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4th and H Street, NE

Remember TruOrleans? Well forget about it. The space has been completely transformed and will become Driftwood Kitchen very soon. And the transformation is more than cosmetic. First of all the new general manager, Eric Tollar, understands the history of the space and intends to be a true neighbor rather than just a restaurant. The owners are the same folks behind Darna in Arlington. Tollar explains that Darna means “our home” in Arabic and that is exactly the feeling he intends Driftwood to have. Tollar and lots of folks working at the restaurant live right in the neighborhood too. But enough about the past.

The future – Driftwood is a modern American restaurant with Middle Eastern profiles. And those profiles are shaped by spices (over one hundred). Get ready for zatar bacon. I’m happy to say I took a taste of some of the offerings – and it was the real deal. Everyone knows I’m not a food blogger so I’ll let the experts go into more details – but the duck breast I tried was just ridiculously good (they will be offering 6 entries of that caliber that will change seasonally). Speaking of ridiculously good – everything here is made fresh (not frozen – they’ll be using much of the freezer space for flavored ice cubes but more on that in a bit.) But speaking of frozen, and this is made fresh daily too, the ice cream. Oh the ice cream. Delicious. (photos after the jump.)

While brunch will come eventually, plans are to open soon for dinner service that will be served everyday from 4pm-11pm. But there will also be late night bar snacks (caramel cayene popcorn – made fresh daily of course) and possibly a late menu as well. And that leads us to the second component. The bar. There are two actually – one upstairs and one downstairs (though dinner is served in both spots). The one upstairs will focus on beer and a barrel aged whiskey cocktail program. But you can get a can beer too. There will be a daily happy hour from 4-7pm. The downstairs bar will focus on cocktails that feature hand made sodas – mint hibiscus, ginger beer, root beer and lots more. This is a serious passion of Tollar’s. Oh yeah, those fresh made ice creams – expect some floats too.

But the more important feeling I was left with was not only how passionately Tollar and the others talked about the space – but their flexibility. The space will accommodate what the neighborhood wants. Like I said, forget about TruOrleans – get ready for something totally different. Standby for an opening date.

And say good bye to the ironwork, it’s being removed and replaced with steel:

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Upstairs seating:

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My favorite detail:

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Lots more photos after the jump. (more…)

From a press release:

“In the future there is darkness. An unknown catastrophic event has closed the sky to what was once Ancient Egypt; no memory of what the world was before this eternal night remains. Electricity is now so valuable and scarce it is treated as currency – and a powerful Pharaoh keeps the people divided. The rich glow bright with power while the poor are drained until they have nothing left. Chenzira, an unusual boy from the lower crust of society, is searching for the secrets of the pyramids with his companions. What he will finds will change not only his life, but and the destiny of humanity. Set to a synthesis of garage rock and larger-than-life electronic sounds, The Electric Pharaoh is the 6th original feature written and produced by The Baltimore Rock Opera Society (BROS).

RUNNING TIME: 2.5 hours including intermission. Fri/Sat at 8 PM. Sunday at 6:00 PM. WASHINGTON D.C. SHOW DATES: October 31, November 1 and 2nd LOCATION: Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H Street, NE, Washington, DC

The Electric Pharaoh is expected to sell out—advanced tickets available for $20 via www.baltimorerockopera.org and https://bros.tixato.com/buy. (more…)

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From a press release:

“The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) today announced the start of DC Streetcar’s “Pre-Revenue Operations” phase—a crucial milestone for DC Streetcar as it continues prepping the system to be certified safe to carry passengers. System Integration Testing and Operator Training is wrapping up now, and Pre-Revenue Operations is anticipated to begin on Monday, September 29.

Pre-Revenue Operations is actual service simulated along the corridor without passengers. During this phase, all streetcar vehicles will run at their projected hours with projected headways (about every ten minutes). Proposed hours of operations for the streetcars were included in a recent legislation package that is now open for public review. Comments regarding the proposed hours of operation can be sent to publicspace.policy@dc.gov until September 27.

The proposed hours are:

· Monday-Thursday: 6:00 a.m. – midnight

· Friday: 6:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.

· Saturday: 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.

· Sundays and Holidays: 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians can expect to see streetcars with greater frequency during this phase and are reminded of the following safety tips: (more…)

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Back in July we heard some scuttlebutt that some Portuguese flame-grilled chicken could be headed toward the western end of H Street, NE.  It’s official – Nando’s Peri Peri is coming to 411 and 413 H Street, NE. The folks from Nando’s tell me “we will be opening a new Nando’s in spring 2015 (hopefully in May) on H Street NE.”

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From 13th and H Street, NE.

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From 5×5:

“U.S.A.I.R.A.N obscures the perceived divide between Iranian and US identities. By reappropriating the exterior of a vacant building in D.C.’s thriving H Street corridor, artist Sanaz Mazinani creates a sculptural symbol for the transference of culture in which one’s personal politics are recontextualized and cross-examined.

The installation brings attention to the void of Washington D.C.’s official Embassy of Iran, which has stood regal yet vacant on Massachusetts Avenue NW since 1980. Mazinani wraps a quintessential mid-century American building — the site of the former Robert L. Christian Community Library — in intricate Islamic patterns. Articulating the nebulous sense of place from the perspective of an emigrant, muraled windows and walls reference the architectural details of the former Embassy. Upon close inspection, one will see that these patterns are comprised of mass media imagery, composed in both parallels and contradictions. U.S.A.I.R.A.N examines absence and placelessness, while at the same time explores the potential for harmony. It is a site from which to build mutual respect and activate cultural exchange.”

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