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The Going Out Gurus
of The Washington Post's Going Out Guide
Thursday, May 7, 2009; 1:00 PM

The Going Out Guide staff talked about mole, Mother's Day, kid-friendly brunches, Passport DC and Nissan Pavilion traffic on Thursday, May 7 at 1 p.m. ET.

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washingtonpost.com: What's up, D.C.? Thank you for joining Got Plans? We've got Fritz, David, Rhome, Jen and Julia at your service today and we rockin' that thing like.... (Actually, to be perfectly honest, we all have that really irritating Vanessa Carlton song in our heads because she's hosting this weekend's National Train Day. Seriously, please, give us other songs to sing.)

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Reston, Va.: Taking the M-I-L to brunch at Rasika on Sunday, any ideas of what to do afterwards? Would prefer to stay in D.C.

Julia: Well, Penn Quarter's a great neighborhood to walk around. You're close enough to the Mall museums and just a few blocks away from the National Portrait Gallery/Smithsonian American Art Museum. Perhaps you could make a museum day out of it? Or catch a movie at Gallery Place?

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Washington, D.C.: Where can go to eat a really good, authentic Mexican mole?

Julia: I find this to be a really tough question as good Mexican can be hard to find around these parts (I think, anyway). Casa Oaxaca was known for this for many years and while my last visit wasn't great, I still think this may be your best bet for mole, specifically. (The margaritas there are really incredible.) Anyone have a mole rec for D.C.?

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Springfield, Va.: Hello Gurus! I want to take my friend out for her birthday and she has said she wants to "eat at an outdoor cafe. And wear dresses and drink lemonade :)" So where would you recommend I take her after a trip to Eastern Market? And a shout out to the birthday girl, who I'm pretty sure is reading this!

Fritz: How about wandering up to Mass Ave. and stopping in at the biergarten at Cafe Berlin for tall, refreshing glasses of hefeweizen with slices of lemon in? Lots of plants and flowers, and the service never makes me feel rushed. There's also the cute little courtyard patio at Lola's on Barracks Row.

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Vinyl Guy, 20005: Just got wind of a record fair happening in D.C. on Saturday. What's the scoop?

David: Yup, D.C. Record Fair at the Warehouse Next Door on Saturday from 10-4. About 30 vinyl dealers from up and down the East Coast bringing their records -- rare, obscure, etc. -- for you to salivate over. Tons of local DJs providing tunes, Chuck Brown will be signing autographs, raffles, food, drink, etc. Should be a good time.

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Geekville, D.C.: Okay, I admit it, I'm a geek. Where can I find a party or event for the opening of Star Trek? Is there an IMAX screen that will still give me the movie theater experience? (That is one that sells popcorn and Coke, I'm talking to you Smithsonian.)

Jen: Geekville, I am very familiar with your place of residence. I'm pretty sure I live there, too.

To answer your question, I don't know of any Trekkie parties going on tonight or this weekend. I mean, you could try showing up at the Correspondents Dinner wearing Spock ears, but that's probably not quite what you're looking for. If other people do know of any events like this, by all means, speak up.

I can tell you that some local theaters aside from the Smithsonian are showing the Imax version of "Star Trek," including AMC Hoffman, Potomac Mills and Columbia. Take a look at our Imax listing and find more showtime details there.

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U Street: What is going on with beer prices on U Street post-happy hour? I ordered a Stella Artois, which is the Budweiser of Belgium, and it set me back $8!!! Is there any reasonably-priced refuge in the neighborhood?

Fritz: Beer prices are going up all over, especially for European beers. (Domestic prices seem to have risen a buck on average, too, partially due to the big hop shortage.)

For cheap beers on U Street, your options are the divier spots: Solly's, Duffy's, Nellie's at happy hour.

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Washington, D.C.: Please help! I need a recommendation for an affordable, non-chain, casual, kid-friendly restaurant for tonight. In D.C., prefer near Metro Center or Adams-Morgan/Dupont/Woodley Park/Glover Park. Thanks!

Julia: Near Metro Center, I'd consider Asia Nine. It's a little loungey to be considered the most kid-friendly place on earth, but I'm sure your kids would be welcome there and it's affordably priced. Ella's is another option. In Woodley Park, you could give Open City a try.

