The Washington Post

Best of 2012: D.C. Life

Bike Lane: 15th Street NW

As long as idiots haven’t parked their cars in it, this two-way track offers cyclists a speedy trip through downtown. The separation from automobile traffic makes it especially popular, according to the city’s transportation department, which has counted as many as 355 riders per hour whizzing through the intersection of 15th and P streets NW. The lane will get serious competition this fall when a similar, albeit one-way, track is installed on L Street. It’ll be painted green, but it’s 15th that may be envious. V.H.

1st: 15 Street NW
Pennsylvania Avenue
3rd: East Capitol Street

Bus Line: Circulator

The 42 inspired a romantic rock song this year — Rene Moffatt’s “Route 42” — but still came in second behind the city’s Circulator buses. It’s not a completely fair fight: The fleet of red coaches travels five routes and covers a huge swath of territory. It also couldn’t have hurt that while fares for Metrobuses (including the 42) were raised to $1.60 in July, it’s still just a buck to hop on the Circulator. V.H.

1st: Circulator
3rd: X2

Metro Line: They’re All Bad

We asked Metro riders to choose a favorite line, but the overwhelming response was loud and clear: “They’re all bad.” That’s not surprising. You’re pretty much guaranteed to have a stressful commute no matter which line you take. Red riders have put up with an out-of-service Dupont exit and closed stations. Blue Liners feel abandoned during Rush Plus. Everyone deals with hot cars, odd odors and perpetual weekend track work. If anything can unite a city known for its partisan divide, it’s complaining about Metro. V.H.

1st: They’re All Bad
Red Line
3rd: Green Line

Metro Station: Gallery Place

Folks must like getting crushed, because a station that’s become notorious for overcrowding landed the most votes. Its appeal more likely comes from what’s aboveground at Gallery Place — namely, the city’s most bustling entertainment district. That, or there are a heck of a lot of fans of that rainbow light art near the station’s 7th and H Street exit (its official name: “The Glory of the Chinese Descendants”). V.H.

1st: Gallery Place
Union Station
3rd: Dupont Circle

Place to Meet People: Eastern Market

If you’ve got 576 friends on Facebook and still spend your Friday nights watching reruns of “The Big Bang Theory,” it’s time to make some real-life buddies. Eastern Market combines all the food groups (fruit, vegetables, meat, pastries, soaps and jewelry), thus attracting the coolest people in the District. Just ask how you can use that heirloom pumpkin you just bought and you’ve got five recipes and three friends. K.P.K.

1st: Eastern Market, 225 Seventh St. SE; 202-698-5253. (Eastern Market)
2nd: Kramerbooks and Afterwords, 1517 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-387-1400. (Dupont Circle)
3rd: Wonderland Ballroom, 1101 Kenyon St. NW; 202-232-5263. (Columbia Heights)

Date Spot: Georgetown Waterfront

When dinner and a movie just won’t cut it, Express readers turn to the Georgetown Waterfront. In the park, you can meander down paths and pretend you’re not in a city at all. Washington Harbor, the commercial food-drink-fun complex, offers dining, steps that lead right down to the Potomac, and a come-on-in-the-water’s-fine fountain where you and your date can play like kids in a lawn sprinkler. K.P.K.

1st: Georgetown Waterfront, Georgetown, D.C.
2nd: Zaytinya, 701 Ninth St. NW; 202-638-0800. (Gallery Place)
3rd: POV at the W Hotel, 515 15th St. NW. (Metro Center)

Place to See Famous People: Georgetown

“Look, Honey! George Will!” won’t quicken any US Weekly addict’s pulse. Wannabe-paparazzos should stake out Georgetown, where that scruffy dude in a baseball hat and sunglasses could be Brad Pitt. Suggested stalking locations include Café Milano, where George Clooney is a repeat customer, and Bourbon Steak, at which Robert Redford and Adam Levine (who let him in?) dined this spring. Mick Jagger and fashion designer L’Wren Scott were seen at Filomena in February, and Drake and his entourage were spotted out shopping in June. K.P.K.

1st: Georgetown, Washington, D.C.
2nd: Old Ebbitt Grill, 675 15th St. NW; 202-347-4800. (Metro Center)
3rd: POV at the W Hotel, 515 15th St. NW. (Federal Triangle)

Volunteer Organization: DC Central Kitchen

Since its founding in 1989, DC Central Kitchen has been fighting hunger on multiple fronts. The charity sends 5,000 meals a day to local homeless shelters, after-school programs and other destinations; offers training for culinary jobs; delivers produce to stores in D.C.’s food deserts; and serves fresh, healthy meals to low-income D.C. schoolkids. K.P.K.

