Food and Drink, Homebrewing, The Features

Homebrew DC: Coffee Porter

Photo courtesy of the little white box
courtesy of the little white box

Some people associate dark, rich beers with the winter months, but I think this recipe produces a beer that is just as good in the heat of the summer. It’s about 50 shades darker than a cream ale, but still as thirst-quenching and refreshing.

My friend Andy sent me this homebrew recipe after bringing a coffee porter to our homebrewing club. I lost the recipe for a couple months but just discovered it again, thank goodness. It is a dark, rich porter, very malty and with minimal bitterness, as you can see from the half ounce of bittering hops, boiled for only 45 minutes. The two-minute addition of Northern Brewer hops will impart a floral scent and the dry-hopping process will intensify this.

I am going to make this homebrew recipe soon but will deviate from Andy’s version below. I plan to use different coffee pods. Andy used a French style fine-ground coffee. It tasted great, but my coffee preferences lean toward a Vietnamese brand called Trung Nguyen, which you can find at your local Southeast Asian supermarket. The deep, rich flavor of this coffee will work well with the malty character of the porter. I might try another batch with something a little less refined, like coffee with chicory. You can try any coffee you like a lot and think will give you a good flavor.

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Dupont Circle, Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

FREE FOOD ALERT: The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

Photo courtesy of afagen
Coffee: It’s why you got out of bed today
courtesy of afagen

Cupid wake you up on the wrong side of the bed today? Ease into the day with a free cup of Joe or tea and some breakfast treats at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s grand opening in the Dupont Circle Hilton.

Plus if you take a picture on your phone with the “Cupid” they have on site (please tweet those my way because I’d love to see you striking a pose with a goofy cupid for a little chuckle), you’ll get half off all drinks for the rest of February when you show the photo to the barista. Or you might be one of the lucky 12 to win a month of free drinks.

The open house goes from 7 AM until 10 AM today. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is located at 1919 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20009.

Happy Valentine’s day!

Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Mid City Caffe to Close

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘lorigoldberg’

Charming Logan Circle coffee spot Mid City Caffé is set to close for business effective October 1st.

While a victim in part of its location – on a second floor and away from the kind of office-based foot traffic that supports a bustling coffee shop five of seven days a week – the owner and management still made the difficult decision to close rather than relocate when faced with a lease expiring and ambiguous future for the building they occupy (a situation which, unfortunately, may also impact the street-level tenant, vintage shop Miss Pixie’s in the coming months.)

Until the recent arrival of Peregrine Espresso’s second location only about one block away, Mid City was the only serious coffee shop in the Logan Circle/14th/U St region and, in addition to serving great coffee, it served as a valuable daytime spot to work or socialize in a neighborhood more focused on nightlife. Regulars seeking a spot to open the laptop and drink a tasty beverage will now most likely have to head over to Filter in Dupont.

Mid City’s current general manager and head barista, Jeffrey Lamoureux (previously with Chinatown Coffee Co), brought in to run the struggling shop just a few months ago, will be moving on to open a new espresso bar concept within the renovated AKA White House hotel. That cafe is expected to open later this autumn.

Business and Money, Essential DC, Food and Drink, News, The District, The Features

Sprinkles Cupcakes Comes To DC

There is a new edition to the saturated DC cupcake scene and it comes to M Street in Georgetown in the form of a pink and brown row house. Sprinkles Cupcakes, started in 2002 by Candace Nelson and her husband Charles, opened  in 2002 in Beverly Hills, is the Magnolia Bakery of the West Coast and has been featured on Oprah, Entourage and The Today Show.

