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The Going Out Gurus
of the washingtonpost.com City Guide
Thursday, November 15, 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: It's a week before Turkey Day, so let the gobbling begin. With no further ado, may the chat commence.

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Washington, D.C.: I looked over your list of Thanksgiving dinners at local restaurants, and saw only a couple with vegetarian options. I'm spoiled by an amazing restaurant in Topanga Canyon, CA that had a regular and a vegan Thanksgiving feast. I want to be able to share a meal with an omnivore, so Vegetate's not an option. What's my best bet?

Erin: Thanksgiving is definitely a time to showcase the meats, isn't it? It seems like meat or meat drippings appear on almost everything. I am an omnivore, but I miss the Los Angeles vegetarian options, too. My sister and I had a weekly date at Real Food Daily and I think my system went through health food withdrawal when I moved back here.

Ardeo has a fixed menu for $40 that looks pretty fantastic. The vegetarian option is a linguini with roasted pumpkin, chestnuts, sage, walnuts and goat cheese. Your omnivore friend can order roast turkey with sausage stuffing or an Asian-inspired whole snapper or prime rib. Appetizers include a squash risotto, autumn salad, beet salad and there are tons of seasonal dessserts.

There's also a buffet for $78 at the Mandarin Oriental's Cafe MoZU. You can see the PDF menu here.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus! Some friends and I were some of the unlucky ones who didn't get tickets to the Oyster Riot this weekend (and yes, I know that we could probably find some on Craigslist), so we planned our own little oyster party instead (for $125 a pop, we figure we can eat a lot of oysters somewhere else and still have an awesome time). We were thinking we would head to Hank's Oyster Bar or to Sea Catch (for Happy Hour). Any other suggestions? Where would you go? Thanks!

Erin: That's a super idea. My anecdote of the week is the man at the table next to mine enjoying a $75 four-course prix fixe dinner last week. He ordered five oysters on the half shell (one of the four first-course options) for each of the first three courses and then turned to fried oysters (another first-course option) for his dessert. By my calculations, that amounts to around $4 an oyster. I guess it's cheaper than Viagra?

Onto your question: I love Hank's. It's my go-to oyster spot, but I had dinner last night at BlackSalt and am raring to get back for that happy hour. From 5 until 7, Chesapeake Bay oysters are $.50, oysters Rockefeller are $1.50 each, shrimp cocktail is $1 per piece, bowls of two types of mussels (Addie's and Thai) go for $9 a bowl and crispy calamari is $7. There are also drink specials including a beer for $4, anything made with Snow Queen vodka for $6.50 and champagne cocktails for $5. Oceanaire Seafood Room would be my other recommendation.

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Thanksgiving: Help, I need a good restaurant option for Thanksgiving in the District or Old Town Alexandria. I'm thinking warm, cosy and traditional. Any ideas.

Erin: Have you read through my choices of where to go? Number 1 on that list would be best for you: Morrison-Clark Inn. Another perfect place would be Tabard Inn. I just called and there is a new cancellation at 4 or availability later in the day, around 7:30.

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U Street: Town has "go-go boys"? Did they get one of the nude-dancing licenses from Wet or Secrets? Please say it's true!

Fritz: Sorry to disappoint you, U Street, but Town -- the large new gay nightclub opening this weekend in the old Kili's Kafe space -- doesn't have a nude dancing license. The dancers will be, uh, clad in something, the way they were at Velvet Nation. (Not coincidentally, the guys behind Velvet Nation are the ones behind Town.)

For more on Town, check out this blog post what I wrote this morning.

For what it's worth, it's really disappointing how the city has failed to find new homes for the gay clubs displaced by the new Nationals stadium. Not surprising, but really disappointing.

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Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.: I'm looking for a place to buy jeans. Not just a place with selection, but somewhere where the employees will be able to listen to what I'm looking for, look at me, and recommend a few pairs that will really work for me, sparing me the frustration of trying on 80 pairs, none of which will go over my hips. Please tell me this exists in DC!

Julia: I believe the Denim Bar does this, but can't say I've ever opted for the full sales treatment. (I'm more of a shy shopper.)

I'd also suggest checking out zafu.com. You tell them your measurements/problem areas; they tell you what brands to buy.

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Capitol Hill: Hey Gurus,

Does the Rock'n'Roll Hotel have a cover charge? I've heard it's only on Saturday nights. Some friends and I would like to go to the upstairs bar for a birthday this weekend, but don't want to shell out $10.

Thanks for all your help!!

Fritz: The upstairs "hotel" bit almost never has a cover charge for the DJs on Friday and Saturday. The only times it does is when one group/event takes over the whole club -- ie next Friday's Garutachi -- and you pay a cover to wander through both levels. You're clear for this weekend, too: DJs both nights.

