Got Plans?: Record Store Day, Filmfest DC, Unusual Foods and Presidential Trivia

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The Going Out Gurus
of the washingtonpost.com Going Out Guide
Thursday, April 16, 2009; 1:00 PM

On Thursday, April 16, the Going Out Guide staff discussed Record Store Day, Filmfest DC, unusual foods at area restaurants and a completely absurd amount of presidential trivia.

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washingtonpost.com: True funny story: Apparently David and Fritz had the same party tricks as young children: They could both name all the presidents in order, tell you who the 12th or 32nd or 25 president was (even with the Grover Cleveland exemption), that sort of thing. So when Ford's Theater gave us a pair of tickets to an April 26 performance of "The Civil War" to give away, there could be only one contest: Give us your favorite piece of presidential trivia. The best (non-libelous) answer wins, and we might even give you some bonus swag if you can guess who Fritz's favorite president is, and why.

Alright, let's get to the questions -- there's a full set of Gurus here to help solve all your going-out-in-D.C. dilemmas.

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Alexandria, Va.: I like watching the show Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman and I would like to know if there is anywhere in D.C. where I could try some unusual food. Please keep in mind I'm Peruvian and have eaten probably every animal you can fish out of the ocean, so please don't hold back.

Julia: Bizarre is really in the mind of the beholder, Alexandria. Depends on what you're into. For example, I just introduced a newbie to pho (when I was working on this piece about Pho 14) and his response was, "I don't know what I'm eating, but I like it!," which was probably good since I had ordered the big bowl of pho with tripe and tendon and everything else in it. (It was delish, btw).

I don't know. I can't really think of anything super out of the ordinary that I've had around here. I mean, blue crabs are great for those who haven't had them before, but as a local, they seem pretty "usual" to me!

Chatters, care to chime in? What's the most unusual thing you've seen on a menu lately?

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Fritz, please help me to help others.: Hi Fritz,

I'm helping to organize a happy hour on the Hill (or very near to the Hill) for a group of graduate students who are coming to Washington, D.C. They will be close to I street and S. Capitol St SW but I'd love to have your top 3 picks or suggestions for a good happy hour (good beer list, other drinks available too a plus, good happy hour prices and good snacks would be a bonus!) place on the Hill for a Monday evening, probably scheduled to begin at 6PM. There will be about 20-30 people but we aren't looking for a private room.

Thanks

Fritz: Oh man. There's very little down that way. If the weather's nice, I'd go for Cantina Marina on the Washington Channel -- nothing like sipping a cold beer (especially a michelada) or margarita on the waterfront.

If you can branch out, I'd say head for Eastern Market and the upstairs bar at the newly opened Molly Malone's, which has a communal table, TVs and gorgeous woodwork. It's only a buck off all drinks at happy hour, but the food and the atmosphere make up for it. The rooftop deck at Jordan's 8 could also be fun, and the drink specials are okay. Also, in terms of cheap food/drinks, I've been digging Capitol Lounge again -- and Monday night means half-price pizza.

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Columbia, Md.: Knowing Fritz, it's got to be Taft and his bathtub.

Fritz: "Knowing me?" If you knew me, you'd know you were wrong. Still, being the first president (and supreme court justice) to get stuck in the White House bathtub is kind of funny.

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Washington, D.C.: I'm switching jobs (yay!) and to ease the transition have given myself a four-day weekend between the two next weekend. I was hoping to find something fun and tourist-in-my-own-town-ish to do Thursday or Friday during the day next week. I can't reallly remember the last time I took a weekday to tool around DC. I hit the portrait gallery last weekend w/ a friend in from out of town, and would prefer to keep things to the free museums since the new, more stable, and better job also comes with a pay cut. I love museums, so any good exhibits that might be less crowded on a week day would be a welcome suggestion!

Thanks!

Stephanie: Congrats on the new job! When I have an afternoon off, I generally like to hit up the National Gallery because it's one of my favorite spots in D.C., but also so popular with the tourists. If you go, check out the Robert Frank exhibition, which is only around for another 10 days, and the Dutch cityscape paintings. If you haven't been to the renovated American History Museum, I'd do that and see the Scurlock exhibition while you're there. Then head to the Hirshhorn to see the crazy/cool-looking new Black Box show.

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Washington, D.C.: I was at the Current event last night. Where are the pictures posted online?? Thanks!

