Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Where to Go on a Third Date in D.C.

We write about first dates a lot in this blog. And it makes sense, I suppose: If you've spent any length of time being single in D.C., you'll go on more first dates than there are politicians in this town. And, despite the pressure of forcing small talk, remembering not to get too drunk and generally making a good first impression, first dates are relatively easy to plan for -- just pick a centrally located, Metro-accessible location and hit up happy hour.

But what happens when that goes completely according to plan? That first date has you smooth sailing on the Love Boat, with your happy hour companion as First Mate. How do you make sure you don't lose the wind in your sails?

That's where a perfect third date is key. A good third date simultaneously lowers the pressure while raising the stakes. It throws a couple of curve balls to see if your potential match can roll with the punches and helps drop all pretenses that were held up on Dates 1 and 2. And lucky for you, I've got some suggestions for where to go for an excellent third date:

HIKING THE BILLY GOAT TRAIL, Potomac, Md.

I love hiking for third dates. It gets you doing something physical together, and it forces you to get a little dirty and wear less makeup. And the Billy Goat Trail at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park is perfect for that -- there are three sections (A, B and C) offering three different levels of difficulty, so you can pick an appropriate compromise for you and your date. Additionally, you can do just one section or a combination thereof, making the day as long or as short as you like.

Me climbing up the Billy Goat Trail section C



SNOW TUBING, Ski Liberty, Carroll Valley, Pa. (Winter)

Snow tubing is high octane sledding, guaranteed to make you giggle and feel like a kid again. This is another activity where you let your hair down and skip the makeup, making it perfect for you to appear to each other exactly as you are. Moreover, it's about an hour and a half drive to get to Ski Liberty from the District, and if you've got someone willing to consent to that, you've got someone who clearly knows how to commit.

Ski Liberty's tubing runs


JAZZ IN THE GARDEN, National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden (Summer)

The summertime jazz program is awesome because it provides you a plethora of things to discuss -- the music, the sculptures, the other people, etc. For me, it's also a date barometer: Does it come out that you both think jazz is stupid and the people there are pretentious? GREAT -- it's a hilarious story for later and you can bail in favor of half smokes at Ben's Chili Bowl. Loving every saxophone honk you hear? That's great, too. And if one of you is feeling it and the other isn't, well, that tells you about all you need to know.



Again, since Washington summers tend to be so brutally hot, it's another occasion where you can let down your hair (since it's probably going frizzy anyway).

THE CAPITAL FRINGE FESTIVAL (or other avant-garde theater)

Weird theater pieces give you the same opportunities as jazz in the sculpture garden, save in a temperature-controlled setting. Are you both into it? Find a nearby bar afterward and discuss. The official Capital Fringe Festival takes place over the summer, but the organization has shows and other events yearlong, and they're generally not terribly expensive, which is another advantage to this as opposed to other D.C. theater venues.

BARS WITH GAMES, all over D.C.

What better way to see how your date handles pressure than to challenge him/her to a duel? And D.C. is a manchild's playground, so there are plenty of place to accomplish this. Here are a few of my favorites:

Atlas Arcade, 1236 H St. NE

Arcade games from the '80s and '90s.

H Street Country Club, 1335 H St. NE

Mini golf course upstairs; pool tables, skeeball and XBox Kinect downstairs.

RocketBar, 714 7th St. NW

Pool tables, dart boards, shuffleboard, Big Buck Hunter and a variety of board games for rental.

Iron Horse Taproom, 507 7th St. NW

Downstairs features skeeball, pinball and shuffleboard.

The Board Room, 1737 Connecticut Ave. NW

A whole BOATLOAD of board games, including "extra special vintage games" that you have to specifically request from the bar.


Now, plan those dates and see if you two have the stuff to make it to Date 4.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Where to Eat: Healthy Restaurants in the District

Four weeks ago, many hungover denizens of D.C. welcomed the new year with hopeful determination to improve themselves in one way or another.  For a lot of us, that meant eating better to boost our health or to drop a couple of pounds.

2013 is the year I eat like a disciplined adult instead of a frat boy, we declared.  No more Jumbo Slice at 3:00 A.M.  No more stuffing my face with Cheese-Its while watching The Biggest Loser.  I am going to eat my fruits and vegetables, damn it.   

