Waggamama

I’m thinking about lunch, and my lunch buddy just cancelled on me. We were going to check out one of the nearby places for Restaurant Week. It’s cold and so I’m going to eat at the desk.
Anyway food got me wondering about Waggamama. The signs are still up on the windows on 7th Street, but so far no change. Checked the website and it appears they will open Septemeber 2010.

Mo Thai?

Don’t get me wrong, I do love Thai X-ing, but most of the time I lack the forethought to get my order in early enough before Taw gets too busy and stops taking new orders. So I turn to Royal Thai or Kanlaya in Gallery Place as both places deliver to my hood. Anyway quickly looking at the CCCA Agenda for October 27, I see something interesting.

Ralph Brabham will speak on behalf of the restaurateur planning to open Beau Thai, a new Shaw restaurant with outdoor seating on the 400 block of R St NW

However, isn’t there an apartment under that proposed restuarant?

Playground near Bundy & Middle Eastern Food

Shamelessly stolen from BACA blog, who got it from the CCCA-Blog.
Item #1- There is going to be a children’s playground at Scott-Montgomery. They broke ground, there is equipment awaiting installation, and even better…. a edible learning garden! I love edibles. I love it even better when other people, including small people with growing brains, get to learn that food does not come from the supermarket. It comes from the good earth. Yay! According to the CCCA, “Access to the outdoor tot lot in the small courtyard on 1500 Fifth St NW will be made available local families and age-appropriate children in the neighborhood outside of regular school hours.” I hope this means they can keep out cursing, dope smoking adults who tend to take over playgrounds. Yeah, I’m talking about the guys around the block, who used to haunt the basketball courts that where behind KIPP/Scott-Montgomery. And hopefully this space will appreciated by some of the anti-dog park people who say children need a park. Well it’s coming and that is a good thing.

Item #2- Toque Cafe- Middle Eastern restaurant to be at 6th and R. One word, falafel. Some more words- the former Chain Reaction space is going to serve food and G-d and city government willing, there may be outdoor seating. My only concern is the corner of R and the alley running behind it seems to attract bulk trash on a regular basis, I swear it is some dumping ground. I think today I saw a headboard and some other furniture. But that shouldn’t keep me from falafels. I pray they make good falafels with a decent tahini sauce. Last local mid-east place I went to (now out of business) put ranch dressing on the falafel. Bad. Bad. Bad.

Quirky Business

I went to Thai X-ing, and it has been a while for me as I’ve been making more of my own meals and cooking up ingredients from the Bloomingdale Farmers Market. Since opening back in 2005 getting your food isn’t measured in hours any more. Taw has gotten help, made some changes, and if I order early enough, I get my food around the estimated time. In time some of us have learned to tolerate/love Thai X-ing’s quirks. With those quirks, others, have managed to work with Taw’s flexible, if not super easygoing nature, to transform the little hole in the wall eatery. It isn’t like your average Thai restaurant or carryout. I’ve been in it at times when the best description is ‘your friend’s friend’s basement apartment living room that happens to have a guy cooking Thai food in the back.’
Timor Bodega is another quirky business, and it’s been open for about a year and a half and is still figuring itself out. It’s not like your usual quickie mart, in that it lacks cigarettes, Lotto, and 5 kinds of MD 20/20, the big money makers. Nor is it a chi-chi wine and cheese shop, mainly because of the minimal amount of cheese, which may or may not change. I hung out with the owner this past weekend and learned a bit about the Timor and its quirks. Kim, the owner, does some small scale coffee roasting for customers, but doesn’t heavily promote this service. The store does experiment with various new products, like the duck eggs (good for when you’re aiming for thickness). I guess I can’t avoid mentioning the least popular quirk, the post-robbery closed gate during business hours thing. Kim’s reasoning on doing this has less to do with the crime (where they only got $50, and sadly there was another sort-of attempt by some 15 yr olds) and more to do with business being slow on beautiful days. Besides he’s usually 15-20 seconds away. But there are things about Timor that make it a neighborhood jewel. For me it is and always has been the milk and the rich cream. It is also the local eggs, the granola, and the wines, of which Kim can talk about, if you ask him. It will be interesting to see what Timor will look like in a year and what it will be carrying. Maybe more cheese and cured meats?

