Life in the Capital, Real World DC, Special Events, The District, Thrifty District

Planning a DC Wedding: Venues

Photo courtesy of Karon
Random Find
courtesy of Karon
The Social Chair returns to tell us all about finding a DC venue for a DC wedding.

After narrowing down the date for our wedding, Fedward and I began the long process of finding the perfect location. Alas, not enough of you voted for us to win a wedding, so our dream venue of the National Building Museum was quickly out of the running. What could be more DC than one of the locations of the Inaugural Balls?

There are a ton of resources for finding a venue in DC. Our best resource? Friends. DC is filled with event venues. Ask around. Many businesses rent their spaces for private events. We joined forces with another recently engaged couple and shared Google docs with places we’d scouted.
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Food and Drink

ROC Guide Highlights DC Restaurants

Photo courtesy of
‘Ben’s Chili Bowl’
courtesy of ‘Michael T. Ruhl’

When picking a restaurant for your next meal out, why not choose a place where workers haven’t coughed all over your dinner because they’ve been forced to work with the flu?

Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United) and their local branch ROC-DC just released their first annual Diners’ Guide: a Zagat-like booklet that scores national and local restaurants based on how they treat their workers. The guide includes the 150 highest revenue restaurants in America as well as some local spots already working toward better standards for their employees.

Some of the results aren’t exactly shocking (no, Hooters doesn’t lead the industry in fair treatment of their workers). Others may be more of a surprise: Capital Grille, for example, makes it onto a special list of shame for restaurants charged with discrimination and wage theft.

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Adventures, Crime & Punishment, Food and Drink

Thief! Silly Things People Steal From Restaurants

Photo courtesy of
‘Day 303/365 – French Twofer (Deux Pour?)’
courtesy of ‘Kevin H.’

A while ago I was sitting at the bar at Stardust (RIP, I miss that place!) and the bartenders were telling my friend and I all about the people who would steal the salt and pepper shakers right off the tables. Stardust was known for quirky condiment containers, like two pigs dancing, or cactus-shaped shakers. You get the idea. And ever since that conversation I’ve been interested in whatall people steal from restaurants.

So I asked around, and behold, dear reader, a list of the ridiculous things that people steal from restaurants around DC.

The scene: Cafe Saint-Ex
Items Stolen: The bust of the Roman God Mercury, an antique three foot tall ash tray, patio plants
Jasmin Quioco, the Director of Community Outreach at Cafe Saint-Ex, reminisces, “A few years ago I was setting up for brunch and saw a guy struggling to bring in a covered object into the restaurant. When I opened the door, he said, ‘I’m really sorry, my friends and I had a few too many drinks last night and this ended up in my apartment. We love Saint-Ex and wanted to bring it back.’ They had stolen the heavy bust of Mercury that sits next to table 4.”

The scene: Whitlow’s on Wilson
Item Stolen: Harry S. Truman
Manny Fliakas, General Manger of Whitlow’s, remembers, “Last year, I received a manila envelope with no return address and inside was a framed picture of Harry S. Truman. We had this picture on the wall by the main bar and it was stolen four years prior. The letter attached stated that the individual who stole it was cleaning out their house and preparing to move when they came across the picture. They apologized for their childish actions and assured me they had become a better person.”

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The Daily Feed, The Hill

Star and Shamrock Opens to Fulfill Both Your Irish Pub And Kosher Deli Needs

Photo courtesy of
‘monkey toes and shamrocks.’
courtesy of ‘paperâ��kaleidoscope’

Perhaps there has been a moment in these last few weeks when you’ve though, “Where in this fair town can I grab both a pint of Guinness at a nice pub as well as a bowl of Matzo Ball soup?” Sure, there are more than a fair share of Irish bars in most of the District neighborhoods; similarly, while maybe a little more challenging to find, there is good deli somewhere that will quench your thirst for some Jewish penicillin. Tackling both at the same time? Definitely a challenge.

The good news is that your quest will no longer take multiple visits, thanks to the The Star and The Shamrock Tavern and Deli, H. St’s newest addition. The menu reads like that of a New York deli – fresh sandwiches on rye bread, knishes, wursts and Chicken Liver – with the added joy of a full Irish beer list to meet your pub drinking needs. Like any good kosher deli, you can grab a Doc Brown’s Soda with your Reuben, or you could pick from any of 12 drafts and 22 bottled beers (including the wonderfully punny He’brew line).

Whether you haunt the pub circuit or just want a little taste of that New York deli tradition, it sounds like you can’t go wrong at Star and Shamrock.