But even the most valiant healthy eating efforts can be deterred by frequent dining out.  Because, let's face it- many of D.C.'s beloved culinary establishments boast menus that would horrify Michelle Obama in all their calorie-laden, saturated-fat-swimming, cheese-covered glory.

But no one wants to skip a delicious meal out with friends to eat a sad salad at home.  Except for maybe the stock image ladies of Women Laughing Alone With Salad.


And here's the good news -- you don't have to.  There are actually lots of venues that offer healthy, delicious options that would make even FLOTUS proud.  Here are some of the best choices for tasty, wholesome meals that won't do a number on your waistline.

FOR QUICK EATS OR TAKEOUT...


Protein Bar - Protein Bar has three D.C. area locations that aim to provide active, on-the-go people with healthy, flavorful choices.  You'll find blended drinks, salads, lunch bowls, and more, including their signature "bar-ritos", which have half the calories of typical burritos since they replace rice with organic quinoa and use whole wheat wraps, house-made sauces, and organic or all-natural chicken, beef, and tofu.

FreshiiSimilar to Protein Bar, Freshii offers a menu of salads, burritos, wraps, rice bowls, yogurts, breakfast and soups made with high-quality, fresh ingredients. All salads, bowls, wraps, etc. are customizable and can be topped with your choice of protein.  Why suffer through another boring salad when you could go to Freshii and choose from interesting options like the "Teriyaki Twist," or "The Mediterranean Life"? 

Mr. Chen's RestaurantI know what you're thinking- how can Chinese food be healthy? Well, Mr. Chen's uses organic, fresh vegetables along with a health-conscious cooking style to prepare cuisine that won't pack on the pounds. Most dishes can be steamed on request, brown rice can be substituted for white, and entrees are offered in two sizes so you don't wind up with more food than you really need. There's even a light menu to make healthy dining as foolproof as possible.

FOR A LOW-KEY MEAL...


Teaismthe four D.C.-area locations of Teaism are crosses between quaint tea houses and modern Asian-inspired restaurants that serve Bento boxes from Japan, curries from Thailand, tandoor breads from India, and of course, an array of tea. From the salmon bento box to the seitan stir fry, healthful options abound. You can even go for brunch; the Irish oatmeal and cilantro scrambled tofu will help you start your day off on a healthy foot.  And what's a trip to Teaism without an addicting salty oat cookie? Hey, everything in moderation.  

Cafe Ole- Cafe Ole is a Mediterranean bistro in Tenleytown that offers a variety of mezze and tapas,  including polenta with truffle oil from Italy, lamb tagine from Morocco, gazpacho from Spain, grilled skewers from Turkey, hummus from Lebanon, and nicoise salad from France.  The large patio outside is perfect for warmer months, but for now, huddle inside and try the delicious tomato basil or lentil soup to warm you up.  Don't forget a glass of red wine to go with it -- for the antioxidants, of course.

Le Pain QuotidienLe Pain Quotidien is an international chain of Belgian cafes with nine locations in the D.C. area. The interior is quaint and sort of rustic, with plentiful seating that includes a trademark communal table in each restaurant, and service that is polite and prompt. Le Pain Quotidien prides itself on using organic and farm-fresh ingredients whenever possible, and you'll have no trouble finding something tasty on the healthy menu that features lots of soups, salads, tartines, and more.

FOR A MID-RANGE MEAL...


Cava Mezze- A Greek restaurant that serves up tapas style dining in its three D.C. area locations, Cava Mezze is usually packed to the brim, especially on the weekends.  Why?  Because the food is delicious, reasonably priced, and offers something for everyone.  Those looking for waistline-friendly options will not be disappointed by the array of tasty salads and healthy mezze options that include white bean ragout, lamb bolognese, chicken souvlak, shrimp mikrolimano, and more. Cava is dimly lit but still festive, making it suitable for both a date or dinner with friends. Those looking for something quicker should check out Cava Grill, the casual spin-off of Cava Mezze that brings the flavors of Cava to those with a limited schedule or budget.

Mama Ayesha's A family-run Middle Eastern restaurant conveniently located on Calvert Street in Adams Morgan, Mama Aysha's offers extensive small and large plates that are heavy on the veggies and healthy protein.  Don't be fooled by the rather plain exterior; inside you'll find a warm and inviting atmosphere and courteous staff that can answer any questions you may have about the menu.

