Got Plans? Discuss great ideas for local entertainment, dates and family fun with the Going Out Gurus.

Jun 23, 2011

The Going Out Guide staff discuss great ideas for local entertainment, dates and family fun.

Happy Thursday, everyone. We're here for the next hour to take your questions, as usual. We've got a giveaway today that we think you're going to like if you're headed to Dewey at any point this summer: Two VIP line-jumper passes to The Starboard that are good for all of beach season. Here's what we're asking for in exchage:  

Dewey draws people from all over, just like D.C. And after reading Monica Hesse’s story yesterday about Manhattanites who are so distraught over our city’s lack of good Chinese food and bagels that they’ve formed a support group. Shortly thereafter, the #DCWishlist hashtag appeared on Twitter, which people used to throw out ideas about what could improve our city. Things like White Castle, street tacos and the inevitable cry for better bagels won out.

We like our city just fine, but figured this would be a good time to open the suggestion box. So in order to win the Starboard VIP passes, we want to hear what tops your D.C. Wishlist.

Maybe it’s doner kebab stands or the ability to re-fill your SmarTrip card online; maybe it’s more bike lanes or al fresco taquerias. Maybe it’s a new stadium for the Redskins or D.C. United. Whatever it is; the most thoughtful or inspiring suggestion wins.

In July, we get to drop relatives off at Union Station at 7am on a Sunday so that they can go up to NY and get on a cruise ship. We'd like to turn this into an event for us as well. We'll probably go to Eastern Market for starters, but even that doesn't open until 9 according to their website. Are there any restaurants open that early in the morning for a nice breakfast?

Ted's Bulletin opens at 7 a.m. 7 days a week, so that's probably your best bet at that hour.

For the person last week asking about Aussie beer in the DC area, I've gotten both Toohey's and James Boag's at Lost Dog in Arlington and Boag's at Westover Market across the street.

We'll pass this along. Good looking out. Now let's try to find some Coopers. 

Chevy Chase Wine and Spirits had four or five different Cooper's -- including the awesome but pricey Vintage Ale -- last time I was through. And they have both Toohey's and Boag's as well, apparently.

My life in DC would be made much easier if all cabs accepted electronic payment!

Amen. Who carries cash?

Where should I grab dinner after the Carribean Fest?

Really, you should grab dinner *at* the Caribbean Festival -- more roti, curries and cooked fish than you could hope to try in one night.

But if you're insistant on leaving "De Savannah," head up Georgia Avenue to Island Cafe in Petworth. Awesome little Jamaican spot, even if service can occasionally be nonexistant.

What time does it start on Sunday? 8 pm? Or is the rehearsal on Monday afternoon? It seems like the rehearsal time is different when it involves a weekend.

The rehearsal will take place on Sunday at 8 p.m.

Looking for place to get great cheese fries in silver spring (or nearby DC), ideally somewhere we can sit down and also have a beer. hoping you can help me expand my waist line this summer!

More than happy to help you with that endeavour.

Look, I know I'm going to take some heat for suggesting it, but if there's one thing the Outback Steakhouse is really really good at, it's cheese fries. The Aussie Cheese Fries are something else, and lucky for you there's still an Outback down Georgia Avenue in nearby Aspen Hill. You could also drop in to the Stained Glass Pub, who I would normally trust for all things deep-fried and cheese-coated. 

I read your posting about dim sum earlier this week and it made me want to try some. What is your favorite place for authentic dim sum?

Two can't miss options: Hollywood East and Scott Drewno's Saturday-only Dim Sum brunch at the Source.

Can you explain this weekend's BBQ Battle to me? Am I correct in understanding you have to pay to get in, but then you still have to pay extra to eat anything? I don't get it. Why go if you have to pay twice? What do I get for the entrance fee?

Well, you're paying for music (Chuck Brown, EU, Junkyard, Suttle Throughts, Mambo Sauce, Love Seed Mama Jump, Honor By August, etc), and you're paying for tons of cooking and grilling demonstrations, cooking school with master griller Myron Mixon of "Pitmasters," interactive games, the "Man Vs. Food" show, Lego Experience, etc.

Now, there are plenty of samples to go around, both at the grilling demo tents and at tents run by various companies like Stubb's, and it's possible to fill up on those, but you're probably going to wind up paying extra for a real plate of barbecue, because it all smells so good.

Just curious, BBQ lovers -- anyone ever managed to fill up on freebies at the BBQ Battle?

My boyfriend and I would like to go hiking this weekend. Do you have any suggestions for a moderate intensity level 3-5 mile hike within an hour of the city?