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Washington, D.C.: Hello Guru's! I REALLY hope you can answer my question: so it's my hubby's birthday next weekend and we're newlyweds so I want to take him to an upscale restaurant to treat him to a nice dinner. I looked at Cityzen's menu and it was perfect b/c I am vegetarian and he's not and they had both menu's but of course couldn't get a reservation for Sat. Dec 1. So I have reservations now at Bombay Club b/c we're both Indian and love the food but can you please give me a few suggestions on some upscale restaurants in DC? Thanks a lot!

Erin: Oh sad! I am in love with CityZen. It's where I had my birthday dinner this year and it couldn't have been better.

Bombay Club does a lovely job. I'm also a huge fan of Rasika, which is owned by the same gentleman. I wouldn't call it upscale, but it's superlative food.

Citronelle is a fabulous dining experience. There are vegetarian options that would be fun and whimsical. Also, Restaurant Eve can accommodate vegetarians and vegans. It's best to give advance notice. You'll likely not get into the Tasting Room with late notice, but the Bistro is always fun.

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Dupont Circle, D.C.: Where is this Martin place (owned by Eric Hilton, I believe) located? Opinions?

Erin: As fitting as Martin may be as a tribute to a deceased singer, I bet you're actually referring to Marvin, which is named for Marvin Gaye. It's located at 14th and U streets. Fritz has already gone to the trouble of writing up his thoughts for you here. There will be more details from him in tomorrow's Weekend section (and our newsletter this afternoon).

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Not the Russian Female Pop Band of Questionable Sexuality, Virginia: Fritz - I've been checking out some of the new bars/lounges popping up around 14th and K St NW. And, I'll admit I'm pretty impressed by Lotus and the Park. Do you have any update on Tattoo or other new clubs coming to the area?

Fritz: Tattoo, one of my good friends jokes, should be renamed "Opening in two weeks." There have been a bunch of delays with construction and permits, but owner Michael Romeo says it will be fully operational by the end of the month.

As a sidebar to my review of Marvin tomorrow, I have details on a couple of other places Eric Hilton of Thievery Corporation is involved with. One of them is a lounge called Josephine on Vermont Avenue, south of Thomas Circle. It's going to have LOTS of bottle service. Because, you know, that's lacking on K Street.

As for Lotus and the Park, I'm pretty impressed, too. Lotus is much better than I thought it was going to be -- and I like the happy hours. The Park at 14th is really attractive, but I'm still not sure what crowd they're going for with the restaurant. The lounge is poppin' off, though.

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Downtown D.C.: Hi, gurus! I am psyched to be going to see Neil Young tonight. Any idea of when he might be going on? I've not seen a show at Constitution Hall before, so I don't know the drill. The tickets say 7:30 - does that mean when doors open or when the show starts? Thanks!

David: As Bruce Springsteen concertgoers know, the time on the ticket is not necessarily the time the music starts. Haven't been able to get official word on when Neil will be hitting the stage but I'd be surprised if it's before 8. But you might want to play it safe and get there on the earlier side, especially because it looks like "Ambulance Blues" will be second on the set list! Speaking of, check out J. Freedom du Lac's recent blog post about the bathroom policy on Neil's current tour, along with what you might hear tonight and tomorrow.

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Arlington, Va.: Where could one get a live Christmas tree in the Northern Virginia area? Any insight into specific locations and their quality and prices? Thanks!

Julia: When I was a kid, my family got ours at Krop's Crops. I'm 99 percent sure they still let you cut your own and I just called to confirm, but I got their voicemail. Give them a call to be sure -- 703-430-8955. Either way, their trees are lovely. My parents stil get theirs there.

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Arlingron, Va.: Would you please give me a couple of good suggestions for Sunday brunch.

Erin: In your neighborhood? I would go for Tallula. In general, I love Hank's, Indique Heights, Bardia's New Orleans Bistro and Cafe Atlantico. Stay tuned to our blog for a posting that should be up within the hour on some good new brunches.

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Washington, D.C.: Can you remind the early onset Alzheimers stricken among us how we sign up for the newsletter?

Thanks!

Fritz: As long as you're signed in to washingtonpost.com, you click here and select "Washington City Guide."

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Washington, D.C.: My in-laws are coming in this weekend from Minnesota. They've never been here before, don't travel much outside the Midwest, usually eat fairly bland food, and don't have any interest in walking anywhere. HELP! We were thinking the TourMobile thingy for Saturday, but we're stumped on restaurants. We'd like to introduce them to good food, but don't want to stretch their palates so much they get scared. Any thoughts?

Erin: If you can get a reservation, take them to Central. It's Michel Richard's take on bistro food. The very timid eaters can be blown away by fried chicken, roasted chicken and a burger. Adventurers can go for the amazing tuna or lobster burgers, lamb or something else.

On the Hill, Locanda is doing very good pastas. I also like the neighborhoody Cashion's Eat Place.

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Action-Packed Date: My boyfriend and I are celebrating our anniversary and I thought it would be fun to break out of our rut of going out in Georgetown and Dupont by having an action packed night of activities.

I was thinking bowling at lucky strike and then going up to Marvin's on U street and then ice skating. Do you have any ideas? I just want to show my boyfriend there's life outside of his drinking grounds.

