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April 19, 2012

1:03
P.M.

Got Plans? The Going Out Gurus and restaurateur Aaron Gordon discussed Washington restaurants, nightlife, weekend outings and more.

Total Responses: 28

About the hosts

About the host

Host: The Going Out Gurus

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.

About the topic

Got Plans? The Going Out Gurus discussed fashion, nightlife, weekend outings and more.
Q.

Justin Rude :

Welcome to another Thursday Got Plans? chat with the Going Out Gurus. Today we are joined by local restaurateur Aaron Gordon, the man behind Clarendon's Rabbit, TangySweet and the Red Velvet Cupcakery. Aaron will be announcing the winner of the contest to help name his upcoming 14th Street restaurant, which you can read all about here and here (highlights include shareable plates of American comfort food, craft beer on tap and a no BS breakfast), and taking your questions on the new space and the restaurant scene in general.

I'l let Aaron take it from here.

Q.

Aaron Gordon :

Thanks so much to everyone who participated in our restaurant naming contest!  You all posted fantastic and creative names.   I really loved many of them and it has  been a nail-biting experience to have to pick just one.  So, I decided to go with two!

 

We are going with 'Woody Creek' as our restaurant name and 'Auto Row' as an alter ego to the restaurant, which will also serve as the name for our 'all-day' breakfast.

 

We love Woody Creek because it sounds so warm, welcoming and un-cool.  It really encapsulates the kind of atmosphere we want to have at the restaurant - neighborhood-y, friendly, relaxed.  I also love the name because I am a big fan of Hunter S. Thompson, who lived in Woody Creek for many years and wrote about it frequently.  Having Thompson as part of our theme really allows for some fun design elements, like old Underwood typewriters, great off-the-wall quotes and photos.  We're going to have a lot of fun with the restaurant design.

 

Auto Row is an awesome name because it speaks to the 40's and 50's history of the 14th St. NW area.  I grew up in DC and am always a fan of interesting historical references.

 

Both names have a fun, relaxed, retro feel to them that compliment each other.

 

Congratulations to the winners!  Thanks again for participating.

 

Q.

Justin Rude :

We will be emailing the winners shortly with instructions for getting in touch with Aaron. Okay chatters, let's get started.

Q.

DC Beer Week Passport

Fritz: Trying hard to get the 15 bars in for the Grand Prize drawing but it is going to be tough. I see that on the passport that "15 winners get $50 certificate to 1 of the 15 bars." Either way, if I get all 15 or not I want to to enter for a prize. Thing is, I'm not very clear of how to "enter"....really can't find info on that. Little help?
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Yeah, that part of the D.C. Beer Week button program wasn't too clear. I spoke to Greg Jasgur of Birerria Paradiso, who's running the passport contest, and he says it's going to work like this: Once you have all 15 stamps, you can either turn in your passport at the bar where you collected the final stamp, or bring it to either Pizzeria Paradiso D.C. location and leave it for him, which is probably the safest way.

If you don't have all 15 stamps, though, you should turn in your passport (clearly labeled with your name/e-mail address/phone number) at a participating beer bar before May 1. Jasgur is going around to all the beer bars and collecting whatever passports they have. Anyone who has stamps from all the bars will be entered to win the grand prize (a $50 gift certificate from each bar, a $750 value). Depending on how many people complete the sheet -- and Jasgur says he hasn't seen any full ones yet -- he may open the drawing for other prizes to participants who have, say five stamps.

– April 19, 2012 1:04 PM
Q.

Pups in the Park

Hi. Any suggestions for a way to get my large dog from Logan Circle to Pups in the Park on Saturday? I don't have a car (parking is ridiculously expensive down there anyway), Car2Go doesn't allow animals, and I'm afraid of relying on taxis being willing to pick us up in both directions. Is there an underground canine ferrying service? How does everyone else handle this? Thanks!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

I'm going to just throw this out there for readers, because I have no idea how to get a large dog from Logan to Nationals Park, other than, you know, walking them.

Chatters?

– April 19, 2012 1:06 PM
Q.

