Thursday, February 1, 2007; 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.
washingtonpost.com: Hello out there. I hope everyone's sufficiently bundled up these days. There are lots of questions about the Super Bowl, so take a look at Fritz's recommendations for Bears' fans. David's made a mixtape of concert picks for the month, while I've got my sights set on Valentine's Day. We've got a full bench today. Anne, David, Fritz, Janet, Jen, Julia and Rhome are at the ready and I'm Erin. Ready? Let's go.
Washington, D.C.: Hi GOGs, Here is a random question that I hope you can help me with. I have an opal ring that I love, except that it is set in yellow gold - and I don't wear gold jewelry. So I would like to have it reset in silver or white gold, and I would also, if possible, like to help design the setting. Can you suggest a trustworthy jewelry store that can work with me do this?
Janet: Try Boone & Sons. I've always found them easy to work with and trustworthy.
Broke and Thirsty: When I lived in the District, I almost never crossed the river (foolish, I know). Now I'm in NoVa and I need a dive bar, or someplace at least low-key. Where can I go in Arlington or Alexandria for good happy hour specials or cheap drinks in general? (I'm looking for something like the Raven or Tune Inn, and metro-accessible, naturally.) Is this too much to hope for?
Fritz: No. Jay's Saloon is where you need to be -- close to Clarendon Metro, great clientele that ranges from the 20s to the 60s, dirt-cheap beer (under $2 a mug at happy hour) and a fun atmosphere.
Petworth: So, oh wonderful gurus, will there be a showcase for the Oscar-nominated shorts this year? I haven't been able to turn up anything yet.
Jen: There will indeed. The National Archives is showing the nominees in the documentary feature, documentary short subject, live action short and animated short categories during the pre-Oscars week, Feb. 21 through 25. (Read all about it here.)
You also can see the animated and live action shorts that weekend, starting Feb. 23, at the Landmark E Street.
U Street, Washington, D.C.: We want to have a going away party for a friend of ours at a fun, but nice restaurant in the District. Our major requirement is a big round table big enough to seat 10-12 and not the Pope table at Buca.
Erin: That's a completely legitimate requirement. No need to bid farewell with a generic chain dinner and a gut full of family-style ragu. How about heading downtown to Jaleo or Zaytinya or succumbing to a rectangle upstairs at Al Crostino? I've had positive group experiences at Grill from Ipanema, Bistrot du Coin or upstairs at Ardeo.
Who wants to throw out a favorite table in the round?
Washington, D.C.: Hi- I really want to find out where other Colts fans are going to watch the game this weekend. There doesn't seem to be a bar that officially supports the Colts!
Fritz: When I put out my list of the top 6 Super Bowl parties in the blog earlier this week, I asked for suggestions for Colts bars. I've called around, and no one's willing to come out and admit they're fans of The Team That Was Stolen From Baltimore.
So, Colts fans, where are you going on Sunday? Maybe if there's enough of you, we can organize an unofficial Got Plans? Gathering of Colts.
Arlington, Va.: Is there an opening band or bands for the Seger concert tonight? Want to get as much pre-partying in as possible. Thanks.
David: Ah, Bob Seger. Brings to mind those halcyon days of "The O.C.," Season 1, with Luke and Julie Cooper workin' on those "Night Moves." Anyway, there is an opening act, it's Steve Azar, who seems like pretty standard, clean-cut country/blues. He goes on at 7:30, Bob is expected to hit the stage around 8:40 and play until 11.
Bethesda, Md.: Hey Gurus, I hope you can stand one more hair question, I'm desperate! I have long hair, along with religion that wants me to keep it long. Where can I go to get some style that won't involve losing the length? It seems like women in DC where their hair super short. Most styles don't have any idea what to do when you go past shoulder length.
Janet: I know that David's Hair & Day Spa in Bethesda specializes in hair extensions, so you'd think they'd be able to figure out how to give some style to long hair. Give them a try.
Washington, D.C.: Is a gift certificate to a day spa likely to be welcomed as a good Valentine's gift by a man? I'd like to give that to my husband this Valentine's Day, and have gotten mixed opinions from friends.
Janet: Hey, there, D.C.,
I think you should be the best judge of whether your husband would like a gift certificate to a day spa!
Petworth, D.C.: I am in deep, deep mourning for the Nanny's that was.
So, what can you tell us about Bedrock's plans for Nanny's?
Fritz: Well, it's reopening today after a one-day cleaning job. The kitchen is going to be back in gear "soon," says Bedrock founder Geoff Dawson, who adds that the kitchen hasn't changed since he applied for a position at Gallagher's, Nanny's predecessor, a few decades ago.
Mostly, though, what I'm hearing from the Bedrock folks is that they want to keep the good parts of Nanny's -- friendly staff, good music, great pints of Guinness -- and ditch all the negatives, like slow service, the odd smell, etc. As someone who went to Nanny's on his 21st birthday, I'm rooting for them.
Washington, D.C.: Happy almost weekend! Question for GOGs . . . someone told me there's a great jeans shop in NW where they'll fit you in the perfect pair of jeans based on your body type. Do you know of it?
Janet: Not sure where you mean unless the Denim Bar, which has locations in Maryland and Pentagon Row.
New Carrollton, Md.: All knowing Gurus,
I'd like to take 4 of my girlfriends to High Tea. I heard the Ritz Carlton has one, but do you know of any other places that do them on a regular basis? Bonus points for anywhere doing a chocolate buffet or tea after Valentines Day.
DC, NoVa, or MD are all ok.
Thanks so much!
Erin: The Willard's Peacock Alley offers high tea in the afternoons with sandwiches, scones, devonshire cream and all that decadence. The Four Seasons also has tea.
If you're willing to mix and match, you should plan a late Friday jaunt for tea from the exquisite cellar -- think rare teas from all over the world -- of the Park Hyatt before diving into the buffet of Chocolate Decadence at the nearby Ritz Carlton, which takes place from 7-10 p.m. every Friday through March.
