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We’re swooning over these spring blossom-filled photos. By Caroline Cunningham

We’ve never seen a King protea we didn’t love--and that holds true for the amazing tropical floral centerpiece in this styled shoot at Worsell Manor. All the pretty spring blooms were photographed by Laura of Laura’s Focus Photography, along with the gorgeous table setting put together by Katie Parks of White Oak Weddings & Events. Altogether, this styled shoot is perfect inspiration for a spring barn wedding reception.

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Posted at 01:43 PM/ET, 08/27/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
A report about DC's dismal commutes ignores some important recent developments. By Benjamin Freed
The Silver Line and the highway. Photograph by Flickr user Ron Cogswell.

Few things unite the DC area's residents quite like an academic report assuring them of their widely held conviction that Washington is hellish for people attempting to travel from their places of residence to places of business. No wonder, then, that the release Wednesday of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute's assessment of commuting trends—that ranked the DC metropolitan area's traffic as the nation's worst—was met with reader reactions like "No shit" and "I hate that place, so glad I left."

But as justifiably infuriating as some of the Urban Mobility Report's findings are—Eighty-two hours a year wasted in traffic jams! Thirty-five gallons of gasoline burned while idling on the highway! Individual losses of $1,834!—there's reason to be just as mad at the study itself. While driving alone remains the overwhelming favorite mode of commuting in Washington (and everywhere else in the country), the Texas A&M publication uses its review of one type of transportation to diagnose the entire spectrum of urban mobility, and dismisses public transportation, cycling, and walking out-of-hand.

That's a somewhat sloppy approach to evaluating commuting trends, and one for which Washington's proponents of alternative modes of transportation are knocking the Aggies.

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Posted at 01:26 PM/ET, 08/27/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Fresh options for dining and drinking. By Anna Spiegel
Khao Poon DC dishes up Laotian noodles at Union Market. Photograph via Facebook.

Khao Poon DC pop-up at Union Market

1309 5th St., NE

Can’t wait for Khao Poon DC, the upcoming Laotian noodle house from Thip Khao and chef Deth Khaiaphone? Head to Union Market, where bowls are currently being served. Dishes vary--past examples include green curry noodles with shrimp, and wide noodles tossed with herbs, pickled jicama, and fermented soybean ragu.

Thip Khao fans should also note that the Columbia Heights restaurant is briefly closing for minor renovations next week, August 31 to September 3.

Veloce pours $2 beers for Thirsty Thursday

1828 L St., NW

As if you needed more incentive to hit happy hour early in August. Chef Ruth Gresser’s fast-casual pizzeria offers a progressive “Thirsty Thursday” deal from 5 to 8. Craft cans of beer like New Belgium Fat Tire and Dale’s Pale Ale go for $2 at 5, $3 at 6, and $4 at 7, while pizzas are $8 throughout. As if you needed an incentive to hit happy hour

Magnolia’s on King pours limited-edition brews

Old Town’s new southern spot is expanding their craft beer program, and will team up with local breweries for a series of specials. The first: a firkin of Port City’s seasonal Optimal Wit with Nectarines, which the restaurant will tap on Thursday at 6, and serve for only 72 hours (or until the beer is gone). Glasses can be purchased for $5, and paired with special dishes such as a burger with grilled peaches and smoked cheddar, and a nectarine crisp.

Pepe lands at Nationals Park

1299 Half St., SE

It’s a beautiful week for a baseball game, and also for a fried chicken sandwich from José Andrés’s Pepe food truck. Now you can combine the two, as the vendor will park at the Fairgrounds outside Nationals Park for a number of home games. Gazpacho--delicious, and also the home team color (kind of).

Veuve Clicquot takes on Washington

Drinkers can get their fill of bubbly this week when the Veuve Clicquot truck rolls into town on Thursday. The luxury wagon will make several stops, including a Champagne happy hour at Café Dupont on Thursday from 5 to 9, and a brunch at Fig & Olive on Sunday from 11 to 3. Check the schedule for more information.

