Got Plans?: Paul McCartney Concert, Kebabs, Bachelorette Parties and Places to Dance

The Going Out Gurus
of The Washington Post's Going Out Guide
Thursday, July 30, 2009; 1:00 PM

The Going Out Guide staff talked about the Paul McCartney concert, kebabs, bachelorette parties and places to dance on Thursday, July 30 at 1 p.m. ET.

____________________ What's up, kiddos? Welcome to Got Plans? We've got Rhome, David, Anne, Stephanie and me (Julia) here to take your questions. Fritz is somewhere out West right about now -- hopefully getting me the magnet he (sort of) promised. On with the show.


Washington, D.C.: Any suggestions on what to catch at the Mid City Dog Days of Summer, beyond shopping?

Stephanie: Yes, there's tons to see and do beyond shopping. Check out Weekend tomorrow for some recs courtesy of Lavanya, and in the meantime, here's a sneak peek: On Saturday, you can hit up the Studio Theatre Garage Sale, where all kinds of props, costumes and set pieces will be looking for a good home. That day there's also the 10-hour Improvapalooza, courtesy of Washington Improv Theater. Then Sunday, Source is having an open house with some seriously funky events -- light-saber training, anyone? After you're done with U Street (if that's possible), you may also want to take a stroll down to Bloomingdale on Saturday for the First on 1st art and music festival, which sounds pretty rockin.


Arlington, Va.: Hi Gurus! I'm going to have friends in town to visit this weekend and I was really hoping for a street festival or fun event in D.C. (if it includes beer or wine it would be a huge bonus). Unfortunately I haven't been able to come up with anything. Please tell me that this isn't the only weekend all summer without some sort of event going on! Thanks for your help!

Stephanie: This isn't the only weekend all summer without some sort of event going on. You have all sorts of options.


Arlington, Va.: Hi Gurus,

I'm on the look for the best food-oriented happy hours. There are obviously plenty of cheap drink specials, but I'd love to find some quality food at a good price when I'm too lazy to make dinner. Any recommendations?

Julia: I'm a frequent bar diner myself. (In fact, this was sort of the inspiration for You Have to Try This, our occasional series on drinks and apps we like.) I like the happy hour eats at Ceiba and Perrys. I think Cafe Salsa's a good one to look out for too. I'm also a sucker for oyster happy hours (J. Pauls, Blue Ridge) but that's not really filling. Chatters -- care to add any suggestions?


Arlington: GOG, I could use your help...with all the kabob places around, which one would you recommend in the NoVa area?? Thanks for your help:)

Julia: Ravi Kabob, hands down.


Alexandria, Va.: Last summer I went to a really great and huge outdoor street fair in Del Ray, but I can't seem to find out when it will be this year. Any ideas?

Stephanie: Hiya Alexandria. Could it be the music festival? If so, that already happened in June, I believe. If it's Art on the Avenue (which seems more likely), then that will be coming up in October. Do either of those sound like what you're looking for?


FedEx Field: Gurus -- I am dragging my husband to FedEx Field on Saturday for some silly love songs at the Paul McCarthy concert. Since he is a somewhat reluctant companion (who won't want to see one of the last living Beatles?!?!), we plan on enjoying quite a few overpriced adult beverages and, as a result, hoped to take the Metro. According to the Fed Ex box office, there will not be shuttles from the Metro. Ticketmaster's Web site says that you can walk from the Morgan Blvd Station. Is that true? Has anyone done this walk before? Are there sidewalks or will be wandering the roads like Va. Friars? Also, any alternatives to Metro and a walk? We are coming from Capitol Hill. Thanks a bunch from a long time lurker.

David: First off, as I just reported on the Going Out Gurus blog, Thievery Corporation will be opening the show with a DJ set. It is true that there will be no shuttles from the Metro for this show. So, basically, your options are drive and park (and probably sit in some traffic) or Metro and walk. It's not a walk I've done before. Plenty of others have. It's a healthy hike -- think 20-30 minutes, depending on how fast you walk, how many people there are. And there will be plenty of people making that walk, so you shouldn't feel like it will be dangerous. We're still getting details about the logistics for this show and will answer more questions during the chat.


