Archive for the ‘Virginia’ Category

Silver Diner Debuts New Local/Healthy Menu

I swear I’m not going to become a food blogger. But I do love food- and apparently people notice when I write about food.

After writing about my brunch at Liberty Tavern, Silver Diner across the street invited me to a dinner with other bloggers to try out their new Fresh & Local menu. The new menu features items that are locally bought ingredients, gluten and allergy free, and health conscious.

I was surprised that co-founder and CEO Robert Giaimo was bluntly honest about the demographic of his customers. He asked how many of us have dined at one of his establishments and then asked how many of us were sober while doing so. Since I live across the street from this particular location I was proud to keep my hand up (even though I think I spent the later night of a Cinco de Mayo there as well.) However since he understands his clientele he also knows where the future of dining was going- and wants Silver Diner to lead the charge as they become the Next Generation Diner.

I was also impressed by the other co-founder and Vice President of Culinary Operations Ype Von Hengst. A chef born in The Netherlands, he was not what I pictured Silver Diner’s top food man to be. He knew how to entertain the crowd, comparing the new local produce as food that wasn’t cranky from a week long trip across the country.

Like I said I’m no food critic, if you want more informed opinions of the the new menu please consult my good friends at DC Gluttony and Every Food Fits.

I will say this though- they certainly treated us to a feast and it was good- and fellow TMG alumni Lisa approves as well.

Silver Diner is located all over Virginia and Maryland- check out their website to find out where the closest one to you is and if they carry the new menu, which is being rolled out in phases.

My First DC Brunch

DC is certainly a brunch city, and while I didn’t really like Washington City Paper’s best brunch choices, I recently experienced the brunch phenomenon myself at a really classy place.

I stumbled out of bed two Sundays ago with a headache and a growling stomach. My cell phone rang, it was my roommate Maricha asking me if I wanted to get brunch over at Liberty Tavern (where my other roommate, the who shovels snow with a rake, works.) I decided to give it a try and walked down the street.

We were lucky to get a table outside on what was a nice and sunny afternoon. When I went upstairs to check out the buffet spread my hungry eyes couldn’t of been happier.

Just check out some of the selections from the brunch menu:

  • Frittata with peppers, tomatoes, green onion, mozzarella
  • Scrambled Eggs with bacon, cheese, and veggies
  • Brioche French Toast with warm maple syrup, strawberry sauce, apples
  • North Country Applewood Smoked Bacon
  • Dave’s Fluffy Biscuits, Honey Glazed Ham, Milk Gravy
  • Roasted chicken chimichangas with sour cream, cheddar
  • Smoked Salmon, capers, crème fraiche, egg
  • Stuffed Leg of Lamb, spinach, pecans and spiced prunes with lamb jus
  • Chocolate-Banana Trifle with Vanilla Pastry Cream

Just typing out the menu just made me hungry again- and I just finished lunch.

The only thing that would of made this brunch perfect would probably be mimosas, because what would brunch be without a little adult beverages? I don’t even think I’ve had mimosas yet but I wasn’t in the mood to be drinking in the middle of the afternoon- that will have to wait for my return visit to Liberty Tavern for brunch. The food is good and for what you pay it’s a great value. Plus I still need to figure out how to ask out the cute waitress with the short brown hair. Liberty Tavern you can expect me for future returns.

Liberty Tavern serves brunch every Sunday starting a 9:30 AM and lasting til 2:00 PM. They offer a buffet and a la carte options, I highly recommend the buffet.

Liberty Tavern
3195 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 465-9360

Northside Social Told In Three Visits

In my lifelong quest for finding places where I can blog, I gave Murky Coffee in Clarendon a try and found it to be the perfect stereotypical coffee spot: kind of divey, free WiFi, and always overcrowded due to it’s perfect environment for studying or looking like a hipster.

When Murky became defunct last year, I was not so interested about a bakery opening up in it’s place, but when the plan evolved into a new coffee shop run by the folks at Liberty Tavern- I was more than excited to find another place to write my blog posts.

The new coffee shop, Northside Social, opened up this week and I was more than excited to walk down the street and give it a try.

Visit One: Tuesday April 6th

I walked into the old Murky space and saw that it was anything but. Fresh coats of off-white paint; metal buckets used as lighting fixtures; and green and white accents give the place a country/farmhouse look. The handwritten menu completes the feel that I’ve walked out of Arlington and into a place hundreds of miles further.

