Tag Archives: Adams Morgan

Snapshot 1

18th Street is quite charming in the morning. The street is empty but for a few other people walking to the office and those cleaning the streets from the previous night’s revelry and the sun glints off the eclectically colorful buildings.

There’s a small, concave patch of sidewalk at the top of stairs leading down to a basement level restaurant that sits between two other stairways leading to establishments on the second floor. Every morning, for the past two weeks, there has been a man sleeping in that little nook off the main sidewalk area. In the morning, he’s positioned facing downtown — the Monument just off in the distance with the sun rising by its side. In the evening, he’s facing uptown. But for the switch, I would have given serious consideration to that fact that he might have passed out dead there that first day I saw him.

Every day. For two weeks. And who knows how many days, weeks, months, years before.

Brunching it up

I’ve been brunching quite a bit lately. “You live in NW, of course you do brunch,” one might say. After all, every list of worthwhile brunch locations in the city seems heavily concentrated withinthe Dupont-AdMo corridor. The lines are out the door at most of the places in my neighborhood on any given Saturday or Sunday. However, being a devotee of my own homecooked pancakes (of the blueberry, banana, or chocolate chip variety), I don’t partake all too often.

Last weekend, a friend and I were downtown and decided to grab a bite to eat on the Hill before meeting up with others. At first I wasn’t sure where to go since my usual standby, Bread and Chocolate, closed a few months ago. We had both heard good things about Belga Cafe, on 8th St. south of Eastern Market, so we decided to give that a try. Although the wait for a table was out the door despite the “wintry mix” falling outside, there was ample seating available at the bar. Far from the cramped bar seating of, say, Tryst, this was actually quite a nice arrangement. My friend ordered an egg dish with a side of fruit and I went with apple cinnamon waffles (sorry, both dishes had fancy Belgian names, but we’re keeping things simple here). We were intrigued byfancy drink offerings like sage or lavender champagne, which looked great as people around us were sipping them, but we kept in nonalcoholic that morning so I can’t report on that. The food, however, was fabulous. My waffles were the perfect varietyof crisp, not soggy, doneness. There were tiny cinnamon chips baked into them, which added an interesting texture, and the apple topping was simply delicious. Probably my favorite waffle offering in a very long time (though I keep meaning to try the Chai waffles at Open City — maybe Tryst has them too?). My companion’s eggs were equally as good. The atmosphere was warm and, although busy, not hectic. The service was fabulous. The one critique I would give is that the fruit bowl my companion ordered was absurdly small for the price point charged. All in all, a great little find and the perfect place to start an afternoon of wandering Eastern Market.

Today, I stayed a bit closer to home and went to LeftBank with another friend. My only impression of LeftBank heretofore was as a night spot with chic lighting and interesting (if slightly overpriced) drinks. The minimalist design doesn’t scream comfy and inviting, but it was practically deserted while lines at Tryst, the Diner, etc., were out the door as per usual, so we decided to give it a try. My companion broke with the brunch theme and ordered a burger while I got the blueberry pancakes. I’m always disappointed when I order them because, although I am certainly not a great cook by any definition, I can make a mean blueberry pancake. For once, my expectations were surpassed. The pancakes were loaded with blueberries, done to perfection, and not overly sweet. As good as they were, the coconut black tea I ordered was the real star of the meal. It was incredibly delicious and steeped with loose leaves rather than a bag. Be forewarned, I’m totally ordering it next time someone drags me to happy hour there.

Breaking news right outside my window!

It figures, the day I’m living right in the center of one of the top news stories in the city is the day my camera battery is dead. Regardless, I bring you this little cell phone picture from this morning of Columbia Rd., which is still closed going westbound between 18th St. and Mintwood Pl. after some sort of issue which resulted in smoking manhole covers. To imagine what it looked like when I got home last night, add about 15 Pepco trucks lining both sides of the street. My neighbor, who was home when the initial incident went down reported hearing three very loud “explosions,” almost immediately followed by a convergence of police and Pepco closing down the street. Hopefully this will be an isolated incident and not a trend a la Georgetown a few years ago.street

On the double

Can we please get over the idea that the 43 bus is an express version of the 42? Cutting one stop does not an express make. In theory, it’s great. Circumventing the whole mess of Dupont Circle in rush hour with its weird merges, blinking lights, and crazy lane changing by just going under the circle is an improvement. However, the five or so times I’ve managed to actually catch a 43 in the morning, the wait to go under is nearly as long as it is to go around (this is not the case by the time I’m going home, however, when we just zip on under with no traffic in sight. Nice, indeed).

