If today is like most, Washington is alive with business travelers, here for board meetings, negotiating sessions with federal contracting officers or meetings with their elected representatives. Many have been here before. Some will be back. And most will miss out entirely on the fact that this is Washington: Not Boston. Not Milwaukee. And certainly not Dallas. If you happen to be a business traveler, you will miss out on this city because you: * Have breakfasted at an overpriced coffee shop in your hotel. * Had some soggy sandwiches brought in for lunch, or perhaps adjourned for one of those infamous three-martini ordeals. * Ordered a room-service steak for dinner or dined on something fattening at an unconscionably priced establishment featuring "Continental Cuisine." This is, no doubt, the way you've always traveled. The way you like to travel. The way your boss expects you to travel. But if you want a change from the tourist haunts, consider an introduction to some of the dining treats of the Real Washington. Washington may be the seat of power and the Nation's Capital and all that, but it's also a city which three-quarters of a million people call home. Most of us don't have expense accounts, so we rarely blow 40 bucks per on dinner. You don't have to either. There is nothing particularly mysterious about this expedition. It requires only an open mind, a touch of the pioneer spirit to venture into off-the-tourist-path neighborhoods and the will power to forgo rhino loins at Dominique's. All addresses are in Northwest Washington, and many are but a short walk from one or another of the downtown hotels. Let's start with breakfast. Washington used to be known as a sleepy Southern town on the Potomac. Southern cuisine naturally reigned supreme, and the epitome of the Southern gastronomic tradition was and remains, breakfast. A good breakfast in the Southern tradition is still the best way to start the day, and it certainly need not cost you the GNP of an emerging nation. Sholl's (two locations: Vermont Avenue and K Street; 21st and K Streets) is a Washington institution, with Evan Sholl dispensing homilies and fresh, home-style cafeteria fare to literally generations of bureaucrats, shoppers, bag ladies -- and tourists. Sholl's is simply the best food value in the District of Columbia. Baked goods are made on the premises and are always recommended. I suppose it's possible to spend more than $2.50 for breakfast at Sholl's, but I've never done it. The other great breakfast treat in Washington is the Florida Avenue Grill. This one is a bit out of the way at 11th Street and (surprise) Florida Avenue. Prepare for a feast fit for the owner of the feed and seed in Auburn, Ga., or for that long-haul trucker from Luverne, Ala. Two eggs with bacon, sausage, scrapple or half smoke, plus biscuits and your choice of grits, apples or home fries -- all for $2.65. Served on the finest-quality Melmac. Lunchtime. If you're here on business, chances are you're going to have to keep it on the professional side. Still, a few downtown eateries deserve mention. In the old commercial downtown area, Antonio's (633 D St.) features an odd combination of Cuban and Italian food. Have the Cuban Special -- black beans and rice with either beef or pork ($2.15 small, $3 large) -- and wine or a Dos Equis. Around the corner at 7th and E Streets is D.C. Space: avant-garde art on the walls and excellent health-type sandwiches such as the Monterey Melt (guacamole, mushroom and tomato covered with melted cheese, $3.50) on the tables. The mustardy house dressing is wonderful. Try it on the chef's salad ($3.95). West of the White House, the Organization of American States has an unusually attractive cafeteria in the basement at 1889 F St. Try the salad bar ($1 or $2) or one of the entrees ($1.50-$2.50). The food -- both Hispanic and Anglo -- is quite good, and beer and wine are available. There's also a garden for alfresco dining. (The OAS is practically a state secret, so don't tell anyone who lives here.) Hard to believe, but $4.35 will still buy you a full-course Greek meal at the Astor (1813 M St.). The food's not often great, but it is often very good. The West End location is especially convenient, and if it weren't for the prices on the menu, you might almost think you were at a pretty high-tone establishment. The baked spanakopeta or moussaka dinners (both $5.35) are traditional