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November 22, 2016

coffeeneuring #9
posted by soe 1:46 am

Coffeeneuring #9: Sugar Shack Donuts (804 N. Henry St., Alexandria, VA)

Storm Clouds Moving into the District

Saturday, Nov. 19; 12.1 miles
Apple cake doughnut and caramel apple cider

I’d planned to get up and moving earlier than I did on Saturday, which meant that when I did finally walk out the door, dressed for the early afternoon’s sun and temperatures, that I was in for a surprise within minutes. We live below ground, which means that our view of the sky is rather a small one and can give false impressions, as it did then. Only half the sky was still blue when I emerged on the street and by the time I pedaled down to the river and across the Potomac, barely a sliver remained free of clouds. The wind picked up, which did not make the ride an enjoyable one. The gusts were particularly bad near the airport, where a lack of ground cover gave the wind a running start. By the time I reached the edge of Old Town, I was glad to encounter a bus shelter where I could seek refuge while checking my directions and putting on the measly warm layers I’d brought with me.

I stopped in at Fibre Space (nothing on their side of the street to lock the bike to) for a while to see if they had something in stock, but they were out, so I continued on to my destination: Sugar Shack Donuts (bike racks right out front). I’d bought a Groupon for a half dozen doughnuts earlier in the season, imagining Rudi and I would have more opportunities to ride together, but his unavailability wasn’t going to stop me from visiting. The selection was diminished, but there were enough to put together a box to bring home with me. I added their drink of the day, a hot caramel apple cider, and parked myself at a table in the back of the shop. This marked my only Coffeeneur stop that necessitated sitting indoors, but the waning daylight and impending rain and plummeting temperatures did not make me think that I needed to make myself miserable in order to be consistent.

Sugar Shack Donuts

Knowing that rain was possible, I’d packed a slender personal collection of comics, Young Avengers, Vol. 1: Style > Substance, rather than a library book that might be ruined by the weather, and my Christmas mitts. I read my book and started working on a thumb and ate my very tasty apple doughnut and nursed my cider. I texted Rudi to say I’d decided to catch Metro back to the District, rather than ride back in dim, damp, blustery conditions. This wise decision was reinforced when I emerged from the shop to discover that the rain had indeed begun and that my main headlight was dead. I got off at GW and pedaled home from there, being extra-cautious since I was down to my tadpole light in front.

I’d planned to go out one more time, on Sunday, but it was such a miserably windy day that I made the executive decision to make Saturday’s my final Coffeeneuring stop of the season.

So, with that, over my nine rides over seven weeks, I covered 63.2 miles, just shy of my personal Coffeeneuring best from two years ago.

My theme was reading and knitting. I’d hoped it’d be finished objects, but not a single knit item was completed, although I did get closer on the eight projects I worked on. Of the nine books I was reading at my stops, I had better luck, finishing six of them so far. (Not Your Sidekick, Magic in Manhattan, and The Girl Who Drank the Moon are all still in progress.)

Thanks, once again, to MG for hosting such a fun event!

The rest of this year’s rides: 1-4, 5, and 6-8.

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November 15, 2016

coffeeneuring #6, 7, and 8
posted by soe 1:37 am

Coffeeneuring #6: Grace Street Coffee and Dog Tag Bakery (3210 and 3206 Grace St., N.W., Georgetown)

Sunday, Nov. 6; 6 miles
Masala chai and roasted pear and ginger tart (split with Rudi)

Rudi under Taft Bridge

Rudi’s and my plan was to ride up to Beach Drive, enjoy the fall colors of Rock Creek Park, and then find someplace for a drink. It started out fine, but at the Taft Bridge, cyclists were coming up the hill to say that the gate was locked at the zoo, making that route impassable. I didn’t fancy going up and around, just to get back down again, so I decided we’d seen enough foliage and, after fooling around on the exercise equipment and snapping a few photos, that we should just skip to the hot drinks.