Julia: I'd love to show mine the same thing!

Late-night ice skating isn't easy to find within city limits. The latest is the National Gallery and it closes at 11 on Fridays and Saturdays, so you might want to rearrange your order a little bit.

Other than than, I think you have a good list going! I've been playing a lot of shuffleboard at Buffalo and Bedrock Billiards lately -- maybe that's an option for you two? (Especially after you've had a few drinks.)

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Advanced Screenings of 'The Golden Compass': Alright, I know its a few weeks away, but I just realized I'm going out of the country the day before "The Golden Compass" comes out -- I really want to see it before I go (rather than after, since I'll be gone through the month) and I was wondering if you knew about any advanced screenings I could go to ... and how I can get tix to said advance screenings...

Jen: Hey there. I have not heard about advance screenings. If they have them, they would most likely be the Saturday before release date (so Dec. 1). You should keep checking the movie's Web site; if they are any official ones, they will definitely announce it there.

The other option is to snag complimentary passes to one of the press screenings, but you often have to luck into those. Stores like Olsson's give them away sometimes. You also could spend your entire day listening to the radio on the off chance that one of the stations does a giveaway. I'm sure you have just tons of time to do that.

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Washington, D.C.: Aside from the Access to Opera program, is there anywhere/any way to see classical music in DC without paying a fortune?

Thanks

Fritz: Well, if you're not a member of the Opera's Generation O program, sign up for that. I've gone a couple times for what seems like next-to-nothing. Also, there's the NSO Prelude series on the Millennium Stage, and this weekend, the D.C. Youth Orchestra.

My other favorite option: Check out the Embassy Series, which hosts classical performances at various foreign embassies around D.C. (I wrote a piece about them for the paper, which you can read here, and check the schedule at www.embassyseries.com.

Chatters, where do you go to see good classical music on the cheap?

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Washington, D.C.: HI Gurus,

I am taking a couple who just got engaged out to dinner tomorrow evening. Could you please suggest a nice, swanky, restaurant that has excellent food and a hype atmosphere. Anywhere in DC is fine and any cuisine. Could you also suggest a nice place where we could have drinks and hear music afterwards? I am looking to spend $40 per person including wine.

Erin: I think this would be a great question to throw out to the audience for ideas.

There are a few factors that make this hard.

1 - Finding a "hype" reservation for tomorrow (a Friday).

2 - Nice and swanky for $40 pp including wine.

If reservations gods are smiling down, I would suggest Hook, Brasserie Beck or Rasika.

Without them, how about Viridian with music at HR-57?

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Falls Church, Va.: Looking for a delicious Thanksgiving buffet meal. My brother gets really upset if he's not uncomfortably full after eating Thanksgiving dinner. Anywhere in DC/NoVa is fine.

Thanks!

Erin: I'm with your brother. It's not Thanksgiving without the "I'll never eat again" line.

For a fabulous buffet, see if Blue Duck Tavern has any availability. That is gourmet and all-you-can-eat of various starters and sides.

Otherwise, the Willard has a lavish spread and most other hotels will have plenty of offerings out. Choose one that's near or dear to you and call to see about availability.

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D.C. to BWI: Okay, maybe the wrong chat, but you guys seem to know everything sooo...

If I were to take a flight out of BWI but live in Virginia, what is the best way to get to BWI without busting my wallet on a taxi? I would probably leave from D.C. if that makes a difference.

Julia: Metro out to Greenbelt (Green Line) and then take the B30 bus to BWI. It's $3. You've got to be really careful about times though, so make sure to plug your exact itinerary into wmata.com's Trip Planner.

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Foggy Bottom (and today it is living up to its name): I am new to the area and looking for a good place to watch Euro 2008 this Saturday. There are a ton of good games that I want to watch. Which of the soccer bars are the best? I have heard Summers, but was wondering if Lucky Bar or Harp and Fiddle have much atmosphere?

Fritz: For international matches, I'd rank the atmosphere thusly:

1. Lucky

2. Summers

3. 90 Min Cafe

Fado, Kitty O'Shea's and the Harp and Fiddle have better atmosphere when England, Ireland or English club sides are playing, in my experience.

I'm a bad person who still hasn't made it out to Babylon Futbol Cafe in Falls Church, but I hear good things from folks who would know.

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Washington, D.C.: Has A-Rod completed his crawling back to the Yanks and resigned yet?

Erin: Easy there.
You're talking to a Dodgers fan. Plus, Tommy Lasorda and Bill Plaschke are in town, so I could have a posse backing me up and ready to rumble in minutes.

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Admas Morgan, D.C.: Ok, guys you seem to know it all this is the first year that I am not going home for thanksgiving and I am cooking and having people over. I though have a small problem in my house we usually have capon; however, the local grocery stores around me don't seem to have any. So my question to you is do you know anywhere I can get a nice capon? Thanks in advance.

