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The Going Out Gurus
Thursday, November 4, 2010; 1:00 PM

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Justin Rude: Fringe and the AFI Euro Film Festival today, and Foto Week, on Saturday. What are you doing to stay indoors in this wonderful weather we are having?Let us know, and lets get chatting.

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Pumpkin Procrastination: Does anyone know of any pumpkin patches/corn mazes within 2 hrs or so of DC/NoVA that are still open? Would love to get my fall-fix this weekend. Thanks!

Alex Baldinger: It's in Loudoun too, so well within your two-hour window.

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H St.: Hello, glorious gurus!I am celebrating my birthday Saturday night with dinner at Ethiopic with my fiance and a few friends. Hooray! Dinner isn't until 8:30, so I was thinking it would be fun to have a drink or two before dinner at one of the many bars along H. Ideally, I'd like a place that's not too crowded (i.e., we could sit, which I realize may be asking a lot), and has a good drink selection. I'm partial to Belgian beers, but also enjoy wine and creative cocktails. I know there are many options, so am relying on you to help me choose. Thank you!!

Stephanie Merry: Ethiopic is on the less populated end of the H Street strip, so if you want to stay down on that side, I'd probably say Toyland. Plus you can play Connect Four.

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Finally Going to the City!: We are spending the night in DC and would love a suggestion on places to eat. We'll be in town for a lunch, dinner & breakfast. We don't have the most adventerous appetites, but also are not too picky! We're staying at the Mayflower, so anywhere in walking distance (or easy Metro) would be appreciated. Thanks so much... this is such a treat for us!

Justin Rude: Well, you can't go wrong with the Oval Room for dinner. The Tabard Inn is nice, especially their brunch if you happen to be around on the weekend (make reservations). You aren't too far from J&G either, if you are craving steak. And that's ignoring the bounty of Dupont Circle which is right at your doorstep. I wouldn't overlook Pizzeria Paradiso's great pies and impressive beer list, Agora's Turkish small plates, BGR's burgers or the seafood at Pesce. Feel like splurging? Get reservations at Obelisk. Really, there is so much there that its hard to narrow it down without feeling like I'm cheating you out of some of your options.Chatters, where would you eat if you had one meal in the Dupont area?

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Eastern Market: Hey GOG's,I'm taking some friends to Eastern Market this weekend and we wanted to go on Saturday, but with the onset of the cooler weather I didn't know if they're hours/days have changed. Will most of the vendors be out on Saturday or is Sunday pretty much the heaviest populated day?

Stephanie Merry: You'll see as many vendors out on Saturday at Eastern Market, and despite the cooler temps, the hours haven't changed.

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Growling in DC: Moved here recently from Colorado with my collection of growlers, but I'm quite confused about the DC/MD/VA laws about filling them. I have figured out the Shenandoah Brewing Company, Sweetwater Tavern, and (maybe) the Dogfish Head Brewpub in Delaware fill them... but Clipper City Brewery and the rest of the Dogfish Head restaurants do not. Any other suggestions for where this thirsty craft beer lover can fill these empty jugs??

Alex Baldinger: My go-to growler spot is Franklin's in Hyattsville -- I never head up around that area without planning on a stop there for a fill-up. You can also hit up one of the DuClaw locations; my roommate has a growler from there, but I can't vouch with any first-hand experience.

Justin Rude: I think the Mad Fox Brewery in Falls Church will fill growlers as well.

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bday dinner: Where to pregame before dinner at Kushi? Thanks!

Justin Rude: The Passenger? But really, Kushi has one of the best Sake selections in the city. Assuming that you mean drinking, I wouldn't pre-game too hard before heading there.

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Hair Friday at Kennedy Center: Hi Gurus,Group of about 5 or 6 of us going to see Hair at 7:30 at KC on Friday. Shows 2.5 hours, so any ideas for food around 10 or 10:30 for a group that size? Don't need to be in Foggy Bottom, so Dupont or surrounding areas are good. Like Circle Bistro but think too expensive for this group. Thank you.

Stephanie Merry: For post-KenCen dinner, I usually head to Afterwords in Dupont, which should fit the bill. If you want to go more casual, then Tackle Box in Georgetown could work.

