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Items of Interest: Neighborhoods, Restaurants, Farmers Market
(Located between Maryland and Virginia along the Potomac River)

This page seeks to celebrate the diversity of DC's neighborhoods away from the Mall and Federal Triangle areas. We hope that those who already know the Smithsonian, galleries, and other well known historical sights will "branch out" and discovery the fun, food, shopping, and friendly faces (and sometimes funkiness) of Washington's neighborhoods where the "real" people live!


Neighborhoods
U Street/Shaw/Logan Circle

The U Street Corridor has long been a center of DC's cultural and activist scene with places like the Lincoln Theater, Howard Theater, Bens Chili Bowl, Bohemian Caverns and other historic clubs and venues serving as the hub for politics and artistry.

Until the 1920's (when it was overtaken by Harlem), the U Street area was home to the largest urban African American community in the United States. In its cultural heyday, the U Street corridor was known as "Black Broadway", a phrase coined by jazz singer Pearl Bailey. (Text Courtesy Busboys and Poets web site)

According to Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post Staff Writer, in his neighborhood review of Friday, August 6, 2010, here is what this part of Washington is like:

"Fourteenth Street stinks.

It used to anyway, with an odor that was redolent of a bus station restroom. Nowadays, it's more likely to be the aroma of chick peas in saffron broth wafting from the kitchen of Cork Wine Bar. Joren Lindholm, an artist whose studio is two doors down from the restaurant, says the smells that sometimes drift over to his back porch have a powerful allure.

They're not the only allure the street has to offer either. Carroll Vuncannon, a 29-year-old who lives with her husband and 9-month-old daughter nearby, likes to visit 14th Street's ACKC Cocoa Bar (hubby prefers coffee from Mid City Caffe).

'It's like an old Main Street,' says Rod Glover, one of the founding owners of Home Rule. Along with Garden District, Vastu, Muleh, Well Built and other shops, the funky housewares store has turned the once-faded neighborhood into a home-furnishings mecca.

But shopping is not all that 14th Street is known for. Anchored by the venerable Black Cat music club, dotted with commercial galleries, and bookended by the Source and Studio Theaters, the strip has become what Irvine calls 'one of the main arts corridors in Washington'."

For the rest of his exploration of the "new" 14th Street neighborhood, go to the Washington Post Article.

And, What We Like
Restaurants
Mulebone Restaurant
Formerly Eatonville

NOTE TO SITE VISITORS
On February 12, 2016, Eatonville which had closed in December, reopened as Mulebone Restaurant. The following reviews of our previous dining experiences at Eatonville will remain on the site until we have visited Mulebone and have a review of the experience. As all can tell from reading our comments, we loved Eatonville and can only hope that the new restaurant will please us equally. We shall see!!!

Rarely are we so very taken with a restaurant that we are awed with the food, the ambiance, service, clientele, location and reason d'etre.

Such is the case with Eatonville located at 2121 14th St. NW in the heart of the U Street Corridor.

Before we get to our dining experience at Eatonville, we think it's important to understand the context surrounding the establishment of the restaurant and the intent of its owner.

And here is the context (as described on the restaurant's web site:

"With the Spring 2009 opening of Eatonville, Andy Shallal's Zora Neale Hurston-inspired restaurant is strategically placed to mend a decade-old literary rift between author and her contemporary, Langston Hughes, whom Shallal's Busboys and Poets is named in honor of. The two Harlem Renaissance writers collaborated on a comedic play, Mule Bone, but the friendship turned sour when they fought over copyright privileges. Since the restaurants are directly across the street from each other, Shallal sees it as a chance to reunite the two writers!

Eatonville is named for Hurston's Florida hometown and the country's first, post-Civil War, African American incorporated town and the focal point in her most famous work, Their Eyes Were Watching God."

Bringing the art of the story back to the dinner table, Eatonville Restaurant launched Food and Folklore, a new monthly series intertwining storytelling and fabulous food, on November 13, 2009. Food and Folklore is wrapped in the spirit of gifted storyteller and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston's brand of hospitality and a generosity with food. (Food and Folklore Video Below - Courtesy Eatonville Restaurant)


Andy Shallal

This restaurant encompasses the amazing success of an Iraqi-American entrepeneur who draws upon Harlem Renaissance writers and artists to inspire his businesses which he locates in the heart of the D.C. African-American community.

His peace activism is reflected in the art, books and activities at his flagship restaurant Busboys and Poets.

At Busboys and Poets, Shallal holds anti-war protests, fundraisers for Democrats and peace talks between Israelis and Arabs.

He is the founder and proprietor of Busboys and Poets, an activism center and cafe in Washington, DC, which features prominent speakers and authors and provides a venue for social and political activism. He is a member of the board of trustees for The Institute for Policy Studies, a liberal think tank.

He has been a featured speaker at several conferences and panels that deal with Iraqi, as well as Israeli-Palestinian issues.

Andy Shallal is also the co-founder of The Peace Cafe which promotes Arab and Jewish dialogue and improved understanding. Since its inception in 2000, the Peace Cafe has become the largest Arab Jewish dialogue group in the Washington metropolitan area with over 900 members.