Mid City Dog Days: Will any of the restaurants have specials for this or is it just business as usual?

Stephanie: Indeed. Here's a list of all the participants, though I think the list is still growing. It looks like Saint-Ex and Cake Love are the places to be.


Arlington: Revered gurus, thank goodnes it's Thursday! I'm craving genuine lamb shawarma, but all the reviews I can find (Shawarma Spot, Shawarma King...) only mention beef and chicken. Even a beef & lamb mix would fill the bill (or the belly). I am willing to trek...but is there hope?

Julia: Okay, so I just called about every reliable shawarma source I could think of and no dice! Shawarma King says they mix lamb and beef, but I don't think that's what you're looking for. Chatters?


Happy hour with food: EatBar!! The food is cheap and interesting with decent-sized portions.

Julia: Excellent call! I love the vibe there too.


Downtown, D.C.: I just saw on their Web site that Art and Soul has a "puppy patio." Do they offer their full "human" menu out there as well, or is it more of a drinks-and-app place, where dogs may also be?


Julia: Full human menu -- no matter the time of day. So you could have breakfast out there too!


GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAALLLL: Do you have a list of bars to watch futbol? I enjoy Lucky Bar b/c it is usually full of fans from both teams. But I was wondering if there were any bars with futbol specials or any recommendations you had besides that.

Rhome: Summers carries the most games. You can also catch matches at Nanny O'Brien's, Pour House and Capitol Lounge.


Re: Cafe Salsa Happy Hour : Julia - what is the story on Cafe Salsa HH?

I can't find a Web site for them, which in my mind means they do not exist. (WHAT is with places not having Web sites?)

But give me the scoop please! :)

Julia: What *is* with places not having Web sites? Anyway, I just called over to Cafe Salsa to jog my memory on the specific specials. It's 50 percent off drinks like margaritas and the delicious mojito from 4 to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. For food, I just grab something off the apps menu -- they're under $10. Those nachos with fried plantains are pretty good, but the ceviche is better. NB: you have to be at the bar to get the happy hour specials.


Ballston Dude: Kabobs hands down would be Food Corner Kabob in Annandale.

There are other locations but this one is top notch.

Friendliest employees, great service, fresh and high quality food.

Get the pumpkin side dish.

Julia: Chat newcomers may not know this, but Ballston Dude used to live in Annandale, so I'd trust the man.


For lamb shwarma: I think they have it at Layalina on Wilson Blvd.

Julia: Sorry, no dice. They only have chicken and beef. Bummer! Thanks for the tip though, all the same.


Houston, Tex.: Re: FedEx Field. I try to do this walk about 8 times a year (and hope someday it will be more like 11, sigh...) Anyway, yes, it is walkable from the Morgan Boulevard stop to the stadium and yes, it is a healthy walk, but not a bad one (trust me, it's worse when it's 100 degrees or 10 degrees - and after a loss). You will have LOTS of company.

My understanding is that due to some random relatively new federal regulation, the cost for shuttles from the Metro stations to the stadium would be extremely expensive since they can no longer rent Metro buses, but would need to get private ones.

David: Here's some advice from someone who regularly does the walk (of shame, sometimes) to/from FedEx Field. I will be going and I will almost certainly be doing Metro + walk. But I base much of my life on avoiding sitting in traffic, so...


D.C., cubeville: Do you know when Adams Morgan day is? I couldn't find it on the guide.

Julia: Mark your calendar for Sunday, Sept. 13.


Lamb Shawarma: What about Lebanese Taverna?

Julia: OMG, you're so right. Just called over to Arlington and they've got it. I'm pretty sure I saw it on the Woodley Park menu a few months ago too.


Dupont Birthday girl!: I would be so indebted to y'all if you could help me come up with some during-the-day plans for my birthday (Saturday). We have 9:15 reservations at Restaurant Eve, but I'm stumped for what to do during the day! Part of the problem is that I'm somewhat agoraphobic and definitely introverted, so anything with a big crowd (say First on 1st Arts + Music Walk) would be a little overwhelming to me. Last year (for the big 3-0) I lounged by the pool at the Embassy Hilton during the day, but I don't think the hubby is up for that this year. Also, I can't be too physical active (would like to go kayaking, but can't). Ideas? Anyone?