Mugging for the Camera

Rudi said a friend had recommended Grace Street Coffee, a new coffeehouse in Georgetown, so we decided to check them out. Located down the street from Dog Tag Bakery and Chaia Tacos, Grace Street shares its modern space with a juice bar and a gourmet sandwich shop. They also have a back garden with seating, which probably gets some nice sun in the early part of the day.

Grace Street Coffee

Grace Street Coffee

Grace Street Coffee

We took our drinks across the street to the park along the canal, and I ran into Dog Tag to get us a munchie. The ginger-pear tart was delicious and substantial enough I didn’t mind sharing with Rudi. My masala chai was, however, the spiciest drink I have ever had; I’m pretty sure there’s now hair on my chest. (Ew!) While this makes a nice change from the overly bland chais I often encounter in D.C., it would have been inedible without a snack and water to clear the palate.

Coffeeneuring along the Canal

Grace Street has hardly any space for bike parking, which is really its only drawback, and its sidewalks are very narrow. Rudi and I ended up finding an alcove and locking our bikes together. If you end up going, I’d suggest bringing a cable lock, rather than a U lock. (Or, even better, there’s a Bikeshare station at the end of the block…)

Viv and a Leafy Hat

The knitting is a hat I hadn’t picked up since fall, with a complicated pattern, a misplaced stitch marker, and no notes on a pattern stored on my phone. The book is the second part of the Vivian Apple series of apocalyptic, feminist YA fiction. (more…)

Category: dc life,sports. There is/are 2 Comments.

November 6, 2016

coffeeneuring #5
posted by soe 2:39 am

Coffeeneuring #5: Grassroots Gourmet (104 Rhode Island Ave., N.W., Bloomingdale)

Grassroots Gourmet

Saturday, Nov. 5; 5.2 miles
Hot chocolate and mini bourbon chocolate pecan pie

I eschewed the sunshine of Big Bear’s west-facing patio for the shady sidewalk of Grassroots Gourmet, a new-to-me bakery just up the street.

At this point, I don’t think I’d say Bloomingdale is a transition neighborhood anymore, but it’s definitely more of a economic mix than my corner of the city. And I think Grassroots Gourmet reflects that, selling their baked goods at local market price, but their drinks for significantly less than you’ll get them elsewhere.

To be honest, I wasn’t blown away by either my drink — my cocoa was perfectly adequate, but nothing to write home about — or my mini pie, where the crust seemed to overwhelm the three-bite snack. (I totally recognize that a thinner crust would probably have created a dessert that wasn’t sturdy enough to handle, so this was probably just my being overly picky.) However, both staff members I met were super friendly and clearly went out of their way to know their local neighbors, and that would be enough to bring me back earlier in the day when I could catch some sun from their sidewalk seating and try one of their other baked goods (they also sell cupcakes, muffins, normal-sized cookies, and bars and quick breads, as well as being a retailer for local bread) with a cup of tea. As it was, they let me hang out outside there with my knitting (my Christmas fingerless mitts) and my book (Not Your Sidekick, from my Ninja Swap package) even after they closed up, even specifically telling me that if anyone hassled me about it to let them know.

Coffeeneuring #5: Grassroots Gourmet

There are several bike racks out front that they share with the bar/restaurant next door, that I’d imagine would be very busy during brunch hours.

The ride was fine, except for two things on the way back from the cafe: first, the light at R and Florida did not trigger for my bike, causing me to have to wait an extra cycle until a car triggered it), and second, at one point a flatbed truck moved partially into my bike lane to get around a car, causing me to shift too close to a piece of heavy equipment covered in orange mesh netting in the curb lane. My handlebar snagged in the holes of the mesh and I came up very short, but stayed upright (the light was red and I was going slowly; if it had happened at speed, I would have gone down). I may have gesticulated and yelled vigorously at the truck driver about rights of way before pedaling the adrenaline off the rest of the way home.

Category: dc life,sports. There is/are 3 Comments.

