For years, food writer Amanda McClements has been known around town by the name of her blog, Metrocurean, which has kept readers up-to-date on restaurant happenings and featured local notables' food picks. Now, she's turned over a new leaf, opening up Salt & Sundry in the new Union Market in the NoMa neighborhood of Northeast D.C. "I think the restaurant scene has improved drastically in the past 10 years, but the retail scene in D.C. is still, I think, coming into its own," she told Yeas & Nays on a tour of the store this week. "I had a store in my mind where I wanted to go shop and it doesn't really exist, so the obvious question was why don't you just make it -- and that's how I got here."
Filled with various odds and ends, Salt & Sundry is like a general store gone chic. There are farmhouse tables made by McClements' father, a North Carolina-based carpenter. There's a cupboard filled with cocktail enhancements, such as syrups and bitters. And another pantry filled with folksy food items, like grits and pancakes mix. An old classroom map adorns one wall, while aprons are hung on another. The store sells glasses, carafes, place mats and serving platters.
McClements calls the look rustic and refined. "It's approachable, but there's some style and polish to it," she explained. "D.C. has a very traditional idea about entertaining and I kind of want to show people that it's not that hard."
As for the name, it comes from a McClements' favorite. "Somebody asked me once what my favorite food was and I said salt, which is honestly not a food, but I think salt makes everything better," she said. (And yes, there's a wall of specialty salts for sale at the store). And Sundry? "It literally means miscellaneous items," McClements said. "But to me sundry has a real vintage connotation."