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The Going Out Gurus
of the washingtonpost.com City Guide
Thursday, May 3, 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.

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washingtonpost.com: We're happy it's Thursday and that the weather forecast is promising good news for the weekend in Washington. So, what are your plans? Don't have any yet? We're here to help.

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Fairfax, Va.: I desperately need help. Going out on a first date on Saturday, and he has very kindly offered to come out here (we don't live close to each other) to get some dinner. I can't think of a single place to go...I don't want him to come out here for some chain restaurant he could go to anywhere else, but Fairfax is really lacking in the great restaurants category, from what I know. Any suggestions? Or maybe there's something going on better than dinner?

Erin: I'll offer a few dinner ideas. Does Coastal Flats count as a chain restaurant if there are two of them? Also, you could go vegetarian for the night at Sunflower.
If you like Indian food, Saravana Palace is the raves-earner in that area.

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Who scheduled Derby & Cinco de Mayo on the same day?!: Is the Bonnets & Bowties Derby Party at the Willard Round Robin Bar fun? What is the crowd like (youngish? older?)?

Fritz: Don't forget about Gold Cup and De La Hoya-Mayweather! (Options for all of these, bar Gold Cup, can be found in our Nightlife Agenda column.)
I went to the Willard for a while last year, and it tends to draw mostly an older crowd, though it's still a lot of fun, with the singing and the best Mint Juleps in town. Just not a 20something-30something heavy scene. For that, I'd rather go to Bourbon (which we also wrote about in Nightlife Agenda).

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Georgetown, D.C.: Hi GOGs,

I was raised in Maryland so warmer weather makes me hanker for good ol' steamed blue crabs. In fact, I want to buy a bunch (as well as the traditional feast of chicken, spiced shrimp, corn, etc) to bring back to my patio and share with friends. I'm looking for a place where I can walk in and order a bunch or order ahead of time, that isn't too far a drive from DC and does crabs right.

Erin: We hear you, Georgetown. It's crab time. Maine Ave. Seafood would be my first choice for a bushel, but Alexandria's M. Slavin and Sons can probably hook you up as well.

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Alexandria, Va.: I went to see RSC's version of "Coriolanus" at the Kennedy Center last weekend and it's a definite must-see. As someone who disliked Shakespeare in school, it's amazing how a good performance can make on appreciate the Bard and his words. The staging, costumes and lighting were good, and the fight scenes well-choreographed. The actors performed admirably, with Timothy West as my favorite, w/his seemingly effortless command of Shakespeare's language.

I took my parents who weren't very interested in the Bard, and they loved it.

Erin: Thank you for writing in. I am so glad to hear that you liked it. It's not a popular show, but "Coriolanus" is definitely the most compelling theater I've seen in the Shakespeare festival. Royal Shakespeare Company commands stellar performances from everyone on stage. Anyone on the fence should rush to see it.

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Georgetown, D.C.: At the end of last week's chat someone asked about an outside bar with parking, metro accessible in DC. Fritz responded that in DC, the Deck is new and fun. Is this a joke? It's been open for a while and every time I pass by there is no one there. Maybe he wasn't talking about the one in Glover Park on Wisc Ave, or maybe I've always been on the wrong day. Just curious ...

Fritz: Have you been this year? The Glover Park bar is under new management, and it's really paying off. When I stopped by last night (stupid Suburban Kids With Biblical Names show was cancelled), there were maybe 75-90 people on the patio drinking $3 bottles of beer and rocking out to '80s music. (I'm not the National Park Service, so crowd estimates may be higher.) Crowds on weekends are even more ridiculous. (I blogged about it a few weeks ago; read my take here.

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Washington, D.C.: With the horrible fire at Eastern Market, a number of bars have volunteered to donate some of their proceeds from Tuesday May 8th to help rebuild the historic building. Information about participating restaurants/bars etc. can be found at: http://www.easternmarketrescue.com and this list will continue to be updated as more places sign on.

Fritz: I'm hoping to have a blog post about this very subject coming soon. In the meantime, do your part: Go drink at places like the Hawk and Dove, which is donating all tips on the 8th to Eastern Market and its vendors.

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Alexandria, Va.: Do you know of a place to have breakfast (during the week) near King St. Metro, other than Table Talk?

Erin: You won't savor the ambiance, but Whole Foods has a variety of hot buffet options. I'm a sucker for the pain au chocolat at Misha's and I know a few people who enjoy Bittersweet. Beyond that, you'd be a bit far from the metro. Other options are always the hotels in the vicinity like Morrison House and Embassy Suites.

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Bethesda, Md.: Does anyone know where I can buy Aperol in this area? I fell in love with this Italian liquor while overseas. They only started importing it to the U.S. a year ago. I've seen it in New York and read that Dino's been making drinks with it here in D.C., but is there someplace I could buy a bottle, or 3?

Janet: I'd love to know as well. My Italian teacher brought it over the other night and mixed it with Prosecco for a really fab libation. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure she bought hers someplace in Italy.

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Washington D.C.: Are there any establishments in DC or NOVA showing both the derby and De La Hoya/Mayweather on Saturday?

Fritz: That is a very good question. I'd expect that the Champps Americana locations and the Ugly Mug will show both.

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Bethesda, Md.: What's the latest buzz on Bebo? Is it safe to bring the parents to? What about Central, would that be good for a parental visit or is it too trendy?

Thanks!