The real issue to me, though, is that there is absolutely no reason for the bus to stop on every single corner. Seriously. I can see three stops from the front of my building. They should make the 43 a true express line and skip every other stop. Now that would be something for which it would be worth getting excited.

On how AdMo is more than a drunken college playground

I’ve been hating on Adams Morgan a lot lately (in real life, that is).  In the spirit of complete accuracy in my reportage, I believe I may have Twittered, “this almost makes me want to move,” last night while walking back from Mt. Pleasant around midnight amidst the tipsy, obnoxious masses. Mind you, I hadn’t even ventured down the 18th St. strip. I guess I’ve just been out a lot more lately on weekends, which puts me face-to-face with that side of the neighborhood.

In fairness to the qualities that sometimes make me profess a desire to one day own a little place not too terribly far from my current apartment, I bring you a snapshot of the other side. Idle Time is a used bookstore located on 18th St. just south of Columbia Rd. Being a book person, this is one of the first places I stopped in when I moved to the neighborhood. The selection is actually pretty diverse and interesting (I rarely leave empty handed), the layout is airy and inviting, and you never know what you’ll find on the $1 rack out front.

To fill some time between early dinner and late drinking/dancing, I popped in there on my way home just now. The political and foreign affairs type books are upstairs so, predictably, I ventured up there. There was soft music playing in the background and it was virtually empty, but for a guy browsing on the opposite side of the floor. I chose a book and sunk down into a frayed, worn, red chair by a large window overlooking the intersection of 18th & Columbia. With the plants on the windowsill, you feel like you’re in the private library of someone’s home as opposed to a store. I didn’t actually make it through much of the book as it was too good a spot for people watching. From that vantage point, all one sees is the quirky, quaint little neighborhood below. A welcome reminder of what a fabulously unique place to live this really is.

Cool holiday things in Adams Morgan

The kiosk at the intersection of 18th and Columbia has its share of detractors and admirers. I tend to be in the former camp. Although in theory I sympathize with those who like to say it fosters a sense of community by acting as a message board where one can post whatever one wants, it is primarily a site for promoters to post a million fliers about weekend shows at various bars on 18th. I suppose that passes for “community” in this neighborhood, but I think it just looks kinda ugly and distracting seeing as it sits right in a major intersection. Apparently a sculpture of some sort is destined to live next to it in a year or so, now that roadwork there is complete. It will be interesting to see what planners think can peacefully coexist (i.e. not look too ridiculous) next to it.

As I was walking to Target the other night, I noticed the kiosk has been temporarily transformed into a Festivus pole. The “grievances” (for the most part, disappointments from the past year) people have written run the gambit from hilariously absurd to profound. I found myself compelled to stand there and read every single one. It’s a pretty cool concept and definitely worth a stop by if you’re in the area.

On another front, nothing says holiday season like a nice cup of hot chocolate. Personally I’m a huge fan of Mexican hot chocolate — the spicy sweetness is heavenly. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find. I happened upon the best I have ever had at my favoritefavoritefavorite coffee shop, Tryst, last week. Perfection in a cup. The fact that it’s two blocks from my apartment is probably not so good since I’ve been back for more almost every day since.

So, if you find yourself up this way, grab a cup of Mexican hot chocolate to ward off the cold and go read the latest offerings at the Festivus pole.

Shooting in the neighborhood

There was a shooting last night in Adams Morgan. Naturally this doesn’t make me feel great about my little neighborhood. However, what really puts the icing on the cake, so to speak, for me is the quote in today’s WaPo from Councilman Jim Graham.

The councilman offers these thoughts: The homocide was, “extremely upsetting,” Graham said, “but I’m very pleased there was a squad car right there.”

That strikes me as absurd on two levels. First, how can one be pleased criminals are brazen enough to shoot and kill a person with cops “literally right there.” If anything, it’s more disconcerting to me that the increased police presence as of late didn’t serve as a deterrent. Second, if a cop was “literally right there” then what does it say that the shooter got away? Frankly, I can’t find anything to be “pleased” about in this situation.