The place was busy but not crowded; it was only the second day of business for the shop and it helped that I walked in well after most 9-5ers were in the office. I took a brief walk around the place and saw that the back room was still there, however the furniture looked less like it was acquired from Goodwill. Upstairs I found a bar and additional tables. I decided to pull up a stool at the long counter-top and pull out my netbook. I was excited about the fresh new look and was eager top write about it. However I was disappointed to see that neither of the store’s two WiFi networks were functioning. I overheard an employee say that the WiFi, “was still evolving.”

Still I grabbed an ice coffee and pulled out some papers on my reading list. While I was there I met Marianne Tolosa, Northside’s director of coffee, who gave me more insight on the new space. During the day Northside hopes to be a premiere coffee stop during the day, and at night open up the upstairs bar and serve wine at night.

Visit Two: April 10th

I decided to give Northside another go after my first experience, I walked over on Saturday morning and grabbed another spot on the counter. I was happy to see that one of the two WiFi networks were working and I was soon busy typing away on my keyboard.

The crowd has certainly grown- a quick look at their Facebook page reveals a lot of buzz from the media and locals.

I started to write this post but my phone rang and I had to suddenly leave. A return visit on Sunday was a possibility- perhaps a necessity to finish this write-up.

Visit Two: April 11th

Something I learned about Sundays: forget about hitting up a coffee shop- the DC brunch crowd makes it impossible to find an open seat.

I decided to take the risk and walk down to see what the crowd would be like on Northside’s first Sunday in business. Just as I expected a line spilled out the door and the outdoor patio was well stocked with Arlingtonians. I peeked inside and saw that the counter, my new home at Northside, was completely open. I guess people didn’t want to sit next to the long line of customers but I’m not picky. In fact I’d welcome anybody that wants to read this write-up over my shoulder.

Clearly Northside Social is enjoying a fantastic opening crowd, and for good reason. A great location, refreshing new look, and the people of the Liberty Tavern restaurant group all come together to form a new coffeehouse that will be a complete success.

Despite some growing pains, I will enjoy the place much more after they get their WiFi up and running at full strength and perhaps the music is a tad on the loud side, there’s nothing wrong with Northside Social and from the long line behind me as I type this- I’m not the only one that thinks so.

Northside Social
3211 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, Virginia 22201
http://northsidesocialarlington.com

Snow Apocalypse II: Snowball Fight!

With snowball fights erupting all over DC in the wake of the Snomageddon II, I partook in a snowball fight at the Clarendon Metro station:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IINVtj6vHlE[/youtube]

Snowgasm: Where Arlington Alert Says You Should Lay Low

I am easily amused by DC’s over reaction in warning people of massive events. So I’ll just let the text of the Arlington Alert I received yesterday say it all:

Another severe winter storm, with near blizzard conditions, is forecast to hit Arlington Fri., Feb. 5 through Sat., Feb. 6. Be prepared to shelter in place for 3 to 5 days . Please stay off the roads. Snow crews will plow primary and secondary roads first for emergency vehicles. After severe storms (more than 10”), it may take 36-48 hours after the snow stops before County plows can get to residential streets.
If they think I’ll be snowed for 3-5 days for a near-blizzard, what should we do if Snogasm turns into a full fledged Snopocalypse?

Screwtop Wine Bar & American Flatbread Headline New Face Of Clarendon

Screwtop Wine Bar one of many new additions to the Clarendon area

Watch out, Clarendon is about to get a whole lot hipper.

The Arlington neighborhood is already popularly known as the place to live if you are a young professional and the area is expanding with construction cranes filling the skyline, working to complete another apartment building. Along with additional residential projects, additional retail businesses are also sprouting up. On the corner of Washington & Fillmore, a few hundred feet from my door step, a new corridor of stores and restaurants are now open for business.

The Fillmore alleyway used to be a one-way street with nothing of note besides the local ABC store on one end and Harry’s Tap Room on the other, with a whole lot of nothing in between. Now a sleek new Gold’s Gym and a Le Pain Quotidien are in place and two new restaurants are ready to accommodate the locals.

