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The pro-DC statehood of the "50 States" song that premiered last Sunday on HBO's Last Week Tonight With John Oliver will get a public performance this coming Sunday on Capitol Hill if enough District parents can encourage their children to learn the pointed, slightly dirty lyrics in time.

The sing-along, which is scheduled for 10 AM, is being organized by many of the same parents of the kids who participated in the Great Sled Uprising of March 5, which triggered the end of Congress's long-standing ban on sledding down the west side of Capitol Hill.

As most features on Last Week Tonight do, John Oliver's 17-minute rant about the District's standing as the only capital of an industrialized democracy where residents lack the same representation as their fellow countrymen has been a viral hit. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton has also said she will show it to her colleagues when Congress returns from its summer vacation.

For now, the sing-along's planners need to fill out their chorus. They'll go through "several rounds" of warm-ups so everyone can learn the lyrics, followed by at least one full performance for tourists to take in. (And, obviously, it'll be recorded and posted online, too.)

So far, it's the parents who seem most excited, though some report their kids are getting into it. "My daughter is really enjoying the part where she gets to say 'asshole'," says Tim Krepp, a local tour guide. "But in the interests of full disclosure, she's really far more curious about needle exchanges now."

Statehood advocates undoubtedly hope singing children will be as persuasive as their sledding counterparts.

Posted at 05:30 PM/ET, 08/04/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Without a drop of paint. By Hillary Kelly
Photo by Jonas Berg for Stadshem.

White walls. Old carpeting. Rickety cabinetry. Moving into a rental can evoke the same feelings a final paper did in college: you know you can do it, but damn it's going to be hard. Let these ten tips be a guide for moments when it feels like you can't handle any more fruitless trips to Ikea.

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Posted at 04:14 PM/ET, 08/04/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Creme brûlée rounds and crispy birds will arrive next week. By Elissa Miolene
Astro's famous creme brûlée donut with a chicken wing. Photograph by Elissa Miolene.

Even before Montgomery County natives Jeff Halpern and Elliot Spaisman turned ten, they had a ritual down pat. After every hockey game the two would head to Montgomery Donuts, a small, family-run shop beloved by many. It was the only proper way to celebrate a win, or to mourn a loss. Though “MoDo” has since shut down, Halpern and Spaisman hope to build their own legendary fried dough empire with Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken.

Spaisman (left) and Halpern (right) sit outside of Astro Doughnuts on G Street. All photographs by Elissa Miolene.

The original shop on G Street opened in April of 2013. It immediately drew loyal fans, spurring the birth of the Astro Doughnuts food truck. A second Astro Doughnuts shop is slated to open in Falls Church next week, barring any last-minute delays. The Leesburg Pike storefront will be a little bigger than the original, but not by much--and the cozy, slightly industrial feel will remain as well.

“It’s not like we had doughnut posters on our walls growing up,” says Halpern, "but it's a neat twist on what was always our food for thought after games.”

The duo have been close friends since childhood, but eventually ventured off on different paths: Halpern played professional ice hockey for 12 teams, including the Washington Capitals and the New York Rangers; Spaisman was in the antique business.

Regardless of where their careers took them, the duo always wanted to go into the food business. Their original idea was a Sweetgreen-style salad shop. Hoping to play on a more exciting palate, they settled on something much sweeter: a store that sells fried dough in flavors like Nutella and maple-bacon, and where customers can grab crispy chicken-doughnut sandwiches.

The new shop in Falls Church will be a little more family-oriented, Spaisman says, providing larger portions of fried chicken and more sides, including tater-tots. The new branch will also offer egg sandwiches in the morning.

"We just thought it was perfect," Spaisman says, "Two classic foods that needed a little face lift."

Not exactly the dishes of choice for professional hockey players, but for the rest of us, it will do just fine.

Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken (Falls Church). 7511 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church.

Posted at 02:30 PM/ET, 08/04/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Grab one of these exclusive deals and enjoy a great late-summer getaway By Alice Shapin
The Swag, an all-inclusive mountaintop inn, offers breathtaking views of the Great Smoky Mountains. Photo by Jumping Rocks.