Anne: Hey, thanks for coming! That was awesome to be out on the back deck, huh? Check the blog for some pictures from our monthly Going Out Guide happy hour. And, for anyone who's all ready for the next one, we'll be at Caddie's in Bethesda on May 14.

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Chinatown: I think I may be looking for the impossible. I have some family coming to town and they want to go out to eat but they have with ridiculous restrictions.

$$- the two dollar sign range is all I can afford to treat at.

Family friendly - 2 kids - one is 2 yo and the other is 7 months, so they won't be eating but don't want to bother other people (My plan is to have everyone eat around 6 as to not annoy non-kid-friendly eaters but time management is not a strength.

Picky Eaters - not big into trying new things, won't eat spicy food

Cannot be Clyde's - I think we go there every time they are in town and I'm tired of it.

Must be in D.C.

Any Ideas?

Julia: What about Matchbox? Could that work for your group? Ella's is another (slightly cheaper, as I recall) option. I feel like pizza is an easy kid+picky eater solution.

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International Film Festival!: I'm thinking about going to see a film or two at the international film festival. Have you heard whether any are particularly note worthy? Do you think its necessary to buy tickets ahead of time? Thanks!

Jen: I don't know whether you need to buy tickets ahead or not; I guess that depends largely on what you plan to see and how high-profile it is. I tend to be a dork about such things and buy in advance if I am really, really eager to see a particular film. So that's my best advice there.

As far as what to see, I wrote a blog post on this very subject yesterday, linking to some picks already made by Post critics and adding a trio of my own. The ones I noted were "Fermat's Room," "The Necessities of Life" and "The Tour," if that helps.

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Tenleytown, D.C.: Hey, gurus, in celebration of the return of the sun this weekend I'm hoping to visit the Arboretum. I've never been, but I know you rave about it as a great outdoor space in the city. Do you know if (leashed) dogs are allowed???

Stephanie: You're in luck. Dogs on leashes are allowed at the Arboretum, but they aren't allowed inside any of the buildings, so you'll have to skip the Bonsai Museum.

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Washington, D.C.: I can't seem to find much detail about the Green Apple Festival on Sunday. When does it end? I think I can arrive at 4 pm.

David: There aren't many details to be found. I mean, they announced the lineup less than a week before the show, this is a slow-moving event. I'm still waiting on official word and will post some updates to the blog if anything comes through but one interesting tidbit I found was that there will be a live Internet stream of the concert from 1 to 6 p.m. That tells me that they will probably attempt to have all the music between those hours, with Flaming Lips last. Just some slightly-informed speculation on my part.

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Bizarre foods: How about grasshopper tacos at Oyamel?

Julia: An excellent suggestion.

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H Street Virgin: What are the best bets on H Street tonight? We are looking for something more than drinks! Fritz - Does Sticky Rice's Blingo REALLY start at 11 PM? What's up with that? Am I the only one who works on Fridays?

Fritz: 1. Drunken Jenga at the Rock and Roll Hotel (upstairs) is always a blast. Cheap beers ($2 PBR), shots, a room full of people playing Jenga -- always good for a laugh. Downstairs, it's rocking locals Deleted Scenes, who David calls "one of the better/more interesting bands around town."

2. Blingo, which does indeed start around 11, is lots of fun, especially because it goes so fast. I won some Mighty Putty there once. Really awesome time. Also: Tecate and a bucket of tater tots is heaven.

Like most Sticky Rice events -- ie the 10:30pm-12:30am sushi happy hour -- it's not designed for people who have to work early in the morning. Then again, bars are open until 2 a.m., and it's no fair if early birds get to have all the fun.

3. There are DJs at the Palace of Wonders tonight, and that place is always an interesting scene -- and by scene I mean "cool swordswallowers and tattooed burlesque dancers hanging out at the bar."

4. Or you could just go play darts/foosball/board games at the Argonaut.

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re: chinatown's question: I always find Mexican restaurants like Lauriol Plaza to be great--very noisy, lots and lots of options, highchairs available. Places like Matchbox often have a line unless you go super early. Make sure to call ahead.

Julia: Lauriol's pretty busy, too. I suppose I'd also add Lauriol's cousin Cactus Cantina, though. Full of families, super cheap.

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Arlington, Va.: Have any of you gurus been to the new Velocity Five in Courthouse? Is it worth checking out (both in terms of ambiance and deals) for happy hour tomorrow?

