D.C. Diaries: Real-life experiences around the city

800 Connecticut Ave., NW

I remembered my friend had ranted and raved about the tea and food at Teaism, a restaurant that specializes in hot tea, knowing that I am in the running for the biggest tea drinker award and absolutely detest coffee.

Although Teaism is located around the corner from the 17th Street Farragut West Metro stop on the Blue and Orange lines, it was a beautiful day and I decided to save my money and take the 10-minute walk.

I was expecting a Starbucks-like array of signs and flashy billboards, but all I got was a simple menu on a piece of yellow paper.

The menu was decently priced, with plates ranging from $6.50 to $10. The food was also surprisingly different with a Japanese twist to each dish.

There were so many choices my mind seemed to overload. I could not make a split-second decision between all the black, white, green, chai, Oolong teas and tisanes.

This branch of Teaism is open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays.

The other two branches located at Penn Quarter and Dupont Circle are much bigger and stay open throughout the evening and on weekends.

-Salma Khalil

Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
The National Mall

While walking past the art department in Smith Hall one day, I realized that I haven’t taken an art class since middle school, and I missed the days of water colors, sketch pads, Exacto knives and molding clay.

I knew the Smithsonian museums offered education programs for adults. With a quick search on the Smithsonian’s Web site I found an art class fitting my interests.

The Hirshhorn Museum runs a program called “Art Explorers Workshops for Adults.” The free 2-hour classes are held once a month at the museum, and only pre-registration and an interest in art are required.

The workshop I registered for was titled “Secret Spaces.” The brochure for the classes said the workshop would include a discussion of negative space, and I should bring “an article to be destroyed during the mold-making process.”

I packed my bag and picked up my cracked 50-cent bowl from Ikea and headed to the Smithsonian Metro stop on the Blue line. Upon my arrival, I discovered the Hirshhorn is closer to the L’Enfant Plaza stop on the Blue line, but I didn’t mind the four-block walk to the museum.

To mold the negative space, all I had to do was pour the plaster into my bowl and wait for it to set. While waiting for the plaster to set, I took a break to explore the other floors of the Hirshhorn, which dedicates its three floors to a modern art collection.

-Liz Bartolomeo

HR-57 Center for the Preservation of Jazz and Blues
1610 14th St., NW

If there was any doubt in your mind about the future of jazz and blues, it is thriving in Washington at HR-57, the Center for the Preservation of Jazz and Blues.

Accompanied by my friend, I somewhat reluctantly headed toward Dupont Circle on the Metro’s Red line. Using a map, I figured out that HR-57 is halfway between the Dupont Circle and Howard Metro stops.

I paid the $8 entrance fee and peered around, looking at the various paintings of musicians and people dancing to jazz. I quickly felt at home when I saw the GW pennant on the wall.

The interior of the club is brick, which creates a cozy, relaxed and warm atmosphere for jazz lovers. The stage is sectioned off in the rear of the club with tables and an eclectic array of couches positioned in front. The room is filled with a mix of Persian rugs to create a cozy, jazzy feel. The bar serves food with a Cajun flare, such as fried chicken, trout and various desserts. Although the bar serves drinks, most people brought their own bottles of wine to drink during the performance.

The Thad Wilson Band plays every Thursday from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. Every second Tuesday of the month there is an open-mic night. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays are jam sessions.

-Rebecca Rothbaum

Fisherman’s Market

I took a ride with my sister to Southwest to the Fisherman’s Market, also a couple blocks walk from the Waterfront Metro station on the Green line. The second we stepped out of our car, the pungent smell of fish hit our noses.

The vendors said they had 15 types of shrimp to offer. One vender showed me that it only takes six of his jumbo shrimp to make a pound. I had never seen so many shrimp in one place. You don’t get this kind of food at Red Lobster.

There were crabs, lobsters, clams, muscles and more than a few dozen types of fish, the biggest being a 26-pound cod. One vender told me his rarest fish is the strawberry grouper, which can be imported from either North Carolina or Brazil.

The Fish Market has been around for about 100 years, and the seafood originally was brought by boat from the Chesapeake Bay.

-Adina Matusow

American City Diner
5532 Connecticut Ave., NW

“An American Restaurant – and proud of it!” As its motto asserts, the American City Diner is indeed a typical all-American eatery, complete with classic oldies jukeboxes, a popcorn machine and life-size photos of Marilyn Monroe and James Dean adorning the walls.

Finding the diner was more memorable than eating there. The restaurant is located at the intersections of Morrison Street and Connecticut Avenue, a considerable 30-minute walk from the closest Friendship Heights Metro stop on the Red line.

Inside, the diner was hot, crowded and noisy from customers and music. Had I escaped J Street after all?

What really sets this 1950s-style diner apart from others is that it offers free movies every night, ranging from silent Charlie Chaplin short films to Three Stooges comedies beginning at sundown. All feature films start at 8 p.m. with a second showing at 10:45 p.m. on weekends. Movies vary from musicals and classics to children’s films.

It was surprising to find out that the diner is open 24 hours a day on Fridays and Saturdays. Although a bit far from campus, it makes a good place to go after the long weekend clubbing nights.

-Monica Gupta

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