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Eat, Drink, Man, Woman: Making the Restaurant Rounds

I don't get out much.

Oh sure, I get out more than some people -- people in iron lungs, the incarcerated, agoraphobes -- but I am not a party animal. Which is why the last two evenings were so unusual.

Sunday night I was at the Omni Shoreham Hotel for the Rammy Awards, the prizes given out by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. I was there to hand out the Neighborhood Gathering Place of the Year award.

I was supposed to present it with D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier but at the last minute she couldn't make it. Good thing I hadn't actually brought a pair of handcuffs, as I'd considered doing. I'd also wanted to move to each of the nominees' neighborhoods, start frequenting them and judge for myself how good they were. I didn't have the chance to do that either.

The nominees were Belga Cafe, Cork, EatBar, The Liberty Tavern and Marvin. The winner was Arlington's Liberty Tavern.

Restaurant people, on the whole, are a rather handsome people. I've fallen in love with countless restaurant hostesses over the years, and dressed up in their frocks they made a pleasing sight -- as did the men, I'm sure. Of course, there can be too much of a good thing and when you have 1,000 people stuffed into even the largest of rooms it can be overwhelming. My Lovely Wife and I didn't actually stay for the food. Maybe next year.


I did partake last night at Martin's Tavern in Georgetown, which was celebrating its 75th anniversary. There can't be much in Georgetown that's as old and as continuously operated as Martin's. And when you've been around that long, history is gonna happen. Martin's is perhaps best known as the place where JFK proposed to Jackie (in what is now referred to as the "proposal booth").

Every sitting president from Truman to Dubya has been to Martin's. (So far, apparently, no Obama.) I wonder if other places around town with a similar record are lobbying to have the current president stop by, just to preserve their unbroken streak. St. John's Church on Lafayette Square has always boasted about its connections to the White House. I think Obama has already ticked that one off his list.

Proprietor Billy Martin -- the fourth Billy Martin -- was hobbling around on a bum foot, wishing everyone well. (His 11-year-old son, the fifth Billy Martin, was there too.) Chris Matthews was among the guests, as was Luke Russert. Willard Scott made a few remarks. Willard hasn't changed at all from his days hamming it up on D.C. radio. Here's hoping he lives to 100 so he can wish himself a happy birthday.

All in all, a lovely evening. I really need to get out more.

By John Kelly  |  June 9, 2009; 9:29 AM ET
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You do need to get out more and if you would just come across the river once in a while, we could show you a good time on the fun side of the Potomac!

Posted by: mfromalexva | June 9, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Seems to me you get out a lot, just maybe not to restaurants and bars so much. Nothing wrong with that. There are two places where I am a genuine "regular": Eastern Market (for me at least, the best place to shop for most everything one needs) and Four Mile Run dog park (the best dog park I have ever been to and it's not even close).

Posted by: Southwester | June 9, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

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