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Found 111 results

  1. Maybe they will be better at coffee than pizza. I have a lot of respect for Nora and St. Elmo's as an institution, but the coffee leaves a lot to be desired, so they will benefit from a low bar.
  2. My vote goes to Baked & Wired on Thomas Jefferson Street - although you ought to call ahead if you want to be certain they have them in on any given day. You can also custom order them.
  3. While out looking at open houses, I noticed what appeared to be an adorable, but closed, cafe on the corner of 12th and S. I discovered that's because they open for the first time Monday (17 December) morning at 7am. The Coffee Bar will be serving beans from Ceremony Coffee Roasters, LA's Handsome Roasters, and Batdorf & Bronson of Seattle. They'll be serving pour-overs from Hario V60 brewers, and pulling espresso from a La Marzocco GB5. The cafe looked really welcoming; pity the house I went to see already had a contract on it. http://www.thecoffeebardc.com/
  4. Yet another lovely independent business in Brooklyn. Gorilla Coffee is a corner coffee shop and roaster in Park Slope. The handful of red topped tables evoke 1950s/60s era diner. An old guy wearing a fedora behind the bar is taking orders, a young hipstery Asian woman is making coffee. Cafe au lait and an almond pastry to go please. oh, yeah, the Gorilla art is great too.
  5. Better late than never. M.E. Swings is a true DC area coffee pioneer, having been founded here in 1916. Long roasting downtown and a major presence through the roaring 20s and WWII, the company has a wonderfully rich history and commitment to our region. In 2006, the last generation of the founding family relinquished control and sold to a non-family buyer. Today, the company roasts in Alexandria and operates a single retail shop just east of the World Bank across from the Old Executive Office Building. I tend to think of Swings with respect for its history but, sadly, not with a lot of enthusiasm for its product. Very important to fess up that I have not visited the downtown shop but will very soon. So why a dour view of the product? I've had Swings coffee many times in restaurants and, at least a few times, in homes where they'd bought the beans. Based on those experiences, I can say that the flavors weren't vibrant, rich or especially complex and that I didn't so much enjoy them. This was a consistent view. While true that home and restaurant brewed coffee can suffer from all kinds of equipment and technique issues, I think I've had it enough in situations where I had good visibility to the brew method, bean freshness and equipment used with still the same impression. We know a few more things about Swings that support a view that the company has fallen behind a booming coffee scene increasingly dominated by great independent shops focused on new approaches, freshness and the highest quality single origin beans. First, Swings simply doesn't have the focus that the great independents here do. They have a healthy wholesale business not just with restaurants but also with grocery stores ranging from Safeway to Whole Foods. Large batch commercial roasting though they do use Probats in Alexandria which tend to be fine roasting machines. Second, their known practices aren't quite up to modern standards. They routinely sell beans that were roasted months (as many as 6) before; just not a timeline for great coffee as discussed on many other threads. They also tend to emphasize blends. Blends can be fine or even wonderful but an emphasis on those at the expense of single origin beans often illustrates a roaster not emphasizing freshness and the highest quality arabica beans. Finally, I know a couple of local restaurants (which shall remain unnamed) that have switched or are in the process of switching from Swings because they feel the coffee isn't helping them with their customers. It doesn't get a lot of raves or positive feedback. Again, true that restaurants muck up coffee all the time but the better coffee roasters work with their restaurant partners to ensure that doesn't happen. This is why you can get a very good or excellent cup at places like Eve, Society Fair, NRG's restaurants (Birch & Barley, Evening Star, Buzz), R24 or Woodberry Kitchen. As a coffee hound, I'd love to see one of the old line locals really up their game. This applies to three roasters primarily: Swings, Quartermaine and Mayorga. But I fear these companies long ago decided that quantity was the path to success versus the harder slog to ensure great quality. I will visit the shop--they may be using fresher beans there than available elsewhere; I'm not sure. But based on what I have experienced so far and know, Swings isn't close to the same level of the fast growing number of super local retailers and roasters we've written about in many other threads.
  6. "Coffee Outsiders Have Their Eye on DC - Are They Going To Hurt the Local Shops?" by Tim Carman on washingtonpost.com Tim Carman's take on the coffeeshop turf. I understand that Taylor Gourmet sent the Chinatown Coffee crew a bunch of Philly sandwiches in response to this article!
  7. How do indy coffee houses get added to the map? Mug N' Muffin out in Stone Ridge (the next big community past South Riding) is a nice little place. They even make affogato and I am finally going to try it!
  8. This is an interesting situation for me as moderator, and if we had an existing thread for Boss Hog's (we don't), I'd probably mark that as closed and give Simply Fresh a clean slate. Chef Rana (Rana is her first name) took over Boss Hogs in June, 2015, and changed it to Simply Fresh - both the interior and the patio look *nothing* like I remember Boss Hogs looking like, so unless I'm not remembering correctly, she really gave it a redo. I was driving in McLean, and was planning on going somewhere else, but I saw the sign for Simply Fresh, and it looked brand new to me, almost like some sort of grand opening, so I parked on Elm Street and marched on in, shocked at how nice looking the restaurant is now. It's still a cafe, but it's very clean, and looks like it just opened last week (the cashier told me it's been open since the summer, which surprises me). The cashier is a young gentleman, and Rana is his mom (I'm assuming from the language on their website (they have a second website, apparently for online ordering) that she's the owner as well as the chef). Since he's attached to the restaurant, and since there's such a diversity of items on the menu, I trusted him, and flat-out asked him what he liked. "I really like the lamb," he said, and so the lamb it was. This is where it gets even more interesting for me, because last night I went to Hula Girl in Shirlington, and had what amounted to a blue-plate special with their steak teriyaki. As it turns out, the Roasted Lamb with Potatoes ($12.99) made these two restaurants, in my mind, somewhat alike - the lamb, too, was a blue-plate special. The dish was like something my mom would have made (if she was Greek) - a few slices of fully cooked leg of lamb, high on the flavor meter, accompanied by large, bite-sized chunks of roasted potatoes, and a side salad - both dishes (this one, and the one from last night) were meat-starch-salad, were about the same size, and were about the same price; the only thing different - vastly different - is the atmosphere of the two restaurants: Hula Girl is a bright, loud bar; Simply Fresh is a quiet, workaday cafe. I had just gotten some always-needed cardio, and was starving - I knew halfway through the dish that I was not going to be terribly full, despite it being a perfectly reasonably sized portion of food. Knowing that the Orange Bowl was starting at 4PM, and that I'd be plastered in front of the screen (I'm watching and typing at the same time), I wisely got a second dish to go for later in the day, which was a "special" listed on the chalkboard out in front of the restaurant - however, the exact same dish is on their regular menu, so it was more marketing than anything else. I figured the Roasted Chicken with Potatoes ($9.50) would be the same plate of food as the lamb, and other than substituting chicken for lamb, it was. An uncut, half-chicken was well-roasted - rubbed, moist, and super tasty - whether or not you get the chicken or lamb depends solely if you're in the mood for chicken or lamb - I can recommend them both as good, hearty plates of food - nothing you'll remember in a month, but solid. Just having finished the chicken dish a few minutes ago (I didn't even need to heat it up), I realize that this was my final meal, and final write-up, of 2015, and I can't think of anything I'd rather do to celebrate the New Year, than to support a local, family-owned, mom-n-pop (or, in this case, mom-n-son) restaurant - Hula Girl, too, despite it's pomp and circumstance, is pretty much of a mom-n-pop; just in a completely different style (and most likely with some investors). Simply Fresh (the sign says, "Simply Fresh - barbecue & more") has BBQ, and a couple girls walked in and picked up a $100+ order, undoubtedly to celebrate New Year's Eve. Simply Fresh is big on breakfast, and across from the counter on the right, where you order your meal, it also has a counter on the left, with a pastry display case and an Illy coffee setup - this is probably where the cashier is in the mornings (have a look at this breakfast menu, and file it away in your head for future reference). They're open 7 days a week at 7AM each morning, except for Sundays, when they open at 8AM - I would not hesitate to try the breakfasts here. It's a pleasant, albeit somewhat stark, place to eat, and you won't regret coming here, although it wouldn't surprise me if there was a clunker or two on the menu (when one person does all the cooking, it's hard to do *everything* well). Over the next hour or so, I'll be either cursing at the TV or jumping with joy (Clemson is down 17-16 at halftime to a resilient Oklahoma Sooner team), and then, when it's over, I'll forget about it (unless Clemson wins), and I'll be spending this evening doing exactly what I want to be doing, given that I can't be with the people I want to be with: staying home, not having a drop to drink, relentlessly practicing a Beethoven sonata, maybe watching a rerun or two, and being thankful for this wonderful community. Happy New Year, everyone! I hope that 2016 brings you everything you wish for, and please remember always how grateful I am to have you in my life.