Allergies

My poor little guy (almost 2) is suffering mightily from allergies. Since he can't play outside, I've been trying to think of indoor places to take him...we've done the soft play area at Landmark Mall and the Building Museum...but do you have any suggestions? I'm struggling to think of other options!
A.
Justin Rude :

There are commercial indoor play gyms for kids like JW Tumbles, you could also try something like the Massanutten indoor waterpark or something like the multiple (padded!) indoor trampoline floors at Rebounderz. Two is still really little, so of course I advise calling ahead and asking for age-appropriate events and hours.

– April 19, 2012 1:07 PM
Q.

Aaron Gordon :

Chatters

 

We're still working hard on our Woody Creek menu and want to know if you have any suggestions for good dishes that are missing here in DC.

Q.

Help!

I'm meeting friends tonight for dinner around 5:30-6:00 before we hit up the Smithsonian Craft Show and those darned Caps fans will be everywhere! Any idea where I can score a table/bar space for three? Someplace that won't be overrun with sports fans?
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

As long as you avoid the obvious spots (Redline, Greene  Turtle), you should be okay -- I think the idea isn't to  avoid the area, but to go to the places Caps fans wouldn't  go. I'd venture a little further out, to the Passenger (the food is totally worth it);   try to find a spot at the bar at some place fancier, such as Rasika, or Poste.

– April 19, 2012 1:25 PM
Q.

American Small Plate Comfort Beers

I was just wondering what exactly American comfort food small plates might be like. And are the craft beers going to be coordinated with these?
A.
Aaron Gordon :

We plan to serve some American classics, like a great burger and fries, gourmet popcorn, Rueben sandwiches, etc.  But, we also plan to have mussels, mushroom toast, etc.  And, some very different dishes like pork rinds, rum raison ice-cream sandwiches.

 

We definitely plan to pair great European and American craft beers with our food.  I think that's a really important component to any good restaurant with a healthy choice of tap beers.  Our beverage director ' beer god' will work closely with our chef to make the best pairings.  Best of all, I will get to oversee all the tast tests!

– April 19, 2012 1:26 PM
Q.

Woody Creek Menu

Since you asked for suggestions - as a resident of Logan Circle area (one block off 14th) I suggest anything BUT small plates. When I go out in my neighborhhood, sometimes I just want to order and eat a meal. It seems like every place does trendy tiny plates for big prices. I'll wait an hour and a half for Logan Tavern if I just want to eat good solid food, relax and enjoy the company of the friends I came with. I'm looking forward to anything "warm, welcoming and un-cool!"
A.
Aaron Gordon :

You're absolutely right!  I can't agree with you more. 

 

I think I gave the description of our food a little bit incorrectly.  What I should have said is that we have a small, but good 'chalkboard menu' that will consist of 10-15 items.  They are more untensils-optional and sharing dishes than anything else.

We expect a casual environment where everyone can live happy, full and still have money in their pockets.

– April 19, 2012 1:29 PM
Q.

Lunchtime in Bethesda

Hi Gurus. My husband and I are going to try to catch an earlier bus to NYC tomorrow. But if we don't, we'll have two hours to kill in Bethesda. (A time and day where normally one would be working and the other playing with our two sons, so we don't know the workweek lunch scene very well.) So what to do if we get "stuck" in Bethesda? Thanks!
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

I actually was "stuck" in Bethesda recently, and to be honest, it was pretty fascinating. There are lots of little shops to drop in, and plenty of downtown D.C.-esque spots that are now there (Taylor Gourmet, Georgetown Cupcake, Sweetgreen). Personally, I'd do a progressive lunch (sustenance for your long bus ride) -- start with arancini at Taylor, then maybe some Korean-style burgers at Kraze Burger or a few plates at Jaleo, then cupcakes, crepes from the Bethesda crepe cart, or if you're worried about the fat, non-fat yogurt from Sweetgreen. Between bites, just explore the stores and enjoy the amazing weather we're going to have.

– April 19, 2012 1:33 PM
Q.

Non-caps bar

I've been to America Eats before a Caps game and it wasn't full of Caps fans and the bar has the same menu as the restaurant
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

Great suggestion, thanks! Reader who's headed to the Craft Show: Think along those lines.  I meant to add that Billy Goat Tavern might be a good option -- near the Building Museum, and more casual. 

– April 19, 2012 1:39 PM
Q.

