View Full Version : Tourist Tips for DC!

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06-03-2011, 06:28 PM
I am going out of town tonight so I think I will miss brunch. If you post the place, I will call Marge if anything changes.

Cuban ballet was really good. I will let Marge review.

06-03-2011, 06:37 PM
I wish I hadn't scheduled Sunday brunch with overeager-new-date-guy, but I thought I would get it over with. :(

Marge, I work at 21st and M and don't know what your plans are but it's not far from your hotel. At the very least, you could drop by Monday morning and we could have coffee downstairs, depending on your plans.

And the number of joggers is dwarfed by the number of yogis. There's a studio next to my condo building and at all hours I see purposeful young women striding by with their mats on their shoulders. :yikes:

I hate yoga. :shuffle:

Debbie S
06-03-2011, 07:58 PM
I'm in for Sunday brunch!

06-03-2011, 08:37 PM
I'm in for Sunday brunch as well.

I can't believe anyone from NYC thinks DC is hot! Joggers? I saw women in business suits riding bicycles in traffic when I was in Manhattan last spring.:rofl:

06-03-2011, 10:03 PM
<snipped all sorts of wonderful stuff>
I ate lunch at Circa but did not see MK, although I had a very nice pizza.Marge et al.: No chance of any Kwan sightings, as she was in London the past week and won't be moving down from Boston until mid-June (per Hersh's article (http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/globetrotting/chi-ms-kwan-goes-to-washington-20110603,0,5633821.column)). I'm enjoying reading the tourist reports, though. Makes me wish I could visit DC again.

06-03-2011, 11:06 PM
OK: We're five for Sunday brunch: Marge, aliceann, Debbie_S, flyingsit, and I. Please call me (I'm PM'ing you all) if you need to cancel so I can adjust the reservation.

I've made an 11:30 AM reservation at Cafe Dupont, 1500 New Hampshire Ave. This is in the Dupont Circle Hotel, apparently right on the circle, at the NNE point. Take the Q Street exit from the Dupont Circle Metro station (red line). Menu is here (egg dishes are on second page):


I hope this will be OK. I'm fine with changing it if someone has a better idea; just let me know so I can cancel the reservation. Despite the hotel location, prices don't seem all that much higher than most of the other places I checked. I don't know about the alcohol, though--that looks pricey.

Other Dupont-area alternatives I considered were Lauriol Plaza (Mexican, huge and extremely popular, and I thought perhaps too noisy for good conversation), Bistro Bistro (couldn't find any info on Chowhound), and Teaism (not as many traditional brunch options and might not be the most suitable for sitting and chatting, though I've not been to the Dupont location).

The first two placies I tried didn't work out: Tabard Inn is booked up and Circle Bistro no longer does brunch.

06-04-2011, 12:03 AM
I'm fine with Hotel Dupont- I'll be be there. Thanks for arranging this!

I'll check the thread Sat in case there are any changes.

My first FSU meetup - whee!

06-04-2011, 03:59 AM
Whee, I will see you guys Sunday!

