Author Archives: Laura Boyd

Experience The Essence of Washington At The Hay-Adams

For a true taste of Washington plan your stay at one of DC’s most cherished landmarks, the acclaimed Hay-Adams Hotel.  Nestled in Lafayette Square, right across from the White House, the Hay Adams lays claim to an esteemed, central location as well as significant historic roots. hayadams

Built in 1927, the Italian Renaissance-style hotel received its namesake from previous residents John Hay (private secretary to President Lincoln) and Henry Adams (descendent of former presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams).

With a recent $20 million renovation by famed Washington designer, Thomas Pheasant, the Hay-Adams showcases classic luxury with intricately carved ceilings and lavish fireplaces.  In addition to numerous accolades, including the AAA “Four Diamond Award” for 24 consecutive years as well as Travel + Leisure’s “World’s Best 500 Hotels” (#1 for DC), the Hay-Adams has lodged choice travelers such as Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh.

Aside from a comfortable stay, the hotel offers award-winning dining facilities.  Enjoy a leisurely brunch at The Lafayette Room dubbed “One of the Nation’s Top Four Power Breakfast Spots” by the Wall Street Journal.

Insider Tip: Wander down to the hotel’s bar, Off The Record (named by as one of the “World’s Best Hotel Bars”) and order a cocktail from John Boswell, named best bartender for four years by the Washingtonian.  Hailed as “Washington’s place to be seen but not heard,” you’ll definitely rub shoulders with some Washington power players.

Grab A Cool Brew Or Two At ChurchKey

Beer lovers all over the District are relishing over ChurchKey, the newest addition to the trendy 14th Street lounge scene.  As the more casual, chic counterpart to its equally anticipated other half, Birch & Barley, ChurchKey boasts an out-of-this-world beer list, packed with a variety of unique brews.  The always packed, “it” beer bar boasts over 50 drafts, 500 bottles and 5 English-style cask ales – Washington’s largest selection by far.  For those looking to take advantage of the bold assortment, grab a seat at one of the comfy, oversized banquettes and try ordering a variety of 4-ounce servings.

Don’t sample on an empty stomach though – ChurchKey’s witty menu is almost as impressive at the booze list.  Executive Chef Kyle Bailey has concocted some quirky small plates that pair perfectly with Beer Director Greg Engert’s brews.  Bring your foodie friends with a sense of humor, and share an order of the Disco Fries with Cheddar and Sausage Gravy or the whimsical Green Eggs & Ham – deviled duck eggs served with duck pancetta and sage.

Visit for more information.

Insider Tip: ChurchKey will offer unique beer flights soon!  For those who can’t handle the hops but still want to savor the new menu, all ChurchKey flatbreads can be prepared gluten-free.

Visit a Harsh Reality at the Moving Holocaust Museum

Our nation’s capital houses more than just gorgeous architecture, prominent figures and a rich history – it serves as the home to some of the most profoundly significant memorials in the world.  For a true memoir to one of history’s greatest tragedies, take an emotional journey through the moving Holocaust Memorial Museum for an in-depth look at the inconceivable reality of genocide.

With a permanent collection housing three floors, the museum details the horrors that took place in Nazi Europe during the years of 1933-1945, with over 900 artifacts and four theaters detailing events too difficult to comprehend.

The exhibit begins with the story of Hitler’s rise to power through the use of propaganda and state-sponsored racism, entitled, Nazi Assault.  Move between floors for the Final Solution and Last Chapter portions of the exhibit for an all-encompassing look at one of the most violent, inhumane and horrific acts of hate to ever consume a global community.  With artifacts such as actual railcars that shuttled Jews to concentration camps, the Holocaust Museum seeks to realistically remind visitors of a time and place where hate superseded freedom, and to help us prevent future genocide for generations to come.

Insider Tip: Although the museum provides an in-depth look at an important historical event, please note that the museum does not recommend exposing children under the age of 11 to the graphic nature of the museum.

La Chaumiere: Relaxed, French Country Dining in the Heart of Georgetown


Take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life, and enjoy a warm, rich meal at Georgetown’s, La Chaumiere, a hallmark of unpretentious French cuisine with a country inn atmosphere.  Cozy up at a table near the central stone fireplace and make yourself at home within the rustic, stucco-covered walls of this authentic French gem.  With a knack for seasonal ingredients, consistently delicious French specialties and an inviting atmosphere, La Chaumiere is the perfect spot for a romantic evening out. 

Start off with a delectable pate or refreshing salad niçoise for a truly French beginning, then opt for an order of the authentic Moules Mariniere, or mussels steamed in white wine.  La Chaumiere also offers a variety of house specialties, including the Quenelles de Brochet (Pike dumpling in lobster sauce), or traditional cassoulets prepared with rabbit and lamb. On Tuesdays only, the chef prepares the rich Crabe en Chemise – French crepes filled with Jumbo Lump Crab, mushrooms and a champagne cream sauce. Whatever dish you choose, La Chaumiere will certainly transport you to France with one simple bite. 

Insider Tip:  It’s no secret that the French know how to please a sweet tooth. Don’t request your bill until you’ve ordered the chef’s special soufflé for dessert.  Offered in both Grand Marnier and Chocolate flavors, this light and fluffy treat will definitely end your fabulously French evening on the right note!

The Phillips Collection: Have Cocktails with Renoir


For a more cultured look at the city, take a trip to popular Dupont Circle to America’s first museum of modern art, the Phillips Collection. Opened in 1921 and housed in the former home of the collection’s founder, Duncan Phillips, the Phillips Collection combines the charm of an intimate, private art institution with awe-inspiring works found typically at larger, government-run galleries (think stumbling upon Renoir’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party” while having tea with a friend). 

With priceless modern and impressionist works from both American and European artists, the Phillips Collection houses an impressive permanent collection with several works from Mark Rothko, Georgia O’Keefe, Renoir and van Gogh. The museum also includes works from contemporary, living artists to add to its diverse exhibits. Despite its size, the Phillips Collection seems to always be rotating new special exhibits to accentuate their impressive permanent collection.

Insider Tip: Visit the gallery on the first Thursday of every month for their entertaining, “Phillips After 5” event from 5:00 PM – 8:30 PM. With live jazz, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, as well as gallery lectures and films, this artisanal party attracts young, cultured patrons from around the city looking to enjoy the gallery in a more social atmosphere!

*Note: The Phillips Collection is closed on Mondays and holidays.

The St. Regis, DC: Royal Accommodations in the Heart of the District


Formerly the well-known Carlton Hotel, the St. Regis remains one of the finest hotels in Washington, hosting every President since President Coolidge, as well as royalty, prime ministers and iconic celebrities. A favorite haunt of Ronald Regan, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn, the hotel exudes the same level of glamour and refinement as its dignified guests.

With opulent, yet classically elegant accommodations, exceptional butler service and some of the finest dining in the District, the St. Regis raises the bar in terms of luxury stays. Book a suite and take advantage of the hotel’s amazing location, nestled right in the heart of downtown along K Street. Only two blocks from the White House, the hotel’s convenient address is perfect for sightseeing as well as great views of the city’s landmarks.

Insider Tip: Although known for its over-the-top amenities (and appropriately, rates), the St. Regis does offer great Exclusive Offers online. Visit their website for family tour packages and specials to add to your perfect stay (a complimentary night’s stay should definitely allow for a relaxed visit!).

Rock Out Live at the 9:30 Club

Looking for some of the best live music in the District? Head to the 9:30 Club, DC’s premiere live music venue featuring a variety of acts throughout the year.  With a bit of a divey vibe, and appropriately situated near trendy U Street, the 9:30 Club brings a punk edge to traditionally conservative DC.

Featuring all genres, from Lady Gaga and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones to electronica DJ’s and Bloc Party, 9:30 is sure to please. Buy tickets in advance and stake a spot in this standing room only venue (all areas of the club provide great views of the stage, so don’t worry if you’re running a little late!). With four bars and a pretty extensive menu, there’s no reason not to make an evening out of a trip to this rock hub.

