(Updated at 5:25 p.m.) Local chefs walked away with big wins at a charity cooking competition in Clarendon last night.
The Arlington County Fire Department’s finest firehouse cooks faced off against three groups of local professional chefs in a reality TV-style cooking competition where the competitors had 25 minutes to whip up dishes using only ingredients found in the Arlington Food Assistance Center’s pantries.
Judges Scott Brodbeck of ARLnow.com, Becky Krystal of the Washington Post and Chef George Pagonis of Kapnos Taverna sampled each dish before choosing a winner of the round by ringing a large bell, signaling a vote for the firefighters, or putting on a chef’s hat. Chef David Guas of Bayou Bakery served as emcee for the night.
At the end of the night, the local chefs walked away from the Clarendon Ballroom (3185 Wilson Blvd) with two of the coveted “Golden Eggplant” awards.
Arlington County Fire Department’s Lt. Romulius Queen and firefighter Frank Rachal took home the first “Golden Eggplant” of the night with their Southern Style Fried Chicken topped with a homemade barbecue sauce and accompanied by a zucchini pasta with a thai peanut and ginger sauce. All three judges rang the bell.
“That fried chicken, he really nailed it,” Pagonis said.
Queen and Rachal beat out SER Restaurant chef and co-owner Josu Zubikarai, who made Rulada chicken ragout with mushrooms and spicy vegetables.
It was Queen’s first time competing in AFAC’s Chiefs vs. Chefs event.
“It feels good to go home with a trophy instead of going home crying,” he said.
Chef Tom Madrecki of Chez le Commis took home the second “Eggplant” with his caramelized onion soup with buttermilk, accompanied by homemade bread with butter. He earned the votes of two out of the three judges for his simple but flavorful soup.
Cooking with only the food in AFAC’s pantry was a challenge, Madrecki said.
“It’s reflective of what thousands of Arlington families have to do every day, so it’s very rewarding,” he said.
Facing off against ACFD’s finest brought its own difficulties as the firefighters were both skilled chefs and have a connection to the community, Madrecki said. Votes for the firefighters were applauded by the crowd, whereas votes for the chefs were greeted by good-natured boos.
“We’re the underdogs as the chef because they’re the ones out in the community everyday,” he said. “They’re the ones protecting us so it’s an honor to cook with them.”
Cooking is part of the firehouse lifestyle, said Acting Chief Joesph Reshetar, adding that the firefighters often try out new dishes on their coworkers.
“The firehouse is where they experiment,” he said. “If you can please us, if you can please a group of people, you know you’re on to something.”
Arlington County is looking for participants for a four-day workshop focusing on the future of the Lee Highway corridor.
A consulting team will run the workshop, which is meant to help the county shape its vision for the Lee Highway corridor.
“Lee Highway isn’t going to plan itself,” Arlington County Planner Justin Falango said in a statement. “The people who live or work there, own businesses or land, or just visit, need to be integrally involved in this effort — and that begins with crafting a vision for the corridor’s future.”
The four-day workshop will take place at the Langston-Brown Community and Senior Center (2121 N. Culpeper Street) and starts on Friday, Nov. 6, with an introduction to the design team from 6-8 p.m.
On Saturday, Nov. 7, participants will draw their vision for the corridor as part of a community hands-on design session from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. They will then have the opportunity to take a tour of a temporary design studio to watch designers work on the plans for Lee Highway on Sunday from 3-5 p.m.
The workshop will end on Monday, Nov. 8, with a wrap-up open house from 7-9 p.m., where participants will hear the first draft of recommendations for the Lee Highway corridor.
While picturing the vision for Lee Highway, participants and county staff will discuss:
- pedestrian accommodation
- cyclists and vehicles
- issues for commuters
- opportunities for housing
- appropriate development
- transitions from commercial zones to single family homes
- streetscape design
- the preservation of cultural resources
Planning for a redeveloped Lee Highway Corridor is an partnership effort between the county government and multiple civic associations that are affected by the road. The county is currently in a planning phase for the development project, and has been conducting multiple walks and hearing to gather information about the state of the corridor.
This week’s Pet of the Week is Jovi, an 8 year-old lab mix who was born in New Mexico. Jovi came to Arlington with her mom and dad in 2012.
Jovi likes visiting the monuments in D.C. and chasing squirrels. Here’s what Jovi’s mom had to say about this cheese-loving dog:
Hi! My name is Jovi and I’m an 8-year-old lab mix, currently living in Arlington Village. I was born in New Mexico, but quickly shipped to a shelter in Denver, Colorado. Luckily, there was a fresh college grad that had just moved from Arlington on a whim and thought it’d be a great idea to adopt a puppy. I stole her heart at first sight and after some paperwork and a quick check-up, I had myself a new home, best friend and mom.
