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

Jun 14, 2012

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

Wecome chatters, to this fashion-focused edition of Got Plans? We've got Post Deal Hunter columnist Katherine Boyle to take your fashion questions and  parse the fashion choices of the first lady, should this chat go that route. We've got a ton of questions, so let's get this party started.

Going to an evening wedding at a country club/golf course next month. I have a beautiful maxi dress, a nice neutral taupe color, but I'm worried that it might be too casual because it's a very simple silhouette (with a scoop neck). It is a kind of stretchy but lacy material. Do you think I could sufficiently dress it up with nice jewelry and some nice shoes (maybe a shiny gold color dressy sandal)? I don't want to be under dressed because my husband is in the wedding party! Thanks!

Simple silhouette is fine, and fancy accessorizes can almost always ensure that you’re not underdressed. I’d pair it with a fancy clutch, heels and nice evening jewelry, nothing dangly or bohemian. Maxi dresses can look incredibly casual if you’re in flats and day jewelry.

Love summertime, hate how not-fresh my feet/shoes are by the end of the day when socks aren't seasonal. I only buy natural-materials footwear (leather/canvas/etc) and I use Summer Soles, but so far no magic bullet for fresh shoes throughout the summer. Should I just double up on the deodorizing spray?

This is the oldest trick in the book, but have you tried baby powder? It tends to minimize the sweat and keep the odor away. (And it feels great. Sprays can make your feet feel sticky.)

Where could I find the gourmet food trucks frequently mentioned in the Washington Post Food section. Is there a specific location and time when they serve? I'm expecting a visit from a niece I haven't seen in years who wants to sight-see; so we'll be all over the city. Thank you.

A great resource is the site Food Truck Fiesta.  But don't count out a fun food truck event; we love Truckeroo, which brings together more than 20 food trucks, so you can hit several, splitting up where you get your apps, main course and dessert.  The next one is July 13; if you go, a hint: Get there on the early side of the day, so you have more choices, and so you can get a seat.

We live in NoMA and find it hard to find restaurants to go to, other than hopping on the Metro and going elsewhere. We usually end up at Gallery Place and have eaten at Matchbox way too much. Any ideas for something better around NoMA?

Closer than Gallery Place, you've got the excellent Kushi for sushi and grilled clams/chicken skewers/duck/etc. Nice little late-night scene, too. Tom Sietsema and I both think Sixth Engine at 4th and Mass has potential, too. Cozy little tavern and dining room.

Hello, I really don't go out that much, however, my brother is coming to this area (DC/VA/MD) to visit. All and I mean all he talks about and would like to do is go deep sea fishing! I have no idea where to look, the costs involved, what type of fish are being caught, do they give you the equipment...etc. Help!

Take Me Fishing is the best site on the web for such information. You can search by area, kind of fish you want to catch and find businesses that will outfit you. Enjoy!

Hi Gurus! I have friends coming to town in a few weeks for some wedding dresses shopping and I'd like to take them to brunch before our first appointment in Georgetown. I don't venture there much anymore, any thoughts? Also, any scoop on Pacifico Cantina?

My two thoughts:

Pacifico, which is the rooftop bar on Barracks Row from the owner of Lola's/Molly Malone's/Senart's/The Chesapeake Room/Boxcar/soon-to-open Hawk and Dove, has had its opening pushed back until Saturday at 10 a.m. I'm honestly not expecting much from the restaurant -- does the Hill need another tacos and quesadillas place? -- but the rooftop should give Capitol Hill another large outdoor space, which I like the sound of.

For brunch -- and I haven't done brunch in Georgetown proper in a while -- I'd say meeting on the patio at Town Hall in Glover Park would be a good start. Great mimosas and bloody marys. Depending on where in Georgetown you're going, you could start out closert to Dupont Circle . Urbana's make-your-own-mimosa bar is a treat: You pick your own fruit juices to add to unlimited bubbly.

I am planning on going this Saturday and am interested in spending the whole day - seeing the ships, the air show & the fireworks. If I got down there & parked in a lot at the Inner Harbor, can I see it all from there? Or better yet, where should we park to get the most out of the day.

Sailabration should be really special! I'm thinking that for everything you want to do, you might want to park at M&T Stadium ($20); shuttles will take you out to Fort McHenry (get there by 10 a.m.) for the best view of the air show. And once you're out there, you'll have a chance to visit boats such as the USS Fort McHenry and RFA Argus.  When you swing back on the shuttle to the stadium, it's a longish but do-able walk to visit the boats docked at Inner Harbor. This map = lifesaver.

