Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Did You Help Prepare Thanksgiving Dinner?

ART of WAR Concept: When orders are consistently trustworthy and observed, the relationship of a commander with his troops is satisfactory.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are two of my favorite holidays. In part, because I get to see my family and have time away from work to relax. However, the best part of all is the FOOD.  Yes, I am a foodie. From the turkey, ham, candied yams, salads, stuffing and rolls- this time of year is always a feast of all those home cooked favorites, not to mention a guaranteed way to gain a quick 5 pounds.

If you are like me, typically you show up to the family gathering empty-handed. This happens because my mom, her sisters and my grandmother slave in the kitchen the night before preparing scrumptious dishes for the rest of us to enjoy. Then once dinner is over they say the same thing every year. “It is time for you young people to learn how to cook some of these dishes, so we can sit back and enjoy.” The response is always the same as we say, "yeah we should," and then its back to watching the Thanksgiving NFL tootball games. I’m sure it's because we assume that things will be the same the next year.

The statement from my family chef's got me thinking about a few challenges I would like to issue to the following 1. All us free loaders, 2. The Ward 8 Community 3. Long-term community activist.  The first challenge is for all our young people out there to learn to cook one dish for Christmas dinner. This may/will involve enlisting the help of the family chef(s), to show and share with us young people the tricks of the kitchen trade.

Secondly, as a resident of the Ward 8 community, I've heard many long-time community activists say that it is time for more young people to take on leadership roles in the community.  I’m sure some of us just assume these individuals will always be there as the voice of our community, but in reality, they won't. That is why I am challenging all the 20-40 something’s out there to get more involved in your neighborhood and larger community building effort. Help coach in a basketball league, attend a community meeting, mentor a high school student, or join a neighborhood committee. We need to do more than just get up and go to work every day.

My last challenge is for the long-time community activist to mentor someone younger to fill your shoes. Ask yourself, if you wake up one day and decide that you are too tired to do this community building thing, is there someone 45 years or younger who is ready, willing and ABLE to step in and continue where you left off? If not, please start looking.

Looking forward to Christmas Dinner!
Of course you have to begin Thanksgiving Dinner
with a family prayer

Salad and rolls...

Thanksgivng dinner classic - Turkey and Ham

 Its time for seconds...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mama's Kitchen Cafe

ART of WAR Concept: A general waits until the army's food is cooked before he eats.

In the past couple of weeks, I noticed some activity in the former Maple View Deli location. The old signage had come down and the building recently had a paint job. This past weekend, I decided to stop in to be nosey to see what was going on. There, I met Richardo Da’Salvia who introduced himself as the new chef at what is now “Mama’s Kitchen.” Of course, I was excited to hear this news because MLK Ave., SE could always use another food option.  And, I was equally pleased to learn that Richardo, a 15-year veteran chef, is also a Ward 8 resident and a member of our own Bethel Christian Fellowship Church located directly across the street from the newly re-opened MLK restaurant.
A few days after they opened, I stopped through again and met Fatima Nayir (Mama). Fatima and her husband own the new café. They moved to Washington DC from their native country, Turkey.  When I inquired about what brought them to Ward 8, she replied, “my husband always thought this building was in a great location and with Homeland Security soon to be down the street we know we will have a steady customer base.” I inquired further about the inspiration for the name of the café.  “My four kids tell all their friends that there is no better food than what is made in my Mama’s Kitchen.”

Ricardo and Fatima have the vision to offer some of the best tasting food in the city. “I want folks who work in the White House to want to drive over here and talk about how great the food and service are,” says Ricardo.
After being so nosey, I decided I needed to sample the food and ordered a slice of cheese pizza that cost me about $3. I was not expecting much, but to my surprise the pizza was pretty darn good. Fatima makes all her pizzas and breads fresh daily.
Be sure to stop by Mama’s Kitchen located at 1208 Maple View Pl., SE and let me know what you think.  Store hours are:  7am – 11pm; Monday – Friday and 9am - 5pm Saturday - Sunday.  One of the first things you’ll notice is that there is no bullet proof glass.  The Nayirs want to provide a truly “open kitchen” environment.

Fatima and Richardo
You don't have to eat and run...

Already a steady flow of customers

Anacostia Resident, Earl ordering a pizza.
He says his daughter loves Mama's pizza.