Erin: Bebo's generating lukewarm buzz. The service remains the biggest hurdle for the fledgling restaurant to overcome. I've enjoyed most of my dishes, with pastas as the shining star.
Central is loud and very happening, but definitely parent-friendly. The crowd is older, so it's not an intimidating scene. Tables are a hot commodity at Central, so you'd better book soon if you'd like them to experience a lobster burger or rotisserie chicken.
Other thoughts: Chef Alexander Powell keeps luring me back to 701 with more enticing options than I can ever hope to conquer. A fabulous appetizer of tuna ribbons and a moist slow-baked salmon have been two of my favorites and it's a fun scene with the piano or jazz trio, but quiet enough for a relaxing parent dinner.
Also, Kinkead's continues to turn out good seafood if your parents like sea creatures.

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Arlington, Va.: Have you taken a poll on how many people are planning on shelling out for the Virgin Festival this year?

I went last year, and had a great time. But forcing two-day tickets on people, AND hotel, AND parking, etc, rounds up to a $400 weekend.

I'm trying not to play compare and contrast with other festivals (it is an urban location, more or less), but this still seems steep to me.

David: We haven't taken a poll, but how about an unscientific one right now -- how many of you are planning on shelling out for Virgin Festival? The promoters are expecting a sellout and since this is the only scheduled area appearance for the Police, that alone should ensure big time sales. You don't have to buy two-day tickets, for the record; single day tickets are available, although if you want to see both the Police and Smashing Pumpkins then you'll want the two-day pass. A three-day pass to Lollapalooza is $195; a two-day pass to V Fest is $175. More bands at Lollapalooza, obviously, but bigger names at V Fest.
In short, yes, it's expensive, but not entirely out of line with the rest of the festivals. V Fest also has fewer stages than most others, meaning fewer conflicts and longer sets from bands. So yeah, it'll be an expensive weekend if you decide to go, but that's just how it is these days.

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Van Ness, Washington, D.C.: I'm planning an "outing" this weekend and am thinking about going to walk around Teddy Roosevelt Island on Saturday. Any advice as to how to get there from the Rosslyn Metro (I think this is possible?) or where to eat lunch in Rosslyn near the Metro or on the way to the island? It's also Cinco de Mayo, so an eating place that is Mexican themed would be a plus, but not necessary. We can really do any type of cuisine, but want a casual lunch place, not a fancy thing. Thanks!

Anne: Sure, you can get Teddy Roosevelt Island from the Metro. Just walk toward Key Bridge and hang a right on the bike path. To continue your Cinco theme, Guajillo would be perfect, but it's not open until 4 on Saturday. So you could recharge there post-hike or save your outing for Seis de Mayo on Sunday, when it is open for lunch. Or, for a very casual meal, there's always the Baja Fresh in Rosslyn.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus! I am a bride-to-be completely frustrated with the lack of wearable wedding dresses to choose from (I've visited numerous stores in the area, to no avail). A friend recommended that I have a bridal gown designed and made for me. Can you recommend a reputable tailor in the area who would be willing to take on such a task?

Julia: I was having the exact same problem this weekend! The dresses in wedding shops are obviously beautiful, they're just not really my style (or in my price range).
The couture stores, like Hitched in Georgetown or Promise for the Savvy Bride, custom-make their dresses, so if you found the basics of the dress you like (shape, fabric, etc), their designers can alter the details to fit your style. But if you're feeling anything like I was feeling this weekend, nothing in the stores comes close to what you want....
I'm planning on getting a simple dress -- perhaps one of the JCrew dresses -- and then contracting a local designer to fix it up. I just thought up this plan this weekend though, so I have yet to contact anyone and don't have one to reccommend. Does anyone out there know of a tailor who will custom-make a wedding dress?

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Washington, D.C.: There seem to be a lot of wine tastings around, but I'm having a hard time finding a beer tasting that gives you several courses of food with different beers. Any ideas?

Fritz: I regularly see beer dinners at Tuscarora Mill (and its sister Magnolia's at the Mill) and Birreria Paradiso. Saint-Ex and the Reef do similar evenings occasionally, usually with beers from one producer or one importer. Some brewpubs pair the works from the kitchen and the brewery; Vintage 50 has done at least one.
Also, I was at Beck last night and they have a multi-course chef's tasting menu with beer pairings for $100.

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Washington, D.C.: So this is a silly question, but what do think is the best way to get to Glover Park? I guess I live close enough to walk, but after about 5 blocks in the summer no one would want me near them. Can I drive without having major parking issues, or is the bus or a cab the best way to go?

Fritz: It's bad on weekends and late on weeknights, since it's a residential area and parking can be tight. I walk from Woodley Park on the regular, but the 30-series buses go right down Wisconsin Avenue.

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Artomatic: Hi Gurus, happy Thursday!

I'm going to Artomatic tonight, and excited to meet some artists! I've never been to Crystal City before, where would you suggest getting dinner and/or drinks around there? If there isn't much in CC, should we just go down to Alexandria? My boyfriend's a vegetarian, so someplace we can find veggies and good beer would be ideal.

Thanks guys, you make my job as social planner so much easier!

Erin: Depending on when you plan to eat, Jaleo is right there tempting you with plenty of veggie options and a patio in case the weather finally brightens up. It fills up around 7ish, but there's nowhere near the wait you'd have downtown.
Crystal City's Neramitra Thai also has veggie-friendly options.

