Day: November 30, 2015

Notes from the Publisher

Publisher’s Notes

By Bob Tagert Well here it is the end of another year, which also marks the end of the 28th year of publishing the Old Town Crier. It hasn’t always been easy, but it certainly has been interesting. Along the way we have met a lot of people and made some wonderful friends. We have enjoyed bringing you information about the great area in which we live, the interesting personalities we have met, and places to dine and shop. We are most indebted to those of you who advertise with us. Without your support none of this would have been possible. In return, we are here for you. Doug Coleman continues his examination of the Civil War with a look at how Alexandria took care of the sick and wounded during the war and the Mansion House Hotel, soon to be featured as the setting for the new PBS series Mercy Street. As is my habit, December’s Road Trip is staying home for the holidays…a look at Old Town Alexandria. Dining Out and Behind the Bar feature Chadwick’s and Union Street Public House bringing it home to two Old Town icons. Sarah Becker explores steps taken to protect works of art during times of war from the day of Hitler to the Middle East today in her A Bit of History column. Lori Welch takes on ISIS and the terrorist’s activities with her mind and heart in her Open Space column this wonderful holiday season…and she is right. The world may be in disarray, but this is the time of year to promote peace and love, and quite frankly I can’t think of a better time than right here and now. No matter how you celebrate the holiday season please accept this very sincere wish…..Merry Christmas everybody and a very…

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Master's of Cuisine, Wining & Dining

Chef Mauro Molino

By Chester Simpson Chef Mauro Molino Lena’s Wood-Fired pizza & Tap 401 E. Braddock Road Alexandria, VA 22301 (703) 683-5330 Mauro Molino, brings 22 plus years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry to his new role as executive chef of Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap in Alexandria, Virginia. Molino served as executive chef of Il Posto Restaurant, Ospedale Molinette, and Eataly Torino Lingotto, before relocating to the nation’s capital in October 2010.  Over the past five years, Molino has worked at several of Washington’s top establishments including Rustico Restaurant & Bar, The Hamilton, T.J Stones and Lia’s under Chef/Owner Geoff Tracy where he most recently cooked before being named executive chef of Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap. When did you first become interested in cooking? Why did you decide to pursue a culinary career? I became a chef because I was raised in Italy in a family where my grandmother cooked from morning till night. When I was young, 4 or 5 years old, I stayed with her on the weekends and all summer long. She had a large garden and thus all her own fresh produce. I always helped her in the kitchen and this inspired my excitement for cooking. Who have been the biggest inspirations for your career? I am my own greatest inspiration. True creativity requires you compete with yourself and grow within. What dish on the menu are you most curious to see how it’s received? I am curious to see how my gnocchi with mushroom ragu will be received by the clientele.  Gnocchi are eaten as a first course, as an alternative to soups or pasta. Nobody has a recipe like this! What do you do to ensure the quality of the food going out to customers? I always use fresh produce…

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Events, Events, National Harbor

National Harbor December Calendar

Saturdays Through December 19th   Ho-Ho-Holiday Carousel Rides with Santa 12pm – 2pm $7 per child for unlimited rides (plus tax); adults ride free when accompanying a paid child Enjoy a festive carousel ride with Santa at National Harbor’s Carousel   Photos with Santa at The Capital Wheel 2pm – 4pm Photos available for purchase with admission to The Capital Wheel Get your photo taken with Santa before you ride The Capital Wheel in enclosed, temperature-controlled gondolas   Ongoing Holiday Programming 12pm – 6:00pm National Harbor Plaza, National Harbor, MD 20745 Warm up at one of National Harbor’s fire pits and enjoy live holiday entertainment and holiday movie screenings every Saturday during the holiday season. 1pm – 2pm: Musical performances and holiday entertainment 2pm – 4pm: Holiday Movie on the jumbo screen at the Plaza 12/5: Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas 12/12: Frosty’s Winter Wonderland 12/19: Frozen Sing-a-Long 3:30pm: College Football on the jumbo screen at the Plaza Toys for Tots Toy Drive on December 5 with WJLA and December 12 with Fresh FM   Saturdays and Sundays Through December 20th   The Harbor Holiday Market on American Way 12pm – 5pm Shop the seasonal Farmer’s Market, now with Christmas trees, wreaths, holiday greenery, and more. Warm up with hot chocolate, winter treats and seasonal goodies from National Harbor’s retailers and have fun making your own “Smeeps”.   Through January 3rd   Gaylord National’s ICE! Hours vary, please visit for times and ticket prices The region’s must-see holiday attraction ICE! is back with an exciting new theme featuring Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town© – brought to life with more than two million pounds of colorful ice. Walk through seven individual rooms depicting the story of Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town©, slide down ice slides over…

