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The Going Out Gurus
of the washingtonpost.com City Guide
Thursday, November 16, 2006; 1:00 PM

Every Thursday at 1 p.m. ET, washingtonpost.com's City Guide experts share their best bets for local flavor, great dates and family fun. Got plans? Great. Need plans? Just ask. We have the skinny on the bars and clubs, concerts, kitchens, theaters and special events that keep life interesting. We're going out gurus, and we're at your service.

Of course, we're happy to answer questions about local entertainment, but we need to hear from you, too. Introduce us to the coolest DJ or the fastest bartender you've encountered. Sound off on the week's best concert or the city's best burger. Tell us about the best place to amuse little kids or a big art fan. Together we can plan fun ways to spend weekdays, weekends, dates and holidays. The pleasure is ours, and yours.

Each week a different guru will act as host or hostess, but the entire staff is at your service. If you're looking for more ideas, see the City Guide or read transcripts of past Got Plans? discussions.

The transcript follows.

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washingtonpost.com: What's up, D.C.? Welcome once again to Got Plans. You want to know about Michigan vs. Ohio State and we're here to tell you. We've also got a bunch of other questions waiting for us, so without delay, I give to you: Fritz, Rhome, David, Erin, Janet, Jen and me (Julia). Let's get this party started....

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Washington, D.C.: Gurus - I typically LOVE your restaurant advice and was hoping you had a few suggestions for this one:

My boyfriend and I are headed to Cirque Du Soleil this weekend (a 5pm show) and are interested in going out to dinner afterwards to make a night of it. Any suggestions for places nearby that the entire crowd won't flood immediately after the show? We are fairly adventurous and willing to try international cuisine but are operating on a moderate budget. Thanks!

Erin: Marrakesh and A.V. will surely be less crowded than the Chinatown-area spots, but the food is less reliable. The best bet for modest budgets is that region behind the Verizon Center. In that less-traveled terrain, you'll find Burma, Kanlaya and Chinatown Express. Those spots offer good food at even better prices.
The show runs for about 2.5 hours, so you can budget that way and make a reservation for a more popular spot.

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Buckeye Country, OH: Ok, so I'm not really in Ohio ... I'm in D.C., but on Saturday I want to be surrounded by OSU fans. What's the best bar for the big game? Bailey's? Crystal City?

Fritz: Man, y'all are all excited about Saturday, aren't you? I think we've got a dozen questions about where to watch The Big Game.
We'll start with the Buckeyes, which is only fair. While just about every single sports bar in the metro area will have the TVs on, the OSU alumni's "official" bars are Willie & Reeds in Bethesda (lots of TVs) and Georgetown's Rhino Bar (younger, louder, more beer specials).

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Question for Janet: I've had long hair ever since I was 13, and now I'm thinking about hacking it all off. I usually go to Bubbles, but for this I want someone who can give me an honest consultation about what style would work best, and then give me a fantastic cut. Where should I go? (Downtown or Capitol Hill would be ideal but anywhere Metro-accessible works.

Janet: Paul Bosserman and his colleague Bach give the best haircuts in town, but they are in Gtown. My colleagues here, I know, like Bang on U, and there's another branch in Gallery Place. The latter are both Metro-accessible. Good marks also go to Salon A on the Red Line in Bethesda.

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Online Only: I am looking to join a local hiking club to get some variety of area hikes to go on, and meet some new people. I tried out one group and had a nice time, but found that most members were more like my parents' age. Is there a hiking organization that you know of that has a more 20s- and 30s-oriented membership (or at least the full-range of ages) so that I could meet some more peers?

Julia: Hey! Wish we could be more helpful. Some of my girls over at the Express did a story on this about a year-and-a-half ago. They also found that hiking clubs skew a little older. They did say that it was a great way to meet people because you really do talk to everybody.
They *think* they tried Capital Hiking Club and remember a few people in their 20s and 30s. I'm putting this one out there early. Outdoorsy chatters, let us know!

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Hair: Every week someone requests a good hair dresser in the area and I also think a few months back someone said they are having a DC wedding but they are from LA. I have a fabulous hair dresser who not only works in a salon but does weddings and hair shows. His name is Shannon and works at the Christie Adams hair salon in Reston, Virginia.

Janet: Chatters in search of a hair dresser who does weddings, put this name in your little black book.

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Washington, D.C.: Any suggestions on where to watch the Michigan/Ohio State game this Saturday? Go Blue!

Fritz: The Pour House is the "official" Michigan bar in D.C., but I've heard that it's often waaaay crowded -- almost like a Steelers game. Tommy Joe's in Bethesda is the other option.
Alright, Wolverines. Where are you watching the game this weekend?

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Arlington, Va.: I've asked this a couple of times in different chats and never gotten an answer, and I'm running out of time to make reservations, so I hope you can help. I'm looking for a restaurant in VA for Thanksgiving dinner -- every restaurant on the Post's list is in DC. We want something reasonably priced but not so cheap that it attracts people with unruly kids ($40 range would be good), something with traditional Thanksgiving fare but maybe some innovative twists on old favorites. Any ideas?

