January 30, 2012, Washington, DC: This weekend I had the privilege of working for Barracks Row Main Street to take photographs throughout my neighborhood of an event called the Culinary Education Crawl. (Full set of photos now posted on www.barracksrow.org!) On Sunday, nine restaurants and establishments on Barracks Row offered courses throughout the day in what they do best — from shucking oysters to making ravioli, tasting champagne to baking tarts and cupcakes. In banning together, restaurants and businesses saw classes sell out fast, attracting their best customers and neighborhood regulars to come into the kitchen, behind the counter and behind the scenes of their local establishments. I had a great day documenting the event on the 8th St. SE corridor.
The event gave me an excuse to meet those neighbors I’ve often seen but never knew — people like Bernie and Liz and Lindsey and Martin and Larry and Bart and Fred — familiar faces who invest their time and passion into this corner of Capitol Hill. There isn’t much truth to what they say about hiding behind the camera: It was a perfect vehicle through which to get out and learn more about the people here who make this place so friendly and livable. Again and again, I was struck by the concentration of talent here on Barracks Row, by the enthusiasm among business owners and patrons, and by the rich and varied flavors that comprise this corridor.
There is always more to learn about our surroundings — whether listening to a lesson on Indian spices or wandering into a space we’ve never before ventured. There’s an incredible gallery space called The Fridge down the alley between Senart’s and Belga Cafe. There’s an impressive number of people nearby who would eat Matchbox Pizza for breakfast if given the chance.