Fritz: I checked it out last month when it first opened. Like its predecessors in that space (Juke Box and King St. Blues), it suffers from a weirdly split-level layout that means the bar is small and the restaurant area is big. But there's a covered patio, which could be nice tomorrow night, and the wings are great. Don't go solo, but if you've got friends, it's fine to stop by.

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Gala Theatre: I am planning on going to GALA theatre this Sat night. Can you please suggest places to drink, eat and party/dance around that area? We will be driving so we don't mind visiting multiple places through the night.

Julia: Nori is literally rightthere and serves just-okay sushi and apps. Commonwealth is good for a sit-down dinner or beer flights at the bar. Want to dance? Go to Wonderland.

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Washington, D.C.: When are the Going Out Gurus going to join the twitterverse? What better way to share latest news about the trendiest events of the weekend then via twitter?

Fritz: Actually, we're on Twitter, and have been for a while. (See twitter.com/goingoutgurus). I was twittering on Monday before/during/after the Nationals game, giving updates on mid-day happy hours, where to catch rides from the ballpark to various Barracks Row bars, and talking about concession stands that (a) ran out of food/beer and (b) didn't sell any decent beers, despite promises to the contrary.

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Washington, D.C.: For the unusual food seeker, A. Bourdain ate raw beef in Falls church... Ethiopian, I believe...

Julia: I didn't see the Bourdain show, but you must be talking about kifto. The dish is available at most Ethiopian restaurants in the area, in case our Peruvian chatter wants to give it a whirl. I guess raw beef doesn't seem that unusual to me, given that so many cultures do it (steak tartare, etc.)

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Dupont Circle: The president who lost all the White House china gambling--on one hand of cards? Harding

Fritz: As someone who occasionally gets carried away in poker, I can see how this could happen. Great story, though. Wasn't it Benjamin Harrison's china or something like that?

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Arlington, Va.: Any tips on how area record stores are handling Record Store Day Saturday?

David: Benjy Ferree is doing a free in-store at Som, so that should be pretty cool. We'll have an interview with Benjy up on the blog tomorrow. Both Som and Crooked Beat should have most of the dozens of exclusive releases commissioned just for Record Store Day. If anyone wants to pick me up a copy of the Sonic Youth/Jay Reatard split-7" I'll like get you a free drink at the next happy hour or something. Anyway, just bounce around between Crooked Beat, Som, Red Onion, maybe even Smash, you'll find some of the good stuff.

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Presidential Fact: Did you know there are 5 US Presidents not buried in the United States?

Fritz: Yep. And only one buried in D.C.!

* Note: This is a trick question.

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re: Chinatown restaurant: Austin Grill is very kid friendly! Legal Seafoods has a children's menu as well. There's also McDonald's, Chipotle and Chop't if you want to go super cheap.

Julia: I'll second Austin Grill. I think I often overlook it because it's part of a larger local chain, but it does what it does very well.

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Arlington, Va.: You'll get a lot of dirty looks if you go to Matchbox with a 2 year old who starts screaming.

Julia: On the receiving end of the dirty looks, I presume?

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Washington, DC: Hey Guru's - Have a friend in town Saturday night for dinner/drinks. We went to college here, graduated in '02 when she shipped out to AZ for grad school and work. Is moving (via Dulles) on Sunday to Dubai. Where should the small group (5 late twenties females) of us go to dinner then drinks? Hoping for the Chinatown/Metro Center area for ease of travel for everyone and want to be able to talk. More laid back place(s) than a scene, but that highlights what's changed since she left. There are so many options and all of us are open, so it's hard to choose. Thanks!

Fritz: PS7's and Proof probably have the highest ratio of good drinks/food to hearing yourself think, though I'm not sure if you could get reservations for the latter at this point. Also, another plug for the late night happy hour and snacks at Ceiba if you're meeting after 9.

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Bizarre food: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/05/AR2007070501976.html

Julia: Hey! We're supposed to link to the Post articles!

I kid, I kid. Thanks for the reminder. I totally forgot about this long-ago article from our boy Justin.

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D.C.: Hey Gurus. Have you or any of the chatters have done the tour at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing? Wondering how hard it is to get the free tickets and whether the tour is worth going on. Thanks!

