Hippie Hoyas: Free People Will Open in Fino Italiano Spot

Free People

Whether you identify as hippie, hipster or simply hip, all Hoyas can look forward to the opening of the we-made-mainstream-uncool fashion franchise, Free People, at 3009 M St. NW. The storefront housed Italian restaurant Fino Italiano until Sept. 2012, when it closed in Georgetown and moved to the Mount Vernon Square neighborhood. Where you once enjoyed Bolognese sauce, you’ll soon be shopping for bohemian looks.

Free People, an offshoot of parent company Urban Outfitters, serves as the bohemian cousin to Urban. At the same time, both stores work to make sure things that were cool in third grade, such as fanny packs and colorful tights, become fashion statements for young adults.

Hippie Heaven
Hippie Heaven

Welcome to M Street, Free People. It looks like Georgetown is shaking its preppy reputation one oversized sweater at a time.

Special thanks to Georgetown Metropolitan for this article.

Photos: Google, highlyrelevant.com

Georgetown Chipotle to Stop Free Drink Promotion

No more free drinksOnly three days after Chipotle founder and CEO Steve Ells delivered a lecture (which we live tweeted) on the Hilltop, tragedy has struck: The Chipotle restaurant located at 3255 M Street will no longer offer free drinks to Georgetown students.

The popular burrito spot is currently running a promotion in which Georgetown students do not have to pay for drinks, as long they present a valid university ID when paying for their meals. However, store manager Cisse Conde confirmed to 4E that the promotion will end on April 1, and soon, Hoyas will have to pay for their own beverages at the M Street location.

“We received an email this morning from our marketing strategies [department], saying that the drink promotion is culminating at the end of the month. It was not meant to go forever,” Conde said.

Here at 4E, we aren’t ones to wallow in such sadness. There are only nine days left until Chipotle’s free drink promotion ends, so until then, you’ll find us down at the M Street eatery, guzzling down as many free beverages as humanly possible.

Photo: bevwearsprada.deviantart.com

Bowling Alley Opening on M Street: Let’s Roll

Opening on M Street this Saturday is not another brunch place for Georgetown students to frequent, but something much more revolutionary: A BOWLING ALLEY. Finally, something to do on M Street that’s not eating, shopping or eating (although this bowling alley can actually involve a little eating).

According to DCist, the new Georgetown hot spot, Pinstripes, will be a combination Italian-American restaurant and bowling alley which will also offer bocce (loosely, a game of bowling on a lawn). Besides featuring the bowling that we’re all anticipating, Pinstripes will boast a fairly upscale lunch and dinner menu at reasonable prices. (The actual bowling is only $5/$7 a person, depending on what time you go.) And as if all of that weren’t enough, the place is going to be massive, sitting on 34,000 square feet of prime real estate.

With Pinstripes’ opening imminent, bowling is a sport that could be right down your alley! Wait, I can do better. Split happens? Whatever, that’s just how I roll. Bowling is a sport for people who have talent to spare anyway.

With everyone painstakingly aware that Valentine’s Day is only a week away now, be sure to add this place to your repertoire of awesome date places. Anyone here at 4E would be immeasurably excited to go out for a night of Italian food and bowling.

Photo: washingtonpost.com

The Good Stuff Debacle: How Good is Good Stuff?

How Good Is Goodstuff

I must confess a few biases before I begin because I take food very seriously and feel that food-related issues are typically very polarizing.

First, I am not only a hamburger fanatic, but am also a huge fan of Top Chef. In addition, one of my personal favorite contestants is Spike, who, for those that don’t know, is the head chef/owner of Good Stuff Eatery.

Secondly, Leo’s and I just celebrated our month-a-versary. I actually found a fork. I got some chocolate milk. It was cute.

Therefore, Good Stuff already seemed like a great place to try.

So, how good is Good Stuff? Let’s look at it from a scale starting at the only Ruby Tuesday burger I’ve ever eaten that was not only burnt, but was also undercooked. In reality, I feel like I might be ignoring the culinary skill behind it. And lets end the scale at the classic Shake Shack burger, which is three steps down from heaven (behind only bacon and Nutella).

Quick facts about Good Stuff for those (like myself) who have only heard “Oh my God, you need to go there!” :

  • The closest location is on 3291 M St NW, but multiple locations can be found through out the DC area. So, if you ever want to explore a new location and break the bubble, why not use this as an excuse?
  • GoodStuff mainly sell burgers (including turkey and veggie options), fries, milkshakes and salads.
  • Each burger is priced at around $7, a little more for certain specialty ones.

For my first meal, I ordered the Farmhouse Cheeseburger, Handcut Fries, and the Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake (total around $16). All the burgers come with lettuce, pickles, onions, tomatoes (though you can ask for any/all to be removed) and the “Good Stuff sauce.” Try as I might, I unfortunately could not find out what exactly this “Good Stuff sauce” contains, but the search will continue. My culinary senses tell me it’s a bit like French dressing.