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Alexandria, Va.: I am trying to plan a baby shower and would like to find a room to rent for the shower. I think there will be around 15 to 20 guests. Does anyone know of a place in or around the Alexandria area?

Julia: As I mentioned last week, Fontaine Caffe and Creperie has a back room that's perfect for this.

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Virgina: About those 5 dollars Washington National tickets, are those standing room only? Can I take my kids (11 and 8) to a baseball game?

Fritz: The $5 grandstand tickets are good for seats in upper left field. Here's the catch: You have to buy them at the box office on the day. Bring the kids down, stand in line, buy your seats -- and then you have to enter the park immediately, supposedly to keep you from reselling them. (These are by FAR the cheapest seats in the stadium.)

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Washington, D.C.: I like to take the wife and other couples to a nice night club. We like Latin Music and love to dance it as well too. We would like a mature crowd. We went to Cafe Citron and it was a blast but it is so tiny and crowded we want to try a different place. Any suggestions for Saturday night?

Fritz: Try the Salsa Room in Arlington -- formerly Cecilia's -- which has a large dance floor and occasional live bands.

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Shaw: Hi Gurus,

About two weeks ago you briefly touched on the topic of how over crowded many of the new/hip D.C. locals are getting -- places like those on U/14th St.and H St, NE. I guess there is no way to resolve this, but it's turning many of the D.C. residents away. I've been to Cork about three times over the past two months and I love, LOVE, the wine, food and atmosphere but the amount of people they let in is ridiculous. If you eat at one of their tables in the front you are guaranteed to have someone's butt about a foot from your plate. Can't they have some crowd control? The uniqueness and and great quality of these places is being trumped by the fact that they are squeezing people in like sardines. I'm done with Cork and Granville Moore's until they find a way to control the crowds.

Julia: This is an interesting topic, actually. Fritz and I were at another neighborhood bar -- Eventide -- not too long ago and one of the managers was talking to us about the trouble with crowd control. Eventide won't let you into the lounge when they're at a pre-determined capacity because they don't want people to feel packed in. Everyone says they LOVE that policy when they're inside, but not so much when they're stuck waiting at the door for one-in, one-out. All of this is to say that it isn't an easy scenario for owners/GMs either way. But yeah, we cover popular places for a living. For mer personally, when I'm just out on my own time, it's going to be at a place that isn't crowded. What do the rest of you all think? Does a place's popularity drive you away?

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Fairfax, Va.: Hey GOGs, am going to see one of my favorite bands later this month and am terrifically excited! However, as the concert is on a weekday, and I haven't been to the Nissan Pavilion in years, it's hard to imagine being able to deal in stride if, after the concert, we're obliged to submit to one of the Pavilion's legendary three-hour parking lot 2 mph waits. So, I was wondering if anyone had been to a big show recently (say, in the past year) at Nissan Pavilion and could attest as to whether it was still as bad as it used to be. Have they built those new lanes on 66 yet? And - this might sound crazy - but would it be possible to park somewhere a mile or so away, and then bike to the venue? Any and all recent experiences would be helpful!

David: The Nissan Pavilion season starts this weekend, so it's hard to say for sure, maybe we'll get some reports from the field from some WMZQfest attendees. But it's hard to imagine things have gotten substantially better. Be ready to sit and wait. Or you can just leave a little early and beat the rush. The encore will always be the same (I assume we're talking about Coldplay here, and the setlists are easy to find on the Internet, won't do spoilers here) so you can always weigh how much you like those songs vs. time sitting in traffic.

By the way, a week from today at the next Going Out Gurus Happy Hour at Caddies in Bethesda, we'll be giving away two pairs of tickets to the Coldplay show at Nissan on May 21.

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Arlington, Va.: So what's the verdict on this brand new Star Trek prequel? I think the actor portraying young Spock is great casting and looks like Leaonard Nimoy's son but, the actor portray Capt. Kirk doesn't look anything like William Shatner. What were they thinking?

Jen: Arlington, I am happy to report that the new "Star Trek" is really fun, a pure, enjoyable piece of summer movie entertainment. (Ann Hornaday reviewed it today and says essentially the same thing.)

I understand the concern about Chris Pine, the guy who plays Capt. Kirk. But I personally wasn't looking for them to perfectly recreate the characters as we already knew them. And I thought Pine showed the appropriate amount of bravado, and pretty good comic timing, too.

