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September 29, 2011

1
P.M.

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

Total Responses: 56

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. 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.

About the topic

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

Alex Baldinger :

Welcome to another Thursday edition of Got Plans. We're in a very autumnal mood today, and if you look at this weekend' s weather forecast, you'll see why. Now would be a good time to familiarize yourself with the 2011 Fall Guide, which has tips on everything from apple picking to Oktoberfest. We want to hear from you, though: Tell us about your mu st-do fall weekend activity and if it makes us want to throw on our favorite sweater and join along, you'll win a GOG swag bag. Mine, for the record, is the Pumpkin Cannon at Lawyer's Winterbrook Farm

You may notice we have a bit of a new look around here, and to go along with that new look, we also have a new iPhone app. Have you had a chance to play around with it yet? Love it? Hate it? Wish we had an Android version? Submit a question with your email address (don't worry, we won't publish any of them; just good for feedback) and we'll try to get back to you. 

Q.

Writing classes

Hi, I love the chats and you have helped me on many occasions. I have a question today that is not exactly a going out question but thought I would try. I would like to take a beginner writing class or attend a workshop. Any ideas where to go for this? Do any of the local colleges allow residents to take classes at reduced rates if you do not necessarily want the credits. I appreciate any ideas you may have.
A.
Amy Orndorff :

Have you considered the Writer's Center in Bethesda?

– September 29, 2011 1:05 PM
A.
Jess Righthand :

Politics & Prose also has some writing classes that change seasonally.

– September 29, 2011 1:07 PM
Q.

Washington, D.C.

Here's a question I bet you've never heard before: My girlfriend's parents are coming to town this weekend. (We've met before.) Girlfriend and her mom are having a "Girl Day" on Sunday, going to the spa and so on. Which leaves me with her dad. I've been told he'd like to go somewhere where we can watch football, which is fine with me, but he also wants to go to a "beer bar" where he can try some beers that they don't get in their mid-west city. I like Churchkey and Beck, but are they good for watching some Sunday football? A place where there is good food wouldn't hurt either. Thanks!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

This is a good question, and yes, it's a first for me, at least. ChurchKey has four flatscreen TVs, and it's actually easier to get a seat on a weekend afternoon than a weeknight. If he wants to watch a particular game, though, it may not be the best place. You could try Meridian Pint, which has 10 flatscreen TVs in the basement and a great list of 25 draft beers. I was at the Black Squirrel on a recent Sunday, and they have a solid beer lineup and a decent number of TVs, and the bartenders were good about asking if there was a certain game we wanted to watch.

– September 29, 2011 1:07 PM
Q.

Pumpkin Patch and Fall Picnicking?

Hi Gurus, love the chats! I'm looking for a good spot to pick out pumpkins, go on a hayride, and picnic with 5 - 6 friends. We're planning to rent a car but aren't familiar with the area. Can you recommend any local farms that let you bring food and picnic on the grounds, and also have a pumpkin patch and other fall-themed activities? Thanks!
A.
Alex Baldinger :

Since you're new to the area, I'd recommend Butler's in mid-upper Montgomery County, one of the most popular in the area. Their pumpkin patches are open and hayrides are offerred daily through mid-December. Another good option in Virginia would be Cox Farms, which is another large, all-purpose farm/market/hayride possibility. 

– September 29, 2011 1:07 PM
Q.

Crafty Bastards

Finally getting around to going this year. I live in Bailey's Crossroads. Is there a decent parking garage nearby, or should I take Metro? We're planning on getting there right at 10 since my friend has a lunch date.
A.
Fritz Hahn :

There's a garage in Adams Morgan on 18th Street about two blocks north of the festival. There's no weekend Metro track work this weekend, but it may still be easier to drive.

– September 29, 2011 1:11 PM
Q.

Fall foilage?

Hi! Do you know when a good time to go check out the fall foilage this year and where the best place to see it is? thanks!
A.
Alex Baldinger :

Is that you, Marge? 