I would love to finally put my years of Food Network addiction to the test, and rant about how Good Stuff is not, in fact, good. However, it’s just not possible.

In fact, the only bad thing that happened was that they wrote my name as “Franceesca”, but I just take that as another reason to go back so they can try to get it right.

The burger tasted delicious – the type of delicious that makes you sit back in your chair and forget all the worries of the day. In fact, it measured close to, if not equal, to a Shake Shack burger. So, if you have not had one, (either Shake Shack or Good Stuff) I recommend taking the GUTS Bus to Dupont Circle (you may even find something else to do while you’re there) or the ten-minute walk down to M street.

The fries were cooked perfectly to achieve that nice crispy crunch, with a warm soft center. A quick suggestion, I highly recommend dipping your french fries into your milkshake. Say what you want, but not until after you try it. Salty and sweet never tasted so good … especially because the milkshake tasted exactly like a toasted marshmallow!

While I was warned by the name, I remained nonetheless surprised. Honestly, I discovered that I simply am not a fan of toasted marshmallow flavor. But, the quality of the milkshake definitely got me excited to try some of their other flavors. Maybe Red Velvet?  Or Salty Caramel kiss? I’m not too sure on what a Vietnamese Coffee Milkshake is? Is it just coffee flavor? Is this imported coffee?  Is Georgetown not the place to make a politically incorrect joke about a milkshake? I apologize for all of the rhetorical questions, I’m just riled up. (Editor’s note: Incidentally, the Vietnamese Coffee Milkshake is the only one I’ve tried. It’s coffee and condensed milk! It’s super delicious).

Aside from classic hamburgers, Good Stuff also sells specialty burgers, which, in addition to being wittily named, all sound amazing! Putting political preferences aside, just imagine ordering a Prez Obama Burger: bacon, onion marmalade, Roquefort cheese and horseradish mayo sauce … Yum! If you still have your doubts, check out the website, which has pictures of almost every burger. But don’t look at them in class, you might start drooling on your CPS notes.

Simply, a trip to Good Stuff offers you good food, a nice place to sit on the upper floor of the restaurant, an excuse to go into town and the possibility of seeing Spike and taking a selfie with him (and maybe finally hitting that personal goal with Facebook mupload/Instagram likes).

So how good is Good Stuff? Well, it definitely “spiked” up my week! (See what I did there?)

Making the Most of Parents Weekend

It’s finally here. The weekend we all love yet hate. It may all seem great – eager parents wanting to spoil you, a free meal at a place other than Leo’s, time with the family. But, in reality, this weekend is an opportunity, provided by Georgetown, for parents to see if we really have our lives together without their constant, overbearing supervision. Don’t worry though. If you stick to the following guidelines, you’ll be able to survive parents weekend without a hitch.

Go to Dinner on M Street: If you’re like me, you have been desperately trying to avoid Leo’s for weeks and have gone broke at Epicurean and Vital Vittles. Finally, the parents are here to pay! I recommend that you make reservations in advance because every other student at Georgetown probably wants to go to the same place as you do. Some great family restaurants are Thunder Burger and Clyde’s.

Take Your Family on a Tour of D.C.: There are a lot of activities available for students and their parents on campus, but my parents’ favorite part of last year’s Parents Weekend was when we walked along the waterfront to the monuments. Your parents want to see that you have taken advantage of the all that the city has to offer so go out and explore with them!

Pretend You Actually Clean Your Room: Schedule a cleaning party with your roommate before your mom comes to campus and freaks out about the state of your room. Or maybe wait till she gets here so that she can do it for you. Hide all prohibited items so that you don’t have to come up with a quick explanation for how these items mysteriously appeared in your room.

Make Smart Decisions: The last thing that you want to do is wake up on Saturday morning with the worst hangover of your life and a full day of family events planned. You only have a limited amount of time with your family so make sure to get the rest needed in order to make the most out of this weekend with them.

America’s Next Top… Potty?

On Monday, I came across a massive piece of news regarding the upcoming election. No, not the upcoming November presidential election, something far more important. I learned that in the monumental election of America’s Best Bathroom, Georgetown’s very own Mie N Yu is a contender for the top spot.

This is serious, people. And as a professional, groundbreaking journalist, I did what any professional, groundbreaking journalist would do when he heard about this scoop: I experienced the Mie N Yu bathrooms for myself.

And let me say this: the Mie N Yu bathrooms are the greatest gift to planet Earth since Oprah.

Mie N Yu, as a restaurant, is a delightfully tacky and modern, Silk Road-inspired Asian hot mess. Lining the walls are flowing linens, Buddhas, and trendy seashell paper lanterns. Mahjong tiles cover the bar, and in the background, one can hear the cool sounds of Oriental lounge music (think Club Lau meets Panda Express).

