Two things to know about me: I’m a Francophile, and I love to shop. A favorite pastime of mine is to “Lécher les Vitrines,” which translates to licking the windows. “Lécher” means “to lick,” but it also connotes admiration and pleasure. So French, non?
Of course, with the COVID 19 pandemic, licking the windows sounds even worse than usual! So, I suggest you “Lécher les Ordinateurs” or lick your computer! Really what I mean is to do your holiday shopping online with D.C. Shop Small. You can shop from the comfort of your home and arrange for a delivery or contactless pick-up. If you want to lick the delivery person, I definitely recommend getting expressed consent.
I’m going to stick to our locally owned businesses, but I do want to say I’ve had a one-way crush on Mitchell Gold since I discovered them in the abc carpet and home in NYC. I’ve always wanted to bring abc to D.C., so let me know if you’re with me!
If we start on the westside of 14th Street, below T Street, and head south, the first store we come to is Lou Lou’s Boutique. Lou Lou’s is a small chain that started in Virginia. They’re great about selling merchandise from local makers, and I can always find quelque chose for my niece there.
Next, take a quick right on S Street and go to Little Leaf, which has a beautiful selection of plants, planters, and charming accessories. It’s a no-no to bring a bottle of wine in France, so I go to Little Leaf and buy little plants for hostess presents. I rarely have people over, so I have to ensure I get invited back when asked to a dinner party.
The next stop may surprise you. It’s Logan Hardware. It’s part of a group called “A Few Cool Hardware Stores,” and it’s really true. The owner, Gina Schafer, has an excellent eye and stocks local makers like Neighborgoods and Capital Candy Jar.
Further along on 14th Street is Crown Pawnbrokers. They’re family-owned and have been on 14th Street since the 1960s. Follow them on Instagram @dcpawn.
Two doors down is The Outrage. I seem to recall they opened within the last four years for some reason. My most recent purchase was a little RBG puppet for a friend who’s a lawyer. I plan to buy one of their “Thank you Stacey Abrams,” t-shirts soon.
Next up is Miss Pixie’s Furnishings & Whatnot. I can usually entice my friend Leah to meet me for brunch in Logan Circle if I promise a trip to Miss Pixie’s.
My favorite purchases are a pair of white swan chairs and an RBG t-shirt bought for my goddaughter. (Going back to French, you can’t translate “godmother” as “mother of god,” which I did once. I got quite a skeptical look. It’s “marraine,” by the way.)
You have to act quickly if you see something you love at Miss Pixie’s. Pausing has cost me several items, including a Chinese ceramic fish and a Haitian print. Yes, I’m still thinking about them.
I have a new favorite store on 14th Street – Rice Market. It opened last month and, although I think curated is an overused word, I think the market is beautifully curated by Sak Pollert, who has lovely taste.
It will definitely be on my list of places to shop for holiday presents. Besides groceries, wine, sake, and beer, it has beautiful ceramics and linens and gorgeous cookbooks.
Conte’s on Q Street is a good place to shop for the Tour de France lover in your life. I got a great bicycle tire pump from Conte’s for my birthday this year!
I don’t think many neighborhoods in D.C. can boast of having two bicycle stores, but Logan Circle can. Further south on 14th Street, there’s another family-owned bicycle shop – Rollin Cycles, where I once bought bungee cords.
Heading south on 14th Street, you come upon Gallery Neptune and Brown. There are many paintings I’ve longed for in that window.
I love this multicolor woodblock by Polly Apfelbaum. It reminds me of Matisse.
I often save brochures from their exhibits for future purchases, but the “snooze you lose” principle works here, too.
Cork and Fork has a large selection of wines from small makers. You can also give wine club memberships and wine tasting classes for that special person/personne in your vie who doesn’t know quoi about vins. And their souris are very charmantes.
I haven’t shopped at the Shade Store yet, but I really need to. I haven’t replaced the shades in my apartment, and you can imagine the smudge marks on the window from the Lécher-ing.
Flow’s been praised as the “Best Yoga Studio” in D.C. by the Washington Post and the City Paper, nailsaloon is equally lauded by WCP and Washington Life Magazine. Zengo has been well-reviewed by Washingtonian.
Similarly, there’s one-stop shopping around the corner at 15th and P. You can buy gift certificates for Vida, Aura Spa, and Bang Salon. If you take a jag off of 15th onto Church, you come to Crossfit MPH, and I can’t forget to mention Bodysmith back on 14th Street as I can see them through my living room window and tell you if they’re open.
So, that’s on the westside of 14th Street. Here’s the eastside.
Another favorite store of mine is Salt and Sundry. I go there for lovely cards and notebooks and gorgeous cookbooks for my friend Lia. I’ve been wanting to buy this zebra head, just because.
Current Boutique is a neighborhood jewel not to be missed. I love consignment stores and thrift stores. Paying full price is never an option (well, hardly ever). Current Boutique is a good choice as you “weigh” your pre-COVID, during COVID, and post-COVID sizes.
I’m going to suggest you find Rishaad Ryan on 14th Street around S Street. His slogan is “Ordinary Art for Extraordinary People,” and you’ve probably seen him and stopped to talk with him as he’s irresistible. He paints very vibrant streetscapes and D.C. Flags.
So, yes, Cork Wine Bar and Market has wine. Bien sûr. You can find a nice bottle of wine for a non-French hostess. You can also find: Laguiole cheese spreaders, extra virgin olive oil, pistachio cookies, and Caramels de France made from butter and sea salt from Guerande (le meilleur). This is what I like to get for my friend Nelly. One, because she loves it, and two, maybe she’ll slow down a bit on our runs.
On-on-on. The next store is Pacers Running. Here, I get to combine running and France to say I ran the Paris Marathon, aka the Marathon de Paris! Here’s proof! A photo of my sister, brother-in-law, and me at the end of the race. It’s not important which sister finished first.
So, I’ve shopped for many things at Pacers! Running shoes, Gu, Shot Blocks, and SuperFeet insoles. One of the best things about Pacers is they sponsor the PNC Parkway Classic. This is a great race. You have to get yourself to Mount Vernon by 8 am, and then you run the G.W. Parkway into Old Town. It’s mostly downhill.
The last stop on 14th Street is number 1843. I bet you’ve passed it many times and missed it because you were thinking about licking the windows at Manny and Olga’s. (Your secret is safe with me.)
But take a look next time. On the ground floor is Som Records. Assuming you still have a turn-table (I gave mine away, sigh), this is a great place to find Rock, soul, funk, disco, go-go, reggae, samba, salsa, folk, blues, punk, electronica… maybe even Django Reinhardt. Neal Becton has a great I.G. account @somrecordsdc.
Upstairs is the White Cloud Gallery, a contemporary fine art gallery showcasing emerging and established artists of Latin American origin. Their online shop has gorgeous photos of flowers by Perez Lem.
After this shopping tour, you’ve earned a little lagniappe. My little gift to you today is to tell you that ten of these businesses are all offering special and discounts!