U Street Cafe

U Street Cafe

This morning I made my first stop at U Street Cafe to have breakfast before heading over to the farmers market. The prices are definitely a bit more expensive than Mocha Hut, and the look and atmosphere has changed. While I saw Mocha Hut as a funky, relaxed coffee shop, U Street Cafe has more of a corporate, sleek feel. Not that it’s bad, it just doesn’t have that neighborhood coffee shop like feel. At around 10 am it was pretty empty, while Mocha Hut was usually pretty crowded by that point. I don’t know if they offer free WiFi still, but they didn’t advertise it nor did I see any one on their computers. May I also say, the faces at the cafe were mostly of one color, while before I felt Mocha Hut was more representative of the U Street corridor, multiracial and vibrant.

Now, onto the food: we ordered some coffee and a sausage, egg, and cheese on a croissant and a strawberry waffle. The food came out pretty promptly and was good. It wasn’t spectacular but that’s not what I was expecting. The food was comparable to the food at Mocha Hut except it’s more expensive.

Strawberry Waffle

Strawberry Waffle

And on the menu, more diversity but also alcohol. U Street Cafe has what seems to be a full liquor license: they were offering beer, wine, and cocktails. I think that’s a nice other option to stop in there for a drink instead of a crowded bar on a week night.

Check out my Flickr photostream to see more photos, including the full menu offerings and prices.

I’m shocked to read that, according to DCist, Mocha Hut has closed. It was one of my go to places to get breakfast on a weekend, and whenever I was there they always seemed to be crowded. I usually had trouble getting a table if I went in after 10 am.

DCist reports:

According to office staff at the Ellington apartment building, which shares their address, Mocha Hut’s owners had planned to stay open until the end of the month, and unexpectedly decided to close early. Another owner plans to take over the space in April. The new owners reportedly plan to keep the business as a coffee shop, though we don’t yet know what changes they might make to the space or the menu.

I’m sad. I hope the new coffee place is good, but I’m always going to have a place in my heart for Mocha Hut’s breakfasts. It had become a cherished weekend ritual to go there at least once during the weekend to get some breakfast.

pumpkin pancake and apple compote

For breakfast: pumpkin pancake and apple compote

A good weekend always includes, at least for me, a good breakfast. This weekend, it was pumpkin pancakes with apple compote and some good coffee.

The pumpkin pancake recipe is from Kim O’Donnel at Mighty Appetite. In the recipe she says that you likely will have to add more liquid to get the pancake batter to the right consistency. And you do, I found myself adding a lot more, definitely more than the quarter cup she recommends.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but whatever pumpkin things I make never really taste like “pumpkin” – probably because I feel like pumpkin isn’t a very strong flavor, but what makes pumpkin “pumpkin-y” is the spices we add and associate with pumpkin pie. So in order to get it to taste more “pumpkin” adding plenty of spices and other flavors to enhance it are necessary. And I think this recipe gets that well.

As for the apple compote, it is very simple and easy to make, and is a really nice addition to the pancake. I made it over the week and had it ready for breakfast this morning, just needed to warm it up before served.

It’s a very late fall kind of breakfast.