Stephanie: I think the last time I went to the Bureau I was about 12. I remember really enjoying it, and it took a lot to impress a 12-year-old me, so I'd recommend going. According to the Bureau web site, tix usually disappear by 8:30 or so. Any chatters have experience with securing tickets and have recommendations for how early to show up?

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K St : I have tickets to next week's Kings of Leon concert. Do you know if there is going to be an opener and when Kings of Leon will actually go on? Also, is there any way to get to the Patriot Center using public transportation?

David: The opening act is the Walkmen. They are very good and you should check them out. They should go on at 8 with Kings of Leon probably around 9, maybe 9:15. Public transportation is possible, but a hassle. It involves taking the Metro to Vienna and then some combination of bus + walking + cab. I highly recommend hitching a ride with someone.

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Washington, D.C.: I love watching Profession Australian Football (Aussie Rules) and the official season has started. Are there any gathering places in the area where folks watch the game?

Fritz: Have to admit I'm drawing a blank on this. I know I've seen it occasionally on Setanta Sports, but ... anyone?

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Velocity Five: "Don't go solo, but if you've got friends, it's fine to stop by." Hmm, can you amplify what you mean?

Fritz: Good specials, not much of a scene. I've been for happy hour and been one of like five people in the bar. Might be different tomorrow, especially on the patio, but don't expect it to be, say, Ragtime or the Four Courts.

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Washington, DC: Hi GOGs,

Do you know of any parks in the DC/VA/MD metro area that allow visitors to have alcohol? I'm planning a bbq and would like to serve drinks to my guests. Thanks.

Rhome: Maryland requires a permit. I believe it's not allowed at all in DC and VA.

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Arlington, VA: Hi Gurus, this is not a Going Out question but please help a sista out! I am getting married in June and I do not have dresses for my Flower Girls. I have searched at the bridal stores around here but they don't have many selections. Where can I go? Or is there a good online store that I could go to?

Julia: For what it's worth, the mothers of my flower girls bought the dresses here (that's a link to the actual dress, in fact!). Anyway, the site looks kind of sketchy -- as most sites with search-engine-friendly names do -- but the dresses arrived promptly and in the sizes we needed.

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Alexandria, Va.: Name the only President to get a speeding ticket.

Fritz: Ulysses S. Grant is a good answer for most weird presidential trivia guesses. Andy Jackson, too. But this one is Grant.

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Washington, D.C.: We have guests coming into town who have been here several times. I'm running out of unique ideas of things to do--and they are ones who really like to get out and explore. We also have a toddler, which adds to the mix of getting around. Help!

Anne: One event I love this weekend is the Bum Rush the Boards Hip-Hop Chess Tournament. Your toddler may not quite yet be the right age for say, a shoe-design or video-mixing workshop (or the chess tourney) but I bet a little one would dig watching the b-boys and girls show off their moves. All the workshops are easy, drop-in style, so you or your pals could try out a dance or crafts workshop. The end of the afternoon has a show outside. Other options, if you say they're game for traveling further and doing something more offbeat: a bring-your-own-picnic croquet match in Annapolis (this is the Alice-in-Wonderland-themed weekend) or to cater to the kid more, Rocknoceros CD release shows (Saturday at 11, 2 and 7) at Jammin' Java.

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Favorite President: I don't know who Fritz's favorite president is, but I know who it should be - William Henry Harrison. With so little time in office, he didn't have the chance to mess anything up!

Fritz: True. But I mean, Garfield didn't have THAT much longer. (One month v. four? Not really a lot of time.)

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re: chinatown: With the only location restriction being "must be in D.C" I am surprised (yet pleased) that 2 Amys wasn't suggested, since it seems to always be filled with kids. For something a bit closer to the Cleveland Park metro, there's also Sorriso that has more kid-friendly seating upstairs.

Julia: It's been ages since I've been to Sorriso, but it does have a lovely upstairs.

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Arlington: Help me, oh wise gurus...A guy I'm pretty interested in is coming from out of town and I'm in charge of picking out a bar in the District (and metro accessible) to meet him at. The problem is that I rarely go out iin DC. I'm looking for something like Liberty Tavern (maybe slightly less loud) or EatBar, which are two of my favorites. We're both late 30s. Thank you, thank you.

Fritz: What night of the week? Gonna make a big difference, crowd-wise.

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Recession: I heard that tables at Policy are "free" on Friday nights, but then a bouncer told me it was a bottle for every four people. Who's right?

