Got Plans?: Kids' Restaurant Week and Uniquely D.C. Gifts

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The Going Out Gurus
of The Washington Post's Going Out Guide
Thursday, May 14, 2009; 1:00 PM

The Going Out Guide staff discussed Kids' Restaurant Week, uniquely D.C. gifts and more on Thursday, May 14 at 1 p.m. ET.

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washingtonpost.com: What's up, people? Welcome to Got Plans? Y'all coming to our happy hour in Bethesda tonight? You totally should. Free Golden Tee and drink specials -- what more do you need? On to the questions. . . .

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Washington, D.C.: Do you know if there is any place to rent bikes near the Crescent Trail/C&O Canal in Georgetown? Any place you would recommend?

Stephanie: You have at least a couple options for bike rentals near the canal. Big Wheel Bikes in Georgetown rents bicycles, and I believe you can snag them at Thompson Boat House as well.

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Laurel, Md.: Hi Gurus, My husband and I are celebrating our 4th wedding anniversary next week and have a babysitter lined up for next Friday. We are looking for a newish, elegant, romantic restaurant in a nice part of D.C., possibly with views, to go to for dinner. Any suggestions?

Julia: Congrats! We have a Best Bets list for views, but sadly, I don't think any of these places meet your other specifications. Proof isn't new, but it is newish -- and it's certainly both elegant and romantic. Perhaps you could try Corduroy in its new location. If you're willing to consider Virginia, 2941 might work as well. Check out our Romantic Best Bets list too. Congrats!

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Penn Quarter: Hi Gurus. Regarding Kids Restaurant Week, can adults without smelly children enjoy the kids RW menu?

Julia: Oh you are asking for it, PQ. Parents of those "smelly children" are about to write into me chastising you. Just remember, folks: I'm just the messenger.

To be perfectly honest, I do not know the answer to your question, I've got a call into Destination D.C. and if they get back to me within the hour I'll post the answer here. If not, I'll add an update to the blog post later today. (My hunch is "no" because, you know, that kind of defeats the point, and adults have their own restaurant week twice a year, but I could be wrong....)

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Arlington, Va.: I have the parents coming into town this weekend, and they'd like to do something in the city tomorrow. I was considering taking them to the American History Museum and/or the Portrait Gallery, but wondered if you had other suggestions. (He's a big Lincoln/Civil war buff.) Also, we'll have my 18-month-old in tow, so it should be reasonably toddler-friendly. Thanks!

Stephanie: You're in luck since it's the Lincoln Bicentennial, and museums have been big on all things Lincoln. I'd say hit up both the American History Museum and the Portrait Gallery. American History has an exhibit of all kinds of Lincoln paraphernalia, including the hat he wore the night he was shot. Then the Portrait Gallery has a great show of photos and paintings of Lincoln. Depending on your energy levels after that, you could also check out The house where Lincoln died.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi GOGs,

Can you develop a list of restaurants/bars that have outdoor seating that the public might be unaware of? I've lived in D.C. 8 years, but keep finding out that places I thought were indoor-only actually have hidden patios/roofdecks.

Thanks.

Julia: There are a bunch of places that have hidden patios for sure. For starters, here are Fritz's and my lists of Best Patios and Rooftop Bars and Best Restaurants With Outdoor Seating. Also, if you're searching for restaurants and bars in the Going Out Guide, you can use the facets on the left hand side of your screen to narrow your search by bars that have outdoor seating. Like check out this link. I just searched for restaurants and then scrolled down to the heading that says "Atmosphere." I clicked on the plus side next to that and then selected "Outdoor Seating." You can further narrow this search by location, price, etc. [And this will conclude the nerdy part of our program. Carry on with the bar questions.]

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Petworth: Uh-oh. What's "Kids' Restaurant Week?"

Will I regret asking this?

Julia: It's new this year, taking place from June 13 until 21. Basically, kids and their families can get three-course meals for discounted prices between 5 and 7 p.m. at a handful of participating restaurants.

I put up a post about it today if you want more intel.

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Spring!: Hi--no question. Just wanted to let you know I enjoy the chats. Also, my father-in-law brought me a bunch of lily-of-the-valley from his garden this morning. They smell so pretty. Get out and enjoy spring this weekend!

David: Aw shucks, thanks. Glad your flowers have a more pleasing odor than those "smelly kids" Penn Quarter was complaining about.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus, I am hoping to start Memorial Day Weekend a day early and therefore am in need of a brunch (with alcohol) for a Friday, preferably in Georgetown. Sunday brunches seem pretty easy to come by, but I'm having a hard time with Friday. Thanks!

