Food


Hello, readers – sorry I haven’t written here in a while. Life has been quite busy, and something had to give – and that was my blog. But, I’m back and trying to focus on some interesting, longer form feature pieces right now, versus breaking news. Please follow me on my Twitter account for that kind of coverage.

Now, the topic at hand – BakeHouse, a bakery that will open on 14th and T this fall. I had the opportunity to meet up with the owners, Niall Cooper and Lindsey Morse, to taste some of the goods and talk about their business.  Niall and Lindsey live in the U Street neighborhood and have long dreamed of opening their own business. Lindsey had always considered baking a hobby, but started taking it more seriously the past few years.

Lindsey started working in professional kitchens and learning the lay of the land. Meanwhile, her husband Niall found that his Scottish citizenship meant his chosen career of museum management quite tough to pursue in DC (Federal government requires you be a U.S. citizen to work for them…) and they started seriously pursuing opening a bakery in the neighborhood.

Lindsey and Niall, a charming couple, say they foresee BakeHouse becoming a Baked & Wired for the U street neighborhood, a gathering place with delicious baked goods. They plan to be open in time for the morning rush and late enough to stop by for a sweet treat after dinner.

And sweet treats do they have. Lindsey prepared quite a spread for us and some other guests: among them delectable apple cider “doughnut” muffins, flaky and savory bacon and date scones, tastes just like root beer “float” cupcakes, and frothy  coconut and almond milkshakes. Everything we sampled (and we did sample everything) was delicious. My companion and fiance, a discerning sweet fiend, especially kept on going back to the perfectly paired strawberry and lemon cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

Niall and Lindsey talked to me about the need for a neighborhood bakery (oh do I agree), and the idea of a locally-owned spot is so appealing. While we know U Street doesn’t lack in bars, restaurants, and vintage stores – a simple place to stop in and get a snack, chat with a friend can be hard to find especially with the closing of Love Cafe.

Bakehouse is under construction as we speak, it will live next to the Post Office building on 14th and T which is set to become (at least for now) Taqueria Nacional, which is moving their Capitol Hill location to T street. While dealing with the slow permit process as well as the perhaps slower construction process has meant that BakeHouse won’t open as soon as Lindsey and Niall want, they do hope to open by Thanksgiving.

While we await the bakery opening in the hood, follow them on Facebook or Twitter for updates.

Advertisements

Last night, Black & Orange, the new burger joint on 14th just south of U Street opened. I swung by the opening party (yes, they were kind enough to invite me) and checked out the space. It is pretty large, with ample seating. I dig their minimalist decor. Checkout after the jump for a few more photos. (more…)

A few weeks ago, I stopped into Cork Market to buy provisions for a good panini. While there, I was greeted by Sarah of Gordy’s Pickle Jar, offering free samples of some of her pickles.

We got to talking, and Sarah explained that they had recently won second prize at the International Pickle Festival, and that they made their pickles right off of U Street. Intrigued, I met up with them last night to talk food in DC, pickles and U Street.

Both Sarah and her business partner, Sheila, live in the U Street neighborhood. Sheila has worked at Marvin (and now Blackbyrd Warehouse) since it opened back in 2007. Blackbyrd is now featuring their relish in a few dishes.

They launched their pickle business at a friend’s wedding in October, giving out pickle jars as wedding favors. The pickles were such a hit they decided to start selling online, and in a few area stores (you can pick them up at Smucker’s Farms and Cork Market in the U Street corridor). Soon they began selling to a few restaurants: you can get their fried pickle chips at Science Club. They are also selling their brine to a lot of area bars for cocktails.

Gordy’s Pickle Jar is named after Sarah’s late father – an affectionate tribute to a pickle lover.

As spring comes along, expect to see Gordy’s at a few area farmer’s markets, as well as some more interesting pickles. While winter has limited them a little bit (they try their best to just use local produce) they are looking forward to experimenting more as more produce becomes in season. The next thing they are working on is pickled fruit, they are currently experimenting on a few recipes.

And, if you want to get really experimental – Peregrine will be featuring their brine in their February drink – appropriately named “Love Potion Number Brine.” Sarah and Sheila assured me that it tasted really good, and the savoriness of the espresso was really cut by the refreshing quality of the brine. Check it out!

Photo courtesy of Mr. T in DC

I love Solly’s, it has been a favorite for meeting up with friends or catching a football game since I moved to the neighborhood almost five years ago.

Of course, back in the day Solly’s used to serve food – decent bar food that went well with beer. A few years ago they stopped, but now with their expansion into neighboring Madjet, Solly’s will be serving food again and hopefully gain some much needed space in the process. John Solomon, the owner, says that the renovation should take a month and could  be done as early as the end of February.

However, the question is: what is happening to Madjet? DC Eater (link above) called Madjet and the employee who answered the phone had not heard of Solly’s expansion. So we will see what happens with Madjet.

I was glad to see over at Washington City Paper’s Young and Hungry blog that Black and Orange has a new opening date. We had heard originally that they planned to open before Christmas, but that obviously didn’t happen.

They are having an opening party for VIPs only (no, yours truly did not get invited) and then will be open to the public around 9:30 that night. Anyone else really excited for awesome burgers on U street?

Love Cafe in 2006, courtesy of katmeresin

Back in 2006 and 2007, when I first started hanging out on U Street and then started looking for an apartment, there were few places to sit down and hang out with friends in the neighborhood during the day. Love Cafe was one of them – decent food, free WiFi (which became less available as it became popular), and a nice atmosphere.

When the cupcake craze started, Love Cafe was one of the first to peddle them. While not a huge fan of their rendition of the dessert, they certainly rose to popularity because of them.

Love Cafe is closing after almost nine years in the neighborhood at the end of the month. Cake Love, the bakery owned by Warren Brown, will stay open.

While Love Cafe might not have been the best place on U Street, it was always a reliable place to stop by and see friends, get a coffee or a sandwich. For people like me who came to the neighborhood five or six years ago, it was something of a gathering place, and I’m sorry to see it go.

Taylor near Mt Vernon Square, courtesy of M.V. Jantzen

Something to celebrate for the new year: Taylor Gourmet will open their new location at 14th and T the first business day of 2012. Delicious sandwiches for all for the new year!

This new location will also mean an expanded delivery zone for the sandwich shop, before those of us living north of U Street (me included) technically weren’t in their delivery zone. Now, that will expand up to Columbia Heights and to the west in Dupont Circle.

Next Page »