As an artist, Andy Shallal has worked with a variety of media. His most recent work is political collage. His murals have been featured in many publications including the Washington Post. He sits on several arts and philanthropic boards and has received numerous human rights and peace awards and is proud to be doing his part to make living on earth a bit more bearable. (Biographical Information Courtesy Eatonville Web Site)

And who were Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes?

Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston is considered one of the pre-eminent writers of twentieth-century African-American literature. Hurston was closely associated with the Harlem Renaissance and has influenced such writers as Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, Gayle Jones, Alice Walker, and Toni Cade Bambara (courtesy of Zora Neale Hurston web site).

Born on Jan. 7, 1891, in Notasulga, Alabama, Hurston moved with her family to Eatonville, Florida, when she was still a toddler. Her writings reveal no recollection of her Alabama beginnings. For Hurston, Eatonville was always home.

Established in 1887, the rural community near Orlando was the nation's first incorporated black township. It was, as Hurston described it, "a city of five lakes, three croquet courts, three hundred brown skins, three hundred good swimmers, plenty guavas, two schools, and no jailhouse."

The above is taken from her biography written by Valerie Boyd. Her biography should be read in full to appreciate the significance of her contributions to literature and African-American culture.

The Two Videos Below Provide Insight into Zora Neale Hurston's Message
(Videos Courtesy Zora Neale Hurston and MySpace Web Sites)





In the manner of many another writer, the greatest fiction of her career may have been the story of her life. Whether as told in her autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road, or as related in the anecdotes she steadily doled out, the bits and pieces she rendered into her literary work, or even the details she provided for official documents, it can be tricky at best to separate fact from fiction in the construct we know as Zora Neale Hurston.
- Gavin Witt, Associate Artistic Director/Director of Dramaturgy


We recently (January 29, 2012) had the wonderful opportunity to see "Gleam" at Centerstage Theater (AKA the State Theater of Maryland) in Baltimore. This play by Bonnie Lee Moss Rattner is based on Their Eyes Were Watching God, a novel by Zora Neale Hurston, and directed by Marion McClinton. This production ran from January 4 to February 5, 2012. (Click Here for this Production's Program - with play description, cast biographies and more)

Their Eyes Were Watching God, published in 1937 but largely ignored for decades after, remains a crowning achievement: not just of the impressively varied career of Zora Neale Hurston, nor simply of African American artistry, but also of 20th-century American literature in general.


We are certainly no strangers to Theater and we must say without hesitation that Centerstage is a real winner - the production was superb - acting, staging, lighting, direction - everything. The Theater itself is close to perfect - the seating was comfortable and there doesn't apear to be a bad seat anywhere in the room.

Nearly 30 years after its first performance, Gleam enjoyed only its third full production when it opened at CENTERSTAGE. After opening originally at Hillberry Rep, at Wayne State University - where Rattner completed the adaptation as part of her Master's degree, and garnering a prestigious Kennedy Center Award for Excellence for New American Drama, the piece had its professional premiere in 1988 at the renowned Crossroads Theater. The New York Times hailed the project for "dialogue so pure and lyrical, it positively stings and pierces the heart."

Bringing this production to life is longtime CENTERSTAGE Associate Artist Marion McClinton, an accomplished playwright and director who last directed here with Kwame Kewi-Armah's Elmina's Kitchen in 2005. Kewi-Armah is Centerstage's Artistic Director.

Other McClinton CENTERSTAGE credits include A Raisin in the Sun, Les Blancs, Jitney, Seven Guitars, Two Trains Running, and his own play, Police Boys, as well as several staged readings.

This soaring saga brings to life the vivid characters of Zora Neale Hurston's beloved novel, a shining jewel of the Harlem Renaissance by one of America's literary giants (see above).


This is the story of Janie, who at 16, faces a marriage of convenience and a life of quiet drudgery.

Instead, she embarks on a journey that brings successes and losses enough for several lifetimes - a passage to fulfillment so singular that it manages to speak for all of our dreams.

THE LANGUAGE OF GLEAM

In these two videos, Centerstage Education Coordinator Rosiland Cauthen discusses the linguistics, language, and code-switching of "Gleam", based off the Zora Neale Hurston novel "Their Eyes Were Watching God", along with future community conversations about the same topics. The second video follows in The Language of Gleam Series, with teenage "Encounter" students discussing the role of code switching in their lives.


(Background Text and Videos Courtesy of Centerstage Web Site)




Kwame Kwei-Armah is an award-winning British playwright, director, actor, and broadcaster. Kwei-Armah's plays include Seize the Day, A Bitter Herb, Blues Brother Soul Sister, Big Nose, and his triptych of plays chronicling the struggles of the British African-Caribbean community in London - Elmina's Kitchen, Fix up, and Statement of Regret which each premiered at the National Theater between 2003- 2007.

With Elmina's Kitchen he became the first Black Briton to have a play produced in London's West End; Elmina's Kitchen and Let There be Love each had their American debuts at CENTERSTAGE.


He wrote the 2010 teleplay, Walter's War, about the first Black commissioned officer to lead British troops during WW I; has made numerous contributions to The Guardian and other leading papers in London; and has served as presenter in documentaries and culture programs.

