Alexandria Living Magazine - January/February 2020

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14 New

Restaurants Coming to Alexandria Your Faves, Rants & Raves


Robust Red Wines to Try





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George Washington’s Mount Vernon

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10% discount at the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant, Food Court, and The Shops Free subscription to our popular Mount Vernon magazine

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Public art installations are popping up across Alexandria.

See events and activities that are coming to Alexandria this winter.















How your family can help our furry (and not so furry) friends at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria.

Find out how this Alexandria dad kick-started his workout routine and ended up entering a body-building competition.

The reception building at the Olde Colony Motor Lodge in Old Town is now a restored home to an Alexandria couple and part of the Liberty Row condominium development.

Alexandria writer Stuart Perkins' musings on life from everyday encounters in Alexandria. In this issue, find out what our diverse population has in common.

Alexandria restaurants play a big role in helping the needy.

Wine columnist Scott Hendley delves into robust red wines for the winter and makes his recommendations for your seasonal sipping pleasure.

Local fitness studio owner Betsy Weissman discusses her road to good health and the changes she made to her nutrition, fitness and wellness routines to get there.

22 January / February 2020 •



32 Food & Dining Let's eat! Alexandria's dining scene is heating up in 2020. We map out 14 new restaurants coming to town, rants and raves by diners and chefs alike, six good reasons to go out, your favorite restaurants, fabulous appetizers and a Q&A with the Inn at Little Washington's Patrick O'Connell.


53 Travel Looking for a quick getaway to shake the stresses of the week? Photo Editor Chris Militzer takes the GMC Sierra AT4 for a spin to Assateague Island, where he camped along the seaside among the island's famous wild horses.

ON THE COVER Dining room at Cedar Knoll, 9030 Lucia Lane.



4 • January / February 2020

 @AlexLivingMag

 @AlexandriaLivingMag

Make Your Move with Jessica Richardson As Vice President at Compass, Jessica offers twenty years of expertise providing insightful advice and personalized service for buyers, sellers and investors throughout Northern Virginia and DC. Jessica takes a straightforward approach to guiding her clients to make the best possible real estate decisions. Honesty, integrity and market knowledge are at the core of her business philosophy, and when you choose to work with Jessica and her team, you are backed by their ironclad promise to put your needs first in everything they do. Contact Jessica today for a complimentary market analysis and consultation. Jessica Richardson

RealtorÂŽ DC/VA


Compass is a licensed real estate brokerage that abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is not guaranteed. All measurements and square footages are approximate. This is not intended to solicit property already listed. Compass is licensed as Compass Real Estate in DC and as Compass in Virginia and Maryland. 106 N. Lee Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 | 703.277.2152

A Letter from Our Founders


Beth Lawton EDITOR


Christian Cunnane Allen Anderson

Sonya Besteiro Lora Jerakis


Jessie Leiber PHOTO EDITOR


Susannah Moore

Alexandria Living Magazine is published six times per year by Alexandria Living, LLC ©2019. 201 N. Union St. Alexandria, VA 22314. For newsstand or distribution locations or to subscribe for home delivery, go to CONTACT US or call (571) 232-1310.


Alexandria Living Magazine fully supports the local business community and offers several unique ways to partner with the publication. • Sponsored articles and multimedia content on the website, in our popular email newsletters and on social media. • Highlighted events in our events calendar, email newsletters and social media. • Sponsored real estate listings. • Brand awareness through online banner ads designed to boost your business. • Contests, sweepstakes and giveaways.

To learn more about how partnering with Alexandria Living Magazine can help build your business, contact us at or call (571) 232-1310.


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Beth Lawton, publisher, and Mary Ann Barton, editor | PHOTO BY MATT MENDELSOHN, TAKEN AT VIRTUE FEED & GRAIN.

Happy New Year and welcome to 2020! In this issue we explore one of our readers' (and ours too) favorite topics: Food! Alexandria's dining scene is heating up and we take a look at 14 new eateries coming to town (Page 32). Also part of this dining issue — rants and raves by diners and chefs alike, small appetizers that pack a lot of flavor and a Q&A with Chef Patrick O'Connell whose fabled Inn at Little Washington will be featured in a documentary airing on PBS this year. Pets are a big part of life in Alexandria and your young ones can do their part to help the less fortunate animals waiting for homes at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria. Find out how they can help on Page 18. We know that the new year means a lot of us are thinking about our health and we have three articles in this issue that look at fitness. We interviewed Alexandria dad Jake VanWoerkom (Page 20) about how he jump-started his workouts and ended up in a bodybuilding competition. Karen Coffield shows us how to keep it healthy when dining out, Page 48. In The Last Word, on Page 58, fitness studio owner Betsy Weissman talks about the changes she made on her journey to enjoy a more healthy life. • January / February 2020

Alexandria's architecture is endlessly fascinating. In this issue's Home & Garden feature, writer Lisa Dunn looks at a very special home that used to be part of the Olde Colony Motor Lodge, on Page 22. Local wordsmith Stuart Perkins sees the big picture, on Page 28, while munching popcorn at Potomac Yards movie theater. He puts his special touch on his observation of Alexandria's diverse population and what we have in common. Winter is the perfect time to sit by the fire with a robust red wine and our expert columnist Scott Hendley gives his suggestions for some rich reds on Page 31. Photo Editor Chris Militzer hits the road to Assateague Island, where he gets away from it all with a little help from the isle's famed wild horses, on Page 53. Enjoy the new year! See you back here in March.

Mary Ann Barton and Beth Lawton Founders

Meet Our Team




Lisa is a freelance writer, copywriter and ghostwriter who develops high-quality content for businesses and non-profit organizations. For over two decades, her work has been featured in wellknown publications including Forbes, VentureBeat, Mashable, Huffington Post, Wired, The Business Journals, USA Today, among others. Lisa has lived in Alexandria for 20 years and resides with her children and mixed-black lab, Ryder.

Scott is a lifelong wine enthusiast, wine traveler, and founder and managing editor of the National Wine Review (NWR), based in Alexandria. Scott wrote feature reviews of wines and wineries for the Shenandoah Valley’s Mountain Courier and the Alexandria Times before establishing NWR as an independent online wine publication in 2012. Scott is a self-described “equal opportunity” wine taster and routinely tastes and evaluates wines from around the world; but he holds a special affection for California wines.

Lucy lives in Woodstock N.Y., where she’s been drawing since she could hold a crayon. She is self-taught and known to spend hours filling her sketch books with elaborate drawings of eyes and lips. When she isn’t drawing and painting, Lucy spends her free time playing tennis, running track and swimming. She loves playing with her British shorthair cat Genki and her Australian Shepherd Auggie.




Chris is a Virginia photographer whose work has been featured by USA Today, the United States Department of the Interior, Visit Virginia and Visit Alexandria. As a travel photographer, Militzer has shot album covers in New York and performances in Paris. As a consultant and photographer, he has aided brands in their social media outreach. Militzer has lived in Alexandria for 20 years and recently moved to Leesburg, where he resides with his wife and two daughters.

Susannah has called Alexandria home for the past four years. After traveling the world as an Army brat, she graduated from the College of Charleston as a double major in Political Science and Jewish Studies. She has worked in the political and legal fields but is excited to rekindle her interest in writing. In her free time, she can be found practicing yoga, singing, running along the Potomac with her husband, and spending as much time as possible with her golden retriever, Rosie.

Stuart is originally from Richmond and has called Alexandria home for nearly 10 years. He enjoys relating observations and the inherent lessons found in everyday situations. Some of these stories have been shared in publications such as Virginia Living and Chicken Soup for the Soul. When not writing about special moments in daily life, Stuart works at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

January / February 2020 •



Art for All in Alexandria

This spring, the City of Alexandria’s Office of the Arts will welcome a new public art installation at Waterfront Park. Artist Olalekan Jeyifous will create work for the park as part of Site See: New Views in Old Town. Selected by a task force and approved by the Alexandria Commission for the Arts, Jeyifous has been commissioned to create a new and original site-specific work inspired by Alexandria. This is the second work in the Site See series — the first was Mirror Mirror by artist Michael Svizos. “Through the Site See series, we’re bringing engaging contemporary art to Alexandria’s burgeoning waterfront,” said Diane Ruggiero, director of the Alexandria Office of the Arts and deputy director for the Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities. “The public reception to Mirror Mirror has been so positive and we’re thankful to Michael and SOFTlab for helping build a strong foundation. We can’t wait to bring Olalekan to Alexandria for this next chapter.”

Artist Olalekan Jeyifous will create a new public art installation at Waterfront Park this spring

Waterfront Park is a public plaza at the foot of King Street, historic Old Town’s main commercial street. The plaza is adjacent to the Torpedo Factory Art Center and the existing Waterfront Park, on the site of the former Old Dominion Boat Club’s building and parking lot. The park serves as the keystone to the revitalization of the Potomac River waterfront in Alexandria. It features an open plaza, a waterfront promenade, shade structures and modular space that can adapt to different uses throughout the year. But Waterfront Park is not the only place that Alexandria is focusing on public art. There is currently an Alexandria Renew Enterprises (AlexRenew) Public Art Residency that is featuring art related to water-related environmental issues and community involvement. Art is also coming to the Burke Branch Library in Alexandria’s West End and the Duke Street Tunnel in the Carlyle District.

Based in Brooklyn, Jeyifous has spent more than a decade creating large-scale artwork for public spaces. He was commissioned, along with Amanda Williams, to create a monument for Shirley Chisholm in Brooklyn. He previously created public art at the 2017 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in California, Cleveland’s Public Square, and Starbucks’ flagship store in Chicago. Jeyifous has visited Alexandria and met with residents, gathering inspiration for his design. The Office of the Arts seeks to amplify Alexandria’s reputation as an arts destination with world-class artwork that captures the public’s imagination. The Site See public art series is an annual rotation of temporary installations that showcase Alexandria’s public art program through innovative, exciting, high-quality contemporary art at the key riverfront location. The aim is to bring work that is unlike anything that can be experienced in the region.

8 • January / February 2020

Left: Last Summer by artist Alma Selimovic; Right: En Pointe by artist Harry McDaniel PHOTOS COURTESY OF ARRAY AT WEST ALEX

In addition, several new developments in Alexandria are bringing public art into the mix. Array at West Alex, for example, has installed a kinetic sculpture garden called En Pointe by artist Harry McDaniel. Local artist Alma Selimovic installed a 45-foot wall sculpture of bright flowers called Last Summer, and David Smedley installed an op-art tile wall on King Street called The Event. Public art has been a part of Alexandria’s identity since the 1980s — the City’s oldest commissioned public art installation is the trellis at the triangular intersection of King and Diagonal streets, just east of the King Street Metro station. The trellis was designed by Buster and the Seattle Group, led by Buster Simpson.

Tell Us About Your Events! Did you know you can put your own events into our online events calendar? Go to events/submit.html. Your events should be somewhere in Alexandria and open to the public.