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Corcoran Gallery: Has the Corcoran discontinued it's reduced price policy on Thursday evenings? It used to be that you could give a donation after 5pm and not pay the full admission. Which is now $14! We don't mind paying something but that's a bit much for an hour or two stroll on a Thursday night. Can't find it mentioned on their web site. Thanks.

Julia: They have discontinued the pay-what-you-can policy for the special Modernism exhibit. It's is a bit much for an hour or two stroll, but you'd be strolling through a pretty cool show -- if that helps. I was sad to read that the crowds haven't been so big at the Modernism show. It's laid out in a really cool way and really informative -- even if I didn't totally love all of the art on the walls.

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Washington, D.C.: What do guys really wear to gold cup? I have seen some crazy outfits in pictures. Should I (must I) wear a tie and/or jacket.

Fritz: It depends who you're going with and where you'll be. Some general rules, though: It's a semi-formal occasion, more akin to sitting in the stands at the Derby than sitting in the infield. Don't wear jeans. Don't wear flashy sneakers. You probably shouldn't wear a t-shirt.
Tie is closer to a must if you're on Members Hill (the fancy, expensive section). If you're going on one of the party buses, you can get away with slacks and a polo or a nice button down. I'd play it safe if you're going with, say, Capitol Club or University Row (seersucker, linen), but dress down for Party D.C., etc.

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Fairfax, Va.: I know it is still a little early but... where would you recommend going for Mother's Day? Help!!

Erin: My top picks for Mother's Day brunch would include Rasika, Blue Duck Tavern and Vidalia.

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Not wanting to offend: Can you stand another bachelorette party? The bride wants

to hit up Cobalt, but a quick scan of their Web site says

bachelorettes are discouraged. If we're not wearing condom-

bedecked veils or shirts decorated with anything edible and

comport ourselves like nonidiots, do you think we'll get a lot

of attitude?

Fritz: Last time I was there to do a re-review, they had sign up saying "No high heels." That goes for men and women.
It's a gay club, with a gay clientele, and they'd like to keep it that way. If you're all wearing flats and being behaved, I'm sure it's fine... just out of curiosity, does the bride-to-be usually hit up gay clubs, or is this a "only for the bachelorette party" venture?

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Upper Marlboro, Md.: What is the Herndon Festival (May 31)? I understand Fairport Convention are to play there, and I don't know anything else about it.

David: It's Herndon's version of a county fair, or something approximating that. Carnival rides, lots of food, arts and crafts vendors, lots of music/entertainment. Kind of weird that the Fairport Convention, or at least the group of people going by the name the Fairport Convention, will be there. So will the Smithereens, Josh Kelly, Mary Ann Redmond, many many more. Major bonus is that admission is free, including the concerts, not including rides/food/etc., obviously.

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Washington, D.C.: How packed do you think Cactus Cantina will be at around 4:30 on Saturday?

Fritz: Not as bad as it will be by 8? I'd say the earlier the better.

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Arlington, Va.: Hello Guru's! Happy Thursday! So a whole bunch of my friends and myself included are partying in Adams Morgan this Saturday. We are doing dinner at Tabaq but not sure where to head afterwards? We like Left Bank and Saki but any other places out there that have good hip hop/pop music?

Thanks!

Rhome: I would add Ultrabar and Avenue to your list.

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Re: Beer Dinners: Fritz - I have to plug my local (and former employers) at the Royal Mile Pub in Wheaton. They try to do a few beer dinners a year, usually coupled with the great guys at Clipper City. 7 or 8 courses of food and beer, sometimes with a cask ale at the end.

Fritz: Duh. Yes. I've been there for a beer dinner (and a Scotch tasting with dinner, too). Great place.

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Washington, D.C.: Just moved to D.C. and was wondering where are there good places to go to listen to county music? Whether it is Live music or just a good jukebox, do you have any suggestions?

Thanks,

Kansas

Julia: Welcome to D.C., Kansas! Nick's Nightclub in Alexandria is a great spot for you. Everyone's really friendly, the shots are more than generous and the bands have always been pretty decent country cover bands (with some original songs in the mix). Most of the crowd comes up from nearby military bases so you'll meet people from all over the country. Cancun Cantina gets my future sister-in-law's approval, but I've yet to make it up there.

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Re:Brasserie Beck: Hi GOGs,

Was thinking of trying out Beck next weekend. Would you suggest reservation? They don't have a menu online, or at least I couldn't find it on their web site, so do you suggest the tasting menu, or do you have don't miss recommendations? Thanks!

Erin: You should definitely make a reservation. Beck has been crowded since it opened last Tuesday.
Entrees on the menu are all in the $16-$20ish range. Choucroute, lamb with cassoulet, rabbit, coq au vin and a crispy skate wing are some of the things you'll find. They have about five different options for your steamed mussels (fennel and chorizo, curry apple) which cost $17. Of course, there are pates and charcuterie on the starters side.
I prefer ordering the most appealing dishes a la carte and swapping with friends, but you'll have to let us know what you think of the tasting menu if you go that route.

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Washington, D.C.: Some friends from work and I are planning happy hour after work on Friday, but we're tired of the same old places, i.e. Chef Geoff's, M&S Grill, Poste, etc.

Is there a place in downtown DC or Dupont that has good wine happy hour specials on Friday?

Thanks for any info you can give us to help send this week on its way.

Fritz: I much prefer Vidalia's wine happy hour, which has free tastes of three or four wines from 4-7 (small pours, like 2 ounces) and then discounted glasses and bottles if you find one you like. Free snacks, too -- I had some really nice pate last time.