As an actor, Kwei-Armah appeared in the British TV medical drama Casualty, followed by a recurring role on its sister series, Holby City, as well as appearances on numerous other hit shows in Britain.

(Background Text Courtesy of Centerstage Web Site)

CenterStage Artistic Director receives high British honor at Buckingham Palace
December 18, 2012 Article in DC Theatre Scene

CenterStage Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah was last week named an Officer in the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, one of the highest honors the British monarchy can bestow upon a subject, the company announced today.

Kwei-Armah’s Officer’s designation is the fourth-highest of five Orders of the British Empire; the three higher divisions are principally reserved for military figures, members of the Royal family, and British government leaders.

It is reserved for those whose "contribution [was] felt by a significant number of people or across a broad geographical area," according to the nomination guidelines. When the Beatles were inducted into the OBE in 1965, it was as "members", one class below Kwei-Armah.

Kwei-Armah was selected by Queen Elizabeth II on the advice of the British government.

The Prince of Wales presented it to him at Buckingham Palace.

Jay Smith, President of the CenterStage Board of Trustees, said, "This is an exciting honor for Kwame, who in one year has brought significant energy to CenterStage and to the theater and arts community in Maryland. This is a very prestigious award that recognizes his national standing and reputation in Great Britain and reinforces that we are very lucky to have Kwame as our Artistic Director at CenterStage."



Langston Hughes

James Langston Hughes was born February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri. At the age of thirteen, he moved to Lincoln, Illinois, where he began writing poetry.

Following graduation, he spent a year in Mexico and a year at Columbia University. During these years, he held odd jobs as an assistant cook, launderer, and a busboy, and travelled to Africa and Europe working as a seaman.

In November 1924, he moved to Washington, D.C. Hughes's first book of poetry, The Weary Blues, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1926. He finished his college education at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania three years later. In 1930 his first novel, Not Without Laughter, won the Harmon gold medal for literature.

Hughes, who claimed Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Carl Sandburg, and Walt Whitman as his primary influences, is particularly known for his insightful, colorful portrayals of black life in America from the twenties through the sixties. He wrote novels, short stories and plays, as well as poetry, and is also known for his engagement with the world of jazz and the influence it had on his writing, as in "Montage of a Dream Deferred."

His life and work were enormously important in shaping the artistic contributions of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. - The Connection

We recently had the rare opportunity and exceptional honor to meet one of our favorite authors whom we admire greatly. Over the past few years, we had become familiar with the works of Henry Louis Gates, Jr., initially through his connection with books written by Harlem Renaissance author Zora Neale Hurston (see above). Dr. Gates wrote an afterward to Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God and the forward to her play, written in concert with Langston Hughes, Mule Bone: A Comedy of Negro Life.

This led us to Gates' Colored People (a memoir) and most recently his monumental Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History 1513-2008.

We were also amazed and enlightened by his PBS series African American Lives which traces, through DNA research, the racial backgrounds of a number of notable Americans.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. is one of the most powerful academic voices in America. He is most recognized for his extensive research of African-American history and literature, and for developing and expanding the African-American studies program at Harvard University.

The first black to have received a Ph.D. from Cambridge University, Gates is the author of many books, articles, essays, and reviews, and has received numerous awards and honorary degrees. Gates, who has displayed an endless dedication to bringing African-American culture to the public, has coauthored, coedited, and produced some of the most comprehensive African-American reference materials ever created.

In naming Gates one of the twenty-five most influential Americans in 1997, Time magazine described him as a combination of "the braininess of the legendary black scholar W. E. B. Du Bois and the chutzpah of P. T. Barnum.... The chairman of Harvard's Afro-American-studies department has emerged as a prolific author, a whirlwind academic impresario and the de facto leader of a movement to transform black studies from a politically correct, academic backwater into a respected discipline on campuses across the U.S."


We were fortunate enough to meet Dr. Gates on two occasions recently - on December 3, 2011, at Politics & Prose bookstore for a book signing and at the National Gallery of Art on December 11, 2011, for a panel discussion and book signing.

The Panel Discussion at the National Gallery was on the topic of his latest book - Image of the Black in Western Art, Part II.

The panel members included the three creators of the book (one in a series on the topic). Panel members were David Bindman, emeritus professor of the history of art, University College London; Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, Harvard University; and Sharmila Sen, executive editor-at-large, Harvard University Press.

The discussion was moderated by Faya Causey, head of academic programs, National Gallery of Art.

The book signing of The Image of the Black in Western Art (volumes 1-3) followed.


Professor Gates has received 51 honorary degrees, as well as a 1981 MacArthur Foundation "Genius Award," the 1993 George Polk Award for Social Commentary, and the 2008 Ralph Lowell Award, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's highest award.

Professor Gates was named one of Time magazine's "25 Most Influential Americans" in 1997, and one of Ebony magazine's "100 Most Influential Black Americans" in 2005, and he was selected for Ebony's "Power 150" list for 2009 and its "Power 100" list for 2010.

