Day: November 2, 2018

Dining Out, Wining & Dining

The Executive Diner – A New Twist On An Old Concept

By the Gastronomes   The Executive Diner – A New Twist On An Old Concept   Just like the website says, “This is not your typical diner.” The Executive Diner is a combination of the old school diner of our youth – well, many of us – and the new concept of the interior of the sleek Silver Diner remakes that started popping up about 10 years or so ago.   Local business owners Jerry and Susan Pnevmatikatos of Brentwood Academy fame decided they wanted to take on something different than the day care/pre-school business and opened the Executive Diner and Café on lower Duke Street in Alexandria earlier this year. In fact, it’s not too far from one of Old Towns’ icon diners – Table Talk.   We had driven by the nondescript brick building hundreds of times – literally – over the last 6 months or so and couldn’t quite figure out what the new “Executive” concept was so decided to bite the bullet and stop in. This venture has two parts – a “diner” and a “café”. We understand that the café is more of a “grab and go” kind of place while the diner is just that. We were too late to check out the Café on our stop and were on deadline so couldn’t go back and give it the once over before this issue went to press but we did have a nice dinner in the Diner.   We usually start off our meals with a cocktail and then drink some wine with dinner, however, the Executive doesn’t serve alcohol yet. We were told that they have applied for the necessary licenses and permits and hope to have the issue squared away in the next month or so. To be honest, neither of us…

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On the Road, Pets, Places, & Things

On the Road- November 2018

Cathy with a “C” and her husband Brad Bradford, longtime friends and clients (they are the proprietors of the popular King’s Jewelry in the heart of Old Town Alexandria) of the OTC took a few minutes out of their fabulous trip to Athens, Greece to snap this picture of them with the October issue. This is the view from their balcony that they woke up to each morning – the Parthenon on the Acropolis hill. Kathy with a “K” and her husband Bob Condon, also longtime friends of the OTC and occasional partners in crime, stayed on USA soil and took the October issue to Park City, Utah where they have family. Looks like they snuck away to get their “bearings” before heading to Fletchers for some of Park City’s popular cuisine.

Arts & Entertainment, Last Word

Thunder and Lightning

Thunder and Lightning by Miriam R. Kramer Winter is coming, or at least the midterms and Thanksgiving soon after. No wonder everyone is stressed, angry, and barking furiously at the TV like Buzz, my pug. (Thank God he can’t see the news alerts on my phone.) In the immortal words of Rupert Hines in “The Piña Colada” song, “we’ll plan our escape.” One recent book, Stormy Daniels’ Full Disclosure, is an enjoyable and unexpected vacation destination. We don’t know yet if Stormy Daniels’ life has a happy ending, but we have recently gotten to know her and her non-publicity-shy lawyer Michael Avenatti through multiple appearances on venues ranging from 60 Minutes to The View. Her new tell-all book is both a serious and playful romp through a life we pre-judge and probably shouldn’t. Daniels’ book details much more than her relatively tiny, limp affair with the 45th President. It begins with the city of West Hollywood giving her the key to the city as she gathers with the two gay dads she adopted and her bodyguards, to whom she has given the task of picking out a bandage dress for her in a size small with a top that will accommodate a 36DDD chest. This detail sets the tone for her memoir-so-far. Daniels takes us from her hardscrabble upbringings to the surreal level of international scrutiny she has received in the past two years, after President Donald Trump, along with his federally indicted personal attorney, Michael Cohen, tried to get her to lie about her sexual encounter with him. Stephanie Clifford renamed herself Stormy Daniels as a young adult, disliking the original name that was a legacy from her parents. Her well-kept working class neighborhood in Baton Rouge, Louisiana soon devolved into a nest of crack dens. When her parents…

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Grapevine & Vintner Profile, Wining & Dining

Loudoun County Wine Awards 2018 – Fabbioli Cellars Gets Top Honors

By Nancy Bauer Loudoun County Wine Awards 2018 – Fabbioli Cellars Gets Top Honors   I stopped going to the mega summer wine festivals many years ago. Back then, I loved the energy, the crowds, and the novelty. Now, they just make me grumpy. The sweaty scrum pushing for tiny pours, the blasting sun and the often unimpressive wine (wineries rarely bring their best to those things, for good reason). And maybe worst of all are the faces of the volunteer pourers as the weekend wears on – flat and harried, as they repeat their line over and over: “This is our Traminette. It goes great with spicy dishes and Thai food.” Compare that to the Loudoun Wine Awards, which I attended at the Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg in October. For $89, guests were treated to a ninety-minute reception that featured the gold medal-winning wines of the evening. Winery tables were staffed by happy and knowledgeable pourers, winemakers and owners. There was cheese. And live jazz. And a lively, three-course dinner where cheers erupted periodically as each new winner was introduced. And then, dancing. It was all so adult. The off season is a great time to seek out these more intimate events, such as the Fauquier Wine Competition at Airlie, held late February/early March, and the week-long Monticello Wine Trail Festival in Charlottesville in late April/ early May, which includes a variety of small brunches and dinners in addition to the Monticello Cup Awards event. Also in March is the Virginia Wine Expo (February 26 through March 3) in Richmond, which revamped itself last year to limit attendance and amp up the ambience by switching venues to Main Street Station. It’s a full week of smaller wine dinners and educational events throughout Richmond. Wine appreciation is a pretty predictable…

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Exploring VA Wines, Wining & Dining

A Vinter’s Job is Neverending!