Posted at 11:38 AM/ET, 08/27/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Cheer up! It's not you. It's the demographics. Photo courtesy Shutterstock.

You're not imagining things: The dating scene really does suck for women in Washington, and the reason why has nothing to do with love or romance.

It's all about demographics: There are 49 percent more college-educated women in DC, age 24 and younger, than college-educated men. Americans typically marry within their same educational level, so it's no wonder dating can be downright awful for women.

That's the premise behind Jon Birger's recently released book, Date-onomics: How Dating Became a Lopsided Numbers Game. Birger, a former writer at Money and Fortune magazines, calls this phenomenon "the man deficit."

He first caught on to the idea when he and his wife turned 30. They realized they didn't have any single male friends. What they did have were a bunch of terrific female friends who just couldn't find suitable partners. "That made no sense," he says.

He started digging through Census data and discovered the problem was much bigger than his own experience. He says it's a nationwide phenomenon. At birth, things are pretty straightforward: 1.05 boys are born in the US for every one girl. But when it comes to college-educated women between the ages of 22 and 29, the numbers shift considerably. In that case, there are four women for every three men.

Washington women have it pretty bad, but it's actually worse elsewhere. The gap in Miami is a whopping 86 percent. It's also tough finding a date in rural areas. "The surprising thing is that in rural states like Montana and Mississippi, this college man deficit is actually worse," Birger says.

And the inverse applies to non-college-grads. In that cohort, there's a deficit of ladies: "There's an oversupply [of men] in the working class." (Though the book focuses on straight couples, Birger also delves into how the gay and lesbian community affects the "heterosexual dating pool.")

So what's a gal to do? Accustomed to writing about what he describes as "boring stuff like the stock market and oil and gas," Birger is the first to admit he's no dating coach. But while self-help books rattle on about how "he's just not that into you," his book offers a very different explanation: "It’s that there aren’t enough of him."

In other words, it's not a woman's fault she can't find a partner. "It seems from reading a lot of dating books... the message is, 'You’re going about it wrong,'" Birger says. "My message is, 'This is not a strategic problem. This is a demographic problem."

His advice, as you might expect, is more wonky than inspirational: "The long term solution is to get more men to attend college. This is a labor, economic problem."

There you have it, ladies.

Posted at 10:42 AM/ET, 08/27/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Here are 5 that prove them wrong. By Anna Spiegel
One of the best crab cakes in Washington can be found at Union Market's Rappahannock Oyster Bar. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Earlier this summer, Food & Wine magazine came out with a list of the 19 Best Crab Cakes in the US. The list gave Baltimore its due, with accolades for Jimmy’s Famous Seafood and Faidley’s, but DC and the surrounding Chesapeake area were snubbed.

Now granted, crab cakes are a national tradition, and it was good to see Dungeness cakes from Seattle and Southern-style versions from Charleston make the cut. But you can in fact get excellent crab cakes in DC. Here are are five we’d enter into the running. Try them now, when local crabs are at their peak.

The crab cake breakfast at Market Lunch

225 Seventh St., SE

One of our favorite only-in-DC experiences is grabbing a seat at this counter-service stand in Eastern Market, and digging into a hearty breakfast. A great pick: the crisp-fried crab cake served on a platter with two eggs any style, grits or potatoes--we can't pass up the former--a fresh roll, and plenty of hot sauce for drizzling ($13.75).

Crab cake sandwich at BlackSalt

4883 MacArthur Blvd., NW

Chef Jeff Black’s fish market/restaurant is a reliable source for true Maryland crab cakes—no foreign meat masquerading as local. The dish comes as an entree at dinner, but our favorite preparation is the lunchtime sandwich. A fresh-baked brioche bun is spread with lemon-caper aioli, and the cake gets a spicy slaw topping for extra kick ($19).

