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

Nov 03, 2011

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

Welcome to the special art-themed Got Plans?, with special chat guest Philippa Hughes of the Pink Line Project. We'll be talking about FotoWeek DC and the rest of the arts agenda, as well as Thanksgiving, great dates and more. It's warming up out there, and there's tons to do this weekend. Sp, phew, let's get this going.

Gurus: I'm stagging it for Thanksgiving dinner this year and want to hit a restaurant. I dine out alone frequently, so no issue with that. Anyway, suggestions for a convivial NoVA or DC place where a solo 40-something can have a mid-priced Thanksgiving dinner and not stick out like a sore thumb? If I have to choose, a too-young crowd beats a too-old one. Thanks!

That's an easy one!  Cashion's! It's the friendliest little restaurant in town.  And yummy, too.  I've made tons of pals there over the years. I suggest sitting at the bar where the bartenders take really good care of you. Gobble gobble.

Hi Gurus: Great weekend for museum events! After a month or so of walking past the Fotoweek headquarters in the old Borders building on my way to work, I'm thinking of going to the launch party with my fiance tomorrow night. Any idea what kind of crowd to expect? Is it a good event for people who appreciate photography but are mainly interested in having some fun? Part 2 at the Corcoran sounds like a particularly good time. Thanks!

There are soooo many awesome arty things going on this weekend, including the launch of FotoWeek. If the past opening parties are any indication, this year should be bigger and funner than ever. I expect a very mixed crowd. Lots of art people, but I think FotoWeek attracts a diverse crowd because photography is a particularly accessible art form. And yes, you'll get ample opportunity to appreciate great photography and it will be a really fun party. I'll definitely be stopping by so say hello!

Hi gurus! Hoping you can help! Looking for something new to do this weekend with the SO-he's had a rough few weeks with grad school so was hoping to do something fun and different to keep his mind off of finals that are right around the corner-We usually go out in Arlington, but was thinking about venturing to the city for a change! Thanks!

If you want something a little bit different, there are a few art-themed events to take in, of course, including the Phillips' 90th birthday party on Saturday, and of course, FotoWeek DC, which is free. And follow it up with a nice  spot to have cocktails and dinner in a place that's a little less formal, and more intimate for you. Maybe sit at the bar at Estadio (get there early if you're going to attempt this one); Tabard, with its warm fuzzies, is an amazing option near FotoWeek Central; and the Passenger is another option. 

So glad to hear that the Tune Inn is finally reopening, but do you think it will be the same as it was before? After all, the pub next door will still be called the Hawk and Dove despite the new owners, and when I saw the photos of it on Prince of Petworth, my stomach just dropped. It seems like a lot of old favorites are changing these days and not for the better. Look at Ireland's Four Ps in Cleveland Park, which is turning into McFadden's. What's going on? Is there anything that can be done about it, other than boycotting these places? I won't be going to the "new" Hawk and Dove anytime soon.

Like everyone else, I'm also glad the Tune Inn is reopening on Friday. There are a bunch of photos in that link, so you can see that there are still taxidermied deer heads and bears and Natty Boh signs on the wall.

Now, the bar did suffer some damage in the fire, which meant that, yes,  the owners had to replace the old booths, some panelling and other items, and it won't be as dark and dank as the old Tune Inn, but again, it wasn't like they said, "Let's make the Tune Inn into some fancy fern bar," but they needed to replace the damage. I'm comforted by the fact that the patty melt is still on the menu, the chef is moving over from Hawk and Dove, and that you'll still be able to get PBR on draft.

As for the situations with the Hawk and Dove and the 4Ps, well, that's capitalism at work. Here's a simplified rundown: In both cases, the bar's "owner" didn't actually own the building his business was in. In both cases, the lease was up. In both cases, the landlord increased the rent. The occupants couldn't or didn't want to pay what the landlord wanted them to pay. This has been happening to bars for years. It's not to say that the Hawk or the 4Ps was not a viable business, and it *is* a shame to see both of them go, but I'm not sure what could be done about it. Forcing landlords to charge/accept below-market rates for their properties? Can't see that one going anywhere.

