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Thanks for joining us! We write about sports, food, life and anything else interesting here in Ashburn and Loudoun County, all while cramming as many features into the site as possible.

Our staff consists of one old man and a dog named Maggie The WonderBeagle. Want to know more? Click on the icon below:

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Since It's Lunch Time...

A friend of mine sent me a story the other day, ranking the top 20 sandwiches across the world.

This one was not included. 

It' starts with several types of Italian lunchmeats, combined with swiss cheese and gently heated until the cheese has melted.

Those are then placed on two toasted pieces of Italian bread, then topped with thin slices of tomato, a few slices of fresh jalapeno, then mounds of freshly made cole slaw. The plate is then completed with a few handfuls of barbecue kettle chips.

To me, it's what every sandwich should have: the saltiness of the Italian meats, the creaminess of the slaw, a little heat and crunch from the jalapeno, and the savory taste of the tomato. 

I won't say it deserves to be in the top 5 of this list I just read. But it's at least a top 10.

Maybe one day when I open my own deli, you'll see :)

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Meet The Dennis Rodman of Canines In The Kitchen...

Rebounding in basketball isn't so much about jumping. It's about position. Knowing where the ball is going to end up landing. Being ready for the opportunity.

Based on those qualifications, if my dog Schnoodle had played basketball, the old girl would have made the hall of fame. No dog can read the kitchen, come up with a plan, and be where the odds are best that a mistake will be made. She doesn't look for food scraps. Food scraps fall in front of her. She is the Dennis Rodman of kitchen canines.

Today is a rainy day in Ashburn, and neither my wife nor daughter will eat leftovers (or even something twice in the same week). So since it is so dreary outside, I'm cleaning out the refrigerator and freezer of older foods coming up on an expiration date. I've turned three chicken breasts into chicken salad for sandwiches for the next few days; I have taken 1.5 pounds of ground beef and made it into a chili/taco meat mixture to go on hot dogs, baked potatoes or other assorted options over the weekend; yesterday I found this beautiful pork shoulder minding its own business in the back of the freezer. It has been appropriately bathed in a dry rub, had garlic inserted into it, and is peacefully resting until tomorrow.

Making these three dishes so there's plenty to warm up and eat on a moment's notice over the weekend involved doing a lot of chopping and mixing in various places in the kitchen. Schnoodle moved when I moved and always found the right spot. Making this more amazing is she lost her sight several years ago. But that does not hinder the pooch, as she has a nose with abilities the CIA would envy.

She's 15 years old and she unfortunately never got to play basketball. She could have been a contender. Instead, she roams the kitchen like a BOSS. And when it comes to kitchen scraps, she's the real MVP 😃

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At Least One Of Us Came Out A Winner Yesterday

­Yesterday had all the makings for a very peaceful day: Cold and gray outside, a 9-pound pork shoulder cooking in the oven, a few good books to be read. And for the most part, it was.

Well, until my oldest friend Doug decided he wanted his own Navy.

I was in the middle of reading two books: Was finishing up James Patterson’s Deadly Cross, and by mid-afternoon would finish that and then start James Grisham’s A Time For Mercy. Patterson’s book was good rather than great, and after a few hundred pages of Grisham’s book, it seems to be the superior story. Part of that is Patterson seems to write an Alex Cross book about every 3 weeks, so his stories start to feel like a formula. Figure out a fast-paced story line, then plug in the cast of familiar characters.

But this latest one had its moments, particularly if you live here in the DC/Northern Virginia area, as he name-drops a lot of places throughout the region. You can tell he wrote the book more than a year ago because he talks about watching a game between the Cleveland Browns and the Washington Redskins, not calling them the Washington Football team. He even mentions the Washington Nationals.

What made it cozy finishing the book yesterday was I had a pork shoulder cooking all day for last night’s dinner of barbecue and cole slaw. It went in at 5:15 AM for a 10-hour slow roast, and by about 11 AM, there was an aroma throughout the house that had my detective WonderBeagle Maggie hot on the trail to discovering its origins. Patterson has a recurring character that is Alex Cross’s grandmother, and about every 50 pages she’s cooking something similar, with detailed descriptions of how good the house smells.

It is in the midst of this peaceful reading I get a text from my old friend Doug. Apparently, the amounts you can win for both Powerball and MegaMillions were over $400 million. He thought I should know, leading to this conversation:

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Whoever Sold This Idea Should Be In The Hall Of Fame

If you’ve spent any time in marketing – and I spent the better part of three decades doing so – you’ve probably been in a meeting like this.

