Friday, November 30, 2012

What to Do in the District this Weekend


After our mere three days of work last week, we can all agree that this has been the loooonnnnggggest week ever.



In addition, Movember ends tonight, meaning that it's the last night to enjoy all the bearded and mustached men of the District.



Sadness all around.




It's time to cheer up, because Jules and AppealingKate have a whole host of fun things to recommend this weekend in the District.



Appealing Kate says:

Tonight

Fujimar is hosting an extended happy hour called Flirt PartyYup, it got our attention, too. Drinks specials + encouragement to flirt? Sounds like the perfect way to spend a Friday night. Fujimar, which opened last year and is located near McPherson Square, has the perfect ambiance for flirting-- dim lights, modern feel, strong cocktails, and who knows...maybe you'll even score that cutie's number?

Attached or just need a night sans the opposite sex? With all the talk of the fiscal cliff, sequestration, and other D.C. jargon, why not enjoy the more humorous side of politics? The Capitol Steps, a group of former Congressional employees, perform satirical skits and songs about current political affairs every Friday night in the Amphitheater of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. This week's show begins at 7:30 and is bound to provide some enjoyable entertainment after this long week of back-and-forth partisan bickering. After, walk down to Fiola for a glass of malbec at the bar, or travel a bit further to Rasika for drinks and appetizers in the bar area. Both spots are uber cozy.

Saturday

It makes sense that the first Saturday of December offers all kinds of events to welcome the 2012 holiday season.

If you're a huge dork like me, then you'll love this first thing: The National Postal Museum is hosting a free holiday card workshop. Attendees will get to design and decorate their own holiday cards with various holiday stamps from around the world, glitter, sparkles, festive paper, and even an ink stamp station. Best of all? You don't need reservations. You can simply show up and start crafting.  Wow, I just used the word crafting. I swear I'm not 90 years old.

After your hard work of designing that perfect card for Grandma, reward yourself by heading across the street to the Dubliner for a bowl of delicious beef stew (zoh-my-god is their stew good) and a pint of Guinness.

Arts and crafts not really your things? Then head to Dupont Circle at 3 p.m. for the first Santa Bar Crawl of the season! This annual event features food and drink specials at six different bars for anyone in a Santa suit, an elf costume, or any other festive attire (I have one friend who plans to wear an ugly Christmas sweater). The bars include Black Rooster, Lucky Bar, Irish Whiskey, The Mighty Pint, Public Bar and Big Hunt. My biggest dilemma? Do I wear that short red mini dress and freeze my butt off, or just settle on a simple Santa hat?  Oh the tough decisions I'm forced to make on a regular basis.


Parade of Lighted Boats
If drinking cheap beer and flirting with a bunch of Santas doesn't sound like fun, a more low key but equally festive and entertaining event is the Parade of Lighted Boats. Over a dozen boats are decorated with fun Christmas lights and sail from the Old Town waterfront to the Southwest Waterfront. You can either watch them set sail in Old Town (at 5 p.m.) and then grab some cozy hot chocolate while walking around doing Christmas shopping, or you can watch as they arrive at the Southwest Waterfront (at 5:30 p.m.). If you choose the latter, you will also get to enjoy live music, Santa, cookie decorating, aannndddd a bonfire where you can roast marshmallows! After, walk a few blocks to Station 4. It's a super cozy spot right across the street from the Waterfront Metro.

P.S. How many times can I use the word cozy in a post?


Jules says:

Sunday

Fútbol Brunch
Since RGIII and company don't play until Monday, why not spend Sunday watching a different kind of football? The newly opened Drafting Table kicks off its Fútbol Weekend Brunch this month, starting at 8 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday and going until the last game is played. Patrons will be able to watch their favorite European fútbol teams on the restaurant’s three flat screens and choose from an eclectic brunch menu (I myself am curious about the "Sexy Egg Sandwich") that highlights locally sourced, organic ingredients whenever possible. Drafting Table also offers an international wine program, along with 16 beers on draft and 20 by bottle and can, because viewing both football and fútbol is often enhanced by the presence of refreshments.

Afternoon Tea 
'Tis the season for celebration, merriment, and holiday-induced anxiety. What better way to combat the stress than by partaking in an event that doesn't require you to lift a finger? Or only a pinkie finger, anyway. Gather some friends and head to an afternoon tea, which is, in essence, an excuse to dress up and gossip with your nearest and dearest while eating delicate crustless sandwiches and scones heavily loaded with cream (if you haven't already picked up on it, this activity tends to be more of a lady thing). Prices vary across locations but on average run about $40 a person and come with a generous pot of the tea of your choice, light sandwiches, scones with jam and cream, and an assortment of pastries or other desserts. In other words, it's enough food to constitute a legit lunch or dinner. Check out this post for more details on the when and where -- just be sure to make a reservation soon, as spots go quickly. 