Erin: Clyde's is a fairly reliable bet for Thanksgiving classics, but if you're looking to jazz it up, Pinzimini in the new Arlington Westin is serving an a la carte dinner of Italian-themed Thanksgiving specials. Pumpkin soup, pumpkin ravioli and hazelnut-roasted Turkey sound pretty awesome to me.

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Washington, D.C.: My girlfriend and I have a couple's (reputable) massage scheduled this weekend. What's the etiquette on tipping?

Janet: My advice would be to tip between 10 to 15 percent or higher depending on how great (or not so great) the massage and the whole experience (looks of the place, the service you got, etc.).

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Washington, D.C.: Hey Gurus!

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is always one of my favorite nights of the year to go out. Any suggestions for a long night of pre-turkey partying? Thanks!

Fritz: It's time for the weekly edition of "Have You Heard of the Nightlife Agenda"? Our weekly column has eight different ideas for Wednesday alone, ranging from a screening of "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" to old-school hip-hop with Doug E. Fresh and Biz Markie to a late-night bash from the Buzz/Cublik folks, with DJs Photek, Icey, Krafty Kuts and Scott Henry, which should be excellent. Then there's Dwele, the always-packed party at Clarendon Ballroom.... so many choices.

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Washington, D.C.: Do you guy's have a counterpart or at least a recommendation for a good place to find out about goings on around town in NYC? I am headed up there this weekend and trying to find something cool to do on Friday as I have the whole day to myself. Thanks!

Fritz: I am a loyal reader of Time Out New York, which you can pick up at Union Station.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus!

Submitting early today so I can make a meeting, but please take my question! I am hoping to surprise my fiance with tickets to some sort of a holiday show - nutcracker, symphony, play, etc. but don't know what to pick - if you had to choose one event of that sort in DC this holiday season what would you go with? Thanks so much!

Erin: Luckily, there is so much going on that you can pretty much tailor the fantastic options to your preferences. If you're a traditionalist, the Washington Ballet's "Nutcracker" is fairly incredible and extends through most of December. The Kirov, though spectacular, is only a short time starting next week. If you'd like to jazz things up, I'm quite curious about the puppets in "The Long Christmas Ride Home."
You can click through the different days on our Holiday Guide to find a recommended event for your desired date range.

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Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.: I seem to remember you guys mentioning some places in the D.C. metro area had ping pong tables. Can you please let me know where they are, or maybe I'm just imagining things.

Thanx

Fritz: Closer to you, there's a table at Cue Bar, a cool (but less-than-crowded) basement-level pool hall on U Street.
Comet, near Nebraska and Connecticut north of Van Ness, has tables, but it's been getting less-than-stellar reviews.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi GOGs...Question about one of my favorite restaurants in the city, Malaysia Kopitiam. After the rains around Labor Day, I think their restaurant was flooded, or had water damage. The last time I went, there was an AWFUL mold/mildew smell. I can't imagine health inspectors will allow that to remain. Do you know if they are trying to clean it up? I'd hate to see it close -- it's the most authentic Malaysian food I've had in this country! Thanks for your sleuthing!

Erin: I know what you mean about that noxious smell. I ended up settling for takeout last time to avoid the smell. When I inquired, they seemed to indicate that it wasn't a concern. The issue definitely predates Labor Day, so I don't know if the health dept. is turning a blind eye or too busy with more pressing concerns.

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Washington, D.C.: Boot repair question -- hope you can get to this as I haven't had any luck in the archives. Where (preferably in D.C.) can I get the calves of a new pair of high leather boots stretched? They are a bit snug on my soccer-honed calves, but I was hoping to get a recommendation rather than trying a shot in the dark. Thanks!

Julia: There's a dry cleaner's in Woodley Park (it's near Lex's Cajun Grill) and they do good things with boots. My cowboy-boot-loving friend had hers re-soled there many times.
I looked in to getting a pair of boots stretched there and they quoted me $8 -- not bad. I'm not sure if they can stretch the calf, but since they were willing to stretch other parts of a boot, I feel like they'd be game!
Fritz thinks the place is called Debonair. Give them a call first -- 202-234-1000 -- to see if they can handle it.

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The North Pole: Gurus, where can I buy a hideous, ugly, inexpensive sweater for a themed Christmas party? Prefer Metro accessible but willing to drive if I can get the shimmering, flashing, tacky sweater I desire.

Janet: Hmm. This used to be far easier, but browsing on Talbot's Web site, I saw a shimmering cardigan emblazoned with poinsettias. Pretty damn ugly without even trying to be that way.

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College Park, Md.: Hey Ya'll! I am looking for a place to meet an old friend for a drink on Thursday night after 9pm. I would like a place that is not too loud and where a couple of 30-somethings will fit in. She is staying at the Hilton Garden Inn at 815 14th Street NW, preferably a place in walking distance from the hotel would great. Love your chats. Thanks!