As I've said to a couple of people, I really see this as more of a "Star Wars" version of "Star Trek." It's a little more accessible to folks who don't think of themselves as sci-fi people, it's dynamic and it feels fresh. (The car chase scene set to the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage," for instance? Totally awesome.)

That said, there are definite shout-outs to the "Trek" fan base. People will beam up and Scotty will work some of his engineering magic, so don't you worry about that.

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NW: Can you tell me more about the thing going on at the Finnish Embassy tomorrow? What exactly is going on, what type of scene will it be, are they having a bar?

Thanks in advance.

Fritz: This is the opening of the "MyHelsinki" exhibit, which sent 12 Washingtonians -- including jazz musician and educator Davey Yarborough, video artist Ayodamola Okunseinde and Restaurant Nora owner Nora Pouillon -- to the Finnish capital and paired them with host musicians, artists, chefs, etc. Then the visitors documented the experiences.

The party tomorrow night will have a bar, I'm told, plus food, and I'm expecting it to be a cool, arty, international cocktail scene, very much like the parties the House of Sweden has been throwing for the last couple years.

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washingtonpost.com: Oh, there's more on the MyHelsinki exhibit, including how to RSVP, in the Nightlife Agenda.

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Washington, D.C.: 'Sup Gurus? Any places you can recommend for Mothers' Day brunch that is moderately priced and will still be taking reservations as of 1 minute after you post your response? Thanks!

Julia: If you go to the Z-Burger in Tenleytown and say "ThankZMom" she gets her meal for free!

I'm not making that up, but I doubt it's what you have in mind. Try places like Cafe Deluxe, Sette Osteria, Darlington House and Urbana. Any of those work?

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Silver Sprung: Any kid-friendly brunch spots near H Street? Or nearby? Coming from Silver Spring. Thanks!

Julia: H Street Northeast, I presume? Never had brunch at Napa 1015, but I know they serve Sunday brunch and I'm sure they'd be nice to your kiddos.

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Washington, D.C.: After a few drinks it seems like we always end up at Rumors since it's one of the few unpretentious clubs in D.C. Can you recommend other similar venues so we can mix it up this weekend. Thanks!

Julia: If you like Rumors, you might also like:

The Bottom Line

Recessions

Millie and Al's

The Front Page

The Big Hunt

Mackey's

Am I missing any?

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McLean, Va.: I'm in charge of a summer intern program in Tysons Corner. I'm looking for a "fun" place to take 25 people for a happy hour on a Thursday evening after work. Have done a lot of the regular Tysons spots. Any good or new place to try? Tysons or Clarendon areas are fine. Reston is too packed. Must be able to handle a large group without splitting us up. Can you please help me out?? Thx.

Fritz: Have you tried Panache yet? I bet their patio would make a nice spot for an after-work drink. I'd probably say the rooftop of Clarendon Ballroom (Wed-Fri), too, and maybe Whitlow's on Wilson. A lot of places in Clarendon just don't have to capacity to seat 25 at once, like Eventide or Liberty Tavern.

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Mole Sauce: I recommend Guajillo, in Courthouse! Delicious!

Julia: A mole suggestion!

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5$ Nats Tickets: If you don't want to do the standing in line thing, which might prove fruitless, check craigslist or stubhub. CL is definitely cheaper. If you upgrade to spending 10$ per seat, you can probablt get something much better on CL. Or whatever, if you buy th 5$ seat you can probably upgrade into one of the 30k+ unoccupied seats

Fritz: Good advice. Thanks.

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Chicago: So my parents' closest friend just got confirmed by the Senate for an administration position and we're coming in to celebrate his swearing in.

What are some upscalish (but still not really dressy) restaurants that are reasonably priced ($45 or less per person) that can accommodate roughly 20 people? I know that is a lot of specification :)

They are staying around Union Station, so if there are any specific ones around the Capitol that you know of that would be great. Otherwise any restaurants that you recommend are fine too.

Someone recommended the upstairs at Sonoma, Central, Bistro Bis... Thanks!

