Got Plans? Discuss great ideas for local entertainment, dates and family fun.

Nov 17, 2011

Got Plans? Discuss great ideas for local entertainment, dates and family fun.

Happy week-before-Thanksgiving, chatters. We're back for another edition of Got Plans, and it looks like we have plenty of questions about what to do with visiting relatives.

Joining us this week is CityZen sommelier Andy Myers, one of the coolest (and most tattooed) somms in the city. He'll take all your questions about wine: what to drink at Thanksgiving, how to work with a sommelier to find the perfect bottle, anything you want to know. 

Let's get going...

I'm going to an all-local Thanksgiving dinner, and I want to bring some growlers of DC beer along. Ideally, I'd like to get Three Star, Chocolate City, or DC Brau... or a combination. Any metro-accessible places in DC or VA?

Due to D.C. law, the only place you can purchase growlers of beer is at the brewery. DC Brau has Saturday hours at its Northeast brewery, which is NOT Metro accessible, and they'll fill anyone's screwtop growlers. (Don't bring your cool swingtop growlers, because they can't fill those, as I found much to my chagrin one week.)

You might also head out to Port City in Alexandria, which is open Wed-Sun -- I'd imagine their porter would be great with Turkey -- but again, not Metro accessible.

Being carless, I've gotten growlers to go at the award-winning Mad Fox in Falls Church (Metro to East Falls Church, then a 10-minute bus ride) and the Rock Bottom brewpub in Bethesda.

Instead of cocktails or wine before Thanksgiving dinner would a bottle of Genesee Cream Ale be acceptable?

Yes Dad:) Genny Cream Ale is ALWAYS an acceptable beverage for any event.

Gurus, the Economist trivia thing tonight sounds delightfully wonky, but I can't go. What are some potential alternatives that might come up soon? I work downtown and live in Falls Church, so proximity to either is a plus.

Yeah, tonight's Economist Pub Quiz -- which we wrote about in Tuesday's Nightlife Agenda -- sounds like the perfect combination of wonky-ness, competition and fun.  Way more than your usual ho-hum trivia night.

You should keep on the lookout for the monthly Politics and Pints quiz at Capitol Lounge, hosted by our colleague Chris Cilliza. (Unfortunately, the most recent one was Monday; follow him on Facebook for details of the next one.)

After reading a Slate article about how many common wine drinkers around the world, and especially Europe, typically only spend $4-8 on a bottle for day to day drinking, what REALLY cheap bottles do you like? I'm doing my own experiments and only buying bottles under $8 to see what I like, but I find that there are very few choices at a regular grocery store like Giant, at that price.

 Yep, Giant can be a bit tough for finding wines. As far as low budget goes, I really like a few bag in box wines. The Domaine Montirius Vind De Pays Vauclause is awesome and comes in at $40 for a 3L. So that's $10/bottle. I also really like a $6 bottle of Sicilian Grillo (forget the producer) at Whole Foods.

Heading down to visit the Newseum on Saturday and wanted to catch a nice lunch close by. Recommends? Thanks

You're in luck, the cool dim-sum brunch at The Source, located at the Newseum, falls on Saturdays. Just look at these photos, you'll be convinced. (But for the sake of helpfulness, I'd also think it's a perfect time to try America Eats Tavern - the brunch there looks amazing too, and this "pop-up" won't be around forever, so why not?)

Every now and then me and the guys get together to cook some wild and outrageous courses of tasty protein in our buddy's backyard fire pit. there are no kids or women allowed but one guy always lets his wife sneak in at the end and I was wondering how to break that to him without excluding him from future events. oh, by the way, whats a good wine to pair with scotch eggs?

I've met this guy's wife. She's very cool. You should be glad that she wants to hang out with guys who smell like fire, meat and cigars. And I'm sure she would be sad to hear that you would want to exclude her from the last few moments of your event.

 With Scotch Eggs I find that delicious, off-dry riesling provided by a friend is usually a good call. It helps cut the artery stopping joy of those eggs.

Hello all, Hope you are doing well! I am meeting my boyfriend's family for the first time during Thanksgiving. Will be attending two dinners (at this mother' s and grandparents house). I really want to take gifts for both the mother and grandparents as I will be visiting them for the first time. What's a good gift besides wine and flowers?? Help, I want to make a good impression!