The Shenandoah National Park/Skyline Drive area is basically the gold standard for local foliage. Depending on how far you want to travel, peak foliage dates vary but you can check out this map for updates. 

FWIW, I'm a big fan of autumn tubing near Harpers Ferry, before it gets too cold. 

 

– September 29, 2011 1:12 PM
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

I called the hotline about this recently, and it looks like folks are banking on  Oct. 15ish for Northern Virginia, and a week later for points southwest (like Shenandoah).

 

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– September 29, 2011 2:16 PM
Q.

Crafty Bastards

Hi, GOGs! What can you tell me about Crafty Bastards? How early should I plan to get there to get the good crafts??
A.
Stephanie Merry :

The earlier you can get to Crafty Bastards, the better. In fact, a couple years I showed up a little early and most of the vendors were already set up and ready to sell.

– September 29, 2011 1:13 PM
Q.

Favorite Fall Activity

My favorite fall weekend starts with a trip to the pumpkin patch with my goddaughter and her siblings. We then go home and carve pupkins as we watch our favorite college football team play. Afterwards taking a stroll though the autumn leaves wearing our sweaters for the first time since we put them away in the beginning of the summer
A.
Amy Orndorff :

Bonus points from this guru if your favorite team is UMD...

– September 29, 2011 1:14 PM
Q.

Halloween events that are pet friendly Fairfax, VA

Hello. Do you know of any happy hours, parties, gatherings for Halloween that are pet (dog) friendly? Thank you.
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

The weekly doggie happy hour at the Hotel Monaco has set its annual Howl-o-ween for Oct. 27.  There are all sorts of costume contests at the event, so dress up.

– September 29, 2011 1:18 PM
Q.

House Made Ginger Ale

Are there any bars or restaurants that make house made ginger ale frequently? I used to go to Bourbon in Adams Moran for this, but sadly they haven't had it the last two times I was there.
A.
Fritz Hahn :

I think it really depends on the season, what's on the cocktail menu at the moment that might call for it, etc. For example, the Passenger's made it in the past, but if there's no cocktail that calls for it, it's not going to get made.

Owen Thomson, who used to head the bar program at Bourbon, is now mixing drinks for Jose Andres' restaurants, and he's got a house-made ginger beer on the menu at America Eats Tavern.

– September 29, 2011 1:18 PM
Q.

Vegan

I have a friend in town who is vegan, which makes going out to eat kind of difficult. Do you have any recommendations for a Friday lunch where both vegans and meat/cheese can eat in harmony? No vegan/raw-only restaurants, please, I beg of you. Bonus for non-Asian places, since it seems like we always end up eating Asian food
A.
Stephanie Merry :

I would start with Lavanya's amazing list of vegan and veggie-friendly restaurants. Yes, some of them are all-veg places, but a bunch of them -- Sundevich, Masala Art, Ethiopic -- cater to omnivores, as well. My go-to for this would probably be Sticky Rice. And while it's Asian fare, they have tater tots, so it's not your typical Japanese restaurant.

– September 29, 2011 1:20 PM
Q.

Flying Solo

My GF will be out of town this weekend leaving me to my own devices. I'm trying to do/see things that I like, but she doesn't care for. I am thinking something photography, aviation, or military history related? (To give you an idea, last time I walked around Arlington Cemetary and took pics; I've also been out the the College Park Aviation Museum.) Anything along these lines you would suggest?
A.
Amy Orndorff :

A hike in the Manassas National Battlefield or a trip to the National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center should definitely be on your list. And if you are on the other side of the river, consider visiting Fort Washington which has lovely views of the Potomac River.

– September 29, 2011 1:21 PM
Q.

Fashion for Holly

Holly - I have a gray skirt that, color-wise, would look great with a hot pink belt I got. But the belt llops on the skirt are made to accomodate a belt that is about 1 to 1 1/2 inch wide, and the pink belt is very skinny. Would the skinny belt look ok in the fat loops, or stupid?
A.
Holly Thomas :

A 1 1/2 -inch belt doesn't seem all that wide, and unless your skinny belt is as thin as, say, a piece of string, you should be able to get away with it. But then again, if the skirt fits you without wearing a belt, you can always snip off the loops and wear it with any belt you please ...

