‘hood Tips from a Wise Latina to THE Wise Latina


I guarantee you that when I moved to the U Street area of Washington, DC, articles were not written, Tweets and Facebook messages did not zip back and forth in el ciberespacio, and friends and strangers didn’t email  psst, we have a new neighbor.

In fact, I got welcomed with my first and only mugging at gunpoint

….WITH MY VIEJITOS IN TOW!

The Wise Latina Club's Viviana Hurtado's U Street Tips for Sonia Sotomayor

Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor Courtesy: U.S Supreme Court

How things have changed, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, since I moved almost six years ago to report national politics at the network level, including your nomination and confirmation to the Supreme Court, even briefly meeting you.

I also know why you did it.

Yes, I will gladly confirm: it’s the closest you’ll get to your former West Village ‘hood in Manhattan.

Here are some U Street pointers so you don’t make the neighborhood rookie mistakes I did:

Advice from U Street Buzz‘s Facebook page which tipped me off:

The Wise Latina Club's Viviana Hurtado Gives Sonia Sotomayor U St. Tips

MUST DO: Vinoteca, Fast Gourmet Sandwiches, & Florida Avenue Grill according to U Street Buzz

The Wise Latina Club's Viviana Hurtado Gives Justice Sotomayor U St. tips

MUST EAT: Florida Avenue Grill Invites the Justice for Brunch Courtesy: U Street Buzz

The Wise Latina Club's Viviana Hurtado's U St. Tips for Sonia Sotomayor

MUST TRY: Ben’s Chili Bowl, Busboys & Poets, Bohemian Caverns, & Dukem advices @Nan Courtesy: U Street Buzz

I’ll add my two centavos:

I think you are driven around in a black Suburban with a security detail, but if you ever “lose” them and decide to “slum” by taking the metro, always use the 10 Street exit, even if you’re going further west.  Fewer distracted texting professionals during the week and drunk hipsters on weekends.

Which leads to parking.  I hope your cha-ching $660K condo came with it.  If not, shell out the +$50K for a spot.  If you cheap out like I did, don’t move your car Friday after 5PM until Monday before work FOR ANY REASON.  Take a cab or try Uber, which I thought was affordable until we were charged $30 to drive from U Street to the J.W. Marriott this weekend.  I guess it is for the Town Car set.

Gas at Sunoco on U and 15th which is also the spot to grab a taxi on a busy weekend night.  All the Ethopian and Somali drivers are hangeando there.

Driving and going west?  Avoid U Street which is undergoing a “renovation” (read: some lucrative “local” construction deal).  Tell the driver to go down V Street.

Take Florida Avenue east.

The Wise Latina Club's Viviana Hurtado Gives Sonia Sotomayor U St. Tips

Drag Brunch Courtesy: Nellie’s Sports Bar

Los gays and the straights duke it out for a seat to Drag Sunday Brunch at Nellie’s Sports Bar.  But here’s a secret: any day of the week, this is where you can savor the best arepas venezolanas in town.  Speaking of los gays, Vida Fitness has a roof top poof where I think you would hold court every w/e.

Cheap Eats?  They’re side by side!  You can’t beat the Greek Spot for large fresh salads, dolma, or giros.  Chix has a delicious lunch special for $6.50, a couple of bucks more for din.

Just-opened Brixton is the latest bar opened by real estate Wunderkinds the Hilton brothers who turn into gold every blighted and used-needle-repository-property they touch.  I was just there and experienced U2 concert conditions as the youngin’s trampled past each other to get up to the rooftop.  Better choice: 1905 which is 1/2 a block away with a new rooftop and teeny tiny dining room that makes you feel like you’re sharing a meal at a friend’s home.

Coppi’s for pizza.  ‘Nuf said.

I heard you like to salsa dance until very late.  I haven’t been to Pure Lounge but on Wednesday’s they have a muy tropical salsa night.  I asked what this means and I believe it goes heavy on the percusión, estilo cubano.

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Viviana Hurtado

A (Wise) Latina Meets THE Wise Latina

You will be recognized and get mobbed by the fabu Latinos who frequent Masa 14 or El Centro DF which has $4 margaritas before 7P weeknights.  But a couple of blocks south on 14th Street is quieter Cork Wine Bar with a killer avocado tostadita.  Right before and in the cheap eats category, yummy crepes and Illy coffee at Point Chaude Crêpes and Café. Please don’t buy homemade donuts from the plaid-shirt-wearin’-and-scruffy-bearded guy selling them at the entrance to The Standard.  Trust me.

Do buy your AM cafecito at the Dunkin’ on 14th and U or better yet 7/11 on 12th and U.

Skip the yoga studio above the 7/11 (Nazi Yoga Studio) and oooommmmm at Boundless Yoga 1 block west on U.

I know you’re a good Catholic girl so pagan drum circle may not be your thing.  Think of it as an extended Químbara opening which you can sway to live every Sunday at dusk at Meridian Hill Park or Malcolm X Park.

Do you have a dog?  Doggie Happy Hour after work at Shaw Dog Park!

The Wise Latina Club's Viviana Hurtado Gives Sonia Sotomayor U St. Tips

Courtesy: The Howard Theatre

To add to the entertainment suggestions from Twitter and Facebook, jazz at Indulj and any live performances at the Lincoln Theatre next to Ben’s Chili Bowl or the newly renovated and opened Howard Theatre, where if you listen closely, you swear you can here the sounds of legendary headliners Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday, and Marvin Gaye.

Best flan?  Chez moi of course.

Open invitation because ¡mi casa es su casa!

What U Street musts do you recommend for Justice Sotomayor?

 

 

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18 Responses to “‘hood Tips from a Wise Latina to THE Wise Latina”

  1. This post is priceless…. Love the hood tips. I hope she reads this so she will know to skip the nazi yoga. jjjajajajjjaaa!

  2. Rubydw says:

    You are too cool! Doggie happy hour you say lol LOVE IT!

  3. Unknown Mami says:

    You guys could have a sleep-over!

  4. Bren Herrera says:

    Fantastic! LOL! I went to Nellie’s on a Sunday for brunch a few weekends ago and had a blast! Amazing how D.C. has changed so much! I love it all. I remember U St 15 years ago when it was a real HOOD!

    • Viviana says:

      Funny thing is that I have NOT been to Sunday brunch…yet…but Gay bingo on Tuesday or Wednesday. V. fun. And you B, are being generous calling U St. a “hood” 15 years ago. Luckily, the neighborhood which suffered after the Race Riots and the crack epidemic is really flourishing!

  5. I’m glad things have changed. My neighborhood wasn’t so great either a few years ago. Love that photo of you and THE wise Latina :)

  6. Excellent! Hope you ladies get the chance to sit down together! ;) Great tips!

  7. Eva Smith says:

    Pizza and salsa dancing! I’m in. Love the great tips.

  8. Carrie says:

    You and the Justice should hang!
    And then invite me over para hangear.

    I love U Street area from my days in D.C…wish I had these tips 20 years ago!

  9. Rachel says:

    Wow! What a great list of tips! I’m going to take note of these for myself! ;-)

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