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Re: Fairfax Dinner: Brio's Tuscan Grille in Tyson Corner is a chain, but the one in Tyson's is the only one in 200 miles. Really nice, white table cloth dining, good wine list, great Tuscan food (grilled meats, fresh vegetables, awesome bread), good atmosphere for a date. And they take reservations. Always a plus around here.

Erin: Thanks for the idea. If non-local chains count, here's a date spot idea.

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Washington, D.C.: I'm going out Thursday, and I want to watch the NHL hockey playoffs. I'd like somewhere less sportsbar than the ESPN Zone, and less smoky than Shellys (which I know has it on TV), and somewhere in the district. Any suggestions?

I'm from Buffalo, NY originally, and finding myself increasingly drawn to watching the Sabres, but I don't need a "Buffalo bar."

Thanks, gurus.

Fritz: It's not really a "Buffalo Bar," per se, but the 51st State in Foggy Bottom shows (or showed, I should say) all hockey games featuring New York teams. I'd start there.

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Virgin Festival again: One day tickets will only be "available" two weeks after the two-day release, and that's if the two-day passes don't sell out.

To me, that's effectively forcing people to buy the two-day passes.

David: Fair enough. I guess it depends on how much of a chance you are willing to take. Based on nothing more than a hunch, I'd say that if it doesn't sell out in the first day or two, you could probably wait those two weeks. For people who want to get tickets, you'd be strongly advised to pick them up at the 9:30 club to avoid monster service charges. And of course there are the $450 VIP tickets, which is more or less paying $275 extra for actual bathrooms. And you know what? It might be worth it.

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Down Undah: This might be more of a Tom question; please prove me wrong! I just got back from a trip to Oz and I'm jonesing for some Aussie cuisine. Any pointers on local restaurants that serve kangaroo or emu? Yes, they're cute, but they taste even better than they look. Thanks!

Erin: If you've just returned from Australia, then you can keep distance in perspective, right? Inn at Easton serves up a roasted kangaroo tenderloin. Sure, it's a distance, but that's the best Aussie food you'll find in this region.

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"No high heels.": Seriously, why? To protect the floor?

Fritz: That, or to make it less likely that straight women will visit.

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16th St. Washington, D.C.: Any way to get M'Dawg or Amsterdam Falafel to go? I mean do you have to eat it there or can you get a to-go paper/plastic bag or container? Thanks.

Erin: You can absolutely take it to go in a bag.

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Arlington, Va.: Some girlfriends and I need a beach trip ASAP. Any suggestions on where to head this weekend for a little fun in sun? We're looking for warm weather and a nice beach (not Ocean City), and we're willing to drive if necessary. Thanks

Anne: The state park beaches near Lewes are pretty and much calmer beach than, say, Rehoboth. On a weekday this time of year, you'd be one of the few people on the sand. And if you get hooked on beach going, on the May 19 weekend, the town of North Beach in southern Maryland (so a shorter drive than Delaware) is enticing visitors to come early Saturday afternoon for kite-making, a limbo contest and sandcastle building contests. See the soon-to-be-updated Beach Guide for more ideas.

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Planning Ahead: What's the best way to get to Pimlico from DC on race day (May 19)? Are there reasonable (as in, won't take hours and hours to get there) public transportation options? Will MARC run that day? Or is it more advisable to drive and hope to find parking?

Thank you!

Fritz: No MARC on weekends. I know people who've gone Amtrak to Baltimore and then gotten a cab, but that can be expensive.
You might want to look at some of the partybus companies in D.C. -- I know the Boomerang group (ridetheboomerang.com) is organizing trips to the Preakness from Dupont Circle and back.

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Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.:

Are The National, the Arcade Fire opener, worth seeing tomorrow?

David: Being an opening act at Constitution Hall is very often a thankless job and I'm not sure the National have what it takes to pull it off. It's a weird enough venue for a rock show as it is, and to play in front of a half-empty, half-paying attention crowd (if lucky) is tough to overcome. The National's best qualities are subtle ones, with spoken lyrics and songs that never really have big peaks. Worth seeing, but if you have happy hour plans or something, don't feel like you have to cancel 'em.

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Falls Church, Va.: Hey GOG's!!! I'm looking for a place to go this Saturday with a friend to have some good margaritas. Nothing to expensive,preferably in the Falls Church or Alexandria area. Any ideas????

Erin: As I mentioned in my most recent News to Digest post, Food Matters in Alexandria is making them with housemade sour mix. The owners got their start at Cafe Atlantico, so that is my top pick for the greater Alexandria area. Plus, they'll have guacamole, queso y carne and plenty of other things to balance out all the imbibing.

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re: Not wanting to offend: Thanks for the reply, Fritz! We're covered on the heels front.

The bride usually an Irish pub girl but we wanted to do the gay-bar thing to avoid unwanted male attention/drama. But two of the "bachelorettes" are gay men, so we're hoping we can sip gimlets and dance the night away unnoticed in our fabulous flats.

Fritz: The word I've always gotten from Cobalt and other gay clubs is that mixed bachelorette party groups are fine.

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Rockville, Md.: I'm hankering after some good live music this weekend, preferably blues. Any suggestions?

Rhome: Oh, we've got tons. Have you checked out Bill Kirchen before? Hate to keep sending you out to VA from Montgomery County but Bangkok Blues is a really good time.