Holiday House Tour
Check out the 34th Annual Logan Circle House Tour from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.  More than 10 unique properties that represent historical architecture, modern renovations and new construction will be open to the public for a self-guided tour. Enjoy the architecture, interior designs, holiday décor and art during an afternoon of sights as well as sounds with live music at several of the homes. A reception with refreshments will be held at the Studio Theatre (14th and P Streets) for the duration of the event. Tickets for the House Tour can be purchased in advance from the website for $25 or on the day of the tour at the Studio Theatre for $30.


On behalf of all the Gamma Girls, we hope you have a great weekend in the District!









Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How to get in the Holiday Spirit in the District

I don’t know about you, but I was less than impressed when I woke up Saturday morning to a mere 29 degrees outside when it had been a balmy 60 degrees just the day before. I was all:



Then while I was running (in full winter gear, mind you) I smelled smoke from a wood stove. Only one of the greatest smells in the history of all smells. I then realized that we've been completely spoiled with the very calm, warm fall we've had here in the District, and I was reminded that there is an upside to this colder, winter weather. Fun holiday events! Yippee!

image

Below are my recommendations for activities to do in the District that are bound to put you in the holiday spirit.

Nothing says Christmas time like the National Christmas tree. The official tree lighting is scheduled for Thursday, December 6th at 4:30pm. Skip out of work early and watch as the tree is lit up for the first time. If you aren't lucky enough to have tickets to the event (tickets are distributed on a lottery system) you can always watch/ listen from Constitution Avenue. The National Park Service goes all out with this event—and this year’s tree lighting will feature performances by James Taylor, Colbie Caillet, Phillip Phillips, and…wait for it… Babyface. YUP, true story.

How lucky are we to have this in our city?
That jerkhead boss of yours won't let you leave the office early for the tree lighting? There’s always the Capitol Christmas tree on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Take a stroll around, snap some instagram pics and post them on facebook to make your friends and family jealous. After, walk somewhere cozy to get drinks and dinner. I’d recommend Charlie Palmer (their steaks = amazingness) or Sonoma (so incredibly cozy) if you want do make a date out of it. If you’re with friends? Head to Kelly’s Irish Times or the Dubliner for some pints and fish and chips. Really want to go on the cheap? Check out My Brother’s Place a mere two blocks from the Capitol lawn that holds happy hour every week night until 8pm (included in said happy hour are $2.50 beers).

I might be in the minority here, but I just get excited and happy for Christmas whenever I hear music from the Nutcracker. The Warner Theatre will be showing the Nutcracker November 29-December 23. Tickets start as low as $39.00. The great thing about the Warner Theater is that it’s big enough to put on pretty fantastic shows, but it’s also small enough that there isn't a bad seat in the house. There are also a lot of restaurants within walking distance that offer pre-theater dinners. I recommend Folia701, or Restaurant Tosca. Not looking for a full meal or on a budget?  Both Chef Geoff's and Ceiba offer great happy hour specials on food and drinks. And after the show, you can skip over to the Occidental for cozy cocktails at the bar. 

One of my all time favorite things I've ever done in Washington during the Christmas season was years ago when I went to Ford’s Theater for it’s annual performance of A Christmas Carol. Located right downtown, the famous Ford's Theater is truly a remarkable building and it’s even more stunning when it’s decorated for Christmas. I’d recommend checking out a matinee performance. Not only will it save you a few bucks, but you can walk around downtown after, do some Christmas shopping, and then end the afternoon with hot toddies or hot chocolate at Old Ebbitt. I know, sounds like the perfect day, right?   

This is an old pic of me bursting with pride in front of the Maine tree. 
Another must-do event in Washington, D.C. during the holiday season is to visit the White House lawn where in addition to the National Christmas tree, there are also 56 small Christmas trees--- one for each state, five territories and the District of Columbia. Each tree is lit nightly from dusk until 10pm and is decorated by artists from that state. There are also nightly musical performances from performers across the country. It's fun to walk around and find your home state's tree.  There are always lots of kids and families and it's guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit.  Note: Be sure to wear flat shoes.  Heels will just get stuck in the grass.

There you go. Lots of fun activities to get you in the holiday spirit.

None of these things sound exciting to you (to which I say, Bah! Humbug to you!)?  Well, then there's always the annual Santa Bar Crawl this Saturday in Dupont Circle.  All you need to do is throw on a Santa suit, a reindeer outfit, or elf costume and you can get all kinds of drink specials. Because nothing says Christmas like a bunch of drunk dudes dressed up like Santa stumbling around Connecticut Avenue.


Happy Holidays!





Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What to Do if You're Staying in D.C. for Thanksgiving

According to all of the people on my Facebook feed who have been updating their statuses every day this month with saccharine expressions of gratitude, it's apparently yet again the Thanksgiving holiday, the annual celebration of American gluttony and stretchy pants.



I don't know about you guys, but I fully intend on singing into my turkey leg* after I duke it out with my sister for the bigger half of the Wish Bone. (Fuck her, she's happily married and I got dumped, I deserve the goddamn wish this year!!!)

My current sarcasm/pessimism aside, I'm banking on the fact that most of you are probably fleeing the capital city as fast as your feet/Delta Air Lines with take you. But if you're like I was for the first few years I lived here and have a job that requires your presence on both Wednesday and Friday -- or perhaps even Thursday itself -- don't worry, because there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the holiday while you're stuck here sans the fam.



EXTENDED BAR HOURS

Tonight represents the biggest bar night all year, as everyone knows they will have the next five days to recover from a hangover by stuffing themselves silly and endlessly watching football. And D.C. -- in its infinite wisdom -- decided this year to permit bars to EXTEND BAR HOURS UNTIL 4 A.M. the night before federal and state holidays.

The last time we experienced this was the night before Columbus Day. Here is a list of bars that participated last time, so I'm sure the same ones will again be slinging cocktails until the sun rises over the Potomac.



GROWLER POWER
If you'd like to ensure that this holiday passes quickly by drinking yourself into a beer-laden stupor, perennial District favorite D.C. Brau has a treat for you: The local brewery will be extending their growler-sale hours TONIGHT from noon until 7 p.m.!!!

A growler of delicious beer.
The D.C. Brau brewery is located at 3178-B Bladensburg Rd. NE.


DELICIOUS DINNERS, NO DISHES

My educated guess is that the majority of you have galley-style kitchens, which don't exactly lend themselves to cooking large, multi-course meals.

This is hard to do in an English basement apartment.

So I say, screw cooking. There are plenty of fancy restaurants that will be open on Thanksgiving that can do that for you -- AND save you the hassle of wearing out your biceps through a steel-wool scrubbing of your roasting pan later.

Click this link to go to OpenTable to view the participating restaurants, their specialty menus and make a reservation.



BARGAIN BASEMENT BUFFET

Those fancy restaurants are all well and good, but what if the reason you're not heading back to the homestead is because you can't afford the plane ticket? No fear, because the Black Squirrel has you covered:

The Adams Morgan bar will be playing host to its "The Very Black Squirrel Annual $5 Thanksgiving Buffet," where that's not just a clever name -- you can actually get a very, very hearty meal in exchange for a just a few of the Sacagawea dollar coins in your pocket.



EXHIBITS APLENTY

A personal favorite, the United States Botanical Garden will open its annual Seasons Greenings holiday display on Thanksgiving Day.

Additionally, the American History Museum has just introduced its FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000 exhibit all about the meal options available to Americans.

So, if you're looking for some educational options, those are definitely two to check out.



LAUGH 'TIL YOU CRY

I've recently delved into the magical world of D.C. open-mic stand-up comedy, so stay tuned for a blog post all about my experiences, the people and how awesome it is. But until then, trade the Wish Bone for a Funny Bone at R.F.D. in Chinatown on Saturday night for District Comedy's "STFU Showcase - Thanksgiving Edition."



For $10, you'll get a night full of laughs from some of D.C.'s best stand-up comics!


That's it! Happy Turkey Day!
















*drunk

Friday, November 16, 2012

What to Do in the District This Weekend

It's Friday and you're all probably thinking:



Well, have no fear, Jules and AppealingKate have teamed up to give you all kinds of ideas for weekend fun!


 AppealingKate says:











Tonight
The movie "Lincoln" opens in theaters this weekend, and what better way to fully appreciate it in our great city than to have a little Lincoln themed night?  Grab some friends and go walk around the Lincoln Memorial.  It's beautiful at night, particularly this time of year with the clear, crisp air and sky.  Next head for dinner at Lincoln. I've never been, but I hear it's nothing short of delicious.  Then head to the theater to see a late night viewing of the movie.

Looking to get into a little more trouble?  Tonight the Black Cat kicks off a new weekly dance party where the DJs will be jamming new and underground songs. And and and all absolute drinks? Only $5. All. Night. Long. $5 vodka drinks + dance party = guaranteed bad decisions.

Saturday

The Annual Alexandria Film Festival is this weekend.  This event showcases short and feature length films, documentaries, film maker panels, and arts presentations in and around historic Alexandria.  The first series of films tomorrow start at noon.  After you see a couple of films, do some early Christmas shopping in adorable Old Town. Or, check out one of the many pubs for some college football and beer.