Insider Tip: To purchase tickets in advance, visit or call 1.877.4.FLY.TIX.ATL930_1

Puck Packs Modern Asian Punch at The Source

Add a little Asian influence to your evening with a trip to celebrity chef, Wolfgang Puck’s exclusive Asian eatery, The Source, situated right along politically-infused Pennsylvania Avenue.  As the Newseum’s signature restaurant, The Source combines the museum’s sleek, modern design with flawless fusion cuisine to create a dining experience worthy of a top spot on The Washingtonian’s “Top 100 Restaurants” list.

With three contemporary levels donning floor to ceiling windows, source3diners overlook America’s most famous address while ogling a selection of over 300 wine labels and two distinct mouth-watering menus.  Opt for a relaxed meal out and grab a seat at The Source’s ground level lounge, complete with a Izakaya-inspired menu full of sushi, sashimi, noodle and traditional Japanese “Robata” grilled options.  Try the Bacon Wrapped Sea Scallops with seaweed butter and braised bamboo or the signature Kobe Sliders with cheddar and smoked onion marmalade.

For a true Wolfgang Puck dining experience, head to the upstairs dining room – connected to the lounge by an impressive (think 2,000 bottles) two-story, temperature-controlled glass wine wall.  Try the Pork Belly Dumplings with Chinese black vinegar dipping sauce or the Szechuan Filet “Au Poivre” with wild mushrooms and finished with a caramelized shallot sauce.  One trip to The Source, and you’ll be vying for a little more Asian minimalism.

Drive and Stay (In Style) at The Madison Hotel

For your next trip to the nation’s capital, plan a simple yet elegant stay at The Madison Hotel known for its exceptional service and welcoming accommodations.  With over 350 cozy rooms, as well as 15 luxury suites, madisonhotelThe Madison is a great option for those looking to enjoy DC in comfort.

Take a load off and relax in the hotel’s 24 hour sauna and steam room after a stress releasing workout in the hotel’s fitness facility.  Finish off with a trip to the spa for a massage treatment to relax even the most stressed traveler.

Dine in or out at the Madison, with 24 hour in-room dining services and the modern, reputable Palette Restaurant & Bar, the hotel accommodates all tastes whether you’re up for a cozy night in or an elegant evening out.

Insider Tip: Take advantage of The Madison’s Drive and Stay Package – a year-round special that provides complimentary hotel parking (a $35+ value) to those road-trippers looking to sleep in style.

Fresh Entertainment at Historical DAR Constitution Hall

Only in town for a bit?  Get a double dose of Picture 32history and quality entertainment at DAR Constitution Hall – DC’s largest concert hall.  Host to a variety of events throughout the year, including concerts, operas, high-profile lecturers and comedians, Constitution Hall is no stuffy federal building.  As a Registered National Historical Landmark and owned by the elite Daughter’s of the American Revolution organization, this gorgeous venue has hosted every US President since Calvin Coolidge with performers from across the map – from Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles and Duke Ellington to Billy Joel, U2, Aerosmith and Jimmy Buffet.  Needless to say, for such a prestigious structure, the entertainment factor is definitely not lacking.

Insider’s Tip: Purchase all DAR tickets through, as the DAR does not handle ticket sales.

Porterhouse Fit for a Prez at Bobby Van’s Steakhouse

With its start as a reputable New York institution, it’s no wonder that Bobby Van’s had to spread the love.  This long-loved classic steakhouse has made its mark on the high-end American dining circuit, serving some serious power diners throughout the years, and now with two locations in DC, there’s no reason to miss out on this cbobbyvanselebrity favorite.  Let’s just say the steaks are so good, President Obama even celebrated his first day in office with a meal at this exclusive downtown favorite.

Outfitted in rich wood paneling with appropriately masculine accents, Bobby Van’s simple design and crisp white tablecloths allow the food to steal the spotlight.  Start off with a refreshing Raw Bar Selection or a decadent taste or two of the traditional Escargot, prepared with butter, lemon, pernod, garlic and fresh herbs .

Select from a variety of hearty cuts of prime beef, from which Bobby Van’s gets its claim to fame.  Pair your luscious cut with a few family-style sides like the Creamed Spinach, Cottage Fries or Prosciutto Mac & Cheese. For those looking for a beef alternative, indulge in the Colorado Lamb Chops or the Sesame Crusted Tuna with wasabi mashed potatoes, pickled ginger and Miso vinaigrette.  Whatever you choose, be prepared to spend –after all, there’s a reason why the President himself decided to celebrate with a Bobby Van’s meal.

Spirited Performances at The Studio Theatre

Pull that curtain open and opt for an evening you won’t soon forget with an intimate performance at Logan Circle’s eclectic Studio Theatre.  Founded in 1978 with a passionate mission of bringing innovative theatre to the performing arts community, The Studio Theatre boasts quality performances with a provocative, spunky edge Picture 30that’s unique to Washington.

With both American and European works performed in four intimate theatres, The Studio Theatre prides itself on setting the stage for an intimate interaction between actor and audience. From Mamet’s American Buffalo to Nobel winning playwright Harold Pinter’s Moonlight to portraying Joan Crawford in drag in The Passion of the Crawford, grab tickets to one of the Theatre’s one-of-a-kind performances and settle in to an eclectic evening full of incredible plays from some of the best playwrights in the world.

Insider’s Tip: Depending on the night, tickets range from about $35-$65.  For risky patrons looking to save a few travel dollars, take advantage of the Rush Tickets, available for certain performances for just $30, 30 minutes before the show (select performances listed on the website).  The Theatre also offers Pay What You Can deals for specific performances, 2 hours before the show (2 ticket limit).

Zen-Like Accommodations at the Mandarin Oriental

Looking for a little relaxation in the District?  Look in to a stay at the luxurious Mandarin Oriental, nestled off the beaten path in Southwest DC, overlooking the Tidal Basin with breathtaking views of the Jefferson and Washington Monuments.Picture 87

Known around the world for its Five Star accommodations, the Mandarin’s DC counterpart is no exception.  The hotel includes an ultra chic spa, yoga and fitness center, as well as an award-winning restaurant, CityZen, known for its exceptional Asian-inspired cuisine.

Exuding an apparent Zen-like quality and subtle Asian simplicity, the Mandarin is sure to please even the most discerning traveler.  Book one of the Premier Water View rooms, located on the corners of the hotel, overlooking the Washington Marina for a truly upgraded Washington stay.

Travel to The City of Lights at Cafe Bonaparte

For those unable to make it abroad, but looking for a delectable European dining experience, travel no further than Georgetown’s quaint, Café Bonaparte.  Take a trip to The City of Lights at this small French bistro packed with big flavor and an authentic Parisian atmosphere.bonaparte

Breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, Café Bonaparte is equally delicious with a wide variety of traditional French favorites mixed with a few creative twists on classics.  Try a sinful savory or sweet crepe, or opt for a creative omelet to satisfy your morning cravings.

For an evening out, start off with the crispy Crepe Chips topped with apples and brie before losing yourself in rich, French specialties: Beef Bourguignon, Steak Frites and Duck Confit with Orange Demi Glace. With limited seating in a cozy, upscale bistro atmosphere, Bonaparte is the perfect spot for an intimate, yet relaxed meal – and a tiny piece of Paris hidden in our very own Capital.

Insider Tip: In true Parisian style, Café Bonaparte offers equally alluring cocktails.  Take advantage of the Café’s half price cocktails every Monday.  The Café Couture (Grey Goose pear, cardamom, fresh lemon juice and honey) is an exotic concoction that will have you speaking the romance language by the end of the evening.

Basement Bash at Cafe Saint-Ex’s Gate 54

Red DrinksHipsters and serious dance aficionados beware – there’s a new party in town.  Hidden along trendy 14th Street in the heart of the U Street Corridor, lies Café Saint-Ex, a European aviation-inspired restaurant/bar with a few secrets to share.  Named for the French aviator and author of A Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Café Saint-Ex is more than just an eclectic neighborhood eatery.  Travel below to the depths of the establishment to Gate 54 for a music-infused mecca – packed to the brim Thursday through Saturday and pulsing with DJ-generated beats sure to get those hips moving.

