New restaurant coming here (courtesy of NCinDC)

 

Well this is exciting news for the 14th street corridor. Tom Sietsema reported in his weekly chat this morning that two new restaurants are coming to 14th street.  

Sietsema says Whisk Group and Abdo Development have partnered to bring Italian Shirt Laundry, at 1601 14th St. NW (at Q street) (named after the longstanding dry cleaners that used to be at the location).  Italian Shirt Laundry will be a combination pizzeria and bakery. 

The second restaurant will be Italian Cinema, at 1404 14th St., NW (between P and Rhode Island), will serve pasta, charcuterie and screen Italian films on the restaurant’s roof. 

The groups hope the restaurants will open sometime this year. Who’s excited?

Well Built at 14th and Q

After Candida’s closed a few years ago, we finally have a replacement. Well Built has been around for about a month now: it’s a furniture store, owned by Anne Blackwell, dedicated to sustainability. Their website says that the showroom has “an array of goods by a handful of great companies to peruse.”

Have you been? What did you think? What are the prices like? While their hours (12-6:30 Friday through Wednesday and 12-8 Thursdays – according to their website and contrary to this sign) seem reasonable, I haven’t walked by when it’s been open yet.

Homemade Pizza Co.

I saw this on Twitter this weekend, but it was way too cold for me to venture and take a picture. So thanks so much to reader Ron for sending me one! Homemade Pizza Co. on 14th and Church, is scheduled to open Jan. 21st, which is very fast as they just announced they were coming in December. They now have their sign up.

Homemade Pizza Co. is a small chain that has other locations in Illinois and Minnesota, and locally in Virginia and upper NW in DC. Has anyone checked out the other locations?  Is the pizza decent?

Charlie Gaynor's Paris Farm, on sale at Plan B (Courtesy of Plan B)

Through the end of the year, Plan B, one of the cooler galleries on 14th street, is donating 10% of their gallery sales to Culture Capital, a part of Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington. Culture Capital serves as an online resource for arts and culture events happening in the DC Metro area. The site is basically a one-stop shop that is incredibly easy to use as it is searchable by date, region (includes DC, MD and VA) and event category.

Plan B has a lot of great, affordable art in their gallery right now. Prices were as little as $50 for a print, starting at $100 f0r a painting and went up into the thousands. Art is such a great gift to give people, in my opinion, so unique and something that you can enjoy the rest of your life. I went to an event at Plan B for Culture Capital this week and actually ended up winning a Kevin H. Adam painting in their raffle (it’s the Smith Island painting, it’s going to look lovely in my bedroom!). Just my luck, as I really never win anything, let alone raffles, so I was glad I was able to support Culture Capital and Plan B.

So stop in, check it out, and buy some art, and the money will go to a good cause!

Churchkey

ChurchKey

The scene: 6:30 pm on a Friday, at ChurchKey. After spending an hour and a half at the bar, where I saw it go from pretty crowded, but able to get a table for 3 at 5, to so packed I had to squeeze through the sea of people to get to the bathroom, it was time to leave. Before we even finished paying our check, a couple had scored dibs on our table. And, when exiting, I was completely shocked to see not only that the bar was at capacity at 6:30 pm, but there was already a line, at least 20 or 30 deep out the door, waiting to get in. AT 6:30 PM.

So yeah, the anticipation for ChurchKey/Birch and Barley was high, and it’s ridiculously popular now that it’s finally opened. Unbelievably so. You’ve certainly seen all the pretty photos of the interior, and heard about the beer list (PDF file). The beer I had was good, the list was nice (though I was surprised how many pretty common beers  – such as Brooklyn Lager, Allagash White, and Troegs Hopback Amber Ale they had on draft).

The food menu was enticing, but the items we actually ordered we weren’t completely impressed with. We ordered the green eggs and ham (which was actually deviled duck eggs with duck pancetta) – unfortunately we didn’t really like it. First of all, I don’t think they were duck eggs, I’ve bought duck eggs before and they are bigger than chicken’s, with especially bigger yolks. These just looked like regular old chicken eggs. And duck pancetta? I’m not even sure what that actually is, but either way it tasted burnt. However, the arranici caprese we had was quite good. Then again, how can you mess up fried risotto balls?

So, yeah, ChurchKey is as ridiculously popular and crowded as you’ve heard, if not more so. If you want to go, go early and during the week. I look forward to trying their sister restaurant, Birch and Barley on the first floor, sometime soon. I’ll be sure to write about it when I do.