Fritz: Off the Record, the clubby bar in the Hay-Adams Hotel at 16th and H, gets an older crowd and has fantastic cocktails and free snacks served in fancy trays. If that sounds too stuffy, try the underrated bar at Ceiba, which has delicious South American and Caribbean-inspired drinks.

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Re: Andre Leon Talley at the Corcoran: Hey guys! You don't have to post this, but I just wanted to let you know that Andre Leon Talley's lecture at the Corcoran last Thursday was great. He reviewed his favorite fashion shows of the New York, Milan and Paris seasons and then took questions from the audience. He has a great eye for fashion and the setting was perfect for a lecture of that size.

Janet: Truly sorry I missed it; did you go to see Tim Gunn when he was there a month ago?

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Arlington, Va.: Dear GOG's

How do I find out who a dj is, and when and where they will be playing next. Saw a pretty cool DJ last Sat. night at Whitlow's, but their web site says Kelly Bell Band played that night. Little help, please.

David: I mean, you can always go up and ask the DJ who he/she is and where the next performance will be. It'd probably make their evening. Or just call the venue and ask who it was, they'll let you know, and if someone calls and asks then they'll know at least someone liked it, so maybe they'll bring him back.

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Naan and Beyond: While I'm sad to see Quiznos leave from underneath my P Street Dupont building, I'm intrigued by the "Naan and Beyond Coming Soon" signs. I think the restaurant is somewhere else in DC, but I've never been. What can we expect? Also, any idea when it is scheduled to open? Thanks GoGs!

Erin: Don't be sad, Naan. The replacement will be far better. I'm pretty excited to hear that it's expanding. You can spice up salads with tandoori chicken/shrimp or try pizza. The original is a stellar lunch destination, so many will envy your proximity to the new one.

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Rosslyn, Va.: I know this isn't technically a going out question, but it is a question that no one I know can answer and I don't know where else to turn. Do you know of any good personal trainers in the Rosslyn/Courthouse area? My gym, Washington Sports Club, has been no help at all.

Julia: I do. Express gals are once again coming through in a pinch. Eshe Body Center is located right above the Papa John's in Courthouse and trainer Angel Stone work wonders....according to my editor down there who's been unable to move after Friday sessions with Angel.

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Pentagon City, Va.: Hi Gurus,

My birthday is Monday and I would like to go somewhere with some friends and have something really good for dessert, doesn't have to be cake per se, but something worth indulging in!

Have any suggestions?

Thanks!

Erin: I'm not sure if you want dessert after dinner or a place with just dessert. If you're looking for a way to finish your dinner, try the tiramisu or strawberries with custard at Bebo in Crystal City. They're delicious. The other suggestion is my favorite dessert destination: Blue Duck Tavern. Between the homemade ice creams and the seasonal tarts, the desserts are outlandishly good.
Now, for a dessert destination, Buzz, the new bakery on Slater's Lane in Alexandria opens on your birthday. I will have more information up today or tomorrow, but you'll be able to sample cupcakes and some sweet bites as late as midnight.

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Hiking Clubs: My girlfriend seconds the recommendation of the Capital Hiking Club. She said that it was a mix of younger and older folk, and almost everyone was friendly.

Julia: Thanks! Good to know.

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Washington, D.C.: Fritz- What's up with Firefly? I haven't heard anyone mention it in a long time. Do people still go there for drinks? Your review in the CG is from 2002...

Fritz: Firefly's lounge is still a nice place to go for a glass of wine. My only misgiving is that the bar is so small. (Also, they shed all their best bartenders in a really short period of time earlier this year.)
Saw Chef John Wabeck last night at Bistrot du Coin's Beaujolais Nouveau party and he told me that he tasted something like 1400 wines in Burgundy a few weeks ago, so they'll have all kinds of new French selections available next month.

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New Coat lining - Dupont Circle: Hi gurus, submitting early, thanks for taking my question. So I tried to find this is your archives from last year and was unsuccessful. Before the winter season is upon us, do you recall a place where I can get my winter coat lining redone? (It would be super if the place were on the cheap side and metro accessible....if not near Dupont). My dry cleaner actually laughed when I brought my coat in, she told me frankly, that it would be cheaper for me to buy a new coat then have them fix my lining! man, that's rough! I like my nice coat. Please help!

Janet: I've found dry cleaners to be reluctant to replace linings in coats, so maybe a tailor is you r best bet. I just called Do's Custom Tailor in Georgetown to ask what they would charge to repair a lining. They said $125 and up, depending upon the length of the coat. Sounds a bit high, but ...

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Ugly Sweaters here! : Check out Unique Thrift Store in Wheaton, MD (corner of Viers Mill and Randolph Rd). I've seen plenty of ugly sweaters there and even some really cool ones for just a few bucks! P.S. - 25 percent off everything on Mondays!