Julia: Mie N Yu is the only Friday brunch in Georgetown I can think of off the top of my head. Chatters, any more to add?

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Washington, D.C.: any idea what is going on at Dubliner this week? I tried going there for a beer last night and it was like St. Paddy's day times 100, rowdy people out the doors. Irish Times looked just as bad.

Fritz: Just hazarding a guess here, but it's Police Week in D.C., with officers in from all over the country, and Dubliner and the Irish Times -- along with places like the Irish Channel -- are HUGE cop bars during this event.

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re: Regarding Kids Restaurant Week, can adults without smelly children enjoy the kids RW menu?: If you want to choke down a steak at 5 in the afternoon while surrounded by people you don't seem to like (kids) and pay $29 for the privilege, then go for it. Happy eating.

Julia: Hey, people love a deal!

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Washington, D.C.: Don't forget Lincoln's Cottage! http://www.lincolncottage.org/

It just opened as a museum a few months ago and it's really neat.

Stephanie: And another option for the visiting Lincoln fan.

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Friday Brunch: I think Peacock Cafe has Friday brunch in G'town. Or you could head to St-Ex -- They open at 11am for burgers and bloody marys!

Stephanie: I vote for Leopold's!

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Adams Morgan: GOGs,

Please answer!! I've been waiting all week to ask you this:

I'm confused by a recent article I saw on the Going Out Web page that said Perrys roof was a good Happy Hour spot. I thought Perrys would only let you sit at the bar or stand if you were there for Happy Hour -- can you get a table on the roof if you promise to order some munchies?

Also, can you identify some other mellow outdoor spots in the Adams Morgan/U Street area that will let you sit outside for Happy Hour? For example, I love the specials and vibe at Mandu -- I just wish the food/drinks tasted better. Same for L'Enfant. I haven't been to Bourbon or the Reef yet -- would either of those fit the bill? Can you think of others?

Thanks so much! You are a great resource!

Julia: Hey there, Adams Morgan. That was my article and yes, I was talking about sitting or standing at the bar on the roof. I don't think Perrys will let you snag a table up there unless you're eating dinner.

As to your next question: Bourbon is definitely one to try, particularly if good food is on your agenda. The patio's in back, tucked away from the 18th Street debauchery, and it's really quite pleasant. The Reef's got good specials (especially for those with local zip codes on their IDs) but it's not really mellow. Especially after a certain hour, the roof gets kinda busy. You may also add Napoleon to your list. The patio's really nice. Haven't eaten there since they got a new chef not too long ago . . . perhaps the food has improved as well.

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Northeast, D.C.: Hey Gurus! Is the H Street Country Club open yet? I could really go for some drunken mini-golf this weekend. Also, have you visited the Bullpen outside of Nationals Stadium yet? Is it worth showing up a few hours to check out the beer garden? Thanks

Fritz: Ah, a twofer question. Let's take these one at a time:

1. The Bullpen, as I first reported in this chat on April 30, is having its grand opening this Friday. Haven't been there yet, but am looking forward to checking it out.

2. I spoke to Joe Englert, the owner of the H Street Country Club, earlier this week, and he's expecting to receive the bar's liquor license this week. If all goes well, it will open to the public on the Wednesday after Memorial Day, May 27.

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Washington D.C.: I'm visiting my boyfriend's parents next weekend and want to take a gift that is unique to DC. Any thoughts? Don't want it to be too touristy, but something they couldn't get at home (rural Illinois)

Stephanie: How thoughtful! Unfortunately the first thing that popped into my head was Virginia ham, followed closely by one of those FBI/Witness Protection t-shirts. On a more serious note, how about a bottle of Virginia wine? Or maybe the chatters have some other ideas...

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Kids RW: Hey, What's the point of having a Kids RW? If it's to tap into and "secure" future clients, then don't the kids have to be old enough to get or grasp the concept? If kids are smelly (I'm assuming this means diaper-age) then isn't the 3-course menu a little bit of a waste? I'm not trying to be snarky.

Julia: No worries about the snark. First of all, I think the person who said smelly was being a little snarky there. This isn't for babies, it's for kids, like ages 5-13, let's say. So, in that case, I don't think it's a waste of food.

After speaking with all the different people involved for that blog post I liked to above, I think the point is twofold: to allow entire families the opportunity to dine at a restaurant they may not be able to afford or just make the time to go to and to teach kids about the links between farm and table. According to the organizers, there is an educational component to this, too. Events like the promotion's kick-off party will teach kids a little bit about cooking/agriculture/other stuff you don't necessarily get in school. There may be more hands-on programs like that -- kids cooking classes, etc -- during the week and I'll keep you posted as they arise.