Pitango gelato

Pitango gelato

Gelato, I love it. I love the wider array of flavors, the creamier, smoother texture. I like Dolcezza and enjoy that it’s sold at 14th and U’s farmers market, but have trouble spending $6 for half of a pint. I then saw myself shelling out $6.50 for a large at Pitango Gelato. It ain’t cheap. What was more ridiculous was their $11 and $22 take home sizes. Yeah.

This isn’t an everyday place to stop by at (at least for us mortals not making big bucks). But I must say, what I had was good. Pictured, three sorbets: concord grape, white grapefruit, and tangerine, and two gelatos: crema and vanilla chocolate chip. The texture on the sorbet was excellent, not icy or hard like most sorbets you get. The flavor on the concord grape and tangerine was spot on: saturated yet refreshing. The white grapefruit was a little more subtle, and it took me really trying to taste much flavor out of it. The crema and vanilla chocolate chip were solid, but I’d like to taste some of their more inventive flavors as well (chocolate noir, bourbon vanilla, anyone?). While the larges were expensive, they did do a good job of packing it full of gelato/sorbet – they gave me more than I thought I would I get.

So the verdict: thumbs up for the flavor, a meh for the pricing. I appreciate it’s all organic but I do wish it were a bit more affordable. It’s a special treat once and a while, not a place to go every hot day when you’re craving something cool.

A quick round-up of what’s been happening in the U street area the past few days. I promise a more substantial post later, just been a bit too busy to write one.

Posto

Posto

I have yet to return to Posto, after my lovely visit about a month ago. I was happy to see that Tom Sietsema gave the restaurant 2 stars in the WaPo magazine. His bones to pick with the restaurant were also mine: it’s loud and the service was a little off (on my case – over-attentiveness, on his dishes – going AWOL) – though this is common for a new restaurant. His problems with the food were with dishes I had not tasted – the more casual pizza menu. I had thought I could go in there and have a more expensive, fancy meal by eating off the bottom of the menu, or a more casual, cheap meal by eating off of the pizza menu. Looks like, according to Sietsema, the pizza menu is not worth trying.

It’s good to see the restaurant getting some deserved praise from critics. However, it’s not like the restaurant needs it to stay open: every time I’ve walked by it’s been packed (and they still don’t take reservations) and Sietsema points out “If there’s any doubt Logan Circle can use more restaurants, this newcomer disproves that notion.”

Posto on 14th street

Posto on 14th street

I finally dined at Posto last night. After writing about it and hearing about it, I was happy to finally experience it for myself. And, well it met and beat my expectations.

The food: so good. I had the house cured olives (good, but it’s hard to make olives taste bad in my book) and the polenta with sausage to start. The polenta was very good, comforting, warm, a little spicy, perfect for a cold rainy night.

Main dishes were the scallops with a lentil ragout and the cinghiale (aka wild boar). The scallops were good, I didn’t instantly think lentils would work with scallops, but they did. It was another warming, comforting dish for winter. The cinghiale, the first I had ever had, was chewy (as to be expected after seeing a recent Iron Chef featuring the ingredient) but so flavorful, so good.

For dessert (because I was feeling decadent, hadn’t had a ton to eat all day, and had just scored my first job interview since losing my job) cranberry and mixed berry cobbler and poached pear with chocolate panna cotta. A nice finish to a great dinner, and I appreciate that the desserts offered weren’t the expected ones you often find at restaurants (usual suspects: flourless chocolate cake, apple pie, creme brulee, ice cream of some sort).

The service: attentive, friendly, nice, in two words: very good. The waiter was very enthusiastic, the hostess and manager were chatty and friendly as well.

The dining room was noisy. I even noticed that they’d put foam at the bottom of the tables to absorb some of the noise, but it wasn’t doing much good. It wasn’t terribly loud though, conversation wasn’t impossible. Though, it’s not a place you’d take a date for a quiet, romantic dinner.

In short, Posto surpassed my expectations for what I hoped it would be: a nice, tasty neighborhood option. I will definitely be returning on a regular basis. Plus: I learned it offers takeout, which will be an awesome alternative to some other options in the neighborhood.

After the jump: more photos. (more…)

The Washington Blade, via DCist, has identified the murder victim on 11th and Q last night as Durval V. Martins, a gay man. He was shot multiple times and all of his valuables were found on him.

This comes at a time of not only heightened violence in the area, but violence against gays, especially in the Shaw and Logan Circle areas. In the past few months…

Not only does there seem to be increased gang violence, the number of hate crimes against the gay community have increased as well. Now, no motive has a been established for the murder victim at 11th and Q, but for some reason I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he happened to be gay.