But hey, if anyone has suggestions, I'm open to them.


-- Fritz

Hi Gurus, My aunt and uncle are coming into town this weekend and I'm hoping you can help me. They've done just about everyting there is to do in DC, so we were thinking of Annapolis. Can you suggest some touristy things to do in Annapolis - some sort of organized tour would be great (not the haunted pub tour, it was fun but I've done that already and I know it's not their thing). Also, any dining suggestions? All kind of food is welcome, though not too pricey, my uncle was recently laid off and I know they won't let me pay (15-20 dollar entree is good). Thanks very much!

Check out our Annapolis neighborhood guide. You'll find suggestions on touristy things, good eats, galleries and more. Depending on the weather, I would also recommend renting a kayak (for around $15) and doing some boating in the harbor.

So which museum parties are about the art and which are about the parties? I've been to the Corcoran afterhours, where the focus is on browsing art as much as the drinks and I've been to some after-hours parties at the Hirshhorn, Artomatic or 14th street Galleries where more people seem to care about music and cheap wine more than the artists and their works. Is there an easy way to tell which is which?

Any after hours event at any kind of arts venue is going to offer party stuff like wine and music along with the art. I think it's a great way to get a feel for the art while having a fun,  social experience. But I always recommend that people return to the art venue when it's quiet and there are fewer people around so they can actually see the art and study it a little.  As fun as they are, after hours events are not the best way to view art. It's only a way to get a taste for it. That said, I'd look at the listing for the after hours event to see what's being offered. I really like performance art and interactive art and sometimes that stuff happens only at the after hours event.  I really recommend going to an after ours event that offers performance art or anything along those lines.

Hey gang, A friend of mine from the west coast said that I had to have a particular drink, called "The Last Word". I'm married with kids and live in suburbia, so when my wife and I had a date weekend in DC a few weekends ago we went to four different bars and none of them could make it. Save bar crawling (idea!) any idea which bar might have the makings for this apparent delight?

Curious what bars you went to that couldn't make it. In the 'burbs, I bet the bar whizzes at Sidebar (Silver Spring), PX or the Majestic (Old Town) or Lyon Hall (Arlington) could handle that request.

In D.C., any of the standbys on our list of the best cocktail bars -- Passenger, Gibson, PS7's, Tabard Inn, Room 11, etc. -- should be able to handle that request.

For some reason, I remember having a particularly good one at the Source, too.

(For those curious about a Last Word, it's equal parts gin, marischino liqueur, green chartreuse and lime juice, shaken and served up.)

I have a wedding in Richmond Sat. night. Anybody know a place to eat breakfast and/or lunch, or maybe a bit of sightseeing for Sunday.

Milly's! Best restaurant in town.  Or you could take a walk in Carytown where there are tons of adorable boutiqes and then have brunch at CanCan. Check out the new wing of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts as well.  Just a few blocks away and pretty darn nice.

Any suggestions for what time to hit the Phillips on Saturday in order to increase the chance of avoiding a crowd?

I'd go right when they open at 10AM.

I am looking for a restauant for a moms night out for about 12 ladies on a weeknight that offers games, activities or karaoke. I know about H St country club, but didn't know if there were other places you could reccomend.

You're in luck, all the more because you're planning this night out on a weeknight. I think you might have some fun at Hill Country downtown - Metro-accessible, separate checks ....and country karaoke with a live band on Wednesdays.  For skeeball, etc., there's Iron Horse Taproom nearby. You might check out the new Black Jack, which has bocce (I may be the lone guru who doesn't "get" bocce, though.)   And check out our new  list of the best karaoke spots in town.

Is there a nice/semi-romantic but sorta cheap place to eat before the Foo Fighters at Verizon Center? Thanks!

I would recommend Jaleo - tapas allows you to eat at your own pace (and price point). You could definitely grab a few small plates and a couple glasses of sangria for around $20 per person. Oyamel can also be reasonable if you play it right and stick to tacos and appetizers. Other options: Matchbox or maybe even Ella's...

