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"Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Überness"

January 26, 2012

Looking more like a political rally than a cocktail party, the invitation-only “Über DC Cocktails, Innovation, and Transportation” event held Thursday evening at the Shadow Room on K Street meant free pizza, drinks (and PopChips) for the lucky 700 who got in before the doors closed.

Über CEO, Travis Kalanick was in town to thank D.C. for its passionate support of the city's newest private car service, and to respond to questions raised by the D.C. Taxicab Commission.

Rachel Holt and Will Johnson (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Rachel Holt and Will Johnson

Rachel Holt, Über's D.C. general manager was on hand to greet guests. "We’re delighted at the turnout. We're here to thank all our supporters. We haven’t seen any laws or regulations to suggest we’re doing anything illegal. It's business as usual."

Ruth and Simon Jacobsen (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Ruth and Simon Jacobsen

World-renowned Georgetown architect (and contributor to The Georgetown Dish), Simon Jacobsen and his wife Ruth were there to lend support. "As a frequent user of private car services, Simon said” Über is exactly the same thing, only Über is more effective and the drivers don’t have to stand around waiting.”

Travis Kalanick (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Travis Kalanick

Travis Kalanick took to the podium to thank the standing room-only crowd, and began by explaining Über's raison d’être, "I’m from San Francisco. Here there are 12 taxis per 1,000 riders. In San Francisco there are 1.8." Started in his home town, Über is now in six U.S cities and Paris.

Travis briskly went through a lively Powerpoint presentation, complete with graphs and maps. When a photo of D.C. Taxicab Commissioner Ron Linton appeared on screen, the crowd went "Booo." Smiling, Travis responded, "We not only love the people who love us, but love those who hate us.”

The spontaneous outburst was in reaction to the well-publicized January 11th sting, which Travis recounted. "Two days after our meeting, Ron Linton calls an Über to take him to the Mayflower Hotel where The Washington Post, DCist and 10 inspector dudes show up. Then they impound his car." Another loud "Boo!" Rachel Holt explained earlier that "we cover 100% of all tickets."

Travis addresses the crowd as Rachel listens (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Travis addresses the crowd as Rachel listens

"It’s not illegal to want a classy, convenient ride. We made sure we’re 100% legal." Travis continued, "Here's to life, liberty and the pursuit of Überness."

Ron Linton on the screen (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Ron Linton on the screen

"On Valentine’s Day (same day as his next meeting with Ron Linton) “Every woman who enters an Über car after 4:00 pm will get a rose by the driver.” The predictable response was applause and a resounding "Yay!"

And for the meeting with Ron? "We’ll be bringing roses and chocolates.”

Before closing, Travis urged fans to stay on Twitter and Facebook, go to the hearings, and continue taking Über.

Then it was back to the bar.

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

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Out of Many Comes Unum

January 23, 2012

Open when you’re hungry. Close enough for a pre or post theater bite. Walking distance when it snows. Cocktail-ready straight from work. And oh yes, fabulous food where you want to bring out-of-town guests and celebrate milestones.

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

Your favorite Georgetown eatery is almost here.  Former Equinox sous chef Phillip Blane and his wife Laura Schiller are opening Unum at the end of this montha “contemporary neighborhood restaurant” in the former Mendocino Grille spot on M Street.

The great stone wall is still there, but look for some subtle signature Unum touches. The custom light-filled sheet metal tree (actually two trees intertwined) on the far wall (formerly a wine rack), the cozy book shelf (filled with books) to the right of the 12 person bar, and that warm golden amber color palette.  GrizForm, the architects who brought us Fiola and Proof and Estadia have done their magic on this place. It’s warm and inviting, cozy and contemporary.

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

A sneak peek at the menu, like its namesake E pluribus, ("out of many, one") Unum’s new American cuisine has international roots.

The rockfish “bouillabaisse (with littleneck clams, mussels and parsnip-potato cake and saffron broth), rosemary gnocchi, pan seared arctic char (with sunchoke puree and sauté, jicama-citrus slaw), braised Indian spiced lamb shank, and smoked duck breast (with pomegranate sauce and rainbow Swiss chard).

Open seven days a week, on Fridays and Saturdays Unum offers a late night bar menu.

“Taking care of regulars,” that’s what chef and co-owner Blane is passionate about.  “I grew up in New York, and London. Always loved to cook, and what I missed back here were the local pubs and bistros, that sense of home. I wanted to re-create that familiarity, an approachable place, not over the top avant-garde. Basic with a twist.”

Unum is at 2917 M Street. Tel: 202.621.6959

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IPSA: Home for Your Hair

January 23, 2012

“We do hair. And hair only.” That’s the IPSA for Hair motto and one they’ve been dedicated to for 15 years.  By the way, if you’re wondering what IPSA means, it’s Latin for ”the thing speaks for itself.” In this case, the legions of loyal clients and dedicated stylists (many of whom have been also been there since it opened) speak for IPSA.  

One of the newest members of the team is Caroline Welch. Born and raised in Arlington, VA., Caroline majored in psychology at Georgetown University before starting a career in construction management. After six years, her then boyfriend (now husband) encouraged her to go to school for hair. “I’ve always loved it as a child. I’d put streaks in my own hair with a topical ointment (luckily it worked) and practiced on friends.” Caroline said. With a little encouragement, it was off to Graham Webb Academy, where she assisted at IPSA. Hooked from the beginning, as soon as she graduated, she came straight to IPSA two years ago.

Highlights by Caroline on Shinechuu Bumuutseren (Photo by: Caroline Welch) Highlights by Caroline on Shinechuu Bumuutseren

“The new trend is Keratin treatments, lots of shiny healthy hair, the natural look,” Caroline explained. A stylists and a colorist, Caroline loves the whole process from start to finish. “Highlight-wise, I like the sun-kissed look. That’s my technique. Graceful grow out instead of a stark line of roots. “I do everything: color, color correction, styling, bangin’ blowouts.”

“I love IPSA because it’s small and like a family.”  Caroline lives in Falls Church with her husband and two bulldogs, Hamilton and Murphy.

Brian Winter cutting hair (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Brian Winter cutting hair

One of the “old-timers, “Brian Winter also considers IPSA home. Originally from Pennsylvania, he’s been cutting hair here in Washington for over 20 years, and the last 15 at IPSA.  While he can do any style, he’s often considered a men’s specialist. “When I was first into hair in the 80’s, it was wild colors and cuts. “ As many note, Washington is a conservative town, and short and trim is trending now for men.  As Brian explained,” We stick to hair. It’s nice for cutters not to be distracted you can concentrate on the hair.”

Caroline and Brian at (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Caroline and Brian at

 IPSA for Hair is at 1629 Wisconsin Avenue. Tel: 202.338.4100


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