He received a National Humanities Medal in 1998 (see photo to the left), and in 1999 was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2006, he was inducted into the Sons of the American Revolution after tracing his lineage back to John Redman, a Free Negro who fought in the Revolutionary War.

In addition, Professor Gates is the author of several works of literary criticism, including Figures in Black: Words, Signs and the 'Racial' Self (Oxford University Press, 1987); The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of Afro-American Literary Criticism (Oxford, 1988), winner of the 1989 American Book Award; and Loose Canons: Notes on the Culture Wars (Oxford, 1992).

He is the author of Colored People: A Memoir (Knopf, 1994), which traces his childhood experiences in a small West Virginia town in the 1950s and 1960s; The Future of the Race (Knopf, 1996), co-authored with Cornel West; Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man (Random House, 1997); and In Search of Our Roots: How Nineteen Extraordinary African Americans Reclaimed Their Past (Crown, 2009), which won an NAACP Image Award in 2010.

Education and familiarity provide the means to achieve a more tolerant perspective. With this in mind, Gates has used cutting-edge technology and some of the most popular media and corporate resources available to educate the public.

For example, when the McDonald's corporation dedicated the year 2000 to promote African-American heritage, Gates wrote a two volume booklet set, Little Known Black History Facts, that was offered for sale with a meal purchase.

In the early 1970s, Gates, along with some colleagues, made a pact to fulfil a dream of the late W.E.B. DuBois: to publish the black equivalent to the Encyclopedia Britannica. After almost 25 years, and after much trial and tribulation, the project was finished.

Microsoft produced a CD-ROM version of the encyclopedia, Encarta Africana and Perseus published the print version, Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African-American Experience.

Previously for PBS, Professor Gates produced and hosted Wonders of the African World (1999), America Beyond the Color Line (2004), African American Lives (2006), Oprah's Roots (2007), African American Lives 2 (2008), Looking for Lincoln (2009) and Faces of America (2010).

Building on the widespread acclaim of African American Lives (2006) and Oprah's Roots (2007), AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES 2 again journeys deep into ancestry of an all-new group of remarkable individuals, offering an in-depth look at the African-American experience and race relations throughout U.S. history.

Below is the first in a series of eight videos from the aforementioned PBS series.

Click HERE for all eight videos.

Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. returns as series host, guiding genealogical investigations down through the 20th century, Reconstruction, slavery and early U.S. history, and presenting cutting-edge genetic analysis that locates participants' ancestors in Africa, Europe and America.

Joining Professor Gates in the new broadcast are poet Maya Angelou, author Bliss Broyard, actor Don Cheadle, actor Morgan Freeman, theologian Peter Gomes, publisher Linda Johnson Rice, athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee, radio personality Tom Joyner, comedian Chris Rock, music legend Tina Turner, and college administrator Kathleen Henderson.


Ms. Henderson was selected from more than 2,000 applicants to have her family history researched and DNA tested alongside the series' well-known guests.

NOTE: Biographical Information Relating to Dr. Gates is taken from the Harvard Faculty Web Site and Other Sources



Eatonville - The Restaurant, The Food

We had come downtown on this day (Sunday, August 8, 2010), with one primary goal - to pick up a favorite magazine from News World on K Street at Connecticut. This is the only news stand where we can find this gem (a British publication called Country Life), at least on a consistent basis. We found it.

     
     

After a short people-watching stint at Dupont Circle Park, we decided to move down to 14th Street and walk the avenue, visiting our usual haunts - Home Rule (kitchen, bath and tabletop fare), Room and Board - a splendedly modern store with affordable classy furniture, and Pulp - cool, really cool, cards and super unique gifts (unfortunately, now closed).

We had read about a new restaurant (new to us, at least) at 14th and V, so we ambled our way in that direction until we found it. We went inside to look at the menu, became intrigued and delighted with the decor and the menu, and decided to stay. We were at Eatonville.

Upon entering the newest of Andy Shallal's restaurants, Eatonville, one is struck by light, color splashed in organized chaos, live music, animated diners, and the sense that your experience here is likely to be electric, bordering on the theatrical!

It was nearly 1:00 PM on this Sunday, so the restaurant was filled with lots of folks just having left church. We know this because the diners were so well dressed that it reminded both of us of our hometown (Virginia) youth where you absolutely dressed up for church. We both did since there was no choice whatsoever. At any rate, with the exception of some 20 to 30-somethings in shorts, everyone looked terrific.

There was definitely a neighborhood feeling. It was noisy, but not unpleasantly so, and was anything but stodgy. There was a short wait, which we didn't mind at all, because we were able to take in everything around us. It was pleasant, very pleasant.

The service was prompt and polite. We were seated at the perfect location to be able to observe the operation in "surround sound." Our server was Rafael V - one efficient dude.

The menu looked so good, so very good, that we took a bit longer than usual in making up our minds. As it turned out, our selections were right on. The "sweet tea" was certainly so and served in a Mason Jar "mug" - nice.

To start, Tom ordered the soup of the day, which was Vegan Gumbo, and I selected the Baby Spinach and Fried Goat Cheese salad with candied pecans, red onions, and orange-honey vinaigrette.