Girls Movie Pick: I want to see a romantic comedy this weekend. Should I see "Catch and Release" or "Because I Said So"? Or are both so bad I should hit up Blockbuster instead?
Jen: I haven't seen "Catch and Release," but "Because I Said So" is an affront to humanity. Avoid that one at all costs, unless you love movies where Diane Keaton acts like a psychotic freak while sporting a vast array of neckerchiefs.
If I were you, I'd rent something instead. Hollywood has a habit of making horrible romantic comedies, so you may have to go back a ways to find a good one. I would recommend "About a Boy" if you never saw it, and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," which is surprisingly sweet in addition to being utterly hilarious. Not exactly a chick flick, but that makes it all the better in my opinion.
Anyone else have suggestions?
McLean, Va.: I'm in charge of planning a bridal shower luncheon on a Saturday for a group of about 15 (ladies in their mid-20s, and ladies a generation older) and I'm looking for a place where we can have a nice, somewhat classy, somewhat affordable meal in a somewhat girly restaurant (e.g. no steakhouses). We'd ideally like to keep it local and in the suburbs, and have checked out spots in Arlington (Tallula, Pinzimini, Willow would be perfect but is closed for Saturday lunches...) and Great Falls (Fiore di Luna seemed great, but same problem as Willow). We could move the party into the city if we find something we love or could move further out as well.
I'd really love to give my friend--the bride, who doesn't live in DC--a special, memorable shower (so chain restaurants are not preferred, although if it is something exceptional or memorable, of course I would consider them).
I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Thanks so much!
Julia: The food at Tallula is delicious, so I think you've got a pretty good bet right there. The "Amuse Yourself" dishes are fun for groups because you can order a lot of appetizers by the piece. Just had a friend's birthday lunch at Sette Bello, that's a nice option as well.
I'd recommend looking into Mediterranee in Great Falls also. Delicious French fare, cozy setting. It might be a bit too cozy for a party of 15, but it's worth calling.
Arlington, Va.: Thinking about going to the Clarendon Ballroom on Saturday night for the Mr. GreenGenes concert. Do you think it will be fun? Worth the $10? What time should I get there?
Fritz: Well, if you get there before 8, not only will you get to see sets by Bottle and Cork favorites Kristen and the Noise and DJ Pat Premier, you won't pay a CENT for admission. (More details in the Nightlife Agenda.) If you're pining for a night of rockin' Dewey party bands, this is the best night this side of the Bridge. (Except, you know, for that whole having to go outside and freezing thing.)
Washington, D.C.: Hey Gurus of the district and beyond. What's the word on Blue Duck Tavern? My parents are coming in a couple weeks and I want to take them out to a nice place before a show at the Kennedy Center. Any other suggestions on restaurants between Woodley Park and the center. Thanks!
Erin: I love Blue Duck. Everything is seasonal and, if you save room for dessert, you'll be highly rewarded. It's not exactly close to the Kennedy Center, but it's a short enough walk. Otherwise, Marcel's is right in the vicinity and lovely.
Alexandria, Va.: OK, I know I am a couple of weeks early, but I have company coming into town and am planning early. Do you know of any Chinese New Year celebrations happening the weekend of the 16th? Are there restaurants in the area that will be serving specialties? Thanks!
Anne: The big event is on Sunday that weekend, when mobs head to Chinatown for the dragon dancers and parade. Sounds goofy, I know, but another of the big local celebrations happens in a mall in Gaithersburg. There's actually a lot to see, and you can't complain about the indoor setting when it's super cold. Erin frequently recommends Chinatown Express among the nearby Chinese places, for many of the area's best are in the 'burbs.
Bristol, UK: I am coming in to DC for the weekend and want to know if there is anywhere central that I can watch Wales v Ireland in the Six Nations rugby tournament?
Fritz: Fado Irish Pub is showing all the games live, including Sunday's Wales-Ireland game. There's a $20 cover. Solly's Tavern on U Street, which is owned by the manager of the Washington Irish Rugby Football Club, will also be showing the games, though I think they're only showing them on tape delay.
Go Red for Women! : Didn't know if you knew but there's a great Ladies night at the Fab Lounge tomorrow night!
What: Go Red for Women!
When: Friday, February 2, 2007
Time: 7PM - Until
Where: Fab Lounge, 1805 Connecticut Avenue, NW, 2nd Floor, on the corner of Florida and Connecticut
What: Love women's hearts? Of course we do! Come out Friday for A Different Kind of Ladies Night at the Fab Lounge to support the fight against the No. 1 killer of women - heart disease on Go Red For Women Day.
Like always, there's no cover. There will be Go Red For Women specialty drinks and the Fab Lounge will donate 10% of sales to the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women campaign! Plus, ladies who wear red get a free gift. For more info., visit www.GoRedForWomen.org.
Fritz: I wish I would have had this for the Nightlife Agenda online and in the Express, especially because I've been to A Different Kind of Ladies Night in the past and enjoyed it, and this is is for a very good cause.
(REMINDER TO ALL PROMOTERS/EVENT ORGANIZERS: SEND ANNOUNCEMENTS TO NIGHTLIFE [AT] WASHINGTONPOST [DOT] COM A WEEK IN ADVANCE. THANKS.)
Fairfax, Va.: Probably a dumb question, but I'm going to ask it anyway. I'm having a first date tomorrow night at a nicer Japanese steak house (part of the Sakura chain). Question: what to wear? I've never been to this particular establishment, but at other hibachi grills I've seen girls in everything from nice slacks and a cute top to jeans and flip flops. I want to make a good first impression, but don't want to be too under or over dressed. Help, anyone?
