Month: August 2016

Arts & Entertainment, High Notes

Summer Roundup

By Chris Anderson   Summer Roundup   2016 has already become legendary, the universe claiming the lives of a seemingly endless number of musical icons. To add further insult, 2016 has not been a benchmark year, as far as recorded music is concerned. Few major artists have released albums this year (that I haven’t already written up) and even fewer have released fantastic albums. However, deep research reveals that, in fact, there have been quite a few decent records to come out. You just gotta look for them. Here are ten such albums that have rattled my brain in one way or another this summer:   Anderson/Stolt: Invention Of Knowledge Of all the bands that helped to put prog-rock back on the map over the last two decades, The Flower Kings were always the band most inspired by Yes. So when news came out that FK mastermind Roine Stolt had collaborated with former Yes vocalist Jon Anderson, it seemed like a no-brainer. Taking inspiration from Yes’ mid-1970s work, this album sounds like what Tormato should have been. Some say that this sounds more like Yes than the current incarnation of that band. While I will always defend the evolution of Yes, I wouldn’t disagree.       Guided By Voices: Please Be Honest Two years after Robert Pollard retired the Guided By Voices name, for the second time, he is back with a totally new touring lineup and a brand new album. The difference here is that, on this particular record, Bob plays all of the instruments himself. This is a man who has almost 30 solo albums, with various musicians, and yet he took the most solo set of them all and put the GbV name to it. For the most part, this album is a disaster. However, as…

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From the Bay, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

A Dinghy Diary

A Dinghy Diary by Molly Winans A few evenings ago, while docking after a sweet sail and sunset, a friend and I were on deck, preparing to retrieve dock lines, discussing nostalgia. I had just told the crew about how our stormy and then overcast trip home from Oxford felt autumnal to me, except for one major detail: I was barefoot. I knew my comfortable barefoot days were numbered. I told my friend that I understood how fall could make him feel yearnings for the past with leaves turning and summer ending. He said, “I don’t just feel nostalgic for summer. It’s more visceral than that. I feel nostalgic for like eighth grade.” Such moments—a guy pushing 40, leaning on a shroud and talking about how smelling leaves makes him miss junior high—are hard for this fallen French literature major to shake. I get how an image, such as one yellow leaf stuck to your windshield or the sight of a flock of geese, can transport you to another time and place, du temps perdu. The next day, I jotted down a list of memories of the summer. The day after a steamy St. Michaels visit, sailing down Eastern Bay in a surprisingly fresh breeze. Before breakfast, diving off a swim platform into a nettle-free Rhode River. At anchor on the Magothy, my teenage niece asking if we could turn the radio off to just listen to the night sounds. While riding in the SpinSheet Protector with Dan Phelps for the Governor’s Cup start, watching him be as excited as a kid with his new camera lens in hand. The list went on, but one vivid memory kept bobbing back to the surface. Some back story: it all started at a dinner party at Rebecca and Chris Neumann’s house. I…

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Caribbean Connection, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

Caribbean Rum Helped Win the First Wild West

Caribbean Rum Helped Win the First Wild West by Jeff McCord With autumn upon us and winter around the corner, some Virginians may have thoughts of hot rum toddies sipped before roaring fires as cold winds sweep past storm glass windows. Beyond such soothing imagery, though, rum played a very real role in Colonial America’s ruthless expansion beyond the Appalachians. For now, let’s stick with pleasantries. Historic Mount Vernon’s web site offers an appealing rum toddy recipe supposedly inspired by Martha Washington. To make a bowl serving six-to-ten people, you need the following: 3 oz. White Rum, 3 oz. Dark Rum; 3 oz. Orange Curacao; 4 oz. simple syrup; 4 oz. lemon juice; 4 oz. fresh orange juice; 3 lemons quartered; 1 orange quartered; 1/2 Tsp. grated nutmeg; 3 cinnamon sticks (broken); 6 cloves; 12 oz. boiling water Our love affair with rum began in the mid-1600s on the British island of Barbados where slave dependant sugar planters learned that molasses — that heavy, sweet syrupy waste residue of sugar refining — could be fermented and, with the addition of water, produce an intoxicating drink. In the islands, the liquor was first known as “kill-devil.” Barbadan rum, of the thick, dark variety also known as “blackstrap” became wildly popular in Britain and her North American colonies.   To meet demand, production quickly spread from Barbados to Jamaica and other sugar producing Caribbean islands. Since 1760, the Virgin Island of St Croix has produced “Cruzan Rums.” St. Croix became known for its lighter, white and dark rums blended from thicker, more aged rums. They’re ideal for mixing in rum punches and hot toddies. As a young man, George Washington personally witnessed rum distillation during his sole trip abroad. In 1751, at age 19, he traveled to Barbados with older brother Lawrence. They…

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Behind the Bar, Wining & Dining