Tom's a soup guy and I love salads. We were very, very, very pleased. The soup was unique in our experience and a spicy combination of fresh corn, tomatoes, squash, and onions in a smokey broth.

The salad was perfect because I truly appreciate fresh spinach, am a nut freak, and savor most all vinaigrettes. The kitchen got the salad so very right.

Our server explained that the Vegan Gumbo was a recent menu addition of the restaurant's new Chef. A traditional gumbo with shrimp and sausage is also available.

Our entres "made our day" in every sense of the phrase. My (Ron) Southern Pimento Cheesburger was a new taste sensation (being a burger hound), was medium well as I ordered, juicy, with just the right amount of pimento cheese, and made me a very happy camper. Cheeseburger preparation doesn't require a degree in culinary wonders. But they can be so badly done. Not so here. The Chef and kitchen staff honor the cheesburger hounds of America. God bless em.

Having had a passionate love affair with fried chicken for the past X number of years, Tom couldn't resist the Crispy Chicken Breast (arguably the best he's ever had) with garlic mashed potatoes (superb), braised collard greens (another passion of Tom's and this was without equal) and mushroom gravy (NOTE TO READERS - we even have a special web page on this site for fried chicken - to which we added Eatonville).

With all this, we were unable to try any of Eatonville's desserts on this visit. A mistake we did not make the next time.

Our Visits to Eatonville in February and March 2011

During February and March of 2011, we enjoyed three of what became our favorite entres to date - Crab and Fried Green Tomatoes, Crispy Fried Chicken (for the second time), and Shrimp and Cheese Grits (the first three images above). My (Ron) favorite entree is now, was then, and will forever be Catfish and Grits. The fish itself (without equal in my experience) was just so very good - tender and memorable. The cider-braised collard greens and cheddar heirloom grits only added to the pleasurable eating experience.

The Crab and Fried Green Tomatoes made us harken back to our childhood when our respective Mothers prepared fried green tomatoes.

Sorry, Moms, Eatonville's version has yours' beat by an arm and a leg. The breading on the tomatoes was spicy and perfect and the crab introduced an extremely appealing highlight to the entre. And, you could even taste the tomatoes - not always the case in other restaurants. The creole hollandaise brought it all together.

I must admit that part of the appeal in ordering this dish was directly related not only to my childhood but to one of my favorite (Ron's) movies with Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy.


The Shrimp and Cheese Grits was a brand new and spendid taste sensation for me. A gentleman at the next table had ordered what looked like a wonderful dish and I noted the shrimp and found the menu item that matched his plate, ordered it, and "Wow".

The andouille sausage, cheddar heirloom grits and smoked tomato beurre blanc, added up to an impressive combination of flavors, each adding to the appeal of the others.

The dish was hot, spendidly presented and just the right portion size.

Much to his delight, Tom discovered another fried chicken entre (other than his all time favorite, the Crispy Fried Chicken dish). He ordered the "Callahan" - fried chicken breast on a buttermilk biscuit, with just the right amount of jalapeno-sausage gravy, and their very fine extra-sharp mac and cheese. Talk about being in hog heaven, or rather, chicken heaven, or something to that effect.

Two other dishes deserve worthy commendation - we thoroughly enjoyed their Country Benedict (poached eggs on a buttermilk biscuit, including country ham and creole hollandaise, with Eatonville Hash) and the Almond Crusted Charleston Toast (French Toast with Grand Marnier fruit compote and sweet mascarpone which is a very special cream cheese).

The "butter-rich" buttermilk biscuits served here are unlike any others I have ever tasted. Even my home-made biscuits, which I love, don't reach the richness heights of these specialties - YUM!!!

Our February 20 visit was made even more perfect as we were introduced to owner Andy Shallal. On a previous occasion at Eatonville, we met Manager Karen Purifoy (unfortunately no Longer at Eatonville) - a result of our remarking to our server that day (Adam - a very proficient and friendly young man) that a very attractive (actually beautiful) woman has passed our table and we wondered if she were a notable. Adam explained that she was a manager and asked her to stop by to talk to us.

We had a delightful discussion with Karen and on our next brunch she asked us if we would like to meet Andy. We were impressed that she (1) remembered us and our previous discussion regarding our Eatonville web page, and (2) that she would run down Andy who was exiting the restaurant to ask him to meet us.

We introduced ourselves to Mr. Shallal and explained how much we enjoyed our meals at both Eatonville and Busboys and Poets. He was pleased that we had included his restaurant on our web site and was very gracious. This made our day/week/month/year!!!

We would be remiss if we failed to mention dessert. We ordered twice and enjoyed twice, Eatonville's Bread Pudding (see above photo). Both of us place bread pudding at or very near the top of our favorite desserts and restaurants serving this splendiferous splurge into sugar rate highly wih us. Eatonville didn't let us down. Even if we've had a fairly large lunch/brunch, we seldom have difficulty in justifying our urge to order their amazingly wonderful bread pudding. Thanks, Eatonville.

We are looking forward to our next gastronomic experience at this welcoming restaurant. Take the time to check out their Menu and get yourself downtown to Eatonville. You won't regret it.