I am partial to the Gold Mine Trail in Great Falls, just about anything in Patapsco Valley State Park, the obvious choice of Sugarloaf Mountain.

Any tips for my first trip out to Fort Reno next week?

Standard rules apply: No glass bottles, no alcohol, no drugs. Kids and pets more than welcome. And if you weren't already planning on it, take Metro. Tenleytown is right there and you can pick up a picnic dinner from Whole Foods if you're hungry. Show starts at 7:15 and ends by 9:30. 

Bring back the trolley cars and get those stinking cars and buses off the streets.

Sounds like someone needs to head to the National Capital Trolley Museum.

Will you be heading to Dewey Beach via covered wagon?

We are returning to DC to visit at the end of June (just before July 4th), and it will be our first visit with our 13-month old. We have a bunch of friends to see, many of whom have kids also, ranging from very little infants to pre-school toddlers so we want to organize a play-date somewhere everyone can drop in. Can you offer some suggestions for activities available on a Saturday please? Preferably indoors, or outside but open early enough we can beat the heat and morning nap time. Metro-accessible is also a plus, but not required. We thought about the zoo, but we're afraid it will be too hot for everyone by 10 and it may also be nap time for some - we would go at 8 if we could - and the last time we visited DC we were childless so we are a little stuck for ideas. Thanks!

Most spots don't open until 10. If that's not a dealbreaker, here's a rundown of some indoor possibilities: The Building Museum is always a popular spot to bring the kids. In addition to the Lego exhibit, there's also a massive playroom space called the Building Zone. Down on the Mall, Air and Space along with Natural History are typical go-to spots to take little ones (what kid doesn't love dinosaurs and sea creatures, right?), and then you can make a pit stop at the carousel after.

Hands-down, 24 hour Metro. Being able to stumble back from an after-the-bars-close-bad-decisions-after-party would solve all my problems. Or create terrible new ones. Wait, maybe I just want a White Castle.

I understand this. I do. But London, Paris, Moscow and any number of "World-Class" cities don't have a 24-hour subway system, and they seem to do just fine.

Ok, so maybe it's not a huge inconvenience to drive 2 hours home to north of Baltimore to get good, cheap crabs, but DC needs crabs! We need crab trucks, and little crab shacks, and places that steam them for you but don't serve. I do not want to pay $35 a dozen to sit in your fancy restaurant and eat crabs, I want to pay $36 for 3 dozen females, go home, line my table with the Post and pound away! Crabs!

I'm just happy to see you're buying the paper....

Hi Holly. I'm sort of drooling over this hat (http://www.jessicasimpsoncollection.com/FASHION-ACCESSORIES/Hats/FLOWER-ACCENT-COWBOY-HAT.html). I can't believe I like something by Jessica Simpson, but that's probably a longer conversation than you have time for today. So, my question is what kind of shoes do you wear when you're wearing a cowboy hat? My extended family members are ranchers out west, and I'm just used to seeing cowboy hats with cowboy boots. But I'm on the east coast and I'm afraid that will look too much like a costume here (plus boots are really hot in summer, and I don't really need to wear them to protect my feet from cactus and rattlesnakes). Any advice?

Your instincts are spot-on! I'd steer clear of cowboy boots while you're anywhere other than the Midwest/West -- otherwise you risk looking like a) you're bound for a costume party or b) you're a Real Housewife of Orange County. And please, don't wear them with flip-flops (or cut-off jean shorts, for that matter -- unless you're really channeling J.Simp). I think a pretty summer dress and a pair of simple Toms-style slip-ons or maybe a canvas/espadrille wedge would look cute and appropriately summery. Or go a bit more boyish and try a button-up shirt, some loose-fitting shorts and simple sandals. Hope that helps!

Hi GOGs, my parents are meeting the boyfriends' parents this Sunday. I'm too late for Tom's chat. My mom is off of most carbs (no pizza) and my Dad is hard of hearing. Everyone loves fish. Anyone have ideas about where the parents can meet in metro-acessible DC? Thanks!

This depends a lot on what your budget is. Some of the more serene restaurants can also be a bit pricey, like 1789 or the Oval Room.  There are exceptions though. Siroc, which has standout seafood in addition to fresh pasta, won't overly stretch your eardrums or your wallet.

I wish that all those ex-New Yorkers who are still obsessed with NY and constantly trash DC would move back to New York.

The ex-pat griping is so much better in New York.

meters that take credit cards!

You should park on 14th Street in Columbia Heights more often.

