Day: February 1, 2019

Behind the Bar, Wining & Dining

Behind the Bar: Pedro Mendoza

Pedro Mendoza Northside 10 10 South Glebe Road Alexandria 703-888-0032             Pedro conjures up the Northside Breeze – Deep Eddy Grapefruit Vodka, Cranberry and Orange Juice and a splash of Prosecco garnished an orange slice and cherry How did you get started in the bartending business? I started bartending at parties for friends — just for fun to talk to people and have a good time. People from the parties started to hire me for private functions. My regulars at Southside 815 and Northside 10 wanted to see me behind the bar, so I moved back there permanently in 2017. What is your biggest bartender pet peeve? A couple things make me crazy – when people pour their own wine from the service bar and when they say they’re in a hurry but they want to ask a million questions about the menu. But… nothing makes me crazier than customers who talk with their mouths full of food. I want to hear what you have to say, but chew and swallow first! What is the cleverest line anyone has ever used to get you to give them a free drink? A woman at the bar saw we had a chili dog on the menu. She said she could swallow the whole thing if I gave her a free shot. I didn’t take her up on it, her friend stepped in before it got too far… What is the best/worst pickup line you have overheard at the bar? I’ve heard a lot of awful material.  “I’d swipe right for you” was pretty bad.  The better ones are specific to the person – I saw a guy come up to a beautiful redhead and tell her he was “thirsty for a tall glass of ginger ale”.  She smiled and let…

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Let's Eat, Wining & Dining

Valentine’s Day Decadence

Let’s Eat by Charles Oppman Valentine’s Day Decadence      With Valentine’s Day upon us, you probably need to come up with a gift for that special someone. Why not make a gift of food, but not just any food, it must be chocolate. Lovers the world over consider chocolate to be sexy, sensual and few other gifts can say: Je t’aime ma chérie like chocolate. Ever since the Spanish Conquistadors brought this wonderful food back to Europe, chocolate has been one of the most prized foods in history and the perfect gift for special occasions. We usually just hand over chocolates that someone else made. Why not make this Valentine’s Day extra special and hand-make your gift of chocolate this year. When I think Valentine’s chocolate I think chocolate mousse. Why not? Here’s a quick and easy chocolate mousse recipe served in a chocolate cup no less. This will be the most memorable Valentine’s Day ever. While there are more complicated recipes involving meringue and gelatin, this one will do just fine. Ingredients 1 3/4 cups whipping cream 16 ounces quality semi-sweet chocolate chips OR chopped bar (reserve 4 oz. for cups) 1 tablespoon instant coffee dissolved in warm water 3 tablespoon dark rum 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened The Mousse 1. Chill whipping cream in refrigerator. Chill metal mixing bowl. 2. Place 12 ounces of chocolate chips in metal bowl and place in a double boiler or over a sauce pan with simmering water. Melt over barely simmering water, stirring constantly. Remove from heat while small chunks are still visible. Cool to nearly room temperature. Taste it, if it’s too hot to taste, allow continuing to cool. 3. Add butter, rum and coffee mixture to chocolate. It might coagulate and clump at first, but continue to stir until…

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Beauty & Health, From the Trainer

Exercise With Your Sweatheart

By Ryan Unverzagt Exercise With Your Sweatheart If you’ve been following any of my advice, you may have discovered that exercising with a friend is a fun way to get that not so easy “chore” done and over with. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and would provide that perfect opportunity to exercise with your sweetheart. I have four partner designed exercises to share with you this month. In future Old Town Crier issues, my articles will consist of an “exercise of the month” in which I will explain the benefits and have pictures to show the techniques. The first sweetheart exercise to try is the FitBall Squat. This is performed by placing a FitBall between you and your partner’s backs, then squatting together keeping the ball from falling to the floor. This one requires teamwork, great timing, and trust to pull it off successfully. Since you will be facing in opposite directions, communication is essential. Try 15 reps and if you want to increase the difficulty, just pause at the bottom of your squat for a ten second count, then repeat ten times. The second sweetheart exercise is the seated medicine ball (MB) rotation. Sit on the floor beside your partner with knees bent as if you were to perform a sit-up. There should be about a two foot space in between. Both of you lean back about 45 degrees and lift your feet off the floor to balance on the tailbone. Now this is the start position. To begin, grab one MB with elbows bent 90 degrees and rotate at the waist away from your partner, then back toward the two foot space in the center to set the ball down on the floor. Your sweetheart then grabs it off the floor and rotates away from you…

