Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Metro Monopoly: A little Latin America

Destination: Mt. Pleasant, just two blocks west of the Columbia Heights Metro stop.

A journey along at least two Metro lines from Foggy Bottom is required to reach this northern D.C. neighborhood.

Just past the hustle and bustle of Columbia Heights’ big-box stores sits a cozy residential pueblo with a distinct Latin American feel. You will know you’ve arrived at Mt. Pleasant when the bus advertisements change to Spanish.

While the neighborhood is rapidly gentrifying, and many Hispanic residents are moving to more affordable suburbs, this neighborhood still feels like little Latin America. Well-dressed abuelitos on benches yelled Spanish catcalls my way as I walked by Byzantine-style churches and family-owned bodegas on every corner.

Hungry and lured by the promise of authentic Salvadorian-Mexican-American fusion cuisine, my first stop was Marleny’s Restaurant.

Memories of vacationing in Panama flooded back to me as I took in fútbol flags hanging on the wall and old men singing along and swaying to the Mexican corrido music, with mid-day Coronas in hand.

While at Marleny’s you must order a pupusa ($1.75 each) – a thick, flat corn meal tortilla filled with hot, melted cheese. Marleny’s serves them with coleslaw and tomato-based sauce. Two will easily fill you up for a mere $3.50. Pair them with a cup of horchata ($2.50), a Mexican cinnamon-infused milk drink, and you will have the perfect cosmopolitan meal: cheap, filling and international. Next time, I plan on trying the pupusas revueltas, which are stuffed with meat, beans and cheese.

After refueling at Marleny’s, I wandered farther down the road to Logan’s Antiques – a history buff’s dream destination. Surrounded by piles of African statues and old furniture, I discovered the not-for-sale collection, rife with African American memorabilia, ranging from “Darkie Toothpaste” to a 7-Eleven Obama ’08 cup. This brief look into the District’s past is as good as you’ll get in any museum, and here you can actually touch the artifacts.

Consider thrift shopping a varsity sport? Frugalista is a neighborhood go-to for fairly-priced business and casual apparel organized by brand. I picked up Banana Republic cardigan ($13) in perfect condition – a great score for an upcoming interview.

Mt. Pleasant also offers free community events. Outdoor Movies in Lamont Park shows a classic 80’s film each Friday at 7:15 p.m. Last weekend’s showing of “The Princess Bride” drew crowds of families, couples and hipsters alike. If you can manage to get up early, head to the Mt. Pleasant Farmers’ Market, which promises a bounty of fresh produce every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Dec. 22.

For your next off-campus excursion, head to Mt. Pleasant. Sample authentic Latin-American cuisine, shop without draining your wallet and take in the atmosphere. When you return to Foggy Bottom, you will feel worldlier – and for only the price of a round-trip Metro ride.

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