Calendar of Events



Film Food & Dining Family-Friendly Historic/Educational Live Music Nightlife Pet-Friendly Recreation & Outdoor Shopping Theater

Super MAGFest 2020 Jan. 2 – 5 Attend MAGFest's (Music and Gaming Festival) flagship event. Featuring 24 hours a day of arcades, consoles both new and old, a LAN computer room, tabletop games, tournaments, concerts, guest panels, showcases, an escape room, convention-wide zombie tag, cosplay meetups, a charity auction, and more! The festival will be open 24-hours a day for the duration of the event. A standard four-day badge is $85 for individuals and $75 for group members. Add-ons range from $25 – $200 for MAG swag. Gaylord National Hotel & Convention Center, National Harbor,

Ice & Lights, The Winter Village at Cameron Run Through Feb. 29 | various times Cameron Run Regional Park has turned into a "winter wonderland," featuring an ice rink, beautifully lit photo ops, music and more. Visitors can grab a slice of pizza and roast marshmallows over the fire pits; the village will be open nightly through Jan. 5, from 5-10 p.m. From Jan. 6 to Feb. 28, only the ice rink will be open on weekends (Fridays from 5-10 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.). Ice skating is $8 and skate rentals are $4. Cameron Run, 4001 Eisenhower Ave., events/ice-lights

January / February 2020 •





Duke Street Black History Jan. 7 | 7 p.m. The Manumission Tour Company brings the knowledge from their newest walking tour, the Duke Street Corridor to the Barrett Branch Library, for an engaging evening focused on the early history of African-American Alexandrians and the institutions that encompassed their lives. Registration required for this event. Kate Waller Barrett Branch Library, 717 Queen St., Oak Steakhouse | PHOTO BY REY LOPEZ

Del Ray Mom’s Night Out

Winter Restaurant Week

Jan. 10 | 7:30 p.m. Take a break and meet other Del Ray moms at one of Del Ray’s hottest spots. There will be fire pits, beer, wine, cocktails and more. Hops N Shine has 52 draft lines and an extensive moonshine and whiskey menu. It also has an optional keto menu.

Jan. 17 – 26 Every year, dozens of Alexandria restaurants participate in Restaurant Week and offer a variety of menu specials. Restaurants will feature $35 three-course dinner options for one or $35 dinners for two, lunch menus at $15 or $22 per person in addition to the dinner specials, and brunch menus and specials, too!

Hops N Shine, 3410 Mount Vernon Avenue,

Various locations,


Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder Jan. 10 and 11 | 7:30 p.m. 15-time Grammy Award winner Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder bring their unique version of bluegrass and country to The Birchmere stage.

Stories in the Architecture

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Jan. 11 | 2 p.m.

Jan. 16 | 7:30 p.m.

Venture behind the scenes, from the basement to the attic, and explore the history of the Lee-Fendall House through its architecture. Changes in style and home technology have all left their mark on the home, from when it was built in 1785 through its continued use as a home in the 20th century. This tour will include parts of the house that are not regularly open to the public. Space is limited so advance tickets are recommended.

Enjoy a unique concert by well-known swing revival band, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. The band has been performing for 25 years, sold millions of records and played at Super Bowl XXXIII half-time show in 1999. They may play hits like Mr. Pinstripe Suit, Go Daddy-O and You & Me & the Bottle Makes 3 Tonight.

Tickets are $39.50.

Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door, members of Lee-Fendall House are free.

The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,

Lee–Fendall House Museum & Garden, 614 Oronoco St.,

10 • January / February 2020

Tickets are $49.50 The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,


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January / February 2020 •


Eddie from Ohio Jan. 17, 18 and 19 | 7:30 p.m. Did you know the folk band Eddie from Ohio was formed in Northern Virginia in 1991? The group has won four “Wammie” Awards, and the group’s music features “hand and stick percussion and a textural flavoring of guitar/bass/harmonica (that) support the four-part harmonies.”

who sets out to speed up the line of succession by using a great deal of charm… and a dash of murder.

Out Productions will be playing songs from

Tickets are $29-$34.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for dinner, and

The Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe St.,

popular 70’s artists like the Bee Gees, The Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder and many more. dancing starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 and there is a $25 minimum fee per person in the dining room. The Carlyle Club, 2050 Ballenger Ave.,

Tickets are $42.50. The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,

National Symphony Orchestra at Mount Vernon

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

70’s Disco and Funk Dance Party

Jan. 18 – Feb. 8 | various times

Jan. 24 | 8 p.m.

The Little Theatre of Alexandria presents this Tony Award-winning musical comedy about a distant heir to a family fortune

Dress up in your best 70’s fashion and get ready to dance the night away. The best outfit will win a prize. DJ Darin from Belt It

Jan. 28 | 7 p.m. Feb. 25 | 7 p.m. March 31 | 7 p.m. Learn about the history of Mount Vernon before enjoying intimate chamber music performed by members of the National Symphony Orchestra. All concerts will begin at 7 p.m. and are followed at 8 p.m. by a reception of champagne and chocolates with the musicians. Tickets are $65 per seat for each concert. George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy.,

Cherry Challenge Jan. 26 – Feb. 9 The George Washington Birthday Celebration Committee will celebrate George Washington’s birthday and the famous cherry tree story with a culinary contest, the 12th annual Cherry Challenge. Approximately 50 local restaurants participate by creating cherry-inspired dishes from beverages and appetizers to entrees and desserts. Restaurant patrons get to judge the dishes based on taste, creativity, and presentation and cast their votes via text message. Various locations,

Tuesday Trivia at The Hi-Tide Lounge Jan. 28 | 6:30 p.m. Put your trivia skills to the test at Tuesday Trivia at The Hi-Tide Lounge, which is attached to Vola's Dockside Grill, every Tuesday beginning Jan. 28. The winning team will receive a $25 gift card good at any Alexandria Restaurant Partners restaurant. 2nd & 3rd place will receive a gift certificate good for one appetizer or dessert. The Hi-Tide Lounge, 101 N Union St.,

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Will Downing Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 | 7:30 p.m. The Prince of Sophisticated Soul, Will Downing, will sing R&B classics and his original hits on the stage at The Birchmere. Tickets are $79.50 The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., PHOTO BY CHRIS MILITZER

February Three Dog Night

Happy Birthday John Carlyle!:

Blue Oyster Cult

Feb. 7 | 7:30 p.m.

A 1760s Celebration

Feb. 9 | 7:30 p.m.

For one night, the classic rock band, Three

Feb. 8 | 12 – 4 p.m.

Experience a performance by long-running

Join the Carlyle House Historic Park as they

hard rock and heavy metal band, Blue

Dog Night will perform at The Birchmere. They will sing a number of their top hits like “Mama Told Me (Not To Come),” “Joy to The World” and “Black and White,” as well as some new original songs.

wish a happy 300th birthday to Alexandria town founder, Col. John Carlyle. Festivities will include 18th-century dancing, live

Oyster Cult. Originally founded in 1967, the band is well known for songs "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," "Burnin' for You," "Cities on

music, and a birthday treat! Admission is

Flame with Rock and Roll" and "Godzilla."

Tickets are $79.50.

free, but donations are welcome.

Tickets are $59.50

The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,

Carlyle House Historic Park, 121 N. Fairfax Street,

The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,

Babs Beckwith,

a name synonymous with Old Town Real Estate If you are thinking of buying or selling your Old Town home in 2020, call Babs and put her expertise to work for you! 703.627.5421 | | 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 Equal Housing Opportunity

January / February 2020 •





Washington’s Birthday Celebration Feb. 17 | 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.


The George Washington Birthday Parade Feb. 17 | 1 – 3 p.m.

Included with admission.

The annual George Washington Birthday Parade winds through a one-mile route along the historic streets of Old Town. It is the oldest and largest parade celebrating the birth of George Washington in the United States. This year’s theme is “selfless service to country.” Admission is free. Watch along Fairfax and Royal streets,

String Serenade Feb. 15 | 8 p.m.

George Washington’s Birthnight Supper and Ball

Feb. 16 | 3 p.m.

Feb. 16 | 6:15 – 9 p.m.

The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra

The 73rd annual Birthnight Supper and Ball at Mount Vernon is a special black-tie event to celebrate the birth of George Washington. This year’s event will pay tribute to the women in General Washington’s life, including those that helped to preserve his legacy. The evening will feature a seated dinner by one of the D.C. metropolitan area’s premier caterers, Design Cuisine, music and dancing, live auction and a special birthday toast delivered to General Washington.

presents a romantic, intimate performance perfect for Valentine’s Day. Selections are meant to evoke a sunset serenade and include Mozart’s Serenata Notturna, Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s concerto featuring classical guitarist Berta Rojas, Maestro Ross premiers his arrangement of Florence Price’s String Quartet, expanded for orchestra, and finally, Schubert with his Fifth Symphony mirrors the elegance of Mozart’s serenade.

Tickets for this event sell out quickly.

Tickets are $5 - $85 for Saturday’s performance at

Sponsorships range from $750 $5,000, individual tickets go on sale on Jan. 6, 2020.

Schlesinger Concert Hall, 4915 E Campus Dr. Tickets are $5 - $60 for Sunday’s performance at the George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Dr.,


Witness a presidential tribute and a wreath laying at the Washington's Tomb. Watch Continental soldiers of the Commander-in-Chief's Guard conduct a military demonstration on the bowling green. Listen to the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps play patriotic music. Listen to the Washington family share stories about past celebrations of the General's birthday. Pose like George Washington in front of a life-sized version of Gilbert Stuart's Lansdowne painting in the Education Center Lobby.

George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy., • January / February 2020

George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy.,

George Washington’s 288th Birthday Feb. 22 | 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Visit Mount Vernon on George Washington's birthday for free! Visitors may meet with General George Washington in the historic area. Kids may create a birthday card for George Washington in the Hands-on-History Center. The Sons of Liberty will provide birthday music in the Ford Orientation Center throughout the afternoon. Enjoy a piece of birthday cake in the Vaughan Lobby (while supplies last) and hear the Air Force Strings perform in the Smith Auditorium. Included with admission. George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy.,



Tell Me Your Name Feb. 23 | 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. This tour of the Carlyle House Historic Park focuses on the experiences of the enslaved community. The tour will explore the historical context of slavery in 18th century Alexandria and the importance of ongoing research efforts to connect with descendants. Tickets are $10 and space is limited. Carlyle House Historic Park, 121 N. Fairfax Street,

Under the Same Roof Feb. 23 | 2 p.m. Explore the Lee-Fendall House from the perspectives of the enslaved and free African Americans who lived and worked in the home as domestic servants, both before and after the Civil War. This acclaimed tour presents a fuller story of the many people who shaped this house over its long history. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door, members of Lee-Fendall House are free. Lee–Fendall House Museum & Garden, 614 Oronoco St.,

Arlo Guthrie’s 20/20 Tour featuring Alice’s Restaurant with Folk Uke

Bach on the Lute: Magical Evening from the Instrument of Orpheus Feb. 29 | 7 – 8:30 p.m.