– September 29, 2011 1:21 PM
Q.

930 Club

Hi. Sorry for such a basic question, but I couldn't find this online... I have tickets for a sold-out concert at the 930 Club, and my tickets are going to be at will call. Is it possible to pick up just mine and leave the other ticket for my friend under his name? I'm dreading standing for 3-4 hours, and I'm hoping to score an early spot by a railing. Thanks!
A.
Alex Baldinger :

That should be no problem; when you pick up your ticket ask for an envelope and write their name on it. The club gets this kind of thing all the time. 

– September 29, 2011 1:22 PM
Q.

DC Birthday Barcrawl

GOGs - My birthday is coming up and I would like to do a daytime bar crawl on a Saturday to celebrate...any suggestions of where/an area we should go? Are most DC bars open during the day?
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Many D.C. bars open on during the day (after noon) on Saturdays/Sundays for the purpose of serving brunch. You could try a 14th Street crawl (Bar Pilar, Standard, El Centro, ChurchKey), maybe H Street (Argonaut, Biergarten Haus, the Queen Vic, H Street Country Club) -- if you're lucky, you can get Toki Underground seats as soon as they open.

– September 29, 2011 1:23 PM
Q.

Art on the Avenue, Saturday

Hi there, not a question, just a reminder that this Saturday is Del Ray's Art on the Avenue from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. I'm not affiliated with Art on the Avenue, just live in Del Ray and have watched it grow from a scraggily little neighborhood event to something that draws our more far flung friends who want to park in our driveway. Lots of art and food and kid activities (make a scarecrow to take home and look menacing on your porch, paint a pumpkin, etc.). Nice way to spend the day - hope to see you there!

A.
Alex Baldinger :

Not a bad weekend for fall street food/crafts festivals; Taste of Bethesda is on Saturday, too. And Crafty Bastards

– September 29, 2011 1:24 PM
Q.

For Holly

I am guessing your answer to this will be that it depends on the shades of the colors, but generally, what do you think of brown and gray worn together?
A.
Holly Thomas :

I think it can work, as long as you make it look intentional and keep things interesting with your accessories. For example, a gray knit shift dress with a camel belt and a beautiful camel leather handbag sounds gorgeous to me. A good rule: Coordinate enough so that your color-mixing looks purposeful (not bland and boring), then add in texture and accent colors with your accessories.

– September 29, 2011 1:25 PM
Q.

Holly - shoes

What sort of shoes, other than boots, do you like with boot cut jeans? Flat ones, not heels.
A.
Holly Thomas :

The name is a giveaway, but boot-cut jeans look best with boots. Second runner-up is a great pair of heels, but you've ruled those out ... so I'm going to go with flat rugged boots as the other best option. I personally don't like the look of boot-cut jeans with flats, because it visually shortens the leg. If you want to wear flats, opt for a slim/straight, skinny or trouser-leg jean.

– September 29, 2011 1:27 PM
Q.

Starr Hill Brewery

Heading to Charlottesville this weekend. Debating about adding Starr Hill Brewery visit to the itinerary. Have any of you been? Is it worth the drive? Thanks!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

If you like Starr Hill beers (or want to try more than Northern Lights/The Love), it's worth a visit. I'm a bigger fan of two nearby brewpubs, though -- Devils Backbone Brewing Company and Blue Mountain Brewery, both of which are near Crozet. You could even make a day of all three, and get in some apple picking at Chiles, which is down the road from Starr Hill. More info the breweries (and apple picking) is here.

– September 29, 2011 1:27 PM
Q.

House Made Ginger Ale

While I realize its not a GOG favorite location, Founding Farmers has a really good house made ginger ale, made when you order it!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

I do like the cocktails at Founding Farmers. There's just such a crush around the bar area that it's not always my favorite place to pop in for a cocktail after work.