Janet: Good suggestion. If you can find any of those old reindeer sweaters, etc., that could very well fit the bill.

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Washington, D.C.: The holiday season has plenty of great theater performances to get you into the spirit. I however typically have overdosed on said spirit by mid December. The best remedy I've found is to go to see The Santaland Diaries by David Sedaris. Do you know if it is playing in any D.C.-area theaters?

Erin: Either you're kidding, a publicist for Rep Stage or you've never been introduced to our City Guide.

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Arlington, VA: Hi Gurus! Love the chats. My mom is visiting for the weekend. Any bar our lounge in Arlington/Alexandria or DC to listen to jazz or other relaxing type of live music after dinner on Friday without having to buy tickets? Thanks!

Rhome: You could try Basin Street Lounge.

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Washington, D.C.: Get thee to Ross or the like for Christmas sweaters. And don't laugh too loud because some fellow shoppers are actually serious when purchasing the Rudolph sweater with the jingle bell nose. God bless them.

Janet: Another good idea for finding those ugly Christmas sweaters. Thank goodness for tacky taste.

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Rockville, Md.: Hey- I was planning to go to Cirque Du Soleil today, but it's in a big tent (at the site of the former DC Convention Center) and it's disgusting outside. Any way to find out if the show is still on?

Erin: You can always call the box office, but it's not a big tent in the way that a Coleman extra-large from the camping store is a big tent. This is a hefty, transportable stage that is wired for lights, sound and the weight of tons of equipment and performers dangling from its roof. It'll go on.

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15th and U: Hi Gurus- I'm looking for a Sinatra, Rat Packish lounge that has either a piano player or old school feel to it. The first places that come to mind are the bars at the Willard and Hay Adams but I don't think that either have a piano player. My mom and brother will be in town for Thanksgiving and so a bar like this would be a perfect stop for us the Friday after. Do you have any suggestions?

Fritz: This is when I like to recommend Mo's Bar at 701 downtown. You have the charming and talented Mo Taheri mixing cocktails and chatting with the regulars, as he has for 16 years. There's live jazz -- piano and bass on Fridays and Saturdays -- and it's always a classy, fun time. Just dress to impress...

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Washington, D.C.: How do you get tickets for the lighting of the National Christmas Tree on December 7th? The tree in front of the White House. I can't find the information on line. Thanks!

David: Sorry, but they were all distributed a couple Saturdays ago. Mark your calendar for early November next year.

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Alexandria, Va.: I've never been to Eastern Market and was planning on going this weekend. Can I bring my dog?

Julia: Size of the dog is going to be a factor in this decision. I've seen dogs there, but if your pooch is of the big-clumsy-knock-things-over variety, you might want to leave him at home. There are lots of low tables filled with stuff. I'm not sure if you can bring him in the building, but I think you could definitely roam around with him.
Also, it gets packed this time of year, so if your dog is not so fond of people and likes to roam free, might not be a good idea.
Fritz also mentions that he's seen dogs at Tunnicliff's so if you get a seat on the patio, you and poochie can just chill out there.

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Washington, DC: Hello GOGs, I'm in dire need of changing up my party regimen as I always go to the same places: 1223, Five, Cafe Citron, Lucky Bar, etc. etc. I was considering checking out the U St. corridor. Are there any places in particular you recommend I include on my voyage?

Rhome: Mingle and scope out folks at Local 16. People watch and check out some artsy events at Busboys & Poets. Find an instant friendly environment at Steton's. What else do you like? There's something for everyone on U St.

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D.C.: Where can a girl take her fiance to get an array of oysters and a good steak that isn't Morton's or Ruths Chris? Hank's tends to be really difficult to get into...thoughts?

Erin: Hank's is difficult to get into mostly because there isn't a reservations policy. Anyway, Black's Bar & Kitchen has an extensive raw bar or, as Oyster Riot-goers will tell you, Old Ebbitt Grill shucks its fair share.

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Anonymous: Oh Fritz, we have to break up. 30-somethings will fit in with an 'older crowd'?

Fritz: Going by my last two visits, the majority of Off the Record's crowd is 40s and up, though it's not a matter of "fitting in" -- I made my first visits in my early 20s and never got bad/condescending service.

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Glover Park, Washington, D.C.: Submitting WAAAAY early since I always have a meeting during your chat.

I've been anxiously awaiting news of Artomatic, but the Web site has not been updated since end of August. Do you have any insight? Will it happen this year? If so, where? If they're looking for space, one of the city's many stalled condo construction sites seem like a great idea.

Julia: I've been in touch with one of the Artomatic leaders over the last few months and so far, I'd say it's a no-go on this year. There was talk of trying to do a loosely organized show in many venues in 2006, but haven't heard anything on that in months, so I doubt that's going to work out. They are hoping to get something together in early 2007.
And those condo buildings are as good a venue as any!

