From Lauren Levine. Email her at lauren[AT]borderstan.com
Isn’t it peculiar how this city is practically dominated by young professionals (and over-pampered dogs) and yet there’s no one making fun of our strange and highly predictable ways? Well move aside, baby boomers, foreign diplomats and anyone with a mortgage (ages 30 to 55).
Generation Y is here to stay in the District and boy do we have problems.
If you’re a young professional living in the District, and especially one living in Borderstan, like me, you are probably a perpetual host.
But, if you’re also like me, having a visitor is quite a double edged sword. You’re excited to see them but exhausted at the thought of entertaining them for a few days. Parents may visit you every six to 12 months, and assuming you’re an underpaid, low-level staffer or, worse yet, an intern, you can’t go wrong with nice restaurants and non-Smithsonian museums (Newseum? $20? Ugh).
A Friend in Town?
Having a friend in town, though? That’s a completely different story. Whether or not you care to admit it, you’re in it to impress them with your awesome post-college lifestyle. I recommend:
- The ultimate mall tour – we both know that you can’t afford a $50 hop on, hop off bus tour, let alone a $75 segway tour. So I recommend lacing up your sneakers and doing Lauren’s ultimate walking tour: a full day of bonding while being an excellent tour guide. Plus the walking will make you feel less guilty about the eating and drinking!
- The nightlife – Most importantly, with a friend visiting, you have to show them a good time. You don’t want your visitor to think you have anything but the most vibrant social life. To show off your 15 to 25 friends all in one venue, I recommend American Ice Company (“look how hipster and trendy I am now!”), Buffalo Billiards (“Hail to the Redskins! I think that’s what all the locals say…”) or Lost Society (“Don’t you just love how DC has rooftop bars?”).
- Late night eating – I’m both ashamed and proud to admit that my friends usually remember this best. Whether it’s Amsterdam Falafel, Jumbo Slice or Ben’s Chili Bowl, there’s a lot to show off in and near Borderstan.
- Old Town Alexandria – Gosh this place is perfect for visitors. There’s amazing food, cute one-of-a-kind shops and it’s great in all seasons.
- Mount Vernon – DC residents all too often forget that our city’s namesake lived just down the road, accessible by car, bike or boat – ideal for a political/history nerd.
- The National Arboretum – 8 out of 12 months of the year, pack up a picnic (or some Taylor Gourmet sandwiches to go) and head over to our nicest park. Take fun photos among the Capitol Building columns!
- Great Falls – Too crunchy for typical tourist stuff? Great Falls National Park is a quick drive away, and even if your visitor isn’t up for a hike, you can get instragrams views of the falls without having to walk more than 100 yards from your car!
While some dream of a white Christmas, all I need is an Ice Christmas. That’s right, whether I need to get in to the spirit, or just get a spirit, I head over to American Ice to warm up my body and soul from the inside out.
American Ice — a somewhat hidden spot at 917 V Street NW — is a cozy little bar, just steps away from the 9:30 club. The exposed brick walls, abundance of flannel shirts and mason jar cups make it seem a tad hipster, but don’t let that scare you away. After your first sip or two of craft beer (the menu lists over 20 varieties), you will soon forget about all of the cool kids. Not a fan of beer? Don’t worry, there’s plenty of whiskey to take that chill right out of the air.
What American Ice is really known for is its barbecue. The limited food menu is limited for a good reason. They make a few things, and they make it right. Diners can choose from pork, chicken or brisket, served on a bun or on a platter with slaw and beans. There are other things, such as nachos, pickles, chili and veggie chili, but the barbecue is the star of the show.
The restaurant/bar also has a large patio for outdoor seating (picnic table style) with heating lamps for mild nights or crowded evenings.
So I recommend, if you are on edge this season or are frazzled with holiday shopping, you pop into American Ice to slow down the pace of life a bit with a cold beer and a hearty sandwich, both of which will melt your troubles away.
First and foremost: Spend time outside this weekend! If possible, take the day off on Friday to enjoy the delightful spring-like weather that we have in store. With a high of 70 degrees, I know that I’ll be making a beeline for an outdoor happy hour spot right after work. My favorite outdoor happy hour in the neighborhood? We’ll save a full roundup for when it’s actually spring, but Mandu’s front patio and Local 16’s rooftop make my late-winter cut.
But before we get ahead of ourselves, Thursday night calls for grabbing someone special (perhaps you botched Valentine’s Day? This is your opportunity to redeem yourself) and heading over to the Corcoran Gallery for their Thursday Date Night promo, which runs every Thursday throughout the month of February. You’ll be able to snag two-for-one admission (it’s usually $10 per person) and you can also check out the “Champagne & Kisses” special available at the Corcoran Café, which includes two glasses of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries or a cheese and fruit plate ($15).
From Laura Herman
American Ice Co. opened near U Street in December 2010, amidst holiday chaos. I’d been wanting to check out this new local spot that promised a straightforward selection of barbecued meats, homemade pickles, and interesting beers, but I didn’t actually make it there until just last week.
I went with a friend and we sampled two of their three main dishes, a couple of sides and a few beers. My friend had the pork and I had the brisket, which we felt beat out the pork in terms of flavor. My favorite part of the meal was the homemade pickle medley, containing traditional half and whole sours, plus pickled onions and jalapeños, all of which came in a cute paper cup. I can definitely see myself ordering that again — and not being willing to share.