Erin: Have a car? You'll find capons at the Organic Butcher in McLean. I love that place. It's remarkable that a few independent butchers are still around selling top quality meat.

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Washington, D.C.: Oh Gurus, I've been in DC less than a year, and now THE GAME is this weekend and I have no idea where to go to watch it. And by THE GAME, I mean the Harvard-Yale football game. Willing to travel anywhere in the metro area for a viewing, especially if it's a Yale friendly place. Thanks!

Fritz: Harvard-Yale is THE game? What is this, 1924?

Anyway, you can party it up with your friendly neighborhood Yalies at Sign of the Whale on Saturday, beginning at 11.

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Bethesda, Md: Dear Gurus: I would like to send a PSA about a charity event on 11/30 in hopes that you may include it in the nightlife agenda. I do not want to engage in the many shameless plugs I see sent to the weekly chats. Is there an email address I can send my info to?

Thanks a bunch!

Fritz: nightlife [at] washingtonpost [dot] com puts your event in front of my eyes. Rhome's and David's, too.

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Alexandria, Va.: Hi GOGs, really enjoy your work. It is my anniversary this weekend and am looking for a romantic restaurant in Alexandria to take my wife. she loves pasta and shellfish. I'm open to your suggestions, thanks.

Erin: Happy anniversary.

I love the food at Vermilion. There isn't much shellfish, but there is a good gnocchi. Nearby, Farrah Olivia is quite nice, too. Maybe not anniversary-worthy, but for a nice surprise sometime take her to the new Hank's in OT. You can get your fingers all messy with a lobster roll and have the mac n' cheesy as your pasta.

Restaurant Eve's bistro is always my favorite spot for romance if you can get a table.

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Washington, D.C.: Gurus, I am the one who submitted the question about taking the couple who just got engaged to dinner. I was able to get a reservation at Hook but where do we go for drinks? Also Rasika may be able to accomodate us but i also need a place for drinks. Thank you so much for answering my question. You're a life saver!

Fritz: If you go to Rasika, you don't go anywhere else for drinks. You go over to Gina, my favorite cocktail genius, and ask her what's new and good, or you pick something -- anything -- off the menu and you love it. Seriously. That's how it works.

If you go to Hook, you go to Mie N Yu's bar afterwards. Depending on the time of your reservation, maybe Blue Gin.

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Wheaton, Md.: Why are you such a stupid computer???

Jen: Wait, are you talking to Mac, or P.C.? I just want to know if I should share your anger with that guy from "The Daily Show" or Justin Long, aka Warren P. Cheswick.

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Washington, D.C.: Hey Gurus! My mom's coming all the way from Seattle to visit me this weekend, and I desperately need something for us to do in the District, on Saturday night, after dinner. I'm under 21, she's over 50, can you recommend something or some place we'll both enjoy?

Rhome: How about some theater? The pro's being that it's a fun and memorable experience to share with a guest who's in town and you don't have to worry about being carded. The con's are that it could be kinda spendy (is Mom treating?). The Taming of the Shrew is popular now.

Or how about some cabaret tunes? Or a pre-dinner cultural experience at the Millennium Stage?

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Speaking of real football...: Where can I go in DC to watch Liverpool FC and Stevie Gerrard in all of his brilliance with fellow fans?

Fritz: Try Kitty O'Shea's in Arlington. The best part is that no one nicks your hubcaps while you're watching the match.

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Alexandria, Va.: I asked this on Tom's chat, but he didn't answer, so please help. I'm a young-20-something lady who wants to celebrate her independence by giving myself the gift of a great dining experience in Old Town. I want this experience to be of good cost and value, a good (elegant) atmosphere, and have unique food, yet be easy to get into (no reservations required). Should I pick Vermillion, La Tosca, Majestic Cafe or Overwood? Thanks.

Erin: That's a fun idea. I hope that my question for the last fella offered some ideas for you. Vermilion and Majestic both have nice bars with great food. If you like cocktails, you can't go wrong at Majestic, but if you're more interested in wine, I'd choose Vermilion. They're both fun, but Vermilion may be a livelier scene.

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Arlington, Va.: hi gurus! couldn't find an equivalent of you in an nyc paper for my question..we're taking one of the "chinatown" buses from dc that drops us off at west 34th and 8th ave around 9pm. we have to make our way over to grand central to get a train to the 'burbs. any good places (reasonably priced)to grab a quick bite to eat in-between since the terminal food court closes at 9? thanks!

Erin: So long as you're doing the "Chinatown" thing, stay inner-continental with Koreatown along 32nd. Things are open late and should fill you with plenty of spicy flavor before Thanksgiving. Seoul Garden is good, but you can poke around to find something that looks popular or quick depending on your time.

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D.C. Dance Club: Please HELP!

we are two young, international girls in the area-looking to have a good time dancing. Already did Ultrabar, Citron at Dupont(meat market) and Avenue(did not like). What other places would you recommend that is not a meat market? We liked ultra bar but were thinking of something new-what about ibiza? and 1223? any single place that great single guys hang out at?