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Adams Morgan Gym?: Does one exist near 18th Street? Ironically I don't want to walk 15 blocks to go work out.

Julia: Yes, but I'm not sure what your budget is.... Mint looks delicious, but, um, I imagine it's a little on the pricey side.
I feel you, buddy. If there wasn't a gym in this office building, I'd never work out.

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Washington, DC: Ever since Nation's closed I've been trying to find a new techno venue. I've been to Five plenty of times, but was wondering if you knew of any other places? I have heard of Sanctuary, is that place still open or any good? Can you recommend somewhere else? Thank you!!

Rhome: Sanctuary is for soulful house lovers, quite a world away from techno. It's really good when the trains are running on time but we think there are some management issues going on. Friday night at Five is the most reliable party for techno these days. Where are the rest of you techno folk getting down these days?

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus! Where is the best place to shop for an engagement ring in DC? Thanks!

Janet: Several folks I know have been very pleased with I Gorman because, along with the traditional, they also have more modern, hip designs, if that should be your bent.

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Bethesda, Md.: Went to Bistro Du Coin Last night, and I must say I was way underwhelmed. It was billed as this big to do and it simply is not. The food looked great coming out of the kitchen but of course unless you had a reservation you could not get any of it. The wine was out at midnight but as I guess you already know it was not all that. Just my opinion. Next year I will just buy the stuff and have all my idiot friends over.

Fritz: Bethesda, I was there last night, too, and if you don't think it's a big deal -- I'm going to disagree. The Duboeuf wine was bloody awful, but the Bouchard & Fils was passable. (There were bottles floating around.) How late did you stay? The whole room was packed. Everywhere I looked, people were dancing -- even on the bar, with the conga player. Folks were wondering around offering wine to each other. It was still a mob scene when I left, just short of 2.

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Logan Circle, D.C.: Hello there gurus...I hope you can help a delivery princess out...my fave Indian delivery place has closed (Mt. Everest)...who will now deliver my chicken tikka masala? I've tried Mekah, but I'm not impressed

please help!

Erin: That's a question that I've had, myself. My Indian cravings always kick in on the coldest, rainiest days. A La Carte Express delivers Heritage India, so keep that in your back pocket. Otherwise, the Indian Experience on L at 17th delivers within a five block radius.

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Georgetown: Oh omniscient gurus -- a few women in their late 20's/early 30's is looking to get out of our work neighborhood (Georgetown) and try a new place for Friday evening socializing. We'd like something with a crowd around our age (enough with the college students already!) where there's the potential for dancing later on in the night. Science Club had been suggested...do you think it fits the bill?

Rhome: Science Club is slicker than most spots patronized by college age people. Dancing can jump off when folks are feeling the DJ. It's really tight up in there though so it's hard to dance if there's a big crowd. I think Science Club is at its best when for chilling and mingling, what with all the tables spread out in nooks over multiple floors and the low lighting.

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RE: Haircut for long hair: For the woman who hasn't cut her hair since she was 13. Have you ever thought of donating your beautiful locks to Locks of Love? They are a non-profit that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss (right off their web site). I read somewhere that there are some salons in town that will actually cut your hair for free if you say that is where you are donating your hair (but one of the GOG's should verify that!!) Good luck!! My hairdresser is Demian in Adams Morgan, he's the best in my opinion!!

Janet: That's a good idea, and very much in the spirit of the season. Don't know about salons in town who will cut your hair for free if you say you're donating. According to LOL Web site, Hair Cuttery is a supporter but there's nothing about free hair cuts.

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Arlington, VA: Hey GOGs,

I'm planning to go out to Bohemian Caverns this Friday to check out the Young Lions. Could you let me know what to expect? What is dress code like, is the restaurant open or am I better off grabbing a bite elsewhere before coming? Do I need to get tickets in advance, or is it easy enough to get in at the door.

So many questions I know! I'm looking forward to checking out this venue.

Thanks!

Rhome: There is no dress code but the jazz patrons tend to look snappy but not formal. A suit might be too much. Neat jeans, fresh shoes and something with a collar, maybe a blazer. The restaurant is still being renovated but they do serve a limited menu in the Caverns. No advance tickets needed. You'll have fun.

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Just curious...: Hi GOGs -

Do you cover stories/hotspots as a group or do each of you take a corner (whether by geography or interest) and scope things out as an individual? Do you also have to work undercover, as does a food writer, for example?

Thanks.

Jen: Typically we all go out together, but we wear black masks so no one can tell who we are. Do you remember the Crazy 88s from "Kill Bill: Vol. 1"? We kind of look like them.
I'm joking, of course. We all have different beats. I handle movies, Erin does restaurants and theater, Fritz does bars, etc. Movies are funny because they're really a national thing, and therefore not relevant to one neighborhood vs. another. In general, whoever handles a certain category covers it for the whole D.C. metro area.
As for the anonymity thing, I think that applies mostly to Fritz and Erin when they go to bars or restaurants. They definitely want to keep a low profile. But when Julia goes to a museum exhibit or I go to a movie screening, we don't need to keep our identities secret.
In fact, both of us have been known to wear buttons that say "I'm a Guru, damn it!" just so we can get the attention we deserve. (Again, kidding here...)