– September 29, 2011 1:28 PM
Q.

Clothes shopping in Baltimore

My college age daughter wants to clothes shop in Baltimore--but I don't know where to guide her--she's looked at the Inner Harbor without success. Where should she look?
A.
Holly Thomas :

Depends on her taste -- does she like vintage clothing, or is she more of a designer-boutique shopper?

– September 29, 2011 1:29 PM
Q.

Laser tag

GOGs - have been wanting to play laser tag for months! are there any metro accessible locations? I'm also open to other "sporting" events...I know H street has mini golf but what else is out there?
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

There's this chain of laser tag spots in Virginia, with a l0cation in Falls Church; it's not Metro accessible, but there's always Zipcar.... Near a Metro, there's  bocce at the bar/restaurant Vinoteca (which you can also get to by Capital Bikeshare, you'll learn in this week's Weekend cover story). In Rockville, Go Ape! adult obstacle course is a little more than 3 miles from the Shady Grove station, a cheap hike by cab. Also in Rockville is the Earth Treks Climbing Gym, for rock climbing, which is really close to the Rockville Metro station.

– September 29, 2011 1:30 PM
Q.

Must-Do Fall Activity

Get up early, high tail it out to historic Long Branch, and watch the balloons launch at 7 a.m. to start a day at the hot air balloon festival (http://www.historiclongbranch.com/schedule.htm). Enjoy some breakfast items from vendors until the wine tasting opens. Soak up great Virginia wines and lovely scenery while enjoying a picnic or some more vendor food into the afternoon.
A.
Amy Orndorff :

Great suggestion! And, if you have the chance, taking a ride in a hot air balloon is also one of the best ways to take in the fall colors.

– September 29, 2011 1:30 PM
Q.

writing classes

Also take a look at Writopia, In DC and virginia.
A.
Jess Righthand :

thanks!

– September 29, 2011 1:30 PM
Q.

newspaper

This is not really a going-out questions, but you are all-knowling, so I wonder if you know the answer to this. Why does Metro allow the Examiner and Express newspaper people to stand outside and distribute their papers? These free papers have dramatically increased the amount of litter on the Metro and, unless these papers pay Metro something for the access to customers, I do not understand why Metro is helping them out. And to the riders who leave their free papers on Metro--you are not helping out another rider, you are littering. Stop it!
A.
Alex Baldinger :

I'll refer you to this post from Unsuck DC Metro:  In short, quoted in the piece is a Metro spokesperson who says, "The decision to allow the hawkers was made because we felt it was a value added service for our customers."

 

Depending on your love of Sudoku, your mileage may vary with regard to the free papers. 

– September 29, 2011 1:30 PM
Q.

Fall rafting

For the fall rafting recommendation do you usually rent a wetsuit or would that be overkill if I was going rafting this weekend? Thanks!
A.
Alex Baldinger :

This weekend? With temps hovering at or below 60F, it probably wouldn't hurt to go with a wetsuit. 

– September 29, 2011 1:31 PM
Q.

Parents in Town? Help!

Hi GOG's, My mom and her boyfriend are coming in to town this weekend, and I'm struggling to make plans for Saturday night. My husband and I really want to take them out for a fun evening. I'd like to stop by Room 11 at some point for drinks (either before or after dinner), but am completely at a loss as to what else to do! Do you have any recommendations for dinner? Also, I was thinking it might be fun to take them somewhere after dinner where we could get a table and listen to live music. Any suggestions? We could easily do Columbia Heights, U Street, Chinatown, Dupont, etc. for neighborhoods. THANKS!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Okay, so Room 11 for pre-dinner drinks, then down to Dupont. You don't say what kind of cuisine you'd like, so I'll choose a few of our favs for festive dining: Pesce, Bistrot du Coin, Mourayo or Mandu. Then head over to the Black Fox Lounge on Connecticut, where the Jeron White ensemble is performing for free from 9 to midnight. It's a cool little lounge -- always feels hidden to me -- with decent drinks and a nice vibe for parents.

