Category: Leisure

The Chef Geoff’s Bulletin Introduction

Washington, DC is a city of great institutions — the foundations of our republic, historical landmarks, monuments to great men and women, and so many exciting events that you can spend years living here and never make it to all of them. But, throughout my six years in DC, there is one institution, above all, that has soaked up a disproportionate amount of my time and attention: Chef Geoff’s, a classic American establishment not far from the alma mater of myself and my fellow The Postrider co-founders, American University. Just off of New Mexico Avenue, it’s a beacon of great happy hour deals and good times, camaraderie and friendship, with burgers to die for and their infamous “supermugs” to wash it all down in a statement of thrilling excess. 

In fact, I go to Chef Geoff’s almost every. single. week. Weekly happy hour became a tradition amongst The Postrider gang back when Michael and I first began working together. It’s now a lynchpin in our lives, as we’ve grown personally and professionally in this great city, and brings us all together each week to have a good time and talk about work, life, love, politics, drama, and everything else over some good food.

In honor of Chef Geoff’s, to live out my dream of being a food critic, and, in part, to finally get noticed for my unusual adoration of this dining establishment, I’ve decided to start what I’m calling the Chef Geoff’s Bulletin (CGB) here at The Postrider: a periodical chronicling every visit, using data and metrics (I am the lowly State & Science editor, after all), and providing a critical assessment of the restaurant. The CGB will be a near-weekly blurb on our visits that can be expanded into a larger analysis over time. In each addition, I’ll list what I ordered, and provide the R-Score for the experience.

I covered the R-Score metric last month as a comprehensive measure for evaluating a dining experience in a fairly objective and standardized way. For more information on the methodology, you can read all about it here, but here’s a fairly quick analysis of how it will be used for the CGB:

  1. Fare (value over price): This is the quality of the food and drink relative to the price. If the price for the meal was perfectly worthwhile, the score will come out to a 1. If the meal wasn’t worth the price, it’ll come out to less. And, if it’s the greatest meal I’ve ever had relative to the price, it’ll be higher than a 1. This is also how we track price over time. Chef Geoff’s recently raised many of its prices,1Much to my dismay as a consumer, but to my delight as an economist wanting to occupy more of a scarce resource (seats at Chef Geoff’s). so this should make for an interesting starting point. The methodology on evaluating my perceived value is a bit long-winded, so I do recommend reading the R-Score article if you’re more interested in the details, but, in Chef Geoff’s case it revolves around a classic question I face every week: order the burger or order the pizza?
  2. Service (1-5): This is fairly straightforward. It’s the quality of the service. Waiting a long time for food, drink, the receipt, etc. would bring this score down, while attentiveness and  surprise bread for the table bringing it up. Service is weighted the same as fare.
  3. Atmosphere (1-3): This is the general vibe and pleasantness of the space. Clean bathrooms, good music, and a good crowd are better to have than not to have, after all. Atmosphere is weighted half as much as food and service.
  4. Time-to-Seat (TTS) (in minutes): This is a frequent struggle at Chef Geoff’s. Happy hour there can be popular, and there are a limited number of seats. TTS factors into the equations as a subtraction from the total score over a standard time of 10 minutes. This means that 10 minutes is roughly equal to losing out on one point of quality in another area or 0.10 overall.
  5. Above and Beyond (AAB) (binary): This is a potential way to reconcile something else going awry. AAB accounts for anything the restaurants does that’s not usually expected of it (like comping a meal or giving you a free drink). This is a simple binary yes or no indicator accordingly, and it can only increase the score.

These components contribute to a metric that generally fits squarely between 0 (very bad) to 10 (very good) for any given time at the restaurant. And that metric will give numerical data to plot countless visits from here onward. It should make for a unique data story once we’re in the thick of it, and serve as useful testing-grounds for the R-Score methodology. We’ve already got three visits and their data up, and you can track the CGB overall right here.

The R-Score: A Metric for Evaluating Restaurants

Baseball stars, politicians, cars, and even credit cards are associated with sophisticated mechanisms for grading and scoring that weigh the various components of their actions and abilities as well as their costs and benefits. These metrics offer an easy way to assess and compare the objects of their focus to other units. In anticipation of an upcoming column here on The Postrider, I believe it’s time to bring a scoring metric to restaurants, and – after failing to find one subjective enough to capture a wide range of options and personal tastes but objective enough that its methods could be standardized and generally applicable to a diverse array of locations and users – I decided to invent one myself. I’ve named it the Restaurant Score (or, if you’re looking for something that sounds cooler, the R-Score), a metric on the restaurant experience between worst (0) and best (10).1There is some possibility of run-over in the negatives and scores above 10 in extreme situations, but I’ll discuss this later.

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A Ren Fest Newbie’s Take on the Maryland Renaissance Festival

Photo credit: Capital Gazette

If you’ve ever been to a Michaels craft store you know how… much… it is. We’re talking beads of every shape and color, scrapbooking materials for the most obscure memories, birdhouse-building supplies (because that’s apparently a real hobby), Ireland’s entire sheep population in the form of colorfully spun yarn, an entire wall full of that puffy paint elementary schoolers decorate t-shirts with, and, like, glitter glue.

The entire store smells of artificially produced pumpkin spice no matter what time of year it is, unless you’re in the scented candle section, that is. Everything there just smells like a migraine waiting to happen.

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Georgetown’s Filomena Ristorante is Bountiful with Saucy Nostalgia

Photo credit: Filomena Ristorante

Have you ever crossed paths with one of those strip clubs that have dancers shaking their bits in the front window to entice customers puppy-in-the-pet-shop-style? Yeah, me neither. I imagine most of those establishments were done away with in the 80s. Still, I can’t believe any of those displays would have been more erotic than the scene you’ll find at 1063 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC.

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The One Thing Missing From My String of Fairytale Romances

The lips on the other side of my first kiss belonged to Tiago*, a friend of a friend’s roommate visiting from out of town. We met at a Halloween party where he came dressed in a fitted, short-sleeve button down shirt with little toucans on it instead of a costume.

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