Good Food Markets is a small, neighborhood, local food-centric market located at 2006 Rhode Island Ave NE in Woodridge. This is a great little spot and the friendly owner gave me the backstory on the business. It is a mission-driven place in a neighborhood that would otherwise be a food desert. For those unfamiliar with what a food desert is, an urban food desert is an area of a city that is generally low-income and lacks good access to fresh produce. In some cases, it is defined as an area that does not have a grocery store or supermarket that sells fresh produce within a one-mile radius, making it difficult for residents to access good nutrition at reasonable prices. While carryouts serving tasty fried chicken wings and mumbo sauce are ubiquitous in DC (and while this food blogger loves the stuff) it does not count as good nutrition.
Good Food Markets set out to change this, selling delicious and nutritious, locally-sourced items to the neighborhood’s older, low-income population, some of whom are on food stamps, as well as to young professionals and families who have recently moved to the neighborhood. One of the most interesting things about Good Food Markets is its partnership with DC Urban Greens, an urban farming initiative that grows a variety of produce in hoop houses in Fort Dupont Park and Marvin Gaye Park right in DC’s Ward 7. They produce a special line that Good Food Markets sells. Since I was there in mid-October, the only DC Urban Greens produce available was lavender. However, Good Food Markets’ owner told me that there’s a lot more available in the summer and early fall. Another highlight was the cranberry orange granola from Oh-Mazing, a small DC granola-making operation. I would rarely describe something like granola using superlatives, but this stuff was simply divine, like a decadent cranberry orange muffin in granola form. I’ll definitely be back!
Mom’s Organic Market is a regional chain that contains a vegan eatery called Naked Lunch. The only location in the District itself is at 1501 New York Ave NE in Ivy City. I’d be willing to bet that you’ve never heard of Ivy City, a historically run-down and neglected warehouse district. However, Ivy City’s hulking Hecht Warehouse has been converted into snazzy condos, which have brought with them the typical harbingers of gentrification: organic food, a yoga studio, a CrossFit Gym, and other establishments such as the New Columbia distillery (known for its Green Hat Gin). However you feel about gentrification, Mom’s Organic Market is a fantastic place. It’s bright and friendly and stocks a wide range of health food products, many of them local. Naked Lunch offers tasty and healthy veggie-based food options (kind of along the lines of Beefsteak, but what I had was tastier) along with fresh juices. I ordered the cauliflower steak and while a carnivore like me cringes at the idea that cauliflower would be called steak, it really was pretty tasty. The best thing about Mom’s Organic Market, however, is the FREE COFFEE. Yes, you read that correctly. There is FREE COFFEE right at the front of the store (as well as tea). I biked over there on a rainy, chilly day and that free coffee was a godsend for a caffeine addict like myself.
I confess I often overlook Italian places in favor of other cuisines that are less common. But once I found out about A. Litteri, I just had to go check it out. A. Litteri is an Italian market, butcher and sandwich shop located at 517 Morse street N.E., tucked in the warehouses occupied by wholesalers around Union Market. It’s the definition of an institution; it was founded in 1926 but moved to its current location in 1932. The current owner’s grandfather and great uncle (Antonio Litteri, hence the name) founded the place. The store is mostly a market selling Italian products such as Italian wines, balsamic vinegars, sauces, and pastas. Their collection of different types of olive oil is particularly impressive. I know olive oil tasting is a thing (when I went, there were a few out to taste), but I’ve never seen so many different kinds of olive oil in one place. I also can’t imagine that most customers are even remotely knowledgeable about olive oil to appreciate the selection (I’m certainly not). What this demonstrates to me is a commitment to excellence and a sense of pride in a carefully curated selection. There’s also a butcher in the back where you can order sandwiches like meatball heroes and, of course, Italian sandwiches. I ordered the Italian sandwich, which was delicious and very reasonably-priced at $5 for six inches (sure, the nearby Subway is cheaper but obviously the quality here is far better). The only drawback is there’s no place to sit and eat, and no particularly good spot for a few blocks around. This place is well-worth stopping in though- it’s truly one of a kind.
Hana Japanese Market is a small, authentic Japanese store located at 2004 17th St NW. This is definitely not a well-known spot in Adams Morgan; I admit I lived a few blocks away from here for months without knowing it even existed. I’m very glad I stumbled on it though since it’s a great spot for such Japanese goods as sushi mats, mochi ,and Pocky. There is sushi-grade fish in the freezer, but this isn’t a place that sells supermarket-style sushi. This is a place that sells a wide variety of Japanese goods to a primarily Japanese clientele, which means it’s a spot where you can find things that you simply can’t get elsewhere.