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The Official TracyFest 2004 Thread

TracyK's picture

Hello!


It's high time we get planning! I am going to use this thread to post general information about hotels, restaurants, etc. However, some folks have expressed some concern about posting specific information about hotel locations, etc. given the fact that we cannot be entirely sure who all is reading this board... so in order to assuage any discomfort, I am going to start a Yahoo group in a while, open to any CTer interested in coming to the Fest. That way we can eventually share the private info without having to worry about anything.


But in the meantime, let's drum up some ideas here! I am in no way as knowledgable about DC cuisine as Mean et al are about Seattle cuisine... but I do know some things, and am willing to visit any restaurant in which people express interest to determine if it's a good place to go.


Past Fests seem to have somewhat of a theme... Thursday and Friday night dinners at less formal but still fabulous ethnic restaurants, then Saturday's tasting menu w/wine pairing at someplace absolutely stellar.


I would like to offer the suggestion for one of the ethnic meals to be Vietnamese ... the DC metro area is home to a sizable Vietnamese community and I have had ample opportunity to enjoy a number of memorable meals... one in particular gets consistently excellent reviews (though I have not yet been) and I think would appeal to this lot... here's a link to the review by the Washington Post food critic, Tom Sietsema (upon whose judgment I rely a great deal): Huong Que/Four Sisters Restaurant. I plan to go soon and will endeavor to steal a menu for scanning/posting purposes.


Another option that would be fun for a non-tasting-menu night would be Jaleo, or Zaytinya ... respectively, Spanish and Mediterranean tapas. Also Palena. Or, if we'd like to repeat the sushi excursion, Kaz Sushi Bistro. And for a better look at the place I talked about in the other thread with the fried mozzarella in garlic/anchovy butter, here's a review... but keep in mind it's pretty much just your basic neighborhood Italian joint (which happens to specialize in Bolivian saltenas on the weekends), though very well-executed. Brunch at Colorado Kitchen would be a good idea, too.


Tasting menu venue suggestions include:
Todd Gray's Equinox
Michel Richard's Citronelle (WashPost review)
Galileo/Laboratorio del Galileo (WashPost review) (Laboratorio seats a maximum of 28 people)


Here's the link to the Washington Post fall 2003 Dining Guide... feel free to peruse and suggest at will!


OK, that's enough for today. Hotels next week. :-)



 



"Given enough time, the proper resources, and access to some really toxic stuff, one can probably dissolve just about anything except Peep eyes."


http://www.peepresearch.org

MadMom's picture

I know I'm probably a minority of one, but sushi makes me feel like I'm eating dinner in a bait shop.  The Vietnamese meal sounds great, and I thought you mentioned that there was a wonderful Thai place you knew about.  I could definitely do Vietnamese and Thai, and if there's an Indian place as good as Vij's, could do Indian.  No Ethiopian, please.  I've been wanting to try Equinox ever since you first mentioned it...have you checked on the possibility of a tasting menu there, price, etc.?  Speaking of hotels, has anyone checked that site that Aussie found which mentioned the great deal on the Hyatt on Priceline?  I never can remember the name of the site, but I know it usually has some great tips...something like biddingfortravel.com or something.  Aussie will know, or maybe someone else who has used it.  As usual, I don't mind making reservations for the Canadian and overseas contingent if anyone doesn't have a US credit card and address and wants to use Priceline.  Just let me know who, when, and how much you're willing to pay.

Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.
Lily Tomlin

TracyK's picture

The sushi place does feature other Japanese menu items... lovely stuff, really. So you wouldn't have to eat bait if you didn't want to, LOL.


There are a million great Thai places, so that's definitely an option... though there was some interest in a Thai cooking class, too, which would take care of that. :-) I will keep an eye out re: Indian food... I've only recently discovered that I like it, so I haven't been paying attention.


biddingfortravel.com is the place Aussie mentioned... the thing that y'all should decide upon is where y'all want to stay. Prices are going to be cheaper in Arlington or Crystal City, and still just a short Metro trip downtown, but the hotels and surrounding areas are not as nice. So it's a tossup.


A brief look at biddingfortravel.com shows that you would be highly unlikely to pay more than $100 a night anywhere... the 4* Grand Hyatt downtown seems to go for between $70 and $90, where 3* hotels in Crystal City are about $50-$60.



"Given enough time, the proper resources, and access to some really toxic stuff, one can probably dissolve just about anything except Peep eyes."


http://www.peepresearch.org

TracyK's picture

Possible activities:


Smithsonian Museums
- Natural History
- Archives
- National Zoo
- Air & Space
- American History
- American Indian (not sure if this is open yet)
- the Art one whose name I can't remember, duh


Art Galleries
- Corcoran
- Uhh, some others


International Spy Museum (have heard this is EXCELLENT, plus there's a bar)


Holocaust Museum


Monuments
- Washington
- Lincoln
- Jefferson/Tidal Basin/FDR
- Vietnam Veterans Memorial
- WWII Memorial (being dedicated in May)
- Iwo Jima
- Arlington National Cemetary
- Roosevelt Island


Places of Interest
- Georgetown
- Eastern Market (no comparison to Pike's Place, but Market Lunch has yummy crabcakes)


I can probably think of some more...



