Arlington, Business and Money, Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Ray’s Opens Tonight!


It’s hard for me to say enough good things about Ray’s the Steaks. I’ve been a fan since my very first Cowboy Steak back in 2004. The tiny location in Courthouse, though, is history, replaced by a larger venue that opens tonight in the Navy League Building on Wayne Street between Clarendon and Wilson. I was passing by this afternoon as the wait-staff was meeting in the front of the restaurant. The corner slot across from King Street Blues has a ton of space. I counted no fewer than 40 tables, some as large as 10 people, which means that this place could be a huge success.

No word on what the menu will bring, nor on how the new “limited” phone reservation system will work. I’m hoping for the ability to call in a reservation, and get a nice tasty steak late next week sometime.

Arlington, Life in the Capital, The Daily Feed

The Big (Apartment) Hunt

Photo courtesy of
‘Misc DC – Presidential Flyover – 9-1-08’
courtesy of ‘mosley.brian’

So we’re looking at making THE BIG MOVE, and I need some advice from all you Realtors and leasing agents out there.

My lovely roommate and I are going to be striking out to find a new apartment along the Wilson/Clarendon (metro accessible) stretch and are wondering – how are the prices out there? We had a HORRENDOUS time snagging our current apartment during the summer a few years ago, but are hoping with the economic downturn, and the dead of winter, things might actually play out in our favor.

I’ve noticed so many more advertising yard signs (Parc Rosslyn and Vista, I’m looking at you!) and random people on the street corner doing tricks with big arrow signs than I did last year – so I ask…is it a renter’s market out there? Can we bargain? What is your advice (or experience, if you recently made a move) for apartment shopping during these winter months in a crap economy?

Alexandria, Arlington, Fun & Games, Life in the Capital, Tourism

Tourism: Ice Skating

Photo courtesy of
‘Skating Together’
courtesy of ‘Karon’

There are few outdoor activities I enjoy when the weather gets this cold. Skiing and ice skating are about the only two that I daydream fondly about. So just in case this week’s iceageddon didn’t take you down, and you’re itching for more (or you want to tackle the ice with proper equipment), you’re in luck.  DC is home to tons of great indoor and outdoor ice skating rinks for you to take a spin (or a fall) on.  Continue reading

Arlington, The Features, We Love Food

We Love Food: Brunch @ Boulevard Woodgrill


Brunch at Boulevard Woodgrill courtesy of Needlessspaces

I have an odd relationship with breakfast. I don’t care for eggs – gasp – so there’s not tons of breakfast foods that appeal to me. I enjoy the pancakes, and french toast. I love hash browns, grits, bacon, sausage… but most of breakfast is centered around eggs, which is why I embrace brunch. Brunch, the hybrid between breakfast and lunch – I can order some lunch counterparts, or I can stick to breakfast foods that I enjoy like the ones pictured above.

Arlington is home to some insanely delicious brunches – it seems practically every restaurant up and down the Wilson/Clarendon stretch offers brunch.  My fellow Arlingtonites come out in full force, wearing the weekend-morning uniform of Uggs and college sweatshirts, we find ourselves sipping coffee and munching on yummy food. I love it. Matt and I can roll out of bed, I can throw on my UNC hoodie, and we can walk to a plethora of delicious options. A few weeks ago we chose Boulevard Woodgrill, and it was completely satisfactory to our breakfast/lunch cravings.  Continue reading

Arlington, The Daily Feed

Against the Wind

If you didn’t feel like a combination between a mime and Bob Seger then I don’t suppose you went outside today. Between the weird wintry weather and the harsh wind, I have been convinced to stay indoors until everything thaws and starts to warm up, like until April. Until then I will be hunkered down here in Arlington in the Weaver Estate’s underground bunker with some champagne sparkling wine and my lovely wife. Call me when it’s all over, okay?