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Washington or Arlington: Is there any place you'd recommend to get in on derby action and sip a mint julep where the atmosphere would be casual, and sundress not required?

Fritz: The Nightlife Agenda column recommends Bourbon (either branch) or the Arlington Cinema N Drafthouse, where they'll have the race on a movie screen. (C'mon, Curlin!)

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Alexandria, Va.: Hi Gurus,

Really dig the chats - my sister and her BF are coming to town this weekend....any cool museums/cultural stuff we shouldn't miss?

Thanks.

Julia: My favorite exhibit right now is definitely the Gene Davis show at the Kreeger Museum. Davis is a local legend of sorts so your out-of-town crew might appreciate that. [Fritz will kill me if I don't mention that you can download our fabulous podcast tour of the exhibition here.]
This is also your last weekend to see Paris in Transition, a pretty photography exhibition at the National Gallery. Modernism, mentioned above, is a long exhibit, but a really cool one as well.
There's also Artomatic, if you think your sister and her boy are into the really zany stuff. I've been a bunch of times since it opened and it's way more fun to go with a group of people.
This might also be a good time to take your sis over to Eastern Market. The indoor sections of the market have closed due to Monday's devastating fire, but the outdoor vendors have decided to go on. They'll be selling their wares on Saturday and Sunday.

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VFest: Can't be bothered to pay that much to stand around in horse poop for two days. But are the Yeah Yeah Yeahs going to be playing anywhere around here this summer?

David: I'd hope that for $175 they'd at least clean up all the horse poop. Honestly, I'd be a lot more worried about human vomit than horse poop that weekend. Now that you're lunch is coming back up, let's get back to the question at hand -- don't count on seeing the YYYs around here this summer outside of VFest. Most of the time when bands agree to play festivals like this -- especially the bigger ones, and I think YYYs are at least close to that -- part of the contract is that it will be the only area appearance within an allotted timespan. So maybe they'll be back around in the fall, but there's a good chance this is the only time Karen O will be performing around these parts in 2007.

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Desperate for sake: My friends and I are looking for a hibachi-style restaurant in the Arlington/D.C. area where we can go to enjoy the cooking at the table along with the mandatory sake bombs. Beyond Benihana in Georgetown, is there anymore? Eating in the mall always weirds me out slightly, so I'd like another option beyond G-town. Thanks!

Erin: Genji has a few grill-top tables in Falls Church. They also have plenty of sushi to accompany that sake.

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Washington, D.C.: I am in need of a good place for men's shoes. I am looking for new work shoes, at reasonable prices (i.e. $100 to $200 or so), sold by knowledgeable and helpful staff. Any suggestions? I tried Saks Men's store but they prices were a bit steep. Thanks as always.

Janet: The Saks Men's Store is expensive; I think you should try Nordstrom or Macy's for a good, affordable selection of shoes you could wear to work. Don't know about DSW. I was there recently looking for women's shoes, and was sorely disappointed.

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Wedding, USA: Please help me All Knowing Gurus. My sister's bachelorette party is in 2 weeks and need help finding places to have some fun on Saturday night. We will be about 10 girls in their late 20s/early 30s. We wanted to head to DC by 10pm-ish. I was thinking about Play Lounge for later in the evening but wanted to go to a bar beforehand. The 18th Street area makes sense but was hoping you can recommend a fun bar. Thanks so much. I am forever grateful.

Fritz: Bachelorettes seem to love Rumors on Saturday night. For something a little more classy, I'd try Panache, or the all-white hipster minimalism of Dragonfly.

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Bethesda, Md.: I have a friend coming in from out of town this weekend, but would still love to catch the De La Hoya-Mayweather fight Saturday night. What cool places can we hit up (either in Bethesda or DC) that will definitely have the fight on? Thanks a lot!

Fritz: There's a list on our blog that I updated this morning.

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3 of us going to Virgin Fest -- question for those who have gone before: I am not a huge huge fan of all the bands, but my sister and her friend are coming in from Mass. just to go, so we are saving $$ by staying at my house in D.C.

Quick question for those who went last year. Once you are in the venue, can you leave and come back?? We were hoping to be able to go back to the car if the heat is too much to chill with the A/C. Thanks!

Julia: I went last year and there wasn't any re-entry. They *might* do it this year because they'll have that wrist-band system, but I doubt it. It takes a lot of manpower to check people's wrists at the door all day as the come and go.
If the organizers have any idea what this area's like in August, they'll set up some of those misting machines like they have at Bonnaroo or other big, hot festivals. There will definitely be cooler spots around -- you'll just have to find a shady spot in one of the tents, I think.

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Rosslyn, Va.: Guajillo/Cinco de Mayo: Anne, that's incorrect - Guajillo has a big sign out front that says they'll be open at noon on the 5th.

Anne: See, that's weird. I hadn't seen the sign yet, but I figured they would open earlier, and I just called to see and they said they weren't opening. Seems the signals are crossed somewhere. I will have to run over and take a look.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Any idea what can be expected at the Onion kickoff at the Black Cat tonight? I bought the ticket for Aziz Ansari, when is he expected to go on?

David: It's an early start at the Black Cat, at least that's what they are shooting for. Going from band to comic will make for almost no downtime between acts. They are shooting for: 8:40 - Sounds of Kaleidoscope, 9:40 - Aziz Ansari, 10:20 - Georgie James, 11:05 - Neeeeeeeeeil Hammmmmmburger. You can expect good music, some funny jokes and some really terrible jokes.

