Food and Games sums up Last Week’s Adventures

It is miraculous how a rainy, chilly weekend can erase one’s memory of a busy week.  So it was with me this past weekend with only one event on my calendar but last week was quite busy as I reflect on it for this post.

It all started with a viewing of ENDER’S GAME at the beautiful, still new to us Cvillians, Stonefield Regal Cinemas  on Monday evening to top off Veterans Day off from school for my daughter.  Stonefield is stadium seating and vastly cleaner and better smelling than any other movie theater in town.  I adore it.

Tuesday’s outing included a tuna melt and chic pea with kale soup lunch at FEAST one of my favorite lunch spots.  Feast is a gourmet market and sandwich shop with a casual atmosphere located on Main Street.  The food is good, the people are friendly and the selection in the market is mouthwatering. Tuesday night was a huge sports night because the darlings of my alma mater, THE VCU RAMS, played the UVA HOOS in basketball for the first time in 15 years.  There once was a basketball rivalry between the schools so I enjoyed a perverse pleasure in wearing my VCU scarf (which resembles a Hufflepuff scarf from the Harry Potter series) all day, proudly flaunting it at McGrady’s in the evening during the neck-and-neck game.  Alas, I missed the final winning shot in the last second which made VCU the victors of the game but was even happier the following day flaunting my team scarf once again.

Wednesday was cold here in Cville so lamb curry form JUST CURRY on the downtown mall was the perfect lunch.  It is fast food at its finest, inexpensive, healthy, locally owned and yummy.  In the afternoon I ran into my dear friend and Tibetan Monk, Dr. Kunchock on the mall while on my way to have tea at the TWISTED BRANCH TEA BAZAAR with a client.  Dr. K. was the designated tour organizer and escort for the trip I took to Xining, Tibet over the summer.  He is here visiting with other VIP’s from the Arura Tibetan Medical Group to help move the cause (building a Tibetan Medical Center here) along and to speak about Tibetan Medical practices at the UVA Medical School. I saw him and the others at former Mayor, David Brown’s home at a reception for the Tibetan group on Thursday night along with other local luminaries.

Friday morning I accepted a fabulous invitation from an old friend to have a massage and lunch at THE BOAR’S HEAD.  The massage was fantastic and I didn’t want to get off the table when it was finished.  The spa is comfortable and resembles the SPA AT THE WILLIAMSBURG INN but on a much smaller scale.  Lunch is a buffet with mostly Southern type fare like peanut soup (with a little spice – it was really good) and Chicken in a corn sauce. It was perfectly lovely but outside of the soup nothing to write home about in terms of a Foodie experience. I would cheerfully go back for dinner to sit next to the fireplace and definitely return to the spa to try some other treatments to see how they stand up to Keswick or The Homestead.

The remainder of the weekend was chill until Sunday afternoon when I attended a gallery event at Chroma on the Down Town Mall.  Alex Nyerges of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts gave a short talk.  Food from Tastings and wine from wine from Early Mountain Vineyards were featured at the event.  All of the food contained gluten so I cannot tell you how it was though the crab dip radiated an aroma that permeated the gallery. The wine was very good. With that I took my grumpy (chilly rain does that to me) self home and watched Public Television all night while my daughter worked on a term paper.

Hopefully this week will be a tad slower but you never know.  There are lots of theatre dates to be made for the holidays.

Until next week…

Get out there are get cultured!


The Culture Maven


Film, Food, MoFo’s and Ham


Charlottesville is a cool place to live because we some big city entertainment coupled with small town living.  Last week’s big city type entertainment was the Virginia Film Festival, an event that takes over our little village attracting people from all over the country to C-ville for 100 movies in 4 days.

I for one enjoy the people watching during this event usually more than the films themselves and somehow the VFF always falls on a weekend when I have fifty other obligations, limiting my ability to participate.  So this is how the weeks shook down in terms of my Arts & Culture experience:

On Wednesday I lunched at Farm as I waited to ambush Matthew Slatts, Executive Director of the Bridge Arts Center. Farm is a sandwichy/ salady type place that offers fresh food mostly locally sourced and a good selection of beers and wine.  It is charming and the noodle salad I pulled from the ready-mades cold case was delish.  A great place for a nice lunch and plenty of sunny outdoor seating.

