Category Archives: DC

Mouse on the Move + Free Family Fun Coming to the Atlas Next Week!

 

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This post is paid for by the Atlas Performing Arts Center, however, I only promote programs, places, and businesses that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers. 

 

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Filed under 2024, DC, Free, Live Entertainment, Theatre, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

Five Things: February 27, 2024

Immerse in 1.8 Renwick

 

1. After being closed several months for maintenance, the Renwick Gallery reopens to the public today! There is always interesting art on display that all ages can enjoy.  Sharing Honors and Burdens: Renwick Invitational 2023 is still on view along with more than 100 works of contemporary craft.  And Janet Echelman’s 1.8 Renwick, always a visitor favorite, remains upstairs — lay back on the floor and watch it change colors above you.  Renwick hours are 10am – 5:30pm, and admission is free.  See more about the Renwick in posts about past exhibitions here, here, and here.

 

2. The lottery for tickets to the 2024 White House Easter Egg Roll is open!  The annual event, taking place April 1 this year, is held on the South Lawn is full of family activities, including storytime, games, live entertainment, and the traditional Easter Egg Roll.  The lottery will be open through Monday, March 4 at 12pm, and results will be announced on March 11.  You can only enter one time per household.

 

3. The Washington Nationals just announced the Nats Summer Concert Series, which will bring a fun lineup of artists to the ballpark:  Flo Rida on June 7, Carly Rae Jepsen on July 19, Teddy Swims on August 9, and Lady A on September 27.  All of the concerts will follow Nats home games, and they are FREE for fans attending the games!  Purchase tickets here.

 

4. If you’re getting your garden ready for spring, how about some fun things like this and this to get the kids into it, too?

 

5. Lego fans will dig this.

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Filed under 2024, DC, Five Things, Winter

Standout Black-Owned DC Eateries the Whole Family Will Enjoy

 

DC’s rich and varied Black history has been intertwined into the fabric of our nation’s capital since the city’s inception. Food has remained a prominent driving force in how we memorialize and celebrate Black culture. While these deep-seeded roots have been planted for years, the illustrious individuals behind the bites and delights we’ve come to crave continue to make a lasting impression on DC’s flourishing and constantly evolving food scene.

In this inaugural “Unique Eats and Eateries of Washington, DC” guest blog post, local author JoAnn Hill leads you on a mouthwatering adventure throughout the Washington, DC, area to explore eats and eateries that are both familiar and exotic. In Unique Eats and Eateries of Washington, DC, you’ll discover an extraordinary collection of food and drink experts exquisitely seasoned by dashes of passion, sprinkles of grit, and pinches of ingenuity.

In honor of Black History Month, here is a sampling of the places and people covered in the book, highlighting some of DC’s Black-owned eateries that the whole family will enjoy.

 

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Bee J’s Cookies
Batches Made in Heaven

A variety of cookies at Bee J’s (Photo: SV Images)

Bee J’s Cookies was birthed out of a love for baking and a deep connection with family. Cofounder and baker Bryant Jones learned the art of baking by watching his grandmother, Sweetie, pick pears off her trees and bake them into scrumptious pies. Years later, he would bake cookies for his girlfriend Andrea O’Neal, prompting her to suggest that he begin selling his artisan cookies.

The couple launched their cookie business in April 2020, and as Bee J’s Cookies has expanded, they’ve introduced more personalized flavors that honor the family members who’ve supported them along the way. Sweetie’s Sweet Potato cookie, along with the Brown Sugar cookie, named after Andrea’s great-grandmother, Queen, serve as sweet reminders of those who always taste like home.

Read All About It: Read more about Bee J’s Cookies and their little batches of heaven on page 64 of Unique Eats and Eateries of Washington, DC.

Where To Dig In: Visit Bee J’s Cookies at Union Market: 1309 5th St. NE.

 

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FishScale
Cast Your Net on Some of the District’s Most Flavorsome Fish

FishScale’s jerk salmon cheesesteak (Photo: Anela Malik)

Brandon Williams began dabbling in the kitchen at a young age and taught himself how to cook. After he went on a youth-group fishing trip to the Chesapeake Bay, his aunt cooked the fish he caught, and it was love at first bite. This indelible moment taught the budding chef that local and fresh is unequivocally better.