favorities. Try the baklava (95 ) for dessert with Greek coffee (65 ). For dinner, we can roam a little further afield, but we'll stay in the District (what we call Washington). That way you won't have to go home raving about this "wonderful Chinese restaurant in Washington," only to be embarrassed when someone mentions it is in Arlington. First, there's Adams Morgan, a funky, ethnic enclave just north of Dupont Circle. Pick up the No. 42 bus along Connecticut Avenue and get off at 18th Street and Columbia Road. Or walk up from the Washington Hilton. My personal favorite isn't ethnic at all. Millie and Al's (2440 18th St.) might just be Washington's best bar. There's no other neighborhood bar in its class. On a good night the pizza is about the best this side of Chicago: a large combo ($8.75) serves four hungry lawyers. The place boasts as catholic an assortment of barflies as obtains anywhere. Last time I was there, a customer was cradling a motorcycle helmet containing two baby raccoons. For good, cheap Cuban food, Washington's favorite is the Omega (1858 Columbia Rd.). Generous portions are served with black beans/rice and bread. Spicy, chicken enchiladas ($6) and lomo saltado (beef with peppers and onions, $6.50) are recommended. If the Omega is too crowded, you might alternatively take your Hispanic appetite down the street to El Rincon Espanol (1826 Columbia Rd.). The chiles rellenos ($3.75) are a bargain and the paella marinara ($5.95) a steal. After dinner, try coffee and dessert at Cafe' Lautrec (2431 18th St.), with entertainment nightly. (If you're around for Sunday brunch, a neighborhood tradition is Avignone Fre res (1777 Columbia Rd.). Ask for a seat in the balcony. For $4.45, order eggs Benedict. You probably don't have any Ethiopian restaurants where you come from. We have a half dozen. One of the best is Axum (2307 18th St.), installed in an unassuming Adams Morgan townhouse. Pull off some injera (the thin, spongy bread) and use it to pick up your food. No utensils necessary. Try yebeg khey wott, the spicy lamb with homemade yogurt ($5.50), or minchetabish, a spiced beef stew with yogurt ($6.75). Around the corner from Adams Morgan is a take-out-only storefront deserving special mention. Scott's (3066 Mt. Pleasant St.) serves up what are generally conceded to be the best ribs in D.C. ($4.65). Attesting to this are letters of praise from Cabinet officers proudly displayed on the walls. If you're stopping at the Shoreham, right in the neighborhood is Tucson Cantina (2605 Connecticut Ave.), a California-type Mexican eatery. The food is sometimes a bit too fast-foody, but the bean burros ($2) are in a class by themselves. The service at AV Ristorante (607 New York Ave.) is indifferent on a good day and downright hostile on a bad one. The location is a bit odd -- better take a cab -- but the value makes the trip worthwhile. My favorite is the linguini and white clam sauce ($6). Caruso on the juke box. Back over toward Dupont Circle you might try Paru's (2010 S St.), a spartan place where the main decoration is a large map of India. Everything on their short, unpronounceable menu of Indian vegetarian goodies is wonderful, and it's all dirt cheap. Masala dosa, rich pancakes with a spicy potato filling ($2.15), is the most popular dish. They close early. Food for Thought (1738 Connecticut Ave.) has healthful food, aup his mind whom he will support for council chairman.

Some of the council members Dixon did not list as supporters of his reelection effort--Wilhelmina J. Rolark (D-Ward 8), Nadine P. Winter (D-Ward 6) and David A. Clarke (D-Ward 1)--gave varying reasons for opposing Dixon.

"The chairman of the council," said Winter, "must have the qualities of high leadership in my opinion, such as integrity and honesty. He must be impressive and able to work with other people . . . He has to be able to represent the council when he speaks at special engagements. I think it has to be a super person. I'm looking around and evaluating who might be running."

The most often mentioned opponent for Dixon is Clarke, who recently fought with Dixon over the council chairman's refusal to let other council members see the council's budget before it was submitted to the mayor.

"I'm considering it," Clarke said of running for the council chairmanship., "I have some criticisms of Dixon , but I have not made my decision to run or whom to support."