Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Listserv post of the day

This is courtesy of the Ward One listserv:

Cat Holiday Photo Event

Thursday, December 4th from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

This is WHS's first Home for the Holiday's themed Meow Mixer and
Cat Holiday photo event. You just might find your "purrfect"
match while enjoying hors d'oeuvres, refreshments and holiday photo fun
with your kitty, and meeting WHS cats and kittens available for

The food is sponsored by Dos Gringos and the cat toys are compliments of
The Big Bad Woof.

A $15 donation to WHS is required for a holiday photo of your cat with
Santa Claus.

The event will take place at the new WHS Behavior & Learning Center,
7315 Georgia Avenue, NW. For more information please contact
202-723-5730 (ext. 150) or dfoley@washhumane.org.

Monday, November 24, 2008

DCUSA Readies for Holiday Shoppers

The holiday shopping season has arrived at DCUSA. Snowflake lights cascade over the escalators; a small stereo plays Christmas music on the lower level (but whatever was playing at 7 am this morning, it was quite depressing); and Port-a-Johns are coming for Black Friday shoppers. Brags Councilman Jim Graham:

I worked with Metro/WMATA to secure the early opening of Metro on Friday at 4 a.m. instead of the usual time of 5 a.m. Other plans include store specific lines for early bird shoppers, access to restrooms before stores open and street entertainers.
DCist has more info.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Circulator Bus Stop Coming to the Neighborhood?

The Examiner has a small article about Metro and Councilman Jim Graham’s proposal to eliminate the 98 bus that runs from Woodley Park to U Street. Its replacement would be a Circulator bus—similar to what runs along K Street between Union Station and Georgetown—that would connect Woodley Park and McPherson Square. According to the article, the route would have stops in Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights, and the U Street Corridor. DCist has a few thoughts on it, too.

When I lived in Adams Morgan, I was a fan of the 98 bus because it cost only $.25 however oftentimes it was easier just to walk to U Street because traffic was so bad on 18th Street. While there is no final decision on the Circulator route or start date, below are my ideas for where the bus should provide service.

View Larger Map

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Heights - New Menu for Trying Times

I just got an email alert from the Heights letting me know that their menu, like my wallet, understands this crap economy.

They cut their prices, expanded the options, and are claiming a "recession-proof" happy hour.

You can view their menus on their website.

I checked on my favorite item - the steak salad. It used to be $13.95 at dinner and it's now going for $10.95, though I didn't notice much of a change in the lunchtime price - $10.50. Some things didn't change - like the bloody mary - but they make up for it by opening at 9AM for brunch.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Public Art comes to Columbia Heights this Weekend

The developers of the old Bi-Rite building on 11th Street and Park Road are bring public art to the neighborhood this Sunday with a community-based art installation.

Who: Tim CON (DC), Dave AREK (MD), Decoy (DC), Billy Mode (MD), VJ (DC), Gaia (MD), Leon Rainbow (NJ), Will Kasso (NJ), Peter Krsko / Albus Cavus (DC) and other local artists.

When: Sunday, November 9, 2008, from 2:00pm to 6:00pm. The completed installation will remain on exhibit until early 2009.

Where: 3400 11th Street NW, Washington DC (intersection of 11th Street NW and Park Road)

For more information about the artists visit http://www.albuscav.us/index.html.

Also be sure to read the Washington Post's positive profile of BloomBars.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

DC Now Part of Google Street View

Google Maps has finally introduced street view for DC. I already found my apartment and car, but the most interesting view is that of 14th and Irving streets. Set your view in the middle of the intersection and it is a fairly recent picture, but start heading east or west on Irving and it flashes back to over a year ago. Check it out for yourself.

View Larger Map

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pete's Apizza Now Serving Breakfast

Great news courtesy of the Prince of Petworth:

Starting Monday [Ed note: today], Pete's Apizza (right outside of the Columbia Heights metro) will open at 7AM for folks to grab a cup of Illy Caffe (espresso drinks and regular coffee), as well as breakfast pastries.

I plan on stopping by before voting tomorrow morning, but did anyone check it out today?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Listserv Post of the Day

Scratch that, make it Listserv Post of the Year.

Some backgroud, first. The local listservs are abuzz with messages about the homicide at 11th and Harvard earlier this week. As usual, William Jordan is a frequent poster. But the biggest surprise was MPD's response to one of Mr. Jordan's e-mails about how to deal with crime in the neighborhood. The exchange is below:

Re: [columbia_heights] Murder at 11th and Harvard

On Behalf Of William Jordan
Sent: Thursday, October 30, 2008 9:31 AM

Neighbors are the key to building a safe community. This community is
filled with good potentially good neighbors. Good neighbors of all
persuasions we have to find ways to build on this base. It will take
hard work because we are such a complex community and its easy to get
lazy and stay in our little cliques. But we have to focus on building a
network of neighbors who will look out for each other. Feeling safe is
going to come with neighbors and gaining a better knowledge for the
neighborhood. You will be OK, but be wise and alert.

In 3D, MPD's hands are tied by politics. The current Ward political
order fears the very independent diverse network of neighbors which is
the prerequisite we need for a stronger neighborhood and therefore safer
streets and homes. The political order wants to be the buffer for all
actions and this approach is not adequate for this community. MPD is
being asked to be substitute neighbors, bell hops, props in a political
show and when necessary scapegoats. As long as this continues MPD will
not be as effective as they could and this community will not get
significantly stronger and safer.

When we as neighbors start meeting and working together and taking the
lead in the effort to make this community safe, we will see real
progress and MPD and the political order will become more effective for
us. And when 302 is safer all other the surrounding PSA will be safer.
But as long as we look to MPD and the political order for leadership
this is sadly the best we can get.

Until you are and feel safe, my 21 year old daugther, college senior,
is not safe and therefore, I am not safe. As long as 3D puts politics
ahead of working creatively with all in this community to make you all
safer they are going to have a problem with me. In fact, I am pretty
sure substation leadership has been politically ordered not to work with
me because I refuse to go along with a dog and pony show as a plan for
ensuring your safety and the safety of my family.

Look to your neighbors first. There a good officers out there, but
petty politics is underminding their effectiveness.


Re: [columbia_heights] Murder at 11th and Harvard

Posted by: "Delgado, Edward (MPD)"
Thu Oct 30, 2008 7:43 am (PDT)

Mr. Jordan

I applaud your tenacity in this endeavor and I commend you for your
efforts in the community. I would be happy to meet you to discuss what
crime strategies you think we should have in your neighborhood. I must
tell you that you make sense and in many ways and I think that it is
about time that you and I get together to talk about this.

Edward Delgado
Third District Sub Station

Breaking news, MPD official says William Jordan is right.

Panda Express Now Open

Panda Express, the latest food option in Columbia Heights is now open. Did anyone stop by? Or will you go elsewhere for your Chinese takeout? My choice is still Mr. Chen's.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Where to Vote in Columbia Heights

Election Day is November 4. Here is a handy map of where Columbia Heights residents can find their local polling place.