Rock the red

I like the Caps AND Rasika and Poste ... Pooh on the art snob.
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

Sorry, didn't mean it to read like that -- I meant that those fancier places are not ideal on game day for people who have a very tight window  to drink/eat before they have to go.

– April 19, 2012 1:41 PM
Q.

Bar to watch European football/soccer

Hi GOGS, This is probably for Fritz - So metro has finally forced me to find another bar to watch EPL and Champions League (and upcoming Euro 2012) soccer/football. My go to place is Lucky bar and I love it, but I live in Silver Spring right near that station and the inability for metro to function on the weekends means I need a new go to spot for games on the weekends. Silver Spring is unfortunately lacking in any place close to a sports bar, so I'm looking to Bethesda and can drive, but there has to be parking nearby. I've heard about Harp and Fiddle but on yelp it gets poor reviews. Should I give that a shot or do you have other suggestions? Thanks!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

I haven't watched a match at the Harp and Fiddle this season, but have done in previous years. It's a fine place for a game, with better food than Lucky Bar though fewer TVs.

– April 19, 2012 1:42 PM
Q.

menu idea

I hate to admit it, but I love outback's blooming onion. Can you make an even BETTER version of that? just an idea.....
A.
Aaron Gordon :

I do love fried onions.  And, I like the idea of taking a pretty simple idea that is tasty and adding it as a fun menu item.   We'll see what our chefs come up with.

– April 19, 2012 1:46 PM
Q.

'cool' restaurant to impress the parents

Hi - going out for din for my dad's bday this Sat. My mom wants a restaurant with a 'cool' vibe since they don't get downtown too often. The last 2 places that met her 'cool' standards were Oya and Coco Sala. No Mexican, Chinese or Indian. Any part of DC for din where 2 people almost 30 and 2 almost 60 would feel comfortable. thanks!! (we currently have reservations at Mie N Yu and Sequoia but are not totally sold on either!)
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

Why don't you try Birch and Barley, or even better, Mintwood Place?  Mintwood just scored an enviable 3 stars from Tom (and pretty much everyone I know has been raving about it); Birch and Barley has the same sort of cool look that your mom would dig -- and we learned recently that they can do a multi-course meal with beer pairings any night of the week (which sounds like the perfect dad birthday gift). Reservations, by the way, could be hard at this point. So as a backup, I'd add Blackbyrd (American food, amazing mac and cheese, lobster rolls and oysters) or Jack Rose (classic American food, including steaks and biscuits) --  both might be a little easier to walk in (assuming you're not walking in at 8 p.m. on Saturday).

– April 19, 2012 1:48 PM
Q.

Downtown Sushi

GOGs, some friends and I are going to see Jiro Dreams of Sushi tomorrow evening and we want to go out for sushi and drinks afterwards. I'm not very familiar with sushi joints downtown; are there any spots you would suggest for good (yet affordable) sushi that also have a fun bar area or at least tasty cocktails? Thanks for your help!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Mandu always fits the bill for me -- good sushi, fun drinks (especially if you sit at the bar) and a killer late-night happy hour.

Also: Sticky Rice. We've all heard gripes about the sushi being hit or miss -- and experienced it -- but the overall quality is good, and the bar scene is crazy fun.

– April 19, 2012 1:48 PM
Q.

restaurant for parents to meet?

hi gurus, i am getting married next month, and our parents will be meeting for the first time the night they get in. do you have any suggestions for where we take them to eat? we're also throwing siblings, grandmas, and nieces into the mix, just to keep things interesting -- so 14 adults, and 5 children under the age of 6. my parents will be driving from the midwest, so something sort of casual that they can roll into, and won't pad the ridiculousness of what is being spent that weekend. The only food restriction would be something on the menu that my meat and potatoes father would recognize. Downtown is preferred, but Capitol Hill or Cleveland Park could be fine.

A.
Fritz Hahn :

This is why Carmine's exists. Huge tables for groups, huge portions that everyone can share, familiar homestyle Italian dishes that grandma and the kids will all enjoy. Plus it's in Penn Quarter, so you can escape the fam and head to Iron Horse or the Chop House if need be.

– April 19, 2012 1:52 PM
Q.