Visit the best basement party since college, but opt for a more sophisticated vibe this time. Travel below to the depths of the establishment to Gate 54, the restaurant’s eclectic basement lounge, for a music-infused mecca – packed to the brim Thursday through Saturday and pulsing with DJ-generated beats sure to get those hips moving. Café Saint-Ex boasts noteworthy Brazilian Nights every third Thursday of the month.  Sponsored by Peroni and complete with authentic Caipirinha specials, Saint-Ex will transport you to Rio within the walls of the restaurant’s eclectic basement lounge, Gate 54. So grab a few drinks and see where the night leads after some Euro-infused revelry.

“SEI” Hello to a First Lady Favorite

For a chic evening out, head to SEI – the Japanese-inspired hotspot known for its creative cocktails, unexpected sushi rolls and delicious Asian-fusion cuisine.  With fresh whitewashed walls and ultra modern artistic touches, SEI sets the mood for the perfect city-chic dining experience.

As one of Michelle Obama’s favorite spots (sosei much so that she had SEI cater a White House gathering), it’s safe to say that SEI’s inventive cuisine is sure to please even the most prestigious politico’s palate.  Pair a tangy Japanese Whisky Sour (egg white, fresh lemon, 5 spice-infused syrup) with a humor-infused roll or two – sushi favorites include the Fish & Chips roll (flounder, malt vinegar, French fries, wasabi tartar sauce) or the Let Us Roll (romaine, carrots, Caesar dressing).  For those looking for a more substantial dish, try the Mini Kobe Sliders with tomato jam and tempura onion rings.  For a sweet finish, dig into some Miso Orange Bread Pudding with soy ice cream.

Sip Like A Socialite At L2 Lounge

Picture 7Looking for a sophisticated night out?  Head to Cady’s Alley in Georgetown where L2 Lounge, hidden discreetly in the Alley’s central courtyard, mixes an international flair with premier club status.

Catering to DC’s young elite, L2 is known for its exclusive and trendy vibe – perfect for those looking to have fun in style.  Dress to impress and make your way to this hidden gem for a hot night out.  With beautifully exposed walls, and an eye for modern minimalism, the chic décor competes with that of club’s around the world and creates a perfect backdrop to let attractive guests decorate the space.  So sip a chic cocktail or two and turn your nose up a bit –  with an international lounge like this, you may wonder if you’re even in DC.

Old World Charm at The Latham Hotel

For a comfortable stay in the District, settle into a roomPicture 5 in the The Latham Hotel, nestled conveniently on M Street right in the heart of Georgetown.  With European-like accommodations and a hidden, yet elegant exterior, this boutique hotel is the perfect pick for those looking for a charming stay in the midst of a bustling metropolis.

The Latham’s quaint interior reflects simple refinement, typical of historic Georgetown.  Take advantage of the hotel’s fitness center or window shop along famous M Street before basking alongside the hotel’s exclusive rooftop pool.  Need a little more VIP service?  Order room service from famed chef Michel Richard’s award-winning Citronelle, located adjacent to the hotel (or make a reservation for an unforgettable dinner for two!).  The Latham also boasts green initiatives and pet-friendly accommodations (for a small fee and deposit).

Prix Fixe Perfection at Marcel’s

When it comes to elegant dining, look no further than well-known chef/owner Robert Wiedmaier’s Marcel’s in popular Foggy Bottom.  With classic French training and a Belgian heritage, Wiedmaier serves decadent dishes with an authentically European flair – a refreshing nod to traditional cuisine that is hard to come by in a sea of contemporary dining establishments.

Although Chef Wiedmaier’s return to traditional French Picture 23favorites is perfect for those looking for a rich sauce to accompany a decadent cut of meat, Marcel’s does keep it fresh with modern dishes for those looking for a lighter take on the evening.  From juicy lamb medallions wrapped in phyllo with spinach and duxelles, to Hamachi crudo with pink grapefruit and cilantro puree, Marcel’s is sure to please even the most discerning palate.  The tempting prix fixe dinner menu is organized in a choice of three, four, five or seven courses (one look at the menu and you will most likely opt for seven!).  Whichever you choose, with just one bite, you’ll understand why this award-winning French gem earned The Washingtonian’s “100 Best Restaurant’s of 2010” honor.

Insider Tip: Along with its several prix fixe course selections, Marcel’s also offers a Pre-Theatre three course selection before 7 PM for just over $50.  Valet park your car at the restaurant and a sharp Mercedes will chauffeur you to the Kennedy Center for an elegant evening out.

Legendary Domingo Leads the Washington National Opera

Picture 7Absorb all Washington has to offer with an elegant evening at the Washington National Opera (WNO).  Founded in 1956 and recently bestowed with the distinction of “The National Opera” by Congress, WNO brings updated classics to the Kennedy Center’s Opera House stage.  Led by none other than operatic legend, Placido Domingo himself, WNO brings exceptional performances with standards envied by some of the top houses in the world.

Grab a ticket or two and make it a formal evening out at the infamously standing-room-only Kennedy Center Opera House for a truly unique Washington experience.  The world class company performs classic and contemporary pieces with an emphasis on Mozart, Beethoven, Verdi and Puccini.  Popular past performances include: The Marriage of Figaro (Mozart), Madama Butterfly (Puccini) and Rigoletto (Verdi).

Insider Tip: Although many patrons associate the opera with black tie attire, WNO audiences tend to lean towards business attire, with semi-formal and formal patrons intermixed throughout, so dress to impress as you like!

Get Wild at Ultrabar

For club-goers looking for a wild night out, head to Ultrabar, one of the city’s best multi-level nightclubs.  With themed events on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, Ultrabar is known for its modern vibe, throbbing beats and neon beams.  ultrabarTake advantage of the club’s drink specials and loosen up – a night at Ultrabar will certainly be a wild (and late) one.  Rock out to hip hop, mashups and electropop from well-known DJs – each stationed on separate levels.  Start in the Main Room with Top40 hits and move on up to The Bedroom level for a few Latin beats to heat things up.  Take your night to the next level on the top Chroma floor with some hip hop for a night you won’t forget.

As the District’s self-proclaimed “elite” nightclub, Ultrabar welcomes those looking for a little extra attention with VIP table service.  Voted “Best Bet for Dance Floor Action” by the Washington Post, serious partiers will not be disappointed by this multi-tiered music mecca.

Insider Tip: Dress to the nines and get a little extra VIP service by visiting the website before you hit the line.  Grab a FREE PASS on the site and flash it at the door for free admission before 11 PM (or reduced, thereafter) and skip that dreaded line!

Sleep in the Lap of Luxury at the W Hotel DC

Plan your next DC stay with a bit of flair in mind. Book a room at the luxuriously chic W Hotel, one of the newest hotspots on the DC hotel (and nightlife) scene. Overlooking the statuesque White House, the W is a favorite amongst trendsetters, politicos and celebrities looking for a fresh scene – to stay or be seen. As the former Hotel Washington, the new home of the W brings with it a rich history, having hosted guests like Elvis and Duke Ellington.

With a modern, yet sophisticated flair, the W incorporates cutting edge décor with an ideal location to make this overnight hotspot the perfect place for those looking to experience the w.hotel2District in style. Marked by its cool elegance and almost South-Beach-meets-Washington vibe, the W brings a bit of whimsy into the Washington mix with room classes marked with cheeky labels like the Wonderful, Spectacular and Fabulous rooms, and the WOW and Extreme WOW suites.

Besides the award-winning Bliss Spa and state-of-the-art fitness facilities, the W brings more than just ritzy digs. Travel no further than the lobby or rooftop terrace for some of the best dining and nightlife in the city. Grab a pre-dinner cocktail in the chic lobby bar, The Living Room, before indulging in an exceptional meal at Jean-Georges’ elegant J&G Steakhouse.Then start your evening out in style at POV, the ultra lounge located on the top floor of the hotel.

Insider Tip: In the warmer months, make your way to POV’s rooftop terrace. Guests of the hotel have guaranteed access to some of the hardest tables to nab at one of the hottest spots in the city – the view alone will make the room rate worth it.

Dance Party Downtown at K Street Lounge

Late night partiers and Washingtonians looking to dance revel at one of downtown’s most notorious nightclubs, K Street Lounge.  Regarded by Market Watch Magazinkstreet4e as one of the top lounges in DC, K Street’s ultra mod interior with sky-high ceilings and futuristic furnishings is definitely a stray from the typical DC nightspot.

