Friday, September 30, 2011

Where the Gamma Girls Get Down (on the dance floor, that is...)

Ladies, you know the feeling. It's about 3 p.m. on a Friday afternoon, your eyes are fighting to stay open, and it's all you can do not to dream about a night on the couch in sweatpants. And then your 80s pop Pandora station switches to "Flashdance" ... suddenly you're wide awake, having a dance party in your chair, and you know exactly what you need to overrule those boring plans. But where to take your ladies out for a dance party? Don't you worry -- here's a handy little Gamma Girls' guide to some of our favorite places to shake our tail feathers in the District.

(And gentlemen, you'd best pay attention as well -- these are the places to go if you want to see a little booty shakin' on a Friday or Saturday night!)

 
Capital Katie recommends:

Rumors  1900 M St. NW

The bad: Rumors is a filthy, sticky, cocktail-soaked festering hole of humanity. Acts of degradation I have personally witnessed include a drunk-to-the-point-of-brain-damage woman teetering ungracefully toward the bathroom only to take two steps in and vomit all over the floor as well as a couple writhing so intensely together on the dance floor that her skirt actually rose up to rest around her waist. I once stepped on underwear -- UNDERWEAR!!! -- in the middle of the dance floor.

The good: But go not ye to Rumors to judge, lest ye be judged thyself. Rumors is not the place to be classy; Rumors is where you grind on a 24-year-old intern and dance until sweat drips from your very core. You pay the $5 cover and accept that at some point, someone will spill alcohol down your back. The bar plays awesome music, everyone sings along, and the dance floor is always crowded to capacity. And if you're having a night where you're feeling bad about yourself, well... just look around. Inevitably, someone there will make you feel much better.


Appealing Kate recommends:

The Guards  2915 M St. NW
 
The good: There is something about a sweaty, dark basement with 80s music that I love. Probably because it brings back the inner sorority girl in me. But who doesn't want to be taken back to college frat parties? And if you ever need to relive those college days, the Guards on M Street in Georgetown is the place to go. The upstairs is more on the quiet side -- still lots of people -- but they are mostly just hanging around.  If you were to walk in for the first time, you would have no idea of the shenanigans that are taking place downstairs. But as soon as you walk to the basement, it is like a different world.  A world of random strangers dancing together, singing into beer bottles, making out… and did I mention lots of 80s music? Like Journey and Michael Jackson and Bon Jovi.  And shots. Almost always shots.  I have never had a night at the Guards where I did not stay out until 3 a.m. and laughed until I cried.

The bad:
 You may spend the entire next day lying on the couch because of how much you drank. And you most definitely will have no voice from singing so much the night before.  But it will be worth it.  So, so worth it. 

The bad: So, I’m not gonna lie --  getting to Little Miss Whiskey's over on H Street is a pretty much a hike no matter where you are coming from.  The Northeast strip of H Street has no Metro access.  Hell, it is practically in Maryland.

The good: But, it is a hike that is worth it! First off, as soon as you enter Little Miss Whiskey’s, you see large orange slushy machines behind the bar. My advice? Immediately order one. These drinks are called "Awesomeness" -- seriously, that is their name.  And two of those will get you totally dance-floor ready.  Trust me.  As in, you will be fine with water for the rest of the night.  The crowd at Little Miss Whiskey’s is always super laid-back and a mix of H Street hipsters, Capitol Hill staffers and people from around D.C. who are just looking for a good time.  And after having that good of a time downstairs, I suggest going upstairs to dance. The bar plays some of the best dance music in town -- rap, pop, 80s, 90s and everything in between.  The DJ on Friday and Saturday nights is awesome, and I am always sad when the lights come on at the end of the night because time just seems to fly by too fast.

That's it! Now head out there and dance your asses off!






Thursday, September 29, 2011

Best and Worst Date Locales: The Tabard Inn and The Black Squirrel





Those who have used eHarmony before know that typically, you exchange a series of questions with a fellow user before you get to the super exciting email each other your life story stage.  

One of the questions that I sometimes get asked from the roster is, “What is the worst date you’ve ever been on?”  

Which always strikes me as a trick question, like on a job interview when you’re asked what your weaknesses are.  If you’re too honest- sometimes I blame missed deadlines on the fact that I’m so busy, but really I was just on Facebook for four hours- you make yourself look bad.  

So instead, you take something admirable and make it look like you think it’s a weakness because you are just so goddamn perfect that even the bad things about you are good.

Likewise, I’m not going to be completely transparent when I answer the what-is-your-worst-date  question, because that would make me sound like a heinous bitch.  Instead, I say some BS like,

I guess I’ve been pretty lucky because I haven’t been on any terrible dates, just one or two that were slightly boring or where the bar was so loud we had to shout to hear each other.  