Feb. 28 and 29 | 7:30 p.m. Arlo Guthrie, the well-known folk ballad singer has inspired generations as a prolific songwriter, social commentator, storyteller, actor and activist. He will perform two shows at The Birchmere. Tickets are $65. The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,

Washington Bach Consort and Virginia Theological Seminary are excited to present a concert by critically acclaimed lute player, Nigel North. He will be playing a selection of works by J. S. Bach including Partita No. 3 in A minor (BWV 1013), Suite in C Major (BWV 1012) and Suite in E Minor (BWV 996) Tickets are $35 for adults and $10 for children under 18. Virginia Theological Seminary, 3737 Seminary Road,















• SEO January / February 2020 •



Moonlight and Magnolias Feb. 29 – March 21 | various times The Little Theatre of Alexandria presents a comic telling of the frantic rewrite of one of the most iconic films of all times, “Gone with the Wind.” The plot centers around legendary film producer David O. Selznick who realizes, 5 weeks into filming, that the script and director must be replaced or risk the failure of the entire production. Over the course of a few days, three writers hysterically craft the screenplay that generations have come to enjoy. Tickets range from $21 - $24. The Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe St.,


Mon-Sat 10am-6pm Open Thurs 10am-8pm Closed Sundays

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Old Town and Del Ray Farmers Markets Every Saturday | 8 a.m. - noon Don't let the cold weather scare you off. It's always farmers market season in Alexandria! The Old Town Farmers Market and the Del Ray Farmers Market both continue through the winter on Saturday mornings. While you may not see summer fruits like peaches and watermelon, you can still load up on winter veggies, comfort foods, baked goods, meats, crafts and much more. Old Town Farmers' Market: Market Square, Old Town Del Ray Farmers Market: Oxford and Mount Vernon Avenues, Del Ray

Karaoke Sunday and Monday | 9 p.m. - 1 a.m. Belt out some of your favorite songs and liven up your Sunday and Monday nights. The upstairs bar at the Light Horse Restaurant, 715 King St.

St. Patrick's Day Parade Keep an eye out for Alexandria’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade which is typically the first Saturday in March, depending on weather. The parade features Irish dance groups, pipe bands, dogs and hundreds of others local groups and organizations. The event is an Alexandria tradition and is certain to be fun for the entire family!

16 • January / February 2020

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January / February 2020 •



Cold Noses, Warm Hearts Volunteering for Alexandria's Animals As people consider their New Year’s resolutions, more and more come through the doors of the Vola Lawson Animal Shelter asking how to help animals in need. Many of these people are students. “There are so many ways to make a difference to an animal in need,” says Echo Keif, who manages volunteers and community events at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA). “Whether you’re eight, 18 or 80, we can absolutely use your help!” Every day at the AWLA, dozens of animals are walked, have their enclosures cleaned or receive enrichment and training from volunteers. Volunteers also help with dishes and laundry, assist at the front desk, help with projects around the building, show animals to potential adopters and so much more. Youth volunteers play a large — and expanding — role in many of these activities. “Some students come to us looking for ways to earn service hours for school or scout programs,” said Keif, “but so many of them are also looking for a way that they can make a difference.” As a primary resource for humane education across the community, the team at the AWLA is always looking for new ways to connect children with animals and to instill compassion for animals from the earliest ages. The AWLA’s most popular youth volunteer program is Book Buddies. Available to students in grades 3 through 12, Book Buddies gives volunteers at any reading level the chance to interact with adoptable cats, helping to entertain and socialize the animals while improving their own literary skills.

18 • January / February 2020

“I enjoy playing with the animals and with Annie [a feline resident at the AWLA], she actually reads with me, like she sits there and looks at the pages,” said Book Buddy volunteer Imogen. Parental supervision is required for these 20-minute reading sessions, and interested volunteers can learn more about the program or sign up for a session at Students don’t even have to set foot in the shelter to help. The AWLA offers a variety of at-home projects, which change regularly, from cutting up hot dogs to drawing pet portraits, creating fleece blankets for cats, and even decorating bags for adopters and foster caregivers, each item donated by student volunteers serves to keep animals busy and engaged during their time at the shelter. A full list of at-home projects can be found at Guided by young volunteers who wanted to make a financial impact for Alexandria’s Animals, the Humane Education program launched the Paw Pals program, offering youth volunteers the chance to raise funds and donate goods using their own unique skills. Online materials are available which students can customize to promote their own drives for animal food and toys, host a social media fundraiser, sell handicrafts or take on additional chores to raise money for animals in need. More information and digital materials for this program can be found at For students looking for a more direct way to help animals, the AWLA also offers regular Teen Service Nights for high school-aged students. Each Teen Service Night session takes place over four consecutive Thursdays throughout the year. Students who register will have the chance to learn about animal body language and enrichment, as well as help with special projects, clean enclosures and even settle animals in for the night. “We’re excited to provide our eager student volunteers with more hands-on

Young volunteers play an expanding role at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria

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opportunities to work with animals right here in the shelter,” said Humane Education Associate Carly Mercer. To learn more about or register for Teen Service Nights, visit There are many opportunities for young people to get involved and learn more about animals in their community beyond volunteering. At the AWLA, children can enroll in summer camp, host a birthday party or earn a scout badge while learning about the shelter. The Humane Education program also works with schools and educational organizations across the city to offer programs about topics ranging from responsible pet ownership to how students can help animals in need. For more information about these programs, visit “Volunteering from an early age is a great learning experience for children and offers so many opportunities to build empathy for others in their community,” says Keif. “The AWLA couldn’t function without the support of our volunteers, and the efforts of each and every one of our youth volunteers touch the lives of thousands of animals every year.”

For more information about youth volunteering or the AWLA’s humane education program, visit

703.836.7777 139 S. Fairfax Street Alexandria. VA 22314

For more information about volunteering as an adult, visit

January / February 2020 •



Alexandria's Bodybuilding Dad BY MARY ANN BARTON

As Jake VanWoerkom flexed his muscles in his first-ever body-building contest, Tom Petty's "Runnin' Down a Dream" was blaring and his spray tan was dripping. "Runnin' down a dream that never would come to me. Working on a mystery, goin' wherever it leads." "I'm a sweaty mess at this point," he laughed during a recent interview at Grounded Coffee Shop off of Telegraph Road. "You're under these bright lights and the tanning stuff is sweating off of me. My wife was taking a video. You could hear my son ask, 'Is Daddy bleeding?'"

20 • January / February 2020

Working out wasn’t new to VanWoerkom — he had routinely worked out at home starting in his late teens (he’s now 36), but life got in the way about three years ago and he stopped. After that, the Alexandria family man had trouble re-starting a fitness routine while handling the daily stresses of family life with a toddler and a new job. In January 2017, while strolling through Old Town Alexandria, he and his wife happened upon Orangetheory Fitness. They decided to join. At the same time, he stepped up his at-home workouts and began the Keto diet. Trainers at the fitness center helped him map out his goals. In the fall of 2018, he read that eating carbs was good for strength-training. "It was like a switch, I could lift a lot more." He tracked the amount of fat, protein and carbs he consumed and limited himself to 2,000 calories a day. (He preferred more filling "real food" to protein shakes.) He kept track of what he was eating on a spreadsheet on his phone. In the mornings, a typical breakfast was Kodiak pancakes, two eggs and toast. For lunch, he might go to Cava Grill. For dinner, it was protein and vegetables. He drank lots of water and gave up alcohol for two months. He had initially weighed 180 pounds and trimmed down to about 151 before the competition. In January 2019, he went back on the Keto diet. "That's when the inklings of bodybuilding got started," he said. By March, his wife was urging him to think about entering a competition. By the summer, he decided to go for it and signed up for the Natural Bodybuilding Competition in Woodbridge in late July. The day he signed up was the Monday before the weekend of the contest. That meant there wasn’t much time to prepare. In the gym that week, he continued to work out as efficiently as possible since he was always on a tight schedule. He worked out every day, sometimes both mornings and nights, working out different parts of the body on alternate days at the gym and at home, a routine he had gotten into over the past year. He was "super shredded and good to go," he said.

Jake VanWoerkom with wife Jodi and their son Ethan. Family photo

minute. I couldn't even do it for five minutes." The competition was broken down by weight and age; the day itself was broken down into pre-judging and a show in the evening "where you have to do a routine for 70 seconds," he said. The night before the competition, "they 'pre-tan' you — it's a whole thing," he said. "The program spray tans contestants the night before in a conference room." "That's when I started practicing my posing routine," he said, "at 7 o'clock that night." The next morning, a second layer of "tan" was sprayed on, along with a bronzer. "By this time, I'm Caribbean vacation-level dark,"

His biggest hurdle? He had never been to a bodybuilding competition, even as a spectator. "I should have hired a coach."

he said.

In the days before the competition, he "was a wreck," he said. "I was super stressed out and had my job to do too. There's all this conflicting information about what you should eat that week: 'You should cut all the sodium out of your diet.' Others are like 'Don't do that.' Others are 'Drink a lot of water all week until the final day.' It made it that much more miserable eating no sodium and drinking lots of water."

and son cheering him on, Petty blaring on the speakers.

A day before the competition, "I hadn't yet practiced my posing. I was like 'Oh, man, I really need to do this.’" VanWoerkom said he Googled "how to pose in a body-building competition" and watched videos. "I got my posing trunks and asked my wife to tell me which poses are better," he said. "It takes a lot out of you to pose for like a

The next thing he knew, he was striding toward the judges, his wife

"It felt so good, like anything was possible. Hit cruise control and rubbed my eyes." VanWoerkom came in second in the "True Novice" category he competed in and he won the "Open A" division. He found out later from bodybuilding aficionados who were there that he just needed to work on his posing. His advice for anyone trying to get back into fitness? "Go for a walk. Jog on a treadmill. Take it one day at a time. If you'll keep at it," he said, "you'll see results over time. It takes consistency and motivation. Once you start seeing results, that is a motivator in and of itself." January / February 2020 •



Living Large

at ‘The Manor House’ BY LISA DUNN

As more real estate developments pop up around Alexandria, many residents can appreciate the historic homes and nostalgic buildings that are preserved or renovated. Consider the design of the former Olde Colony Motor Lodge on North Washington Street in Old Town: The motel’s architects originally designed its registration building in 1959 based on a model of the restored 1782 Benjamin Waller House at Colonial Williamsburg. That building, at 1101 Washington St., is now a renovated Old Town North masterpiece that combines historic exterior preservation with modern interior amenities — and rare, spacious living. In 2004, the property became part of the Liberty Row condominium development. The Olde Colony Motor Lodge is long gone, but the registration building remains — it has been completely renovated inside while retaining its original historic facade. Owned by Brad and Karen Gable, who purchased the dwelling referred to as “The Manor House” in 2012, it is now on the market listed with Century 21 Redwood Realty for $2.9 million.

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January / February 2020 •



HISTORIC WITH MODERN TWISTS With a sophisticated architectural design and historic charm, the Gables’ home reflects impeccable workmanship, which is reflected throughout all three finished levels. “The Gables have masterfully retained the home’s original historic façade while also elegantly updating its interior over the years,” said Anne Albright, Realtor, Century 21 Redwood Realty. “I love that they have designed and decorated the property to give it a contemporary look while also keeping that classic Old Town feel.” According to Brad Gable, he and his wife, Karen, initially discovered the property seven years ago. “We wanted something closer to 'new and spacious' at the time, but also located in Old Town,” he said, noting the challenge in a historic area rife with homes known for their narrow stairways, tiny bedrooms and low ceilings. “The house is similar to where we lived previously, a newer home, and features a two-car, attached garage … there’s almost nothing like that in Old Town,” he said. “Between the garage, the private yard and condo [association] perks, these unique elements are what initially attracted us to the property.” Karen, who grew up in Alexandria and attended Fort Hunt High School, appreciates the home’s historic exterior and modern interior amenities. She has fond memories of the property’s origins.

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“The Gables have masterfully retained the home’s original historic façade while also elegantly updating its interior over the years,”


“Growing up in the area, I remember my family would travel to Washington, D.C. by way of the [George Washington Memorial] Parkway,” she said. “I clearly remember driving past the property, especially when it served as the reception house for the Old Colony Lodge. Anyone who has lived in the area for a while, they are probably quite familiar with The Manor House … it’s pretty nostalgic for just about anyone who grew up in Alexandria.”