1st: DC Central Kitchen, 425 2nd St. NW; 202-234-0707. (Judiciary Square)
2nd: Food and Friends, 219 Riggs Road NE; 202-269-2277. (Fort Totten)
3rd: Hope Connections for Cancer Support, 5430 Grosvenor Lane, Bethesda; 301-493-5002. (Bethesda)

Art Classes: Capitol Hill Arts Workshop

The course list at CHAW reminds us how much we wanted to take all these classes in college but didn’t because we thought Journalism 101 would lead to a stable career. It’s good to know it’s not too late! “We get quite accomplished artists and people who have never put brush to paper,” says director Jill Strachan. Beading and fabric dying in “Beautiful Fiber Arts” or bookmaking in “Bound and Scored” both sound like solid resume boosters. L.M.

1st: Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, 545 Seventh St. SE; 202-547-6839. (Eastern Market)
2nd: Art Jamz, 1742 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-709-8078. (Dupont Circle)

Language Classes: Alliance Francaise Washington

Google Translate is of limited value when you’re in Paris and really need to pee or discuss existentialism. Learn the language of love from Alliance Francaise, which offers training for babies (as young as 12 months), kids, teens and adults. Courses have adorable names like Phonétique (a look at the French accent) and Perfectionnement! (a brush-up course). Registration is still open for several fall classes. H.J.M.

1st: Alliance Francaise Washington, multiple locations.
2nd: Spanish Black Belt, multiple locations.

Cooking Classes: LivingSocial 918 F Street

“Connecting with local chefs and cooking with other people is part of what LivingSocial is about,” says Alex Michael, general manager of entertainment for the coupon giant’s culinary venture. The one-off classes cover such topics as brunch cooking, cupcake baking and paella making; one upcoming offering is ominously titled “Sausage Making Class + Beer.” Guest chefs — Sandra Panetta of Sweetbites food truck and Jaleo’s Ramon Martinez are two — make the $60 to $100 price tag more than worth it. Classes are held in a state-of-the-art, 44-seat kitchen with TV monitors so everybody can see the chefs work their magic. L.M.

1st: LivingSocial 918 F Street, 918 F St. NW; 202-695-8938. (Metro Center)
2nd: CulinAerie, 1131 14th St. NW; 202-587-5674. (McPherson Square)
3rd: Hill’s Kitchen, 713 D St. SE; 202-543-1997. (Eastern Market)

Neighborhood Blog: Prince of Petworth

Dan Silverman balks at the notion that his blog serves as a guide to D.C. life. “I see myself more as a facilitator,” he says. “The residents themselves are the guides and ambassadors.” Silverman launched PoP in 2006 and has since made it his full-time job. (“I work seven days a week. If I’m sick, I work.”) He doesn’t limit himself to covering his own neighborhood: PoP includes news from all over the District, whether the topic is real estate, transit or adorable animals. R.G.

1st: Prince of Petworth
2nd: DCist
3rd: Borderstan

Food Blog: What Micky Eats

The blog’s name neatly summarizes its content: a chronicle of everything D.C. resident Micky (who chooses to keep her real name private) eats. What makes Micky stand out is her everywoman approach. She doesn’t rely on flashy photos or trendy foodie-speak; her blog is “just my personal opinion about what I like to eat.” She’s hoping to branch out into recreating restaurant dishes with advice from the chefs who created them. R.G.

1st: What Micky Eats
2nd: Bitches Who Brunch
3rd: Dining in D.C.

Tweeter: Lisa Shapiro

@DiningInDC, an outgrowth of Lisa Shapiro’s blog of the same name (, keeps fans abreast of D.C. food news, specials and events, as well as Shapiro’s own culinary adventures. Follow her for pictures of her meals (“Tomato braised Montauk Fluke Filet with soft polenta” from Equinox does sound good) or food-related tips (silica gel packets prevent pumpkins from getting moldy). R.G.

1st: @DiningInDC
2nd: @ThBlackSquirrel
3rd: @ClotureClub

D.C.-Related Tumblr: Texts From Hillary

Stacy Lambe and Adam Smith were drinking vodka at Nellie’s this past April, discussing the sudden popularity of a photo of the secretary of state wearing shades on a military plane while busy with her Blackberry. “What’s she actually doing in the photo? Who is she texting?” Lambe wondered. Smith suggested a tumblr, and a meme was born. Their first post: “Hey Hil, Whatchu doing?” Obama asks. “Running the world,” Clinton replies. B.M.