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Cold weather activities: Hi, Gurus! I am looking for a fun warming place to hang out tonight. I love the Tabard Inn. Do you know if they have turned on their fireplace yet? Any other metro-accesible options for warm drinks in a cozy atmosphere?

Justin Rude: Just talked to them. Its not on now. They say its a daily call, and the weather has to be solidly in the 40s before the fire it up.As for other fireplaces, Fritz likes to recommend Sonoma, and the new Pizzeria Paradiso in Alexandria has a big gas fireplace complete with fireside rocking chair.

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Diwali in DC: Where can I go to celebrate the Hindu Festival of Lights this weekend? Preferably in the District.

Lavanya Ramanathan: Happy Diwali! I really wanted to dig something up for you, but it seems the big mela locally took place last weekend at Patriot Center (I didn't even notice with all the other stuff going on). Do any readers know of Diwali events going on this weekend?

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Re: Growler's: You can also refill in Va. at Cap City in Shirlington, Rock Bottom in Ballston and Mad Fox in Falls Church. Mad Fox is the best by far!

Justin Rude: I see we were on the same wavelength Mad Fox-wise. Dined there on Tuesday this week -- pretty good onion rings, seriously good beer.

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Growlers: You may also need to check on the policy of the brewpub - some places only fill growlers that came from there. A couple of other places I know that sell growlers that are further out are Brewer's Alley in Frederick, and Lancaster Brewing Company in, you guessed it, Lancaster, PA - don't know if either will fill growlers they didn't sell you though.

Justin Rude: Sage advice.

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Top 5 or 10 favorite pizza places?: Pizza is perhaps my favorite food in the world. Breakfast, lunch, dinner its all good. I've tried a number of places in the area, but want the must hit list.

Justin Rude: Let me direct you to our Pizza best bets list.

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Babe's Sports Bar: TBD is reporting that a bar that used to be in Tenlytown is opening in Silver Spring called Babe's Sports bar. Did any of you go to the old one? Silver Spring is badly in need of something like this and Fire Station 1 isn't cutting it. Thanks!

Alex Baldinger: It was a terrific gathering spot with a great jukebox, and when it closed, Northwest lost a real treasure. I still remember being there on that place's last night. ANYWAY -- if true, this is good news, but I hope the new place maintains the spirit of Babe's 1.0 and doesn't go upscale.

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Arena Theatre: Hi gurus I'm submitting early do to a meeting. I have tickets tonight to the opening of Oklahoma at Arena Theatre. I'm looking for a place to have dinner before the show. It needs to be close to a metro stop and moderatly priced. We are open to anything especially a place with good drinks.

Stephanie Merry: I'm heading to Oklahoma tonight, too, and was having the same debate (when I thought I had time for dinner, which I don't, alas). Unfortunately, there aren't many options in that area, so my plan was to do Matchbox or Ella's in Chinatown/Penn Quarter, because they're also on the Green Line.

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Cocktail issue: Hello Gurus! So my partner and I enjoy great cocktails and have especially fallen in love with Passenger (based on this chat's recommendation!). But I have a question generally about basically "etiquette." Many of the cocktails we like involve gin, and it seems the trend at most fine establishments is to use Plymouth gin. While I love Plymouth, my partner is severely allergic to it and to Sapphire (nuts used in the making, yes he's tried them and it's a problem) but not to a few other types of gin (Tanqueray for example). Is it rude or a faux-pas to ask for a substitute gin at a good bar, especially for a drink special? And is Tanqueray an okay sub most of the time for Plymouth?

Alex Baldinger: There's definitely nothing rude about specifying a choice of a preferred spirit -- I do it all the time. Tanqueray would be a good choice.

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Help! Tom's Chat Was Canceled Yesterday!: Since Tom's chat was canceled, I'm turning to you for advice, or really, validation. My husband's 40th is this weekend and he loves Indian food. I couldn't make reservations for Rasika, so I opted for Bombay Club. Good call or no? If yes, is there a nearby place to get a drink beforehand?