Behind the Bar: Mo El-Nakeeb

Mo El-Nakeeb     Vola’s Dockside Grill & Hi-Tide Lounge 101 North Union Street 703-935-8890         How did you get started in the bartending business? I never thought I would end up a bartender, never liked drinking a lot, and I didn’t think I had the gumption for it. At the time I was working as a server at an Old Town favorite, the Flying Fish, and the owner, Larry, sat me down the day before I turned 21 and basically said he saw something in me and he was throwing me on the bar the next day. Little did I know I would absolutely love it and would want to make a career out of it.   What is your biggest bartender pet peeve? Everyone always says they hate making mojitos or people asking for something “fun”, but to be honest I don’t really have any pet peeves. I love every aspect of the industry and I know that sounds like such a cookie cutter answer but I truly mean it. What is the cleverest line anyone has ever used to get you to give them a free drink? One night someone made a bet with me that they could say 20 words in under 20 seconds without the letter “A” in any of them. I was thinking there was absolutely no way someone could rattle off that many words off the top of their head in under 20 seconds so I was down. And then he started counting…“one, two, three, four….” All the way to twenty…apparently we don’t spell numbers with the letter “A”. He definitely earned his free drink. What is the best/worst pickup line you have overheard at the bar? I haven’t had the chance to hear any great pickup lines, but I’ve…

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Grapevine & Vintner Profile, Wining & Dining

Can the Shape of the Glass Enhance the Taste of the Wine?

Can the Shape of the Glass Enhance the Taste of the Wine? By Felicity Cloake It doesn’t seem long ago that merely owning wine glasses was enough to mark one out as a sophisticate of the highest order. Such affectations were for professional establishments like the local pub: at home we drank out of cloudy tumblers or plastic cups at parties. But while I was busy growing up and smashing my way through successive boxes of Ikea stemware, someone changed the rules: special glasses for drinking wine are not enough – now we’re buying different glasses for different wines. It’s as if someone’s suggested I need a whole new set of cups to get the most out of my Earl Grey (do I?). Matching glassware to wine is nothing new – Raymond Postgate (creator of the Good Food Guide) published the wonderful 1951 Plain Man’s Guide to Wine with illustrations of the five traditional glass shapes, designed for sherry, claret, port, champagne and hock. In it, he observes scornfully that “to wine drinkers, not one of them improves the wine in any way at all.” He goes further, denouncing the sherry glass as “an innkeepers’ trick, [for making] the quantity of wine look much more than it is” and the coloured hock glass as a simple disguise for poor quality, cloudy Victorian wine. Indeed, Postgate is definite “there is only one satisfactory type of wine glass, and it will serve for any kind of wine. It is colourless, rather tulip-shaped, and the upper rim of the cup narrows.” It looks like those in my cupboard: a large bowl on a narrow stem, tapering slightly towards the top. While Postgate was bemoaning fancy glassware, in Austria, a ninth-generation glassmaker called Claus Riedel was theorising glass shapes’ effect on wine. The company…

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National Harbor

Waterfront Dining at Dusk

By Lani Gering Waterfront Dining at Dusk While doing one of my “walk-abouts” here at the Harbor last week I really took note of what a beautiful waterfront we have now. With the addition of the Capital Wheel and its nightly light show and the back drop of the Wilson Bridge and the Masonic Temple on the horizon in Old Town Alexandria, it really is pretty spectacular – most especially at dusk. The night I took the photos the weather was particularly nice. The stifling heat from the days prior was gone and the humidity had dissipated to a pleasant percentage and the sunset had been a good one. Also, pretty spectacular are the dining out options that we have on the waterfront. While I don’t want to take anything away from the other fabulous restaurants that we have here that aren’t on the waterfront there really is something to the old adage……location, location, location! If you are entering the waterfront from the intersection of Waterfront Street and American Way, once you descend the stairs you have choices on both sides. Fiorella’s Italian Kitchen, Pizzeria and Bar with *Rosa Mexicano’s balcony right above is to your immediate left and Redstone American Grill is right across the throughway. To your right is Potbelly Sandwich Works with *Bond 45’s balcony directly above. Next to them is Crab Cake Café and across the throughway and to the north you will find McCormick & Schmicks Harborside and McLoone’s Pier House. Brews & Bites is located at the end of the same pier that houses the Wheel. There is also a Chipotle on the waterfront but I am a bit biased and have never really considered them as a dining option. Don’t hate on me – it’s just my opinion. Each of these places has…

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Business Profile

Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats

Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats By Lani Gering Take a Step Back in Time! I have been curious for quite some time about the story behind two guys I met a year ago walking around National Harbor in dapper plaid Bermuda shorts, stylin’ button front shirts and bow ties. Not exactly the normal attire you see on a regular basis. They are none other than Brandon Byrd and his side kick Rozell Moore of Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats. Byrd is the Founder and CEO of one of this Nations’ top 4 Food Trucks and the #1 Dessert Truck (according to the Food Network) and Rozell is his Operations Manager. “Goodies” is the DC areas first and only “Vintage Mobile Eatery” operating out of a refurbished 1952 Metro Van named “Gigi”. Rumor has it that another van named “Rudy” is in the works and he will be serving up coffee and donuts. In addition to Gigi, they have a kiosk on American Way in National Harbor and operate out of a space in the basement level in the USDA South Ag Building on 14th and Independence Ave SW. This is where some of the absolute best frozen custard I have ever tasted is made fresh daily. I spent my fair share of time in that same building and all that was on that floor when I was there was the Credit Union! To quote their Mission Statement: “We are founded on a pioneer spirit of character, integrity and high quality; our company is dedicated to excellence in products and service to our customers.” When you meet Brandon and Rozell you will see that they live up to this statement. I haven’t had the pleasure of being served my usual Root Beer Float from the likes of Gigi but I have…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, To the Blue Ridge