For further birthday fun, I'm meeting a friend for an early birthday drink on Friday night, somewhere around Dupont. My hubby and I are then heading out with some other friends for dinner. Suggestions? I've liked the cocktails at both Urbana and Firefly, but don't want to be tempted to eat, since we'll be going out with different friends later. Also, re: bars, I'd rather not have them crazy busy (see agoraphobic/introverted me, above). I really hope you can help - you guys are fantastic!

Stephanie: Happy 31st, Dupont! I'd recommend steering clear of 14th and U or the Mall (it being tourist season and all). Maybe start the day with a nice brunch in your neighborhood. I really enjoyed the morning I spent at Darlington House, though you could also do an old standby like Tabard Inn. After that, spend the afternoon somewhere with lots of space (and lots of peace), like the Arboretum. Or take in some theater; Barack Stars is supposed to be hilarious and there's a 6 p.m. show. As for drinks Friday, the aforementioned Darlington Cantina could work, or Russia House has a nice vibe (as long as the Real World kids don't descend on the place).


Bowie, Md.: I'm going to be on my own for Sunday afternoon with my two girls (both under 5 years old). Any thoughts on where to go?

Anne: You totally have to go to Watkins Park, my new favorite place because of the Old Maryland Farm. (If you've done it to death already since you live nearby, write back and we'll come up with something else.) Sunday there are $1 hayrides from 1 to 3, and the farm is open until 4:30; some small animals get fed around 2:30, a feather-capped animal keeper told me when I was there. For what it's worth, I've never been to a tidier farm -- the animals all have ample space to roam and it's easy to get a good look at them. After the farm, hop on the train. Last week, conductor Maurice slowed the ride to point out a fawn in the woods, and we also spied a box turtle. If you finish all that, there is the giant playground on the other side of the parking lot.


Cafe Salsa: Cafe Salsa's appetizers are half off during happy hour. I went there the other week and had 3 Mojitos and an appetizer for $20 with tip.

Julia: Thanks for the update -- $20 is sweet!


Arlington, Va.: Hi Gurus,

This may not be an appropriate question for the chat, but here goes. I bought my wedding dress at a bridal salon in Arlington. They recently announced they are closing their doors the end of the month (tomorrow!) Any suggestions on a good place to have alterations done? I'm hoping to avoid other, over-priced bridal salons, but don't want to take it to my neighborhood dry cleaners.

BTW, I think you've answered this question before, but I can't figure out how to search your past transcripts?

Julia: I answered this before, so allow me to cheat and paste in my answer from the previous chat:

Julia: My friend loved London Tailor in Bethesda, 301-656-7595. Her alterations cost $60! I hear good things about Do's, too.... above Nathans in Georgetown.

Of course, Nathans is now closed, so that *was* a while ago.


NOVA Kabob: Reston Kabob - more bang for the buck. The best & biggest gyros! Food Corner Kabob in Annandale & Tysons is pretty good too.

Julia: Awesome, thanks!


Food Corner Kabob in Annandale: I can also attest to the greatness of this place. Do get the pumpkin -- it's amazing. The owner is an Afghani who is apparently a very well-known singer/entertainer in Afghanistan.

Julia: Ballston Dude, people are with you!


Call me Old Fashioned: My fun, vibrant, wonderful aunt passed away suddenly last week. In her memory, I wanted to enjoy her cocktail of choice--the old fashioned. Are there any establishments currently serving excellent old fashioneds or twists on the classic, preferably made the California way--swapping citrus for bitters?

Julia: I think you'd find what you need at Bourbon.


D.C.: How can someone who doesn't want to drive/pay a $10 parking fee get to the National Harbor? I'm coming from NW D.C. Gracias.

Rhome: Take the bus.


Silver Spring, Md.: Had my first taste of an authentic french macaron this spring while in Paris. I'm in love. I've been searching high and low for these delectable cookies in the D.C. area without success. Where can a girl find macarons in this town? (Not to be confused with coconut macaroons...)