Tomorrow night the Washington Wizards take on the Utah Jazz at the Verizon Center at 7pm and there are (surprise, surprise) still tickets available.  After the game, head over to Poste's winter patio for a nice glass of red wine, because let's face it...when the weather gets chilly, we all are like: 






Jules says:


Sunday

Head to 14th Street for a "Pork Centric Sunday Brunch" at The Pig. The menu is local and seasonal, featuring vegetables from EatWell DC’s own natural farm in La Plata, MD, and Chef Garret Fleming will be serving up traditional brunch dishes with a contemporary spin, including Smoked Ham Benedict, with buttermilk biscuit, duck egg, and poblano hollandaise. Other signature dishes are the Gnocchi & Eggs Bacon Lardon, or Huevos Tomatillos, with eggs, smoked chorizo, lentils, house cheese, on a corn tortilla. Reservations recommended. 

Feeling fancy? Grab your lovah (or a pal) and check out "Sundate: Music at the Phillips".  The SunDate package ($50; $26 for members) will get you two concert tickets along with pre-concert cocktails and dessert for two from Tryst at the Phillips cafe. This week's concert features award-winning pianists Igor Lovchinsky and Jonathan Coombs performing a program that highlights the musical connections between American composers Walter Piston, Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein.

Finally, it's your last day to check out FotoWeekDC, an annual weeklong photography festival featuring professional and amateur photographers and partners such as National Geographic, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Smithsonian Institution, and more. In addition to fine art photography and photojournalism, you'll find seminars, lectures, portfolio reviews, photo book displays, special events and more. For a full listing of events, see here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Where to Eat Burgers in the District

Disclaimer: P.S. I may or may not have written this while I was hungry.

Who doesn't love a good burger? A big, juicy, beef patty with lettuce, tomato, cheese, onions, and sauteed mushrooms? Pretty much the definition of deliciousness.

Me = terrible at resisting temptation
In addition, most burgers come with french fries, and anyone who knows me knows that I love french fries. In fact, in an attempt to cure myself of said love, I once tried to give up french fries for a New Year's resolution. 

Want to know how long I lasted? Approximately two weeks.

Below are some great spots to grab a burger in the District. And I should know. I may or may not have participated in a burger tour a few years ago, where we spent an entire Saturday hopping around town trying out different burger joints. And, yes, I ran eight miles the next day and didn't touch anything but veggies and fruit for a week after because I felt so disgusting. But, damn, it was good.

Darlington House's Cantina Pub
Darlington House is one of my go-to spots in Dupont. It's never overly packed, the crowd is always laid back and friendly, and there are lots of big TVs to watch sports. It's a good place for a random Thursday night happy hour, a chill Saturday night out, and to grab a really great burger.

DH offers a variety of burger options with different toppings. Whatever you decide to order, you won't be disappointed. The burgers are huge (don't expect to eat the entire thing unless you're a dude with a bottomless pit stomach) seasoned perfectly, and served on a fresh bun.

Good Stuff Eatery
Who knew ten years ago that reality TV would transform the culinary world? But it did. And one of those now famous celebrity chefs, Spike Mendelsohn, opened up shop right on Capitol Hill. Good Stuff Eatery, located on Pennsylvania Avenue, makes an awesome burger. Again, lots of options. In fact, the menu has 13 different types of burgers to choose from. I usually go for the pretty basic steak burger. But there are more eclectic options, too, including ones named after the President and First Lady. Whatever you choose, you can't go wrong. Keep in mind that GSE is closed on Sundays. I tell you this so that you don't feel like this when you show up hungover on Sunday afternoon only to see a big, bold, CLOSED sign:

Not that I would ever react this way...
There are so many great things about Dino, located in the adorable Cleveland Park neighborhood. Fresh, local produce. Expansive, unique menu. Friendly and knowledgeable staff. Kick ass, homemade cocktails. One more thing to add to the list? The burger. It's a big, juicy burger served on a fresh, crispy Italian bread with a side salad. Think your basic burger dressed up a bit. And Dino's offers a burger and beer special for $15 every night of the week in the bar area.  Great deal + adorable restaurant = what could be better?

Five Guys
Now, in all honesty I've only have a Five Guys burger when I've been sober ONCE. And it was about eight years ago. But there's nothing better than a Five Guys burger at 2am after the bars close. You can choose from about a ba-zillion toppings (I usually just go big and get all of them), and come with a brown paper bag full of fries that my friends and I used to call it the "endless bag of fries" because no matter how many we ate, we could never finish the bag.

The Big Board
Full disclosure? I've never actually eaten a burger sandwich at Big Board. But I have had the burger salad. What's this you ask? A green salad topped with a juicy burger. Sounds healthy right? It's not But I pretend it is because the burger is, hands down, one of the best burgers I've ever had. In addition to the burger salad, Big Board offers eight types of burgers. Oh, and try out the sweet potato fries. Also delicious.


So there you go. My favorite burger places in the District.

