Archive for the ‘Arlington’ Category

Will.I.Am To Rally With Terry McAuliffe Tonight At Clarendon Ballroom


Thanks to the phone banks with the Terry McAuliffe campaign, I heard that he and will be down the street tonight at Clarendon Ballroom. The event is titled, “A Night with of the Black Eyed Peas” and proceeds will go to McAuliffe’s gubernatorial campaign.

This is less of a political message and more of a, “if you want to see and don’t mind throwing money at Terry McAuliffe to do it- here’s your chance!

Terry seems to know a few famous people, later this week he’s holding a rally at NOVA in Annandale with Bill Clinton. Well that makes sense since he ran Hillary’s Presenditial campaign and is a former DNC chairman.

A Night with of the Black Eyed Peas

The Clarendon Ballroom
3185 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Virginia
Monday, May 11, 2009 at 8:00pm
$20 Admission
$500 Co-Host (includes admission to a special VIP reception with Will.I.Am at 8:00PM and recognition at the event)

Velocity Five Flying Not So High


Velocity Five at Court House before Opening

I was sad to see it go.

Even though many of my co-workers were ho-hum towards King Street Blues on Clarendon Blvd, I was a fan. However it has since closed down, the space bought by entrepreneur Jim Speros so he could use the location to expand his Velocity Five restaurant chain. Even though I was disappointed to see King Street leave, I was anxious for Velocity Five to finish their renovations and open. I was eager to see what the new kid on the Court House block had to offer. The chain’s location in Falls Church appeared to get ok reviews.

I walked up with a friend to the new Court House location after it opened, Speros signed a 15 year lease when he purchased the property from King Street; and it’s proximity to the nearby Metro station made it worth every penny.

Walking inside I was immediately surrounded by rich mahogany.  The ambiance had a more refined feeling compared to Summer’s down the street. The layout of the space remained the same, it looked like King Street with sports memorabilia and flat screen TVs. The place opened right before March Madness and it looked like a place I’d want to go to catch my favorite sports teams.

However those are all the nice things I have to say about this place.

I walked up to an empty hostess station where waitresses openly counted their tips while ignoring our presence. We waited for 10-15 minutes until we were acknowledged by someone on the wait staff. I am a pretty patient person and I wasn’t going to make a big deal of it until I saw during the course of the night, other people walk inside to an empty station and wait like I did- some waited to the point they just sat themselves.

The lack of service didn’t end there- we were served water but then ignored and forgotten by the waitress for almost half an hour. Again I would love to say that the place was packed and we got lost in the shuffle, but my table was only one of three occupied tables in the entire restaurant. The waitress was busy flirting with the guys at the table across from us. I overheard some of their conversation and apparently someone at that table was a pro-athlete:

Guy #1: You have to guess what my buddy here does, I won’t tell you but I will tell you that he’s a professional.

Waitress: Hmm, well your friend is tall- is he a basketball player?

Guy #2: No but I get that a lot…

So while Pro-athlete guy was getting all the attention he needed I was slowly dying from starvation. I ordered a burger but I’ll be honest- the service experience really made the rest of my experience there pretty forgettable.

Now I really wanted to like this place, if I was treated a little better I’m sure I would of had great things to say probably, but Velocity Five at Court House needs to get their ducks in a row. I’m a pretty nice guy and I’ll eventually give you guys another chance- but til then you are on notice!

Velocity Five
2300 Clarendon Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 243-4900

Daily DC Item: If Obama Likes Hell Burger- Maybe I Do Need To Give It Another Try

Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg / pool / Getty Images

Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg / pool / Getty Images

“Definitely just saw Obama at Ray’s Hell burger. F Yes.”

Those the words I saw yesterday afternoon on Clinton Yates’ twitter account.

As I read those words I thought about dropping my things and running over to the Rosslyn establishment from my Court House office, however logic kicked in: Hell Burger is typically busy on a normal afternoon, what kind of place would it be if Barack Obama and Joe Biden walked in and had lunch? I wouldn’t of gotten anywhere close. At least I’m sure it wasn’t anything like the time a fictional Bill Clinton visited McDonald’s. I do have to say that I am at least jealous of my co-worker Kristen who was coincidentally next door at that time.