A PEEK INSIDE THE MANOR HOUSE As part of the home’s charm, brick walkways wind through a lush garden and cozy patio. The professionally landscaped portion at the front of the home is welcoming and enhanced by a brick walkway and iron gate that reflects the historic design of Old Town. Inside, visitors will see gleaming hardwood floors and decorative crown molding, which continues throughout the home. The living room is accessorized with a crystal chandelier, three tray ceilings, a gas-burning fireplace with an intricate mantel, surround and marble facing and a set of French doors with lunettes that lead to an outdoor seating area. The design of the gourmet kitchen features Viking professional appliances, including a six-burner stove with cooling racks, a large center island, two dishwashers, a trash compactor, an additional oven, microwave and plenty of room for seating by the gas-burning fireplace. The spacious dining room sets a sophisticated mood with an elegant crystal chandelier, faux pearl painted ceiling and distinctive window treatments.


703-299-0633 January / February 2020 •



One of the Gables’ favorite areas of the home is a bright, inviting sunroom, which boasts plantation shutters, a large bay window seat and a one-of-a-kind painted mural that exudes the feeling of “sitting on the coast of Italy,” Karen noted. Off the foyer is a sweeping staircase leading to a spacious master suite that features a coffered ceiling, custom cabinets with granite countertops, a mini-refrigerator, custom shades and a large, walk-in closet. The master bath features double vanities with custom sinks, a double-sized jetted tub and separate shower. There are three additional bedrooms and two bathrooms, one shared (with a chandelier and clawfoot tub) and one private. Each bedroom in the home has custom window treatments and closet organizers. Finally, the home’s lower level includes an expansive entertainment area featuring a fully equipped wet bar with appliances, including a mini fridge, ice maker and wine cooler. There is also a large seating area, carpeted media room with surround sound, Sony projector and a movie screen. The lower level has a guest room and bath, a laundry room, a storage area and access to the backyard. And for those oenophiles out there, the Gables recently added an exclusive wine cellar that holds 1,100-plus bottles and features adjustable lighting. The lush design of a gold leaf-finished cove ceiling “gives the room a truly European feel,” Albright noted. “The property has what seems like never-ending, livable space, as well as an attached, two-car garage–practically unheard of in Old Town,” said Albright said. “The Gables’ have kept this home in beautiful condition, from head to toe.”

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The Rise of the Olde Colony Motor Lodge Old Town emulates the charm and Southern hospitality of Colonial Williamsburg BY LISA DUNN

The Olde Colony Motor Lodge was designed to emulate buildings and structures at well-known sites in Colonial Williamsburg and the University of Virginia. According to City records, the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg, which began in 1927, had quite a profound effect on Alexandria, with far-reaching impacts. In fact, reactions in Alexandria to the Williamsburg restoration project were multifaceted. They ranged from a desire for outright imitation to attempts to compete directly with Williamsburg for the dollars of tourists visiting 18th-century sites and ultimately to a substantial emulation of the Williamsburg approach to the restoration of Alexandria buildings, the City records state. By the 1950s, Alexandrians were so familiar with Colonial Williamsburg that the expansion of visitor lodging there was news that was vital to Alexandrians. According to City records, the Alexandria Gazette frequently printed notices of excursions to Colonial Williamsburg by groups and individuals such as the Boy Scouts, honeymooning couples and others.


Flash forward to the construction of the Olde Colony Motor Lodge in 1959, which emulated the 1782 Benjamin Waller House at Colonial Williamsburg. The Lodge’s swimming pool gazebo is designed to reflect the Gunpowder Magazine on the Green at Colonial Williamsburg. And a serpentine brick wall surrounded the grounds of the motel as well as the pool, which according to the Gazette, “duplicated the serpentine brick walls designed by Thomas Jefferson and built at the University of Virginia.” The project architect, Charles Pearson, was an “authority on the serpentine walls, as well as on Virginia.” Pearson was the principal designer in the Saunders firm in Alexandria and served as a member of the Board of Architectural Review in the 1950s. From the late 1940s through the early 1980s, Joseph Saunders and Associates (later Saunders and Pearson) was a prolific architectural firm in Alexandria, and in addition to motels, their work included local churches, office buildings, schools and residential structures. A 1963 motel brochure describes the Old Colony Motor Lodge: “Its 11 buildings laid out to simulate a colonial estate, Olde Colony captures the unique flavor of the 18th-century manor life. All this while reflecting the cherished traditions of old South hospitality, warmth and friendliness.” The motel opened to great fanfare in the early 1960s, and the official hostess for the event was Miss Virginia of 1960, accompanied by several airline stewardesses. The Gazette published numerous articles related to the opening, which chronicled the construction, amenities and furnishings of the complex. In terms of the building typology, the Olde Colony Motor Lodge was typical of motel construction practices in the late 1950s in tourist-oriented destinations. What set its architecture apart from that of many other chain motels that were built during that same time period was the conscious reliance on historic building symbolism that sought to capture the perceived or desired historic architectural character of Alexandria.

January / February 2020 •




Our Common Language BY STUART PERKINS

I took a seat in the lobby, hugging the bucket of popcorn onto my lap. The movie wasn’t going to start for another 30 minutes and I hoped my willpower would allow me to save at least a few kernels for the show. But I’m weak. I popped a handful into my mouth and resumed peoplewatching, which is often far more entertaining than any movie. Alexandria’s Potomac Yard theater is fairly large, providing ample viewing opportunities of both films and fans. I was thinking just that when the lobby show started… Three smartly dressed young ladies with long dark hair smiled as they walked past me to wait together on a nearby bench. They held their popcorn tightly and talked amongst themselves without touching a kernel. I didn’t recognize their language, but I marveled

28 • January / February 2020

at their willpower. One of them became excitedly animated as she leaned in close to whisper something to the others. The three of them burst into laughter after her comment. As the ladies continued chatting, two very stylish-looking men sat down directly beside me and began to converse in yet another language. They absentmindedly tied and re-tied their scarves as they spoke. Both seemed quite serious for a while, then one grabbed the knee of the other and they belly-laughed over something said. I glanced around at the lobby’s growing crowd. Alexandria in general is quite diverse and this specific audience was a perfect snapshot of that diversity. I stopped eating my popcorn long enough to simply listen to the cacophony of voices around me. So many languages! The clamor was overwhelming in a beautiful way and no language sounded like any other. I mindlessly reached into my popcorn tub to scoop out another handful of buttery goodness, still determined to save some for the movie, and continued to study the room. As I did so, two elderly


women in long fur coats walked by me to take their place in a forming line. They talked to each other in hushed tones adding one more language to the lobby’s mix. One woman touched the arm of the other, patted it gently as she spoke, and both giggled softly. A raucous group of teenagers stared into cell phones as they marched in unison toward the concession stand. Calling to each other in still another language unknown to me, they paused to focus on the screen of one teen’s phone, laughed maniacally, and continued to the food counter to place their orders. Wow, I thought, as I tossed a little more popcorn into my mouth. What I saw when I looked around the room was so thoroughly interesting and amazing to me. Such different people, different languages, different accents. Every conversation so unique. Not one similarity in these folks that I could discern, yet there was something I was only vaguely aware of at the time that seemed to bind them together.

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Just then, the two elderly women in furs giggled again, loudly this time. Across the room, the three smartly dressed women guffawed wildly over something. The two stylish men beside me again belly-laughed over their own comments. More maniacal laughing from the teens as they high-fived each other and peered into the screens on their phones. Throughout the room I noticed various groups alternately speaking in a way that I didn’t understand, then displaying joy in a way that I did. They laughed. Ah, there it was. The common denominator became clear. No language or accent floating around that lobby was like any other, to my ear. Every sound more different than the one before. They could have said anything, anything at all, and I would not have known what it was. They were all so different. But their laughter? I knew what that was. They were all the same. The lobby began to empty as the wonderfully varied array of moviegoers filed into the theater. I remained in my seat thinking about all I’d just seen. A group of people so diverse, so different from one another, so purely not the same in any way. Until they laughed. I was almost jealous that I had only witnessed it all and not been a part of this scene of language and laughter.

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I stood to go and join the others in the theater and reached, deeply this time, into my tub for another handful of popcorn. It was empty. I laughed. January / February 2020 •




Give Back to Help Fight Hunger

One of the unique items on the menu at Fontaine Caffe & Creperie — aside from those amazing crepes — is 100% vegan soup. Freshly made in house, Fontaine serves tomato, carrot, leek and potato, vegetable and several other types of warm, healthy goodness on a rotating basis. In 2019, the restaurant donated about 250 gallons of soup and thousands of baguettes to the meals program at Meade Memorial Episcopal Church on North Alfred Street. The restaurant’s owners have instilled a culture of getting involved in the community, and it’s the restaurant’s staff that cooks and packages the soup every Monday and Wednesday. A community member part of Volunteer Alexandria delivers the meals every Monday, and a church member picks up the meals every Wednesday. The soup is part of a multi-church Bag Lunch Program serving hot meals every weekday to the homeless, unemployed and underfed in Alexandria. Fontaine is one of a growing group of businesses that are working to help fight hunger locally. A report published in 2014 for the Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria and the Childhood Obesity Action Network highlighted significant gaps in the services that are available to local residents who are suffering from food hardship, which is defined as irregular access to affordable, healthy meals. In response, several community leaders and organizations created Hunger Free Alexandria. The cooperative effort’s


mission is “to coordinate community efforts to raise awareness of food insecurity and to increase reliable access to nutritious, culturally appropriate food in the City of Alexandria.” Approximately 15,000 of Alexandria residents live below the poverty line, where food hardship is common. By some estimates, more than half of students in Alexandria City Public Schools receive free or reduced-price lunches. “Restaurants can play a role in fighting hunger in Alexandria and Fontaine is an example of it,” said Marion Brunken, Executive Director of Volunteer Alexandria. “And it’s not all about money. There are creative ways to ensuring all people are fed and we need businesses to help us.” Restaurateur Mike Anderson donates a portion of sales to ALIVE (an Alexandria nonprofit that serves families in need in many ways) through one of his restaurant’s programs: Holy Cow in Del Ray has, since it opened, donated a quarter for every burger sold, to one of more than 200 local nonprofit organizations through ACT for Alexandria. In 2018, Holy Cow passed the $100,000 mark in donations. In addition, many local grocery stores donate to ALIVE’s food bank, as do farmers markets. ALIVE then provides groceries at three sites in Alexandria and also helps supply food to pantries, schools, meal programs and other partners. Many people are motivated to give generously during the holiday season, but donations often dry up in January and February. By the end of February, many of Alexandria’s food pantries are running low. “We really need to come together to make these changes,” Brunken said. “We are better together.” To help fight hunger locally this winter and to find volunteer opportunities, visit • January / February 2020

Robust Red Wines for Winter BY SCOTT HENDLEY

The grape harvest of 2019 is a memory. Grapevines lay dormant, and 2019 vintage wines have undergone fermentation and sit in a barrel or tank settling, aging and waiting to be bottled. Winter is upon us and we know that among the greatest pleasures of the season is relaxing at a table brimming with hearty dishes or by a cozy fireplace with rich red wine. Here are our recommendations for your winter sipping pleasure. GLEN MANOR | 2016 PETIT VERDOT | VIRGINIA | 93 POINTS–OUTSTANDING Glen Manor Vineyards, south of Front Royal just west of the Blue Ridge, is a Virginia “Century Farm” owned and farmed by the same family for over 100 years. This is a powerful red with aromas of bittersweet chocolate and violet, flavors of dried blackberry and clove and lingering notions of cured tobacco. Source: Glen Manor Vineyards, 2244 Browntown Rd., Front Royal, VA 22630. $40