Arlington, Downtown, Life in the Capital, The Features

Thrifty District: Cheap, but Chic


"French Flappers, Parisian Cafe 1920's" by Vintage Lulu on Flickr

In one of my many other lives, I’m a theater costume designer. However, I’m not really a costumer (someone who actually makes clothes), though I sew on occasion, I’m always disappointing my friends by not making them exquisite clothes from scratch. But what I can do is shop with them! Costume designers have to realize a director’s expansive and expensive vision on a sometimes depressingly tight budget in a small amount of time. So in our continuing series on the Thrifty District and how to maximize your fast-depleting funds, I thought I’d give you a little taste of my favorite shops to get cheap yet chic fashion.

Let’s start with the basic rules (getting them out of the way fast so we can have fun with shops!):

Know Yourself and Support Yourself
No, this isn’t some New Age mantra. It means don’t buy anything that doesn’t fit. If it’s too tight or too loose just don’t do it. Don’t get distracted by sizes, they don’t mean anything anyway. If you knew your actual dressmaker size you’d freak out the number is so high – even you superskinny misses! Continue reading

Arlington, Entertainment, Music, The Features

Concert: Ten out of Tenn

Ten Out of Tenn at Iota, photo by Jasmine ZickTen Out of Tenn at Iota, photo by Jasmine  

I hadn’t heard of Ten out of Tenn until recently, and I don’t know exactly how that happened. TOT is a group of awesome indie folk/rock artists from Tennessee who play together and release CD under the Ten out of Tenn name, even though each one is trying to make it big on their own. The result of this collaboration is something like a mix CD on stage, which is just about the greatest idea ever.

Ten out of Tenn came to Iota Saturday for their Christmas tour, and the venue was definitely decked out to reflect that–white Christmas lights on the ceiling, giant red bows on the mike stands, and stockings in the back with each TOT artist’s name on it. I was ready: bring on the holiday cheer.
Continue reading

All Politics is Local, Arlington

Working the Polls: All over but the waiting

Photo courtesy of erin m

courtesy of erin m

Did you read part 1 and part 2?

If it seems like forever since part 2, you have only the smallest inkling of what the second half of the day was like at the polls. It wasn’t just that we had less than a hundred people – under 10% of our total for the day – come through between 2pm and closing time at 7.  It was the three hours it took to do the closing procedure once we did close the doors.

The lack of any kind of afternoon rush was a surprise to all of us, particularly considering the debacle it was if you tried to vote in the evening of the primary earlier this year. For five hours we had a steady trickle of folks, though such a small number that the eighteen of us workers usually outnumbered voters by more than 5 to 1. If there had been people in line at 7 we’d have been required to stay open till we’d processed them all, but you could have fired a cannon down the hall without hurting a soul. So we closed the doors right on time, and that’s where the truly long wait began. Continue reading

Arlington, Downtown, Food and Drink, Penn Quarter, The Features

Thrifty District: Dine Like a Congressman on an Aide’s Budget

Originally uploaded by brownpau

Welcome to the first post of our new feature, Thrifty District. Inspired by the New York Magazine “Cheap Living” feature, we’ll post ideas designed to help save you money, while still living large. Bad economy + already steep DC prices = OUCH! We’re here to act as your band-aid (ahem, generic-priced bandage, that is…) for otherwise painful prices.

We’ll explore where to get a great yet cheap haircut, how to dress up for less, the best place to find an affordable drink, among many more localized money saving ideas and tips. The first installment though, is how to eat great for less. I’ll do head-to-head (or is it fork-to-fork) comparisons of some of the cities most delicious yet expensive restaurant dishes and suggest you try their cheaper (and equally delectable) brethren.

Continue reading

Arlington, The Daily Feed

The Air Force Memorial

Photo courtesy of Me

Air Force Memorial
courtesy of Me

If you haven’t been over to the Air Force memorial by the Pentagon this would be a nice day to do it. It’s sunny and lovely and only barely breezy. While it’s not metro-convenient you could get off at the Pentagon or Pentagon City and have a leisurely half-mile walk over. The Navy Annex metrobus stop is only a block away if you really don’t want to walk – grab one of the 16 line busses for that.

Arlington, Food and Drink, We Love Food

We Love Food: Yaku

Nestled along Clarendon Boulevard in the Court House area, Yaku looks to be the perfect neighborhood hot spot. Two levels of glass and glowing lights, it always looks warm and inviting from the street. I live in Arlington, and have walked past Yaku almost daily since it’s conception as just an empty office space below my dream real-estate local, The Odyssey condominiums.

