Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Columbia Heights New Year's Eve Guide

New Years's Eve is one of those holidays that you either love or you hate. If you have at least a little appreciation for the holiday, here is a rundown of what the neighborhood bars and restaurants are offering on Thursday night.

CommonWealth is offering a special three-course dinner for $45 a person from 5 to 9 pm. Reservations are recommended. All night the pub is hosting its 2nd annual Vicars & Tarts fancy dress party. There is no cover, a prize for best costume and a champagne toast at midnight.

Today is the last day to place a reservation for NYE dinner at The Heights. The restaurant is featuring a three-course menu for $35 to $59 per person, wine and champagne are offered at the $49 and $59 level.

The Red Derby is advertising is New Year's Eve party as such: No cover, no fuss. Blowers, hats, and whistles. Free champagne toast at midnight.

Room 11 is featuring a five-course cocktail and food pairing dinner for $100 per person. There will be two seatings at 7 and 10 pm, and a champagne toast is included in the cost. Call 202-332-3234 any day after 5 pm to make a reservation.

Social is celebrating New Year's Eve around the world with free toasts at every hour.

Wonderland is having a dance party with DJ Meistro and Deepsang. Cover is $10 per person or $15 a couple.

Even for city residents, New Year's Eve can be a transpiration nightmare. Here's how to get home.

On New Year's Eve, Metrorail will operate on a weekday schedule, opening at 5 a.m., and staying open two hours late, closing at 2 a.m. All Metrorail trains will operate with six-cars. Metrobus will operate on a weekday schedule and will also operate until 2 a.m.

DCist reports the Circulator will have extended hours, as well. "On Dec 31, the Georgetown-Union Station route will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.., while the Woodley Park-Adams Morgan-McPherson Square route will run even longer, 7 a.m. to 3 a.m."

SoberRide is also available on New Year's Eve. To reserve a SoberRide cab ride (up $50 in fare) call 1-800-200-8294 (TAXI) or #8294 (TAXI) on your AT&T wireless phone.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays CH!

Best wishes to Columbia Heights!

My Columbia Heights Christmas wishes? An Ellwood Thompson and sushi place for 2010!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

It's Nice to be WJLA's Doug Hill

I'm pretty sure that WJLA's chief meteorologist Doug Hill followed Mayor Fenty's advice, even though he isn't in his jurisdiction, and stayed home all day. It appears to this TV observer (who has observed no less than six hours of snow coverage today) that Hill has been broadcasting from his driveway and his den. And you know what? That's what I've been doing, too! Doug Hill, he's just like us!

Follow The Heights Life on Twitter for #snOMG updates

The snowmageddon in Snowlumbia Heights was the best thing that happened to Twitter in, well, a few days. So to receive the latest updates on what's open, what's closed, how the snow is affecting the neighborhood be sure to follow The Heights Life on Twitter at www.twitter.com/theheightslife.

Snolumbia Heights Day

Mayor Fenty says you aren't supposed to go outside. Like... at all. Even without car. Even to walk on the sidewalks.

But whatever, we went to brunch at The Heights - as usual. For a snowmageddon day, Columbia Heights is bustling! The Heights was seriously bumpin'. We were able to grab some bar seats and sample two of the new menu items.

On the way back we thought we might hit Target, having heard it was open. But whoa! Half of DC was at DCUSA and Target and Bed Bath & Beyond had CLOSED! Also, we hear the gym closed earlier, too. Payless was open. And Chipotle. And Starbucks. Not sure about Radiance MediSpa, but if you miss your botox appointment you can just do what I did and try making a face imprint in the snow. Or don't... I still can't feel my left cheek.

Snow Cat in Snolumbia Heights!

DC Dept. of Transportation Snow Tracker 3000

Well, it's not a snow tracker in a weather-sense, but more of a "Hey, is my street clear"-sense. So do you want to know if the snow plow has even touched your street yet or somewhere you want to go? Visit the DC Department of Transportation website, plug in your address, and a real-time map will be made. Here's what it looks like for the central area of Columbia Heights, as of 9:30 am.

Snolumbia Heights!

SnOMG! Snowpocalypse! Snonami! Washingsnownian!

And we've got all day to come up with more. Bring it Snolumbia Heights!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Coke v. Pepsi? Pete's Chooses Boylan's

Yesterday Pete's Apizza made the switch to Boylan's sparkling beverages in their soda fountain. They said it came from a desire to use a more natural product. Boylan's focuses on natural flavors and a product free of high-fructose corn syrup (instead they use cane sugar). Pete's also seeks out organic ingredients and hits the farmers markets.

Also in pizza news, the PoP has the scoop on possible RedRocks and Pete's expansion: http://www.princeofpetworth.com/2009/12/red-rocks-and-petes-apizza-to-open-more-in-more-locations/

New video about Columbia Heights

I was directed to this video from the Prince of Petworth. Local real estate agent Phil Di Ruggiero and his dog take a tour of the Columbia Heights. They check out a number of landmarks in the neighborhood and it's complemented by a lovely fall day. I am totally showing this off to my grandma over the holidays.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chipotle: PEOPLE EATING INSIDE! (But not open until Friday)

Chipotle was doing some sort of well-fed staff training tonight. I walked by and it looked open! Staff were inside chowing down. Even the straws and napkins are out!

Friday Friday Friday!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New parking sign by Metro

Like Spud Lite I do read signs. I also take pictures of them. Take
this one for instance. It recently appeared on 14th Street by the CH
metro stop heading north. This is one way to make people actually
park at DCUSA. Have you seen any others?

You Probably Already Know This Food Edition

Peruvian Chicken? Yeah - that's open. Chipotle? Yeah, that opens Friday.

How do I know this? Signs. I read them. I would have taken pictures, but it was snowing on me in a really rain-like manner.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Beer Tasting at Red Derby this Thursday

Orr Shtuhl, aka the Beerspotter on Twitter (who you really should
follow, btw), is hosting a Good Beer Tasting at the Red Derby on
Thursday, Dec. 10 at 8 pm.

For just $20, the tasting will feature eight beers in four side-by-
side comparisons and will take place in the back by the pool table.

Tickets must be purchased in advance. Just stop by the Red Derby (3718
14th St. NW) any day this week to get your ticket. Remember the bar is
cash only.

Still need convincing? Orr sums it up best: "it's going to be really
fun and informal, kind of like an ideal night at Derby plus good beer."

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Why Columbia Heights Needs a Sports Bar

Right now I'm sitting at home watching college football. The Husker D is (was?) busy rocking Texas. Halftime is coming up. You know what I'd like to do? Head to a local bar to watch the second half.

But - Commonwealth is showing Georgia Tech - Clemson. RedRocks only has one (or two) TVs. The Heights usually has one on sports and one on news, but it's not a good place to watch football. I would have to head to Solly's or Nellie's to have any hope of catching my game (or of course - hit the Husker bar all the way over on Capitol Hill, love the Union Pub and their cheap Bud Light!). But - I can't really get to U Street in the break halftime allows.

So... I'll just stay home and drink my free beer and yell, "SSSSUUUHHH!" at my own personal TV. But I'm just saying - if we did indeed have a Columbia Heights Sports Bar, I'd totally go spend money there RIGHT NOW.

Oh shit - Texas just scored. And I have to yell at the TV in private!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Heard on the Tweet

Here is some recent news that you may or may not have read:

We Love DC hands out neighborhood superlatives. Columbia Heights is named "Easiest Neighborhood to Live In Without a Car."

Washington Business Journal reports that Columbia Heights will lose its Target bragging rights for December. Georgetown is set to get a Target To-Go pop-up store for the holiday shopping season.