With the proximity of so many other cupcake options (Baked & Wired, Georgetown Cupcake, Scoops, etc.,) offering high quality cupcakes and all priced relatively equally at $2.50 – $4 per cupcake, the principal question is: what makes Sprinkles’ sugary treats different? Continue reading

Food and Drink

First Look: Pound the Hill

Photo courtesy of
‘Pound the Hill’
courtesy of ‘Samer Farha’

Nestled within the cozy confines of a turn-of-the-century Pennsylvania Avenue row building, lovingly restored by Karl Johnson and his co-owners, lies the newest addition to the Capitol Hill neighborhood, coffee shop and world bistro, Pound the Hill. Sporting an exposed brick and timber scheme and original plaster ceilings, Pound the Hill evokes a decidedly urban feel perfectly suited to its DC environs.

In complementary contrast to its historic interior, Pound the Hill has incorporated modern decor and technology to transform their space into one uniquely tailored to its intended purpose. The rows of red and white cups and mugs and similarly-colored staff attire reflect the restaurant’s DC heritage, while sleek granite counters and exposed wood floors convey a sense of efficiency and speed, two elements that are enabled by the wireless iPad-based POS system that allows the baristas to roam the store to remotely take orders and process payments. All these elements seamlessly combine in a stunning visual chemistry that transports visitors to the store away from the bustle of busy Pennsylvania Avenue.

Much more after the jump.

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Featured Photo

Featured Photo

new morning ritual by ekelly80

Last night I had a dream about a series of iPhone apps that would manage all of my day to day duties, organize my thoughts into coherent text messages and e-mails, add events to my calendar as soon as my eyes saw them online, and create to-do lists on the fly: do laundry, breathe deeply, blink.  In the dream my brain stem had an iPhone dock surgically attached to it, allowing me to become one with my beloved device and freeing my mind from doing anything useful whatsoever.  My phone knew exactly what I was thinking, suggested alternative thoughts related to my own, and maintained a database of my activity in its flash memory.  As time went on, the app learned what I liked and disliked, what my daily schedule consisted of, what kind of food I generally ate, and eventually took over all brain function.  Thanks to the newly added multitasking feature of the operating system my phone could do many things at once, like set my DVR to record Dancing With the Stars, Twitter about how much of an idiot Sarah Palin is, and order ice cream from Peapod.   It was all encompassing, essentially living my life for me.  Of course the competition was working around the clock to introduce the same surgical procedure and an identical app for the Droid, and it was likely that in a few years Microsoft would introduce something very similar with a clever marketing campaign.

As I awoke from my dream I laughed at how silly it was, as if a device could completely rule my world.  I reached across the bed and found a warm empty space where my wife normally was.  That’s strange, where could she be?  I grabbed my phone from the nightstand and sent her a text: “where r u?”  She replied, “need buzz – latte?”  Just then the calendar on my phone chirped: “9:00 AM – morning w/ wife @ sbux.”  I texted back, “o rite.  b rite there.”  We both grabbed our iPads and headed out the door, checking our e-mail and TweetDeck as we walked down the street.  My wife mumbled, “Did you see @ABC_DWTS’s tweet about Bristol Palin?”  “I know, she totally should have won, unlike her stupid mom in ’08,” I said.  We grabbed our pumpkin lattes and sat down across from each other.  “Did you remember to buy ice cream?”

Adams Morgan, Food and Drink, Interviews, People, The Features, We Love Drinks

We Love Drinks: David Fritzler

David Fritzler pours up a Blue Blazer cocktail at Tryst. Photo credit: Samer Farha.

We Love Drinks continues our series where we look behind the bar, profiling the many people – from mixologists to bartenders, sommeliers to publicans – who make your drinks experience happen.

I first met David Fritzler back in January when fellow WLDC author Samer and I watched him pour up an impressive flaming Blue Blazer at Tryst. You might think such pyrotechnics indicate a showy brash personality, but that’s far from the case. As I saw this summer when he served up his Rickey Contest entry, he’s a thoughtful crafter of cocktails. It was that Smokin’ Joe Rickey, somehow reminiscent of Lapsang Souchang tea, that made me want to learn more.

“The drink is never more important than the people enjoying it,” David says, “It’s not all about the cappuccino or the cocktail. It’s about the moment and memories that the drink facilitates.”