GAMBA | 2016 VALPOLICELLA RIPASSO | ITALY | 92 POINTS–OUTSTANDING “Ripasso” refers to a production process whereby red wine is fermented a second time on the remainders (skins and lees) of its richer sibling wine, Amarone. Comprised of Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and Oseleta, it offers aromas and flavors of cranberry, florals, blood orange zest, toasted almond and cinnamon over a quenching finish. Source: Wine Gallery 108, 108 N Patrick St., Alexandria, VA 22314. $28

SKINNER | 2016 MOURVÈDRE | EL DORADO | CALIFORNIA | 91 POINTS–OUTSTANDING Mourvèdre is a southern Rhône variety that performs exceptionally well in high-elevation vineyards of El Dorado County in

California’s Sierra Foothills. This is muscular yet mellow, with aromas and flavors of mulled mixed berries, fig and nut cake and toasted walnut, with impressions of cocoa and pine forest over an earthy finish. Source: Planet Wine, 2000 Mt Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA 22301. $30

FIELD RECORDINGS | 2017 PETITE SIRAH | PASO ROBLES | CALIFORNIA | 92 POINTS–OUTSTANDING This is from Paso Robles on California’s Central Coast, a region known for burly red wines. It is inky-dark, robust and energetic, with fresh-crushed and candied blueberry impressions on the nose; and on the palate, ripe dark fruit, allspice and juniper. Tannins are chewy and acids are zesty, with notions of black tea leaf and toasty oak on the finish. Source: Wine Gallery 108, 108 N Patrick St., Alexandria, VA 22314. $25

SOBON ESTATE | 2017 REZERVE PRIMITIVO | AMADOR COUNTY | CALIFORNIA | 93 POINTS–OUTSTANDING Primitivo is an Italian variety genetically identical to California stalwart Zinfandel. This is a California Primitivo from Amador County where large numbers of Italians settled during the Gold Rush. It is a full-throttle red with aromas and flavors of


ripe red cherry and raspberry, cocoa and baking spices that saturate the palate. Source: Total Wine, 6240 Little River Turnpike, Alexandria, VA 22312. $27

HORTON | 2013 BONE ORCHARD TANNAT DESSERT WINE | VIRGINIA | 95 POINTS–CLASSIC Bone Orchard ranks among the finest portstyle wines produced in Virginia. It gushes with brandied dark fruit and chocolate ganache on the nose; and on the palate, fruit compote, blackberry liqueur and chocolate-covered cherries over a caramelized finish. Quenching acidity lifts and balances the sweetness and alcohol resulting in a dessert wine that is spirited, not syrupy. It aged in neutral French oak barrels for six years, is beautifully bottled (pictured above) and rare (96 cases produced). Source: Horton Vineyards, 6399 Spotswood Trail, Gordonsville, VA 22942. $65 (NWR) is an online wine publication based in Alexandria. It is dedicated to exploring, evaluating, and reviewing unique wines from around the world. Hendley founded NWR in 2012 with fellow Alexandrian Richard Stone. Contact:

January / February 2020 •


32 • January / February 2020



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Dining Scene

20 20

Baby it's cold outside, but don't hibernate! Get out and enjoy one of Alexandria's fine dining establishments. In this issue we're looking at new eateries set to open, appetizers that pack a punch, your dining rants and raves and your all-time favorite restaurants. Enjoy! What's Inside

Mapping Out Alexandria's Newest Restaurants Rants & Raves Accolades for Local Faves Winter Restaurant Weeks Start in January Small Bites, Big Taste Culinary Cure 'A Delicious New Documentary' to Debut Left: A winter dish sits atop an antique stove at Il Porto Ristorante, 121 King St. in Alexandria. | PHOTO BY CHRIS MILITZER

January / February 2020 •








Alexandria's Newest



Alexandrians are spoiled when it comes to dining out. There's something for everyone: Freshly baked bagels, authentic Mexican food, gourmet seafood, amazing coffee shops and so much more. And it’s not just Alexandrians who know about our food scene: “Restaurants” made the list of reasons why Alexandria is one of the Top 3 Best Small Cities in the U.S. according to the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards in 2019. The restaurant scene is on the front burner in 2020 and beyond, as exciting new venues are coming to Alexandria that we can't wait to try. See the next page for a few of the highly-anticipated openings we're keeping an eye on.

34 • January / February 2020





9 10





January / February 2020 •



(and then baked in a charcoal oven, for extra crispiness) chicken when it opens in the shopping center just behind Friday's. Look for beer and wine to be sold here. The eatery already has locations open in Centreville, Annandale and Fairfax. The menu is at

Taqueria Picoso

1472 N. Beauregard St. The former restaurant director at Arlington’s Green Pig Bistro, Tom Voskuil, is bringing Taqueria Picoso to Alexandria. Taqueria Picoso will open at the Shops at Mark Center in Alexandria's West End. A $100,000plus remodeling project is underway, according to construction permits. Voskuil and Lynn Umemoto are joint owners of the business.


will feature a vertical al pastor roaster and a tortilla machine creating tortillas with Oaxaca corn. The restaurant will also boast $3 tacos “that taste like true tacos from CDMX [Mexico City]!”


Choong Man Chicken 4700 King Street

The restaurant coming to the Shoppes at Summit Centre will specialize in "addictively spicy" Korean chicken wings, "snow chicken" (chicken covered in a mayo-type sauce and raw onions) and "Tikkudak" fried


Silver Diner 4610 King St.

The much-anticipated Silver Diner coming to the corner of Alexandria's King and N. Beauregard streets plans to open in Summer 2020, according to Matilde Ott, vice president of Marketing for Silver Diner. The 6,600-square foot diner will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as late-night fare. It will offer a varied menu with healthy options, as well as a full bar. The regional chain launched 30 years ago in Rockville, Maryland.

“Exciting news as we are in the process of opening the most authentic taqueria in the area!" Voskuil noted on his LinkedIn profile. The restaurant


permits filed with the City's Planning and Zoning department. The location was previously home to Portner Brewhouse, which closed its doors in October 2018. The Crafty Crab menu includes gumbo, seafood boils, fried seafood including shrimp, catfish, tilapia, oysters and calamari, plus non-fish options. Crafty Crab has not announced an opening date. 5

El Saltado 3616 King St.

Located in the former location of Hong Kong Bistro, get ready for some Peruvian delicacies at this new eatery opening at Bradlee Shopping Center. On our wish list? Rotisserie chicken, ceviche and fried yucca!


Hank & Mitzi's Italian Kitchen 600 Montgomery St.

Crafty Crab Seafood 5770 Dow Ave.

The closed-for-renovations Hank's Pasta Bar in Old Town North will reopen in January 2020 as Hank

Located practically across the street from a longtime Red Lobster, another seafood restaurant chain, Crafty Crab Seafood, has plans to open at 5770 Dow Ave., according to special use

& Mitzi's Italian Kitchen. The new restaurant will feature pizza and shared plates, rustic entrees and classic Italian cocktails. Executive Chef Will Artley will be at the helm. Artley's • January / February 2020

impressive resume includes helming BLT Steak in DC, Pizzeria Orso in Falls Church and Evening Star Cafe in Del Ray. He's also participated on the Food Network's "Chopped" cooking show as a finalist. The restaurant gets its name from owner Jamie Leeds' parents, Hank and Mitzi. See details at


Hinata Sushi Bar & Grill 530 First St.

Joining St. Elmo’s in this Old Town North development, Hinata Sushi Bar & Grill will be a welcome addition. The 2,200 square-foot restaurant will be the first location for Chef Hyun Su Kim. Chef Kim has spent the last 14 years working at various sushi restaurants in the Northern Virginia area. He has experience overseeing all aspects of the restaurants and operations with a focus on quality and exceptional service. No opening date is available yet.


the Edens development company, St. Elmo's Coffee Pub is opening a new location in the 500 block of Montgomery Street in Old Town North. The retail space is a part of the new 530 First Street development, which includes multiple retailers (including West Elm) and the restaurant Oak Steakhouse, and hundreds of luxury apartments in The Gables community. The new space is 2,200 square feet. If the original St. Elmo’s is any indication, expect a variety of coffee drinks and freshly baked and created breakfast and lunch items.

St. Elmo's Coffee Pub 530 First St.

Del Ray institution St. Elmo's Coffee Pub appears to be opening a second location. According to plans from


French & Southern 1625 King St.

The restaurant will be located inside the new Hyatt Centric Old Town Alexandria, serving up "creative cuisine within an upscale setting" with an "elegant yet casual vibe." The eatery gets its name with influences from "Paris to Southern United States cuisines to form a worldly menu that will have something for everyone." The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. The hotel itself is accepting guests starting in March.


Goodie's Frozen Custard 200 Commerce St.

Frozen custard, coffee and baked goods are on the menu at Goodie’s Frozen Custard and Treats. Goodie’s started as a food truck, self-described as “Washington D.C.’s first and only ‘Vintage Mobile Eatery’ paying homage to the Rock & Roll era." Now, its owner plans to open a permanent location operating from the historic Mutual Ice Co. ice house. Goodie’s is known for Wisconsinstyle frozen custard and treats like the "donutwich" (an apple cider donut stuffed with vanilla frozen custard and topped with caramel), sundaes, shakes and floats. Look for it to open this year. See more at

January / February 2020 •



Mount Purrnon Cat Cafe and Wine Bar 109 S. Alfred St.

Mount Purrnon Cat Café and Wine Bar started with a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2018 and will be opening in the spring of 2020. You can visit cats up for adoption through a partnership with a local shelter. Plus, snack on cheese plates, hummus, fruit, cookies and cupcakes, while drinking wine, coffee, tea, milk or juice. The cat café will offer free wifi and a series of special events. 12

The Handover 728 King St.

The former location of Eammon's Dublin Chipper and PX, the 1920s-style lounge with a cult fol-lowing, will see a new venue open. The venue’s new owners have been tight-lipped about plans, but expect sushi on the menu at the restaurant. The downstairs will have a more casual flare and may be called “The Handover." The upstairs sit-down restaurant may be called "The King's Ransom."



The Mill

elevated fare on the second floor. In addition, the building will feature a market with coffee, pastries, boxed lunches and more. Learn about it at

10 Duke St. James Beard-award winning chef John Currence will helm this waterfront eatery coming to Alexandria in 2021. Currence, one of the country’s most celebrated Southern chefs, is a New Orleans native best known for his thoughtful and inventive cuisine at City Grocery in Oxford, Mississippi. Opened in 1992, the restaurant brought fine dining to the Deep South town and earned Currence the 2009 James Beard Award for Best Chef: South. Currence’s influence on Southern culture has expanded as he’s continued to open new restaurants, including Snackbar and Big Bad Breakfast in Oxford. Alexandrian Murray Bonitt, a custom builder who specializes in historic preservation, is renovating the building at 10 Duke St., which served as a Civil War mess hall. Dubbed The Mill, the building will house a basement short-order grill, casual fare on the first floor with a tavern feel and Virginia craft beers and locally-influenced food, and more • January / February 2020



Waterfront Alexandria Restaurant Partner's latest restaurants in the works for Alexandria's waterfront, set to open in summer 2020, are being designed by HapstakDemetriou. The firm is the star designer of some of the DC metro area's top eateries including Rose's Luxury and Fiola Mare. Plans call for a fine dining restaurant and café both overlooking the water with an open air-seating concept that will activate the Robinson Landing Pier. The proposed design includes two 30-foot shipping containers — one turned into a small kitchen and the other into a bar, each with a retractable canopy.



