06 May 2005

How to get from Dupont to Georgetown.

Let me sum up the cinco de mayo festivities in my neck of the woods:
1. met my wife and kids at Bistrot du Coin for some dinner.
2. went home with same and watched The Secret of Roan Inish.
3. went to bed.

I hadn't been to Bistrot du Coin before and was interested in trying the place, if only because of the amazingly varied reactions people have of the place. We went there after we decided it was too much of a pain dragging a stroller with a month old down the steps into City Lights. Let me tell you at 5:30 p.m. (yes, five-thirty), BdC was not crowded.

They have paper "tablecloths" so the kids can doodle all they want, and the service was fast -- probably because the waitstaff outnumbered the customers at that point. I had the mussels, and they were tremendous. In fact, I'd go back again today to get them if I didn't have family obligations. Our son was intrigued by the unreachable mezzanine in the front of the restaurant that had two tables with chairs set up. He wanted to sit up there next time. I thought it might be a rather dangerous place to sit after a few bottles of wine.

I also had the poulet roti and that was pretty good -- perfectly done with a nice side of fries. I've never had fries before that tasted so good but looked like they were soggy. It was a good plate, but for $12.95 they should throw in a few haricots vert.

We didn't order in French. The only foreign language I even partially know is German, and I didn't want to scare them. I'd heard people complain that you get treated rudely if you don't order in French, but that didn't happen to us.

A good bit of the time my wife and I spent reminiscing about the place when it was Food For Thought. I remember visiting DC and eating there with a friend who was going to American. They had Stroh's on tap. Stroh's. It was so dark in there that we couldn't read the bill properly and ended up giving the waitress a 1 dollar tip. We only knew that because she chased us down the street and told us all about it.

Food for Thought was one of those holdouts of the old Dupont Circle, but you know it couldn't sustain itself after the big gentrification push -- the space was too big and the crowds were too small. It's unfortunate, because it was a great place for a small group to meet for book discussions or activism. You could drink a beer, eat some dinner, and talk about Lukacs all night.

Damn and here we go: knowing how way leads on to way... speaking of the old dupont, how many people remember the old Georgetown of the mid-1980s. Probably not too many of you little blogkiddies, unless your parents dragged your snot-dripping noses through there on a tour of DC. Georgetown used to have three independent film houses: the Key, the Biograph, and the Cerberus. None exist now. The Biograph (died 1996) is now a CVS. Key (died 1997) is Restoration Hardware. Cerberus (died 1993) is the Barnes and Noble. Ditto on the independent record stores that disappeared with skyrocketing rents and killer competition from giants like Borders, Barnes and Noble, and Tower (of course, even without big rents and competition from big boxes, independent music stores are in trouble with the double whammy of amazon.com and itunes). Even local chain Olsson's was driven from Georgetown -- and let me tell you that Olsson's branch was the only one with any soul at all.

Georgetown these days is a hell of chainstores and pretension to be avoided at all costs.

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