Fritz: If you like Ultrabar, you'll love Ibiza. Probably my favorite large dance club in D.C. after Love. For smaller places, I think Eyebar is a lot better than MCCXXIII, which comes off as very meat-markety to me (and many girls I know). You could also try Lotus and Lima for lounges with dancing.

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Arlington, VA: Hi Gurus! My friends and I are hosting a holiday party at R.F.D. in December and are in search of a good DJ for the evening. Do you have any good recommendations for someone who will cater to a crowd of people who are in their late 20s-early 30s? Thanks!

Rhome: What kind of music? Where do you usually hang out? Have you asked the DJs there?

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New to D.C.: What's the general "feel" about art galleries these days? The recent Jessica Dawson article about Bethesda art galleries implies that galleries are "dying" - is that the case in DC? Any new galleries in the District that GoGs recommend?

Julia: The are-brick-and-mortar-galleries-dying? question is probably a better question for an economist than someone like me, so I'm dodging it.

As an art-lover/gallery visitor who could never even dream of affording most of the art I see each week, I think there's a lot to love about our local galleries. If you go on an opening night, there's a great buzz in the air and some pretty interesting work to see. If you go during the day on, say, a Wednesday, you still get the art, but the "scene" is rather quiet. Like, you'll probably be the only visitor. Even still, I remember the first time I stood about four inches away from an Ellsworth Kelly in a tiny Dupont gallery. It was really, really cool. There's also a lot of art on the local scene that doesn't spin my wheels. I guess that would be true anywhere, though.

Right now, I'm really digging Randal Scott. The Lori Nix exhibit is worth seeing before it closes on Dec. 8. The other galleries in the Logan area are cool as well, I just wouldn't characterize them as "new."

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Poor, D.C.: Gurus- I want to thank a friend for helping me move last weekend, so I'd like to take her out to dinner. The thing is, I'm now broke as a result of the move, so it really can't be too expensive. She's sort-of picky (only beef and chicken), but I feel like there has to be something new and exciting we could try. Any thoughts for a fun, cheap, Saturday night thank-you dinner?

Erin: Depending on where you want to go, I have a few newish ideas. Moroni and Brothers is a new pizza place in Petworth or you could go for Logan @ the Heights in Columbia Heights. Neither will blow your mind, but they're basic enough to satisfy the picky types. If, for some reason, the weather improves, there's a cute little patio behind Inti near Adams Morgan. It's Peruvian food, but they do a delicious rotisserie chicken that would please her.


If it's not too outrageous, you could go to Oyamel and do tacos or take her to Matchbox.

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20010: Fritz,

90 Min Cafe is closed.

So Lucky Bar is really the best be for anyone in town, although I've heard Babylon is great.

And for the futbol lovers on the chat, there are a bunch of activities in town surrounding the MLS Cup. Sadly, DC United will not be playing, but there is a lot going on, including the game (12 noon at RFK - Houston Dynamo v. New England Revolution)

Check out www.screaming-eagles.com for more details.

Fritz: Okay, I didn't know about 90 Min. That's a shame.

And yes, go check out the Eagles site for a whole bunch of MLS Cup-related events, even though United's not in the final. (On the other hand, at least that cheating #@*(^$#@Q*(& Blanco isn't either.)

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re: D.C. to BWI: Another option: depending on the day of week (M-F) you can metro to Union Station and take the MARC train to BWI ($7) or Amtrak (anyday - but $18 I think)

Julia: Thanks!

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re: Bday dinner for the newlyweds: What about Komi!

Erin: Having had dinner at Komi just last week, I can attest to the incredible experience. What I like there about dinner for two is how three out of five entrees are meant to be shared. So romantic!

Unfortunately, a cover spot in Food and Wine for the chef, a RAMMY award and tons of national coverage mean that this tiny tiny gem is probably an impossibility for such a near date.
If you are already planning for next year, keep this in mind.

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Northwest, D.C.: Euro 08 Qualifiers -

Do you know if they'll be charging to watch the games this time around? I know it's a Setanta thing and not the fault of the bars themselves, but I have a beef with paying $20 to watch the match on TV.

Can't wait to see Scotland qualify...just sorry I can't be at Hampden.

"...and sent them homewards, tae think again..."

Fritz: Cover for England's friendly, no cover to watch "the greatest fitba team" this time around. I'm honestly feeling sorry for France, because I have a feeling the Scots are just going to pinch it.

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Capitol Hill: I'm looking for a new suit and would like something more unique than the standard Brooks Brothers, Nordstrom, etc but still conservative. With all the DC-fashion bashing, any suggestions from the gurus?

Fritz: Check out the suits at the District Line. They have some really nice Ted Baker and Ben Sherman pieces that are more interesting than your Brooks Brothers or J. Press. Just stay away from the flashy tonic Merc suits and you'll be fine.

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Chinatown, D.C.: Does anyone know where the server William from Childe Harold has ended up? My friends from college, who would always visit William when they are visiting DC from out of town, are worried about him.