His parents recognized Brandon’s immense cooking talent and encouraged him to enroll at L’Academie de Cuisine Culinary School. Soon thereafter, Brandon went on to launch FishScale at the Farmers’ Market by the White House. Within a mere six weeks, the Washington Post published a rave review, prompting Brandon to take the plunge and open a brick-and-mortar spot in Shaw.

Each day, Brandon purchases his fresh fish, and a list of the daily catches is prominently displayed. Sandwich sensations include the True Blue Maryland crab burger, composed of succulent, pan-seared Maryland crab topped with a choice of house-made condiments. The Chesapeake Cheesesteak is an absolute knockout. The stellar sandwich bursts with seasoned, skillet-fired fish smothered in caramelized onions, green peppers, provolone cheese, and a dreamy drizzle of garlic aioli.

Read All About It: Read more about FishScale and its sustainable wild fish on pages 54-55 of Unique Eats and Eateries of Washington, DC.

Where To Dig In: Visit FishScale at 637 Florida Ave. NW.

 

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Half-Smokes
The Capital City’s Symbolic Sausage

Half smokes on the grill (Photo: Courtesy of Ben’s Chili Bowl)

Philadelphia has its cheesesteak, Chicago has its deep-dish pizza, and Washington, DC, has its half-smoke. Thankfully for us Washingtonians, our capital city offers many takes on the iconic staple. One scrumptious bite is enough to know this symbolic sausage goes beyond your run-of-the-mill hot dog.

One would be remiss not to mention legendary Ben’s Chili Bowl when listing DC’s best half-smokes. The renowned DC institution catapulted the half-smoke into notoriety. Hungry enthusiasts continue to flock to this venerable standby for over 60 years.

HalfSmoke adds a bit of panache to the DC classic. In addition to their hearty meat offerings, their U Street Hipster boasts a plant-based sausage with chimichurri and spiced avocado spread.

Barbecue joint DCity Smokehouse’s namesake half- smoke is blanketed in brisket chili, cheddar-jack cheese, red onions, and mustard. Don’t miss their smokehouse’s signature mac and cheese; it’s guaranteed to be both a kid and adult favorite!

Read All About It: Read more about DC’s signature sausage on pages 40-41 of Unique Eats and Eateries of Washington, DC.

Where To Dig In:
Ben’s Chili Bowl (multiple locations) – Flagship: 1213 U St. NW
HalfSmoke (multiple locations) – Flagship: 651 Florida Ave. NW
DCity Smokehouse – 203 Florida Ave. NW

 

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Puddin’
Divine Comfort Food

Puddin’s beautiful bowls of comfort (Photo: Courtesy of Puddin’)

Warm, buttery bourbon goodness soaked up by moist bread pudding might just be the impetus behind the saying, “Eat dessert first.” This is soul-satisfying comfort food at its best. It’s also owner Toyin Alli’s “happiest accident,” a one- off recipe mistake that produced a crowd-pleasing creation. The long- lasting result? Divinity spooned into a cup.

Toyin’s love for cooking is influenced by her father’s Nigerian heritage and her mother’s Southern roots. From the moment she moved from California to DC, she’s devoted every waking moment to cooking comfort food, building her brand, and earning her reputation across the region.

After fulfilling a longtime dream of becoming an Eastern Market vendor, Toyin launched a food truck. The DC area’s taste buds have been on a mouthwatering ride ever since.

Today, Toyin’s divine Southern comfort food has attracted a devout following. Patrons queue up for Toyin’s shrimp ’n grits, chicken ’n beef sausage gumbo, and of course, her establishment’s namesake, her famed brown butter bourbon bread puddin’—a delectable treat that will surely satiate all your comfort-loving dreams.

Read All About It: Read more about Puddin’ and its sustainable wild fish on pages 10-11 of Unique Eats and Eateries of Washington, DC.

Where To Dig In: Visit Puddin’ at Union Market: 1309 5th St. NE.