Hello GOGs. Some friends and I will be attending the RSC Hollywood show at the KenCen on Friday 7/1. We may do a short boat cruise down at the Georgetown Harbor beforehand (weather permitting). I'm trying to think of a casual dinner spot (i.e., not a 3-course prix fixe deal) that is an easy walk to KC. I haven't been to Notti Bianche in a while, but that's a possibility. Maybe Bourbon Steak Lounge or Citronelle Lounge? I really hate walking very far in oppressive humidity! Where do you recommend we go? Thanks.

Those aren't bad ideas. You could also grab something at the Georgetown Waterfront if you're just getting off a sightseeing cruise down there; Farmers and Fishers is still recovering from the flood damage, but everything else down there is open and it's a relatively short walk to the KC from there -- I just walked it a few weeks ago, trying to lock up my Capital Bikeshare bike because all of the racks in G'town were full! 

Hi Gurus, I've been learning how to ride a bike (I never really took it up when I was younger). So far I've only biked slowly on the Mall. Can you or the chatters recommend areas in DC that don't have a lot of traffic to practice street biking? Or trails on the weekend that don't have a lot of Tour de DC bikers on it? Proximity to Capital Bikeshare is a must. Until I'm "up to speed" I will not purchase my own.

How about Anacostia Park? It has been a while since I last visited, but it has long, paved paths that run along the river and aren't as busy as Rock Creek or the C&O Canal. (Chatters, any other advice?)

I'd also suggest Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park. Extensive portions of the two-lane roadway are close to cars on weekends. Although it is popular with cyclists, it's not so super crowded that a novice rider would be nervous. I've taken my son there when he was learning to ride.

Holly, what should I be wearing my company's picnic on Sunday? I want to look respectable but I also want to be able to move around in case a game of pick-up softball occurs.

Well, that depends on whether you're a lady or a gentleman ...

Forgot to add D.C. Wishlist: Waffle House (in the city)

Looking at you, Fred Smoot.

ok, maybe not that fumed. This sounds a little too much when folks complain about the state of U.S. politics but they don't vote. DC is so much more affordable then NY. I can buy a round of drinks and not break the bank. I have three siblings in NYC and they are amazed at how much nicer everyone is down here. We have free museums and concert venues that are all ages. Take that, Manhattan! Sure in NY they might not ask you what you do for a living (I hate that too), but try having a conversation about anything political. You'll only hear the sound of crickets (or air conditioners). Ok, I'm done!

Chatter to New York: Drop Dead

I have a feeling Lavanya would disagree.

Hi Holly! Question for you - I have a Coach purse that has been worn out and the leather corners have frayed and the piping is coming out. I sent it back to Coach for the lifetime guarentee and they couldnt fix it....could you recommend a good leather/cobbler/purse/something repair store that I try (metro accessible but could zipcar if you cant think of anything close)? I am just desperate for any kind of fix - its my favorite purse and I have had it for 6 years! thanks!!

You might want to call the local Coach store and see if they have a preferred outside vendor for this kind of thing ... otherwise, I take everything to Corrective Shoe Repair in Dupont.

If I could get one thing in DC it would be a real ice cream stand-- nothing fancy or gourmet, low fat or creative. Just the flavors we grew up with such as twist, cookie dough, and moose tracks in the cardboard flavored cones.

Moose tracks??

Forgive Jess, she isn't from around here.

I was referred to Cristophe Salon. When I "researched" it online, I found that the salon is no longer a part of the Going Out Guide. What happened? Should I look somewhere else? I'm interested in (well, depserate for...) a new look (cut and color) and I'm willing to pay. Thanks!

Oops, that's something we'll look into. From time to time, we take certain retail locations out of the GOG if nobody has been to review them in some time. 

But there's nothing wrong with Christophe Salon, that we know of.  

Am I blind? I saw the festivities going on the next few days, but I didn't see anything about the actual festival & parade.

Did you try searching for "Carnival"? All the info is right here. The parade runs down Georgia from Kansas Ave. to Howard U. on Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m. It's the best parade in D.C. all year, thanks to all the costumed dancers, steel bands and musicians.

Then the festival area -- "De Savannah" -- is open from noon until 8, with performances by Iwer George, Pumpa, Vybez Evolution Band and other artists.

There's a $10 charge for admission to the festival grounds, which I believe is worth it for the entertainment, the food and the people-watching.

Better commuter options. The MARC schedule sucks. Enough said, It stops running at 10:30 at night? Doesn't run on a Sunday? Runs only at odd intervals? Does DC WANT me to come in from Baltimore? Guess not.

