Got Plans: Advice from the Going Out Guide

May 08, 2014

Every Thursday, the Going Out Guide staff discusses concerts, happy hours, cheap date ideas, weekend getaways, new exhibits and other ways to have fun in the Washington D.C. area.

Hi everyone. Gorgeous day out there, and you should get outside and enjoy it. Speaking of, here are our ideas for things to do this weekend.

What's the deal with the Hill Country Backyard BBQ? How early do we have to be there on a Saturday to not have to wait an hour for food? Is it toddler-friendly? Are there enough places to sit?

Food actually moves pretty quickly -- most people weren't waiting more than a few minutes for 'cue last Thursday, when I was there. There are plenty of picnic tables for eating, as well as long logs to sit on while watching the band. (Speaking of: Tonight is Shonna Tucker, formerly of the Drive By Truckers, and her new band Eye Candy. They are fantastic.) You can see more of the seating layout in this photo of mine.

As last year, the Backyard BBQ is totally friendly to toddlers and leashed dogs -- again, saw plenty of both last week, and I expect it will be even more family-friendly on a Saturday.

I heard that some Embassies have an open house on Saturday. Any suggestions for the best ones?

Yes, Shortcut to Europe takes place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Stick to beer-loving nations like Belgium, Czech Republic and Germany and you'll end up with plenty of tastes. But be prepared to wait in some long lines. At the Belgian embassy two years ago, you had to first tour the entire embassy -- consular offices, long hallways -- before you could get a few samples of Leffe and chocolate. 

Hello. Do you or the readers have any recommendations as to what to order? I may be going with a group of friends on Sunday. Thanks!

I got dizzy from looking at the 100 Montaditos Menu, which is gigantic. As a would-be first-timer -- as well as a meat and sandwich afficionado -- I'd order the five-montadito Meat Lovers Collection and go from there. Any chatters have experience at 100 Montaditos? 

Hi All! Is there a restaurant/bar celebrating the end of the Barclays Premier League season at 10AM this Sunday (running deals, etc)? I'd like to watch as many football matches as possible and would prefer to stay near the H St NE side of town, but I’ll absolutely travel anywhere! (Already know about Queen Vic but assume they'll only play Liverpool.) Cheers for all the help!!!

Lucky Bar (Dupont) and Duffy's (U Street) have both said they'll be showing every game simultaneously on every screen. I imagine Summers will do the same. Haven't seen anything about specials, though.

Finally, draft day has arrived! I'll be happy to have Mel Kiper off my screen for the next ten months, but as for today, any good spots for watching the draft tonight?

There's a big Draft Day party at Bracket Room hosted by Deangelo Hall and several other Redskins players beginning at 7 p.m., though the bar tweeted earlier that DeSean Jackson would not be making his advertised appearance. (Shame.)

Redline, with its dozens of TVs, is also holding a party with specials.

Hi GOGs! [I hope this didn't submit multiple times!] Tom didn't take my question, so I'm trying again! I'm looking for two separate outings: a sushi dinner; and a bottomless mimosa brunch. My husband and I are going to start trying to get pregnant soon, and both those things will be off the table for me for a while, so I wanted to get in two last hurrahs beforehand. Any suggestions on a really good sushi dinner, and a really good bottomless mimosa brunch place?

For Sushi, I'd the omakase menu at Sushi Taro is worth the splurge: You put yourself in the chef's hands and eat the freshest, most interesting fish available that day. It's relaxing -- it takes a few hours to get through all the courses -- and you'll definitely try a few things you've never eaten before.

As for the bottomless mimosa brunch: I like the bottomless food-and-mimosa brunch at El Centro DF ($35 for everything) and Poste ($16 for mimosas), but I'm not the biggest bruncher. Anyone out there have a favorite place for endless mimosas?

I have counted three public transportation ways to get there from Bethesda; red line to Shady Grove, ICC bus to BWI; red line to green line, green line to Greenbelt, B30 to BWI; red line to Union Station, MARC to BWI, shuttle to terminal. Did I miss any? They all seem to take about an hour and a half and cost just under $10. Can you use Smartrip on the ICC bus? Am I missing anything?

