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broodings from the burrow

November 27, 2013

coffeeneuring, part 3: the conclusion
posted by soe 3:09 pm

Below, find the third and final Coffeeneuring report. (Links to Part 1 and Part 2.)

Ride #6: Nov. 3
The Coffee Bar, 1201 S St., N.W., Washington, D.C.
2.6 miles

I’d biked past this place in Shaw several times and seen people sitting out in the sun, so wanted to make sure we made it over. And, frankly, after such an eventful Coffeeneuring ride on Saturday, something close and easy sounded really good.



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coffeeneuring, part 2: the big chair ride
posted by soe 4:11 am

Yesterday, I wrote about my October Coffeeneuring rides. Today we get the four first ride I did in November:

Ride #5: Nov. 2
H Street Coffee House & Café, 1359 H St., N.E., Washington, D.C.
17.38 miles

This was my epic ride of the event. Following a stop at the Meet Market craft fair, I had decided I was going to head across the river to Anacostia’s sole coffeehouse, Big Chair Coffee. To get there, I rode down to the Tidal Basin,


past first the marina,


then the fishmarket, and then Fort McNair. I pedaled through Buzzard Point and over the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. It’s worth noting that the center of the bridge is a drawbridge and it gives your stomach butterflies to pause there, even if the clouds and the view of Alexandria are magnificent.


The view of the east side of the Anacostia


is far superior to that of the west.



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November 26, 2013

coffeeneuring without the coffee: part 1
posted by soe 1:43 am

Coffeeneuring, the third annual, seven-stop coffeeshop bike ride challenge, ran from early October to mid-November. I originally planned to share these stops as I did them, but that only worked for two of eight (#1 & #4), so I’ve reproduced them both in my extended event reports.

My rides split neatly in half by month, so below are the October rides:

Ride #1: Saturday, Oct. 5
Teaism, 2009 R St., N.W., Washington, D.C.
3.11 miles

Coffeenuring #1: Teaism

I started the weekend slowly, having slept past the event I’d planned to take part in on Saturday morning. I puttered for a while, did some chores, but failed to find any food that appealed. So, I thought, I could tie in my bike ride and coffee shop quest with a snack. By this point, it was later in the afternoon and my ride also had to include a stop at the garden, where my plants were awaiting water, parched after a week of sun and warm temperatures. Watering and picking vegetables takes time, though, even for such a small community garden spot as mine and by the time I finished up, it was getting close to 5.

My original hope for the day was to visit a coffeeshop (Bourbon) nearby that I hadn’t yet tried. I took the L Street cycletrack over to L, but they’d put away their food. No worries, I thought. There’s a second location of Filter over by GW, and my phone suggests it’s open until 6. Not, apparently, on weekends, when it isn’t open at all.

Fine. I can start this week with a known entity: Bread & Brew is on the way home and they have a nice outdoor deck and tasty bread pudding (even if their tea leaves something to be desired). As I pedal up the hill, I notice the windows are dark and the patio deserted. They, too, were closed.

By this point, I’d pretty much given up hope, but then realized sometimes your heart’s desire can indeed be found in your own backyard: Teaism in Dupont Circle is 1.5 blocks from my house, but after all the other shops I visited, I completed the day’s ride with 3.11 miles under my belt.

I celebrated with chai and naan, my teahouse version of tea and cinnamon toast and my default to-stay order at Teaism, on the bench outside the front door.


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November 24, 2013

dc donut crawl
posted by soe 3:36 am

Today was the D.C. Donut Crawl, a recreational bike ride that stopped at four local doughnut shops over an 8-mile course. I signed up as soon as they announced it, because I always tell people I’m perfectly happy to ride my bike if they stick food halfway through the route. My friends Michael and Julia signed up at the last minute to accompany me, which was nice of them.

The ride kicked off up in Brightwood at the Chocolate Crust. I’d gotten off to a late start, which put us at the back of a very slow moving line. It was clear that the number of participants had overwhelmed the small shop, where the employees struggled to serve folks in an efficient fashion.

Chocolate Crust

They were temporarily out of the chocolate doissant, a doughnut-croissant hybrid the shop is locally known for, by the time Julia and I got to the cash register, so I opted for the chocolate-filled doughnut. The dough was a bit greasy (more like a fried dough shell than your traditional Berliner doughnut casing), but the frosting piped in was quite tasty. I combined it with a butter beer, because, really, when offered a drink out of Harry Potter, how do you say no? (It’s very sweet and butterscotchy.)

Because we were so far behind the rest of the riders, the marshal for our group decided to skip GBD in favor of getting to the third stop, downtown’s Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken, which Washington Post staffers recently dubbed the best doughnuts in the city. Located near my office, I agree with their assessment, but also recognize these are yuppy doughnuts, each costing approximately $3. Julia opted to follow her piece of fried chicken with the pecan pie doughnut, which turned out to be too sweet for her tastes (she sent it home with me, and Rudi and I split it for dessert tonight), but I liked the Almond Joy, a coconut cake doughnut topped with chocolate frosting and candied almonds.