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Woodley Park, D.C.: Any recommendations for a nice (but not stuffy) and not too noisy wine/cocktail bar in NW? Want to find somewhere two people can hold a conversation and enjoy a good drink. I was thinking maybe firefly, but is it just ridiculously crowded on friday/saturday nights? Any other suggestions would be welcome!

Fritz: Firefly can be crowded right around dinner (6-8:30), but tends to ease up after that. I've brought friends there for cocktails on Friday night (between 9 and 10) and found three seats at the bar.

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Washington, D.C.: Cobalt and heels. I've heard it's actually supposed to keep the feet of the men in flip flops and sandals free from getting speared with a heel.

Fritz: Could be.

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Washington, D.C.: I live in Chinatown, and I'm always looking for a diner to grab some weekend breakfast. The closest I have come to finding a great spot involves trekking up to Adams Morgan- but that's a bit of a hike when I'm looking for a quick sit-down place. Any ideas?

Erin: How about cilantro scrambled eggs at Teaism? That's one of my favorite breakfasts in the city and it's open at 9:30 on weekends. Waffles, French toast and granola are also tough to beat. Poste also does breakfast at the Monaco, but it's a bit more of a production.

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I have seen some crazy outfits in pictures: that may have been the bookie; they dress really wildly so you can find him easily.

Fritz: I've never actually bet on Gold Cup. The Derby, sure (hooray for off-track wagering!). But I'll be looking for bookies on Saturday.

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Washington, D.C.: Holo mi amigos. What clubs will be have Cinco de Mayo celebrations? Would still prefer to hear Bachata, Merengue and Salsa at the celebrations.

Fritz: Try Cecilia's. There's a dance contest as well as JCJ Band (salsa and merengue) and DJs between sets.

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Concerning Fairfax Dinner spots:: You could also try Blue Iguana. They have both casual and more upscale dining options, plus I confess I love their French martini.

Erin: Great thinking this is all true. It's definitely a fun local idea.

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D.C. parking: OK, not so much going out as staying in. I have a friend visiting soon and she's renting a car - does she need a visitor parking permit to park on the street? Thanks!

Julia: This is one of the more random questions we've had in got plans, but the answer is thast it depends on how long she's staying. Check your street signs: she'll probably be okay to park her car in your neighborhood over the weekend. If she's staying for a couple weeks/months, she can get a pass from the DMV, but that's a huge hassle -- she has to explain the reason for her stay and all that. If she's gonna be here for a few days that fall during the week, I'd scope out your neighborhood. Many D.C. hoods have some unzoned areas.

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Washington, D.C.: For the guy looking for work shoes, try Cole Haan in Pentagon City mall - staff is knowledgable and the shoes are good price for good quality and if the shoes get too worn down, they will remake them for you.

Janet: Good suggestion for the guy in search of a good pair of shoes for work.

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Re: Wedding Dresses: I know it sounds silly, but I just got mine at Nordstrom - it's really pretty and needed minimal tailoring. If you're looking for something more customized, I know a great place for recommendations for a seamstress is a place like G Street Fabrics. There was a genius who lived in Damascus (years ago) who did my prom dress.

Julia: Great call on G Street. I was thinking of contacting the chicks at Unsung Designers to see if they knew of any one.
My friend got her dress at Nordstroms and it was AMAZING, so that's definitely an option.

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Washington, D.C.: So I heard something about a wine festival called "Wine in the Woods." Any of y'all ever been? Is it worth the drive? I've been out to the Virginia one a couple of times and loved it...

Fritz: I haven't been for a couple of years, but if you're curious about Maryland wines, the annual festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion's Symphony Woods is a great place to start. $25 for all you can "sample," plus tasting seminars and live music -- everything from swing to '80s covers.

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Washington, D.C.: Going to Easton/St. Michaels this weekend. Never been. What is not to be missed? Any restaurant or interesting food recommendations. Thanks. Love your chats.

Janet: Both these towns are super places for just walking around. St. Michaels has way more options in terms of restaurants and shops, but Easton is totally charming. Don't miss the Maritime Museum in St. Michaels and snag a table at the Crab Claw if you like to work for your lunch or dinner. Seriously, this is some mean Maryland crab eating. Easton has a fancy restaurant called Inn at Easton, but I don't think you'd be able to get a res at this point. Always worth trying. There's also another restaurant in Easton that's getting rave reviews. Erin?

Erin: Definitely drop in for pizza or grilled shrimp at Out of the Fire and try Restaurant Local, recently reviewed by Tom Sietsema.

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Dupont, Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus,

Do you know which of the area restaurants have a chef's table, the kind where you sit in the kitchen?

Erin: There are chef's tables of differing capacities and prices at Citronelle, Blue Duck Tavern, IndeBleu, Inn at Little Washington, Tosca, Agraria and Olives. Minibar at Cafe Atlantico is similar to a chef's table in its intimate six-person set-up and proximity to your chef.

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Bethesda Spring Cleaning: In a attempt to revamp my spring/summer wardrobe, I've been sifting through all last season's clothes, and all my winter clothes. I have a lot of designer items that have been barely worn, some with the tags still on (yikes!). Are there any consignment shops around? or should I just donate to the Salvation Army?

Janet: In Bethesda, there's a place called Mustard Seed and in D.C. there's Secondi. There's also another place in Bethesda across from Bethesda Plate & Glass that I think would be a very good bet for your gently worn designer items.