View Larger Map

Also, Tuesday, October 28 is the last day registered DC voters can request an absentee ballot. You can also absentee vote in-person through November 3 (except Sunday, Nov. 2) at the Board of Elections and Ethics. The BOEE is located at One Judiciary Square, 441 4th Street, NW, Suite 205-North. Hours are 8:30 am to 4:45 pm.

For more information, including how to check your voting status and how to find your polling place, visit http://www.dcboee.org/voter_info/.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Target Prepares for Sale of Beer and Wine

A Sunday evening trip to Target brought about a welcomed surprise: beer and wine is finally on its way. An aisle in the grocery section of the store may have empty shelves for now, but prices are already posted. Target is advertising American lagers, domestic brews, and international drafts and prices look comparable to Giant and the like. Wine takes up the other half of the aisle, including picks for less than $12 and the awesome Wine Cube.

Based on space alone, the selection is smaller than that at Giant. And you miss the great recommendations and conversations that you get at d'vines. But the addition of beer and wine at Target adds another level of convenience to the store.

Mayorga Becomes Nori - For Now

The other day, I noticed Mayorga had officially become Nori - an Asian bistro. After checking out some reviews on Yelp - mixed to positive - The Heights Life ventured over to decide for ourselves.

The decor hasn't change, but a slightly fishy smell now permeates the place. We were seated in the dining area with the long bench below the bar. You can also sit at the sushi bar where they used to pour coffee. It was clean and cozy inside with a decent crowd for a Sunday night.

Everyone was friendly, but the servers seemed inordinately stressed. They had two people covering the dining room, and apparently that's not enough. It wasn't that the service was slow, it was that several things just never showed up until we asked - then they appeared right away.

As for the for the food - standard rolls were around $5, special rolls were $7 to $10, soup was $3, sushi combos ranged from about $15 to $20, and entrees centered around $12.

Our review will have to fall into the "mixed" category. The gyoza appetizer tasted homemade and delicious. The miso soup was good. The salad was standard, but probably not even worth $3.

The rolls, however, confused us. We ordered one spicy tuna, and one spicy tuna without the roe it normally comes with. The roe-laden roll was overwhelmingly fishy and in a very bad way. After one bite neither of us wanted to finish it. The tuna sans roe was fine - not great, but decidedly better than the roe roll. We also tried one of their twists on classic (American) sushi - a baked California cream roll, which was good.

ArtBart attempted to order inari - normally a bean curd pocket with rice. What they brought out was a seaweed wrapped six piece roll with rice and a tiny bit of bean curd in the middle. It was not good.

We might go to Nori again if sushi desperation hits and we can't get U Sushi to deliver... but I think I am more likely to hold out until Sake Club opens - even if it will cost more.

Our guess - Nori will be just another rotation in what should be a great space for something.

PS - ArtBart wants me to add that the noodle dishes that came out of the kitchen looked great. We didn't try those - so maybe we'll have to go back. Anyone else dined at Nori? Leave a note in the comments section.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ellwood Thompson's Now Just a Year Away

Washington Business Journal reports that Ellwood Thompson's Local Market is finally coming to DC USA ... in about a year: http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/stories/2008/10/06/daily38.html

This is great news, but now what new stores will residents petition for at DC USA?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Another Great Reason to Head to The Heights

There are many reasons to love Logan @ The Heights: bloody marys on Saturdays, the steak salad, the ginger lime margarita, the patio, bloody marys on Sundays. And here is another reason to stop by: 15 percent of all proceeds on Tuesday night will benefit Columbia Heights Day (less than two weeks away).

Support the Columbia Heights Neighborhood
CH Day
15% of Proceeds Donated to Columbia Heights Day
 Logan @ The Heights is proud to support our neighborhood by donating 15% of Tuesday evenings proceeds to the Columbia Heights Association.

Please join us for dinner tomorrow night to help this wonderful cause.

Tuesday, September 23rd, beginning at 5 PM

Logan @ The Heights
3115 14th St. NW
Washington, DC 20010
For Reservations, Call:
Or Reserve online:

Columbia Heights Streetscape Project Update

Big news today on the Columbia Heights streetscape project as the Department of Transportation finally awarded a contract. Reports the Examiner:

The streets of Columbia Heights are about to receive a $15 million makeover, part of a District Department of Transportation project slated to begin in the next two months .... DDOT, which awarded the contract for the work to Civil Construction LLC last week, described the project as "an ambitious effort to implement consistent, practical and aesthetically pleasing urban landscape elements in what can best be described as the heart of the city."

Bike lanes for 14th Street are planned, too.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Oktoberfest Arrives in Columbia Heights

The Wonderland, Looking Glass Lounge, and Red Rocks are banding together on Saturday to celebrate Oktoberfest with, "Katch the Keg."

Promo flyer is courtesy of Prince of Petworth.

Monday, September 15, 2008

CommonWealth Reviewed

The Hill reviewed CommonWealth last week, and was pretty positive about it. The Washington Post was similarly generous in their review. I remain reserved and await Sake Club, Panda Express, and Dave's Tavern. Seems like it will be a fall full of openings in Columbia Heights.

Though one place that, despite continued rumblings, I am convinced will never open as it currently is Royal Blue, the Mediterranean joint on 14th. I peak through the tears in the paper covering the windows often and it's still just a hole. A prime location hole. Perhaps it's telling that their website isn't working right now...

SHOWDOWN! Starbucks v. Starbucks

That's right, it's time for a SHOWDOWN! among the Columbia Heights excess. One Starbucks, inevitable. But TWO Starbucks coffee shops... within about 100 yards of each other? A wee bit tragic. Thus, this SHOWDOWN! shall be a battle to the death! Or... maybe, given where the company is heading, one of those battles where they stab each other simultaneously and we end up with no Starbucks at all. Anyhow... let's get going.

Category 1: Location
One Starbucks is right on 14th, the other is nestled in Target. Clearly 14th is easier to access when you don't need something from Target. However... when don't you need something from Target? And aren't you better off shopping with a little caffeine kick? I know it SEEMS like 14th is best for us all, but I think the Target Starbies is onto something, because and only because I can always use a trip to Target. Winner: Starbucks (Target)

Category 2: Service
Recently, every Starbucks in the United States shut down to retrain their employees on how to make a proper latte. For a few weeks, I thought, 'Hey, things are better here!' But a few months have passed now, and for some reason every single time i order from the 14th street 'bucks, the barista spills crap down the side of my drink and I end up with two cups. I hate having two cups. However, despite the recent flaws, 14th 'bucks is about 1.3 million times faster than the Target 'bucks, even if the line is twice as long. Speed is king when coffee is on the line. Winner: Starbucks (14th)

Category 3: Ambiance
Our 14th street coffee haven has it. The latest production from a Starbucks artist (yuck, I know, but they try), plus chairs, tables, outside seating, and wireless. In Target, the Starbies space is shared with some soda fountains and Pizza Hut cafeteria style dining space. I think this category settles it. Winner: Starbucks (14th)

So if the company is going south and we only get to keep one, The Heights Life has declared the best Starbucks is the original 14th Street version. However, if we had it our way... two Sticky Fingers instead?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Crime Crime Crime

Frequent listserv voice William Jordan made a good point yesterday. The last few days of the 3D Substation crime report look like they could be from the last few weeks.

