Day: April 1, 2017

Notes from the Publisher

Publisher Notes

By Bob Tagert        Well…we made it into spring even though as I write this, the high is barely going to hit the mid 40’s. At least the sun is out and it is Cherry Blossom season. Peak bloom was predicted for March 14th, a record, and then the cold hit and destroyed half of the bloom, also a record. The basin is still beautiful so don’t let the lack of blossoms keep you from taking a trek to check them out. It just goes to show that you can’t always count on the norm. For years Chester Simpson has profiled a chef each month, but due to his visit to San Francisco in March and a scheduling conflict, getting the photo shoot scheduled and the Q&A squared away didn’t happen. We will be back on track next month but in the interim check out the Easter lamb shank recipe provided by our former “Let’s Eat” writer, and author of “The Accidental Chef”, Chef Charles Oppman. For this month’s Road Trip I stayed home and our friend Glenn Morel and his brother Adam made the trek to the island nation of Cuba. Adam has written a very descriptive piece on Centro Habana and the colors you see in his writing is as vivid as Glenn’s photographs…”You can read all the books, look at all the photographs, watch all the documentaries. Nothing prepares you for Havana-or reveals its true nature.”             Doug Coleman gives us a rare look at Union officer, Fitz John Porter. Pay particular to the last paragraph…we should learn from history. Speaking of which, Sarah Becker writes about the approaching Centennial of World War I in her A Bit of History column. We decided to get a little nostalgic with the Dining Out column and write about…

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Arts & Entertainment, Last Word

The Stranger in the Woods

The Stranger in the Woods By Miriam Kramer   Those of us who live in Washington, DC’s political tangle or even in the bustling historic environment of Old Town, Alexandria might take a long weekend or week-long trip glamping near the Grand Canyon, hiking in the Shenandoah Valley, or sailing the Potomac to reconnect with nature. What would it be like to melt into the wilderness only to emerge over a quarter century later into an accelerated culture bombarded with information and technology? This life path is barely possible to fathom. In The Stranger in the Woods, Michael Finkel pens an entirely compelling account of Christopher Thomas Knight, a twenty-year-old who impulsively parked his car on a remote trail in 1986, abandoning it and his family to disappear into the Maine woods without direct human contact for 27 years.   The news item he read about Knight’s capture in 2013 transfixed Finkel, an introverted national magazine and newspaper reporter living and occasionally camping in western Montana. Communicating by mail with Knight in prison, he unraveled Knight’s story thread by tiny thread as the incommunicative Knight moved through the courts and began to re-integrate involuntarily into modern life.   Christopher Knight grew up as one of six children on a farm in Albion, Maine. His parents, rock-ribbed Mainers who practiced self-sufficiency, raised their children with skills in farming, building, and thermodynamics. They split logs, picked fruit, and packed jugs of water next to each other in the ground to form a heat sink for a greenhouse on their sixty wooded acres of land, thus enabling them to grow vegetables all year long without paying for warmth. Intensely private, they socialized little. Following his family’s pattern as a bright, very introverted teenager, Chris mostly kept to himself in high school. After graduation,…

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Master's of Cuisine, Wining & Dining

Let’s Eat!!

Let’s Eat by Chef Charles Oppman Lamb Shanks With Easter just around the corner, it’s time to break out the lamb recipes. When we think spring lamb, most of think of that boneless roast or a bone-in leg, but let’s try something different. Of course, French cut lamb chops are wonderful, but expensive and lack flavor. Why not do lamb shanks? This is a great cut of lamb for several reasons―fairly inexpensive, bursting with flavor, soft texture and high collagen (when heated, collagen dissolves to provide flavor and gelatinous texture). A meat shank or shin is the portion of meat around the tibia of the animal, the leg bone beneath the knee. Since the leg muscles are well developed they tend to be tough must be braised or slow-baked in the oven. This recipe calls for the braising in the oven. As with any cut of lamb, the shanks are delicious with mint sauce. Please don’t resort to mint jelly. Fresh mint sauce is a snap to make. You just add mint leaves and a pinch of sugar to the natural juices. This is an easy recipe that you’ll love. One caveat, the bone in lamb shanks can be large (this is a good thing because this means more flavor) so compensate for this when judging how many shanks to cook.   Ingredients 3-4 pounds of lamb shanks ¼ cup vegetable oil 1 teaspoon table salt 1 teaspoon black pepper 1 cup onion, diced 1 cup celery, diced 2 tablespoon fresh garlic, chopped 4 bay leaves 1 teaspoon thyme leaves 2 cups beef broth, canned is fine 1 tablespoon Worstershire sauce 6 sprigs fresh mint, finely chopped   Method In a heavy skillet or Dutch oven heat the oil over a high flame. Salt and pepper the shanks and sear…