Erin: Who can assuage the concerns of William's buddies?

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The W: Hi, Gorgeous Unique Rambunctious Obscene Unstoppable GURUS!!

My friend is coming to D.C. to visit me this weekend. She has been here before, and even lived here for a few months --BUT-- now she's trying to decide whether to move to Washington or to NYC. How can I prove to her that the W could beat the NY in an arm wrestle, aside from kidnapping Fenty and Bloomberg for a match-up? We gotta bring out the big guns for this one, guys. (FYI - We're in our early/mid 20s).

Thanks muchisimo.

Rhome: It's not even a fight. You're either a New York person or a DC person. They're both great in their own aspects but it boils down to the priorities of the individual. I like the fact that there's always good food, culture, interesting people, music and distinctive local flavor available in DC but also green space, more open sky and a smaller scale. New York is too crowded and dirty for me. Yes, I probably opened up the floor for partisan sniping AGAIN but we've been doing this for years now. I can't be phased.

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Adams Morgan, D.C.: I just looked over the theater listings for the holiday season and I'm sad to see that The Santaland Diaries will not be playing anywhere. Any insight if any of the theatres might pick it up?

-Cheers (with glass of eggnog)

Erin: It is being performed, but not until December. It's a pick-of-the-day in our Holiday Guide.

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Glover Park: My fiancee and I are planning a wedding in Arlington next June. We found a great location but because it's in a residential area we have to be out by 10:00pm. We are trying to think of a destination for the "after party" that could accomodate a large group -- we'd ideally like somewhere in DC that would impress out-of-towners.Our first thought was the outdoor patio at Poste, but I imagine it gets crowded on a Saturday night. Thoughts?

Fritz: Honestly, I'd call Poste. I've seen parts of the patio (the terrace, or about half of the lower level) reserved for private events in the past. Option #2 -- if you've got cash to splash -- would be the roof deck at Charlie Palmer. With the Hotel Washington closing for renovations, that's the prime rooftop with a view.

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Washington, D.C.: What is the best small plates place in town? I like Zaytinya. What about Cafe Atlantico? I don't like fish.

Erin: I don't really think of Atlantico as doing small plates. Oyamel does them with Mexican food. Bar Pilar also does them, though I haven't been since they had a chef change.

You could do Dino or EatBar.

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RE: Wheaton, Md.: Why are you such a stupid computer???: Someone needs a hug today.

I think you should post this in Rob's computer chat at 2:00.

Jen: Good idea.

Now I'm wondering if that was a more philosophical question, perhaps a suggestion that the Gurus, collectively, are a stupid computer?

It's a lot to ponder.

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McLean, Va.: Hi GOGs!!

I have a new mom in the family. What would be a great spa to send her to as a congratulations on a beautiful new daughter?? Cost is not a big concern, just really want her pampered.

Thanks!

Julia: In your neck of the woods, I'd go to Ritz Carlton, Tysons. I got a great bamboo-lemongrass pedicure there last year for an article -- thank you, post.com! -- and it was lovely, even though I sensed a whiff of reverse ageism by some of the front-desk staff. Anyway, they have a great waiting room where you can just relax. It's very pleasant. Congrats to the new mom!

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So many wine bars, so little time...: It seems like there are new wine bars opening all over the city. Had dinner/wine/cheese at Proof the other night and it was great! Do the others compare? Do you go to certain ones for certain occasions? Just looking for some advice. Also, if you don't know much about wine, how should you decide which ones to go for?

Erin: They're all quite different. I would categorize Proof as a restaurant that happens to prioritize wine as a focus. Veritas and Vinoteca are more wine bars because wine is the focus. Veritas has no food license.

If you're looking for other restaurants with great wine, try the Source, Komi or Central.

At most of these places (and Proof in particular), there is a stellar sommelier on hand to assist with selecting a suitable bottle.

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Washington, D.C.: Submitting way early b/c I always seem to miss the cut off. First off, my friends say I can give Fritz a run for his money on his beer/bar knowledge. On that note, I'm a little stuck. I have a friend from NYC visiting this weekend - she is very NYC/lounge type, while I am more t-shirt & jeans/bar type (both late 20s ladies). The place that could fit both of us seems elusive to me. ESL is out. I generally like Science bar, but can get very college crowd on the weekends. Any suggestions (DC) for a Friday night?

Fritz: Washington, I accept the challenge.

I'm a jeans and sneakers guy -- either some variation on that or a tuxedo is all I've been wearing the last few weekends -- but that shouldn't stop you from going to some really cool lounges.

I've never gotten the college vibe from Science Club -- usually more of that at Rumors -- but my first choice right now would be to send you to Marvin. Your NYC friend might be impressed because it's new, it's fairly underground and it's owned by Eric Hilton of Thievery Corporation. I just love the soul food, Belgian beers and amazing soul, funk and R&B tunes. Huge patio, too.