Featuring guest DJ’s from around the world, K Street is known for its exclusive events with guest celebrities and serious beats (think House and Top 40).  Sign up for the guest list online and dress to the nines for a dance party like no other.

Insider Tip: Although K Street Lounge usually has a hefty cover for males or those not on the guest list, ladies on the list usually receive Open Bar from 10-11 PM on Saturday nights.  Go online and take advantage of a few drinks on the house!

Prime Dining at BLT Steak

blt steakPower diners and wanna-be politicos are in for a treat with Chef Laurent Tourondel’s Washingtonian edition of his well-known BLT Steak – the self-proclaimed “Modern American Steakhouse” with locations in culinary hotspots such as New York, LA, Miami and Hong Kong.

Located near the District’s most celebrated residence, BLT Steak exudes Washingtonian sophistication at its finest with its nod to a traditional French bistro combined with an updated, urban American finesse.  With rich hardwood accents, an intimate glow, and an all-around sleek appeal, BLT Steak is the restaurant of choice for Washington’s movers and shakers.

Like most conventional steakhouses, BLT offers a variety of prime steaks (USDA Prime, Certified Black Angus, American and Japanese Kobe Beef), paired with decadent condiments and sauces, as well as rich, tempting side dishes, served in Staub cast iron cocottes, that are intended to share.  The chef’s warm, fluffy popovers are an inviting start to a filling meal at one of the best spots in town.  BLT is also known for a great raw bar, as well as other main courses including lamb, chicken and fresh fish options.

Rest Like A President at the Willard Intercontinental

For traditionalists looking for true Washingtonian elegance, reserve a stunning room at the celebrated Willard Intercontinental Hotel.  Known as the “Crown Jewel of Pennsylvania Avenue,” it’s no wonder this hotel has nabbed such a compliment. With its distinctive grandeur and record of hosting nearly every U.S. President since Franklin Pierce in 1853, the Willard is much more than just another historic hotel.

The stunning landmark hotel exudes traditional American charm with its warm, Picture 7inviting guest rooms, and a hint of European opulence with its ornate dining facilities.  For those looking for a home away from home, indulge in one of the Willard’s stylish suites, each echoing the comforts of a true private residence (along with two bathrooms, luxurious sitting rooms, and gorgeous custom upholstery).  Grab the 3,000 square foot Thomas Jefferson suite for a no holds barred stay at one of the finest hotels in Washington.

Aside from around-the-clock laundry, valet and room services, the Willard Intercontinental boasts incredible eco-chic hospitality as the only hotel in DC completely supported by wind power.  Aside from eco-friendly power travelers, Conde Nast Traveler took notice by awarding the Willard a 2008 World Savers Award (the Willard is the only Urban Historic hotel yet to receive this distinction).

With an ideal downtown location, a seriously VIP guest book and a touch of Washingtonian charm, this Intercontinental is more than just a pretty façade.

Cutting Edge Fashion at Cusp

cuspAs Yves Saint Laurent once reflected, “fashion fades; style is eternal.”  At the chic Georgetown boutique, Cusp, both fashion and style are ever present with a perfect selection from edgy, yet sophisticated designers such as Elizabeth and James, Alice & Olivia, Diane von Furstenberg and Marc Jacobs.  Created as a younger, edgier boutique by infamous fashion giant, Neiman Marcus, style mavens can rest assured that Cusp will definitely have what’s in vogue.

Fashionistas will drool over flirty Milly dresses, sky-high Loeffler Randall stilettos, and a variety of the best accessories and beauty products available. Treat yourself to a day of shopping in quaint Georgetown and heat things up later with a hot new addition to your travel wardrobe – one trip to this trendy shop and you’ll be on the cusp on what’s hot in no time!

Updated Classics at The Shakespeare Theatre

Picture 8Theatre lovers are in for a treat with the imaginative Shakespeare Theatre Company – DC’s national destination theatre that brings award-winning Shakespearean and other classic plays to the stages of downtown Washington’s Harman Center for the Arts, as well as several other performance centers across the country.

Founded in 1985, The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s mission to creatively preserve traditional theatre is reflected in the modern reinterpretations of stage masterpieces such as William Shakespeare’s Richard II, As You Like It and Henry V.

The Company also showcases a unique annual presentation, Will On The Hill, in which distinguished Washingtonians, such as Senators and Members of Congress star in Shakespearean performances, bringing a true Washingtonian cast to the stage.

Insider Tip: Plan ahead and book one of the Shakespeare Theatre/Harman Center for the Arts hotel packages.  Found on the website, visitors can choose from a variety of the Harman Center’s partner hotel options and purchase a room and theatre tickets with one simple phone call.  Grab a great deal and cross off two things at once from that travel checklist!

Eats and Early Seats at DC Improv

Need a little comic relief?  Head to the District’s premier comedy venue, DC Improv, host to a variety of nationally touring jokesters, local celebrity headliners, and a full restaurant and bar.  As the perfect alternative to the typical night out on the town, DC Improv offers Happy Hour Trivia Nights, free of charge, as well as nightly comedy acts, Tuesday through Sunday.

Seats to early shows (around 8:00pm) Picture 31are offered on a first come, first serve basis so be sure to grab a ticket online beforehand and arrive early when the doors open, usually 90 minutes prior to the show.  Don’t worry about killing time before the cracks begin – the theater’s restaurant offers a variety of bar bites perfect for a casual night out. After all, all shows require a two item minimum per person, anyway.

For night owls looking to laugh, grab a seat at one of the later weekend shows.  Doors open at 10:00 PM for 10:30 PM performances on Fridays and Saturdays, with assigned seating based on reservation number meaning the earlier you book, the better the seat.

Insider Tip: Take advantage of DC Improv’s recession-proof, “Pay What You Can” night – a monthly series that caters to those looking to save a buck on a fun night out.  Tickets are the standard $17.00; however, guests are encouraged to pay whatever they can afford for some quality entertainment.  “Pay What You Can” tickets are only available the night of the show, on a first come, first serve basis.

Modern Italian at Bibiana

In the mood for a little Italian?  Skip the checkerboard tablecloths and drip candles, and say “ciao” to Bibiana Osteria & Enoteca, a very chic alternative to the typical Italian eatery.  Outfitted in luxe chocolate browns and interesting metallic lighting, Bibiana’s chic interior exudes sophistication, reaching out to power diners and well-traveled patrons alike. Picture 11

A product of well-known restauranteur Ashok Bajaj, Bibiana is led by executive chef Nicholas Stefanelli, who brings a light, updated Italian menu full of traditional classics like decadent pastas and crisp pizzas, as well as unique main courses that modernize the Southern European cuisine.

Start off with the gorgeous Datteri, or Mejool dates stuffed with ricotta salata, salty pancetta and sprinkled with slivered almonds.  For a decadent entrée, try the Anatra, or roasted Muscovy duck breast with creamy celery root puree, dried cherries and rich red wine sauce.  For the adventurous diner, Stefanelli offers veal sweetbreads with rutabaga, and candied oranges, dusted with fennel pollen.

Insider Tip: For a more low-key evening, grab a seat in Bibiana’s mod lounge area and sample the small plate menu, available from 2:30-5:30 PM on most weekdays.

Hotel Monaco Modernizes a DC Landmark

Picture 31In a city known for its historic significance, how refreshing to find a boutique hotel that combines both old world charm with contemporary luxury, all in the bustling hub of Penn Quarter.  The Hotel Monaco, a AAA Four Diamond Kimpton Hotel, is housed in the original Post Office Building, marked by its grand marble exterior and central location in the heart of downtown.  Designed in 1839 by Robert Mills (known for his design of a little something called the Washington Monument), the building was remodeled into what is now The Hotel Monaco, complete with vibrantly chic décor and the well-known Poste-Modern Brasserie.

Settle into your home away from home, complete with 24 hour room service, in-room spa services, pet-friendly accommodations, and fitness center. The central location makes it just steps away from downtown’s Verizon Center, Washington Convention Center and central metro stations.  The Hotel Monaco also lays claim to an admirable “green” policy that is showcased throughout the hotel’s operations and eco-friendly programs.

