Home Prices on the Rise — The average sale price of a single family home in Arlington rose 17 percent in March, compared to the same period in 2009, local Realtor Laura Rubinchuk reports. “Inventory is way down as we’ve sold through many of the properties for sale,” Rubinchuk writes. She notes, however, that the average price of condos and co-ops fell 6 percent from 2009. More from the Arlington Real Estate News blog.
Colorful New Signs for Shirlington Village — “The old ones looked like they were in an 80s business park,” a commenter quips on the Shirlington Village Blog.
In Case You Missed It — Did you miss Arlington’s Outstanding Volunteer Award reception or Columbia Pike’s bicentennial birthday bash? Don’t worry, the county government’s Arlington Virginia Network has you covered. Check out video recaps of each event, after the jump.
So you got lunch at The Burger Joint and you’re planning to go to P. Brennan’s for happy hour — now all you need to do to complete today’s “official opening” trifecta is dinner at Lyon Hall in Clarendon.
We stopped by the hotly-anticipated European brasserie over the weekend for one of the “soft opening” events and, despite the high expectations, left thoroughly impressed.
The first thing we tried was the mussels. Lyon Hall has two distinct mussel varieties: spring garlic/English peas/fontina/mustard and Hungarian lamb sausage/celeriac-apple-beer broth. We went with the Hungarian lamb and were not disappointed. You’d be hard-pressed to find a tastier plate of mussels anywhere in the D.C. area. And the $14 “large” option was more than enough for two people.
Since it was a late night, we skipped the entrees and went straight for dessert. The chocolate praline cake was uber chocolate-y, with some subtle hazelnut and praline crunch action. It was good, as was the chocolate stout ice cream that came with it. But the best part was the shot of sweet chocolate goodness . We’re not sure what exactly was in it, but “nectar of the gods” seems to be a good description.
We also tried a few selections from Lyon Hall’s sizable but well-curated wine and beer menus. The Hoffbrau Malbock was a bold but accessible brew, and it sold for just $5 on draft. At $9 the Gouldan Cardus Tripel was more expensive but it packed a punch. The favorite beer of the night was the Silly Saison, a Belgian beer that was darker, slightly sweet, and a steal at $6.
We tried one red wine from the menu, a 2008 Domaine De la Guicharde from Cotes du Rhone, France, which came recommended by the bartender and by the gentleman sitting next to us, who happened to be its local distributor. It was sharp and spicy, and left a bit of sediment in the bottom of the glass. One member of the party loved it, the other was not a fan.
We didn’t order any items from the other menu categories — salads, raw bar, cheeses, sausages, charcuterie, spaetzle — but we’re definitely looking forward to trying more.
At 11:30 this morning, P. Brennan’s opened its doors to the public for the first time. Columbia Pike’s new Irish pub is huge — boasting a legal capacity of 360 patrons.
Marketing manager Emma Whelan says she expects a crowd to start building around 5:00 tonight, as curious Pike residents check out their newest watering hole. A grand opening celebration will be held on May 8, Whelan said.
For those staying up late on a school night, P. Brennan’s will stay open until 1:30 tonight.
Check out photos and the story behind the pub’s name here.
Apolo Anton Ohno, the most decorated Winter Olympian in U.S. history, spoke at Arlington Science Focus Elementary School this morning. He asked the assembled students to say “yes” to a healthy lifestyle and “no” to underage drinking.
Ohno started chants, led various physical activities, games and dances, and answered questions about his Olympic career.
Students, giddy with excitement over the Olympic star’s visit, also eagerly and loudly participated in a quiz about the dangers of alcohol.
‘In an interview after the event, Ohno, who usually speaks to middle school students, said he was impressed with how smart the Arlington Science Focus students were. He also said he was enjoying the opportunity to visit the Washington area.
“I love this area, I love D.C., so for me its fantastic,” Ohno said.
“I love speaking to these kids, whether it’s elementary school students or middle school students,” he continued. “Even if I get to change one percent of these kids’ lives, make one percent of a difference, it feels like I’m doing something right.”
Ohno was coy about his Olympic future, saying only that he’s taking “a break” from short track speed skating. In addition to speaking to students, Ohno is writing a book, just auditioned for a movie, and will be visiting the White House tomorrow. He also recently launched a line of nutrition supplements.
Ohno’s visit was sponsored by The Century Council, a Crystal City-based liquor industry group, as part of its Ask, Listen, Learn initiative.
Before the assembly, Ohno arrived via a black sedan and, with a big smile on his face, greeted school administrators and took a photo with a student under a large banner just outside the school’s entrance.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, an Arlington resident whose children attend Arlington Public Schools, also attended the event, along with superintendent Dr. Pat Murphy. Duncan spoke to the students briefly before introducing Ohno.
More photos after the jump.
Local gourmet burger franchise The Burger Joint is opening its first Arlington location at noon today. The restaurant hosted a “soft launch” event yesterday, but today is the “official” opening, we’re told.
The Burger Joint is located at 3129 Lee Highway, in the Lyon Village Shopping Center.
There’s a section of Arlington National Cemetery, near the Iwo Jima Memorial, that contains graves unlike any other. The graves belong not to soldiers, but to freed slaves who lived on the grounds after the Civil War, in a thriving “Freedman’s Village.”
The village was home to more than 1,100 former slaves, including the black abolitionist Sojourner Truth, who spent a year there, on what was once the estate of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s family.
More on the historical significance of the village, from the Associated Press.