Food and Drink, The Features, The Hill

First Look: Ba Bay

Photo courtesy of
‘Ba Bay, Sunday Night’
courtesy of ‘Madame Meow’

Ever since Locanda abruptly closed last summer, I’ve been anxious to see what would open up in its place. I would walk by the giant picture window every few weeks and there Locanda would sit, fully made up for service knowing full well it wouldn’t be serving anyone anytime soon. It was like a shrine to pasta plates of time gone by.

And then just as unexpectedly as it closed, one day a year later the ghost place settings were gone and work was in progress for a new restaurant. Enter: Ba Bay.

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Food and Drink, The Features, The Hill

First Look: DC-3

Photo courtesy of
‘Hot Dogs’
courtesy of ‘vpickering’
Before I go in to the specifics of my trip to DC-3, I need to confess something about myself: I come from a family of carnival people. We’re not all carnival people, but there definitely is a branch of the family tree that knows a lot about freak shows, overpriced games and convincing everyone if they just try one more time they’ll be able to throw the ring around the bottle. Carnivale it is not (we don’t have supernatural powers, at least that I know of) but it is still a dark past that I’m usually not offering up to strangers. But it plays a crucial role in my ability to dissect DC-3, since I obviously know plenty about hot dogs and cotton candy.

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The Features, We Love Food

We Love Food: Belga Cafe

Photo courtesy of
‘Brunch at Belga Cafe’
courtesy of ‘InspirationDC’

You guys, I’m torn here. On one hand, I genuinely like Belga Cafe. On the other hand, I’m unimpressed by Belga. Here’s the thing – whenever you say “I’m going to Belga” to someone they all oooh and ahhh. It’s got a fantastic reputation, and some of the food lives up to that reputation. But some of the food is worse than what I’d find on the line at the local Holiday Inn breakfast buffet. It’s a conundrum. But let me explain…

Belga Cafe is situated on 8th Street in the heart of Barracks Row. It’s a great location with foot traffic from Eastern Market and the surrounding neighborhoods and shops. Belga has a small but cozy patio, the outdoor seating complete with table cloths, and a slightly cramped long interior dining room. The kitchen is quasi-open, and the bar is usually full of diners. The place has a neighborhood feel, though I would say it’s known throughout the city as a brunch destination. And unfortunately, brunch is where I get tripped up with Belga. Continue reading

All Politics is Local, Business and Money, News, The Daily Feed

Reopening 7th St. SE?

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘Sean Robertson’

After the infamous Eastern Market fire two years ago, Mayor Fenty ordered 7th St. SE closed on weekends to make room for stalls displaced by the disaster.  As most of you know, the market reopened several weeks ago, and WaPo reports that store owners along 7th are requesting that the street be reopened.  They are concerned that parking and traffic difficulties resulting from the closure are limiting their business, most of which comes on weekends.  Stores along market row report a 35% to 75% drop in business since the road closures began.

Their pleas have caught the attention of the City Council, which plans to visit the issue in several months. For now, the government wishes for the street to remain closed to facilitate the revitalization of Eastern Market. 

It seems to me that the 7th St. closure shouldn’t have any effect on Market Row businesses.  There are many, many side streets in the area and ample parking on the blocks surrounding 7th. I’m not entirely sure why the closure of a single block would limit their number of customers.  Besides, Eastern Market is always packed.  According to the WaPo article, the majority of these businesses’ patrons are market goers. If anything, I’ve noticed an increase of people on the weekends.  I’m guessing that there are factors aside from the road closure that are hurting these shops’ revenues.  The economy?  Changing tastes and interests?  An increasingly younger clientele? It could be any number of things.

What are your thoughts on the matter?  Does 7th St. need to stay closed, or should it be reopened?

The Daily Feed, The Hill

Eastern Market Reopens!

Eastern Market.JPG

When a fire decimated the inside of Eastern Market early in the morning of April 30th, 2007, the city lost one of its own best monuments. Built in 1871, architected by Adolf Cluss, Eastern Market was the city’s first enclosed produce markets, a supermarket before Giant, Safeway or Magruder’s were even a twinkle in their founders’ eyes. After 26 months of restoration and renovation, Eastern Market reopened today, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by Mayor Fenty, Congresswoman Norton, Council Chairman Gray, Council members David Catania, Tommy Wells and Kwame Brown, and former Council member Sharon Ambrose.

The new interior of Eastern Market features all of the 2007 vendors, from Canales Meats to Calomiris & Sons fruits. The $22M renovation also features, to the relief and delight of all, Air Conditioning and Restrooms. Chief among the renovations, though, is a full fire sprinkler and alarm system designed to minimize damage and alert the authorities.

We’ll have a bigger feature on Eastern Market this afternoon in the 3pm Feature slot.

The Daily Feed, The Hill

Inspiration DC’s Candid Strangers Project

Photo courtesy of
‘Day 58: Candid Strangers Project’
courtesy of ‘InspirationDC’

I blog a lot about my friend Rebecca, over at Inspiration DC. She writes a local blog full of gorgeous photographs and interesting things around DC that inspire her. Her most recent project, the Candid Strangers project, gives us a peek at the heart and personalities of DC residents in a way I’ve never seen before.

Last weekend, Rebecca tied a disposable camera to a bench in Eastern Market, with a sign asking people to have fun taking pictures with it. Earlier this week she had the pictures developed and has been posting a selection of the pictures people captured on her blog all week – from a dog to an elderly man, it’s interesting to see what people are inspired to take pictures of when given a random opportunity.

Rebecca says, “It was encouraging to have such a great response to this project and to see how everyone interpreted what to take a picture of differently. I’m excited to try this project in different locations around DC and compare the type of photographs I get.”