You might consider the Old Ebbitt Grill in DC. Always a mixed crowd there and I can vouch for their food. I had their Thanksgiving dinner a few years back and it was a whole bunch of deliciousness.

Awesome! Sounds delicious.

4P's spot is really being turned into a McFaddens? ugh. I lived in that neighborhood for 6 years and still miss it, but not so much if that's the case.

That is the rumor, although I couldn't get a direct on-the-record comment from the McFadden's folks when I asked them about it last month.

I can't imagine for a minute, though, that a McFadden's in Cleveland Park would be anything like the McFadden's in Foggy Bottom. The latter has two universities within walking distance, providing the kind of clientele that love $3 "u-call-it" happy hours and guest appearances by "Jersey Shore" cast members on Friday night. That sound like the residents of the (pricey) apartments who live in Cleveland Park? Not so much. Unless the McFadden's business model is based around the senior class at American University Metroing down to Cleveland Park every weekend, I'm not sure what's going to happen.

A group of friends and I are looking to go to a Middle Eastern Moroccan restaurant for dinner on Friday night. Any recommendations of where to go? Would like to stay in the Dupont Circle/ Chinatown area if possible or at least somewhere Metro accessible. Thanks!

For the last year, I've been trying to find a way to work   Mama Ayesha into this chat. Finally, I can.  Mama Ayesha is your answer. It's amazing, has a lot of history, and actually has the decor to match the food. -- Lavanya

Ok, ready? bottomless mimosa brunch in the city....GO!

Definitely check out Vinoteca or Masa 14 for something on the classy side. Getaway is a local, neighborhoody spot, and Front Page is the best destination if what you're really after is copious amounts of booze. El Centro DF also has $35 all you can eat and drink too! Lavanya says it's the Golden Corral of 14th Street.

My family will be celebrating Thanksgiving on Friday, but I need to feed them on Thursday. Are there any metro accessible restaurants in DC that will be serving their regular fare and that are priced under $20 for an entree?

Lots of restaurants are open and serving the regular fare; but the first thing that comes to mind for me is the classic "stick to ethnic" rule -- Indian food is an option (Masala Art is usually open, and very affordable for the food it serves, as is  Indique Heights); I'd also give a call to Ethiopic, Mandu, and frankly, any of your favorite restaurants. But this is a really great question, so we'll check it out. Look out for a blog post in coming weeks.

My friend has just returned from Afghanistan and is passing through DC on Sunday on his way home to Kansas City. I would love to find a Kansas City friendly bar that would be showing the game on Sunday (or just a bar that would show the game). Any suggestions? I'm worried I might have a hard time finding a place to watch since they play the same time as the Redskins. Thanks!

When I was calling around for the "Where to find your favorite teams" story earlier this year, the only place that told me they got groups of Chiefs fans was Grevey's in Falls Church.

If you're staying in D.C. proper, you should be able to find the game on at Public Bar, Buffalo Billiards, Meridian Pint, Touchdown on U Street -- anywhere that has a bunch of TVs, really. While that doesn't mean he won't run up against a crowd of Dolphins fans cheering against his Chiefs, I find that possibility unlikely.

Tell your friend "Welcome back!" from us.

On a crazy, art-filled weekend like this coming one, what does Philippa Hughes's foraging path look like for Friday and Saturday? What are you hoping to hit?

This weekend is going to be intense. I'm calling it Artpocalypse 2. (The first one was back in late September.)

Tonight, you should check out the Folly magazine fundraiser tonight at The Dunes. Lots of great talks (hopefully my talk will be coherent) and a dance party afterward.


Friday night, I'm hitting FotoWeek's TWO openings at the old Border's at 18th and L and the Corcoran. I'm also going to try to squeeze in a visit to Hillyer because there's going to be some performance art accompanying the new exhibit.  I love performance art! I also highly recommend the opening of a photography exhibit by Caitlyn Teal Price because Ryan Holladay of Bluebrain said she was amazing and I believe anything he says.  Plus he's spinning music for the opening.  I'll end the evening at the DC Week opening party at 9:30 Club.