  9. Posting a new topic for those who need some sort of food option while stuck in the no man's land area of dining near the Union Station-New York Avenue Metro station corridor. Came across this site while browsing discount coupon pages. Mods - please feel free to move this elsewhere. I have never been here, so cannot attest to it, but the falafel option looked good on their menu. Apparently they do office catering too. Right across from the NY Avenue Metro. Serving Kickapoo Coffee. Pound Coffee (FB page) 1300 2nd Street NE Washington, DC, 20002 Phone:202-408-5282
  10. I've recently gone from "zero," to having the most fully stocked coffee-making supply kitchen anyone would ever want, including: * subscriptions to coffee beans, coming 4 bags a month through the mail * a Japanese Hario kettle, perfectly designed for hand-pours * a Hario plastic cone, designed specifically for hand-pour dripping * 100 paper filters that go in the plastic cone * 2 nylon filters that go in the plastic cone (which you can wash, rather than dispose of) * a bean scoop that scoops out a standard amount of unground beans * a double-meshed French Press Cafetière, lined, insulated with 18/10 stainless steel * a thermal plastic carafe that will keep a liter of coffee hot or cold all day * a Virtuoso grinder, which will quite possibly last me 20 years - it weighs about 20 pounds (buy it from Qualia) * two "his and her" hi-tech Japanese insulated stainless steel mugs (in midnight blue and pink-lavender) So right now, I have everything I need to make hand-pours or French-pressses. I got the kettle, the Cafetière, and the mugs from Amazon Prime I got everything else from Qualia Coffee in Petworth through their mail-order program I especially recommend the bi-monthly beans program from Qualia Coffee - they send them out the day they're roasted. In just a few weeks (delivery time), I went from having nothing, to having - short of an espresso machine - the very best of everything, and Joel Finklestein handled it all for me. The quality of my coffee in the morning now is absurd, and I've only been making it for several days. Over the course of less than one year, all my equipment will have paid for itself, all the while drinking world-class coffee. And the beans will still be rolling in, educating me about coffee each time they do. For less than the price of going to Starbucks in the mornings, I'm getting the best coffee education someone could get. And I'm supporting one of the greatest family-owned, mom-n-pop businesses in all of Washington, DC. Write Joel, and ask hi to set you up with this. If I'm his only bean customer, his program will fail, and I'm *much* too selfish to let that happen! Joel, is there any way we can make this package available, maybe call it the "Don Rockwell Idiot Kit?" for people like me, who have nothing, want the best, and have a few hundred dollars to spend? PM RoastMonkey and he'll take care of you.
  11. Buzz officially opened its doors this morning at 6 AM. The cupcakes, chocolate bombs and pies look amazing in their shiney new cases, and the morning pastries were hard to resist! I'm looking forward to several morning stops in on my way to work (even if it's not on my way). The shop is open every night until midnight. If you don't want to make dessert for Thursday, stop by and pick something up (or call & place an order!). The website is www.buzzonslaters.com.
  12. Bourbon Coffee has decent beans. However, my friend ordered a Horchata and was immensely disappointed. But I would go there before illy, which I understand uses vacuum-packed beans.
  13. I didn't notice this before, but next to Hot N Juicy Crawfish in Falls Church is an ice cream and coffee shop called Lil City Creamery, and if you look at their webpage, they're almost daring you to try their ice cream. "New Ice Cream Shop, 'Lil City Creamery,' Opens" by Jody Fellows on fcnp.com
  14. On a hole-y unrelated note, Pernod-Ricard - a French conglomerate no less - just sold Dunkin Donuts for an eye-popping $2.43 billion.
  15. Saw an ad for this in the City Paper today and don't know quite what to make of it: Black Fox Lounge. PX for the bling palace crowd? Faux classy hotel bar (sans hotel)? Some of the copy is cringe-inducing: I actually appreciate the concept and think that it's a good idea in the abstract (upscale classic cocktail lounge), but the see-and-be-seen vibe I'm getting makes me want to avert my eyes. I can't picture exactly where this is going either (right next to City Lights?), but I haven't walked that block in awhile.
  16. Stopped by WTF for lunch and was very impressed. We had the grilled corned beef sandwich with coleslaw and the duck confit reuben with purple slaw. Both were large, somewhat messy (in a good way) sandwiches with good quality meats. The kale and fontina empanada (they call it something odd like hand roll) on display by the register looked good and I'm so glad we shared one as an app. It was excellent! tasty flaky but solid crust and fresh ingredients. The array of desserts was really tempting but my better half helped me resist. I highly recommend this place.
  17. Gilt City DC has a special deal for Bean Box that seems like a great opportunity to try different roasters (even if they are Seattle-centric ones), delivered right to your front door. For this particular deal, each box contains 4 unique coffee roasts, makes about 16 cups, and includes tasting notes. New customers can use WELCOME20 to get 20% off, if you want to try it out through Gilt City. The prices include shipping. I just emailed Bean Box asking if I could request certain roasts, and they responded right away, saying that I could switch to the other type of subscription service, if I wanted. So it's nice to see a rapid reply. I'll report back after I get my first box next month.
