courtesy of prettywar-stl

Apologies for being a tad late to this – but yes, the Dunkin Donuts at 14th and U is finally open. I understand they are giving away medium coffees through October 30 – so definitely take advantage while you can!

Progress on the storefront at Peregrine

My love for Peregrine Espresso is well known. When a friend who worked at the Eastern Market location moved away from the city, I was horribly sad. It did make up for it that not soon after Peregrine announced they were opening on 14th street between R and S. They’ve also been tweeting about their progress.  Looks like they’ll meet their Spring 2011 ETA.

courtesy of Damon Green, Flickr

I wished over a year ago that our neighborhood might get a Peregrine to open nearby. Now the wish has come true (I choose to believe it has something to do with the fact my birthday is this weekend). Peregrine will be opening in the former Flowers on 14th Street at 1718 14th street. They say it will be many months before they open.

This is great news, and I wish them all the best of luck!

I spent the long weekend in Philly with the boyfriend, as we clearly needed a vacation after a week off from work (or rather, we had this planned before this). Here are some recommendations based on our trip (limited obviously):

  • To eat: really, really, REALLLY enjoyed Tinto, a tapas/wine bar from Jose Garces (you know, the newest Iron

    La Colombe

    Chef). The food was inventive and so tasty, the service impeccable and down to earth, the wine selection limited to Spain and wonderful. And after all the food we ate I was expecting the bill to be much higher, so I’m starting to believe friends that say Philly is one of the last affordable cities in the east. Also check out Parc (casual French bistro on Rittenhouse Square) and the huge Reading Market (as boyfriend described, Eastern Market on steroids).

  • To drink: La Colombe (coffee, not liquor) – this coffee is good. Really good. We went back twice after enjoying it. Ask for a recommendation if you don’t know what to order (there’s no menu, by the by). As for liquor, I thought you could still smoke in Philly bars, so I wasn’t quite excited to go in (found out later only some bars have smoking exemptions) and ended up just chilling at restaurants for my imbibing pleasure.
  • To see: architecture. There are a lot of great old buildings in Philly. Some of my favorite parts of our weekend were just walking down random streets and seeing a fabulous building, taking a picture, and then reading more about it.
  • To visit: art/literary museums. I like history and all, but I am not a fan of touristy stuff or tours around the

    Great architectural details

    Liberty Bell. Though our stay was short, I really liked the Rosenbach Museum, which houses the Rosenbach’s amazing collection of books/manuscripts (they were book dealers), furniture/knick knacks that would be worth a lot of money on Antique’s Roadshow, and some special exhibits. Also, Philly’s Art Museum has a great collection of American art, especially one of my favorite artists Marcel Duchamp (yes, his Fountain is there).

Check out all of my photos from my trip on my Flickr photostream.

Mural at U Street Cafe

Mural at U Street Cafe

Not sure how recently this was painted, but I couldn’t help  admire this cool mural on the wall inside U Street Cafe. It’s a nice streetscape of U street with some of the famous people that helped make it Black Broadway back in the day. I might be warming up a bit to U Street Cafe since it opened, but even though it’s more of a walk, I’m still in love with Mid City Caffe.

Aroma bakery

Aroma bakery

A few weeks ago, I noticed Aroma Bakery had opened, only after a couple of weeks after the Dollar Store had closed. It is, indeed, as I had guessed, still owned by Steve Tekle, the local business owner who also owns the U Wine and Beer store across the street. The bakery doesn’t offer breads by the loaf, but does have a decent selection of deli sandwiches, salads, assorted pastries/deserts, coffee, snacks, and a nice selection of more gourmet-type sodas and juices.

I spoke with Steve while picking up some sandwiches for a Sunday lunch. He told me that he had been planning for a while to close the Dollar Store and open something that would fit in more with the current dynamics of the neighborhood. He thought that the neighborhood could use, and support, a business that would attract different customers than a dollar store would. Similar to what he’s done with U Wine and Beer, which went from a convenience store to a pretty nice beer/wine store, he decided to open a nicer, but decently priced bakery, focusing on lunch fare.