On Saturday night, I'm hitting the Civilian Art projects opening of Hard Art, which is a photography exhibit that documents DC's punk rock scene. Then over to H Street to the opening of Victoria Gaitan's photogaphy exhibit at Conner Contemporary. She is one of my FAVE artists ever. Her photos will blow you away.  Seriously. Then I will hang out with #DCResidence @DCWeek. Two of the most creative and awesome people I know in DC Josef Palermo and Ally Behnke have pulled together a week's worth of the best DC's creative community offers.  Ah. Maz. Ing.

If you're looking for something a little more off the beaten path, check out Prophets of Funk at the American Dance Institute. Modern dance inspired by Sly and the Family Stone! Or the Ives Project at Strathmore by PostClassical Ensemble. This is not your grandma's classical music.

Phew. I'm exhausted just writing all of that.

Ella's gets packed and the tables are very close together. I love it there, but might not be what they are looking for.

Agreed. Ella's is on the less expensive end of the spectrum, though, so just depends on the budget. On the higher end, Rasika is also a fabulous option.

For the chatter asking about brunch/lunch in Richmond: Try Kuba Kuba in the Fan! It's a terrific Cuban restaurant in a historic, walkable part of the city. I like their Cuban coffee as much as their food!

oooh, I love KubaKuba! Frankly, Richmond has tons of great restaurants. Cafe con leche es lo mejor.

Hi Gurus: I know this is an odd question, but do you know where's the best place to park in Chinatown? We're thinking of catching a movie at Regal and would like to know if you know of any reasonable garages in that vicinity.

I know the answer to this one: Park at the Regal's garage! It will save you much heartache. The garage entrance is just behind the theater, on Sixth St. NW. They validate your parking - I can't remember if it was free or just steeply discounted, but honestly, it was negligable enough that I've forgotten how much I usually pay. Far better than the exorbitant valet and garage prices in the neighborhood, and definitely cheaper than a ticket.

Dear Fritz and Lavanya, RE: This morning's GOG I love free tacos too (who is this person who doesn't like free tacos?), but I love Cork too, on 14th. Great vibe, nice small plates, cool wine list. Most 40-somethings (including yours truly) could stand the few extra blocks walking to and from. As a former SF resident (just for 5 years, not claiming nativity), I think you have to go top-shelf on your visitors and take them to Komi, which is easily the best dining experience I've had in DC. Of course, you have to know they're coming six months in advance... You guys are a great resource!

(This is in response to the transcript of last week's Got Plans?, which ran in the Style Section yesterday. FWIW, I recommended that a group of high-school friends looking for a place to meet up for the first time in years at a Dupont-area happy hour check out Hank's Oyster Bar, Heritage India or Kramerbooks.)

Hi there.

So I really enjoy Cork. I do. Great small plates, lovely wine-by-the-glass selection. But the lack of reservations after 6:30 and the cramped-ness of that bar area make me hesitant to recommend it for groups of more than three or four. Been on double dates there. Not optimal for conversation, even though we loved the food and drink.

But if you've got a group on 14th Street -- I went to a last-minute birthday gathering at Black Jack on the Friday before Halloween. Got there around 9 p.m., we got a small table and a group of eight had plenty of room to mix and mingle and service was outstanding.

Plus, you know, indoor bocce.

I have a young 'friend' coming into town from Philly this weekend. He's in his early 20s and I'm drawing a blank as to where the young kids go. I feel like a borderline cougar...I'm 37 and I'm afraid my usual hangouts will be too old for him. Don't think I could take Adams Morgan, but do you have any other ideas? Looking for a bar, not a dance club or dinner place. I live in Arlington, but would be up for DC too. Any ideas you have would be much appreciated!

One of my fav new places is Black Jack, above Pearl Dive on 14th Street. Very lively fun crowd and you can play bocce in the back. If you start there, it will be easy to hop to other good bars if you want to try different places. Churchkey above Birch & Barley has a huge beer selection and you can get a super delicious flatbread for a late night snack. If you want to wander over toward U Street, my reliable standbys are St. Ex, Bar Pilar, Marvin, and American Ice. Gibson is the perfect spot for a nightcap if you're looking for a place to try an inventive cocktail and you want to be able to hear each other talk. Ooh, also the roofdeck bar at El Centro is really fun and they have dozens of tequila choices.  I was never much of a fan of tequila until I realized that there were "fine" tequilas that don't make you feel really ill the next day.

