Food and Drink, The Features

First Look: Trademark Drink + Eat

Courtesy of Three Lockharts PR

I have to imagine being the first restaurant to land in a neighborhood you’re trying to beef up is no easy task. Will the locals end up coming back? If you’re off the beaten path, can you still draw a crowd? How do you bring any foot traffic off the sidewalk and into a seat at the bar? When I visited Trademark Drink + Eat a little more than a week after their opening in November, their boisterous, mostly full bar and high-top tables on a week night seems to indicate they’ve figured it out.

Named after the neighboring U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Trademark the pub is located just beyond Old Town in the Carlyle District. Google maps says it’s an eight minute walk from the King Street metro, which isn’t far if you’re looking to head somewhere different for drinks and a bite to eat in Alexandria.

Trademark has both casual bar fare like warm pretzel bites or deep-fried pickles, and more sophisticated, hearty dishes such as the Chesapeake pot pie with piping hot crab, rockfish, shrimp, roasted corn, peas and potatoes wrapped in a buttery dough. Sit at the bar for a short while and you’ll find yourself devouring the restaurant’s version of corn nuts, a pleasant reminder that the little bowls of bar snacks do not have to be stale or overly salty. While you’re at it, don’t pass up the bacon candy, which is a thick slice of bacon on a stick with a sweet yet light, sugary coating. I should have had you at bacon. On a stick.
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Entertainment, Special Events, The Features

Summer 2012 Guide to Outdoor Movies

Photo courtesy of Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie
courtesy of Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie

Summertime in the city–the daylight lasts longer, the outfits get shorter and the city has so many things to offer you outdoors. We’ve rounded up the outdoor movies in the DC area and put them into one comprehensive guide. Break out the popcorn and blankets and get ready to see what films are rolling this summer.

Washington, DC:

Screen on the Green
Where: On the National Mall, between 7th and 12th streets, NW
When: Begins at sunset
Movie Lineup:

Monday, July 16th: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Wednesday, July 25th: It Happened One Night
Monday, July 30th: From Here to Eternity
Monday, August 6th: Psycho

Follow @SOTGinDC for updates and more information.

Capitol Riverfront Movies
Where: Tingey Plaza (behind U.S. Department of Transportation), New Jersey Avenue and Tingey Streets, SE
8:45 PM/Sundown
Movie Lineup:
Thursday, June 14: National Treasure
Thursday, June 21: The Goonies
Thursday, June 28: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Thursday, July 5: City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold
Thursday, July 12: O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Thursday, July 19: The Da Vinci Code
Thursday, July 26:  Muppet Treasure Island

Follow @CapitolRvrFront for more information.

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Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Will Artley of Evening Star Cafe (Part 2)

Photo courtesy of
‘Chopping tomatoes’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

It’s summertime and if you look around, you’ll notice that tomatoes are ripe and abundant. They’re in salads, they’re on sandwiches, they’re in your gazpacho. They’re everywhere! So here’s a recipe for something a little different from Will Artley: a tomato jam. The chef suggests serving it on scallops, on toast, and I think it would even go quite well on some roasted chicken. Plus, if you are a little more advanced, you can can the jam and have it last for months. Click through to find the full recipe.

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Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Will Artley of Evening Star Cafe (Part 1)

Photo courtesy of
‘Will Artley of Evening Star Cafe’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

Will Artley greets me with a bear-claw handshake, wearing bright Nantucket red pants and a matching hat that succinctly and accurately states, “No Farms, No Food.” After a quick cup of coffee, the executive chef of the Evening Star Cafe suggests we head out to the restaurant’s small “farm,” a gorgeous and overflowing vegetable patch about a mile away. “I put the doors on my Jeep since I knew you were coming,” he laughs. “I figured you wouldn’t want to ride on the motorcycle!” Will takes the opportunity to educate me on the “Jeep wave,” which has different protocol depending on the varying degrees of Jeep-ness.

I had met Will before at a few food events, but it quickly became clear that Will is a character in the best sense of the word. He’s incredibly friendly, but if you saw his serious face, you probably wouldn’t want to mess with him. “I like the instant gratification of cooking,” he says. “You can change people’s mood with food. They can have sat in traffic and be in a bad mood. But if you give them one taste and it changes their attitude, that’s rewarding.” Will adds that he also volunteers time each Monday at the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority teaching low-income families how to cook and eat healthy. “Cooking can change lives. If you’re in this business, you should be in it to make people happy,” he says.

