated naturally towards cooking Italian food. “There are all different regions [of Italy] with their own foods, their own dialects.” Each month Brandwein focuses on a different region and its food at Casa Nonna.

Prior to becoming a chef, Amy was doing political research for a lobbying firm in DC but was “cooking in all her spare time.” Growing up, her dad was a good home cook and vegetable gardener who was always clipping recipes and inspiring Amy. So when she came to the fork in the road of her career, Brandwein decided that rather than go further into politics, she would go into cooking. “I didn’t want to waste any time not doing what I love to do,” the Arlington native says. So she went to culinary school and started staging at Roberto Donna’s Galileo.

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Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: John Critchley of Urbana (Part 2)

Photo courtesy of
‘Shellfish stew at Urbana’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

With spring finally in the air, chef John Critchley’s shellfish stew with coconut and lime is great for this time of year. The coconut milk and lime keep it light, but it still has a rich and creamy broth. For all you seafood wary cooks, this isn’t a difficult recipe to make, so it’s good for taking the plunge into cooking with shellfish. The flavors are great and it’s a dish that will definitely impress your friends.

Click through to find the full recipe after the jump.
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Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: John Critchley of Urbana (Part 1)

Photo courtesy of
‘John Critchley of Urbana’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

Like many chefs, John Critchley, the new executive chef of Urbana, is cooking because he says, “I don’t know anything else.” Cooking, albeit his full-time job, doesn’t even feel like work sometimes. John started working in a kitchen in his freshman year of high school where he learned that many times your kitchen staff becomes like a family.

“I try to promote that same feeling in my kitchens now,” he says. “You spend 60 hours a week working with each other so it becomes a family. It becomes what you grow to love doing.”

While working in the kitchen creates a family of sorts, he does admit that it’s a challenge to balance everyone’s different cultures, attitudes and work habits. However, John strives to bring his team together and says that he likes seeing people reach their goals because it helps the development of his team in the kitchen. “I want to see my line cooks move up to sous chef. I want to see that they’re motivated to improve,” he says.

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The Features

Virginia Tourism, NPS, “Art” and Advertising Money

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’

You may have noticed the sculpture of the word “LOVE” erected in Dupont Circle last week. While it was billed as an art installation, it was actually part of an ad blitz done for the Virginia Tourism campaign, and the Park Service isn’t happy at all about being lied to.  According to Lydia DePillis from the City Paper, the installation was removed with prejudice Friday.

Virginia Tourism took down their blog posting on the takeover, but the press release remains online.

What would an ad like that cost, though? I know you can’t buy ad space in Dupont Circle, as it’s Park Service land and they don’t permit advertising on public land, even in DC, but I did some talking to media buyers today, and came up with some numbers.

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Dupont Circle, Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Food

We Love Food: Hank’s Oyster Bar

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘sygyzy’
Hank’s Oyster Bar has all the makings of being my go-to secret neighborhood joint — that perfectly undiscovered gem, with amazing food and an owner who remembers me so I never have to wait for a table. In a perfect world, yes, this would be the case. But this is not a perfect world and the rest of Washington has discovered Hank’s. There’s usually a wait, and to make matters worse, it’s not even in my neighborhood. But it almost was my neighborhood. I looked at an apartment in the Cairo building, and while I was thrilled with the opportunity to live in a haunted former brothel, I was even more excited about the possibility of living within viewing distance of the line at Hank’s.

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Dupont Circle, Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Food

We Love Food: Zorba’s Cafe

Photo courtesy of
‘Zorba’s Cafe’
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’

So now that it is sort of starting to get warmer (right? RIGHT?) all I can think about is eating and drinking outside. As a native Washingtonian, I know that the window of outdoor eating opportunity here in our nation’s capital is small, and I like to take advantage of it when I can. Since we’ve been friends for a while, Internet readers, I feel like it’s high time I let you in on my absolute favorite outdoor dining spot — Zorba’s. If you’ve never been here before, you have without a doubt walked by it a thousand times and never looked twice. Right by the Q St. exit of the Dupont Circle Metro stop, it doesn’t exactly scream “fancy dining experience.” And to be honest, you’re right. It may not be fancy, but they’ve got lots of patio seating, pitchers of beer and food that reminds me of sunny days nursing a hangover on the beaches of Greece. Or at least, that’s what I think they’d be like.

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Food and Drink

All Your 2011 Restaurant Openings to Look Forward To (Part 1)

courtesy of Tricia BarbaIf you love food as much as I do, then you eagerly track what DC restaurants are opening plus where and when. With this list, we hope to do that work for you, so that all you have to do is head to the new place and try it out!

I included every restaurant I knew of, but I’m obviously not perfect. So please email me at or send me a tweet at @SoooDC if I’m missing something. I’m always up for gossip too! This list is your list.