Stephanie: You're in luck, Silver Spring! Michel Giaon, a pastry chef in Va., specializes in macarons and he does a fantastic job (and that's not just me saying this, but also some discerning Parisians). Even though he doesn't have his own storefront, you can special order through his web site and have them delivered or pick them up at Artisan Confections in Arlington. Another option is to pay a visit to ACKC, which also carries his macarons.


Arlington, Va.: Hello Julia, Stephanie:

Please help. I am the maid of honor for my friend who is getting married in two weeks. She wants a bachelorette party. Can you give me ideas? We like to drink, lounges, wines, etc....any other different ideas is welcome. Oh, stripper joints would be fun too!! I have no idea where they are. Oh and one more do we get a limo deal? Thanks a million for saving my life.

Julia: Hi Arlington. My take on bachelorette parties is that they're best when they have a few different stages. So you spend the afternoon getting pedis. Then have dinner at a swank restaurant downtown (I'd pick a place like Co Co. Sala for it's loungey vibe, Oyamel for fun margaritas and tapas or Poste where you can sit outside.) Then I'd go to one of the K Street clubs for dancing (I went to Josephine for part of mine). Plan to have a divey spot in mind for later -- karoke at Cafe Japone perhaps? If you want to fit the wine in, maybe consider Proof or Cork for dinner instead.

Tailor your choices to what you think the bride would be most into and you'll be fine. I've got nothin' on the limo thing. I think you just call a bunch of places and get quotes.


RW advice: Outside of the traditional steak staples of RW, where are the best places to try and visit. I want a place that would normally be expensive (so I get my 35 dollars worth) but also a little different from just a steak.

Julia: I had a really good Adour experience last year, so I'd give that a shot for lunch. Acadiana and Cafe Atlantico also strike me as good places to get a big bang for your buck. Keep 701 in mind as well as the restaurant's about to close for a renovation and re-open with a new look/menu.


Washington, D.C.: Why isn't there a dedicated tab to "Nightlife Agenda" on your page? It seems it would be something that you all would want to make more easily accessible. If one doesn't read it on Wednesday or Thursday, it takes multiple searches to bring it up. Can you do something about this?


Anne: Glad to hear you're a fan! The guys write a new one every week, and you can always count on finding it starting Wednesdays on the bars and clubs page. Generally, it's there through the weekend, but if the events they wrote about are over, then you might not see it. You'll also ways find it in the Bars category of the blog. It also works if you type "Nightlife Agenda" in the search box on the main page.


Re: Wedding Dress Alterations: I just had my dress altered by Angie Cavallaro in Fairfax. She has received rave reviews on theknot and wedding wire and she did an amazing job on my dress. She books fast though.

Julia: OMG! I love Angie! I can't believe I forgot about her. I had a lot of fun last year writing a story about Angie and Estee, the much loved seamstresses from boards.


Alexandria, Va.: Julia,

Does Co Co. Sala pay you by the number of references?

Julia: Ouch, Alexandria. And, no, they don't. In fact, I pay them every time I go there. I think it's a good girls-night-out spot. Feel free to disagree.


Alexandria: I know there are a number of outdoor movie showing around town this summer, but is there a true drive-in near?

Anne: This one in Centreville could work for you, eh? Movies play on Saturdays.


Arlington, Va.: What's a girl to do in D.C. when she's under 21? I've been on my own with a full time job and roommates and bills and all that since I was 17. I'm a big girl but no one wants to treat me like one! It's always such a hassle to figure out things I can do with my friends, all of which are over 21. Pool halls, clubs, karaoke, and even salsa dancing I recently discovered are off limits if you're not 21! Any tips or ideas for the under 21 crowd that doesn't want to spend every weekend at home or at the movies watching Bruno for the 5th time?

Rhome: Afterhours is actually 18 and over tomorrow night, if you're into a loud sweaty pounding dance party. You've got your choice between deep house and mash-up/club beat type tunes.


Germantown, Md.: What's the dealio with Cameron Run Waterpark in Alexandria? I may be approaching 30 but I still love waterparks. Is this a good place for the kid at heart?

Stephanie: Ah yes, the site of my all-time worst sunburn. But if memory serves (it's been a while), it's a fun place to spend a day, especially when you factor in how close it is. Just don't forget your SPF 50.


Reston, Va.: What do you think of the new Public Bar that replaced Five? I was thinking of trying it out this weekend.

