Room & Board, courtesy of thepresidentwearsprada (Flickr)

Last weekend I stopped by Room & Board (mostly for the air conditioning) and walked around. Now, the furniture is beautiful, the store is huge (4, count them, 4 floors) but it’s just eye candy for me. I could never seriously consider buying any of these pieces.

The store had complimentary coffee and water for customers, which I thought was a really nice touch. The roof has nice, sweeping views of the U street corridor. If it weren’t so hot out I could imagine the roof would be a nice place to sit and hang out. I couldn’t help thinking that they should open a bar or restaurant up there, it’s a great space. I also liked that on one of the walls (on one of the floors, can’t tell you which) they had a history of the building. I’m glad they’re paying homage to the building’s past.

While I can’t imagine ever being a customer, Room & Board is a beautiful store that is certainly an asset to the neighborhood.

Point Chaud, courtesy of reader Ron

Point Chaud, courtesy of reader Ron

Thanks so much to reader Ron for sending in these pictures and letting me know that Point Chaud opens today (I walked by yesterday and the windows were still papered up, amazing how a few hours can change things). Has anyone stopped by and gotten themselves a crepe? I admit to not be an expert on crepes, I’ll need someone like FrenchTwistDC to go and let me know how good they are. The multitude of Nutella looks promising though, no?

24 Seven, courtesy of Adam Gurri

I haven’t had a chance to stop in, but noticed that 24 Seven is back open, after they closed over a month ago for renovations. I know a lot of people were worried that they were closed for good, so I’m glad the talk that they were just closed for renovations was true. Prince of Petworth has more shots of the new inside if you’re interested.

Pica tacos - barbacoa to the left, pastor to the right

Last night I went in to try out Pica Taco, which opened on Sunday. With their 2 for 1 taco special their opening week, and tacos at $2.25 each, how could I not? I got 2 barbacoa (beef) and 2 pastor (pork) tacos. Now, I will couch my opinions with, no I’m not from the West coast (sorry I’ve never been to California, unfortunately), so I can’t speak for the authenticity of the tacos. But I can speak to their deliciousness. They were both very good but I preferred the pastor: tangy, spicy, and just really savory. For some reason the pastor came with sour cream when the barbacoa did not. The barbacoa was good but I liked the pastor more. I also wasn’t sure why each taco came with two tortillas, perhaps it was to eat any meat that had fallen out of the first one? Because that’s what I did and it worked fine.

Some other notes: if you buy 4 tacos you do not get 2 free. You just get one, which is a fair considering how cheap they are to begin with. I had 3 of my 4 tacos and could have easily eaten one or two more, so don’t expect to be full on a taco. Also, they’re not accepting credit cards now but hope to by the end of the week. The line was a bit long and slow around 7 on a Monday, but given that they just opened I expected it.

Have you guys been? What do you think?

Dickson Wine open

Even though the couple of times I’ve walked by the place after work (around 5 or 6 pm) Dickson Wine at 9th and U has very much not been open (I guess they have a later opening time), I have word from Renew Shaw and Metrocurean that the bar is open. Looking forward to checking it out, promise I’ll get there earlier than the other places that have recently opened in the ‘hood. If you’ve been, what do you think? Renew Shaw and Metrocurean have nothing but positive things to say.

Urban Daddy is reporting that Patty Boom Boom will be officially open today (January 7th). They also have more information about the concept, which reinforces my comment “doesn’t this look like a takeout joint?” because it turns out, it kind of is. Excited for it to open, it seems super chill.

Bistro La Bonne

Well, I totally missed this. I walk this block at least once a day and I had no clue that Axis had closed, and Bistro La Bonne (and no, it’s not just you – the website has been taking forever to load) has opened in its place on the 1300 block of U street (thanks to Prince of Petworth via FrenchTwistDC for the tip). Bistro La Bonne serves classic French fare from Chef Daniel La Bonne Labonne, with staples like coq au vin, escargot, beouf bourguignon, etc. It seems like La Bonne used to have a Soupe Cafe in Sacramento, CA which got good reviews on Yelp.

I will make a point of stopping by soon, and will definitely write it up. Has anyone checked it out? Have any opinions?

UPDATE: After some internet sleuthing I have realized the chef’s name is spelled Labonne, one word, giving me more information about him. He used to cook at Tabaq Bistro, and Wazuri.

