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Updated: Jan. 5, 2016 at 3:21 p.m.

A local couple will show the country one episode at a time that D.C. is more than just monuments and Brutalist-era federal buildings.

The pilot episode of D.C. Flippers premieres on HGTV Sunday at 2 p.m. and will show off the District’s Victorian homes’ architecture in up-and-coming neighborhoods.

The show’s stars, Ati Williams and her husband Rob Williams, are both long-time District residents who own real estate brokerage D.C. Home Buzz and development company Honeycomb. On the show, the couple will flip houses in D.C.’s most charming neighborhoods.

Ati Williams said that the District is the perfect location for a show about home renovation because the city houses many centuries-old properties with “quirks and surprises.”

“There’s a pulse to this city that most people don’t know about,” Williams said. “It’s great because we can showcase D.C. in different ways other than politics.”

D.C. houses are different than houses in other cities that are often featured on HGTV shows because the District’s properties are smaller and more expensive, Williams added.

The pilot episode was filmed last summer and follows the couple as they renovate a rowhouse in the Petworth neighborhood that was formerly Rob Williams’ “bachelor pad.”

As they patch up the outdated space, Rob Williams works on the “guts” of the house – construction, HVAC and electric – while Ati Williams “puts on the lipstick” by designing the interior, she said.

Camera crews visited the house a few times each week for three months over the summer as the couple continued to revamp the space. Williams said she estimates that the crews had over 100 hours of film to boil down into a 30-minute episode.

Although the Williamses always noticed the camera crew’s presence, they were “never intrusive” and made sure the couple could continue their work authentically, Williams said.

Williams said she and her husband have been approached in the past by representatives from production companies who wanted to film the couple as they worked with their brokerage firm’s clients. But that work wouldn’t make for entertaining TV, she said.

“We weren’t interested in doing anything like that,” Williams said. “We kept telling them that we live a pretty boring life.”

When Half Yard Productions, a Bethesda-based production company, approached the couple last year about a renovation show, they were interested because representatives from the production company “asked the right questions” and wanted to feature their unique style, Williams said.

“I think my aesthetic is whatever feels like home,” she said. “I’m big on spaces that feel livable, especially because we have a dog and a kid, so I always want a space that is both beautiful and practical.”

 

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Callan Tansill-Suddath.

A new year means a new calendar full of must-see music performances. Lucky for us, this new year promises to bring some great acts to the District. Check out these concerts to ring in first few months of 2017:

Run The Jewels
Echostage, Jan. 12

Before Run The Jewels’ third album dropped on Christmas Eve, much of the group’s attention last year came from rapper Killer Mike’s vocal support and work for Sen. Bernie Sanders’, I-Vt, presidential campaign.

In the two weeks since the album’s release, it has been met with praise, including a rare B+ rating from the popular Chicago music blog Consequence of Sound. The two musicians promise to put on a solid set when they visit the District on the second night of their world tour later this month. The show is one of the first opportunities to hear songs from the new album performed live, so it’s sure to be a raw and exciting performance.

Tokyo Police Club
Black Cat, Jan. 22

The band Tokyo Police Club may not seem familiar, but you’ve likely heard the group’s work before. Their work has been incorporated into popular artists’ tracks: Mac Miller included their music in last year’s “Cinderella.” But Tokyo Police Club’s sound is worthy of more than a sample.

The Canadian indie rockers have consistently released some of the most fun, bright and dance-worthy music over the past decade. The past year brought their new album, “Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness,” an EP released in two parts, which will likely provide most of the content for their tour. The show is guaranteed to be a good time, particularly at a venue as intimate as the Black Cat.

Maren Morris
9:30 Club, Feb. 16

Maren Morris ended 2016 as one of the most influential new voices in country music. On Dec. 10, the Texas native performed as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live – a rare feat for an artist in the genre. It has been years since a female country artist’s work has achieved mainstream success without crossing over into the pop genre, like Taylor Swift’s did.