David was kind to sit down with me at Tryst this past weekend and let me sample a few of their new warming cocktails while discussing his drinks philosophy. Tryst has been an Adams Morgan neighborhood favorite since it opened in 1998, and it’s still going strong, recently winning Best Local Coffeehouse of 2010 in Express Night Out. For many of my friends it’s their “third place” – office, studyhall, living room – and it inspires a great deal of local love. David’s been there almost since the beginning, ten years of dedication.

As beverage director, it’s not all flash – at the end of our chat he was off to Open City to take apart the espresso machine. Continue reading

The Daily Feed

Free Coffee at Whole Foods

Whole Foods Market on P Street by Maryland Route 5

In case you’ve forgotten, April 15th is the only deadline you have as an adult, the day to send in your tax return.  Some of you may have done your taxes on January 1st in order to buy an iPad with your refund, but many others will be burning the midnight oil tonight to get them done.

If you fall into the latter group, I suggest you head over to Whole Foods to buy some organic toothpicks for keeping your eyelids open, as well as a free coffee.  That’s right, according to Free in DC, Whole Paycheck is giving away free coffee all day long on April 14th.  A free cup of joe.  You know you want it.

Crime & Punishment, The Daily Feed, WTF?!

You can Drink Your Coffee Naked, After All!

Photo courtesy of
‘East Capitol Ave.’
courtesy of ‘Packherd’

The Fairfax Court of Appeals has ruled that it is legal to be naked in your own home.  You may remember that a few months ago a neighbor saw Eric Williamson through a window walking around his house naked, enjoying some coffee.  Said neighbor called the cops, who burst into Williamson’s Springfield home with guns drawn and arrested him.  A District Court judge convicted Williamson of indecent exposure a few months back, but he appealed and won. Jurors described the proceedings as comical, stating that acquittal was an easy decision.  Justice prevails!

The Daily Feed

Awesome Coffee This Saturday

Photo courtesy of
‘Bourbon Organic Coffee’
courtesy of ‘Joe in DC’

Saturday afternoon presents a unique opportunity for DC’s coffee enthusiasts at Chinatown Coffee Company. They’ll be hosting a special cupping of some amazing coffee including the new Esmerelda Special from Panama. This is some incredible coffee, and your chance to have some for free is this Saturday at 3:30 at Chinatown. Take the metro on over, but don’t be late, the tasting is limited to the first 30 on hand.

The Daily Feed

So Where Does Your illy Take You?

Photo courtesy of
‘Day 218: Andrea’
courtesy of ‘InspirationDC’

Okay area photogs, another contest for you to consider. Caffé at the Renaissance M Street Hotel is holding a photography contest in celebration of the upcoming FotoWeek. The contest calls for creative snapshots of where people have been with their cup of illy coffee, called “Where Does Your illy Take You.” Photographers are encouraged to explore and discover something new while savoring the unique flavors of illy.

The contest runs from October 1st thru the 22nd. The grand prize is pretty sweet: a weekend stay at the Renaissance M Street Hotel, including $200 in food/beverage credit, a full year of illy coffee at Caffé, two tickets to the FotoWeek DC gala, and a private car with picnic to visit various FotoWeek events. The winning photo and honorable mentions will also be framed and displayed at Caffé.

To enter, submit photos through the contest’s website, which goes live on Thursday. Winners announced on October 26th.

Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Drinks

We Love Drinks: Mid City Caffe

Mocha, Mid City Caffe

"Mocha, Mid City Caffe" by Jenn Larsen, on Flickr

Within an hour of finishing a mocha at Mid City Caffe, I’d sped through the end of a dense Turkish mystery, sent some twenty frantic texts, moved mountains, healed the sick, and dropped way too much decor dough at Miss Pixie’s downstairs, lifting a huge wool rug effortlessly above my head the several blocks home. I did almost everything after that divine cup of chocolate and coffee except leap tall buildings in a single bound. And was already dreaming of my return to try a morning cappuccino or drift away a whole afternoon with a french press. Now that’s prime bean.

