Fire on King St.

2009 November 22
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by Chuck Shotton

Just got back from the Sunday afternoon excitement of a fire in the first block of buildings on South King St. With trucks from Ashburn, Leesburg, and Hamilton responding, it looked like it might have been pretty serious. But as best you could tell from the street, the fire seems to have been limited to the alley between China King and the Merrill Lynch buildings. Judging from the smoke and smell, it seems like it might have been an electrical fire.

As we walked by the front of the building, the door was open to China King as well as the stairs to the apartments upstairs and they both had large fans blowing into them. So it was difficult to tell which part of the building was affected.

Pics and more details shortly.

Weekly Dining Round-up

2009 November 20
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by Chuck Shotton

Jasmine Chinese Cuisine, which has been serving a very nice Chinese menu in Market Station for several years, recently added a sushi bar to its offerings. Jasmine Sushi was our destination for dinner recently and it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. The new sushi bar is located in expanded space, to the right of the Jasmine entrance, and you can miss it completely if you don’t know it is there.

Upon entering, the two “sushi men” behind the bar greeted us warmly and we were offered hot tea (jasmine, unfortunately, not green) and a green salad to start. We followed that with a selection of nigiri sushi (fish with rice) and several of the sushi rolls from the menu. Contrary to reports in Leesburg Today, they don’t seem to have the promised “Leesburg Roll” on the menu and the chefs had no idea what we were asking for when we tried to order it. But what we did have was quite good.

Jasmine SushiBeing a fan of mackerel, I always have to give that a try. We also tried some fatty tuna (toro) nigiri, the California Deluxe roll, and a daily special roll with multi-colored roe and spicy tuna inside. The sushi was all fresh, and beautifully presented. It’s definitely the nicest sushi offering in the Leesburg area. Hardcore sushi fanatics will likely find their favorite restaurant elsewhere, but for a quick lunch or dinner bite in town, this fits the bill. And speaking of bill, the price for dinner was about $40 with tip. The prices seem a bit high for the quantity, but probably no worse than a sushi dinner inside the Beltway.

Jasmine Cuisine is in Market Station at 110 South St. in Leesburg.

The Election Season Begins

2009 November 19
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by Chuck Shotton

The semi-annual game of musical chairs for town council is beginning soon. Each year the date when the first candidates announce their intentions gets earlier and earlier and so we should start seeing some “official” announcements soon.

Having watched (and participated in) this frenzy of local democracy for the past 6 election cycles, this one is shaping up to be epic. We have a mayoral race pitting an entrenched (impacted even) incumbent with 2 or 3 interested parties lining up in the wings. Council seats so far only have a couple of people nibbling at running. As things start to shape up, we’ll have a lot more news and opinion here.

In the meantime, if you have any inside scoop, rumors, or interesting news, please don’t hesitate to pass it along!

New Thai, Old Spot

2009 September 16
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by Chuck Shotton

The site of Zeffirelli’s on Catoctin and S. King St. is undergoing renovations, with a banner out front proclaiming “authentic Thai food” coming soon! Pictures tomorrow.


2009 September 15
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by Chuck Shotton

Apologies to all of our readers for the bad behavior of the LeesburgTalk web site over the past week or so. We’ve had a running battle with our hosting service which finally got resolved today. So things should be back to normal shortly.

Weekly Dining Round-up

2009 September 6
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by Chuck Shotton

The $100 Hamburger is a well-known staple in aviation circles. Almost every private pilot has eaten more than their fair share. It refers to the weekend ritual of hopping in a plane, flying to some exotic place like Culpeper or Tangier Island (exotic meaning more than 25 miles from home), and grabbing a sandwich from a restaurant on or near the airport. By the time you add the cost of flying the plane, fuel, etc. to the meal, it usually works out to be about $100 for the dining experience.

When we lived in Houston, we’d regularly fly to meet friends from Austin at a little grass airstrip in the Hill Country, park the plane, dial a phone number written in Sharpie on the wall of the phone booth, and be met at the gate to the airport by a rusted out 1958 Ford pick-up truck for a ride to some of the best burgers and fried catfish west of the Mississippi. But after moving back to Virginia, the $100 hamburger runs gave way to local outings in the car and after 9/11 and all of the restrictions on general aviation around DC, our casual aviation outings for a $100 hamburger faded away.

But I had the opportunity to revisit the joy of a fly-in burger this week on a short “business” trip, flying from Leesburg to Gaithersburg in a friend’s Piper Comanche. While the 12 minute flight across the river stretches the definition of a legitimate $100 hamburger run, the results are worth bending the rules a bit. The Montgomery Co. Airpark is close enough to Leesburg to make this outing in a car and definitely worth the drive for a visit to the Airpark Café in the terminal building there. The menu is classic diner fare with a Greek/Mediterranean twist.

After our meeting was over, we retired to the Café for a quick bite before the grueling flight back to Leesburg. I ordered the cheeseburger while the pilot-in-command selected the Chicken Cordon Bleu sandwich. The service is lightning fast, but you can amuse yourself while you wait by watching the aircraft take off and land just out the window. There’s also a nice deck for outdoor dining if the weather permits. Given that both plates were cleaned in a matter of minutes, I have to give the Airpark Café two thumbs up for a classic $100 hamburger experience. And they get an extra gold star for being a real on-site airport restaurant.

Lunch for two was about $20, plus 20 gallons of avgas and an hour of tach time. So if you’re looking for something to do this Labor Day weekend, it’s worth the 30 minute car ride (or 12 minute flight through the Air Defense Intercept Zone, dodging black helicopters) for a visit!

It’s First Friday!

2009 September 4
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by Valérie

This evening will be the perfect weather to go out in town, have fun at the gallery walk, taste a little wine, and listen to acclaimed music artist. See you there!