Indique- Indique serves up modern Indian dishes that are high in flavor and low in guilt, relying on heart-healthy spices and veggies in lieu of diet foes like excess sodium and saturated fat.  A sure sign that the food is stellar: eggplant is by far my least favorite vegetable, but even I can't resist Indique's baingan bhartha, tandoor roasted eggplant that's cooked with onions, tomato and spices.  It really is that good.  And you can even order your bread whole wheat, choosing from roti or paratha rather than the white flour naan.    

FOR A FANCY PANTS MEAL...


Restaurant Nora - America's first certified organic restaurant, Restaurant Nora offers wholesome food that caters to a sustainable, health-focused lifestyle and is anything but dull.  Diners can order à la carte or from the tasting menu (standard or vegetarian), which changes with the seasons.  Right now, you'll find delectable options like the Maine crab and avocado salad, grilled lamb chops, roasted wild mushroom risotto, and bittersweet molten chocolate cake.    

ZaytinyaA Jose Andres restaurant that serves Turkish, Greek, and Lebanese cuisine, Zaytinya has an extensive menu that provides numerous healthy options, including nearly a full page of vegetarian dishes. The plates are small and encourage sharing, so be careful not to fill up on the warm, puffy bread brought out by the attentive servers before the meal- it's deliciously addicting.

Elizabeth's Gone Raw- DC's only upscale raw restaurant, Elizabeth's Gone Raw is situated in a townhouse-style space that is impressive both inside and out. Open only on Fridays, it gets quite busy and you must have reservations to get in. A prix fixe, six course tasting menu is offered each week and you can opt for a wine pairing for an additional cost. Check online to see the week's offerings -- this Friday, for example, you'll find sunchoke gnocchi, butternut squash cannelloni, carrot cake crème brulee, and more.

Happy healthy eating,






Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Where to Stay Warm in D.C.

SWEET FANCY MOSES, IT'S COLD OUTSIDE!


We had an unseasonably warm day during the inauguration. Then, all of a sudden, a chill descended upon the land. The Iceman not only cometh; he came, he saw, he conquered us all.

I'm saying it's cold, people. It's very, very cold. Someone please come over and be my human blanket.

Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to have fun and stay warm this winter, and I'm here to provide you with some ideas.


FOR A HOT AND SWEATY WORKOUT: Bikram Yoga

There are just as many Lululemon-ed up, yoga-mat-carrying women sipping chais each Sunday morning as there are lawyers in this town, so I won't spend too long defining Bikram Yoga for my readers. What you need to know is A) it's an hourlong class, B) it's done in a 105-degree room, and C) you will sweat. You will sweat out every drop of water in your body and then some. You will sweat until you go inverted.

Bikram Yoga Capitol Hill

Not all yoga studios are equipped to accommodate the heat needed to perform the workout, so here are three you can go to:

Bikram Yoga Dupont, 1635 Connecticut Ave. NW, 4th Floor

Bikram Yoga Tenleytown, 4908 Wisconsin Ave. NW, 2nd Floor

Bikram Yoga Capitol Hill, 410 H St. NE

You'd be best served to bring a towel and your own yoga mat, if you have one. If not, they rent them out, but... they get stinky. Consider yourself warned.


FOR FASHION, FUNCTION AND FREEDOM FROM FROST: Lou Lou's scarves sale

I love that Lou Lou Boutiques are popping up all over the district -- I own multiple pairs of earrings, necklaces, headbands and other assorted accessories from this shop. And as luck would have it, the stores are currently selling their scarves for 40 percent off.

Lou Lou scarves
Click here to find the boutique location closest to you.


FOR OUTDOORS ACTIVITIES THAT AREN'T TOTALLY FREEZING: Bonsais, butterflies and the Botanic Garden

Living in a city that plays host to much of the Smithsonian Institutions is awesome, especially on a day that's so cold a certain blogger has to keep blowing warm air onto her frigid fingertips so she can finish typing a blog post on where you should go to stay warm in D.C. Three particular exhibits that you should definitely check out if you want to see a bit of green while also not turning blue:

The National Bonsai and Penjing Museum at the Arboretum, 24th and R streets NE

The National Bonsai and Penjing Museum.
Photo courtesy of Rebecca Ash
The Arboretum, which is totally worth the ZipCar rental on a more balmy day, also houses this collection of bonsai trees in a temperature-controlled museum. It's a lovely little expedition into masterful gardening, and you won't freeze your ass off while you're there.


