Garden Tour: Just the Ticket to See Neighbors, Friends and Get Inspired

May 10, 2012

The 84th Georgetown Garden Tour, held Saturday May 5, showed off eight gardens along with side and back yards of varying scale, cresting at the Allbrittons’ Bowie-Sevier House on Q Street. All eight home gardens were on the east side of town, as some observers noted, due to the O and P Streets reconstruction on the west side.

Anna Fuhrman’s P Street back garden, with its clever use of a small space, surprised and delighted visitors, while the mansion on Q Street is large enough to impress as well as include a garden entrance on P Street. Three homes adjacent to each other on 28th Street contain details to show off their own personalities: Boyden Gray’s old-school Georgetown feel; the Wests’ almost exclusive, energetic use of white flowers and plants; a Hugh Jacobsen addition to the Hodges house that leads to a soothing and cozy patio and garden. The Pillsburys’ sculptures from Bali complete a contemplative green space on O Street.

At Christ Church, the Georgetown Garden Club greeted those on the tour, sold items for gardeners, young and old, and had people lined up for its afternoon tea. As sponsor of the tour, the non-profit Georgetown Garden Club stated: “All proceeds from the tour are returned to Georgetown, to its parks, recreation facilities and green spaces and beautiful trees. We dedicate our efforts to a vibrant, clean environment that can be enjoyed by all who stroll the streets of our village.”

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Meeting at UDC Tonight on Wisconsin Avenue Work in Glover Park

In response to concerns about the construction work in Glover Park along Wisconsin Avenue, Ward 3 council member Mary Cheh and Terry Bellamy, director of D.C.’s Department of Transportation, will meet with residents in Window’s Lounge at the University of the District of Columbia from 7 to 8:30 p.m., 4200 Connecticut Ave., N.W.

Among other upper northwest D.C. items to be discussed, DDOT will address the Glover Park construction on Wisconsin Avenue. The projects widens sidewalks, includes a median and turn lanes and a reduction in traffic lanes.

Residents and Georgetown’s advisory neighborhood commission contend that there is additional traffic on side streets because of Wisconsin Avenue back-ups and want a traffic study on the problem.

DDOT disagree and wrote: “The original Glover Park Transportation Study did basic modeling of future traffic conditions with the recommended improvements and did not identify any critical problems. For this reason we do not believe it necessary to halt the construction project for further study. As DDOT began construction on the Wisconsin Avenue Streetscape project, we have done some spot traffic and speed counts at Tunlaw and 37th Street. This will provide another data point in addition to the baseline data used in the planning study, and we will continue to monitor conditions both during and after construction.”

To improve information about schedules and other questions, DDOT created a website for the job:

Fancy Food Show Wows, Wins Over D.C.

May 3, 2012

The 57th Summer Fancy Food Show occupied the exhibit halls of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, from July 10 to 12, as buyers and other attendees walked the aisles “to spot hot trends, find new ideas and source the latest products for stores and restaurants for the year to come” — and to sample foods, which included the latest trends and flavors in chocolate, artisanal meats and cheeses, confections, snacks, beverages, salsas, spices and natural and organic products.

With 180,000 products from 2,400 exhibitors representing 80 countries and regions, the show was overwhelming. Not open to the general public, it is run by the the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, Inc. (NASFT), which says “the $70 billion U.S. specialty food industry is on the rebound after a period of holding back.” Indeed, the show is the largest marketplace for specialty foods and beverages in North America — and there was no holding back at the convention center. There were some familiar brands to causal attendees, but many exhibitors displayed unique, high-quality foods.

“We are so pleased to bring our show to Washington, D.C., as unprecedented interest in artisanal food and innovative products creates wonderful opportunities for buyers and suppliers,” said Ann Daw, president of the NASFT. The Summer Fancy Food Show moved to Washington, D.C., this year from its long-time home at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York due to ongoing construction. It will be held again in D.C. in 2012.

One local attendee, advisory neighborhood commissioner Bill Starrels, was enthusiastic not only about the show but about its economic benefits for D.C. “This is a great benefit for hotels, restaurants and tourism nearby and around the District.”