 

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Roaming Rooster
Fried Chicken You Can Feel Good About

Chicken piled high with a side of fries at Roaming Rooster (Photo: Laura Nockett)

In 2019, Roaming Rooster’s founders Michael and Biniyam Habtemariam and Hareg Mesfin watched their popularity soar after a local woman tweeted about their fried chicken amidst the contentious fried chicken war between heavy hitters Popeyes and KFC. In a blink of a tweet, the trajectory of Roaming Rooster had been forever changed.

Food has always been at the core of the Habtemariam family. Their father, an Ethiopian Air Force pilot, lost his left hand in a plane crash, causing much of the cooking responsibilities to fall on the two brothers. In 2015, they entered full speed into DC’s food truck scene, and today, they’ve built an impressive empire of nearly a dozen locations spanning across the region.

They are steadfast in serving fried chicken that individuals can feel good about. Their chickens are raised in a humane and natural manner, never given antibiotics or chemicals of any kind. They work exclusively with free-range chicken farms where birds have an abundance of sunshine, ample roaming space, and are never given antibiotics or chemicals of any kind. In addition to their revered fried chicken sandwiches, Roaming Rooster’s offerings include wings, tenders, and milkshakes.

Read All About It: Read more about Roaming Rooster and its feel-good chicken on pages 156-157 of Unique Eats and Eateries of Washington, DC.

Where To Dig In: Roaming Rooster (multiple locations) – Flagship: 3176 Bladensburg Rd. NE

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JoAnn Hill is the author of Unique Eats and Eateries of Washington, DC, Secret Washington, DC: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure, and DC Scavenger. JoAnn has spent more than 20 years exploring Washington, DC, and has written extensively about the region’s hidden histories and peculiarities, active pursuits, and vibrant food and drink scenes. Through her passion for food and adventure, she shares stories and tips that satiate the hungry enthusiast and inspire the curious traveler. When she’s not writing, you will find her teaching fitness classes, enjoying a night at the theater, and exploring as much of the world with her husband as she possibly can. JoAnn is the co-founder of Capitol Teachers, a full-service tutoring company servicing students in the greater Washington, DC, area as well as across the country.

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The Weekend Round-Up:
February 23-25

A walk in the woods at Fountainhead Regional Park

 

HAPPY WEEKEND!

Ideas galore for local fun in these go-to posts:
* Best Outdoors in the DC Area
* Local Hikes with Kids
* The Great Indoors
* Off-the-Beaten-Path Museums
* Active Pursuits Inside
* Kid-Friendly Eats
* Ice Skating
* Baltimore with Kids
* Peaceful Places

Acupunk
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Friday & Saturday, 7:30-8:30pm | Sunday, 6-7pm
Admission: Free
Part of the REACH to Forest Festival, this poetic fable about healing the Earth is acted out by two giant puppets, Éria and Terrenis, towering at 18 feet tall. This US premiere of Acupunk is presented by Quebec-based Théâtre de la Dame de Coeur. Catch it for free on the REACH Plaza, and be sure to see what other festival events and exhibits you can enjoy while you’re there.

Cool Hikes
Where: Around the DC area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Sunny days are in the forecast Saturday and Sunday, so make a plan to hit the trail.  This post has a bunch of recommendations for good places to go with kids. Some specific recs for this weekend: Riverbend to Great Falls in Mclean, VA; Roosevelt Island within the Potomac River in DC; Fountain Regional Park in Fairfax Station, VA; Sugarloaf Mountain (plus a great après hike spot) in Dickerson, MD.

Ice It
Where: Around the DC area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by rink

There are only a couple of weeks left to skate under the sky, so take advantage while you can! Take in art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; circle around Washington Harbour as you enjoy river views; meander along the Figure 8 path at Canal Park one last time; skate at The Wharf’s final weekend; or do some shopping then skate at Pentagon Row, Veteran’s Plaza, Rockville Town Square, or Reston Town Center. This post has details on alfresco (and indoor) ice skating options in the area.