As always, I'm sure I'm missing some good spots, so please leave them in the comments section below.

Friday, November 9, 2012

What to Do in the District This Weekend!

I don't know about you guys, but for me, this felt like the longest week ever. I ran out of gas and had to push my brand-new Prius to a gas station, which was one of the more embarrassing moments of my life (seriously, who runs out of gas in a PRIUS?!), I built a fire in my fireplace and burned my glasses because I got too close, and -- like the majority of my fellow Washingtonians, I'm sure -- I stayed up waaaay too late on Tuesday night and still haven't recovered the sleep I lost yet.

So T.G.I.-motherfuckin' F, y'all.

How I feel right now.
But, exhaustion/burnt glasses aside, I am excited. Why? Because we are on the brink of yet another THREE-DAY WEEKEND (woohoo!), and it's chock-full of places to drink and things to do.



SUPPORT LOCAL ARTISTS

This weekend only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, you can check out the Arena Stage Cradle Series production of Into the Dollhouse, a banished? Productions "movement performance that explores girlhood, nostalgia and looking back in order to walk forward."



We've featured Arena Stage productions on this blog several times before, but the really cool thing about their Cradle Series is that it is made up of works from D.C.-area artists! So, you're not only seeing a good show, you're supporting local artists, which is something I can definitely get behind.

For tickets, click this link and use the promo code CRADLE50 for a discount!



WARM UP ON THE INSIDE (WITH ALCOHOL)

Perhaps it's because it's a three-day weekend, or perhaps it's because we're post-election and lame-duck congressional aides have to find a place to drown their sorrows. But either way, there are a ton of places to booze it up this weekend:

Friday

* Swirl and Sip's 2012 Grand Tasting, The Whittemore House, 1526 New Hampshire Ave. NW

This event sounds freaking phenomenal: For $59, you can taste more than 40 of the highest-rated, premium wines out there, as well as tickling your tastebuds with various gourmet food selections.

Saturday

* D.C. Beerathon, various locations across D.C.

Self-billed as "the best day of your life," the D.C. Beerathon guarantees you access to 26 craft and premium beers at 26 different bars across the city for a $65 entrance fee. Tickets can be purchased here.

Let me repeat that for you: 26 DIFFERENT BEERS. FULL BEERS.

You will not just be wasted if you finish this event. You will be comatose. Please drink responsibly.

* Novemberfest, Rustico, 827 Slaters Lane, Alexandria (in the back lot)

Apparently, it's like Oktoberfest, but Novemberier! The restaurant will be celebrating 40 seasonal brews and raising money for Hurricane Sandy recovery. So, you'll be drunk for a good cause.

Sunday

* Guest Appreciation Night, Masa 14, 1825 14th St. NW

Celebrate Masa 14's three-year anniversary with happy hour-priced drinks and free passed appetizers from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Their Korean-Mexican fusion food is DELICIOUS, so this is probably where I'll be.

* Happy Hour Sundays, Slate Wine Bar + Bistro, 2404 Wisconsin Ave. NW

Glover Park's newest wine bar is introducing a special Sunday night happy hour and will serve a variety of craft beers for $3 each as well as specials on wine and other drinks.



FINALLY PUT THAT PINTEREST ADDICTION TO GOOD USE


The Crafty Bastards Arts and Crafts Fair is here again Saturday, this time at Union Market, 1309 5th St. NE. For $5 tickets at the door, you can check out all the handmade goodness your little heart desires.



GROW A CREEPY MUSTACHE


November marks the month in which otherwise completely normal men choose to grow logic-defying facial hair in order to raise money for prostate cancer research. Yeah, I don't get the connection between child molester grooming choices and cancer research either, but hey, at least it's a good cause I guess?

In any case, the indomitable H Street Corridor is celebrating the occasion on Saturday with its H Street Movemberfest, in which pretty much EVERY SINGLE ESTABLISHMENT on H Street is participating and giving various specials to those who buy a wristband here for $12 ($15 at the door).


CZECH THIS OUT

The Embassy of the Czech Republic, located at 3900 Spring of Freedom St. NW, will be officially kicking off the Christmas season with its Christmas Market this weekend.


In addition to beautiful hand-blown Christmas ornaments for purchase, the event will feature traditional Czech wafers and mulled wine -- the perfect way to ring in the holiday season.


On that note, I'm going to go steel my liver, because it looks like I'll be drinking A LOT this weekend.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Samantha Says: You Ask, I Answer

Lately we’ve gotten lots of emails, tweets, and comments asking for the Gamma Girls' tips on livin' it up in this great city of ours. In this post, we'll share some of these questions and our responses. Have your own question? Send it to DoingTheDistrict@gmail.com, leave a comment below, or find us on Facebook!

Brandon Asks: I need recommendations for third date spots. Any suggestions?