Pups in the Park

Why don' t you bike down? The stadium has a bike valet. Particuarly, if it's a larger dog, he should be ok with the distance. Won't work if he goes crazy around tires though!
Q.

Date night!

Hi! I know you probably get a question similar to this often, so sorry for the repeat! I'm surprising my boyfriend with a fun date in a few weeks. I plan on doing a happy hour at one place (some place cozy), dinner at another (romantic) and then drinks at DC's best bourbon/whiskey bar. I'm a student so I'd like to keep this entire night rather inexpensive (no more than $150 total). Do you have any ideas of places to take him? I'm open to any part of the city/northern VA area. Thanks so much! love the chat!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

We could do this all in Adams Morgan: Happy hour at Bourbon (discounted beer and bourbon), dinner at L'Enfant (crepes, decent French cafe food, nice sidewalk patio) and then a nightcap at Jack Rose, which is by far the best whiskey bar in the region, never mind the city, with hundreds of bourbons and Scotches on hand. And bourbon on tap, too.

– April 19, 2012 1:58 PM
Q.

restaurants for parents to meet again

doh. i don't know why i blanked on carmines. thanks!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

The one other answer I can offer: Clyde's of Gallery Place, which is vast, especially upstairs.

– April 19, 2012 2:02 PM
Q.

Pop-Ups

I've heard of several restaurant 'pop-ups' around the area over the past several months. I've yet to try one. What's the idea behind these? Are they suppose to be good? I heard about Bandolero in CP, and was thinking of trying it. Seems like it's just a preview before the actual restaurant opens. Is it suppose to be good?
A.
Justin Rude :

My guess is it will be good, but you have to go in knowing that you are going to be sampling what amounts to a chef's test menu. Honestly, I think it's as much about the novelty and sense of exclusivity as it is about the food. After all, anyone can get into Toki with enough patience, but if you missed that Ramen pop up in the funky little cafe, well, it only happened once. If that kind thing doesn't do it for you, then you may be better off just waiting till Mr. Isabella opens in the Georgetown location with a settled menu and permanent staff.

– April 19, 2012 2:03 PM
Q.

Birthday party ideas?

Hi gurus! I'm planning a 30th birthday party for my husband this summer, and wanted to get your ideas for a unique event. Any ideas for fun, interesting venues that wouldn't cost over a few hundred $? Thanks!
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

 You're actually lucky that it's in the summer! I think a great way to get a bunch of folks together is tagging onto another event -- I almost want to say you should plan a big ol' picnic at Jazz in the Garden (free) and hang out till late; guests can come and go as they please. You spring for the picnic fare, everyone else can buy the booze). Or just invite everyone to Brewfest, and take advantage of the group rate; you could also gather everyone at Maine Avenue Fish Market on the Southwest Waterfront for crabs and sunshine, then head out on a boat trip (check out Odyssey and DC Cruises). And one last idea - you could rent out a skybox at the Nationals Stadium (that one is courtesy of Amy Orndorff).

– April 19, 2012 2:04 PM
Q.

14 St Developments

It seems that 14th street has a lot of new restaurants with many more on the way. What will make me come to Woody Creek?? In other words, what makes you cool?? :)

A.
Aaron Gordon :

Good question.  I think many of the restaurants will be very high end.  We're much more of a place to grab a beer or wine and a quick bite of food.   We will be much lower cost over all and much less of a commitment.  Also, I think are menu and beer list will be very inventive and fun.

I don't know about cool, but I think you will have a good time at Woody Creek.

– April 19, 2012 2:07 PM
Q.

What's happening Saturday

Are there any fun/interesting events happening on Saturday? We are planning to meet up with some friends and go to Eastern Market but have no plans other then that. No music festival/activities please. Thanks!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

The threat of rain is looming large over this Saturday. Cherry Blast, which brings visual artists, musicians and DJs to an empty warehouse in Anacostia, is always a good time, and organizers are running buses from 13th and H St. NE. Maybe Eastern Market, then a short stroll up to H Street for afternoon happy hour/dinner, then a free school bus ride to Cherry Blast?

– April 19, 2012 2:07 PM
Q.