Wednesday night I worked on my Bachata moves at Charlottesville Salsa Club’s Bachata night at club M&M.

Thursday was the first day of the VFF- good crowd watching on the Downtown Mall.  My daughter and I went to see the Lighthouse Films since she was a student over the summer.

Friday night was a family road trip to Staunton to the American Shakespeare Center with friends to see (for me a repeat viewing, I liked it so much the first time) RETURN TO THE FORBIDDEN PLANET.  Every body LOVED it and I won a raffle ticket for answering a trivia question correctly. (yeah!)  The show is in its final weeks, closing at the end of November to make room for the three Christmas themed shows presented in December.

Saturday morning found me directing traffic at the Tandem Tag Sale which was a mother load of treasures.  If you missed it this year be sure to go next year because there is always some gooooood stuff for amazing prices.

Then a visit to the VFF Family day at UVA near the Culbreth theater.  All I am saying is work is needed on this event.

The next stop was one of my fav eateries – The Flat, behind the Jefferson Theater, for crepes al fresco then to Pearl’s Bake Shoppe for apple cider donuts. The Flat make fat savory or sweet crepes and is loved for the fresh local ingredients, ample portions and great prices.  It is fast food that is truly good for you. I had a veggie on buckwheat crepe – yummy.

Saturday night found me at the Downtown Grille for a quick drink and a sumptuous crab cake appetizer before popping over to Live Arts for closing night of MOTHER F**CKER WITH A HAT. The script itself was so-so with a superfluous final scene that watered down what might have been a spectacular ending but Ike Anderson as Jackie, the central character put in a dynamic performance.

Sunday was another VFF day which culminated for me and my daughter with the documentary, BIBLE QUIZ, about a bible quiz team and the personal dynamics of said team over the course of a critical competition.  Who even knew there was such a thing as Bible Quiz?  Somebody I guess…  We liked the film and were sad we missed so many other films due to scheduling or rating issues.

Sunday night we drove to Richmond for Hamaganza rehearsal in preparation for the last Hamaganza fundraiser for Feedmore ever.  Mark your calendars for December 13 & 14 to witness what is sure to be the most debauched, sophomoric and pathetic Hamaganza of all time – because some legends deserve to go down in flames.

Hopefully things will slow down a tad this week but you just never know what invitations might pop up!

Get out there and get Cultured, Ya’ll.


The Culture Maven

wnrn Culture Connection for Nov 11 – 18

Wine, shopping and a raucous comedy- I can hardly think of a better way to spend the weekend…

What better place to taste wine on Saturday than the Jefferson Wine Festival at Poplar Forest, Thomas Jefferson’s private retreat.  Sixteen Virginia wineries will be represented along with local food purveyors, artisans and two bands.  

Also on Saturday you can start you holiday shopping at nonprofit Virginia Horse Center’s Holiday Craft Bazaar featuring jewelry, candy, crafts, baked good and more. The event is free but donations for the SPCA and Food Pantry are encouraged.

All weekend in Richmond, nonprofit Richmond Shakespeare presents Taming of the Shrew. Inspired by the VMFA exhibit “Hollywood Costume,” this production evokes the best of Hollywood’s screwball comedies, glamorous musicals and gangster movies.

If you know of a fun event coming up in the next month email me at and help me to help you make a wnrn culture connection.

WNRN logo

WNRN Culture Connection for November 4 – 12

This is a week for nostalgia.  The Hollywood costumes, Old (and new) movies and collecting collectables are all on the calendar…

Have a brush with fame at the nonprofit Virginia Museum of Fine Art’s Hollywood Costume Exhibit featuring iconic costumes from a century of cinema from Dorothy’s ruby slippers to  Batman’s rubber suit from The Dark Night Rises.

For more movie madness catch some free flicks, learn about costuming, try a new instrument and more at The nonprofit Virginia Film Festival family day on Grounds at UVA on Saturday.

Then also on Saturday and Sunday do some treasure hunting at the Tandem Tag Sale at the Tandem Friends School, a rummage sale without equal in the area where patrons can stock up on used sporting equipment, clothing, jewelry, toys and who knows what else.