Screwtop Wine Bar adds a new dimension to the already packed Clarendon food scene. Only six days old, the bar has actually been online for awhile, with a construction blog active since August. Screwtop offers a wide selection of small production wines and microbrews, which makes it the perfect place to find a try and taste something different. The restaurant also offers a Wine club where subscribers receive two bottles of a selected wine and cheese, charcuterie or chocolate for pairing.

Besides it’s angle for wine, what makes Screwtop a really interesting destination is the story behind its owner, Wendy Buckley. A former AOL executive, she left her six figure job at AOL to open the bar and has been since profiled in an AOL online reality series.

Another new face on Fillmore is American Flatbread, which offers an interesting variety of flatbread pizzas. Some of the specials include a Roasted Beet and Carrot Flatbread made with organic swiss chard, topped with all natural mozzarella and parmesan cheeses and pizza made with Virginia Ham, Apple, and Cheddar. American Flatbread is a part of Franchise that was founded in Vermont.

As more apartment complexes reach completion we can expect even more additions to the already bustling Clarendon scene.

Screwtop Wine Bar
1025 N. Fillmore St.
Arlington, VA 22201

American Flatbread
1025 N. Fillmore St.
Arlington, VA 22201
703-243-9465

Don’t Forget Virginia Local Elections Today

Courtesy Flickr user Mrs. Gemstone

I almost forgot there was an election today until I saw a VP walking around with his “I Voted” sticker. Compared to last year when everybody toted stickers it was a complete turn-around in turnout. Today polls opened in Virginia (and a few other states) for election of state officials. In Virginia the big race is the state Gubernatorial battle between Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell. With the election coming on a non-Presidential election day, we could possibly see the colors change this fall: from blue back to red.

The Washington Post reports that the low turnout could help an energized Republican party take back the top seat in Virginia:

Turnout was light, and interviews with voters at several Northern Virginia precincts showed little sign of the blue tide that swept Virginia a year ago, when the state played a pivotal role in the election of Barack Obama as the nation’s 44th president. Instead, many voters said they were distressed about the direction the country seemed to be taking under Obama’s leadership, and would vote for Republican candidates in part as a way to slow the pace of change.

I’ve long since lost interest in the local elections in my state, but I do believe in voicing my opinion- and you’ll see me step out of my office this afternoon to cast a vote, because if you don’t vote you can’t complain.

Polls statewide will be open til 7 P.M. today, to find your local polling station click here.

Bye Bye Birdie Finishes A Colorful Run This Weekend

birdie_rosie2I took a break from my own hectic theatre schedule to visit my friends at The Arlington Players, who are currently finishing a run of their fall production, Bye Bye Birdie.

I walked into the Thomas Jefferson Theatre last weekend and I felt like I walked into a Silver Diner with songs of the 50’s setting the tone for what was to come. The show makes a timely run in the DC area with a Broadway revival starring John Stamos slated to open in two weeks. The show revolves around songwriter and manager Albert Peterson (Chris Gillespie) and his client, Conrad Birdie (Michael Bigley.) When the pre-Jonas teen heart-throb is drafted in the Army, Peterson hatches up a publicity stunt to have Birdie go out with a bang.

Anne Marie Pinto plays Rosie Alvarez, Peterson’s secretary/love interest who is at odds with Albert’s mother, Mae (Kat Brais.) Kim MacAfee (Jordan Hougham) is the cute and adorable Conrad Birdie fan-club member that is to be kissed by Birdie on his last National television appearance.

The show’s strong points lie in the music. David Rohde leads what I have to admit is the best sounding Orchestra I’ve ever heard in a musical. Anne Marie Pinto and Jordan Hougham have absolutely beautiful voices and were real highlights to me in the show.

Besides great musical performances from the principals, the supporting cast gave entertaining efforts that almost stole every scene. I thought both Melissa Stamps and Kat Brais were very funny in playing the two mothers in the show: Kim’s effervescent mother Doris, or Albert’s thrifty and passive-aggressive mama Mae. My personal gold star goes to Cassandra Hodziewich, who’s ten minute cameo as Gloria Rasputin is absolutely unforgettable.

Amanda Acker designs another impressive set and also puts on the Producer hat for this production. Paired with the costume design of Lory Levitt and Irene Molnar, the resulting palette of colors in the show was pleasing from the first ensemble scene to the final outlines in the shadows.

