Operation: Take Advantage of D.C.

No, I'm not talking about our ├╝berfantastik D.C. public employees. It's not that kind of taking advantage. No, today we're talking food. Good food. Ethiopian food!

Live a little: Dukem makes a mean veggie combo platter

In what I hope will be the first installment of an ongoing series, I am chronicling my adventures at lunchtime in the nation's capital. Since I work downtown at the middle of the Red line (DC Metro's main street, as it were), there is no excuse for sitting behind my desk with my food every day. With so many free (or almost free) things to see and do, literally within walking distance of my office, I'm determined to keep from living life like some schmuck stuck out in an office park in Fairfax all day.

I have already made a couple of trips down to the Smithsonian (the Hirshorn Gallery and the Holocaust Museum), but, alas, forgot my camera. I brought it today so I could share with you my Friday adventure: a trip to U. St./Cardozo and lunch at my favorite Ethiopian restaurant, Dukem.

U Street NW is a funny neighborhood. It is the traditionally black entertainment district of the city, but after the 1960s riots, it went downhill fast. What brought it back up to speed was a steady influx of immigrants from Latin America and east Africa (principally Ethiopia and Eritrea). The neighborhood now is an eclectic mix of those cultures combined with African-American holdouts from the '60s and newer, loft-dwelling white couples in fancy new condos.

The neighborhood sports some great bars for live bands, like the Velvet Lounge (my old band played our first gig there), and, of course, good restaurants like Dukem and (although not my taste) the world-famous Ben's Chili Bowl.

Today I feasted on the veggie combo platter comprising spicy split lentils, yellow peas, greens, cabbage, and salad and washed it down with a rich and thick Beck's Dark. The On the TV above me was an old Germany vs. Belarus Euro 2008 qualifier that I hadn't seen. Life for lunch was indeed good today.

Satisfaction on a beautiful Friday