Our Rating (Five Chefs is Highest)


Whereas the District of Columbia is well known for its collection of government buildings and museums, it is the "special neighborhoods", such as the 14th Street/U Street Corridor, that define the true city.




To say that we are book fiends is an understatement. We love books - in our home, there are books in lots of shelves and stacked on desks, tables and, of course, the floor.

Tom collects antique religious volumes, especially 19th century and earlier Prayer Books, along with Virginia history/architecture tomes, biographies of Virginia notables and anything about old England, with a tilt toward Victoriana and the Royal families.

I seek out topics on African-American History and culture (concentrating on Harlem Renaissance authors), World War II and the American Civil War.

We have been increasingly depressed about the number of book stores that are giving up the ghost and disappearing from the DC landscape. Because of that, we seek out book sources in other than shopping centers and urban business centers. With our interest in art, we spend a lot of time in galleries - public and private. The book store portions of the museum stores in the National Gallery and other institutions in DC are very popular locations for the depletion of our bank accounts.

Every now and then, certainly not as often any more, we stumble upon a gem. In this case, I must admit, it was not exactly a "stumble". Tom had known of this store for some time but it had not yet become a part of our standard shopping tours.

It was in early 2011 that we read about Politics and Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse - the beginning of a passionate love affair. We love their books, their staff, and especially their customers - yes, Virginia, lots of people still read books that they can hold in their hands and turn the pages - Thank God!!!

Book Signings

One of the many things that P&P does so very well is organize book signings. We were fortunate to attend two such events.

During one of our visits in November, I picked up their December Events Calendar. A signing by Professor Gates (December 5, 2011) caught our attention immediately and we scheduled it on our calendar. He was amazing and the crowd at the bookstore was enthralled (as were we).

This was preceded on December 2 when we met President Bill Clinton for a signing of his new book Back to Work. Tom wore a 1992 campaign button with Clinton/Gore images. The President wanted to know who those two young lads on the pin were.

When my turn came to shake his hand, I told the President that I wished he could clone himself because the need for his service was so great. I'm afraid he may have misunderstood the intent of my comment because he said that he was doing as much as he could. What I wanted him to understand from me is that he was such a valuable resource that his clones could do more of what our nation needed. But, what the hey!!


Thanks to the photography of Greg Blakey, we have photographic proof of our attendance at President Clinton's book signing. Left Image - Tom in Line and Right Image - Back of Ron's Head.




One fine Tuesday afternoon in early February 2013, we were cruising up Connecticut Avenue on our way to lunch and book-browsing at Politics and Prose when Tom spotted a store front sign for lighting.

We have been searching for some time for an appropriate lamp to accommodate Tom's reading habits in the living room. We have a number of lamps there but none served the purpose for which we sought luminescence relief.

We ventured into Artisan Lamp Company and found ourselves in a world of superb antique lamps, chandeliers and object d'art. Well, we were in hog heaven.

As stated on their web site "Our collections have a special emphasis on Art Deco and Art Nouveau lighting and objets d'art, as well as 19th and early 20th century bronzes."

"However we have selections of NeoClassical, Arts-and-Crafts, Victorian, Art Moderne and other items available."

Their description continues - "Besides our antique lighting we have paintings, prints, small sculptures, art glass, candelabra, and antique occasional furniture, especially tables and other display pieces." They also have a highy skilled workshop to repair and restore both their and their customers' items.

Photo Courtesy Artisan Lamp Company

The variety of simply gorgeous lighting fixtures, bronzes, shades and pictures kept us agog as we searched for just the right fit for our home. And, we found it.

Our New Lamp from Artisan Lamp Company - Photo by Ron Patterson
Click on Photo for Larger Image

Oh, I failed to mention that one characteristic we simply must have is a lamp base sufficiently heavy to resist nudging by our cat Sammi.

Sammi insists on rubbing against every lamp shade (and most everything else for that matter) and any heft short of 2 stone (Ah yes, stone is a unit of measure of weight, at least it was in antiquity) would not work.

It didn't take us long to find the perfect fixture and we bought it. The photo to the left is our purchase.

Importantly, at least to us, is the way we are treated when shopping. Here, there was no pressure, no "following around" - only obviously sincere courteous service.

We heartily recommend this establishment. It is seldom that we run across a shopping experience that literally shines!! Take the time to visit Artisan Lamp Company. We hardly see how you can go wrong.

So we add another gem to our circle of favorites. Downtown DC is always a pleasant and usually rewarding experience - from quaint businesses, the theatre, museums to die for, reasonably-priced dining delights, great people-watching locations, and friendly residents, visitors and merchants. We are constantly amazed at the number of folks who smile, nod or greet us on the street, in restaurants, or stores.



Farmers Market

Eastern Market is Washington DC's oldest continually operated fresh food public market. Located in the heart of the historic Capitol Hill neighborhood, Eastern Market is DC's destination for fresh food, handmade arts and crafts, and community events.

MARKET HOURS
TUE-FRI 7am - 7pm SAT 7am - 6pm SUN 9am - 5pm MON Closed
Eastern Market is located at 225 7th Street, SE.
(1.5 Blocks North of Eastern Market Metro on 7th Street)

Eastern Market is far more than a market. It is a community hub for the Capitol Hill neighborhood and a cultural destination for visitors from around the world.