I got this question again recently, and it got me thinking: Where are some of the places I’ve gone on dates that have been bad choices?  Or good?  

Here are the first two answers that come to mind:  

A BAD PLACE TO TAKE A DATE

The Black Squirrel

I met a guy from eHarmony here -- I had suggested Adams Morgan as a halfway point to meet and of all the interesting, fun places to choose from, he picked this one.  
Origins of British Black squirrel discovered

Oh, no wait, it's this:

We sat in a dark basement with ugly walls and it managed to feel both deserted and loud at the same time.  We drank our beer while my date talked about himself.  He asked me literally three questions, one of which was, “So, do you do this a lot?  You know, meet men from the Internet?” Ew.

Our bartender was very nice though, and there’s nothing actually wrong with the Black Squirrel.  It’s a standard Adams Morgan bar and the prices and beer selection are both decent.    



But gentlemen, a tip: If you’re deciding between two places and think one is too fancy but the other not fancy enough, err on the side of caution and go with the former. 


Which leads me to...

A GOOD PLACE TO TAKE A DATE

I’m sure part of the reason I loved the Tabard Inn so much is because I had a mega-crush on the guy who took me there.  The Tabard Inn was our first real date; before that, we’d only hung out as friends, though once we made out in a booth at McFaddens (I know).  We clearly had nowhere to go but up, and this was really far up.  
Our date was in early fall, when the leaves were just beginning to turn orange and the sun was warm but the air was cool.  We had a drink in the quaint lounge area, by the fireplace, before being shown to our table in the ivy-lined courtyard.

 Lounge

Lounge
I don’t even remember what I ate, because though it was good, it didn't matter.  The romantic setting of the courtyard at night stole the show.  I never thought before this date that I would be such a sucker to being wooed by a fancy restaurant and a fancy bottle of wine, or that I even wanted to be wooed, but the Tabard Inn changed my mind.    

Obviously it’s not cheap, but if you're looking to impress, or you just want to get laid, trust me: Get thee to the Tabard Inn. 

Where are the best and worst places you've been to on a date? Tell us below!



Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Where to Eat: Lyon Hall

I was recently talking to someone about the best first date locales in and around the District. He suggested I check out Lyon Hall in Clarendon because he considers it one of the best date places around.

Guess what? He was right.

I think a good first date venue should be relaxed, yet classy. A bit swanky, but not pretentious. Interesting new dishes, yet not too fancy or over the top. Popular, but not too loud and noisy. An added bonus is if the place has a good wine, beer, and cocktails selection. Yeah, I get called a little picky sometimes, but I just argue that I know what I like and what I want.
Lyon Hall definitely embodies all those characteristics.



Lyon Hall is located on Washington Boulevard in Clarendon and is the sister restaurant of Liberty Tavern and Northside Social. To be honest, as I walked up to the restaurant on a chilly September night a few weeks ago, I saw the cheesy neon blue sign and was instantly a little skeptical. Then I walked inside and was completely won over. I loved the vibe. It feels new and fresh, yet cozy and neighborhoody. Dark wood, low dim lights, black and white tiled floor.

The hostess greeted me with a warm smile as I made my way to the bar to wait for my dinner date. I found a seat and the bartender brought me the drink menu. It featured a great wine list, and I ordered a red blend listed as the "house recommendation." The bartender apologized and explained they were out of that particular wine, but quickly offered an alternative and let me taste it. It was a perfect recommendation-- medium bodied and great for a cool September night.

The bar itself had a scarce crowd. It has two big flat screen televisions and lots of beer on tap, so I was a bit surprised that there weren't more people watching Monday Night Football (but then again the Giants were playing sooo who really cares).

My dinner date arrived a short while later and ordered one of the beers on tap. The bartender graciously offered to let him try the beer before ordering a full glass. I love shit like that--- it takes good service up to great service. And we got great service that night.

We decided to stay at the bar for dinner and share a few dishes rather than moving to a table. The menu and decor of the restaurant seem themed around a German-French-Austrian bistro feel. First, we ordered the mussels vin blanc, which were very good. Next we ordered the creamy herb spaetzle, which is Lyon Hall's version of mac and cheese, and the tomato salad that features peaches, basil, red onions, and goat cheese. We both had come from working out, so the salad was a refreshing dish.

I'd tell you more about the food, but to be honest, I was more focused on talking with my dinner date than I was on the food. All I can say is that the atmosphere, the service, and the food were all excellent. And the company was even better.