A panel of trendspotters, coordinated by the NASFT, cited these trends: “Booze-Infused Foods,” such as Chili Lime Tequila Tortilla Brittle from Anette’s Chocolates or wine-infused ice cream from Mercer’s Dairy; “Give it a Try Kits,” like Grow Your Own Mushroom Garden from Back to the Roots; “Popped Food” like Black Truffle & White Cheddar Popcorn from 479 Degrees Popcorn; “Japanese-Inspired Eats,” such as Yuzu Gummy Pandas from Bissinger’s Handcrafted Chocolatier; “Cherries” like Bada Bing Cherries from Tillen Farms. Other trends identified at the Summer Fancy Food Show include coconut in food and beverages, salts from around the globe and innovative dairy products such as goat milk yogurt.

Winners of the 39th sofi Awards for the outstanding specialty foods and beverages of the year — ranging from cheese, chocolate and crackers to meat, past and snack foods — were announced at the show hosted by celebrity chef Cat Cora. (A sofi Award is considered the highest honor in the $70-billion specialty food industry. “sofi” stands for specialty outstanding food innovation.)

The big international food pavilions included Italy, Spain, Morocco, India, South Africa, Mexico, Chile and Jamaica; food aisles for states included Virginia, North Carolina, New Jersey, Vermont and New York.

At the end of the show, food was donated to D.C. Central Kitchen, which had teams ready to gather the samples.
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Scientist Couple Ryuji Ueno and Sachiko Kuno Are New Owners of Evermay

Ryuji Ueno and his wife, Sachiko Kuno, founders of Bethesda-based Sucampo Pharmaceuticals and S&R Technology Holdings, have purchased Evermay, for $22 million, 55 percent off its 2008 asking price of $49 million. The purchase price of the historic 3.5-acre estate on 28th Street, which borders Oak Hill Cemetery at R Street, is a record sale for D.C.

The names of the new Evermay owners were first reported in the Wall Street Journal on July 22 in its “Private Properties” section. The buyers’ representative Mark McFadden of Washington Fine Properties spoke with the Georgetowner and confirmed that, indeed, Ueno and Kuno are the new owners of the 12,000-square-foot house and grounds, adding that they will continue the preservation of the estate, founded by Samuel Davidson in 1792 and sold by the Belin family two weeks ago, through a limited-liability company, Evermay LLC. The listing agent was Jeanne Livingston of Long and Foster, a Christie’s International Real Estate affiliate, whose other big sale was Katharine Graham’s estate on R Street. Livingston said the new owners would be “good stewards” of Evermay, a property which was once rumored to have caught the interest of Oprah Winfrey.

While the Japanese-born drug researchers Ueno and Kuno – who own a house on P Street – are not well known to most Washingtonians, they are known in philanthropic circles, such as the Washington Opera and the Smithsonian. The couple founded the S&R Foundation in 2000, a non-profit whose mission is to encourage and stimulate scientific research and artistic endeavors among young individuals – and “to recognize talented young scientists and artists for their distinguished work in fields of science and fine arts, especially those who contribute to U.S.-Japanese understanding.” Their foundation awards the S&R Washington Award and the S&R Ueno Award.

Ueno and Kuno’s Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company on Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda, focuses on the development and commercialization of medicines based on prostones. Ueno, who is also a medical doctor, discovered “the therapeutic potential of prostones, which are bio-lipids that occur naturally in the human body.” The company markets the drug Amitiza for gastrointestinal disorders. One of the couple’s first successes was Rescula eye drops, the first bioactive lipid used to treat glaucoma.

Together, the accomplished couple holds several degrees from universities in Japan and the U.S. and have other interests as well. A Class A race car driver, Ueno is a member of the Leica Historical Society of America, Ferrari Club of America and Miles River Yacht Club. Involved in fundraising for the Washington Opera, Kuno was also cited by the Washington Business Journal two years ago in its list, “Women Who Mean Business.” She even studied in the neighborhood at Georgetown University’s International Business Management Certificate Program. Add to their resumes: “Keepers of Evermay.”
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Georgetown Student Finds Greg Monroe’s Wallet; NBA Player a Thankful Hoya

It’s not every day that one discovers a wallet belonging to a National Basketball Association player. Georgetown University student Ed Shehwen did just that last week on Prospect Street, where he found the wallet of the Detroit Pistons’ Greg Monroe. Shehwen’s friend, Chris Scribner who lives in one of the apartments at Halcyon House, tweeted the former Hoya Big East rookie of the year to come get his wallet. It took a few tries to convince Monroe, who is taking summer school classes at Georgetown University. The six-foot-11-inch tall basketball player pulled up in his BMW and thanked his fellow Hoyas for the find. Monroe (G_Monroe10 ) tweeted: huge s/o to @CScribs and his friends! #superclutch .