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Fritz-: ...rumor has it that a couple of years ago you wrote about a German-style biergarten that was slated to open in a couple of weeks.... I think I'm fairly familiar with the Dupont circle area - and I cannot think of any place that would fit a German-style biergarten hangout/destination? With the nice weather approaching, I'd love to know where it is because sitting outside sipping or chugging beers sounds dreamy. Am I missing something?

Thanks!

Fritz: The big rumor a few years ago was that the Brewmaster's Castle was going to turn its outdoor gardens and garage into an occasional biergarten. Sadly, while it's used for wedding receptions and the like, it's never been open as a public space. (And really, don't they need to raise funds to save the building? Can you think of a better way to honor the Heurichs?)
My fallback for sitting outside and sipping German beers remains the patio at Cafe Berlin on the Hill. Great beers served in proper liter/half-liter mugs and glasses. Not cheap, but worth it (to me) on a summer afternoon or evening.

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Washington, D.C.: I recently moved here from the bay area and am having severe Amoeba withdrawal. Is there something like Amoeba in D.C.? Or outside but metro accessible? Please help a girl get her cheap musics. Thanks.

Rhome: The first time I went to Amoeba (the stoopitly large one in San Fran), I spent 7 hours there and needed a day to recover. There are good used spots here although there are less now than there used to be. For cd's I hit up CD Game X-Change and CDepot. Outside of the flea markets where us obsessives prowl, I cop used vinyl at Som, DJ Hut and Joe's. I've also gotten lucky at Orpheus and CD Cellar.

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Washington, D.C.: Some of friends are thinking of celebrating Cinco de Mayo at RnR. I've never been there, or heard of it, but do you guys know anything about it, or think it will be fun? I do know its in Chinatown.

Thanks!

Fritz: The group that's hosting the party is fairly reputable, so I'd expect they'll draw a large crowd. I'm not a huge fan of the venue most nights, but they do have a rooftop deck and room to dance.

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Beer Pairings!: For the poster looking for beer pairings - check out Dogfish! Every two months (at least) they do a big five course prix-fixe dinner with beer pairings, served family style. Last week they did a New England dinner (clam chowder, lobster, blueberry bread pudding) and a different beer with every course for $65. It was goooood. I don't think the next one is until Father's Day, but definitely worth checking out.

Fritz: More on beer pairings.

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Alexandria, Va.: Last year there was a Mother's Day Expo in Old Town Alexandria for new and expectant moms. Do you know if that is going on again this year and the details? Or do you know of any other great mom's related events for Mother's Day weekend? Thank you!

Anne: I don't know if that one is happening again, but there is a similar-sounding expo called Celebrate Mama! planned for this weekend in Silver Spring. Lots of vendors, and I'd imagine, lots of kids, and best of all, the fountain is on for the season, I hear. If you're looking for something in Alexandria, Martha Washington is treating moms at Mount Vernon with sachets and picture-taking. And for the very ladylike, Green Spring Gardens hosts a winds concert and tea on Mother's Day.

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Washington, D.C.: I saw in Express today that there is an opera called "Jenufa" opening at the Kennedy Center. It looked pretty cool- there was a photo of a man on a motorcycle and it didn't look like the typical "boring" opera. I'm interested in going- have you heard anything about this production?

Erin: It's a Czech opera that just won the 2007 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Opera. It sounds like an amazing production about half-brothers who fall desperately in love with their cousin.

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Fairfax, Va.: Submitting again in desperate hopes you'll answer this one! Going to the Kennedy Center tomorrow night with the boyfriend to see Coriolanus. We'll both be going straight from the office. Will a sweater set, pencil skirt and cute flats be okay? BF will also be dressed more casually as it's Friday dress code at work.

Janet: As long as you're not going ballroom dancing after the play, I think you'll both be fine!

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Petworth: The visiting friend - you can get a visitor permit from your local police station. Note that (despite what it says on the website which LIES), you will need your ID (to prove that you live there and are eligible for a zone permit) AND your friend's car registration (god only knows why - nobody has ever been able to explain this to me.)

Go to your local police station with this stuff and you can get a 15 day parking pass.

http://dmv.dc.gov/serv/parking/Visitor.shtm

http://mpdc.dc.gov/

Julia: Petworth, amazing! We should hire you.
Though I must say, unless you live in Dupont or Downtown, you should be able to find and unzoned spot just as easily.

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Eastern Market: Will the surrounding flea market be open this weekend? Or at least earlier than the inside vendors?

Julia: As I said above, the outside vendors WILL be there this weekend. I think I'm gonna go down and support them. I love that place and I hope they rebuild as fast as they can.

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Washington, D.C..: I am heading to Arcade Fire tomorrow and wondering what time you think they will go on? I don't want to miss!

David: They should go on around 9. Be in your seats maybe a little earlier if you want to play it really safe.

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Speaking of Dogfish...: any word on the status of the Falls Church opening?

Fritz: It's dragging on. And on. (This is why I never enjoy writing "this bar is coming soon columns.") They have permits, now they're dealing with the real estate. Let's hope things get resolved soon.

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Dress: I got my brand new Casablanca wedding dress off eBay for a 1/8 of the price I saw advertised at Bridal Salons. Sold it at a consignment shop for MORE than I paid for it.

Julia: You're thrifty, girl! eBay kind of sketches me out for such a big purchase, but they do have a lot of new ones on there.