Same goes for our Pete's Apizza bragging rights. They will be announcing a second location soon.

The Washingtonian Best Bites blog (and others) are super excited (me too!) for today's opening of Cork Market on 14th Street.

Brightest Young Things is hosting a space fantasy New Year's Eve party. Can I go as a Cylon?

Vote for your fave DC sweetest things in Daily Candy's year-end poll. However, come January 1, 2010 the DC edition will be no longer.

Yay, Taylor Gourmet is now on Twitter.

DCist has owned the Butterstick beat since the little guy was just a tiny panda fetus. And now he is leaving us.

Shoes, Toys, Charity - This Saturday

One of our favorite local shoe retailers is having a benefit this Saturday. Simplysoles.com is holding a toy drive for Dr. Bear's Closet and giving 20% of the shoe selection to participants:

On Saturday, December 5th from 12:00 until 5:00 p.m., SimplySoles.com will host a toy drive for Dr. Bear's Closet at Children's Hospital. Fashionistas and the charitable-set will bring new toys, games, and books to fill Dr. Bear®'s Closet, which ensures that every patient has a gift for holidays, birthdays and most importantly, a little something to serve as a reward for their courage in fighting an illness. The closet provides items to thousands of patients who are treated in Children's inpatient unit, Emergency Department and Regional Outpatient Centers, and the Health Centers.

In addition to making their donation and taking time to give back to those less fortunate, attendees will enjoy a 20% discount on all purchases, hors d'ouevres from CommonWealth Gastropub and sip champagne from Barefoot Bubbly, as they browse the best shoes of the season at Kassie Rempel's SimplySoles.com showroom. Courage for Kids is inviting their supporters to contribute to this worthy cause. This is the true spirit of the season.

The event is complimentary, however attendees should bring a new toy or make a donation to Courage for Kids.

1438 Park Rd, NW
Washington, DC 20010

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New hours for CVS

According to a sign at the CVS at 14th and Irving, that location is no
longer 24 hours. The new hours are 6 am to Midnight. I noticed this
when waiting for the bus this morning. Did this start today because
it's the first of the month, or have I been oblivious to the sign? Let
us know in the comments below.

While I rarely stop by the CVS anymore it did allow for some fun late-
night shopping trips like 3 am mac 'n cheese.

Monday, November 30, 2009

From the inbox: Celebrate Scots tonight and Block Captain training next week

Room 11 is hosting another celebration tonight for those who want to extend the Thanksgiving festivities just a little longer. Stop by for its Scotland's National Holiday, St. Andrew's Day, from 5 pm to closing. Writes bar manager Dan:

We'll have guest tap Brooklyn Winter Ale, a Scotch-style Ale (think dark rich and malty) on draft while it lasts. From 8:30 to 10 pm Scottish gin Hendrick's will be offering free samples and free shoeshines! We'll also have Scotch whiskey and cocktail specials from Compass Box and we'll declare the winner of the Highland Bitters Scottish Cocktail Smackdown. Will the Mel Gibson (Hendrick's Martini with house-made Highland Bitters and a house-pickled onion) or the Liam Neeson (Compass Box Asyla with sweet and dry vermouth and house-made Highland Bitters) emerge victorious.

Next week on Tuesday, Dec. 8 the Northwest Columbia Heights Community Association will be hosting a block captain training session for the neighborhood watch program. To RSVP, please e-mail nwchca@gmail.com by Sunday, December 6. More information about the neighborhood watch is available from MPD.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Shop, Eat, and be Merry

Do you have your eye on a great deal at Best Buy on Friday? Or just need to run to Target to get some toilet paper? Either way, save your receipts and head over to CommonWealth. On Friday, November 27 only you can get a free 16 oz. pint or dessert with the purchase of a lunch or dinner entrée. All you have to do is show your receipt from Target, Best Buy, or Bed Bath & Beyond from earlier that day.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tynan's new wifi policy

Another question to ponder today. What is up with Tynan's new - and
quite strict - wifi policy? I haven't been to the coffee shop in the
past week, so I was surprised to see it's new laptop rules. It seems
like an extreme step to take in today's computer & coffee lifestyle.

Let's see how long this one lasts ...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Escalator storage at DCUSA

Has anyone else seen the escalators just chilling in the empty store
front at Irving and Hiatt Place? Are these for the rumored second
DCUSA / Ellwood Thompsons entrance? Share your thoughts below.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Real Estate Agents Discover 11th Street

William Jordan is going to hate this one.

I was checking out some local real estate and came across some great copy for condos around 11th Street / Pleasant Plains. The agent for this one-bedroom at 907 Euclid writes that the place is "a few blocks from the new 11th St party zone." And this two-bedroom at 11th and Columbia has a "great location on that trendy part of 11th. .. wonderland bar, hot rocks pizza, new wine bar plus more."

So maybe this is why I encountered yet another line at the Wonderland last week. Hype from real estate agents. Do you have another great example of Columbia Heights real estate hyperbole? Post it in the comments.

Once again, The Post just doesn't get Columbia Heights

I am sure a number of folks have read Petula Dvorak's column in The Washington Post today, "Columbia Heights still has far to go." If you haven't, go ahead; I'll wait.

Once again the paper takes misguided look at Columbia Heights. It was a just a few months ago that the WaPo jovially wrote: "Columbia Heights is still edgy. A few blocks from the Target, semi-permanent police cars monitor the muggings and shootings that still happen ..." And as today's headlines states, the neighborhood does indeed have some ways to go. So why doesn't the newspaper make an effort to use its award-winner editorial staff to take a real look at Columbia Heights, rather than skirt around the issue of how the boom of gentrification is affecting a one of the city's most diverse neighborhoods.

The Prince of Petworth posted a letter from local ANC commissioner Cliff Valenti, who rightfully addresses the problems with Dvorak's column:
Your column today would have been really good if it wasn't for the intentional deception you added at the end to portray newcomers as shallow self-absorbed yuppies. PrinceofPetworth's blog had a section dedicated to this murder where people listed all sorts of ways they are involved in trying to reduce crime, but your article referenced a separate issue about service at a coffee bar as if it was related to this event.
Never before have I lived in an area where newcomers and old timers alike are working together so hard to improve a community. Some of the same people who frequent coffee bars are working with groups like Mentoring Works, In the Streets, and DC Youth Power Network. In this area of Ward 1 black/white rich/poor are working together in a lot of creative ways to improve life for everyone living here, rather than move out to the suburbs where they can live in peaceful bliss. I really resent that you chose to lay insult to our diverse community rather than explore the positive ways people are working to improve the situation around here.
Cliff Valenti
Chairman, ANC1A

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Allegro Apartments Sold at Auction

Following up on a post from last week, The Washington Business Journal reports that the Allegro Apartments were sold at auction. "After bidding started at $60 million, Federal Capital Partners, a Georgetown real estate investor and developer, took the property for $77.5 million," writes the paper. The article continues with some more details on why the building had to go to auction.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Civic Plaza planning meeting this Saturday

Do you think the new civic plaza can be more than just a cool fountain and weird light poles? Then attend a planning meeting hosted by the Columbia Heights Community Marketplace team. This Saturday they are having a planning meeting to discuss:

  • a Columbia Heights Farmers Market
  • programming for the civic plaza
  • maintenance and upkeep
  • fundraising opportunities

The group's goal is to have a Farmers Market and other programs in the civic plaza set by Spring 2010.