The tour finished at Union Kitchen, a building used as a collective incubator space for small food-related startups, where District Doughnuts, another new-to-me shop, had two flavors for us to sample: caramel apple streusel (which was delicious) and pumpkin spice (which Julia and Michael raved over). We had a brief conversation with the owners of the business, who explained the key to doughnut-making lies with the dough. As I have found the key to quality pizza lies with the crust, I could appreciate the distinction.

After a few other stops, I decided to conclude the day by running past GBD (Golden Brown Delicious) on my way home. They had put their fritters on sale for the day, so I picked up a gala apple-cinnamon fritter, which Rudi and I split tonight, and a raspberry-ginger fritter, which we’ve saved for tomorrow. I had had mixed feelings about GBD’s doughnuts the only other time I visited them, so it was a real pleasure to bite into the apple fritter and find it so chock-full of apple bits. Rudi and I agreed that it was one of the best fritters we’d had.

So it was a fun ride, even if there were some kinks to work out for the next one. And I definitely should plan to work out tomorrow because one should not, as a general rule, consume as many baked goods as I did today, even if they were interspersed with bike riding.

Thanks to the organizers and the participating shops!

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July 23, 2013

posted by soe 12:18 am

This was a full weekend before a full week:

On Friday night, we joined John and Nicole at The Yards for a picnic in the breeze off the water. Kids shrieked as they ran through the pool and we could hear the band off in the distance.

On Saturday, our lazy day of the weekend, we watched the penultimate stage of the Tour de France live, rather than a rebroadcast. I knit on my shawl and did a load of laundry. We went to Glen’s Market for lunch, then biked down to the garden to water. We finished the day by picking up Sarah and her friend Allison for some tailgating before a concert up in Maryland. It was Fun., with Tegan and Sarah opening for them. The crowd was upbeat, liberal, and young, and the venue was packed. Fun. said that it was the biggest crowd they’d ever played before, and they seemed a bit awe-struck at the power they wielded from the stage. Their show was energetic, and so was the twice-soaked crowd after two waves of rain poured down on the lawn seats.

On Sunday, there was the farmers market. There also was DC Scoop, an ice cream festival at Union Market.

Milk & Honey & Cornflake Ice Cream Sandwich from Milk Cult

(This is an ice cream sandwich from my festival favorite, Milk Cult. It’s milk & honey ice cream on a cornflake crust. Delicious!)

I spent the entire afternoon there, shopping at the various vendors inside and out, and then biked home with two pints of raspberries, a (mini) baguette, and a bouquet of sunflowers in my basket. I would have felt quite Parisian if I’d had a chance to pedal leisurely. Instead, I raced against a thunderstorm that never materialized into rain, leaving me sodden from the effort and the humidity.

We finished the weekend with these guys:

The Monkees Performing "Last Train to Clarksville"

That’s a Davy Jones-less (obviously) Monkees. They goofed around, they sang hits and deeper cuts (Rudi was particularly pleased to get seven songs from Head.), and they interacted with the audience. I thought the show might be a bit somber, but it wasn’t. It was just a lot of fun and filled with people singing along to songs they’ve loved for decades.

(Writing along with Amanda’s weekly recap.)

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April 22, 2013

elections — again
posted by soe 11:26 pm

Tomorrow we have an election in D.C.

First, and foremost, let me urge anyone in D.C. who’s registered to vote here to do so. Even if you don’t care who wins the council seat, there is a referendum question on the ballot that is an important one to address. It concerns the District’s ability to decide how to use the money, such as tax revenue, that it raises.

Currently, we are at Congress’ whims for all our budgetary concerns. Regardless of how you might feel about the Founding Fathers’ opinions about D.C. governance and our representation (or lack thereof) in Congress, it seems only fair that we should have some autonomy in setting our own budget priorities. You know how everyone’s talking about how sequestration will affect various government bodies? D.C.’s one of them. When the government threatens to shut down all non-essential federal agencies? That includes D.C.’s libraries, because Congress gets final sign-off on our entire budget. An argument could be made that it is fair that the national government should oversee the District’s use of federal funds. However, it is harder to see how it’s fair that they dictate how we spend the percentage of our budget (roughly 70%, by the way) that comes into our coffers via our own sources of funding, such as local taxes. Voting yes tomorrow on the referendum will indicate that residents of D.C. would like and expect to receive that same privilege that other local governments take for granted.

Harder for me to offer insight into is the at-large council race seat that’s being contested. This is the seat that opened up when Phil Mendelson won election to council chair, which in turn was vacated by Kwame Brown in a corruption scandal. So at its heart, this election should be about ethics. And, at least on the surface, it is. All the current contenders bandy the term about. If we eliminate the candidate who’s already dropped out (but who still remains on the ballot and, thus, will take at least a certain percentage of the vote), we’re still left with six candidates, four of whom are running in the District’s de facto single party. (more…)

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