Mike and I had another date night in DC the other day. I have been holding him to the mothly date night ventures to DC or Baltimore – we started this last year and was epic fail – meaning that after big promises of “date nights” by the husband we only we went two times in six motnhs! So after a bit of “explaining the importance to me” we are back on course. Anywho, where’d we go? After reading one of my issues of Washingtonian Magazine we decided on the Shaw District.
Alittle info on Shaw District – DC – Shaw technically includes the sub-neighborhoods of Logan Circle, Truxton Circle, and the U Street Corridor. It is bounded by 15th St NW, Florida Ave (formerly Boundary St), North Capitol St, and M St NW.
Although it has a diverse population, Shaw is distinctive from the adjacent areas due to its African-American heritage. It is popular due to its jazz clubs, bars, high-end bars and lounges, and for the marvelous food, including Little Ethiopia.
The neighborhood, named after Civil War Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, was first developed starting in 1865 when the end of the Civil War led to a huge increase in demand for new housing in Washington, D.C. The extension of streetcar lines in the early 1900’s up 7th St and 14th St also spurred additional development.
Because Shaw was not affected by covenants that prohibited property sales to African Americans, Shaw became the center of African-American culture in Washington and was home to many black-owned businesses, entertainment venues, and other institutions. It was the birthplace of jazz great Duke Ellington, who lived on the 1200 block of T St. It was the center of Washington’s music scene and includes the historic Howard Theater (opened in 1910), Lincoln Theatre (opened in 1921), and Bohemian Caverns jazz club (opened in 1926).
Following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in April 1968, riots broke out at the intersection of 14th St & U St. The riots resulted in significant damage to 1,200 buildings and resulted in thousands of permanent job losses. With the introduction of crack cocaine in the 1970s and 1980s and the subsequent flight of residents and businesses from the area, Shaw succumbed to urban blight. The entire neighborhood was considered to be unsafe due to rampant prostitution and drug use.
However, beginning in the early 1990s, a wave of gentrification restored the area. In 1986, the Reeves Center, a 500,000 square foot municipal office building, opened at the intersection of 14th St and U St, bringing thousands of jobs to the area. The Shaw-Howard University Metro Station opened in 1991. In 2000, a Whole Foods supermarket opened at the intersection of 14th & P Street and quickly became one of the retailer’s highest grossing stores. Between 2000 and 2002, Harrison Square, the first large scale residential development in the area in a long time, was constructed. Since then, dozens of upscale businesses have opened and thousands of apartments have been constructed. Houses at Harrison Square, which originally cost $200,000 in 2000-2002, are now selling for $900,000.
It took us about an hour to get into town – we had the first reservations at HAZEL 5:30 (yes the early bird). Before dinner we walked around and I fell in love with Glen’s Garden Market a upscale corner market with the best staff and almost anything you could want for dinner, lunch or snacks.
Than we came across READ WALL – AMERICAN MENS TAILORING custom mens suits, shirts and shoes all AMERICAN MADE! Now that I can get into. Thank you Conor Siegel for the great welcome, explainations and information on this lovely bespoke mens store! We will be back! “Chirstmas is coming”
We also found this shop CHERRY BLOSSOM – It must have been only 300 sq ft but I could have stayed in there for an hour or more!
It’s a small fantastic paper/pen/writing shop where Mike treated me to a few little trinkets. The art of writing is coming back if I have anything to do about it. Coming from a women who can’t spell her way out of a box and is terribly dyslexic but ya love what you love, right? Below the few items I got – pens, pencils, mini notepad and acrylic pen holder with built in sharpener. Now off to dinenr @HAZEL restaurant………..
This post is hard to write because I was really looking forward to the meal. It started out…… just ok the hostess couldnt really be bothered and literelly just tossed the drink / app menu on the table since we couldnt be sat until exactly 5:30 she said. OK – the cocktail waitress was lovely however – very upbeat – quick and thanked us for coming in. Got Mike a lovely Rose and myself a custom “mocktail” ginger and lemon strong – my favorite and served in a champange flute. I love any of my drinks in a “fancy” glass. Mike “yeah my baby loves her stemware”! Truewords! You could see the kitchen from the patio – very cool and they had a the best instagramable wall in the back with patio string lights and fire pits – must be great for HH and weekend dinner, brunch. The bar inside was nice – loved the flooring throughout. The dining decor and large art on back wall – didnt do it for me- to each his own I guess. The staff is dressed in urban chic – a favorite of mine – so its a hip and fun atmosphere.
Now onto the meal – our server navigated the menu and sugggested we pick 3 items each to share and they will course them out according to flavors – Ok on board – started out ok with the Kanpachi Crudo. This plate was very good. The flavors all worked and the Kanpachi was really well seasoned. The jalapeno added a bit of kick and the crunchy veggies worked in this dish. Bravo Hazel!However went down hill after that – very sad to say. I dont like to blast people and places but this was so surprising. The steak tartare had so much going on I could not eat more than two bites – salty – way to much sauce and I’m glad we didnt take the advice to mash all togther and eat – we used the tater tots as a crustini of sorts. You simply couldnt taste the tartare. Next was the star of the show “Grandma Hazel’s zucchini bread” The bread was fantatic (this item is also on the dessert menu folks) but the foie gras really lacked flavor and did not really go with this fantastic bread…… I would however buy a loaf of the bread in a heartbeat.Next came the grilled fairy tale eggplant – was bitter and the presentation was very “dark” not what you want to eat in summer espically Than the stragest thing I tasted on the menu was the BBQ carrots – the flavors were such a mash up – the flavoring was a reminder of bbq chips and so much sauce, salt and I just didnt get it. Would not order that again.
The BBQ wagyu shrot ribs were like candy and the “Gnocchi Bokki” just was odd – kimchi pork ragu with italian flavors mixed in? I don’t know people but I think grandma Hazel was drinking in the kitchen that night. Teasing……..I have heard bruch is good but with all the choices we have in DC I dont think we will be back anytime soon. I will say that I was very surprised by the server as the plates were cleared you could see we didnt finish much never they never asked if it was all going ok? Maybe just a off night for the Hazel kitchen, you decide.
The company however was lovely, date night ended great we held hands, kissed, laughed and just enjoyed each others company. That’s all I wanted.
Gotta run busy week here and I am already behind. Check back for update on http://www.FrederickDermatology.com and my fist Cool sculpting experience. Restaurants on the list soon are: Peking Gormet Inn,VA and Mirabelle DC!