October 27, 2016

coffeeneuring and yarning along
posted by soe 3:07 am

I thought I’d share some recent bike rides, part of the annual Coffeeneuring Challenge, along with the reading and knitting (none of which is complete to date) I was doing for each one as today’s Yarning Along post:

Coffeeneuring #1: Baked and Wired (1052 Thomas Jefferson St., N.W., Georgetown)

Coffeeneuring #1: Baked and Wired

Saturday, Oct. 15; 3 miles
Chaider and ginger pumpkin bread
Baked and Wired used to be a great under-the-radar place, with Georgetown Cupcake scooping up the crowds. Alas, that hasn’t been the case for more than a year, with long lines to be found outside most of the day. However, locals know you can usually sneak inside to the right of the door and order drinks and quick bread at the coffee counter, rather than waiting in line. This visit, though, was slow-moving even in the drinks line. I left my bike locked to a street sign (Georgetown is notoriously bad for bike parking) while inside, and then rode down to the Georgetown Waterfront Park to sit in the waning daylight.

Coffeeneuring #1: Reading and Knitting

That day, I had my Andrea’s Shawl with me. I’d meant to alter the shape of the shawl, but forgot to when I started the stripes. I’ve seen some reports that the weird shape blocks out, so I’m hopeful it’ll still turn out okay. I should really just finish that up this coming weekend. At the time, I was reading Fannie Flagg’s The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion. I enjoyed it, as I do all her books, but found it less uproarious than her novels usually are.

Super Moon

On the ride home, I enjoyed the rising Super Moon in all its massive glory. (It was not actually this dark, but I had to dim the ambient street light to get any contrast on the moon.)

Coffeeneuring #2: Teaism (2009 R St., N.W., Dupont Circle)

Coffeeneuring #2: Teaism

Sunday, Sunday, Oct. 16; 13 miles
Chai and a pecan-chocolate chip salty oat cookie

So, this wasn’t supposed to be where I went. I played volleyball at Malcolm X Park, biked home, then over to Capitol Hill, where I dropped off some cider with Sarah, before heading to the Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital. I was there to see a Katharine Hepburn-Spencer Tracy film I’d theretofore never seen, Keeper of the Flame. However, I was supposed to arrive with enough time to pick up a drink and beignets at the adjacent Bayou Bakery. Alas, I arrived a few minutes late, and they close at 4, so I watched the film and then planned to stop someplace on the Hill on my way back. But I was tired (that’s a long ride for me) and I just wanted to get home, so I biked back to Dupont and then stopped at Teaism, which is a block from my house. This is another spot where there’s inadequate bike parking, so I tethered to a sign and then watched as a van nearly backed into the bike (which was wholly, but just, on the sidewalk) while I was sitting outside.

Coffeeneuring #2: The Mall

Coffeeneuring #2

It’s a little dark, but you can see I was just starting the second sock of the vanilla pair currently in my purse. I’m still reading Kathering Zoepf’s Excellent Daughters: The Secret Lives of Young Women Who Are Transforming the Arab World, but only have a couple chapters to finish up, which is good, since it’s overdue to the library.

Coffeeneuring #3: The Coffee Bar (1201 S St., N.W., Shaw)

Coffeeneuring #3: The Coffee Bar

Saturday, Oct. 22; 2.6 miles
London Fog and Peach raspberry muffin

I spent the afternoon cleaning and really needed to spend an hour outside, so biked over to The Coffee Bar for their last hour of operation for the day. They have their own bike racks, which had empty sides to them, and empty tables at the patio, which made me happy.

I decided to finally get around to reading Magic in Manhattan, by Sarah Mlynowski, in time for Halloween. That’s the first two books, Bras and Broomsticks and Frogs and French Kisses, of that witchy YA series packaged together. I’m not loving it so far, but I’m hopeful it’ll pick up. I’ve started a pair of stripy pink and purple socks for me & love how the yarn coordinates with the book’s cover.