Since it’s the end of the year, I figured I’d do a best and worst list of 2009 on U street. I’ve seen a lot of other lists and thought it would be fun to do my own. Please sound off on your own best and worsts in the comments.

Best new restaurant: Tie – Masa 14/Eatonville. Masa 14 is hip, serves good fusion cuisine, very promising. Eatonville is soul food, funky, and down home. Both are great additions to U street. Runner up: Ben’s Next Door.

Best new bar: I was going to say the Gibson, hands down, until I realized it really opened in December of 08. Then I realized I didn’t have a favorite other new bar that had opened in the area in 09 so I will cheat and say – the Gibson. Love their cocktails, the intimate feel, and that they’ve expanded their space significantly since they opened. Runner up: Churchkey.

Best meal on U street: This was a tough one. But I have to go with a casual dinner at Bar Pilar, during the week or early on the weekend. Order nearly any of the small plates, and while the menu changes frequently, you’re bound to be happy. Add in the casual cool atmosphere – and you have my best meal on U street. Runners up: Etete, Coppi’s, Creme.

Best new business on U street: Mid City Caffe – the coffee is great, the service is friendly, the decor is welcoming, the details are thoughtful. Simple syrup for your iced coffee, free water if you’re sitting down, free WiFi, free music every week. Runners up: Treasury, Cork/Cork Market.

Best story of the year: Obama visits Ben’s Chili Bowl – the soon-to-be-president makes a stop at a DC institution, enamoring himself to the locals. Runner up: Solly’s opens the day after a cab runs into it, has a great sense of humor.

Biggest disappointment: Sorry, but the dishonor goes to 1905. Filled with potential but unable to deliver – a beautiful space with mediocre to bad food, and bad service.

Worst story of the year: Nori Amaya is murdered – the community is shocked when co-owner of Coppi’s is found murdered, as far as I know no leads in the case. Runner up: The rampant violence on the 1300/1400 block of Columbia Road.

Sad to see them go: Inspired Yoga. This might be a sentimental pick but Inspired had become a big part of my life on U street, strengthened my sense of community. I really miss it and wonder if I’ll find a studio that I like as much. Runner up: Mocha Hut.

And finally, some interesting stats on the year at U Street Girl:

Cork Market

It’s open!

I stopped by Cork Market after work today, leaving pretty impressed. They have wine of course: organized along the wall from white to red going from Austria to Spain (alphabetically I assume?) with New World in the middle of the store. There are also prepared foods, cheeses, meats, bread, crackers, Cork pastas, other assorted gourmet foods (truffle butter anyone?), gelato, Copper Pot sauces (your friend Stefano from 14th and U’s market), and many more. ReadySetDC has photos of the inside.

There were definitely different price points offered: more moderate-priced wines ($10 to $20) along with more pricey (the most expensive I saw was $95). Now there are definitely more wines at the higher price points, but I was glad to see the more affordable stuff. Same with the food, some of the food was on the pricier side, yet I left with a large container of egg salad with goat cheese, bacon, and chives for $4.50 and a decent amount of chorizo for $7. What I had was good, the egg salad was very good, and after having two pretty large servings of it, I have half left.

Cork Market seems to be starting an interesting practice that some will probably find annoying: they take your name and phone number when they ring you up. The reason, they say, is so they can keep track of what you buy: say you can’t remember that amazing merlot you had – they have a record of it. Seems smart, but I can see how many people would dislike it.

First impressions were good: high quality, nice variety of goods, decent selection of wine.

Readers: if you’ve been in, what did you think?

Sandwich from Taylor II

9th Street Italian from Taylor II

Pretty much every blogger in DC has posted about the new Taylor’s Gourmet in Mt. Vernon Square. Having never made it out to the H Street one (though I have a good friend who lives near by) after the Long View Gallery grand opening, I knew where I was headed. Taylor’s II. I had the 9th Street Italian and my companion had the Benjamin Franklin Parkway (chicken cutlet, marinara, provolone).

Yeah, this place lives up to the hype. The sandwiches were really good, the bread was fabulous. I was kind of surprised how spicy the Benjamin Franklin Parkway’s marinara sauce was, at least in the bites I had (and you’re talking to a girl with a HIGH tolerance for spice). However, it was good, real good. I just wish they were still a little closer to home, but they still do deliver for $2 extra in the U street area, so there’s that.