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Business Profile

A Family Affair – King’s Jewelry

By Bob Tagert   A Family Affair – King’s Jewelry       In these uncertain economic times it is always nice to find a business that has weathered the storm for over 50 years…this is the story of Norman “Brad” Bradford. Bradford is also a local boy having grown up in Alexandria and attending school here. The ambitious Bradford also held down a day job after school at the old Cannon Shoe Store on King Street. It was in the course of selling shoes and working with people that Bradford discovered not only what he enjoyed, but also that he was a natural born salesman. Recognizing Bradford’s unique talents, Moritz Bier, then owner of King’s Jewelry, made an offer of $10 more a week to the 19-year-old in June of 1962 and Brad made the move. His initial training was “on the job”. Bier took the young Bradford under his wing and taught him – hands on – about the jewelry business. “I was always doing it under his guidance,” Bradford said. “He was kind of grooming me to take over some day.” As time passed, Bradford took on more of the every day operations and in 1978, when Bier and his family wanted to retire they sold the business to Bradford. That early-on family environment is the cornerstone to the family run King’s Jewelry of today. Ten years after Bradford started at King’s his sister Helen joined him at the store working for Bier. After Bradford bought the business, his daughter Tari joined the growing business in 1983. “Wow, how time flies,” Tari tells me; I have been working at King’s Jewelry for more than 34 years.” Working with family and co-workers who are like family has been rewarding. Over the years Dad has taught us so much.” In…

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From the Bay, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

Core Value

From the Bay By Molly Winans   Core Value   Let’s try some guided imagery to start the sailing season. Take a deep breath. Relax. Imagine. It’s your first big day on the water and a sunny, 70-degree one. You slip on your new Maui Jims and work your way up on deck to rig up the new jib (this is imagery, right? It’s all shiny and new).   Fast forward to envisioning yourself at the mast. Hoist! Later, you change a sail or two on the bow, mess with the pole, and run down below to pack a chute. Brace yourself for that puff! Whoa, that was a good one. Now you’re in the cockpit. Can you pass up that other headsail? Careful, it’s heavy. I got it. Can you hand me a winch handle? Trim, trim, trim. Ease, ease. Nice. Can you guys hike out a bit? Could you crawl out to skirt the jib?   Such an upbeat sailing day goes by quickly. I’ll take a beer. Ah. Here, I can help you with the boom cover. Need a hand? Hand me that big duffel bag. Pass me the cooler. What a wonderful day, thank you!   Fast forward to the next day. How does your back feel? Let’s slide out of sailing fantasy camp and into reality. How does your back really feel the next morning after the first windy day sail or race? Local sailor Kerry De Vivo knows about painting hulls, hoisting sails, hiking out, doing quick tacks, and how all of it affects the back and body. As a Pilates instructor with Excel Pilates Annapolis, she says, “We’re all trying to get our sea legs back. It’s important to get ahead of the curve and take care of yourself rather than wait until…

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Events, National Harbor

Peeps Day!

Peeps Day! April 8th   Diorama Contest Kicking Off Festivities at Second Annual Peeps Day   Washington City Paper and National Harbor are holding their own Peeps Diorama Contest. The finalists from the diorama contest, made popular for years by The Washington Post, will be featured in Washington City Paper and be on display at National Harbor starting on Peeps Day which is occurring April 8. In addition to multiple activities for the whole family, Peeps Day will include declaring one of the Peeps dioramas as the “Peeps Choice Award,” voted on by those attending Peeps Day. The Grand Prize Winner, along with the other five finalists, will be featured in Washington City Paper Friday, April 14. Peeps Day starts at noon on the National Harbor Waterfront Plaza which is in front of the Peeps & Company store (157 National Plaza, National Harbor.) In the event of rain, the competition will be held under a tent on the Capital Wheel pier.   Entrants are asked to create a diorama, not to exceed 3 feet wide by 2 feet deep by 2 feet tall. Then they should take a photo of their dioramas and submit their entry at Monday April 3, at11:50 p.m. EDT. The photo is to include an accompanying sign no bigger than 12” x 3” with the name of the diorama. Information to be included with the submission is the entrant’s name, age, hometown, phone number and email address as well as the names of any other contributors to the diorama. Six submissions will be selected for the finals. The selected finalists are to take their entries to National Harbor April 8 for National Peeps Day by 11 a.m. Judging for the Peeps Choice Award will begin at noon, and will be done by a popular vote by the…

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Arts & Entertainment, High Notes

Just Say Yes!