Morris’ voice is refreshingly alternative and her sound has enough of a rock influence to appeal to country skeptics. It’s not often a country act comes to the 9:30 Club, and her show is sure to have you dreaming of warmer weather and summer barbecues.

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Monday, Jan. 2, 2017 12:18 p.m.

Restaurant openings to watch for in 2017

This post was written by contributing culture editor Max McCrory. 

If you’ve vowed to go against the typical New Year’s resolution and plan to eat more, not less, in 2017, then you have a lot to look forward to in the District.

While you’ll always have your old D.C. favorites, several new restaurants announced 2017 openings that will help you eat your way through the new year. Here are some openings to look forward to:

Red Apron Burger Bar

Looking to venture away from the old standby Burger, Tap and Shake for burgers and fries? The master butchers behind local Red Apron Butchery are opening Red Apron Burger Bar in Dupont Circle this year.

The restaurant will serve up mouth-watering burgers made with local beef starting at only $5.85. They’ll also be offering decadent french fries cooked up in their dry-aged beef fat as part of a “whole-animal” approach to reduce waste.

Red Apron Burger Bar will open in mid-January. If you’re craving a preview, you can visit the Red Apron Original Burger at their Red Apron Butcher stores in Union Market, Penn Quarter and Merrifield, Va.

1323 Connecticut Ave. NW

Bindaas

Bindaas, the causal eatery from the team behind Rasika, will be opening its second, and biggest, location on campus in the fall.

The restaurant will be located in The Shops at 2000 Penn and will serve up traditional Indian street food, like kebabs and Kathi rolls, to a hungry crowd of students and local business people. The new location will offer lunch, dinner, a weekend brunch and a separate carryout counter when it opens.

2000 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

Reverie
Johnny Spero, the former head chef at José Andrés’ Minibar, is opening up an affordable and charming restaurant in Georgetown this summer.

The restaurant will enhance diners’ palates with a menu full of twists on modern American cuisine. Spero wants to attract all types of people, he told the Washington City Paper, so items at Reverie will not cost more than $30.

The restaurant will sit close to campus on a cobblestoned Georgetown side street, which makes it the perfect place for students to get a taste of fine dining in a casual atmosphere without a high price tag.

3210 Grace St. NW

The Salt Line

If you come from a region where seafood is a staple, then you’ll feel right at home at The Salt Line when it opens this year.

The restaurant will be serve up New England-inspired fare, with everything from fried clams to lobster rolls to fresh oysters, as well as cuisine from the local Chesapeake Bay. The Salt Line will have daily dinner service and a weekend brunch.

The Salt Line’s location in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood is the perfect environment and will give you an excuse to venture to an up and coming part of the District. Not to mention, with its spring 2017 opening, it’ll be the ideal place to grab an upscale bite to eat before a Washington Nationals game.

79 Potomac Ave. SE

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Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016 7:07 p.m.

Sweetgreen goes cashless in new year

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Leah Potter.

Sweetgreen, the D.C. salad chain with a location in Foggy Bottom, will no longer accepting “green” for payment when the company goes cashless next year.

Some of the franchise’s locations have tested the cashless model for about a year and all 64 retail locations will implement the system in 2017, Fast Company reported last week.

When the new model is implemented, Sweetgreen locations will only accept credit cards, debit cards and the mobile app for payment.

Sweetgreen’s D.C. locations will accept cash until March, while locations in Boston, New York and Chicago will go cashless Jan. 18, according to Business Insider.

Cofounders Jonathan Neman and Nicolas Jammet told Fast Company that going cashless will lower the chances of robbery, eliminate hygiene concerns for employees who handle both food and money and allow managers to spend more time training and mentoring employees.

Sweetgreen will also introduce a redesigned app in the new year, which will include group ordering and notification alerts. Neman and Jammet expect an increase in the number of people using the app, which already accounts for about a third of the chain’s business, according to Fast Company.

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Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016 6:43 p.m.

Binge watch your break away with HBO Go

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Bridie O’Connell.

The holidays came early for students who are hoping to binge watch winter break away.