The venue at Eastern Market includes:

  • The South Hall Market, where indoor merchants offer everything from fresh produce and flowers, to delicatessen, bakery, meat, poultry, cheese and dairy products.
  • The North Hall Events Space, an arts and community center where locals organize to hold meetings, wedding receptions, dance classes and other events.
  • The Weekend Farmers' Line, an open-air venue where local farmers sell fresh local produce year round.
  • The Weekend Outdoor Market, where local artists sell handmade arts and crafts and antiques.

From Tuesday through Sunday, visitors flow through the South Hall Market, where merchants serve the finest meats, poultry, seafood, produce, pasta, baked goods and cheeses from around the world!

On weekends, Eastern Market buzzes with excitement, live music, and local flair! Outside of the market, area farmers empty their trucks with recently harvested produce direct from farms in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. Beyond fruits, veggies, and fresh flowers, over 100 exhibitors of handmade arts, crafts, jewelry, and antiques offer something for everyone!

On Saturdays and Sundays, Eastern Market hosts an open-air food market of farmers and food vendors! Take a stroll down the Farmers' Line and visitors will find stall after stall of some of the freshest food available in Washington, DC.

Much of the produce sold at Eastern Market is grown in rural counties in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. Alongside our farmers, other outdoor vendors provide shoppers with quick and delicious snacks that enhance the Eastern Market experience!(text courtesy Eastern Market Web Site.

There are many reasons why we end up on many weekends during the spring, summer and fall. Not the least of which is people watching.

A lot of DC's vibrant and diverse population ends up at Eastern Market on weekends.

The string of cafes that line 7th Street have outdoor tables, all of which are filled, at least during the brunch hours when we are usually there.

While the prices at Eastern Market are a bit on the pricey side, possibly reflecting the surrounding demographics on Capitol Hill, all segments of DC's diverse population flock to area for fresh food, a bite to eat, and to immerse themselves into the melting pot that is DC.

The enumerable farmers with their trucks backed up to the outdoor covered area and the arts and crafts vendors all blend into a dynamic not seen elsewhere in the Nation's Capitol.

It's really great fun. And, the farm-fresh fruit and vegetables are to die for.


Fine Sweet Shop
DC's Eastern Market
7th Street & North Carolina Avenue, SE, Washington, DC, (202) 543-9729

Indoors, the variety of fresh meats, vegetables, fish and baked goods are enough to strip your pocketbook of its last pennies. It's very hard to resist.

Our favorite is an immense coconut cake from the "Fine Sweet Shop" bakery at the north end of the Market.

Nowhere else in our daytripping world have we found anything to match the freshness and perfection of this cake. Their scones and pies are equally as tempting. And, the raisin bread (especially toasted - YUM) is about as perfect as we have ever had.


This bakery offers a wide variety of baked goods, including pies, cakes, cookies, specialty breads, buns, cannolis, strudel, and turnovers.

We have been especially impressed with their "Old Fashioned Apple Pie" in addition to their superb cocanut cake.

The apple pie is perfect with fresh apples, a not too liquid filling, and a crisp top.

We must say that one of the best reasons to visit this shop is the pleasant staff - they are so patient with the lines and always reward you with a smile.

NOTE TO READERS - we even have a special web page on this site for desserts - to which we added the Fine Sweet Shop.

Our Rating (Five Chefs is Highest)





As you can tell by our discussion above, we love Eastern Market. And one of the things we love best is the people we meet. On September 21, 2013, we were so fortunate to see two very stylish ladies (Barbara and Joan) and asked if we could take their picture. They graciously agreed.

A subsequent discussion with Joan later that day revealed that Barbara is an actress and starred on the very popular TV show "Amen" as deaconess Casietta Hetebrink.

We were adicted to that show and are delighted to have met both Barbara and Joan - we are two lucky guys!!!

Barbara Montgomery’s exceptional career as an actor, writer and director has taken her from the Off-Off Broadway Movement, Regional Theatre, Broadway, Europe and the Far East.

On Broadway; Raisin The Musical, My Sister My Sister. The First Breeze of Summer, Kennedy’s Children, Inacent Black and The Tap Dance Kid.

In 1983, she co-founded and was Artistic Director of Black Women in Theatre, Inc., where she compiled and directed The Actress. She is the recipient of an Obie Award and several AUDELCO Awards.


VERY Stylish Ladies Barbara and Joan
"Do" Eastern Market
September 21, 2013

Then a call came and there Barbara was in Los Angeles embarking on the Television part of her career:

Series regular on Amen and Married People and in productions of The Women Of Brewster Place, Polly, Polly One More Time, Quantum Leap, A Different World, Women Of The House, Daves World, The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air and Living Single. Flm; Lift, Moscow on the Hudson, The Fight for Jenny, Evergreen.

Then the "calling", back to New York; In Woody Kings' New Federal Theater productions of Do Lord Remember Me, The Trial Of One Shortsighted Black Woman vs. Mammy Louise and Safretta Mae, and The Dance On Widows Row.


At LaMaMa E.T.C.directing three Paul Green one acts and his Hymn To The Rising Sun. Conceived, wrote and directed Cacao Dolce (Sweet Chocolate) conceived and directed Linizo del Dolore (The Beginning of Sorrows) at LaMaMa Umbria,Italy.

Director in Residence for Opera Ebony,two seasons, The Meeting and Harriet Tubman/Frederick Douglas.

Directed Blues in a Broken Tongue for the Negro Ensemble Company and Showboat for Mercury Opera, Rochester N.Y.

As a result of her work as an artist and commitment to community, Barbara's professional and humanitarian interests have come together in her directing and producing of the film "Mitote".

Barbara Produces New Movie in 2013
"Mitote"


Produced by Barbara Montgomery, Mitote is a screenplay adaptation of an original, 'one act', historically based drama written by Maisha Baton, Ph.D., that tells the story of three African American women, Miss Yolonda, Miss Kate and Miss Ruth. Through the casual dialogue in their backyard setting, circa 1900 New Mexico, we are given a personal recounting of African Americans in New Mexico's history. Each woman has a story to tell and each story is based on a different, unique historical incident.

Click Here for Video Preview

SPECIAL NOTE: You may notice that we do not provide biographical information about Joan. She shared with us that she is a very private person. We hope to convince her that visitors would indeed love to know about her - keep your fingers crossed.

(Biographical Information on Ms. Montgomery Provided by the Actress)



Local Business

"As people we always look for the differences in each other,
but we should also focus on the similarities.
We'd be amazed how much more similarities we have than differences."
- Mehmet Yalcin, Proprietor

Woven History opened its doors on December 1, 1995 at 311 7th Street, SE, next to the historic Eastern Market, seven blocks from the US Capitol.

The documentary video below is in Uzbek, the official language of Uzbekistan. It has about 25.5 million native speakers, and it is spoken by the Uzbeks in Uzbekistan and elsewhere in Central Asia. (Video Courtesy of Woven History)

Mehmet Yalcin, the proprietor, had been selling at the Eastern Market since 1986.

After purchasing the next two row houses in November 1997, Woven History moved into the newly purchased building on 313-315 7th Street, SE and 311 7th Street was then converted into what is now the Silk Road.

Silk Road completes Woven History as the gift shop offering tribal and village arts, gifts, antiques, jewelry and furniture from every country along the fabled Silk Road.

According to Mr. Yalcin, "Our aim is to provide the finest quality tribal, village and urban carpets at the best possible prices."

Though Yalcin, a native of the Taurus mountains of Southern Turkey, came to this country for an education, and eventually earned a doctorate from Harvard, he was drawn back to the carpets he remembered from his boyhood. It helped, also, that there was a market for carpets when there was not always a market for a Ph.D. in Inner Asian and Altaic Studies.

In our frequent trips to Eastern Market, we never miss an opportunity to admire the truly fine carpets at Woven History. We love oriental carpets and every room in our home has carpets from Iran, Pakistan, and China, at least one of which we purchased at Woven History. The next time we are in the market for a beautiful carpet, this establishment will be our first stop.

As shown in our photos below, Woven History offers a variety of carpets in brilliant colors and incredible designs. (Text above regarding background of Woven History Courtesy of their Web Site)

     




You can probably tell if you have visited this site before that we love art - especially art by local or regional artists.

And, one of the places we frequent most often is the artist and crafts vendor area at Easter Market. Exiting South Hall Market and North Hall, visitors enter a plaza filled with handmade arts crafted by some of DC's best local artists. Eastern Market's arts and craft vendors are made up of painters, sculptors, independent designers, woodworkers, jewelers, potters, and photographers!

On a brisk, but incredibly beautiful day in early November of 2010, we were doing the dutiful tour guide thing with one of our very favorite friends from New York City. We found our way to Eastern Market, moved through the outdoor rows of farmers with their fresh fruit, vegetable and bakery wares and the indoor food vendors (such a wonderful treat), and were drawn to the outdoor display of dramatic art works by Tom Greaves.

Selected Works by Tom Greaves

Photoconstruction

Photoconstruction

Photo

Photo
Images Courtesy Tom Greaves

Tom Greaves is an Ohio-born mixed media artist who has been living in Washington, DC, since 1984. He has recently exhibited work in shows curated by Transformer Gallery, the Washington Project for the Arts\Corcoran, the DC Arts Center, the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities, the American Visionary Art Museum, Edison Gallery Place, Annmarie Gardens and Arts Center, and artdc Gallery (biographical information courtesy Tom Greaves web site).

After perusing all of the individual pieces, both Lisa and the two of us made purchases. Lisa was drawn to a stark photograph of a couch sitting along on a street (see photo in the border to the left).

We all agreed that it had a character of considerable appeal. Tom and I selected a "photoconstruction" of wood, metal and nails entitled "Stoneface" (see image to the left), as indeed it was.

We find both his photoconstructions and photos highly appealing, unique and, indeed, a new (at least to us) art form. We urge you to check out his web site and include a stop at Eastern Market to see his latest renderings. You won't regret it.




Directions to Eastern Market
Food, Flowers, Arts, Crafts


Click Here for Map