It’s where an idea is being pitched and your own feelings of common-sense kick in and tells you it’s not that great of a proposal. But if you object, particularly if you’re an older executive – you will be shamed into not being “with it”, not looking at things in a new modern way, and are too focused on old school metrics like wondering if all this is going to result in your company actually selling more stuff.

Happens frequently, and if you sell hard enough, you’ll sometimes get approval for something that, in truth, isn’t that great a proposal.

Which brings me to the new Burger King rebrand.

Whoever sold that logo needs to be in the selling hall of fame. They somehow convinced Burger King to give them millions of dollars in return for the agency giving them their old logo back from the 60s. To complete the package, they even took the font you saw every Monday night at 8 PM on NBC’s Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, and are slapping it on burger and burrito wrappers.

I’m guessing Goldie Hawn will next be invited to be a company spokesman.

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Recent Comments
Doug Johnson

Dick Martin Wisdom

Apparently these new ad people learned the old adage of "Blow in my ear, and I will follow you anywhere." Say good night, Dick.... Read More
Friday, 08 January 2021 13:06
Dave Scarangella

For them to have seen that ske...

...so old that I don't want to talk about it
Friday, 08 January 2021 13:14
Tony Banks

Ah yes, the 60s...

Back when kids got burgered in by the king along Little Creek Rd all the way thru Turner St (alas, now a Zaxby's?), except for a b... Read More
Saturday, 09 January 2021 11:12
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Just Because You Can Combine Ingredients Doesn't Mean You Should

An old friend once called it culinary sky diving, and I’ve practiced it more this year than I ever have.

It’s the art of going through the refrigerator, seeing items that may end up going to waste, and figuring out what combinations you can put them in that the residents would enjoy.

As I was also reminded by this chef, just because you can put ingredients together doesn’t mean you should.

Today’s items were 3 strips of bacon in a Ziploc bag that were starting to get pushed to the back of the refrigerator (this is how stuff in my house dies; no one throws it out, but newer stuff gets bought, is put on the shelves, and the unwanted food ends up in the back corner of the middle shelf). There were two hots dogs that no one seemed to like, a tomato just on the verge of AARP membership, and some homemade cole slaw that was made last week.

With visions of big overstuffed sandwiches from the New Yorker deli in Roanoke, I fried the bacon, sliced the tomato, and chopped the hot dog into small slices. That would make it easier to both put it on a sandwich as well as dole out the proper renumeration for my sous chef, Maggie the WonderBeagle.

A bed of cole slaw was put on one side with the hot dog slices, everything else went on the other side.

Was it good? It was OK. The satisfaction came in knowing it was out of the refrigerator and that Maggie thought I was the best Dad ever after getting her fair share 😊

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Nothing Finishes A Week Like A Pic Of Fantastic Food...

I’ve decided I need more regular features on this website. They don’t need to be about sports, news or politics, because these days, those topics just make people angry. In fact, the only two things that don’t seem to make people mad these days are puppies and food.

In that spirit, I think every Friday there should be a picture of some outrageous food. It can be called Food Porn Friday, and it will be a picture of something you should walk away thinking “I’d like to have that one day.”

With that in mind, the first weekly winner comes from St. Louis. I have a friend who is doing a good deed this week, driving hundreds of miles to Kentucky, then taking another mutual friend to St. Louis for some medical issues. Having been a road warrior back in the day, I know the most valuable knowledge you can have when traveling is restaurant recommendations from a local. My friend, who I have known most of my life, tends to just try the first place he sees.

I decided to do some research for him. One of the people I follow on Twitter is Dan Buffa (@buffa82) who knows just about everything about sports, restaurants, movies, you name it in St. Louis. So I asked him for some recommendations and he sent back a bunch.

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For Under Three Bucks, This Pizza Is Hard To Beat...

Today I found myself at LIDL here in Ashburn, and for the first time since all the shutdown nonsense started, the whole shopping experience seemed to be back to normal. Unlike in previous visits where there were a lot of holes in the shelves, they seemed to have everything in stock.

Including something near and dear to my heart, a deal on this take and bake pepperoni pizza for only $2.99

Naturally I had to match LIDL’s generosity by doubling the toppings, so when I got it home, I put it on a pizza pan that had been well covered in olive oil to crisp up the crust. These take and bakes can sometimes be a little on the dry side, so I then added extra sauce, along with some black olives, mushrooms, a few chopped onions and then covered everything with extra whole milk mozzarella.