(via Thrillist)

The Daily Feed

Maybe I Won’t Eat There

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘brownpau’

A few well-known restaurants in the DC area (I am not one to name names, but they are listed in the article) seem to be violating health codes according to an article released by the Examiner today. Although I am still not sure if I am utterly offended by the thought of ‘”slime”-covered water spigots” or not, I definitely may think twice before my next restaurant rendezvous.

I guess it is your prerogative, but diner beware.

All Politics is Local, Business and Money, Food and Drink, Night Life, The District

May We Have Separate Checks, Please?

Photo courtesy of
‘I take the fifth’
courtesy of ‘Lars Plougmann’

It has happened to everyone at some point or another. You’re sitting with a group of your friends at the end of the meal, and the waiter drops off the check. Some of you had drinks, you split an appetizer, and your one just-laid off friend only had dessert. This is going to be one heck of a check to try and divvy up. Finally, after some awkward shifty looks, someone brave picks it up, you dig around in your purse for a pen and the person of your left busts out the cell phone calculator. You pass the check around, and inevitably someone forgot to bring cash. You flip over the check, write dollar amounts next to your last names, and yet the bill doesn’t add up in the end. Someone gets shafted, someone else insists they paid what they owe when the obviously didn’t, and your friend that is the notoriously bad-tipper left 50 cents on a $25 bill. It’s just generally awkward all around and someone in the group winds up taking a big hit to the wallet. It’s an awful way to end a meal. Last week, after one terribly frustrating experience at dinner with a huffy waitress and paying in way more than what I owed, I finally had it. I decided that this issue of splitting checks in DC needed to be investigated, so I set about doing just that.

To begin, let me explain to you what I’m used to. In North Carolina, where I come from, individual checks are the norm. Generally you don’t even have to ask for them, but when you do ask for them, the waiter or waitress doesn’t blink an eye, and an itemized list appears with what you owe. Then you can tip on your total, and pay how you please – cash or credit. Unlike in DC, you don’t get a huffy waiter, and you definitley don’t have to scramble for pens or pound away on the cell phone calculator to divide the tax. Individual checks are just the way of the world down there – and maybe that’s not everywhere, but I’ve talked to so many people in DC that think it’s frustrating, annoying and unlike where they come from that I just HAD to investigate and write about it.

So I interviewed a bunch of people – customers, wait staff from some of the area’s most popular restaurants, managers and also the king of power dining in DC, Ashok Bajaj – and have finally come up with some answers. You may not like them, but at least next time you go out on the town with six of your closest friends, you’ll be armed with better information. Continue reading

Eat Like Me, Food and Drink, The Features

Eat Like Me: November’s Best Dishes

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’

You will not find a Washingtonian more grateful for the warm-ish weather that we’ve had this fall. I’m decidedly NOT a winter girl, and I’ve been known to curse coats and whine incessantly about the cold. While winter in DC is just something I must tolerate, sometimes I can assuage my pain with a really great bone-warming dish. I was lucky to run across a lot of those in November, and without really meaning to, my list of favorite dishes wound up being a list that could double-time as a ‘great winter dishes’ list as well.

So when you head out to spend your hard earned dollars on a meal, here are some dishes that are best bets for spending wisely. And to boot, they’ll even keep you warm. Continue reading

The Daily Feed

Not The Same Thing Over Againn

Againn Restaurant Located in Washington DC

Honestly, the British Gastropub trend sounds so unappealing, doesn’t it? I’ve heard it called “awful” and “tired” recently, and I gotta be honest: eating something called Mushy Peas, Black Pudding or Bubble and Squeak is not first on my list when I think of a delicious night out. It doesn’t speak to me the way “rack of lamb with cranberry coulis and yukon gold potatoes” speaks to me. That is, until I actually tried Againn.

Over on New York Avenue (sort of tucked away on 11th, really) – Againn is homey while still being trendy (the details are flawless), British without being flavorless, and a great happy hour spot to boot. And ya’ll, the Bubble and Squeak? More like a delicious savory potato latke with some veggies thrown in, than the weird swamp-creature vision I had in my head. Even better? Wesley Morton, Executive Chef of AGAINN, and partners Mark Weiss and Bahar Makinaci put a strong focus on serving sustainable seafood, organic meats and sourcing from select local farms for produce.

Standouts in my mind? I loved the cornish fish soup, served with thinly sliced bread serving as croutons to spread with a saffron mayonnaise and dip in your soup. The pork belly with brussel sprouts and cracklin’ was also a winner. But the real superstar? Toffee Pudding. The bar is also a great place to be, the genius who designed it should win an award or something for creating my ideal bar situation. A few feet from the bar proper, they’ve placed a few small little stands to set your drink on, with hooks all around the stand leg. Hang up your purse, your coat, and set your scotch down for a minute. Grade A in my book, I hate hanging on to my purse and coat while trying to unwind from my day.

