Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Strada-ling DC

Scott and The Boys latest album cover art.

I'm in DC for the day to hang with friends and take the La Marzocco Strada EP espresso machine technicians course, ostensibly one of the final hurdles before La Marzocco will allow me to have one of the new machines for Spro Hampden.

For as advanced and high-tech as the Strada EP really is, it's actually quite simple, and seemingly easy, to service. Pump rebuilds, firmware updates, potentiometer replacements all seem so much simpler than the Linea or GB5 series of machines. It's also vastly different than its sister MP version, with the MP being closer to a GB5 than the EP.

Inside the Strada EP paddle.

After an afternoon with Chris and the rest of the guys jockeying for a new Strada EP, I headed over with Rashid to check out his place, Filter. I had heard quite a lot about Filter from other baristas and chef Mark Furstenburg. Actually, it was really Mark's recommendation that made Filter the first on my list of coffee shops to visit in Washington DC and it just so happened that Rashid was taking the tech class as well.

Breaking away from the typical coffee supplier of the area, Rashid has decided to go with Annapolis' Pronto Coffee, who just so happens to buy some coffees from the same source I buy coffees - meaning they've got great coffees and I was interested to see their interpretation of the Ardi Ethiopia. Fruity, round and lovely. Paired that with a Hawthorne Bakery blueberry muffin and it was indeed a treat.

A little Ethiopian Ardi at Filter.

Filter itself is a smaller shop with seating for about 13 on the inside and a few more chairs (and lots of stoops) outside. At 4pm on a Wednesday, the place was full and humming along - one of the better reasons to investigate opening a shop in DC. Filled with colors of orange and brown, the space gives off a warm feeling and everyone seemed happily running along drinking coffee, eating pastries and surfing the internet on the free wi-fi.

For drink making, there's a La Marzocco GB5, a row of pourover brewers, a large hot water tower and a bunch of french presses for making coffee during the "busy morning rush".

Frisee Salad and Frites at Bistrot du Coin.

After departing Filter and not having eaten since my breakfast at Chick-Fil-A many hours before, I headed over to Bistrot du Coin for a little mid-afternoon meal. I've been to du Coin before and found it to be decent, in spite of some of my friends constantly raving about it.

I had the frisee salad and a side of frites. The salad was good but was a bit light on the acidity which would have popped it and really make it stand out. The frites were decent enough but slightly limp and didn't have that crisp that I really enjoy in a well-made frite. Numerous menu offerings such as blanquette du veau, curry mussels, steak tartare and the onglet made me wish for a phalanx of friends to order en masse for a sampling, which just means I will have to return at a later date.

It's Julie's last week as a District resident.

From there it was back to the La Marzocco event, this time it was for anyone interested in learning more about the Strada EP. I got to hang a bit with Samuel Demisse and see Julie Housh before she left DC and moves to the West Coast. Otherwise, I only hung out for less than an hour before heading off to dinner.

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