Saturday, November 21

10 am – 12 pm

The former SCORE space next to Ritas

CH civic plaza, 14th / Kenyon / Park

Drinking on the Green Line: The Passenger

Remember the Warehouse Bar? The one by the Warehouse theater where Room 11 Dan used to mix up his amazing punches?

Well that's called The Passenger now and it's re-opening as such tomorrow, just down the Green Line by Mt. Vernon Square.

It still looks a lot like the Warehouse - same general configuration, same bar. It's definitely received a face-lift and the back area of the space will soon be a new addition designed to look like a rail car.

The drink menu has a range of wine by the glass (broad range of prices), beer (Pils, Arrogant Bastard, Bells and more) and a couple of specialty cocktails (which you can buy by the pitcher at $40 a pop). One of the gin punch variety which was very popular and another incuded egg whites - the sherry flip. I'm not sure I want egg in my drink - a little too sweet and tangy, but the proseco I sampled was excellent and if you like the protein with your booze, you can get it here.

The highlight for me wasn't the drink menu - it was the food... which I guess is bar food with a twist? The kimchi hot dogs ($7) Moroccan almonds ($3 a bowl) and paninis ($10 including chips) were delish. Worth checking out with the added bonus of green line convenience.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Countdown Columbia Heights: Drinks We Like

Let's count them down - The Heights Life's picks for best boozy concoctions in the neighborhood. Some of these are seasonal, so drink it while they've got it!

Countdown Columbia Heights: Best Boozy Concoctions

5. Bottomless Mimosa, Red Rocks: So what if the French are offended by the very idea of the Mimosa? It's bottomless, people!
4. Red Pill/Blue Pill, Wonderland: Does Wonderland still make these? Because they used to - and they were NEVER a good idea.
3. Jack-O-Bite, Commonwealth: Strongbow hard cider + pumpkin ale and a few spices on top. Fabulous for the Fall.
2. Bloody Mary, The Heights: Hair of the dog, guys. On Saturdays, ask for the Dalton Special.
1. Glogg, Room 11: This warm mulled wine with spice, almonds and raisins is the perfect pairing for a chilly night on the patio.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

More on the Shooting at 14th and Columbia

Details on last night's shooting from Councilmember Graham:

Dear Friends, I have just returned from a tragic scene at 14th and Columbia. Just before 10 PM, a nine year old boy was shot dead in the presumed safety of his apartment at 1433 Columbia Road. AT this time, it appears that there was some kind of fight in the hallway, shots were fired, one of which entered the apartment and killed this boy. I have the name of the boy (who happens to be Latino) but I am not releasing it since I do not know whether the entire family has been notified.

Chief Lanier and Mayor Fenty--who were both on the scene-- stated that there are persons in custody.

MDP was out in force in the neighborhood, it being an All Hands on Deck weekend. Police were on the scene immediately.

More information will be available soon.

Our hearts and prayers go the family. I have sent messages that my office is prepared to do we can to help.

Sincerely, Councilmember Jim Graham

High Crime Night in CH

First, we heard a tip of a large police presence outside the Wonderland. Word is that a guy taking some groceries home was jumped by three kids. Haven't heard anything official about that.

Then, we were walking home down 14th street after 11PM and saw a massive police presence and crime scene tape closing off 14th from Irving to Columbia. Channel 7 news was on the scene. It looked like they were starting to remove the crime scene tape to re-open the road as we walked by.

Apparently the reason for 7+ police cars was a child getting shot and killed. DCist has the breaking news and is updating with developments. You can read that here: http://dcist.com/2009/11/large_police_response_on_columbia_r.php.

And here is the WUSA story: http://www.wusa9.com/rss/local_article.aspx?storyid=93710. WJLA was still on the scene interviewing folks as of about 11:30PM.

Chipotle: Actually Going to Open

We've had some disappointments food-wise in the neighborhood recently. The sushi options have all left us. The Mediterranean bistro never came to be. But Chipotle - that's one that I think we can count on.

The sign is shining bright, the menu is up, and we only have to be taunted by burrito dreams for about another month.

Random aside on Chipotle - my favorite thing about New York's calorie labeling laws is the Chipotle menu. Because you can customize so much at Chipotle - they just post ranges next to any item. And so if you look at the burrito, for example, it says something like 150 (if you just get the shell?) to 3,000. Or the burrito bowl of like 10 calories (if you just get lettuce?) to 1,500.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Yoga for Martha's Table

I don't do yoga, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't. It's apparently good for you. And this weekend, you can help out Martha's Table by taking a class from a newly certified teacher:

support Martha's Table at our donation class this sunday at 4:00! http://quietminddc.com/donation.html

quiet mind is happy to present our recent graduates from the YogaWorks teacher training program, while supporting causes close to our hearts. for the next month, we will be supporting a local charity, martha's table (14th and v street). martha's table's mission is to help at-risk children, youth, families and individuals in our community improve their lives by providing educational programs, food, clothing, and enrichment opportunities.

join us for a one-hour class with our recent teacher training grads!

Street Sweeping Confusion & Tickets

ArtBart monitors the end of street sweeping like she does sales at Macy's. But - some people aren't so vigilant and apparently this year it caused a bit of confusion. If you got a ticket because you didn't realize street sweeping was over, you're probably pretty ticked, huh? You can stop being mad now and instead call the Department of Public Works and make the ticket go away (but will it? will it really...):

Dear Friends:

I want to thank those that called and wrote my office yesterday regarding
street sweeping and tickets.

Here is what we know. There was much confusion caused by the Dept. of
Public Works' quick decision to suspend street sweeping last Friday. This
resulted in very little warning to residents as there was only one
announcement of the decision.

This week, tickets were issued to residents who moved their cars to comply
with sweeping regulations unaware that cleaning was suspended. In all of
these cases, residents receiving tickets lived on streets where parking was
allowed on one side only, except on days of street cleaning. I requested and
received assurance that the Dept. of Public Works will review and dismiss
such tickets. Only tickets issued for violating a date and time restricted
zone connected to the same day of street cleaning will be rescinded.

If you have received such a ticket, please contact Ms. Nancee Lyons at the
Dept. of Public Works for help. Send the ticket information to

Bests, Jim Graham

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

City car owners rejoice ...

Residential street cleaning has stopped until the Spring. This week marks one of my favorite times of the year. It's a week where I don't have to move my car because of weekly street cleaning. The DC Department of Public Works announced yesterday that all residential street cleaning is suspended until the spring. Read the full release here.
Also, since tomorrow is a federal holiday, there is no parking enforcement or trash and recycling pick-up.

Help Harriet Tubman Elementary Tonight (By Drinking)

Open Bar Happy Hour to Benefit Tubman Elementary School

Local 16, 1602 U St. NW (Metro: U St.)
6:00-9:00 P.M.
OPEN BAR beer, wine, and rail drinks
(Federal employees: Veterans Day holiday tomorrow!)
$20 minimum donation (cash only)

At Harriet Tubman Elementary School in Columbia Heights, 87% of students are in poverty, and only 42% of students are reading on grade level.  Reading All-Stars is a new volunteer reading program at the school—in addition to weekly one-on-one reading sessions with the kids, volunteers are doing a variety of parent outreach, greening, and other projects to help transform Tubman into a full-service community school.  Proceeds from the event will be used for books, school supplies, and educational programs at the school.  For more information, visit: http://www.grassrootseducationdc.org/2009/07/announcing-the-grassroots-education-project/

Sunday, November 8, 2009

WBJ: Allegro facing foreclosure

The Washington Business Journal reports that the Allegro on 14th Street is facing foreclosure despite over the half the units being rented:

"...the building's developer, Metro Properties Inc., hasn't rented enough apartments to pay the bills. The company was served a foreclosure notice in October from one of its lenders, New York-based iStar FM Loans. And in a sign of how the economy still hasn't kicked the crutch of the housing market, the problems are still going up the ladder: iStar FM is also in danger of a cash shortage.
The result is that the Allegro Apartments, the largest apartment building in Columbia Heights, is headed to auction Nov. 18. Alex Cooper Auctioneers ran advertisement listing it Friday."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

To Do: Australian Wine Tasting at Room 11

Room 11 will be hosting a free wine tasting tonight featuring
Australian wines from 5 to 8 pm. Wineries represented at the tasting
to include Puppeteer, Gotham, and Stalking Horse and all will be
available to purchase by the glass. Also be sure to try some
Australian small bites from Room 11 Chef/Partner Ben Gilligan.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's the Great Pumpkin Party, Columbia Heights

Looking for something to do between Friday and Saturday's Halloween festivities? Stop by the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza on Saturday afternoon for pumpkins, a craft station, and more.