Insider Tip: For a taste of Washington, take advantage of Hotel Monaco’s complimentary wine receptions.  Mingle with politicians and polished professionals as you sip a little vino at your chic new digs.

Pan Asian Perfection at Zentan

Housed in the chic Donovan House hotel, one would expect nothing less than equivocally sophisticated cuisine from its in-house restaurant, Zentan. With global Asian cuisine designed by famed chef, Susar Lee, Zentan brings a polished touch to delectable Asian staples: light crudos, inventive sushi rolls, authentic noodles and even hearty entrees.

With an elegant, yet modern minimalism, Zentan exudes Eastern sophistication, washed in deep chocolate hues and set aglow by contemporary platform chandeliers covered in twinkling, Picture 30oversized pillar candles. Loosen up with a punchy Spicy Thai Martini, spiked with thai chili-infused vodka, nigori unfiltered sake and St. Germain, and finished with a splash of cran for an Asian-fusion-inspired libation.

Tease your palate with a starter of Zentan’s signature Singapore Slaw – a crunchy concoction of over 19 (yes, way too many to list!) ingredients, including a to-die-for salted plum dressing. Don’t pass up the Crudo Platter – a sampling of fresh yellowtail, salmon, charred scallop, and big eye tuna, each presented with unique flavor profiles. The chef recommends savoring from left to right for a gradual, yet increased savory experience – and one that you will definitely not regret. Sushi lovers will forever crave the Fire Dragon roll after one bite – a colorful spool of spicy tuna, barbeque eel, avocado and tobiko.

Insider Tip: For the best of both worlds in the warmer months, enjoy a selection of Zentan’s small plates at the Donovan House’s rooftop lounge, ADC (“Above DC”). Breathtaking views of DC, exceptional Asian cuisine, and a swanky venue – what’s not to love?!

Fine-Tune Your Cultural Side at The National Symphony Orchestra

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For a true taste of Washington sophistication, claim a coveted seat at a show-stopping performance by the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO).  Officially founded in 1936, this world-renowned fleet of over 100 musicians calls the landmark Kennedy Center home, bringing musical bliss to dedicated patrons year round with over 175 concerts a year.

Feeling a little culturally void?  Add some refinement to your life and open your ears to the profound talent of a significantly well-tuned group of musicians.  Led by Music Director Christoph Eschenbach, the NSO brings both traditional and contemporary pieces to the Kennedy Center stage.  With talent spanning from around the globe, the NSO’s performers bring true excellence to a variety of shows at prestigious state and inaugural occasions, special pops and holiday performances, as well as several international concerts, representing the nation’s capital with exceptional instrumental fortes. Click here for more information.

Sophisticated Revelry at Josephine

For a night of swanky partying, be sure to hit Josephine – one of the newer hot spots on the K Street club scene.  Opened in February 2008, josephine2Josephine is a favorite amongst exclusive club goers and the international party crowd with its chic décor and pulsating beats.

Travel to a different world within the District as you step inside this little slice of nightlife heaven, with vibrant, damask-printed columns and plush, custom-designed furniture vignettes, perfect for table service (a popular choice amongst regulars).

For a more intimate setting within the club, spend some time catching up over cocktails in the Gold Room – a smaller portion of the space, complete with an oversized gilded bar and trendy mirrored cocktail tables.

With exclusive DJ’s and some serious tunes, even the most conservative Washingtonians can’t help but dance beneath sparkling chandeliers to hip mash-ups, throbbing house music and rhythmic hip-hop beats. A crowd that’s dressed to the nines floods the dance floor until 3am on most weekend nights, so come prepared for a very chic dance party.

Insider Tip: Like most DC hotspots, Josephine operates with a guest list (and a discerning eye for fashionable guests) so be prepared for a hefty cover if you’re not on it.  Plan ahead and sign up on their website prior to arriving.  If you sign up before 9 PM, your name will be valid for the list that evening from 10pm – 11pm.

Butlers to Modern Luxury at Historic Jefferson Hotel

RePicture 7-opened in August 2009 after an extensive two year renovation, the new Jefferson Hotel is remaking its mark on DC after almost 80 years of high regard as one of Washington’s premier hotels.  With nods to classic Jeffersonian elegance, embellished with chic, contemporary accents, the Jefferson showcases modern luxury at its best.

Once greeted by your personal butler who oversees all aspects of your stay, settle into your new home with a calming cup of afternoon tea in the Greenhouse or Book Room – an interesting part of the hotel that houses authentic documents signed by Jefferson himself, along with an extensive collection from contemporary authors who have frequented the hotel.  The hotel also boasts one of the best new restaurants in the city, Plume, along with the ultra chic bar, Quill.

Along with the highly regarded dining facilities, the Jefferson wins praises for its superb service and extensive amenities.  Aside from the 24 hour fitness center with on-staff personal trainers, the fabulous spa, and the exceptional concierge service, The Jefferson even has classic black accessories on hand, just in case you forgot that favorite belt or pair of dress shoes.  Complimentary local and long distance calls don’t hurt either.

Hand-Pick Your Own Catch of the Day at Kellari

For those who like a little interaction and personalized touch to their orders, look no further than Kellari.  At this new downtown authentic Greek restaurant, patrons take matters into their own hands with fresh seafood hand-picked and cooked to order using true Mediterranean methods.

Specializing in fresh seafood straight from the Picture 22water, Kellari features a gorgeous fresh fish display, showcasing fifteen varieties of seafood, ranging from the native seas of Greece, Spain and Portugal, to the more familiar waters of the Atlantic.

Forget you’re in DC for a bit and start off with a bottle of authentic Greek wine and a few generously-portioned “mezedes,” or Greek small plates intended for sharing.  The crispy eggplant and zucchini Kellari Chips serve for a great beginning: coated in a decadent, golden batter, fried until crisp and served with a rich tzatziki dipping sauce.

Once you’ve had a bite to eat and settled into one of the warm, inviting booths, take a trip up to the impressive fish display.  Knowledgeable servers will provide ample information on each species’ native origins, textures and flavors, and corresponding preparation methods to help you make the best decision for a memorable dining experience.  Savor your hand-picked gorgeous masterpiece, grilled whole and served simply with olive oil, fresh lemon wedges and dusted with fragrant herbs – a truly unique rustic treat, and one that will take you all the way to the Mediterranean, even if just for a night.

Expand Your Repertoire at The Washington Ballet

For those lookPicture 14ing to broaden their cultural horizons, schedule an evening full of the arts with a show-stopping performance by the internationally renowned Washington Ballet. TWB, as it’s known, has developed a celebrated reputation for its repertoire of contemporary performances, as well as its interpretations of notable 19th century pieces.  TWB has translated classic literary works such as Don Quixote, The Great Gatsby and the legendary Nutcracker into flawlessly choreographed modern ballets that continue to entertain the Washington community.

With performances at The Kennedy Center, The Harman Center for the Arts, and its very own intimate Washington Ballet England Studio Theatre located just off Wisconsin Avenue, TWB always entertains its audience with a myriad of talented performers with roots from around the world, as well as a continuous calendar of exceptional shows.

Insider Tip: Although TWB encourages all to attend performances for the betterment of the performing arts community, don’t forget to follow proper ballet etiquette, especially in Washington.  For inexperienced first timers, be sure to wear formal attire for Opening Night performances, and “business casual” for all other shows.

Investigate DC’s Hot, New Museum: The Newseum

So you think you follow the news?  Think again. Inside a modern glass exterior, accented with a marble wall inscribed with the First Amendment, the impressive, newly renovated Newseum houses seven levels (and five centuries) of raw, groundbreaking, life-changing, history-making news – a little more than your typical history class or nightly news channel could ever offer!

The information “mecca” not only houses some of the most interesting news-related artifacts, images and technologies of our time, but it’s also extremely interactive making it the hottest new museum.  Try your hand at rnewseum2eporting and sit in the hot seat in the NBC News Interactive Newsroom.  For even more excitement, grab a seat (and some 3-D glasses!) at the I-Witness, a 4-D Time Travel Adventure, where visitors literally travel back in time with note-worthy journalists as they report on the most influential events in the history of news.