Crab cake with celeriac remoulade at Rappahannock Oyster Bar

1309 Fifth St., NE

Rappahannock Oyster Co.'s Richmond restaurant made F&W’s list, but their cake is so good, it’s worth a second mention.The Union Market branch forgos the bun, serving the generous, meat-packed round on a creamy bed of celeriac slaw with tangy remoulade ($14).

Jumbo lump crab cakes at Blue Duck Tavern

1201 24th St., NW

The preparation changes seasonally at this elegant New American inside the Park Hyatt hotel, but the quality of the virtually filler-free crab cakes stays the same. These days you’ll find them perfectly pan-seared as ever, paired with a pickled vegetable salad and Old Bay remoulade ($16 appetizer; $32 entree).

Maryland crab cakes at Johnny’s Half Shell

400 N. Capitol St., NW

Veteran chef Ann Cashion has mastered the classics at Johnny’s—gumbo, lemon chess pie—and her Maryland crab cakes are no different. The perfectly seasoned cakes can be ordered broiled or fried, as an appetizer or entree—the latter arrives with creamy slaw and addictive fries ($17 appetizer; $35 entree).

Posted at 10:31 AM/ET, 08/27/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Why blowouts are such a big business in Washington. By Cathy Alter
Photograph by Jeff Elkins.

"No cuts. No color. Just blowouts.” It’s the maxim chalked on the Rococo-esque blackboard at the entrance to Drybar, and it reminds me of the David Letterman bit in which he walks into a store called Just Shades and asks, “But seriously, what can you get besides just shades here?”

Blowouts are all Drybar does, and they’re so popular that on this summer Saturday, all of the chairs in the Georgetown outpost are occupied by 8 a.m., including the ones in the reception area where women wait their turn while thumbing through back issues of In Touch or texting on their iPhones. Above them hangs a chandelier made of hair dryers, bundled and dangling upside down from their cords.

According to a maniacally cheerful video on the company’s YouTube page, Drybar came to be after West Coast hairstylist Alli Webb began a one-person side business that provided in-home blowouts to women around LA. She quickly had more clients than she could handle, and after securing a loan from her brother—a former Yahoo executive who is now Drybar’s executive board chair—Webb opened her first store in Brentwood, California, in 2010.

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Posted at 10:30 AM/ET, 08/27/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Where to find today’s food trucks in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. By Angie Hilsman

Happy Thursday, food truck followers! Visit The Corn Factory in Capitol South for cheese arepas, or stop by Phillies Phamous in Farragut Square for a Philly cheesesteak.

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Posted at 10:10 AM/ET, 08/27/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Here are the best events around town. By Heather Rudow
Yoga at the museum: It's a thing. Photo by Cathy Carver.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 27

DRINK: Get ready for the cooler days ahead while celebrating your love of tart bear at City Tap House’s Sour That: Summer is Ending Party. Expect nine tap lines of sour beers made by breweries from all over the world. Sour beer is pretty rare because of the often-arduous process of making it: Its unique flavor comes from fermenting wild yeast and bacteria, sometimes for years. $6 to $13, bar opens at 11:30 AM.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 28

YOGA: With its unique design, manicured greenery, and fascinating art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden already gives off a Zen-like air. The weekly free yoga sessions offered on the museum’s plaza don’t hurt either. Every Friday morning through September 11, ease your way into the weekend with an hour of vinyasa flow yoga. All you have to do is bring your mat. Free, 9 AM.

PARTY: The Art Museum of the Americas’ annual Art After Dark party gives you the chance to explore the museum at night while enjoying live music, cocktails, video, and performance art. "Waterweavers," the museum’s latest exhibit, will stay open for the occasion. $49, 8 PM to 1 AM.