The Butterfly Pavilion at the National Museum of Natural History

Photo courtesy of Rebecca Ash
The Butterfly Pavilion is a gorgeous, serene little hideaway in the normally bustling Natural History Museum. It's warm and full of beautiful little butterflies -- and in fact, click here to see the amazing photo album of close-up butterfly shots that my friend Rebecca so graciously allowed me to use in writing this blog post.

Make a note that you do need tickets to get into the pavilion, and they'll run you $6 each.


The United States Botanic Garden's tropical room

Photo courtesy of Rebecca Ash
It doesn't matter how cold it gets outside, the tropical room of the United States Botanic Garden is always an oasis. Humid like a warm hug, it will wrap you up in warmth the moment you walk in, curling your hair like a day at the beach. Love it. Give in to it.


FOR DELICIOUS HOT CHOCOLATE: Co Co. Sala

OK, OK, I'll admit this one's not really a revelation. When it comes to chocolate in the District, no one does it better than Co Co. Sala, and we've definitely covered it in this blog before. But it always bears repeating because, hey, chocolate! Ain't nothin' wrong with that. And Co Co. Sala's hot chocolate selections don't disappoint -- you can choose from a variety of flavors including peanut butter and salted caramel, or spring for a flight of three. Mmmmmmm.


One last thing before I go -- I've written most of this as tongue-in-cheek, but there are some real risks to how cold it is outside right now. If you see anyone on the street struggling, please call the Hypothermia Hotline at 1-800-535-7252.

Now, go get warm.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy MLK/Inauguration from Doing the District!

It's Inauguration Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the District. That means you have either headed out of town like me (freezing temperatures and massive crowds, no thanks), staying indoors and watching President Obama's celebration from the comfort of your couch, or waking up before dawn to head into the city and fighting crowds to take part in history.

Enjoy your holiday and don't forget, today is also a national day of service, so do something nice for someone else! For ideas on where you can volunteer, click here



Source

You Stay Classy America,



Friday, January 18, 2013

What to Do in the District This Weekend

This weekend, it doesn't matter where you fall in the political junkie to willfully apathetic spectrum -- the biggest thing going in D.C. is the inauguration of President Obama for his second term.

I took this photo four years ago. Yes, that's Obama making his speech. I was SO CLOSE.

As such, there are a million and one awesome things to do to celebrate our nation's capital and the political undercurrent that's responsible for drawing us all in.



INAUGURAL EVENTS

We could have done a post on all of this stuff alone, but the Washington Post, far more accustomed to the hullabaloo that accompanies each and every part of this presidential pomp, has put together a quality, comprehensive guide to all this weekend's events -- the cheap ones, the expensive ones, how to dress and where to still get tickets.

If you're itching to put on your fancy fancies and go to a ball, check out one of the many state societies that are having events for much, much cheaper than the official inaugural balls. In 2009, I went to the New Jersey State Society Inaugural Ball for no reason other than we could still get tickets to it the week prior, and I had a great time!

An icy vodka machine at the 2009 New Jersey State Society Inaugural Ball

Oh, and lest we forget the tragedy that is commuting in this city, here is a handy map of road closures, Metro access and pedestrian routes.

Additionally, no weekend post is complete without a brunch recommendation, so check out the awesome-sounding inauguration deal from Gamma Girl favorite Dirty Martini:




MLK DAY OF SERVICE

It's also the MLK Day of Service on Saturday. If you feel like doing the city a solid, you can volunteer in a variety of ways:

  • The National Day of Service Fair will take place on the Mall starting at 9:30 a.m. Click here to learn more.
  • The Rock Creek Conservancy will meet on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon to remove English Ivy from trees in Rock Creek Park. Register here.
  • Unite America in Service will be packing care kits for deployed service members starting at 9 a.m. Register here.
And of course, your favorite charity organization is bound to have something planned so call them up and get to work!