Rhome: I've been putting this off because the ghosts of phenomenal times past at Five & The Garage might haunt me too much to do a balanced assessment. Anyone else check it out yet?


Restaurant Week 2009: Now that the list of Restaurant Week participants is out, any input on which are the best places to go that week?

Julia: The places I mentioned above are good bets, I think. I'd also add Sei to that list, considering it's relatively new and pricey.

As the poster above mentioned, the steakhouses are usually the places to get the best value. When you think about it -- and as I've written many times before -- $35 isn't really *that* great a deal unless you're going to some of the most expensive restaurants in town. For example, The Palm is on that list. I can't remember when the Palm has done RW before. That could be an interesting choice.

After bouts of cynicism and disillusionment, I've finally come to a good place about Restaurant Week. It may not be a huge "deal," but it's an excuse to try out a restaurant you haven't yet. So, if there's a place you want to try, go. You may find that the RW menu doesn't look so good when you get there and end up spending less by just ordering an entree a la carte.


Some random relatively new federal regulation: Ah, tis not random, but the result of a concerted effort by charter bus operators. They were feeling priced out of the market by subsidized (through local monies, federal grants, etc.) transit agencies renting their buses, so the Federal Transit Administration created new regs limiting when public transit agencies can operate charter services. Of course, no one is hiring the public operators because they're too expensive, so the net result is a loss to the public, and no extra money in private charter operators' pockets. Thanks, a former public transit employee who spent way too much time helping transit agencies all over the country comply with the stupid reg.

David: Hmmm, OK then. The more you know...

I will be doing a Top 5 McCartney Beatles Songs thing over at Post Rock tomorrow, so if you want to play along, look for that post in the morning.


Sterling, Va.: Re: Getting to National Harbor sans auto

You can take the ferry from Old Town Alexandria. I believe it takes about 20 minutes for roughly $16. More fun than a bus!

Rhome: Yup. Dunno if getting to Alexandria first from original poster's location of NW is more convenient, but might make for a great combo evening. Metro to King's Street, kick it in Old Town, then hop over the water for Harbor fun.


FYI on Proof: Any dinner party of 10 or more requires that you sign a contract, put a 50% deposit down, and go with a very limited & expensive fixed price menu.

Julia: Hm, that's interesting. Thanks.


To Under-21 in Arlington: What's a girl to do??? Let's see....Jazz in the Sculpture Garden, kayaking along the Potomac, meet friends for dinner, picnic in Rock Creek Park, throw a dinner party, take a cooking class, check out a free performance at Millenium Stage, enjoy a class at your local gym. Sounds to me like you're idea of "things to do" is a little too narrow, Arlington!!

Rhome: I'm just the messenger.


Searching past transcripts?: How DO you search your old transcripts? I swear I used to be able to do that, but can no longer find a link.

Julia: There's a search box on this page for GOG transcripts.


Washington, D.C.: For the shawarma seeker: The Lebanese Butcher in Falls Church has lamb shawarma, and it's delicious!

Julia: Another tip.


Alexandria, Va.: Just kidding re "Does Co Co. Sala pay you by the number of references?". Love the chats. Keep up the good work!

Julia: Thanks for writing back, Alexandria. I was about to be bummed out all day. Love you too!


Bridal alterations: Ann's Boutique in Burke, Va. Ann is fantastic!

Julia: And another one.


Washington, D.C.: Dear Going Out Gurus, Help! I need a feather boa for a costume party I'm attending this weekend. I'm not having any luck locating any costume, magic or accessory stores that are centrally located (preferably NW). Any suggestions as to where one might locate a feather boa for purchase!?

Million thanks for all your great suggestions!

Julia: Okay, so it's in Southeast, but Backstage will definitely have you covered. Plus, it's a fun little curiosity shop and really not that hard to get to -- just off the Orange/Blue at Eastern Market.


Mt. Vernon Triangle: Hello All (GOGs and Readers Alike!),

I am a devoted reader but first time question-er. With all the time I have invested in learning about the D.C. scene, I am a bit embarrassed at my current predicament.... I have been asked to come up with a good location to meet a friend after work on Thursday. His requirements were 1) a good beer selection 2) good/cheap appetizers and 3) in Washington, DC. Can you all help remind me of some of our options?

