Had to transact business in NE DC, and was in the neighborhood, so I trotted over to the Brookland Cafe (associated with the Brookland Inn next door) for a sit-down lunch. I try to patronize local establishments when possible; however, only a few locals at a time are able to fit in this cozy (near) corner.
The liquor license status is currently up in the air (due to a complaint lodged that the cafe is within 500 feet of a school; huh?), so I ordered an iced tea, which was very strong and sweet, the way I like it.
The service is very friendly, casual, and the vibe is cheery. However, the non-bar chairs lack backs (and are thus unsuitable for the clumsy--moi), so I ate at the bar, which was more comfortable than many. Being in the mood for fried food, I ordered the vegan shrimp basket, consisting of plump, crispy vegan shrimp served with homemade red pepper fries (which weren't spicy, but exuded salted, crisp goodness). The housemade cocktail sauce served with the shrimp is pleasant, but not especially spicy.
Best of all, lunch was tasty, yet I didn't feel bloated afterward. (And even had enough room to indulge in a slice of sweet potato cake, an indulgence well worth it. After all that, I felt good. Da da da da da da da, I knew that I would...I feel nice...)
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Headed down the street for a non-food errand, to find a true neighborhood institution, its eccentric True Value hardware store. Like many an independent store, there is an amazingly large number of goodies stacked therein, the expected items (grass seed, lawn mowers), but surprises lurk within. Like the wide variety of old-fashioned gum and candy near the checkout (if I knew about that selection of caramels beforehand, I'd be a bigger blimp), and an interesting choice of bean seeds, bush versus pole, of a variety that I have yet to see elsewhere (two shelves of each type, from the Meyer Seed Co.). Kentucky wonder beans, anyone?
Can't knock a place that's been around for decades, and still has a decent number of customers late on a weekday afternoon, near the crawl space known as the checkout. But, it wouldn't be around if it didn't fulfill many local needs, so I'm glad it's there.