Pumpkins on the Plaza

Saturday, October 31
11am to 2pm
(Costume judging at 1:30)
Columbia Heights Civic Plaza
14th Street and Kenyon Street and Park Road NW

Celebrate Halloween with Columbia Heights Community Marketplace Committee and Giant. Join us on the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza for free face painting, Halloween arts and crafts station, costume contest with a $100 Giant Gift Card for the winner, and pumpkins for sale.

Full details are here.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Heritage Trail Unveiling Draws Big Crowd

Lots of turnout yesterday for the unveiling of our very own Columbia Heights Heritage Trail. The Civic Plaza was full of booths with info from Cultural Tourism DC and others.

The entertainment started early and folks enjoyed some dancers while waiting for the formal program.

The afternoon activities were rained on, but it's sunny today so you can check out the trail on your own.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Heritage Trail Unveiling Tomorrow

Don't forget that tomorrow, Saturday, October 24 at 1PM the Columbia Heights Heritage Trail will be unveiled. Start at the civic plaza on 14th and Park/Kenyon. There's fun stuff going on all around the neighborhood to celebrate.

You can check out the event's facebook listing here.

Or read our previous coverage of it on here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Countdown Columbia Heights: Best First Date Spots

I know a thing or two about first dates in Columbia Heights. And luckily for us single folks in the neighborhood - we have a lot of great options for a table for two. Sure, every first date has it's own vibe and you should pick a location based on your unique scenario - but today let's talk about the generic first date and rate our options based on that.

The goals: Avoid the awkward, keep it light.

Countdown Columbia Heights: <3 <3 <3 Best First Date Spots <3 <3 <3

5. The Heights - If you can dine outside, The Heights is an excellent option. Also good for a brunch first date.
4. Tynan Coffee & Tea - If you need a quickie - hit Tynan not Starbucks. Why? Because Tynan serves booze.
3. Red Rocks - Red Rocks is just good enough that you'll enjoy it, and just bland enough to make it stress-free.
2. Commonwealth - It's dark here. Dark is always good. So is beer.
1. Room 11 - Wine, good desserts, cozy without pretension, priced to avoid pressure.

Bonus section! The "what ifs..."

What if your date is ugly? Ruby Tuesdays - nobody will catch you.
What if your date is shy? Wonderland or Red Derby - a few rounds will get 'em talking.
What if your date is awful? Emergency errand, run to Target and hide.
What if your date is broke? Julia's Empanadas by the fountain.
What if your date is vegan? No, don't go to Sticky Fingers. Go home. It won't work unless you're also vegan.

(...and now I will wait for that person who LOVES red meat and also LOVES a vegan to chime in via the comments section...)

Pete's Presidential Shout Out

Oh no! The line at Pete's Apizza is about to get a little longer. Here's what the President said about Pete's yesterday when discussing small business financing:

And these steps will make a difference for more small businesses like Pete's APizza in Washington, D.C. I recommend it -- that everybody go out there. (Laughter.) When the three owners had little more than a dream of opening up a casual pizza restaurant, they found it challenging to get financing. Ultimately they got a loan through City First Bank, a community development bank right in Washington. Today, business is booming. And the initiative we're announcing today will help more banks provide more loans to businesses like Pete's.

So how did Pete's get all presidential? WCP's Young and Hungry explains here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pete's Hoping for Presidential Shout-Out

Our local pizzeria, Pete's Apizza, is hoping POTUS takes notice. From the Twitter:

@petes_newhaven CONFIRMED: Pres Obama to host small bz mtg @ Treasury @ 1:30; Pres expected to mention Pete's; Tom & Joel attending. TUNE TO C-SPAN at 1:30!

An open letter to DC Circulator

UPDATE: John Lisle from the DC Dept. of Transportation chimes in below. Thanks for the quick response!

This is a tale about a bus called the Circulator. A little more than six months ago the new Circulator loop which connected Woodley Park, Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights, the 14th Street corridoor, and McPherson Square opened and it was good. It could take me to work, take me home from work, and was a great option to have on the weekends. Sitting backwards was sometimes weird but the giant back window was always fascinating. Then Columbia Heights became an awful construction zone again, and the Circulator was caught in it all.

So now, as a regular rider who uses the Circulator for my commute, I have started to see an unfortunate habit developing among Circulator bus drivers heading east on Irving St. NW. They no longer pick-up passengers at the designated stop!

Because of the general traffic in the mornings, there is often a back-up at 14th and Irving streets. While Metro buses wait to advance to the H2 / H4 / H8 stop, Circulator drivers are instead dropping off and picking up passengers at least 50 feet before the actual corner stop. This is causing a great inconvenience for a Columbia Heights rider, like myself. There have been mornings where I patiently waited at the designated stop only to have bus drivers give me grief when I ask them why did they almost drove right by me (and other waiting riders).

And then there are mornings such as today in which I followed the crowd and got on the bus a little past Commonwealth. The Circulator stopped further up the street because there was a H4 bus and cars in front of it. However, the Circulator then stopped three more times to pick up passengers before it turned right on 14th Street. As the bus continued down 14th Street, it stopped right at the bus shelters at the U Street and P Street intersections.

DC Circulator needs to remind its bus drivers to drop-off and pick-up passengers at the designated stops. Has anyone else encountered this problem?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tynan Coffee and Tea = Big Win for CH

I spent some time at Tynan on Saturday night and I do believe it will prove to be some serious competition for our Starbucks and a great local meeting place.

The space was a lot bigger than I had expected. It's bright, open and comfortable with different types of seating - tables, comfy chairs, a laptop friendly area.

The staff was really friendly and my drink was excellent - I couldn't decide between espresso or hot cocoa, so I went for the mocha. They made it extra hot since it was chilly and rainy out. I didn't try any of the food items - but the menu isn't small. Breakfast options include quiche and waffles, lunch boasts a long list of sandwiches and wraps - like lemon pepper tuna and roasted turkey & havarti, and they also have salads, chili, hummus, pastries, bagels and fruit. They also have beer, wine, and spirits to spike your coffee.

The drink prices seemed to be Starbucks-ish. My drink was just more than $4 for a medium. More than I'd like to pay, but I liked Tynan enough that I'll probably pay it fairly often.

I had a seat and did some reading. Others were chatting or on their computers. The only complaint I've heard so far is that you have to renew your wireless code every hour (probably keeps the neighbors from stealing bandwidth), and when someone I know inquired for the new code - she was told that the owner preferred you buy something every hour. It seems reasonable to avoid people camping out on a $1.25 coffee drink, but also not terribly friendly for opening weekend.