Fritz: From talking to promoter Kevin Murray, who runs the events on Friday, he says there's no minimum purchase requirement when you RSVP through him. (Give him a call on 646-457-0553 for details and guest list and all that.) Policy is one bottle for every four people on Saturdays, according to the owner.

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Leonardtown, MD: GOG's My friends keep talking about the Tiki Bar opening on Solomons this weekend. I've only been here 3 months and don't see what the deal is. It looks like a small bar on a street around water. They say you have to see to believe. Have any of you heard of this or been? Thanks, New guy in town.

Fritz: It is a zoo. People come from miles and miles -- even from D.C. -- for the tiki bar opening. Many, many drinks are consumed. I've been exactly once, thankfully with a designated driver. I don't think I'd make an effort to get to the Tiki Bar in mid-July, but for the opening, why not?

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Arlington, Va.: My brother's coming into town this weekend, and we are both beer lovers. We are debating between Granville Moore's and Bierrara Paradiso since we'll only have time to go to one place. Bierrara has more taps, but Granville seems more fun. Just curious if you could weigh in on one versus the other.

Fritz: I don't think one is more "fun" than the other, really. Granville's has more space, and a cooler decor and atmosphere, but the beers are narrowly focused on Belgians. Birreria's brews come from all over the map, and it frequently has drafts that I see nowhere else. Only downside is that it's in Georgetown, so it's frequently slammed on weekends.

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"I believe that is called 'Al Fresco'": With the much anticipated nice weather coming our way tomorrow, any suggestions on places to eat/drink outdoors (aside from Tabaq's rooftop) before the Lily Allen show at the 9:30 club tomorrow night?

Julia: St. Ex is one of my faves in the sort-of-nearby area. And PS, that's totally my favorite Lily Allen song. So cheery and so bitter at the same time.

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Dessert question: I would normally ask this during the food chat but since I didn't have my assignment until after the chat, I'm hoping you guys can help me. The guy I'm dating is making me dinner this weekend (awesome!) and I am bringing dessert. He doesn't seem like he -loves chocolate but any recommendations on something that would be a good option? Cobblers? Pound cake? Brownies feel too simple (vanilla if you will) and pies are too complicated (I don't want to worry about the crust). I love to bake and would actually like to bake something since he's making me dinner. Suggestions? Male gurus, what would you want made for you if you were in this situation?

Julia: I am not one of the male gurus, but I love dessert so I'm hoping this makes me qualified to answer. Pound cakes are delicious (try to find the Moosewood Cookbook's recipe for blueberry poundcake if you can!), but I think a cobbler or crisp could be your best bet. Why? 1) Even frozen fruits taste great under a cobbler crust. 2) It's a lot simpler than a poundcake, but still looks insanely awesome.

Rhome: I'm pretty much about anything with fresh fruit in it and a crust, especially with spring finally being here and sweet things being in season. Throw some ice cream on that bad boy and we're good.

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Laurel, Md.: Q. Who was the only president photographed while wearing a Nazi uniform?

A. Ronald Reagan in the 1942 movie Desperate Journey

Fritz: Okay, I really like this one.

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Arlington, Va.: What outdoor festivals are occuring this weekend that are appropriate for a 3-year-old and within 25 minutes driving distance from Arlington?

Anne: You could go to the Reston festival at Lake Anne Village Center this weekend (noon-3 Saturday)-- there's supposed to be music and dancing. Is that in your range? Honestly, as fascinating as that place is, all that concrete doesn't scream outdoorsy to me. Loudoun's Arbor Day fest starts with costume-making and a parade, and you can walk out with a birdhouse craft project and a free tree. But that's probably outside your driving radius.... Honestly, I wouldn't want to spend so much time in a car on a day that's supposed to be so gorgeous. My vote would be to pick a nature center or park near you, and I bet you'd run into some Earth Day-related festivity. FWIW -- here are a handful of other kid-friendly festivals this weekend.

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Bloomingdale: William Taft tried to create a character similar to the teddy bear called "Bill Opossum." It didn't really take off, as people don't really like opossums.

Fritz: I don't believe this for a second, but it made me laugh out loud.

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Alexandria, Va.: I need to find a D.C. restaurant that has a separate room for private parties. I'd like someplace that's hip and fun, but also has an appropriate atmosphere for a professional crowd in their thirties. Ideally not incredibly expensive. Any ideas?