The Heurich house is incredible. If you live in DC and haven't seen it, do! It's gorgeous. You can't walk around on your own in there (if you go you will understand why) but get a tour. The curator who took my group around clearly adores his job. We were 7 people and everytime we entered another room we were all simultaneously gasping "Oh wow!" "Oh my!"
I got a late start today and I was planning to go to the Hillwood Estate. But I had a change of heart when my train stopped at the Zoo station. It was such a nice day, breezy and not too hot, it was perfect for the zoo, so I hopped off the train.
I happen to love zoos. I know that's odd. But I had a blast. I did not see the pandas, I think they were being shy today. The tiger was the most beuatiful animal I've ever seen. He was FIERCE and in a v. bad mood. He was stalking back and forth at the edge of his moat, glaring at all the tourists ogling him. I was actually a little nervous, because he seemed strong enough and powerful enough to jump across the moat and snack on some tasty humans.
Overheard while I was watching Mr. Tiger:
cute girl, around 6 yrs old: "Dad, is that a REAL tiger?"
girl's dad: "Yes honey, of course he is real"
girl: "I thought they made him on a computer"
I spent nearly an hour watching the 2 lionesses and their cubs. I think there are 7, but it was hard to tell because they kept scampering around. One of the staff people said the lion had been moved elsewhere temporarily because one of the lionesses was in heat, but they did not want her to become pregnant again so soon.
I love any kind of cat. It was so much fun to watch the cubs with their moms, acting the same way a housecat would. The cubs kept nuzzling up to their moms and they were all wrestling with each other. The lionesses have such pretty faces...
The lion was around the corner in another enclosure, but he was not doing much. Just lolling around like a typical male.
I did not have a fancy lunch, a day at the zoo demands junk food, I think. I had a wide variety of unhealthy things: french fries (but they are a vegetable) and a strawberry snowcone (I didn't know they still made those things! And it had strawberry syrup on, that's a fruit) and lemonade (more fruit).
I went to the Renwick aferwards but I thought it was kind of dull.
I didn't have much time to eat dinner, get back to my hotel, change into something decent and get over to the Kennedy Center. So I skipped going to a regular restaurant and tried Potbelly Sandwich. 2 thumbs up! We need this place in NYC.
I went to the ballet again. Wow wow wow! I will write more about this, I promise.
I am loving it here, and I am SO tempted to hit up the hospitals and see if they are hiring. I would love to live near Dupont Circle, but I'm sure I probably couldn't afford to rent a broom closet here.

BTW - what is a half-smoke? I can tell it is some sort of sausage, but why is it called that?

06-04-2011, 04:17 AM
I am going out of town tonight so I think I will miss brunch. If you post the place, I will call Marge if anything changes.

Cuban ballet was really good. I will let Marge review.

Let ME review?! You are certainly more qualified than I.
All I'm going to do is gush, I'm afraid. And rave about the handsome men and their assets. ;)
I will review after I see them (for the 3rd time!) on Sunday, so I can compare casts.
But for now: Latin PASSION, men with gorgeous feet, sky-high jumps from everyone, balances to die for!!!

06-04-2011, 04:38 PM
BTW - what is a half-smoke? I can tell it is some sort of sausage, but why is it called that?

I don't know how the name came about, but I'm nearly certain the half-smoke is native to DC. What's distinctive about it is that it is spicy. It's a fat sausage served on a roll. It's been ages since I've had one, but I think you can get them with chili or with sauteed onions and peppers.

Reminder for tomorrow's brunch attendees: Marge has a Kennedy Center ticket for 1:30 PM, so we need to be on time (11:30) for brunch.

Moto Guzzi
06-05-2011, 06:25 AM
BTW - what is a half-smoke? I can tell it is some sort of sausage, but why is it called that?

President Obama asked the same question: http://www.seriouseats.com/2009/01/whats-a-half-smoke-hot-dog-washington-dc-bens-chili-bowl-obama.html. It doesn't look very appetizing in the photo, but my friend Tom says the ones served at Ben's Chili Bowl are delicious. When we went there, he wolfed one down and promptly ordered another.

06-05-2011, 07:38 PM
I hope you all had a good brunch! And half-smokes are indeed DC natives, in the days when I had a halfway decent digestive system I loved them.

And Marge, nobody can afford Dupont Circle unless it's a group house or a studio, but there are plenty of other affordable neighborhoods on Metro. GW always seems to be hiring nurses, you should check it out.

I'm always recruiting New Yorkers to move here. I think we have as much to do with a much better and less expensive quality of life, as long as you don't try to drive anywhere. It took me forever to get to Rockville yesterday to buy a high-chair, but the store where my colleague is registered is only located there. :mad:

06-06-2011, 02:41 AM
First of all, I am having a BLAST here.
Second, thanks to everyone for the brunch meetup!