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Dupont Circle, Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Food

We Love Food: Hank’s Oyster Bar

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘sygyzy’
Hank’s Oyster Bar has all the makings of being my go-to secret neighborhood joint — that perfectly undiscovered gem, with amazing food and an owner who remembers me so I never have to wait for a table. In a perfect world, yes, this would be the case. But this is not a perfect world and the rest of Washington has discovered Hank’s. There’s usually a wait, and to make matters worse, it’s not even in my neighborhood. But it almost was my neighborhood. I looked at an apartment in the Cairo building, and while I was thrilled with the opportunity to live in a haunted former brothel, I was even more excited about the possibility of living within viewing distance of the line at Hank’s.

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Alexandria, Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Food

We Love Food: Eamonn’s/A Dublin Chipper

Photo courtesy of
‘969 thanks be to cod’
courtesy of ‘apium’
There are plenty of benefits of studying abroad in England — lots of culture, lots of pints and you don’t have to worry about learning that pesky other language. It is not, however, known as a bastion of fine cuisine. There is an exception to every rule though, and for me the British food that I think of fondly is fish and chips. Real deal, fried to perfection, wrapped in a newspaper fish and chips. And I’ve found no better way to indulge my inner collegiate than to go to town on some authentic fried cod (albeit Irish) at Eamonn’s.

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Alexandria, The Great Outdoors, Where We Live, WTF?!

Nature’s Fury: Braddock Road Edition

photo by author.

Alexandria got hit hard by yesterday’s freak storm.The worst hit area seemed to be the North/South stretch of Braddock Road between Old Town and Route 7. That stretch looked like it had been hit by a mini-tornado; trees down, roads closed, cars and homes struck. In the several hours it took me to drive home from DC last night, I got a tour of some pretty spectacular storm damage. Here are some shots I took that I think give a pretty good impression of how strong this storm was.

Stare in awe at the aftermath of nature’s fury.

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The Daily Feed

Shaking Buildings in Old Town, Related to Earthquake?


Through two separate reports, we’ve heard that at least one building in Old Town experienced very noticeable shaking today right at about the same time as a relatively major earthquake hit Ottawa and Quebec in Canada. People from Toronto, Detroit, New York and Ohio have reported experiencing some effects from this quake. Is it possible it actually caused shaking in Old Town Alexandria in Virginia?

@thelastgoodnight on Twitter reported it happening at 2:00pm today. It was also reported as being experienced on S Alfred St. Did anyone else feel it?

UPDATE 2:41pm: Apparently there was also shaking felt in Greenbelt, MD. Starting to sound less like strange coincidences and more like very small ripples being felt from the quake up north.

Alexandria, Business and Money, People, The Features, We Love Drinks

We Love Drinks: The Birth of a Brewery

Photo courtesy of
‘Port City Pale Ale’
courtesy of ‘rabid_c’

I obviously think the world of DC, but there’s one thing I’ve always thought the metro area lacked: a brewery.  There are a myriad of beer nerd restaurants, places like ChurchKey, Brasserie Beck and Birreria Paradiso, that quench the appetites of a pretty decent sized population of aficionados. Small, well respected breweries make it a point to export to the DC area because the market is so ripe for well crafted beers.  It seems like the perfect place to open a brewery.  More over, it seems like the sort of place a local would start brewing on his own, generate a following and eventually establish a successful brewery.  Thankfully, Port City Brewing Co. is making this a reality.

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The Daily Feed

SOHO – A Space of Her Own

Photo courtesy of
‘Butterfly Girl’
courtesy of ‘katieharbath’

You are cordially invited to join The Art League & The Alexandria Court Service Units SOHO’s celebratory art exhibit this Thursday, June 10th at 5:30.

SOHO – Space of Her Own is an art-based program that serves 5th grade girls “by providing yearlong mentoring through engagement in creative art activities and meaningful community service projects”.  At the end of each year, each girl’s bedroom is renovated, “HGTV-style”, as a way to provide them their very own safe haven to thrive.

I had the fortunate opportunity to serve as a mentor two years ago and truly can’t encourage your attendance and support enough.

For more information about SOHO, or to learn how to become a volunteer, call 703-519-1741.