YES! As a fellow MARC sufferer, I completely empathize. The Baltimore-DC gap must be bridged!

I wish DC had a Venezuelan restaurant (one at all would be nice!) that was devoted to the delectable snack that is an arepa. NYC gets to enjoy not 1 but 4 amazing Caracas Arepa Bars, so why not DC? We enjoy crunchy gold corn-flour patties; fresh vegetables like avocado; seasoned meats; and queso de mano, too! This Venezuelan national food deserves a home in this nation's capital.

I totally agree. Now, I know it's not in the city, but as an arepas lover you really owe it to yourself to make the short trek out to Falls Church to check out La Caraquena. Chef/Owner Raul Claros is a great Venezuelan-born cook, and his arepas are killer. Mind you, they are more sit-down than street food, but still really worth the trip. And make sure you try the Bolivian saltenas too.

NYC has 24-hour. Nothing like it.

I'm assuming you're referring to public transportation and not the sandwich shop, in which case I totally agree.

I'm a lady!

If an impromptu softball game is a possibility, I'd go with  some slim cropped chinos (J. Crew has great ones currently) or wide-leg trousers, probaby in a lightweight denim or linen so you don't swelter. Wear a wedge or chunky-heeled sandal for the picnic portion, and bring a pair of Keds (or something like them) in your bag for the sporting half.

Not only the trashing of DC, but the constant reminders that NYC is even more expensive, more congested, more whatever than DC. Even if it's true, I get tired of hearing it during every single conversation I have with ex-New Yorkers. What, you think THIS traffic is bad, good thing you don't live in NYC, you wouldn't be able to handle it! What, you think that's too much for an apartment, good thing you don't live in NYC... etc.

To be fair, I'm sure there are plenty of people who leave D.C. for Iowa City or Detroit or Tampa and then gripe about their restaurant or bar scenes, lack of late-night Metro, etc.

My DC wishlist: NY-style pizza (the Italian Store comes closest and is quite good, but it would be great if there were more of them); a sandwich shop like Paninis in Cleveland or Primanti in Pittsburgh (huge pieces of bread with your choice of meat or eggs, cheese, coleslaw and french fries in the sandwich); true NY-style Jewish delis; nail places where you get a really good leg massage and a shoulder massage while your nails dry (again, in the NY style); a Stanley Cup.

Okay, just to chime in on the NYC front, I will say I got a mani there the other day that came with a 10-minute neck, scalp and shoulder massage. It pretty much changed my world. But, hey- Mimosa in Dupont hooks you up with mimosas, so you win some and lose some I suppose...

We are hosting a bachelorette party, planning on taking her to dinner, getting her drunk, etc. the usual. But what we need is a great late night food place for Saturday night. We are staying in Dupont but outside of jumbo slice (much too stereotypical and frankly not that great) what's the best place to get a 2am snack after the bars close but before we crash at the hotel? Thanks!!

We did an entire cover story in the Weekend section a few months back looking into this very query, with nary a jumbo slice in sight. My vote goes to Fast Gourmet, which might be a leeeeetle out of the way if your hotel is in Dupont, but if you take a cab there, just ask for the gas station at 14th and W. 

You know what, I looked at her clothing line and I think she's got a lot of cute stuff.

Oh, what you can accomplish when you hire a whole team of designers ... Good for her, though. She cleared up that whole "Is it chicken? Or is it fish?" mystery and laughed all the way to the bank.

Eating female crabs is somewhat taboo in Maryland...and actually illegal to catch for recreational crabbers. Old Chesapeake Bay watermen always looked down on Virginia for catching them...

I wouldn't eat females until the fall, anyway. (And why would you want dozens of small females, anyway? They only became legal again last week. Give me jimmys any day.)

I can't believe I am doing this, as I will usually defend my neighborhood against all insults. Still - are you sure sending people to Island Cafe on a weekend is wise? Very little scares me. Island Cafe scares me.

I dunno about Island Cafe being all that dodgy on a Saturday night, but if you're going at 7-8 p.m. -- would it really be that bad?

For the person saying DC needs crabs. No need to drive 2 hours(?) to Baltimore, just head to that little known part of the DC area ... east of the Anacostia. Tons of crab trucks and non-fancy crab "shacks" where you can pick up your crabs and get to pounding.

This is true -- My family used to buy crabs from those trucks on the side of the road on Central Ave. or Largo Road in P.G. County, and they were fantastic.

Oh, and we do have a crab truck in D.C. -- Feelin' Crabby, which makes a pretty darn good crab sandwich for $11, served with Utz crab chips. (If only we could get a Natty Boh, too.)

