ES Local: The DC Gay Valentine’s Day Guide


Valentine’s Day is the time of the year when personal displays of affection are obligatory — a day to celebrate without any inhibitions.  For the gay community this can sometimes be a challenge as restaurants are not as universally tolerant of gay couples’ PDAs. We’ve all heard the horror stories where a gay couple has been asked to leave a restaurant when either the owner isn’t happy or other customers feel uncomfortable. Yes, the gay community has its own restaurants, but there are not enough seats to fill every gay person in the city, especially this city.

Here is my guide to some great restaurants in DC where I would be happy to go on V-Day, to recommend to my friends, or to you, the readers of ES.

The First Date: 1789

As deceptive as it is great. Daniel Giusti is one of the youngest Executive Chefs in one of the oldest and grandest of dining rooms in the District,  but you’d never guess by his youthful menu — my personal favourite dish is the Oyster Gratin. Actually, my experience at 1789 was somewhat overwhelming. The food really was exceptional but the surroundings and other clientele were not my usual setting. I think of 1789 as an older, more conservative restaurant, so I’m not sure that a gay couple would be comfortable showing some love. But I would recommend 1789 for a first date — first dates are not for touchy-feely situations but more for getting to know your newfound love, and 1789 can provide that conversational atmosphere. 1789 is offering a five-course tasting in addition to its a la carte menu. 1226 36th Street NW, (202) 965-1789

Impressing a Second Date: Tabard Inn

This classic standby is no stranger to gay clientele. Bordering Dupont and 17th Street, it’s a popular choice amongst my friends for weekend brunch and I suspect it will be no different come Valentine’s Day. The hotel is offering a 3-course prix fixe menu which includes Oysters, Seared Guinea Hen and a selection of desserts to choose, albeit on the pricier side at $65 per person. 1739 N Street NW, (202) 331-8528

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ES Local: Dining in DC’s (Not So) Gaybourhood


Every city has one — a gay neighbourhood ( fine — neighborhood to you yanks). L.A. has W. Hollywood, Chicago has Boystown and San Francisco has the Castro. Here in DC we have Logan and Dupont Circle. They’re the center of gay life, business and pride.

But the recent uprising of restaurants on 14th St here in DC has some of my friends and I thinking about how the current transformation is changing the neighbourhood, from a GLBT dining perspective. Over the last few weeks we have seen the opening of Masa 14, Birch & Barley and ChurchKey along with the upcoming developments of Diamond District Seafood Co., Estadio Restaurant and Cork and Fork. None of these restaurants appear to be GLBT owned or run establishments, which is strange due to the predominantly gay neighbourhood in which they reside.

Unlike Playbill Cafe, I am not suggesting that any of the existing restaurants such as Cafe St. Ex, Rice or even Bar Pilar were ever exclusively gay-centric, but walk into any of these on any given night (along with Commissary, Logan Tavern or Posto) and you will find a predominantly GLBT presence; they are simply considered part of the “gaybourhood.”

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Top Chef Exit Interview: Episode 7


High stakes indeed! This week, the Top Chef Las Vegas contestestants had to cook for not one, but five A-list dinner guests. Out chat with the eliminated gambler (spoiler alert!) after the jump.

BUT FIRST, in our continuing round-the-clock coverage of Padma Lakshmi’s hostile takeover of the entire media world, we’re pleased to bring you the latest music video from indie rockers The Eels, starring Ms. Lakshmi herself (watch for the not-so-subtle Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet plug):

OK, on with the exit interview…

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