I used to have this problem too. (I don't now only because I'm in a more casual workplace, and can wear open sandals.) I had limited success with baby powder, but solved the problem by using a spray antiperspirant on my feet. (Do they still make those? I liked Sure.)

Another great suggestion. Spray antiperspirant will have the same effect.

At the end of the month my sister and her fiance are coming for a visit to celebrate, hers, mine and my husband's birthdays. Last time they were in we went to Cava Mezze in Clarendon, and this time want to also do tapas. I'm thinking Zaytinya but am kind of at a loss for *fun* bars around there. We're in our early-mid 30's, dislike lounge-type bars, sort of like dive bars, and prefer pop music, and as long as there's some flavored vodka, we're good! Two years ago for my birthday we did dinner with a group at Gordon Biersch (for the garlic fries!) and then Co Co Sala (for the chocolate), which we did not find to be a spot for a group of 10 or so, which we may have again. We're open to areas of DC or NoVA, and living in Alexandria, we always hit up Old Town, which is fine, but if we can find somewhere fun for variety, that'd be good. Basically, in OT I like The Lighthorse and always end the night at The Bayou, if that helps.

This sounds like the kind of night that the New York Avenue Beach Bar was made for: You can hang out, sit at a picnic table if you have 6 people, stand around if you've got 10. There are frozen margaritas, flavored vodkas, cans of beer, a DJ spinning dance music that everyone knows.

There's also Iron Horse Tap Room, where the basement bar would be a good fit. (And, depending on the night, I'd say Hill Country could work, if you don't mind popular country music with your drinks.)

Hey Gurus - going to Georgetown on Saturday early evening to meet a friend up on Wisconsin. Can you recommend any good places with a somewhat relaxed atmosphere for drinks and a bite to eat? In the past I have only hung out down by the water, so I don't know what spots are good up there. Thanks.

You might Bistro Lepic or Bonaparte if you're looking for something on the nicer end; if you mean a khaki-wearing crowd and burgers, then  Town Hall or Breadsoda are good bets.  

I have been tasked with organizing a small group to go out dancing July 7 for a little celebration. The guest of honor requested "hip-hop, along the lines of Jay-Z." The group (5-8 people) are pretty much in their mid-30s (give or take). Metro-accessible, central DC-ish would be preferable.

This all depends on the vibe you want. You'd fit right in at the Park at 14th (loungy, dressy, four floors of people looking good, sipping cocktails) or you could do something a little more intimate, such as Bar 7. Both will have the kind of hip-hop you're looking for.

I'm trying to replace a fraying pair of older Banana Republic jeans that I just love. Unfortunately all the jeans I find these days, at BR and elsewhere, are made with a much lighter-weight denim so they're more like cloth then sturdy denim. They dont' seem to hang as well and don't iron to a nice crisp pleat for a dressier look. Can you recommend a label that sells a heavier weight denim in petitie sizes? I'm thinking around a $100 price tag. Thank you!

I'm partial to Joe's Jeans and J Brand. They can cost more than $100, but they're a terrific quality and I've always bought mine at resale stores. The famed Buffalo Exchange opens this Saturday on 14th Street and they have terrific deals on barely worn jeans. All of their current inventory has been purchased from other stores around the country, so if you go this weekend you'd have a great shot of getting designer jeans for $30. Second Time Around in Georgetown also has great jeans and a huge supply of Joe's.

I know NOMA sounds cuter and is a play off of NOVA but unless you live in Northern Massachusetts you should probably refer to your region as SOMD. You live close to DC in Maryland, right?

NoMa is the area of D.C. west of Union Station and NOrth of MAssachusetts avenue. Extends over to Shaw. Ish. 

I need a new hair stylist. I live in Friendship Heights and would like someone who can give a good color and haircut. Thanks!

The Post Magazine's fashion guru Janet Kelly recommends Susan at Dessange in Friendship Heights.  It's a premium salon, but worth a splurge if you have a complicated cut and color. If you're looking for cheap, I'll be honest and say I'm always a walk-in at Bubbles.  I have a straight cut and I've never had a bad experience at any of their locations.

The PR at Partners in nearby Tenleytown is pretty good too. They frequently talk me out of my very bad ideas.

Hi GOG's, My friends and I do a monthly brunch- this month was my turn to pick the place. I had recently read the review of the "pop-up" Blind Dog Cafe, and thought this would be a fun place to check out this month (We love to support new/local places). Having never been there, and being unable to get a hold of anybody at the restaurant to confirm, I wonder if you you or anybody knows if A) they can handle a group that size and B) if it's possible to make reservations and/or waiting list? Also, do they have an outdoor space? Thanks!

