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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

NYT: Chefs Settle Down in the Real DC

The Times also has a piece on restaurants in DC, and it mentions H Street.

35 comments:

Chris Metzler said...

It says "H Street Country Club" = February, too.

Jesse said...

One comment. I'm all for great restaurants, but let's not try to get H street full of these "super-chef" style places. I don't think H st nor some of the people that live/work on/around H st want too many restaurants that "are too good for them". Give me a place or two that I can go eat at everyday without breaking the bank. I dream of places like "Pete's" or "Jimmy-T's" for breakfast within walking distance. Or "Polly's" from U st or "Ben's Chili Bowl".

I would also love to see places similar to "Coppi's or "1905" off of U st, but who can afford to go to those everyday (even though they are delicious).

I'm still waiting for my cheap coffee place between 10th and 11th on H. :)

J

Anonymous said...

Jesse, I couldn't disagree with you more.

ibc said...

I'm still waiting for my cheap coffee place between 10th and 11th on H.

Bah! What, you can't make the schlep to the 7-11 on 8th and Maryland? They've got cheap coffee.

I'm waiting for a coffee shop that charges no more than $1 for a cup of coffee to open between 9th and 10th.

Begin holding breath....now.

mas said...

And Sova is between 13th and 14th on H. Is that really that much further than 11th?

H Streeter said...

I love how H Street is described as a "tougher neighborhood" and in "dicier parts of North Capitol Hill" when Columbia Heights and Petworth are the ones with all the home invasions, gang shootings, and muggings recently. Our area just looks worse with more abandoned buildings and sketchy businesses.

Still, it is a very positive article and it is always great when the cool things going on over here get noticed.

Jesse said...

I like Sova, but I feel like the coffee is too good for me. All I want is a regular large coffee and a mini-baguete and pay $3.00....

And it has to be between 10th and 11th on H. :)

The 7-11 is an uphill walk from us...no dice.

JJ said...

Really should have re-thought moving to capital HILL then...

Can we get a few shoutouts for:

Jesse = laziest person on Cap Hill?

Liz said...

Actually, a coffee place between 10th and 11th would be perfect in that when I work from home, I could run there and back home without announcing that I was slacking off. Now, if I run to Sidamo (more of a Sidamo girl than Sova), I'm definitely running the risk of being away from the computer long enough to be caught. Also, if Sticky Rice would just guess what I want for lunch and make it magically appear at my front door, that would rock.

Anonymous said...

Inked- Whatever happened to Little Miss Whiskey's Golden Dollar? Did they not get a bank loan?

Rob said...

Two random comments come to mind. One is to put in a plug for the super chefs at Napa 1015, and the other is to ask where we'd be if Joe Englert hadn't decided to open his places on H?

marybindc said...

Wow - we get a mention in the NYT by Gillian Clark, and she says “I don’t care what you call it, it’s still the ’hood.”

Gee, thanks Gillian. Can't wait to not try your new restaurant.

Anonymous said...

???? I don't understand your comment Mary. What do you think that she's saying that offends you? We would be so lucky as to have a place like Colorado Kitchen on H.

Katy said...

omg, Rob, I know-- I can't say enough good things about the food at Napa. Seriously. Amazing.

ibc said...

Now, if I run to Sidamo (more of a Sidamo girl than Sova)

yeah, me too. it's a bit further, but the coffee's much, much better. Roasted by the owner in small batches on premises--only a day or two previous. SOVA's beans are nice, but you just can't make the comparison.

Jesse said...

I moved to Cap "Valley"... that cool hip area between the hills of the Capitol and Trinidad. :)


No denying the laziness JJ. Plus, uphill, in the "Hood"...no way.

jamie said...

When we moved here, less than 18 months ago, there was nothing in the way of sit-down restaurants. The Ohio and Rib Tip had recently closed. Since then, we've been treated to the always phenomenal offerings at Granville Moore's, the Jamaican delights of Naby's Island, the southern fare of XII, Asian goodness at Sticky Rice, and the fine dining of Napa. Add that in with the quasi-sit down Tropicana, the opening of Sova, the mainstay of Sidamo, the ever-popular bar scene, and the coming of the H Street Country Club, and it is really remarkable what has happened in this neighborhood in the past couple years.