Land of Chocolate

Where: The Hotel Hershey, 100 Hotel Rd., Hershey, Pa., 717-533-2171; Hershey Lodge, 325 University Dr., 717-533-3311.

What’s special: Chocolate and roller coasters make for a fun combination at Hersheypark, a 120-acre amusement park. This year, the park opened its 13th coaster, Laff Trakk, the first indoor, spinning glow-coaster in the United States. The park also offers shows, a boardwalk, and water rides. At nearby Hershey Story Museum, you can learn about Milton S. Hershey and the town that bears his name. Visit Chocolate World to see where and how chocolate is made. The elegant Hotel Hershey, built in 1933, sits high overlooking the town. The hotel has swimming, golf, a luxurious spa, Segway tours, hiking trails, appearances by Hershey characters, and an array of restaurants. Or you can stay at the Hershey Lodge, where there are indoor and outdoor pools, s’more roasts, Hershey-character appearances, an indoor game room and a Wii room, a miniature golf course, and a variety of restaurants.

The deal: The Kids Stay, Play & Eat Free package, for those under 17, includes accommodations, free kids’ breakfast, admission to Hersheypark, admission to the beautiful Hershey gardens, and admission to the Hershey Story’s Museum Experience. In addition, guests at either the Hotel Hershey or Hershey Lodge benefit from the Hershey Resorts Advantage, which affords a complimentary shuttle to and from the park and early access to it. Rates start at $369 at Hershey Lodge and $469 at the Hotel Hershey, a savings of more than 25 percent. Mention Washingtonian when booking to also receive four snack vouchers, a $20 value. To book, call 717-508-1956.

When: Valid for stays on selected days through September 2015.

The Good Life

Where: Goodstone Inn & Restaurant, 36205 Snake Hill Rd., Middleburg, Va.; 540-687-3333.

What’s special: The luxurious Goodstone Inn & Restaurant sits on 265 acres of countryside and is an easy drive from Washington. Enjoy a full breakfast in the morning (included in the room rate) and complimentary afternoon refreshments in the Carriage House. The elegant guest rooms and suites are done up in English and French country styles. The inn offers vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains and a property that features exquisite flowers, woodlands, orchards, and kitchen gardens for its farm-to-table restaurant. You can hike the property, have a treatment in the spa (housed in a renovated barn), or swim in the gorgeous pool. Off the property, you can drive into Middleburg to shop at its antiques stores and boutiques or visit nearby wineries.

The deal: Goodstone’s Wine and Strawberries Package includes one night of accommodations, a $25 credit toward food and beverage at the Restaurant at Goodstone, a complimentary tasting for two at a local winery, chocolate-covered strawberries, and 20 percent off current rack rates for additional nights. Rates start at $385 for midweek stays, $475 on weekends. Mention Washingtonian when booking.

When: Valid for stays through August 31, 2015.

Smoky Mountain High

Where: The Swag, 2300 Swag Rd., Waynesville, N.C.; 800-789-7672.

What’s special: The all-inclusive mountaintop inn sits on the edge of magnificent Smoky Mountains National Park and offers breathtaking views and serenity. All guests get to choose and keep their own walking stick, made from a variety of beautiful woods, as well as a free picture frame. Both rustic and luxe, the inn’s common rooms feature wood-beamed ceilings and giant fireplaces—making them perfect spots to sit and read. Outdoors, you can take anything from a short stroll to a challenging hike to a walk across a swinging bridge. Or simply lounge on a hammock, soak in the hot tub and gaze out over the mountains, play croquet and marvel at the 50-mile view, or sit in a rocking chair on the porch and watch the hummingbirds flit by. Beyond the inn, you can visit historic Biltmore Estate (50 miles away), raft the whitewater rivers, and zipline through the forest. Meals are special, too, starting with the breakfast buffet, which includes made-to-order omelets, cider-simmered oatmeal, breads, bacon, country sausage, and fresh juices. For lunch, the inn will pack you a picnic—a sandwich, fruit, a chocolate dessert called a Swag Bar, chips, and coleslaw. Don’t want to hike to enjoy the picnic? Climb into a chair at the treehouse. Evening starts with a free social hour of hors d’oeuvres before the chef’s four-course meals featuring such dishes as local mountain trout. Cookies, nuts, and ice cream are available for free all day. The resort has no liquor license, but you can bring your own wine or alcohol.