Virginia Historical Highway Markers

2009 September 3
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by Valérie

3503_1Have you ever wonder what that big white F-28 sign in front of the Courthouse is? Or the T-23 one on the grounds of the Old Stone Church?

Intrigued after seeing so many of these on the roads and highways of Virginia, I did a little research. I found out that they are Virginia Historical Highway Markers and that there are more than 2,200 of them all over the state. The idea was conceived by Richard C. Wight, an amateur historian, who proposed to Governor E. Lee Trinkle a plan for a state-funded system of roadside markers to indicate locations of historical significance. You can go visit Encyclopedia Virginia for more details on the elaboration of the program.

Also, the Department of Historic Resources has a very nice search engine that shows the result of your search on a google map. And there is even a guidebook that was publish in 2007 for the 80th anniversary of the program. New signs are still going up nowadays, so if you have any ideas to add to the 34 current locations of Loudoun County, you can fill the paperwork to sponsor one!

NB: For all the incorrigible collectors like me that now want to visit every possible markers and take pictures of them, go visit

This Week at The Demonstration Garden at Ida Lee

2009 August 29
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by Linda

Thanks to our leadership team at the Demonstration Garden and the Garden-to-Table group for this handy information.  Know that if we are doing it in the Demo Garden, you can be doing it in your garden!

This week in the Master Gardeners’ Demonstration garden at Ida Lee Park in Leesburg, the Master Gardeners have been harvesting summer vegetables including tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, beans, chard, and herbs. They also planted Brassica (cabbage, etc.) transplants (look for these at your local nursery) and kale seeds for fall harvest. These have been mulched and covered with “row cover” ( a light weight polyester material that can be ordered from gardening supply web sites and catalogues) to keep cabbage moths from laying their eggs in the plants (their larvae are small green worms that tunnel into the plants). Also lettuces, arugula, spinach and radish seeds are being planted for fall harvest.

The cucumber beds have been cleared of cucumber plants, as these have succumbed to diseases and the beds have been amended with compost and this has been turned in and watered. Fall vegetables will be planted in these in the near future.

The strawberry beds have been thinned of extra runners so the plants won’t be too crowded. If you don’t have strawberry plants in your garden and think you don’t have room for them this is one of the plants that does well in containers. You can plant them now or wait until spring. It is a lot of fun to go out and pick strawberries to put on your cereal in the mornings or just to eat out of hand.

If you get a chance to come by the garden, check out the watermelons that are growing vertically (on supports). Very fun way to grow them if you are short on space but love watermelons.

In the ornamental gardens our giant pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) is “blooming” as is the Ruby grass. the Golden Rod (Solidago) is just beginning to show its color (although the wild Golden Rod has been blooming for a week or so).

Be sure and weed your garden beds and keep cutting back the spent flowers to keep the plants blooming and to keep your garden looking neat.

Happy Gardening and if you have any questions about this information, or any gardening questions, please contact the Master Gardeners at the Master Gardener “Help Desk” at 703-771-5150 or email us at .

The Fall edition of the Trumpet Vine newsletter is in the works.  If you are interested in subscribing, send a note containing your email to the Help Desk email, and we’ll add you to the list!  Due to budget constraints, we only send out this publication via email.  You will also receive the above gardening advice as well.

Weekly Dining Round-up

2009 August 29
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by Chuck Shotton

This week’s round-up starts with a visit to FedEx Field, where we sampled the culinary arts of the Redskins’ snack bars. This sublime dining experience started with an appetizer of nachos and cheese. Prepared counter-side, the cheese is expertly squeezed from a large foil pouch while you watch, ensuring its optimum freshness. While we would have preferred one of the little cups to hold the usual jalapeño pepper slices, no one was complaining about a double helping of the luscious cheese food product. The chips were as round as I have ever seen, and were slightly crunchy and lightly salted. Definitely a nice combination with the cheese.

Of course, no visit to Landover would be complete without sampling something deep-fat fried, so our selected entree was the chicken tenders and fries basket. The tenders actually lived up to their name, and were moist and juicy with a crispy batter that was slightly spicy. The black pepper of the batter was nicely matched by a dollop of Heinz Ketchup which was precisely dispensed by the large ketchup pumps nearby. The fries were reminiscent of those at Five Guys (see the review below), and clearly were taking advantage of SysCo’s best battered fry recipe.

We washed it all down with two bottles of vintage 2009 Dasani water. Appetizer and dinner with beverages came in at just over the Redskin’s final score (24-27) at $25.

All joking aside, lunch earlier this week at Five Guys in Chantilly was actually quite enjoyable in comparison to the snack bar. For those who aren’t yet initiated into the cult of Five Guys, they make what are arguably the best hamburgers and fries on the planet. I chose the cheeseburger with the classic lettuce/tomato/mayo toppings and a Coke. Everything is made to order and stuffed in a brown paper sack, with the fries dumped in on top.

Five Guys makes double patty burgers by default, so if you’re not feeling too hungry, you should make sure to order the “Little” version instead. The meat is cooked medium well unless you ask for something different, and the burger is juicy. So don’t skip on the napkins! But the real secret of Five Guys is the fries. These are the classic, square-cut, deep-fried lovelies that every burger joint on the planet used to serve before some marketing person got the brilliant idea that we wanted our fries dunked in batter before cooking. A small order of fries is enough for 2, but I confess to finishing most of mine myself.

If you’re in that part of town and feel the need for an awesome burger, Five Guys will definitely fix you up. They’re located at 14421 Chantilly Crossing Lane, just southwest of the Rt. 50/28 intersection at the end of the strip mall. A burger, fries, and drink will set you back about $10, 1500 calories, and 20 minutes of guilty dining pleasure.