By Chris Anderson   Just Say Yes!   The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame has always given the shaft to prog-rock. In 1996, Pink Floyd got in, because of course they did. It took fourteen years before Genesis made it in and Rush was finally inducted in 2013….and that’s it. However, this April it gets a little better as Yes, after being eligible for 23 years, is finally getting inducted. As they bloody well should. A primary influence on an entire subgenre of music, the level of success Yes has seen, and the strides they’ve made toward further establishing music as an art form, has deemed them more than worthy.   Yes has had so many lineup changes, over the last 48 years, that it’ll make ya dizzy. Of course, some members are more significant than others and those are the ones chosen for induction. The only member to appear on every album was bassist Chris Squire, who died in 2015. He will be inducted posthumously, along with vocalist Jon Anderson, guitarists Steve Howe and Trevor Rabin, keyboardists Tony Kaye and Rick Wakeman, and drummers Bill Bruford and Alan White.   While it’s unfortunate that Patrick Moraz, Trevor Horn, Geoff Downes, Igor Koroshev, Billy Sherwood, Benoit David, Oliver Wakeman, and Jon Davison got passed over, it’s understandable. You can’t induct everyone and most of these guys were only around for a short time. However, one omission that gets under my skin is that of founding guitarist Peter Banks. An underrated talent, Banks was the first member to get sacked, and eventually was the first to die (in 2013). The intervening years did not garner Banks much success and he had to live with the pain of being the forgotten founder of a band that really only took off after…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Single Space

An Ordinary Luxury

By Lori Welch Brown   An Ordinary Luxury   On a recent Saturday morning as I was deciding whether or not to use tap or distilled water in my Neti pot, another woman was attempting to absorb the news that her only daughter had died of a heroin overdose just hours before. I’m aware of the news reports about the heroin epidemic, I’ve watched Intervention since its debut (amazing show, btw), and personally know people who struggle with addiction, yet it still rocks me to my core when I hear about people overdosing. I didn’t know this young woman—she was just 32 years old. She was the niece of a friend of mine. I know only a few details. She left behind a mother and brother who adored her, as well as a 12 year old daughter who is being raised by her dad and stepmom. She had been in a hotel room with a ‘friend’ who called 911. Medics tried to revive her, but it was too late. She had been struggling with her addiction since she was 18—almost half her life. When people asked her what her drug of choice was, she answered, “more.” I feel so badly for all involved, but I feel relieved for ‘her’ because she is at least free from the horrible existence that is addiction.   I’ve written about addiction previously so I will refrain from getting up on my soapbox—and you and I both know that won’t help the addicts out there. What I will do is tell you what her death meant to me personally. This person, whom I had never met, opened my eyes to a couple of things. First off—It got me thinking about the true meaning of friendship because as far as I’m concerned, no ‘friend’ will ever…

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Behind the Bar, Featured Post, Wining & Dining

Behind the Bar: Carlos Mejicanos

Carlos Mejicanos Bond 45 149 Waterfront Street National Harbor 301-839-1445 Carlos concocts a La Birra. It’s Italian for “The Beer.” The recipe for this drink came all the way from Napoli.   How did you get started in the bartending business?   I got the idea when I was 20 going on 21. I was tired of the sales industry and wanted to find a way to make money while I was in school. What is your biggest bartender pet peeve?   I have to pick just one? It probably has to be people coming to my bar and asking me if I make a “good [insert cocktail here].” I usually reply with, “No, I make a terrible…” After the joke is set aside they add, “I’ll be the judge if it’s good.” I once told an Old Fashioned “aficionado” that if he didn’t like my drink, he could come behind the bar and school me. He liked the drink and asked for another.   What is the cleverest line anyone has ever used to get you to give them a free drink?   I run into more people wanting a heavier pour, but there are the others demanding free drinks for their birthday buddies. Though, this one time, I had a Latino guest try to get a free drink due to racial relation. This older gentleman wanted me to hook him up with a free drink because, “you gotta look after your own, right?! Haha!” Nope.   What is the best/worst pickup line you have overheard at the bar?   The worst was quite vulgar, but in short he told her what he would do to her and what kind of involuntary acts (and convulsions shall we say…?) she would follow up with. It, of course, didn’t work.  …

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