Rustico Restaurant for Sunday Brunch

If you know me, you know that one of my favorite things is food. Like every self-respecting foodie, I’ve dreamed of being Anthony Bourdain, Ruth Reichl, or David Lebovitz where I could get paid to travel the world, gorge myself on the best food the world has to offer, and share my experiences with you all.  So I’m thinking from time to time I might use this space to wax eloquently about my various culinary adventures. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the breaks from the typical posts about technology, startups, and marketing.

For the last few days we’ve had one of Lauren’s college roommates visiting us. After church in Alexandria, VA on Sunday, we were looking for a good brunch spot. Lauren had never been to Rustico and Buzz Bakery is across the street, so we knew we had to go to Rustico Restaurant.

As context, if you didn’t know, I’m a pretty chill guy. I like to go with the flow and I like going places that are more low-key. Especially in a bigger city, brunch is such a hip cool thing that brunch spots are typically bumping with activity, which makes me usually meh on brunch. I hate having to wait 45 minutes for a table.

When we got to Rustico, I noticed immediately how low-key things were. The restaurant was half full. I was impressed. I’ve been there during the evenings where there’s been more of a crowd. Not sure what accounted for the difference.

As an appetizer, we got the pretzel crusted macaroni & cheese. At $8 and for the size of the bowl, it’s a little expensive. But… Man it’s good. That salty and cheesy together can’t be beat. Plus they used orzo pasta for the mac which was an interesting & delicious choice.

For my main meal, I had the fried oysters eggs benedict. It was delicious. I love the look of wispy egg whites after they’ve been dropped in the spinning boiling water. The oysters weren’t overly incorporated into the dish other than they were skewered into the top of the plate but they were still good. The bread was Texas toast and the breakfast potatoes were sweet potatoes, which were both pleasant departures from the breakfast norms.

Rustico is known for their fine beer selection so I had to find one of their fine draft beers to pair with my eggs.  It was only 12:30pm, so I didn’t want something heavy.  I noticed on the menu “Embers of the Deceased” (what a name) from the collaboration between DC Brau Brewery and BlueJacket Brewery (which is owned by the Neighborhood Restaurant Group that also owns Rustico).  It’s a pilsner at a <4.0% ABV, so it was light & perfect.

The girls both had the breakfast burger. It was like a cross between eggs benedict and a burger. It had egg & hollandaise but with a burger patty and Texas toast. Oh and it had lots of bacon. It looked and was delicious. It was REALLY heavy though.

All in all I have to recommend Rustico as a brunch spot. They serve delicious twists on the classics you’re going to get everywhere else, it’s a relaxed/chill environment, and you’re going to find beers from across the region & country that you’re not going to get anywhere else. So if you’re more into beer and less into mimosas (which they have too) I especially recommend going here.


What I’m Reading – Sunday, Sept 16th

Thought I’d write up some of the articles that I’d been reading that day…

What time was that show on?

This spring Lauren and I were temporarily living in California while she was in 500 Startups. Instead of signing up for cable tv, we used our Internet access and a Roku box to get access to Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon for our television & movie fix.

It worked like a dream. We watched the tv shows we wanted, when we wanted to watch them. It was easy. The quality of the stream was fantastic.

It’s now funny to come back to a cable tv enabled house & the fall television season starting. My first inclination is “Oh that show is coming back.” Then I’m like, “when is it on?”

What does it matter when it’s on? Why am I holding myself to a broadcast schedule? I lived without it for 4 months.

Maybe it’s time we cut the cable in DC too.  It just seems like such an outdated model.

I wish the final the final holdout television networks would join the Internet era, like CBS and The Food Network.  I also wish there was a better solution for live news or programming online.  I want to be able to watch Morning Joe over our Roku box.

Entrepreneurial Milestones

In his latest post, NYC Investor Chris Dixon talks about the dangers of defining your company’s worth by  the vanity milestones that you hit(investment, partnerships, press, etc)…

What is worrisome is when founders equate vanity milestones with success. The attention will go away very quickly if your company fails.

I couldn’t agree more.  Young entrepreneurs especially are getting the wrong idea.  While getting written up in TechCrunch isn’t bad, it can actually help you acquire new users & investors, it’s not success.  Success is building a successful and sustainable business.

So… do we need to create a culture where we are more transparent about the real milestones that we hit?   What if we all started disclosing more about the revenue we make or don’t make?    Could we change how we judge success?

Start a Revolution!

Twitter Chairman & Square CEO Jack Dorsey spoke at the TechCrunch Disrupt Conference.  From the article on his talk…

Dorsey asked founders and entrepreneurs to “pick a movement, a revolution, and join it” — as if to say that anything is worse than not being a part of something, contributing to a movement forward, rather than adding friction and moving against.

I totally agree.  When you’re starting a company, do something that changes/adds to the world.   Have a cause.   This will allow you to build an amazing community, both inside and outside the company.   It gives people a reason to work hard.  They realize they’re working on/for something bigger than themselves.  I’ve seen this first hand at HelloWallet.

Redesign of the HelloWallet Website


I’m excited to unveil the redesign of the HelloWallet website.  Between updating the corporate branding and implementing that into a new & refreshed website, I’ve been working on this since the first of the year.   I’m really proud of what we produced.

The site lays a phenomenal foundation for helping to propel our efforts.   It’s using all the best practices for attracting all the attention that the company deserves.  Plus we’re hooked up with the best in analytics so we can figure out what to do better.

Big ups to my homies at Chief who did the branding refresh and Viget Labs who designed & developed the new site.

Communities Need a Facilitator

So, we’ve talked about how when communities have a common cause/topic and a platform for people to connect on that you have the start of something powerful.    Without a facilitator, it’s easy for communities to die off after the initial excitement or for them to be taken over by  specific personalities.

You’ll notice that I didn’t say community manager.   I think of it less as management and that you’re really there to make a safe place for conversations (or really connections) between people to exist in a way where both users  feel safe.

My dad works with an international student ministry at Michigan State University called the Friendship House.  Him and the Executive Director Rich are community facilitators.  Their first job isn’t to teach English as a second language.    It’s to create a place where the magic can happen and making sure all the right people show up.  It’s about setting up the table & chairs.  It’s about making sure the coffee is brewing in the back of the room.

As I’ve said before, I manage the DC Tech Facebook Group. It has more than 1700 people who want to be able to share & consume information about what’s happening within the technology & startup sectors within the Washington, DC area.

When you have that many people (and even when you have fewer), your community is wrought with all kinds of potential issues.  People just want to showboat about themselves, which is good in small doses but can be overdone.   Certain personalities will dominate conversations.  Things will get posted that are irrelevant.

You need a community facilitator.  You need someone who’s going to uphold guidelines of conduct that help the community to operate more smoothly.   Granted enforcing these guidelines might not be taken lightly by the offending party but you have to do it for the greater good of the community.

Looking to start a community?  Instead of trying to lead, try stepping into the background.   Be the facilitator.