Thanks so much!

Stephanie: How about Birreria Paradiso? Brasserie Beck was my first inclination because they have a great beer selection, but the food is pretty pricey.


Silver Spring: Hi Guys,

PLEASE help me. There is no one else to turn to. I need help.

I cannot find anywhere to buy ostrich steaks in D.C. Not at a restaurant (although take any recommendations) but at a market. I know this isn't normally your bag, but can you help? Somehow? Ask your neighbors/friends/audience?

Please I need ostrich!


Julia: Call Let's Meat on the Avenue. They don't have it on hand, but they can get it for you. (For some reason, this whole exchange is reminding me of "You want a toe? I'll get you a toe. With green nail polish!" We should so do a Big Lebowski-themed event sometime.)


Clifton, Va.: I believe there is a real drive in down off 1-81 near Staunton and one near Baltimore and one in nearby PA. I believe they have non-kiddy movies.

So fire up the old early 60's Pontiac grand Prix w/the 421 Super Duty and the backseat the size of California King and enjoy.

Just google for drive ins.

Anne: We have you covered too: Baltimore, off 81. PA is a little outside our reach, but I always pass this one on the way to visit my folks. It's probably an hour and 15-30 minutes drive.


McPherson Square: Going to Liberty Tavern on Saturday evening with a group of 15 to hang out in downstairs bar area. How early should I get there to grab a table/couch? Any advice on how to make this evening pleasurable there would be appreciated. I've been there twice and, one time was lucky to grab a couch, the other had to stand in the middle of the room getting shuffled around everytime a waiter came out kitchen area.

Julia: 5? 5:30? Seriously, that place gets packed. A group of 15 is tough to fit in anywhere, but especially at Liberty Tavern, I think. I love Liberty Tavern, but if it doesn't work out when you get there, you could also move the group down the block to Spider Kellys or something.


Washington, D.C.: Best kabobs are at Kabob Palace in Crystal City. No contest.

Julia: Another one!


Lets say I am over 18: WAY over 18 and not totally adverse to a loud sweaty pounding dance party, but just as happy with some retro dance tunes. Less worried about the music and more worried about feeling like a codger and a voyer.

Where do the ole' folks boogie?

Rhome: Well, the deep house scene in this town is very un-ageist. You've got college kids all the way up to people in approaching 60 dancing together. A good DJ buddy of mine who could be my momma has sent me packing in fatigue off the dance floor as the sun comes up more than a few times. You can boogie with that crew at the Liberal party this Sunday at 8 p.m. at Fab Lounge. Or get your classic soul with Daylight.

If those aren't your preferred types of music, I find the salsa, swing and hand-dance scenes are also welcoming of all ages. Particularly in salsa, age is often a virtue, because time develops smooth moves and confident leading.


Reston, Va.: Looking for a restaurant suggestion, please. Visiting relative who has visited D.C. many, many times wants to go out to dinner tonight....something not too fancy, but fun. Willing to travel to Arlington, D.C. Thanks!!!

Julia: Perhaps the recently reviewed Eatonville? Or some place like Oyamel?


Public Bar: I've been once and will probably go back for some team related HHs.. honestly, they did a nice job with remodeling the place. Like Rhome, I kept on comparing it to what I remembered from FIVE "Oh! The bar was here... you could walk above the dance floor there.." The rooftop had both bars open when I went, but got packed pretty fast. The one thing I hope they work on is music.. when I was there, sounded like they were playing from a satellite radio station till their DJ showed up (he was late). and his selection and skills were so-so.. Seemed to be a decent mix of people, probably skewing younger in age..well, everyone is young to me now ;-)

Rhome: The only thing constant is change. *sigh*


DC: Meat on the Ave it is. There are ways, Dude. There are ways.


Julia: No problem.


Big Lebowski, themed event : Yes, please. At Lucky Strike?

I'll bring the White Russians!

Julia: Totally. And that's a wrap for us, folks. We'll catch you next week. In the meantime, remember: The Dude abides.


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 in with them throughout the week on the GOG Blog or join their live Q&A every Thursday at 1 p.m.

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