Normally when school starts again, we see a bit of a decline in crime. I have no statistics, but that doesn't seem to be the case this year.

The Heights Life will be honest here and say we're particularly concerned because a couple of the muggings reported happened on our well-trafficked block, and not always during absurd hours.

How will we stumble home from the Wonderland at 2AM under these circumstances? The answer: probably the same as always, but with less confidence that we'll arrive chez nous with our purses.

Also, we'd like to suggest to the police that they get more Segway cops, and maybe the Segway cop can bring along an extra Segway in case I want a ride home. Just an idea.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

RIP Mayorga

If you're a member of the CH listserv, you're already well aware that Mayorga is closed, or half-closed, and now it's all about Asian and not coffee, and then something about how Carvel/Cinnabon leased their coffee machines. I don't know. All I do know is that I hope Not-Mayorga-Anymore figures it out because for the last six months, maybe nine, I've considered that wasted space. Spud Lite does not like having her wifi taken away!

Anyhow - coming soon to the Tivoli theater space: sushi, Korean, maybe Chinese. How much Asian can one restaurant handle? I'd like to know.

Friday, September 5, 2008

SHOWDOWN! Potbelly v. Pete's

Hulk Hogan can have the celebrity feud of the week, because now 'The Heights Life' has SHOWDOWN! a new feature where we pit two embattled Columbia Heights "things" against each other and declare a winner. People, places, streets, pets, whatever it may be. But, since this is a blog for the community, I will welcome a vote in our Heights Life Poll to overturn any SHOWDOWN! decision I may make that you disagree with.

For our first edition, let's go with something obvious. They're neighbors. They both serve food. Their names start with the letter "P." And I can be seen at one or the other several times each week. It's time for...

SHOWDOWN! Potbelly v. Pete's Apizza

Category 1: Service
I'm quite certain Potbelly has a strict customer service regiment. It's why they shout your order down a line the same way every time. It's also why they seem to do this without a lot of fire in the potbelly... their service is a script, and while it keeps it consistent, I don't know if I FEEL it so much. Pete's, on the other hand, seems to be staffed by people who... well... like their jobs! Shocking, I know, but it's a family affair and they aren't stuck to a script. I even asked someone if something was good last week and you know what they said? They said, "I don't know. I haven't tried it yet." Honesty is good service. Victor: PETE'S APIZZA

Category 2: Price
Quality and quantity are always at play when considering pricing, but if we try to look at the straight up bang for the buck, everyone knows Potbelly is way cheaper than Pete's. Sure, a single slice at Pete's is less than a Potbelly sandwich, but the sandwich will fill you up far quicker. And... a $4 slice? Remember when you could get a burger for a quarter? Ok, me neither, but I still think $4 for a slice the size of a Pete's piece is a bit high. Throw in a salad and a drink and Pete's is a $10-$15 meal. At Potbelly its tough to break into the double digits. Victor: POTBELLY

Category 3: Deliciousness
It's one and one and it comes down to the final category... who is more DELICIOUS. Do I even need to explain myself here? Pete's is damn good. Their deliciousness quotient puts Potbelly to shame. The paninis are great, the pizza is gourmet, and the house salad is perhaps my favorite thing ever... it's just a salad, but it's so very good and organic and full of deliciousness! Potbelly is tasty, but come on - Pete's has gelato. Victor: PETE'S APIZZA

Pete's Apizza: 2
Potbelly: 1
WINNER: Pete's Apizza

Congratulations Pete's! I will be by later for my house salad with chicken and a Diet Coke to go.

Monday, September 1, 2008

A first for the Wonderland

Not wanting to stop celebrating the long weekend just yet, your bloggers stopped by the Wonderland around 12:30 am last night only to find a horrible, horrible thing. A line. To get into the Wonderland.

Now, repeat those last two sentences and give your best WTF face.

Apparently the bar was at capacity and making people wait outside to get in. This combined with the new seating rule for the beer garden is making the place lose some of its dive-y charm. Anyone knows the reason why for these new changes? Did you actually wait in line on Sunday? Leave a comment below.

Friday, August 22, 2008

My Dry Cleaning: An Update

Since one of our commenters asked for an update on my dry cleaning (and I always do what you people tell me to in the comments section), here it is!

I got my clothes back today from Georgetown Valet. All done, on time, and I must say - they look fantastic. I should probably do my dry cleaning more often because my skirts have never looked so good. Not even when they were new!

As for the prices... women always get hosed at the dry cleaners. I just don't know why, and I don't know why we don't stage a major protest on the issue... but seriously, if you're a dude reading this, I'd like to compare prices.

Here's what I had done:

2 suits
1 pair of pants
2 skirts
1 shirt

If you count the suits as two pieces each, the total was 8 items. I paid $43, or just over $5 per single item (including tax).

That certainly seems like a lot to me, especially if dudes pay like... $2 per shirt. And do I get charged more if it's a suit versus a jacket and a skirt? I think I might...

But, for this area - it might be decent. Does anyone have an experience or prices to compare?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

WSC: Mr. T Says Wipe It Down

Mr. T had some WSC gym beef going on today.

And he makes some good points. Is it just me - or is there no sign-up board for cardio equipment? Shouldn't there be? Didn't they say there would be?

I took a class last night, so I didn't have to deal with the madness he endured, but the WSC is certainly crowded during the immediate pre- and post-work hours... and it seriously lacks any solid organization. People also don't have the same hygiene standards I saw at results, as Mr. T points out. It's polite to wipe off a machine, a mat, whatever it may be.

On the plus side - they just added a bunch of classes, both earlier and later ones. The addition of 7:30PM classes is good for those of us who work outside the neighborhood and need to trek home before hitting the gym. I applaud them for this and hope they last.

UPDATE: Some more positive WSC news from Matthew in the comments section - starting soon, soccer time in the gym. Plus, more machines extending into the stretching area, so hopefully Mr. T's Lord of the Flies scenario won't actually happen.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Where Do You Dry Clean?

This morning I managed to take myself on a grand tour of the Columbia Heights / 14th Street area dry cleaners. I had two skirts, two suits, a shirt and a pair of pants to get done. I also had several pairs of shoes in need of re-heeling.

My observations:

OXXO Cleaners: This was my first stop. Some rather rude man saw me with my stuff and raced in ahead of me. This was by far the largest, cleanest cleaner I saw. They do not, however, handle shoes. And they told the rude man in front of me that the plethora of shirts he brought in would take a week. A week! I didn't even bother waiting my turn. They do have that fancy thing that lets to drop-off and pick-up at any time. Anyhow, I can't wait a week, so my next stop was...