Hunting in Hunt Country

Hunting in Hunt Country by Julie Reardon They don’t call our area of the Blue Ridge “the hunt country” just because of the foxhunting. Horses and hounds begin their informal training hunts, called cubbing, in September, after spending the past few weeks getting ready. And local hunters have been honing their skills for other game for opening season, which starts Sept. 1 for resident Canadian geese and Sept. 3 for doves. All around the Commonwealth shooting sports enthusiasts have been putting in time at local ranges and sporting clays stands sighting in their rifles, patterning their shotguns and shooting skeet. Local shotgun and sporting clays instructor Isobel Ziluca of Upperville has seen a big increase in women participating in the shooting sports, and learning to shoot well so they can hunt. Ziluca is a certified instructor with the National Sporting Clays Association and specializes in helping beginners and women learn to shoot skeet.   Despite being so close to a major metropolitan area, Northern Virginia offers plenty of places to learn to shoot and/or go hunting within an hour’s drive of Alexandria. If you’re an experienced hunter without access to private land, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries maintains over 40 Wildlife Management Areas statewide; four are nearby and allow public hunting. These lands are purchased and maintained with hunting, fishing, and trapping license fees and with Federal Assistance in Wildlife Restoration funds, derived from the sale of hunting-related equipment. These areas were created for all to be able to enjoy wildlife, habitats, and the bountiful natural resources found there. And there’s the George Washington National Forest, part of which is an easy drive out I-66 near Front Royal. Hunting public lands can be rewarding but does have its pitfalls—it can be crowded and requires advance planning. For…

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Events, National Harbor

National Harbor September Events

National Harbor September Events   Saturdays & Sundays Through October   Farmers Market American Way 10am – 5 pm Miller Farms Farmer’s Market returns to National Harbor with their wide array of fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, beautiful flowers and plants, and much more.   Tuesdays thru September   Turbo Kick/Cardio Kickboxing On the Plaza 7-8 pm FREE! Compliments of No Excuse Workout.   Wednesdays thru September   Family Fitness Class On the Plaza 10-10:30 am FREE! Compliments of No Excuse Workout.   Hip Hop Zumba Class On the Plaza 7-8pm FREE! Compliments of No Excuse Workout.   Saturdays thru September   Yoga On the Plaza 9-10 am FREE! Compliments of No Excuse Workout.   Summer Fridays thru September On the Plaza 4 – 8:30 pm   Join your friends for one of the many lawn games the likes of bocce ball, corn hole, yahzee, tic-tac-toe and jenga! Games start at 4 pm. From 6-7 pm Bobby McKey’s Dueling Piano Boom Box will be on hand. The evening rounds out with a DJ and dancers handing out give-aways! FREE!   Saturdays thru September   Salute the Sunset Concert Series On the Plaza 7 pm FREE!   World-class performances by bands from the nation’s Armed Forces at National Harbor will stir the hearts and souls of civilians and military personnel alike, while their tuneful stylings in a variety of genres please music lovers of all ages.   3rd – Marine Big Band 10th – Navy Sea Chanters 17th – Air Force Band Airmen of Note 18th – 3:00 pm – Air Force Concert Band & the Singing Sergeants 24th – Navy Commodores     Movies On the Potomac On the Plaza FREE!   Nothing says summer like an evening under the stars—and there’s no better way to enjoy the season…

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Notes from the Publisher

Publisher’s Notes

By Bob Tagert         Nice weather has finally arrived and the heat of summer is becoming a memory. As fall creeps in the time for outdoor events and festivals are in the air. In addition to the 14th Annual King Street Arts Festival and Art on the Avenue (Oct. 1st) that are happening here in Alexandria, the Plein Air Festival is this month in Solomons, Maryland and the 50th Annual Oyster Festival will be in October in St. Mary’s County, Maryland. Read about these two festivals in this issue. There is also the Rappahannock Farm Festival in the foothills of the Blue Ridge. If you go, make a point to stop by Tula’s in Little Washington for a libation and a bite to eat. For the last three months we have asked for opinions regarding the study about the removal of Appomattox, the Confederate Statue at Washington and Prince Streets. Read Doug Coleman’s analysis and excerpts from the comments. All of the responses will be on our online version at Since we first began solicitation for the opinions whether to keep the statue or concede to its removal, the committee appointed by the city has ruled that Appomattox should stay. Lori Welch Brown reflects on why we should all step back and take some time to look around us and spend quality time with those who are close to us in her Open Space column and Farmer D gives us the low down on keeping cacti alive in Urban Garden. This is just a peek at this months’ content. Unlike Facebook, I do promise you that when you read this publication and turn the page I guarantee that the page will not go blank and reboot and that there will be no pop-up ads to cover the print….

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