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Arlington, Va.: Hey! Parents and sister are coming into town this weekend and was wondering of any recommendations for a dinner spot. We have a lot of picky eaters in this group so sticking to the basics would be best. What we like: American (basic bar & grill), Italian, & steak places. Suggestions in Arlington?

Julia: Harry's Tap Room, Faccia Luna and Liberty Tavern come to mind. Ted's Montana Grill if you want steak/don't mind a chain.

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Virginia gift: Virginia peanuts are super good! They make a great gift. Wine too - although if you are flying, you'll have to check your bag.

Stephanie: Another idea for the girl trying to impress the parents.

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D.C. gift: Get a White House Christmas ornament (assuming they celebrate Christmas).

If you get wine and you're flying, make sure you can bring it with you.

Stephanie: I thought about the ornament too, but wouldn't that be weird considering it's May? In any case, it's a thought.

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DC: Hi. Love Policy...don't love house/dance music. Is there any night when it's a little more hip-hop music? I'm not looking for what I'd hear on the radio, but something a little more familiar to me. Thanks!

Rhome: What's familiar to you?

The promoter's site lists Tuesdays as "Hip Hop", Thursdays as "Old Skool Hip Hop" and Fridays and Saturdays as "Mash Ups."

I've only been on weekends and heard variants of hard house and clubby electro.

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Re: Uniquely D.C.: The only food I could think of that's uniquely D.C. - Ben's half smokes, but they don't travel very well. If you're going to consider Va. or Md. - Va. peanuts or peanut brittle. Berger's cookies (To die for. You can get them at Rockland's) from Md. I have friends abroad who LOVE Old Bay seasoning but I suppose that's available in IL.

Stephanie: I'm having fun imagining this girl presenting a couple of half-smokes to her boyfriend's parents.

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25 Prom Kids: We are looking for a place where 20-25 kids could eat dinner before Prom on a Fri. night around 6 or 7 p.m. depending on the location. Either Northern Va. or D.C. would be okay. They are all traveling together anyway.

Julia: Talk to the guys at Eventide and see if they can help you. I had my prom dinner at Sequoia (1, 2, 3: awwww....) so maybe that's worth looking into as well.

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Pittsburgh: D.C. Gift: I bet you can get a Caps jersey for cheap right now...

Stephanie: Too soon, Pittsburgh. Give us some time to mourn.

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D.C., Memento: Send them some Rt 11 potato chips in advance! Or, for a more serious gift, those pewter Jefferson cups for an after dinner nip?

Stephanie: You guys are full of good ideas.

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Rufus, D.C.: So my friends asked me to dog-sit this weekend downtown. I'd like to take him somewhere Saturday in the afternoon and Sunday for brunch. Can you recommend some dog-friendly spots? Bars, restaurants, cafes????

Julia: Rufus -- we got ya, buddy! I gotta say, I like St. Ex for this sorta thing. You always see dogs on the patio out there and they have some killer bloody marys for Sunday brunch. Dogs are welcome on the Union Pub patio from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays, so that's an option for you too. (I really think pretty much any place on Capitol Hill is doggie-friendly, but it's worth noting that Union Pub expressly invites them.)

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All the way live from the 215: A good spot for 20 dirty beer-swilling monstrosities from Philly to hit before the baseball game on Saturday?

Thanks

Julia: I feel like I shouldn't even answer this question because, um, you're rooting for the other team and all, but, as my colleague Fritz noted in this space a few weeks ago, the Bullpen, a beer garden near the park is opening for the first time this weekend. (Here's some more intel about the space.) Want a few other options? Check out our interactive guide to bars and restaurants near the stadium.

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Uniquely D.C.: Or at least regional, apple butter, crab cakes, Maryland cornbread is unique and a mix of Southern and Northern versions.

If a somewhat patriotic family, a flag that has flown over the Capitol. They definitely can't get that in Illinois.

Stephanie: Local apple butter is a good idea; and I just saw some at the U Street farmer's market last weekend.

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Washington, D.C.: I'm a recently relocated Southerner and can't find any good cheese grits in this town. Any suggestions?

Stephanie: Actually, my mom makes the best cheese grits in town (and I'm not just saying that because I forgot mother's day). After that, probably Georgia Brown's. Although their grits have shrimp in them too, I think.

Rhome: Florida Avenue Grill.

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Someone? Anyone?: Hi guys-- I'm in serious need of some help. I'm in charge of finding a field for a work outing for about 40 people. Only requirements are an open space (to play some field games) and an actual location I can tell people before hand. Any ideas??? This is harder than I thought!

