What a way to spend a Sunday -- fighting traffic, looking for an open parking lot, racing to the stadium. Then you stand in line for a hot dog and your beer is jostled from your cup and on to your sleeve. Then you drive home and find yourself going the wrong way on the Anacostia Freeway. Hey!You're lucky enough to hold tickets to a Redskins game. Do you deserve these headaches?
Some local restaurants think you deserve better: They'll feed you and drive you there.
The trip can be half the fun when you're bolstered with an eggs Benedict-Bloody Mary brunch, riding from restaurant to game with a congenial crowd. This Sunday the fans will be charged up for the 'Skins' home game against the Eagles at 1. If you want to join them, here are some eat-and-ride ways to match your Sunday mood, be it raucous, cerebral, collegiate or patrician. But whenever you decide to go, try to made reservations with the restaurant at least two days ahead.
THE MARKET INN, at Second and E Streets SW, is the grandaddy of the eat-and-ride starting points. Back in 1962, when the 'Skins were still playing in the old Griffith Stadium, a bunch of boosters who met at the restaurant started hiring a bus -- and started a trend. Some of the old-timers still ride the Market Inn Bus, but newcomers who have the round-trip fare, $3 including beer, are welcome, too. An appropriately macho meal before the game, their sirloin-and-eggs brunch goes for $7.50. Reservations: 554-2100.
JENKINS HILL, at 223 Pennsylvania Avenue SE (on what used to be Jenkins Hill but is now called Capitol Hill), caters to the lawyers, politicos and congressional staffers who took over the hill. Sunday brunch, starting at 10:30 at the political pub, features eggs Alsacienne -- two puff-pastries filled with chopped chicken liver and topped with poached eggs smothered. For $6.50, the dish comes with all the champagne you can drink. The bus to and from the game costs $4 and comes with all the beer you can drink -- but it's a short trip. Reservations: 544-6600.
THE BEOWULF, an old English saloon at 1112 20th Street NW, begins serving brunch at 10:30. Nestle in the heated patio with some eggs sardou (poached eggs with spinach, hollandaise sauce and artichoke hearts) for $4.25 or French toast Grand Marnier for $3.85. Two buses leave for the stadium an hour before game time. Round-trip bus fare, including beer and white wine, is $6. Reservations: 296-4111.
CHOLLY'S, at 2430 Chillum Road in Hyattsville, is a plain, old-fashioned bar with tables, pinball and pool. A plain, old-fashioned breakfast of scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon or sausage, orange juice, toast and jelly starts at 10:30 and cost $2.50. Buses leave for the stadium at noon and 12: 20. Bus fare is $4. Reservations: 277-5300.
THE GEORGETOWN INN, at 1310 Wisconsin Avenue NW, serves a champagne brunch beginning at 11. In addition to unlimited champagne, $8.75 lets you help yourself to a table filled with eggs Benedict, (beef pot pie, fruit salad and other brunch goodies. The bus leaves at noon and costs $4 round trip Reservations: 333-8900.
MARRIOTT TWIN BRIDGES starts a brunch at 10 that includes blintzes, barbecued beef, chicken papagallo and zucchini provencale, along with the more usual brunch fare. The adult price, $7.95, includes a Bloody Mary or screwdriver. Kids pay $4.95. Buses start ferrying passengers to the stadium an hour and a half before game time and the fare is $4. Reservations: 628-4400. Marriott Key Bridge (524-6400) and Marriott Bethesda (897-9400) also have eat-and-ride arrangements.
NICKY'S, a friendly neighborhood place at 2340 Wisconsin Avenue NW, features omelets made right at your table. The omelet Roma, stuffed with mozzarella cheese and pepperoni, cost $3.95, including salad bar, homefries and a basket of French bread. Brunch begins at 11, and the bus for the game, which costs $6 including Bloody Marys and beer, leaves at noon. Reservations: 338-1966.
THE VIENNA INN at 120 Maple Avenue in Vienna, which the manager describes as "an old-shoe sort of place," starts Sunday breakfast at 9. The staples are creamed chipped beef on toast or sausage and eggs for $1.50. The bus costs $4.25 round trip and leaves at 11:30. Reservations: 938-9592.
MATT KANE'S, the quintessential Irish pub at 1118 13th Street NW, charges $5 for a bus to and from the game but space is available only if the season-ticket-holders don't show up.
"But if they'll stand, I'll take them anyway," says Kane. "We don't serve what you'd call brunch -- just breakfast. Ham and eggs or sausage and eggs for about $2.50. We open at about 10:30."
Call Matt at 638-8058 to see if there's room on the bus.