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Healthy Habits

Healthy Habits by Nicole Flannigan Now that the New Year is in full swing and we have all climbed back on the treadmills and weight machines, it’s time to make sure we can keep going. The most difficult part of changing your habits is the change itself. The best way to make a lasting difference in your life is to change things a little bit at a time. Even when you have the workout part down to a science it’s what you do outside the gym that counts as well. We all know that exercise is not the only answer to solving our weight loss problems. With a well-balanced exercise and nutrition plan you will get much more out of your workout and your everyday life. It is not your imagination, sitting at your desk all day can really make your behind as wide as the chair that you sit in. Many people who work in an office building don’t get much of a chance to be active throughout the day. As a result, that nine to five job just gave them an extra 10 to 20 pounds. Here are some ways to whittle that waistline while you’re hard at work: • Reduce those rolls: Replace that ordinary desk chair with a ball.  By trading your chair in for an exercise ball you will help your posture and strengthen your core improving your stability and burning calories. • Walk and talk: If you tend to take a lot of calls during the day, get a headset and walk while you talk. Get a pedometer or Fitbit and track how many extra steps you take in a day. An Extra 500 steps per day burns about 25 calories.  Over the course of a whole year that can mean a weight loss…

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Beauty & Health, First Blush

Looking Y-O-U-N-G!

By Kim Putens Looking Y-O-U-N-G!   You haven’t found the fountain of youth yet, but you’re afraid to go under the knife.  You sit in wonder of how to keep your skin looking young, particularly during these harsh winter days.    Many people ask me how I keep my skin looking young. They want to know my beauty tricks and if they involve botox. There is no doubt that at 49 it’s much harder to fight the signs of aging than at 21. But, I will avail you of the routine that helps me keep my skin looking Y-O-U-N-G and, no, it does not involve botox. I’m too afraid of the needles. Y – Yoga. I can’t live without yoga in my life.  It helps relieve the daily stresses associated with running a business, keeping up with my two children and maintaining a busy household.  Research has shown that stress not only impacts your body, but your skin too. As your mom always told you – if you keep making those faces, your face may stay that way. Well, there is something to be said for that. Your frowns and furrows leave their mark when you make them often enough. O – Oxygen. Recent studies have shown that as the skin ages there is a reduction in oxygen in the skin.  Luckily, there are ways to get oxygen back into the skin. I am an exfoliating queen. I always have been. I use a scrub on most days to help unclog my pores and reveal softer skin. By opening up your pores, you’re allowing more oxygen to get into the skin. Depending how clogged your pores are, a deep exfoliation or exfoliating mask will help to slough off dead skin cells and unclog surface pores. If your skin has been…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Urban Garden

House Plants 101

By Melinda Myers House Plants 101 Succulents should be kept within two feet of an east- or west-facing window and grown in a fast-draining potting mix. Photo credit:  Melinda Myers, LLC Houseplants 101 Lift your spirits and improve your indoor environment by taking part in the indoor gardening movement. An apartment or home filled with tropical, succulent and flowering plants can provide beauty, extend your garden season, improve air quality and create a peaceful environment to de-stress. Though some may find indoor gardening a bit intimidating, don’t let past failures or the thought of tending living greenery stop you from enjoying the many benefits. Knowing some basics in care and making needed adjustments to the growing environment can turn past failures into success. Water, humidity and light are key to growing healthy plants. When you match these to a plant’s needs and the growing media, you’re sure to experience success. Use a container with drainage holes to avoid overwatering that can lead to root rot and plant death. It should be no more than an inch or two larger in diameter than the plant’s root ball. Growing in a larger pot results in the soil staying too wet, increasing the chance of root rot. Select a quality potting mix that holds moisture but drains well. Cacti and succulents prefer a fast-draining mix while tropicals and African violets prefer a mix that stays moist, not soggy, yet drains well. Set your plant in a location that’s free from drafts of hot and cold air, but in the preferred light conditions. An east- or west-facing window usually provides adequate light for most plants. Keep cacti, succulents and other plants requiring high light within two feet of an east- or west-facing window. Pothos, philodendron, Chinese evergreens and those that tolerate low light can be…

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Beauty & Health, Spiritual Renaissance

How to Arrive at Your Destination

By Peggie Arvidson How to Arrive at Your Destination Life throws you curveballs. All the time. Right? You think you’re taking a train to Peoria and the next thing you know you haven’t even left the station. Or maybe you find yourself in the passenger seat, believing your driver is heading to Manassas and instead you end up in Chicago. What do you do when you end up somewhere you never thought you’d be? Acknowledge the confusion. I mean, you signed up for a certain plan, program, relationship or destination and then the trip changed and you ended up somewhere else. It’s not a good feeling, no matter how adaptable you are. It doesn’t mean the world has ended though. After all, you’re still standing and you have the opportunity to look around and find your own bearings. Ask yourself how you wound up so far off track. Look, don’t beat yourself up, but it’s a good idea to dig in and figure out how you may have gotten to the new destination. Were you secretly harboring a wish for a night of good jazz and steak but kept insisting you were fine with a life full of lobst-ah and pasta?  Maybe your inner voice was asking for something (somewhere) you didn’t want to acknowledge. What’s that about? Do some introspection to see where you’re sending yourself mixed signals. Make peace with it. Then create a daily practice to come into alignment with your inner longings and outer plans. If you don’t like where you are, make peace my friend. Peace is a big part of this journey on the planet. Forgive yourself for landing right where you are and treat yourself with some kindness. Then learn what you can, where you are and get real about the next direction….