That's the trouble with BWI. "Oh, it sucks to get there, but the flight is so much cheaper. Totally worth it!" And then the day of travel approaches and it's ... not quite as worth it. (The end-of-trip travel from BWI back home is even worse.) 


You can also take Amtrak, which runs more frequently (especially on weekends) than MARC. MARC is the best option for getting there, and I usually take the B30 for the return trip, since the buses arrive every 40 minutes or so, whereas MARC trains can be more spread out. 

B30 accepts SmarTrip, not sure about ICC bus. 

Any suggestions for non-dinner, non-move date night ideas for Friday? More activity based (plays, concerts, activities, sporting events all okay), than a plain old happy hour.

I know you said "non-movie," but the thing I wish I could do on Friday: Union Market is screening my second-favorite James Bond Movie ("Goldfinger") as part of the Drive-In Movie series. It's free if you don't drive, and that's really the best way to enjoy frozen drinks and craft beers from the Suburbia trailer bar. If you don't want to watch, fine: Go early, hit Suburbia and play ping-pong while drinking a frozen cocktail.

Over at Hill Country's Backyard BBQ, the Nadas, a really solid alt-country band from Iowa, are playing for free on Friday night -- they're charging $10 to see them indoors at Hill Country tonight -- and you can sit outdoors, eat barbecue and drink margaritas. 

I would love to do this, but I've heard some chefs include meat on their menu and I can't eat land animals. Will hoover absolutely anything from the sea, though.

I've never had anything other than fish (or octopi, or urchin) at Sushi Taro. 

I have reservations for the Masa 14 brunch, but I didn't realize El Centro DF has the same deal. Which would be better?

El Centro. I mean, breakfast tacos, open-faced breakfast tortas, crab-and-shrimp enchiladas ... Check out the whole menu.

Hi there. Frequently my husband and I are able to get away from our little ones for a quick (less than three hours), early (late afternoon) date. Of course we could eat dinner or see a movie, but it'd be nice to have things to do. But I never can think of these. I'd love if Montgomery County had mini golf or something or anything. Any suggestions? Thanks!

Ah, but Montgomery Country DOES have mini-golf: There's an 18-hole course at Bohrer Park in Gaithersburg. The course could use some sprucing up -- it's "retro" is a nice way of putting it -- but it's fun. Sadly, it's currently closed on weekdays, but will be open daily at 11 a.m. starting in June.

Other ideas: Take a walk around the trails at Lake Frank, take a pontoon boat tour of Lake Needwood, or if you're feeling adventurous, try the ziplines and swings at Go Ape at Lake Needwood, (Our Amy Orndorff says the course takes a couple hours to complete.)

I want to get tickets to the Morcheeba show on the 14 but I noticed that this show is "general admission", so seats are not assign. I’ve never been in this theater before and Im new to this “no seat assign thing”. Im wondering if the rule to get a decent seat will be to get there by the time they open doors @ 6:30p and wait till 8pm when the show starts…

It really depends on the show. For sold-out general admission shows, people definitely show up hours before the doors open and wait in line. For Morcheeba, though, I don't see them having those sorts of fans. (No disrespect to anyone who Morcheeba.) I'd think if you got there at 7:15-7:30 you'd be fine, because that show might not sell out.

In any case, the Lincoln Theatre is a lovely old converted movie house, and there aren't many bad seats in the joint.

Try rock climbing at Earth Treks on Rockville Pike.

Another idea. Thanks.

The husband and I are venturing out of the house tomorrow night for a date night on H Street where we are going to an 8pm show - can you suggest a good place to grab dinner beforehand? Price is not really an issue, but we're extremely picky (not in types of food, but in terms of food/service) and do not eat seafood. Thanks!

Bistro food (Hanger steak, sweetbreads, risoto): Boundary Road.

Classic French dishes: Le Grenier.

Interesting American: Atlas Room.

All of them have reliable service and good food, and should be able to accommodate you if you're in a hurry to catch the show. (Ben Kweller, I'm guessing?)

Okay, we have to run. Thanks for joining us, and seriously, go outside. Like, now.

Post Points code: GG2676.

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The Going Out Guide
The Going Out Guide staff 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.
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