Linda Feldman over at the Christian Science Monitor has the best account of Obama & Biden’s last minute lunch out.

According to the daily guidance lunch was supposed to be, “in the Oval Office, closed press.”

But around 12:30 PM the White House Press Pool was assembled and put into a motorcade that took them to Rosslyn. It looked like Obama and Biden wanted to go somewhere new for lunch.

Feldman describes Hell Burger as, “a joint so new it still doesn’t have a sign up.” Ray’s has been opened since July 2008 which made me wonder if it will ever get a sign now that Ray’s The Steaks moved to Court House.

Courtesy AP/Huffington Post

Photo by AP/Huffington Post

Obama and Biden walked in the front door, the press came in the back; and I could only imagine the look on a patron’s face when they see the President & Vice President wait in line with you to order a burger. In what could only be described as classy, Obama turned to the Press Pool and offered to buy everybody lunch and just like a good Commander-in-Chief does, he delegated Caren Bohan of Reuters to take everyone’s orders.

After warning that they were going to order food for here and to-go, Obama let Biden toss in his order: a Swiss cheese burger with jalapeno peppers and a Root Beer. Obama then ordered a basic cheddar cheeseburger with mustard (spicy mustard if you got it), lettuce and tomato. When he inquired about fries he learned what many Hell Burger patrons already knew: they don’t do fries.

I wonder if the President asks for fries, do you just make fries?

Luckily the manager pitched him on the tater tots and he agreed on that instead.

They both paid for their orders in cash- with Obama picking up the tab for the pool.

“We’re paying, or these people [the pool] are gonna write about how we’re free-loading,” Obama said when the management offered to pick-up the bill.

Obama also threw a five-spot into the tip jar.

AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

Photo by AP/Charles Dharapak

They were then served at a table by the chef (curious how there was magically a table free when usually the place is packed at 12:30, but then again when you are the President things can be arranged…), if you take a look at the video they had table tent #42- too bad #44 wasn’t available.

They were back a little after 1:00 P.M- a very efficient lunch if I may say so myself.

Now after remaining on the fence on Hell Burger– I guess I should give it yet another try now that it’s been Obama-approved. However Hell Burger was popular enough pre-Obama, will it go the way of Ben’s Chili Bowl now that it’s been graced by The President?

Protectors of Crystal City: Superhero Outdoor Film Fest!

A truly brilliant Image by flickr User Ian Boyd

A truly brilliant Image by flickr User Ian Boyd

The Super-heroes of DC Comics have always taken place in cities vaguely reminiscent of ones in the real world, but with slightly fantastic sounding names:  Gotham, Metropolis, Keystone,… Crystal City?

Yes-just outside our Nations Capitol, criminals fear to walk this summer.  The most accessible metro stop in the city will play home to not one, but 4 Super-heroes and 2 Super-hero teams.  The Crystal City Outdoor Film festival embraces it’s inner geek (although it’s decidedly less geeky now) and pulls 21 titles of spandex and capes off of its DVD shelf and onto the big screen-combining my love of being a hording, comic loving recluse and my love for being outside.  Starting May 4th with Spider-Man, and finishing with the masterpiece that is Batman: The Dark Knight on September 21, Crystal City pulls no punches and ducks no movies.  The good, the bad (Superman Returns; The Hulk) and the somewhere in between (X-men) there is something for everyone…that is if everyone likes comic book movies.

True story:  Last year when Screen on the Green did the original Superman I watched it with someone who, quite literally, knew nothing about Superman.  I mean-nothing.  Didn’t know what he could do, where he came from, what his deal was-nothing.  At one point she said “What’s the glowing green stick”-Uh…Kryptonite?  “Oh…like the song!”  The madness that put into my head…beyond description.  I don’t expect people to be versed in the many different colors Kryptonite, what they do or that it actually originated in the radio plays not the comics-but come on!

So fear not citizens of Northern Virginia, and come get you some education on these, the modern folk heroes of these here United States of America one Monday night at a time.

