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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Northwest Cowboy



Labor Day. Those two words describe a holiday meant to honor workers, but Labor Day also portends the end of summer, back to the grind and back to school. But what happens AFTER graduation? My daughter and her friends graduated from Wilson in 2011, and DC ROCKS will be digging around to see where they are now.

First up is Will Mitchell, who like many students, spent his high school years somewhat confused.  He knew "something was wrong" with the way the world worked, but didn't know what exactly. Then, after changing his major multiple times at Penn State, a stint on a cattle farm in Maryland helped Mitchell find his focus.

Sustainability.

Mitchell then graduated in four years with a double major in Geography and Energy Business and Finance, plus a minor in Environmental Inquiry(!) One smart cookie, he took that diploma right back to Glen Mary Farm where he teamed up with owner JD Schmidt to grow grass in just the right way for beef cattle. Soon after Mitchell started his own venture- the Tenleytown Meat Company. Check it out!

Unlike most farm to table vendors, there's an economic twist here. Beef and lamb are sold in bulk for two reasons: to keep prices down and to give the farmer some economic stability. (The web site shows a only fairly small amount of freezer real estate needs to be devoted to an order, but if you are really short on space, consider sharing a purchase with a neighbor.)

Plus cattle are not just grass fed, but completely grass finished- something not easy to find- even at Whole Foods- partly because there is no legal definition of how long an animal has to be in the pasture to qualify as "grass fed."

Finally in keeping with that sustainability theme, orders are delivered by a very cool custom fitted bicycle. (pun intended) Mitchell hopes his model will "influence other businesses to incorporate bicycles into their plans for growth and evolution."

By the by, when Mitchell is not wrapped up in business, he is back at his alma mater, coaching the boy's novice crew team.  (Just can't hide that Tiger Pride.)

Will Mitchell- DC ROCKS salutes you!




Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Trio of Talent



I first saw The Walking Sticks at a tug of war between Annapolis and Eastport, but that's another story. I think this young band is worth keeping an eye on. Catch them at a somewhat rare DC based event at the 9:30 Club this Saturday with M.H. and His Orchestra and Black Masala. This "illumination" is being put on by the Brindley Brothers- the guys who brought you Jammin Java- and it looks to be an imaginative, crazy and creative show.

Ticket prices are $15 which I think is the economic equivalent of days long gone at the old 9:30 where you could see 3 bands for 3 bucks and still live to tell about it.

Door at 8 p.m.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Something Is Brewing in DC

Hard to be crabby with DC Brau flowing

Ladies and gentlemen; beer lovers everywhere. The craft beer craze has taken over the Capital-spawning brew pubs and IPAs- all running amok. This month alone, Bardo's started brewing their own,  and Mt Ranier is all abuzz about the new Brookland Pint which just opened near there.  Beer Week kicked off last night with a DC Brau crab fest at the Quarterdeck, and plenty of events coming up through this Sunday.

Yes, beer week.

Who knew DC would become this kind of town.


Bob Tupper presiding @ Folk Club

For me, it started when I spotted Tupper's Hop Pocket Ale- a brew that caught my eye because Bob Tupper was my history teacher in high school. (as well as my beloved Folk Club advisor)
I knew that he and his wife Ellie were into beer because when I painted their house as a college student, I saw their phenomenal beer can collection. At the time I thought it was just kind of weird. I didn't realize they were dead serious about hops until I was lucky enough to catch one of Tupper's beer seminars at the Brickskeller before that scene fell apart. The Tuppers, however, are still drinking and still brewing- and their latest effort will be in partnership with Lost Rhino. Read all about them in the City Paper's "Beer" issue.

As we speak I am sitting at a table at Boundary Stone in Bloomington, where a battle of the beers is going on: DC Brau vs Three Stars. The scoring is tight, but so far DC Brau is leading by a star. It's a challenge to keep up with all the local brews coming out, but the gauntlet has happily been thrown. Come out to one of these events and judge for yourself.  (Please xcuse any typos)

 DC Brau @ Bardo's with Sense of Humor completely in tact







Thursday, August 14, 2014

Summer Soundz



Friday Night. The work week is over; Congress has gone home, and an August evening in Washington is something for us homies to savor in this half empty town. If you are looking for something to do,  Troublefunk and the Junkyard Band at the historic Howard Theater has got to get my vote for the penultimate Washington experience. For the nostalgic amongst you who are not into go-go,  the name Catfish Hodge should ring a bell. You can find him live and still kicking at JVs in Falls Church.

And last but not least, Luke Brindley is having a CD release party at his own home base, Jammin Java over in Vienna. I got a sneak preview of the album. Think mason jars and mandolins- a down home folk club kind of thing going on here for those of you in a more mellow frame of mind.




Friday, August 8, 2014

Get Lucid and Get Dancing


A bunch of bands, a summer night in Washington. Get ready for the full moon and dance for the greater good at this fundraiser for the District Alliance for Safe Housing at DC9  this Saturday.

Bethesda Brings It Back


Remember Bethesda Cinema and Drafthouse ? It was like going to a frat to watch a movie- a lot of fun but a little sticky. Now the place is all cleaned up for grown ups, but the Vi-kings show will take you back to the days of old Bethesda- the days before the high rises when you went up to the roof of the little parking lot behind Shakey's Pizza on East West Highway for the view. Before the Bethesda Metro station and way before Bethesda made the Top 10 Snobbiest Small City list.

At least they saved the theater.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Dispatch from "Away"




I mentioned last time that most of DC is down at the shore these next few weeks, but August is when the town truly feels empty. Where has everyone else gone? Up North, also known as "the Land of the Enemy" according to my friend Paul, who was "born on a mountain top in Tennessee," but has lived near Bangor, Maine for over twenty years now. In that time he has discovered that if you (and your grandparents) were not born here, you are "from away"


I have to confess, DC Rocks is reporting from "away" right now, but looking forward to returning to DC in hopes of trying the long awaited, newly minted beer from Bardo-the now fully functioning brew pub on Bladensburg Road. (Some of you might remember the proprietor, Bill Stewart whose earlier incarnations included BBQ Iguana, Roratunga Rodeo and Bardo Rodeo)



Bardo has been open for about a year now, but has had set backs due to permitting and licensing issues.  Brewing as we speak, Stewart will be bringing back a lot of the old recipes he used in Virginia including the Marion Barry lambic.  Check the web site before you go; Bardo's own is due to be ready in the next few weeks, but the exact date is still uncertain. Surrounded by razor wire and chain link, Bardo is a little outpost, frequented by bikers (not the motorized type) and unlike many new places in town- has a completely unvarnished and eclectic appeal. Welcome back to DC, Bill.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

All Hail Holly's



Beach season is peaking now, and it seems like half of DC is roaming the boardwalks of Bethany and Rehobeth while the other half is down in Ocean City getting a body part tattooed or pierced. Traffic can be the stuff of nightmares- especially if an accident happens near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  I have no solution for this problem, but there is a balm, also known as a chocolate milk shake at Holly's.

When my parents were young and short on funds, there was no Bay Bridge, only a ferry. They would load the kids, towels, bathing suits and lunch into the car and make the 4 hour trip to the shore for the day.

For the day.


Ocean City 1950

Whatever method they used to cross over to the Eastern Shore, my dad liked to stop at Holly's Restaurant for a chocolate milk shake. Holly's has been around since the 1950s, and the inside feels as if time stood still with wooden booths, tile floors and a counter top flanked by chrome and vinyl stools. There's even an old water fowl gun hanging over the kitchen door - right near the picture of the original owners- the Ewing family- not far from the antique weight machine and stoves.


You can still stop in for a bite at Holly's- although it takes a bit of tactical planning and engineering to get off Route 50 now, but it's well worth it - especially if you like endangered species like family run restaurants. If you are lucky, the iconic soft shell sandwich will be available. It's like eating a crunchy delicious spider on white bread. (and if that description turns you off, well... the more for me) Places like this are disappearing at an alarming rate, and I am truly sorry to say, Holly's is no exception. The property has been sold.

(Think Royal Farms by next year. Ugh. )

Good bye old milk shake machine. Good bye wooden booths and the weight machine near the bath rooms. Good bye Maryland crab soup, fried chicken and soft shell sandwiches.  Farewell to home made ice cream. Get that milk shake while you can.