CLYDE'S 3236 M Street in Georgetown, is a place where you don't order steak and eggs. You order filet and eggs that come with rum buns and salad bar cost $5.75. Brunch begins at 9, so you'll have plenty of time to catch the bus to the game at noon. Bus fare is $6 for adults, $3 for kids. The adults get to imbibe beer and Bloody Marys en route.
HAWK AND DOVE: These birds may seem like throwbacks from the '60s, but the pub of the same name is still going strong on Capitol Hill at 329 Pennsylvania Avenue SE. Both mood and food, according to manager Jeffrey Young, and simple and easy. The Hawk and Dove Opener, for instance, consist of fruit, juice, muffins and hot cereal, and costs $2.95. The bus to the game, including beer of course, costs $4. Brunch begins at 10. Reservations: 543-3300.
Ray's DELLY: At 13721; Connecticut Avenue in Wheaton, try lox and bagels and cream cheese that come with tomato and onion, for $3.15. The bus to the game costs$7 round trip, including beer, soda and peanuts. Ray's opens at 8. To reserve a place on the bus call 460-3400.
THREE PIGS, 1394 Chain Bridge Road, McLean, serves up an appropriate specialty -- pork barbecue, for $1.50 or $1.80, depending on just how piggy you feel. No reservations are needed for the restaurant, which opens at 11 Sundays, but to reserve a seated on the bus, call 356-1700. Round-trip fare is $5.50.
THE NO-BEER BUS: If you don't want a package deal, Metrobus has Redskins Specials ferrying fans to the stadium from 13 locations. Fare is $3.50 round trip -- $4.50 from Tysons Corner and Kamp Washington -- and buses start leaving two hours before game time. Call 637-2437 for exact departure points. If you're leaving from Tysons Corner, catch the Sunday brunch buffet at the Holiday Inn for $4.95 and board the bus right next door.
THE GREENHOUSE: The greenery-filled restaurant in L'Enfant Plaza Hotel sits atop a secret underground passage to the stadium: Metro. In fact, you can buy your Metro ticket right in the dining room so you won't have to face the formidable farecard machine. Brunch begins at 11: It's all the champagne you can drink plus all you can eat of more than a hundred dishes. The groaning buffet table holds everything from beef stroganoff to cherries jubilee, and there's an on-the-spot omelet-maker. Cost is $9.95 plus $1.25 to park your car all day. The price includes a ticket for a half-price drink at the Apple of Eve when you Metro back to the hotel after the game. Reservations: 484-1000.
O'DONNELL'S SEA GRILL: Almost hidden among all the destruction and constructoin downtown is one of the city's old-time seafood establishments, at 1221 E. Street NW. In an atmosphere of copper pots and polished wood, you can pile your plate with eggs, sausage, bacon, crab gumbo, filet of blue fish, steamship round of beef and fruit -- all you can eat for $6.95. Drinks are extra. Leave your car -- free for the duration of the game -- at the PMI garage at 424 11th Street NW. Walk one block to Metro Center and take the Blue Line to the stadium, Don't forget your barrette, just in case. Brunch begins at 11:30. Reservations: 737-2101.
SLEEP AND EAT AND RIDE -- If you don't want to go out into the cold for brunch, check into the Sheraton-Potomac the night before the game. Next morning, enjoy a champagn brunch. Help yourself to smoked seafood, remaki and croissants. Then board the bus for the game. The whole deal costs $45 and may be reserved by calling 840-0200.
THE STADIUM, JAMES -- Or is it Jacques? If you just can't face the beer on the bus or the formidable farecard machine at Metro, Capitol Watergate Limousine service (333-0383) will send around a Rolls Royce with a multilingual chauffeur. (Rate: $50 per hour with a five-hour minimum). After you and the chauffeur pick up three of your best friends, head toward the stadium by way of the Capitol Hill Wine and Cheese Shop at 611 Pennsylvania Avenue SE. Since you've called in advance (546-4600) to order your Italian heroes and a bottle of the bubbly, well-chilled, they'll be ready and waiting. At 17th and Pennsylvania, turn left toward the historic Congressional Cemetery, where you can choose from among thousands of illustrious souls for company. Spread your ermine lap robe and picnic near the grave of John Philip Sousa, or Indian chief Pushmataha or even J. Edgar Hoover. After the picnic the Rolls will whish you the few remaining blocks to the stadium and wait for you. Any of your party who get bored with the game can go back to the car and practice French with Jacques.
EL CHEAPO -- Feeling un-rich? Stuff your backpack with the best your refrigerator has to offer. Throw in a Thermos of coffee, and bike to the game. A bike path, marked by little green signs that warn motorist not to run you over while you're on it, leads from the Capitol through Lincoln Park to the stadium. Picnic en route in the park, or better still, spread your repast on the river bank next to the stadium parkin lot. Between bites, smile at the folks fighting over parking places.