They are open 8AM - 8PM on weekends and 6:30AM - 8PM on weekdays (I wish it was later). You can visit them online here: http://www.tynancoffeeandtea.com/.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Book Sale This Weekend

Finished the Twilight series and need something new to read? (Kidding, who would read Twilight? Vampires - pshhh... those books are for kids. Right? Heh heh...)

Book sale in the neighborhood this weekend. The details:

Dear Friends,

Great books at great prices! Saturday, Oct. 17--10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Columbia Heights Educational Campus used book, DVD and CD sale at 3101 16th Street (corner of 16th and Irving Sts. NW--5 blocks north of Meridian Hill Park). Proceeds to benefit Lincoln Middle School and Bell Multicultural High School (named by Newsweek as one of the top 100 public high schools in the nation). The campus is a block west of the Columbia Heights Metro stop, and we'll have free parking in the underground garage at the school. Garage is on Hiatt Place, just around the corner from Irving behind the Columbia Heights Shopping Center. Come do some early holiday shopping for a great cause to help the library and literacy programs and to purchase LCD projectors.

Bests Councilmember Jim Graham

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Countdown Columbia Heights: Best Fast Food

Sometimes you need food - fast. That's why Americans invented fast food. And here in Columbia Heights, we certainly have our share.

For the purposes of this list, I didn't count places I consider "coffee shops."

So now it's time for another COUNTDOWN COLUMBIA HEIGHTS: Best Fast Food.

5. The Uptowner Cafe - For sandwiches that don't look like they were hit by a truck (cough cough - Subway).
4. Julia's Empanadas - Baked pockets full of delicious.
3. Chipotle - Ok, so it hasn't opened yet. Whatever, even closed it beats anywhere else.
2. Five Guy's - Because you always know where the potatoes came from.
1. Pete's Apizza - It may not be the fastest, but it's by FAR the best.

Disagree? Share your dissension in the comments section.

Area Pub Quiz - Now on Tuesday

If you're reading this now - then it's too late to go to trivia night at Looking Glass Lounge. Just don't try to go on Thursday.

The usual Thursday night pub quiz at Looking Glass has now moved to TUESDAY, starting today. The Quizmaster of Georgia Avenue will still be on hand, hosting as always.

You can also now keep up with the Quizmaster, host of Looking Glass and Commonwealth's trivia nights, on Facebook. Check him out here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

About Time: Tynan Opening

PoP breaks the news - Tynan is FINALLY opening. I feel like that Tynan sign has been there forever. You can tell that I think this because two blog posts ago I snarked at them for this. Now we'll go friendly for them: WELCOME TYNAN! I can't wait to try some coffee and tea.

Eating Organic and Local in Columbia Heights

So I read this book about food that basically makes a case for eating local and/or organic whenever possible - if you can. I decided I'd follow it for a while, so you know - I'm starving.

But! The good news is that it's not that hard to find food in the neighborhood and stick by these rules the book ("In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan) convinced me to follow.

Mt. Pleasant Farmer's Market

This is obviously the best choice for locally grown and organic. The amazing thing is that while some food is way more expensive - $9 for a pound of arugula - other food can be cheaper here than at the grocery store. Honey crisp apples, for example, are up to $.25 a pound cheaper here if you find the right booth.

I also bought this awesome looking orange head of cauliflower and didn't have time to cook it for about a week. It stayed good AND I was able to turn it into an awesome puree (microwave steamed cauliflower, a few tablespoons of organic butter, sea salt, one clove chopped garlic, two grinds pepper, all tossed in the blender).

Our local supermarket has a surprisingly good amount of organic options. The organic stuff definitely costs more - about a $1 more for most single items, but Nature's Promise is prevalent in every section of the store and almost any basic item (apples, tomatoes, yogurt) had 1-2 organic options. If you look carefully, you can even find locally grown stuff on occasion in the produce section.

Not so organic and nothing is fresh. I guess I have to stop buying so much food at Target. Oh! But they have the Annie's palak paneer frozen dinner I like (also at Giant). I would say they have some options for what I might call "processed organic" - dry and frozen but technically organic.

Pete's Apizza
Pete's uses all organic ingredients and lots of locally grown stuff. Their salads are delicious and you can tell it's super fresh. Sometimes they have a "farmer's market salad" from whatever they were able to buy over the weekend. Love this place.

Commonwealth Gastropub
You'll notice that at the bottom of the Commonwealth menu they have a "thank you" to the local producers that are currently supplying the restaurant.

Any other suggestions? Places I'm forgetting to acknowledge?

Serious Activity at Chipotle

On a holiday Monday at 6:30PM, our new Chipotle location on 14th Street next to The Heights was full of activity. Several workers were inside and the place is full of equipment for the build-out. It's a nice sign of progress when other places - Tynan and Ellwood Thompson, to name two - seem totally stagnant.

Friday, October 9, 2009

We Love DC profiles Columbia Heights

Local blog, We Love DC, takes a look at Columbia Heights for its "Where We Live" series. I talked to the post's author, Shannon, earlier this week and some of my thoughts on the neighborhood ended up in the final piece. What are your responses to her questions:

- How long have you lived in Columbia Heights?
- What do you like best about your neighborhood?
- How has the neighborhood changed since you've been there, and how do you expect it to change in the future?
- What are your favorite neighborhood spots-- restaurants, shops, bars, anything. Any can't missspots?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Heritage Trail Unveiling Set for Oct. 24

Cultural Tourism DC will officially unveil the Columbia Heights Heritage Trail on Saturday, Oct. 24 at 1 pm. The event kicks off at the new civic plaza.

Here is some more information from the organizers:
Join Cultural Tourism DC, Councilmembers Jim Graham and Mary Cheh, and the Columbia Heights Heritage Trail Working Group when we unveil Cultural Convergence: Columbia Heights Heritage Trail.

WAMU’S Kojo Nnamdi will emcee the 1 pm program, which features the Malcolm X Drummers and Dancers and celebrated DC author Marita Golden, who will speak about how Columbia Heights influenced her writing.

After the unveiling, lace up your walking shoes and join officials, neighbors, and Cultural Tourism DC staff for the inaugural stroll at 2 pm! Working group members will be stationed at signs to tell stories of how the trail came together, and three important community institutions - Mexican Cultural Institute, Dance Institute of Washington, and Art and Media House - will open their doors, offering tours and entertainment.

Activities will also take place on Civic Plaza throughout the afternoon, including performances by GALA Hispanic Theatre, jazz band Rhythm Accents, and Ghanaian drummer Kweku.

Room 11: Gin, Punch Club, Oh My!

Room 11 is having some gin tastings on Tuesdays and PUNCH CLUB IS BACK! The Heights Life LOVES Punch Club! Here's the info from owner Dan:

The Bombay Sapphire Collins Experience Tonight!

Please join us at Room 11 tonight, October 7 (or next Wednesday, October 14th), for the Bombay Sapphire Collins Experience. From 6 to 8 pm we will be featuring Bombay Sapphire Gin giveaways, Tom Collins samples made with Bombay Sapphire, and demonstrations of how to make the perfect Tom Collins at home by Room 11 partner and DC Craft Bartenders Guild member Dan Searing.

Punch Club returns, now on Sundays at Room 11!

Starting Sunday, October 11, at 5 pm  the popular event featuring classic, modern, and original punches comes to Columbia Heights wine bar Room 11. Hosted by Room 11's partners at the Warehouse Theater Cafe earlier this year to much acclaim, Punch Club will now take place starting at 5pm every Sunday and will last until the punch runs out. Join us this Sunday for some classic favorites like Glogg (mulled wine) and Rocky Mountain Punch
(made with sparkling wine, rum, and maraschino liqueur) and look forward to more many new punches in the coming weeks.

