H Street Life

June 2018

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Pow Pow has been testing out an entirely plant-based version of its menu. Photo: Elise Bernard

Spring in the District this year felt even more fleeting than usual, with the cold weather seeming almost to transition directly to full-on summer. One of our time-honored summer traditions in DC is watching movies under the open night sky. “NoMa Summer Screen” has a great lineup planned this time around, when the series will celebrate strong female characters. The films aren’t the only local attractions giving you a reason to brave the heat and get out of the house. Read on below about how you’ll find sushi burritos, coffee and cocktails and vegetable-based ventures along the H Street NE corridor.

You can now enjoy sake with your sushi burrito at Buredo. Photo: Elise Bernard

At Buredo, Sushi & Burritos Are a Match Made in Heaven
On a recent Friday night, I found myself at the newly opened H Street location of the District-based eatery Buredo (https://eatburedo.com, 625 H St.NE), which specializes in burrito-sized sushi rolls and salads. The idea of a marriage between sushi and a burrito might sound a bit odd, but it works. There’s no tortilla involved here. Instead the ingredients are wrapped in rice and a sheet of nori (roasted seaweed). The actual buredo is very much like an unsliced futomaki, similar in appearance to the ehomaki traditionally eaten on Setsubun, a festival to mark the coming of spring.

All buredo rolls are made to order, and you are welcome to remove or add ingredients listed for the rolls you see on the set menu. I tried the hanzo, filled with raw yellowfin tuna, avocado, cucumber, pickled fennel, arugula, tempura crunch and lemon aioli, as well as sampled my dining companion’s vegan Pretty Riki with sweet chili organic tofu, spicy beet, carrot, jicama, arugula and yuzu miso sauce.

Some rolls feature cooked seafood, such as the Sofie with shrimp tempura and the Nikkia with charred salmon, while others are filled with slow-cooked pork shoulder (the Crazy 88) or beef short ribs (the Lucky). Rolls are clearly identified on the menu as containing raw proteins or cooked proteins. All of the rolls can also be served in the form of salads. Add a little crunch to your meal with a bag of sweet chili rice chips or wasabi peas. Buredo boasts a variety of sodas and seltzers, a basil lemonade and a lychee punch with coconut and mint, and recently began offering sake. Pick up a cookie for dessert.

A mural depicting an urban streetscape adorns the wall near the door. Look carefully and you’ll spot familiar elements like the streetcar and the Atlas Theater marquee incorporated into the nighttime scene that calls to mind Blade Runner as much as it does Tokyo. The interior decor has an industrial look with exposed ductwork painted black and concrete floors. Combined with elements such as neon tubes running across the ceiling and continuing the colored lines from the mural, the overall effect is of being inside an extension of the fictional streetscape. Tables made of recycled skateboards add a bit of color and continue the theme.

The Wydown offers a place to caffeinate or wind down. Photo: Elise Bernard

Coffee & Cocktails at The Wydown
During the day, The Wydown (http://www.thewydown.com, 600 H St. NE) offers a comfortable spot to relax over coffee or tea and perhaps a scone or breakfast sandwich, or one of the other surprising, addictive baked goods. Feel free to bring your laptop, just not to the bar after 4 p.m. First-floor seating is slightly limited, but the outside tables help, and you can always head upstairs. In the evenings The Wydown shifts into lounge mode with beer, wine and cocktails available alongside the coffee. Happy hour (4 to 7 p.m.) draws a crowd, as do the nightly specials that rotate throughout the week. They frequently have live jazz music from 7 to 9 p.m. for old-fashioned Fridays (discounts on Manhattans and Old Fashioneds). Reward yourself for getting out and about before the weekend crowds by snagging one of The Wydown’s house cinnamon rolls.

Pow Pow Woos Devotees of Plant-Based Dining
The plant-based dining scene on the H Street corridor has drawn a bit of attention in recent months as The Fancy Radish (https://www.fancyradishdc.com, 600 H St. NE) opened its doors not far from Fare Well (https://www.eatfarewell.com, 406 H St. NE). Both restaurants attract crowds with menus entirely free of animal products, and a number of other local spots offer options for anyone looking for a meal that does not include meat or dairy.

Asian-inspired fast-casual spot Pow Pow (http://www.eatpowpow.com, 1353 H St. NE), noting a growing interest in plant-based dining and the popularity of its vegan menu options, decided to take action. Pow Pow, which has long featured a number of vegan and vegetarian options and makes all of its plant-based proteins and cheeses in-house, announced it was going entirely plant based for May and would stay that way if customers supported the shift. In a statement the owners explained that when Pow Pow opened, the “menu housed very traditional Asian recipes. Over time, we developed those recipes to incorporate more modern plant-based and allergen conscious ingredients; substituting fish sauce [with] plant-based fish sauces, making our dressings eggless, and eventually creating housemade plant-based proteins and cheeses.”

Pow Pow is known for its bowls (also available as salads), its giant eggrolls and its trolley fries topped with kimchi, cashew cheddar and sauce. It celebrated the second anniversary of its opening this spring.

‘NoMa Summer Screen’ Means Movies You Love, under the Stars
The popular outdoor movie series “NoMa Summer Screen” returns this month to kick off a summer of films featuring strong female leads. The theme this year is wonder women, and 12 films were selected to explore the concept. One film will start at sundown every Wednesday (no film on the Fourth of July) from June 6 through Aug. 29. Movies will be screened at a new location this year, a lot at 1150 First St. NE. As in previous years, the movies are free, all films are shown with subtitles and well-behaved, leashed dogs are welcome.

This year’s selections include: “10 Things I Hate about You” (June 6), “Mulan” (June 13), “Chicago” (June 20), “Mad Max: Fury Road” (June 27), “Matilda” (July 11), “A League of Their Own” (July 18), “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (July 25), “Pitch Perfect” (Aug. 1), “Moana” (Aug. 8), “Thelma & Louise” (Aug. 15), “Ghostbusters” (Aug. 22) and “Wonder Woman” (Aug. 29). Updates (including information on food trucks and additional entertainment) will be posted on the website of the NoMa Business Improvement District (https://www.nomabid.org/summerscreen).

 

For more on what’s abuzz on and around H Street NE, you can visit my blog at http://frozentropics.blogspot.com. You can send me tips or questions at elise.bernard@gmail.com.