I'm thinking about popping up and back one Saturday-Sunday and those buses seem pretty cheap and convenient. Which is the best line? And is there an age limit? I'm 43 and don't want to end up being stared at by a bunch of hipsters.

Being an experienced DC-NYC bus traveler, I would say the bus lines are basically six of one, half a dozen of the other. It's a wash. Megabus sometimes overbooks and coming back on Sundays can be a total disaster, so I've stopped taking it even though it can be one of the cheapest options. I like Bolt Bus (has internet, usually), and Washington Deluxe. I've tried DC2NY as well; they play a movie, which is kind of nice if the internet isn't working (which can often be the case even if the bus line advertises wifi). Another thing to watch out for: some buses stop in Baltimore. That adds an extra 20 or so minutes, depending on traffic, so I always try to get a direct trip. Age-wise, you'll certainly see some hipsters along the way, but the crowds are pretty diverse, and generally fairly friendly. That said, if you're trying to use your computer, get there early and get on the bus as quick as possible to snag an outlet. Those things get cornered quick, and sometimes people can be a bit territorial. Good luck!

Greetings gurus! One of my good friends is coming back into town this weekend, and is looking to do something fun and DC-esque. The slight twist... she's pregnant. That rules out drinking activities, and possibly physically grueling ones as well (I've never been pregnant, so can't say what exactly that excludes). Any suggestions for fun Saturday day/night activities? Thanks so much!

If you want to do something super DC, you should check out the "Hard Art" opening at Civilian Art Projects on Saturday night.  This photography exhibit is a glimpse of the punk rock scene that thrived here back in the day. You'll get to see photographs by award winning photographer Lucian Perkins and maybe you'll get to punk rock legends Ian and Alec Mackaye.

During the day, I suggest visiting The Phillips Collection. They're having an open house to celebrate their 90th anniversary. It's one of my favorite museums in town because it has an intimate feel that makes me feel welcome and cozy, plus they have a world-class art collection. It's located  at Dupont Circle (also very DC-esque)  so there are a bunch of terrific restaurants you can enjoy for lunch or dinner and a few boutiques. I'm a huge fan of Bistrot du Coin - it's a boisterous, authentic Belgian beer kinda place. Also Kramerbooks is a wonderful place to browse, and the food's pretty good, too. Warning: they have a huge dessert selection. Speaking of dessert, if you like gelato, then you cannot miss Dolcezza. They feature really unusual gelato and sorbet flavors made from whatever is in season.

... but before I do, I want to get my friends together for one last night of fun before I go. The issue, is that not all of them are 21. The ideal place would have something to do like games, pool, ping-pong, etc. that we could all have fun with. Metro accessible, and in DC, is a must and it would be great if it wasn't super expensive. There's not a fixed day of the week that I need to do this on and am open to suggestions if certain places are better on certain days. It would be more of a stop by when you can and stay as long as you want type of event, so there is no set number of people who would be there at any point, so no need for a large space just for us. Oh Going out Gurus, does such a place exist?

Argh, the under 21 is stopping me in my tracks. Even H Street Country Club's mini-golf course is 21-and-over except for Sunday and Monday, and even then people under 21 need a parent or guardian. Tried calling around and  Iron Horse, Buffalo Billiards, Rocket Bar -- same thing.

If you did it before 8 p.m., then there's Lucky Strike for bowling, but again, that can be expensive.

Alright readers, I know I'm blanking on something. Under 21-friendly, games/pool/etc.  Help?

Any suggestions for a moderately-priced,vegetarian-friendly good restaurant within walking distance of the Kennedy Center for dinner on a Saturday night? Thanks for your help!

A popular bet is Founding Farmers; it's very veggie-friendly, and awfully close. Just check in about reservations, because it does get crowded.  Dish and Drinks is another go-to -- they have a pre-theater price fixe too. Readers, any other favorites?