I don't think you'd feel out of place at Metropolitain, either. It's chic, it's got a menu of champagne cocktails (and "champagne" in cans, no less) and cool dance music. No dress code, no worries. Then there's Proof, for a few glasses of wine in a low-lit lounge, or if you really want to kick back, Red Derby. What could be better than a beer and a shot for $5?

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Washington, D.C.: Am having drinks with a lady friend tonight in DuPont area. Afterwards, if things go well, may suggest dinner. Recommendations for someplace nice but not too nice that would be reasonably quiet, comfortable, and not so stuffy that it becomes awkward?

Erin: How about Mandu for Korean food on 18th at S street? Pizzeria Paradiso or Pesce on P would also be nice, unstuffy places.

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Beggy McBeggerson: Only 15 minutes left! My suit pants are at stake! Any hope for my question? Thanks for enduring the annoying plea.

Jen: How can we not respond to someone named Beggy McBeggerson?

In your previous question, you asked about a tailor in MoCo. I think you mentioned Silver Spring; unfortunately, I don't know of a good place there and Miss Janet is out today.

But I've had good luck with the tailor in Old Georgetown Square in Bethesda (near Montgomery Mall) and this little place behind the huge apartment building at Rockville Pike and Montrose Road. I know that last one is vague; unfortunately I can't remember the name of the place, but if you're traveling on Montrose toward the Pike, and turn left into the parking lot behind the apartments, you'll see it on your right.

Hope that sorta kinds helps.

All best,

Helpy McTailorstein

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Washington, D.C.: I saw Erin's write-up about area productions of "A Christmas Carol" but no mention of "The Nutcracker". Any local performances you would recommend?

Erin: My write-up was part of a preview of this month in Theater. Rest assured that my look at December will be rife with dancing rats. If you're in the market for tickets now, go for the American Ballet Theatre at the Kennedy Center. If you're a nontraditional type, the Puppet Company's production should be pretty entertaining.

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Centreville, Va.: Gurus, please help me!!!

Sunday, I will have five hours to kill (between 1 and 6 p.m.) between two events that I'm announcing. The first is a hockey game at Kettler, the second is a basketball game at Smith Center. I don't want to drive home to Centreville just to turn around a couple hours later and drive back out. Is there anything off a Metro line or near GW that's worth taking a look at. A place to kill some time? Is the Newseum still over in Rosslyn???

I will be happy taking in anything that doesn't cost too much.

Rhome: I've enjoyed wandering around the Corcoran and the Portrait Gallery when I'm downtown with no concrete plans. The Newseum moved to DC on Pennsylvania Ave.

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Need Fritz's advice!: This isn't a going out question, but I need Fritz's advice on local microbreweries.

I decided to get my very-hard-to-shop-for brother-in-law local beer for Christmas - he lives in PA and I want to get him a beer that he absolutely has no way to get in PA. I'm told by his wife that he likes "mild" beer. (Not 100% sure what that means.)

Question 1: Which local microbrew should I get? (Brewery and specific beer)

Question 2: Should I get a growler? (I'd pick it up on the 24th and give it to him on the 25th.)

Thank you thank you thank you so much!

Fritz: "Mild" beer? Something that's not outrageously hoppy? Old Rag, a Scottish-style ale from the Shenandoah Brewing Company in Alexandria. I love it. Dark, rich, malty and almost TOO tasty.


If you're going with a growler, I have to say that I was in Bethesda for happy hour last Friday and had forgotten how good the Raccoon Red at Rock Bottom Brewing Company is. It's an amber-colored ESB, very drinker-friendly.

If you're out near Leesburg, go to Vintage 50 and taste a couple of their beers, then grab a growler to go. That's what I do. They have a cheap sampler ($6 or $7) that gives you whatever's on draft.

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Dupont Circle, Washington, DC: Any thoughts on pre-Thanksgiving (wednesday night) places to go out?

Rhome: Yeah. A few.

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Petworth: Am I in time? I'm late.

Rhome, the person you said should go to theater this weekend - send them to ticketplace, and it could be a bit less spendy.

http://www.cultural-alliance.org/tickets/today.html

Rhome: Kudos to Petworth, an honorary Guru if there ever was one.

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it does...: ...help! Thanks! - Beggy

Jen: I helped Beggy! Glad to hear it. Good luck with that suit.

Goal for next week: Provide assistance to Panicky McPleaderson.

(I love name jokes. Can you tell?)

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MoCo tailors : B Tailor Shop 1307-D Rockville Pike. In the strip mall where the Entenmann's and Ledo Pizza are. They do a good job.

Jen: More for Beggy ... thanks.

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live xmas tree: I think the poster meant a tree that you can use during the season and then re-plant afterwards. Not one that is cut...cutting kills the tree.

Julia: Ah, good point. Being an annual tree-killer, I'm not too familiar with this practice. I just called Merrified Garden Center and they sell re-planatble trees.