If there’s such a thing as a Capitol Hill watering-hole, Bullfeathers is it.  House staffers and lawmakers who have missed this mainstay, can stop worrying because the hangout is reopening on January 24. The new Bullfeathers is now owned by the team behind Stoney’s, Tunnicliff’s Tavern, and Ulah Bistro. It will be fun seeing what trademarks from those restaurants make it over to Bullfeathers.

410 First St. SE

Arrival: January 24, 2011


The popular Korean restaurant did so well in Dupont Circle that is is opening up in City Vista too.  Mandu was started by the Lee family — mother Yesoon and children Jean & Danny.  They saw many traditional Korean restaurants in the suburbs (hello, Annandale) but none in the District.  Mandu means dumpling in Korean, and here you can find beef & pork, shrimp, and vegetable dumplings.

475 K St. NW

Twitter: @ManduDC

Arrival: January 24

Jack Rose

This new upscale restaurant/lounge is expected to open in late January 2011, and we can’t wait for parking in Adams Morgan to get even harder to find. At the site of an old gym, I bet this 2-story and almost six thousand square feet building will be a new hot spot on the “strip.” One of the minds behing this venture is Bill Thomas, also the owner of Bourbon and Breadsoda.  The other is Michael Hartzer, who’s worked at Citronelle and IndeBleu. I wonder if the classic cocktail will always be on special.

2007 18th St NW.

Twitter: @JackRoseinDC

Expected Arrival: Late January 2011 Continue reading

Business and Money, Essential DC, Food and Drink, Life in the Capital, The District, The Features, They Make DC

They Make DC: Dolcezza

Dolcezza Robb and Violeta

This They Make DC marks the first entry in a series that will profile the various small businesses manufacturing their products in the DC Metro area. In these features, we’ll tour the facilities and shops where these goods are made and sold, with the ultimate goal to gain a deeper understanding of what it’s like to own, run and operate a business in our beloved capital city. So without further adieu, let’s kick this bad boy off.

Robb Duncan and his Argentinian wife Violeta met by chance in 2000 at a conference in Brazil. Two weeks later Robb flew back to Portland, Oregon, sold everything he had and moved down to Buenos Aires and they were married. While living in Buenos Aires, Robb fell in love with gelaterias. Having toured Italy, Duncan was very familiar with Italian gelato, and while he liked it, he was never blown away by it. So he was surprised when he discovered that Argentinian gelato, made by Italian immigrants and their descendants, tasted a lot better to him.  When Argentina’s economy crashed in the early 2000s, Robb and Violeta moved to DC, where he could get a job as a software engineer for the federal government and where Violeta could finish up her degree at American University. Continue reading

Dupont Circle, Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Food

We Love Food: Agora

Photo Credit: Kim Maxwell Vu

A very good friend (and frequent dinner date) lived on 17th St. and P St. for a long time before moving to New York earlier this year. At least once a month we would meet at her house with no real dinner plan, walk out the front door and…stand. There were plenty of restaurants on 17th St., but none of them ever really struck us as compelling. It was all very poetic – restaurants, restaurants everywhere but not a bite to eat. There was Komi (too expensive), Sushi Taro (too long of a wait), and the slew of restaurant slash bar establishments that I could never really tell apart. Enter Agora to solve all my problems.

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The Daily Feed

Citywide Water Balloon Fight on Sunday!

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘dougww’

It’s hard to outdo the Great Dupont Snowball Fight of 2010, but let’s give it a shot.  This Sunday at 2 PM, Dupont Circle will be the site of a Citywide Water Balloon War. It’s the first event of its kind in the District, so grab some balloons (they’ll have some, but you’ll want to bring your own for maximum soakage) and head over to the circle for the snowball fight’s warmer, sunnier brother.  And a word to those families planning a leisurely Sunday afternoon in Dupont Circle?  Prepare to get wet.

Dupont Circle, Food and Drink, We Love Food

We Love Food: Tabard Inn

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’

There are two types of people in D.C.: those who go to Tabard Inn every chance they get, and those that have never been. I have a friend that even uses it as his go-to first date location. And though I like to knock his dating style at any possible point, he really is on to something with this one. It’s casual yet classy, and has that hidden gem feel. Boys, take note. It’s like giving a girl a puppy – she literally won’t be able to resist you.

And calling it a hidden gem is really the best way to describe this particular restaurant. It’s technically located just off Dupont Circle, but isn’t exactly on a high traffic street. And to get to the restaurant you have to wander through the lobby of the hotel, which has a distinct bed and breakfast in rural Maine feel to it. It doesn’t exactly scream high class restaurant. And the restaurant isn’t exactly clearly marked – once through the lobby you hang a left at the stairs, walk through the lounge and head to the hostess podium just outside the bar. She will lead you through the bar and then all the sudden the dining room opens up and it’s like being in some classy lady’s very large kitchen full of some very fun friends.