A year passed and we decided it was time to leave the mountain life and head back closer to mom’s family in Arlington. To keep things interesting, we decided to make another big move six months later — this time to sunny San Diego to be with my soon to be dad. I quickly fell in love with the dog beaches, hiking trails, and year-round sunny weather. In 2012, dad finished his time in the Navy and we all moved back to Arlington as a big happy family of three.
I enjoy being back on the East Coast, especially with my retired grandparents nearby. While mom and dad are at work, they usually take me on afternoon field trips to one of my favorite spots — Roosevelt Island, Lubber Run Park or the monuments in D.C. In addition to long walks, I enjoy chasing squirrels, sleeping in the middle, riding in the car and snacking on cheese.
Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet.
Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks. Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of three Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Arlington and Northern Virginia.
(Updated at 8:45 p.m.) Arlington residents will be able to cast their votes and get a free flu shot on Election Day next Tuesday.
Flu shots will be offered from 9-11 a.m. at Key Elementary School (2300 Key Blvd) on Nov. 3.
To get a free shot, people will have to volunteer for a public health emergency simulation, which lasts about 30 minutes.
During the simulation, volunteers will fill out some paperwork, speak with a medication dispensing representative and then receive M&Ms or animal crackers, which represent medication, said Department of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick.
The simulation is meant to help the county and staff prepare for a medical emergency where they may have to dispense medicine, Larrick said.
Practicing for a public health emergency gives county planners and staff hands-on experience, Public Health Director Dr. Reuben Varghese said in a statement.
“This is a great opportunity for members of the community to protect themselves against the flu,” Varghese said. “But it’s about more than that. What we’re really doing is testing our ability to deliver medications during a public health emergency. These simulations give our planners and other staff valuable hands-on experience, and by moving the exercise around the county we are able to evaluate different sites for challenges and opportunities.”
Flu activity is currently low, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The public health agency recommends everyone ages six months and up gets a flu shot, adding that the flu can cause thousands of hospitalizations and deaths each year.
Brixx Wood Fired Pizza, a new pizza restaurant on N. Hudson Street in Clarendon, has fired up its oven.
The new pizza joint, located at 1119 N. Hudson Street next to Nam Viet, opened yesterday, and business has been good so far, said general manager Roberto Gonzales.
Brixx serves regular and gluten-free pizza on vegan crust. It has traditional pizza options, like four cheese and pepperoni and mushrooms, along with specialty pizzas, like roasted butternut squash and spicy shrimp. In addition to pizza, the restaurant offers sandwiches, pastas, salads and alcoholic drinks.
“Most of our products are made from scratch,” Gonzales said. “We have a good wood fire oven.”
The North Carolina-based chain’s newest location will be able to seat 150 people, between its inside and outdoor seating. The restaurant is set up to welcome both groups or people or single customers, with tables and booths, as well as bar seating and a counter.
“We have something for just about everyone,” Gonzales said.
The atmosphere is meant to be energetic and friendly, Gonzales said. The tables are situated in a way that allows patrons to watch employees make pizza.
“We want to create a relaxed atmosphere in which customers can feel the same as if they were home,” Gonzales said.
The new Clarendon joint is the third Brixx location in Virginia — there is one in Charlottesville and Woodbridge. Brixx is open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe is going back to high school.
The Virginia governor will be speaking to students at Washington-Lee High School (1301 N. Stafford Street) about career paths in cybersecurity tomorrow, Oct. 28, from 1:15-3 p.m.
McAuliffe will be joined by a panel of cyber security professionals who will talk about the different jobs in cybersecurity as well as the resources students need to pursue a career.
“The nation is in need of a strong cybersecurity workforce. The demand for skilled cyber professionals is at an all-time high, and will only increase as our country and world grow more dependent on cyber and information technology,” Arlington Public Schools said in a statement.
The panelists will talk about the average day of a cybersecurity specialist, what interested them in a cyber career and how they got their start. They will also perform a Wi-Fi Watering Hole attack demonstration.
The event is co-sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security as part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2015.
Keep the plastic bags out of your recycling bins.
That’s the message from Arlington County, which is no longer accepting plastic bags as part of their curbside recycling program. Instead, those wishing to get rid of grocery bags need to take them back to grocery stores, which can recycle them.
The change comes as a result of new recommendations from the county’s Solid Waste Bureau, said Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Meghan McMahon.
Plastic bags can be difficult to recycle because of their flimsy nature, McMahon said.
“Plastic bags tend to get stuck and cause damage to the recycling facility machines,” she said. “Recycling companies can spend hours shutting down machinery and pulling out the bags.”
The county has a list of grocery stores accepting plastic bags for recycling available on its website, McMahon said. According to the website, plastic bags can be placed in marked containers outside of certain grocery stores.