K Street Kate Takes the 5th . . . Anniversary, That Is

Kate Michael, online magazine founder of K Street Kate, celebrated the fifth birthday of her D.C. lifestyle blog July 27 at the National Press Club ballroom with drinks and music, themed to “Livin’ La Vida Local.” The media entrepreneur thanked her staff and said she sees a bright future for hyperlocal websites. Friends and fans of the popular Michael, a former Miss D.C., congratulated her for hitting the anniversary whose traditional gift is one made of wood. Life is local and ironic, too.

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Clyde’s 9th Annual Farm Dinner Impresses the Locals

When the rain came in the middle of dinner, as predicted, few fled the covered patio, getting splashed nonetheless, for the exquisite interiors of Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm Restaurant. It was that good — and full of flavor and camaraderie. On Aug. 6, Clyde’s Ninth Annual Farm Dinner led 85 guests on a local food sampling exercise. From local honey, veggies, clams and lamb to fine wines, the five-course dinner was an advocate for local farms and local buying. After all, it is a main event for the non-profit Slow Food D.C.

Willow Creek Farm Restaurant, managed by Paul Fox, lives up to the slow food creed. It has its own farm to start — along with four reassembled heavy-timber buildings, thanks to the collecting obsession of Clyde’s main man John Laytham. Spread out like a classic American inn, parts of the restaurant are a sight to behold inside and outside, reminding the D.C. visitor of images of 1789 Restaurant, Old Ebbitt and other Clyde’s places we know and love. The farm is a few minutes’ walk from the parking lot. As for the drive, Willow Creek Farm is in Ashburn (Broadlands), Va., and a straight shot due west on the Dulles Toll Road; be mindful of the street names once off the toll road.

After a tour of the farm and a beekeeper’s presention by Patrick and Diane Standiford, Clyde’s corporate chef John Guattery, a slow food enthusiast, welcomed the diners and let the servings begin. The menu included Chesapeake Bay soft-shell clams with ravioli (herbs from the farm next to us) in Blue Ridge Dairy butter; Roast Border Springs lamb (leg, rack and sausage); roasted peach semifreddo with the farm’s honey popcorn. Virginia wines — Rapidan River, Chrysalis Vineyards, Fabbioli Cellars, Hillsborough Vineyards — accompanied the dishes.

Later, shepherd Craig Rogers gave an impassioned defense of the world’s “oldest profession,” which has been looked down on throughout history. Rogers, a shepherd with a doctorate, had the guests laughing at his contemporary and Biblical insights. Renee Catacalos, former publisher of Edible Chesapeake magazine which folded, spoke of the need to extend the taste and nutritional benefits of the slow food and local farming movement to many people, especially those in schools and hospitals.

Friends, foodies and those who simply like to eat well all learned something about the care of farming, cooking and eating locally. For us city folk, it is no longer a far-away feast, thanks to the master designers of the complete food experience at Clyde’s. Let’s give them an old-fashioned Georgetown “huzzah!”
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Georgetown Students Argue Against ANC Re-Districting

All politics is local – and sometimes hyper-local – as Georgetown University students and long-time residents experienced during the opening community comment of the September Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC 2e) meeting held on Aug. 29. The issue was the redistricting plan for the Georgetown-Burleith-Hillandale ANC that adds an additional single-member district (SMD) within the university campus for a total of eight in the ANC. Students had put forth a plan that included an additional eighth and a ninth district for students. A neighborhood group, which included students, voted nine to six for a new plan that keeps most SMDs the same but adds an eighth district for the campus. The role of the ANC at the meeting was neither to approve nor disapprove the proposal.

Commission chair Ron Lewis opened the discussion of the re-drawn ANC 2e boundary plan, saying it showed “respect for political geography” and chose to round down the student MSDs to two. He then asked those attending the meeting to limit their comments of pro and con to three persons who could represent the larger group. Students in attendance – who wanted three SMDs for the university area – expressed dismay at the time limitations but rolled with it, sending Georgetown University Student Association president Mike Meaney and president of the Graduate Student Association Paul Musgrave to the podium.

Meaney asked that the re-districting be reconsidered, seeing it as a dilution of students’ voting power and suggested that his group might “appeal to the Committee of the Whole” of the D.C. Council. He reminded the current ANC of its 2002 affirmation “to full representation.” Saying that Georgetown University students make up “45 percent of the ANC’s population,” Meaney maintained that “equal rights mean equal votes.”