That's about it for us! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Where to Eat: Restaurants that Please Both Meat-Eaters and Vegetarians

I've been a vegetarian for so long that I don't really think about it anymore.  Part of the reason it's second nature now is that it's really quite easy to forego meat in D.C.  The only challenge- and it's a delicious, not particularly difficult challenge- is finding places to dine that satisfy both veggies and meat-eaters alike.  Just like I'd hope my bacon-loving pals wouldn't try to impose their eating habits on me, I would never try to force vegetarianism on my friends with more Ron Swanson-like sensibilities.


Therefore, I've put together a list of some of my favorite spots that are beloved by vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. There are many, many to choose from, but here are my top picks.

District of Pi 

This Penn Quarter joint serves up deep dish and thin crust pizza in a large, airy interior made cozy by exposed brick walls. Though there's a great draft beer selection- there are 24 on tap, including one of my favorites, Founders Breakfast Stout- the pizza is the main draw here. I hear the deep dish with meatballs is not to miss, and vegetarians will be satisfied with the ample and tasty veggie options. You can even order a deep dish vegan pizza if you call ahead of time.

Rasika 

Rasika is a beloved D.C. establishment for many reasons: the attentive but unobtrusive service, the classy decor, the out of this world palak chaat. Kate previously wrote a review of Rasika and said, "The lamb roll was excellent, and the palak chaat -- which is crunchy spinach mixed with a variety of spices and veggies -- was probably one of the most deliciously flavorful dishes I have eaten in a long time. You must order this dish. For our entrees we split the chicken makhani, the chicken tikka masali, the dal malchani, and the kabuli gosht. Each dish came family style with rice and naan. Every dish had incredible flavors."

Equinox 

Equinox is the fanciest spot on this list, and it's perfect for a big date or special occasion. Located downtown, Equinox features regional and seasonal cuisine in an upscale setting, and the menu boasts items like grass-fed beef, lamb, duck, and local seafood in addition to veggie-friendly options like butternut squash soup and pasta (truffled mac and cheese, yes please). If you're vegan, you can still partake in the five course tasting option- just call the restaurant a bit ahead of time and they'll have a five course vegan menu ready for you. 

Oyamel

Good news, insect fans- you no longer have to go to PetSmart to get your grasshopper fix. At Oyamel, you'll find the infamous Chapulines, a Oaxacon specialty of sautéed grasshoppers, shallots, tequila and guacamole. But if the thought of ingesting grasshoppers makes you gag, rest assured that the vast majority of the menu is more standard (and delicious) fare. Like any Mexican restaurant worth its margarita salt, the guac is fantastic, and the small plate servings mean you can try a lot of different items without breaking the bank. Check out one of our earlier posts for lots more details!

Founding Farmers

It makes sense that a restaurant that prides itself on an eco-friendly approach and fresh farm-to-table food would have a menu that appeals to both meat eaters and vegetarians. This lively Foggy Bottom spot is always bustling, making it perfect for a weeknight dinner with friends after a hard day at the office (hey, you can count it as a hard day even if half of it was spent on Twitter). The numerous veggie options are clearly marked and interesting- the Gardener's Pie and Tomato Cider Glazed Meatloaf, for example- and the sandwiches and burgers are surprisingly reasonably priced. The menu is also rife with comfort food like chicken pot pie, meatloaf, and delicious desserts that will send you home happy.

Mellow Mushroom

Like Katie, I love Mellow Mushroom with the fire of a thousand suns. This casual but fun Adams Morgan spot offers ample veggie options from salads to hoagies, but I haven't tried most of them because I can't resist the siren call of the Holy Shiitake Pie, a pizza so delicious that even my bacon-loving friend raved about it weeks after we split one. But Ron Swansonettes, don't worry- there are also plentiful meaty options, from the Mighty Meaty Pizza to the Steak and Cheese Calzone. And though January is generally not a suitable time for outdoor dining (cue your officemate panicking about today's impending snow), the large rooftop overlooking 18th Street is a prime spot to enjoy some delectable food and nice weather.

Zaytinya 

Zaytinya is a moderately upscale Jose Andres restaurant that serves Turkish, Greek, and Lebanese cuisine, with nearly a full page on the extensive menu featuring vegetarian dishes- many are also vegan or can be made vegan by request. There are, of course, lots of tasty meat options too, like beef tartar and lamb baha. Like Oyamel (also a Jose Andres joint), the plates are small and encourage sharing, so be careful not to fill up on the warm, puffy bread brought out by the attentive servers before the meal- it's deliciously addicting. 