Anonymous said...

Marvin Gaye did not grow up the projects of S.E.

Anonymous said...

ibc,

" but the coffee's much, much better "
" SOVA's beans are nice, but you just can't make the comparison "

You're kidding me right ? Intelligentsia is considered to be one of the top coffee roasters in the whole U.S. I'm from Chicago, so I know I'm biased, but give me a freakin' break.

I can't imagine anyone taking you seriously.

Now don't get me wrong, I like Sidamo also. In fact I live closer to Sidamo, and I really like Kenfe and Mimi, but let's not get rediculous here. So you're saying Sidamo roast some of the best beans in the U.S. ?

Yeahhh, right... that's just laughable

Mary Louise, from 5th St., NE

ibc said...

Now don't get me wrong, I like Sidamo also. In fact I live closer to Sidamo, and I really like Kenfe and Mimi, but let's not get rediculous here. So you're saying Sidamo roast some of the best beans in the U.S. ?

Setting aside the snark for a moment, the roasting process isn't alchemy. Far, far more important is how recently those beans were roasted.

The idea that Intelligensia beans are "considered to be one of the top coffee roasters in the whole U.S" is nice, but kind of like saying the Melrose Diner "makes the best scrambled eggs in the whole U.S."

That's all well and good if you happen to be hungry for breakfast, and standing on the corner of Melrose and Broadway, but if you're planning on having them FedEx them to you in a foil pouch, the equation changes a bit.

I'm from Chicago, so I know I'm biased...

Oh, and yeah, I lived a block and a half away from Intelligentsia when they opened their Broadway shop in 1995. Their beans are quite nice when you get them fresh. Having said that, I'd put Sidamo's beans (roasted the previous day) up against Intelligentsia's bagged stuff any day.

Fresh is better--no where more so than when it comes to coffee.

Anonymous said...

oooooooh, a Chicago stand off.
My vote is with Sidamo, even though Sova is a lot closer to me.

By the way, Napa 1015 makes a decent cup of coffee.

Kenny G said...

I've gotta weigh in on the Sidamo brew.

The first few times I walked out of Sidamo, I left scratching my head thinking to myself, "Did I really just drink the best cup of coffee I've ever had?". Because it certainly felt like this. But was it better than anything I had had in my java-fueled years in Seattle, Istanbul and around Europe? I was skeptical at first. I no longer am. Kenfe is the coffee king.

That being said, Sova (and its Intelligensia coffee) also rocks. I really like Frank and am glad to have him in the neighborhood. It's just that my feet keep pulling me the extra 10 blocks to Kenfe's roast.

Scenic Artisan said...

i love "the real dc" idea, as if people are so lost they yearn for an authentic feeling.

Anonymous said...

ibc,

" Their beans are quite nice when you get them fresh. Having said that, I'd put Sidamo's beans (roasted the previous day) up against Intelligentsia's bagged stuff any day "

You clearly don't understand coffee roasting, so you may wanna pipe down. Getting coffee "fresh" off the roast, is like eating gumbo as soon as it's made. I've been roasting coffee for about 12 years, and any experienced roaster will let the coffee sit for 24 -48 hours after the roasting process before serving. This 24 - 48 hour period allows the CO2 to de-gas from the coffee and the flavors to fully develop. Coffee is at its flavor peak between 24 and 48 hours after roasting.

Since i've ordered coffee from many different premium roasters over the years, my understanding is that they roast and ship same day. Now I don't know how long it takes coffee to ship from Chicago, but my guess is not more than two days to DC.

My vote is for Sova

I'm just sayin'

Anonymous said...

Or... just do like i do - get a coffee at Sidamo on Saturday, and the espresso at Sova on Sunday. Both are significantly better than most other offerings in capitol hill anyway, we can count ourselves lucky.