Musical numbers like “The Telephone Hour” and “Put On A Happy Face” were cute and will be sure to take you back to a familiar time (funny I say that as a kid born in the 80’s.) In today’s world of Hannah Montana and The Jonas Brothers, Bye Bye Birdie tells a story of teenage teeny-boppers of an earlier time but should still resonate with all the trouble show biz brings to young stars today.

Bye Bye Birdie
Closing this weekend: October 2 —4
Thomas Jefferson Community Center
http://www.thearlingtonplayers.org/

This Is Just A Test: Arlington To Experience Mystery Mock Emergency Drill

Photo courtesy Flickr user niteowl7710

Just got this Arlington Alert in my inbox about a mystery emergency drill: “Arlington County will conduct a mock emergency drill TOMORROW, Saturday, September 26th. Law enforcement and first responder agencies will be involved. There will be NO service interruptions, NO planned street closures, and minimal traffic disruptions. This is a drill only.”

Good to know that it’s only a test, but exactly what should we expect? A little research resulted that Arlington County’s drill is actually part of a bigger exercise involving Alexandria, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties. The exercises will consist of the following scenarios:

  • In Arlington/Alexandria, there will be a simulated vehicle-based bomb, targeting a large group of people in the vicinity of train tracks, creating multiple victims.
  • For Fairfax City and Fairfax County, a simulated police chase that originates in Loudoun County ends at the Route 50/Fairfax County Parkway interchange with a box truck that overturns. Upon inspection, there are several bombs and chemicals in the back of the truck.
  • The Loudoun County event will simulate a bombing at a Park and Ride near the Dulles Greenway.
  • The Prince William County event will have a simulated bombing at the Rippon VRE station with numerous victims.

Wow that sounds more exciting than what the e-mail led on.

So if you see any Jack Bauer-like situations tomorrow morning, just be aware that it may only be pretend.

Cavalia: Or THAT’S What The Big Tent in Pentagon City Is!

One night I took a slightly inebriated cab ride home from Eastern Market to my apartment in Crystal City.  As I looked out to the right, I saw this:

A briliant photo of the Cavalia Tent by Flickr user Kevin H.

(Well okay, It was night when I saw it and Kevin here took a much better picture than I could have-but that’s basically what I saw.  You get the idea)

Towering over the hotels surrounding it appeared to be either a circus tent or the fairy-tale castle of any one of a variety of princes.  I checked myself-nope, not that drunk…dreaming maybe?  Did the girlfriend put on a Disney movie while I slept (again?) A trick of the lights?  Nope.  I was left with the incredibly odd question “Just what is that tent?”

We drove by the next day and, sure enough, it was still there.  Signs read “Cavalia” but didn’t really explain what it was.  Just that it was “Cavalia.” After a week of meaning to look that up and trying to spell “Cavalia” right from memory, posters appeared in my building advertising the coming of:

CAVALIA!

As such I was able to remember the name from the short walk from the elevator to my computer, and found the web site.  What is Cavalia? Per the web site, Cavalia is an equestrian show.  Specifically:

“Homage to the poignant history and fascinating bond between human beings and horses, Cavalia is a poem written in the language of sound, image and extraordinary performance.  Blending dramatic visual effects, live music, dance and acrobatics with the bold presence of over thirty magnificent horses-including, the incredible Lusitanian Stallions-Cavalia raises the bar for spectacular entertainment in the 21st century.

So it sounds to me like some sort of fairy tale with horses, real live horses, in a kinda/sorta Cirque Du Soliel show.  Or more bluntly, something my buddy will get dragged to by his girlfriend during football.

For what it is though, it seems pretty cool-Clearly there is some cohesive story that goes through out the event, so it isn’t as if it’s just some horse show.  The pictures and videos.  Perhaps I’ll check it out before the run is over.

Tickets are available now, and if any of you go it would be great to hear your thoughts.  It appears as if the show runs through September 27th, and while ticket prices are steep I will say that the poster in my building advertised discounted rates for their neighbors.  Apparently if you punch in a certain promo code (and I don’t know if would be fair to give it away here) they give their neighbors a break on the price.  So maybe, even if you are not, say that you are a NEIGHBOR(S). EDIT: Yeah-you’ll have to show proof of residence, so just saying you’re a neighbor won’t work.  Hmmm, I wonder if that is a horse pun?  Neiiggghhh-bor.

Als0-if you need a job and don’t mind running away and joining the circus, they are hiring.

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