HBO Go became available to students last month and can be accessed off campus by logging in with a GW NetID and password. Check out our guide to the best TV shows and movies to watch on HBO Go for every situation you may encounter over break.

Mind- altering thriller: “Westworld”
Fans of dystopian science fiction shows will love HBO’s newest thriller, “Westworld.” “Westworld” mixes the past and the future in a way that is sure to mess with your mind. The combination of robots and the old west might seem confusing or cheesy, but “”Westworld” is a highly intricate show that will keep your mind occupied as you constantly try to figure out what is real and what is part of the park. In addition to the riveting science fiction aspect of the show, it is also full of action and romance.

A good cry: “The Danish Girl”
Inspired by a true story, “The Danish Girl” follows Einar Wegener who discovers that he identifies with a fictional persona, Lili, who he dresses up as to model for his wife’s painting. The film showcases the complicated relationship between Einar and his wife Gerda as they adjust to Einar’s transition to womanhood with delicate grace. The film is a true tearjerker, and the moving performances by Eddie Redmayne, as Einar, and Alicia Vikander, who won an Academy Award for her role as Gerda, will give you high standards as you size up the past year’s films for your Academy Award predictions.

Holiday movie to watch with family: “Miracle on 34th Street”
“Miracle on 34th Street,” which was added to HBO Go last month, is a classic Christmas movie that is perfect to watch with family. Based on a true story, “Miracle on 34th Street” tells the story of a department store Santa Claus who claims to be the real Santa. This movie is perfect to turn on as every generation of your family gathers in the living room because the old-fashioned department store setting will send your grandparents on a trip down memory lane and the heartwarming holiday plot will please every age. Though it has many dramatic twists and turns, a happy ending ensures you’ll walk away with some extra holiday spirit.

Binge-worthy television: “Insecure”
Check out Yvonne Orji in the hit show, “Insecure,” to see a GW alumna who has made it to the big screen. “Insecure” is a comedic and relatable story of a woman trying to find her place in the world. With only one season out on HBO, now is the perfect time to binge before another season comes out next year. While this show follows a creative and funny plot, it also has been praised because it pushes back on stereotypes of black women. The 30-minute episodes fly by, making this the perfect show to binge on during winter break.

A trip back to the District: “Veep”
If you are spending winter break wishing you were back in D.C., “Veep” will make you feel right at your second home. The satirical show follows a female politician, who serves first as vice president then president of the U.S., as she attempts to make a lasting mark on the world while avoiding the political games and drama that the District is known for. Season six comes out this spring, so winter break is the perfect time to catch up while getting some comedic relief to forget about real-life political drama.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Leah Potter.

The Shops at 2000 Penn doesn’t have the atmosphere I would expect for a fine chocolate shop. But as I explored and tasted the chocolates at SPAGnVOLA Chocolatier, I quickly got over the space’s feel and enjoyed the sweet treats.

SPAGnVOLA Chocolatier opened in the space late last month.  It is part of a chocolate franchise, which was voted one of the top ten chocolatiers in the world by National Geographic this year, which explains the shop’s high prices and unique flavors.

The shop offers an array of chocolate goods ranging from classic chocolate bars (around $10 each) to surprising combinations like hot chocolate with cardamom ($25.99), and pieces of sugar-coated ginger hand-dipped in dark chocolate.

At first, the store seemed a little stuffy, mostly due to its impeccable organization and lack of customers. Golden-yellow chocolate boxes with subtle stenciled drawings line the walls in perfect order.

The small space is filled with a wide variety of chocolates. The shop’s standout items are the bonbons, which come in flavors like white peach, pistachio, passion fruit and caramel.

SPAGnVOLA’s Crisoire’s Collection ($72.99) includes 24 bonbons in a variety of flavors and is the most shop’s most luxurious chocolate.

I purchased one of their four-piece signature truffle collections ($12.99), which included coconut, passion of the sea, orchid vanilla and cranberry truffles.

The orchid vanilla truffle was fresh and playful with a strong dark chocolate finish. The passion of the sea truffle was dark all the way through with a light touch of salt.

