Day: September 2, 2017

Behind the Bar, Restaurant Guide, Wining & Dining

Behind the Bar: Kat Warren

Kat Warren R.T.’s Restaurant 3804 Mount Vernon Avenue Alexandria, VA 703-684-6010   Kat is behind the bar Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights.   Kat conjurs up a Creole 75 #1. A variation on the French 75.  It has Leopold’s small batch gin that is infused in house with pear and rosemary, fresh lemon juice, house-made ginger syrup, topped with champagne, and garnished with a lemon twist.   How did you get started in the bartending business?   My first bartending gig started at a local restaurant in my hometown of Maryville, Tennesee. I was barely 21 at the time and I was really excited to try something new. However, my love for the trade really transpired while working at a jazz and martini bar. This was in the days before mixology and craft cocktails had become what they are today. A regular of mine came in one day with a book for me called Aerobleu written about a nightclub in Paris in the late forties. It documents anecdotes of the great jazz musicians, like Miles Davis for example, who performed at the club and the libations and martinis that were created for them by the bartender, Jean-Pierre. I found that the stories would be only half as interesting without the cocktails that were created expressly for the artists that were drinking them. I was inspired to experiment with all types of alcohol to create fun martinis for different seasons as well as special holidays. I became a bit of a celebrity with the local ladies who would come over for happy hour after getting off work excited to try any and all new creations. It was all fun and games until the first Sex and the City movie came out while I was working there. I couldn’t tell…

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Pets of the Month, Pets, Places, & Things

September Pets of the Month

Bob the Cat Meet the bodacious Bob! This big, beautiful boy is looking for a best buddy who loves munching on tasty snacks and napping the day away. Bob is partially blind, but don’t let that label fool you! He gets around great and needs no special care, just an extra-large litter box. During his stay with a foster family, he got the hang of their apartment in no time at all.   Bob’s adoption fees have already been paid by a generous donor, so if you are looking for a comical cat to relax and unwind with after a long day, Bob is ready to chill with you! Mugsy Handsome Mugsy is so named because his sweet mug will melt your heart and make you smile! His favorite people have fingers that smell like hot dogs, and he makes quick friends over lunch. Mugsy has the best ears for rubbing and the warmest brown eyes that you will ever look into! If you are looking for a soulful hound dog to make your heart sing, Mugsy is your man! Lolita Lolita is a friendly bunny who loves attention and munching on fresh produce. She is living it up in a foster home where she has a Siberian husky as her best buddy! Lolita adores playing with toys and carrying around her hay ball.   Lolita is available from a foster home, so if you’d like to schedule a time to meet her, please call 703-746-4774 or email

Arts & Entertainment, High Notes

Twiddle: Plump

By Chris Anderson   Twiddle: Plump   Vermont has given birth to some of the jam scene’s heaviest hitters, most notably Phish – the big daddy of them all – as well as a host of others such as Raq, Max Creek, the legendary Strangefolk, and the increasingly popular Grace Potter & The Nocturnals. Joining those luminous names is the oddly-yet-aptly-named Twiddle, who has been delivering its signature brand of uplifting, sunshine-filled, weed-soaked grooves for over a decade now. More song-oriented than many of the bands on their particular level, Twiddle has a sound that is highly reminiscent of early Dave Matthews Band and Blues Traveler (in fact, singer/guitarist Mihali Savoulidis has a voice that sounds exactly like a cross between Dave Matthews and John Popper) but with perhaps a slightly Phishy twist. While they are all magnificent players, and they do have a tendency to stretch things out a fair bit on stage, this is a band that is definitely about songs just as much as instrumental antics, and they sure do bring the goods, on both counts. Twiddle’s latest release is the also-aptly-named, Plump, a mammoth double studio album that features some 28 songs spanning well over two hours. That sounds daunting but it is, however, two hours very well spent. The first volume was originally released in a low-key edition in 2015 but was remastered and updated for this current edition, which adds an additional album worth of music. Almost every song on Plump is top-notch….I just don’t get the rap-metal of “Juggernaut” that sits in the middle of this otherwise beautiful album but most of the other songs are fantastic. I will admit that, as a recent convert, a lot of their songs sound the same, or at least many of them have a very similar…

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

Fall chores you can skip and those to do for a nice yard and garden next spring!