– September 29, 2011 1:35 PM
Q.

RenFest fashion?

This is probably a non-Holly-specific fashion question: The wife and I are heading to the Md Renaissance Festival on Saturday, with a couple of friends who are pretty big into these things. Neither of us, however, has ever been to one (I wanted to include a first-time/Prima Nocte joke but figured it was inappropriate since I'm talking about my wife). Any thoughts on what to wear? We're on a fairly tight budget, so don't want to buy or rent costumes, but could do some thrift-store shopping tonight if need be. I wanted the four of us to go in one of those Chinese-New-Year-style dragon costumes, but that was roundly rejected.
A.
Amy Orndorff :

Ha! This is too funny. You actually don't have to dress up, but if you are just in the mood I would go with a cape for the men and a floor-length skirt and pretty garland for the women.

– September 29, 2011 1:35 PM
Q.

Mom's 65th Birthday

Mom's 65th birthday family gathering on Sunday. 6 people...she wants to do something other than just go to dinner. (She suggested a dance club but that just made me laugh!) Any suggestions in the VA/DC area for fun things to do on 10/2? Thought of Marakesh and have her dance with the belly dancers but we've been there for my parents anniversary. She's active, fun, likes a cocktail..oh and a great mom too! Thanks for the help!
A.
Stephanie Merry :

She sounds fun! You could still do dinner, but what about a pre-dinner activity to mix it up? On Sunday, you guys can check out Brazil Day (where there will be dancing!) at the Yards Park or the Turkish Festival on Freedom Plaza. Riffing on the dance idea, on Sunday there's also a performance by the wacky and wonderful Jane Comfort and Company.

– September 29, 2011 1:38 PM
Q.

Maize Maze

I'm looking for corn maze recommendations from the Gurus and chatters. We did the maze at Montpelier Farms at night last year and are looking for a new challenge. Maryland preferred. Bonus points for tasty cider and/or cider donuts. Thanks!
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

In Maryland, you might try Larriland Farms, which has cider, apple-picking and a fall festival with a straw maze. But for a real-deal serious straw maze, I'd recommend The Corn Maze in the Plains. They change the theme of the five-acre maze every year, and they  do a nighttime maze with cider and s'mores. Your hunt for apple cider donuts is a little tougher -- readers? Any suggestions?

– September 29, 2011 1:39 PM
Q.

Second the vote to go to Starr Hill Brewery

We went hungover and still enjoyed ourselves...they have a knowledgeable staff and a great operation...I definitely recommend going!!!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

I should add that it's much more of a *tour* than you get at Devils Backbone/Blue Mountain or even locals like DC Brau, so if you're curious about how beer gets made, I'd definitely make sure you go.

But for food/beers/outdoor views, I still like the brewpubs.

– September 29, 2011 1:40 PM
Q.

Why oh Why oh Why?

Not a question, just a rant. Why do people go to the trouble of buying tickets to concerts and then spend the whole time, in effect, ignoring the show? Sold out shows even. I went to see Foster the People at the 930 this week and three women talked non-stop for the first 15 minutes of the performance, except for a couple of times where they pestered bystanders to take their photo. They're probably still talking somewhere, but I gave up and moved away after hearing one of them say that the others would have to speak up "BECAUSE IT'S REALLY LOUD IN HERE". As an equal opportunity complainer I hope that the guys who were discussing baseball during quieter moments of the Adele show were Red Sox fans. I mean if all you want is a good chat, why not go somewhere else? It'd be cheaper for a start.
A.
Stephanie Merry :

I went to the late show on Monday, and where I was standing, everyone seemed to be into it. Except the super intoxicated girl in front of me, who kept stumbling into my friend before spilling her cider all over him. But at least she was dancing along (to the best of her drunken ability) while doing it...

– September 29, 2011 1:41 PM
Q.

Fall Weekends

I already did it: The Virginia Wine Festival. You get to carry your glass on a string harness and nobody blinks an eye, people in funny paper hats pour you yummy Italian blends, and then when you've visited four tents and done the full flight at each, the inflatable climbing wall sounds like a good idea! (For the record, I made it to the top.)
A.
Stephanie Merry :

Nicely done!