This is kind of embarrassing to ask but could you go over some basic camping how-to’s? My only camping experience dates from the 1970’s in a crowded campground with strangers within practically an arms length and smelly gross communal bathrooms. It was horrible. But the idea of being in and sleeping in nature is appealing. So how do you do it so that you have at least the illusion of being alone in nature? Is camping only allowed in a campground? If not, how do you know where it is permissible as opposed to trespassing?

So many questions so little time... I'll try to answer as many questions as I can:

 

1. Campgrounds can be good and bad. The good? You have bathrooms and showers. There is usually a camp store if you forgot something and a ranger is never too far away if you need help. Some even allow you to rent gear so you don't have to invest. The bad? As you experienced, there are tons of people who don't all appreciate quite. For all the campgrounds I have stayed at in this area, I haven't found a single site that I would consider secluded. (Chatters, I am open to suggestions.)

 

2. Your best chance of the illusion of being alone in nature is to go backpacking. It is a universal rule that people are lazy and the farther away you hike the better the chance you have of getting some alone time. I highly suggest backpacking over car camping any day.

 

3. Camping is only allowed in designated areas, and really, that is what you want. Camping in areas that are set up for it mean that you will have minimal impact on nature (leave no trace, please!) and getting help quickly if you find yourself in trouble.

 

4. A good (and less expensive) way to get far from people and get that alone in nature feel is to rent a cabin from PATC. I have stayed in many of them and they are well maintained, often secluded and well stocked.

I grew up with 3 options as well - chocolate, vanilla or strawberry. I guess I'm old.

You said what I was thinking. In my house our options were chocolate, vanilla and coffee. But I was born in Seattle, coffee ends up in everything out there.

I've lived in NYC and DC and currently live somewhere entirely different. Kvetching about bagels has nothing to do with DC per se. You can't get a decent bagel anywhere outside NYC. I've never understood why DC obsesses over NYC; I never hear NYers being defensive about not being DC. For that matter, I don't recall San Francisco, Boston, Minnealpolis, or Denver obsessing over not being NYC either. DC has developed this weird inferiority complex. DC - relax. You're a lovey city. No one expects you to have decent bagels.

Everything you're saying is true, but on the other hand, how many groups of D.C. or Twin Cities ex-pats meet in New York just to talk about how the city is inferior to their hometowns?

I wish for later last calls on weekends...or at least more after hours options.

I don't think you will get any argument here about that.

What about neighborhoods to practice street riding without many cars? Thank you!

I would start by sticking to roads that have on-street bike lanes on them, like much of Dupont Circle and the U Street area. That'll give you the security of a marked lane while getting you used to the feeling of having cars pass you by. From there, I'd stick to side-streets for a while until you're comfortable with merging in and out of lanes, hand-signalling and honing your awareness skills to be mindful of things like car doors opening in your way. Above all, if you're not comfortable on a roadway, don't be afraid to pull over and walk your bike. Don't push yourself past your comfort level. 

To meet someone without the question "So what do you do?" coming up 10 seconds into the conversation.

I am guilty of this.

Nothing is better than happy hour with a nice breeze. The problem with patios is you get too much noise and smell from the streets. So I want a rooftop bar that is not all the way down in Arlington or Adams Morgan (I am in Rockville). And please so not suggest the rooftop at Rockville Town Center. It is not a real bar/restaurant.

How about nachos and cerveza on the rooftop at Tia Queta in Bethesda? Or the weekly Treetop Thursdays pool party at the Doubletree in Bethesda? Free food, frozen drinks and a great view of the city.

Going north, I like the upstairs patio at Growlers in Gaithersburg. Not quite a rooftop, but you get a nice breeze and little traffic noise, plus cheap beers at happy hour.

For the chatter looking for a lower-key bike ride, try the Sligo Creek trail - it's close to the Silver Spring and West Hyattsville metro stops, which probably have bike share stations, and the trail doesn't have a lot of hardcore cyclists. It's also a really pretty ride.

Another idea for the cyclist-in-training...

How about a Major League Baseball team?

Hey now, I'm not a huge fan (or even a small fan) but the Nats are .500 for the first time the late in the season since 2005... so give them a little credit.

Just once I'd like to saunter over to a restaurant/bar at whatever hour I want and get a table outside without rushing over at 5pm, picking my way through an overstuffed patio and swatting people away like flies.

I'd like a $1,000,000 in small bills in a leather suitcase.

