Neighborhood Crawl: Dupont Circle

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Oh Dupont Circle! Home of the High Heeled Race, weekend chess games, and turn-of-the-century rowhouses. It was my first introduction to Washington DC as an adult (well, twenty-something college student) and while so much has stayed the same in 13 years (2 a.m. empañada shops and getting lost in Kramer Books), there have been welcome additions to the area as well.

It would be overly ambitious to name all the places worth a visit next time you’re in Dupont Circle but let us take you to a few places worthy of your taste buds and a feast for your eyes.

1. Begin your stroll by popping into DGS Delicatessen where Colony Club is hosting the pop-up/collaboration, “Sadie’s Weekdays.” DGS Deli pays homage to the District Grocery Stores that adorned the corners of the District early in the 20th century, and the architecture and design will tug on your nostalgia strings. Grab your Bullfrog breakfast bagel and a beautifully crafted specialty coffee drink in this inviting space to start out your day. {Note: if you’re coming by after 11 or on weekends we also really enjoy En je ne sais Quoi a few doors up – while more a bakery than a coffee-focused cafe, the croissants and other specialty baked goods are serious business).

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2. Walk northwest along Connecticut Avenue to Dupont Circle. Fact: the fountain itself was designed by the same duo who designed the Lincoln Memorial, Henry Bacon and Daniel Chester French. On weekends you are sure to find entertaining chess games along the outer rim of the park but one guide suggested bringing your own board games if that suited better! [Has anyone else noticed a surge of “Settlers of Catan” games going down around town??] While the water is not currently on, there is plenty of life around the fountain and great people watching opportunities. Or sit and read the paper on the grass for a while and place bets on which squirrels are the boldest.

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3. If you are there on a Sunday stop into the Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market. A great opportunity to purchase a bag of Zeke’s coffee to take home with you as well as some pickles and a plant and whatever else might be on your list!

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4. Walk over to the Phillips Collection (“America’s First Museum of Modern Art) and experience the most intimate way to view a Van Gogh or Georgia O’Keefe in the city. Walking through the building itself is worth its admission price (check out their website for pricing as it varies by time and circumstance) although the rotating exhibitions always aim to impress. [Note: the main house will be closed for renovations beginning 23 May so head over there quickly or you’ll have to wait until 2018!]

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5. Two blocks directly south will find you at Emissary. A basement cafe that opened last fall, it serves light bites and bar drinks at night, and during the day it’s a third wave coffeeshop begging for you to meet up with a friend on the terrace or read a book over their marble design.

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Note: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the incredible opportunity to visit some embassies in the area this weekend and over the next several weeks – more info here and here. Filter Coffee and Glen’s Garden Market are mere steps from each other on 20th St NW – both absolutely worth the tiny detour from Connecticut Ave. And the National Geographic Museum is next on my list, also just a stone’s throw from Dupont. Lastly- Dupont Underground!!!! Do some googling and get out there, folks.

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What are some other favorites in and around Dupont Circle? Please share in the comments!

Stay Grounded,

Daniëlle

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District of Coffee Takes on Miracle on 7th Street

On Sunday we lined up early to get into Miracle on 7th Street, DC’s second annual pop-up Christmas cocktail bar in Shaw. Last year hosted by Mockingbird Hill, this year has expanded to include Eat the Rich and Southern Efficiency.

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Each restaurant offers a different theme: Stranger Things, Goats and Sweaters, and Christmas as F*ck (We’re not convinced this was the actual theme, so we are also going to include the motif of Narwhals). There are also a couple additional rooms at the back of two of the bars, one of them all-out decorated for Hannukah.