Againn is located at 1099 New York Ave., NW, a few blocks from Metro Center’s 11th street exit.

Farm Fresh, Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Food

Farm Fresh: Bourbon Steak


Here’s another installment in the series where WeLoveDC authors Donna (greenie) and Katie (foodie) pair up to bring you a double-hitting feature about local area restaurants that take on the challenge of being green. Donna will explain the logic behind the environmentally friendly trends and Katie will tell you if the food tastes any good. It’s a rough life, but someone has to do it, right?

Katie: So you don’t always think of a steakhouse as environmentally-conscientious, right? Well, Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak goes above and beyond the green call of duty, and plants their own vegetables, and works all of them into the dishes at the restaurant. Donna and I were invited over to the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown to take a tour of the garden and sample some dishes that used the herbs and veggies grown there on the property.

Donna: Last spring, Bourbon Steak created a small garden on its property, in a peaceable little spot just across from the C&O Canal. I was happy we were invited to tour this terraced plot and sample the dishes it flavors. It supplies the restaurant with 62 varieties of herbs, vegetables and flowers — 400 plants in all, some of which came from Amish farms. Look around, and up front you’ll see some plants you recognize, such as thyme, chives, marigold and different kinds of basil. Farther back are the harder-to-find plants that produce curries and other unusual spices.

Katie: So with all these herbs and vegetables grown on the property, could you taste the difference in the food? We headed inside for dinner to find out. Continue reading

The Daily Feed

Is Petworth the Next U Street? Marvin Owners Think So…

Photo courtesy of
‘Metro art’
courtesy of ‘voteprime’

Get used to this metro station, folks, because we’re thinkin’ you’re going to be heading to it quite a lot in the future. The rumors that have been circulating for months about the potential of a new restaurant/bar owned by the folks who brought us Marvin and The Gibson at 14th and U have been confirmed by the Prince of Petworth, who’s basing his report on a confirmation he received from Chris Donatelli, the developer behind the project.

Although the details are not crystal clear on what type of establishment will be, it will be dedicated in some way to Billy Simpson, the owner of Billy Simpson’s House of Seafood that occupied the space before it switched hands. If Marvin and Gibson are any indication, it’s going to be swanky and there’s going to be great beer and a patio. Suh-weeet! Am I going to be hanging out in Petworth a bunch now? Maybe not immediately, but I wouldn’t have dreamed of hanging out on U Street 8 years ago either…sign of changing times for Petworth, perhaps?

Downtown, Entertainment, Food and Drink, Life in the Capital, Night Life, Penn Quarter, Special Events, The Daily Feed

Only The Best

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘Hoffmann’

Where and when are you going to be able to get Sweetgreen’s Sweet Flow, wine from Asia Nine, sushi from Kaz, a dish from The Source and Pete’s Apizza all in the same room? Duh, at Washingtonian’s Best Of Washington Party, of course!

Washington’s top restaurants (as voted by readers and editors of Washingtonian) and wine and beer purveyors will be serving up their best at the National Building Museum on July 15. See the list of participating restaurants and purveyors here. Editor- and reader-favorites including Central Michel Richard, Citronelle, Blacksalt, Hook, Charlie Parker Steak and the Oval Room will participate in the annual event which attracts more than 1,200 people and shares a portion of the profits with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Dessert lovers will find cool treats from Dolcezza Gelato, sweets from Georgetown Cupcake and Baked & Wired, and delicious offerings from other top-rated bakeries and creameries.

Tickets, $95 to $125, are available on

Business and Money

Thrifty District: Getcha Groupon!

For this, my first contribution to We Love DC, I want to talk about a company new to the DC area that is leveraging collective buying power to offer fantastic discounts at local retailers and service providers. “Groupon”, which launched its DC operation on May 26th, is a catchy play on the word “Coupon” (I know this seems plainly obvious, but I’m just playing it safe) and a division of Chicago-based parent company The Point, which harnesses the power of individual contribution to generate large scale impact in a social capacity. The Point’s company slogan is “Make Something Happen,” which is pretty kickass because after all, who doesn’t want to make shit happen?