"Given enough time, the proper resources, and access to some really toxic stuff, one can probably dissolve just about anything except Peep eyes."


http://www.peepresearch.org


Edited 4/30/2004 8:53 pm ET by Tracy K

deejeh's picture

For the lovers of green and growing things, particularly bonsai, the Arboretum is fantastic.


deej

ashleyd's picture

On hotels I want to stay within walking distance of downtown/Mall, no way do I want to be out in the boonies of Crystal City, Grand Hyatt is fine for me, or even the place that Peter mentioned earlier (name currently escapes me!).


I'm with MadMom on Japanese - sushi is bait and the rest of Japanese cuisine (except perhaps tempura) does nothing for me. Other than that I'll go with the flow.


"Appreciation is a wonderful thing; it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well."
Voltaire

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

MadMom's picture

Bless you, ashley...I thought I might be the only one who was anti-sushi!  If the group insists, perhaps you and I and Mrs. ashley could go eat decent food somewhere!


Tracy, the Thai class would be great, if you can book that.  Any idea on how much?


Also, I would much much rather try to stay downtown (mall area) than out in the boonies.  I've spent many many days (and nights) in both places, and would prefer to walk to sights rather than ride the Petri Dish (Metro).  The $10-$20 difference to stay downtown seems negligible in the grand scheme of things, particularly since we'll normally be at least two in a room.  After our time in the Seattle Grand Hyatt, I can't imagine the one in downtown DC not being great.


Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.
Lily Tomlin

courgette's picture

Sushi is not my favourite foodstuff, but I could accommodate if need be. We (hubby and I) would prefer to be central for the hotel-at least I would and since he's a tag-a-long, I didn't ask! :). Cooking class might be fun. I assume that would be a daytime thing?


 We have been to Washington a few times and have seen all (or almost all) the museums etc so while that is always fun it wouldn't necessarily be the priority for us that it might be for some. I read that the new air and space museum is open so that might be something most haven't seen.

JaneRose's picture

Yes, mo, the new Air and Space place is open at Dulles. You can ride out there on a booked tour from the Smithsonian, but for $12 parking and free admission, you can drive out yourself and be free to explore the new "airport tower" and all of the stuff in the huge and magnificent hangar. It is extremely comfortable and beautiful. Air buffs and others can enjoy without stress. The Concorde and the shuttle are there to be seen, as well and hundreds of other planes. Very interesting, Free guided tours. It seems to be "way out" from the city, but is really EASY to find and a great treat.

Oh, it is NEAR Dulles airport, but the highways are great. From the tower, you can watch take-offs and landings at Dulles. 360*

And, the Spy Museum is a great stop. There is also a spy stuff shop. The real NSA has a museum devoted to cryptology - quite fascinating - but is "out there" on some road, behind a gas station, hard to find, secretive....... if you can find it, great, but the construction in the area makes it a joke - about them "not being on the map," so to speak.

Oh, I am pro-Sushi, if there is a vote.


Edited 5/1/2004 12:48 pm ET by Jane Rose

MEANCHEF's picture

Tracy, Best to leave the food as a surpise unless you want to hear how someone (MM) hates it all of the time.

PeterDurand's picture

Thanks for the info. I will have to find a way to get there without a car. The NSA thing sounds neat. Can't wait.

Cheers,

Peter

 

MadMom's picture

Peter - I know that Metro will get you almost anywhere, and if it doesn't go all the way to Dulles, there are probably a zillion shuttles a day which do.  Haven't been in the area without wheels in about ten years, but one thing I always loved about DC, particularly downtown, was the cheap availability of cabs.

Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.
Lily Tomlin

favorablyimpressed's picture

Unfortunately, cabs are no longer cheap, but there are lots of them.

MadMom's picture

You mean the days of the $1 cab rides are gone forever?  I'm crushed!  ;)

Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.
Lily Tomlin

favorablyimpressed's picture

I'm still not getting notification of my messages, even though my properties file is checked appropriately. 


Now that I live in the 'burbs, I haven't had to rely on cabs for many years, but they are no longer a bargain.


Our Metro really works!  It's just wonderful for getting across town in a hurry, and in its 20+ years of operation, it remains amazingly clean.  No graffiti!  Now, the esclators, well that's a different issue. 


I think the Metro does a much better job at filtering air than an aircraft does.  I've caught some doozies (colds) on airlines, which have really ruined my trip.  In fact, the worst cold that I remember was on a trip to Seattle, coming down with a cold with a luncheon class at the Herb Garden planned, and two days later, returning home, a big dinner event at The Inn at Little Washington!  I couldn't taste a thing.


Oh, The Inn at Little Washington . . . that would be a spectacular event for your visit to the DC area.  Rent a limo to get there.  It will be money well spent.  And, also make plans on eating in the kitchen.  I can post pictures!  It's quite an event!