Alexandria is known as a great area for eating out, with award-winning restaurants, famous and talented chefs — plus endless options for interesting cuisine. But there’s more than amazing food involved in having a good experience at even the best restaurants. We talked to chefs, servers and restaurant patrons about what can make or break a night out. “For me to keep coming back to a restaurant a few factors need to fall into place —service has to be good, the menu is good and the atmosphere is welcoming,” said local resident Shelby Smith. From both sides of the table, communication and trust are key to a positive experience.

“Have trust in the choices the chef and staff have made to ‘package’ the experience for the best,” said Chef Christophe Poteaux, the chef and owner of Bastille restaurant. “For example, the dishes are designed with a sense of balance in textures and flavors to enhance the ingredients. Modifying the dish may result in a very poor representation of the cuisine. The same goes for the wine selections. Even you're not a fan of a specific wine, it was carefully selected after tasting it and comparing its character to the food prepared.” However, if you do have any food allergies, be sure to tell the wait staff — it’s not possible for restaurants to list every ingredient in a dish and they will make modifications for your health and safety.

January / February 2020 •



BRANCHING OUT Chefs love seeing guests try something new! And, for some guests, eating something they couldn’t create at home is half the fun of eating out. “Of course, we all have our go-to dishes at our favorite neighborhood spots, but be sure to mix way to find new go-to dishes!” said Chef Santiago Lopez, director of culinary operations at Alexandria Restaurant Partners. “As chefs, we love to flex our creativity and make things for the guests that they wouldn’t try at home.” “Eating out provides the opportunity to eat food items I normally wouldn’t eat at home. We have cooked elaborate meals at home before and it’s a lot of work,” said Smith. “Going out to eat, allows


in some more adventurous items – it’s a great

my husband and I to enjoy delish food with each other and our friends.” In fact, generic items that customers could have made at home are a real annoyance to some people.“We're paying a premium when we eat out, and that should mean something that isn't easy for poor execution.”

SERVICE Service is the most difficult thing to balance for many restaurants. Both too much attention and too little attention are issues diners brought up, and poor service either way can kill an otherwise fun night. For most, lack of attention is the bigger issue and one that will keep customers from returning to a restaurant or bar. “Poor service is a mood killer for me, even over bad food. There are a lot of things that you can do bad, but bad service will definitely keep me from returning to a restaurant,” said Alexandria resident Chris Smith.

40 • January / February 2020


me to replicate at home,” said Dave Roberts. “Or


“Definitely service or disorganization. Nothing frustrates me more than a server who doesn't care or a place that can't get their act together. First and second impressions are what help people decide whether they'll come back. But servers are key, especially to those of us who have worked in the food industry,” said Ben Ortiz.


James Puffinburger brought up the other side of the coin: “A less obvious pet peeve is too much attention by wait staff. It drives me crazy when the server will not go away. There is one restaurant where the food is excellent but the wait staff stares at you while eating. It has impacted how often I go there.” “While I don't need to be constantly attended on during my meal, I think it's important for the server to check in once in a while to make sure we have everything we need,” said Myra Mendoza. “Friendly servers are always the best to talk to!” Either way, “Poor service will keep me from going back to a restaurant even if the food is good,” said Maria Buscemi.

HAVING A GOOD TIME “Most importantly, be friendly and be there to relax. We want to make this experience a good time, but it also starts with the guest being in the right mood,” Chef Poteaux noted. No one wants to have a bad night, so be open, honest, communicative and polite — that goes for customers as well as the restaurants staff. “My favorite guests are the ones that move right in and make our restaurant their home away from home,” said LeRone Duplessis, general manager of Joe Theismann’s Restaurant. “We have a great group of regulars at Theismann’s that we know we’re going to see a few times a week, and for every big game. They have their own seat, they know everyone’s names, and they give us great feedback that helps keep everyone on their toes.

January / February 2020 •




Why cook at home (and be stuck with all the dishes) where there are so many great restaurants here in the Alexandria area. According to our readers, here are 6 great reasons to go out.

“Obviously delicious food draws me to eating out, but the general vibe of a restaurant is one of my favorite parts of eating out. I love when there is something fun and unique about a space.” – COLLEEN LENNON



“I enjoy being able to catch up with friends or family over a great meal with a great atmosphere.” – MYRA MENDOZA

4 “I like spending time with people I care about and sharing good food over good conversation; it is a tradition in my family. I also like it when someone prepares the meal for me (since I am the usual cook in my house)!” – MARIA BUSCEMI



“The social experience is by far the most enjoyable aspect of dining out for me. Ambiance, other diners, and running into friends.”

“Trying new dishes and cuisines, and not having to think about what to make for dinner and cleaning up afterwards.”



“My favorite aspect of eating at a restaurant is the opportunity to try something new. If there’s a dish or major component of it that I haven’t had or even heard of, I’ll be drawn to it as my first choice. Anything made from scratch in a restaurant that makes it on to the menu is usually going to be done with careful knowledge and plenty of R&D. An item that is a combination of the two is what I’m getting.” – JOE LENNON • January / February 2020



Winter Restaurant Weeks Start in January Is there a restaurant — or maybe a few — that you've been meaning to try? Several of Alexandria's newest restaurants and many old favorites will be competing for your attention this winter. Alexandria's annual Winter Restaurant Week starts Friday, Jan. 17, and there's no shortage of deals. More than 60 Alexandria restaurants will feature a $35 three-course dinner for one or a $35 dinner for two during Alexandria Winter Restaurant Week for 10 days, ending Sunday, Jan. 26. In addition, more than 35 restaurants will offer lunch menus at $15 or $22 per person. Brunch lovers can enjoy brunch menus for $15 or $22 per person at several restaurants. Several restaurants bring back old favorite dishes, Restaurant Week-only dining experiments and unique desserts, too.

Diners can see the list of participating restaurants and menus, specials and more information at This year, Alexandria's restaurant week overlaps by a few days with Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week, which is Jan. 13 - 20 and includes a handful of Alexandria restaurants. The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington sponsors MWRW every year and more than 250 restaurants participate throughout the District, Maryland and Virginia. More information about it is available at Restaurant weeks are not a uniquely local thing — several other culinary destinations in Virginia have set up winter dining deals, too. Plan your work trips or family visits around these: • Roanoke Restaurant Week - Jan. 17 to Jan. 26. • Virginia Beach Restaurant Week - Feb. 3 to Feb. 9. • Richmond Restaurant Week - Usually in April, dates to be determined.

Virginia is for Chocolate Lovers Sweet tooth? Be sure to put the Chocolate Lovers' Festival on your calendar. From Jan. 31 - Feb. 2, the annual festival in the City of Fairfax will put even the most hardcore dessert fans into sugar overdrive. See a complete list of events, get tickets and more through

If you're looking to expand your wine collection to go with those new foods you've learned about, the Virginia Wine Expo is set for March 3 to March 8 in Richmond. The event goes way beyond wine, with spirits, ciders and craft beers paired with artisan cuisine. Learn more about it at

MARYLAND RESTAURANT WEEKS If you're interested in venturing into Maryland, Baltimore City and Baltimore County Restaurant Weeks are coming in January, as well. Dates, a list of restaurants and more information are available through In February, be on the lookout for the sixth annual Baltimore Vegan Restaurant Week. Bethesda's Winter Restaurant Week is coming up, too, with dates to be determined. Keep an eye on

January / February 2020 •



Accolades for Local Faves BY SUSANNAH MOORE

Restaurant-goers noted there are a lot of things they love about going out, and their favorite restaurants excel at good service. Combine that with the right atmosphere, good location and exceptional food, and you have the ingredients for a restaurant to succeed. Here’s what our readers told us when we asked them, “What is your favorite Alexandria restaurant and why?” PHOTO COURTESY OF ALEXANDRIA RESTAURANT PARTNERS

My favorite restaurant, well before I became an Alexandria resident, is Momo Sushi. Momo’s sushi is delicious and the restaurant, although tiny, is always welcoming.” – SHELBY SMITH


My favorite in Alexandria is The Majestic. I love the food, the atmosphere, the service, and the cocktails. It has an authentic Old Town feel to it — just exceptional in my estimation.” – MARIA BUSCEMI

Blackwall Hitch! Reasons? It’s right at the water, good menu choices and live music. If Chart House had music, it would be a close second.” – CLARE MURPHY

44 • January / February 2020


By far my favorite restaurant is Myron Mixon's Pitmaster Barbeque. It is easily my favorite because of the food. They have a variety of options and the quality

Bon Vivant in Del Ray is the perfect spot to take my kids to lunch. There are several healthy kids' items on the menu and there’s a kid’s room in the back! For

of the food is exceptional! … The food and service is

date night we like Live Oak, Brabo and Hummingbird

great and the atmosphere is very relaxed.”

(though they were great when we brought our kids once)."



It’s hard to say with the different places to eat in Alexandria, which is one of the best things this city has! You've got Spanish tapas at La Tasca, sushi at Momo's, Mexican at Dos Amigos, Vietnamese at Caphe Bahn

It's difficult to name just one because we head to different restaurants depending upon what we feel like eating. Del Ray Cafe may be my favorite. The French food is delicious and the menu is always changing

Mi, American at Union Street Public House. And I could

depending upon the season. The setting is charming

go on, but my favorite go-to place is Lost Dog Cafe,

French country, very casual and cozy. The service is

with its robust food menu and large selection of beers.

excellent and knowledgeable.”

It's also a local place that is involved with charitable foundations for dogs.”



January / February 2020 •




Small Bites, Big Taste BY MARY ANN BARTON

When you're meeting up with friends at one of Alexandria's restaurants, you might be more in the mood to share a few appetizers — or, if you're out for a big night, you want to ease into it with a starter. These days, appetizers have come a long way from the standard shrimp cocktail — chefs are getting just as creative with these "mini meals" and they're often the star of the menu. This past fall at the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce "Best in Business" awards reception, the area’s restaurants offered up some of their best "bites" to the crowd.

46 • January / February 2020

One of the most talked-about nibbles? Trademark Drink & Eat's "Bacon Candy," which is described on their menu as "Sweet, smoky and slightly spicy." We could have stood at their table all evening eating these amazing, thick-cut, glazed chunks of bacon. Needless to say, we agreed with this Yelp reviewer: "We are still talking about their candied bacon on a stick appetizer. Whoa." Check it out for yourself for just $7 on the dinner menu at Trademark Drink & Eat, located at 2080 Jamieson Ave. in the Carlyle neighborhood. Here's a look at some other appetizers at a variety of restaurants around the area that you'll have to try; tips are courtesy of suggestions from our readers, plus foodie fans' reviews posted to social media.

Rampart's, 1700 Fern St. Several reviewers mention this neighborhood favorite's Smoked Artichoke & Crab Dip. On the menu for $11.99, you can try it in the adjacent Pub for $8 or during happy hour for $5, Monday through Friday from 4-7 p.m. (And be sure to try this eatery's half-price burger night — every Monday, it's a big hit.)

River Bend Bistro & Wine Bar, 7966 Fort Hunt Rd. Several diners on social media mentioned the eatery's Hot Italian Sausage, Wild Mushrooms and Parmesan appetizer ($6). It's available on both the lunch and dinner menus.