Erin: It's not a dumb question at all. I guess that you wouldn't want to go in themed attire, but don't wear a mini-skirt. Not that mini-skirts aren't appropriate, but remember that it's gonna be cold tomorrow. If you wear flip flops in the snow, more power to ya, but be mindful of any sizzling shrimps that could accidentally jettison through the air. I'd stash the jeans and wear non-jean pants and shoes that won't have you losing sensation in your toes. Sounds great, have fun.
Vienna, Va.: Thanks for the new podcast. What is the etiquette regarding earphones/buds. If someone says hey listen to this, is it ok to use their earphones? Is that like wearing their socks?
David: You mean new edition of the podcast, right? Because we've been rockin' that thing for more than a year now, letting you know of the best shows coming to town, every two weeks, with always fascinating roundtable discussion between myself, Fritz and Rhome, plus audio clips and all that.
As for headphone etiquette ... I don't understand how anybody can use earbuds, honestly. Those things are uncomfortable, to the max. If someone put me in that situation you presented, I would probably pass, but I would also understand why you would think I was a jerk for doing so.
Rhome: I've been offered a bud a few times so I guess it's considered socially acceptable but I don't really dig inserting implements into my ears that have been sitting in someone else's earholes. If I pass and you trip about it I won't lose any sleep.
Fritz: I don't like earbuds, to be honest -- too much sound leakage, and you don't want to be That Guy rocking the lame hip-hop on the Metro for everyone else to hear -- but I've used other people's (very briefly) when they say, "You really need to hear this new song." You don't get that kind of dilemma with regular headphones.
Washington, D.C.: Hey Gurus, I was wondering if First Fridays is still going on or if it's a seasonal thing. Thanks!
Julia: Still going on, in theory, but slow. For the last several months, more galleries in the Dupont area have been closed on First Friday than the ones that are open. Foundry's having an opening tonight (of work by new members), Washington Printmakers opens a new show of digital prints, and Gallery 10 is showing works by Marie Rim. I *think* Conner Contemporary will be open late with its video works by Maria Friberg (which I had the opportunity to check out the other day -- very interesting).
If you want to go to a gallery opening tonight, your best bets are "Punk Love" at Govinda Gallery (photographs of the D.C. music scene in the early 1980s) and "Wonderland: Surrealism and Fashion" at Dissident Display.
Courthouse, Va.: I always get my cheesy romantic comedy fix with the hysterical "How to Marry a Millionaire" (Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall and some chick I can't remember), or with "Singles," an ode to the early '90s.
Jen: Good calls, Courthouse. I still love "Singles," and actually appreciate that it's so clearly fixed in the '90s. It's very much of its time and place, which dates the movie but also makes it more authentic in a way.
I also still have a soft spot for "Reality Bites" for the same reason.
Alexandria, Va.: Hi, I'm new to the area (been here only a couple of weeks) and am already a regular Guru reader. Well, I'm looking for an indoor climbing experience. I have never done this before but have been thinking about it for sometime now. Is there a place that offers training and supplies? A place that is not intimidating for inexperienced girl who wants to try this without a company.
Erin: Welcome to town. You should give a call to Sportrock in Alexandria. It's membership-based, but you should call and speak with one of the pro climbers about introductory plans so that you can figure out if you like it. If that doesn't appeal, check out our list of climbing sites.
Washington, D.C.: Hey there,
I'm going to Rock n Roll hotel next Wednesday for the Midlake concert. Hoping you could enlighten me on the venue. Do you think it'll sell out, what time do bands usually come on, etc...? Can't wait for the show.
David: It's always a tough call on sellouts, but I think this one is a possibility. There's been some hype around Midlake for a while, but I also get the feeling this show might have done better at, say, the Birchmere or Iota instead of RNR Hotel. Not sure people are quite as into going out there on weeknights as opposed to weekends, especially on a cold winter's night. Still expect a big crowd, and expect set times to be approximately 9, 10, 11, with doors at 8. Also, you can listen to "Roscoe" by Midlake and 19 other songs from band's coming to town this month on the February Mixtape over at our blog.
Re: "Catch and Release" ... 1 1/2 thumbs up....: A bunch of the gals and I saw it this week for a girls night out. Ummm, it was OK -- not sure if that was because of the few drinks we had before and the insane amount of popcorn during. I'd say it was worth the matinee price ticket.
Jen: Again, I haven't seen it. But I'm guessing a few drinks may have helped.
I'm not sure it would help in the case of "Because I Said So."
Anywhere near DC: Hey Gurus,
I'm searching for the Goth scene in DC. I tried wearing my corset and pancake makeup to last week's counterculture festival at Dremo's and ended up with a lot of strange looks. Where can I go that I won't be the only girl with black nail polish?
Rhome: I'd probably send you to Bound but an update on that event hasn't been across our desks for a while. Check out their site when you're NOT at work and read up. More suggestions are welcome because I don't want to make the mistake of assuming that the S&M fetishist folk necessarily overlap with Goths. How did I get this question anyway? I'm more denim and Timbs than PVC and leather but I can use Google.
Washington, D.C.: I want to do bottle service for my birthday, but I can't figure out who does it! Do you have recommendations for a club where it has good music (our definition is tunes that you know, and a DJ who isn't afraid to go Old School from time to time) and isn't immensely crowded. Thanks in advance!
Rhome: Fly will be happy to take your money for bottle service and you'll hear popular hip-hop and some retro tracks. It's tiny, it gets crowded quickly and they can be picky. Call ahead. Other options are K Street, Lima, and Chloe. Ultimately, most of the major dance clubs and lounges that project an upscale image will sell you some bottles, mixers and space to sit. It won't be cheap though.
Fritz: I'll cosign on Fly, though you're looking at like a $500 minimum. It's certainly the best lounge for what you're looking for. For something bigger, try Avenue on a Friday or Saturday night. We like DJ Geometrix, who runs game on Saturday.