Washington Nats seating

We were planning to buy tickets for the Nats game on Saturday but I'm a bit nervous about the weather. At the very least I want to get tickets under cover in event of rain. However, for the life of me I can't seem to find info on their website about which sections are covered. We typically go for the 300 sections but I can't recall how exposed they are. Any suggestions? Thanks!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

The Club Level seats are all covered, as are the backs of the baseline reserved sections. (I used to have shared season tickets in 131, but they weren't covered.)

– April 19, 2012 2:10 PM
Q.

for menu

Matzah ball soup!
A.
Aaron Gordon :

Great idea!  My Grandma Rose would be proud!

– April 19, 2012 2:12 PM
Q.

Maine Ave Fish Market

I saw you mention it and it sparked a question I had. Do they sell steamed crabs? We usually head to Annapolis to get the steamd blue crabs, but this would def be closer!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

They do, but ask plenty of questions -- especially early in the season -- so you get local crabs and not South American crabs.

– April 19, 2012 2:14 PM
Q.

Dishes

Vegetarian dishes that are not 1) cold grilled vegetables and a slice of cheese on bread; 2) grilled vegetables in any other form; 3) cheese lasagne. There is a world of other delicious, hearty, veg and vegan options and creative chefs should relish the challenge! Black bean hummus, quinoa salads, soups made with veg broth (not chicken), etc. Heck, eve peanut butter toast! Everyone likes delicious, interesting, well made things, too, not just vegetarians.
A.
Aaron Gordon :

Thank you.  We serve some excellent, different kinds of veg dishes at our other restaurant Rabbit in Clarendon.  We'll probably bring some of our favorites over.  Additionally, one of our chefs is a vegatarian and specializes in vegatarian cooking so we'll look at a lot of great dishes.  Thanks!

– April 19, 2012 2:15 PM
Q.

DC Brau

When is DC Brau going to distribute their fine beers to liquor stores? It's all great beer but to drink it the going rate is approximately $36 a sixpack. BTW, I ask 'cause you tend to imply that one can get DC Brau in liquour stores everytime you mention them. Cheers!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

It is impossible -- or at least very hard -- to find DC Brau in liquor stores right now. It's an issue of how much they can make for bars vs. how much they sell to stores. However, if you go out to the brewery on Saturday afternoons, you can buy a few six-packs to bring home for approx. $10 each. (I tend to pick up a few growlers, too.)

– April 19, 2012 2:19 PM
Q.

Cherry Blast for a pregnant lady?

I'm thinking of going to Cherry Blast Saturday, but I'm eight months pregnant. Will I still have a good time? Obviously I can't drink, but the vibe/art exhibits/etc sound pretty fun. I'm probably not up for something that's completely packed, dance-club style though, where I'm getting bumped into every two minutes. What do you think?
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

I think it will be cool -- the great thing about those big pop-up warehouse spaces that Pink Line gets for Cherry Blast  is that they're giant, and they never really feel cramped. And not everyone is club-style dancing -- not in the many years that I've attended. I wanted to throw out another option -- live music at the new Water Street Project space in Georgetown. The event is called Listen Local First. That's another cool one that should be pretty relaxed this weekend, but still hip.  Congrats!

– April 19, 2012 2:22 PM
Q.

dish ideas

I know that everyone loves bacon, but not all of us eat it...so interesting dishes that are flavored with other things other than pork..especially at breakfast. Big pet peeve is breakfast menus that only give options of bacon or sausage...I realize of course that this is blasphemy! Good luck with the new restaurant ventures and I'm eager to try them out!
A.
Aaron Gordon :

Yeah...I think that places can overdue the bacon a bit.  It's an easy way to inject a ton of flavor that most people can't get enough of.  I have to admit, give me some bacon and sausage and I'm a pretty happy guy.  But, obviously, there is a lot more to breakfast than salty, fatty, deliciousness.  We hope to bring some of that flavor to our No BS Breakfast.  Thanks much for the great names and questions.

– April 19, 2012 2:26 PM
Q.

Justin Rude :

That does it for this week, chatters. It was a bit of a slow one -- I imagine we weren't the only Washington office workers tempted by the beautiful weather outside. Many thanks to those who joined us, and we will see you here again next week.

Q.

 

A.
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