Tag Archives: JoAnn Hill

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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DC Scavenger: Decipher These Clues to Explore Dupont Circle!

Dupont Circle Photo: Wikipedia Commons

 

Summer may be winding down, but warm temperatures and days bursting with long-lasting sunlight continue to prevail (at least for now, anyway). Soak up every drop of summer with a fun and unique way to explore our capital city by embarking on a scavenger hunt throughout one of DC’s most popular neighborhoods!

The attractive neighborhood of Dupont Circle was established during the Gilded Age as a home for elite and affluent Washingtonians. Over a century later, it has managed to maintain its polished image with its stately row homes, green spaces, independent bookstores and shops, and eateries and cafes. The area’s epicenter, the energetic circle itself, serves as a popular social gathering spot for locals and visitors alike.

In this sixth guest blog post of her DC Scavenger series, local author JoAnn Hill takes us on an active pursuit throughout the Dupont Circle neighborhood. Embassies, museums and galleries, and grand mansions help define this lovely enclave, further preserving its initial intent as one of the city’s most elegant showpieces. Below are four of 23 clues featured in the Dupont Circle chapter of DC Scavenger, so lace up your walking shoes and get ready to explore this delightful and expansive region. And check out JoAnn’s book to solve and discover more clues and sites around Dupont Circle and throughout the entire city.

JoAnn Hill is also the author of Secret Washington, DC: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure, which goes beyond the typical guidebook; it’s an interactive treasure map spanning seventeen distinct neighborhoods throughout the District. If you think you know everything there is to know about DC ― even the most weird, wonderful, and obscure parts of it ― get ready to embark on an adventurous discovery of DC’s most cherished gems.

 

Dupont Circle Clue #1
A writer whose words echo worldwide,
Hues of mustard and crimson on this wall’s side.
“The Hill We Climb” helped her to shine bright,
This poet works hard for what is right.

Dupont Circle Clue #2
Deep, deep, low, artworks dazzle and glow,
You must descend to witness below.
Here, artists shine in this unique space;
Come and view in this sublevel place.

Dupont Circle Clue #3
Architect of Lincoln, this one more round,
The sea, wind, and stars, where pennies are found.
A spot for friends and neighbors to meet,
The water here welcomes your wading feet.

Dupont Circle Clue #4
This museum will have you screaming OHHHH!
Over one hundred rooms to get to know.
Two roaring statues greet visitors here,
Where Rosa Parks lived in her later years.

 

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JoAnn Hill, author of Secret Washington, DC: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure and DC Scavenger, has affectionately called Washington, DC, home for over 20 years.  She has written extensively about DC living, its food, and her world travels. Through her writing and research, she shares stories and tips that inspire the insatiably curious traveler. When she’s not writing and exploring, you will find her teaching fitness classes and indulging in DC’s culinary and theater scenes with her husband. JoAnn is the co-founder of Capitol Teachers, a full-service tutoring company servicing the greater DC area. She is currently working on her third book, Unique Eats and Eateries of Washington, DC, which is expected to be released in Spring 2024.

 

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DC Scavenger: Explore the Southwest Waterfront with These Fun Clues!

 

Summertime in DC calls for taking advantage of the city’s many spectacular waterfronts. The revitalized Southwest Waterfront is undoubtedly one of the District’s most vibrant areas, hosting a bevy of premiere dining, retail, and nightlife destinations. In addition to boasting an abundance of entertainment attractions, this accessible waterfront also offers countless recreational sports, festivals, and activities.

In this fifth guest blog post of her DC Scavenger series, local author JoAnn Hill takes us on an active pursuit throughout the Southwest Waterfront neighborhood. This highly visited region is largely characterized by The Wharf, as well as the nation’s longest continuously operating open-air fish market and thriving music and performing arts scenes. Below are four of 23 clues featured in the Southwest Waterfront chapter of DC Scavenger. JoAnn’s book that challenges readers to solve clues and discover sites around the Southwest Waterfront and throughout the entire city.

JoAnn Hill is the author of Secret Washington, DC: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure and DC Scavenger , which goes beyond the typical guidebook; it’s an interactive treasure map spanning seventeen distinct neighborhoods throughout the District. If you think you know everything there is to know about DC ― even the most weird, wonderful, and obscure parts of it ― get ready to embark on an adventurous discovery of DC’s most cherished gems.

Southwest Waterfront Clue #1
Come to this stop, a literary scene,
A stunning design surrounded by green,
Haven for books within these pleasing walls,
A redesigned space that welcomes us all.

Southwest Waterfront Clue #2
Find a showpiece quite grand that takes you here;
DC arts lovers hold this place quite dear.
An architectural gem you can’t miss,
Theater lovers bask in show-stopping bliss.

Southwest Waterfront Clue #3
Moove on over to this Vermont-based treat,
Deliciousness to lick, scoop, and eat,
Chunky Monkey and Phish Food are two faves,
So many flavors to savor and crave.

Southwest Waterfront Clue #4
Swing over to this area’s last spot,
The breeze here will cool you down when it’s hot.
Revert to your childhood here in full swing,
Fun way to round out this neighborhood fling!

 

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JoAnnHill, author of DC Scavenger and Secret Washington, DC: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure, has affectionately called Washington, DC, home for over 20 years. She has written extensively about DC living, its food, and her world travels on her blog dcglobejotters.org and other mediums and publications. Through her writing and research, she shares stories and tips that inspire the insatiably curious traveler. When she’s not writing and exploring, you will find her teaching yoga, barre, and group fitness classes, indulging in DC’s culinary and theater scenes, and spending as much time outside as possible being active. JoAnn is the co-founder of Capitol Teachers, a full-service tutoring company servicing the greater DC area. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband Thalamus and dog Jackson.