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Dining Out, Wining & Dining

Chadwick’s of Old Town

Chadwick’s With all of the demolition taking place along the Potomac River, we thought that we would visit one of Alexandria’s iconic restaurants that has been there since 1979 and will still be there after the new waterfront is completed. Located on The Strand along the waterfront Chadwicks has endured high water and hurricanes over the years and will be one of the buildings that is grandfathered in throughout the development phase. A long time favorite watering hole of locals (including me), Chadwicks has always offered the right combination of friendly folks, lively spirits and good food and a fair price. As are most stores and restaurants, Chadwicks is located n a 200-year-old warehouse. The stone and brick walls give the restaurant a certain old world character to go along with the dark woods and center staircase. A long wooden bar dominates the right side of the first floor with table seating to the left. The huge staircase in the middle takes you to the second floor where there is another bar, dining and large windows that look out on the Potomac River.   The overall ambiance of Chadwicks is casual…no white tablecloths here. I had wanted to get back to Chadwicks and try their Chicken Virginia. Many years ago I had chicken with crabmeat at The Summerhouse Restaurant in Rehoboth, Delaware and loved it. Chadwick’s version did not disappoint. Two succulent chicken breasts covered with lump crab and country ham in a sherry cream sauce. The combination was a taste treat. The sides of fresh green beans and jasmine rice made for a very pleasant meal. The rice was placed on the plate with a scoop which gave it a cafeteria appearance, but once I dug into it the shape disappeared and the rice was very good…a great addition…

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Behind the Bar, Wining & Dining

Behind the Bar: Hans Schultz

            Hans Schultz Oyster Bar Union Street Public House 121 South Union Street Old Town Alexandria 703-548-1785         Hans serves up his “Old Town Shuffle” He is behind the Oyster Bar Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.   How did you get started in the bartending business? I was thrown into the position as many bartenders have been. I was working at Ruby Tuesday’s and we were short staffed. Since I was 21, the management decided I would bartend. At first, I thought “I got this”, pouring beer and wine no problem, but then the cocktails came…. I was trying to make Long Islands, Bahama Mamas, Sex on the Beach, Tequila Sunrise (which I am almost positive I made with vodka and orange juice and no grenadine). I felt like the Titanic, sinking quicker and quicker, but presented every drink with confidence and made it through the shift. Surprisingly, the relationship you have with guests is just as important as the quality of the drink.   What is your biggest bartender pet peeve? I am sure there is more than one for all bartenders…let me name a few… “Make me something good….and hook it up!” “Whoa….this is my tab?? I didn’t order all these drinks!” “She is 21….I swear!”   What is the cleverest line anyone has ever used to get you to give them a free drink? Free drinks are always awesome; yet, when you try to trick me into a free drink, I tend to notice. One time someone tried to convince me that a homeless guy came in and “ninja’ed” their drink. Yet, I know the patron never left for a single second. I almost wanted to give them a free drink for using the word, “ninja’ed”.   What…

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Wining & Dining

Mulled Wine Recipe

          INGREDIENTS 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks 5 cardamom pods 3 black peppercorns 4 whole cloves 1 cup sugar 1 1/2 cups water 1 (750-ml) bottle dry red wine such as Côtes du Rhône 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise 1 small orange, thinly sliced 1 small lemon, thinly sliced Special equipment: a 6- by 4-inch piece of cheesecloth; kitchen string PREPARATION Wrap cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, peppercorns, and cloves in cheesecloth and tie with string. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a 5-quart heavy pot, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then add spice bag, wine, vanilla bean, and fruit. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes.