Georgetown Valet: This is my usual choice. They aren't as big into the "organic" business, but they say they are environmentally friendly. What I like best is how speedy they are. The line is fast, the clothes are done in about two days, and they are usually willing to bump it up if I ask nicely. I've always thought my stuff looked good when it came back, so I just keep using them. They do not, however, do shoes. I left them my clothes and continued my trek to...

Kenyon Square: The new little green machine on 14th just opened. The window listed shoe repair among their services and I was happy to find somewhere so close! They send their clothes off-site, so I wouldn't leave them with my duds. When I tried to turn over my shoes I learned that they ship these off-site, too (not unusual for shoe repair at a dry cleaner), but they told me the shoes would take a week! What's with this week business again?! Apparently they are shipping them to Arlington at this juncture. I don't go NoVa. My shoes don't go to NoVa. Alas, it was a bust and my shoes are now across town, but I'll get them back tomorrow.

So where do you dry clean? Any preferences or horror stories? Take our poll!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Finally some news on Royal Blue Bistro

What did I just say about restaurant news ...

Various DC foodie sites have some surprising updates on Royal Blue Bistro -- the forevered-brown-papered windows next to The Heights. From DCist:

Chef Rissa Pasibigan will be behind the stove at Royal Blue Bistro from Jawad Laouaoudaand Khalid Raji, of Citronelle. Pasibigan's name might be more familiar from her front of the house exploits at Corduroy and most recently West End Bistro. A CIA-trained chef, she will be designing the Mediterranean menu with inspiration from her upcoming trip to Morrocco. For anyone who has tasted the lumpia at Corduroy, you'll have an idea about her gifts behind the stove.

While RBB is slated to open in the Fall, I peeked at the space about a week ago and it looked still empty with little construction happening.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

ListServ post of the day

Suffice to say, I love local restaurant and retail news. This update from the developers of The Meridian Pint comes on the heels of a rather ridiculous Columbia Heights listserv discussion of the 11th Street commercial strip and what bars and restaurants should and should not be like. But the description of the new place sounds fantastic! Another thing to look forward to in 2009:

What will The Meridian Pint be like?

Wed Aug 13, 2008 10:35 pm (PDT)

I'll be brief since I'm preparing to go canoe the upper Potomac for 2
days, departing at 6am...in 4 hours.

Located at 11th & Park, The Pint, as I've come to nick name it, will
be 2 levels. The street level will be very much restaurant/bar
similar in casualness to Commonwealth Gastro Pub with an open style
kitchen. We'll offer great food, a casual groove, 25 beers on draft
and no bottles or cans, plentiful wines and yes, an outdoor seating
area. Beers will be diverse including cask conditioned as well as the
occasional gravity poured, firkin. There will be 2 "idiot boxes"
since I do enjoy sports and I believe few things go better than
quality beer while watching some football. Certainly not a sports
bar, just some back ground.

The basement level will be equal in size and will have both a separate
entrance and internal connection. The downstairs will have a more
playful personality and will carry the name "The Joint Chiefs" while
still serving the same food and beverages. There will be 4 8ft.
billiard tables, to be rented by the hour, shuffle board, another bar
and a spacious lounging area with the ability to section off for
private party/receptions. A ping pong table top will be available for
covering 1 billiard table for those interested.

Scheduled opening is based on 3DG's renovation of the building but for
now I'm hoping for spring of '09.

That's it in a nut shell.

John Andrade
The Meridian Pint

Saturday, August 9, 2008

FIRE! FIRE! Or just another day at DCUSA...

The Heights Life is noticing a trend... Fire alarms at DCUSA.

There have been two in two weeks that we know of (and it sort of reminds me of the Anderson dorm at AU circa 2000-2001). Today, I was at the gym, just approaching a mile a the treadmill when WHOOOP WHOOOP the fire alarms started flashing and blaring, "There is a fire emergency in the building. Please exit using the nearest stairs."

For a while, everyone at the gym looked at each other, wondering if we really had to go. Slowly people started to leave and the staff apologized, looking annoyed, and escorted us all out.

Now, I am pretty sure that in a fire, you're not supposed to use the escalator, at least not while it's still on... but there was a massive traffic jam at the escalator with the folks exiting from all stores. I veered toward the back and went down some stairs that dumped me in the parking garage, I think.

When I left, the fire truck had arrived, but I'm pretty sure no flames were spotted and no emergency emerged.

Commonwealth: Nice Seating, Fake Buckets

So The Heights Life hit Commonwealth last night for the first time.

First, the good:
- Our waitress was awesome, so knowledgeable and helpful. She made great wine suggestions and knew the menu incredibly well.
- The wine and beer selection is interesting and offers some quality choices.
- The service was speedy and the seating fantastic. It's big inside and out, and we had no trouble getting a table.
- Apparently, the fried olives are good. I totally disagree with my friends on this one and I wanted to spit them out, but I don't like olives. So, if you do like olives, these are good, I guess.

And now, the bad:
- We ordered a "bucket" of chips. This bucket was an 8 oz. glass with about six big french fries in it. They were good, but the title misleading.
- The crab on toast was just that, but not really delicious and really overpriced. I saw some good looking food near us, but everything edible seemed a wee bit expensive.
- No happy hour (yet). Our waitress said one was coming, but I like a place that starts with a deal, personally.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Some thoughts on CommonWealth

For those people who haven't had a chance to stop by CommonWealth and check out its food and drink menu, the Washingtonian offers a sneak preview. And for another look at the interior and its patio, the Prince of Petworth has some photos. While I am a bit disappointed by the prices, I am excited to try the food. As a big fan of fish and chips, I am always looking for a good platter no matter what the cost. But unlike other restaurants in neighborhood, I don't see CommonWealth being a regular stop for me. Instead it will likely be a nice place to go once a month or when visitors are in town.

Anyone plan on stopping by opening night tomorrow?

Friday, August 1, 2008

And We're Back

The Heights Life took a vacation this past week, but the neighborhood certainly has not. Not only is there a Bank of America coming to DCUSA, but stone bricks were laid in front of the Park Triangle, effectively starting the public realm plan for Columbia Heights. And the best news of all (via The Washington Post and Columbia Heights News forums)---CommonWealth opens August 6! Stop by the restaurant's location on Irving Street to take a sneak peak at the menu.

This Saturday also marks the 3rd Bloom at BloomBar on 11th Street next to the Wonderland. The Makepeace Brothers and other special guests perform at 9 pm.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Support Local Businesses in Mt. Pleasant

This announcement comes from the Mt. Pleasant Main Street association:

Come celebrate Mt. Pleasant and Local Businesses at Haydee's
Tuesday, July 22
6 - 11 pm

Haydee's (at 3102 Mt. Pleasant Street NW) is generously donating a
percent of all proceeds to support Mt Pleasant Main Street. So come
eat and drink and bring all your friends and neighbors. No cover

For more information visit www.mtpmainstreet.org. Mount Pleasant Main
Street is a volunteer-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Park Triangle Dust Bowl to Continue for at least Another Year

On Wednesday, Mayor Adrian Fenty held a press conference in gravel pitch in front of the Park Triangle apartment building announcing the start of the Columbia Heights Public Realm Plan. This plan has been in the works for quite some time and is a frequently topic of debate on the neighborhood listservs.