Courthouse, Va.: My fiance and I have been going to coffeehouses in the evenings to read, get online, and enjoy tea. He likes St. Elmo's and I like Buzz. Does anyone know what the vibe is like at Perk Up? Any other suggestions for good tea selection and free wi-fi, particularly in VA? Thanks!
Erin: Hey Courthouse, I assume that you've been to Murky Coffee? I love it there and the wi-fi is free. Java Shack (where the wi-fi's $1/hour) is also a great bet. When the weather's warm, the SportTea at Greenberry's is my favorite daytime libation, but you have to pay by credit card for wi-fi ahead of time.
Perk Up is ok. I used to live right across the way, but I only went a few times. The coffee didn't compare with nearby Misha's.
Washington, D.C.: For the opal ring resetting question: I highly recommend hitting the Jewelry Show at the Dulles Expo Center. The next show is in February, the 16-18th I think. Prices are great, you can see and talk with the people who do the work, etc. I just had a ring reset at the December show and it looks great. Sometimes they can do it while you wait or, like me, they'll send you the finished product plus the old setting within two weeks.
Janet: For the woman who wanted her opal ring reset,here's an idea.
Downtown, D.C.: Hey Gurus, Interested in hitting up a new happy hour tomorrow after work. Was thinking about somewhere over Barrack's Row area--it seems there are a ton of places popping up over there. The only one I know of is Tapatini's open bar. Are there any other happy hour deals in that area. Bonus points if there is anything that goes past 6pm! Thanks so much!
Fritz: I like Finn Mac Cool's: Two levels with darts and table shuffleboard, $3 pints, $2.75 rail cocktails, $5 appetizers. It can get crowded near the bar, so go upstairs if you can. Ugly Mug has $3 Harpoon until close, which should warm the hearts of New Englanders. (I drank so much of that stuff in Boston on my last trip.)
Washington, D.C.: For romantic movies, how about "The Painted Veil" or "Venus"? Not necessarily comedies, but better to have subtle humor than failed humor.
Jen: True, but she said she was looking for a chick flick so I wasn't sure if either of those quite fit the bill.
Also, as much as I enjoyed Peter O'Toole in "Venus," I'm not sure I would recommend it on the romance front. That whole part of the movie was a little ooky, although the actors managed to make it work because they created such genuine and empathetic characters.
If you're in the mood for "Must Love Dogs," (and I'm not sure why anyone would be, but stay with me) I'm not sure "Venus" would strike the right note.
Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus. I know you answer a lot of hair questions, but does any one have a favorite go-to stylist or salon that's not Bang or a PR Partners? I've sampled and not impressed.
Janet: My fave is Paul Bosserman in Georgetown. Ask for Paul or Bach. They actually look at your face and take a long time cutting your hair, using what's called the precision method of cutting.
Arlington, Va.: Thank you for taking my question. How early do you have to get in line at the National Archives to ensure you snag a seat for a showing of one of the Oscar-nominated documentaries?
Jen: I actually have not been, so I'm hoping one of our readers who has can address this. I do remember hearing anecdotally that the seats fill very quickly. So the earlier you can get there, the better.
Arlington, Va.: I'm running my first two races ever in March and April -- an 8k and a 10 miler. I'd like to spend the day before the races -- Saturday -- giving my muscles a good workout with yoga. Are there are any good walk-in classes in Northern Va. or D.C.? Basically, I don't want to have to sign up for a whole series.
Julia: No problem, Arlington. There are walk-in classes all over town. I'm fond of Inspired Yoga, but I've also heard good things from friends about Flow and Boundless. I like Hot Yoga and Bikram Yoga Dupont as well, but I'd stay away from Hot Yoga before a long run -- you could get pretty dehydrated. I haven't been to any of studios in your neck of the woods, but maybe the chatters can chime in about Arlington suggestions.
I don't know too much about training for long runs, but yoga can really wear you out. You sound like you are in much better shape than me, but my muscles are always pretty sore after a yoga class. It works a whole different set of muscles than the ones you use for running. Just make sure your body can take it before the big race! Good luck!
Long Hair: I can't recommend my hairdresser Sean enough. My hair is just below shoulder length and before I started going to him a couple of years ago I couldn't find anyone for the 8 years I'd been here in DC. He does a great job of putting together the possibilities of your hair with your personal style and character - he said during my first visit, when I asked his ideas, "I think your hair has more wave than you give it credit for. I'd like to accentuate that. It would be a little looser, a little but not that much more, wilder or bohemian looking." Sean is the most thoughtful, gentle soul. I went with his idea and I love it. He's moved from Trim to Easel which is at Wisconsin and Q. I think he's presently $65 for a cut.
Janet: Here's an endorsement for Sean at Easel.
Virginia: Podcast details please...
Fritz: As the man said, every other week, Rhome, David and I do a 15-min (or so) podcast talking about a half-dozen bands (or so) that are coming to the D.C. area in the following weeks. For example, our current podcast, which we did last Friday, covers bands coming to D.C. through Feb. 12. You can subscribe via RSS or iTunes -- go to our Podcast Page for more instructions.
Fairfax/Woodbrigde, Va.: I am looking for a nice place to take my girl(who lives in Woodbidge) for valentines day in Woodbrigde but don't know of any places. I am thinking I will have to go north to find a nicer place to take her. Any suggestions?
Erin: How about Occoquan's Belgique Gourmande? I've heard some nice things about it recently. The dessert waffles sound superb.
D.C. by way of Knoxville: If there aren't any Colts specific Super Bowl parties/bars, do you know where Tennessee fans usually watch games? Most UT fans are still pretty die-hard Peyton Manning devotees.
Fritz: Hmm. Good idea. I know the local Vols group was going to Bailey's in Crystal City, so that might be a place to start.
Curious about Rasika?: Hi GOG's-
This chat is great! I always look forward to Thursdays!