Hill Family Biking Community Clean-Up Ride
Where: Around Capitol Hill, DC
When: Saturday, 10:30am
Admission: Free

Enjoy a group bike ride and do a little volunteering on the Hill Family Biking Community Clean-up Ride on Saturday. Meet at the Maury Elementary parking lot on 12th Pl NE, then ride to three locations hosted by ANC Commissioners to help beautify the Capitol Hill neighborhood: 17th and Potomac Ave SE, 12th and K St NE, 10th and G St NE (Sherwood Rec Center). Bonus: Participating in the ride will score you a square in TranspoBINGO, a week-long game that challenges players to use and support public and active transportation, and take advantage of local public spaces.

John Henry England Celebrates the Little Holidays
Where: Avalon Theatre | Chevy Chase, MD
When: Saturday, 10:30am
Admission: $12
Join Avalon Theatre to celebrate Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and more of those silly Little Holidays with a live concert from John Henry, The Guitar Playing Man! John Henry is known for performing music and movement programs for children of all ages. With 20 years of early childhood education and performance experience, John Henry’s interactive program will engage children as they dance and sing during this memorable concert, featuring his brother Sven Henry!

Black History Activities
Where: Around the DC area
When: Throughout February (and beyond)
Admission: Varies by activity

Black History Month is winding down, and there are many great events and activities throughout the DC area to celebrate it — during this last weekend of February and beyond. Museum programs, guided and self-guided tours, visits to significant sites, and more are enlightening and entertaining for all ages. See the round-up of them here.

Grand Opening Celebration
Where: Sticky Fingers | Takoma Park, DC
When: Saturday, 10am
Admission: Free
Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats, the beloved woman-owned DC-based bakery from two-time Cupcake Wars champion, Doron Petersan, is hosting a Grand Opening Celebration, as well as a ribbon and cake cutting, at its new Flagship Bakery on Saturday. The first 100 customers to attend the Grand Opening Celebration will get a free chocolate chip cookie, and the bakery will give out samples and prizes throughout the day.  Local Drag Queen Tara Hoot will also be kicking off the celebration with bubbles and stories.

Art & Craft Workshop
Where: House of Sweden | Georgetown, DC
When: Saturday, 1—4pm
Admission: Free
Pop in the Swedish Embassy for a creative family arts & crafts workshop in arts & crafts, themed around artist Hilma af Klint (read more about her here). Guides will lead the workshop geared toward kids ages 2-10. All materials will be provided.

Fun at Fairfax Parks
Where: Parks throughout Fairfax County, VA
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

The Fairfax County Park Authority hosts all kinds of events on weekends for guests of all ages. Learn about making ice and ice cream at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park.   Explore the sensational world of seeds at Green Spring Gardens.  Join a maple sugariing session at Colvin Run Mill.  Details and registration for these plus more activities this weekend and beyond are available here.

Weekend Workshops
Where: National Portrait Gallery | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 12–3pm
Admission: Free

Drop in at the National Portrait Gallery to do some art making! All ages are welcome to get creative at Weekend Workshops. Learn about artists and changemakers, then create art inspired by their stories. Of course, explore the whole museum while you’re there. See more about the National Portrait Gallery here.

Cinderella: A Salsa Fairytale
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: Saturday, 1pm & 4pm | Sunday, 10am & 4pm
Tickets: $12+
A bilingual Cinderella with a twist that kids will love! What will happen to Cinderella at the ball … game? That’s the surprising question in this contemporary Latin-American Cinderella musical that weaves subtle lessons on empathy, sportsmanship, and respect into an exciting, high-stakes story. An Imagination Stage original that broke new ground in bilingual children’s theatre. Recommended for ages 5+.

Junie B. Jones, The Musical
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo, MD
When: Fri, 11am  | Sat & Sun, 11am & 2pm
Tickets: $25

It is Junie B.’s first day of first grade, and a lot of things have changed for her: Junie’s friend, Lucille, does not want to be her best pal anymore and, on the bus, Junie B. makes friends with Herb, the new kid at school. Also, Junie has trouble reading the blackboard and her teacher, Mr. Scary, thinks she may need glasses. Throw in a friendly cafeteria lady, a kickball tournament and a “Top-Secret Personal Beeswax Journal,” and first grade has never been more exciting. Featuring a tremendously loveable character and fun-filled songs, Junie B. Jones will capture your audience members’ hearts just as the books captivated an entire generation of students.