While it is great to hear that a planning process has finally been implemented, and the vision for the project sounds great. Are we ready for another round of construction and road work at an already busy intersection? For the dust bowl that is the triangle of land in front of Rita’s, Julia’s Empanadas, ect. to be that way for another year is ridiculous. Same goes for the road work involved in the project. New sidewalks for Park Road, overall improvements for 14th between Columbia Rd. and Newton St., among others will be not be seen until mid-2010.

No matter what field you are in, large-scale projects take time to plan, but is this a sensible time line? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Firetrucks at DC USA


The Heights Patio--Fire trucks arrive at DC USA this evening and those in the retail complex were told to leave. Situation is developing.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Quick Thoughts

-         Went to Five Guys last week and it was good, obviously.

-         Construction on The Children's Place at DC USA has started. The kids clothing store is located next to Staples.

-         The paper is off the windows at Kenyon Cleaners and a sewing machine is set up.

-         Red Rocks celebrated its one-year anniversary over the weekend.

-         Columbia Heights chicken?!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Reflections on the Fourth

On Friday evening, I continued my Fourth of July tradition of cringing at the cheesiness of "A Capitol Fourth" on WETA, watching the official fireworks from afar, and then seeing the neighborhood show from the Wonderland's beer garden. This year, I watched the Mall fireworks from Cardozo High School, a first, and there was a much bigger crowd than I expected. Like myself, the amount of people seemed to surprise MPD, too, as they did little to stop traffic on 13th or Clifton streets until after the fireworks ended. However, any driver who thought taking 13th Street north- or south-bound would be a good idea during the fireworks clearly does not know the area. The neighborhood fireworks were not as plentiful as previous years, but I think the rain played a role in that. However, there were still "oohs and aahs" late into the evening. So much that at one point I couldn't see across the Kenyon and 11th intersection for a good 5 minutes. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Monday, June 30, 2008

Music and Art Blooms on 11th Street

Leaving the Wonderland early Sunday morning, your bloggers came across a site that I exclaimed as "fantastic" about 50 times in a row. The vacant building next to the Wonderland on 11th Street was transformed into Bloombar, which its website describes as "Spontaneous, underground music, art and inspiration." The small gallery and performance space is a great fit for the 11th Street corridor, and I can't wait to see what it becomes.

The Caribbean Meets Georgia Avenue

While Barack Obama was busy working out at our local gym, The Heights Life was enjoying a day in the Caribbean.

The Caribbean Carnival Parade took place on Saturday. We grabbed some grass on one of the street islands and waited about an hour and a half for the sounds of the Caribbean islands to come our way.

It was pretty wild. Photos and pictures are below. We didn't make it to the festival, but opted for brunch at Domku.

The highlight of the parade for this blogger was the Fenty Smart Car, natch. The mayor was throwing green beads about, and every other political candidate in the parade was doing the same and hoping they'd be mistaken for Fenty.

Friday, June 27, 2008

"Get 'yer dishes, knives, and blenders here!"

Additional signage for Bed Bath & Beyond at DC USA was being installed
on Friday evening. Now everyone heading north of 14th Street will know
where you can get your kitchen needs.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Listserv post of the day

And a sincere one, at that.

CHEESE & YOGURT NOW at 14& U Farmers Market Saturday June 21

Posted by: "robinjeffs" 

Thu Jun 19, 2008 6:22 pm (PDT)


It has taken more than a year, but we will now have wonderful yogurt, fresh cheeses, aged
cheeses and blue cheese dips at the market. Quark and Ricotta and Fresh Cream Cheese,
Cheddars and 11 varieties of aged hard cheeses. Come sample on Saturday.

Yes, it's true. Farmstead CHEESE AND YOGURT ARRIVE THIS WEEK AT 14 & U FARMERS MARKET! Hurrah! Come and Try them. I promised the cheesemaker , Melanie, that she would meet a huge crowd of U Streeters who were hungry for cheese.

*My favorite yogurt--
*11 different hard cheese-- cheddars and Fetas and Wallabies and Vermeer
*Fresh German style or Central European soft curd cheese (Quark)
*Fresh Ricotta and Italian Style Pressed Ricotta
*Fresh Cream Cheese with herbs

Rain or Shine

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Listserv Post of the Day: Help Find A Cat

The Heights Life loves animals, so when I saw this message my heart went out to the cat owners.
Keep your eyes open for Artemis:
Smallish, orange/golden and white colored short hair cat. No collar. ID is a black marking in the middle of her lower lip. If you find
Artemis please call George Ripley at 202-XXX-XXXX. Thank you.

Update: The cat was found!

Target to sell beer and wine?

From Jimmy D:
"1) an alcohol licence request posted on the front of DCUSA main doors with Target as the named requester. No idea what it means exactly. Maybe Target wants to sell beer and wine? I have never heard of that before. Hmm."

In April, Target's request for an alcohol license was discussed at the ANC 1A meeting. Reports from that meeting are available from DCist and DC North. Target's website, though, thinks wine is already available at the store. While The Heights Life is a big fan of d'vines, making beer and wine available at Target will make summer party planning that much easier. And Target's wine cube is supposed to be pretty good.

If anyone has an update on Target's alcohol license, please post it in the comments below.

Five Guys Looking Good

The butcher paper is off the windows at Five Guys showing that construction is nearing completion. Tables and chairs are stacked in the dining room; the Coca Cola dispenser is primed to start pouring fizzy goodness; and the griddle is ready to go. The burger joint looks to be on-schedule for an early-July opening, as announced a few months ago.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Columbia Heights Shoe Shopping: A Rant in 200 Words

In the two months that the inexpensive shoe triumvirate of Target, Marshalls, and Payless has been in operation at DCUSA, I should have purchased at least three pairs of cute, cheap perfect-for-summer shoes by now. Except, in fact, it’s been the exact opposite:

  • While the Columbia Heights Payless has a lot of shoes in my size (something that the Metro Center and Adams Morgan stores do not), their summer styles just don’t suit me this year. Or they don’t have the shoe I want in stock. Where is this shoe, Payless?!
  • Marshalls' shoe department continues to surprise me, but between May and August black heels are the last thing I want to buy. Give me embellished sandals!
  • This weekend Target’s shoe department was full of empty shelves because they removed all the shoe boxes, with the exception of anything by Converse. A call to Target as to why they no longer use shoe boxes was not answered, but it certainly doesn’t help an already quiet corner of the store. Also, has anyone else noticed this Target rarely puts its shoes on sale or clearance? I used to have the best luck getting good deals at the Potomac Yards Target, but not yet at Columbia Heights.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Fun find at d’vines

While you normally find cool window designs at clothing, furniture, and department stores, d’vines also does a great job of showing off its goods. I love the steel wine caddies currently on display. They retail for $55.99 and represent various professions and hobbies. There’s more online at the H&K Sculptures website if you can’t find what you like in the store.