Hi, you didn't actually say what size your group is, but the space is surprisingly large, with about three main dining areas, one of them being a large-ish back patio.  Here's the only catch: It's really not a full-service restaurant, but a coffeehouse. This is why there's not really any reservation process. It's a super-casual cafe (think ratty vintage sofas, bare-bones but charming decor). Each bruncher would have to order their own dish at the counter first, then scoop up coffees and sandwiches/salads when they're called out. Which can make for some mildly chaotic dining if you have a large group -- if that doesn't deter you, you're fine, and the food is good. And the back patio probably would be ideal for your group.

Hi! A friend and I were discussing possibly going to brunch on Sunday in DC (no specific restaurant in mind yet). Will restaurants be overrun with Father's Day crowds or is thar more of a Mother's Day tradition? And if so, would be it be too late to get a reservation somewhere?

I don't think of Father's Day as a brunch day. There are a few Father's Day brunches we've seen -- thinking the Belgian beer-centric brunch at Belga Cafe for a start -- but there are far fewer special menus. I think you should be fine.

Hi GOGs, love your chat! Two of my best friends from childhood are coming to visit me for our annual girls weekend. Could you recommend a place where three early 30-somethings could go dancing (80s or top 40s preferred) without feeling like we're in a frat party? Thanks!

El Centro DF has become a go-to recommendation for this, but when I checked in at Masa 14 and El Centro a few weeks ago, it was packed with late 20s/earlys 30s sipping margaritas and dancing non-stop. The downstairs at Napoleon is another good place to check out -- it's a Euro-style champagne cocktail lounge without the attitude, and pretty good DJs. If you're looking for a more club-like experience, I like the roofdeck at Eden, and it's easy to get yourself on the guestlist for free admission. (Just head over to 

Since you recommended against Comet Ping Pong, any other suggestions for Saturday night? It can be afternoon or evening, but preferably Montgomery County. I'm not opposed to a movie, but man, nothing looks good. Thanks!

We're fans of Jackie's Sidebar -- friendly service, cool cocktails, very rock and roll vibe, amazing deviled eggs, and it seems to attract lots of laid back types. These days, I  might prefer it to  Comet. (Yes, I said it.)  Matchbox is a very popular spot in Rockville (the crowds can make going there kind of a drag, though). And one more interesting one for good measure: Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian restaurant in Silver Spring. They have a    rooftop that's one of the hidden gems of MoCo.

Add a great, elegant wrap. It will be the last word.

A great suggestion. Wraps are so classic and we don't see them enough. Definitely adds drama to a basic dress. Just make sure it doesn't match the dress. Mix bright with neutrals.

My office is having a happy hour in a couple weeks on a Wednesday night. Between 15 to 20 people, mid-20s. In the past we have gone to Scion and Bier Baron (our office is on M and 24th St NW). Anything else good in the area that can accommodate a large crowd? I was thinking Irish Whiskey, but I am welcome to other ideas. Thanks!

The thing about Irish Whiskey is that I wouldn't do it with a group of 20 people UNLESS you have the top reserved for a private event. (I suppose you could just show up there, but it can get cramped.) If you can call and reserve a space, do it.

Buffalo Billiards is the easiest place to just show up and stake out a large spot, and I usually feel that way about the back patio at the Big Hunt, too.

If you don't mind the walk, the upstairs rooms at Madhatter can hold fairly large crowds, and has pretty decent specials ($3 rail drinks and beers and $4 frozen margaritas until 8, then $2 Coors and $4 Stoli drinks until close).

I think they can be appropriate for weddings...if they aren't taupe. A long dress in any variation of white is going to look like an attempt to upstage the bride.

Agreed that you don't want to look like the bride. But the old rules about colors at weddings aren't set in stone. Is the wedding traditional? Is it outdoors? Neutrals can work at weddings provided you don't look like you're in a wedding gown.  And if you're worried about the color, add some bright accents and you'll be fine.

Hi Gurus, my husband I are celebrating our anniversary that weekend and we'll be staying in Metro Center for two nights. Do you have any suggestions on what we can do at night? Any shows? We live out in the burbs and it's rare that we can get an opportunity to do things in the city and not worry about our long drive home. Thank you.

Congrats on your anniversary! "Mr. Burns, A Post Electric Play" at Woolly Mammoth recently got a great review if you are looking for something different and "The Servant of Two Masters" at Shakespeare Theater Company fits if you want something funny but a bit more safe. Both theaters are within walking distance to Metro Center.

