I was awakened this morning by a very mild earthquake.
Even though it was magnitude 3.6, and the epicenter was about 10 miles away, it just barely woke me, and I wasn’t really sure at the time if was a quake or if a particularly heavy freight train had just passed. After all, I live pretty close to the railroad tracks, and have learned to sleep through quite a bit of rumbling. Also, it’s not unusual for pictures on the wall to rattle a bit when a big train goes by.
Still, I had a vague sense that this was not just a train. Checking the USGS web site, I discovered that this had, in fact, been the largest earthquake in Maryland since the 3.1 Hancock, MD tremor in 1978.
There was no damage anywhere that I could see, and although Twitter traffic didn’t show anything, I soon found quite a few Facebook statuses mentioning the quake ( the majority seem to have slept through it).
No car alarms, no sirens, and a lot less shaking than in the San Francisco area quakes I’ve experienced.
Still, it’s something to talk about. Almost worthy of a blog post.
The USGS places the precise epicenter at 39.167°N, 77.252°W:
View July 16, 2010 Earthquake in a larger map
Meridian Pint – about three blocks from the Columbia Heights Metro station – opened on Thursday, 1 July 2010.
I quickly discovered that I wasn’t the only one who had been waiting for this opening. When I arrived at about 7PM, it was very crowded both upstairs and down (and extremely noisy downstairs), with quite a waiting list at the Hostess’ station.
I was expecting some friends to be there ahead of me, so I wandered around looking for them and got my first beer – a Cask Conditioned Oliver’s Ale (Baltimore, MD). Upon discovering that my friends weren’t going to be there, I inquired with the Hostess about the approximate wait time for a party of one, and was delighted to find that Meridian has a communal table, and there was one vacancy. Brilliant! Not only was I seated immediately, but I also got to meet several other diners and see more of the food.
My first neighbors were just finishing Half Smokes with Pork Chili and some French Fries with Rarebit Sauce (both of which they recommended). On the other side, another new friend was just receiving her Burger with Blue Cheese, Bacon, and Grilled Onions, which was also rated a winner.
I had been looking at the menu online since early May, and already knew what I would order: The Double Cut Brined Pork Chop with Rhubarb-Hard Cider Sauce. It was served with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Braised Kale, which I paired with a Trade Winds Tripel, from The Bruery (Orange County, CA). My order arrived in a very reasonable time, as I chatted with my fellows at the communal table. The Pork Chop was tender and moist, a very generous serving, nicely set off by the sauce. I would highly recommend this to anyone with a good appetite.
As some folks moved on, I acquired new neighbors at the table, who ordered the Pork Quesadilla, Grilled Trout, and Braised Short Ribs. Once again, I heard no complaints.
As I was finishing my meal, Chef David Shewmaker dropped by and chatted for a few minutes. I introduced him to some of my new friends, and we all complimented and congratulated him.
I rounded out the evening with a pint of Old Rasputin Stout from North Coast Brewery (Fort Bragg, CA).
I’ve seen several restaurant openings, and they usually start out well enough, but crash and burn before the evening is done because they are simply not fully prepared. Not so at Meridian Pint – everything appeared to be running smoothly my entire time there, and the word from some of my new friends was that it continued to do so well into the night.
Congratulations to the team at Meridian Pint on an excellent opening night. I hope to be returning often and for many years to come.