Rough Friday night?

Has this ever happened to anyone? Or perhaps this is one of our readers? On Saturday morning around 7:30 am, I found a guy sleeping on the front stoop of my building. No shirt, no shoes, but cell phone in hand. We had a lovely conversation:

Excuse me, do you live here?
Dude: No, do you?
ArtBart: Yeah.
Dude: Where am I?
ArtBart: Washington, DC.
Dude: [obviously] No, shit.
ArtBart: You’re in Columbia Heights.
Dude: Oh. [stands up, stumbles to the sidewalk and starts making a call on his cell phone]

It was a strange way to start the day. But the real question is, how did this guy get there? He didn’t appear to be a victim of mugging or robbery. Was it a prank pulled by friends on a passed-out drunk after a house party? Or did he get kicked out of bed? Maybe he just wanted to sleep in the great outdoors of Columbia Heights?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Wonderland in the WaPo

The Wonderland Ballroom made it into the Washington Post today for going all Gossip Girl with some public Guitar Hero nights.
Check it out by clicking here. And here is an excerpt:
Rock On in Columbia Heights

By Karmah Elmusa
Friday, June 6, 2008; C11

Guitar Hero isn't just a game. Well, technically, it is. But it has also become a phenomenon worthy of media attention, a "South Park" episode and, now, a designated night at Wonderland Ballroom.

Every Tuesday, the top floor of the Columbia Heights hot spot is transformed into a wannabe-rocker's dream den. Lights are down, a projector is up and the speakers are at full tilt, creating an intimate two-player paradise for Hero junkies and their groupies.

While Guitar Hero night is a fledgling operation (it started in early May), the potential for a cult following is there. There are, of course, the standard draws of Wonderland-on-a-weeknight: a beer selection that's extra cheap before 8 p.m. (Delirium is popular here), friendly staff and that off-the-beaten-path feel that disappears when the weekend crowds roll in.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Poll Fails to Predict the Future

And Columbia Heights residents are a bunch of pessimists. The 14th Street North Metro escalators are once again working, after being out of service for about six days. Also, track work delays continue to plague the Green and Yellow lines this weekend. However, if you are on a train, hope for one with a speedy operator. The drivers of the trains I was on this afternoon were determined not to get stuck single-tracking and stopped for about 10 seconds less at affected stations.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

WSC Opens Tomorrow in Columbia Heights

Those elliptical machines taunting us from the DCUSA windows will finally be in action starting tomorrow (June 1).
Washington Sports Club opens its doors at 8:00AM. As of yet, no class schedule has been published online - but I'll check upon visiting.
You can see the gym's stats by clicking here.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Do the hula for Columbia Heights

I love my Columbia Heights Day 2007 T-shirt. And while the field behind Harriet Tubman Elementary was dusty and sparse last year, here’s hoping Columbia Heights Day 2008—set for October 4—brings a bigger crowd. The organizers are holding a luau this Saturday at the Looking Glass Lounge from 7 pm to midnight. Or check out the CHD website for more details.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Listserv Post of the Day: Jim Graham has Metro Stats

From Councilmember Jim Graham on the Metro/Employment/Shopping impact of DCUSA and Target. (Maybe this increased Metro riding explains what happened to the northbound escalator -- new poll on the left.) And now, Jim Graham:
Dear Friends:

Shoppers are using Metro in record numbers to get to Target and other stores. The evidence shows that new commerce is thriving in Columbia Heights--and transit use is part of the key.

Before the Target opened, residents were concerned about how all the new shoppers would affect their neighborhood--some feared widespread auto gridlock.

Lots of people *are* traveling to the store. The store's opening day had the second highest sales of all Target stores in the country. Thankfully, many of them are riding Metro or walking.

Metro riders at Columbia Heights have increased 24% during weekdays compared to the previous year. On weekends, the number is up to 39%. Surely some of this relates to the high cost of gasoline, and a general switch to public transportation.

But, the retail center has a 1,000 car garage. The garage still hasn't reached capacity. On average, only 250 cars are there. During peak hours, 350-400 cars are there. In fact, the second level has not been used to date.

Also, 25% of the new Target employees live right here in Ward One--80% overall live in DC. With fewer employees needing to drive in, parking is more available.

Bests, Councilmember Jim Graham
Board Member, Metro/WMATA

Commenter Question: I need a burger?

From the comments section just one post down.

Since the Heights Life has its finger on the pulse of CH, I figured I would ask you. Any idea how far off Five Guys is from opening? I was looking for a quick, cheap burger for take out the other day and came up short.

Jimmy D

Well Jimmy D, the last The Heights Life heard about those restaurant developments in Highland Park, including your coveted Five Guys, they were slated to open during the month of June. This might not include the new gastropub, but hopefully your burger fix will be satiated in the next four weeks. We'll let you know if we hear more and we'll investigate the space this week.

Columbia Heights Forum Mixer Love

The Columbia Heights Forum participants organized themselves into a mixer tonight at the Wonderland. Someone said the "more controversial" members stayed away. But, those who attended exposed their handles and their faces to each other, and The Heights Life camera.

You can visit the forums on the web by clicking here.

And on an unrelated note... on the way home, we caught something you don't see every day... a bus being towed:

Monday, May 26, 2008

Kenyon Square Wins NAHB Award

Kenyon Square is boasting about its recent Pillar Award honor from the
National Association of Home Builders. The award honors "the best in
multifamily design, from low-rise to mixed-use, in rentals and
condos." Other winners in DC include Union Row and the Kennedy-Warren.
Also, did you know that Union Row's website is www.liveonUstreet.com,
but it's actually on V Street. False marketing, no?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Listserv Post of the Day: Love Class?

We read the listserv so you don't have to. I edited this post down to the essentials:
Weekly class on preparing for love!

I am sending out this invitation to single women who 1. want to find a
partner and 2. have decided to prioritize making space for and claiming what
they want...

Cost is $200. 50% of this will go to a nonprofit, (or, with your permission,
to Obama's campaign).


Columbia Heights Gets A Street Performer

I thought he was pretty good!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Happy Houring with the PoP

The Heights Life hit the Prince of Petworth happy hour tonight.

Upon arrival at Looking Glass Lounge, it was a relief to see some semblance of the old Temperance Hall. A sign, however, does not taste as good as a fuji and fontina sandwich. As much as we are loyal to our Wonderland owners and support their Petworth endeavor, we're always going to miss the Temperance Hall menu. That burger was the best.

But to be fair, the food we saw at Looking Glass seemed like it would taste quite good, and the food we ate did taste quite good.

We spent the dining time trying to scope out the PoP. At first I thought the back of this head might be his:

I was mistaken. Turns out this is the back of his head:

Note that the outdoor area of Looking Glass was open, but on this May night it was cool enough that Matthew turned on the heat lamps! On this point, my mother would say: "See, there's no global warming." And I would reply: "Actually mother, one indication of global warming is increasingly extreme weather patterns, hot or cold." Mother's reply? "Whatever."