How is Rasika these days? I know, I'm a little slow to go. Anyway, is it still a sexy, fun scene? I understand that it's pricey, especially for Indian food - but is the food out of this world?
Erin: Thanks for the nice words. If you're a follower, you know that I don't hesitate to heap praise on Rasika. Sure, it's a bit loud and expensive, but it's totally worth it. It's not your standard serving of Indian goops (which I love, so don't get me wrong). The food is delicate with careful attention to textures, spices and flavor combinations.
If cost is a factor, try to go pre-theater. If you'd rather have the full selection of dishes at your disposal, try the palak chaat and the black cod.
20010 : RE: The new Nannys
Not sure how public it is so I'm not going to say her name, but one of my favorite bartenders in the whole city (and world) is going to be working at Nanny's now. I would trust her to keep the place going.
Fritz: The whole world? Wow.
Re: Earbuds: But if Natalie Portman leans over and says "You need to listen to this song, it will change your life," TAKE THE EAR BUDS.
Fritz: Not if involves listening to the Shins, I won't.
David: Oh, Fritz. We can't expect him to listen to a band that's originally from, like, Albuquerque. That's a long way from Sheffield, man. I'd take the earbuds if Natalie offered and then I'd be all, "Wait, isn't this that song from that McDonald's commercial?"
Fritz: I heard the new Shins on XM last night and changed the channel. It was -- how do you say -- indietastic.
Hyattsville, Md.: Okay, maybe I'm a big nerd for mentioning this, but can I please announce to the world that Hyattsville has the coolest independent non-chain yarn store - A Tangled Skein. I don't know the exact address but it's in the historic district on Route 1 right across from Franklin's brewery. It is awesome and it's about time my neck of the woods got some cool retail. Whoo hoo!
Julia: Knitters, take note.
Rosslyn, VA: Hi, Gurus! We're headed to the Rosslyn Spectrum Theater to see Syntec's Macbeth tonight. We'd like to grab a drink beforehand, but I don't know Rosslyn at all. Can you recommend a bar that is close to either the metro or the theater so we don't have to walk too far if the weather is bad? Thanks!
Rhome: Continental is closest and has a lot of activity. Rhodeside Grill is a bit further up the hill and more of a traditional eat & drink space. Open your options up by a couple more blocks and you've got Gua-Rapo and Ireland's Four Courts but at this point you might want to get off at the Courthouse station and then walk back down, weather permitting of course.
Arlington, VA: Any suggestions for a good place to dance on Valentine's night (salsa, couple-ish mush, etc)
Fritz: I just got info this morning on romantic Valentine's Day salsa dances at Zanzibar and Cecilia's. I favor the latter, since it has Orquesta La Romana, but I'll have details on both online this afternoon.
A note to the wise: What you're looking for is Afternoon tea, not high tea. High tea is full dinner that you had when you came in starving from the farm or the factory. Cornish pasties, bacon and eggs, lashings of bread and butter and tea. Both wonderful but uh not to be confused!
Fritz: "Lashings" of bread and butter? Alexa? Is this you?
Rosslyn, Va.: For Broke and Thirsty - it slants more restaurant than bar but it doesn't get much cheaper than Wednesdays at Hard Times in Clarendon for 35-cent wings and $1 domestic bottles (which is every weekday I believe). I also find their wings to be consistently better than many places around here.
Fritz: Those wings are darn tasty.
Perk Up v. Misha's: I think the Misha's thing is a matter of taste. I, and several people I know, find their coffee too be overcooked/burned, a lot like Charbucks. Other people I know adore it. I happen to like Perk Up's coffee, but my favorite is actually Firehook's, which I think is far and away the best coffee around (their house blend). The FH on Union has nice sofas in the back to hang out on.
Erin: Thanks for chiming in. Coffee sure is a matter for debate and opinion. People are very loyal and adamant when it comes to their beans. I, for one, prefer the strength of Misha's to the weaker consistency of Perk Up, but I agree about Firehook. I am also known to trek the distance for anywhere that offers coffee punch cards like that location of Firehook and I spent many an evening reading in the back when I lived in the area.
Silver Spring, Md.: I a going out with 5 of my girlfriends tomorrow - all are late 20s/early 30s - for a 'ladies night out' Where can we go in Bethesda/Chevy Chase for drinks and appetizers?
Fritz: Depends on how fancy and crowded you want it. I think Divino Lounge in Bethesda can be great -- tapas and cocktails, plus Latin music -- but Clyde's in Chevy Chase would be nice for something more quiet, but classy.
Blue Duck Tavern: My fiance and I had the most fantastic Christmas Dinner there. They were very responsive to my 'I'm a veggie, he's not questions' and the food, atmosphere and service were top notch. A great place for a special meal.
Erin: Thanks for the $.02. I agree that Blue Duck's a special spot.
Capitol Hill, D.C.: For all the Colts fans out there...It's not billed as a Colts bar, but my friends and I usually go to Buffalo Billiards (right by Dupont). They've got a ton of big screens, and there are usually a few other groups of Colts fans there. Go horse!
Fritz: Ask, and ye shall receive. Thanks, Capitol Hill.
Downtown, 20001: Hey Gurus! I just called to RSVP for the preview of "Beyond Beats and Rhymes" tonight at the National Portrait Gallery. Unfortunately, it's booked. Any way I can get in by just showing up at the Gallery or are they strict with the RSVP policy? Are there any other showings in the area or will I have to wait for it to air on PBS?
Julia: Bummer! I was so looking forward to this! (And I am so not a reservations person.) Just called the Portrait Gallery's PR Department to confirm, and they said that if you're not on the list, you probably won't get in. If you're willing to chance it, you could go down there, but the official answer is a no-go.
We don't know of any other screenings off the top of our heads, but if we hear of one, we'll post it on the City Guide.