Other must-see exhibits include the Berlin Wall Gallery, the Pulitzer Prize Photograph Gallery (one of the most comprehensive collections of Pulitzer Prize-winning photos ever assembled), the emotional 9/11 Gallery and the G-Men & Journalists Gallery (an exhibit of the FBI’s relationship with the media, complete with the Unabomber’s actual cabin).

The most significant aspect of the museum, however, may be the museum’s objective of effectively bridging the gap between the media and the public – lending a sense of mutual understanding and purpose through visual, oral and written stories of time.

Insider Tip: Reflect on a moving experience by taking a trip up to the Hank Greenspun Terrace rooftop for arguably the best view of Pennsylvania Avenue (Washington’s “Main Street”) and the U.S. Capitol in the city.

Get a Taste of “Art in Motion” at the Hotel Palomar

Looking for comfy accommodations with a little something extra? Marked by the theme “Art in Motion,” DC’s Hotel Palomar prides itself on its unique partnership with the Smithsonian and the Phillips Collection – national institutions marked by their artistic prestige. The boutique hotel, part of the well-known Kimpton group, pairs modern accommodations with a bit of avant-garde panache – perfect for the out-of-town guest looking to see the trendier side of the District.

hotelpalomar2From the oversized modern art in the striking two-story lobby, to the attentive staff trained in graceful service by the Washington Ballet itself(!), the Hotel Palomar exudes creative touches that seek to intrigue and inspire guests from the moment they enter, to long after they have returned home.

With nearly 350 rooms inspired by 1930s French Moderne design aesthetic, the four star hotel boasts some of the roomiest accommodations in the city as well as a variety of appealing amenities.  The hotel showcases a 40-foot heated outdoor pool (open seasonally) that serves lunch daily, as guests lounge in trendy cabanas.  Additionally, guests can utilize the well-equipped fitness center, in-room spa services and nightly, complimentary wine receptions (known to host creative speakers and guest artists).

Insider Tip: For those who can’t bare to part with their favorite companions, not to worry!  The Hotel Palomar is a pet friendly hotel (free of charge) with a variety of amenities geared toward all types of furry friends.  Grab a glass of wine at the evening reception while your pup relaxes at The Dish, the nearby pet lounge, complete with tasty treats!

Don’t Blink or You’ll Miss Georgetown’s Secret Wink

Need a littlwinke lift in the wardrobe department?  Find the perfect fix at Wink, a little piece of fashion heaven on popular M Street in Georgetown.  The chic boutique has a feminine vibe with a bit of edge, featuring a variety of designers including DVF, Trina Turk, Black Halo and Ella Moss.

A small shop with a big selection, Wink offers everything from trendy blazers with studded cuffs to upscale cocktail dresses, perfect for that next Washingtonian affair.  The boutique is definitely a go-to for DC fashionistas, as well as out-of-town celebs (Amy Adams stopped in while filming in the District).

On your way there, be sure not to blink!  Wink is located beneath the street level shops, so it’s easy to miss.  The trendy window display marks the spot, so go pick-up your next perfect piece and don’t be surprised if you get a few more winks! Visit for more information.

Period Chic Meets Euro Beats at Eighteenth Street Lounge

What happens when you open a hip, Euro-infused lounge in the former home of Teddy Roosevelt?  You end up with the ultra chic, super unique hotspot known as Eighteenth Street Lounge.  Situated just south of trendy Dupont, ESL is known for its velvet ropes and hipster crowd that packs the luxe top three floors of the old school mansion club.

Picture 6Chic Washingtonians and sophisticated European partiers sit, mingle and sip as DJ’s spin hip Middle Eastern, Italian and Indian-centric beats that echo from the dark, narrow hallways of the comfortably posh venue.  Studded with functional antique fireplaces, gilded sconces and twinkling chandeliers that cast a soft glow, ESL exhibits modern glamour with touches of period décor to showcase the mansion’s turn of the century roots.

As the beats increase and the drinks flow, patrons crowd the living room-esque dance floor and overflow to the spacious outdoor roof patio in the warmer months.  Wander onto different floors for a change of scenery and music varieties – there tends to be a DJ on one floor and a jazz band or live performer on another.

Insider Tip: With live performances almost every day of the week and the lounge’s urban chic vibe, there’s usually a cover charge between $5-$15 after 10PM, Wednesday and Saturday.  Be sure to dress to impress – the discerning bouncers don’t put up with shorts, sandals or baseball caps.

Small Plates Pack Big Flavor at Masa 14

They say that good things come in small packages and at 14 Street’s newest neighborhood haunt, Masa 14, petite equals perfection.  Located just north of popular Logan Circle, the Latin-Asian eatery has received a warm welcome from locals, political hotshots and foodies alike.  Take one bite of the miso-glazed black cod, and as it melts in your mouth, you’ll understand all the buzz.

A concept co-founded by celebrated DC executive chefs Chef Richard Sandoval (of Zengo fame) and Chef “Kaz” Okochi (Kaz Sushi Bistro), Masa 14 pacPicture 8ks huge flavor into a variety of tantalizing Latin and Asian-inspired small plates – delectable little morsels that will definitely leave you wanting “just one more bite.”  That’s good news – with reasonable prices and ideal tasting portions, you can have plenty of bites from a mouth-watering menu selection that’s perfect for sharing.

While you wait for a table at the industrial, yet organically chic establishment, grab a seat at the longest bar in DC. Masa 14 boasts a 65-foot bar with extensive tequila, sake and cocktail selections.  For a refreshing start to the evening, order some spicy edamame and have one of the trendy, European bartenders concoct you a “Strawberry Lemonade” to cool off – a perfectly tart blend of vodka, fresh strawberry puree and fresh lemon juice for an extra kick.

Insider Tip: Stick around for some after-hours fun, because Masa 14 features a DJ on most weekend nights.  Pair that with a couple of cocktails and a seat at the central communal table, and you’ll be sure to leave with more friends than you came in with.

Not Your Average Movie Night at E Street Cinema

Picture 5In the mood to a catch a flick without the dreaded lines and overpriced popcorn?  Take a trip to the Landmark E Street Cinema and get ready for a killer movie night.  Although the prices are comparable to most blockbuster theatres, E Street will definitely give you more bang for your buck.  As one of the few independent theatres still up and running in the city, E Street Cinema showcases a great line-up of indie films with a passionate and knowledgeable staff that adds to the eclectic atmosphere.

For a little nostalgia, make the trip downtown and be sure to grab a ticket to a Midnight Madness showing.  The theatre shows classic 80s cult films every Friday and Saturday nights at midnight like The Rocky Horror Pictured Show, The Neverending Story, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, and Back to the Future.  The fun doesn’t stop at the film though, E Street serves beer, wine and champagne – so grab a glass of bubbly and get ready for a not-so-average movie night.

Insider Tip: The theatre validates parking for those drivers looking to avoid hefty downtown garage fees.  E Street is also easily accessible by the Metro Center and Gallery Place metro stations if you’re one to take advantage of the bonus beverages!

An Unbelievable Point of View at POV Roof Terrace

In the mood for a sexier side of DC?  Head up to POV (“Point of View”), DC’s trendiest rooftop bar and lounge, situated just across from The White House at the new, boutique W Hotel.  Anticipation will rise as you make your way up to the 11th floor terrace, accompanied by an attractive, clipboard-bearing staff member.  Be sure to do a little star gazing on your way up – the shimmering constellations on the elevator ceiling resemble the same pattern as that on the night of July 4, 1776!

Doors open and….WOW.pov Once you’ve recovered from the mind-blowing views where you can literally touch The White House and the glowing Washington Monument is spectacular. Grab a seat at one of the comfy, red velveteen banquettes and sip one of NYC cocktail guru Sasha Petraske’s sinful concoctions as you spy on the neighbors. After a few drinks, patrons swear they can see the lights flicker as the Obamas say goodnight to Washington.

With fresh juices poured from glass beakers and a customized ice program (certain drinks get ice spears vs. chiseled from a block), there’s no doubt Petraske’s creations are a true marriage of both science and art.  Be sure to try his famous Dark & Stormy, made with zesty homemade ginger beer.