As someone with a wonderful mother-in-law who really likes me (at least I think she does) I feel alright answering this one:)

 Flowers and wine are classics. You can never go wrong. It shows you have nice manners and are sweet. Any "alternative" gift runs the risk of branding you as "that girl who gave me the Kleenex Cozy" and that could be weird in the long run. Just sayin'

Hi GOGs! We'll be visiting this weekend for the first time since we moved away two years ago. Here are our dining plans--is there anything I should change while I can? Saturday lunch: 2Amys, Saturday dinner: The Majestic, Sunday brunch: Founding Farmers, and an early dinner at Cork after seeing Othello at the Folger. Monday lunch: The Source, Monday dinner: Central Michel Richard. Any advice? Changes? Anything going on that we absolutely should not miss? Thanks as usual for all your great work!

That's quite a gut-busting itinerary you have there. The only thing you might want to be aware of is that, in the past two years, 2Amy's has taken a bit of a dive in the estimation of some. Tom Sietsema loved him some 2Amy's in the 2009 Fall Dining Guide, but as of 2011 it had fallen out of favor. "The food is too inconsistent for me," he wrote. If you want to fill a pizza-sized hole in your itinerary, I'd try Seventh Hill, which opened after you left.  

I am very eager to go to the Peeps store in National Harbor. It's a fair drive for me. I can either go alone or bring my two elementary school boys. Is there anything for them to do out there? Thank you.

Well, National Harbor is home to the very cool (if pricy) Ice exhibit, which has two-story slides made of ice, holiday scenes carved from ice, Santa ...

Other than that, you've got the Capital Children's Museum Launch Zone, an interactive playground for kids with plenty of special events. (Lavanya warns that it's often closed, though, so call ahead.) You can also take the kids to see the giant Awakening statue or hit Elevation Burger for tasty milkshakes and made-to-order burgers, and I bet the kids will love choosing their own toppings.

Even though my brother is one of the coolest somms in the city, I know NOTHING about wine. What is a good but reasonably priced wine for me to bring as a gift to a party?

I might suggest reaching into the wine cooler behind your father's bar and taking the 3rd bottle from the left on the 2nd shelf if you were MY sister. Otherwise I'd look at fun options like Beaujolais Village wines (not Nouveau; sorry Bistro du Coin), or a Mencia wine from Bierzo, Spain.

In the Washington Post Magazine story, you boasted that "20 percent of the 550 bottles" at CityZen were under $100. I realize that this is a four-star restaurant, but this still means that 400 bottles of wine are $100 or more. As a wine drinker, what restaurants do you think do a good job with offering most of their bottles for less than $100? $50?

 Nice question. I love the wine lists at Cork and Estadio a lot. Sebastian and Max have done great work finding interesting and affordable wines. Justin at Cashion's has a list that is wonderful (unfortunately I haven't been there in far too long). I also really like the list at Johnny's Half Shell.

 All this talk is making me very thirsty:)

Hi Gurus - Thanks for your wonderful ideas! I'm going to be shopping for my wedding gown (!) out in Gainesville and wanted to go to a fun pre-fab brunch. Any recommendations for somewhere in or near Gainesville? I didn't find any Gainesville options on your site, but hopefully you have a few in your heads. Preferably they serve mimosas & bloody marys!

You're not that far from the Ashby Inn. The last time I was there it was exceptional and Tarver's food was better than ever.

There are a few newish places as well as old standby's on the U st / 14th St corridor I have yet to check out (Lost Society, Blackbyrd, Pearl Oyster, Cork, Bar Pilar, Jack Rose). I won't be free until prime time on Friday night when I'm sure all will be packed. So when do you suggest a good time to try out 1 or 2 of these places this weekend for a drink or two without a wait (including sunday afternoons)? I know all these places have food, but I more inclined to go for the drinking. Thanks.

Sunday afternoon is the perfect time to go exploring. Go to brunch at Bar Pilar for the legendary hangover bowl, then over to Pearl Dive (I've never had a problem getting a bocce court there on a Sunday) for beers and cocktails, and wrap up with the Rock Creek Social Club DJs at Blackbyrd on Sunday evening, or head to Jack Rose for a whiskey nightcap.

Hi Gurus, I'm heading to the Fillmore on Saturday night to see Warrne Haynes. The start time is posted as 7pm. Will someone be opening? What's a realistic time for the headliner to start? Seems kinda early to me. Any thoughts on the new Fillmore in general? Thanks!

