European Food Shines at Local Farmers Market

June 18, 2013

“Autre chose?” asks Joelle as her customer pays for a quiche. Joelle and her husband sell fresh Belgian food at the Rose Park farmers market every Wednesday afternoon. Sweet smells welcome all under her tent, marked by a bright “Les Caprices de Joelle” sign.

Nearby their booth, a cucumber is purchased, a pain au chocolat is coveted and a head of lettuce is examined. Despite the tiny raindrops drizzling down around the tents, shoppers mingle among green produce and golden homemade bread.

“Even though it is rainy, people come anyway,” Joelle said.

Joelle moved to the U.S. eight years ago. A native Belgian, she studied the culinary arts in Belgium before crossing the Atlantic.

She said the farmers market is important to her as a chef, especially “coming from Europe, [where] everything we make is from the farmers market.”

Naturally, her booth specializes in Belgian waffles, but not like any found in America.

“We order the sugar from Belgium. It’s made from beets,” she said. “It takes a long time for the sugar to get here since we ship it.”

Crêpes, marinated carrots, lentil soup and chicken turnovers are just some of the European foods Joelle has to offer, but she is not alone.

Bonaparte Bread offers French pastries and bakery items. At this booth, Claudio sells croissants for $2, French bread for $3, and pain au chocolat and almond croissants for $3.50. Claudio is relatively new to the market, having only sold there a month, but his booth seems to be exactly what farmers’ market founder Leslie Wheelock had in mind.

“I moved back from France and missed the markets,” Wheelock said.

When she proposed the idea of a farmers market to the Friends of Rose Park board, they assigned her to the task of creating it. The market is sponsored by the Friends of Rose Park and the DC Parks & Recreation Department. As an all-volunteer market, Wheelock depends on personal contacts, the Friends of Rose park website and e-mail to connect to new vendors. Though other markets in the district might be more commercial, she said the Rose Park market is optimal for new farmers and vendors.

“Farmers who have never been to market before come here.”

Wheelock said customers can even bring their pets. The market often has a booth that sells dog treats.
She said the market relies on the strong sense of community surrounding it to help it succeed.

“Unless we have neighborhood support, the farmers don’t come.”

The market is held every Wednesday from 3 to 7 p.m., May through October.

Boat Tours Back in Georgetown

Mule-powered boat rides are back in Georgetown on the C&O Canal. In an effort to preserve the 19th-century form of transportation, the National Park Service is offering the tours of the canal until October. Park rangers aid in the historic experience with period clothing and stories of the canal’s past. The hour-long tour costs $5 for adults and children ages four and up. Children three years old and younger ride free.

Boats leave from the Georgetown Visitors Center at 1057 Thomas Jefferson Street, NW. Tours are given at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3 pm.

For more information and group reservations contact the visitors center at 202-653-5190. The center is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.

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Public Pools and Libraries Extend Hours


-The Department of Parks and Recreation has announced that all DPR outdoor pools will open two hours early (11 a.m.) and close one hour later (9 p.m.) The following pools are included in the announcement:

• Anacostia, 1800 Anacostia Drive, SE, (202) 724-1441
• Banneker, 2500 Georgia Avenue, NW, (202) 673-2121
• Benning Park, Southern Avenue and Fable Street, SE, (202) 645- 5044
• Douglass, Frederick Douglass Court and Stanton Terrace, SE, (202) 645- 5045
• Fort Dupont, Ridge Road and Burns Street, SE, (202) 645-5046
• Fort Stanton, 1800 Erie Street, SE, (202) 645- 5047
• Harry Thomas Sr., 1743 Lincoln Road, NE, (202) 541-7499
• Oxon Run, 4th Street and Mississippi Avenue, SE, (202) 645-5042
• Theodore R. Hagans Jr., 3201 Fort Lincoln Drive, NE, (202) 576-6389
• Volta Park (formerly Georgetown), 3400 Volta Place, NW, (202) 282-0381

Mayor Fenty’s office has also announced that 11 public libraries will stay open until 9 p.m. throughout the summer, including Georgetown Interim Library.

• Anacostia Library, 1800 Good Hope Road, SE, (202) 715-7707
• Benning Library, 3935 Benning Road, NE, (202) 281-2583
• Cleveland Park Library, 3310 Connecticut Avenue, NW, (202) 282-3080
• Georgetown Interim Library, 3307 M Street, NW, (202) 724-8783
• Lamond-Riggs Neighborhood Library, 5401 South Dakota Avenue, NE, (202) 541-6255
• Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW, (202) 727-0321
• Northwest One Neighborhood Library, 155 L Street, NW, (202) 939-5946
• Palisades Neighborhood Library, 4901 V Street, NW, (202) 282-3139
• Southeast Neighborhood Library, 403 7th Street, SE, (202) 698-3377
• Takoma Park Neighborhood Library, 416 Cedar Street, NW, (202) 576-7252
• Washington Highlands Interim Library, 4037 South Capitol Street, SW, (202) 243-1184

Council Allows July 4 Liquor Sales

Alcohol sales from liquor stores will be permitted on Sunday, July 4 after a meeting of the D.C. council. Liquor stores will be allowed to remain open, despite current Sunday alcohol sales regulations, by a resolution the council passed on Tuesday in an additional legislative meeting.