The Art Leagues’ Duke Street Annex.  One Duke Street (Corner of Duke & South Union Streets).  Old Town Alexandria, VA.

Entertainment, Food and Drink, Special Events, The Daily Feed

Paella Sundays

Photo courtesy of
‘two types of paella’
courtesy of ‘needlessspaces’

The Crystal City branch of Jaleo, José Andrés’ award-winning tapas restaurant, is hosting Paella Sundays from 4pm to closings.  Diners can experience a traditional Spanish Sunday Supper complete with gazpacho, salad, paella and flan for $18 per person (excluding of tax and tip).

Every Sunday, guests can enjoy unlimited servings of two daily paellas including Paella de pollo y setas silvestres, a traditional paella of chicken and wild mushrooms as well as a Chef’s Selection Paella, a vegetarian paella featuring seasonal produce.

This is a fantastic way to spend a Sundays  with family and friends, and your meal can be enjoyed inside and outside. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made by calling (703) 413-8181.

The Features, Where We Live

Where We Live: Old Town Alexandria

Photo courtesy of
‘View down King Street’
courtesy of ‘CathyLovesDC’

Alexandria is an independent city in Virginia that measures 15 square miles and includes over 100,000 residents (which is much larger than the typical neighborhood that we profile in Where We Live), and includes distinct neighborhoods like Arlandia, Rosemont, North Ridge, Del Ray, and West End.  This profile will mostly focus on the civic and commercial heart of Alexandria in Old Town, but it should be noted that Alexandria is made up of charming neighborhoods outside of that area that are definitely worth a visit.

History: This is a town with a lot of history.  Here’s the short version– Alexandria was originally a Native American settlement, then a major port, then part of DC in 1789 (only to be retroceded in 1846), then a quiet southern town frequented by tourists in the early twentieth century, then a growing suburb, and finally in the 1960’s the Old Town area was reborn as a commercial center and civic heart of the city (though many original historic buildings were demolished to make room for this ‘progress’).  The long version can be found on the Lyceum’s website about Alexandria history.

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Alexandria, Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Red or White? Win a Personalized Bottle of Each!

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘InspirationDC’

The age old saga: red or white wine? Well, dear reader, you have your chance to weigh in. Do you prefer the hints of oak and honey in your favorite white or the bursts of cedar and cherries in your reds? Does one pair better with your favorite take-out Thai dish than the other?

Last week, we sat down with Lamar Brown, proprietor of Carafe Wines in Alexandria. He was so pleased with the feedback he received from We Love DC readers after his interview, that he’s offered up a chance for you to win a bottle of each – with your own personalized labels! Holiday gifts anyone?

Vote in the comments – red or white wine, and I’ll use to pick a winner. Lamar is thinking he’ll give away a bottle of his Chardonnay and bottle of his Red Zin. If you’re feeling really lucky, he might even tell you the best carry-out that goes with each bottle.

So, red or white? Oh, and please, do tell us why! Continue reading

Alexandria, Food and Drink, Interviews, People, The Features

He Loves DC: Lamar Brown


Earlier this week, I sat down with Lamar Brown, engineer and corporate drone by day and wine connoisseur and entrepreneur by night. His cozy shop just off King Street in Old Town Alexandria, Carafe Wines, is the city’s only “micro-winery,” allowing customers to sample and then bottle their own wines. With grape juices shipped in from vineyards in Chile, California, New Zealand, Italy, France and Washington, to name a few, it may not be the most green method, but he’s created a truly unique niche for delightfully aged wines made right in good old Alexandria.

Having lived in Northern Virginia for 10 years, Lamar had a vision to take his extreme interest and admiration for good wine to the next level. His dream was realized two years ago, and now, he proudly allows his customers to make their own wines and their own private labels.

Nestled between a gorgeous marble bar and a bustling fireplace, I sampled the Rosso Miscele Reserve, a Tuscan-styled wine vented from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and later a dab of the Merlot Reserve, a full-bodied wine with hints of red cherries, toasted oak and herbs. Then we sat down to business and focused on Lamar’s storied history with wine, the DC area, and, of course, what wine pairs best with Matchbox sliders.

What inspired you to start Carafe Wines?
Actually, a love of wines, to be honest. And I saw a cool niche. The whole wine making experience actually originated in Canada. I ran into it there, and I worked with a lot of Canadians to bring the concept to DC. I did some research, and DC area is actually the second most wine-centric area in the country outside of California. So, we sell more bottles per capita than anybody. I thought people would get a cool kick out of being able to make their own wine.

