sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

February 24, 2021

heading outdoors . . . i think
posted by soe 1:47 am

I’ve decided that this spring I might be willing and ready to play outdoor volleyball again, in part for the mental health benefits it offers. I’ve emailed my former teammates to see if any of them are interested, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that some of them might be available.

A couple of my teammates played outdoors last fall, and the report I heard after the first couple weeks was that the league was was relatively good about mask wearing and social distancing from other teams and on the sidelines. Volleyball is one of those sports where there you do end up in close proximity to your teammates and some competitors, and some contact with teammates can happen as you’re chasing after a ball and trying not to knock each other down. So it’s not without risk. But it’s also not basketball, where it can’t be played without automatically coming into contact with everyone else on the court. And being outdoors definitely helps lower the risks of spreading disease.

How are you thinking about risk management as we move into year #2 of COVID? Will you continue to stay home and isolated? Were you never paying attention to those recommendations to begin with?

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November 30, 2020

coffeeneuring 2020: ride #7
posted by soe 1:13 am


2340 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.
Saturday, Nov. 21, evening
Conditions: Lovely

For my final Coffeeneuring ride of 2020, I headed back through Georgetown, but this time veered north, aiming for Glover Park and a new dining hall spot that had opened earlier this fall, Ghostline.

Their concept is that they have food from several different chefs and you can order it in one spot. Sort of like a food court, but classier and with high-quality food.

But en route I made a surprise stop — at a hot chocolate stand.


The boy running the stand had built it himself with entrepreneurial plans to run it three seasons, with lemonade, apple cider, and hot chocolate rotating out as the weather and supply dictated. He showed me with pride how he’d made the sign out of paper, so he could switch out what he was advertising. When I asked him what his schedule was, he told me that the day before he’d been waiting at the door when his mom (the sous chef in charge of making the cocoa) arrived home, but that today it had been a little later because he’d been forced to take a nap.

At $2 a cup and with the ability to have both marshmallows and whipped cream added to your drink for free, it would be hard to beat the economics of this stand, which was located on a corner lot by a bike lane.

After finishing my cup, I waved goodbye, wished him and his mom luck, and rode on.


Ghostline is across from the old Whole Foods and the baseball field in a row of other restaurants and small storefronts. There was a bike rack to lock up to, but I could see that getting crowded on a summer evening.


I was able to walk in and quickly place an order. I opted for a cup of tea and a vegan poptart, the latter of which is made by the people who ran Red Velvet Cupcake and Bakers and Baristas downtown, which I took across the street to the ball field. I sat at a picnic table and chatted with Rudi for a bit on the phone while I carefully avoided dripping raspberry jam down my front. So sweet, but also very good.

Coffeeneuring 2020: Ride #7

I briefly contemplated a stop at the grocery store a block away before deciding I was too tired and that I just wanted to go home. So I took myself the back way past the vice president’s house and pedaled home for the night, content with my season of Coffeeneuring rides.

Total miles: 4.35 miles

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November 23, 2020

coffeeneuring 2020: ride #6
posted by soe 1:20 am

Ride #6 of the 2020 Coffeeneuring season was to the coffee place with the best name, which is saying something since I’ve already visited a place called The Roasted Boon.

Harpeth Swill

Harpeth Swill
1801 Wyoming Ave., N.W.
Saturday, Nov. 14, late afternoon
Conditions: Pleasant

Harpeth Swill has two locations in D.C. now. I went to the original location in Adams Morgan, which is also, I believe, where Sweet Science got its start.

Harpeth is the Tennessee river near where the founder grew up, which could potentially make the name slightly less interesting. But I argue that for a Southernesque coffee outfit, heavily invested in the Mason jar aesthetic, it still works. They are a cold-brew shop, which means they have put their fireplace and their counters to good use, as you can see in the shot above.

This year has just been a challenge for my getting out of the house early enough to do rides properly, so this was, once again, eked out just before closing time. (To be fair, everyone is also closing earlier this year, so it’s not entirely on me.)

I locked up to a street sign, because there were no bike racks on this section of block, but it is just across the street from a Cabi station, should you want to arrive via a borrowed ride.

Coffeeneuring 2020: Ride #6

I opted for a chai tea and a Whisked pretzel cowboy cookie, which I consumed on their patio in a rocking chair while reading. (They were technically closed by this point and this was the only furniture left.) It was probably closer to the sidewalk than I would have preferred, so I kept pulling my mask back on, but it worked for the half hour I was sitting there.

Mileage: 3.35 miles

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November 18, 2020

coffeeneuring 2020: ride #5
posted by soe 1:49 am

Sweet Science

Sweet Science
35 N St., N.E.
Sunday, Nov. 8, afternoon
Conditions: Pleasant

A week ago Sunday, it was a lovely day and I wanted to get in a slightly longer ride, so I decided to head to Sweet Science, which had opened back in January. This is where I was going when I ran across The Roasted Boon last month. It’s just as well I changed my plans; that day I had enough time to get to where I thought Sweet Science was, but not actually to where it is.