The space is nice, bigger than I thought it would be from the street. The bakery is airy and open, with a few tables to stand by and eat if you desire. The menu is fairly priced, with sandwiches ranging from $4 to $6.50, salads from $5 to $6.50. They even have a sandwich named after Jim Graham. The sandwiches we had, an Italian sub and a Reuben, were good. I liked the Reuben better, more because I like corned beef and the pumpernickel/rye bread that it was served on was very good. So good that it was better than other bread I’ve had on deli sandwiches in the area. The Italian sub was a nice rendition of the classic sub. Servings were big enough that I had leftovers to bring to work.

A very good Reuben

A very good Reuben

What I especially appreciated when speaking with Steve was his willingness to adapt to his customer’s needs and wants. He said that he was open to changing nearly anything about the bakery if a customer asked. He wants to serve the neighborhood and what it wants, which is something that I find really likable in a business owner.

So, definitely stop by for a sandwich, salad, coffee, or pastry at Aroma Bakery – it could easily become a go-to spot to get lunch or a quick dinner in the neighborhood.  And check out some more photos of Aroma Bakery, including the menu, on my Flickr photostream.

Blogger note: Once I asked to take photos of the bakery, I was soon outed as “U Street Girl” and offered sandwiches on the house, which I accepted. I was certainly hoping the sandwiches would be good enough so that I wouldn’t have to write something unfavorable about a local business owner I like. And thankfully, I didn’t.  They still would have been good if they weren’t free.

Mid City Caffe

Mid City Caffe

So, I’ve only been once, but I’m kind of in love with Mid City Caffe. A few months ago when I spotlighted Peregrine Espresso in Eastern Market, I hoped that one would come to U street. Ladies and gentlemen, I believe we have our 14th street/U street version of Peregrine with Mid City Caffe. The coffee: great, and cheap. The vibe: relaxed, 50s dinerish, but not quite that shiny (if you know what I mean). There’s even sidewalk seating. And yes, free WiFi. The food: pastries, bagels, yogurt. The service was friendly and prompt – no signs of inepitude since they had just opened.  Man, if they had a more in depth menu, with some egg dishes and maybe some sandwiches, this would be my place to hang out on the weekends.

So, yeah, I’m really in love. Check out more photos, including the menu, on my Flickr photostream.

Saw this article in the Post and it brought a smile to my face. Imminently good news. Mid City Caffe, opening on 14th street soonish, is going to be using coffee beans from Counter Culture. You might be familiar with their beans from favorites like Peregrine Espresso, Big Bear, or Tryst. I think this is a good sign that we might have a great coffee shop on our hands once it opens. I had wished for another Peregrine to open on U Street, but this might be a good compromise.

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.

Peregrine Espresso, courtesy of Damon Green (Flickr)

Peregrine Espresso, courtesy of Damon Green (Flickr)

Alright, this is a bit outside of my regular coverage of the U street, Columbia Heights, and Logan Circle ‘hoods, but I spend a good amount of time in the Eastern Market/Capitol Hill area too. I have a good friend who lives there, I love the market at Eastern Market, and I tutor at an organization nearby once a week. When Murky Coffee closed last year because of back taxes, I was sad, that was a good cup of coffee.

I was happy to hear from a fellow tutor that one of her friends, a barista at Murky, planned to open a new coffee shop in the space. Hence, Peregrine Espresso. Folks, have you been here? The coffee’s better than Murky, and with no attitude. Yes, they even serve iced coffee, though I wouldn’t recommend it, and actually have to agree with the asshole owner of Murky that you really are ruining the flavor, and it is a shame with coffee this good. Did you think coffee always had that bitter, almost acrid taste? Well, my friend it doesn’t have to, and it doesn’t at Peregrine Espresso.

You know when a place describes a coffee as fruity, chocolatey, or earthy and you try your best to taste it but you really can’t? At Peregrine Espresso I can, and it’s fabulous. Check it out the next time you’re trolling around Eastern Market, a cup of coffee starts at just $2. Plus, they have a blog, and who doesn’t love that?

Can we get them to open a location on U street, please?

A regular feature in which I spotlight local businesses.