Julia: The upstairs at Sonoma is great, as are the other two on your list. (A good friend of mine is the cheese steward at Bistro Bis, so if you go there, you should get him to get you a sweet cheese plate). Art and Soul and Johnny's Half-Shell are others that come to mind, particularly given their proximity to the Capitol. Congrats to your parents' closest friend!

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H Street Brunch: Sticky Rice has a good brunch menu (lots of non sushi options)

Julia: I totally didn't realize that -- good to know. (Cue Fritz's shocked glance toward my desk).

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Like Rumors...: Lucky Bar Madhatter Sign of the Whale

Julia: The list just keeps on coming.

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Oyamel: Papas al mole!! Not necessarily authentic, but I love em. They also have a chicken mole antojito and entree.

Julia: Thanks for the suggestion. Someone also suggested making mole at home, but, come on, man. We're GOING OUT gurus, not the staying in variety.

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Washington, D.C.: HI GOG-

I am divorced and dating and boy is it tough to find the right men. I am a highly educated attractive professional and I want to meet my match Please tell me where the divorced (older 40-48) men get cocktails after a long day of work. If I have to stay on Match.com one more minute my head will explode.

Cheers!

Julia: I'm going to throw this out to the crowd and see what we get. Chatters? It feels like some of the more upscale wine bars -- lookin' at you Veritas -- would be a good place to start.

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Washington, D.C.: My friend and I want to do something this weekend that's out of the ordinary and doesn't cost a lot of money. We want it to be close to a metro station as we don't have cars.

We're up for almost anything....campy film festival, sophisticated black tie reception. We just need a change of pace from our 20-something Adams Morgan bar lives.

Fritz: Well, let's start with the E.U. Open House, which I'm a big fan of, since you can taste wine at the embassies of Austria or Bulgaria, sip beers of the Czech Republic while listening to traditional folk music, taste seafood from Finland, see Italian sculpture, tour the embassy of Luxembourg, view more than 250 photos of Lithuania, snack on pieorgis and kielbasa at the Polish embassy ... and it's all free.

There's also that MyHelsinki exhibit opening, which I mentioned above ... oh, speaking of exhibit openings, Steph, who's enjoying London at this very moment, put together a great list of art openings and receptions this weekend. I'm a huge fan of Sam Gilliam and the Washington Color School, so I'd steer you there, but the Gallery Neptune show on the Bethesda Art Walk also sounds cool.

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Charter Member: of the "Sat Around in Traffic at Nissan Pavillion Instead of Seeing Radiohead" Facebook Group. Yeah, it's real bad, and I'll never go back. But if you must, look closely at maps around NP because I think there are some alternative routes that people don't think to use, and plan accordingly. And, if you get there early, it's less terrible.

David: Well the Radiohead fiasco was on another level because of the monsoon that hit that evening and pretty much any time Radiohead is supposed to play around here. But Nissan is as much mindset as anything. Don't go there expecting it to be easy in/easy out. That'll just lead to frustration. Know what you're dealing with, do a little research, sneak out a bit early if you can, park closer to the exit instead of closer to the entrance, etc. Going in already frustrated doesn't seem like the best way to approach things.

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Alexandria, Va.: I'd like to take my wife to something light on Mother's Day, maybe a romantic comedy. Any suggestions? The movies look rather dreary.

Jen: "Star Trek" actually is not dreary, but it's not exactly a romantic comedy either. You may want to try "Adventureland," which is a smart, sweet little coming-of-age film.

I also think "State of Play," while not light or romantic, is a really solid, engaging thriller, if you're looking for something that's very D.C. You're right, there isn't much right now that's both light and intelligent. I think some movies are coming this summer, though, that will better fit that bill.

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Brunch on H St.: Argonaut is now doing brunch on both Sat and Sunday... they have a $5 bloody mary bar and bottomless mimosas as well. So. Awesome.

Fritz: Love the Argonaut brunch, especially when the patio's open.

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Washington, D.C.: Does D.C. ever have any events related to fashion? Store opening parties? Guerrilla fashion shows? Formal runway shows? Trunk shows? Are there ever any art exhibits honoring great fashion photographers?

For all the lovely museums in the city, I'm surprised I haven't seen more about fashion - it's wearable art, after all.