 

 

Drinks don’t come cheap – themed cocktails start at $13 – but they are fun and festive and may include a piece of a Christmas tree! You can even take home the glass for $10 more (or $5 for the Santa shot glass). Both of us tried the “Gretchen, Stop Trying to Make Fetch Happen” (sparkly and sophisticated) and the “Buzz, Your Girlfriend, WOOF!” (includes a pine twig). Daniëlle ended the night with a “Cornmeal, Gunpowder, Ham Hocks & Guitar Strings” (bourbon-y and maple-y) while Lauren finished with the super dessert-y “Snow Angels, Ice Skating, Cookie Dough, & Snuggles” (the drink with coffee liqueur to justify the blog post 🙂 ) A couple of egg nog shots might have been enjoyed as well…

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Miracle on 7th Street is a lot of fun and a great place to get in the holiday spirit. Our recommendation is to get there early (it opens at 5pm everyday) or risk standing in a 1+ hour line.

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Have you been to Miracle on 7th Street? What was your favorite room and favorite drink? Let us know what we missed!

Get your buzz on!

Lauren and Daniëlle

New York Coffee Festival

Last weekend I (Daniëlle) was in the Big Apple for the New York Coffee Festival that I was covering for Perfect Daily Grind (you can read the article about some great coffee conversations I had here)! Unfortunately Lauren couldn’t make it but I think I convinced her that next year she can’t miss it. Or better, maybe DC can host a festival!!

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There were over 70 vendors, and there was also a latte art station, a competition corner, a lab for lectures/workshops, a coffee art gallery, and a stage for live music surrounded by couches and small trees.

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The folks from Swing’s Coffee and Ceremony Coffee were up there for part of the festival – DC Coffee representing! I was busy tweeting, instagramming (IG Stories), periscoping (my first time!), photographing, and interviewing, but of course did manage to take note of what District of Coffee may be interested in.

One of the coolest things was the Coffee Art section and I was disappointed I didn’t have an opportunity to ask more questions about it. The art was either about coffee or made with coffee and coffee accessories and it was so intriguing! We’ve seen some cool coffee art at The Wydown and La Mano – what are some other places in the District where we can see art based on coffee?

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I loved meeting up with the folks from Prana Chai. Hello Autumn! I never considered this but their blended spices that are lightly coated in honey go best with nut and soy milks because the fat content in milk masks some of the flavors of the spices. I’m not sure I can ever enjoy chai concentrate again after having tasted their artisanal developed Masala Chai blend.

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Virgin chocolate? We’ve got some great specialty chocolate in DC (Macaw and Undone come to mind) and I loved hearing more about Raaka virgin chocolate from Brooklyn. They don’t roast the beans! I suppose I don’t know anything about the process of chocolate making so perhaps that’s not revolutionary but it sure looked (and tasted) fascinating!

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Although the 69th Regiment Armory was a great venue, it was pretty hot and crowded. Luckily it was just a block away from Madison Square Park and I loved my 45 minute reprieve there. People in DC seem enamored by Shake Shack – I got a burger from their original location and the people watching in the park was fantastic! I love New York parks.

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Back at the Armory I chatted with the folks at Hatch coffee (I had interviewed them for a Perfect Daily Grind piece a few months ago) and tasted their cold brew – I’ve mentioned on the blog before I am not a fan of cold brew but this was crisp and light. And they have a great story about working with farmers to improve the lives of everyone involved in their process. They’re coming to the States first quarter of next year!

Any of you own a Chemex? If not, lucky you for waiting!  They’re now offering personalization through etched glass, the wood grip, the bead around the leather band, and different colored bands. The people working the manual pour overs for Chemex were from the NYU coffee club – have you heard of such a thing? I recently tweeted that I was geeking out about UC Davis and their coffee program hitting the news – Did I miss something about colleges and specialty coffee? Any DC students in a coffee club? I’m seeing a future blog topic here…

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It’s hard to write about festivals for people who weren’t there, and here at District of Coffee we’re not into reviews (I will say… a bit contradictory… Lauren and I are excited about putting together a holiday gift list and there were a few other things I saw at the festival that I’m definitely going to want to talk about at some point.. More to come in a few months)! I’ll sign off with some photos of the trip and by planting the seed that it would be amazing for the DC coffee scene to band together for a festival. Have any of you been to a coffee fest or SCAA expo? We’d love to hear about your experiences!

Stay grounded,

Daniëlle

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