Insider Tip: Be sure to make a reservation beforehand (smaller parties should use – the hotel reserves a certain amount of seating for their guests whether they show or not, and the line halts at the elevator.

Splurge at Bourbon Steak

The traditional “gentleman’s club” steakhouse just got a serious makeover with celebrity chef Michael Mina’s new addition, Bourbon Steak.  Located in the heart of Georgetown at the Four Seasons, Bourbon Steak is attracting both foodies and power diners alike, with its simple, yet sophisticated menu and smart, contemporary décor.

bourbonsteak Outfitted in warm, modern neutrals, Bourbon Steak exudes a cool masculinity fitting for a Mad Men-worthy steakhouse, with a menu that reflects the same sensibility.  Start off with a classic cocktail with an updated twist paired with the Ahi Tuna Tartare that’s prepared tableside with Ancho Chile, toasted sesame oil, fresh mint and crunchy Asian pear.  The perfectly aged cuts of meat, locally sourced and poached in butter, will change your life, while classic American sides prepared with a gourmet hand only enhance the meat with a decadent simplicity.  Be sure to try the Black Truffle Mac & Cheese or Wood-Roasted “Magical” Mushrooms.

The new hotspot on the DC restaurant scene, Bourbon Steak, has definitely shown patrons such as Reese Witherspoon and Owen Wilson exceptional American cuisine.

Insider Tip: For a real splurge, try Michael’s lobster pot pie (enough to feed two) at $85 a pop.  Be sure to ask Executive Chef, Dave Varley, his wine recommendation as well – aside from executing a flawless menu, Varley has extensive wine knowledge.

Amazing Deals-And Location-at The Georgetown Inn

For a true taste of Georgetown, book a room at the characteristically quaint Georgetowgeorgetowninnn Inn.  Minutes from the waterfront, great shopping, and award-winning restaurants, the boutique hotel offers accommodations with proper Georgetown sophistication and an element of elegance reminiscent of charming European inns.

The six-story hotel houses a variety of accommodation levels, all with Capital-worthy namesakes.  Try the Senate Room for a simple stay with one queen or king size bed and gorgeous city views.  For a more luxurious night away, stay in one of the ten Georgetown Suites, complete with an additional living room and entertainment center.  Depending on the time of year, the Inn usually offers rooms for well under $250 – a great deal for DC.

Head next door for a drink and a bite to eat at The Daily Grill, the Inn’s cozy restaurant and  local favorite amongst the Georgetown after-work crowd.

Even Scrooge Loves The New Ford’s Theatre

Have a recent run-in with Scrooge in the grocery line?  Brush it off and be sure to encounter the real deal this season at Ford’s Theatre’s production of “A Christmas Carol.”  Ghosts of ChPicture 7ristmas Past, Present and Future travel across the 19th century stage under the direction of the Signature Theatre’s Michael Baron.  Echoes of “bah humbug!” ring through the historic President’s Box as renowned Washington performer, Edward Gero, brings Charles Dickens’ notorious character,  Ebenezer Scrooge, to life.

Recently renovated, Ford’s Theatre is one of the most visited historical sites in America, and with such a rich history, you’ll be sure to take in more than just a good show.  Be sure to visit the Ford’s Theatre Museum, full of Lincoln memorabilia and unique artifacts from that fateful night, including the pistol that Booth used to assassinate the President.  Head on over to the Petersen House and stand in the same room where Lincoln spent the last hours of his life.

Get Some Rhythm at Georgetown’s Blues Alley

For a little rhythm and blues, take a trip back in time to the naBluesAlleytion’s oldest jazz supper club, Blues Alley, hidden between the quaint streets of historic Georgetown in an 18th century, brick carriage house.  With saxophones and bass guitars echoing off the intimate, exposed brick interior, you can’t help but tap your foot as talented artists from around the country liven up the nearly 45 year-old nightclub.

Enjoy a leisurely, Creole-style meal (the menu has hardly changed since 1965) and a glass of wine while you are blown away by old school tunes that will have you scrambling for a CD on your way out.  Over the years, Blues Alley has hosted jazz movers and shakers such as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Byrd and Eva Cassidy, so you’ll get a little taste of history along with your dinner.

Insider Tip: Blues Alley is open 7 days a week, but fills to the brim right before shows.  Be sure to make a reservation and get there a little early – pre-show tickets are available online.

It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere at The Hour Cocktail Collection

Stock up for that soiree you’ve been dying to host at The Hour, a new cocktail boutique in quaint, Old Town Alexandria.  With a chic, cocktail-era vibe, The Hour will have your inner hostess drPicture 7ooling over everything from stylish martini shakers to quirky Collins glasses!  Browse amazing barware from designers such as Georges Briard, Dorothy Thorpe, Couroc, and Fred Press.

Need a little extra panache for that perfect party?   The Hour is literally filled to the brim with fabulous vintage cocktail prints and retro furniture that will pump up your décor and keep your guests talking for days.  If the ornate martini glass you’re holding isn’t enough, The Hour even has a collection of cocktail jewelry to top off your evening.  Cheers to The Hour for bringing back the art of entertaining – and the martini!

Insider Tip: Just in case that martini went straight to your head, remember to share the wealth – be sure to visit the boutique for the perfect wedding or hostess gift.  The whimsical champagne flutes are way too chic to pass up! Visit for more information.

Visit George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate


George Washington’s plantation on the banks of the beautiful Potomac River offers visitors a chance to understand America’s first hero and the fascinating world in which he lived. Since the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association bought the nearly empty Mansion in 1858, it has gathered Washington objects and used archaeology and research to piece together clues about the buildings and gardens of a bygone era. Over 1 million visitors come to walk in Washington’s footsteps each year, making Mount Vernon the most popular historic estate in America.

A Brussels-Inspired Brunch at Belga Cafe

Get a true taste of Brussels at Capitol Hill’s authentic Belgian eatery, Belga Cafe.  Nestled right along 8th Street, in the Barracks Row neighborhood, Belga brings more than just a European sensibility to the District.

Known for its mbelgaodern, Belgian cuisine and extensive beer list, Belga offers a delectable, Eurofusion-inspired menu with traditonal offerings such as light and fluffy Brussels style waffles, dusted with sugar and topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit, or mussels with white beer and delicate frites.  With an “everyone is family” attitude, Belga exudes a warm and cozy neighborhood feel with its quaint sidewalk cafe and bustling indoor bistro.

For a truly feel-good meal, visit Belga for brunch.  Sounds of laughter and the clinking of mimosas echo from the energetic, local clientele. The delicious aroma of fresh waffle batter exuding from the open kitchen will keep you glued to your seat for hours.  For an unexpected savory version of the popular Belgian street food, try the warm goat cheese waffle with roasted tomatoes, red pepper coulis and a fresh herb salad.

Insider Tip: Be sure to start your morning off right with Belga’s to-die-for Bloody Mary with celery foam that puts a gourmet twist on the classic!  For an unexpected kick, try the beer cocktail version, made with Belga Pils and Bloody Mary mix.

See and Be Scene at George

Tucked away in a courtyard about as obscure as a place on the coveted guest list, lies George, the newest addition to the semi-private bars that encompass the popular Georgetown social scene.  George’s ultra-exclusive vibe caters to young Washingtonians looking to mingle with a hand-picked crowd, in a relaxed yet refined setting.

Just opened in August 2009, George has an upscale, tavern-like feel with oversized brass bars studded with substantial leather bar chairs.  Washed in warm, olive hues and outfitted in historicPicture 16 decor inspired by colonial Georgetown, George lends a nod to tradition with a uniquely modern sensibility – perfect for its young, conservative crowd looking to party with some class.

Lured by a DJ spinning popular late-night favorites, list members and their guests tend to pile in after 10pm on weekend nights.  A nearly pitch-black dance floor is the place to be if you’re looking to party hard with some Georgetown movers and shakers. Who knows, you may even learn a move or two from Washington Nationals star, Ryan Zimmerman, a frequent patron of the bar.

Insider Tip: List or no list, the bar is open to the public on Thursdays and Fridays for Happy Hour from 6-9 PM, so grab a comfy leather seat at the bar and get a feel for what its like to be a card-carrying member.