Ellwood Thompson's Hope Lives On

According to Councilmember Jim Graham, Ellwood Thomspon's is still maybe coming and at least acting like they might and Jim Graham gave them tax credits. I don't know, just read this:

Dear Friends:

I am glad to report that yesterday I introduced and the Council passed legislation to help an organic market to locate in the DCUSA retail center . This bill will ensure that Ellwood Thompson's -- a full-service, organic, natural and sustainable food store -- will receive tax relief benefits that are available to every qualified supermarket in DC.

Ellwood Thompson's is dedicated to high-quality products, supporting local farmers and the community. It signed a lease with DC USA Operating Co., LLC for space in the DC USA Shopping Center in Ward 1. The construction of their supermarket space was delayed due to the downturn in the economy. The is the second time the council passed this bill. The earlier measure was about to expire, and so this action was necessary. the legal action pertained to the fact that--unlike many supermarkets--this one is not free standing and is part of, and within, an existing development. So some technical changes were needed.

I am told that the plans for this supermarket are again underway. Our latest report is that Ellwood Thompson's has submitted construction diagrams to the developer and they are awaiting approval.

With the passage of this bill, the Council is again doing all it can to make this happen.

Bests, Councilmember Jim Graham

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Two Thumbs Up for Thai Tanic II

In keeping with my tradition of visiting new neighborhood eateries and bars within a week of their opening, I stopped by Thai Tanic II for an early dinner on Saturday. Short review: Great space, well-trained staff, quick kitchen, good food.

Having visited its other location (near 14th and Rhode Island) many times, I knew I would not be disappointed by the food. My vegetarian Kra Pow was delicious, and my friends said the same about their entrees. What I was really impressed by my first visit to Thai Tanic II, was that it didn’t contain all the normal management pitfalls of a new restaurant opening. Especially what I have experienced in Columbia Heights. Our waiter knew what he was doing, the food came out quickly, and the staff did not look frazzled. Nor were they too absent or too pushy.

I was also very impressed by the space. Thai Tanic II is easily the anchor retail for the Allegro, and it is one of the larger restaurants in the neighborhood. There are plenty of tables set along the windows looking out to 14th Street. The interior is very Southeast Asian Jetsons, but it works. Particularly the orange dining chairs; love them. At 5:30 pm on Saturday, its second day, the restaurant had only a few tables occupied but I am sure it picked up later in the evening.

When it was first announced in the spring that we were getting a Thai restaurant, I had high hopes. Those hopes were easily met.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Openings and Not Openings: IHOP, Ellwood, Thaitanic II

Some updates on the latest openings and potential openings...

William Jordan (aka BroNat) reports in the Columbia Heights Forums that Ellwood Thompson's grocery store might still make it's way to DCUSA - and he keeps my IHOP hopes alive:

Ellwood has a signed lease and deposit with DCUSA. They still plan to come. Economically they believe it's better to wait than to invest now what is required to move forward. They are in wait and see mode. Ellwood has to weigh the risk of the current lease costs of an empty space with the millions it will cost of opening a new locating in this financial market.

The construction going on is related to Ellwood but not exclusive to it. DC USA is adding another enterence to the internal mall and elevator to the garage. This will support Ellwood when it comes and other retailers including the IHOP which is on the way.

The Prince of Petworth says today is actually the day that Thaitanic II will open up. Full service starts tomorrow. More details here: http://www.princeofpetworth.com/2009/10/thai-tanic-ii-opens-up-friday/.

Thai Tanic II Now Open in the Allegro

As Spud Lite mentioned, today Thai Tanic II is finally open for business in the Allegro at 3462 14th Street. The original Thai Tanic location in Logan Circle is one of my favorite Thai restaurants in a city of many Thai restaurants.

So in keeping with a The Heights Life tradition ...

COUNTDOWN: Thai Tanic Menu Picks

5. Bird Nest on Fire
Chicken, peppers, chili paste and some greens. Hot, hot, hot but so, so, so good.

4. Pad Prik Sod
A standard on any Thai menu but always well-prepared here. Good for those who need a mild dish.

3. Tom Ka Goong
Spicy, smooth, and just a bit tart. This shrimp and coconut soup is a great way to start a meal and perfect for the cooler days of early fall.

2. Pad Kee Mao
Drunken Noodle is a common dish, but I find that Thai Tanic’s is better than the rest. Their noodles are superb.

1. Spicy Eggplant
If I am going vegetarian, I will pick eggplant over tofu most days. In this dish it is all about the sauce.

The full menu is available on their website at http://www.thaitanic.us/home.php. (Warning, there is music.)

Jim Graham Says He Didn't Do It

Here is the latest from Councilmember Jim Graham on the scandal involving his Chief of Staff, Ted Loza. And in case you missed it - the City Paper's coverage of the Graham/Loza relationship: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/2009/09/30/jim-grahams-ties-to-ted-loza-included-abortion/.

Dear Friends,

In regards to the recent arrest of Teddy Loza, we should all be patient while the authorities conduct their investigation. Corruption is a very serious matter. As much as anyone else, I want this investigation to be thorough and all guilty parties held to account. I have pledged 100% cooperation to the FBI.

I have committed no wrongdoing or crime.

Please also keep in mind that the Washington Post on September 30 (linked here<http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/29/AR2009092903638.html?sid=ST2009092403248>) reported-based on law enforcement sources-- that I am neither a "target" nor a "person of interest" in the FBI investigation.

Bests Councilmember Jim Graham

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Construction-Free Patio Heights Specials

The Heights is celebrating the end of the construction that made their patio nearly impossible to handle with some specials and some caveats. The special: happy hour beverage prices all day long, all month.

Ok, maybe all day - but not all DAYS... the caveats: patio diners only, and not valid on the weekend (Friday at 7PM - Sunday at 7PM). Which means we're probably going to have to rush the patio tonight, right?

Countdown Columbia Heights: Dry Cleaning

So as of today, I've officially done my dry cleaning at three fine Columbia Heights establishments located between Irving and Park. For a while, I was a Georgetown Valet girl... it was smaller, cheaper and seemed like more of a mom and pop shop than OXXO next door. Then Kenyon Square opened up - it was close, they'll send your shoes for repair, and I rarely had to wait in line.

But tonight... tonight I picked up my first round of cleaning from OXXO. They are greener... they are 24 hour... and my clothes... they smell... well, they don't. Yes, I think it was more expensive ($34 for two girl-suits and 1 errant jacket), but have you seen their 24 hour pick-up? And seriously, the chemicals might be greener - but that stuff... it smells like NOTHING. My clothes smell of NOTHING. Brilliant!

So now, I bring you - Columbia Heights Countdown: Best Dry Cleaners.

3. Georgetown Valet
2. Kenyon Square
1. OXXO - try it... you'll like it.

These are the only three I've tried, so feel free to give your favorite dry cleaner a shout-out in the comments section.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Plaza Clear, Construction Continues

The Park Triangle Civic Plaza is open for enjoyment. Tomorrow the Mayor will be on hand to do some official business at the site.

But despite the nice looking space - the rest of the neighborhood remains torn up by road construction. Kenyon Road is open again and the progress is visible daily.

Check out our slide show - Plaza v. Construction.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Civic Plaza Ribbon Cutting on Monday

OK, now it's official. Monday, Sept. 28 at 10:30 am. Here is the advisory from the Mayor's office.