Price of Doing Business on North Cap

Some of you already know that Luciana Cafe is closed. During their stint on the street they had windows broken, the “element” hanging out in and around them, and maybe the straws breaking the camel’s back were Douggie Jemal raised the rent and the ATM was broken into.
There is an ‘element’ around North Cap that makes it difficult, and how to address it I don’t know. What lessons can the community take from this so there won’t be a next time when a business that the residents like comes, or wants to develop into something nicer, has to close shop or take a siege mentality because of the ‘element’?
Even during that short period on Saturday morning when Catania bakery is doing retail, there are observable challenges. Last time I went to pick up croissants there was a woman there at the counter in mid-SOB story mode looking for a little something to help her out. She was asking Nicole for ‘something’ and then also the other customers in the store. We pointed her to S.O.M.E. around the corner, but she said they were closed. Then the other customers rattled off the locations of various other charities in the area, but no, too far. After the woman left we all exchanged stories. I had a tale of a woman known to regularly hit up people as they were in church. The couple inside had a similar one of a woman who constantly begged for medicine for her baby, to find out that the woman owned a house and didn’t have any children. And Nichol told of a man, who she thought was a customer, park himself inside the store for a long time. Anyway, I’ve been there on other occasions when people beg for a job (but not really), food (bread gets donated to a charity not individuals), and money. Imagine a business that is open during the week and what they have to contend with!
Don’t bother saying that S.O.M.E. or any of the other social services places need to move, because they ain’t. Maybe something can be done about the liquor stores, but they seem to be sticky too. So the question is how do you get business to flourish despite those challenges?

Longview Gallery to move down the street

I’m feeling lazy and my mind is seriously preoccupied with some other things so here’s the straight press release:

Long View Gallery Acquires New Space in Currently Vacant Shaw Building

Renovation Will Quadruple Exhibition Space and Enhance Framing, Events Services

Washington, D.C. – [June 1, 2009] – As part of its continuing efforts to support the regional arts community and to contribute to the Shaw Neighborhood’s renaissance, the Long View Gallery will relocate to a currently vacant building directly across from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center at 1234 Ninth Street, NW. The gallery’s new space will undergo major renovation, more than quadrupling the gallery’s exhibition capacity, enhancing its custom framing and special event offerings, and making it one of the area’s largest art collectives.
“With many other businesses closing, we have been able to swim against the economic tide, demonstrating that art is indeed a great investment. After three successful years in Shaw, Long View Gallery simply outgrew its current location,” said gallery director Drew Porterfield. “Thanks to Douglas Development, we were able to secure a building with great potential in a location that is impossible to beat—half a block south on Ninth Street from our current location, directly across from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and closer to existing and planned fine restaurants,” Porterfield said. “Shaw has been a wonderful home, and we are thrilled to contribute to its renaissance.”
The building was previously used as an auto showroom and, most recently, as a vending machine warehouse, but it has sat empty for several years. Although the building’s architecture is stunning, with soaring ceilings and concrete floors, it requires a significant renovation before the gallery takes occupancy later this year. The gallery’s renovation, designed by local architect Will Couch, will maintain the raw feel of the building while transforming it into a premier gallery space. The new gallery will occupy the southern portion of the building, comprised of nearly 5,000 square feet, more than quadrupling the square footage of the Long View Gallery’s current location.
In its new venue, Long View Gallery will continue to show and support regional, contemporary artists as well as offer fine art custom framing. Joining Long View Gallery is Special Events Director, Suzi Molak, whose expertise in the events industry will be a great asset to the company. Porterfield said the gallery is finalizing a more frequent exhibition schedule and is preparing to announce several major new artists whose works will join the gallery in time for a planned grand opening after Labor Day.
Long View Gallery was founded in 2000 by Andrew Haley and Suzanne Zylonis in Sperryville, Virginia (about 75 miles west of Washington). The gallery quickly built a loyal following with local art patrons, including William Waybourn and Craig Spaulding, who partnered with Haley and Zylonis in 2006 to open a second location of Long View Gallery in the District. The Sperryville gallery showcases many Virginia artists and the surrounding countryside’s bucolic or pastoral settings.
Long View Gallery will remain open at its current location until the end of July, with an expected grand opening in the new space in September. The gallery will post updates and images of the renovation in progress on their blog at www.longviewgallery.blogspot.com.