  18. The inventor of the Keurig, John Sylvan, says he feels guilty for having invented it. This is a bit amusing. And another good reason to favor better coffee whether inexpensively at home or out in better independent coffee houses.
  19. I am looking for a venue where a small group can hang out for an hour over a cup of something, for a business meeting, in the late afternoon. I know about Frederick Coffee Co, which has been full every time I've been. Any other ideas?
  20. Just wanted to thank Don for organizing the large number of threads we've now amassed relative to the growing local coffee market. Very cool to have these all in one place and hopefully more useful in finding and learning about new shops or which meet different needs. As for Don, pretty amazing the amount of stuff he gets done and how quickly at times. Normally, I'd guess he's caffeine fueled since we all know the guy doesn't sleep. But, as more of a wine than coffee guy, just another of the Rockwell mysteries. Coffee and Washington, DC....a market and city both on the move. Thanks again to Don, Porcupine (my fellow coffee Sherpa) and everyone for reading and contributing.
  21. And the neighborhood joints keep coming! Brookland's Finest in WaPo Main menu Brookland's Finest FINALLY opened this past week at 12th and Jackson. From the guys who run The Pug and Solly's. We went for drinks at the soft opening last Sunday, drinks on Saturday night, and finally back for food yesterday for dinner. The space is pretty nice inside. Not huge, but maybe 6-7 4-tops and a row of 10ish 2-tops along a side bench. The bar is decent-sized, and there's a roll top to the outside with 6 additional bar seats. Once the patio is populated it'll seat about 20 I think. They're also very family-friendly - plenty of high chairs and booster seats, stroller parking outside, coloring books and crayons, etc. Great news for us since we live 3 blocks away and have a one-year old! The menu looks pretty good, but we were hoping it would be slightly cheaper (kids' meals for $6-8 seems like a lot...and all the sandwiches are $12+). Also no HH We started with the Crispy Brussels Sprouts Chips (sea salt, lemon, dill cream sauce - $4), which were addicting. A pretty good sized bowl of leaves that we think had been flash fried. Our daughter loved the dipping sauce. This would be an easy thing to order on every visit. Then we split the Colonel Burger (certified Angus beef, pickled onions, tillamook cheddar, apple wood smoked bacon, brioche bun, tempora onion rings - $14) and Baltimore Style Pit Beef Sandwich (certified Angus beef, tiger sauce, pickled ramps, brioche bun, hand cut fries - $14). Despite being overcooked beyond the requested medium, the burger was pretty tasty. The brioche left a lot of butter/grease on our hands, but was a good compliment to the burger in both flavor and not being overwhelmingly bready (it's nice to let the burger and toppings shine over a dense and dry bun). There were two GIANT onion rings served alongside that were kind of meh. I'd prefer smaller and crispier onion rings instead. The pit beef sandwich was good as well, but not outstanding. Probably should've gone with a non-beef for one of the sandwiches, but the manager talked us into this one. The fries, however, were excellent. Piping hot and crisp and obviously fresh cut. Overall I probably wouldn't travel out of my way or across the city to hit it up, but I'm certainly happy to have it a 5 min walk from my house.
  22. Shagga is located near the intersection of Routes 1 and 410, just a few minutes south of College Park. As a disclaimer, this is my only experience with Ethiopian food to date, but it's set the bar high for sure. I've only ever tried one dish here, and the Vegetarian Combination is so good that I almost can't imagine getting anything else. Nine different items laid out on injera, each perfectly cooked and seasoned, for the price of a single entree (you can double it for two, although one order may be enough to share if you're not starving). Some cold items, like a house salad, beets, and lentils. Some cooked or stewed items, such as split peas, collard greens, potatoes, cabbage and carrots, string beans and carrots, and chickpeas. A fine balance of sweet, sour, savory, and spicy across the board. Also visually striking with the multitude of colors. It's served with injera on the side, which is helpful because the bread on the bottom tends to get too soggy to be enjoyable, despite soaking up so many flavors.
  23. You read all these horror stories about Starbucks moving in, and forcing independent businesses to shutter, but you rarely hear it from the businesses themselves. I'd be very curious to hear about this type of thing from someone who has actually endured it. Same goes with Panera Bread, etc. It *does* seem like in expensive rent districts, these are the types of places you wind up with - why, exactly, is this? Are they actually making money, or are they loss leaders used for advertising? To Joel about Peet's (who is elbowing their way into town) - you're right, the coffee here is nothing special. It's "less bad" than Starbucks, I'll give it that, but that's about all I'll say.
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