Mid City may be a small bare bones cafe, but it’s already popular with the Logan Circle crowd salivating over the prospects of a regular coffee stop. This is an area long bemoaning the death of Sparky’s, 14U, Mocha Hut – we want a basic place to lounge with high-quality java that isn’t Starbucks or Caribou, simple as that. I’d argue the ‘hood needs more cafe-type joints – sure I’m super excited about restaurants like Masa 14 opening but really, we’re an underserved area for just plain – basic – good. 

Up the stairs you’ll find a cafe divided into two small rooms – one with the friendly bar serving espresso drinks and french press coffee, pastries and a few goodies like cinnamon raisin brioche toast with a choice of spreads (like nutella… drooool). Continue reading

The Features, We Love Drinks

We Love Drinks: Coffee Culture

"espresso at m.e. swing coffee roasters" by tvol, on Flickr

“espresso at m.e. swing coffee roasters” by tvol, on Flickr

For many of us, it’s coffee, not liquor, that’s our “water of life.” I’m quite certain I could survive without alcohol. But I know I could never live without caffeine. I’ve tried really really hard to give it up, especially when I was diagnosed with a heart murmur and began to notice every jitter and flutter. I fell off that wagon so many times I have a permanent head bump. Inevitably I’ve given up giving up, rationalizing that I’m just a much better person on caffeine. If you happen to be one of my friends who visited at least once my home you’ll find that the coffee storage I got from is never empty. That is just how I start my day.

But DC has a bit of a coffee culture problem. It’s hard for little independent cafes to survive (witness the deaths of Sparky’s, 14U, Mocha Hut, Mayorga, Murky Coffee…). Sometimes it seems we’ve given over to the Great Dairy Mermaid and her bitter rival the Loose Moose (wait, it’s the mermaid’s grinds that are really bitter, but I digress) that populate every corner plying milky sugary bastardized versions of the classics.

I know, I know, you can’t give up your vanilla syrup. It’s ok. I’m not going to repeat my last rant about the decline of the perfect cappuccino. I’m not going to wax poetical about espresso in Venice or cafe au lait in Paris. Everybody has their particular coffee fixation – drip, press, etc. The uniting point is that there are some fine places to get your fix, ah, enjoy your coffee, here in DC, beyond the glut of mass market methadone. And with the news that Murky’s being reinvented in Chinatown, and a new coffeehouse called Mid-City Cafe will hit 14th Street, things could be looking up. So here’s a sampling of java joints to get your joy jitters on – and please leave your favorites in the comments.

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The Daily Feed

Speaking of Starbucks

Bang! by Samer Farha

Last week we asked you to nominate the worst Starbucks in DC and we may now be able to name the winner: the 16th & U street location.

According to (an unprofessionally titled) article by NBC, a barista “accidentally shot himself in the leg Tuesday afternoon.”  There aren’t many details about what went down, but seeing as how I go there every morning and know some of the employees there, I’ll try to get to the bottom of this.  I have a hunch who the unnamed barista is, and the I’m not surprised that he a) was packing heat or b) shot himself.

We can only hope that his days at Starbucks are over and that we can go back to drinking our coffee without living in fear of an accidental discharge from behind the counter.  There are of course no guarantees that their service will improve.

The Daily Feed

DC’s Worst Starbucks?

Starbucks by SWP Moblog

Let’s face it, you either love or hate Starbucks.

If you hate Starbucks, we understand, but this post is not for you so just skip to the next one below.

If you love it (or at least like it or are OK with it) tell us which one you think deserves the title of DC’s Worst Starbucks, or StarSUCKS if you will.  My vote goes to the one located at the corner of Connecticut & R St NWContinue reading

Alexandria, Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Grape + Bean Tasting Bar Opens in Alexandria


My love of all things wine is well-documented at this point. I’m turning into a regular at Eat Bar and Matt and my’s wine collection is growing by the day. So I was thrilled this morning to open up my DC Daily Candy and see that a new coffee and wine place is opening in Alexandria.

