Thursday, March 3, 2011

Shirlington Happy Hours

This is the Thursday Thirst with Jackie Carl!

Shirlington Happy Hours
Sorry CSKer’s for the lost blog last week. I rarely let work interfere with my happy hour recap, but I we all gotta work for the Man… and whoever he is, he needs to let his hair down a bit. So this week, let me take you on a little trip. Don’t be scared. Honest. A lot of people go here, even live here. I know because I once did. And people there are much like us – believe me. Please join me in a happy hour in…. Virginia.

… and you’re not near a metro.

Ok ok before you stop reading hear me out for a minute. Honestly I used to work in this little corner of the world, and had convinced many of my DC friends to come out and visit and partake in its quaintness. Once convinced it’s easy to come back. I’m talking about the tiny village of Shirlington, fondly called ShirleyVegas by many of its inhabitants. It is, in all honesty, an easy place to get to- and getting easier by the day. Since I started working there, more bus lines have been added to their very new and helpful bus transit there. Yes I said bus.

Ok ok again before you stop reading, the DC buses are super easy to use, especially for a little get away like to Shirlington. Best part is, it’s a flat rate and most of the time, the card scanner doesn’t work (thank you WMATA) so you end up riding for free. So metro to Pentagon, Ballston or Crystal City and check out the schedules at I promise you, Donna Summer you will survive.

On to the drinking. ShirleyVegas has a great “strip” of bars and eating establishments that you can view here but I’m going to take you to my tried and true HH (and I’ve tried a few) Ping.

Ping is a Charlie Chang’s restaurant that serves upscale sushi and asian cuisine. They also have a killer happy hour. You may or may not know, that restaurants in VA are not allowed to advertise their happy hours online, so I’ll help you out. Please see the menu below.

We started out with a refreshing vodka soda and seaweed salad. The salad was the perfectly dressed with a sweet sesame oil, but still chilled and crunchy.

Second course were (my favorite) steamed meat dumplings served with a sweet soy dipping sauce. I could drink that sauce! We paired it with pork spring rolls (you can get veggie) that they serve with a ½ duck sauce/ ½ spicy mustard mix. Warning: that spicy mustard will get up your nose!
Finally, we ended it up with 2 sushi rolls: eel and cucumber and spicy tuna. Now Ping can make all sorts of crazy super fun rolls, but these are delish and on happy hour pricing.
So we’re full, the night is over? WRONG! They don’t call it ShirleyVegas for nothing. We followed the bright lights down the strip to the Tony Award Winning Signature Theatre (Jackie used to work there). This great venue offers a multitude of performances from big musicals, to intimate student workshops. However, tonight we were there for the cabaret by Katie Thompson. With a wine bar containing carefully selected libations, and a kitchen with warm gourmet cooking, it’s the perfect place to grab a bottle, go into a dark theater, and listen to extraordinary musicians. The bottle will be about $30-$45 dollars based on your selection, but the taste is worth it. And what is a better way to end a night than a cozy table for two, an amazing vocalist, and a succulent Malbec….. and a cab ride home.
Lessons learned: If wanting to venture to ShirleyVegas for a weeknight happy hour, get there before 6pm – that’s when the Signature Theatre staff gets off work ;). Signature Theatre’s cabarets are open seating, so get your seat first, then head to the bar. Some cabs from the VA may not know their way around all of DC… honestly; You may have to Sacagawea them home (no ,that is not dirty).

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