Samantha Says: It's that time of year, folks. The air is growing brisk, the sun is setting earlier, and all around us, single people are coming together to form relationships just in time to face the holidays and inevitable “is there anyone special in your life?” onslaught from relatives. Me, I’m content to spend my nights dancing on the bar doing Patron shots with cute strangers while all you lovebirds cuddle on the couch, but I’m glad to see so many others finding happiness.

Anyway, Brandon, it’s hard to answer this question without knowing what your first two dates were. If you did the dinner and drinks thing on your first and second dates, I would strongly advise that you choose something different for the third date, as a good way to derail a potential relationship is to bore her to death through dining.

Fortunately, it's pretty easy to find creative dates in D.C. Me, I’m a sucker for a nighttime stroll around the monuments and my guy friends who’ve tried this have also had great success with it. If your date is athletic, ice skating at the sculpture garden is another fun option.

If you’re willing to shell out a little cash, there's no shortage of great performance art to choose from.  DC Theater Scene has a nice listing of area shows and links to cheap tickets, including notable offerings like the Tony Award winning War Horse at the Kennedy Center (playing until Sunday) and the Fringe Festival shows that run until November 18th.  I'm also a big fan of the D.C. Improv, so if you're not afraid to take the chance of being mocked in front of your date- and a crowd- check out their upcoming events here.

And if you haven’t done a proper romantic-dinner-wooing, get on that, stat. There are lots of amazing restaurants in D.C., but the spots below strike the perfect balance between old school romance and modern charm. When you’re on the all-important third date, these restaurants will help you hit that sweet spot of impressing your date without trying too hard...so you can hit another sweet spot later that night (too obvious?)

(just make sure she’s not a vegetarian!)
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Rachel Asks: Samantha, I love reading all about your escapades. I have a question for you- I’ve gone on 4 dates with "Johnny." He's a nice guy, attractive and funny, but I can't decide if I want to keep seeing him. He's great on paper, but I'm not sure that spark is there. Part of me worries that if I keep dating Johnny, I could miss out on meeting Mr. Perfect. But the other part of me thinks I'm crazy for even considering letting such a good catch go and maybe that spark will come. I'm torn. Help!!

Samantha Says: I have good news and bad news for you, Rachel. The good news is that you met a guy who has some really great qualities -- nice, attractive and funny are all really important things. The bad news? You’re just not that into him. Because if you were, you’d be doing a Liz Lemon dance of happiness instead of torturing yourself over him.

Look, I totally get where you’re coming from. I’ve seen a lot of friends struggle with this exact same dilemma, especially as we’ve gotten older and more and more of us are taking steps toward marriage and kids. You start to worry that you’re going to miss out on it all. You start to panic and set a timeline for finding Mr. Perfect, and you stop trusting your gut. You beat yourself up for meeting a great guy and not feeling the sparks. You start to wonder if it’s you that’s the problem.

Let me assure you -- it’s not. Think back to how you felt after a few dates with a guy you really liked. You were probably thinking about him a lot, smiling randomly throughout the day, eagerly awaiting the next text, the next call, the next kiss…hell, you probably felt downright giddy when you thought of spending the night at his place.

Though of course true love comes later, that excited wow I like this guy I can’t wait to see what happens feeling is what lays the groundwork for the real stuff down the line. Feeling doubts like this so early on- and having to actively work to convince yourself that you should give it a shot- is an indication that you’re simply not that into it.

My advice? Let him go. You deserve to be with someone who incites excitement rather than panic.

And if you’re not quite ready to bid him adieu just yet, by all means, give it a little more time. As long as you’re not leading him on, there’s no harm in waiting until you’re sure you’re making the right decision. Sooner or later, you’ll know how you really feel.

Got questions?  I'm all ears!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Where NOT to Eat or Drink (unless you want to get very, very pissed off): Dickson Wine Bar

As I write this blog post, it is Sunday morning.

What I should be doing is curling up with a cup of coffee, watching bad TV and daydreaming about the heirloom tomatoes I'm destined to purchase from Eastern Market this afternoon.

But instead, I'm still so utterly PISSED OFF after my experience at U Street's Dickson Wine Bar last night that I have no other choice but to sit down and write this blog post to tell anyone and everyone who will listen NOT to go there.

In truth, I was excited to try Dickson -- I'd passed its brick facade numerous times, seen the soft lights twinkling inside and the patrons sipping their wine, and thought, "That place looks lovely."

Only photo I could find of the outside. Imagine it dark, with twinkling lights inside.

Jules, two of her friends and I had reservations for dinner at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. The place wasn't terribly crowded, and as we waited for drinks, we all took turns joking about how because the restaurant is so dark with the aforementioned soft lights that it'd be a good place to take an online date. 