Events, Events

Alexandria Events Calendar

Through December 27th “A Broadway Christmas Carol” at MetroStage Wednesday-Thursday, 8 p.m.; Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 3 & 8 p.m.; Sunday, 3 & 7 p.m. MetroStage, 1201 N. Royal Street 703-548-9044 $50 Created by Kathy Feininger and directed by Michael Sharp, this MetroStage holiday tradition is a delicious cross between the classic Dickens’ tale and uproarious song parodies of 33 Broadway show tune favorites by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Sondheim and many more. Through December 20th Mount Vernon by Candlelight Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 27-28, Dec. 4-5, 5-8 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 20, 5-8 p.m. George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway 703-780-2000 $22/adult, $15/child 11 and under Join “Mrs. Washington” as she hosts an enchanting evening of candlelight tours, fireside caroling and festive treats. Timed tickets are $22 for adults and $15 for children 11 and under. Tickets available October 27th at 10 a.m. at the Ford Orientation Center or at Through January 6th Christmas at Mount Vernon Daily, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway 703-780-2000 $18/adult ($17 online), $8/child, 5 and under free Holiday visitors will enjoy themed decorations, chocolate-making demonstrations and 18th-century dancing, plus a rare opportunity to tour the third floor of the Mansion. In 1787, George Washington paid 18 shillings to bring a camel to Mount Vernon for the enjoyment of his guests. Today, visitors can meet Aladdin the camel on the grounds. December 4th-19th The Little Theatre of Alexandria’s “A Christmas Carol” Thursday-Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday 3 & 6 p.m. The Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe Street 703-683-0496 $15 The family-favorite classic by Charles Dickens, equipped with special effects, Victorian carols and Tiny Tim returns to the Little Theatre of Alexandria. The story follows Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly Victorian humbug, who travels with ghostly guides through…

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Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat


By F. Lennox Campello   Perhaps the crown jewel of the Greater Washington DC visual arts scene, and easily one of the top museum art spaces in the nation, is the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center – the subject of this column last month. Under the brilliant leadership of Jack Rasmussen, who will forget more about regional DC area artists than all other DC art museum curators put together will ever learn, the museum has forged a singularly unique presence in a capital city full of museums and art centers. Rasmussen has crafted an intelligent array of national, international and regional art exhibits that manage to cover such a wide area that AU’s Museum is hard to paint into a corner. This is not easy to do, and thus why most museum curators avoid it like the plague, and instead flood the DC art scene with either “hand me downs” exhibitions curated by other museums (like the Morris Louis exhibition a few years ago, which should have been a DC-museum based initiative), or “safe” exhibitions of second tier blue chip artists. I headed to the Katzen recently to look at the exhibitions there and to meet Ms. Carolyn Alper, an AU alumna who has established the Alper Initiative for Washington Art. As a reminder, the Alper Initiative will support the creation of a space on the museum’s first floor for display of work by DC artists and for a digital archive of Washington art. The initiative will sponsor lectures, films, and other events as well. However, once I got to the museum, I got distracted. Another jewel of the area’s visual arts tapestry is Transformer, a nonprofit art space located on P Street, NW, across from the MLK Library. For the past 12 years Transformer has been…

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Arts & Entertainment, High Notes

Dave Ihmels: The Severe Angels

  By Chris Anderson   Dave Ihmels: The Severe Angels   The DC-area music scene is an odd one. Sure, we have Go-Go and Hardcore, and we had the Arlington “Teen Beat”/”Simple Machines” bands of the 90s, but we’ve never really had that trademark stamp like New Orleans, Austin, Athens, Nashville, Seattle, San Francisco, etc. That’s not to say that our scene doesn’t thrive – in fact, it’s phenomenal – it’s just more scattered and stylistically diverse, and you really have to put in some legwork to discover local music. While I can’t claim to be an expert on our scene, I have seen a fair number of artists perform and have heard many of their albums. Some are quite pleasant while others are…not so. Every so often, however, my ears come across something otherworldly, something that makes me immensely proud to be from this area, something that tells me there is hope in this vast eclectic musical landscape.   I first met Dave Ihmels at an open mic, back in 2007. Like many performers at open mics, Dave played an acoustic set with a hard lean towards folk music, offering a mix of old chestnuts as well as a few original songs. Unlike many performers at open mics, it was clear that there was some sort of visionary spirit at play. Dave’s songs were subtle but very clever, and he is a hell of a singer. I recall having to take a couple of deep breaths when it was my turn to play. Over the years, we’d occasionally bump into each other and I’ve seen him play from time to time. He’s always on-point, always inspiring. Like me, Dave is a ridiculously prolific songwriter. Unlike me, he doesn’t release much of his music, The Severe Angels being his second…

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