The food isn’t bad either – if you’re looking for a good deal on M Street, try Mie N Yu’s $5 Happy Hour Bar Menu, served Monday-Friday from 5-7 (the Angry Spice Truffle Fries are delicious).

But the gems of Mie N Yu — the reasons why I will return — are their glorious bathrooms. From the moment I walked downstairs and stepped into the lavatories, I realized I was no longer in a strange, Epcot-meets-Asia restaurant. I was in a soothing Asian cove — No, I was in heaven.

The bathrooms are unisex and communal with intricately woven in patterns on the walls and dark, aged wood surrounding the doors. Green tiles border the toilets. Large metal trunks sit on the floor, adjacent to wooden water barrels and rusted copper sinks filled with massive, black pebbles. The atmosphere is breathtaking! I suddenly felt an overwhelming sense of calm, followed by an intense urge to take a mirror shot. This was one place I’d never want to forget.

Voting for America’s Best Restroom continues here until October 26. I highly encourage everyone to vote for Mie N Yu, especially since it faces some stiff competition from some big names, including New York’s Da Marino and Arizona’s Liberty Market. Only time will tell to see if Mie N Yu’s loo will earn the prestigious title of America’s Best Bathroom, but in the meantime, take a pit stop on M Street and enjoy these bathrooms for yourselves.

In my opinion, Mie N Yu takes the cake for America’s Best Bathroom. Or the fortune cookie. Either one.

Photo credit: Lindsay Horikoshi

More Cupcakes for Georgetown

I know what you are thinking right now. How in the world could Georgetown, a neighborhood that is more saturated in cupcakes than any other place in the world, possibly support MORE cupcakes?

Sprinkles has your answer. Install a 24/7 “cupcake ATM” so anyone can satiate their sweet tooth at any time, night or day. It sounds like futuristic ploy to make us fat. But it’s not. It’s just a way to satiate your late night sweet tooth. Coming this August, Sprinkles will have a full-service, 24/7 cupcake ATM in front of its store at 3015 M Street.

Georgetown won’t house the first cupcake ATM in the world, though. That honor belongs to Sprinkles’ Beverly Hills ATM, which opened this past March.  Nor are we the only additional ATM. Sprinkles is installing others in New York, Chicago and Houston.

According to The Washington Post, the cupcake machine costs roughly $100,000 dollars, but that’s because of the fancy robotic arm, video camera, touchscreen and pastel-colored decorations. Besides, even though the Beverly Hills machine just opened up four months ago, it sells 1,000 cupcakes a day, meaning the machine has just about paid for itself already. Besides the robotic arm, touchscreen and video camera, the ATM is linked to a cupcake vault, which can hold up to 600 cupcakes at a time and is restocked several times a day so cupcakes can stay fresh.

ATM cupcakes will cost $4, instead of the typical $3.50, which Sprinkles says is a packaging surcharge. (Also, wouldn’t you be willing to pay a little extra to order from a robotic arm at 3 a.m.?)

So, could cupcakes become the new drunk food on Saturday nights, replacing the likes of Tuscany and Quick Pita? Or could the ATM become as much of an annoyance as the never ending line along 33rd Street in front of Georgetown Cupcake? I guess we’ll find out in August.

Photo credit: Oh Joy

Shophouse Moving into M Street

Salad, bowl, taco or burrito? Throw in black or pinto beans. Take your pick of meat or go vegetarian. Top it with your choice of salsa. And finally, finish it off with the typical sour cream, cheese, lettuce and guacamole. Oh, and don’t forget your chips.

That’s your typical Chipotle adventure.

Now, what if you’re in the mood for Asian cuisine but don’t really have an hour and a half to sit down and be served and waited on? Well, you’re in luck. The same company behind Chipotle recently launched its Shophouse branch. Most people would throw Shophouse under the “fast casual” category of restaurants. If you really wanna think about it this way, it’s kinda as if fast food and casual dining had a baby.

The first Shophouse was opened last fall in Dupont. Word on the street is another Shophouse will be taking the space vacated by Furin’s bakery, a family-owned and operated bakery that closed last summer after 27 years at 2805 M Street.

Shophouse derives its name from the architectural style of Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hanoi. A shophouse is essentially a building that serves as a residential apartment on the upper level and then on the lower level, houses the family’s business whether it be a family-run restaurant or convenience store. To see a real Shophouses, take a look at these 19th century Singaporean shophouses.

This “fast casual” southeast Asian kitchen boasts tastes inspired by Thai, Malaysian, Vietnamese Singaporean cuisine. If all goes well, pretty soon Georgetown students can take their pick of rice, noodles or bánh mì. Choose between meat or tofu. Sprinkle on stir-fry vegetables, curry choices and garnishes and voilà, the meal is complete—quick, easy, full of variety and within the single-digits price range.

How do you feel about having the convenience of “fast casual” Asian food right on M Street?

Photo credits: The Georgetown Metropolitan