News & Politics

The Blogger Beat: FoBoBlo

This week we take a stroll through Foggy Bottom with neighborhood bloggers Kat and Jared.

Jared and Kat among the snow drifts in Washington Circle. Photograph by Chris Leaman

Here’s something you don’t run across every day: neighborhood bloggers who don’t actually live in the neighborhood they blog about. Foggy Bottom bloggers Kat and Jared live in Arlington and Columbia Heights, respectively.

But that doesn’t mean they don’t have ties to the neighborhood. Both work in Foggy Bottom, and both attended George Washington University as undergrads. Says Jared: “I still feel very much a FoBoian.”

You might be wondering about their blog’s name, FoBoBlo. It’s a riff on an informal nickname residents used for a grocer on F Street: FoBoGro. “As soon as Kat said FoBoBlo, we knew we found our name,” says Jared.

Geared toward GW students and neighborhood residents, the site’s content runs the gamut from restaurant reviews to recaps of GW sports games. Regular features include Humpday Sales, a Wednesday roundup of Craigslist finds, and Friday Wat, an open thread where readers post funny videos.

We caught up with Kat and Jared to find out what’s new in their neck of the woods. Read on for their picks on everything from favorite lunch spots to happy hours.

Five words to describe Foggy Bottom:
Kat: “Growing, oft-forgotten, academic, artistic, Metro-accessible.”
Jared: “Vibrant, diverse, young, compartmentalized, underappreciated.”

Three reasons to live there:
Kat: “Your parents pay your rent, you are a retired lawyer, or you love college classes. Or if that doesn’t work for you, it’s an extremely convenient location for work, school, and play; there are a ton of things to do (especially in the arts scene); and we’ve got delicious sandwiches.”
Jared: “(1) Foggy Bottom offers plenty to do—great food, world-class entertainment—without feeling as hectic and cramped as other neighborhoods sometimes do. (2) With GW and the federal government being so prominent here, it can be an extremely convenient location for workers.(3) There’s a fantastic hospital right here. Ordinarily I’d never even think of it, but I was hospitalized for a couple days just this month after a very sudden illness, and the only reason I’m healthy today is the care I received at the GW hospital. It’s a life-saver, and its home is Foggy Bottom.”

One thing people would be surprised to learn about Foggy Bottom:
Kat: “There are fantastic sculptures all over, courtesy of the Foggy Bottom Association. They put sculptures in the yards of residences and offer a self-guided tour. This year promises to be an interesting one for arts in Foggy Bottom. More info is here.”
Jared: “It’s actually the site of one of the oldest settlements in DC, and it used to be known as Funkstown. So we’ve got a long history of comical-sounding names here in Foggy Bottom.”

One thing people would be surprised to learn about George Washington students:
Kat: “Not everyone is rich, from New Jersey, paying full tuition, or Jewish. While a lot of students come from that blend of demographics, I think GWU is getting more and more diverse and interesting as the years pass. I know that was one of the goals of President Knapp, and I definitely saw the change. Also, not every girl has embraced the leggings-as-pants fashion plate.”
Jared: “A lot of them don’t pay for most of their tuition. GW might be one of the most expensive schools in the nation, but a huge percentage of students receive large amounts of financial aid. I think there’s a big misconception that in order to attend GW, all of the students must come from a lot of money (and all the negative stereotypes that come along with it). But the fact is that the student population is actually rather diverse.”

Best lunch option in the ‘hood:
Kat: “I’m a fan of Froggy Bottom’s all-you-can-eat pizza-and-salad buffet—cheap and filling. But if you’re willing to walk a little further, I highly recommend Asian Bistro. It’s low-key and filled with delicious Thai food, along with some requisite pan-Asian dishes plus huge bowls of pho.”
Jared: “For a quick lunch, the GW Deli is a great place to grab something tasty at a good price. That said, I’ve been known to make an entire lunch out of just the fries from Carvings on F Street—best fries I’ve ever had. And I’m looking forward to FoBoGro opening to try out their lunchtime selection—it looks promising! Keep an eye on our blog to see if they can contend with the dearly departed Coggins sandwich shop.”

Where to go on a date:
Kat: “If you’ve snagged someone who’s willing to cough up the cash, Blue Duck Tavern. But for a more reasonably priced outing, Juniper at the Fairmont has gorgeous outdoor seating and excellent cocktails. I’d save it for some nicer weather, though.”
Jared: “For dinner, El Chalan at 19th and I has fantastic Peruvian food. It’s authentic and charming without being stuffy or overpriced. Some nights they even have a soulful singer plucking the guitar. You can’t go wrong ordering the lomo saltado, but if you’re feeling adventurous you can even try beef heart (though maybe not on a first date.) For entertainment on the cheap, go to the Kennedy Center’s free Millennium Stage performance at 6, then take in beautiful riverfront views during a nice stroll.”

Where to grab a drink after work:
Kat: Nooshi, which I know is in that weird limbo between Foggy Bottom and Dupont, but I feel comfortable claiming Nooshi’s Crazy Hour for FoBo.”
Jared: Founding Farmers. They’ve got a great drink menu at the bar, and the appetizer specials are super-tasty. Where else can you get bacon on a stick?”

Favorite GW sports team:
Kat: “I’m a huge fan of the women’s basketball team. I’m a former teaching assistant for the GWU Colonial Brass, and the women’s team has taken me all around the country on some great tournament trips.”
Jared: “I hate sports. Sorry, GW—I just don’t care. We do cover it on FoBoBlo, though, but that territory is solely for Kat and Rob, one of our contributing authors.”

Shop or business you’d like to see move in:
Kat: “I’d enjoy having a grocery store that was somewhere betw
een Safeway and Trader Joe’s.”
Jared: “I think we could use a few more CVS stores, especially if they had Starbucks counters inside them. Just kidding! Seriously though, we’re in need of some serious menswear stores. A guy really can’t get a shirt around here!”

Favorite intersection:
Kat: “H and 22nd streets, Northwest, due to the tiny and adorable Pushkin Park. I think it’s the only monument to Alexander Pushkin (and a tiny, bright-gold Pegasus) in the country.”
Jared: “It’s not technically an intersection, but H Street between 21st and 22nd is a great place to people-watch. There’s always a ton of activity: sidewalk-chalk drawings, food carts, music, protestors, and more. If I were a motorist, I might have a different opinion, though—GW students tend to use that entire street as a sidewalk.”

One thing about the neighborhood that needs improving:
Kat: “The produce selection, aside from the farmers market.”
Jared: “Nightlife. Part of what makes Foggy Bottom so great is how peaceful it is late at night, but there’s a way to maintain that while still having a slightly move vibrant nightlife. We don’t need a raucous club, but a hip lounge would be nice.”

Finish this sentence: “If a reality show were made about Foggy Bottom residents, it would be called . . . ”
Kat: Fake IDs (but Don’t Go to McFadden’s).”
Jared:I Saw Ben Stein at CVS, and the concept would be something like Kid Nation meets The Simple Life (season 1) plus Meerkat Manor.”

Favorite local blog besides your own:

Kat: “I’m a big fan of the City Paper’s Sexist blog.”
Jared: “I love reading Prince of Petworth and New Columbia Heights. DCist is essential reading, of course, and so is Greater Greater Washington.”

Next week we dine out with Capital Spice bloggers Mike and Elizabeth Bober. Check back Wednesday for their favorite restaurants and chefs and the most bizarre thing they’ve ever seen on a menu—and tried.

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