Fenty Administration to Unveil New Columbia Heights Plaza
Kaleidoscope "Resonance" Water Spring Center of Civic Plaza and Streetscape Project

WHAT: The Fenty administration to unveil the new Columbia Heights Plaza and "Resonance" Fountain.

WHO: Mayor Adrian M. Fenty / Ward-1 Councilmember Jim Graham / District Department of Transportation Director Gabe Klein / DC Arts and Humanities Director Gloria Nauden

WHEN: Monday, September 28, 2009
10:30 am

WHERE: Columbia Heights Civic Plaza
14th Street and Park Road, NW

Friday, September 25, 2009

Letter from Jim Graham re: Chief of Staff Bribery Arrest

From Councilmember Graham:

Dear Friends,

I was deeply upset and deeply saddened to learn that Ted Loza was arrested yesterday by the FBI on charges of taking a bribe.

As my constituents, I want you to know --

I have not personally engaged in any illegal behavior or activity.

What Teddy allegedly did in no way influenced any action I took on legislation. Indeed, Teddy generally is not involved, nor is he consulted on legislative matters which are instead handled by myself and our committee staff.

As I said to FBI agents yesterday, I will fully cooperate with their investigation bringing forth all of the information relevant and needed.

I have placed Teddy on administrative leave effective yesterday, with pay, until there are further developments. Teddy--like all of us-is entitled to a presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

If you have concerns or questions, please let me know--as always--by using this direct email address for me.

Sincerely, Councilmember Jim Graham

Jim Graham's Chief of Staff Arrested!

First, the intern shoots someone. Now the Chief of Staff gets arrested on federal bribery charges!

Rough few months for Councilmember Graham's office.

Here's the story from the Washington Post: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dc/2009/09/graham_chief_of_staff_arrested.html

Thursday, September 24, 2009

CH Civic Plaza Ribbon Cutting on Friday

H/T to William Jordan on the WardOne listserv ... It looks like Mayor Fenty will be in the neighborhood tomorrow for a 10 am ribbon cutting at the new civic plaza at 14th / Kenyon / Park.

This has not been officially confirmed, but we look forward to seeing it on the Mayor's schedule.

If you can make it, please e-mail any photos from the event to theheightslife@gmail.com

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Countdown Columbia Heights: Best WSC Classes

This is actually only half a countdown. I want some help. As a WSC member, I have a few favorite classes - but I don't take them all (in fact, I really only spin), so who do you think is good?

My top three Washington Sports Club Columbia Heights classes would be...

3. Sarah's Cardio-Kickboxing on Tuesday at 7:30PM
2. Erika's Spin class at 6:30AM on Thursday
1. Claudette's Spin class at 8:15PM Tuesday or 10:00AM Sunday

I don't do yoga or pilates or step or total body conditioning or boot camp or zumba or... you get the point.

So, any more recommendations from the peanut gallery?

Thaitanic II is Coming Very Soon We Hope

Prince of Petworth's awesome inside look at Thaitanic II reminds me that at Columbia Heights Day they told us they'd be open by now!

These things always seem to get delayed because of permits, mostly, so it's not unexpected that they're still working on it. PoP says this weekend, maybe.

BUT - let me just reiterate my excitement... we're getting Thaitanic II! Thaitanic the original is one of my favorite places on 14th Street, and THL predicts this will be a seriously popular addition to the neighborhood.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Is Rumberos Closed? Yes, Yes It Is. UPDATE: But is it staying closed? We don't know.

We got an email asking if Rumberos had closed, so we walked by and sure enough - the windows are papered over and the outdoor tables were stacked up.

As we took this photo, two men came by and started pulling down the banner sign that hangs over half the restaurant.

We've heard rumors of Rumberos demise for a while now. One local restaurant industry leader noted it had some management issues. I thought it had some price issues.

We aren't sure what's going on there, but for now - you'll have to hit Social, Ruby Tuesday or The Heights.

Speaking of The Heights, the Kenyon Street construction is practically on their patio.

UPDATE: Despite what we heard and saw last night, PoP says they might reopen... In which case? What's up with the papered windows. Sketchy....

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pete's! Not just for Apizza!

I think it's pretty obvious that I love Pete's New Haven. And I do. And just now, Michael from Pete's tweeted to say they now have their specials online. And I am irrationally pleased with this.

This includes their special panini, antipasta, pasta and al forno. If you are super skinny and can get away with eating anything - the al forno is ALWAYS to die for. It's also always half cheese or cream or both.

I'm a big fan of their antipasta - and at just $4.95 for a small serving, it's one of the best bargains on the menu. The small serving is a meal on its own and the different four small portions keep it interesting. Check out this week's specials here: http://petesapizza.com/specials.html.

But one thing is missing, Michael. What happened to the farmer's market salad you've been doing?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Vintage photos from back in the day

Mr. T in DC finds the best historical photos of Columbia Heights. Check out the latest of the Cavalier Apartments back when it was the Cavalier Hotel.

LinkCheck it out online at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_t_in_dc/3930649846/

Columbia Heights Home Sales Stats

The DC Housing Prices blog has home stats up from June (which I found via DC Urban Turf).

According to this info, the average sale price in Columbia Heights was $378,729 and 51 homes were sold, which seems like a lot of sales to me... but hey, I rent.

Bell Multicultural High Book Sale Needs Help

Found on the listserv courtesy of Councilmember Jim Graham:

BOOK SALE--Donate BOOKS, DVDs and CDs to the Columbia Heights Educational Campus to improve the library, literacy programs and purchase LCD projectors at Bell Multicultural High School and Lincoln Middle School. Tax-deductible donations are being accepted at the main offices of Bell and Lincoln during the workday. The campus is located at 3101 16th St. N.W. (corner of 16th and Irving Streets) until Oct. 14. And please join us at the book sale, Saturday Oct. 17 from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m. in the Bell cafeteria. We will try to pick up books on Wednesdays. Call Marie Drissel 202-797-0832.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Some Thoughts About Giant

Today I offer three thoughts about the Columbia Heights Giant.

Thought 1: Why am I such a sucker for bonus card savings? Bags of shredded cheese are on sale 2 for $5... do I really need 2? No. But they are on sale... One still costs just $2.50... but they are 2 for $5. Of course... I get 2. Anyone want to come over for cheese and crackers? Nachos maybe?

Thought 2: Today I checked out in lane number 10 which is designated as "family-friendly." I guess this means it's not covered in candy as the sign said something about "good choices." It was, however, still full of gum, the same magazines, and had cookies locate precisely at the child eye level. I call BS.

Thought 3: Remember how Giant represented at Columbia Heights Day, sending over members of their team all day long and dishing out their delicious soft cookies? That was awesome.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fountain Construction Update

Lots of activity this week on the neighborhood's civic plaza fountain construction with the installation of the towers seen above. There are still several large pieces of construction equipment on site, so the work continues.

Last time we wrote about how the space was already getting used as a community gathering site. Now the construction has taken up enough of the area that it's pretty much useless for another little while.

The street construction has also shift around some, notably working its way down Irving Street.

As always, crossing the road anywhere near Park Triangle continues to be the bane of my existence.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Colorful Park Benches Public Art Project

Looking for a place to sit in Tivoli North? Local artist Sarah Tooley worked with neighbors and volunteers to paint and install seven benches in the park at the intersection of 14th, Oak and Ogden. The project, called Public Dialogues in Public Places, started with interviews of 60 community members about their feelings, thoughts and relationship to the park and community safety. Their words are transcribed on the benches.