Washington, D.C. : Smaller chick flicks if you can find them at Blockbuster - "Walking & Talking" or "Next Stop Wonderland."
Jen: Yes! I especially love "Next Stop Wonderland." Also, while it's not a chick flick or even a romance, I recommend "The Daytrippers." The Hope Davis factor (she's in "Wonderland" and "Daytrippers") reminded me.
Washington, D.C.: Hi! I strongly second Bach at Paul Bosserman's in Georgetown. I have never had a better haircut! I actually got his name from your 2006 shopping guide. Thanks so much!
Janet: Glad you had a good haircut. It can lifechanging or lifesaving, either one.
Washington, D.C. - "The Holiday": Not sure if its still in theaters, but "The Holiday" was the best chick flick I've seen in ages. Different genre, but also can see "Dreamgirls."
Jen: "The Holiday" came out quite some time ago, so it's not in theaters. But definitely available on DVD.
And "Dreamgirls" is a fun choice, even if it's not exactly a chick flick. Worth seeing for Jennifer Hudson alone.
Re: Bottle service:: Try Modern on a Friday night for bottle service and some old school without the attitude. (Saturdays are good there too but more reggae than funk and old school stuff.)
Fritz: Or Thursday, too, for Tittsworth. But Modern's better than a lot of people give it credit for -- possibly because it's in Georgetown.
Re: Natalie Portman: I don't care if those earbuds are playing nails on a chalkboard ... it's freakin' natalie portman!
Fritz: Some people are bigger fans of Ms. Hershlag than others, it would seem.
Petworth: So gurus - There's a polo field down on the mall. I remember seeing people playing polo there when I was an undergrad at GW. Earlier this this week, I tell someone about the polo field, and they look at me like I'm crazy. I know the field is still there, as I pass it all the time. Is polo still played there?
Anne: The Capitol Polo club organized matches there at least as recently as 2005, but in the past few years, it seems that more games are played at Great Meadow or at the polo club in Poolesville. I think the field is used more for frisbee, these days. Any tips from chukkers on when you could see a polo match on the Mall?
Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.: Any word on the CD release party for Mess Up the Mess at the Warehouse on Saturday Night?
David: Yeah, that should be a pretty fun show. Dawn of Man and the Shondes are worth checking out, too. Mess Up the Mess is also featured on the February Mixtape that I linked to earlier, by the way. I think I described them as part B-52's, part Bratmobile.
Resetting a ring: I took a diamond from a ring and turned it into a necklace. Bailey Banks & Biddle did it, and they did a wonderful job. Boone had been recommended to me too, but I didn't like any of the settings they offered. I hear raves about them all the time though.
Janet: Another opinion on the ring resetting question.
Earbud Etiquette Question: OH MY GOD! I hate earbuds too, but haven't found any non-goofy looking headphones that I can rock on the metro. You guys are the experts...any recommendations? (I know it's not going out, but, well, whatever, someone else started it!)
David: I think I might lose you with the non-goofy part, but my Sennheiser HD 212Pro's treat me pretty well. They are fairly inexpensive (as far as Sennheiser's go), but they are pretty massive, will cover your whole ear, lots of padding and all that. But for me, the point is to block out everything else, so it works. Our resident DJ will obviously have an opinion on this...
Fritz: I used to have the same ones as young Mr. Malitz, and they are really DJ-sized headphones that I used in clubs as well as on the Metro. They look like robotic earmuffs, almost.
I'm a huge fan of the Sennheisers, though. I'm currently using the PX200s, which fold up but have some of the deepest bass response I've heard on conventional-sized headphones.
Rhome: I still use the stock Apple earbuds even though I'm not that fond of them because I haven't found a replacement that really moves me. The Grado line compares favorably to the PX200's that I've also considered with Fritz's helpful endorsement.
Falls Church, Va.: My older sister is coming to visit me this weekend. She is a school teacher, therefore financial strapped. Other than museums, what are fun things going on during the day Saturday that pose minimum economic hardship?
Julia: I like Eastern Market for a low-cost way to browse, but it is COLD! The McLean Jewlery Showcase is another option -- at least it's indoors! Window shopping along U Street or Georgetown is another nice (if chilly) option.
So shopping and a lunch date sounds pretty perfect to me, but if you're into the classical music thing, you could catch a free performance at the American Art Museum.
Birthday Land: I'm hoping the all-knowing Gurus can help out a girl who want to celebrate her b-day with some friends. I want to dance to some 80s tunes (think INXS, Depeche Mode, etc.) and thought that Black Catatonia sounded like fun -- DJ DK mixing 80s, hip hop, soul, and electronica dance. My question is where can a group of 10-20 get together for dinner beforehand near the Black Cat? I've enjoyed Creme Cafe before, but it is small and doesn't take reservations. Alternatively, can you recommend any other 80's nights on the 9th or 10th that have near by pre-dancing dining options for a group? Thanks!
Fritz: I've been to DK's night and enjoy it -- it can be a little more hip-hop than INXS, but that's part of the fun. The man knows how to keep the dance floor busy.
Now, for the dinner -- 20 people is going to max out a lot of the places near the Cat that we'd usually recommend, and others don't take reservations. You might call Saint-Ex and see if they could put you in the lounge downstairs. Erin thinks Merkado on P could do it. Maybe Dukem?
Dupont Circle, D.C.: Oh brilliant GOGS, I know you're probably swamped with Valentine's Day and Super Bowl questions, so here's something not on those topics...I'm looking for a good sushi recommendation in the Dupont area. Thanks!
Erin: I love Sakana. I've been going since college and it's inexpensive, unassuming and excellent for the price.
Though I haven't specifically tried the sushi at Banana Leaves, the seaweed salad, miso soup and Chinese dishes have been pleasant.
Yoga before a 10-miler?: This is the worst idea I've ever heard! The day before a 10-miler you should go out for about 3 miles, do two or three minute-long efforts at race pace, and stretch a lot. Drink lots of water. DON'T DO YOGA!