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Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Drinks

Friday Happy Hour: Raki

Photo courtesy of
‘Efe Raki’
courtesy of ‘Jenn Larsen’

Welcome to the Friday Happy Hour, your single drink primer for the weekend.

Ah, the aniseed! Like cilantro, it has a taste you either love or hate. Absinthe, sambuca, pastis, raki are all anise-flavored spirits that inspire devotion or downright hatred. Me? I love licorice. So you know what side I fall on. Recently the mysteries of one of these aniseed derived drinks was revealed to me at Agora, the new Turkish restaurant on 17th Street NW in Dupont Circle. The charming bar manager, Ismail Uslu, was kind enough to let me sample some raki, Turkey’s official national drink. It was a fascinating experience and one I hope you’ll share.

But what is raki exactly? Like ouzo and grappa, raki is produced by distilling the solid remains of fruit after it’s been pressed, commonly raisins, figs, or grapes. Then it’s flavored with aniseed. Raki can be drunk straight (called “sec”), in which case it’s clear, or diluted with cold water, which turns it milky white. Ice cubes can also be added after dilution according to personal preference. Agora stocks six raki of different styles and distillation levels so you can sample several to see which one you prefer. I tried Efe, which is triple-distilled from grape remains.

Ismail showed me the traditional way to serve raki. Two glasses were placed on the bar, one with plain raki about a third of the way full, and the other with water. From a separate pitcher he poured chilled water into the raki which resulted in the magical transformation known in Turkey as “the lion’s milk” – turning the raki that beautiful opaque color. Then he placed a bowl of ice cubes down for me to add as I liked.

“It’s a slow drink,” he said, “sip some raki, then some water. It’s not like shots.” Continue reading

The Daily Feed

Smoke at Dupont Circle Metro

DC Fire/EMS on Twitter reports smoke at the Q Street NW entrance to Dupont Circle Metro on the Red Line — also site of this morning’s Escalator Fail. That entrance to the station is now closed and emergency responders are on the scene.

Update: Update from DC Fire/EMS: Dupont Circle Metro – Metro Mechanics on scene – situation under control – Station Open – DC F&EMS clearing scene – no injuries

In the attached video, courtesy Twitterer jaredev (view it larger after the jump) we have people being evacuated from the south station entrance, vaulting over the handrail due to a barricade in the way.

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The Daily Feed

Metro’s got the Mondays

Accidental Metro Panorama

It’s been a fun (i.e. not fun) morning on Metro, with backups from multiple sick customers on Orange/Blue and Green/Yellow Lines at Rosslyn and L’Enfant Plaza, broken escalators at Dupont Circle, and the standard parade of nonworking air conditioners. Update: Oh, and a switch malfunction at Rosslyn. And a family stuck in the Cleveland Park Metro elevator. Update, 6PM: And an escalator fire at Dupont! Today is the gift that keeps on giving. And by gift we mean not a gift.

For extra enjoyment, here’s a video of people yelling at the Dupont Circle escalators, courtesy wfpman: (after the jump) Continue reading

The Daily Feed

Broken A/C Means Free Iced Coffee

Starbucks by  Jomo

I think it’s safe to say that none of us are enjoying this lovely heat wave, and that includes the employees at Starbucks on Dupont Circle.  Their air conditioning has been broken since yesterday, forcing them to close up shop and to deprive many people of caffeine and free wireless.  However much to my delight, when I stopped by about an hour ago they were serving free iced coffee and iced tea on the back patio.  So if you’re in need of some free caffeine, hurry over and get yours while supplies last.

Dupont Circle, The Daily Feed

Dupont Circle Street Named After Dr. Frank Kameny

Dr. Frank Kameny

Mayor Adrian Fenty has been exercising his power to rename DC streets like no mayor has done before, today dedicating the intersection of 17th & R street NW to Dr. Frank Kameny.

Many people consider Dr. Kameny to be the grandfather of the gay rights movement.  In 1957, a time when being gay was definitely not socially accepted, he was fired from his job as an astronomer at the Army Map Service for his homosexuality.  While many people would have accepted it as truth, as the way the world worked, Kameny chose to fight.  In what was the first civil rights claim based on sexual orientation, he argued his case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court who unfortunately denied his petition.  In 1965 he organized a demonstration in front of the White House, and many of his original picket signs now reside in the Smithsonian Institution (he had one with him today).  In 2006 the Library of Congress acquired his documents that describe his life as a leader in the gay rights movement.  In 2009 his home here in Washington was designated as a DC Historic Landmark.  Also in 2009, in a gesture that makes me smile, the U.S. government formally apologized to Kameny via the Director of the Office of Personnel Management who himself is openly gay.

Times have changed since 1957, largely in part to the courage and dedication of Dr. Kameny.  As the center of DC’s gay community, Dupont Circle is proud to have a street named after him as a reminder of all that he has done to push equal rights for all.

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