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Posted by on Feb 27, 2015 | 2 comments

Making Teriyaki Beef Jerky at Home

Making Teriyaki Beef Jerky at Home

One of the best things about food swaps is thinking about what to bring. So, when I signed up to attend the Alexandria Food Swap, I decided to bring teriyaki beef jerky, something I’ve wanted to try making for a while. I started with a trip to Let’s Meat on the Avenue, and asked butcher Brian Malone for the best cut for making jerky. He recommended 1 lb. of a locally sourced flank steak, a nice lean cut that’s easy to slice in strips. Brian offered great tips on making jerky too. He said that the different way you slice leads to a different texture: Slice with the grain and you get a tougher kind of jerky that tears when you take a bite. Slice sideways and against the grain and you get a softer jerky that’s easier to chew. I opted for the latter. I first put the meat in the freezer for about an hour, so it would be easier to slice. Then, I carefully and slowly cut strips...

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Posted by on Feb 20, 2015 | 1 comment

Studio Tour: A Shared Woodworking Space at the Birchmere

Studio Tour: A Shared Woodworking Space at the Birchmere

As we all know, space is at a premium in Del Ray, which makes the high-ceilinged warehouse at the Birchmere, a coop shared by several woodworkers, all the more exceptional. To get there, you almost need a treasure map — enter the parking lot for the legendary Birchmere concert hall, drive all the way around the back where ticket-goers line up for shows, keep going until you see a bright yellow door, with a sign above for Kiwi Custom Carpentry. Campbell Wood and Nicole Wood, shown here, are the owners of Kiwi Custom Cabinetry, as well as the entire coop, which they opened in 2013. I met one of the artists, Lisa Sikes, for a tour of the workspace. Lisa runs Heart & Hammer Furniture Co, specializing in locally sourced and reclaimed wood. Stacked in a corner of her workspace, I saw several pieces of reclaimed wood she’s using for upcoming projects. In the corner opposite her, Campbell runs Kiwi Custom Cabinetry. He says that starting this coop has “kept his shop...

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Posted by on Feb 5, 2015 | 3 comments

Shop Del Ray: Creating a Get-Well-Soon Care Package

Shop Del Ray: Creating a Get-Well-Soon Care Package

I wanted to send a care package to my out-of-town friend to help lift her spirits as she recovered from knee surgery. Pondering the options, I thought – what better way to gather gift ideas than to see what I could find in a few of our Del Ray businesses. First stop, Cheesetique, where I chose some hearty crackers and dark chocolate. Next, I picked out a Valentine’s Day-themed, gluten-free cookie from Happy Tart. From the market at Bon Vivant, I chose a handmade massage bar from our local soap-maker, Mellenie Runion, of Truly-Life. Finally, to round things out, I added a few extra items from CVS – a magazine, some nail polish, and tea. Everything fit just so inside a recycled shoe box filled with shredded newspaper. Off in the mail it went, including a notecard wishing my friend a speedy...

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Posted by on Jan 26, 2015 | 0 comments

Donuts Paired with the Perfect Cup of Coffee

Donuts Paired with the Perfect Cup of Coffee

So much of the buzz around the opening of Sugar Shack donut shop in Alexandria, rightly, has been in praise of their handcrafted donuts. But I think their coffee selections deserve a shout-out too. Owner Rob Krupicka took great care in picking a roaster and creating a coffee menu, that in my case, will bring me into the shop, donuts or no donuts. “We use Zekes,” says Rob, “which is a Baltimore-based small batch roaster. We also offer it by the bag in the store. We offer a full range of espresso drinks, as well as a few specialty drinks you won’t find another coffee shops like our honey lavender latte.” (And for tea drinkers, he has a variety of loose leaf teas to choose from.) An ultra runner, Rob told me about a cold brew blend he devised called “runners blend.” I had the opportunity to try an iced cup the other day. The brew is designed for exercise recovery and muscle inflammation and is subtly flavored with ginger,...

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Posted by on Jan 21, 2015 | 4 comments

A Tribute to Our Friend, Marybeth Walsh

A Tribute to Our Friend, Marybeth Walsh

Today, we dedicate ourselves to giving healing thoughts and positive energy to a cherished Del Ray community member, Marybeth Walsh, who had been in remission for leukemia for many years, but has just had a major relapse. She is struggling to heal at Johns Hopkins, where, last we heard, she’s showing some positive improvements and may start on a new experimental drug. In the past, Marybeth has helped us write posts about feng shui and creating a peaceful, serene home. I also participated in her popular whole foods detox last year and was so grateful for the support and encouragement she provided. Marybeth’s brother, Bill, has started a CaringBridge journal, where you can read updates about Marybeth’s situation, and also leave notes for him to pass on to her. He says the words that friends and family near and far have written to her really “brighten her day.” We hope and pray that Marybeth gets well...

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