Julia: Hear that, running gal?
Fab Lounge: What is that place about?
Fritz: Fab Lounge is a gay lounge above the Royal Palace at Florida and Connecticut. Nice place with couches, colorful paint, decent dance floor. Bartenders have been okay when I've ventured in, but nothing special. Nice change of pace from the 17th St. scene, but I prefer BeBar.
Washington, D.C.: Trying to find a great chocolate shop. Any recommendations?
Erin: Kingsbury in Old Town is lovely, but there's a brand new little place on 18th St. below Adams Morgan. It's called Biagio and it stocks some of my favorite brands in the space where Sticky Fingers once lived. Think Marie Belle, Artisan Chocolate and Vosges.
The Holiday: Um, Jen? The movie with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz? I just saw it in the theater two weeks ago...there's no way it's on DVD yet.
Jen: You're right, for some reason I was thinking of "Last Holiday" with Queen Latifah. "The Holiday" was more recent and may still be lingering in a few theaters here and there.
Thanks for keeping my head straight.
Washington, DC (from Chicago, IL): Hi, I am a Chicagoan, and big Bears fan. I happen to be in DC this weekend for a business function, and while I look forward to seeing the DC sites, on Sunday night I will be looking for the Bears fans to watch the big game! Do you know of any bars or venues that will have a Chicago tilt this Sunday?
Fritz: Porter's, the Crystal City Sports Pub and, for a taste of home, the Billy Goat Tavern. The only location outside of Chicago will be keeping Urlacher fans awash in cheeburgers and beer on Sunday, but get there early -- it's small.
Washington, D.C.: Any good ideas for fun, social, CHEAP places to eat in the District? Any type of food, must be metro accessible, and drink variety is a plus.
Erin: Busboys and Poets or Stoney's might be good for you. The latter is a bit of a trek from U Street or Mc Pherson, but BandP is right by the metro and has a strong social dynamic.
Georgetown, Washington, D.C.: I usually hate chick flicks, but I adore "Love Actually." Makes me happy.
Jen: I've had this argument in a previous online discussion about holiday movies, but I freakin' despise "Love Actually."
However, I recognize that many people do like it and I respect your right to do so. Even if you're very wrong.
Arlington, Va.: Birthday advice needed PLEASE! My birthday is quickly approaching (Feb 12) and it seems like I have been to just about every one of the main bars on 18th St and some of the bars on Columbia in Adams Morgan. I typically like bars, rather than loungy clubs (ie more Dan's Cafe than Leftbank) and I'd like to keep it local to the area. Are there any other "off the beaten path" places you'd recommend for a birthday boy and 10-15 of his closest friends?
Fritz: If you're from Arlington, when you say "keep it local," do you mean Arlington or Adams Morgan? I'm a little confused.
Alas, poor punch cards, we hardly knew ye: Been a while (at least a year, maybe two)since Firehook phased those out. So, sorry, no more punch cards! BUT Firehook has the superdeliciousest sandwiches (and they are big enough for two meals). I like the roast beef on olive bread with a nice hot cuppa joe. They have good soups, too.
Erin: Less than a year! Less!! Admittedly, my last little happy face stamp was last April. Guess that's another one I can dump from my tubby little wallet. Darn.
Don't even get me started on punch cards. When I heard that Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf out west had stopped accepting and offering them, I reluctantly threw away no less than nine fully-punched and redeemable cards.
Really quick...: For the seeker of chick flicks- Gooey, romantic, non-comedy: "The Notebook." Comedy? "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days." They don't get any chick-flick-ier than those two.
Jen: True enough.
I have to admit that I loved "The Notebook." Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams totally sold that, which is a triumph considering it's based on a book by Nicholas Sparks.
Mt. Pleasant, Washington, D.C.: Punk Love doesn't actually start until tomorrow night. Punk rock photographers are the last people you want to piss off.
Julia: Oh -- my bad!! Thinking about the weekend already.....
Thanks, MtP. The two openings I mentioned in the First Friday question are on Friday, not Thursday.
$20!?: The rugby cover seems a bit pricey. Is it for the entire series, or just 1 game? Does Solly's also have a cover?
Fritz: Oh, sorry. I think we covered this last time the Six Nations were on (and European championships, and ...). Fado doesn't set the cover for the events -- Setanta, the satellite provider, is responsible for that. It's usually for the day, so you'll see two matches for $20 on Saturday, for example.
Not sure if Solly's will have a cover, since I haven't been able to get them on the phone. Um, how about I blog about it when I get an answer?
Old Town Alexandria: My boyfriend and I are forever on the search for fun things to do on the weekends--preferably of the cheap and free variety. I grew up here so I'm a bit museum-ed out and we've done plenty of meandering around Dupont/Old Town/Downtown/Georgetown. Any other interesting neighborhoods and/or fun activities you can think of for a Saturday afternoon?
Anne: And I'm guessing you already know your nearby Del Ray well? The no-brainer is wandering along Barracks Row with a stop to Eastern Market. Also, H Street is known as a new nightlife neighborhood, but why not learn what it's like during the day, too? Dissident Gallery has an opening party Friday, and the gallery should be open noon-6 on the weekend (but best to call first). See what's new at Atlas and stop off for coffee at R&B or further away, at Ebenezer's. If you are crafty types, it would be cute to make-your-own valentine.
Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus! My roommate and I are going to see Josh Kelley at the Birchmere on Saturday. Is there anywhere around there where we could go post-concert to grab a beer and watch the Wiz and/or the UVA basketball games?
David: I think the show might end too late to catch the end of either the Hoos/Canes game or Hibachi grillin' up the Kobe and the Lakers, but your best bets near the Birchmere would be Crystal City Sports Pub or Mackey's, both only about a mile or so away.