Word is they're still not sure about whether there will be an opener or not, but the music pretty much always starts an hour after doors. If you don't see an opener posted the day of the show, 8 is when you'll want to be there. 

Are most bars going to be open on Thanksgiving? Me and a few friends (4-5) are just looking for some places to do some day drinking and a decent bite for dinner, but don't want a 4-course sit down place with reservations...probably in U st/Dupont/Admo area. Any suggestions? Thanks, and love you guys!

In my experience, most bars are open on Thanksgiving, but they open a little later than usual to allow the staff to have dinner with family and friends.

I just got back from France, where I toured the Cote de Nuits region and really loved the wine. I feel like I rarely see burgundies by the glass at restaurants, or maybe I'm not going to the right places? I often see bottles, but they are so expensive--I am willing to spend money on great wine, but I know just because a bottle is expensive doesn't mean it's anything special. I just don't know where to start! Any suggestions?

Ahhh, the great Burgundy dilema. The tough part is that, as I'm sure you know from visiting, Burgundy is tiny. They don't make that much wine, so sadly, it tends to be expensive. That's also why very few of us pour it by the glass.

 One helpful hint in Burgundy especially is to know your vintages and know which are drinking well. Currently, 03/01/00/99/96/93 are drinking very well. 07 and 06 are young, fresh and very pleasant at present. So, if you're going for Village level wines drink the young vintages. If you'd like to throw down for 1er or Grand Cru I'd look at the older ones.

Any suggestions for a good bar to watch the Jets/Broncos tonight, preferably in the Chinatown or Penn Quarter area?

The D.C. chapter of the Denver Broncos Fan Club is hosting a meet-up at Penn Quarter Sports Tavern, so that should take care of you, provided you're wearing the right colors. It looks like the Jets fan club is going to be at Rumors

What are your suggestions for affordable bottles in the $10-20 range?

I get asked this question pretty frequently in my life:) While there are some wines in that range I really love (Osel's Ruche, Gobelsburger Gruner Veltliner, Borsao Garnacha), I never know where folks shop and as such it's tough to give you specific brands. My advice is always to find a shop that makes you comfortable and find someone there that you can connect with (most wine geeks LOVE to talk to anyone about wine).

 If it's feasible for you, ask your new wine store friend to  put together a mixed case of 6 white and 6 red for $120 or less. Keep a note or two about each wine and take the notes back to the shop with you. You'll be amazed how much the shop will be able to help you if they have even a slight idea about your taste and budget.

Hope that helps:)

Hi, I am new to learning wines and was curious which approach you thought would be best. Do you think it's better to delve in learn about varietals or types (i.e. merlots, shiraz, riesling) first, or is it more appropriate to start with a country or region and go from there? I find I am learning best when I travel to a place and sample there, but that can be expensive and time consuming. Wasn't sure if there was an easier way. Thanks!

I'm so happy to hear that you want to learn more about wine. The beginning of the journey is often the hardest part as wine can seem so overwhelming. First off, I encourage anyone genuinely interested in gaining more wine knowledge to look at the programs offered by the Court of Master Sommeliers and the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. They offer Introductory level events all over the county and are great places to start.

 Beyond that, to focus on a varietal is, in most cases, to focus on a region as well. So tie them together. Study Chenin Blanc and the Loire Valley ath the same time. Study Shiraz and South Australia, etc.

Gurus, crossing the river and taking my husband to Ray's3 for his birthday Tuesday. What is there to do in the area afterward? Neither of us have to work the following day. We're both low-key types and big sports fans--beers, a hockey game on TV, and maybe something a little unexpected like skee ball or bubble hockey would pretty much make our night.

Right by Rays3 is Continental, one of the gems of Arlington bars: Think skee-ball, darts, pool, shuffleboard and drinks all wrapped up in a retro '60s jet-age decor. It doesn't usually get the love it deserves because it's in Rosslyn, but I try to stop in when I'm in the neighborhood.

What is a good crowd pleasing red to bring to a party that is under $15? Something in the range of a Cab or Zin and widely available ( think supermarket or liquor store without a huge wine inventory)?

Bogle Petit Syrah has always made me happy. It's on the massive side and tends to show up in grocery stores in the $12-$15 range.