I had a very productive day yesterday. I started off at Beadazzled for the trunk show with the African beads. The guy from Ghana who was selling the beads seemed dazed by the dozen or so ladies who were swarming around him and asking for 3, 4, 5 strands of this or that bead. But he was cheerful and answered questions about what countries the beads were from (Mali, Ghana and Senegal) and what they were made from. I went a bit berserk and bought some great beads.
Then I hopped over to the zoo again, I was determined to see the pandas. I got lucky and saw them - so cute! - but didn't pay another visits to the big cats as I would have spend at least an hour ogling them.
I went to the Museum of the American Indian and ate lunch there. The Tres Leches cake is divine.
Then back to the Kennedy Center for a ballet lecture. It was mainly about ballet mime, the presenter showed lots of clips from the Royal danish ballet, who will be there this week. I hadn't intended to see them here (they will be in NYC next week and I already have tkts) However, they are doing "A Folk Tale" (or, as Rob put it, "The Troll Ballet") in DC but not NYC. It looked bizarre to me, but after the lecture I decided to get a ticket after all.
(Note to Kwanfan1818, if you are reading this: the presenter is a friend of yours, I introduced myself afterwards to tell her how much I enjoyed it and mentioned that we probably had a mutual friend! She said to say hello to you)
Then I ended up at the Spy Museum. I hadn't planned to visit but it started to rain as I was walking by, so I figured what the hell. I enjoyed it, surprisingly.
Then to Jaleo for dinner. The food was fantastic, but having 3 glasses of Sangria was a mistake. I was totally tipsy and walked around the Gallery Place station for 15 minutes trying to figure out where the red line was. ( It takes considerable talent to get lost in the DC Metro system!) Luckily I had sobered up by the time I got to Dupont Circle. Or maybe not, as I saw that hello Cupcake was still open, and purchased a "strawberry fields"

Today we had a lovely brunch (thanks, guys!) and I was off to see Don Quixote again. (more to follow about the ballet)
I'd promised my dad to get photos of the Korean War memorial (he's a veteran) so that was my next stop.
I had forgotten my map, and everyone I approached was a clueless tourist like myself, and could not point me towards the closest Metro station. It had gotten really hot by then, so I trudged rather than walked, all the way over to Zaytinya for dinner.
(yes, I know - as my dad pointed out when I spoke to him yesterday - it sounds as if I've done nothing here except go to the ballet and stuff my face)
I hadn't eaten since brunch and was a complete pig. Crispy potatoes with a delicious yogurt sauce, stuffed eggplant, cauliflower, a pile of hot pita bread, and a v. yummy dessert called Turkist delight. (walnut ice cream with candied fruit, vanilla sauce and a crispy wafer on the side.
I waddled out and over to the metro and now I'm back in my hotel.
If anyone wants to do dinner tomorrow or Tuesday, post here and I will check back tomorrow.
I am seriously thinking of staying over another night or 2. I'd planned to leave on Wed, but I don't have to be back home until Friday eve (I have a tkt for ABT)
DC rocks!

06-06-2011, 03:29 AM
Ok, National ballet of Cuba:
I have notes all over my programs, but if I start going into lots of details here, I will be here for an hour. Plus it will cost me a fortune since my hotel makes you PAY for the internet. The nerve!
Okay, 4 words:
Sexy men

I get the impression that "Don Quixote" is really a signature piece for this company. I have only seen one other company's, ABT's, and this version is radically different and far superior, IMO.
Don Quixote dances throughout this ballet, and is a character who is revered, not the subject of mockery as in ABT's.
I really have to admire everyone's stamina, it did not look as if they brought a large group of dancers on this tour. With the exception of Viengsay and several of the guys, everyone else danced 5 performances in 4 days. The corps doubled up all the parts- the villagers in act I were gypsies in act II.