I'd add to that a lovely dinner at Brasserie BeckFiola or Rasika, depending on what your taste is.  Reservations are a must, so make em soon. You could also always follow one dinner any of the above three, then head to one of the others for a cocktail or beer. All have great bars, too. I have one more theater recommendation: Studio Theatre's "The Animals and Children Took to the Streets." Super-cool; like "Burns," it's different than anything else on stage right now.  And check out the E Street Cinema's late-night movies; they do a midnight movie that is frequently an old classic. It always attracts a cute date scene.

Just something to bear in mind. The owner of bridal salons are noting that sometimes when many friend and family come with the bride the various points of view become overwhelming. Be sure to be true to you heartbeat and your style.

Good point. But also know you need one person to tell you the truth. The sales associates don't know your style or personality, but your best friend or mother does. Have someone who can be brutally honest with you and ignore the noise from the others.

I also have sweaty feet in the Summer months. I use Goldbond Foot Powder and at the beginning of the day, put half of a folded paper towel in the foot of my shoe. It may be a bit tacky, but it works, and I can toss them at the end of the day.

Hey, if it works, it works. Nothing tacky about odorless feet.

Sorry! Group of 10. Sounds like it will work fine. We are pretty relaxed group and can handle the bit of chaos. You think they would be pretty chill about us hanging out/taking up space for a while, considering the nature of the setup? (We'll be drinking/eating and drinking some more so not just taking up space without them actually getting $ out of us). Thanks again! You all rock!

Oh, yeah, you should be fine. I wish I could tell you when the best time to get there to snag the patio seats, but it's never been horribly crowded when I've been there. Be sure to get some  of the sweets, by the way;  they're delicious. (And I'm a sucker for the croissant breakfast sandwich, totally NOT what i should be eating in bikini season...)

Hello GOGs. Are there any fun, indoor activities (when the weather is stifling or rainy) where one can still walk around quite a bit? Sorta like mall walking only more cultural. Thank you.

Well, you've got the National Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum, home to one of my favorite indoor spaces in D.C., the Kogod Courtyard --- a fantastic place to feel like you're outside, even when you're not.

My other go-to is the Botanic Garden, which can be a little steamy (especially in the Jungle Room), but there's so much to look at, from orchids to flowering trees. And you get to walk a LOT.

And the runner up to either is Amazonia at the Zoo, which I never think gets enough love. You've got birds flying and monkeys free-roaming in the trees overhead, there are tanks full of gigantic scary-looking fish, and if you pay attention, you just might learn something before you're done.

Going to Jack's Boathouse for a twilight kayak next week. Any good place around there before or after for drinks/snacks/light food? I'm thinking more bar-ish as we'll be in our kayaking wear and not fancy. Heading on the metro back to White Flint after. Thanks!

Get a beer and split a pizza in the basement Birreria at Pizzeria Paradiso. They take all kinds in there. If you're just in the mood for cheap pitchers of beer and wings, then I'd go to Rhino Bar.

Celebrating an occasion with dinner at Bourbon Steak and wondering, if we're all dressed up, where can we go afterwards, that's not super fancy but we might not feel out of place dressing a little nice - it's a Saturday night if that matters? Also, where can with whatever money we have left after dinner at the Four Seasons?!

When I'm dressed up in Georgetown, I tend to head to Leopold's in Cady's Alley as a go-to. The summer outdoor seating means you get a good mix of casual and fancy, and no one ever judges you for looking overdressed.

This is sort of a random question, but the post on thin jeans made me wonder. I have a pair of nice jeans I bought from Nordstrom a few months ago that are a bit thinner jean and they ripped! Has anyone else had this problem with some of the thinner jeans? Does anyone know if Nordstrom actually really will take back a pari of jeans with a rip? I've had jeans for years that hold up...even a thin jean that tears seems defective to me.

Nordstrom will take them back. They're known for their customer service, and if you've only had them a few months they'll work with you to repair them or exchange them. And as a rule, if something rips too soon or falls apart, always take it back even if you've worn it. Many stores will accomodate those requests, as long as you don't make it a routine. But as a rule: make your life easier and save the receipts!

No comparison: Tucker Reilly, now working out of Last Tangle in DC at 1146 19th street. 202 215 1531.

Thanks for the rec!

Thanks to everyone who joined us today, and to Katherine Boyle for taking the shopping/fashion/stankfoot questions. 

A few things to keep an eye out for: We have a review of a few new rooftop bars coming in tomorrow's Weekend section, along with a gallery of our favorite rooftop hangouts. Our list of July 4th events and happenings is almost here already, too. (Where does the time go?)

We'll see you next Thursday.

In This Chat
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.
Recent Chats
  • Next: