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Whisk and Quill Wishes All Gastronomes, Oenophiles, Theatre Mavens and Wanderlusters a Sparkling New Year Full of Fresh Footsteps and Delicious Dishes

Thank you dear readers for pursuing life’s intriguing and ever-evolving adventures with Whisk and Quill in 2013.  This December celebrates my sixth year as a food and travel writer and third year as theatre critic for the Alexandria Times.  And though my life has gravitated more to the keyboard than cooktop, to the frequent inquiries about my work as a chef, I say, “Yes! I still enjoy catering private events.”

This year I shared my column, “Nibbles and Sips Around Town”, with the area’s most comprehensive theatre website,  Since they share their content with, I now have the only non-theatre column on both sites.

One of the biggest surprises of the year was when Indian Country Today magazine, where I have contributed pieces on American Indian Culture and the Arts for the last three years, chose my feature story on the discovery of the long-lost silent film, The Daughter of Dawn as one of their “Top Ten Best Stories of the Year”.  And in keeping with neighborhood participation, in June I was chosen as the sole judge for the “Taste of Del Ray”, one of the most fun events I have ever participated in.

For the website of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) I interviewed leading Hollywood directors Ariel Vromen and James Franco, Academy Award-winning Superman musical composer, Hans Zimmer, and writer-directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash of The Way, Way Back. 

I even had the opportunity to interview a Cirque de Soleil artist and the Artistic Director of Cavalia when those shows raised their tents in town.  Noted Jazz musicians Ski Johnson (Saxophonist), Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and Marcus Johnson (Keyboardist) were featured on our site this year too, as were interviews with songstresses Iris DeMent and Grace Potter.

There were articles on local, national and internationally renowned chefs, tons of restaurant reviews, food events, farmers, vintners (Barefoot Wine founder Michael Houlihan was featured in February), breweries, new food products (Jose Andres launched a line of Spanish delicacies), and cookbooks with so many local chefs publishing this year (check out December’s column).  I even braved a chef-driven “Snakeheads at the Harbor” dinner in Georgetown…all in the name of research, don’t you know.

Travel took us from Oxford, MD along the Chesapeake Bay and Culpeper, Virginia to Airlie House and the Castleton Festival in the Virginia countryside, and later to Tallahassee and Wakulla County, Florida where we ate as many oysters and shrimp as the law would allow.  All the while meeting innovative chefs, farmers, musicians and those whose spirits would raise ours to new heights.

Wines were especially high on the “To Do” list with tastings of Greek, Israeli, Brazilian, French, American, New Zealand and Serbian vintages.  In celebration of her recently published memoirs, I shared a lovely lunch at Fiola with Margrit Mondavi, the “First Lady of Napa Valley” and  “Grande Dame” of the Mondavi Winery.   We also visited the Stillhouse Distillery to learn how they make their whiskey and bourbon, an experience I shared with readers in August.

In the “Travel” section posh properties were scrutinized or extolled, while in the “Theatre” section dozens of shows were picked or panned – all without one single advertiser on our Whisk and Quill website.

In July we were thrilled to welcome a very special guest contributor to Whisk and Quill.  Cary Pollak is an accomplished chef and well-known DC area food writer.  He’s also a successful attorney, but we won’t hold that against him.  Pollak has already given us exciting stories on New York’s Fancy Food Show, DC’s Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show, a recipe for his glorious French Fruit Tarte (Pollak also hosts cooking classes on baking and East Indian cooking), a “Celebration of the Grape” at Zaytinya, a November piece on Ridgewell’s turning 85 years-old, and a comprehensive piece on his travels to Central Texas and the food scene there.  Look for more terrific stories from Pollak in the upcoming months.

So here’s to 2014 and another year of reporting to inspire, tempt and dazzle you to create your own journeys.  Let’s drink a cuppa kindness, or whatever lovely spirits you may have handy, for the auld year and for a scintillating, theatrical and scrumptious New Year!



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