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Arlington, Va.: SATUR TUR ...

going out on Sat. (babysitter, haven't been out in six months) live in Arlington, any new resturants in Arlington to try out... open to anything

thanks,

Father of 3 (under 7)

Erin: Man. Congrats on getting some time to yourself. For a variety of options, EatBar, Liberty Tavern, Vapiano and Georgetown's Hook are all new or fairly new.

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RE: D.C. Men's Shoes: Stop by Carbon. The owner will walk you through the options, which is a must, as I didn't recognize many of the brands. But if you need the work shoe that doubles into hitting a bar, perfect place to check out.

Janet: I was going to recommend, but I wasn't sure the options were work-appropriate. Still, worth the trip to Woodley Park.

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More on bridal dresses: Try Diana's Couture & Bridal in Georgetown. She's a one-woman source of everything Bridal. (She did a fabulous alteration for me a few weeks back.)

She's at: www.thegowndoctor.com, 202-333-5689

Julia: The best endorsement we've had yet!

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Visiting Friend: Not true that you need your friend's car registration -- you only need to know the license plate info. You can go get the permit before the friend even arrives. It's very easy.

Julia: Wow, I have a hard time believing this is so easy, but if you all say so! I'd probably call the Police Station first to make sure.
Actually, come to think of it, I was in and out of the Georgetown DMV yesterday in like 10 minutes. Is D.C. becoming efficient before our very eyes?

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Northwest Washington, D.C.: My mom keeps trying to get me to take my two kids to some Azalea Festival. Heard anything? Where is it and is it worth it?

Anne: This is definitely azalea season, so I'm sure there are many around, but I wonder if your mom is thinking of this weekend's Landon Azalea Festival, which, at 54 years running, is the younger version of the Cathedral's Flower Mart. Expect flowers, food, kids games, preppy boutique-y sales and music at both, although only the Cathedral has the Tower Climb. For serious azalea zealots, the Arboretum has a free show on Mother's Day.

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Wedding dress suggestion: Check out Aria (www.ariadress.com). They have some really cute, simple full-length dresses that you can get in white or ivory for under $300! You can always dress them up with a sash, brooch, etc.

Julia: I was looking at this the other day. Some of them are very cute!

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Visiting This Weekend: Hi gurus, you seem like the ones to go to on this one, (I'm the planner for this weekend). Two Girls, two guys visiting from out of town, staying at the Wardman Hotel. We are doing the Mall thing but wanted to see what you thought might be interesting eating, entertainment, etc. in the Woodley? Park Metro area.

Fritz: As a local, I'd tell you to get out of Woodley Park for dining and entertainment. Open City isn't bad if you want to sit outside, but that's it. (Service was so slow two weekends ago that a friend and I got free food.) Try going up to Cleveland Park for cocktails at Aroma, great Indian food at Indique, delicious Vietnamese at Nam Viet, watching sports on a rooftop deck at Cleveland Park Bar and Grill or fantastic pizza (to-go only) at Vace.
You can walk to Adams Morgan in 10 minutes or so, or take the shuttle bus for a quarter. That's where all the bars are. These days, I'm loving the roof at the Reef, the patios at Bourbon (Saturday: Derby Party!) and Soussi, and the champagne bar-with-DJs at Metropolitain, or you might want to try the new, bustling Grand Central bar. Casa Oaxaca is a new, buzz-worthy Mexican place on the 18th Street strip.

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Potomac River: So, I'd love to take advantage of the nice weather and go canoeing, kayacking, sailing or something on the Potomac. Where can I rent a boat, and what are price ranges? Also, is any time of day better than any other?

Julia: We're running out of time, so I'm going to direct you to a story I wrote in September. I know that it's kind of old, but it should point you in the right direction!

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Washington, D.C.: Planning a night out this Saturday in Adams Morgan for some late 20's/early 30's friends. We were thinking of dinner at Casa Oaxaca and drinks at Soussi. Good idea? Are there any other bars we should check out where the crowd is around our age?

Fritz: That sounds great to me. Bourbon doesn't get the college-age crowd you're trying to avoid, and neither (really) do Bedrock or Metropolitain. Bobby Lew's might be good if you want something laid back.

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RE: Eastern Market: For those looking to support the inside vendors affected by Monday's fire, be sure to head out to the Market on Saturday or Sunday. CHAMPS and/or the Capitol Hill Community Foundation will be manning a table to accept donations for providing direct support to those guys.

Also, keep in mind that Sunday is the annual Market Day celebration -- should be a great time. (Nice way to ease back from the long day/night of Cinco/Derby/Fight boozing.)

If you can't make it out either day, I'm sure that you can find information on donating to the affected merchants by going to the CHAMPS and/or the Capitol Hill Community Foundation websites.

Fritz: Timely info for all of us Eastern Market fans.

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Washington, DC: Fritz,

What's this shuttle bus you can take to Adams Morgan for a quarter? I live in Cleveland Park, as do you I think you have mentioned, what is the best way to get home from Adams Morgan? I didn't know if there was a bus that went directly to CP.

Fritz: The 98 runs from the Adams Morgan Metro stop to the U Street Metro stop every 15 minutes (or so) after 6 p.m. Mon-Sat and after noon on Sunday. 25 cents. I use it when I'm feeling lazy, or when I need to get to U.
From Adams Morgan to Cleveland Park, you got the L2, but I forget how late it runs.

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washingtonpost.com: We're out of here. See you next week.

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