But in the last week or three, I've had no trouble finding seats after work on the roofdeck at DC9, the back patios at Smith Commons, Dodge City or the Queen Vic, the upstairs "rooftop" patio at Trusty's and the sidewalk patio at Barcode.  The only place I've been that was "overstuffed" was standard.

But then again, if you're going on Thursday or Friday -- you know, when everybody else in Washington is going on The Only Day They're Allowed To Go Out After Work -- then it's a little more crowded.

I wish DC had more cowbell.

Now, I think that's something we can all agree on.

Vanilla ice cream, fudge, and peanut butter cups. It is amazing!

Anyone know the closest place to get some? My memories are all connected to hiking with my dad and I really want some now!

Thanks for the tip on crabs in DC! Every time someone asks here, they're directed to Mike's in Annapolis, which is nice, but their crabs are ridiculously expensive. And I'm from Harford County, which is 2 hours away, north of Baltimore.

I think we regularly recommend the Quarterdeck in Arlington, Cantler's in Annapolis, buying crabs at the Maine Ave. Wharf, etc. (Personally, I go to Davis' Pub in Annapolis.)

I've yet to find where a great asian grocery is hiding. Are there any good ones in Chinatown with a grocery & prepared foods like a GranMart? I end up stocking up whenever I'm near 7 Corners.

You can also head to Rockville. There are three within a mile of the metro station.

Really good vegan/vegetarian/health food restaurants. Even Philly does a better job with this than DC.

I'm not an expert on this, as I have only been avoiding meat for a couple of weeks, but I haven't been bored yet. Up for lunch tomorrow: Vegan soul food.

Yeah, I'll let you know.

For the chatter asking about camping, I wrote a quick guide for last week's Deal Hunter column that might be helpful ...

A functioning Congress. Actually, better yet, a functioning, non-corrupt city council.

Both would be manna from heaven.

You could add a school system where teachers didn't cheat to improve students' test scores, while you're at it.

When I went to college near Chicago "so what is your major," the college version of "so what do you do?" was a common question. So what do people who don't ask this question use for getting-to-know-you small talk?

Agreed. Fritz and Justin tell me you should talk about the bar you are meeting at, the music that is playing and the weather.

 

I'm sticking to "what do you do" since, hell, that is what people do for 40 hours every week and they might actually be interested in what they do.

More bars with cool music that you dont have to dress up for that play good music and will let you sit without paying $500. Almost every chat- someone is asking for a place like this and few exist here!

What kind of music are you looking for? Seriously. There are places that have good music and low charges -- but it depends on what you consider "good music." Happy to recommend a few.

The one thing I would change about DC is the awful humidity in the summer. Love the bike lanes though!

My frizzy hair concurs. Being a D.C. native, though, it just wouldn't feel like summer without the oppressive humidity....

In my personal opinion, your best bet on Moose Tracks is the Ben & Jerry's version at the grocery store. It tastes better than anything except perhaps from an actual Ben & Jerry's store.

Moose Tracks is from Hershey!

A ban on honking. Seriously- the light just turned green. I dont need you to honk to inspire me to jam my foot on the gas this instant. And cabs- there are thousands of you swarming the downtown. Just because I am on the sidewalk does not mean i need a cab. I dont need you to honk at me to "let me know you are there." If I need a cab, I'll put my arm up like a normal person. Just sayin..

You've hit on my own DC pet peeve: Cabbies who honk at people who are clearly not interested in a cab. It's the sidewalk equivalent of spamming.

They sell it at Coney Island in 2000 Penn or also at Safeway, including in small individual sized container, so you don't over do it.

Who really cares about over doing it when you are eating ice cream? (PS Thanks for the tip!)

a stop into HTO or REI is a good idea, too. They are really helpful with questions like these and will not laugh at you.

I second that, especially if you need to learn about gear options.

Meeting of the parents again. Those are on the high side of our budgets. What about restaurants with entrees up to $25? Thanks!

Palena Cafe is slightly louder than those other options, but right in your price range, and the food is great for the price.

Hi gurus- Have you heard anything about the Paul Mitchell School in Tysons Corner? I'd like to take my mom out to get her highlights updated but it's going to be hard for her to accept the offer unless it's not too pricey. If you have any other suggestions in NoVa I would appreciate it. Thank you!

I can't speak from a ton of experience myself, but I know Lavanya speaks very highly of the Paul Mitchell teaching salons, like Hair Expressions in Rockville. There's always plenty of supervision so your stylist-in-training isn't going to accidentally lop off your whole 'do. 

Can you recommend some things to do, places to eat at, things to see over there? We're heading there for the first time this weekend.