1stTexts from Hillary
2nd: #WheninDC
3rd: DCGayz

Political Blog:

D.C. likes it politics like it likes its burgers: fast and juicy. Politico is both. The Arlington-based political website is known for blazing-fast newsbreaks and well-sourced scoops, which have helped it make a splash on Capitol Hill and beyond. We should probably point out that Politico is really a collection of blogs, plus lots of articles. But readers nominated it for “best political blog” so … semantics. B.M.
3rd: Famous D.C.

Monument: Lincoln Memorial

What can we say about this that hasn’t been said in past Best Of issues? Here’s a little something: There’s a cave underneath the memorial, complete with stalactites, stalagmites and rats. If you were allowed down there, you’d see graffiti left by the original construction workers. Notoriously obese former president William Howard Taft was one of their favorite subjects. K.A.

1st: Lincoln Memorial: Lincoln Memorial Circle SW. (Foggy Bottom)
2nd: Jefferson Memorial: 900 Ohio Dr. SW.
3rdFDR Memorial: Ohio Drive SW and West Basin Drive SW.

Political Celebrity: Michelle Obama

In what might be the closest race in Express Best Of history, first lady Michelle Obama edged out her husband by just two votes. This win caps off a great year for Mrs. O: In 2012, she celebrated the second anniversary of her campaign to end childhood obesity, nailed her convention speech and beat talk show host Ellen DeGeneres in a pushup competition. Now that’s putting the “first” in first lady. L.M.

1st: Michelle Obama
2nd: Barack Obama
3rd: Hillary Clinton

Viral Video About D.C.: Sh*t People in D.C. Say

We love viral videos in D.C., because we’re all sitting at our desks all day. “Sh*t People in D.C. Say” was funny for the reason everyone thought their individual “Sh*t whoever Says” was funny — specifics. We go to Shake Shack too! And enjoy brunch! And order D.C. Brau! And think Eckington is the new Shaw! The one thing they got wrong: Nobody has ever admitted to eating Jumbo Slice sober. F.Z.

1st: Sh*t People in D.C. Say
2nd: Arlington: The Rap
3rd: Welcome to DC

Public Art: “The Awakening”

The metal giant clawing his way out of the sand at National Harbor has been a beloved local landmark since 1980. Purists will argue that he was more beloved when he occupied Hains Point in East Potomac Park, where he alarmed unsuspecting joggers and bore the luster of a hidden treasure known only to locals. The old dude’s put up with a lot — besides being moved to National Harbor in 2008 (and posing for photos with countless children), he was hit twice by cars at his prior location. H.J.M.

1st: The Awakening: National Harbor, Md.
2nd: Before I Die (14th St.): 14th and Q streets NW. (U Street)
3rdMama Ayesha’s Restaurant Presidential Mural: 1967 Calvert St. NW; 202-232-5431,. (Woodley Park)

Underrated Tourist Attraction: National Arboretum

If it grows in D.C.’s climate, it probably has a home in the Arboretum, a 446-acre “living museum” of plants. Catch some rays at the National Capitol Columns; the freestanding sandstone pillars were once part of the U.S. Capitol. The miniature trees in the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum (penjing is the Chinese precursor to bonsai) are exalted examples of an ancient art form and also too cute for words. R.K.

1st: National Arboretum: 3501 New York Ave. NE; 202-245-2726.
2ndFDR Memorial: Ohio Drive SW and West Basin Drive SW.
3rdNational Building Museum: 401 F St. NW; 202-272-2448. (Judiciary Square)

Editor’s Pick — Best Depiction Of D.C. Culture in Popular Culture: “Parks and Recreation”

Plenty of programs — including Showtime’s “Homeland” and ABC’s “Scandal” — purport to represent our city. But we have been most impressed by NBC’s “Parks and Rec,” which actually filmed here and seems to pay the most attention to what it’s like to live here. See characters eat from a food truck, get stuck in motorcade traffic and try to manage self-important Hill interns. We’ve all been there. K.A.

Winner: “Parks and Recreation”

Written by: Katie Aberbach, Rudi Greenberg, Vicky Hallett, Rachel Kaufman, Kristen Page-Kirby, Beth Marlowe, Lori McCue, Holly J. Morris, Fiona Zublin



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Team Express · October 18, 2012