So, why do you think DC is the number two area for wine purchases in America? Continue reading

The Daily Feed

Alexandria Quality of Life “Very Good”

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘Ghost_Bear’

Last night, the Alexandria City Council announced the results of their 2009 Community Survey, conducted by the Center for Research and Public Policy (CRPP). One thousand Alexandria residents were asked through a telephone survey about their quality of life, satisfaction with services and other issues.

Over 97% of the respondents rated the overall quality of life in the city as either ‘very good’ or ‘good.’ In a complete non-shocker, the most frequently cited issues of concern was traffic, taxes and poor school systems. Despite taxes being second on that list, 69% said Alexandria should keep services and taxes at the level they are now; only 12% said taxes need to decrease even if service levels are affected.

You can check out the complete report on the City of Alexandria’s website (it’s in PDF format).

Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Food

We Love Food: Cheesetique

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘angela n.’

In my humble opinion, cheese shops are too few and far between. Americans settle for the lactic crap that comes in baggies at super markets and fail to enjoy the finer aspects of one of God’s greatest creations. Sure, cheddar melted over tortilla chips has its place, but there’s so much that goes unrealized in the world of cheese.  Fortunately, there’s a place in Del Ray called Cheesetique: it purveys the wonders of excellent fromage to the greater DC area.

Cheestique is, perhaps, the brightest star in the glimmering neighborhood of Del Ray, Alexandria.  Over the past few years, this quaint area has been a haven for simple, unpretentious restaurants that serve excellent food to the many young families that occupy the neighborhood. None is as well conceptualized or executed as the Cheesetique.  By day it serves as a specialized grocery with dozens of excellent cheeses and decent bottles of wine.  By night, it’s a wine and cheese bar that is the first stop for a date night, or as the romantic destination itself. The former iteration was my first exposure to it.

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Music, The Features

We Love Music: Quest for Glory Tour

Photo courtesy of
‘The ladies of the Quest for Glory Tour knight someone’
courtesy of ‘dcjasmine’

Let’s be honest with each other, DC. I love concerts, and sometimes there’s nothing better than being smashed up against other screaming people that love a band as much as you do. But sometimes I find myself thinking, I wish I could feel the A/C in this joint. And sit. And be able to set my beer on a table. And have the concert be free. There aren’t many music venues like this in the DC area, but Wednesday night Fireflies in Del Ray hosted three ladies on the Quest For Glory Tour: Bess Rogers, Lelia Broussard, and Allison Weiss. Continue reading

Alexandria, The Daily Feed

Former Police Chief Going to Jail

Photo courtesy of
‘Alexandria St. Patrick’s Day Parade’
courtesy of ‘_rockinfree’

If you recall, just over two weeks ago, the Chief of Police for Alexandria resigned following his arrest for drunk driving, which involved a minor accident. Today David Baker plead guilty to a DWI, which gives him 5 days in jail, a minor fine and the loss of his license. It’s terrible that Chief Baker made the decision to drive drunk in the first place and it obviously sets a very bad example. But I for one applaud his following of the law, after being caught, and doing the time for his crime. Not to mention giving up the career that he had devoted his life to.

Essential DC, Food and Drink, Life in the Capital, The District, The Features

Frozen Treats: DC’s Best Creameries

Photo courtesy of
‘Saturday Road trip’
courtesy of ‘gregoirevdb’

They tell me the first step is admitting you have a problem. So here it goes: I am shamelessly, hopelessly, horribly in love with ice cream. Now, I say ice cream, but in actuality, ice cream is a pretty generic term for what I really mean – frozen treats. I don’t care if it is gelato, custard, actual heavy-cream ice cream, or even italian ice. As long as it is sweet, and frozen, it qualifies. My partner in crime for ice cream loving is my friend Melissa, who has the genius idea to host an ice cream bar at her wedding. She’s the only one who truly understands my love. We’ll talk about going to a Nat’s game, and the first thing out of our mouths will be “OOOOH DIPPIN DOTS!” It’s a passion, not just a hobby, people.

So when I was informed that July is National Ice Cream Month, well, then, fine. That sealed it. I had to share with you, my dear We Love DC reader, my favorite ice cream (loose term) eateries in the city.
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