Julia: Can you be a bit more specific about the size of your party? There are literally dozens of restaurants that fit the bill -- here's a list -- but I could probably tailor my response if I knew what size you were looking for.

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Arlington, VA: Trivia:

Which president learned to write when they were 17? Answer: 17th president, Andrew Jackson

Fritz's favorite President: FDR Why? He was responsible for the repeal of prohibition

Fritz: Good one about Johnson -- only president with no formal education.

And no, my favorite president has nothing to do with Prohibition. (Very common guess for some reason. But like FDR, I also like my martinis wet with Plymouth gin.)

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Going into the City...: Hey Guru's! Heading into DC on Friday (around 6'ish) with a gal recently included in my life, so I'm looking for something fun/interesting, but still relaxing. Any thoughts? Art shows, fun play's, exhibit's? Her food taste's are pretty american, but it would be awesome to dine in a place with great food, cool atmosphere, yet still offer some romantic appeal. Your help would be SO welcomed!!!

Stephanie: You could check out the opening reception for the new exhibition of Lou Kaplan's work at Edison Gallery from 7-9 p.m. I think the nearby Zaytinya would be a perfect place to go for dinner afterward, but I don't know if she would be too picky for that. If you want to steer clear of Mediterranean, something like Ella's might be a safer bet.

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CBD (Booo): RE: Anthony Bourdain's trip to Falls Church for Ethiopian food (for the exotic food searcher), per TravelChannel.com: Abay Market 3811 S George Mason Drive, No. A, Falls Church, VA 22041

(try the spongey bread)

RE: GOGs not having caught the episode: you missed out. It's our town finally getting non-CSPAN shoutouts! Try and catch it, it was fun to watch.

Happy Thursday!

Julia: I heard he went to like Ben's and stuff. Not exactly ground-breaking. I don't mean to be such a hater though. I'll try to catch the episode some time for sure. I could watch Bourdain doing just about anything; he's really funny.

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DC United + strange foods: what time do the parking lot gates open for a friday night game?

Huong Que (4 sisters) has some entrees that are not the ususal, lots of stuff with pig blood.

Wierdist things the gurus have eaten?

Fritz: Still four hours before kickoff, so make Lot 8 your preferred happy hour destination.

Strangest thing I've eaten was a chocolate-covered/flash-fried cicada, which was served as a garnish -- I kid you not -- on a cocktail at Kramerbooks.

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Petworth: I'm late, but I'm here.

So Fritz, is it William Henry Harrison, for the way he died?

My personal favorite is Jefferson. Red hair, dilettante, brilliant author, what's not to love?

Sorry, no trivia though.

Fritz: What's not to love about Jefferson? Where to begin ...

But no, not WHH.

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The dessert person should make...: Doughnut Holes. You just make a bunch of little blobs of dough and then deep fry it. Cover them in whatever you want. Have you ever heard someone say "oh, no, I hate doughnut holes."

Julia: I mean, true. Everyone loves donut holes, but it's doesn't exactly seem like the best dessert to bring over when this guy she really likes is making her dinner. He: "Here's this gourmet dinner for you. I slaved over the stove for hours." She: "Here are some donut holes." Seems like sort of a buzzkill.

Of course, I'm probably way overthinking this. The one time I really tried to make a romantic dessert was an epic fail. Chocolate-dipped strawberries just aren't quite as sexy when your paramour is allergic to the fruit. I just kind of lamely ate them by myself.

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Bill Opossum is a bit off...: ...it was "Billy Possum" - seriously.

Fritz: Uh. Wow. It's true.

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Presidential trivia: Q: What president spoke with his wife in Mandarin Chinese when he wanted to have a private conversation in public?

A: Herbert Hoover

Fritz: Very good one. Very, very good one.

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Silver Spring: Hey guys, really enjoy the blog, first time asking. I just got a new camera and want to take some pictures in the city. I don't want to take pictures of the usual everyday monuments and museums, so I wanted to know what you would suggest as lesser known photo-ops. Thanks!

Julia: It may very well be considered one of the everyday monuments and museums, but I really like the Albert Einstein statue. So craggy and cool. My favorite place to take pictures is within the neighborhoods, though. D.C. rowhouses are unbelievably diverse and cool.

Stephanie: I vote for the Japanese American Memorial, which has this really amazing looking (and sounding) tubular bell, some symbolic crane sculptures and a water feature that would be interesting to photograph, I think.