Ricardo likes to brag on his homemade Mambo Sauce.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Old Market House Square - Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

ART of WAR Concept: Land where you and others can come and go is called a trafficked ground.

Great news for all you park lovers and dog owners!

Yesterday afternoon, the ribbon cutting ceremony for the completion of the Old Market House Square restoration effort was held in Historic Anacostia. A nice crowd attended the ceremony, which included St. Phillips Church members, Anacostia residents, politicians and other key stakeholders that helped make the new park a reality.

Many thanks to the St. Phillips Church, TKF Foundation, community members and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), who worked tirelessly for seven years to complete this project. 

As mentioned in And Now, Anacostia, Old Market House Square is the public space on 14th Street SE between U and V Streets, and was originally built as the central square and gathering space of the neighborhood. 

I am excited about the Park because the project committee understood that historic preservation is key to the revitalizing the neighborhood. The park was built in 1913, and the committee worked hard to retain some of its unique and historic characteristics.

This is an awesome effort to improve the quality of life in the Historic Anacostia neighborhood. Well-kept parks make neighborhoods feel safer, serve as a community gathering place and allows for residents the ability to enjoy the outdoors. 

I’m pretty sure the Historic Anacostia Block Association will host ice cream socials in the spring and summer of 2012. Now it’s going to be up to us residents to take care of this new park so we can all enjoy it for years to come!

This project shows us that you don’t have to bring in something new to see improvements in our neighborhood, sometimes it is just about improving what you already have.  Enjoy the pics below…

Public Service Announcement: Please curb your dog in the park.

Way back in 1913...

And now today...

For all you chess players out there

 Back in the olden days, the only way you found out
about community news was visiting the neighborhood square
to read community announcements placed in the marque.

Mr. Harrison and Mrs. Cotton enjoying the fall afternoon

 Seats for the kids...

Community members

ANC Commissioner Greta Fuller

Adrienne McCray, Ward 8 resident and Architect who helped design
the layout for the park.

This bench is made out of 200 year old pickle wood

Underneath the bench is a compartment that will house a journal for
park visitors to write down their thoughts...I thought that was pretty cool. Its
going to be interesting to read whats on folks minds.

Can't forget the kids...

And of course the ribbon cutting...

Ms. Frieda D. Murray never got to see the park become a reality, but
we all owe her a big THANK YOU for pushing the idea forward!
R.I.P. Ms. Murray.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tour of Ward 8 - Where is Bellevue?

ART of WAR Concept: Understanding these six kinds of terrain is the highest responsibility of the general, and it is imperative to examine them.

There was a recent article about the back and forth regarding the name of the new library being built in place of the old Washington Highlands Library.  The big issue is whether the library will be named after the neighborhood where it is located, Bellevue or after the late William Lockridge, former Ward 8 School Board Member. As a neighborhood association president, I’m always in favor of neighborhood promotion. But on a different note, it got me to thinking, does anyone know where Bellevue is located? Have you ever heard of the neighborhood?

Many times we blame the Washington Post for classifying all of Ward 8 as Anacostia, but do we as residents know the neighborhoods that make up our great Ward?  Most residents know of Historic Anacosita, Congress Heights, Washington Highlands, and maybe Fairlawn….but where is Bellevue? When I looked it up on Wikipedia, it only contained two short paragraphs on the neighborhood. My guess is that it is the least identified neighborhood in Ward 8, but has tons to offer.

A couple of interesting facts about the neighborhood. First the name Bellevue is French for "beautiful view." Walking some of the streets, I definitly get that feel. And yet another fact is that Bellevuians (made up word) boast that two celebrities are from the neighborhood. Here is some info on opera singer Denyce Graves and country singer Roy Clark -- thats right, country music in Ward 8!

I took a short tour of Bellevue in hopes of finding some signage identifying the neighborhood. I did not find many signs but I did find a great looking neighborhood. It has some of the quietest streets in the Ward and quick access to 295 and 495 to VA. Take a look at some of the pics below….
Can you pronouce the name of this street?
Yup, you read it correctly, MLK Ave., "SW."
Ward 8 has both a SE and SW section
Another favorite street name...

Did you know Ward 8 has two in-patient medical facilities?
Hadley Hospital focuses on long term medical care 

I dig this street - single family homes, clean streets &
trees on the opposite side = beautiful view

And we can't forget about Covenant Baptist Church