I've got an idea! DC is full of children of the 1%. One of these limousine liberals could buy a DC institution when their lease is up. Since profits are evil, they could run it on a break-even basis. It would be great. Draft beer would be $2. A burger made from ground filet would be $4.95. They could pay themselves minimum wage to keep costs down. They could get all their anti-capitalist, trustifarian friends to come and work for minimum wage too. You know: bussing tables, cleaning the toilets and such - really put those philosophy & gender studies degrees to work! Even better, they could go full 'Occupy' style and base the whole economics of it on hugs and smiles, then the burger would be only $2.49. It would be AWSOME! I would go there every night.

Don't forget, they wouldn't have to buy the bar when the lease is up, they'd have to buy the WHOLE BUILDING, or else this would just happen again. And commerical buildings in D.C. -- owning, not leasing -- aren't cheap, due to the potential rent that owners can extor.., er, charge their tenants.

I have a bit of work to do this weekend and don't want to stay home. Any suggestions for a good place on the Hill or in Penn Quarter that would let me stay for awhile. Coffee place or a bar atmosphere, doesn't need to be too quiet. Thanks-

I would recommend Ebenezers at 2nd and F streets NE, right next to Union Station. Might warn against going on a Sunday, though, because the downstairs becomes a community church thing and it can get pretty crowded (I'm almost positive it's Sundays). Other options: Teaism in Penn Quarter, Chinatown Coffee in, well, Chinatown, and maybe even Peregrine, if you're willing to go as far out on the Hill as Eastern Market. Not sure if this is too far or not, but the Busboys on 5th and K is also an option. Here's a list of editor's picks for coffee shops for some more inspiration...

I am going to be out celebrating my birthday in Dupont this Saturday night. We are starting at The Mighty Pint and are looking for places to check out afterwards. We are a group of 15 ranged in age from 24-40. Looking for places within walking distance with good drinks that are not too packed. Thank you!

It always depends on the time you go, but my recommendations, all of which are within three blocks or so:

Science Club for DJs and drinks

St. Arnold (depends on the time; best after dinner)

19, a World Bank hangout that can be fun at night but gets frequent private parties

Elephant and Castle for a pubby atmosphere

BarCode for drinks and late-night snacks

maybe the bar at Vidalia if you want a nice glass or wine or a better-than-average cocktail.

The Rivers at the Watergate is a cozy little place. You can park there and walk over to the Kennedy Center. You may even run into a celeb if they come over after their show.

Celeb sighting in DC? Sweet.

It seems like a theme in today's chat - where can us pre-geezers go? Didn't you mention somethin in a prior chat about doing an article on that very subject?

Aww, yes.  I'm assuming you are one of these "pre-geezers"? And the answer is pretty much anywhere.. . We started noticing a couple of years ago that when Fritz reviews bars, all the people he was interviewing were in their 30s and up. And this is at cool bars and restaurants, not the free taco spots. We really are due for an article on this, but my guess is this has to do with economics.  If you have looked at the prices on a drink menu, then you know the only people who can genuinely afford them have, like, retirement plans, remember Nirvana and bought into Apple early -- as in 30- and 40-somethings.

-- Lavanya

Hi guys. I have something to admit. I am a 26 year old female and I don't have any friends to hang out with around this area. I know that you guys always tell people to take classes, join clubs & whatnot to find friends. However, I am a full-time student, work in between school hours and have a relationship with my boyfriend to maintain. In other words, time is very limited for me. All I want, is to be able to go out once a month or so (I am in college after all = very broke) grab some drinks, dance & hang out with some fun people. My BF refuses to go out and my one close friend has kids and a mother to take care of so that limits her abilities to party with me. That leaves me to go it alone, which I know I can do. But I want to find a place that makes me comfortable while doing it, preferably in NOVA or a metro accessible location in DC.

As I mentioned I like to dance (Top 40's, 90's, Funk/Soul, Trance/House) so some place that offers some sort of beat to step to would be nice. And a crowd of people who are chill, without attitudes or judgments that hinder any real interaction would be nice too. Am I crazy or does a place like that exist? And secondly, since I do have a slight anxiety about meeting people by myself, how would you suggest I approach people or groups to try and make friends?