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DC Scavenger: Discover the Navy Yard with These Fun Clues!

 

Swing, Batter Batter, Swing! The arrival of spring also means the arrival of America’s favorite pastime. Baseball has played a major role throughout American history and its heavy-hitter impact is no different here in our nation’s capital! While the Nationals may not have a winning record at the moment, the District’s love and energy surrounding them continues to radiate throughout the city.

In this fourth guest blog post of her DC Scavenger series, local author JoAnn Hill takes us on an active pursuit throughout Navy Yard, the neighborhood home of our beloved Nationals and one of the city’s most vibrant areas. This highly visited region is mostly known for its lively stadium, picturesque waterfront, verdant parks, and abundance of eateries, shops, and outdoor events.

JoAnn Hill is the author of Secret Washington, DC: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure and DC Scavenger which goes beyond the typical guidebook; it’s an interactive treasure map spanning 17 distinct neighborhoods throughout the District. If you think you know everything there is to know about DC ― even the most weird, wonderful, and obscure parts of it ― get ready to embark on an adventurous discovery of DC’s most cherished gems.

Here are four of 23 clues featured in the Navy Yard chapter of DC Scavenger (and note that the photos show the general location, not the answer to the clue).  Check out JoAnn’s book to solve and discover even more clues and sites around the Navy Yard and throughout the entire city!

 

 

Navy Yard Clue #1
A yell of play “this,” and known as a dance,
Grab seats near a plate, if given a chance.
These metal spheres hang, shiny and bright,
In twenty-nineteen, they won the hard fight.

 

Navy Yard Clue #2
The Village folks start their spelling with this,
This namesake piece of wood is hard to miss,
Come find this letter, no need to ask “why”,
A sign of the ‘hood as you walk by.

 

 

Navy Yard Clue #3
At this gift shop, support makers of DC,
So much in store: have a shopping spree!
Buy books, art, and cards or treats for your pet,
Discover local wares, here you’re all set!

 

Navy Yard Clue #4
On the boardwalk, the letter after B,
Happiness comes in waves, jubilant glee,
This window looks out to the river blue,
Where boats are joined by their wonderful crew.

 

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JoAnnHill, author of DC Scavenger and Secret Washington, DC: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure, has affectionately called Washington, DC, home for over 20 years. She has written extensively about DC living, its food, and her world travels on her blog dcglobejotters.org and other mediums and publications. Through her writing and research, she shares stories and tips that inspire the insatiably curious traveler. When she’s not writing and exploring, you will find her teaching yoga, barre, and group fitness classes, indulging in DC’s culinary and theater scenes, and spending as much time outside as possible being active. JoAnn is the co-founder of Capitol Teachers, a full-service tutoring company servicing the greater DC area. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband Thalamus and dog Jackson.

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DC Scavenger: Discover the Tidal Basin with These Fun Clues!

 

Spring is just around the corner, and here in DC, that means the beautiful cherry trees that have come to symbolize our nation’s capital are about to be in full bloom! There’s no better time to wander around the Tidal Basin and experience the blossoms’ stunning glory at its peak.

In this third guest blog post of her DC Scavenger series, local author JoAnn Hill takes us on an active pursuit throughout the Tidal Basin. This highly visited area is mostly known for its majestic memorials, including the Jefferson Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and FDR Memorial. Each year, it also famously hosts the world-renowned Cherry Blossom Festival, a springtime staple and cherished celebration of beauty and nature. Along your scavenger hunt adventure, explore the Tidal Basin’s most cherished sites while surrounded by the abundant bursts of pink and white blossoms.

JoAnn Hill is the author of Secret Washington, DC: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure and DC Scavenger, which goes beyond the typical guidebook; it’s an interactive treasure map spanning 17 distinct neighborhoods throughout the District. If you think you know everything there is to know about DC ― even the most weird, wonderful, and obscure parts of it ― get ready to embark on an adventurous discovery of DC’s most treasured gems.

Below are four of 15 clues featured in the Tidal Basin chapter of DC Scavenger. (Note that the photos show the general location, not the answer to the clue!)  Check out JoAnn’s book to solve and discover even more clues and sites around the Tidal Basin and throughout the entire city!

 

Tidal Basin Clue #1
First memorial here’s for Tommy J
Three’s the magic number, please don’t stray
In his left hand, this declared us free,
Nineteen feet tall, the third prez stands strongly.

 

Tidal Basin Clue #2
Follow the path to this Japanese gift
Assembling it was a heavy lift.
It came in five crates, no clues to its shape
Near FDR, a fixture of this landscape.

 

Tidal Basin Clue #3
The First Lady next to this UN seal
Her husband laid down the promised New Deal
Including a First Lady is quite unique
She was smart and bold, opposite of meek.

 

Tidal Basin Clue #4
Stroll over to this memorial king,
There are four to solve, so do your thing!
Greatest civil rights leader of the land
Look for this scroll for the clue at hand.

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JoAnnHill, author of DC Scavenger and Secret Washington, DC: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure, has affectionately called Washington, DC, home for over 20 years. She has written extensively about DC living, its food, and her world travels on her blog dcglobejotters.org and other mediums and publications. Through her writing and research, she shares stories and tips that inspire the insatiably curious traveler. When she’s not writing and exploring, you will find her teaching yoga, barre, and group fitness classes, indulging in DC’s culinary and theater scenes, and spending as much time outside as possible being active. JoAnn is the co-founder of Capitol Teachers, a full-service tutoring company servicing the greater DC area. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband Thalamus and dog Jackson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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