By Julie Reardon   Notes from a Lazy Farmer: Fall chores you can skip and those to do for a nice yard and garden next spring! Some people are out dividing unruly iris and daffodil patches and planting new bulbs right after Labor Day. Not me, it’s generally too hot for that and I’ve never had much luck with iris, at least, not to the point I ever had enough to divide. And in my world, daffodils that have gotten too crowded are divided in spring, after they’ve bloomed but before the foliage completely dies off, preferably after a soaking rain to make the digging easier.   Yes, you are supposed to divide daffodils in the fall, say the experts. But daffodil bulbs are too hard to find without their foliage, and that’s if you even remember they were so crowded they didn’t bloom very well months after the fact. If their spring blooms were anemic, their ugly dying foliage will remind you daily that you should have divided them last year and you need to do something about them.   So forget dividing your daffodils now. Mine always handle division just fine in spring, a trick I learned from a wise old friend who used to divide hers then and give me the extras. I still have some that have survived several moves and divisions—all in spring. While it’s better to wait until the leaves start yellowing to dig them up, even that’s not absolutely necessary. If a patch is too crowded to bloom well, who cares? You’re just rearranging greens for next year’s blooms. The only bulbs I plant in fall are must-have new ones, because that’s the only time you can find them for sale. Believe me, if I could find them for sale in spring, that’s…

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On the Road, Pets, Places, & Things

On the Road

The OTC’s own Caribbean Connection writer, Jeff McCord, is sitting outside of “Fred’s Bar” in the cozy piazza of Moncalvo, in the Piedmont region of Italy. Moncalvo is called “The Littlest City in Italy,” so named because even though it is town-sized, the forefathers applied for and received a city charter. It is a medieval town, with the remains of the fortress wall surrounding it. Fred’s is off of the Piazza Garibaldi, a square which attracts the whole town towards 5:00 p.m. when everyone has an espresso or a beer.

Beauty & Health, Fitness

Workout Smarter, Not Harder

Workout Smarter, Not Harder By Nicole Flanagan If someone told you right now what the absolute best exercise to lose weight was, would you do it? Of course you would. Guess what that exercise is, the one that you will do. The biggest things that stop people from exercising are boredom and injuries. If you can find an exercise, or some type of workout that you enjoy doing, it is much easier to stick to it. The truth is that weight loss is about creating a calorie deficit, in other words, burning more calories than you take in. While running at an 8-minute-mile pace might be a great calorie burner, if you’re not going to do it, it’s not going to help you. Instead, start with something you can do, like walking or working out on an elliptical machine or exercise bike. You will burn more calories by doing cardio that you will with strength training. Strength training itself will not lead to an appreciable amount of weight loss because it just doesn’t burn enough calories. A combination of cardio and strength is going to be the best approach to sustainable weight loss. That’s not to say that strength training isn’t important for the overall health of the body. But when it comes to burning the most calories, go for cardiovascular exercise. And vary the intensity. Cross training is another key that will help amp up your workouts. Doing a range of different activities during your workouts helps you keep from getting bored and it’s better for your body. Doing different activities recruits different muscle groups. You’re also less likely to develop an injury, since doing the same thing day after day creates wear patterns on your joints. Keep in mind that exercise is just one portion of a successful…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Urban Garden

From the Garden to the Party

From the Garden to the Party By Melinda Myers Make every meal a special event by bringing the garden to the table. Serve your favorite dishes made from homegrown ingredients. Then allow guests to add their own herbal seasonings right from the garden or container. Start by growing the ingredients for your favorite recipes and beverages. Consider those, like tomatoes, that taste best fresh from the garden.  Or create a salad bar by filling window boxes and raised beds with greens, hot peppers, green onions and more. Just hand your guests a plate and let them create their own fresh salad. Dress up the table or balcony with a few containers of herbs on your patio, deck or near the grill.  Use small herb containers as edible centerpieces. Just include a pair of garden scissors and allow your family and guests to season the meal to their taste. Add a bit of color to your meal with edible flowers. Try nasturtium and daylily blossoms stuffed with cream cheese, calendula petals sprinkled on your salad and mint leaves a top a slice of chocolate cake. Include a few herbs and vegetables that can be blended, muddled or added to your favorite beverage. Use the hollow stems of lovage as a straw for your tomato juice or Bloody Mary. You’ll enjoy the celery flavor this edible straw provides. Or pluck a few mint or rosemary leaves to flavor iced tea and lemonade. Just be sure the vegetables and flowers you select are free of pesticides. Remove the bitter tasting pollen from edible flowers. Start your party preparation in the garden. Once you compile your list of favorites prepare your garden and containers for a productive growing and entertaining season. In the garden, add several inches of organic matter such as compost to…

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Beauty & Health, Spiritual Renaissance

What’s a Mystic Cross?