Chesapeake Beach is a really quaint little town. There's a fantastic state park -- Brownie's Beach -- just south of town along the water. You can picnic, go swimming, hold hands and walk on the sand, etc.

There's a huge water park, too, if you want to just ride a lazy river.

The Rod and Reel is the most popular restaurant -- all fresh local seafood -- and I've heard good things about Tyler's, a combination crab shack and bait-and-tackle shop, but haven't ever eaten there.

Chatters -- last minute Chesapeake Beach tips?

To add- there aren't a lot of hardcore cyclists but you do get a lot of families, strollers, etc. on weeknds- generally early in the day is less crowded.

Thanks for the advice.

(joining late, so I hope this hasn't been offered yet). My hometown has a great college radio station and I just haven't found one in DC. It's such a great way to learn new music. If there's one I'm missing, I'd love to hear about it!

I wish there were a college radio station around here that would let quasi-recent college graduates DJ. Loved my college radio station.

I was at U2 (spectacular), but I was bummed I missed this show and am considering the September show at 9:30 club. Were they good?

Both Fritz and I were at Art Brut last night and Malitz was at Sade. Don't think we had anyone at Foster the People. Art Brut was great as ever, though!

Are Wawas! I know we technically have tons in the DelMarVa area, but DC proper needs to get on the Wawa train to fill the late night void with soft pretzels, hoagies and milkshakes. [Disclaimer: I did not grow up in a Wawa-ful state so I might just be making up for lost time]

RIP the College Park WaWa.

There is a new WaWa just north of College Park,  however!

You know, people that ask the question, "what do you do?" are usually not from this area. In fact a lot of people in DC are not from DC. So, this phenomenon any many others that people complain about may just be a symptom of our transient city.

Seriously -- can we stop this? The only people who think D.C. is a transient city or "a lot of people aren't from D.C." are transients who flock together and don't know anyone from the uhrea.

I went to Sky Meadows Park in Virginia for Memorial Day Weekend and I'm happy to report that we had a terrific time. There is fruit/veggie pick-your-own on the side of the road too!

Thank you!

Actually I always get "so where are you from?" presumably because of my accent. I'd much rather talk about my job.

Yeah, I would be more offended by that than by telling people about my job.

OK, ice cream stand would be nice, but ice cream parlor would be better. Come back Swensen's!

Swensen's! I thought they had all closed up shop until I found one last summer in, of all places, Cambodia. No joke. 

Has anyone been to the new incarnation of Toledo Lounge? I'm hearing some not so good things re: fancier food, no happy hours, not a laid-back dive bar anymore. With that, if prices are still low and the new menu is good, I want to give it a try. How's it doing?

My first impression was a little more positive than my second impression of the place. It's cleaner, the jukebox is still great (and now free), and there's Great Lakes and some good beers on tap. It's still a pretense-free space, going by the tables and the decor.

But Spanish tapas, because the original city of "Toledo" is in Spain? No more "If it rains" $2 happy hours? $6 for beers? Those are disappointing when you just want a damn grilled cheese on the patio with a pint of cheap beer, which is what Toledo was always good for.

(That said, the Black Squirrel burgers are among the best in D.C. Full stop.)

I have a three year old who I would like to take to see fireworks this year. I know she'll be fine with noise from fireworks, but not a crush of people on the metro or daddy cursing the tourists from behind the wheel as we're stuck in hours of traffic. We live in NW Arlington near the EFC metro, but I feel like we'd be better off taking her to see fireworks if we lived in Smalltown, USA. Will we be able to take her to see fireworks before she's too cool to hang out with mom & dad?

I went to the see the fireworks on the Mall every year growing up, and it wasn't nearly as bad as you describe (mostly because we'd usually drive down at the last possible second -- last ones in, first ones out). However, there are lots of other celebrations in your area that have more of a small-town vibe, including the great display in Vienna, the show at Langley H.S. in McLean and the one at George Mason H.S. in Falls Church.

Hi Gurus -- I'm in NYC on Friday and Saturday -- taking in the "Motherf*** with the Hat", but otherwise don't have any solid plans. I know your turf is DC, but you are all soooo well connected I know you have some NYC recommendations. Love anything that covers my perfect weekend trinity-- drinks, food and shopping. Harlem is on our list of neighborhoods we want to spend some time in -- so any uptown recommendations would be perfect. Thanks.

I'm in New York this weekend, too! (And at the risk of a lynching in this chat, I used to live there, and sometimes, I miss it.)

