We round up the stories, blog posts, tweets and going-out scuttlebutt that have us talking.


Graffiti or art? These days, murals on the sides of buildings are being commissioned, not painted under the cover of night. This week, City Paper examines the phenomenon of graffiti (finally) going mainstream in Washington. Pictured: Kelly Towles, working on his giant mural "Scout," at 12th and W streets NW last year.(Courtesy of Kelly Towles)

● Washingtonian’s Best Bites Blog recently mined the web for the D.C. restaurant world’s most lamentable Web sites. You know the ones: The awful techno music, the five-minute Flash intros, the one that belongs to Rasika.

Bond 45’s site got a knock for its totally appetizing photos of branded raw meat. And while you attempt to figure out how the heck to make a reservation, please enjoy some pseudo-intellectual parsing of the differences between a chef and cook, courtesy of Westend Bistro. But Eggspectation seemed to wow even the commenters; its site regales you with a theme song that asks “Would you contemplate the strawberry French toast flambe?” Sure, anything to stop the singing. [Washingtonian Best Bites Blog]

● A handful of years ago, the work of street artists in Washington was treated almost exclusively as vandalism and scrubbed away — or, on occasion, taken as a terror threat and imploded. (Don’t believe it? Allow us to refresh your memory of the compelling Borf saga.)

But today, City Paper finds in its most recent issue, graffiti may have finally found acceptance in a town that was long a holdout; street art isn’t just tolerated, it’s being comissioned by the city. But is it losing its edge in the process? [Washington City Paper]

● The Obama family spent Saturday packing up gumbo and cantaloupe for patrons of D.C. Central Kitchen to mark Sept. 11th. Obama Foodorama has pics of the first family. [Obama Foodorama]

● And finally, a little something to chew on from Eater: Researchers from Harvard and Boston universities tracking Groupon deals noted that restaurants who offered a deal subsequently saw a spike in the number of Yelp reviews they received — and they tended to be negative.

Is it that Groupon clippers are just more likely to be Yelpers with high expectations? Or that all 2,332 restaurants just happened to be “too hipster”?

Perhaps none of the above. “This could indicate that a more critical audience is being reached,” the researchers wrote, “or that the fifit between the merchant and these new customers is more tenuous than with existing customers.” For more about the study, Technology Review breaks it down. [Eater]