Click here for full movies and information.

Time: Starting May 4th, Every Monday at Sundown

Location: 18th and Bell Street – Courtyard Across from Crystal City Metro Station & Marriott Hotel

Follies: A High School Reunion With Broadway Style


The Ladies of Weismann's Follies (photo courtesy of The Arlington Players)

My friends at The Arlington Players invited me to check out Follies, their Spring production which opened last weekend. I was able to make it out for their opening weekend matinee and talk back.

I’ve never seen the musical by Stephen Sondheim and 1971 Tony award winner for Best Music & Lyrics; so I didn’t know what to expect.  As the Orchestra (conducted by Leah Kocsis) started up with the overture, ghostly figures began to march in as if they were haunting memories of the half demolished theatre where the show takes place in. Was I about to watch a ghost story about a haunted theatre? That’d be a cool musical to do, something like Scooby Doo the Musical: Case of the Haunted Theatre- oh wait that’s already been done.

I quickly realized that the show is actually about a reunion of the, “Weismann’s Follies” a group of girls that performed musical revues back in the day (think Ziegfeld Follies.) The theatre they used to perform in is now abandoned and will soon become a parking lot. The girls and boys come back to say one last goodbye to the stage.

Much like your high school reunion, everybody is eager to come back and reminisce and relive the pleasant (and not so pleasant) memories of yonder. The show focuses on two couples: Sally (Jean Cantrell) and Buddy (Jack B. Stein); and Phyllis (Lynn Audrey Neal) and Ben (Jimmy Payne.)


Jack B. Stein as Buddy Plummer (photo courtesy of The Arlington Players)

The two couples are anything but happy, with Sally still harboring feelings towards Ben, who is still a player in his married life but is still seeking something more. Buddy, a traveling salesman, struggles to rekindle the love that was once there and Phyllis has grown to be a tough shell of a woman, seemingly devoid of any sense of human compassion.

It’s the kind of drama I’d love to see at my own high school reunion.

Follies explores how a group reunites and recollects, but it also take a glimpse at how human relationships mature, change, and evolve in such a setting.

The actors that really caught my eye was Jack B. Stein as Buddy Plummer and Jean Cantrell as Sally Durant Plummer. I particularly enjoyed seeing the Buddy’s vaudevillian number in the second act. Nothing says Vaudeville like wearing a cardboard car for a costume!

Often the supporting cast of actors don’t get enough credit, in Follies each of them had an opportunity to shine and shine they did. I particularly loved Solange La Fitte (Judy Lewis) in her “Ah, Paris!” number. I’m a sucker for accents.


The Number That Makes This Show (photo courtesy of The Arlington Players)

Director & Choreographer Christopher Dykton put together some really lovely dance numbers, “Who’s That Woman?” is worth the price of admission alone. The coordination of one set of dancers is hard enough- but to coordinate a mirror image of their younger counterparts dancing exactly in step is cause for recognition. That number alone is worth the price of admission.

Dykton also played around with the idea of younger counterparts or ghosts in the show- as the main characters would remember or perform, those clone companion were often there reliving their tales, or in some cases haunting their past.  It created lovely images that really added to production. While some would criticize the hit and miss pairings in casting, I applaud Dykton’s decision to create a diverse cadre of actors and concentrated more on the talent of the person.

The second act of the show is where the strongest elements of the production come together. The set magically transforms from a run-down stage to what it was in it’s heyday. The “Loveland” number is the classic folly number with dancers revealed behind a 400lb fan setpiece (kudos to Jared Davis & Bill Wisniewski for designing and building that contraption). What follows after that number is a series of folly numbers that explores each of the main characters’ inner emotions and struggles. Phyllis really shined in her folly, “The Story of Lucy And Jessie”, a number that had a very Chicago like feel to it.

The Arlington Players put together a solid show that features great dancing and singing- their elaborate sets, and large numbers are sure to entertain and take you back to a much simpler time, well at least what we remember was a simpler time.