Looking for a good 2nd date suggestion for this Sunday--fun and interactive preferable. I know the ice rink opens on the Mall but it may be a puddle given the weather is supposed to be nice. Any help appreciated.

How about the National Arboretum to start? It's low-key, free and a pretty low pressure date. Besides that, the bonsai collection is awesome! I also like wandering around the sculpture gardens on the mall as well since you can either really connect about modern art  or make fun of it and that=relationship building:)

I don't think you have to scrap this plan; I'm just  going to tack on a cool museum date -- the National Gallery and the Hirshhorn have Warhol shows. You can skip from one to another, stop for gelato and coffee at the National Gallery, and if it strikes you go skating. Then you can always zip over to 7th Street and grab dinner at any of those popular restaurants  if it's going really well. (I'm going to recommend sitting at the bar at Proof or Oyamel or something like that.) These sorts of dates are great because you can talk a lot and get together, rather than say, at a movie or concert.

Hi, and thanks for the chats. My bachelorette party kind of snuck up me this weekend- I bought tickets for all of us to go to the Old Ebbit Grill Oyster Riot on Saturday, and we're getting our nails done beforehand.... but we'll probably want to do something afterwards. More drinking and dancing, but where? I live in the U Street area, but anywhere in D.C. could work. There are a million bars within blocks that I haven't been to yet (Lost Society, U Street Music Hall) because I am about to be an old married lady and have gotten real boring lately. Good for my husband-to-be I guess, bad for party planning. I'm psyched about the oysters though... Thanks for any advice!

Okay, I have a crazier, perhaps more "bachelorette"  option, because you seem in need of some unwinding. And I say this realizing, too, that bachelorette parties are really for your married friends with kids, who need to let loose and party harder than any one else in the room, if for no other reason that that they have a babysitter.   Town. There's an awesome drag show from 10-11:30 on Fridays and Saturdays, then get crazy somewhere that's decorated like a Sweet 16. If you must keep it classy, I think your bachelorette party will fit right in -- and you can definitely have that one last hurrah -- at Lost Society. If you can get there a little early, perhaps by 10 p.m., you'll be able to save yourself from any lines. 

Hi there - Just saw a  show at 9:30 club last week - Trombone Shorty and the Orleans Avenue. Sooo great! I want to see more of that music in DC but don't know where to find it, other than fly to New Orleans. Help! I'm hitting Jazz Fest 2012 but I don't think I can wait til then. Thanks!

Bayou in Foggy Bottom brings in all kinds of New Orleans (and New Orleans-style) bands to its small stage, both funk and zydeco. There are zydeco dances out at Glen Echo -- check the local dance group Dancing by the Bayou for info on upcoming events.

I'd call to confirm, but I would suspect that The Passenger will have some sort of rebellious Thanksgiving plans in place, and I can't imagine a place that is less of a four-star swanky restaurant. Also: bratwurst.

I bet The Passenger would be a blast for pre or post Thanksgiving feasting (might have to stop in for a beverage myself).

District of Pi would be an even better pizza choice -- plus there's the food truck tie-in, which is the biggest element of DC cuisine to evolve in the 2 years since the poster moved away

Noted. Though for what it's worth, if you were only in town for two days and wanted good pizza, which would you choose? 

 

Sietsema on District of Pi: "There is nothing about the stiff, tasteless crust to compel me to eat it. On my last visit, I denuded the deep-dish pizza of its robust tomato chunks and left the rest of the disappointment behind."

 

Sietsema on Seventh Hill:  "I've never met a pizza I haven't fallen in lust with at Seventh Hill...Every bite hints of yeast, whispers of char from the fire --and compels you to keep eating." 

There is a metrobus that stops less than a block from the brewery.

Okay, you're right. I should have been more clear. You can take the B2 bus to DC Brau. But unless you're by Stadium Armory or Potomac Avenue, it's not incredibly convenient -- a theoretical search on Metro's Web site indicates it would take anywhere from 70 to 90 minutes -- each way -- from the Columbia Heights Metro station. (I picked that at random. Feel free to plug in your own stop.)

My point is that the brewery's a little out of the way for many people. Whenever I'm going, I always get a Zipcar.

What about Smoking Loon? I like it and the label is cool.

Just found out I'm being forced to go to karaoke this weekend. What's a good song that a girl with no musical talent can pull off? Maybe some chatters can share their go to song...