Members Only Rock ‘N Roll at The Rookery

Say goodbye to the grimy, Journey-blasting dives of old Picture 11and hello to “The Rookery,” an upscale live music hotspot that hosts a variety of talent every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.  Located just beyond Georgetown in DC’s West End, The Rookery is an exclusive, “member’s only” hang-out where Washington’s young creme de la creme congregate over the tunes of local cover bands and national touring classic rockers – all beneath the simple elegance of crystal chandeliers, of course.

A semi-private hotspot for the 30-something conservative Preppy (Luke Russert and the Bush twins have been known to frequent the bar), The Rookery boasts a heated outdoor patio and two floors of rich, dark decor, complete with sport coat-clad patrons.  Grab a bourbon and some dancing shoes (preferably loafers) and get ready for a true Washingtonian-style jam session.  Just remember, collared shirt required.

Insider Tip: Go early and grab a bite to eat before you stake out your place near the stage.  The Rookery has an impressive menu to fuel some serious dance moves.  Shows usually start around 10:00 PM with a $5.00 entrance fee.

Sleep Chic at The Donovan House

Picture 2Step away from the political frenzy and into the intimate, modern oasis of The Thompson Hotel Group’s The Donovan House. Located just off Thomas Circle on busy 14th Street, this boutique hotel, known for its impeccable service, is a breath of fresh air from the notoriously “stuffy” Washington hotels. The sleek, minimalist decor and swanky vibe are perfect for the hip, sophisticate looking to take advantage of the nation’s Capitol.

Open since early 2008, The Donovan House boasts just under 200 rooms, outfitted in stark white decor with unique cocoon-like showers and dramatic, extended leather headboards. Freshen up after a long trip with complimentary Kiehl’s bath products or indulge in the fabulous Dean & Deluca mini bar before cozying up to luxurious Sferra sheets.

Insider Tip: For added value, book in the warmer months and be sure to take advantage of The Donovan House’s exclusive rooftop bar and pool lounge, ADC (“Above DC”). Take in breathtaking views while you sip a cool cocktail or two at DC’s trendiest warm-weather hotspot.

Everything But the Kitchen Sink at Capitol Hill’s Eastern Market

It’s time to set that alarm, and this time, fortunately, not for another dreaded workday. Plan an early weekend outing to Eastern Market, DC’s oldest standing farmer’s market, located in the heart of Capitol Hill.  Be sure to hit the ATM on the way – this quintessential open market is literally brimming with picture-perfect produce, antiques, and anything else you could possible want or need.  Eccentric, yet personable vendors will definitely have you leaving with more than you came for!Restaurants--Italian

Cooks and foodies should be sure to wander indoors to South Hall for some real gourmet treats.  Local vendors showcase their best offerings: flawless filets, gorgeous lamb chops, and perfectly aged cheeses will definitely put your local grocer to shame.  For those who are ready to shop, head outside where artists, designers, and furniture makers from all over the Mid-Atlantic are willing and ready with amazing deals on one-of-a-kind pieces.

Bottom line – this isn’t your average market, and it certainly won’t be an average Sunday after visiting this District hidden gem!

Insider Tip: Be sure to get to the market early (between 9:00-10:00 AM) before it gets picked over.  Then head to Market Lunch, Eastern Market’s restaurant counter located in South Hall – the line out the door is testament alone to their famous crab cakes!

Washington Meets Wonka at Co Co. Sala

They say that a little too much chocolate is just about right, and at Penn Quarter’s trendy Co Co. Sala Chocolate Lounge & Boutique, there is definitely enough to go around.  Founded on the premise of being a “chocolate treasure-like oasis,” this pastry shop by day, chocolate lounge by night, is sure to stir the senses with its unique concept and euphoric tasting menus.

Sit back and relax as chic patrons lounge in dark, velvetCoCo Salay booths sipping sinful libations to the pulse of hip, Latin beats.  The light, unique cocktails, like the Strawberry Basil Martini with Balsamic Drizzle, balance the richness of creative savory small plates (all with a subtle hint of chocolate, of course).   Be sure to try the Four Cheese Orecchiette with Chocolate Covered Bacon for a to-die-for twist on traditional mac and cheese.  To finish off the evening, let the bubbles of a colorful champagne flight tickle your nose as a pairing to a decadent four course dessert tasting.

Insider tip: For a great date spot, be sure to sit at Co Co. Sala’s glass-enclosed “chocolate bar.”  Watch as accomplished pastry chefs create one-of-a-kind chocolate sculptures while you and that special someone savor your own chocolate treats.

Award Winning Service at The Spa at MINT

This year, pencil in a little “me” time and treat yourself to some pre-holiday pampering at The Spa at MINT, a high end fitness center and spa, nestled in eclectic Adam’s Morgan.  This urban retreat, known for its quality services and zen-like atmosphere, features a variety of spa offerings to keep you looking and feeling your best amidst all the holiday rush.  MINT offers everything from acupuncture (for the brave!) to traditional bodywork, facials, and other aesthetic services – all under a calming pastel roof, situated just beyond bustling, iconic U Street.

Picture 25For a truly customized experience, be sure to take advantage of MINT’s seasonal, organic facials.  The current autumn concoction – a revitalizing blend of fresh cranberry, nutmeg, honey, rose and cornmeal – will leave you buffed and glowing, without breaking the bank ($60 for a 35-minute treatment).  For out-of-towners looking for total body & soul rejuvenation, check out MINT’s exclusive spa packages: The Weekender features a 50-minute facial or Swedish massage, paired with complimentary lunch and an all-access weekend pass to the coveted fitness club.

Insider Tip: Try MINT’s Tranquil Tuesdays facials and massages.  Each 30-minute service is only $49 (Voted Best On-the-Go Spa Service by the Washingtonian)!

Quirky Kitchens & Gifts at Home Rule

For everything but the kitchen sink, travel to trendy 14th Street’s Home Rule, the quirky kitchen and home goods store packed with great essentials accented with a fun twist or two.  Peruse this tiny shop with big personality for endless gadgets and items for the bed, bath and way beyond – this little gem has everything to stock the perfect bar, outfit your kitchen in style, and even accessorize your home office.

Give your next cocktail party some punch with witty ice trays and funky swizzlesticks.  For the more practical shopper with a sense of humor, grab some Pac-Man Hot Head oven mitts or a cute, mouse cheese grater.  The shop also has a variety of personal care products from lines like Jack Black grooming, Pre De Provence and Herbal Essentials. Whether you’re searching for your next traditional pot or pan or a fun gift for a friend, Home Rule has it all.

Find Preppy Perfection at Sherman Pickey

Coastal living is a breeze with one trip to Sherman Pickey, a little piece of preppy perfection in the center of appropriately conservative Georgetown.  Specializing in classic, yet modern men’s and women’s wear, Sherman Pickey gives pastels a punch with looks from designers like Lilly Pulitzer, Tory Burch, Pink Tartan and Vineyard Vines.  With an impressive array of classic outerwear (think cute, quilted jackets), colorful shift dresses and great accessories, ladies looking for Palm Beach chic will be ready for that weekend getaway in no time!  Sherman Pickey also lends that authentically New England touch to a great selection of menswear, including sharp collared shirts, critter-embroidered corduroys and brightly colored bowties, perfect for that sophisticated prepster looking for the ultimate Nantucket look.  So go grab those pearls and penny loafers and get ready for a little Sherman Pickey yuppification.

Insider Tip: Named after the owners’ pets, Sherman and Pickey, the boutique also offers waspy accessories for furry friends, so bring your pup along and grab a matching collar or two to complete your whole look!

Go Ga-Ga for Dawn Price Baby

With locations in Georgetown and Capitol Hill, Dawn Price Baby has what it takes to make sure every little one gets off to a stylish start. Whether you’re prepping for a new family member or just gift shopping, you’ll go ga-ga for the adorable inventory from a variety of well-known children’s wear designers.

Offering everything from perfectly put-together infant outfits, to versatile cribs and carseats, Dawn Price is the one stop shop for all things high-end baby!  Opt for a gorgeous, antique cradle for that newest addition, or a fresh copy of Goodnight Moon for a  first birthday gift.  Sign up for the store’s baby registry and stock up with tons of cute, yet quality newborn essentials!