The deal: Prices start at $495 for the room and all meals. Mention Washingtonian when booking to receive a free cheese-and-fruit platter, a $30 value, as well as either 50 percent off one massage or two massages for the price of one.

When: Valid for stays August through September 2015.

Funky Town

Where: Pier House Resort & Spa, 1 Duval St., Key West, Fla.; 305-296-4600.

What’s special: This waterfront hotel features a private beach and pool, a spa, two dining options, and the Chart Room bar, where Jimmy Buffett played early in his career. The hotel is a short stroll from such attractions as the Ernest Hemingway House, the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum (where gold bars, silver coins, emerald jewelry, and other precious cargo from 17th-century shipwrecks are on display), the Sunset Pier, and Mallory Square with its street performers. Don’t want to walk? The hotel has a free shuttle. Water lovers will be interested in Danger Charters for sailing and snorkeling and Sunset Watersports, both near the hotel.

The deal: Readers receive 20 percent off the usual room rate. Book online here.

When: Valid for stays August 23 through September 30, 2015 (except blackout dates September 5, 6, 7, 18 and 19).

Paradise by the Sea

Where: El Conquistador Resort & Las Casitas Village, 1000 El Conquistador Ave., Fajardo, Puerto Rico; 787-863-1000.

What’s special: Atop a 300-foot bluff on the eastern tip of Puerto Rico, this resort spans 500 acres overlooking the convergence of the Caribbean and the Atlantic. Guests have a choice of 23 restaurants, bars, and lounges ranging from gourmet to casual, many with ocean views. Play golf on a championship course, relax at the Waldorf Astoria Spa, enjoy water sports on the resort’s private island, or splash with the kids at Coqui Water Park.

The deal: The Best of Waldorf Astoria promotion includes a $100 resort credit based on a two-night minimum stay, plus a $50 credit for every additional night. Mention Washingtonian when booking to also get two complimentary Coqui Water Park tickets, a $40 value.

When: Valid for stays through September 2015.

Posted at 02:00 PM/ET, 08/04/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
The luxury eyewear shop is set to open on August 5. By Caroline Cunningham
Photographs courtesy Morgenthal Frederics.

The next in a long line of luxury store openings at CityCenterDC, the mixed-use development that fills the blocks between Ninth and 11th Street south of New York Avenue, Morgenthal Frederics will celebrate its new shop on the evening of August 5.

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Posted at 12:23 PM/ET, 08/04/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
A big patio and fried grasshoppers are just the beginning. By Anna Spiegel

Former Duke’s Grocery chef Alex McCoy is having a busy year between traveling in Thailand and competing on the Food Network Star. Though the chef was just cut from the show's final four, he has good news to share: a lease signed with business partner Hunter Campbell at 845 Upshur Street, Northwest. Though the name is still in the works, the Southeast Asian concept is coming together for a fall opening. Here are early details on what you can expect.

Chef Alex McCoy will transform a former Petworth Chinese into an ambitious Southeast Asian restaurant. Photograph via Twitter.


House-made noodles, locally-grown Thai ingredients

McCoy is angling for a laid-back vibe, but the casual atmosphere won’t extend to the kitchen. The team plans to work with local farms to grow as much Thai produce as the Washington climate allows, including pea eggplants for curries, fresh kaffir lime, and turmeric. Noodles for soups and sautés will be house-made, as will all the curry bases and sauces.