When it finally looked as if something was actually going to go in the space (that had stood empty since before I moved here in fall 2007), I got pretty excited. On my walk home, I ran up to check the posted licences to see what it would be. It’s the perfect location to be our new favorite go-to spot. Yaku, the signs said. Hmm… I said. That’s an odd name. A little googling, and I find that Yaku will be another restaurant from Latin Concepts, the same people who brought us places like Chi-Cha Lounge, Mate, Ceviche, and Guarapo (which is only around the corner from Yaku).

According to the Web site, “YAKU, is a “Chifa” restaurant lounge brought to you by Fraga-Rosenfeld.  Chifa is the fusion of Chinese and Peruvian cuisine developed by Chinese immigrants to Peru in the late 19th and early 20th centuries… The name YAKU means “water” in Quechua (Incan Language) and is intended to capture Asian-influenced Andean culinary styles unique to the region.” Yaku is also, says our friend wikipedia, a town located on Yaku Island, Japan. So let’s just go with Asian-Peruvian fusion, and call it interesting… Continue reading

Arlington, The Daily Feed

Progress in Clarendon?

Hit the Bricks

The way they were tearing down the structure on Wilson at Highland, I was expecting that they might be keeping the ancient brick façade that used to house the Clarendon Valet, the British Goods store and the Viet Garden. Friday, as I walked by, it was apparent that was no longer the case. Everything behind the Hard Times all the way through to the next block was a big ol’ pile of rubble, making way for a new office tower. It’s not the only lot in Clarendon that’s looking more like war-zone than anything else: the lot between Danville & Cleveland is all clear now, as well, waiting to be…who knows what. But, the nice thing I love about that neighborhood: chances are, it’s not just another chain. Unless it’s retail, then we’re pretty much boned.

All Politics is Local, Arlington

Working the Polls: The Big Day

Photo courtesy of Me

Badges, courtesy of Me

You read part one, right?

I’m not sure I’m prepared to say “I woke up on the morning of the 4th” because I was up at 4 am, an hour of the day best suited for garbage-eating raccoons and Paris Hilton. 4am is not an hour for civilized people. 4am is not morning, it’s pre-morning. However if you expect to get up, shower, and be at the polling place at 5am that’s the time you set on your alarm.

I felt marginally bad about my mental grumblings when I showed up at 5 on the dot and discovered half a dozen people already in line, waiting for the polls to open at 6. For a moment I stopped and stood with them because I assumed they were other workers, waiting for the doors to be unlocked. Once I realized my mistake I went in and joined the ten other people already inside. Continue reading

All Politics is Local, Arlington

Working the Polls: Getting started

Polling Place Sign

Voting Place Sign, by Jonathan

Insert your own lame stripper pole joke here. I’ve heard a dozen and I’m over it.

When the chatter started up that this election would have the largest turnout ever, I started to think that perhaps I should volunteer my time. Part of my benefits package as a Virginia state employee includes 16 hours of volunteer leave, which I can use towards any worthy endeavor. Given that advantage over other folks who might have resistant employers I felt like I was somewhat obligated.

So I volunteered to be an elections officer and Arlington County took me up on the offer. Let me tell you about it. Continue reading

Arlington, Technology, The Daily Feed

Arlington Vote Reporting FAIL

I Voted In Arlington
I Voted In Arlington by christaki

I’ve been waiting and watching the Arlington Voter Results all night, and I’ve seen the format of the page change a dozen times, but not even a single vote has been recorded on the page yet. With Virginia still in play (last time I looked it was just 12,000 votes margin between McCain and Obama) it’s absolutely amazing to me that we’re not seeing any numbers out of Arlington at all.

C’mon guys, let’s get it going.

All Politics is Local, Arlington, Technology, The Daily Feed

Incredible Turnout for Early Voting


Washington DC Paper Ballot by NewsHour

The news was out this morning that 2.6 million people had already cast their ballots in North Carolina. You’ve probably seen reports here, and elsewhere, that lines in Arlington & the District were quite lengthy, up to several hours over the weekend.