So our Jess, who's an actual jazz singer as well as one of the authors of this karaoke guide, suggests that "it has to be a song you know backwards and forwards or you're going to mess up when to come in."

Lavanya and Jess are now over here trying to come up with easy-to-sing songs: Poker Face, These Boots are Made for Walking ...

Chatters? Suggestions?

My wife's birthday is this weekend and we're looking for a bar to go out to with friends that is a happy medium between dive and standing shoulder to shoulder with folks. We are in our mid-twenties and don't leave Rosslyn often and are hoping to find somewhere in Dupont/Adams Morgan. Games and decently priced beer a plus. Thanks!

Depending on size of your group, Bedrock Billiards could be an option, but it's on the small side. Another would be the Black Squirrel's downstairs bar, which is long, lively and has a really well-curated beer list. 

This really depends on how many people you have: I'd say either Bedrock (group of 15 or less) or Buffalo Billiards would fit the bill for pool, shuffleboard, etc. plus multiple bars and couches.

I'm curious to hear what Andy thinks of Barefoot and Yellow Tail.

Why did I hear Admiral Akbar saying "It's a trap!!" when I read this question?

 The greatest thing about these brands is what a fantastic job they have done in promoting the idea of wine becoming a staple on the American table. As such, I think of them as gateway drug wines and I'm thrilled that they have more Americans making wine a daily part of their lives.

Hey Gurus, When DC Brau first came out, I remember trying it (on tap) and was pretty excited in that I thought it was a pretty decent beer. Not in my top 5 league but really not bad for a newcomer. I thought it was above average in the taste and strength department and was pretty impressed. Having ordered it on a few occasions in the past few months (both in cans and on tap), I have been sorely disappointed. The same version (pale ale) was weak, insipid and blech. I don't know if it was old (but it happened a few times, all at different establishments) and was not good. It wasn't anything like I remembered when I first tried it. Is DC Brau having a problem with consistency? Riding on its young laurels? What's up? Anyone else notice this problem? I'd like to see DC Brau pale ale rise to the level when it first came out; it would be awesome to see and support a local brewery and be proud of a local beer. Thanks.

I think consistancy is a problem for any small brewery, and I've noticed some slight differences in DC Brau at different bars. Some of this is down to shipping -- how the cans and kegs travel, whether they're refrigerated, etc. -- but I wonder how much of it is down to brewing. They've recent hired a new brewer (Micah Krichinsky, formerly the head brewer at Capitol City Brewing Company at Union Station), so we'll see if that impacts the changes you've been seeing.

Pick something that everyone knows how to sing so they'll start singing along. Something like New York, New York.

This is good advice. A friend of mine used to always do "Friends in Low Places" for the singalong factor.

Greetings GoGs. Any suggestions for a post-holiday wedding hang out in or around West End or Dupont or even Georgetown? No cover, suitable for cocktail attire, good music but conducive to conversation are our ideals. Preferably no private rooms as we will have dropped many a bone on the wedding already and we won't be able to guarantee attendance after our open bar....Thanks!

I'd want to say Hudson for this -- it's spacious, elegant enough to continue the wedding vibe in your cocktail attire, and firmly in between Dupont and West End. If you want to know if it's right, I'd recommend checking it out ahead of time (like this weekend)  just to be sure.  I'd steer clear of Georgetown; the cocktail attire won't quite fly, and it's young for wedding party.

I'd go to Matchbox or Paradiso instead of Two Amys, and I'd skip Founding Farmers. There are much better brunch options, but of course I'm coming up blank. Maybe Acadiana?

Cool idea. And I floated America Eats Tavern earlier; the brunch looks like exactly what I want to eat.

Hi Gurus. I am looking for a fun, lively restaurant with good food (that is not a dive) in upper NW or Bethesda tomorrow evening for dinner. It seems to me that other cities (especially NYC, but even Boston, Nashville, New Orleans) have restaurants that meet this description, but I can't think of any right now. Last time I ate at 8407 in Silver Spring and last time I ate at Redwood in Bethesda, I was not impressed - but there are the sort of places I'm looking for. Downtown, I love Estadio, Proof, Rasika, Coppi's, but for reasons I won't bore you with, we can't go down there tomorrow night.