The cranberry truffle was composed entirely of white chocolate, apart from the hints of cranberry in the center and a decorative dried cranberry on top, which earned it my recommendation for a festive chocolate gift.

The coconut truffle was underwhelming compared to its companions. The center of the truffle was simply filled with dark chocolate rather than highlighted with notes of coconut, as I expected. The truffle was topped with slivers of coconut, which were slightly too chewy and in need of toasting.

With fancy packaging and chocolate made with cacao beans imported all the way from the Dominican Republic, it might be hard for the average college student to afford the luxuries of SPAGnVOLA Chocolatier. But students should keep the chocolatier in mind when in need of a special study treat or a gift for a family member.

 

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Updated: Dec. 16, 2016 at 10:51 p.m.

Despite living in the District, residents rock out to Childish Gambino’s “California” on Spotify more, compared to how often the song is played in other cities, Curbed DC reported Tuesday.

The updated version of Spotify’s “Musical Map of the World,” which was released last week, allows users to explore the most popular songs by city or country at any given time. The map is updated every week and now has a pop-up player so users can listen to a region’s playlist without clicking away from the map, according to Spotify’s blog.

Childish Gambino holds the top three spots for the most popular songs in the District. Other artists, like Justin Bieber, DJ Snake and the District-native rapper Shy Glizzy, also top the list.

Glenn McDonald, a data alchemist for Spotify, studied billions of listener-track interactions to compile the playlists, and all of the songs on each playlist are played “disproportionately” in comparison to how often the song is played in other places, according to Spotify’s blog.

To listen to D.C.’s playlist, or explore what’s playing in other cities around the world, check out the map.

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Celebrity chefs gathered to showcase their culinary talents at the MetroCooking D.C. expo.

Video by Iliana Hagenah

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President Barack Obama lit his last tree at the 94th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting.

The event was hosted by actress Eva Longoria and included performances by James Taylor, The Lumineers, Chance the Rapper and more.

Video by Sara Bugaighis

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Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016 11:11 p.m.

Dish of the Week: Fig & Olive’s crostini

Fig & Olive’s signature crostini comes with a variety of flavors and toppings. Max Wang | Hatchet Photographer

Fig & Olive’s signature crostini comes with a variety of flavors and toppings. Max Wang | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Max McCrory.

Fig & Olive is known for serving up Mediterranean style food with flair. It has locations across the U.S. in New York, Chicago, and luckily, here in D.C. You’ve probably passed by its D.C. location on your way to Momofuku, as it’s located in CityCenter.

The restaurant is the perfect place to go when you want to relax. It has cozy lighting and big couches where you can lounge while sampling from the vast menu. Dishes on the menu, like the creamy burrata heirloom beet salad ($16), the smooth butternut squash & chestnut soup ($13) and the rich truffle risotto ($26) are just a few of the Mediterranean eatery’s highlights.

But all of these dishes pale in comparison to Fig & Olive’s signature crostini (three for $12 or six for $21). They come with multiple toppings to appeal to everyone at the dinner table. For the adventurous eater, there’s a crostini topped with octopus, a bit of creamy hummus and spicy pimenton and for the meat lover, there’s an option topped with prosciutto, creamy ricotta, fresh fig, salty olives and crunchy walnuts.

While all of the crostini toppings are flavorful and delicious, not to mention beautifully presented, there a few you can’t miss. The crostini with creamy burrata, juicy tomato, garlicky pesto and tart balsamic vinegar is reminiscent of a caprese salad, without that pesky, healthy spinach. It’s the perfect combination of different flavors sure to make your taste buds explode.

Another notable crostini is topped with soft and creamy goat cheese, aromatic caramelized onions and crisp chives. The onion taste is not overwhelming with the mild goat cheese and is incredibly light.

Last but not least, is the crostini topped with buttery manchego cheese, fruity fig and sweet marcona almonds. The rich ingredients come together for a shocking sensation when you first take a bite. Order a mix of crostini to create the perfect appetizer that will have satisfy anyone’s tastes.

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