Friday eve:
Viengsay Valdes (Kitri) Alejandro Virelles (Basilio) Jose Losad (Espada) Amaya Rodriguez (Mercedes) Maureen Gil (Amour) Osiel Gounod and Marize Fumero as the gypsy couple.
Valdes blew me away with her balances, her feet, and her speedy spins. she IS Kitri. All the men had gorgeous feet, beautiful extension, and super-high jumps with nice soft landings. They are all tall and had the most supple, flexible backs I have ever seen in a male dancer. And the principals can all partner like nobody's business.
Everyone looked like they were having a blast performing - no fake smiles on anyone! I did not see a single mistake from ANYONE.
Rob thought the toreadors were out of sync w/ each other but I was sitting in the first row (big mistake!) and couldn't really tell.
Virelles reminded me of Cory Stearns and was an adorable Basilio. Viengsay clearly wore the pants in this pairing!
Losada is tall and slim and the only guy I did not find drop-dead handsome. His dancing was v. nice - his feet put me in mind of David hallberg but he came out looking like he had acute stage fright. Espada needs to swagger, but he had no swagger. he needs to work on his facial expression, otherwise I thought he was a v. fine dancer.
Amaya Rodriguez is amazingly pretty and was a spitfire as Mercedes.

Yanela Pinera was Kitri and certainly gave Valdes a run for her money, she threw herself into it and was totally fierce. Her balances weren't as good, but compared to Valdes, I guess nobody's are. Losada made a much better Basilio than Espada, but he was still too poker-faced - Basilio needs a sense of humor. Kitri definitely had him wrapped around her finger. I am in LOVE with Alfredo Ibanez, who danced Espada. He is handsome and was really working that cape. He did not swagger much, but he didn't need to, he was haughty and KNEW he was the famous matador. Maya Rodriguez was a fabulous Mercedes on Thursday, but an even better Dryad queen on Friday. Her pique turns in act II were so fast she was practically a blur.
In the pdd in Act II, Jose popped Yanela up in a split leap before the fish dive (technical term??? I dunno) It was so high it resembled a hydrant lift in pairs skating.

Anette Delgado was Kitri and was a much gentler one than either Valdes or Pinera. She looks like Xiomara reye's younger sister- same smile and perky manner. Dani Hernandez was her Basilio, and they seemed a better matched couple than the other 2. In the others, Kitri was in charge, but these 2 were evenly matched in personality. Dani is a cutie. It really, really pains me to write this, but his spins are as good as Jose Carreno's. yes, it's true.

I liked the sets very much, a bit surreal - Rob thought they were "picasso-esque" but v. nice. My only quibble is the knee breeches the guys wore in act III. They were decorated w/lace down the sides and around the hem, and resembled ladies' undergarments from the 18th century.
I hope the men all defect en masse and get hired by ABT. Then Kevin can send all the short guys packing. Ha!
Viengsay got flowers on Thursday but none of the other Kitris did. Shouldn't they have? Doesn't the company cough up the flowers?
Alicia Alonso came out on the curtain call on Sunday and the audience went berserk. The woman sitting next to me had come prepared for this possibility and promply whipped out a Cuban flag and waved it around. I've never seen anyone wave a flag at the ballet, but it was kind of nice.
I sat through all 3 performances with an insane grin on my face the entire time.
In act III there is a pretty pas de quatre w/ 2 of Kitri's friends and, according to the program, "2 handsome boys". I found that amusing, because, with the exception of Losada, who looks rather nerdy, ALL the men in the company are handsome. (and have amazing assets. :P)
I am glad I saw 3 performances, but sad that I may have to wait years before I see this company again.

Debbie S
06-06-2011, 07:33 PM
Glad you enjoyed the ballet, Marge! It was great to meet you and aliceanne and see flyingsit and acraven again.

What the heck, stay in DC for a few more days! As long as you're home in time for the ballet on Friday. :)

Zaytinya is fab. My mom and I ate there for the first time during 03 Worlds and it has become a pre-SOI dinner for us. I believe Zaytinya and Jaleo have the same ownership.