Feb/March Art Show: Mary Belcher's "In the City"

"In the City" features 13 paintings and prints of paintings by Mary Belcher, who sells her artwork at Eastern Market on Capitol Hill. Her watercolors are known for their strong colors and minute detail. A brand new painting, "606 H Street, Chinatown, D.C.," is among the works now hanging in the cafe. The show also includes three of her watercolor maps available as limited-edition prints: "Rock Creek Park;" "The Potomac Gorge of Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia;" and "A Watercolor Map of the Neighborhoods of Washington, D.C."

A former journalist, Mary has been a full-time artist for 17 years. Her clients have included The Nature Conservancy, Stephen Decatur House Museum, U.S. Forest Service, DAR Museum, Politics & Prose, Smithsonian Institution, Reading Is Fundamental and many others. Since 2005, Mary has worked with Howard University archaeologists to preserve two unmarked 19th Century cemeteries--one African American, one Quaker--in her Adams Morgan neighborhood.

Mary’s cards and prints are on sale in Politics & Prose Bookstore for the next month. The paintings will be on display in Modern Times Coffeehouse until the end of March.

For information about commissioning a piece or existing artwork, go to www.marybelcher.com


New Local Art Show

The Lady
by Jim Darling

Local photographer and coffeehouse regular Jim Darling is one of six featured artists in a new show at the Studio Gallery, opening March 2nd. We met Jim through his photos of BK Adams, another featured artist and friend of Modern Times Coffeehouse.


February 29–March 24, 2012

Opening Reception: March 2, 6–8 PM

“A Person and a Story” is an exhibition featuring local DC photographers and some of their favorite portraits. Each portrait is paired with the story behind the portrait, written by the photographer—creating a storytelling experience in a visual and textual way. The portraits are from around the world featuring subjects that vary from President Obama to the homeless.

The exhibit will be multi-dimensional exhibition celebrating strangers and friends alike.

Featured Photographers:
Joshua Cogan, Jim Darling, Matt Dunn, Keith Lane, David Lee and Joshua Yospyn


Product Review: Hario Manual Coffee Grinder

You probably already know why burr grinders are better than blade grinders for coffee. Burrs crush the beans into uniform size pieces, resulting in grounds that will extract all their coffee-ness to the best of their ability at the same rate. Blades chop the beans into uneven pieces-- so the little coffee grounds wind up being over-extracted (bitter taste) and the big ones never have the chance to bloom to into their full potential (weak taste). Outside of taking your beans to your local coffeehouse to have them ground for you in a commercial grinder (which, by the way, is totally acceptable if you are purchasing the beans from them), there's few affordable burr grinders out there that are easy to use, easy to clean, and easy to store.

I bought this little Hario brand hand crank burr grinder after my electric burr grinder broke (at the time, the most inexpensive electric burr grinder I could find was a Black and Decker model at $50. It broke after about 15 uses).

The grind can be adjusted by manually turning and clicking the burrs into place-- further apart for a larger grind, closer together for a finer grind. If you don't like to weigh your beans, it makes just enough coffee for a small press pot; or for two hand poured cups. If you want to prepare coffee for a crowd this isn't the device for you, but they do make a slightly larger model that has a glass bottom and is very handsome. The only other downside is that the burrs aren't labeled , so if you forget what setting you want for say, drip coffee, and the day before you made it for french press, you have to grind a little bit, then open it up to check the size.

The best thing about grinding your own coffee by hand is the timing and ritual of it all. Put on a kettle to boil, grind your coffee and set up the pot, put your bread in the toaster. Breakfast is served!