Overall, I give Lyon Hall a very high recommendation. Whether you're going on a date, meeting for a drink, or just want to check out a football game, it's a welcoming and cozy neighborhood restaurant. AND this is coming from a girl who rarely crosses the bridge into Virginia.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Escape from D.C.: Homestead Farm

Much as I love everything this city has to offer, occasionally, I need to jettison myself away from the waters of the Potomac and find comfort under the big sky of the countryside.

I am originally from the Midwest, after all. Sometimes it's nice to see the stars at night.

Additionally, 2011 has finally steamrolled its way into fall (it's been a rough year!), and that has me in an absolute tizzy because this is my favorite season. And the confluence of those two things -- a need for a city escape and the introduction of autumn -- means only one thing for me: Homestead Farm.

I've gone to Homestead Farm to pick apples, get a pumpkin and eat various country-fied treats for the past three years running. You'll need to renew your Zipcar membership for this one (or suck up to your car-wielding friends). Homestead Farm is way out in Poolesville, Md., which is in Montgomery County.


But trust me, arduous as the journey may be, the rows and rows of jonagolds, pink ladies, macintoshes and red deliciouses make it totally worth it:




There's something distinctly satisfying about picking your own fruit. And each year, I've had so much fun traversing the farm's acreage, reaching for the tops of the trees to get that perfect apple, that by the end of the day I'm surprised by the amount of sheer exhaustion I feel.

Of course, whole apples aren't the only things Homestead has to offer. You can also visit a concession stand on site to get decadently dipped caramel apple and warm apple cider (my absolute favorite fall drink! ... wait, why are you looking at me that way? I like wholesome things sometimes, too!!!).

There are also farm animals to pet:

This cow was so cute and friendly last year.
And NOT to pet:

These chickens, on the other hand, weren't. Dicks.

And of course, what fall would be complete without a trip to the pumpkin patch?


In addition to fall being my favorite season, Halloween is my favorite holiday. By having bit of everything you need for a quality fall and Halloween right on site, Homestead Farm indulges me and makes me feel like just a kid from Ohio again for at least one day every year. It's a really good feeling.

Of course, then I get home and do something like this:


Sigh. Can't take me anywhere.



Friday, September 23, 2011

Launch Party Recap

So we had that little launch party on Tuesday night at Mie N Yu. Oh, what a night! You see, it's Friday and we're just now getting around to posting a recap -- we needed a little time to recover!

In short, the event was a huge success. The drink specials, free appetizers, swag bags and cake were all a big hit. We had a great turnout -- old and new friends alike -- and filled the entire upstairs of Mie N Yu with laughter and good people. Thank you to every one of you who came out to support us! We were sincerely touched by the turnout and enjoyed spending the evening with all of you.

We also raised $150 in donations for D.C. Central Kitchen -- thank you all for your generosity.

Pictures are up on Facebook -- you can find them by clicking here -- and please take a moment to "like" us while you're there!

Now, for a few shout-outs, because we're Gamma Girls and that's what we do:

A huge thank you to Mie N Yu for hosting us! It was a perfect venue and we couldn't imagine any nicer people to have with us that night.

Thank you to Nathalie Gabriel for inspiring the cake!

A big shout-out to Matt for photographing the event! You can see his handiwork by flipping through the photos on Facebook, and contact him here on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/djsheeno

And while we're at it, there's another talented friend we want to introduce you to. So many of you asked who designed our webpage. Everything you see here was designed by Rachel McFadden, an honorary Gamma Girl for sure. While her talents have recently taken her back home to Maine, you can still reach her in the following ways (and we promise it will be one of the best choices you could make!):

Rachel McFadden

For all of you who had a blast with us on Tuesday -- and for each of you who couldn't make it -- we hope to be hosting more regular happy hours in the months to come! We can't always promise cake, but we can definitely promise many more hours of fun in the future.

The Gamma Girls

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Where I Get My Hair Done: Eurospa

There are a number of ways in which I still act like a college student: I avoid cooking my own meals at all costs, I stay up too late for no particular reason, and I have honed procrastination into a fine art form.  In fact, I  will challenge you to a procrastination contest, just as soon as I go watch that episode of Jersey Shore.

I also get my hair cut at Eurospa, where I’m surrounded by GW sorority girls and the occasional older woman who will chat animatedly with the hairdressers in Spanish.

And I don’t care if I get asked how I’m liking my dorm this semester- I’ve actually been out of college for five years, but thank you for asking - I will never stray.

For starters, you can’t beat the price.  Where else can you get a consistently great haircut and blowout for $35?  Sure, you could try your luck at Bubbles or the Aveda Institute, and maybe you’ll get lucky and walk away looking like Gisele.  But do you want to risk the chance that you’ll leave looking like C-Love instead?