Coffeeneuring #4: Bourbon Coffee (621 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E., Capitol Hill)

Coffeeneuring #4: Bourbon on the Hill

Sunday, Oct. 23; 12 miles
Maple cocoa and a chocolate chip cookie

Another volleyball practice, followed by a trip to Capitol Hill once more, but this time in pursuit of a book for my Ninja Book Swap. Again, I just missed Bayou Bakery, but I knew I’d find something else in this neck of the woods. I wandered through Eastern Market and visited Labyrinth Games’ expansion and East City Bookshop, before settling down on Bourbon’s back patio.

Malcolm X Park

Constitution Garden

That’s the second of this year’s Sock Madness socks and Meg Cabot’s Size 12 and Ready to Rock, the fourth book in her adult mystery series. (I hadn’t realized it was the fourth book until I finished last night and kept being surprised as I was reading when they referenced previous murders.)

When the coffeehouse was ready to close, I biked back across town, watered the garden, and headed home for the night.

Category: books,dc life,knitting,sports. There is/are 4 Comments.

September 16, 2016

contagious, bullpen, and fresh
posted by soe 1:00 am

Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. I leave work with just enough time to get to the stop to catch the bus home only to find that the road has been blocked off and they’re not letting anyone through. While the bus was also going to be on the wrong side of this roadblock, usually this would be cause for grumbling about a delay in getting home. But there are people in from out of town who are really excited about the fact that the Presidential motorcade is about to pass by, and their enthusiasm is catching. You get used to it when you live here, and you tend to focus only on the inconvenience to your daily life, but it is actually kind of cool that the leader of the nation is driving right past you.

Fernando Salas Warms up for the Mets

2. Rudi’s bicycle club gets tickets to the baseball game and they invite me along. Since it’s a Mets game and I’m in between volleyball seasons, I say yes. I’m glad I do when I discover that the seats are in left field, about six rows above the visiting team’s dugout. I sit and chat with Rudi’s friends for a while, but late in the game I move forward to follow what’s going on with the relief staff. That’s Fernando Salas, above, who came in to get the first two outs in the tenth. And this is Jerry Blevins heading into the game to face down his former teammate and Nationals powerhouse Daniel Murphy for the third and final out, saving the day for the Mets fans.

Jerry Blevins Heads into the Game

3. Rudi made a batch of pesto tonight with fresh basil from the farmers market. We’ll freeze most of it for the winter, but tonight we had very tasty pasta for supper.

How about you? What’s been beautiful in your world lately?

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November 25, 2015

coffeeneuring 2015
posted by soe 11:58 pm

2015 marks my third year of completing MG’s fall Coffeeneuring challenge, in which one rides a bike to places that serve hot beverages. (I suppose technically it might also be considered a challenge in which one drinks hot beverages while out on a bike ride, but let’s be honest: that’s not the kind of riding I do.

Ride #1
October 3
A Baked Joint, Washington, D.C.

Coffeeneuring #1

Comestibles: Chaider (a combination of hot cider and a hot chai tea latte) and sourdough toast with Nutella and sea salt. Both were delicious and warm and exactly what was needed to help dry me out.
Distance: 6.1 miles
The Ride: This was a stormy Saturday, and we thought that the weather had abated when we headed out, leaving without rain gear and without a concrete understanding of what cross street we needed. After meandering through several neighborhoods in a drizzle, trying to find a way down to K Street, eventually we got there. The cafe, sister to crowd (literally these days) favorite Baked & Wired, has an open kitchen, an urban design, and outdoor seating for days when it’s not damp. We rode home via three grocery stores in hopes of finding a key ingredient for a recipe.
Bike Friendliness: How do a cafe and an adjacent bike shop not have bike racks of some kind nearby? The only place to lock your bike would be to the ankle-high tree boxes. Fail! (more…)

Category: dc life,sports,travel. There is/are 1 Comment.