Julia: Okay, well, I see we're kind of running out of time, but I could use a few more specifics -- like what general area of the city/burbs? Nottaway Park in Vienna comes to mind, as does Palisades Park in D.C. You should probably talk to any sort of park management before telling 40 people to show up. If you want to talk about this in more detail, feel free to drop me a line at julia (dot) beizer (at) washingtonpost.com. I can't promise I'll be a huge help, but hopefully I can point you in the right direction.

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Dog friendly: I always see dogs on the patio at Lauriol Plaza. Could work for afternoon or brunch.

Julia: True, kind of annoyingly crowded though. I feel like skittish dogs would NOT be able to handle it.

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Arlington, Va.: Whisky from George Washington's distillery near Mt. Vernon? That's pretty unique to the area, but only if they would appreciate something like that...

Stephanie: I really like this suggestion. All right Illinois-bound lady, I hope these help. Let us know how the parental meet-and-greet goes.

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PG County: Hi, I've never been to Love but I'm thinking about going Saturday to see Drake perform. what can you tell me? I've heard good and bad about this place so I don't know what to expect. Thanks!

Rhome: I couldn't even bring myself to put the Drake show in the column this week. They're trying to charge $40. Am I that out of touch that a former child actor with a few mixtapes blowing up on blogs can command that much at the door? He's got some joints, but dang.

Anyway, get there early for a Love show even though the headliner doesn't usually go on until late. The reason for this is that you want to beat the door inflation and velvet rope shenanigans and then get a good spot because the sight lines in Love are not concert friendly. Plan on sipping your drainks and people watching until the main event.

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San Francisco: Hey guys, my son (19) and I are coming to town this weekend. We are looking for some good regional cuisine in the neighborhoods for a dinner on Sunday.

Marvin sounds perfect but I'm not sure our budget can handle the prices. Something similar in that area of town would be great. Busboys and Poets and Eatonville sound close to what we're looking for but really want the food to be good.

Julia: Well, Eatonville is really new -- fresh out of the oven this week, new -- so if you go, that's a bit of a gamble. Busboys and Poets is cheap, but the food is just okay. You might also consider Creme on U Street. The Southern food's good, people are nice, etc.

It's worth mentioning that Southern food isn't exactly regional for this area. If you want regional, your best bet is blue crabs in Annapolis, but that's a bit of an expense and a haul. Enjoy your time in the city!

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Arlington, Va.: Fields: Ummm, how about the great big one in the middle of the city they call the National Mall. Even with kickball and softball you can surely find a spot big enough to take over for some field games...

Julia: Well there is that.... My personal take is that the Mall gets too crowded in the summer. And I feel like any time I tell people to meet me at a given spot on the Mall, it never quite works out.

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Bethesda: Hi Gurus! Love your chats. I'm taking my husband to the Nat's game this Sunday afternoon for his birthday. Where would be a good place to take him afterwards? It would be nice to go someplace directly from the game, so it should be someplace where Nat's T-shirts are acceptable (or, better yet, preferred). And, of course, not someplace that requires reservations. We haven't decided on driving VS metro, so can probably do either. Thanks!

Julia: Metro and then go to Matchbox! Or the new Cava! You can find more options on the map I linked to above.

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Rockville Md.: for the Arlington picky eaters: Carlyle. It is totally my go-to for that kind of crew.

Kids restaurant week. Yeah, wow, what is with the snark? This is totally the right opportunity to teach kids about eating out in general in a fairly safe space (if you're eating dinner out between 5-7pm you just have to expect some noise and "smelliness" in general). I don't have kids myself but I love seeing them enjoying a night out with the family. How do you get socialized otherwise?

Julia: Carlyle is a great suggestion, thanks! And yeah, that's totally my take on Kids' Restaurant Week. One of the quotes I didn't use in my story was about the fact that parents feel more comfortable during the week because their kids aren't just *tolerated* -- they're invited. It makes a difference. (I guess. I don't have kids either, but hey, it seemed logical.)

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washingtonpost.com: Well, that about does it for us today folks! Just a few more public service announcements before we go. 1) You should most definitely come to Bethesda to kick it with us tonight. We'll be giving away Coldplay and AT&T National tickets. (David and I would leave right now if it were up to us). 2) You should also get in on the addictive puzzle-solving that will be going down on Sunday during the The Washington Post Magazine's Post Hunt.and 3) If you do, you should take advantage of MORE Going Out Guide-sponsored specials at the Elephant and Castle.

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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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