Category Archives: Food

Steel Plate And Busboys And Poets Participate In Dining Out For Life Thursday

steel plate dining out for lifeDining Out For Life is an annual nationwide dining fundraising event raising money for AIDS service organizations. DC’s event supports Food and Friends,  the only DC charity providing daily, home-delivered, specialized meals, groceries and nutrition counseling to individuals who are battling HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-challenging illnesses. Astrid and I are so excited that this year we don’t have to  leave the neighborhood to dine at a participating restaurant. Hats off to Steel Plate has and Busboys and Poets for signing up and donating 25% and 35% of their sales for the night respectively.

The event, now in its 19th year, will take place Thursday, April 23rd, and we encourage everyone to go out and support! Steel Plate is located at 3523 12th Street NE and Busboys and Poets is located at 625 Monroe Street NE.

Optimism Lounge Reopens As Serendipity Jazz Coffeehouse With Soft Launch

Back in February, we wrote about Optimism bar/lounge reopening as a coffeehouse with live jazz. Yesterday the location opened its doors for a soft opening under the new name Serendipity Jazz Coffeehouse.

We spoke at length with long-time Brookland resident and Serendipity owner Jesse Brown. He said that the new concept is starting off on a very low-key note, at first just offering a selection of coffees. teas, pastries and muffins. This isn’t the first time he has tried this concept, Jesse owned the Cup of Dreams coffee bar from 1997 – 2001 at the location now occupied by Askale Cafe at 12th and Otis. Soon they will offer sandwiches and eventually beer, wine and liquor. At some point live jazz and blues, and a more extensive menu will follow as well. In addition to the concept change, Jesse has made some nice renovations that have transformed the space from adult lounge to comfy coffeehouse. As you can see from the photos, he has added a lot of wood paneling, along the walls and the bar, as well as new modern ceiling fans, new seating and larger, updated bathrooms.

The old Optimism signage has been taken down and Jesse expects to add signage soon to reflect the new Serendipity logo and name. For now the operating hours will be roughly 6:00 am -midnight, though that, and other details will be tweaked as they collect and react to feedback from patrons. Serendipity Jazz Coffeehouse is located at 3301 12th Street NE (at the corner of Kearney St).

Mess Hall Presents Pickled, Braised, And Brewed: The Art of Slow Food, This Sunday

Mess Hall logo courtesy of Mess Hall.
Mess Hall logo courtesy of Mess Hall.

Nearby culinary incubator, Mess Hall, is a food community where DC-based food entrepreneurs come together to cook, share and collaborate. This Sunday, March 8,  from 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM, they will team up with New Belgium Brewing  for a pretty cool event called Pickled, Braised, and Brewed: The Art of Slow Food. From the event page:

Join New Belgium for an afternoon of slow food, slow ceramics, and craft beer.  We’re rolling out Slow Ride IPA (a session beer) and we’re sure to bring some other suds to the party.  We’re partnering with local chefs to give you a hands-on afternoon learning the art behind pickling, braised meats, ceramics, and our beer.

Come ready to taste delicious bites from the chefs of Gordy’s Pickle Jar and Mason Dixie Biscuit Co, while ogling the ceramics of Derek Thomas Hambly.

Ticket sales support our non-profit partner, CulturalDC, which serves to provide space and resources for emerging artists in the Washington, DC area.  Ready, Set, Go Slow-Mo…

Ticket Cost: $45 – Includes 2 beers (Slow Ride), one biscuit sandwich and slow meat tasting, and two chef demonstrations, including one hands-on session with a jar of pickles to take home.  (Ticket sales will be raising money for CulturalDC.)  Additional beers will be available for purchase.

with additional beer specials for ticket holders

For more information, and to purchase tickets, check out the event page here. Mess Hall is located at 703 Edgewood St. NE.

Happy Hour With A Cause Tonight At Brookland Pint, Benefiting Miriam’s Kitchen

Miriam’s Kitchen, an organization dedicated to ending chronic homelessness in D.C is kicking off a year long partnership with the Meridian Pint, Smoke & Barrel, and Brookland Pint Group. The rotating monthly happy hour will occur on the last Thursday of the month, and will kickoff tonight, Thursday, February 26th at 5:30pm at Brookland Pint. For more information, checkout the event page here and the flyer below. Brookland Pint is located at 716 Monroe Street, NE

Brookland Pint

Optimism To Reopen Soon With A Coffee-House/Jazz Feel

Brookland NE Washington DC Bars
Optimism Bar and Lounge

In September, we wrote about how Optimism, a local  bar/lounge quietly closed after trying to change their format. Recently, there has been an uptick in activity at the restaurant, so we decided to stop by and chat with  owner and long-time Brookland resident Jesse Brown. He shared with us that he is hoping to re-open the restaurant in March with a coffee-house and live jazz focus.  We were happy to see some of the new renovations, that include larger bathrooms and an overhauled look. Jesse said they are going for a “rustic” look, which included a wall with cool looking wood paneling, new modern ceiling fans and bamboo wood panels that wrap around the bar. We will let you know when we learn more. Optimism is located at 3301 12th Street NE (at the corner of Kearney St).

Brookland’s Finest To Be Featured On Fox 5 DC’s “Will You Eat There?” – Taping Tomorrow Night!