The Loveland Folly in the 2nd Act Is Sure to Impress (photo courtesy of The Arlington Players)

Weekends April 17 — May 2, 2009
Thomas Jefferson Community Center

Bayou Bakery To Provide Clarendon Bakery Fix

davidguasSo if you haven’t heard, Murky Coffee is closing.

As a nearby resident, I’m sad to hear the news- I’ve had it on my list of possible third places to spend my time, however it was always crowded much to the benefit of Murky.

So what’s going up in it’s place? The Going Out Gurus have the latest on that, it looks like the ownership of nearby Liberty Tavern is teaming up with pastry chef Davis Guas to turn the space into a bakery called Bayou Bakery. The shop will have a southern theme in decor and offerings.  So who’s this Guas person? Well Guas runs a culinary consulting group that’s played a role into the cuisines at local eateries such as  Ceiba and DC Coast. He also has a new cookbook coming out called, DamGoodSweet.

He also knows how to show Kathie Lee and Hoda how to cook a mean Zuchinni pound cake.

In an effort to keep Murky’s coffee crowd, Gaus plans to hire a Batista manager to work on a “coffee program.”

Giving Hell Burger A Heck Of A Try

courtesy of Personal Wine Buyer

courtesy of Personal Wine Buyer

Type in Hell Burger into Google and you’ll find nothing but great reviews of the place. So I don’t need to write another review on how great the burgers are.

However I did want to try it for myself- and I did last month. My friend Mike and I went down to Hell Burger and took burgers home to enjoy before The Oscars.

The place was exactly as described, an unmarked building next near the old location of Ray’s The Steaks (it’s now across the street from my office in Courthouse.)

We walk in and see the B-Movie posters, the line of fans (even on a Sunday night), and the shots of hot chocolate which are as advertised- to die for.

I ordered the BIG Poppa and I did enjoy the burger. It was a mess to eat but I enjoyed every bite. I ordered the Mac & Cheese side and it was ok but the main attraction was the burger itself.

While the burger as a whole package was delicious- I found the spice crusted burger too spiced up for me to really judge the meat. I hear that the burgers and made from leftover cuts from Ray’s The Steaks and so I wanted to taste what DC’s best burger tasted like. I needed a repeat visit.

That visit happened last week where I ordered the Soul Burger Number One… and now I’m still on the fence.

Don’t get me wrong- I think Hell Burger is great and I’m going to go there again, but maybe I need a third try to really sort my feelings out on the place.

What do you guys think- is there a favorite burger there I should try next?

Ray’s Hell Burger
1713 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22209
(703) 841-0001

Crisp & Juicy Holds It’s Own On The Peruvian Chicken Scene

dsc01971It’s official. I am on a Peruvian chicken kick.

After discovering the bliss that was El Pollo Ricoearlier this month, I got a lot of comments from readers including suggestions that I should try Crisp & Juicy. These suggestions came with words such as “better” and “way better.”

Well I couldn’t let the honor of El Pollo Rico be so shamed- and at the same time I am always looking to find good places to feed my indulgences, so I took some time last week to check out Crisp & Juicy.

Even though there is a nearby Crisp & Juicy off of Lee Highway in Cherrydale, I was told that it was worth the extra time to go to the Falls Church location. Well during a “mental health day” last week I did exactly that. The Falls Church Crispy and Juicy had a look that was more similar to the other Peruvian chicken places I’ve seen around town. The storefront resembled what you would expect at any fast-food chain. The shop was empty since I was getting lunch at 2 PM on a Thursday.

I ordered the “Super Platter” because I had a super craving for chicken. The half chicken came with salad, a roll, fries, and a familiar assortment of sauces.

It definitely appeared that the main difference with Crisp & Juicy was with the skin. The outside of the chicken is crusted in an assortment of spices and definitely had a crisper texture. While the chicken itself was very good, I don’t know if it’s better or worse than El Pollo Rico- just different.

What was really good with the platter was the sauces. Their sauce was also creamy but had the strange ability to have a spicy kick- but not leave your mouth hot like other spicy foods. I was dipping fries and anything else I could find in my house with the sauce. This past weekend I went to the Arlington location and found myself eating pretzels with leftover sauce.