If you know of a cool event coming up in the area, shoot me an email at and help me help you to make a wnrn Culture Connection.


WNRN logo







Local Road Tripping

I thought it had been a quiet week but when I checked my calendar to write this blog I realized why I am so behind on the book project.

But first, I must share that the Charlottesville location of Pearl’s Bake Shoppe has made three glorious additions to its gluten free menu: 1. sweet potato biscuits with real Virginia ham and …2. pumpkin doughnuts and apple cider doughnuts – these are cakey, tasty treats that I could eat every day. The apple cider doughnuts are particularly welcomed because Carter Mountain Orchard has really good glutenous apple cider doughnuts and now those of us who reject gluten can eat apple cider doughnuts with some level of abandon at Pearl’s.

Other than an update on deliciousness at Pearl’s, the only thing to write about before Friday is my lunch at the The Daily Kitchen on Wednesday while in Richmond on business for WNRN.  Yes, it looks as though it is my new Richmond fav but on the  pain of being boring I may have to take a break from TDK and try somewhere else when next in RVA.  My lunch of a vegetable panini was scrumptious but the side order of brussels sprouts upstaged the yummy sandwich to become the star of the afternoon.  Slightly crisp on the outside while slightly tender on the inside these mini-cabages come swimming in a sauce that reminds me of the stuff served with Vietnamese spring rolls – sort of yellow with flecks of hot red pepper, you know the one.  Anyway… that sauce sets of the tartness of the sprouts perfectly and seriously, I could eat a pound of them for lunch all by themselves.

On Friday morning I ventured to Staunton to see ROMEO AND JULIET at the American Shakespeare Center.  Well, I say I went to see the play but that is only partly true.  I went to see Gregory Jon Phelps play Mercutio as I had it from a reliable source that his performance was worth the effort.  And it was.  Mr. Phelps is blossoming into a great actor and he and the ever hilarious Benjamin Curns, who plays Juliet’s Nurse, mop up the stage!  In fact I wish I had left after Mercutio’s death as the play is mostly spent on Romeo and Juliet following which proved anti-climactic – not so good in a tragedy – but all teenagers should see this play.

Friday night was a Kizumba lesson taught by Edwin Roa at The Dance Spot.  I had never tried kizumba before and had a little trouble understanding the timing at first but Edwin is such a great teacher, I think I got it after a short while. The Latin-American theme continued through the evening at Firefish Gallery which was hosting a Dias de les Muertes Party for First Fridays Art Walk.  The fabulous Sigrid, Mistress of Firefish, served skull cookies and encouraged patrons to dress up for the occasion.  She leant me a fantastic lion mask she made and at the end of the evening we all marched through the streets to Bon following Chicho Lorenzo carrying a very large paper mache skull lit with glow sticks.  It was all great fun but BREAKING BAD was calling me and by 9:00pm I was in my jammies taking in three more episodes putting me at S:3, E9.

There is nothing like leaning on a whitewashed fence rail on a splendid autumn day in a fabulous hat watching horses fly over boxwood jumps- which is exactly what I did on Saturday at the Montpelier Races.  My dear friend, Howell Taylor, included me on his guest list to indulge in fine food and wine and good company on the rail at the last turn of the steeplechase course. It was a perfect day, warm sunny for the most part with the leaves on the surrounding forrest of trees ever so slightly on the back end of their peak colors. Howell then hosted a chili dinner and bonfire party on his beautiful farm.  A good time was had by all.  Of course I was home by 10:30 and squeezed in one episode of BB before hitting the hay.












Fox at Montpelier Races

Staunton called me back on Sunday for a breakfast burrito (with sausage from Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farms – YUM!) at Cranberries and another show at ASC, this time to enjoy another Phelps performance (and pecks) as Troilus in TROILUS AND CRESSIDA. This time John Harrell came to the forefront in performance as Pandarus with Phelps again commanding the stage.  The play ends weirdly though leaving several loose ends which may explain its failure to be often produced.

Tonight my daughter and I will be plotting our course for the Virginia Film Festival next weekend, creating a schedule to best meet our film viewing needs including seeing her film screening at the Lighthouse showings on Saturday morning.

Take care, have a great week and get out there and get cultured, ya’ll.








Blog at