Etete

Ethiopian food is another great option for pleasing both veggies and carnivores. I did a round-up of the District's best Ethiopian spots over the summer, but of all those tasty places, my favorite remains Etete. The décor is warm and stylish, and the service is generally very good. Most importantly, the food is top notch, and it remains the standard by which I compare every other Ethiopian establishment. The high quality of the food as well as the restaurant itself means that Etete gets away with slightly higher prices, and its popularity can result in crowds on the weekends; you may want to play it safe with reservations rather than risk a long wait.

Any spots I missed that you think should be included?

  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Where to Eat Breakfast: Batter Bowl Bakery

A few months ago, I got the opportunity to serve on a retail focus group for my beloved H Street Corridor. There, a few likeminded individuals who have a similarly active interest in promoting the neighborhood and I expressed our hopes for the street: Local businesses. No chains. Don't let H Street become Georgetown.

As we all got a little more specific about our store preferences ("A specialty eyeglasses shop," said one woman. "A locally owned hardware store," said another man. "A nice nail salon," said I.), there was one type of business we could all agree we desperately desired: a bakery.

The folks at the H Street business association listened: Batter Bowl Bakery has just opened up at 403 H St. NE, ready to bring you croissants, muffins and other assorted doughy goodness daily.

Storefront
Inside

I decided to test out the wares this past lazy Sunday, and for a place that has just opened, I was HIGHLY impressed.

They have a pretty extensive menu:

Click to enlarge

and all the items are VERY reasonably priced. I had the French toast, which was made on thick, sourdough bread. They were a little stingy on the syrup portion, but for $4.50, I can't complain.

Additionally, Batter Bowl Bakery had its service down to a SCIENCE. With new businesses, you always expect crappy service for the first few weeks/months as they iron out the kinks and get used to a schedule. But with this bakery, that wasn't the case at all. Though they didn't have the full menu up and running (I couldn't get the Puffed Pancake, which was disappointing), they had the register ringing and the entrees coming out like clockwork.

Moreover, the employees were taking great pains to keep the place clean. There was a guy coming around every five minutes with one of those swingy-trash-buckets-on-a-pole that you see at amusement parks, sweeping up crumbs as soon as they landed on the floor. Tables were wiped down within seconds of patrons vacating.

It was a tight-run ship, which makes me optimistic that this place will only get better and better as time goes on.

My only real complaint was that this bakery seemed to attract every child in the neighborhood like moths to a flame, and they were loud and unruly. Can't I just eat my French toast and Illy coffee in peace, please?!

(Though, this particular moppet was really cute:)

I hope my kids come out like this.

So, the next time you're out on H Street, stop by Batter Bowl Bakery and get yourself a pastry. You'll be glad you did!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Where To Eat With The D.C. Famous

It's nearly impossible to live in D.C. and not have someone tell you a story about the one time they bumped into (insert famous name here) while doing something mundane. Whether it is meeting Justice Ginsberg while she is grabbing her dry cleaning, or a story like me missing (literally) running into Calista Gingrich by a few inches on my way to the Newseum on election night, chances are if you live in this city, you have your own similar story. Now if you haven't lived here long and are looking for places to bump into the city's most powerful men and women, I've got you covered.

Capital Grille
Source
If you are looking for THE place to see D.C. "celebs" look no further. The favorite restaurant of lobbyists, general counsel, and politicians alike, Capital Grille will not leave you disappointed in terms of patrons or food. Of course Capital Grille offers delicious steak, but their wine cellar is also unrivaled and their staff is beyond knowledgeable and helpful. If you're looking for something decadent, don't miss the lobster mac 'n cheese, it won't let you down. Located right of Pennsylvania Avenue, Capital Grille is an easy walk from Navy Archives station, and walkable from Chinatown or Metro Center. But, free valet parking is the best option on most nights, if you have a car.

Del Frisco's Grille
I've written about this before, check out my review here. But I'm not the only person in D.C. that raves about this place. Redskins players are frequent visitors, and politicians too. Whether it's the steak or the service, I can't be sure. All I know is that if you are looking to rub elbows with athletes or Senators, make Del Frisco's your first stop. I'm obsessed with the Nutella bread pudding and mini-taco appetizer, but I promise you, nothing will disappoint. Now, the Redskins players tab was around $7,000 (yes, thousand), here's hoping your bill won't be quite that high. Del Frisco's is easily walkable from Metro Center, on Pennsylvania Avenue. But, valet is also available.