“Combine bags with other bags or place liners or plastic film inside other plastic bags,” the county said on its website. “Many Arlington retail stores such as Whole Foods, Costco, Safeway, Harris Teeter and Giant collect and recycle plastic bags. Look for the specially marked containers when you are out in the County. Or, reuse your bags during your next visit to store.”
Arlington will still recycle paper bags, like those from Whole Foods.
The recycling change came as a surprise to some residents.
Marianne Petrino-Schaad, a Douglas Park resident, said the county did not send out a letter informing residents about the changes.
‘The only way we seemed to be notified of this was a little magnet stuck in the trash pickup,” Petrino-Schaad said. The magnet, pictured above, notes items that should not be recycled in addition to those that should. Previously, the county advised residents to recycle bags by placing multiple plastic bags in one bag.
While taking the plastic bags to a grocery store is not too much of a hassle, she said she was frustrated that residents pay for recycling services and now they aren’t taking items like plastic bags, wire coat hangers and shredded newspaper.
“To my mind it’s an example of what I call, and other people, call shadow work,” she said.
Oppleo Security, a Bozeman, Montana-based company working on cybersecurity solutions, has won the Startup Arlington competition and will be moving to town with three months of free living and office space.
The company, led by Roderick Flores and Bri Rolston, offers a cloud-based software called Sikernes that helps defend against cyber attacks.
Oppleo Security was selected from a pool of 50 applicants, said competition organizer Arlington Economic Development. The selection was based on the company’s viability, business plan and how it would benefit from being in the county.
The company fits in with Arlington’s startup landscape because of its focus on cybersecurity, said AED spokesman Darren Stauffer.
“Oppleo Security is the type of company that we believe can benefit from being located in Arlington given their customer base and target market. These are the types of companies we are actively working to bring to Arlington,” Stuaffer said in a statement. “Being in our region, which is the epicenter of the cyber security space, should provide a lot of the resources to allow Oppleo to scale.”
The company will be given office space from Carr Workspaces and a room at the Residence Inn in Rosslyn, as well as free access to Capital Bikeshare and Metro and legal advice from Arlington Law Group.
Arlington’s location provides the software company access to a large talent pool and federal resources it would not be able to reach otherwise, Flores said, adding that he wants to hire at least seven employees in Arlington with the next year.
“It is an incredible honor and opportunity to be selected from such a large pool of amazing companies. Arlington is an excellent location for us to scale our business,” Flores said in a statement. “Not only is it in the heart of the world’s premier cybersecurity region, but it affords us ready access to many excellent resources such as potential partners, research teams, mentors and a large talent pool.”
Oppleo Security has a large customer base in the D.C. area and moving to Arlington will allow the company to win more customers, he said.
“The customer base for cybersecurity, ranging from the government to the private sector, is without limits and cannot be equaled anywhere else in the country,” Flores said.
Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.
It’s no secret that Arlington is home to dozens of startups and more than a few incubators.
Inc., a magazine covering business and entrepreneurship, recently identified three reasons as to why Arlington is attracting so many startups to the area: location, talent pool and access to government resources.
Arlington’s location gives startups the big city feel without many of the traffic hassles. It also gives better access to the Dept. of Defense, which is among the largest of potential customers, Anna Hensel writes.
The proximity to the federal government is one of the top reasons Arlington is attractive to defense and technology startups, said Geoff Orazem, the founder of incubator Eastern Foundry in Crystal City.
Startups backed by Eastern Foundry are often looking for federal grants or contracts, and having the access to the Pentagon or other areas of the federal government makes it easier to secure funding, Orazem said.
“Working in the federal government requires a lot of relationships,” he said.
Arlington and startup incubators in the county provide various ways for companies to network, said Cara O’Donnell, spokeswoman for Arlington Economic Development.
“The networking opportunity is excellent here as well — this is where startups can meet the individuals that can give them their big break, whether it’s through initiatives like TandemNSI, pitch competitions or workshops through our BizLaunch program,” she said.
Being so close to D.C. also means access to mass transit and to three different airports. Startup founders and employees can easily hop on the Metro to travel to and from D.C. and the proximity to Reagan National Airport, as well as Dulles Airport and Baltimore Washington International, is helpful for companies requiring travel.
When startups are first starting, the public transit can help cut down living costs. But for the most part, being able to go car-free or having access to an airport are added bonuses and not necessary for a startup’s growth, Orazem said.
There are some Arlington startups that need the access to the airport, which makes the county’s location a prime destination. Ingo and mProve Health, two companies in Arlington credit the access to airports as one of the reasons the companies set up shop here. Both require travel as they both have multiple international clients.
Arlington is located in area with numerous colleges. Although Arlington is only home to one university — Marymount — there are several key satellite campuses here.