Fritz: I absolutely love the World War I Memorial. No one ever goes there, which is sad.

Anne: I've always liked the Kahlil Gibran garden on Mass Ave. -- across from the British Embassy.

Rhome: The fountain, stairs, and overall stone work at Malcolm X Park.

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Washington, D.C.: I think my favorite piece of info about a president has to be President Johnson's slightly vulgar conversation with a tailor about how best to outfit him with some new pants: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zNMo8kl7Ac. It is not totally safe for workplace, but a very interesting glimpse into how the LBJ spoke.

Also, I was at the hh last week and trying in vain to find out if Fritz was as cute as I imagine him, but epically failed because I couldn't figure out who he was and didn't want to be a stalker and ask around.

Fritz: Ah, LBJ who presaged this whole ridiculous "lets have all our kids' name start with the same first letter!" trend that's so popular on reality tv, by having his daughters have the same initials as him, not to mention his wife Lady Bird Johnson.

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Alexandria, Va.: For Julia,

The size of the private party in D.C. About 75 people. Thanks!

Julia: Sweet, thanks! That helps. This is a pretty big private party! Clyde's in Gallery Place can definitely accommodate you, but not exactly hip. Acadiana's space might be a touch on the small side, but that's worth asking about. Check out Co Co. Sala too. As I recall, they were hoping to open their roofdeck for private gatherings and that would certainly be a hip place to go. Back when it opened, I went to an opening party at Art and Soul that felt pretty lively for a) a Southern-style restaurant, b) in a hotel. That might be worth looking into as well. Also, you might want to check out some of our many stories on rehearsal dinner spaces.

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Arlington, VA: Hi Gurus,

So I realize this is kind of a strange question, but it might be relevant to others, so I figured I'd ask. I went to high school in DC and my 10 year high school reunion is coming up this Saturday. Most of my friends moved away for school, military, families, etc and don't live in the area anymore. The reunion is over at 10pm, so we decided we want to go out afterwards. Any good ideas for a good place for 10 late twenty-somethings to grab drinks on a Saturday night? We haven't seen each other much since we have been old enough to legally drink, so I can't even give you any idea of what kind of bar scene they're into! I was hoping for somewhere on U street, but will take wherever would work!

Fritz: 10 p.m. on Saturday is just when most bars are gearing up, and with a group ... Solly's is one good option, if you can grab a table upstairs. Local 16 is a go-to, if you can all get in and get upstairs. Kind of something for everyone.

Nellie's has that huge rooftop deck, which could be great if Saturday's as nice as it's supposed to be. 1905 is kind of dimly lit and cool, and never super-crowded before midnight or so. (Plus they have Absinthe drinks.)

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Bizarre Food: Probably the most "local" Bizarre Food in these parts is the Ethiopian dish tere sega, basically raw beef chunks that you cut yourself from a huge slab of beef. You can get it on the downlow at some Ethiopian places in the district, but the most well-known is the Abay market in Skyline. It's basically a butcher shop with a few tables, and the owner Yonus loves to introduce non-Ethiopians to this dish. All his cattle is grass-fed so the meat is full of flavor. With a side of berbere for dipping, it's fantastic.

Julia: Nice! Thanks for the tip.

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Virginia: Can I take my kids (age 5, 8, 11) to a National game? How much would the tickets cost? Thanks

Anne: Sure. You could go to a game for as cheap as $5 a ticket. See what the stadium looks like (our neato guide with lots of pictures and picks for the best seats), and then see the pricing tier on the Nats site.

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Baking: You can spiff up browines by swirling a cream cheese batter into them and frosting with a chocolate icing.

Julia: Check you guys out! Who knew our little GOG club was so full of bakers? In all seriousness, I made Red Velvet cupcakes for Easter and have been eating spoonfuls of cream cheese frosting ever since.

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Rockville, MD: My favorite presidential trivia: Martin Van Buren, the eighth POTUS and known for little else, was the first president born in the United States. He was born a year after Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown. His seven predecessors were all born on what became U.S. soil.

Fritz: Always a good question. Stumps a lot of people.

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Downtown: Presidential trivia: On warm mornings, John Quincy Adams liked to sneak down to the Potomac to swim in the nude. After learning of this, a female reporter, Anne Royall, surprised him there and sat on his clothes until he gave her an interview, which he did, naked and submerged in the river. Royall was the first woman to interview a president.