RT's Restaurant, 3804 Mt. Vernon Ave. This spot near The Birchmere Egg Yolk Raviolo, Mia's Italian Kitchen

Chadwick's, 203 Strand St. The Blue Crab Dip ($13) is described as "fantastic" and "phenomenal and full of came out piping hot and very fresh." It's on the brunch, lunch and dinner menus.

Chart House, 1 Cameron St. You can't go wrong with a view of the Potomac next to the copper fireplace; and for starters, try the Shrimp, Crab, Avocado and Mango Stack, which one person noted is "tasty and refreshing" and another described as "awesome." On the pricey side, at $18, but very shareable, you'll only find it on the dinner menu.

Clyde's at Mark Center, 1700 N. Beauregard St. There's nothing better on a cold wintry night than a bowl of chili and Clyde's Chili is delicious. On the menu for more than 30 years, the restaurant says it is so good that actress Elizabeth Taylor (when she was married to John Warner) used to order it by the gallon and have it shipped to her house. You can top this "starter" with cheddar cheese, onions or sour cream. Available for $6.99 at lunch or dinner.

Evening Star Cafe, 2000 Mt. Vernon Ave. A local diner says she

(where Bill and Hillary Clinton dined with Al and Tipper Gore) offers up a She Crab Soup which "is exquisite" one person said. Another called it "absolutely wonderful." The menu describes it as "rich and creamy with a hint of Cajun spice." You can order a cup ($6.95) or a bowl ($7.95) at lunch or dinner.

Taverna Cretekou, 818 King St. The Saganaki, which is Kasseri cheese sautéed until crusty and served sizzling, has been touted as an amazing experience. ($8.95 on the mezedes menu.) From one Yelp reviewer: “When the dish arrived at the table, Abdel poured the shot glass of the alcoholic beverage over the cheese and set it on fire. A massive eruption of flame burst into the air, and everyone yelled, ‘Opa!’” Plus, it tastes “wonderful.”

Tempo Restaurant, 4231 Duke St. Multiple reviewers say to be sure to try Tempo's Three Fried Cheeses ($9 on the dinner menu; $6 on the lunch menu); it's described on the menu as "fried breaded Mozzarella cheese, anchovies."

Vermilion, 1120 King St. Several restaurant-goers gave the thumbs up to the eatery's Ricotta Gnocchi; one diner described it as "little puffs from heaven." Another reviewer described the dish as "phenomenal." The Obamas dined here for Valentine's Day in 2012. Crab Deviled Eggs, The Majestic

"definitely wants to revisit" the eatery's Chicken Liver Mousse. Accompanied by a port wine reduction and pickled mustard seeds, it goes for $6 on the dinner menu.

Landini Brothers, 115 King St. The Carpaccio di Tonno features thinly-sliced seared Hawaiian Ahi tuna, bean and avocado salad with seasoned soy sauce dressing. (On the Antipasto menu, $21.95.) It’s reportedly well worth the splurge.

Mia’s Italian Kitchen, 100 King St. Made with cage-free eggs, ricotta, spinach and sage-brown butter, the Egg Yolk Raviolo ($8), one reviewer called this one “life changing.” Another person said they could eat it every day.

The Majestic, 911 King St. People rave about the Crab Deviled Eggs ($5). "There are three in an order, so go ahead and do yourself a favor and get two orders," one customer said. Others describe the dish as "wow" and "a must." The Obamas have dined here, as well as actor Robert Pattinson.

January / February 2020 •



Culinary Cure

How to enjoy eating out without feeling guilty


“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” That’s one of the several rules that Culinary Cure founder Karen Coffield follows. Coffield was living a seemingly perfect life — until she wasn’t. A classic example of bad things happening to good people, things that were not under her control went wrong all at once. “I was diagnosed with cancer, fighting depression, in debt, struggling in my marriage, and trying to maintain a ‘normal’ life for my family,” according to her. Coffield fought back with food. Instead of binge eating donuts and chocolate, she started to take control of what she ate, focusing on foods that made her feel healthier and more energetic. Now energetic and looking younger than her age, Coffield spends

48 • January / February 2020

her days helping empower other people by providing knowledge so they can make better choices. One of the key things Coffield offers is a “Kitchen Intervention” where she goes into a family’s kitchen and “helps create the conditions of life to help support the life they want to live.” That means reorganizing where things are kept and how they’re stored, putting healthy options in easy reach and making a home’s kitchen more functional and welcoming. She also provides individual coaching and leads group workshops and seminars. “As consumers, we’re kept in the dark about a lot of things. You don’t know what you don’t know if it’s not on the label,” Coffield said. For herself, she typically doesn’t buy things in the grocery store with more than about six ingredients.

HOW TO EAT OUT AND STAY HEALTHY Coffield admitted that she loves dessert. And nachos. She doesn’t deny herself either of those foods, but she has a lot of ways to eat healthy even when she’s eating out. “I never say never. You can have all the things, you just need to understand the balance between functional food and celebratory food,” she said. “Eating out tends to be celebratory.” She strongly recommends that you take a look at the menu online before you leave for the restaurant to prevent making spontaneous, unhealthy choices.

The food people crave. The atmosphere people love. The attention you deserve.

Culinary Cure founder Karen Coffield

“Giving yourself a plan is a really powerful tool,” according to Coffield. Calorie counts aren’t really a good gauge of healthiness when eating out, she said. “When you’re dining out it’s not the calories that matter, it’s the nutrients that matter,” she said. “The calories in an apple are going to be different than the calories in a donut.” Look for grilled chicken or fish, steamed vegetables, and “eat clean” by avoiding cheese and sauce on everything, and asking for dressings on the side.

Join us for our specials

DOLLAR WINE TUESDAYS (2nd bottle of wine just $1)

WHISKEY WEDNESDAYS 121 S. Union Street, Alexandria, VA


(703) 548-1785

See website for details and hours.

When your meal comes, divide your plate in half and see if eating more slowly and chewing more thoroughly make you feel full faster. With those desserts, Coffield said that ordering more than one dessert for the table lets everyone try multiple things without eating a ton. (If it’s just you and one other person, consider skipping dessert or splitting it.) Throughout the day, every day, Coffield said most people should be drinking about 10 oz. of water every hour for about 10 hours per day. “Even if you’re a little bit dehydrated, it can lead to poor food choices,” Coffield explained, noting that your body doesn’t always know if you’re dehydrated or hungry. But contrary to what we may think, she recommends not drinking with your meal. Coffield said when we drink while eating, our digestive enzymes get diluted and that can trigger acid reflux as your stomach tries to produce more digestive enzymes to compensate.


And avoid the bread if you can help it. The highly-refined grains quickly turn to sugar, which spikes your blood sugar up and leads to cravings for more sugar.

5:00PM to 7:00PM

“Unless the restaurant is known for amazing bread that they make in house, skip the bread basket. You aren’t there for the bread basket.”

MONDAY - FRIDAY Follow us: @trademarkdrinkandeat | 703.253.8640 2080 Jamieson Avenue, Alexandria, VA January / February 2020 •




‘A Delicious New Documentary’ to Debut BY MARY ANN BARTON

In the high-stress business of luxury dining, The Inn at Little Washington has thrived. The intimate, 30-table restaurant with a 14,000-bottle wine cellar has won countless awards — but there’s still some room for a side of humor, according to the restaurant’s chef and owner, the legendary Patrick O'Connell. A new documentary, "The Inn at Little Washington: A Delicious New Documentary," is set to air this spring on PBS. O’Connell answered our questions about the restaurant and inn, located just 70 miles west of Alexandria (and well worth the trip).

50 • January / February 2020

Chef Patrick O'Connell

You show a sense of humor in the new documentary coming out about The Inn at Little Washington. Did it come into play over the years as you built and ran your inn and restaurant? A good sense of humor is an indispensable trait to have in any high-stress business. It keeps things in perspective. Our guests like to know that we're enjoying what we do. We take our work seriously, but not ourselves.

Can you tell our readers how you decided on the location for the inn, back in the 1970s? What was the process like trying to find a place? I think everyone has a geographical spot in the universe where they belong. If they find their spot, everything will fall into place. I bought a mountain shack out here when I was 21 and never wanted to leave, so I opened a catering business with a friend using a wood-burning cookstove and an electric frying pan. About six years later, it morphed into the Inn at Little Washington. It has been steadily evolving since 1978. It is still the place where I'm most comfortable and will always call home.

Was it always called The Inn at Little Washington? Were there any other names you considered? Naming a restaurant or an inn is like naming a child. You consider hundreds of options. We wanted people to understand where we were located and discover this charming little town, so the name says it all.

I think I read somewhere that your staff is trained to gauge the mood of diners when they arrive and they try to elevate the mood if needed. Can you talk a little bit about that philosophy and the training that goes into that? Most corporate restaurants teach a standardized service philosophy with the idea that every guest must receive exactly the same treatment when in fact guests are very different and may want very different things from a dining experience. Understanding this, we specialize in a 'bespoke' style of service based on 'reading' a guest and intuiting what their needs and expectations may be. After all, a good hairstylist, for example, doesn't give every one of his clients the same look or cut.

January / February 2020 •


Our 'Mood Indicator' is a tool that allows us to zero in and gauge a guest's receptivity or mood based on a scale of one to 10 at the outset of their dinner and track it and elevate it throughout the meal. We all work together to ensure that each guest’s mood rating is elevated to a 9 or above before they depart.

Any advice you would give to someone who is coming to visit the Inn for the first time? Relax and enjoy yourself.

Is there a dress code at the Inn and why or why not? No, our only concern is that each guest be comfortable in their own way and feel that they can be themselves. We have never been fond of rules.

Is there something that has been on the menu the longest or will never come off? There are certain dishes that fall into the category of what we call 'enduring classics.' Some of these dishes may have originated on our menu more


than 20 years ago and guests will always ask for them. One of the three tasting menus we offer is composed of these enduring classic dishes.

Of all the awards you have won, is there one that stands out and means the most to you? Both the Michelin three-star award and the James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award, which we received just last year, were incredible milestones. Earning three Michelin stars was the dream of a lifetime and the Lifetime Achievement acknowledgment was an overwhelming honor.

Not counting your own restaurant, is there a favorite you have visited anywhere in the world and what did you like most about it? Early on I was inspired by many of the great country inns of France — particularly Michel Guerard’s Eugenie Les Bain, which is an exquisite destination restaurant in the middle of nowhere in France. Michel Guerard and his late wife, Christine, created a fantasy of exquisite taste. • January / February 2020

Rapid Fire Q&A with Chef Patrick O'Connell Who are three people you'd invite to a dinner party? Sigmund Freud, Peewee Herman and Pope Francis

Finish the sentence: You'd be surprised to learn that I .... Have no secrets.

My favorite meal is... Anything perfectly prepared.

My guilty pleasure is ... Anything pleasurable should be guilt free.

My pet peeve is ... Mediocrity.

I could not do without... Kleenex.

One word to sum me up is ... Elusive.


Escape to

Assateague Island


January / February 2020 •



There are times when we all need to check out for a bit, unwind, detach from the emails, say no to another Netflix binge and get back to basics. Maybe not "check-out" for long — we don’t always have the time or resources to jet off and go Caribbean island hopping — but how about a blissfully disconnected weekend? We’re lucky to have a plethora of great camping spots within just a few hours, letting you take a quick weekend getaway with enough time to vibe with nature and let the stress go. I can’t promise there won’t be stress with setting up the tent, but that’s another story. Looking for such a weekend, I set my sights on Assateague Island National Seashore. Assateague checked all the boxes: clean sites, a beach, relaxing, and only about 3 hours away. Oh, and way more nature to vibe with than expected.