-8th & D NE.

oh, and though i could walk to jacob's in my bathrobe i can attest proximity does not a good cofee make.

ibc said...

Sheesh, you question some folks' blind brand-loyalty at your own peril...

You clearly don't understand coffee roasting, so you may wanna pipe down. Getting coffee "fresh" off the roast, is like eating gumbo as soon as it's made...Coffee is at its flavor peak between 24 and 48 hours after roasting.

Thanks for dropping the knowledge bomb, Professor. And thanks for making my point for me: "Coffee is at its flavor peak between 24 and 48 hours after roasting." Better to get it local. That way 1) I know it was roasted 24 hours ago; 2) it was roasted in small batches; 3) with the total attention and skill of one person who's reputation is on the line.

If I get it from a large national chain, I 1) have no idea when it was roasted; 2) do know that it comes from a large, national operation that has to roast and ship hundreds of pounds of coffee a day; and 3) know that it was probably roasted by some anonymous hungover bassist who's just trying to get through the day.

Since i've ordered coffee from many different premium roasters over the years, my understanding is that they roast and ship same day.

At least that's what they tell you. Good luck verifying that. When I buy coffee roasted locally, I *know* when it was roasted. And if I'm buying it by the half-pound, I want it to have been roasted as recently as possible. Not because I'm going to grind and brew it directly from the roaster, but because I'm not going to finish all of it in a day or two.

YMMV, of course. I don't know, perhaps you have your coffee shipped from your "premium roasters" via UPS Second Day in individual portions, just large enough for a single brew. The logistics must get tiresome.

My vote is for Sova...I'm just sayin'

Different strokes for different folks. I'm glad you've been "roasting for over 12 years" but as evinced by the comments on the thread, there's some disagreement from other commenters who've been *drinking* coffee for more than 12 years.

Having said that, I'm going to go make some coffee...

soul searcher said...

how does everyone feel about that random "there were 22 murders in the area in 2008" comment the NYT put in their article. how do they define "in the area"? clearly they are including the trinidad murders, because there is no way on god's green earth that 22 people were killed *on* h street in 2008, or even within 3 blocks on either side of the street, which normal people would consider "in the area". by this measure the NYT is using, murders in columbia heights are "in the area" of u street, thereby making it the hood as well? huh?

trinidad is an adjacent neighborhood. i've never met *anyone* who considered h street a part of trinidad. can any long-time washingtonians speak on this?

ps: what does "YMMV" mean?

ibc said...

"YMMV" -> "Your Mileage May Vary"

1337 H4x0r, FTW!

(I remember a time, once, when I read books...sniff..)

Rob said...

Seconding the Napa has good coffee comment. It's dee-lish.
From the perspective of someone who doesn't know to wait to let the CO2 float away, we have three distinct, independent places with great coffee and great service in a 10-block stretch. We win! What is all the bickering about?

Anonymous said...

ibc,

You're an idiot. Your argument is not even valid based on the facts, and the fact that you try to come across as a wordsmith of some sort is ahhhh.... how do you say... preposterous

8th and El said...

This is the funniest argument I've seen on FT. Please. Continue.

Jesse said...

This is like watching two ivy league grads slapping each other acoss the face with cashmere mittens while trying not to ruffle their argyle sweaters....

I've starting getting my coffee at the 1101 Convenience Store on my way to work...big cup of coffee for less than a dollar. Gold mine.

MJ said...

Sidamo's plain-old coffee-flavored coffee is better than Sova's, but they make a terrible latte. I prefer Sova for the fancified latte type drinks, Sidamo for straight coffee.

ibc said...

This is the funniest argument I've seen on FT. Please. Continue.

There are no Switzerlands in this all-consuming war of attrition. Get off the fence. You are with us, or against us.

8th and El said...

ibc,

Oh no, I'll have no part in this. I patronize both places almost equally. I suppose my coffee palette is not as large as you folks, because I don't really taste the difference. Good coffee is good coffee, IMO.