We got the first round of drinks, including a seasonal special: mulled wine. If you're unfamiliar, it's served hot, like apple cider. And for reasons known only to them, Dickson served those hot drinks in standard glassware, the same glasses you would serve iced cocktails in. If you serve a hot drink in a glass not meant to carry hot liquids, the glass heats up to nuclear temperatures and you burn the ever living daylights out of your fingertips. We asked our server if we could get different glasses -- mugs, perhaps -- but were told that there was a large party upstairs and they had no other glassware they could give us.

This, however, was only a minor inconvenience... but sadly, it was all just a downward spiral from there.

- It took nearly 20 minutes for a server to visit our table to get a second drink order.

- It took an additional 20 minutes after that for us to get said drinks, and for them to ask us for our dinner order. We were never offered more drinks after that, nor did they even fill up our water glasses.

- We didn't even get any food until after 10 p.m., and the first time they visited our table they had the entirely wrong order.

The whole time, the servers just kept blaming the large party upstairs. They couldn't serve us on time because there was a 20-person party upstairs. They got everything confused because there was a 20-person party upstairs. If you have 20 seats, you should be able to serve 20 people, bottom line. We got tired of hearing excuses after excuses.

HOWEVER, THAT WAS NOT EVEN THE BIGGEST PROBLEM.

At some point, we needed to use the bathroom, which was downstairs. We descended and made our way around the corner and to the door at the end of the hall.

The bathroom is a single-toilet room and a locking door. As you open the door, at first you see nothing unusual -- toilet, sink, counter, etc.

And then you close the door.

AND THIS IS RIGHT BEHIND IT:


This photo doesn't even do it justice because I had to use a flash in order to take a proper picture. But just imagine this shrouded figure, with milky white eyes, appearing behind the door of the restroom, where you go to retreat to have a private moment and are not expecting to see ANYONE.

It. Was. TERRIFYING! I screamed and bolted for the door as fast as I could flee. In the process, I caught my dress on the door lock and ripped a gigantic hole in it as well as scraping up my elbow.

Once I realized it was a decoration, I went from being terrified to levels of pissed off I have never before known. It is AFTER Halloween, and there were NO other decorations up. It'd have been one thing if the place were decked out, if it had still been Halloween season... I'd have had a good laugh and said, "Hey, got me!!!" But NO. None of those things were true.

After tearing my dress, scraping my elbow and enduring the rest of the poor service we got, I went to the manager and complained: 

"I gotta tell you, I'm really unhappy," I said. "That thing in the bathroom downstairs is really upsetting. It really scared me, and I wasn't expecting it at all because it's after Halloween and you guys don't have any other decorations up."

The manager was shitty with me. 

"We DO have other decorations up," he said with an irritated tone, pointing to a spider decoration that was hanging from the balcony above us -- so if you didn't cock your head back and directly look to the upstairs, you didn't see it (and oh, ONE other decoration. MY MISTAKE). "We leave them up for a few weeks after Halloween."

"OK, that may be true, but no one expects to see anything in the bathroom," I said. "It was just really upsetting, and I ripped my dress and scraped my elbow trying to escape. Also, we've been unhappy with the service tonight..."

I couldn't even get out that last complaint, because the manager waved me off, still acting irritated with me. 

"We'll comp your food," he said. And that was that.

You know what? Had he said, "I'm so sorry" AT ANY POINT in that exchange, I would not be writing this blog post. I'd have chalked it up to a shitty night on the town and moved on. But between the terrible service, the bathroom demon AND the manager's terrible customer-service response, I will NEVER, EVER go back to Dickson Wine Bar. 

And I am making it my PERSONAL CRUSADE that no one else ever patronize this horrible business. 

There are many other wine bars in town, so if you want wine, pick one of these:

Cork Wine Bar, 1720 14th St. NW

Proof, 775 G St. NW

Screwtop Wine Bar, 1025 N. Fillmore St., Arlington

Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar, 223 Pennsylvania Ave. SE

Urbana, 2121 P St. NW

Veritas Wine Bar, 2031 Florida Ave. NW

Vinoteca, 1940 11th St. NW

NEVER GO TO DICKSON WINE BAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Where to Visit: Iwo Jima Memorial at Night

I'm one of those people who loves history. It's one of the five hundred billion reasons why I love living in the District. In fact, want to know the extent of my dorkiness? I may or may not have recently planned a date with a guy to spent an entire Saturday afternoon searching for Mason clues in and around D.C. Yup, I know. Me = huge nerd.

That said, you all get to benefit from my nerdy behavior.

How? Read on...

This past Sunday, I was driving home from watching football on Capitol Hill when I realized that I always subconsciously take the long way home to Georgetown from the Hill because it allows me to drive by the monuments lit up at night. As I turned off Constitution Avenue to drive past the Washington Monument, I realized it's been a while since I've visited one of my favorite spots -- the Iwo Jima Memorial. I had no reason to race home, so I headed out to Arlington.