After going to the two restaurants I have come to learn the following about Peruvian Chicken:

  • It is truly a good cheap eat
  • No matter where you go- the fries will always be second rate
  • It doesn’t matter if the fries are second rate because the sauce is amazing

I think Peruvian chicken is now a regular part of my weekends- does anybody else have a place I should try?

No Reservations With El Pollo Rico

l I had a fever today. I’m not talking about the possible fallout from a night of debauchery. I’m not talking about a fever who’s remedy is more cowbell. I’m talking about a fever for chicken- Peruvian Chicken to be exact.

It all started when my intern was watching No Reservations in D.C. it featured a few places I was familiar with, including some Vietnamese restaurants in Eden Center. Then Mr. Bourdain randomly stops by El Pollo Rico, one of the many Peruvian chicken shops in Arlington. Peruvian chicken is one of the many cuisines that run rampant just like Kebobs, Sushi, and Ethiopian. He gave a glowing review of the place as he went behind the counter to see it first hand.

Now my only experience wit El Pollo Rico has been at the catered lunches that will sometimes feature the cuisine from El Pollo Rico, however it’s been awhile since that’s happened and since watching the program the conversation between my intern and I has often included trying to find this world renown El Pollo Rico.

So this past weekend I found myself starving and I decided I was going to go online and find it. It’s actually just down the street from my house in Clarendon, so I happily drove down and found it without any problems. It is a bit off the beaten path over on 932 N Kenmore St in Arlington.

The building is a plain brick building with no markings other than a yellow sign and the smell of roasted chicken in the air. The parking lot was already full and when I walked inside there were two long lines of hungry patrons waiting to get their chicken on.

The restaurant itself is pretty simple, wooden chairs and tables fill the sparsely decorated space. The shop is cash only and offers nothing but chicken in three sizes (quarter, half, and whole.) I was pretty hungry so I got the half chicken with fries and cole slaw. I was impressed with the amount of food I got for only $8. Definitely a cheap eat.

I wasn’t a big fan of the lime hot sauce but I quickly fell in love with the yellow mustard/mayo like sauce. I used it for dipping my fries in as I scarfed down the take-out order at home.

After eating every finger-licking bite I believe I have now found a new staple to my lazy weekends. Is anybody else  in love with this local favorite? I know I am.

Arlington Bars Make Top List: See It Is Cool To Come Out To NoVA!


"Eat Bar" courtesy of Fickr user voteprime

I  saw that some local bars made the Washingtonian’s Best 75 Bars list in the March issue. (Thanks to What’s Up Arlington for the news link.) While 75 is a round number for lists- why not do the top 100? Maybe there’s not 100 bars in DC but I bet there are. While I’d love to see the top of the list I’ll have to wait til the put the list online, my recession dollars won’t be going towards a hard copy anytime soon. But here are the Arlington establishments that were mentioned:

I constantly hear great things about this bar and it’s sister restaurant- and it’s only a hop, skip, jump away from where I live! However I haven’t had a chance to check it out a whole lot- has anyone else been there? I ended my night there once and really enjoyed the wine bar, I should try going out there again sometime.

I am a big fan of the Tavern, I was just there this past Monday catching up with long-lost Pho relatives. It’s a little more upscale than your regular bar but not too fancy to become a lounge. Perfect place to entertain your out of town guests, they also have great outdoor dining.

This was actually the other place my distant cousins discussed going to before we went to the tavern, I haven’t been but I hear they do tapas and they always seem full on the weekends- anybody been?

This is another place I really want to check out, however my friend Krissy had a bad experience with the obnoxious and loud crowds there so I have been hesitant to go out there.

Funny story, one of my former roommates thought it was a gay bar just because of the name. I’ve been there a couple of times and I’ll say that Galaxy Hut is a really chill place to grab a beer- I haven’t been to the patio behind the bar but I hear it’s cool.
I’m kinda surprised Whitlow’s didn’t make the list but I’m glad Clarendon Ballroom didn’t make it- I hate that place. Has anybody peeked at the entire list? I’d love to hear what’s on top- hopefully not some stupid lounge or club but a real bar.
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