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Washington DC: Hi Gurus!

My friend and I are heading over to Gallery Place area for Happy Hour tonight. With the new places opening on a regular basis, we are not sure where to go. Can you recommend a place to go for happy hour with good specials and/or food? Thanks!

Fritz: McCormick and Schmick's has a very good $1.99 happy hour menu (half-pound burgers, salads, wings, etc.). You have to buy two drinks, but it's still an excellent deal.
The free pizza and $3 beers at Ella's has become legendary, but it's really popular. When the servers bring the small pies out to the bar, it's like watching vultures descend. Don't expect to fill up, but it's worth a look.
Clyde's has discounted appetizers and beers, if you don't mind the crowds.
Matchbox has $5 house-infused martinis.

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Arlington, Va.: Hey Gurus! Love the chats.

Anyone who wants to go out after the big game should head to Madam's Organ where, no matter the outcome of the OSU-Michigan game, you can drink in the name of charity!

There's a fundraising event from 7-10 pm for WVSA Arts Connection--a group that helps fund art programs in DC for inner-city kids. It's a good cause, and it will be a good time.

Fritz: Good idea.

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Northern Virginia: I have a friend coming into town this weekend. Any suggestions on where we could go for a relatively cheap, but still fun, meal? And a good place to go afterwards? Thanks!

Erin: Jaleo in Crystal City is both cheap and fun with some tasty sangria if you're staying in Va. If you're District-bound, hit Matchbox, Sakana for sushi or Zaytinya.

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Arlington, Va.: Hi-

For years, other cities such as Boston, Philly, Pittsburgh (and of course, NYC) have had "late night museum" events. In other words, a museum/gallery may stay open till, say, 11, and -¿ horror of horrors -- serve drinks. I have never seen this happen in D.C. where you are lucky to find a museum open until 7. Do you all know of any that I have been missing? Is there a way to search for such things? Has anyone else ever expressed this interest? Thanks.

Julia: Good question. If a museum is staying up late, I definitely post that information in the City Guide and usually blog about it. The Hirshhorn threw some wildly popular (and yes, wildly crowded) Hirshhorn After Hours parties last year and many of the young museum workers I talked to were trying to convince their institutions to do the same. No such luck, so far, but I'm hopeful. It's expensive for these nonprofits to throw these kinds of events, but I think they should realize they have an audience for it.
The Hirshhorn usually sets up After Hours events around the opening of big exhibits, so look out for those.
In the meantime, check out the Torpedo Factory Art Center next month. They're open until 9 on Thursdays all through December. Also, coordinated gallery openings may be up your alley. For starters, check out First Fridays or the Bethesda Art Walk on the second Friday of every month.

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Columbia, Md.: Hi just moved to the Columbia, MD area a few months ago. Are there any posh, swanky restaurants in the Columbia, MD area where i can take my hubby for our anniversary dinner? I'm willing to dish out big bucks for the event. Thanks!

Erin: Iron Bridge Wine Co. comes to mind.

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M Street Corridor Yummy Dinner: My friend is looking for a place on M Street (between Dupont and Gtown) for a place to host his bday dinner. It's going to be a party of 10 or maybe a few more. He's a vegetarian, but most of the other people are not. Price is not a concern, but good food and good times are (nothing too stuffy, but rather, some place funky and fun). I suggested Blue Duck Tavern, but they are full. Any other ideas GoGs?

Erin: The two places that leap to my mind are Asia Nora and Circle Bistro.

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Washington, D.C.: Do you or the chatters have ideas where one might be able to volunteer next Thursday for Thanksgiving? I tried a search on the City Guide and came up with nothing. Thank you!

Janet: Kim O'Donnel's blog recommended Food and Friends. Give it a try. And good on you.

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Bethesda, Md.: Going to the Oyster Riot this Friday. Any suggestions on how early to show up and dress code?

Julia: You are going to have an amazing time.
I wouldn't say that you need to get there early, but I'd try to get there sort of on time (7?). You want to be able to slurp as many oysters as possible.
As for dress, the Oyster Riot site offers the best advice: "While the traditional answer is business attire, over the years, Rioters have been seen in everything from tuxedos to silk pajamas and cocktail dresses to designer jeans and stilettos. Originality counts."
I'd go the cocktail party route myself, but business attire is the safest bet.

