Saturday, February 4, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 02/03/17: Strolling at Union Market, Strolling the Market District, Sweet and Quiet Beer

1. Early this afternoon, I bounded out to the Sube, blasted down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway to Route 50 (New York Avenue NE), buzzed up South Dakota NE to drop off a box at Goodwill, and crept from there to Union Market. All I wanted to do at Union Market was walk around, admire the thick steaks and pork belly at Harvey's Market and the Red Apron Butcher,  check out the menus at the District Fish Wife and at Rappahannock Oyster, gawk at the goods at Righteous Cheese, and breathe in the aromas of the food stalls featuring cuisine ranging from Korean tacos to dosas from India to empanadas from Guatemala and much more. I enjoyed a cup of coffee at Peregrine. The beans were roasted in Papua New Guinea.

2. Union Market sits in an area bordered by New York and Florida Avenues and 4th and 6th Streets NE. Crammed into this district are a host of wholesalers in old buildings with delivery trucks parked up and down the streets. The wholesalers are in the business of distributing everything from meat to seafood to produce to cheap accessories like purses and cell phone protectors and, dotted in the midst of these wholesale businesses are contemporary ventures, like a distillery, a pop up movie theater, a retail center for local handcrafted goods, a gelatto and coffee shop, and an upscale Italian restaurant, Masseria. I wanted to see what Masseria looked like from the outside -- I can't imagine I'll ever go inside -- and get a sense of how it blended into this neighborhood of rundown looking, graffiti marked wholesalers and vacant lots -- with, by the way, the gentrified Union Market plopped in the middle of it all. The first time I strolled up 4th Street, I missed Masseria, and then, after consulting a map on my smartphone, I found it.

Why did I want to see Masseria? I had read that Michelle Obama ate at Masseria three different times during her tenure as First Lady.  Often I read in publications and hear on the radio that Barack and Michelle Obama are popular in the city of Washington, D. C., in part, because they enjoyed going out to neighborhoods. It's common to read and hear that they "embraced D. C." Many presidents haven't. They never strayed far from the area and restaurants around the White House and the area's other governmental centers. But the Obamas liked to get out -- and I suppose they will continue to do so as they settle in as residents of Washington, D. C. for a while. So I just enjoyed seeing this modest looking upscale restaurant sitting on this worn out street with its graffiti and delivery trucks and liked that Michelle Obama was no stranger to this bustling, work a day, entrepreneurial neighborhood.

3.  Ah! Friday! DC Brau's tasting room opens at 3 p.m. on Friday and full pours are half price. So after my tour of the Union Market district, I drove up to DC Brau. I got there early enough that it was not very busy yet and I thoroughly enjoyed two glasses of their winter seasonal, the scotch ale, Stone of Arbroath.  It's a malty beer, warming, more sweet than bitter. I enjoyed my short visit, the beer, the quiet, the bits of conversation I could hear going on around the room.  As I left, I purchased a sixer of The Wings of Armageddon, knowing that the Deke would be very happy to relax after a tiring week with the help of one of our favorite Imperial IPAs.

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