Brookland's Finest LogoMany thanks to Craig Allen, the General Manager of Brookland’s Finest for reaching out to us about some exciting media exposure this restaurant will be getting. From an email:

Hello Astrid!

Brookland’s Finest Bar & Kitchen will be featured on Fox 5 DC’s “Will You Eat There?” segment. We would like community support as we would not be here without the Brookland community. Will Thomas will be here at 5 PM to start filming. He will talk to guests, Chef Shannan, Tony and myself asking questions about the restaurant and the cuisine.
We would appreciate if you could let Brookland residents know that we would love to have them here and on TV with us tomorrow at 5 PM (he will be here from 5-6 PM or so). It will be during happy hour, so we will have drink specials for those guests that are interested.
 Sounds great! Brookland’s Finest Bar & Kitchen is located at 3126 12th St. NE.

San Antonio Bar And Grill Makes Improvements, Will Seek Outdoor Seating Again

San Antonio Bar and Grill opened in 2009, when opening a sit-down restaurant in Brookland was still a risky investment. We recently  stopped by and spoke to the owner, Jaime Vargas, about some of the improvements underway. They recently moved the host stand and added an attractive divider with bar stool seating that more clearly separates the eating and waiting areas in the front of the restaurant. Jaime said that other interior improvements are planned like new light fixtures. Outside, the restaurant’s brick facade has been painted a bright white primer in advance of new exterior paint job and the awning will be replaced with a new smaller one.

We asked Jaime if he is going to take another shot at securing an outdoor seating permit and he indicated that he would. After speaking with a few Commissioners, he is optimistic that things will go well, especially given the new ANC 5B leadership in place. (In a vote that baffled many in the community in May 2014, ANC 5B voted to not support San Antonio’s request for outdoor seating in front of the restaurant. Notably, San Antonio has a long track record of no issues with the community, and the ANC Commissioner of their SMD at the time, Janese Jones, polled nearby businesses and residents, none of whom opposed the outdoor seating. We will let you know when they go before ANC 5B again.)

The restaurant is known for reasonably priced, consistently tasty Tex-Mex cuisine and has a very popular daily happy hour from 3-7pm with half price appetizers. But, some may not be aware that they also serve brunch on Sundays from 11:00am-3:00pm with a lot of the standard breakfast items like bottomless mimosas, pancakes and eggs benedict. About a year and a half ago, they also started running an Italian menu on Wednesdays and Saturdays (the veal scaloppine – super yummy-is included in the slide show above). Recently, they have re-launched the Italian menu, here are some examples of the menu items (which all include a side salad and garlic bread):

  • Salmon in Vodka Sauce with Fettucine ($18.95)
  • San Francisco’s Cioppino -a fish stew with clams, mussels, and scallops ($22.95)
  • Penne Pasta with Chicken or Shrimp ($12.95/$14.95)
  • Bucatini Carbonara ($13.95)

San Antonio Bar & Grill is located at 3908 12th Street NE.

Good Food Markets Opens – Offers A New Local Grocery Option

Yesterday Good Food Markets in Woodridge opened for business. We stopped by to check it out and posted the photos below. The store is compact but offers a lot in the way of grocery staples, and offers a selection of prepared foods for those on the run. We liked that they had a balance of higher end products (organic, etc.) and main stream brands and products. The prices seemed on par with larger grocery chains and the owners are open to stocking items at the request of neighborhood patrons. Notably, we didn’t see any beer or wine, but we understand that will be coming soon. The store will have a grand opening on Saturday, January 24th. Good Food Market is located at 2006 Rhode Island Avenue NE and will be open from 9 am- 9 pm everyday.

New Italian Restaurant, Masseria, To Open Near Union Market This Spring

union market dc opening 090912 1We were excited to read in this City Paper article that Masseria, a new Italian restaurant at 1344 4th St. NE will be opening this spring.From the article:

Former Bibiana chef Nicholas Stefanelli is breaking out on his own to open an Italian restaurant with influences from southern regions like Puglia and Sicily, where his family comes from. But that doesn’t mean the place will be seafood-centric: “Burrata is from Puglia. There’s a lot of salumi that’s from down south that most people don’t usually see here because they’re not the big famous ones,” Stefanelli says. The menu will have three-, five-, and eight-course options where diners can mix and match which appetizers, pastas, or fish and meat they want to include in their prix-fixe meal. “If you want three courses of pasta, you can have three courses of pasta,” he says. The bar will offer dishes a la carte. Located in an old produce market near Union Market, Masseria will have a large garden, a covered atrium, and an indoor-outdoor bar serving Italian aperitifs and wine. Stefanelli is heading to Italy in January for a research trip that will help guide the menu. Stay tuned for pop-ups when he gets back.

Healthy Fast Food Restaurant, Hälsa, Opens Today At Monroe Street Market

In October we wrote about Hälsa, a healthy fast food dining concept coming to Monroe Street Market. We are happy to report that they are opening today. Check out this Tweet from the restaurant and this write up from the Washington Post.

From the Washington Post article:

The building block of the restaurant is the “market plate,” a dish that ranges from $12 to $16, and gives you your choice of protein (fish, chicken, pork or vegetarian), grain, seasonal side and greens.

Hälsa is located at 655 Michigan Ave., NE. Best of luck to this new business!