Anyways, the idea behind Groupon came about from a basic problem that many of us busy urbanites suffer from: so much cool stuff to do, but almost too many choices, which means I keep returning to my “usual” spots, only to leave thinking, “man, I really gotta try some new places/things.” But I never did. That is, until I signed up to receive Groupon’s daily deal here in the District. Actually, the first thing I did was buy the hardworking lady friend in my life an hour long massage at Lunar Massage worth $75 for a mere $30 (brownie points on the cheap!). That’s a deal that can’t be beat! Oh wait, sure it can – perhaps by the 60% off Groupon for pilates classes at Mind-BodyFitness, the 71% off at Miracle’s in the City men’s salon, or the 57% off at Posh restaurant. Are you gettin’ what I’m puttin’ down here? Groupon = bigtime savings for patrons + bigtime exposure for businesses, which in turn = win/win for all! Continue reading

Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Food

We Love Food: Eatonville

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘Jenn Larsen’

So I’ll let you in on a little secret, new restaurants. Sometimes two of the blonde single lady authors of We Love DC hit the town together, and judge you. You can spot us, cause we ask a bunch of questions, giggle to ourselves, and take tons of pictures of our food and drinks. One of us is southern, the other northern. One twentysomething, one thirtysomething. We try and represent all demographics. We also try not to make a scene. Maybe one day we’ll get fabulous enough to don disguises Ruth Reichl-style, but for now, we aren’t particularly incognito. I’m pretty sure our server last week at Eatonville knew something was up, but he was a good sport, as we grilled him all about the menu, the best picks, and even the decor. He wound up asking us a bunch of questions back to our questions about the restaurant. Bending over our table, conspiritorially, he asked us “do you twitter?” (Yup.) “Will you tweet about this?” (Sure will.) “Even if you don’t like it?” (Uh huh.) Luckily for him, we liked it just fine.

Eatonville had come up with mixed reviews from my foodie crowd, but ever the southerner, I was excited. Jenn was ready to judge with me, and she’s always good to have around to bounce thoughts off of. We dived into the menu headfirst, ordering the two most popular appetizers, the Hushpuppy (singular, that’s right, find out why after the break) and the Fried Green Tomatoes. (I don’t think it’s in my genetics to say no to a fried green tomato!) Continue reading

Essential DC, Food and Drink, Life in the Capital, The Features

Restaurants For Any Stage of Your Relationship

Photo courtesy of
‘Hand in hand’
courtesy of ‘Pianoman75′
Dining out, especially in a city like DC, can be a daunting task. More so when you’re trying to impress someone, like maybe someone you’re trying to get your kiss on with. Or maybe you’ve nailed down the right person for you, and you’re just looking for some creative food to keep you on your toes. Or maybe you’re ready to pop the big marriage question but are unsure of where to do it.

Well, lucky for you, I’ve got a round-up of perfect restaurants for any point in your relationship. From first dates, to a late night married take-out place, I have you covered. Read on, romancer, and let me guide you. Continue reading

Essential DC, Food and Drink, People, Special Events, The Daily Feed

Congrats, RAMMY Winners!

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘ellievanhoutte’

The The Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington awards (RAMMY’s) were held last night, announcing the cream of the crop of DC restaurants. Here are the highlights:

Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year: Restaurant Eve

2009 Chef of the Year: Robert Wiedmaier of Marcel’s, Brasserie Beck and Brabo

New Restaurant of the Year: Cork

Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year: Rasika

Neighborhood Gathering Place: The Liberty Tavern

Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene: CoCo. Sala

Rising Culinary Star: Tony Chittum of Vermilion

Congratulations to all the RAMMY winners!

Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Ethnic Dining Guide

Hotdogs and Rice with Broccoli.

Tyler Cowen’s Ethnic Dining Guide for the DC area has been updated for 2009. He starts off with a plug for his book, Discover Your Inner Economist, offers some rules of thumb for choosing ethnic food restaurants in general, lists some “must-eat” places, then launches into a grand, culturally-alphabetized list of restaurants of every regional and stylistic variety, with addresses and capsule reviews. The guide is huge and tirelessly comprehensive, definitely worth a scan if you’re hankering for an exotic dine-out this weekend.

(Link via Kottke. Pictured above: a traditional Filipino meal.)

Downtown, The District, We Love Food

We Love Food: Little Fountain Cafe

little fountain cafe

I believe I’ve already shared with everyone that I’m a regular reader of the local dc foodie blog Metrocurean. Matt and I were looking for a good date spot to celebrate Christmas together before I head home for the holidays, so I turned to Metrocurean’s “date spot” recommendations. Metrocurean author Amanda suggested a bunch of places I’ve been before, but one I’d never even heard of, Little Fountain Cafe. It’s getting pretty hard to stump me when it comes to good eats in this city. Between writing for WLDC and spending lots of time researching this town, most of the time I’ve at least HEARD of a place if it’s worth anything. But this one was new. A little googling, and an online reservation later, Matt and I were booked, and I was super excited. Everything I had read about said we were in for a treat.

Little Fountain Cafe is located on 18th street, right in the bustle of Adam’s Morgan. In the english basement below Angles Bar, Little Fountain is a hidden gem.

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