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Category Archives: DC

Ted’s Bulletin

Persuaded by the sound of homemade poptarts and adult milkshakes, I ventured into Ted’s Bulletin. Located in the Capitol Hill/Southeast neighborhood in Washington, DC, Ted’s Bulletin was created by two brothers to honor their father, Ted. “You can call me anything, except late to dinner,” was something Ted often said; what a motto! On a recent trip to DC to visit my brother Nathaniel, we went to Ted’s for some breakfast, and of course, a mocha latte.

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Taste: 4

If you can’t tell by looking at the photos, this mocha was very sweet! It was actually so sweet I could not finish the mocha, and exchanged sips of my mocha with sips of a regular coffee (with whole milk, no sugar). The 4 rating came primarily from:

1) Lots of steamed milk  2) Matching white cup and saucer  3) It came with a spoon! Much needed. 4) The aesthetic effort.

Appearance: 3

Nice try, Ted’s. I like the distinct separation between the mocha color on the perimeter and the crispness of the white steamed milk center. I can’t remember having seen this before, as most mochas have their milk, espresso, and cocoa evenly distributed on top. It would have looked much better sans chocolate syrup.

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IMG_0440Ambiance: 6

Arrived around 830/9am and the place was already busy. Apparently if you get there much later than 9 you have to wait awhile. The only downside to coming in early, and subsequently leaving before 10am, is that you miss out on the adult milkshakes. They begin serving these mid-morning and sadly we didn’t stick around long enough to try one. On the menu during my time at Ted’s there were lots of American classics. We tried some of those homemade poptarts – we tried nutella, blueberry, and cherry I believe. The poptarts were great, but pastries aside, the food was slightly disappointing. The quality was average and the options were very easily recreated at home. The portions are quite large and decently priced; we split two breakfasts amongst four people and ended up taking the poptarts to go because we were so full. The diner atmosphere is a mix of modern and retro. It’s really quite playful with their creative menu and bathroom ideas. They play old movies on a big screen in the back dining room — Lawrence of Arabia was on!  It’s a great place for people of all ages, a place for a family breakfast or a lunch with friends. I would not recommend heading to Ted’s for some solo studying time, as it is much too busy and too loud. Next time I’m in DC I think we’ll venture to Eastern Market and then head back here and try an adult milkshake… but I think I’ll pass on another mocha.

http://tedsbulletin.com/

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Posted by on July 13, 2013 in DC

 

Paul

Why hello there, remember me?!  What an unintentional hiatus that was!  My sincerest apologies, dear readers, for being so out of touch for so long.  Tssk tssk, Kate.  It’s been a crazy busy whirlwind couple of months, traveling often and living in Boston temporarily for work.  But now I am back in Connecticut and ready to bring you up to date on all of the mochas I have tried during Spring-Summer 2012.

I will start with Paul.  On a weekend trip to DC, my family and I stopped into Paul Bakery & Cafe on Pennsylvania Ave NW.  I had been eyeing their chocolate croissants for months and figured a mocha latte would compliment the croissant nicely.  The croissant was a kepper.  The mocha on the other hand… well, read for yourself:

Taste: 1

BLACH!  I asked for a mocha latte, not straight chocolate syrup.  Come on Paul, you’ve been doing this since 1889!  This was a huge glass (a small mocha latter for here, mind you) and it basically tasted like the chocolatiest chocolate milk you could think of.  I would have loved to have tasted a little of the espresso… maybe next time I will just go for an espresso… or a mocha cappuccino?! Mmmm.

     

Appearance: 1

Do YOU think that looks appealing?  No, no you don’t.  I am not drinking a chocolate milkshake, so why is this mocha latte in the tallest glass ever?  This mocha would be so much better served in some 19th century, country-esque patterned cup and saucer.  Paul has been a family owned and operated bakery for over 120 years! How amazing would it have been to have saved and passed down some of the original plates, cups, saucers, everything?!  I am starting to dabble into antique-ing… thinking of this stuff often, always on the look out. 🙂

Store Ambiance: 4

Loves: overhearing conversations in French from other customers… or maybe they were visiting from the Paul in France?! We went to Paul for a Monday mid morning mocha (and baguette, croissants, pie, and other pastries), so I imagine Paul was quiet because most folks were at work.  That was fine with me though… more sample pastries for me!

Not so loves: not the cleanest of bakeries and not one of the most delicious bakeries. But now I know what to get (plain baguette, cappuccino) and what not to get (everything I ordered originally).  So if you are in the neighborhood, for sure check out Paul, but less is more when ordering.

 

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2012 in DC

 

GUEST POST: Nathaniel Rosenblatt

As what is becoming a bi-monthly extra, as in once every other month, I present to you the second Guest Post!  Today’s post is by my brother Guckie Nathaniel!  Nathaniel is currently living in DC, and even though he’s a long train ride away, I’ll take DC over him living in Iraq any day.  Yes, that’s right, the man has lived in Iraq… and Turkey… and Syria.  He’s really fun to brag about and looks great in a mustache.  He also is fluent in a handful of languages and he’s an all around mensch. So prepare yourself, folks, for the most uplifting dose of happiness you’ve had all day.  The one and only, Nathaniel Guckie Rosenblatt.

Guest Post: An East Coaster writes from our nation’s capital

Hello from gridlocked Washington DC! Or should I say: shut up and get out of my way, I have a bill not to pass!

But seriously folks, we get things done over here. As our lovable Vice President Joseph Biden once said: “If we do everything right, if we do it with absolute certainty, there’s still a 30% chance we’re going to get it wrong.”

Which is why it might be hard to understand why Washington DC coffee is crap. I mean, this city practically runs on caffeine and coffee meetings. Why can’t we find a quiet place sit and access free wifi?

We are so busy here in Washington that we do more in one hour than those good-for-nothing West Coasters do in a week. Heaven forbid the Portola Coffee Lab mocha-sipping hacks like my brother can’t get a cup of   Strauss pasture-fed, nearly-raw milk. While we might write crappy legislation, they write crappy movies, which is to say at least we’re trying to do something that matters. Shouldn’t that mean we get coffee that matters, too?

With such high demand for caffeine in this city of appearances – where looking like you’re working hard is virtually the same as actually working hard – you’d think people would be demanding a better brew. So why does Washington DC coffee suck so much?

In a word: Starbucks. They’ve flooded our coffee-drinking market with brown water that costs too much and tastes like the sad dismal landscape of hyper-commercialized America. Starbucks is on every street corner in the city. There are 75 of them within five miles of the White House. There are more Starbucks coffee shops per capita in Washington DC than any other city in the world.

Why is this a problem? Because it makes people lazy. We have officially capitulated to market forces. There is the extra minute required for us to look on our smart phone for a better cup of coffee, and then the extra five minutes it would take to get there. Clearly we don’t have time for that, and so Starbucks crap-ttés reign supreme. Adam Smith was right: the invisible hand does steer us, and odds are, when we want caffeine, it’ll drop us off in front of a Starbucks.

That being said, there are some halfway decent places in Washington, some of them have been reviewed here at DMV (see here and here). But that is the DC coffee drinking community holding up an umbrella to the biblical-sized deluge of crappy Starbucks lattes and mochas that flood our city. We can’t stop the brown rain, we can only hope to build a boat sturdy enough and fast enough to get the hell out of there.

And maybe that boat will take us to a place warm and nice. A place where we don’t have to worry about writing legislation that will combat the spread of nuclear weapons, or curb a national debt that has reached $50,000 per American citizen. A place where we can wile away the day creating coffee drinks with milk set at the rawest legal limit for public consumption. I’m talking about a little place called Los Angeles.

But as for Washington DC, it gets zeroes across the board for its crappy coffee: its mediocre taste; the forlorn appearance of its brews, hidden as they always are behind white paper cups; and the unimaginative ambiance of its so-called cafés. Clearly we’re too busy and important to care about such things as nearly raw milk for making mochas. And if we did, someone at the FDA would probably find out and send some damn fool backwater hick-town congressman from Idaho to halt the legislative session with a filibuster about how raw milk endangers the pasteurizing industry. But it wouldn’t pass, of course, because our congress is as partisan as ever. I suppose you could say we get the coffee we deserve.

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2012 in DC

 

Baked & Wired

If I could live in one part of DC I’d have to choose Georgetown.  I would live on one of those beautiful tree lined streets in a 200 year-old row house.  I would walk everywhere! To great museums, monuments, shopping, and to Baked & Wired.  On a recent trip to DC to visit Nathaniel and Lyde, we went to Baked & Wired in Georgetown.  We needed a pick me up from all of the shopping Nathaniel was making us do. Eugh.

 

Taste: 4

Wow was this sweet.  Like crappy Nestle’s chocolate syrup sweet.  Luke warm, couldn’t taste the espresso, so much mocha!  Only in America can you order a small mocha and receive 50 ounces of sugar in return. Eugh. Now, one might assume that a mocha latte and a mocha cupcake might be a good combination.  That is what I thought.  I was wrong, so, so wrong.  I don’t know how the cupcake buying was left up to yours truly.  Yes, I know cupcakes are for dessert, but this was so disgustingly sweet I just couldn’t.  There were people lined up all afternoon ordering 6 cupcakes at one time!  I don’t see what they see… Perhaps the cupcake would be better paired with a seawater latte cappuccino. Eugh.

Appearance: 6

Hello points for originality!  Have you ever seen a mocha latte in this kind of glass?  Looks like a milkshake with a heart blob on top.  I have never sampled a mocha in this fashion, and I have to say I miss the cup and saucer feel.

 

Store Ambiance: 6

Baked & Wired is a modern, hip place with contemporary couches and dark wood accents. The store is packed with people of all ages craving some serious sugar.  Luckily we avoided the crowds by sitting outside on that beautiful Spring day.  Major points for the local art on display and a big community board with all the going’s on around town.  Points for sourcing their coffee and espresso beans from Stumptown Coffee Roasters (yes NYC!).  Points for buying all of their dairy products from a farm in Pennsylvania.  Points for a friendly, trustworthy staff… It is very easy to place an order and not pay at Baked & Wired.  Their store is set up so that you place a coffee order in one room and then pay for it in a completely different room.  Your coffee just magically appears on a shelf and no one is watching you!  I think next time I’ll stick with a regular cappuccino and get my cupcakes at Crumbs.

Local art lines the walls

Order coffees here, then pick them up and pay…

Here! Cupcakes on display by the register

Nathaniel has no sweet tooth.  Boo.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2012 in DC

 

Tryst

Who knew Washington, DC had such a variety of amazing coffee spots?  I met up with an old traveling buddy, John, who suggested we go to Tryst in Adams Morgan.  How cool is this place?!  It’s like a dance club meets coffee shop meets restaurant.  Do you want to grab a glass of wine before going out? Go to Tryst.  Do you want to have a mocha and study for an upcoming test?  Go to Tryst.  This place is loud, fun, and very unique!

ME and my mocha!

Taste: 6

Nice, foamy, basic mocha.  Not too sweet, not too bitter, just right.  Wish I could have tasted their espresso a bit more in this mocha.  I did thoroughly enjoy dipping the animal crackers into my mocha!  Great idea, Tryst.

Appearance: 6

This is pretty cute, huh?  I like the swirly chocolate-y design on top and the animal crackers on the bottom.  Does anyone see anything in the chocolate swirly design? I can’t seem to figure out if I should be seeing anything in particular but it does appear easy to re-create.  Minus points for no ‘wow’ factor.  While I do like the crispness of the white cup and saucer, for such a crazy fun place I’m surprised I did not see some locally made artsy cup and saucer.  I used to be all for uniformity when it comes to plates and serving pieces but now I am getting bored with the all white everywhere!

 

Store Ambiance: 9

Oh heck yes!  This is a very ‘me’ place.  Local art for sale on the walls, dance-y upbeat music, packed with people and good vibes!  Tryst has a wide range of seating: choose from a comfy couch, a table for two, or a place at the bar.  You can sit amongst other Trysters or hide away at a table in the back.  They have something special going on almost any night of the week – who doesn’t love live Jazz on a Monday or a movie showing on a Tuesday?  There is free Wifi and happy hour specials.  They are powered by wind energy, promote shopping locally, and seem passionate about buying coffee from Counter Culture Coffee, an organization dedicated to sustainability and coffee education (and barista competitions!)  I HIGHLY recommend Tryst to anyone, any time of day, any day of the week 🙂

 

   

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2012 in DC

 

DC Swing’s

During The New York Football Giants Superbowl weekend I went to Washington, DC to visit my brother and his girlfriend!  We rented bikes and rode around the city, making an important mocha stop at Swing’s in Foggy Bottom.  Swing’s has been roasting and distributing coffee since 1916 and they have the photos to prove it.  This is a great place to people watch while enjoying some GREAT quality coffee!

Me at Swing’s post mocha 🙂

Taste: 6

‘HUH?!’ I thought after taking my first sip.  I almost detected a sweet vanilla-chocolate-y taste; there was definitely another flavor in there besides the basic cocoa and I was not sure what I thought of that. Seconds after taking my first sip I felt JOLTED awake!  Now that’s what I need from my mocha – great taste and an instant wake up.  After more than half way through this mocha it became a bit too sweet for my taste, almost like all of the flavors were sinking to the bottom of the cup. Blahh.  Besides the sweetness, I could taste the great quality of their espresso.  And having had a cup of their french pressed coffee (a la Nathaniel) I knew that they made amazing tasting espresso.  Next time I go to Swing’s I’ll probably ask for just half the amount of cocoa and then it will make my taste buds happy.

Appearance: 6

Great try, Swing’s!  This looks like some Picasso painting – I can sort of tell what design they were going for but it looks all abstract now.  Perhaps that’s because there was a minor spill while the mochas were en route to our table (a la Nathaniel 😀 ).  I appreciate the classic white cups and saucers with a bit of a contemporary twist in the square handle.  The white color just brings out the dark and light colors in this mocha.  Even though I do like the white color I would have loved to have seen something with a bit more ‘umpf’.  But again, this being DC and being right across from the historic Old Executive Office Building, I would imagine that artsy crafty cups are not welcomed.  This city during the day is like a walking, talking J.Crew catalog.

Store Ambiance: 8

This store has history.  This store has a mix of intellectuals.  This store has got a lot going for it!  For starters, Swing’s had a consistent line of customers about 16 people deep.  While waiting in line you will hear people talking in a variety of accents discussing everything from running a campaign to neoliberal institutionalism.  We got our coffee drinks (mocha for me, latte for the brother) quite quickly and found a table.  All around us people are either working on their laptops, buying coffee from Nathaniel’s favorite barista ;), and engaging in conversations that make you say ‘what the heck is that?!’  Surrounding all of the coffee-goers are photos from Swing’s circa 1916ish.  I love these photos!  The pictures, along with the mahogany and mirrored fixtures made me feel like I was stepping into a different kind of DC landmark.  So next time you are in DC, swing by Swing’s for some locally roasted (Virginia), great quality coffee.

  “I ❤ kahve!”

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2012 in DC