Expat-inspired dishes

Authenticity is the goal, but that doesn’t mean only serving regional Thai items. “When you travel in Southeast Asia you have two experiences: the cultural experiences with the temples, food, and people—and then a phenomenal traveler’s culture too,” says McCoy. The restaurant's concept will also draw on expat traditions, like beet and grilled pineapple-topped “Aussie burgers” that one finds among the many Australian travelers, or Balinese dishes. “That’s the inspiration for this place,” says McCoy. “We want to introduce people to Thai cuisine, but frame it in the eye of a traveler.”

Fried grasshoppers

Diners can expect some lesser-known specialties alongside crowd-pleasers such as whole marinated chickens roasted and served with sticky rice. A daily-rotating curry will go beyond red and green with options like Northern-style pork or jungle curries traditionally made with frog’s legs. Another possibility for experimental eating: grasshoppers fried with plenty of chili and lime. “They’re a great bar snack,” says McCoy.

A large outdoor patio

The former China America Inn space, a 1930’s-era building, boasts a 1,200 square-foot back patio, which will be designed for an indoor/outdoor feel. The interiopr portion of the restaurant and bar will open first, while the al fresco half is slated to debut the following spring.

More concepts to come

Though no other leases are ready, McCoy says he and Campbell have a few more concepts in the works and are actively looking for spaces. Not all will be Asian, or sit-down dining—the duo have ideas for a sandwich shop, as well as a bar. “We want to create restaurants that have crave-worthy food, and that could be South American or European,” says McCoy. “The key is no compromise on quality.”

Posted at 12:06 PM/ET, 08/04/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Toki, an art collective formed by two recent architecture grads, created this installation at an abandoned building in Northeast. All photos courtesy Toki.

This summer, two Howard University architecture grads named Toluwalase Rufai and Khai Grubbs, who form the art collective known as Toki, are creating string installations across Washington. First, there was an outdoor web of yarn at Fort Totten Park. Now they've moved on to an abandoned building at 809 Channing Pl., Northeast, in Edgewood, where they've tied magenta, orange, light pink, and cyan string around columns, creating an Instagram-worthy piece that's meant to make visitors think about sound and the perception of public space. Dubbed "Synth Series 002," the piece was inspired by music, Rufai and Grubbs say.

"These creations allow us to represent the sounds of music as physical worlds," the duo writes in an email. They don't get too fussy about meaning though: "Ultimately, we just aim to create dope experiences."

The installation will be on display for two more weeks and is open daily from 7 AM to 7 PM. Follow the pair on Instagram @khaitect and @tolu_r for updates.

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Posted at 11:41 AM/ET, 08/04/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Columbia Height's popular Laotian spot gains national recognition. By Anna Spiegel
Thip Khao lands on Bon Appétit's best new restaurant list for its mouth-searing Laotian fare. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Bon Appétit announced their annual list of the 50 Best New Restaurants in America, which includes one DC name: Thip Khao, chef Seng Luangrath's Laotian spot in Columbia Heights. The team is also behind Bangkok Golden in Falls Church.

All 50 eateries—which include big names like New York’s Momofuku Ko—are contenders for the ultimate honor: the Bon Appétit Hot 10, a callout of the top tier that will be announced on August 18. Last year Rose’s Luxury took the number one slot, resulting in more epic lines than usual. We’re hoping we won’t have to linger outside Thip Khao pre-opening for a taste of crispy rice salad, but it might be a good idea to get there before the 18th.

Posted at 10:39 AM/ET, 08/04/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Emily Brooks and Max Kuller wed on November 1, 2014. By Caroline Cunningham

Though the wedding world might have you convinced you need to pick one or two main colors for the design of your celebration, Emily Brooks and Max Kuller’s nuptials are proof that that just isn’t true. We love how they brought together their love of bright, fun colors into their day with everything from napkins to bouquets to custom Nike sneakers for the groomsmen. Most of all, we love that Emily and Max let their personalities shine through in these photos by Erin Scott Photography.

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Posted at 10:14 AM/ET, 08/04/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Where to find today’s food trucks in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. By Angie Hilsman

Happy Tuesday, food truck followers! Head to Capitol South for Popped! Republic's kettle corn, or stop by Farragut Square for fish and chips from RockSalt.

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Posted at 09:51 AM/ET, 08/04/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()