I feel fairly confident in saying that Comet Ping Pong most-closely matches the ethos you're looking for. It's more casual than any of the places you mentioned, save for Coppi's, but it's certainly fun and lively, with great pizza and beer. You can also head next door to Buck's Fishing & Camping if you're looking for something a bit nicer. 

Are there wine tastings available anywhere on high-end wines? I can spend $14 on a bottle of wine without tasting it, but I won't be spending $40 on a bottle unless I'm sure it's good. Thanks!

The Whole Foods in Fairfax (4501 Market Commons Dr Fairfax, VA 22033) has a neat tasting room where you can sample 80 wines or so.

 Also, most wine shops in the area have tastings pretty regularly. I'd call Silesia Liquors, Cork Market or Calvert-Woodley to see what their schedule of tastings looks like.

You could do an orange line growler bar crawl and metro out to Dunn Loring and walk down to Sweetwater Tavern. (call first to see if they offer growlers.) then hike from East Falls Church to Mad Fox. Then finish off at the Rock Bottom brewpub in Ballston Commons mall.

This! Excellent idea. Sweetwater does do growlers, but you have to buy them at the pub.

What about something by Bon Jovi (You give love a bad name or Wanted) or something like the Carrie Underwood song where she talks about how she's going to bash the guys truck headlights in when he cheated on her. Can't remember the name of that one right now, but it could be fun to sing.

Andy, have you tried the wine from RdV Vineyards in Virginia? Thoughts? Worth the money? It's certainly been getting a lot of press from this paper and others...

I have. I've even had the good fortune to get to know Rutger and winemaker Joshua very well in the last few months (great guys). I think the wines are on track to be very good and the two vintages I've tasted were very well made and showed great potential.

 RdV is making vin de garde wines (wines meant to age), so my only question is about HOW great these wines will be and will  require 10, 20, 30? years to answer. I have high hopes for the project though and look forward to watching the wines develop.

Stay with country and western songs--they generally have fairly simple melodic lines and easy tempos.

One of my favorite artists, Bob Schneider, is playing at the Ram's Head on Stage in Annapolis Saturday night. I missed when he came to the Birchmere last month due to a business trip. Ram's Head on Stage looks like a seated venue (like Birchmere but 40 miles away, not in my city). While his recent albums have mellowed, he general doesn't put on a show you sit through. Tickets are $25 plus tax and whatever it is going to cost me to park up there. Is that venue worth it or should I just wait until he comes back to Birchmere/930/Blackcat/Jammin Java in the spring? FWIW I have seen him more times than I can count and know he comes through the DMV at least twice a year every year, it's just that I have had a conflict the last couple times. Is Ram’s Head worth the drive? Or should I stick around town for my last free weekend of the year?

I guess it entirely depends on how badly you want to see Bob Schneider, right? You've seen him before, you know he'll be back, so...do you want to see him this weekend? I paid money to see Art Brut in Toronto earlier this summer, knowing full well I'd see them only days later at the Black Cat. Why? Because I really like Art Brut. Worst that happens is you go see him this weekend, have a great time, and see him again when he comes back through town. Or you don't, and you still see him on the next time through. Win-win. 

What would be your favorite winery in the area?

I love visiting Linden, Horton, Barboursville and RdV. All good people and good wines. If you're planing on visiting them,  Horton and Barboursville are pretty close together (near Charlottesville) and Linden and RdV are close enough to visit both on the same day. It's always a good idea to call ahead to any of the wineries before you visit, btw.

Okay, now you've got to download all these songs in iTunes and see which ones you think you can sing. Then look up the lyrics and practice along.

Eh, I bet they're all on Spotify. And then you don't have to pay 99 cents to discover that you can't quite hit a couple of high notes.

Can't Hurry Love! Supremes for the girls, Phil Collins for the boys.

Hey gurus, I've got a good friend coming into town to visit tonight and I'm excited to give her a first taste of DC. I've got some stuff in mind (spots in my Adams Morgan/U St/Mt P hood) but I'd like to venture down and do a day on H Street on Saturday if it stays sunny and not too cold. I was thinking Barracks Row brunch, a trip to Eastern Market and then doing up H Street for afternoon drinks. I don't spend a ton of time down there and would love any suggestions. A must do brunch? Favorite mid-day watering holes? And really anything else I'm missing. Oh if it helps she's very into all things green (works on an organic farm), social justice, good food and tasty booze. Thanks!!!