– September 29, 2011 1:42 PM
Q.

Re: writing classes

Also check out free groups like Meetup.com; there are a number of writing groups run via that site in this area, and some of them do workshops.
A.
Amy Orndorff :

Another suggestion for the writer.

– September 29, 2011 1:43 PM
Q.

Beer Bar and Football

If the poster is willing to make the trip out to VA, Rustico in Ballston has a great beer selection and several TVs that they're good about changing based on customer requests. But, maybe not quite the DC feel you'd want for visitors
A.
Fritz Hahn :

I've never actually paid attention to the TVs at Ballston Rustico. (I've defintely watched games at the one in Alexandria.) But there's nothing wrong with the vibe there.

– September 29, 2011 1:45 PM
Q.

re: RenFest fashion

You can just dress like the norms do and buy some of those nymph horns when you get there.
A.
Amy Orndorff :

That would work too, or you can get some more inspiration here.

– September 29, 2011 1:46 PM
Q.

RE: Writing Classes

The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop has actually partnered with the Writers Center and is offering free classes.
A.
Amy Orndorff :

We like free...

– September 29, 2011 1:46 PM
Q.

Drinks for those with food allergy issues

Due to a variety of food allergies I can no longer have wine, beer, any hard liquor distilled from wheat, citrus or cranberry. Besides wine my favorite drink is a cape code, but both of those are out now. I can't even just get soda water with a twist of lime. What the h am I going to order when I go out now?
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Rye whiskey? (I know rye is in the wheat family, but I don't know if this will be a problem for you.) I'm a huge fan of Bulleit, and its mash bill is 95 percent rye grain, 5 percent malted barley. You can always get that with ginger ale (hold the lime)...

Chatters?

– September 29, 2011 1:48 PM
Q.

Birthday Dinner Ideas in NoVa?

Hi GoGs! My parents are taking me and my husband out for my birthday on Sunday night. I'm looking for somewhere reasonably priced and with great food. Husband and I will eat anything, but don't want to go TOO adventurous for my parents' sake (Korean, Indian, etc is okay, sushi and Ethiopian not so much). We'd like to stay in Virginia. I looked into Virtue Feed & Grain and Nostos but both are booked up. Ideas?
A.
Alex Baldinger :

Stick to the Arlington area, and go for either Tallula, Eventide or Restaurant 3. And there's always Michael Landrum's Ray's: The Steaks or his newest steakery, Ray's3

– September 29, 2011 1:48 PM
Q.

Favorite Fall Activity

Drive out to Skyline, spend the day hiking, picnicking, and enjoying the fall colors, and get some real BBQ on the way back into the city that night! Nothing says fall like a day surrounded by nature.
A.
Amy Orndorff :

Well now you need to tell us where to get "real" bbq!

– September 29, 2011 1:48 PM
Q.

Halloween (again)

Sorry, I misspoke last week -- we went to the Night of the Living Zoo last year (not Boo at the Zoo). It was great: beer, music, plus lots of other things to do/see. Unfortunately, the neighbors had issues with the noise, so they're not holding it this year. Is there anything similar being held elsewhere? Also, will you be posting a list of Halloween parties around town? Thanks!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

We will have a huge list of Halloween events coming up, but most bars tend to, shall we say, get their act together at the last minute. Keep checking our Fall Guide (washingtonpost.com/fallguide) or our App for the list.

– September 29, 2011 1:51 PM
Q.

Military History Events

For the reader looking to do something related to military, Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg MD will have Civil War reenactors, demonstrations, etc. this weekend.
A.
Amy Orndorff :

Good suggestion, thanks.

– September 29, 2011 1:51 PM
Q.

Irish pub

Anyone know of an Irish pub where I can take my teens for some food and music (and I can have a Guinness?)
A.
Fritz Hahn :

I think we've covered this one before, but I'd say the Limerick Pub in Wheaton, the Irish Channel pub in Penn Quarter and the Old Brogue in Great Falls are all teen-friendly.