Julia: The Corcoran offers a lot of fashion-related talks and programs, so it's worth keeping an eye on their calendar. DC Scout, our e-mail newsletter about all things fashion, has the goods on these sorts of things, so it's worth signing up. You should also check out Fashion Washington, a glossy WaPo publication dedicated to the art of dressing (and edited by one of my fave editors, Ms. Jennifer Barger).

Crystal City had a Fashion Week earlier this year and I'd expect them to offer another one next year. Next weekend, Bethesda gets in on the fashion show action with this event (PDF). And finally, on Monday, it's time for the pricey-but-charitable event Sweet Charity, which features a chocolate fashion show. I'll have a post up on our blog later today about the some of the dresses made by local pastry chefs.

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Petworth: I love the mole at Mixtec.

Julia: Fascinating. I've only really gone for simple dishes there. I'll give it a try.

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H St Brunch: Good Afternoon Napa is def not kid friendly. But the Argo has brunch which IS kid friendly. I was there for Mother's Day brunch last year (a happily single child free person) but they were offering mom's free or cheap mimosas - can't remember exactly. But that place is a lot more kid friendly!

Julia: I could see that about the Argonaut, but explain about how Napa's not kid friendly. I've seen families with kids in there for dinner, which is a much less family friendly meal. I don't mean to sound like I'm challenging you on this -- I totally believe you -- I'm just curious about what they do that's *not* kid friendly.

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Montgomery County: Dear Gurus! Donno if you saw this query last week - Anywhere to get my groove on (dance!) in MoCo (Rockville, Bethesda, G'burg)? I prefer dance music, techno, top-40, and remixes.

Fritz: Honesly, there's not a lot of dance music outside of your standard hip-hop/Top-40 going on in Montgomery County. For the mix you're looking for, there's Fridays at the Red Rock (the old Buffalo Billiards/Firehouse) in Gaithersburg, and both the Barking Dog in Bethesda and Orange Ball Billiards in Rockville (which actually has a dance floor, despite the name).

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Fairfax: Yeah I was at Radiohead and the rain was horrible but thankfully I was in the "VIP" or whatever the upgraded parking section is called. Completely worth the $30 (?) to skip most of the traffic.

David: This is another option. On principle you just hate to spend all that extra money for something like parking. But if you consider you're already spending a few hundred dollars on tickets, beer, etc., that extra few bucks for peace of mind might be worth it. You might feel like you're losing a bit of your soul, but you might feel that way sitting in traffic on 66 at 12:30 two hours after the show is over.

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Black Tie Optional...: Can anyone recommend a restaurant I could take a date where we would be dressed just shy of black tie? i.e. Fancy suit for me, classic long black dress for her. I'm looking for a place where we wouldn't look out of place. Thanks.

Julia: Parhaps Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons? Classic long black dresses are tough since everything's so bistro-casual these days, but I think that might be a good fit for you guys. Fritz just had a rgeat one to add and that's Adour in the St. Regis. Lovely space inside, very classic hotel-y too.

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Jazzville: Hi,

Went to see the Brian Settles Quartet last weekend at Bohemian Caverns and loved everything about it. However, it's a recession, and I don't necessarily have the cash flow to be dropping $15 on a ticket and then $9 per Belgian beer every weekend. Any place in the District other than Blues Alley and Bohemian Caverns I should explore instead? I saw HR-57 has $12 jazz, but have never been to a show there. And what's the story with Twins Jazz? Thanks!

David: Well now that we're getting to summer there's always Jazz in the Sculpture Garden, and those shows are free every Friday starting May 22. The upcoming Duke Ellington Jazz Festival in June should offer some free shows, as well. Of course, those are more special events than nightclub outings. Twins is a cozy little spot, but cover there will be $15 for most shows. And, as has already been discussed in this chat, beer just isn't cheap anymore. Anywhere.

Fritz: I like free jazz at Cafe Nema on Thursdays. U-Topia, too -- no cover charge, so you can get mixed drinks and beers ($5-8) each and feel like you've saved money while checking out some great jazz. Collectors Edition on Friday, Ed Hahn (no relation) on Saturday. The Islander does live jazz, too, but I have to admit I haven't been there.

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H St Brunch, follow up: IDK, I just feel like the Argo is a much more kid friendly place. I should revise - its not that Napa isn't kid friendly, I just think that the Argo is much more so. :)

Julia: Thanks for the clarification. In light of your responses, I'm actually going to go ahead and change my rec to Silver Sprung. Check out the Argo -- your kids will have fun checking out everything on the walls.

