Ms. Vedral Goes to Washington: Peregrine Espresso, Market Lunch and Eastern Market (Or: Exercises in Patience)

pic courtesy of Food Museum

Since my last post seemed to ruffle some feathers, I thought I should write this article about how I first became interested in picking up my life and moving to DC (note: this is not a comprehensive piece).

Every time I would visit friends or family in DC, I’d have the same reaction: “I could totally live here.” Sometimes that would be a fleeting thought; other times, I’d really consider moving. New York is a hard place to leave, especially when it’s your hometown.

But the moment the thought “…no, I think I really might want to live here” hit my brain was when my friend took me to Eastern Market this past August. I was only in town for a short stay and my friend wanted to show off DC. I have to admit, I was open but also a little skeptical, especially when the bus ride from Columbia Heights seemed to take forever. “Yeah, I’m sure that this place is totally worth it.”

Well, it was.

Peregrine Espresso

The first place we went to was Peregrine Espresso. My life hasn’t been the same since. I recall impatiently waiting on line and humoring my friend that I was really excited about coming there. I hate waiting on line for anything, especially if the wait time is more than three minutes. Peregrine was worth the wait. The mochas and scones we got were delicious and the atmosphere was alive and welcoming. I’ve gone to tons of coffee places in New York, but usually excellent coffee came with pretentious baristas, often dressed like Newsies (I’m looking at you, Stumptown). Not so with Peregrine. There was something about it that felt like home to me.

I came back to Peregrine a few months later–a different person because at that point I was interviewing here and had explored other parts of the city as well. I walked in and felt a rush of that first time feeling, mixed with a sense of… “I KNOW places that I like here in DC! I can’t wait to live here.”

So besides enjoying the general experience of casual hipness, what should one try at Peregrine? The mochas are excellent as are the lattes. The drip coffee is unbelievable (I think I tried La Frontera). And lest you think that I only drink pretentious coffee, I also enjoyed their ginger tea.

Market Lunch

My experience at Peregrine should have informed my experience of waiting on line for bluebuck pancakes at Market Lunch last month. I had heard about these pancakes for months, that I absolutely had to try them. I’m skeptical about places that everyone likes, because I don’t know if it’s because the food is good or because everyone is supposed to like it. So I braved the line and impatiently checked my Twitter and Facebook feeds and muttered under my breath (I think I tweeted about waiting on line).

I think I waited for 25 minutes.

Again, it was worth the wait. The bluebuck pancakes are incredible and more filling than most pancakes. I couldn’t finish mine. I got turkey bacon as a side and while it didn’t curl my toes, it did complement my pancakes well.

I really want to go back (supposedly the crab cakes are also excellent) but I think I need to be with a good friend who will distract me from the act of waiting.

Eastern Market

Finally, Eastern Market. I’m sure that I can’t say anything that thousands of people haven’t already said. However, I’ll add my praise to the experience. I’ve gotten amazing produce there, which is well worth the more expensive prices (and also, what do I know? I was used to paying $3.99/lb for vine tomatoes in New York).

Those two experiences of Peregrine, mixed with wandering around Eastern Market probably influenced my thought process of moving to Capitol Hill. Now I live less than 10 minutes from Peregrine and I go there regularly. I even bought coffee so that I could drink it at home (Idido Sundried, Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia).

Bring your skeptical and impatient New York friends to wander around Eastern Market. Make them get coffee at Peregrine and gelato at Pitango. Manipulate them to wait with you for bluebucks. It just may change their lives.

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