ETA: Oh -- and the Irish Inn at Glen Echo.

– September 29, 2011 1:53 PM
Q.

Renfest fashion

Don't forget the codpiece!
A.
Amy Orndorff :

How could I forget the codpiece?!

– September 29, 2011 1:53 PM
Q.

RenFest fashion follow up

So I followed Amy's link seeking inspiration, and notice that the company has a toll-free # to call: 1-888-LUV-GARB. Is it just me, or would you expect that number to take you to a company specializing in a completely different type of role-play costumes?
A.
Amy Orndorff :

Oh lordy. I was just looking at the pictures for inspiration!

– September 29, 2011 1:53 PM
Q.

New parents in need of Columbus Day romantic getaway

Hi gurus!! Planning a bit ahead here, but my husband and I are hoping to go on a romantic get-away over Columbus Day weekend, probably just for Sunday night and Monday day. The ideal get-away would be within a two-hour drive, and we'd like to stay in a really nice hotel (not a B&B) and eat some yummy food. During the day, we want to hike or go to some sort of festival (art, wine, food, music, whatever). Do you guys know of any festivals in the region that weekend, and if not, any other ideas for where to go? I'm thinking maybe Charlottesville... Thanks!!
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

Have you seen our guide to wineries, breweries, and great local food in that area? Much of it is centered in the Afton/Staunton area, but I found it a quick ride from Charlotteville, and frankly, more interesting. Columbus Day is going to be a little too soon for prime leaf-peeping but you might give Skyline Drive a try; you'd be right next to it. 

– September 29, 2011 1:55 PM
Q.

Rye whiskey?

I think actually rye and barley are out as well. I guess I'll have to get to know which vodkas are made strictly with potatoes. But all the vodka drinks I like are citrusy.
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Many of the big commercial vodkas use potatoes these days. Craft wise, there's a very tasty vodka from Idaho called Teton Glacier. Very smooth.

– September 29, 2011 1:55 PM
Q.

must-do fall weekend activity

I love to go the garden center and pick out my Fall/Winter plants. Is there anything more fun than pulling up the dead impatiens and planting pansies in their place? (I mean besides pulling up dead pansies in Spring and planting impatiens?) Add to that activity hanging the multicolored corn on the front door and I'm all set.
A.
Stephanie Merry :

And as McSweeney's just reminded me, it's also decorative gourd season...

– September 29, 2011 1:56 PM
Q.

RE: Drinks for those with food allergy issues

Can you drink cider? I'm gluten-free, and whenever I go out with a beer-drinking crowd, I order a cider and don't get too many questions since it looks so much like beer. I know a few bars offer cider options like Woodchuck now.
A.
Fritz Hahn :

I'm really pleased to see more of the beer bars in D.C. offering English ciders, such as Crispin, Weston's, etc. I used to scoff at cider, but one of my favorite London pubs has eight ciders on cask, and the diversity of flavors is amazing.

– September 29, 2011 1:58 PM
Q.

My wonderful husband turns 30

And I am really in need of some help. I'd like to host a party at a bar that has games like Shuffleboard, foosball, skeeball; things like that. It needs to be in Virginia, further out suburbs are okay. Ideally, it would be a place that is bearably crowded on a Saturday and not wall-to-wall, and that has food (appetizers ok) and even better if they let us reserve some tables. The only place I can think of is Carpool, near the shuffleboard tables. Which is fine, but I was hoping for maybe more variety. Any help? Thanks so much.
A.
Fritz Hahn :

You can reserve the back room of the Carpool in Reston, which comes with unlimited use of its pool tables. I've also been to some private parties at Continental in Rosslyn, which has skee-ball, foosball, pool, darts, etc., and they'll reserve some space for you if you hit minimum bar tabs. I know it's possible to reserve all or part of the side room at Spider Kelly's, and I'd think pop-a-shot basketball and pool would be hits.

– September 29, 2011 2:00 PM
Q.