Fritz: I do love this story -- and that Royall she was sentenced to dunking at the Navy Yard after pissing off the clergy -- but the story is most likely not true.

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The Hill: My boyfriend of almost four years is going to chop off his shoulder-and-below length hair. It has never been short for as long as we've dated and I'm really nervous. Can you guys rec a good-funky-fun stylist for my guy?

Julia: I adore my boy Patrick over at the U Street Bang. I have no idea if he specializes in long-dude hair, but since he's done wonders chopping my mane for years, I'm sure he can handle it. I'm sure your guy will look fabulous. It may take some getting used to though. My husband shaved his beard about a year ago and had to basically grow it back immediately because I just couldn't handle seeing him without it.

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D.C.: "I guess raw beef doesn't seem that unusual to me"

Yeah, but these are big slabs of chewy, raw beef. Not diced up, soft tar tar. Even Tony had a hard time with it - and he enjoys EVERY meat product.

Julia: Yet another reason for me to watch the episode!

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CUPCAKES: Google "nutella self-frosting cupcakes"

Julia: Will do!

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Arlington, VA: Hey Gurus,

I have my dad and step mother coming in from North Carolina for the weekend and was hoping you would have some ideas of free/cheap activities to do in either D.C. or NoVA?

We are all really into wine and I have planned a trip to Proof for Saturday (the one expensive outing) and a trip to Arrowines in Arlington for a free tasting when they get in.

They don't like crowds and, although they lived in Springfield for a few years in the '90s, haven't explored much of D.C. outside the monuments. I was thinking of taking them to one of the neighborhoods in the area that they have never been to; any advice you may have would be appreciated.

Thanks!

Julia: I think Eastern Market is pretty parent-friendly. I like walking around the U Street neighborhood just because it's such a neat mix of a lot of different elements of the city and the rowhouses are so cool looking, but Eastern Market provides more of an activity.

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Alexandria, VA: Which President invented a proof of the Pythagorean Theorem? It's not the one who has a patent.

Fritz: This is a VERY good one.

Dang, picking a winner is tough.

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Washington, D.C.: I am planning my sister's bachelorette party and am looking for a place to do Saturday brunch that won't break the bank. Any suggestions?

Julia: Creme on U Street is always good. Whitlow's on Wilson in Va. is super cheap though.

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Good stylist: Ana at trim. She got me through 2 years of growing out my hair to donate it. Chopped off 12 inches for me and gave me a great cut.

Julia: Good to know, thanks!

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Washington, D.C.: Hey gurus! I'm a dive bar sort of person -- love Solly's, the Raven, etc. I've started dating a guy who likes more upscale spots that aren't "crowded." I am trying to think of a great spot to take him in DC near the green line. My first instinct was Ulah. Any other spots you'd recommend? Thanks!

Fritz: Uleh, 1905, Common Wealth (step up from the usual neighborhood bar).

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Cleveland Park: If you were a girl in her mid-20s, fresh out of a four-year relationship, how would you spend your first weekend single? Where's a good spot to ease myself back into the dating scene again?

Fritz: Oh, man. I wish I had seen this earlier. Excellent question, deserves a considered response. Readers, if you've been there, or you have friends who've been there, and you want to offer some advice, shoot a response in or send us an email (fritz dot hahn at washingtonpost dot com) and we'll publish the best responses on the blog tomorrow.

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Long hair on my guy: I would so miss the sensuous feel of his long hair. Until we started dating I really didn't understand why men love long hair on women ... .

Just sayin'

Julia: Wow. I just feel the complete opposite way.

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Favorite Pres: Fritz's favorite president is James Knox Polk for reasons having nothing to do with the They Might Be Giants song.

Fritz: Okay, see, the only correct answer was from a friend of mine. Shows how mysterious I truly am. (Seriously, Polk's expansionist foreign policy was almost as cool as his mullet.)

Anyway, after much consideration here at Guru HQ, we're going to give the tickets to the person who knew that Warren G. Harding gambled (and lost) the White House china while in office. Can you send your details to events@washingtonpost.com?

Thanks, and we hope you learned something today. At least one person in the office *cough Julia* did.

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Every Thursday at 1 p.m. ET, washingtonpost.com's Going Out 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. If you're looking for more ideas, see the Going Out Guide or read transcripts of past Got Plans? discussions.

Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


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