Bike Shop in Western Shaw/ Logan Circle

The Prince of Petworth has a post about a Bike Shop/Video Rental at 1320 14th St NW.
What I love about it is that it’s two businesses in one. In a world of Netflix, I’m not too sure how well a video store will do. But a bike shop, particularly one that isn’t too high end….. Let me explain. I have a crappy 3 speed bike that I bought off of Craigslist for about $140. It is part of a long string of no name used bikes that I buy that are ugly yet functional. I see no reason to have a top of the line bike to run errands on and leave on the street to get stolen. I used to get my bike fixed at Chain Reaction, but that non-profit bike shop closed. So when I went to the next nearest bike shop, I was told that they could not touch my bike because their insurance wouldn’t cover it. This forced me to try to fix my own bike. I did a so-so job and really I’m willing to pay someone to do it for me, but sometimes the bike shop in Adams Morgan is a bit far. So I have to check out the bike part of this store.

iWant

Dear Apple,
Forget Georgetown. The parking is lousy and there is no metro station. When my Mac mini needs a fixin’ or whatever, I don’t want to bring it on the bus or haul it on my bike. I could, but I don’t want to.
When Georgetown rejects you for the umteenth or whenever you’re tired of submitting design proposals you know won’t fly with the ANC and the Historic Preservation people, come to the land of the Green line. Columbia Heights, U Street, Gallery Place and Penn Quarter would love to have you. Yes, these areas have historic districts, but they also like business. And the thing with Gallery Place, it’s still called Chinatown so you’d have to put Chinese characters on your signage. That shouldn’t be a problem since a lot of what you have comes from China anyway.
Gallery Place also has a bunch of hipster white earbud pod people walking around with office drones and other people who will buy your stuff. People like tourists from places where there are no Apple stores. People who want to kill time before a game.
So come to the land of the Green line, you’d like it over here.

There is something new at Timor

Okay, new to me, not so new to Kim, as he told me whatever I discovered had been at Timor for about 3 weeks. New to me is the laundry soap and other soaps from Union Street. The laundry soap is vegan (is that an issue?) and according to the instructions 2 tablespoons will do a load of laundry.
Thing #2 new to me is the clearance wine. Don’t bother running over there now, but this morning, I and another woman bought all the $5 bottles of wine in the clearance section.
Thing #3, new to me, Port. Kim is carrying Dow’s Fine Ruby Port. Okay, now I can stop drinking up my lemoncello.
Not new, but usually there, weekend morning coffee. Hang out with Kim, drink coffee, yak. Kim supplies the cups, you supply the yak.

Chef, Church, Contractor, Coffee

This posting is for stuff on the backburner I’d been meaning to post. So, going in alphabetical order

Chef
Chef Jean Claude LeLan that is. About a week ago I took my 3rd or 4th class with him and they are always wonderful learning and eating experiences. His classes tend to be on Sunday mornings at 10 at his home in Mt. Vernon Sq., so even after having a rich meal and a good deal of wine, I can toddle or waddle back home for a good nap. The next class he’s having is the sauce class January 11th. I’ve taken it and it is well worth it because Chef Jean-Claude is a hoot, you get to take some sauces home and the after class meal is brunch. I also recommend that you take good notes and ask questions because the handouts are general and some steps are not mentioned or can be adjusted or are estimates or there are ideas that come out of the class.
Chef Jean Claude also offers catering and cooking classes in your home. I am tempted to have him cater, but a cooking class would not work. My kitchen is tiny.

Church
Church of the Immaculate Conception at 8th and N NW is one of two Roman Catholic Churches in Shaw, the other is St. Augustine. The pastor of Immaculate Conception, Rev. Msgr. James Watkins resides in Shaw, so he is a part of the community. Mass is as follows- Saturday 5:30 (29 minutes or less or your next mass is free); Sunday 9AM (1 hour), 11AM (about 1.5 hours), 6PM (Latin. Fr. Watkins’ Latin is lovely, everybody else….eh). And don’t bother with the website, it is stuck in Dec 2006.

Coffee
Not exactly in Shaw, but close, and they asked nice, and I needed another ‘C’…

Hi,
I’m Ongisa and we just opened up CocoLibre at 786 Harvard St. NW. It’s a Fair Trade Cafe’ that specializes in certified tea, coffee, and chocolate- plus your typical coffee shop fare like paninis and pastries. I know we aren’t exactly in Shaw, but we’re close. If you could give us a shout-out or something, that would be great. Check us out on the web- www.cocolibre.com. Feel free to hype us up and stop in for some great organic (and ethical) tea! Thanks.

Contractor
Some of y’all wanted my contractor’s contact info. Well my 2007 big renovation job and my 2002-2003 kitchen job were done by David of Something Different Contracting, 2/321-6416. I do recommend him for your big house projects (things that may require permits). David is very communicative, and lives close, in Frozen Tropic land (Old City 1). He has worked with older homes and will work with you to salvage any old beauty that may still exist in your home. You can email me at mari at inshaw daht com if you have questions you want to ask.