A Vinter’s Job is Neverending! By Doug Fabbioli There always seems to be a sense of relief once the first hard frost comes that knocks our grape leaves to the ground. The high priority of tending to those vines over the past seven months drops like the leaves themselves. The fruit has long been in the cellar and our priorities shift to the neglected areas from earlier in the season. I guess it would be like a fishing boat coming into port once the season has ended. The focus of the captain shifts to repairs, maintenance and recharging for the next season. And every great captain knows how important it is that his or her team understands the change in priorities. The work does not stop. In some ways it’s harder than the middle of the season as there is more planning involved so your team has the knowledge, direction and tools to get these other projects done – this will make a big difference later on. It’s nice when guests compliment me on how good the property looks. I always have an eye on the dozens of undone projects, cleanups and fixes that I have not had time to address. We have about a month or so to focus on grass repairs, painting, deep outside cleaning and other projects that we want to get off the list. We try to address the most important ones based on weather timing, impact to the business, safety and sometimes cost. I always have a list of things to do that is much larger than the day. Going back to the team and their skill sets, we have always worked to employ our vineyard team through the year by teaching them skills that will be productive in the off season. Jim Law of…

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Arts & Entertainment, Events, Events

November Alexandria Events Calendar

2nd   Art on Tap 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Admission: $45 The Art League Gallery Torpedo Factory Art Cent 105 N. Union St. 703-683-2323 Enjoy local craft beers, original artwork and amazing food at The Art League’s annual Art on Tap! Craft beers from local breweries have been artfully paired with a work of art from an Art League instructor. Local restaurants have chosen a brew/artwork coupling to serve as their muse to create the perfect complementary appetizer. Enjoy the brew, bite, and artwork trifectas. Sample the creative combinations while drinking from a take-home Art on Tap beer tasting glass, and then vote for your favorite at the end of the event.   3rd, 10th & 17th   Portside History 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission: Free 1 King Street Part of the Portside in Old Town programming series on the waterfront, the Office of Historic Alexandria presents Portside History, showcasing Alexandria’s maritime history through exhibits and interactive activities. 9TH   Late Shift at the Torpedo Factory Art Center 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Admission: Free Torpedo Factory Art Center 105 N. Union St. Enjoy gallery talks, artist receptions, music, live performances, hands-on artmaking and three floors of open artists’ studios. There will be a special Late Shift celebrating 100 years since the groundbreaking for the U.S. Naval Torpedo Station in Alexandria. With an eye on the future, the Torpedo Factory Art Center will celebrate the past and their military history for this special Late Shift event. 9th – 11th   12th Annual Alexandria Film Festival Admission: TBA AMC Hoffman 22 Theater and Beatley Central Library Come join us for three days of both ticketed and cost-free screenings of the best in independent filmmaking from around the world and our own Alexandria neighborhoods. The 12th Annual Alexandria…

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Beauty & Health, Spiritual Renaissance

What are YOU Grateful for?

By Peggie Arvidson What are YOU Grateful for? I have to admit it’s much easier to be grateful in November living in Tucson. The weather is pretty much perfect every day. It’s why the intrepid stay through the dusty, dry and yes, brutal summer heat – to really bask in the glory that is Autumn in the desert. If you think there are no seasons in the desert Southwest, you are mistaken. Our air turns crisp just like it does in the Mid-Atlantic, but we stop short of excessive gray skies that seem to roll in to the DelMarVa area as you change the clocks and it doesn’t think about budging until Daylight Savings Time begins again in the Spring. Maybe our weather is so perfect because we DON’T change our clocks? It’s fun to confuse friends and family around the country with that little bit of trivia – from Spring to Fall we are three hours behind the fine folks on the East Coast and from Fall through Spring we’re only two hours. Living here I’ve learned that the center of the Earth is actually on East Coast time. Even shows that originate in Hollywood are aired to make it to prime time in New York City. Don’t kid yourself Hollywood, we know where the decision makers live and it’s alongside Madison Avenue. None the less, as a proud desert dweller I have the opportunity to review my blessings and say thank you all year through, and yet, it seems important to compile the list right now, for Thanksgiving. 1. Family. As you know my family has expanded exponentially in the past year and I’m eternally grateful for the love and understanding that I get to share with each member of the crew. I’ve done a great deal of…

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Beauty & Health, From the Trainer

Put down the Fork!