Potato Vodka

As a gluten free-er, I really like Chopin vodka.
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Thanks, gluten free-er.

– September 29, 2011 2:00 PM
Q.

Re: DRINKS FOR THOSE WITH FOOD ALLERGY ISSUES

Try rum or cachasa drinks
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Yes -- If I had to give up bourbon tomorrow (shudder), I'd probably go to only drinking rum and tonics or similar, though a LOT of the drinks in my old cocktail books call for citrus.

– September 29, 2011 2:01 PM
Q.

Apple Donuts

The Apple House in Linden, VA, right off 66 has unbelievable apple butter donuts. It's very close to The Plains. The restaurant suffered a fire a few years back, and someone rushed in to save the vintage donut maker. They are that good!
A.
Jess Righthand :

Awesome. Thanks to you, I think I'll be daydreaming about apple butter donuts for the rest of the day.

– September 29, 2011 2:02 PM
Q.

Ray's the Third?

Another steakhouse? What happened to Ray's The Glass?! Did I totally miss the opening?
A.
Alex Baldinger :

It opened last week; Landrum's newest place specializing in steak frites. Sound familiar? Justin liked it and thought it was a good value at first blush. Tasty, too. 

– September 29, 2011 2:04 PM
Q.

Friday Fun

My sister and I have the day off tomorrow, and I promised to find something fun for us to do. We'll be based out of Bethesda but don't mind driving. Also, I want to take her out for lunch (she's vegan, I'm vegetarian) somewhere in there. Any ideas?
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

Tomorrow is actually the perfect day to skip out on work! Truckeroo is taking place at the Bullpen near Nationals Park; it starts at noon, and some of the vendors that accommodate vegans incude Takorean (I've had the Korean tofu tacos; they're great), the Fojols and the DC Pie Truck. Afterward, if I were you, I'd go a little later in the day, and land at the Capitol Skyline (very very near the Bullpen) for the Kehinde Wiley party tomorrow night (yes, it's BBQ-themed, but still...)  And if you just wanted a calm lunch, do check out our updated veggie restaurants list.

– September 29, 2011 2:14 PM
Q.

Bachelorette Weekend

My best friends from college are coming into town this weekend to celebrate one friend's upcoming wedding. We're pretty low-key, but I'd love to think of something fun to do with them in the Dupont/Adams Morgan neighborhood this weekend. Any suggestions?
A.
Fritz Hahn :

I'd definitely start with browsing the tables at Crafty Bastards -- an easy will to burn a few hours -- followed by brunch at Bourbon. From there, the choices get harder: the Corcoran for the new 30 Americans exhibit? Heading over to the National Gallery for a free screening of  "Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child " as part of its new Warhol exhibit? Wandering through the used record stores in Adams Morgan and cool little boutiques on U and 14th Street? Good old-fashioned fall barhopping?

– September 29, 2011 2:15 PM
Q.

Bourbon

Hi Fritz, can you recommend a good bottle of bourbon? I'm looking to give it as a gift. Thanks!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

What I would do: Go to Bourbon or Jack Rose around dinner time (5-6 p.m.). Talk to the bartenders, tell them what you're interested in. Sample a few small pours (a couple bucks each) and see what you like. Then take your info to Ace Beverage on New Mexico Ave., ask for whiskey/bourbon expert Joe Riley, and go from there.

Personally, if it's a special bottle, I'm big on anything from Willett or the Jefferson's Reserve from McLain & Kyne.

Jack Rose, by the way, is the subject of tomorrow's Big Weekend Review.

– September 29, 2011 2:19 PM
Q.

Fritz Hahn :

Okay, that is going to do it for us for today. Thanks for all your fall questions and suggestions. We're going to send a Going Out Guide Prize Pack to the reader who attempted the climbing wall at the Virginia Wine Festival after a few glasses of Italian wine. Would you send your contact info to events@washingtonpost.com?

For everyone else -- we'll see you here next week. Enjoy what's shaping up to look like the first weekend of fall weather.

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