Source
Morton's Steak
Now I am a big fan of Morton's (Connecticut Avenue). Now if I'm being fully honest, it's probably because when my college friend Rob treated me here for my birthday the Morton's staff had a customized menu (wishing me a happy birthday) and even gave me complimentary Makers 46. But have no fear, every time I eat here I am both STUFFED and also swear I have never eaten anything more delicious in my life. I'm a steak eater so naturally, eating delicious red meat never gets old, but the mashed potatoes and green beans (with bacon) are maybe my favorite thing in the universe... that might be an overstatement, but seriously they are GOOOOOOOOD. My friends that work on The Hill tell me I am not alone in adoring Morton's. Senators and Congressmen alike are big fans of the steak joint, maybe it's the dedicated servers, or more than likely, it's the cigar collection on site, but either way, if you want to eat well, and in the company of the D.C. famous, then Morton's is your place. Morton's also offers valet, and there is parking on the opposite side of the entrance for a reduced rate if you show your Morton's receipt.

Source
Capital Katie is a huge fan of this restaurant, as are many of D.C.'s power elite. Don't let the recent re-brand change your mind, Social Reform offers the same delicious food and caters to D.C.'s movers and shakers, offering, as you may have guessed, private caucus rooms. With entrees cleverly named "The Fiscal Cliff," "The Moderate," and "The Continental Congress" (fun fact that only my fellow political science nerds will appreciate, the Second Continental Congress opened on my birthday), it's obvious that Social Reform has a specific audience in mind. Located off 9th St. NW, self parking is available for just $6.00, or you can easily walk from Chinatown or Navy Archives. My favorite entree is the crab cake (duh), but even my most particular friends are happy with this venue, so make sure to book it, as Katie says, when Dad comes to visit.

So whether you're looking to impress your family when they come to visit, or you still get a little star struck, dining at these places won't let you down! Plus, and this is always a plus, the food is some of the best in the area. Feel free to share your stories about bumping into the D.C. famous around town in the comments.

Yours in Powerful Pugs,




Friday, January 11, 2013

What to Do in the District this Weekend

I don't know about you, but I woke up Wednesday morning and thought "man, am I glad it's Friday." As I stumbled into the kitchen to make coffee a few minutes later, it suddenly occurred to me that it was not Friday. I was all:



Damn you three-day week from last week. Getting me all confused and excited.

The good news? Today is actually Friday, which means we all made it through an entire five-day work week. While I plan to do nothing this weekend but wear my new #12 Pats' jersey, drink beer, and watch football (man, do I love NFL playoff season), read on for some fun non-football related ideas.

Tonight

Is it April or January? Yeah, I can't tell either. But you won't hear any complaining from this girl. So long as the rain holds off, tonight would be the absolute perfect night to enjoy this warmer than usual weather. Head to Poste Moderne Brasserie in Penn Quarter and take advantage of its outdoor patio. Curl up under blankets and drink a nice, full bodied red wine, or better yet, one of the bar's warm specialty cocktails. They even have one called the Smokin Bacon Hot Chocolate. True story.

Looking for a little more culture? The National Cathedral is hosting a Paris-themed concert tonight called "Paris, City of Lights." The event will feature performances by the Cathedral's chamber vocal ensemble, Cathedra. Walk over to Cafe Deluxe after for a late night dinner.

Saturday

How I feel when I do yoga
Start off your Saturday morning with a yoga class at the beautiful Corcoran Gallery. Price to the class also includes smoothies and other breakfast treats prepared by the one and only Todd Gray. 

Yoga not your thing? Well, there's another form of "exercise" you can participate in this weekend. Crystal City is hosting its Annual 1K Wine Walk. Basically, participants walk around a 0.6 mile track and try 20 different wines. And, it gets even better because the event ends with a dance party! I know, most genius idea ever. 


I can guarantee that around 3 p.m. on Saturday the District is going to turn purple. Those goddamn Ravens fans are going to come out of the wood work and take over our dear city. Thankfully, there are lots of fun sports bars where we can watch them lose (Jules is going to read this and get so angry at me, ha). One of my favorite places to watch football is Redline (check out my review). Other good spots include Buffalo Billiards, Poor House, Public, Four Courts, Cleveland Park Bar and Grille, Capitol Lounge, and the always divey, but always packed and fun, Rhino Bar.