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Older Men: Try the back bar Old Ebbitt on a weeknight. My friend loves that place and I'm convinced it is because of the older men that she meets there.

Julia: Thanks for the tip!

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Alexandria, VA: I'll 2nd the props for Mixtec's mole - it's the bomb!

Julia: Awesome -- a mole gem, hidden in plain sight.

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Foggy Bottom: A report from the field: For the person trying to do something new and exciting this weekend - passport DC kind of sucks. I really do think it is so nice and wonderful of the embassies to open their doors and offer snacks and drinks for free! But after waiting in line this past weekend for an hour to get into Australia and THEN waiting in line on the inside for 30 minutes for one thimble of wine, it really wasn't worth it to me. Just a heads up.

Fritz: Understood Foggy Bottom, though I haven't hit those kinds of lines in the past. (Knock on wood.) I maintain, though, that the way to go is NOT to go to France, Germany or the UK this weekend, but Poland, Lithuania, Cypress -- places that most people don't think of when they think "Europe."

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Alexandria, Va.: Free and kooky - the Patent and Trademark Expo is this weekend with dancing crayons.

http://www.uspto.gov/

Fritz: Definitely kooky.

Thanks.

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Mole: I had the enchiladas with mole at Rosa Mexicana yesterday and they were amazing!

Julia: Rosa Mex and I are in a fight these days. I went there for drinks with a girlfriend a few weeks ago. It was after dinner. We did not need any more drinks. But whatever, I digress, 30 minutes later, we miraculously had a $66 bar tab. It's just not worth it, I think, for the quality of what you get.

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MyHelsinki RSVP list full: If you want to verify, try sending an e-mail to the RSVP address (which was misspelled in the Nightlife Agenda). You'll get an autoresponse back saying that the event is full.

Fritz: I can tell you I tried it myself on deadline and it was working -- shame that it's now full.

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Capitol Hill: I haven't gone to Sticky Rice for brunch, mostly because the service there is dismally indifferent. Argonaut is very kid-friendly.

Julia: Another vote for the Argo.

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Washington, D.C.: Afternoon lads and lassies. A girlfriend and I want to grab dinner and drinks tonight after work in the Metro Center/Chinatown area. One problem -- we both are starting grad school in the fall and the idea of student loans is making us both penny pinchers. Got any ideas of for us outside of the usual Matchbox and Ella's?

Julia: Nando's? The bar menu at PS7?

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D.C.: Argonaut is so kid-friendly that I won't go there anymore. More kids than not-kids the last few times I've been there.

Julia: Is it just me or does D.C. lack a middle ground on EVERYTHING these days? Super expensive or super cheap. Too crowded or too dead. Too kid-friendly or not kid-welcoming at all.

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DC: Any of the gurus at the Ben Harper show? I thought it was a fantastic show but would have liked to hear a few old songs. What do you all think?

David: None of us were there but Dave McKenna reviewed it for Post Rock and rather enjoyed it.

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Birthday celebration at a vineyard: Not sure if you got this:

I am writing in early as i really need your help. I am planning my sister's birthday celebration and would like to take her to a vineyard where about 4 of us can do a tour and then do wine tasting that is paired with a multiple course meal. Most vineyards that i looked at just have the tour and wine tasting that doesn't involve a meal. Any ideas where i can find this - i am willing to travel up to 2 hrs away. Thanks

Fritz: Most vineyards don't have a restaurant license in addition to a vineyard license -- that's the problem. Even Veritas, which is one of my favorite Virginia wineries, only gives you the option of a cheese plate to accompany your wines. Jefferson, near Charlottesville, does the occasional wine dinner.

Barboursville has the highly-praised (and highly priced) Palladio restaurant -- maybe you could make a weekend out of it?

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Mexico: Hi. Coming back to D.C. for a week after three yrs abroad. I'm meeting a friend for dinner. Looking for decent French-ish, must have good (but not too pricey) wine, and be downtown, Foggy Bottom, Dupont/etc or maybe Wilson Blvd. corridor. Ideas?