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Dodgers fan?: Erin, I love you. My dad, who grew up in Brooklyn, forgave them for leaving and taught me how to bleed Dodger blue. It's a shame we only get them for 3 games a year.

Erin: I hope you're feeling love right back.

My grandparents were Brooklyn Dodger fans.

Now I have a postcard of Dodger Stadium tacked up by my computer.

Their stand here is always a few days after my birthday, so it makes buying a present for me pretty easy.

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RE: What's the general "feel" about art galleries these days?: And you guys are usually so good at seeing through the planted questions.

Julia: I know, I almost resisted....but hey, sometimes the art girl likes talking about art.

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washington, DC: Fazed Rhome, no? Not phased.

Rhome: We work without a net in this chat! The treachery of homophones!

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Let's agree to disagree, Fritz: I've checked out Marvins and it's OK, just OK for another neighborhood-type spot that sports Belgian beers. I was disappointed with the Belgian lineup, which was predictable and not that broad; I was surprised or I went with too high expectations. When I think of Brasserie Beck, for example, I can sit at the bar and look forward to trying new Belgians.

I'm also a little tired of every place doing Mussels. Can we move on to another food trend?

I admit that the rooftop is great, except that your looking down into back alleys.

I appreciate that no-guard at the door and the casual dress code, which is warm and inviting.

I'm not sure of the scene - do you think it will remain the same or will it be better defined once the newneww or novelty wears off?

Fritz: Marvin's not about the beer on draft, which they've only had for ... two weeks, at the most. It's the very predictable InBev selection (Hoegaarden/Stella/Leffe) which is sold to bars as a package. That's why Bistrot du Coin and Soussi have the same exact lineup, and why Belga used to. I, too, have gotten spoiled by the selections at Beck, Granville Moore, Birreria, Rustico, etc., but Marvin is not -- and has not positioned itself as a beer bar, even though they have 30 Belgians in bottles. That's just something in keeping with the menu downstairs, and the tribute to Marvin Gaye, who lived in Belgium.

When I was writing my reviews of the place, I honestly wasn't thinking much about the beers. Worth mentioning? Yes. But I was more focused on the cool lounge, the fantastic music from DJs like Yellow Fever and Neville Chamberlain (and Eric Hilton himself), the huge outdoor deck, the no-pressure door policies, the outstanding shrimp and grits. Marvin is a great neighborhood lounge, and I hope they can keep it up once the crowds descend -- which they will, especially on weekends, and especially next summer, when that deck might be THE hotspot.

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you guys rock.: thanks for the butterfield9 suggestion a couple weeks ago! i took the boyfriend last night, he got the game tasting menu and loved it! don't know what i'd do without you all!

Erin: Oh, I'm so glad. I love when ideal something comes along at the perfect time. Kismet.

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Arlington, Va.: I want to do something outside this weekend before it gets too cold. I was thinking Mt. Vernon. Any thoughts or ideas for other outdoor activities this weekend?

Julia: You are a brave soul, my friend. It's already too cold for me to be thinking outside.

Mount Vernon's a good spot -- there's a priceless view behind the house overlooking the river. I'd also add skating at the National Gallery, a trip to Great Falls or a hike along the C and O canal to your list.

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Anonymous: "Erin: Oh, I'm so glad. I love when ideal something comes along at the perfect time. Kismet. "

Gesundheit!

Erin: No joke: That was the last name of a girl in my high school class.

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Arlington, VA: I see that PX takes reservations. Any idea how far in advance you need to get them? And are they enforcing the "jacket" dress code for men - I seem to remember people saying that they hadn't been. I'm excited about going but don't own a jacket...

Rhome: You might want to holler at Filene's or something. You can come up on a decent jacket without much loot.

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McLean/DC: Hi Gurus!! Hope you can help a girl out...

I am planning on celebrating my birthday at the end of the month with two of my best friends with birthday close to mine. We're all turning 23 and would love to get a crowd (25-40 people) together to celebrate! Where is a good place to go in either the Georgetown or Arlington area for a gruop that large?...and not too expensive since we all just graduated college! Any places we could rent out and have our guests pay $25/30 for an open bar? Really, I'll take any suggestion!

Oh and I'd say we're the type of people who love to dance, socialize, and we're on the preppier side of life.

You all are the best! THANKS!

Fritz: Hi McLean. I think that $25/$30 for an open bar is pretty low, but here are some options.

In Georgetown, your best bet is Garrett's, which will give you -- yes, give you -- the upstairs with a small charge for a bartender. No room rental fee. You then get to work out the plan with the management, figuring out whether you can afford open bar for a few hours, etc.

In Arlington, I'd check out the upstairs at Gua-Rapo, Continental (pool, darts, etc.) or maybe even the Sand Bar at Whitlow's.

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washingtonpost.com: We've run out of time once again. Thanks, as always, for your questions. Enjoy your Thanksgivings and we'll talk to you again when the holiday season is officially in full swing. Can't wait. It's not even Thanksgiving, and I'm already sick of hearing Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime" ... but I digress. See you next time.

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