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Pets, Places, & Things, Points on Pets

The Birds and the Bees, and Your Cat.

The Birds and the Bees, and Your Cat. By Sarah Liu Mrs. Huggins does not celebrate Valentine’s Day.  Far from being attracted to any male cat, she hates all cats equally.  In fact, the very idea of romantic love seems an affront, as she joyfully shredded the last $5.50 card my husband bought me, and ate (and vomited) a few of my red roses.  But these events gave me pause for thought, and I reflected on the love life of cats.  Is Mrs. Huggins missing out? Seasons of Love: Female cats, or “queens,” enter their first estrus cycle once they reach sexual maturity; generally around six months of age.  Notably though, certain breeds like Persians reach maturity later, and others, especially outdoor ferals, may become sexually mature even earlier.  This variability makes pro-active neutering and trap-neuter-release (“TNR”) programs so critical, in order to prevent dangerous early pregnancies in “teen” mothers, and to reduce the number of homeless kittens. Cats are seasonally poly-estrus, which means they can cycle multiple times during the breeding season.  The breeding season varies by region, but in the United States, generally takes place from early spring until the late fall.  This period is commonly referred to as “kitten season” by rescue volunteers, as it coincides with an influx of pregnant queens and homeless kittens to shelters who struggle for resources to provide extra care. For indoor cats, and cats in tropical climates, the breeding season may last all year round. That Lovin’ Feeling: The queen’s estrus cycle lasts anywhere from one to three weeks.  During the cycle, she will spend one to seven days “in heat” – a time in which she is keen to meet romantic partners.  The signs are generally behavioral rather than physical.  If your cat has not been spayed, you may observe…

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Pets of the Month, Pets, Places, & Things

February Pets of the Month

Oak, Baby, Male, White Mouse Oak is still a little sapling who is looking for a family to call his own.  He loves to spend time with his brother Elm, crafting their burrows and getting their exercise in.  He enjoys meeting new people, and with a little time and treats, will learn to love snuggling up in his people’s hands! Adoption profile: Adoption information: Photo courtesy of Shelley Castle Photography Butterfly, Adult, Spayed Female, Silver Tabby Domestic Longhair Butterfly is a precious little lady.  This petite girl is exuberant about meeting people but also appreciates her quiet time.  She co-exists with other cats and would do fine as an only cat.  Her unique smile is due to the fact that she’s missing most of her teeth, but that doesn’t stop her from eating with gusto!  She’s quite young and loves to play with all of her toys at once.  Butterfly is a looking for a playmate – could it be you? Adoption profile: Adoption information: Photo courtesy of Alexandria Animals Sadie, Adult, Spayed Female, White and Black, Pit Bull Terrier Sadie is a “lov-a-bull” mix of sweet and adorable. Her name means “princess” and she is looking for her castle! You’ll see her biggest smiles when playing with kids and when it’s dinnertime. This princess prefers to be the only dog in your castle and isn’t a fan of dog parks. Sadie would love to meet you – no curtsying necessary!    Adoption profile: Adoption information: Photo courtesy of Dirty Paw Photography

Arts & Entertainment, Events, Featured Post

Tall Ship Providence Coming to Alexandria

By Bob Tagert The cover of the first Old Town Crier printed in January 1988 featured the Schooner Alexandria, which at the time was the resident ship and sailing ambassador for the City of Alexandria. The Alexandria has been gone from our waterfront for a long time, but soon Alexandria will acquire a new tall ship…the Providence. The newly formed Tall Ship Providence Foundation purchased the replica of Providence that was built in 1976. The ship is currently in Wiscasset, Maine for restoration; she will then sail to Alexandria in late spring. The original Providence was first commissioned as the Katy that served as a merchant ship, privateer and whaler. She was a fast ship, with fore-and-aft rigging that allowed her to sail closer to windward than square-rigged ships. Because of her speed, the style was favored by pirates as well as traders. On June 12, 1775, after an increase of British vessels boarding and confiscating American cargo, Rhode Island’s shipping community demanded that their General Assembly act to protect them. The Assembly promptly did so, chartering Katy and the sloop Washington to serve as the Rhode Island Navy. The two ship’s first triumph was recapturing the Diana, a Rhode Island merchant ship. Taking her back was a point of pride and the shots fired by Katy in the process comprised the first act of war on the water made by any colony against Great Britain. On October 13th, 1775, legislation was passed authorizing the purchase of Rhode Island’s Katy and another ship called the Minerva, as well as resolutions authorizing their refitting as warships. Thus, Katy became the first ship authorized to serve in the new Continental Navy and October 13th is the date marked as the “birthday” of the U.S. Navy. On December 3rd Katy was taken into…

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