Monday, November 24, 2008

The cars return to Sam's Park & Shop

Two new stores in Sam's Park & Shop.A couple of new places opened up in Sam's Park & Shop recently: the Potomac River Running Store a couple of weeks ago and, next door, Yogiberry on Friday, November 21, 2008. They replaced Whatsa Bagel and Fosters Coffee respectively.

When I walked into Potomac River both the guy and girl behind the counter glanced at my face and then I saw both of them look down at my ratty old sneakers. Potomac River sells all kinds of sports apparel but specialize in shoes. There’s another shoe store just down the block called Foot Solutions so I guess we might have a little competition on our hands (or feet) in the Cleveland Park region.

I tried Yogiberry on Sunday -- two days after they opened -- and it's a cool looking place. Each wall has a different decor: vertical multi-colored stripes on one wall, a wall of things jutting out in a bas-relief that look like smoothed over stones for Braille readers, squares of mirrored tile on another wall and high and wide windows on the side facing the street. The floor wasn't overlooked by the designer either, it's all pebbles. Not loose pebbles, they're stuck in place, and they're all small -- very interesting effect.

The yogurt was good as well, I had the green tea yogurt with three toppings: blueberry, mango, and mochi. I forget what the guy said mochi was but it and the mango were chewy and flavorful and, combined with the blueberries, delicious. An 8 ounce tub was $6.75, with tax it came to $7:16.

We seem to be in the yogurt era at the moment with three shops opening in the Connecticut Avenue vicinity in the past few months. Despite the competition, I hope both Yogiberry and Potomac River Running are successful. After several months of looking at three holes in Sam's Park & Shop strip mall where businesses used to be, even if you hate yogurt and don't run, empty stores are good for no one.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

And it only took two years!

The brand spanking new plaza at Van Ness East condominiums.Two years later and Van Ness East's plaza has been unveiled. Well, mostly. The lobby area is now being renovated (good timing guys!) and so the main entrance to the building is still locked -- only one door is open into the building from the plaza. But hey, after two years of negotiating underground walkways and underground traffic and the hundreds if not thousands of times trying to get locked doors to open just to get out of the building, this is exciting stuff. No vehicles on the plaza for the moment either, they will have to keep going around to the back of the building until the lobby is finished.

Check out the curves on that baby!The plaza is on top of a two level garage and I understand that part of the reason for the re-do was to fix structural problems. There used to be a large shallow pool area in the middle of the plaza and I guess that pool water was what would hit me in the head when I was walking through the underground garage. I also heard that another objective was to "round off" the severe, squared-off edges of the roadway. I really didn't have any problems with hard-edged corners so I sure hope the structural difficulties were fixed during the last twenty four months.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

New Chinese Embassy Opens

The new Embassy of China on Van Ness St.The new Chinese Embassy on Van Ness Street and the corner of International Drive across from the Israeli Embassy and across Van Ness Street from UDC has finally opened after more than three years of construction. This is even longer than it's taking to rebuild the plaza in front of my building -- no wait, the plaza ain't finished yet.

The embassy is huge, and not too interesting -- at least on the outside. I haven't heard anything about the Chinese allowing the masses inside to check it out. I remember the Mormon Temple was opened to the public for a weekend before going into lockdown, maybe the Chinese will do something similar.

I wonder if this means the old embassy in Kalorama is now up for grabs? And I guess the Tibet situation protesters and Falun Gong practitioners will have to move up the road three miles.