Funding for the project came from a small projects grant from the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities. Has anyone else received a small projects grant for local works?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Read with the Kids at Tubman Elementary

While at Columbia Heights Day, we met volunteers from the Grassroots Education Project (associated with DC for Obama) who are launching a pilot program at Tubman Elementary. You can check out their initiative online here. And you can sign up online to help here.

And here is a description of the program from on of the founders:

DC for Obama launched its Grassroots Education Project on August 22. The Grassroots Education Project will be partnering with Tubman Elementary School in Columbia Heights throughout the coming school year. To date, the project has recruited nearly 350 volunteers who will spend countless hours in the months ahead improving education outcomes at Tubman Elementary.

Through tutoring, mentoring, parent outreach, grant writing, community outreach, fundraising and others activities, we hope to transform this school into a true community school and improve the overall quality of education. Instead of simply going in and focusing our resources on the school to achieve short-term results, we endeavor to cultivate leaders within the surrounding community that can sustain our progress. If we're successful in our efforts, we'll replicate this model across the city.

This pilot program will begin with our Tubman Team, but will hopefully expand after it is initiated and evaluated. Tubman was chosen because it is in the lower 1/4 of DC Public Schools, based on test scores, and it is conveniently located in an accessible and diverse neighborhood. The principal at the school is a dynamic leader who is very excited about our involvement. We have the ability to really take Tubman to the next level in helping it to more fully develop into a community school.

WSC: More Expensive, Still Crappy?

There's some chatter over at one of my favorite places, the CH News Forums, about Washington Sports Club raising rates. Sure enough, we're all paying an extra $3 now.

Some people say the WSC sucks - overcrowding, not that clean, crappy customer service. I will agree that the customer service is generally pretty bad. I've complained about a class before, worried that the instructor was SO BAD that people were actually going to get injured, and the gentleman in charge of their classes couldn't care less.

But you know what? I don't hate WSC. The treadmills work and I like spin class even if most of the bikes need a tune-up. And, that extra three bucks still leaves it a bazillion times cheaper than Results.

I guess we may as well learn to love it... then again, if CH got another gym, I'd probably quit and switch.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Countdown Columbia Heights: Favorite Bartenders

Today we are counting down our favorite bartenders in Columbia Heights. This was difficult - as we love anyone who controls our access to cold beer on a warm day - but these five folks are always there for us.

*Now as we made this list, we had a debate about whether an owner can also be a bartender. For the purposes of this list a bartender is one who tends the bar regularly, even if he or she is also an owner or manager.
*Also, you know Sheena from Looking Glass/Wonderland? We do, and we love her, but we counted her as Looking Glass which is of course in Petworth. Sorry Sheena!

Countdown Columbia Heights: Favorite Five Bartenders

5. Bill, Commonwealth (Bill made me feel better after I dyed my hair a dramatic color. That's a good bartender.)
4. Suzanne, Ruby Tuesday (Sure, she has to make the drinks by the Ruby Tuesday book, but it's a good book and she does a fantastic job.)
3. Dalton, The Heights (Saturday brunch isn't the same without a Dalton Special Bloody Mary, which isn't on the menu - but should be.)
2. Dan, Room 11 (We were lucky to steal him away from Petworth and happy to have him picking our wines.)
1. Soren, Wonderland (Sundress Party? He's there, in a dress. Columbia Heights Day? He's there, pouring beer as fast as he can. Damaged hand? Oh you thought this would stop him - but no! Soren is always there for your alcoholic indulgences, making him our favorite bartender in Columbia Heights.)

Disagree? Make your own list in the comments section.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Civic Plaza Fountain Untarped

Our civic plaza fountain is looking lovely and Justin over at ReadySetDC was lucky enough to wander by as they were testing it. Check out his pictures here: http://readysetdc.com/2009/09/04/photos-of-columbia-heights-plaza-fountain-testing/.

VA Beach Express Bus Stop on 14th Street

Did anyone else see the tour bus on 14th Street earlier this week? If not, it's about to become commonplace. The Virginia Pilot reports on a new express bus service between Virginia Beach and Washington, DC, will have a stop in Columbia Heights
"Sprinterbuses leave from the Wesleyan Commons Shopping Center on Wesleyan Drive in Virginia Beach.

New York tickets are $35 one-way and $60 round-trip. The bus stops at 34th Street between 6th and 7th avenues, near Penn Station and Madison Square Garden.

Washington tickets will be $20 one-way and $35 round-trip. The bus will stop at 14th and Irving streets near the Columbia Heights metro station."

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Civic Plaza Under Construction, But Already Working

This is the image of the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza at Park Triangle on Sunday night. A small jam band had formed near the Rita's entrance and tons of families and friends were lounging around on the newly constructed structures circling the fountain.

Despite the construction all around - from the torn up streets to the guy who had been toiling all weekend under a tarp doing work on the fountain tiles - the civic plaza is already working as a great community meeting place. I'm pretty excited for the final result.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

There'll be Nerds

Don't deny it. DC is a town full of nerds, geeks, and wonks. That is why Nerd Nite is finally bringing its show to the Wonderland on Saturday, Sept. 26. Or as the organizers describe it: "Nerd Nite; it's like the Discovery Channel with beer."

Here's the line-up:

*Presentation #1:
The Neurobiology of Zombies
by Jeremy Kay

Description: Zombie mind control is real! Some types of parasites have the ability to turn their hosts into zombies that serve the needs and whims of the parasitic invader. I'll give some more examples of real-life zombies and delve into the neurobiology of how a parasite can control the behavior of its host.

Bio: Jeremy is a postdoctoral fellow in neuroscience at Harvard. His professional work concerns vision, but he thinks parasite mind-control is far more interesting. His interest in zombies is purely academic. Really. Like, your brain will totally not get eaten if you show up. We promise.

*Presentation #2:
by Seth Cain
I’m not telling you, but it involves the elimination of human waste in space. Yep, I said it.

*Presentation #3:
Vaccines Are Helpful, But Making Them Is Gross
by Rebecca Blank
Description: Vaccines. We’ve all had them (well, ideally all of us). They keep us healthy even though they may make our arms and/or buttocks sore. But since they’re in the news, there are also a lot of misrepresentations of them. Rebecca will dive into the history of vaccines because you probably want to know that some methods involved taking pus from cow's lesions and injecting it into humans. Or that there once was an actual Cooties vaccine which we should all have been immunized against in childhood if our friends were nice enough to provide us with. Oh, and she’ll talk about the real science behind them, besides just recounting the icky details.

Bio: Coming soon (Rebecca currently has the swine flu – seriously – so she’s currently focused on fever reduction instead of bio writing)

Music and mental hygiene and Cold War film footage by indie rock supergroup Overlord (http://www.myspace.com/overlordisnotmetal) which features former Nerd Nite presenter George Pasles on vocals and lead guitar, current Palomar (http://www.myspace.com/palomar) bassist and former Nerd Nite presenter Sarah ‘Brockett’ Brockett, part-time Palo keyboardist Tris McCall, and past drummer Matt Houser. And Kerry too.

More information is on the Nerd Nite website or its Facebook page.

Columbia Heights Pizza Battle

The Washingtonian Pizza Pool is in the final four. Councilmember Jim Graham weighed in on the CH listserv in favor of Red Rocks in their last battle, but now where will Councilmember Graham fall as Red Rocks takes on Pete's Apizza? It's a Columbia Heights pizza battle for the ages. One can't live while the other survives... or something. I think that's a Harry Potter prophecy.

Anyhow, I'm sorry Columbia Heights, but you must choose. Vote here. You have until noon tomorrow. May the pizza be with you.