H Street isn't quite the thriving scene during the day that it is at night -- not by a long shot -- but I have a couple of options for you: Queen Vic, and Atlas Room, both on the posher side, or if you want something pubbier, try the Argonaut or, a better bet, Biergarten Haus. None of these fit that social justice bill, but hey, it's daytime drinking.

Usually Tom is spot on, but I have to say as someone who has lived in Chicago and can whip up a pretty mean deep dish pizza at home that I enjoyed their deep dish quite a bit (from the restaurant, haven't tried the truck). In my experience there is no other place in DC to get ANY deep dish that approximates Chicago, and Pi comes close enough.

I think you're probably right about that. I was disappointed when I read Tom's review of the Penn Quarter location because the pizza out of the truck was as close to Chicago-style (even though it's "St. Louis style," but whatever) as I'd ever had here. I was raised on Armand's, but it doesn't exist in the same pizzaverse as true Chicago deep dish. 

 

Comparing Seventh Hill to 2 Amy's works better, too, since they're a simliar style, whereas District of Pi is certainly not Neapolitan. 

Why would you say that, it might be good for your business but we are better off keeping alcohol as a special occassion celebration and not a daily alcohol intake mechanism. After you strip all liquor for the ritz and glamour its all ethanol wanting to create havoc on your body.

Wine only for special occasions? That thought makes me want to have a drink:) Truth be told though, I tend to consider any day alive a special occasion. I've been known to drink Champagne just because it's Wednesday.

Andy, where would you take your Mother for dinner, where she could get a great glass of sweet wine?

I'd take my Mom (who does tend to love sweet wine) to Sou'Wester in the Mandarin. They have delicious wines and some tasty late harvest ones to boot. They also have a killer Riesling selection.

If not in Southwest I'd take her to Central where we could eat Tuna Burgers with tasty Vouvray.

More VA wine questions - what do you think of Pearmund and/or LaGrange?

Sadly, I haven't tried them yet. Love to though. It's exciting to see how many wineries there are in VA and MD these days. I hope to see the average quality level continue to go up.

Bring some Sutter Home white zinfandel as a gag gift.

At the end of the night, you can take the full bottle home, too! This reminds of me of how bringing wine to a party is such a stressful thing; my ego takes a hit if no one wants to crack the bottle I picked out.

I'm headed to the Walk for Epilepsy at the Mason Neck State Park on Saturday. Does anyone have recommendations for food or other fun near there since I rarely get down to that area?

If you're heading down that way, you might want to head over to Occoquan. Wander around the historic district, peek into the little shops, stop in for mussels and Belgian beers at the Cock and Bowl ... granted, the historic part is right on the water, but Saturday's supposed to be nice, temperature wise.

Also, you're not that far from the National Museum of the Marine Corps at Quantico, which sounds like an interesting place to check out.

Definitely going with Friends in Low Places! I grew up listening to country music and can sing any Garth Brooks song in my sleep (or after several hours of drinking). I'll actually be in New England this weekend, so hopefully I won't get thrown out of the bar for singing country :)

Take him/her to Occupy DC?

Yes, of course! This is also makes a great date.

with awesomeness? I figure you of all people would know.

 If I'm guessing correctly then my ENTIRE family has written in today:)

 When pairing wine with awesomeness one should look for awesome wine, duh. Old Chateau Musar, Karthauserhof Rieslings from the 60's, Pommard from the 70's. Those would taste pretty darn good with awesome.

Hi, I really want to meet this new guy somewhere, but I need a neutral place, quiet, in or near Reston. Somewhere that not many people go. Any suggestions? Maybe for just a drink. I love you guys!!!

Oysters and a beer at the Ice House in Herndon.

Fritz isn't as nosy as I am, particularly when it comes to couplings.  I am dying to know why you need a neutral, secret place. What are you kids getting up to?

I am guessing from the Genny Cream Ale comment that Andy's family is from the Rochester area??

My folks are from WV actually, but us Myers' have been in the DC area since the early 60's. My dad was always a big fan of Genny Cream Ale (a surprisingly difficult beer to find these days) and it was him sending me to grab bottles of it for him that gave me my start on the path to eventual Sommelier-dom.