NoMa is sort of a created business district, built out of several older neighborhoods and comprising a historic area once known as Swampoodle. It’s north of Union Station, and includes Uline Arena (where the Beatles first played in the U.S. and now home to an REI), NPR’s new headquarters, Union Market, and Gallaudet University. Sweet Science is tucked into the very edge of the neighborhood, at the boundary of Near Northeast and Eckington.

When Rudi asked me where exactly Sweet Science was, I had a ready answer: on the block that ends at The Chicken and the Egg statues!

The Chicken ...

... and the Egg

(It should be noted that neither photo does justice to the size of these statues. The utility box the chicken is standing on is about six feet tall, and the egg is at least ten feet tall.)

Anyway, back to my visit!

Sweet Science had some of the most interesting drinks I’d seen in a while and I ended up ordering a Goat Noir — steamed goat’s milk and dark chocolate sauce — which made for a very earthy (albeit less smooth than cow’s milk) hot chocolate. It reminded me of these amazing chocolate chèvre cheese balls one of the farmers at our local market introduced last Christmas. I paired it with a sweet potato biscuit and their homemade seasonal cranberry jam. Everything was delicious, and I’d easily recommend both. You could even buy a jar of their jam!

Coffeeneuring 2020: Ride #5

There was plenty of indoor seating, but outside you had to rely on benches. Luckily, there was a free one facing into a tree box and hemmed in on the street by a construction vehicle, which gave me the opportunity to turn my back to the sidewalk and eat and drink without feeling too vulnerable from others walking by in close proximity. With a number of bike racks on the block, I look forward to returning with Rudi once he’s back in town.

Total mileage: 7.75 miles

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November 11, 2020

coffeeneuring 2020: ride #4
posted by soe 1:16 am

I seem to have taken a couple weeks off from Coffeeneuring. One weekend was rainy and the other … got lost.

Cafe Georgetown

Café Georgetown
3141 N St., N.W.
Saturday, Nov. 7, early evening
Conditions: Lovely

Saturday marked the combination of a beautiful day, the announcement that Joe Biden had clinched Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes, and low demands on my time. However, I futzed around until too late in the day for a lot of coffee places, and then I had the double challenge of needing to be home for a video chat with friends.

So I headed to Georgetown. Specifically to Café Georgetown.

Café Georgetown Parklet

I’d passed the café before, sitting as it does in the first townhouse in from Wisconsin Avenue, but I’d never stopped in. I’m excited to report that while I didn’t avail myself of them, the coffeehouse does offer some of the Middle Eastern treats I used to get at Simit and Smith before they closed. I opted for the more traditional chocolate chip cookie (heated at the barista’s suggestion) and a hot chocolate. I munched them in front of the restaurant next door’s darkened doorstep and watched people cruising through Georgetown sharing their jubilation at the political news of the day.

Coffeeneuring 2020: Ride #4

As with nearly everywhere on M or Wisconsin in Georgetown, bike parking requires finding a street sign to lock up to. Unless, of course, like me, you forget your lock and don’t realize it until you arrive. Then you might consider asking a nice couple with their own bikes parked next to them to watch yours while you run in and order. I have literally never done that before, but Saturday seemed like a day to trust in the goodness of people.

Total mileage: 2.2 miles

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October 20, 2020

coffeeneuring 2020: ride #3
posted by soe 1:01 am

Shaw Love

The Roasted Boon
1018 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.
Sunday, Oct. 18, late afternoon
Conditions: Pleasant

I was on my way to an entirely different coffeeneuring destination when I reached the intersection of Q, Rhode Island, and 11th and realized this was where the new Eritrean coffee house in Shaw had opened. So I changed course and locked up the bike to place an order.

The Roasted Boon Co.

I can’t think of what had last been in that corner storefront, so it’s likely the building had stood empty for a while. It’s across from the skate park and where the nursery used to be and where a middle school is being built and just a couple blocks from the Shaw Library. And Shaw has several Eritrean and Ethiopian restaurants, so there’s a historical presence of the community in the area.

The Roasted Boon Co.

Inside, The Roasted Boon is a typical roaster set-up, with a nice mural and East African decorations on the walls. Outside, the tables were full. It was great to see the neighborhood had embraced the shop since they opened earlier this summer.

“Boon,” if you’re wondering about the name, is the Eritrean word for coffee and its related coffee-making ceremonies.

The Roasted Boon Co.

I ordered shahee, which is Eritrean tea. Their tea is black, with a pleasant combination of spices that makes it not unlike the base of a chai. The bakery case held both pumpkin cheesecake and pumpkin croissants, and my server recommended the former, saying it was his favorite. I appreciate enthusiasm for desserts.


There’s a pocket park a block and a half away dedicated to Carter Woodson, the renowned historian who came up with the concept of celebrating Black history in February back in 1926, who taught at Howard and who lived just around the corner. (His house is a museum I really need to visit once we do those kind of things again.) So I wheeled my bike over. It happened to be empty, so that was a good place to enjoy my snack and read my book in the sun.

Coffeeneuring Stop #3

This was my favorite stop yet, and I really look forward to returning. Both beverage and snack were delicious. They’re open until 8, which would have been great in the before-times, but which is unheard of in a coffee place now. And their patio is placed so as to offer sunny seating until dusk. I expect to make this a regular destination.

Total mileage: 3 miles

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