BIKE: Celebrate the full moon with a bike ride under the stars while donning a Hawaiian shirt and lei. BicycleSPACE’s Luau Ride begins at their downtown shop and ends at Bardo. The route goes along the Anacostia River, so you’ll get a perfect view of the moon. Plus, while you’re wetting your whistle at Bardo, Aloha Island Revue will bring the luau theme to life. Free, 7 PM.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 29

PARTY: Part of WithLove DC’s mission is to bring joy to the masses. (They host pop-up yoga classes in town every week.) On Saturday, the organization will host a silent disco party in Dupont Circle. A danceable playlist will be uploaded to a Dropbox on their website for participants to download. At 8 PM in the Circle, everyone is asked to press play at the same time; then the dancing commences. Free, 8 PM.

DANCE: Michael Jackson would have been 57 years old on August 29. Celebrate the King of Pop with a dance party at the 9:30 Club. MJ Day is how Dominic Redd, also known as DJ Dredd, has honored Jackson’s birthday every year since his death, with what's considered “DC's biggest Michael Jackson-themed dance party.” The celebration will feature Jackson’s most-loved songs, deep cuts, remixes, and videos. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Girls Rock! DC. $15, 8 PM.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 30

KARAOKE: If countless renditions of “Don’t Stop Believin’” have you hating on karaoke, DC9’s got the antidote with their monthly dose of indie rock karaoke. The much-needed palate cleanser will include music from the likes of Wilco, Beat Happening, Elliott Smith, Rilo Kiley, and more. Free, 8 PM.

THEATER: Atlas Performing Arts Center presents Scena Theatre’s special rendition of Oscar Wilde's the Importance of Being Earnest through September 12. The beloved comedy of errors premiered in 1895, but this gender-bending version is set in in the 1920s. $25 to $45, 8 PM.

DANCE: Jump to the left, then take a step to the right: Earlorrin Productions presents Chocolate Covered Rocky Horror at Joe’s Movement Emporium. The '70s cult classic Rocky Horror Picture Show has given rise to interactive performances, and Sunday's version involves a shadow cast with performers acting out the music and scenes--all while the movie plays onscreen. You can also catch the show on August 28. $25, 8 PM.

Posted at 10:00 AM/ET, 08/27/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
This fall, female playwrights debut more than 50 world premieres around town. Here are the ones you can't miss.

Photograph by Christopher Mueller.

Cake Off

Signature Theatre; September 29-November 22

Signature turns up the heat in this musical—a batter-soaked battle-of-the-sexes comedy filled with juicy jabs and delicious zingers. Playwright Sheri Wilner's satire is set to a score by Julia Jordan (Murder Ballad) and Adam Gwon. Let the flour fly! $40 to $96.

Illustration by Nigel Buchanan.

Destiny of Desire

Arena Stage; September 11-October 18

You don't need a Latin lineage (or passable Spanish) to savor a spicy telenovela. This play opens on a dark and stormy night in Mexico, where two newborns are switched at birth by a conniving beauty queen. Playwright Karen Zacarías defies expectations in this comedy about the roles we play onscreen and off. $40 to $90.

Photograph by Stan Barouh.

Women Laughing Alone with Salad

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company; September 7-October 4

Inspired by an internet meme, this world premiere is a biting look at our thinness-obsessed culture. When a twentysomething guy is tempted by a self-conscious new gal, the world--including his diet-obsessed girlfriend and former old-school feminist mothe--rallies against him. $35 to $58.

Posted at 06:00 AM/ET, 08/27/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
The airport’s redevelopment brings new luxury retailers to the concourses. By Caroline Cunningham
Image courtesy Dulles International Airport.

Malls have left their heyday behind, but it’s looking like the new weekend hangout for shopping and dining may just be the airport.

In 2013, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) embarked on a nearly 36-month-long process to redevelop 90 percent of the dining and retail offerings at Reagan National and Dulles International airports. MarketPlace Development was hired to take on the task, and on August 19, they celebrated the launch of the new luxury shopping wing in Concourses A and B at Dulles.

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Posted at 02:12 PM/ET, 08/26/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()