The Daily Feed

DCCK’s Burger Battle at Harry’s Smokehouse

Photo courtesy of
‘8/365 – matchbox mini-burgers’
courtesy of ‘dracisk 365/365’

DC has been in a burger bonanza lately, but this weekend there’s a burger battle that you can enjoy while helping a good cause.

DC Central Kitchen and Harry’s Smokehouse (formerly Harry’s Taproom) are partnering up for a burger cookoff this Sunday, June 12th from 6 PM to 9 PM at Harry’s Pentagon City location. Chefs-in-training from DCCK will compete to make the best sliders for the audience’s and judge’s vote.

Tickets are $20 and all proceeds go to DCCK. In addition to getting to scarf down mini burgers and dishes from Harry’s Smokehouse’s grand opening, you’ll get wine and beer with your admission ticket. A good way to round out the weekend.

Entertainment, The Features, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: Don Quixote

Ryan Sellers as Sancho Panza and Dan Istrate as Don Quixote, with Natalie Berk as Aldonza, in Synetic Theater's production of Don Quixote. Photo credit: Graeme B. Shaw.

There is nothing on stage in Synetic Theater‘s Don Quixote more expressive than Dan Istrate’s eyes. Which is odd, because they are actually anything but – wide, unseeing, unblinking eyes focused anywhere else except on reality. Matched by his frozen arms in an almost wooden stance, his mad foolhardy knight is like a marionette or a religious icon paraded in a pageant.

That last is an apt metaphor when you consider the pace of this production seems to mimic a Catholic saint’s day pageant, as the icons slowly shake their way down the street. At 100 minutes, Dr. Roland Reed’s adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes’ famous novel felt much, much longer. Though the usual high level of physical daring and command we’ve come to expect (and demand) from Synetic’s extremely talented ensemble was on display opening night, the overall effect was somehow muddy.

After several productions featuring expansively creative set design (such as the water stage for King Arthur), director Paata Tsikurishvili has chosen to tone things down and present a minimalist experience. After all, Synetic built its well-deserved reputation by using actors’ bodies to suggest environments to stunning effect. So why doesn’t it quite work with Don Quixote? Certainly this play about a dreamer is full of action, but that action is in the form of multiple vignettes hanging together incohesively, with a dreary sigh.

The fault may lie in the adaptation itself. Though the moments of Istrate’s keen sightliness are riveting when allowed to take focus, the production commits the cardinal sin of feeling joyless, through dialogue that simply fails to engage or enlighten.  Continue reading

The Daily Feed

First Look: SOCCi

Photo courtesy of
‘SOCCi Sign’
courtesy of ‘A. L. Huber’

Often, hotel restaurants get a bad reputation that is sorely undeserved. There are many truly great restaurants that adjoin hotels that often get forgotten when thinking about fine cuisine – Blue Duck Tavern in Foggy Bottom springs to mind immediately. SOCCi, short for South of Crystal City Italian, is a new addition to that list of great restaurants in unusual locations.

Nestled in the lobby of the gorgeous newly-constructed Renaissance Arlington Capital View hotel, SOCCi boasts a 96-seat dining room serving chef David Creamer’s fresh, inspired take on classic Italian cuisine.
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Entertainment, The Features, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: King Arthur

Ben Cunis as King Arthur, Vato Tsikurishvili as Lancelot, and Ensemble in Synetic Theater's "King Arthur." Photo credit: Graeme B. Shaw

I’m fast running out of superlatives to describe Synetic Theater productions. They operate in a riveting crossfire where power meets grace, muscle meets sinew. And this time, for King Arthur, they do it all in ankle-deep water.

That’s right, the brutally complex swordplay, the exquisite dancing, the emotional physicality – all take place on a stage filled with water. Sometimes it even rains.


Synetic is often described as presenting “physical theater” – to denote its wordless style. But I like to think of it more as “psychological theater.” Director Paata Tsikurishvili and choreographer Irina Tsikurishvili tease out character’s deep motivations into the physical realm, like taking micro-expressions and elongating them. As their brilliant foray into the shattered psyche of a triple-headed Iago in Othello showed, they are masters of the psychological nuance. One might not immediately think the King Arthur legend lends itself to that approach (isn’t it just a love triangle? you might initially think) but they mine the depths of betrayal to make what could be cardboard characters truly live.

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The Features, Where We Live

Where We Live: Crystal City

Photo courtesy of

‘Crystal City – Lightning Ball’
courtesy of ‘Mo Kaiwen è�«æ¥·æ��’

Welcome to another edition of Where We Live. This week we’re hopping on the yellow line, crossing the river, and checking out Crystal City.  When I started looking into Crystal City for this feature, I wasn’t too sure what I would find– a neighborhood named after a chandelier that claims to be Arlington’s largest downtown?  All I knew of it was that there were lots of hotels and office buildings.  But what I found was a lot of people who absolutely love living in Crystal City.  Read on to hear what’s great about Crystal City, as well as some recommendations about what to check out next time you’re in the area!

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We Love Food

We Love Food: El Pollito

Photo courtesy of Me

El pollito, courtesy of Me

Overall I’m inclined to agree with Carl about the crack metaphor: it’s overused, and unless you punched your mother in the face or [redacted] someone’s [redacted] and then let them [redacted] in order to get it, then NO, that chicken ISN’T like crack.