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Chinatown Bound, Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus on this rainy crappy day,

A group of gals, not many, maybe 6 total, are heading town to Chinatown on Saturday to hit some of the swanky bars/lounges. We normally stay in the hood and hit reef, toledo and well, that's about it, so curious as to what lounges/bars you recommend to hit? We're thinking of starting at Zaytinya, then Indebleu for the lychee martini, then maybe Rosa Mexicana for the blood orange/kiwi/watermelon/pomegranite/cucumber margarita. Where else are we missing, is Poste worth it? Zola? Zengo? Oya? Why do all these places have such weird names? Oh, and we'll end up at Clydes. Thanks for the assistance!! (and pretend money's no object, for I've realized the credit card will have to be out for this extravaganza)

Fritz: Some of the best cocktails in the entire city right now are being made at Rasika. Grab a table in the lounge, sit back and let Gina work her magic. She's always coming up with new concoctions, so it's best to ask.
I'd definitely add Zola to your list. Better cocktails than Rosa Mexica-blah.
Zengo is a good one, but the cocktails can be really hit-or-miss -- especially the ones made with Sake. Anything made with fresh fruit is usually a go, and if you don't get there too late, the upstairs bar is a better bet with a group. (Downstairs turns into a bit of a holding pen.)
Top four (assuming you start at Zaytinya and end at Clyde's):
Rasika
Indebleu (though beware the crowds late)
Zola
Zengo

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Arlington, Va.: According to Express, it's Skin Beauty Lounge that is offering free hair cuts for those donating to Locks of Love, but that's only on Nov. 30. Any other day gets you a free $25 gift from Aveda, though.

Janet: There's reason enough to get your hair cut -- at least if you have enough hair for a 10-inch pony tail.

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Takoma Park, Md.: Any plans to start including the growing downtown Silver Spring scene in your coverage?

Fritz: Well, I've reviewed Gallery, Galaxy, McGinty's, Quarry House, Mayorga, Austin Grill and Piratz Tavern. Our restaurant reviews cover everything from Ray's the Classics to Jackie's, as well as longtime favorites like Cubano's and Sergio's. We regularly highlight events at AFI. Tell us what we're missing and we'll try to fill in the gaps.

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Washington, D.C.: I have a question about the "reader reviews" section of the City Guide? It seems that many negative reviews (especially those aimed at Editors Picks) are removed within a week of posting. The Reef, for example, consistently gets bad reviews for food, service, etc. and then these reviews disappear, only to replaced a week later by more bad (sometimes good) reviews. What gives?

Erin: It's all a plot to brainwash you to like our picks, Washington.
Thanks for asking about this. It falls on our readers' shoulders to patrol reviews. While we often go through reviews on our own, we rely on extra eyes. That goes for anything that's offensively bad (ie: calling out infestations or singling out specific people) or unbelievably good. If you spy a post that reads like it was written by the owner, that's just as likely to be removed as something critical. Once you flag a review, we read through them and determine whether or not it stays. Most things stay, so I'm surprised that you have found consistent disappearances. The reason that things often go away is that we set a limit on things to expire after a few months so that everything stays current and relevant.

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Anonymous: What's the airplane themed bar again?

Fritz: Fly Lounge.

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Falls Church, Va.: I need something to do this weekend. With my sister. We are both mid 20s. in the past we have enjoyed driving out to the apple house, a trip to eammons/PX, busboys & poets... We need suggestions for either good food or drink that won't break the bank. Maybe a tour of local chocolate places? Maybe a yummy tapas place? Please help!

Erin: I love the chocolate idea. If you head to Old Town, you can drink it up at Misha's and then scarf it down at Kingsbury or top it off with a fried candy bar at Eamonn's. I think Artfully Chocolate in Del Ray, which sells chocolates and artwork, is darling, but a bit off that Old Town path.

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Washington, D.C.: I recently bought my wedding dress at the AMAZING Brides Against Breast Cancer event, and I'm looking for a good tailor to make a few adjustments to the dress. Any suggestions?

Janet: Try Imperial Gown Restoration (703-573-4696) for a recommendation for a good tailor.

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Keeping Momma Happy - Capitol Hill, D.C.: My mom's coming in next weekend, which is a common occurrence so we've already done the usual touristy stuff in the city. Was hoping you GoGs could recommend some new must try restaurants in the district for foodies. Also, are there any festivals/crafts fairs/cool little towns that we could drive to and make a day of?

Thanks in advance.

Erin: Rasika, Blue Duck Tavern, Ray's the Classics and even the new menu of 1789 are food destinations. If you're able to make a night (rather than a day) of something, take her for an evening enjoying Lights on the Bay in Annapolis.

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Science Club follow-up: If Science Club is not the non-college crowd place to hang out with the option to dance, do you have suggestions for what is? ESL, of course, has been suggested, but it would be fun to go somewhere new. Thanks! You guys rock!

Rhome: Science Club is a non-college age crowd and you can dance. It just gets a little tight in there. ESL is always an option too as is Jin. Mie-N-Yu too but only if you're not allergic to spending. Sometimes they dance at Gazuza but it's not that crowd's main priority. You could also try Tabaq. DJ I-Wah is there on Fridays.