54 • January / February 2020

I was able to snag GMC’s new Sierra AT4 for the trip, and its ridiculously deep growl from that engine made me wish the drive was longer. While I was looking to get back to basics and Mrs. Militzer was on board with this, she wasn’t quite as excited to detach from the comforts of home, such as a bed. Problem solved! The GMC Sierra AT4 is actually wide enough that there are inflatable mattress kits available that will put a 12-inch deep base in the bed of the truck. I wanted to sleep beneath the stars, but we needed something to keep us safe from the mosquitoes. Another problem solved! Enter the Napier tent, that is made to attach to that same truck bed and house the city folks trying to get away. The whole setup made for a really comfortable stay and was commented on by more than a few camping veterans in the park, that had never seen anything like it. The truck had the incredible new Multipro tailgate that allowed it to fold down into a step to allow my aging bones easy entrance to the tent and the mattress for when we had enough nature for the day.

Extend Your Stay Assateague Island National Seashore is about 160 miles from Alexandria in southeastern Maryland. There's plenty to do on the way there and on the way back, depending on your mood and on whether you want to stop for lunch en route.

Driving to Assateague, I thought about other trips I’ve taken to spots such as the Outer Banks to see the wild horses out there. I have driven my own truck through the beaches and dunes of Corolla looking for the horses, striking out many times. I wondered if that would be the case here with everyone telling us we just had to see the horses. Would I need to test out the Sierra’s factory 2 inch lift and off road tires to hunt them down? It became very apparent immediately upon entering the park, that we would have no problem finding these horses, and we welcomed the safety of the big truck on more than one occasion as the local residents were in the middle of a Stallion turf war. When you check into the park, they warn you to treat the horses like you would a bear. Not to say that you will be mauled by them, but they will take your cooler and food, and eat anything you leave out. The park provides straps to lock your coolers closed, and picnic tables have lockable compartments to store other items.

Annapolis. This charming historic city rivals Alexandria for gorgeous historic rowhomes, cobblestone streets and independent stores. After lunch at Sophie's Crepes, the Iron Rooster, Mason's Famous Lobster Rolls or Dry 85, stop by and pick up a few caramel apples (some drizzled with chocolate, candy, nuts and other treats) at Uncle Bob's Fudge Kitchen or Kilwin's. Eastern Shore. The Eastern Shore of Maryland is a great place to stretch your legs on the way to Assateague Island National Seashore. Walk through the charming downtown areas of Easton, Oxford or St. Michaels with just a slight detour. Ocean City, Maryland. If you want some excitement before you decompress, you can hit up Ocean City, Maryland, just north of Assateague Island National Seashore. While Ocean City gets quiet away from the summer months, you can still walk along the boardwalk, get a bite to eat and pick up some of those supplies you forgot to bring with you.

These same gentle giants will also bite and kick you if you dare get too close, and I was amazed that people consistently took that dare.

January / February 2020 •



at full speed, I appreciated the comfort and protection the Sierra AT4 offered. It was one of the coolest things I’ve watched, but we didn’t need to be in the middle of the action. The campsites are fairly big, with a large pad for your vehicles and space for several tents. There are firepits for your campfire and grills for your cooking needs, with plenty of spots along the way selling firewood before you get into the park. Plan to bring something for shade, however, if you don’t have a site with trees. Thankfully, the Sierra AT4 casts a big shadow!

None of this is to dissuade even the casual camper from going, but you do need to prepare for being there among the wild horses. You are guests in their home.

The beach is wide, clean and easy to walk to from both the bayside sites and the ocean locations (of course) as well. Bayside campers have a shorter walk to water sports on the calmer waters of the Chincoteague Bay. Plenty of spots are available for bird watchers, too, or just sit back and watch the ponies roam!

In fact, there were so many horses, on the road and popping out of the woods next to our campsite, that searching for these beautiful creatures is completely unnecessary.

This trip was just what we needed for an inexpensive getaway to recharge, talk by the fire, have a few adult beverages and pay attention to each other.

As for needing the safety of the truck, I have a healthy respect for these animals and kept a safe distance. Still, when several very large stallions chased each other straight through our campsite

For more information on camping at Assateague Island National

56 • January / February 2020

Seashore, visit

Come Travel with

Alexandria Living Magazine! Scuba diving and spa treatments in St. Lucia, hiking and photography in Alaska's Denali National Park, cruising down the Danube and visiting European Christmas Markets.

The club is open to all magazine readers!

Is one of your resolutions this year to get out and explore the world?

will host the first informational meet-

Come join the Alexandria Living Magazine Travel Club! Partnering with luxury travel specialist Judith Suthar-MCC of Cruise Planners in Alexandria, we're planning some terrific trips for 2020 and 2021. Suthar is a travel agent who has visited more than 50 countries and is a member of the Cruise Lines International Association and the American Society of Travel Advisors.

Current Alexandria Living Magazine subscribers may join for free. Not a subscriber yet? Sign up for a two-year subscription at the meeting to join. Alexandria Living Magazine and Suthar ing and reception on Wednesday, Jan. 22, from 5:30-7 p.m. at ALX Community, 201 N. Union St. RSVP to If you can't attend the Jan. 22 meeting, a second informational meeting will be Jan. 25 from 10-11:30 a.m. in the same location. Refreshments will be provided. The travel club will meet in a variety of locations around Alexandria six times in 2020, with travel speakers and refreshments.

BodyHoliday resort in St. Lucia; photo courtesy of BodyHoliday

HERE'S A LOOK AT SOME OF THE UPCOMING TRIPS: • European Holiday Markets river cruise with stops in Vienna, Linz, Passau, Regensburg and the largest Christmas market in Germany, in Nuremberg. • Photo journey in Alaska's Denali National Park hosted by Essdras Suarez, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer. • Visit BodyHoliday resort in St. Lucia for spa treatments and scuba diving.

We look forward to seeing you here in January and around the world later this year!

Love to travel? Join the club!

Join the Alexandria Living Magazine Travel Club! Join us Wednesday, Jan. 22, 5:30-7 p.m. or Saturday, Jan. 25, 10-11:30 a.m. for an informational meeting, at 201 N. Union St., Suite 110, in Old Town Alexandria. Refreshments will be served. Our first speaker will be Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Essdras Suarez. We'll also be gauging interest in upcoming trips for 2020 and 2021. See you there! Travel club is open to all Alexandria Living Magazine subscribers. Don't have a subscription? You can sign up at the meeting!

January / February 2020 •



manage employees, payroll, rent, supplies, operations, etc. I have always had a great team behind me but I am also very hands on, so I was consumed with those first year stressors and anxieties.

Two years into sculp’d, my body was showing some pretty serious signs of being chronically stressed and overworked. I was constantly sick to my stomach, my skin and hair were suffering, my sleep was awful and I was just so fatigued I couldn’t function well after 4 p.m. I saw a few doctors who honestly brushed me off, told me to avoid fruit (as if that was the problem!) and to stay away from caffeine. My stomach pains and discomfort were so bad, I just had to do something different to get a better result. I finally found a doctor who took an integrative, full body approach to my situation and helped me slowly get my health back. It took 10-plus months, but we started with my gut and have been working from there.

Q&A ∙ with ∙

Betsy Weissman Fitness Studio Owner

Meet Alexandrian Betsy Weissman, owner of sculp'd pilates studio in Old Town. Betsy talks about her path to wellness, which included changes to her nutrition and fitness routines. What prompted you to zero in on your health? It’s been a long journey for me. I started teaching exercise classes in college and continued to teach alongside my legal career because I enjoyed it so much. I decided to open my own studio in my mid-40s for a variety of reasons, mostly because I wanted to focus on health and wellness for the next chapter in my life. How did your health take a wrong turn? The irony of my story is that I opened a fitness studio and wrecked my health. After 20 years as a practicing attorney in big companies, launching my own business was so stressful for me. I had to now


Do you think there are a lot of people out there who are in the same boat? In all honesty — yes. From my experience and from what I see, people try to a la carte their health. Meaning, they will hone in on one thing — for example, working out every day really hard. But ignore their nutrition, skimp on their sleep, and/ or not minimize their stress. Overall wellness is a multi-legged stool that needs to stay on balance. It requires a steady, conscious effort every single day. It takes a lot of commitment and follow-through to do the right things most of the time. And by “right things” I mean get good sleep (which is a conscious effort, especially as you get older), eat properly for you (I got tested and found that while I don’t have celiac, I don’t tolerate gluten or dairy well and respond with chronic inflammation and gut impermeability), better manage stress and exercise appropriately.

How did you discover that "killing it" at the gym was creating internal stress in your body? The good things of exercise — increasing my metabolism and muscle, boosting brain performance, feeling happier — were missing. Instead, I was always sore, tired, stressed out and so forgetful.

With all that was going on in my life, I was also overtraining. As a result, my body was holding onto fat. I had reached a point of diminishing returns. I was chronically stressed out and needed to give my body a rest. What was the new game plan? I went into each class at my studio sculp’d with a healthier mind set. I didn’t need to be the strongest or best in the class. I listened to my body — did I have a good night’s rest? Was anything sore or bothering me? Was I properly fueled for class? And then adjusted my efforts. I also made time for our fabulous stretch and restore yoga class to help • January / February 2020

bring down my cortisol levels on those days when I wasn’t feeling at the top of my game. Did you also change your diet? With some customized blood testing I found that I had to completely cut gluten and all dairy out of my diet. Sticking with that was a total game changer for me. Once I healed my gut, I was able to have a little bit of these no-no’s in my diet, but for the most part, I completely avoid it. And with all the gluten-free and dairy-free items out there, I really don’t find it hard to maintain. And if I want to eat these things, I recognize that I may pay the price later, so it better be one good piece of pizza! What other health tips did you pick up? I was always able to eat what I want and not think about it. This came to a crashing halt in my mid40s. Through our studio detox program, I finally got the message — I can no longer eat whatever I want and simply work out the next day to burn those extra calories. You have to make a “food budget” and think about how much and when you are eating. Being in my mid-40s, I can only eat two full meals a day. For me, three full meals is too much food and causes me to gain weight. I transitioned over to intermittent fasting and drink Bulletproof coffee every morning that keeps me full until lunchtime. Secondly, I always ask myself: Is this choice elevating me or depleting me? I even wear a yellow string bracelet to remind myself to make healthy choices. So, I can have that cup of coffee at 3 p.m., but also know that it will likely affect my sleep that night. Tell us about your business. sculp’d offers machine-based, pilates-inspired group classes. And as a full service, total body studio, we also offer hiit (high-intensity interval training), yoga and barre classes. We are the only boutique studio in Old Town providing a balanced approach to achieving optimal health and wellness through movement and nutrition.

Clients love our Total Body Pilates reformer class. Think of CrossFit on a reformer machine. We focus on controlled, resistance-based movement and work every muscle to failure resulting in strong, long and lean muscle development within a safe and low-impact workout. What advice would you give to others? It”s all about movement and nutrition. Grab a friend and take one new class. Find a sustainable workout that is effective, low impact yet continues to challenge you every time. At sculp’d, we pride ourselves on providing an attainable and sustainable workout for every person. Once you find that, then focus on your nutrition and what you are putting in your body on a regular basis. Start with that, movement and nutrition, and I guarantee you that 2020 will be your best year yet!

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