When Tom Sietsema went and checked out El Pollito in Crystal City, however, that’s exactly the comparison someone used in front of him in line. Crack, that is, not the punching your mother stuff. My darling wife and I were delighted to see this review, since the place that used to occupy this storefront looked like it had about 9 customers over the six-month period it was there. Overall we won’t frequent a restaurant that doesn’t seem to do some business – old food is just not conducive to a good dining experience.

So when we went and got some takeout there on Friday evening we were a little concerned to walk in and find the place completely empty. However the rotisseries are right there in plain view and a simpler menu like this makes it less of a concern to me than a larger menu and a closed kitchen, so we went ahead and picked up our order.

Which was simply -eh-.

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The Daily Feed, We Green DC

Splish Splash Statues..and Free Yoga Mats

Photo courtesy of
‘Dew on bamboo’
courtesy of ‘Lip Kee’

Over the years, artists have tried to capture the magic of water in myriad ways. Sergio Martinez chose bamboo and organic hemp rope. His sustainably made eco-statues now leap over walkways at, fittingly, the Crystal City WaterPark, near Crystal Drive and S. 18th St.

Come by tonight from 5-7 p.m., and you can meet the artist himself. Sport & Health will lead “a yogic commemoration reflective of the eco-art.” And they’re giving away free yoga mats. Boat pose, anyone?

The Daily Feed

Shake and Stretch, Alfresco

Photo courtesy of
‘Ankle Bangle’
courtesy of ‘Karon’

Nothing freshens up a workout like taking it outside! Starting today, and continuing every July Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m., the lucky folks near Crystal City can take a free outdoor Zumba Latin-infused dance class in the courtyard at 2345 Crystal Drive. In August, Zumba switches to Hot Yoga.

No worries about going back to work all hot and sweaty — you can use the shower at nearby Sport & Health for free.

Prefer to unwind after work? On Mondays, starting July 6, you can do yoga-inspired stretching in the courtyard between 18th and Bell Sts. at 7:45 p.m., just before Crystal Screen Superhero-themed movie starts. Stretch, then movie. Yawn! Ahhh….

Entertainment, The Features, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: “Legacy of Light”


Stephen Schnetzer as Voltaire and Lise Bruneau as Émilie du Châtelet in "Legacy of Light" (courtesy Arena Stage)

It makes perfect sense that a theater company whose current renovations will include a new space to be christened “the Cradle” would commission a play about motherhood in all its forms. Karen Zacarias’s “Legacy of Light,” at Arena Stage in Crystal City now through June 14, is a wide embrace of these themes – the purely physical act, the creative endeavor, even the scientific genesis. Maybe too wide an embrace. Its first act had me a bit impatient. But if you can get through the beginning exposition and make it to the second act, you’re rewarded with some truly funny and poignant moments that bring these themes to life.

The production weaves together two sets of couples – in the past, scientist Emilie de Chatelet works furiously on her thesis while balancing a young lover, a longtime companion (who just happens to be Voltaire), a military husband, and a fiesty daughter who shows more interest in fashion than learning. In the present, scientist Olivia struggles to come to terms with balancing the impending birth of her child by a surrogate mother while investigating the more exciting birth of a star in a distant galaxy.

You could say these two have a lot on their plates.

The first act plays with mutable gender roles – both the young male lover in the past and the modern husband register as rather feminine (not to mention, a tad annoying), while the women read masculine at least in terms of their assertiveness and consuming drive. It’s a conceit that gets turned on its head in the second act, when timelines intersect and traditional roles become harder to ignore.

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The Daily Feed

New Farmers’ Market Opens Today in Crystal City

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘Roebot’
I always love shopping the farmers’ markets, seeing the colorful veggies and the plump fruits that hours before were sunning in fields, sampling the wares and roaming around while someone plays the guitar. And then there’s biting into those juicy berries and crisp cucumbers. Yum.

This afternoon, a brand new farmers’ market opens at Crystal City. It’ll be held every Tuesday from 3-7 p.m. from now through October, along Crystal Drive between 18th and 20th streets.

Come and take your pick from more than 20 vendors selling fruits and vegetables, cheese, flowers and potted herbs, meats, eggs, baked goods, specialty foods and more. Eat local, eat fresh and eat mmm, mmm good.

The Daily Feed, We Green DC

Get Green on Tax Day

Photo courtesy of
‘european keyboard 1’
courtesy of ‘Listener42’
On April 15, while you’re giving all those pesky extra greenbacks to the government, you can green the planet as well. Just drop off your unwanted electronics and batteries for recycling at Power Purge from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 2001 Jefferson Davis Hwy. in Crystal City. They’ll take everything from batteries, desktop computers, and laptops to TVs, monitors, and microwaves, at no charge.

It’s part of Crystal City’s new Green Scene, which runs the 5K Fridays race series. It also has extended free Wi-Fi to many outdoor spaces and courtyards so that you can sit outside and Tweet with your feathered friends.

The Daily Feed

I don’t think that means…

…what you think it means.

Photo courtesy of Me

Whose convenience would that be?, courtesy of Me

You’ll have to click through to read it, but this Pentagon City meter I stopped at yesterday in order to go into the Costco (I’d rather pay to park on the street than deal with that free nightmare of a parking lot) says the following:


I guess everyone needs a bailout plan.