I know I'm headed to see the McQueen exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and I think a walk through  Central Park (especially in the evening) is the BEST people watching of a cross-section of the city. I still get lost in there, but then I run into the disco roller skaters and I feel better.  As far as bars, it's SORT of uptown but consider Rum House, or the new hot spot Reunion;  both cocktail bars with a lot of style. I am dying to go back  to Barrio Chino (or Mayahuel), both downtown, for a killer margarita. Really, you may feel like you're dying. Believe them when they tell you the habenero one is hot (the strawberry-vanilla one is a safer bet).  And for more bars, the New York Magazine bar guide came out really recently, and it's great; it's how I catch up when I go too long without a visit.

I honestly do not understand why that question bothers people so much. I ask where you're from and what you do as a way to get to know you, and see if we have a connection or something in common. If that doesn't do the trick I move onto other topics. I have always been stumped about why it bothers people so much! Thanks for letting me vent.

Maybe the question from now on should be what DON'T you do?

Yeah but that's because NY doesn't want to be DC. They just want to pick on and bully DC about not being NY. Over the years DC has started to believe the stuff NY is saying. It's an abusive relationship.

An Abusive Relationship? Yeesh.

But hey, an excuse to link to the amazing McSweeney's article in which Ike Turner's offers America advice about its relationship with Iraq.

All I want is Spotted Cow beer, from the New Glarus brewery. I would even take over the distributorship out here! Problem is, they don't distribute outside of Wisconsin. At all. So for those like me who are only left with fond memories (and friends back home saying "eh, it's not as good as you remember), it's absolute murder not to have it available. (Cheese curds to go with said beer would also be lovely!)

I'm pretty sure I've seen the occasional New Glarus beers at Pizzeria Paradiso. One thing D.C. kills NYC on: Getting hard-to-find beers.

I'll have you know my family has been here since Tyson's Corner was a farm and Crystal City was just a drive in movie theater.

People always seem amazed whenever I tell them that I am the only one of the gurus not born in the area. And I've lived here since I was 8.

You won't get much seclusion in any campground, but if you don't want to be woken up at 7:30 by the thumping of a generator, try to get a site in a campground that is tents only or has a tent-only or no-generator loop. At least then you'll have more of an illusion of being in the wilderness. Also, if you want seclusion, some of the less jam packed campgrounds I can think of (as in more distance between camp sites than most) are Catoctin Mountain State Park and Spruce Knob Lake in the George Washington Nat'l Forest. Going outside of the peak season will also help you have a more secluded experience, if you have warm enough gear for it.

Oh yeah, I meant to add go when it is cold! No bug and no people! Thank you for your other suggestions, I think the big emphasis for your two suggestions is that there is "more distance between camp sites than most." You are still not going to feel alone.

Not asking what someone does is rude. Adults spend half their weeks at work. Pretending that everyone is too interesting and fascinating to talk about their careers is childish.

I always assume that people are not just their job -- they're a person with many interests that may be outside what they do to earn a living.

My job is often the LAST thing I want to talk about when I meet someone at a bar. I mean, I do it all week.

I wish we had a really good Italian bakery. I was prepared to hate Boston and then their bakeries won me over and I want one!

I've heard that about Boston. I also hear the veggie eating is great.

Every city has it's "thing."  D.C. has amazing parks and green space (not just one), our choice of pretty beaches, (which are not rocky, like New York's). I know this is a chat about what we wish D.C. had, but I kinda wish we also recognized that there are benefits to living here. But no, I DO NOT think it's cheaper than NYC. 

The return of the real WHFS.

Agreed.

Taller buildings. Make it so!

I agree, imagine the shade they would provide on awful August days! And the view from the rooftops!

Two reasons people hate the "What do you do ". One is that in such a career-driven town, it feels as though you're being measured, as if someone's determining whether you're worth their time. Two is that it means you have to return the question, and listen to some self-important twit go on and on about what a bigshot they are.

You speak the truth.

Alright SO -- We got so many responses that it's tough to choose two. Since the prize isn't exactly local, though, we don't want to go to all that trouble to find out that you can't use the Starboard passes in Dewey. So here's what we're going to do: If you can actually use the passes and have plans to be in Dewey this summer, email me: baldingera@washpost.com, by 3:30 and let me know which #DCWishlist item you sent in. We'll pick from those of you who are beach-bound. And with that, we're out til next week. Sayonara until next week. 

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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. Join the thousands of readers who have followed us on Twitter and Facebook. And for nightlife news delivered twice-weekly to your inbox, make sure to sign up for the Going Out Guide newsletter.
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