Musgrave, a doctorate student from Burleith, called the situation “disingenuous” for its “extreme malapportionment” and said the ANC must “be a truly representative body.” “Representation means representation by person.” He condemned the plan as “unfair” and “unjust,” and stated so “as a resident, a political scientist and a voter.”

In contrast, Nan Bell of Burleith and Cynthia Howar of Hillandale stood up and succinctly said they supported new re-districting plan.

Undergraduate Robert Biemesderfer went to the podium and dramatically held up his D.C. voter registration card and declared: “I am a full participant, I am not a second-class citizen.” Student Ruiyong Chen stood up to add that councilman Phil Mendelson does not support this plan.

Ed Russell, a Burleith resident since 1954, asked debaters to “consider permanent residents who pay property taxes.” Karen Cruise contended that 1,200 students live off campus and thus can run in their own district if they wish. In the hallway, later, the young Biemesderfer and Allan Wendt of Volta Place had a lively and civil conservation about the issue.

Next week, the plan will be passed along to the Ward 2 redistricting group, headed by Tom Birch, and will be likely approved.
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ANC Approves K Street Restaurant; Criticizes O Street Homeowner

The ANC approved the voluntary agreement and a new application for a liquor license for Malmaison, a restaurant – soon to open at the corner of 34th and K Streets – from the owners of Cafe Bonaparte. The new dessert cafe’s name is a reference to Napoleon’s Château de Malmaison; it can translate into “naughty house” or “ill-fated domain.” The Alcohol Beverage Control protest meeting is scheduled for Sept. 14.

In other design requests, commissioner Jeff Jones showed annoyance at the owner of 3254 O Street. The design for a second story above a back garage was denied, as Jones said that this scheme has bounced around for 10 years. Neighbors of the residence in question left the meeting smiling. Five Guys restaurant was asked to redesign its new awning with fewer “Five Guys” logos (not five) on the umbrella fabric. Designs for a planned four-story condo at Grace Street and Cecil Place was opposed as being out of size and out of whack with the secluded neighborhood.

D.C. Lobbying Presence in Hollywood During Emmy Awards Weekend

While the words, “The Amazing Race,” “Modern Family,” “Mad Men,” “The Good Wife” and “The Kennedys,” read like chapter headings in a book about our nation’s capital, they are, in fact, names of TV shows or movies that earned Primetime Emmy Awards Sept. 18 in a place called Hollywood.

With occasional appearances before Congress, at the Kennedy Center or in a downtown restaurant, denizens of Georgetown, Foggy Bottom and Capitol Hill are acquainted with a few of these actors, actresses, directors and producers but know little of the inner-workings of their powerful TV and film industry, those dream factories, in a state called California.

Luckily, D.C. had some knowledgeable representation out there during Emmy Awards weekend. Businesswoman Elizabeth Webster is newly employed as director of business outreach at the District’s Committee for Small and Local Business Development which oversees the Commission on Motion Pictures and Television Development, chaired by At-large Councilman Vincent Orange. So, Webster reached out to Los Angeles, attending pre- and after-parties and the awards show during a trip that she planned and paid for before her District government job began. She is also well known as secretary of the Georgetown Business Association.

“My favorite part of the Emmy Awards show was Michael Bolton’s performance and the beautiful, colorful staging throughout the show,” said Webster, who, like many, wore a red dress to the show. “I thought Melissa McCarthy was very down to earth. I could relate to her comments in her speech about her parents’ endless support of her career.”

Clearly in her element, Webster, a former actress and model, spoke of meeting friends and former colleagues at the Governor’s Ball, HBO’s after-party, the NBC party at Spago’s in Beverly Hills and the Vanity Fair pre-party in West Hollywood. She said she was also glad to see longtime and family friend, actor Vincent De Paul, a former Marylander who lives in L.A. and whose sister lives in Georgetown.

En route back, Webster said she is preparing for public hearings before the District Council on Nov. 9, 10 a.m., with “studio executives and experts in the entertainment industry to testify about what incentives and requirements D.C. needs to implement to be more movie- and production-friendly.” Orange and his TV-film team have set a goal of getting two permanent TV series to be produced regularly out of DC. as well as increasing film production. (Mayor Vincent Gray and Orange last met with film executives in L.A. on July 21.)

Aside from rushing to fly home from sunny Southern California so soon, Webster was asked, any other vexations? “Betty White should have won in her category.”
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