By Peggie Arvidson What’s a Mystic Cross? I was trained in a school of palmistry that didn’t talk about the Mystic Cross much. Still, it’s hard to study hands and read as much about palmistry and hand analysis as I do and not come across references to this mystical marker. The more I read about it and the more I looked at my own hands I realized that I do have one of these! In fact, I’ve had it for as long as I’ve been studying hands. During my certification process I asked about this X between my heart and head lines and it was identified it as a marker of change and upheaval in my life occurring in or around my 41st year.   This made sense then and in hindsight.  In my 41st year my entire life changed – dramatically.  I knew it was coming and it was underway during my hand analysis certification process.  The culmination came later that year, but since I don’t believe in coincidences, I made the connection that a cross between a head and heart line, with its center point directly below the Saturn (middle) finger would always indicate some sort of massive life change.   (If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I believe that change is inevitable – neither good or bad – so go ahead and lean into it.) Massive life change isn’t the easiest sort of change to lean into, however, now that I’m through the process I can assure you it was completely worth it.   Fast forward 11 years and this cross is still one of the most common questions I’m asked regarding palmistry! There are currently 81 comments on the post I wrote about this on website!   Still for years I ignored the questions…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Points on Pets

Area Advocacy Organizations Bring Animals and Volunteers Together

Area Advocacy Organizations Bring Animals and Volunteers Together By Cindy McGovern “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.”—Oscar Wilde It’s estimated that 7 million animals are taken to U.S. shelters every year. No one knows the exact number, because there is no requirement to report it. But suffice to say, there are a lot of animals in shelters across the country. “Seven million” normally refers to our most common companions, cats and dogs. It doesn’t begin to account for the bunnies, guinea pigs, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and birds. Then there are the large-animal rescue centers that are home to goats, sheep, pigs, and horses. All totaled, that’s a huge population of animals who hope to find safe, loving forever homes. Some of course won’t, and in that case, they will live out their lives at these shelters and facilities. Why Does This Matter? This homeless animal population could not be cared for without the support and dedication of a large cadre of volunteers nationwide. Some shelters have paid permanent staff, while others are 100 percent volunteer run and funded. All need volunteer support to continue their work and are always looking for help. Each shelter or rescue facility has its own set of requirements and philosophy about rescuing and caring for animals. Before volunteering, research the facility and learn about their mission and vision for animal care to ensure it’s consistent with your own. The organizations and facilities highlighted here are intended to pique your interest, tug at your heart strings, and encourage you to seek out some of these volunteer opportunities. What Do Volunteers Do? Volunteer opportunities depend on the facilities and type of animals, but the list of duties is long, varied, and not glamorous. You may be washing towels and blankets used…

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Events, Events, Pets, Places, & Things

King Street Cats Adoption Calendar for Sept 2017

King Street Cats Adoption Calendar for Sept 2017     For details please see our Website: Or contact us via email at:   King Street Cats 25 Dove Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 Every Saturday and Sunday from 1.30pm-4.30pm   Petvalu Bradlee Shopping Center, 3652 King St, Alexandria, VA 22302 Every first and third Sat/Sun from 1pm-4pm   Petco Unleashed 1101 S Joyce St, Arlington, VA 22202 Every first Sat and third Sat/Sun from 1pm-4pm   Petco Unleashed 1855 Wisconsin Avenue, Washington, DC 20007 Every fourth Sat/Sun from 12pm-3pm   The Dog Park 705 King Street, Alexandria, VA22314 Every second Saturday from 1pm-4pm   Natures Nibbles 2601 Mt Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA 22301 Every second and fourth Saturday from 1pm-4pm   Are you or someone you know free during weekday mornings? King Street Cats is looking for weekday morning caregivers and vet taxis to transport our cats to the vet. Please email: for details.   King Street Cats is looking for foster homes! You provide the spare room and TLC and we can provide food, litter and all vetting. Please email: for details.

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