Cleveland Park, Washington, D.C.: I realize I'm in the minority here, but I'm not really all that interested in this weekend's football festivities and would rather wander around a museum either Saturday or Sunday. What exhibits should I definitely put on my list?
Julia: Jasper Johns is the big show of the season, so that's worth checking out. If you haven't seen Joseph Cornell at the American Art Museum yet, go.
I'm in the minority in being really into textile work, but I can't wait for Red to open at the Textile Museum.
Farragut North: Hello Guru's!
What's Lima like during happy hour time? Any special drink I should get?
Fritz: Hello, Farragut. Lima is okay at happy hour. Julia and I have been, and the drinks are okay -- $5 wines and $4 beers. No cocktail specials to speak of.
Skip the "chick flick": and see "Little Miss Sunshine."
Jen: Amen. That, I'm quite certain, is on DVD.
It's got laughs, tears, all the things you get from a chick flick. But it also contains the required daily cinematic allowance of quality fiber.
And it has a very good shot at winning Best Picture at the Oscars in a few weeks.
Silver Spring, Md.: What are the best places in Silver Spring for young singles in their 20s to go and meet other singles?
Fritz: I'd start at Gallery if you like dance music, McGinty's for Irish bands and quiz nights (see someone you think is cute, ask if you can be on their team), or Quarry House for just hanging out.
Arlington, Va.: Do you know of any restaurants in Arlington or DC that are offering a special valentines Day menu the Monday or Tuesday before. I'm married to a chef and he will of course be working on valentines day. We like to go out and do something special either before or after that crazy restaurant day. We are looking for a tasting menu in a romantic setting. Its our first valentines day married. Thank You
Erin: Hope that you can find something special. Mie N Yu, Mon Ami Gabi, Grillfish DC and the Palm are just a few places sharing the love for more than one night.
Washington, D.C.: Hi, Going out with my mom on Saturday to Eastern Market and U St. Want to make sure Eastern Market still runs this time of winter and know about any community events in either area. Thanks!
Julia: It still runs in winter. Community events in either spot shouldn't be easy to come by thought -- planners don't usually come up with outdoor events for this time of year.
K Street, D.C.: I am going out to Wonderland on Saturday night and really haven't explored anything in the neighborhood. Do you have any suggestions for dinner places that aren't too expensive and might have a bit of a hipster flare to them?
Fritz: Hipster flair? Like, if the servers at TGIFriday's were wearing Forward, Russia! and Bloc Party badges on their suspenders?
Okay, I kid, K Street. There's not much in Columbia Heights yet -- cross your fingers -- so I'd send you a few blocks west to Mount Pleasant for Tonic, a cool neighborhood spot that does great work with cheesesteaks, sandwiches, etc. Every meal comes with tater tots, which is nice. Oh -- almost forgot. A new menu item I love are the crispy spring rolls, made by the mother of Patrice, my favorite Tonic bartender. I love that they've been showing skateboarding videos on the flat-screen TVs the last few times I've been in.
Adams Morgan, D.C.: GOGs (Fritz?),
Have you seen the web site yet called LateNightShots.com? I got an invite last week and set up an account; it looks fun in a MySpace kinda way, but -- before I spend too many hours on it -- is this something that will have any staying power, or will we look back at it in a few months as a momentary blip in DC nightlife/networking?
Fritz: The first rule of Late Night Shots is that you don't talk about Late Night Shots, unless it's on Wonkette.
Washington, D.C.: Thanks for taking my question. I am having foot surgery next week so I will be homebound for a while. Any ideas for something fun that I can do on Saturday? Any ideas would be appreciated.
Anne: I'm guessing you'll want to make the most of your foot power while you can. You can still swing through Bethesda galleries to see works selected as a mini-version of Artomatic. Or, consider a do-it-yourself walking tour.
Arlington, Va.: Please help I need a tux pronto... I am going to some gala with my girlfriend and her mother in two weeks no idea who will be there or what its really all about except for the fact I need a tux. I don't own one and need to rent or buy for a good price. Where should I go to get one that doesn't look like something stupid from a prom? I've been told by the powers that be... "You really need to look good." So please save me from their wrath. Thanks in advance for any advice.
Fritz: If you're looking to buy -- and you should, since renting is expensive -- you can get a gently-used tux in a classic style at the Masters Tuxedo Warehouse in Shirlington. That's what I did a few years ago, and my Bill Blass has gotten me through a number of New Year's Eve parties and embassy events.
H St Resident: R&B on H St is currently closed - to be open soon by new owners. Sidamo, however, is open (4th and H Sts, NE).
Anne: Whoops, thanks for that, H Street.
New to DC: Dear GOGs,
I recently moved to D.C. and am pretty new, so it's possible that I don't know where to look. In my early estimation, D.C. seems to lack hidden gems by way of creative haunts. I know they have music venues and then there are the galleries but I am talking in terms of local places with the creative vibe humming -- an area or places with an alive artistic scene and presence. I love good food and neighborhood bars that are comfortable and relaxed and friendly (not swanky and glitzy, nor not necessarily dive bars, either). Is this a tall order?
Any ideas/suggestions would be amazing.
Julia: A lot of D.C. newcomers say this. Even thought I don't find it to be true (if I did, I wouldn't still liver here), I know its why a lot of people end up leaving town.
I get a good, friendly vibe from bar/restaurants like Busboys and Poets and Polly's. Even a place like Bossa (not on the weekends). Places that are low-key, but there's an atmosphere there. The Red and the Black fits this bill for me as well, but in a different way.
You weren't wild about the galleries in your question above, but I'd consider stopping by at the various opening receptions around town (particularly the two I mentioned above). Gives you a great slice of D.C. -- one that's not so easy to see on a day-to-day basis. Hope this helps!
washingtonpost.com: That does it for us. Stay warm, eat lots of Super Bowl food and go Colts (or Bears)!
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