Anyhow, thanks to the Prince of Petworth for hosting a lovely happy hour. We made some new friends and drank a few beers. What more can you ask for on a Wednesday?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Spot The Heights Life in a Crowd

Spud Lite wrote yesterday about my tendency to write about bars a little too much, and this post is no exception. Tonight is another semi-regular happy hour hosted by fellow blogger Prince of Petworth:

WHERE: Looking Glass Lounge, 3634 Georgia Ave NW
WHEN: 7 pm

Come have a few beers, lament the loss of the old Temperance Hall burger, and see if you can spot The Heights Life in the crowd.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

DCUSA Security: School is Cool

Apparently the DCUSA security team abides by a "Stay in School" rule.

As I was walking into the complex around 2:45PM a security guard (or perhaps hired police officer, I am not sure) stopped two younger looking folks to quiz them about their ages. When it came out that they were school-going youth, he told them they couldn't enter the building until 3PM.

The kids left quietly and on the street I heard one say she got out early. Anyhow, the lesson: School is Cool, kids! Target is also cool, but only after 3PM.

Biking the Heights: CH on Two Wheels

Though based on ArtBart's recent posts, it would seem that this blog has rededicated itself to booze reviews instead of notes on life in the Heights. I swear we've got more for you.

And today, we've got biking. ArtBart and I are both recent converts to the way of two wheels and we've noticed a plethora of cyclists in the area recently. I know some of you have been doing this for years, but many of you might want to jump on the band wagon with gas prices up and metro full of butts on poles. DC was recently ranked the most improved city for cyclists by Bicycling Magazine (read about it here on the City Bikes blog). So, in case you plan to pick up a new Schwinn at Target, we've got some notes for you on biking the Heights.

1. Going downtown = Easy, fun / Coming home from downtown = A bitch
For those of you who are employed south of the Heights, biking to work is a breeze. It's a smooth ride with few sweat-inducing moments. But it's not called "Columbia Lows" and that means the trip home is a climb. Be prepared to sweat through your oxford on the trip uphill, or do what we do - bring some extra clothes and consider the trip home your daily cardio.

2. The local hills are not all equal...
11th Street: Steep, but short, with a bike lane. This is a good option in both directions, even if it takes you off course a little.
14th Street: Long drag, no bike lane, buses. I do it all the time, but I don't always like it. Traffic.
15th Street: Super steep, awkward turns. I say avoid this, and as a commenter points out - it's one way, so don't go downhill as I previously suggested. I never take this street.
16th Street: Might be a bit gentler than 14th St. Also long, but with a sidewalk option to avoid buses. Lots of traffic.

3. Buses are thine enemy!
I think I hate the 50 buses the most when I'm on a bike. The S buses on 16th certainly aren't friendly, but they don't have any means by which to cut you off, thus they are forced into some degree of submission.

The 50 buses, on the other hand, are beasts. Between CH and U St. there isn't a bike lane, but as soon as that bike lane comes in north or south of CH, the 50 buses see a prime opportunity to cut off the ever-exposed biker. They pull into and out of that bike lane as if you aren't right there. It's a bit dangerous, and we all know Metro buses aren't known for NOT hitting people. Keep an eye on those 50s.

4. Bike Lanes = The Best
I frequently go off-route just to ride a street with a bike lane. In the Heights, this can mean going from 13th to 11th to R back to 14th. This route means only about three bike lane-free blocks. Washington now has 30+ miles of bike lanes, so we may as well use them.

DC DOT has a great map of local bike lanes. Here's the section where we live.

5. This is kind of unrelated, but bike taxis are fun!
This has nothing to do with the bike as a totally functional form of transportation, but ArtBart and I once bike taxied ourselves home from a bar and it was probably the best idea ever. They will even come get you! Check out DC Pedicab.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Listserv Post of the Day

Honestly, your bloggers do more than just celebrate drinking in the neighborhood.

From the WardOneDC listserv:
WINE & BEER at Pete's New Haven Style Apizza

Pete's New Haven Style Apizza, located in the Highland Park building at the Columbia Heights Metro, 14th and Irving Streets, now has wine and beer! We're starting off with four beers on draft this weekend: Allagash White, Yuengling, Dogfish Head 60-Minute IPA, and Dominion Lager. Because we just obtained our license today, we probably won't have a full Friday night's supply of all four brews, but rest assured we'll be restocked tomorrow. We're also working with a distributor to offer a selection of bottled beers starting next week, including a great Italian summer favorite, Peroni. Stay tuned! On the wine side, we have five reds and five whites, all Italian, with a range intended to match the flavors of your meal, from light and summery to fruit-bomb reds. We'll publish a detailed list shortly. Pete's has been open for three weeks now, and we are most grateful for all of the support and kind words. If you're from Connecticut, make sure to tell us! We're beginning to keep a map highlighting the town of origin of out Connecticut guests!

Mike Wilkinson

202-332-PETE (7383)

Sunday-Thursday 11A-10P

Friday-Saturday 11A-11P

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Coming this Fall: Wine and Pastries on 11th Street

This started as "scuttlebutt" on PoP, but commenter New2CH adds some details from a recent ANC meeting: The 11th Street Deli will be closing to make way for a wine bar and pastry shop opening as soon as September. There's not much more information, but we will keep you updated as the 11th Street corridor continues to attract new businesses. While I enjoyed grabbing a sandwich from the 11th Street Deli from time-to-time, I won't necessarily miss it. I wonder if the new spot will be similar to SOVA on H Street NE?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Yet Another Post about Drinking Outside

Last week, we asked where is your favorite outdoor spot in the Columbia Heights to grab a beer or have a meal, and the winner by one vote is Red Rocks. Pizza for everyone! I am partial to 11th Street versus 14th Street, but that's because come Fourth of July, you can't beat the neighborhood fireworks displays. And the rest of the time, there's a lot less car fumes.

Monday, May 12, 2008

D'Vines Stocks Up

The Heights Life took a trip to d'vines to investigate the shelf situation. When the place first opened it was divine because it was open late seven days a week and sold good goods, but it wasn't exactly full of options. (See an interview we did with the manager here)

Now, however, all the vin is in and the beer case is so very colorful. We took home a South African Shiraz.

ArtBart says: It hits the sides of my tongue. I taste berries.
Spud Lite says: I think I taste the pepper packets you get with pizza, but that might just be because Pat at d'vines said it was "peppery."
ArtBart says: I want another glass.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Columbia Heights Forum Mixer? Yes, I said Mixer!

Apparently some folks over on the Columbia Heights News Forums started getting rough with each other.

But, it seems they enjoyed it enough to plan a mixer! Read the exchange here.

We spoke with one of the event planners at the Wonderland the other night, and this thing is a go.

When: Thursday, May 29th, Time = Nebulous
Where: The Wonderland, of course
Who: Columbia Heights News Forum Fighters and YOU!
Why: Because why not? ArtBart says it's on her calendar.

Also of note, the Price of Petworth is planning a PoP Happy Hour for May 21 at Looking Glass.