Since D.C. legislation prohibits fireworks that explode or move after being ignited, many community members said they are not worried about safety risks. Some, however, still have reservations about the combination of alcohol and fire.

“I think it has been successful not to have it,” Georgetown resident Charles Rumph said. “There are crowds. It’s very rowdy. There have been injuries. Even with the professionals, there have been accidents.”

Others in the District said they would support a permanent lift on the ban that restricts liquor store sales to six days a week.

“They should always allow alcohol on Sundays,” Chinatown resident Layla said. “People have to take responsibility for their own actions.”

Layla said the most important thing people can do to stay safe is to watch their children carefully and stay alert when dealing with fireworks.

“There is always a safety concern. You don’t have to be drunk to blow your hand off,” she said.

Tai, a former Dupont Circle resident, agreed with the element of personal responsibility and said he agrees with the council’s decision.

“I think it is great. This is the United States. There shouldn’t be those limitations,” he said, also voicing support for a permanent lift on the ban and the legalization of marijuana.

Phase Two of Waterfront Project Begins

The construction on the second phase of the Georgetown Waterfront Park project has begun after lack of funding delayed the project. The park is expected to be 225 miles, the “largest park to be created in the Nation’s Capital in 30 years since Constitution Gardens was completed on the National Mall in 1976,” according to the National Park Service.

The former parking lot is already showing signs of a city park, with much of a shoreline pathway completed. The completed project will have flowers, benches, a fountain, promenades, bike trails and river overlooks with “sculpted granite slabs etched with historic images of Georgetown’s maritime heritage,” the National Park Service said.

The first stage of construction, removing the parking lot, has made room for these developments over the past four years. [gallery ids="99151,102814,102817" nav="thumbs"]

Fringe Festival In Review

November 3, 2011

‘Florida Days’

As part of the Fringe Festival this month, Rachael Bail’s “Florida Days” premiered at The Apothecary on July 10.

The play, performed by the McLean Drama Company, follows the journey of Betty, a Southern girl living in Brooklyn, New York. Betty, played by Elise Edwards, transforms from fiery young journalist to a wife and mother while her world crashes down around her. The audience seems transfixed by the depth of Edward’s talent. Her character’s chemistry with Thomas Linn’s character, Vincent, is equally apparent. The onstage couple carries the production with a truly convincing portrayal of two lovers facing life’s hardships while seeking the deeper meaning of it all.

The physical appearance of the production could be described as minimalist, with few costumes, about 10 props in all, and projected images on a back wall instead of sets. Yet nothing is lacking. The comparatively few materials only aid the intensity of the emotions portrayed. Even the audience’s seating seems to transform from a few church pews, since the first scene is a wedding, to benches in a blue-lit coffeehouse, when the action quickly transitions to New York City. The setting then remains in New York for most of the play, despite the title. The Apothecary, a tiny dance studio with exposed brick and unpainted wood, conveyed the sense of watching this family in their city home, living off of Vincent’s salary as an opera conductor.

Though the quality of acting from much of the supporting cast leaves much to be desired, Edwards and Linn give performances of which they should be proud. For a small community theater group the company showed potential, and will be a group to look forward to in future festivals.

I would give “Florida Days” three out of five Fringes.

No Gentlemen of Verona

Elizabethan English flows aplenty with this renovated Shakespeare play. “No Gentlemen of Verona,” Joshua Engel’s take on “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” takes place in the 1940s.

The time period works surprisingly well for the play, though the explanation of that specific adaptation is a bit hard to follow. According to the program, it was successful in Engel’s past experiment with “Much Ado About Nothing” and was thus chosen for the time period for this venture as well. Mobsters, Navy sailors and bright red lipstick make the setting work, however, and make the show more relatable to a modern American audience.

The Rude Mechanicals were as quick and witty as The Bard himself could have expected. The cast’s past experience with Shakespearean dialogue shows in their skillful delivery. It is obvious that the members of this all-female troupe not only know their lines, but they fully understand their meaning. In fact, it is as if they naturally speak Elizabethan English in their daily lives. The few trips over the complex lines were quickly remedied and never skipped a beat.

Overall, “No Gentlemen of Verona” is a comic delight for Shakespeare lovers that enjoy a new spin on an old favorite.

I would give “No Gentlemen of Verona” four out of five Fringes.