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Washington, DC: Hi Gurus...I am looking for a fairly swanky (but not snotty) bar/lounge where we can set up camp on a Saturday night for my 26th birthday. Access to tables without having to do bottle service would be ideal. Bonus points for music that is more hip-hop than house. Friends have mentioned Jin, Blue Gin, Indebleu, or Bar Rouge--your opinions on those or a better location would be much appreciated!

Fritz: Ah, the perpetual "I want to sit down but not spend $300" problem.
Forget Indebleu off the top, because almost every seat requires bottle service on the weekend (unless you get lucky and no one's reserved the table). Jin, too, has gone the bottle service route, though I'm not sure how much of it is reservations-only. Blue Gin has a couple of tables downstairs, but the second-floor lounge requires a minimum.
It's almost easier to find a place that wants to charge you a three-digit fee than not.
A few places that come to mind: Eighteenth Street Lounge doesn't charge you anything to camp out on its couches, and you have a choice between DJs and Latin jazz. Science Club has a cool crowd and open seating. Gazuza and Gua-Rapo, too.

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Washington, D.C.: Do the gurus know of any place in the greater metro area where I can get my fix for higher end chocolates, truffles, caramels, etc. I'm not talking about Godiva.

Erin: I would recommend Artisan Confections in Arlington.

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Washington, dc: If anyone is looking for a great (not pretentious) spot to get good food and hear fantastic jazz I'd put in a vote for Takoma Station near the Takoma Metro stop. The neighborhood is definitely not the most happening place in DC, but this bar is well worth going to.

Rhome: Many good times have been had there. Good place to check out comedians and bands who straddle the go-go and jazz worlds. It's a real neighborhood place.

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Re: Silver Spring: "Tell us what we're missing and we'll try to fill in the gaps."

Not the same person as before, but the fact that the horrible Austin Grille is one of your editors picks suggests none of you have actually ever been to Silver Spring.

Fritz: I used to live in Silver Spring, actually. Austin Grill's pick is because the bar has live music (one of the only place in Silver Spring) and a great late-night happy hour. If I'm out and about in Silver Spring, those are two things I want to know about.

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Woodley: what's the story on Carbon? Shoes and furniture? Have not stopped in, as I'm a little confused, clarification please.

Fritz: No furniture -- just really rad shoes for men and women that will set you apart from the legions of Nine West fans on the Metro.

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Baltimore, Md.: Hi GoGs-

A friend and I would like to go to a museum on Saturday followed by lunch. Any suggestions for a must see exhibit and comfortable place to grab lunch nearby?

Thanks!

Julia:
There are plenty of now-free exhibits in your home city -- Raymond Loewy, A View Toward Paris come to mind! -- but assuming you're asking about Washington, I'd suggest Joseph Cornell at American art for something quirky, "Streets of New York" for beautiful photography and "Societe Anonyme" great modernism.
If you choose the Cornell exhibit, grab lunch in the museum's Portico Cafe. It's amazing. For either of the first two exhibits that I suggested, Bistro du Coin is a great lunch place if you have a little cash to burn. If not, give Harry's a try for a great burger. If you go to the Societe Anonyme, check out Teaism.

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Hilton Garden Inn: With this weather, and at that time, I'd definitely hit Ceiba or DC Coast. Ceiba's bar is underrated for atmosphere and decent cocktails (although I find their mojitos and caiprinhas weak - who puts soda in a caipi?). If you're more for a wine night, give DC Coast a try, one block up.

Fritz: Thanks. I agree with you on the lack of atmosphere at Ceiba. But that Hemmingway Mojito is enough of a reason to go back.

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Quantum Pilates: I live in the building above Quantum Pilates and they are having a free open house this weekend. I'm going to be away this weekend, but I thought I'd share the wealth...

Julia: Since this has been a particularly exercise-y chat, I'll post this too. The studio -- formerly of Woodley Park -- is now located in Dupont. I'm kind of curious... I think that place has all of those weird pilates machines.

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Please Help: Okay...I have lived in DC for five years but am still coming up blank and am hoping you gurus can help. I want to find a bar to go to Saturday night that attracts a young professional crowd (ie not filled with college students like Adams Morgan), has some dancing, is metro-accessible and doesn't have sketchy old men. If you can come up with a place that fits this description, I'd owe you forever!

Fritz: Head for Midtown: Fly, Eighteenth Street Lounge, Dragonfly, maybe Panache.

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Washington, D.C.: suggestion for this weekend:

Go visit the wineries!

I don't have a car but rented one for the weekend...definitely worth it

Julia: I agree. Definitely worth the sometimes-long trip. (Insert cautionary note about designated drivers here).

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My apologies....: I thought the Editors Pick was for Austin Grill the restaurant...I just re-read it and saw my mistake. Carry on.

Fritz: No worries.

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washingtonpost.com: Over our time limit again.... Thanks for playing and have a great weekend. No Thanksgiving Day chat for us, so we'll see y'all in two weeks!

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