WTF: The Highland Park lobby

The best (read most ridiculous) website ever describes it as a "modern lobby with color-changing lighted 3form® walls." I describe it simply as, is this really necessary? While Washington has its share of gorgeous, albeit overpriced, apartment buildings and their equally luxe lobbies, the lobby for Highland Park is unlike any other.

Walking east on Irving a few nights ago, I wondered where the odd neon lights reflecting on the sidewalk and off the dark DCUSA storefronts was coming from. It was the Highland Park lobby, obviously, with a design aesthetic more akin to Miami Beach or nightclub set from an old episode of Alias. Not only are there color-changing walls and DWR couches, but there are suspended acrylic ball chairs, bamboo shoots, and orchids. My camera phone pictures capture only a taste of the mod-ness, so take a moment and stop to watch the pretty lights and experience the trippiness of it all.

Get your papers, pens, and printers on May 24

Staples is coming! Staples is coming! The sign on the door reads, opening May 24, so start making your shopping list. Here are The Heights Life we are hoping to get some snazzy pens and a hole puncher.

RESPONSE: Spud Lite here. Although ArtBart seems psyched about this Staples business, I must wonder... between Target and Best Buy, aren't the Staples goods covered? And with Fed-Ex Kinkos right across the street, don't we have the office crapola market saturated? I'm just guessing that my new pens will be Target pens. Back to you ArtBart!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Look What We Found!

Not to encroach on the Prince of Petworth's lawn art territory, but this planter/farewell card/lawn art on Irving was just so lovely.

It's missing an antler, but it does seem to be producing some fine foliage. And, as an added bonus, it has personal messages written all over it, plus a drawn-on mouth and eyeball. did I mention it's as gold as can be? Does anyone know this gem's full story?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Columbia Heights = Coffee Haven?

How much coffee can CH handle?

This question is about to be tested. We learned last week that Mocha Hut is heading into Highland Park. The news prompted a discussion about the plethora of coffee shop options in the area over on the Columbia Heights News forums. And previously, ArtBart blogged about the CH cup o' joe.

Between Mayorga, Starbucks, the Target Starbucks, Sticky Fingers, Cinnabon, Columbia Heights Coffee, now the Mocha Hut and anyone I've left out - this is officially a well-caffeinated neighborhood.

So who will survive the Great CH Java Battle? Is there a market for this much mocha in Columbia Heights?

Vitamin Shoppe: So Much Whey!

The Vitamin Shoppe opened last week, full of powders and pills to make your hair grow and your muscles bulge.

So today, The Heights Life went to see what pills we could pop for some self-improvement. The grand opening means everything is also on sale! How could I resist discounted fish oil?

Around and around I went, protein powder here, fasting tea there, raspberry pills all over. Wait... raspberry pills? Why not just eat some raspberries? I think maybe I don't understand the Vitamin Shoppe.

Regardless, here is a little video. Note: Despite our weeks of anticipation, you actually can't find Metabolife on the Shoppe's shelves. Oh well, that stuff is probably really bad for you.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Pump it Up

I usually just use a foot pump to keep my bike's tires in check, but
should there be any need for free air it's good to know there is some
right in the neighborhood.

Men in Dresses: The Wonderland Annual Sun Dress Party

The Wonderland Ballroom held its annual sun dress party (still going on as I write this) today, providing the neighborhood with a true feast.

There was delicious roast pig, slaw and beans to eat. And for eating with the eyes: girls and boys galore decked out in pretty summer sun dresses. They even had a rack available for those needing to buy a dress - $10 with the proceeds going to the Latin American Youth Center on Columbia Road.

We caught Matthew and Rose, the Wonderland and Looking Glass Lounge owners, out front. Matthew switched up his dress at least twice, and maybe more.

We also captured a little video in case you missed it:

And in case you haven't noticed, the Wonderland has an updated website, no longer exclusively on MySpace. Check it out here.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Listserv Post of the Day

Ah, the there-are-no-good-bagels-in-DC rant takes another form. From today's Columbia Heights Digest:

My Potbelly Review - Two thumbs Down
Posted by: aisha_mills
Fri May 2, 2008 9:01 am (PDT)

Anyone know where I can get a decent breakfast sandwich to-go in the Columbia Heights/U Street area? I just had an awful experience at Potbelly… Disclaimer: Sure, I admit it. I’m biased. I’ve never liked Potbelly anyway—I’ve found their sandwiches to be small, sub-par, and expensive... Yep, you guessed it, I’m a Booeymonger snob…

Nonetheless, I just stopped in to the new Columbia Heights Potbelly today for the first time to get a breakfast bagel. The service was extremely slow—although there was only one couple in line in front of us, my girlfriend and I waited 15 minutes for 2 skinny bagel sandwiches with egg and cheese. I should have known I’d be disappointed when I had to instruct the employee on how to actually “skinny” my bagel sandwich, despite the big fat sign on the wall advertising—go figure—“skinny sandwiches”.

I ended up with a burnt bagel chip “sandwich” that had two sad tablespoon size egg beaters in the middle. The staff at the register was so embarrassed that they had another one made for me which ended up being a bit better, but still unappetizing. Come to find out, they don’t even use real bagels, but some spongy “skinny” wheat product with a whole in the middle. Yuck (I’m also an adopted New Yorker, so I want REAL bagels damn it!). So much for having real food for breakfast. BTW, this took another 10 minutes even though I was now the only person in the place.

My review of Potbelly’s offerings for what its worth: If you’re into gourmet fast food, stick with Chipotle, and if you want a good deli sandwich, walk up to Subway or treat yourself and go across town to Booeymongers. If your thing is yuppy ambiance, just go to Busboys… If you want to sit and have a cup of “Starbucks coffee”, a cookie, and read the paper, then just go across the street to Starbucks—or avoid the corporate-cash-cow-scene all together and have your latté and sweets at Mayorga or Sticky Fingers… And if you want a decent breakfast sandwich, you’re better off making one at home.

Speaking of Booeymonger, wouldn't it be great to have one in the neighborhood?

From Other Blogs: A Tour of Highland Park

As someone who remembers when most of the new developments in Columbia Heights were just giant holes in the ground, it is pretty cool when a building finally opens. The Prince of Petworth has a preview of the Highland Park apartments, and his photo from the roof looking down Columbia Road is too sweet not to post.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Calendar: Local Farmers Markets Open this Weekend

Taking a break from CH listserv absurdity and retail openings, to note that the Mt. Pleasant and 14th and U Streets farmers markets will be up and running this Saturday. I am a fan of both and plan on a bike tour Saturday morning with perhaps a pit stop in Adams Morgan at So's Your Mom for a pumpernickel bagel. Details are below and check out other farmers markers using the WaPo's interactive map.

Market Stands

14th and U Street Farmers Market
14th and U streets NW
9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays, May 3-Nov. 22

Mount Pleasant Farmers Market
3200 Mount Pleasant St. NW (Lamont Park)
9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays, May 3-Nov. 22