Put down the Fork! By Ryan Unverzagt November can be a difficult month to control our eating habits with Thanksgiving being in the way. I agree with everything Nicole says in her Fitness column this month. We seem to let our eyes and stomach get the best of us and give into temptation. So what advice can I give you to stay on the fitness track this month? Put down the fork and back away from the table! Just kidding, but we could all use a little bit of will-power when it comes to eating food. I think the biggest issue to address first is portion control. Eating the correct amount of food can save you a ton of calories. Sounds easy enough, right? Let’s review how much a serving size actually is: 1 fruit serving = 1 small to medium fresh fruit, ½ cup canned or fresh fruit or fruit juice, ¼ cup dried fruit 1 vegetable serving = ½ cup cooked veggies or vegetable juice, 1 cup raw veggies 1 starch serving (carbohydrate) = ½ cup cereal, grain, pasta, or starchy vegetable such as corn, potatoes, beans; 1 slice bread, ¾ to 1 ounce snack food 1 dairy serving = 1 cup milk, ¾ cup yogurt, 1 ounce cheese (about the size of 4 dice), ½ cup ice cream or pudding, 1 medium egg 1 meat serving = 3 ounces chicken, turkey, shellfish, beef 1 serving pumpkin pie = 1/8 pie and 1 serving fruit pie = 1/6 pie As you can see, it doesn’t take much to constitute a serving. If you truly took the serving sizes listed above, a normal Thanksgiving Day plate and glass would hardly be full. Therefore, choose to grab a smaller plate and glass to “trick” your mind into thinking you have…

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Working out Through the Holidays

Working out Through the Holidays By Nicole Flanagan With the cold weather rolling in and the days getting shorter it seems like we all have less time on our hands. With an already jam-packed schedule we tend to skip out on workouts (or stop exercising entirely) and by the time we get to the New Year we all feel compelled to get back to that pre-holiday shape. This year let’s try to do things a little different. Instead of slowing down on the exercise routine and abandoning your diet completely, keep up the good work and by the time the New Year gets here you will be starting off on a positive foot.  Pay attention to what you eat at your holiday parties and keep your butt moving through the last leg of the holiday season. Here are just a few tips to keep you looking and feeling your best! Keep Moving: Without realizing it we sometimes slow down on our exercise routines.  This time make a steadfast commitment to workout.  Just like you make your work schedule, take time to pencil in a workout.  If you end up missing a workout make it up as soon as possible. Remember it is easier to stick to a fitness program than it is to start one after months of inactivity. Take your workout outdoors: Most people will bring their workouts inside when the weather starts to get chilly.  Instead, take advantage of what the weather has to offer.  Bundle up a bit and take a walk, you’ll have to walk a bit faster to keep yourself warm while also burning more calories. Travel Smart: Don’t abandon your workout because of traveling for work or family holiday parties.  If you are on a business trip try staying at a hotel that has…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Urban Garden

Millennials to Baby Boomers, Gifts that Grow are All the Rage

By Melinda Myers Millennials to Baby Boomers, Gifts that Grow are All the Rage It’s a jungle in there. Every window, surface and brightly lit corner is filled with decorative or edible greenery.  There is no doubt what to gift this person for the holidays. More of the same. A lack of outdoor growing space, limited growing seasons, and time constraints have many people filling their apartments and homes with fiddle leaf figs, palms, succulents, herbs and vegetables. And you have probably heard of the houseplant craze amongst millennials. Perhaps the need to destress after a long work day, concern for purer air, an interest in safe fresh food and a desire to be close to nature contribute to this craze. No matter the reason, gifting a millennial a trendy houseplant is sure to be a hit. No matter your age, living in a green space and tending plants has many benefits. It reduces stress, improves one’s mood and provides a sense of emotional well-being. Planting seeds and watching them grow generates feelings of hope. It it’s edible, even better.  Indoor herb and vegetable gardens provide fresh, nutritious food to harvest and enjoy. Newbies and those making the gardening transition indoors may find it challenging. Limited light, a different pallet of plants and variable watering regimes can be intimidating. Those who have killed philodendrons and succulents in the past may have given up, but fortunately there are solutions and easy-care options for those looking to expand their indoor green spaces. Take the guesswork out of watering with hydroponics. Water and nutrients are available and delivered via a wick or similar system to the plants when needed.  Colorful Mason-type canning jar planters fitted with hydroponic grow kits are perfect for starting seeds and growing plants on windowsills or countertops. Add a sleeker…

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