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 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.