Grape + Bean is located in Old Town on South Royal Street. They sell coffees and wines by the glass at the new tasting bar. With a “focus is on high quality and small production wines, single-origin eco-friendly whole bean coffees, and custom brewed coffee.” I’m excited to try it. According to the Washingtonian, they brew one cup at a time, so it leans towards the pricey side of all things coffee. So this might not be a great place for your regular coffee stop, but I’m itching to check it out, regardless.

Have you been there? Where is your favorite coffee shop? What about your favorite wine bar?

The Daily Feed

Sweet Nectar of Life!

News alert! News alert! What’s that you say? Cheap coffee???! Better yet, cheap Dunkin’ Donuts coffee!?

From today until Nov. 11, coffee from your local Dunkin’ Donuts will cost 4 times less than your morning ‘Bucks or ‘Bou run! From 2-5 p.m. small hot and iced lattes will only cost you 99 cents! Now that’s something to get you through that 3 p.m. work day drag! I’ve always thought the slogan “America runs on Dunkin'” is pretty gross (conjuring up images of myself going for a jog after downing a few  glazed makes me nauseous) so through Nov. 11th I propose a change to “Caffeine-crazed America runs TO Dunkin’!”

To locate cheap coffee near you, click on over to the Dunkin’ Donuts store finder.

Adventures, Essential DC, Food and Drink, The District

DC Omnivore 100: 82 & 99

Photo courtesy of zephyrbunny
Best Eggs Benedict Ever, courtesy of zephyrbunny

Welcome to the first review of the 100 foods an omnivore in DC should partake of. We posted the full list already; here’s my take on two of them.

#82 Eggs Benedict. Ok, this isn’t a ‘new’ dish for me – I’m a connoisseur of this classic egg dish. It’s usually the one I order when we have a rare breakfast out and I’m not feeling fat. Because any dish that combines half an English muffin, poached eggs, ham and hollandaise sauce just gives you that feeling of hardening arteries. My particular dish for this review was consumed at the nearby Silver Diner over in Springfield, VA.

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Food and Drink, Life in the Capital, The Daily Feed, The District

Starbucks Offering Discount

$2 after 2 p.m. by brownpau

You either love Starbucks or you hate it (or you’re somewhere in between like I am). Regardless, if you get your morning coffee there like I do, hold onto your receipt! According to an AP report, if you show the receipt from your morning caffeine fix, you can get any iced grande beverage for only $2 after 2 p.m. With savings like that, you may actually be able to fill up your car’s gas tank from time to time.

I haven’t given this a try yet but I see an iced grande vanilla latte with my name on it in the very near future.

Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Stacy’s Coffee Parlor – Good Coffee, Good Folks and Good Books

Stacey's Coffee Parlor

I love coffee shops that encourage things like reading, sharing and creating community. After the recent tempest in a coffee pot I started, I was not sure whether I would be welcome back at Murky, so I went for a place I had not been to before. Stacy’s Coffee Parlor in Falls Church fit the bill. The folks who were here when my lovely wife and I arrived all apparently knew each other, as well as the guy behind the counter and I felt immediately welcomed.

Stacy’s has ice cream and food and truffles and pastries and other good stuff to eat, in addition to all the requisite coffee drinks a person could want. Art on the walls, open mic night, regularly scheduled music – it all got my attention. What really clinched it for me was the library, whose sign encouraged reading, taking and sharing. It’s not a huge library but it’s something. You don’t see that in a lot of places, and I was glad to find it so close to home.

Definitely check it out. It doesn’t have the same vibe as Murky but it has its own unique feeling. The best part? It is head and shoulders above Starbuck’s and has free Wi-Fi. Stacy, I am glad you are my new friend.