Justin Rude: Yes absolutely. I love Rasika, but Bombay Club is quieter and more intimate. Some people call it stuffy, but I think the table cloths and old school DC dining culture won't be at all inappropriate all for a big birthday. Before hand you could check out the new P.J. Clarke's at 16th and K. Its only a couple blocks away and they make good classic cocktails.

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New Year's Eve: A friend of mine recently brought up New Year's Eve. I hadn't even thought about it. Anyone have ideas/plans about where they're ringing in the New Year yet??

Alex Baldinger: Gogol Bordello announcing a New Years Eve show at 9:30 Club settled that debate for me, but I'm always more interested in doing a concert/play/comedy show on NYE than one of the big Downtown Countdown type things. Plenty more on this very topic to come in the next few weeks, we promise.

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Eating in Dupont: Raku doesn't seem to get much love but they have awesome huge delicious bowls of yellow curry soup. So filling, so yummy.

Justin Rude: And that sound absolutely perfect today.

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Arena Stage: The food at the Arena Stage Cafe is pretty good and they also have a full bar

Stephanie Merry: Another suggestion for pre-Oklahoma dining....

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Saturday fun: Any ideas for a group of 4-8 locals who are feeling overworked but underfunded.

Stephanie Merry: Here are a bunch of options for weekend fun. Personally, I'd do something related to Fall Fringe (here are some suggestions for what shows to see) or FotoWeek.

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Top 3 Great, Cheap Dinners in the City: What are your top 3?

Justin Rude: This changes somewhat frequently, but right now I would say Oohhs and Aahhs, Queen Makeda and (is this cheating because its in Arlington?) El Charrito Caminante.

Stephanie Merry: I love Chix and its neighbor the Greek Spot along with the Dupont Circle Alero on Connecticut.

Alex Baldinger: I'm going to second Steph's recommendation for Greek Spot; it's seriously that good, and the gyro platter is enough for two meals at just $10. Also on my list: the banh mi at Pho 14: $9 for the sandwich, an appetizer and a cup of soup (or $4 if you just want the sandwich).

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Dining Guide: Did you know the 2010 Dining Guide isn't linked on the front of the Going Out Guide page? It still says 2009 Dining Guide both on the front and in the Restaurant section.

Justin Rude: Rest assured that will be changed soon. On the Restaurants page its still one of the featured items. In the meantime, if you need it, here is the link.

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Petworth says...: Cheap dinners in the city - how could you leave off Taqueria Distrito Federal?

Alex Baldinger: We can't hit 'em all, but that's an excellent suggestion.

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DC Meetup - Old Friends: GOG's - pretty standard question:4 guys, all DC/Bethesda residents, having dinner and drinks tomorrow nite. One lives on U Street, one at Logan Circle, and two in MoCo. Where can we meet in DC that would be fun for a good bite and a few drinks. Last time we did this we hit up the Islander, per your request, and it was great.

Stephanie Merry: Bar Pilar immediately comes to mind, since it's my current favorite spot to grab dinner along 14th Street. There's always Churchkey/Birch and Barley if you're looking for a good beer selection.

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Saturday Brunch: Any ideas for a Saturday Birthday Brunch for about 8 people? Booze is a birthday must. Tons of Sunday options, but I am coming up empty for Saturday spots

Alex Baldinger: Hmm, given the size of your group and your preference for booze and (I'm guessing) a desire not to wait an hour for a table, I'm going to recommend Meridian Pint. Saturday brunch is from 10 to 3.

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On the rebound - where to go?: I got dumped! I'm nice looking, have a good job, my own condo and a car. I'm not a jerk, but she ditched me for this euro-trash looking dude (he wears a scarf for god's sake). Anyway, where can I meet somebody in their late 20s who likes 80-90s movies, burgers and doesn't care about politics?

Stephanie Merry: David wears a scarf -- what are you saying? Female chatters who don't care about politics and love burgers: Where are you hiding? My guess is ... everywhere except Capitol Hill and a vegetarian's convention.

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Justin Rude: Thanks for stopping by chatters. Thats it for us this week. Fritz is back next Thursday and hopefully he brings better weather with him.


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