Then for good measure, I just happened to have some extra pepperoni, which I laid on top of the extra cheese. To make sure the pizza looked good, I brushed more olive oil on the rim of the crust, which browned it up nicely. And while the box said cook it at 375 for 14 to 15 minutes, I went 435 for 17 minutes. Following their directions makes the crust taste doughy. You need more heat. 

At right is the finished product. I think it’s going to be good. Especially since it only cost three bucks 😊

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Recent comment in this post
Matthew Morrison

Gonna have to run by Lidl tomo...

Gonna have to run by Lidl tomorrow and try the pizza now..
Friday, 12 June 2020 22:46
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Stuffed Peppers: So Easy, Even YOU Can Make Them....

Earlier this week my wife asked me if I’d ever had stuffed peppers.

I had to stop for a second, then look on my computer to see if I still had that picture of a bear relieving himself in the woods so I could answer her with a picture.

Fortunately for me I couldn’t find it and I merely answered “of course.”

She had not, so today, I prepared my version of them, and it is not only one of the easiest dishes in the world to prepare, it’s also quite easy to customize it so it’s unique to the way you make it.

My first rule of making them my way is you can pick any color of the rainbow for peppers…as long as the color is not green. My Dad ate green peppers all the time, grew them and served them with everything from pasta to eggs. In all the times we had them, I can honestly say the number of meals I enjoyed them was zero.

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I Don't Believe Anyone Who Says They're Not Hungry

I was once asked if I followed any particular rules when it comes to cooking.

Yeah,” I replied. “I never believe anyone who says they’re not hungry in my house.”

Take for example what just transpired here. It was getting way past lunch time and my wife was working in her upstairs “work at home” office while our dog finished her third nap of the day nearby. I texted her to ask if she had an interest in some breakfast sandwiches I was going to make.

“No,” she said. “I had oatmeal earlier in the day.”

Sticking with oatmeal when you can have a fresh, hot breakfast sandwich is a topic for another day, but let’s just say I remembered rule number 1 and thought “I don’t believe you.”

So I went in the kitchen and started frying some sweet Italian sausage patties. I took out my mandolin and sliced a Vidalia onion and a sweet yellow pepper very thinly. The onions and peppers went into a saute pan, and I cooked them over medium heat until they got very soft and lightly browned.

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Tonight's Dinner: Ravioli With Marinara, Meatballs & 3 Cheeses

One of the more common refrains I heard when Maggie and I decided we didn't need to contribute to Twitter any more involved no longer being able to see pics of Maggie or the meals we eat around here.

You'll notice the rather lazy canine in the post below.

Here, is tonight's dinner. As I tend to make meals into two-day affairs, this is round 1. Each bowl has six large ravioli, and I had made a huge pot of sauce and meatballs weeks ago, with about a third of it put into the freezer for some day in the future. Today was the calendar equivalent of that player to be named later. 

The ravioli is covered in the sauce and meatballs, as well as mozzarella and pecorino romano. Combined with the riccota in the ravioli filling, that's a nice three cheese variety.

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It's Pizza Night In Ashburn. Decisions, Decisions...

Tonight is pizza night. So it’s time to share another of my lifehacks for being under house arrest.

Pineapple On A Pizza?
Poll is expired! Results

We’ve been doing pizza night every Friday since my daughter moved out to be on her own. Dad was convinced that if he offered an alternative that included free pizza and daughter’s social schedule didn’t have anything all that attractive on it, going to visit the parents, enjoy your favorite pizza and not have to spend a dime might win out.

Dad was right.

Alas these days, that doesn’t work, but the ritual lives on for my wife and I. The days of ordering two large pizzas so there’s plenty for everyone are gone too, so we started a new approach when the shutdown started.

It started by accident when LIDL had a sale on its self-rising frozen pizzas. Normally I don’t care for anything frozen, as it tastes to me like watered down ingredients on cardboard. Even if you enhance them with other fresh ingredients, that cardboard taste is still there.

But the LIDL self-rising pizza actually had a decent crust. It sells every day for $2.75, and it’s about the size of a medium pizza, meaning it’s more than enough for the two of us. And because it’s so cheap, I took the approach I was just buying the crust as a base to work with, and I’d add the rest of the ingredients we wanted.

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