I don't know your parameters for "short distance from the hotel," but cabs tend to be plentiful and public transportation in DC is very good. Your hotel is close to the Dupont Circle stop on the Red Line, near a myriad of bus lines, and walking distance from lots of stuff. BTW, I love Kimpton hotels. If you're not a Kimpton InTouch member, you should sign up before you leave. It's free, and gets you several perks, including free Internet access.Minibar, of course, for tour-type food.
A reservation can be difficult to come by. Long eGullet thread here.
They're not tour-y like Alinea, but if you're unable to get into Minibar for your "high-end" meal, I strongly suggest either the main dining room at Palena
(two stops north on the Red Line from Dupont Circle), City Zen
at the Mandarin Oriental hotel (best take a cab), or Komi,
which is just a few blocks from your hotel.
Definitely hit Rasika
for Indian food. It's loud and often busy, but worth it.
Weinoo's recommendation of Proof
is good. In a similar vein is Vidalia,
very near your hotel.
One of the best dinner bargains in DC is the pre-theater menu at Tosca,
home to some of the best sophisticated Italian food in the District.
If you're in the mood for an independent bookstore (with a café), Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe
are on the other side of Dupont Circle from you.
Edited by Alex, 20 August 2010 - 12:07 PM.