So, how did our region do? Great question. No one seems to have the answer, or, if they do, they’re not telling. My phone call to the Arlington Electoral Board went unanswered, and Dan Murphy of the DCBOEE’s voicemail is so full it’s not taking more messages.

I guess we’ll have to wait to see if they’re going to unveil the statistics now, or after the election’s complete. Either way, I suspect we’ll see some of the best turnout this region’s seen in quite some time.

[Update 1] 35,021 people voted via absentee ballot in Arlington County, through Saturday, according to the Arlington County BOE.  That’s roughly three times the number of people who voted absentee in 2004, and approximately a quarter of eligible voters.  That’s more people that voted absentee in 2008 than voted in the 2007 general election.

[Update 2] Dan Murphy from DC BOEE got back to us late in the day and said: “I can tell you that we had somewhere around 12000–I can be more specific as we go through and process them, but that is a good ballpark at this point.” So, 12k out of 300k or so. Impressive!

Alexandria, All Politics is Local, Arlington, Life in the Capital, Sports Fix, The District

Absentee Voting Attracts Crowds

Polling Place Sign

Voting Place Sign, by Jonathan

As we close in on the election next Tuesday, the press has been having a field day with the “early voting” going on across the country.  Not to be left out, and having to file an absentee ballot myself, I decided to see just what was happening in Arlington.

First, all the registrars wanted me to point out that no one in the area has “Early Voting”.   Maryland, Virginia, and the District all provide for Absentee Ballots, which means you can only vote early if you have a valid reason.   Both the District and Virginia provide for absentee voting in person or by mail.  In Maryland, you can only vote Absentee by mail.  And that deadline has already passed, so if you missed the absentee ballot in Maryland your only chance is Tuesday.  (Don did a great job of covering all the details in his previous post, so I won’t belabor the point.)

So, if you want to vote in person, when should you go?

Continue reading

All Politics is Local, Arlington, The Daily Feed

Absentee voting blazing away

Photo courtesy of erin m

Oh for my Pennsylvania residency, courtesy of erin m

I called the General Registrar for Arlington County and talked to her about their in-person and mail-in absentee ballots so far. In person absentee started in Virginia 45 days before the election, as required by state law. Last week they’d had 7,100 total votes – 5,400 in person and 1,600 mail-in. Today, with 13 days left to go, they had almost 14,000.

That exceeds the total absentee ballots cast in 2004 in Arlington Country, and Deputy Registrar Donna Patterson says they’re currently seeing just under 1,000 a day in-person voters. If that number stays constant they’ll surpass 20,000 total absentee votes. While eligible Arlington voters have increased from about 130,000 to 143,000, that’s only a 10% increase. If absentee votes cut off today they’d already have surpassed 2004’s 12,000 absentee ballots by more than 15%. The possible 20,000 is a 66% increase.

It’s pretty impressive, and hopefully an indication of how much turnout there will be on election day.

Arlington, Downtown, Food and Drink, Fun & Games, Life in the Capital, The District

Why I Love DC: Katie

tidal basin during cherry blossoms

All the authors here at We Love DC have written essays on why they love DC. As one of the newbie authors, I was asked to follow in the same tradition. So here it is, why I love DC.

Post-college all my art school and college friends headed for New York. I, instead, decided on DC. People always asked, “Why DC, what is it about DC?” and I always would respond “Well, because it’s not New York.” Which, still, to this day, works as a great reason to love DC. I would argue that we have as many fabulous museums here, as many great free cultural things to do, yet DC is decidedly NOT New York.

New York makes me claustrophobic. The streets are so busy, the sky so crowded with buildings, the hustle and bustle more hustle than bustle. I get overwhelmed there, sensory overload, too much, too fast. I like New York in small doses, but never in long, extended stays. It hits you hard, and doesn’t stop. That is fine for my college friends, but not for me.

DC, on the other hand, is far more manageable. It has sky; you are never without seeing the sky. Blue, expansive, gorgeous sky. I never feel walled in here; you can always see up, out, and over. The streets are always crowded, but I can usually reach my arms out and spin in a circle without hitting someone. I can maintain my personal space bubble at almost all times, Metro excluded. I also love reminders that big things are happening here, every day, all day. Continue reading