I'll take this in two parts. IOne, don't rule out clubs or Meetups; honestly, for my recent Meetups story, I visited five of them, and not one required a commitment. Want to run? Show up for a run. Want to dance, just sign up and show up for the party bus. (I actually really enjoyed clubbing solo with the 20s and 30s group; it wasn't a meat market, just a good time). I also am pretty nervous about meeting people and being on my own, but sometimes, you just have to suck it up and try to enjoy it. Frankly, it's a little liberating to be out talking to new people, broadening your world a little. I say this in my story, but after several days of going out and meeting people on my own, I actually kind of got good at it.

Part 2: If you just want to show up and dance, I can't think of a place that is more welcoming to people on their own who just love music and love to dance than U Street Music Hall. In fact, I rarely see big cliques.  -- Lavanya

I've had some amazing opportunities seemingly fall  into my lap lately and in nearly every case, I could trace them back to having played volleyball on the sand courts near the Lincoln Memorial every Tuesday night and Saturday morning with a group of people I met  by just showing up regularly.  This was in 2001 and I played there for nearly two years.  So yeah it took some time to develop those friendships which led to connections that led to being part of a great group of friends and lots of seriously amazing experiences.  For example, I got to go to Finland for two weeks back in August as a guest of the Ministry of Culture. That came about because a guy at the Finnish Embassy was a colleague of TT who plays in a band with BG who used to date AG who's best college friend is NG who was introduced to me by KR who used to date my friend KB who I  played volleyball with. My point is: (1) be patient, and (2) hokie as it is, do the things you truly enjoy doing so you meet like-minded people, and (3) have fun and be willing to meet whoever comes along because you never know where that will lead you.

The time stamp on each question is in Chinese characters. What's going on?

Hmm, I just checked and I'm not seeing this, but readers, anyone else have this issue?  We're definitely not chatting out of the old Beijing bureau.... -- Lavanya

Hi Gurus, Hoping you can help me out - my family will be in town this year for Thanksgiving for the second year in a row and my mom's birthday follows the Monday after. Last year we got her mini cupcakes from Crumbs - looking for something different (does not have to be a cake per se) this year. Anything you can recommend that is a particular standout? Thank you!

How about a Dangerously Delicious Pie?  Pie is the new cupcake.

I think you're probably correct here. It's been a while but I've been to the McFadden's in midtown Manhattan and it's nothing like the one near GW.

I think the McFadden's in Foggy Bottom is its own animal, though I can only compare it to the one in Philly, which reminded me more of Town Tavern or Rumors, but again, it's in a party neighborhood. Cleveland Park is not really the same.

is posting which responses?

Sorry, folks, we've had a tech hiccup for the past few weeks, but we're getting closer and closer to a solution. Thanks for understanding -- Lavanya.

Hi Gurus, my parents are in town this weekend and my dad is a huge Cowboys fan so I want to find a place to watch the game on Sunday at 1pm. I saw on your best bets lists that Panache restaurant is the place where the fan club meets, but I have never been there and it doesn't really seem like a sports bar. Can't find any information on their website either. Have any of you ever been there? If not that place, what other parent-and-Cowboys-fan-friendly sports bar would you recommend in Northern Virginia.

Panache isn't really a huge sports bar, you're right -- but they've now got a Cowboys Meetup group gathering there for drink specials and game-viewing. (You can reserve a table via the Meetup group.)

I have seen Cowboys fans at Crystal City Sports Pub in the past, and the size of the place means that you shouldn't be smashed up against Redskins fans.

Comet Ping-Pong!

I am going to smack my forehead against the keyboard here.

Yes, Comet Ping Pong. Games! Fantastic pizza! All ages! Great rock bands!

Okay, that is going to do it for us this week. Many thanks to our special guest Philippa Hughes of the Pink Line Project. We hope she inspired you to go and check out some great art this weekend.

As always, we'll see you here next week at 1 p.m. with another special guest. Start getting your questions ready, oenophiles.

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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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