Did the holidays prevent you from spending time with some of your close friends? Call up your bestie and check out these ideas for a "friend date" on Saturday night. I like 3, 4, and 29.

Sunday

The National Geographic turns 125 on Sunday and is celebrating with cake and presents. The museum will give away free Georgetown Cupcakes and will be framing photos of visitors in its distinctive yellow cover style.

The Presidential Inauguration is a little over a week away, and while there will be lots of celebrating next weekend, why not enjoy the First Lady exhibit at the American History Museum this weekend? Learn how first ladies have shaped the role of the first lady over time. Additionally, you can view more than two dozen gowns worn by various first ladies.

Speaking of gowns, are you attending one of the many official or unofficial inaugural balls next weekend? If yes, are you freaking out and wondering just what to wear? Read Jules' review of Rent the Runway and then use this LivingSocial deal, and, boom, you're all set for a dress. Now you just need shoes, accessories, purse, and, of course, a handsome man for arm candy.

There you go- lots of fun things to do this weekend. Oh, and it probably goes without saying, but Go Patriots!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Where To Eat In D.C. When On A Budget

New Year 2013
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I can’t even lie to you and say I didn’t set new year’s resolutions for myself. Now before you start rolling your eyes and thinking, “Ugh, that RWB is so cliché,” I assure you these aren’t general run of the mill resolutions that somehow make me a whole new person simply because I snap my fingers. Instead, I like the idea of having a new slate in the new year and set goals that help make me the best version of myself. Now, drum roll please, in 2013 I’ve decided to be a more consistent blogger (let’s be honest, I sort of fell of the face of the Earth post-Thanksgiving) and also bolster my savings.

I am the first person to admit that eating out is one of my favorite things; this fact was only cemented when I downloaded the Mint.com app and saw that I spent an INSANELY RIDICULOUS amount of my funds on dining out over the past few months. But, eating out shouldn’t mean we spend an arm and a leg on food each month. Instead, we should be able to grab a quick bite to eat, without breaking the bank.  
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If you’re craving Thai food, the HANDS DOWN best place in the metro area is Bangkok 54 in south Arlington. Not only is it home to the most delicious Thai food around, it is cheap (and they deliver for free). My New York friends even swear it’s better than anything they order there, for my fellow Thai lovers, that’s saying something! My favorite meal is the Chicken Pad Thai, but nothing on the menu disappoints.

For my Tex-Mex fans, District Taco, originally a food truck and now a full-fledged restaurant can’t be beat. Whether you’re looking for the perfect breakfast taco, quesadillas for lunch, or guacamole and tacos for dinner, District Taco has you covered. Everything is made while you wait and fresh. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I would do questionable things for the guacamole here, it is THAT good. Follow them on Twitter to see where the food truck will stop each day, or stop by their official store on Lee Highway in Arlington, or the newly opened F Street NW location.

If the sea is calling your name, but you don’t want to shell out (see what I did there, I’m so comical) a ton of cash for surf and turf, try one of my favorite places, Tackle Box, in Georgetown. Whether crab cakes are your favorite, or you want to bring a lobster pot to your next party, Tackle Box is your place! Now some of you may be afraid that because the prices are so low, the quality is sacrificed, but I assure you that couldn’t be further from the truth. This is really the best of both worlds, delicious food, at half of the price of a regular seafood joint. Oh, fun fact: I once ran into my pseudo-celebrity crush, Luke Russert here.
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Last but not least, D.C. is home to many restaurants started by famous chefs. But if heading to Michel Richard’s Citronelle isn’t exactly in your price range, why not try Bobby’s Burger Palace. I’ve written about this once before, and it really is one of my favorite places in the district. Here, you get the famous name, without the shocking price tag. Try my favorite, the L.A. burger and top it off with sweet potato fries and a bourbon milkshake, I promise, you won’t leave disappointed!

I may not be Rachael Ray living on $40 a day, but it is possible to eat well, without paying a fortune. Now I’ve certainly missed some budget friendly joints, so leave your favorite places to eat in the comments section!

Happy eating,