Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Finding Urban Beauty

It suddenly occurred to me today that beautiful things and delicious food make me feel happy. I discovered both in the U Street Corridor of DC as my friend Kris and I wandered around on one of the nicest days of the Fall.

She commented last week that there are a lot of neighborhoods of Washington that she hasn’t explored and I suggested a “field trip” to the refurbished U Street area, remembering the charm that I had found the couple of times I had visited recently.

Having eaten only at Busboys and Poets, I asked a couple of people who know the area well for recommendations and came up with at least a half dozen possibilities. We read menus and checked them out as we wandered around the streets near 14th and U. We finally decided on Simply Home, offered by Richard, the hair stylist extraordinaire from Axis who cuts my hair (and does other things to it from time to time.) When I’m getting my hair done, we talk mainly of food and I’m convinced that Richard knows his DC restaurants.

We were delighted to find succulent Thai food in what sounded like a down-home southern restaurant. Not only was the food superb, but it was beautifully arranged on the plate. My chicken with basil had just the right amount of spiciness and Kris’s shrimp dish was loaded with pieces of ginger.

The best thing was the adjacent store that contained unnecessary but beautiful objects that would look good in just about any home.

But then that was the story of many of the small stores we explored. There was RCKNDY (known as Rock Candy), GoMamaGo, and Home Rule, just to name a few. In each of these stores, you could buy something of beauty which was well designed for under $5. But you could also spend $1,500. Quality and good design were high on the buyers’ list of things to look for.

I realized that I didn’t even have to buy anything much just to feel happy about seeing all these beautiful things. At one point I jokingly said to Kris, “What would you buy if someone gave you $1,000 right now?” It didn’t take long in Simply Home to find several possibilities.

We saved perhaps the best for last. After our Thai lunch we wandered down the street to CakeLove, suggested by Kris’s daughter. When you open the door, you are met by the smell of freshly baked cakes of all flavors that are made in the store. A sign offers you a free cupcake if it’s your birthday (with proof of course). We settled on a variety of cupcakes, which we reluctantly took home to share with family members who hadn’t come on the field trip. What a sweet ending to a great day!


Blogger media concepts said...

I miss DC's Thai food. Believe it or not, I have not found one good place for Thai out here, and a neighbor of mine who has lived here for many years says it simply does not exist.

11:31 PM  
Blogger Ulysses said...

I found out yesterday that Busboys and Poets is open or opening in Shirlington

7:03 AM  
Blogger Pauline said...

chocolate cupcakes?

I feel much the same way - sometimes just knowing there are beautiful things out there makes me happy. I don't need to have them.

7:18 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Matt -- There is something warm and comforting about Thai seasoning. Those slices of some sort of big green pepper added just the right about of heat to my chicken with basil. You'll just have to come East when you want good Thai food.

Ulysses -- That's excellent news. But the best news is that CakeLove is already in the new complex in Shirlington. Go check it out.

Pauline -- I've always loved a good cupcake. And these were quite special cupcakes.

8:01 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Home Rule is my friend Rod's store! Sounds like a delightful experience. I'll have to try that restaurant. The pic of your lunch is gorgeous.

8:44 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Reya -- I made my only purchase at Home Rule: a cute little traveling cover for the head of a toothbrush that has a suction cup on the back so you could put it on a mirror or wall. So clever! All for $3.99.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Sounds like a fabulous day. I've only spent a little time in that area, but I've definitely gone out of my way for CakeLove, which also open or opening in Shirlington.

10:39 AM  
Blogger bozoette said...

CakeLove cupcakes are my most favoritest indulgence! There's an outpost in downtown Silver Spring that has successfully tempted me many many times.

4:09 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Quite the presentation on that plate! And what's not to love about cupcakes?! They give a partyish feeling!

10:12 AM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

Isn't CakeLove owned by the guy who did the Food Network show Sugar Rush? Cool!
We have our own Food Network celebrity here in Baltimore- Chef Duff of Charm City Cakes- he's the guy on Ace of Cakes! He's even crazier in real life.

3:48 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Bozoette -- I quite agree! Very special cupcakes.

MOI -- Cupcakes were always my favorite.

Gewels -- I know nothing about the company, but I'm impressed if what you say is true.

4:36 PM  

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