PeterDurand's picture

That place sound interesting. Yes please post pics. Is it close to town? Do they have a web site?

Cheers

Peter

 

TracyK's picture

It's an hour and a half or so outside of town. I had thought about it, but logistically speaking, it would be a bit of a stretch to get so many people there.


"Given enough time, the proper resources, and access to some really toxic stuff, one can probably dissolve just about anything except Peep eyes."


http://www.peepresearch.org

Biscuits's picture

The Inn at Little Washington would be absolutely fabulous if you could figure out a way to get everyone there.


Maybe - just MAYBE - if enough people are driving their own cars, there would be enough room to get everyone there?


Is Red Sage still in D.C.?  It's been so many years, but at one time it was fantastic.


Shame Patrick Clark is no longer with us.  I would love to taste his cooking.


Not all who wander are lost....

Ancora Imparo -

MadMom's picture

I know I'm senile, but wasn't there a poster who had a restaurant outside of DC?  Whoever he was, he hasn't posted in years, but I know a lot of people commented on how good it was.  Somebody help me!

Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.
Lily Tomlin

TracyK's picture

I JUST remembered that! Mire Poix is the chef at a lovely restaurant outside of DC... about a half hour-45 minutes away, in Leesburg... so unfortunately, we'd have similar logistical issues. But it is lovely, and very close to the outlet shopping. :-)


http://www.tuskies.com 



"Given enough time, the proper resources, and access to some really toxic stuff, one can probably dissolve just about anything except Peep eyes."


http://www.peepresearch.org

MadMom's picture

Great minds!  (...and did you say outlet shopping?)

Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.
Lily Tomlin

AnnL's picture

Tuskies is indeed a great restaurant. 


As of right now, my soon-to-be-DH and I are planning on coming down and we'll have the mini-van, so could probably take 6 people besides us to a jaunt outside the city.  Just tossing that out there in case there is enough interest, it might be feasible! 


 


AnnL
Transitions Farm
Gardening, cooking, and riding Central Mass.

Ann
"The elders were wise.  They knew that man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard; they knew that lack of respect for growing, living things, soon led to lack of respect for humans, too."  Chief Luther Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux

MadMom's picture

I agree with Tracy - we might have enough people there with cars to make it worthwhile to drive somewhere.  Those of us who are on foot could always contribute to gas, etc.  Since this is our first "east coast" fest, I'm betting we have a lot of people who have never made it to a Vancouverfest or Meaniefest.

Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.
Lily Tomlin

ashleyd's picture

Experience in Seattle and similar "dining events" that I have organised indicate that anywhere much more than 20 minutes away changes from being a minor logistical problem into a total logistical nightmare, apart from the fact that 90 minutes either side of a good meal makes it a very longggggggggg evening. Walking distance is best (in hotel is ideal!), otherwise short cab ride.

"Appreciation is a wonderful thing; it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well."
Voltaire

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

JaneRose's picture

I will be driving my van also. Fits six more besides me. In a far distant past life, to pay for kids' music lessons, I did substitute school bus driving before and after my job in a library. So, I could slap a few corner-dwellers into seats for a ride somewhere. Oh, I forgot, I am a corner-dweller - and I've had bus-mouth and bus-####.

MEANCHEF's picture

If you have any more people than we had in seattle, I think you should keep activities within walking distance or short cab ride from the hotel.  With any luck you could be dealing with 30+ people.


Once again - Is your damn email working?????????

TracyK's picture

I think so too. It would be great to go to the Inn, but as ashley said, ninety minutes before and after a meal does tend to dull the experience. If I ever get out there for a meal I will be booking a room there or nearby.


Email is working... got your note and will share info with our Zaar friends once we have a few more of the details ironed out. :-)


A cursory check of the "Who's coming" thread showed more than 25 people interested, not counting any Zaar folk. There's no way we're all piling into cars for that kind of trip.


DC is not much of a walking town, except for certain areas, but cabs are easily arranged.



"Given enough time, the proper resources, and access to some really toxic stuff, one can probably dissolve just about anything except Peep eyes."


http://www.peepresearch.org

Bethany's picture

Hi Tracy,


I posted in your other thread, but it's now gone. I will be there, probably with my sister again. I just skimmed through all the posts, I'll read them all later, but I'm in for the sushi for sure. Allie too.


It will be good to see you again and I hope you are feeling better this time. :-)

 

Napoleon, don't be jealous that I've been chatting online with babes all day. Besides, we both know that I'm training to be a cage fighter.

TracyK's picture

Cool! :-)


"Given enough time, the proper resources, and access to some really toxic stuff, one can probably dissolve just about anything except Peep eyes."


http://www.peepresearch.org

Li's picture

Me three for sushi. But then, you probably already knew that.

Central Scrutinizer; Cooks Talk moderator

Only connect.

assibams's picture

Now, are you trying to imply you had trouble keeping us together and/or going? Nah, couldn't be ;-)

"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort."
Herm Albright