GOGs, you've never steered me wrong so far, and this time I'm almost in tears. I just found out I'm going out of the country on Sunday and not returning until after T-day. it's my favorite holiday and although I'll be in a fantastic place, I seriously need a Thanksgiving dinner before I leave. Just a little nugget of home to help me not miss my family so much. Are there any restaurants in NOVA that are serving Tday dinner NOW? I've pretty much got tomorrow and Saturday to get some turkey, dressing, taters, and pie. :( Help! I don't know how to cook so it's this or a Hungry Man frozen dinner.

You almost stumped us! But then: Vermillion has a bacon-wrapped turkey roulade that has dirty rice stuffing and a very Thanksgiving feel -- on the menu right now. Doesn't hurt that it also got a really nice nod from Tom in this fall's dining guide. And if it were opposite day, I'd say you could have a very soul-food  Thanksgiving at Florida Avenue Grill, where pretty much every side will fit the bill,  from the candied sweet potatoes to the mac and cheese.  But do it today! They do a Turkey leg special on Thursdays only. Of course, finish the whole thing off with pie.

Can you suggest a Christmas Tree Farm to visit the day after Tgiving? We live on Capitol Hill. Our gang will include a 6-month-old and a 75-year-old so the less time in the car, the better. Thanks!

This is easy -- jump on Pennsylvania Ave. and drive south until you get to Upper Marlboro. That's where you'll find Linden Hill Christmas Tree Farm. They're open the day after Thanksgiving. You can browse cut trees or the "in-field" cut-your-own.

My husband really enjoys port. Can you suggest a really special one for him?

It's definitely becoming Port drinking weather if my walk over here today was any indication.

Any Port from the legendary 1977 Vintage would be an excellent gift. For a less over the top option, try the Dow's 10 Year Tawny Port.

Go with something everyone will know and sing along and drown you out--Sweet Caroline is a general crowd pleaser.

Hypothetical situation: Let's say you have a partner whose taste in wine varies extremely from your own. Maybe your husband loves Reisling and you love Cotes du Rhone, as an example. Is there a wine you would consider to be a good middle-ground selection? (NOW I think you've heard from your entire family - xo) :)

I would consider myself lucky that this woman with obviously bad taste (given her wine selections) would continue to  put up with a man like me:)

 The best bet though for really different tastes in wine is half bottles. This way one of you can drink delicious Riesling and the other one can drink that stuff that they like.

Do you think a subtle ramp wine would enhance the flavor of chicken pizza?

Ramp wine? You got me with that one. If it's at all like any of the Dandelion wine I've had........well, might I suggets Olde English Malt Liquor instead?

Go to Trader Joe's. They have tastings, and many of their bottles are between $5 and $10. I don't believe they can sell wine at their stores in Montgomery County, though.

I am going to use this to deliver my New Year's PSA: Within reason... Worst hangover of my life involved not all that much TJ's wine. It was nearly medical.

So, what are your favorite Dry Rieslings?

2010 Kunstler, "Steilweg" Old Vines, 2010 Schaeffer-Frohlich, "Medium-Dry", 2009 Hirsch, "Heiligenstein"

All of those make me happy.

A lot of the taste has to do with how frequent the bars clean their beer lines. Some do it as often as every two weeks to once a month. Some NEVER do it. The cleaner the lines the better the taste on Draft Beers.

This is true, and we should give credit to places to ChurchKey, Meridian Pint, Pizzeria Paradiso, Mad Fox, Kramerbooks et al that clean their lines religiously. It really does make all the difference.

(I was in a Clarendon bar earlier this week and had an IPA that I'm fairly certain was poured through a contaminated line. It just tasted *wrong*. Bartender said, "It's an IPA. It's supposed to taste like that." But I've had that beer numerous times, and it never tasted like that.

Wow, guys, thanks for staying for this epic chat with Andy Myers. He was a rock star, weighing in on some of your restaurant questions as well as the wine ones. We kind of want to keep him in a little terrarium here at the GOG pod.  Next week, in honor of Thanksgiving, we're taking next Thursday off, so please join us for our next chat on Dec.1, when we're bringing in the big gun, Kathy Orton, who pens our annual Holiday Happenings issue. We'll be talking about every single possible holiday thing you can do. Have a great Thanksgiving!

In This Chat
The Going Out Gurus
The Going Out Gurus are the experts behind The Washington Post's Going Out Guide. They write about restaurants, bars, movies, the arts, special events and visitor attractions, and they're out every night to keep you on top of the D.C. entertainment scene.
Recent Chats
  • Next: