Pancakes, Beer and Popsicles…in that order

A few weekends ago, urgent and important business compelled me to make a special trip to DC Brau–a local production brewery churning out deliciousness in the form of The Public Pale Ale, The Corruption IPA, The Citizen Belgian Ale and an awesome array of seasonal, limited-edition beers. Lucky for us, the brewery was actually in operation during our Saturday tour (the brewers had been going strong since 5:00 am that morning!). This meant a lot of noise, but it also meant we could watch the canning machine in action! If you have car access, this is definitely a fun outing (it’s all free) – and there’s even a food truck parked in their lot so you can get lunch before your tour!

DC Brau Using Catoctin Creek Barrels!To fortify ourselves for the tour and tastings, and because we were going into NE anyway, I convinced M to stop off for brunch on H Street. I was tempted by the Argonaut–a fantastic place (and the site of a very mimosa-heavy birthday brunch 2 years back), but opted for something new: Boundary Road. This lovely, brick-walled spot opened almost exactly a year ago, and has been a hit among H Streeters and beyond. It was bright and sunny, with just a small smattering of people enjoying a lazy Saturday morning. Our coffee was served in a pot right out of M’s childhood home, and the two raw sugar cubes served with it were perfect for sucking the coffee through our teeth (doesn’t everyone do this?)

Boundary Road CoffeeThere are a few peanuty items on their brunch menu (the Yelp reviews hold the Peanut Butter & Banana Monte Cristo to a gold standard), so I was sure to ask our waitress about the level of caution in the kitchen, and whether they used any nut oils in their preparation. M is allergic to tree nuts, and I peanuts, so we allergenically complete each other, and make it easy on restaurant staff by simplifying things accordingly: no nuts. Our waitress was very thorough about addressing our concerns, and made a point of saying that they do use peanut oil for some fried entrees, so I should be especially careful if I were to come back for lunch or dinner. I definitely appreciated her candor–next time, I’ll be prepared for a menu that includes peanut oil, and can plan accordingly!

Boundary Road PleasantriesThe food turned out to be pretty solid. I ordered the Apple Cheese Pancakes, which were fluffy and creamy with a nice light char on the outside that gave them fantastic texture. I, of course, smothered them in maple syrup, and speared pieces of my fruit cup to accompany my bites. It was an enormous portion though, and after finishing his rather conservative portion of eggs, bacon and hashbrowns, M demolished the last 1/3 of my pancakes.

Apple cheese pancakesI really enjoyed Boundary Road, but perhaps more for its charming decor than anything else. The 2 stories of exposed brick, the crazy chandelier made from a repurposed antique spring mattress, and the assortment of vintage crockery all make you feel so at home. Granted–an ingeniously crafted home designed to evoke nostalgia at every turn, but that’s beside the point. Unfortunately, upon our departure, we were dismayed to find that 1) the car was now sporting a shiny ticket because we were a little daft and didn’t notice the pay-to-park sign and 2) that the car was blocked in by a food delivery truck servicing The Big Board across the street. It was lucky we had good beer to look forward to.

Crazy ChandelierPS: The next day, my friend Sara and I finally stopped by Pleasant Pops Farmhouse Market & Cafe, a brick-and-morter outpost of the (very) popular local popsicle purveyors (say that 5 times fast!). Inside they have a wall devoted to local food brands, from Whisked (specialty pies) to Gordy’s Pickle Jar (self explanatory) to Goldilocks Goodies (gluten-free treats)! I was even able to accompany my cup of earl grey with a chocolate chip cookie from Blind Dog Cafe! It was a great little spot, and a great addition to my neighborhood!

Pleasant Pops

Boundary Road | 414 H. St NE Washington, DC | (202) 450-3265

DC Brau | 3178-B Bladensburg Rd NE Washington DC 20018 | (202) 621-8890

Pleasant Pops | 1781 Florida Ave NW Washington, DC 20009 | (202) 558-5224


11th Street Junkie

Turns out that I’m a bit of a traitor to my neighborhood. Granted, Adams Morgan is my home, and I’m pretty attached to So’s Your Mom, Tryst, Mintwood Place and a certain billiards joint that I won’t divulge the name of (sorry, it’s just too good). However, over the past few months, and the last few weeks in particular, I’ve found myself making the short trek over to Columbia Heights’ 11th Street strip more and more often. My first introduction to the area was a joint night at RedRocks Pizza and Meridian Pint–an outing that I have since repeated a number of times. Then there was Maple for dinner with a friend, Wonderland Ballroom for late night drinks, Kangaroo Boxing Club (KBC) for barbecue after a choir concert, and Room 11 for a darling little brunch with girlfriends just last weekend. And although I’ve only just popped my head into The Coupe (the newest venture from those restaurateurs responsible for Tryst, the Diner and Open City), it’s bound to be next on my list for a quiet weekend respite. There’s only one conclusion: I’m an 11th Street Junkie.


Perhaps I’ll do an 11th Street series at some point, but for now, I just want to talk about Maple. It’s only been open since last spring, but my impressions of the sophisticated wine bar have only been great! My first visit was a sit-down dinner with a friend on a packed Saturday night. Although my friend hadn’t arrived yet (and didn’t for another 20 minutes), they graciously seated me in a cozy corner table and set me up with a nice glass of Montepulciano. Our server was delightful and fun, but took my questions about my dietary restrictions with a respectful seriousness. My friend and I split each item we ordered from the simple, rustic menu: a quartet of bruschetta (Asparagus with shaved  parmigiano reggiano and truffle oil; Prosciutto di Parma with fig spread and gorgonzola dolce; Eggplant caponata with goat cheese; and Roasted garlic with arugula and olive oil), a steak panini, and the Tagliatelle with Lamb Ragu. Instead of a dessert (which I have yet to try!), I ordered a Sloe Cider (sloe gin, St. Germain, muddled orange and grenadine-soaked cherries, hard cider) to top off my meal.

Bruschetta 2Tagliatelle with Lamb Ragu

My second venture to Maple was just 2 weeks ago for a lovely, low key Friday happy hour after a considerably long week at the office. Although it was the start of the Inauguration weekend, we stayed hidden from the hordes of tourists visiting the city, and spent an enjoyable 2 hours with only a few other patrons at the bar or having dinner. Although there are no food specials, Maple serves a few select wines for $3 off, and $1.50 off draft beers. Again, we split one of Maple’s perfectly gooey and greasy panini–this time with mozzarella, pesto and roasted red peppers. The bartender assured me there were no peanuts lurking in the pesto, but that there were, in fact, both pine nuts and walnuts. A very pleasant chap, and very generous with his pours…

Maple Happy Hour

I’m definitely looking forward to trying Maple again and again, perhaps for brunch next time! That is, if I can tear myself away from all the other wonderful options on 11th Street!

Maple | 3418 11th Street NW, Washington DC 20010 | 202.588.7442