Julia: Eventide -- which Tom Sietsema is reviewing in this week's magazine -- is definitely American as opposed to "French-ish" but the wine list could really suit your needs. Central is more expensive than I think you're going for, but that's one of our new places that seems like it would be a good fit for you guys.

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Shaw: Hey Gurus,

Just back from a visit to Europe and I'm wondering why DC doesn't have more restaurants with outdoor seating and beer garden style areas, especially in areas like downtown or near the Mall. There's plenty of room, especially on the weekends. I'm also wondering why some blocks in the city couldn't be closed off during the weekend so that restaurants could spread to the outdoors. For example, why couldn't 17th St. between P St. and R St. be closed off from noon on Saturdays and Sundays? I know there are all the laws and codes, etc. but DC would be a perfect city for this. Just look at how many people go to the free jazz at the sculpture garden on Fridays. Washingtonians are yearning for more of this.

Fritz: It would be nice to have some pedestrianized areas besides the one in front of the White House, I agree. One of the problems is the narrow width of our sidewalks, which were not designed with outdoor seating in mind. (Case in point: Adams Morgan, where the sidewalk narrows to like a foot when restaurants open their patios in the summer.)

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Dating: I am about the same age and just "regular" educated, and I have the same question!

Julia: Sounds like you guys should meet at the back bar at Old Ebbitt.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi GOG's! We have family coming into town next weekend, and are looking for a good place to eat downtown after doing some sightseeing. Last time they came into town we took them to Jaleo (which I love), but it was a little too adventurous for them. Is there anywhere else you can recommend we go to eat, and anything in particular going on next weekend that we should do/see? Thanks!

Julia: Proof is good, if a little pricey. Poste, perhaps? Matchbox? Next weekend is busy with foodie events -- Taste of Wheaton and Taste of Arlington. We'll have info up on both on the blog next week!

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Gaithersburg, Md.: Just a correction--the End Zone is now in the old Buffalo Billiards/Firehouse space in Gaithersburg (in Old Town, right by the railroad tracks.) Red Rock is elsewhere in town.

Fritz: Argh, you're right. I've been to the End Zone, too, so I should have remembered that. (Hard to forget a super-futuristic sports bar in the middle of Old Town Gaithersburg.)

Red Rock is in the Festival at Rio Center, off I-270. Mia culpa.

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GOG- don't knock Germnay- they serve awesome food: I was full last year after a smorgasboard of goodies!

Fritz: Yeah, but how were the crowds?

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No Mexico!: Do not come back to town for a week and taint us!!!

Julia: Guys, it's been a week. Isn't the swine flu joke over by now?

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Cleveland Park: I just bought my first place (I must admit, it's a bit overwhelming) and its located in Cleveland Park. I've heard nothing but great things about the area, but from a going out perspective, what are the neighborhood staples (or something coming soon) that I should check out when I move in mid-June?

Julia: When we're feeling flush, my husband and I get our sushi delivery fix from Spices. We also like Cleveland Park Bar and Grill for lazy warm afternoons when you can sit out on the roofdeck, drink spicy bloody marys and eat hot wings.

Fritz: Monday nights at Palena for the best affordable food in the area; Sunday and Monday at Dino for 33 percent off wines over $50, or every day for the $35 three-course; dinner at the bar at Indique; early weekend brunch in the cozy, tranquil back patio of Firehook.

Pool at Atomic Billiards; Fridays and Mondays at Aroma for cocktails (though it's gotten really smoky lately); margaritas on the patio at Alero's; what Julia said about Cleveland Park's roofdeck.

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Mother's Day: Hey Guys,

Love your blog, I read it every week! Ok...need mother's day ideas. My mom likes wineries, hiking and the outdoors and any sort of cool brunch idea. But I'm sure those are all pretty booked up.

Signed,

Late to the party

Julia: Here's what I would do. Go to the Old Lucketts Store, an old house full of kitschy housewares and cool antiques. It's not too far from wineries like Tarara, so you could make a day out of it.

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washingtonpost.com: And that's a wrap. Check us out next week. Same bat time, same bat channel.

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The Going Out Gurus write about restaurants, bars, movies, the arts, special events and visitor attractions, and they're out every night to keep you on top of the D.C. entertainment scene. Check out our updates throughout the week on the GOG Blog and join us on Thursdays at 1 p.m. for our live Q&A.

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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