Vamos United!
Where: Audi Field | Southwest DC
When: Saturday, 7:30pm
Admission: Tickets start at $27

Soccer season begins this weekend as the DC United play their first match at home against New England Revolution. Tickets are still available to cheer on the black and red! I recommend taking public transportation since parking can be difficult. Or park in the Navy Yard neighborhood (Audi Field is a short walk from there) and plan on a bite before or after the game — here are some recs for family-friendly restaurants in. the area.

Forest Youth Day
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Sunday
Admission: Free

Kids and families can enjoy an exciting day of free activities as part of the REACH to Forest Festival. There will be film screenings, hands-on crafts, multiple educational giveaways including magazines, coloring sheets, forestry career cards, and free Every Kid Outdoors passes for fourth graders so they can enjoy America’s natural wonders. Some activities require registration, so be sure to sign up in advance.

Wizards vs Cavaliers
Where: Capital One Arena
When: Sunday, 6pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary 

The Wizards are playing at home on Saturday evening — watch them work some on-court magic against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Make a longer outing of it in Penn Quarter — go early and pop in to the National Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum or plan on a pre or post game meal.  Find recommendations for family-friendly restaurants here.

Where: The Gordon Center | Baltimore, MD
When: Sunday, 1:30pm & 6:30pm (and Monday 7pm)
Admission:  $20-22
Join the revolution with the JCC Children’s Theatre Production Company’s production of Matilda Jr! Watch as Matilda teaches us that “you mustn’t let a little thing like little stop you” in this hilarious and heartwarming adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved children’s novel.

Museums in DC & Beyond
Where: Around the DC area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

From the National Mall to other areas of the cit  to outside the District lines, the DC area is full of museums, and they are always great to explore. Visit a Smithsonian favorite, an off-the-beaten path locale in the city, or a museum in Maryland or Northern Virginia…there’s something for all ages and interests!

***MORE GOOD STUFF***
* Fossil hunting isn’t a warm weather only activity — as long as you’re dressed for it (ie, wear waterproof boots)!
* Take a hike — and enjoy some post-hike fun, too. Here are six recommendations for it.
* The best breakfast spots around DC, according to Eater.
* Get 40% off on all kids and babies styles at Gap right now.
* Latest rec from my teen daughter that I love: This lip gloss.
* Prep for your next beach/resort trip: This swim coverup nails the style this year. Similar options here and here.
* Speaking of beach trips…Athleta is currently having a sale on on vacation favorites (their swimsuits are great)!
* This is so funny (especially if you’re a fan of The Smiths).

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Filed under 2024, DC, Maryland, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

Five Things: February 20, 2024

 

1. Have you been to the Kennedy Center and The REACH lately?  The next couple of weeks will be a great time to go.  Starting today through March 3, the REACH to Forest Festival will bring free programs, films, art installations, conversations, and more that explore the symbiotic relationship between forests and the human world. This includes a bunch of events and performances that kids and families will love, so be sure to check the highlights and plan for them. You can see free performances with giant puppets, attend an environmental book fair especially for children, enjoy special youth days, and more!

 

2. A new family-friendly beer garden just opened in the Del Ray area of Alexandria. Gustave Boulangerie et le Jardin welcomes both kids and dogs (and their parents and people, of course) to enjoy the outdoor space with picnic tables, a sandbox and more areas for kids and dogs to play, an outdoor kitchen serving Mediterranean cuisine, and bocce! Read more about it here.

 

3. An activity my teen daughter and I enjoy together:  Consignment shhopping through Old Town Alexandria, where there are several great stores to browse for secondhand finds.

 

4. Love the look and color selection of these bags — and only $20!

 

5. Next time you’re in the Navy Yard, plan to get lunch (or breakfast or a snack) at the newly opened Maman.  Just had a great first taste — and the space is as pretty as the food is yummy. (They also have locations in Georgetown, Dupont Circle, Penn Quarter, and Bethesda, though this was the first one I’ve been to.)

 

 

 

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Filed under 2024, DC, Five Things, Winter