“In Arlington startups also have access to unprecedented university research and opportunities to connect with federal defense and research agencies — the very agencies that seek high-tech businesses to build on top secret technology,” O’Donnell said.
D.C., Maryland and Virginia universities also provide a rich pool of talent for whom Arlington is an attractive first post-college home. Inc. noted that 71 percent of Arlington residents ages 25 and up held a bachelor’s degree. A strong talent pool is important for startups, Orazem said, adding that to build a startup, entrepreneurs need a good team, a good idea and capital.
A Catholic church near Clarendon is holding a series of films, dances and concerts as part of a new cultural series called Forum Arlington.
Every Friday, the St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church (3304 Washington Blvd) will hold either a music concert, dance class or film screening. The Forum kicked off last week with a performance by Marie Miller and will hold a film screening tonight.
All events start at 7 p.m. with a happy hour followed by the film, concert or dance class at 8 p.m. Tickets can either be purchased online or at the door, depending on the event.
Forum Arlington also has a photography exhibition about South America from Oct. 16 to Dec. 18.
The idea for the cultural series came from the church’s pastor, Father Donald Planty, who wanted to do more cultural outreach, said Terrence McKeegan, the head of Arlington Forum.
“He had this idea to have a cultural series that is a cultural outreach program for Arlington residents,” McKeegan said.
McKeegan has helped organize multiple cultural events, including large music festivals, and realized he and the pastor had the same vision. Together, they worked to find different acts and films, drawing from McKeegan’s wide network, he said.
“We try to pick bands or films or dance instructors and types of dances that appealing to widest range,” McKeegan said.
The events are held in the church’s gym, which McKeegan and church staff spruced up to make it look more like an event space instead of a typical gym, he said.
The concerts, dances and films will continue through the winter. For the spring, Arlington Forum will introduce a lecture series in addition to the concerts. McKeegan did not know at this time if the films and dance classes would resume in the spring.
Forum Arlington is open to the entire Arlington community, McKeegan said.
“The target audience is the entire community,” he said. “It’s not all the parishioners or an age demographic.”
Tens of thousands of runners and spectators will descend on Arlington for the annual Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday.
The race, now in its 40th year, will have up to 30,000 participants running around Arlington and the District.
As a result of the race, Arlington County Police Department, Virginia State Police and the Pentagon Force Protection Agency will be closing down more than 20 roads for much of the day, including parts of Wilson Blvd, Washington Blvd and Lee Highway.
N. Kent Street in Rosslyn will be closed from Wilson Blvd to 19th Street N. from noon on Saturday, Oct. 24, until the end of the marathon on Sunday, for the marathon’s finish festival.
Route 110, between Washington Blvd and the Pentagon north parking lot, will be closed from 4 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The highway will also be closed between I-66 and Jefferson Davis Highway from 4 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., as will Marshall Drive from N. Meade Street to Route 110.
The following roads will be closed from 4 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- N. Meade Street from Marshall Drive to N. Lynn Street
- Wilson Blvd from N. Nash Street to Route 110
- N. Lynn Street from N. Meade Street to Lee Highway
- Fort Myer Drive from N. Meade Street to Lee Highway
- N. Moore Street from Wilson Blvd to Lee Highway
- 19th Street N. from N. Lynn Street to N. Nash Street
Eastbound Lee Highway from N. Lynn Street to N. Kirkwood, Spout Run Parkway from GW Memorial Parkway to Lee Highway and GW Memorial Parkway from Spout Run Parkway to Memorial Circle Drive will be closed from 7-10 a.m.
The Key Bridge will be closed from 7 a.m. to noon. HOV lanes on the 14th Street Bridge and I-395 near the Pentagon will be closed from 7:35 a.m. to 2 p.m.
A number of closures in Crystal City are planned to accommodate the tail end of the marathon course and the Crystal City MCM Family Festival.
The following roads will be closed starting at 7:30 a.m.
- S. Eads Street from S. Rotary Road to Army Navy Drive until 2 p.m.
- Army Navy Drive between S. Fern Street to 12th Street S. will reopen at 2:30 p.m.
- 15th Street S. from Crystal Drive to S. Eads Street will open at 10 a.m.
The following roads will be closed between 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.
- 12th Street S. from Army Navy Drive to Crystal Drive
- Crystal Drive from 12th Street S. to 23rd Street S.
- Long Bridge Drive from 12th Street S. to I-395
- Boundary Channel Drive from I-395 to Pentagon north parking
- Washington Blvd from Columbia Pike to Memorial Circle with southbound lanes reopening around 9:30 a.m.
Street parking will also be limited in parts of the county near the marathon course during the race. Participants and spectators are advised to either Metro in or — in Crystal City — park in a parking garage at Crystal Drive and 23rd Street S. before the road closes.