I first discovered the greatness of Iwo Jima at night about two years ago when my aunt was visiting. Why is it cool at night? Because it turns into this incredibly patriotic optical illusion.

There's a circular road that runs around the perimeter of the memorial. When you first pull onto the road, the memorial looks like it does in the photo to the right--- the American soldiers struggling to raise the flag. But the memorial's appearance gradually changes as you slowly drive around appearing as if the soldiers are slowly raising the flag. By the time you are 3/4 of the way around, it looks as though the flag has been completely raised to stand straight up. It's pretty powerful, and I always get chills.

This is one of my go-to places to take family and friends who come to visit, and although I've done the drive at least half a dozen times, it still fills me with a huge sense of pride for our country and our soldiers who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.

I encourage all of you to check it out some night. It will make you proud to be an American and will add yet another reason why we're fortunate to live in our nation's beautiful capital city.

P.S. Speaking of patriotism, don't forget to get out and vote today!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Where to Spend Election Night in the District


It's finally here. Presidential election night. Politicos everywhere rejoice that our favorite "leap year" (it happens only once every four years) day has arrived. But, it's not just nerds like me that are excited. The non-D.C. types are thrilled they won't be subjected to campaign ads during their favorite prime-time shows, and Ron Paul fans, well, they're just looking forward to re-starting the revolution in 2016.

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For those of you that are still searching for somewhere to go or something to do and are saddened you didn't get an invite to the RNC or DNC official soirees, don't fret. There are still plenty of options available for you. Just make sure to wear your "I VOTED" sticker because many places are giving discounts for those who show they vote.

HOST YOUR OWN PAR-TAY
patriotic printables.
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Now everyone knows that I love me a good theme party. So head on over to Pinterest and look for red, white and blue free printables and put that work color printer to good use. Plus, there are plenty of recipes, and party planning ideas. Stop by Target and get some crayons (to color in your state map, duh) and red paper straws (they'll have those for Christmas). Readers, in about 35 seconds you have planned your own election party. Best part about this option: no need for a DD, you can stumble to your bed.

BUSBOYS & POETS
For those of you a little less inclined to jump aboard the party planning express (LAME), all Busboys & Poets locations are hosting election watching parties. The self-proclaimed "place to be" will be open until a winner is called. Get there early, as seats will fill up.

KELLY'S IRISH TIMES
Whether you're a red or a blue, Kelly's has shooters for you. Gosh, I'm just so witty this afternoon. (Yes, that was a joke). But in all seriousness, the Election Night 2012 event, sponsored by Campaigns & Elections magazine has everything you need to survive election night: plenty of food, booze, TVs, and even Ben & Jerry's ice cream to nurse your wounds if your candidate loses. Just make sure you register in advance. Doors open at 8 p.m.

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NATIONAL PRESS CLUB
If being surrounded by informed voters is something that is important to you, then look no further than the 2012 Election Night Watch Party at the National Press Club. This event is non-partisan and open to the public. NPC members are hosted in the Truman Lounge and non-members in the First Amendment Lounge. Tickets are only $10/$15 (member/non-member) and selling out quickly. You can't buy them at the door, so make sure you head to the website this afternoon. Complimentary appetizers are provided and drinks are available for purchase.

BRIGHTEST YOUNG THINGS ELECTION NIGHT PARTY
Although I've never personally attended a BYT party, I've heard nothing but good things about them. In fact, this event is a WaPo editor's pick. So don't fret, your $10 cover is not wasted. Held at the Bohemian Caverns from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. party-goers are treated to: for 1 Miller High Life, PBR and Yuengling from 5 p.m.-7 p.m., Pinata, TVs full of real time critical electoral stats and polls, a battleship tournament, lasers, and a patriotic pie eating contest. Just make sure to RSVP before midnight, otherwise cover goes up $5.

BYT Election Party
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VIRGINIANS
For those of you that don't want to leave the Commonwealth, Arlington Democrats will be watching the election returns on the big screen at the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike). Election watching starts at 6 p.m. and features free admission; food and drink available for purchase.

Now my fellow GOP'ers, Arlington Young Republicans are hosting their election watching event at Ri Ra In Clarendon (2915 Wilson Blvd). The event includes food and beer specials. Official party hours are from 8 p.m. - 11 p.m. but don't be afraid to show up early and stay late. 

Of course, I've missed a party (or ten) so make sure you add how you'll be spending election night to the comments section. As for me, RWB, (woop woop such a poet here), I'll be camped out in the Newseum at the POLITICO party, probably drinking Miller Lite and responding to all questions with, "I LOVE AMERICA!"

Yours In Elephants,