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AROUND TOWN: Festively Dining on Venison and Smokefish Dip at Union Street Pub

Gale Curcio
By Gale Curcio
Posted on Dec 24,2009
Filed Under Entertainment , Local Style, Food And Wine , Local Tastes,
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Photo by Chuck Fazio<br /> <br />Guests at the Small Office Party had a great time dancing to the music of 'The Johnny Artis Band' at The Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites Small Office Party.
Photo by Chuck Fazio
Guests at the Small Office Party had a great time dancing to the music
of 'The Johnny Artis Band' at The Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites
Small Office Party.

ALEXANDRIA, VA. - Chef Gordon Soper hit another home run with his Holiday dinner last week at Union Street Public House. His monthly specialty dinners have become a hit with customers; and have included most recently a Traditional Game Dinner and a Multicultural & Multicourse Celebration of Pork’s New Breed.

Photo by Chuck Fazio<br /> <br />Alexandria Chamber of Commerce employees enjoy dancing with Johnny at The Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites Small Office Party.
Photo by Chuck Fazio
Alexandria Chamber of Commerce employees
enjoy dancing with Johnny at The Holiday
Inn Hotel and Suites Small Office Party.

Look for an Oyster Dinner coming on Jan. 21 and then themed dinners around Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day and Easter. In May, there will be a New England Clambake and June will feature Summer Grille.

Last week’s Holiday Dinner started with a sampler of chopped liver, smoked bluefish dip and port cheese with breads and crackers. It continued strong through the pear and cherry clafouti with each course paired not only with a special wine, but also a corresponding ale as well.

Guests enjoyed a festive setting in the George Washington room. For the entrée, they chose from either roast goose with apple dressing and port wine source or American lamb rack with mustard-herb crust, Zinfandel demiglaze, served with daupine potatoes and glazed vegetables.

Vada and Chris Chaconas were at the dinner with a table of friends celebrating the Holiday dinner with good friends and fine dining. "Both the goose and lamb entrées were superb and we are looking forward to future special dinners by our favorite Chef Mike Soper," Chris told me.

Photo by Chuck Fazio<br /> <br />Rodney Louis of State Farm Insurance talks with another guest at The Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites Small Office Party.
Photo by Chuck Fazio
Rodney Louis of State Farm Insurance talks
with another guest at The Holiday Inn Hotel
and Suites Small Office Party.

Vada chimed in, "My husband and friends especially enjoyed the pairing of beers and wine with the various courses. Also, the Alexandria Harmonizers singing Christmas carols was a wonderful touch...It was a grand occasion to greet folks we had met at previous Union Street dinners.”
 
Later in the week, over a hundred people gathered at Belle Haven Country Club for a Professional Networking Breakfast with members of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce and other local business groups. While it was a chance for guests to network, it was also the forum for the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce and the Alexandria Commission on Persons with Disabilities to present the 2009 Disability Award to ICON Community Services, Inc. for their work placing disabled workers in jobs.

Organized in 1985 by representatives from the five Community Services Boards in Northern Virginia, their initial mission was to provide training and technical assistance to local service providers to assist them in transitioning from sheltered, congregate facilities to community-based employment services.

ICON's mission has broadened over the years but they remain committed to community-based, individualized services and provide supported employment services and community living supports to more than 200 people each year. They also provide technical assistance and community education and conducting research and demonstration projects.

Photo by Chuck Fazio<br /> <br />The Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Small Office Party gave everybody a chance to dress up for the holidays.
Photo by Chuck Fazio
The Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Small Office
Party gave everybody a chance to dress up
for the holidays.

On hand was Mayor Bill Euille, who said that he was “proud of what the Chamber does and proud that you are recognizing the disabled.”

“They are part of everyday society and shouldn’t be treated any differently,” Euille said. “We all have disabilities.”

That same evening, Alexandria Chamber of Commerce employees joined State Farm Insurance/ Rodney Louis office, State Farm Insurance/Sharon Eddy office, Alexandria Neighborhood Health, Great Lakes Events, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Insyte and Best Solutions Consulting for the Small Office Party at the Holiday Inn of Old Town.
 
The event was overseen by Durwood Gould, the director of Sales and Marketing of The Crowne Plaza, who said that all total there was 114 people at the party.
 
“During this time of the year, most smaller offices resort to only a lunch or dinner out with the staff,” Gould said. “We wanted to provide a real party atmosphere with live music. We had ‘The Jonny Artis Band,’ great food and superb networking for Alexandria's smaller offices.  

“The first year of the new annual Alexandria event was a success and we have learned a lot from those who were here, had a great time and provided us feed back so we can make it better for the years to come.”
 

Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />Wendy Albert (left, with Stephanie Brown) came dressed for the occasion at the ACVA Holiday Tourism Marketing Forum.<br />
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
Wendy Albert (left, with Stephanie Brown)
came dressed for the occasion at the ACVA
Holiday Tourism Marketing Forum.

Gould said that next year they are going to advertise the entertainment, add a large Christmas Tree and have a photo of each office at the holiday party. They will also add some additional forms of entertainment and activities and do some additional door prize drawing to make it more of an interactive event.
 
Down at the George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens, the Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association held their Holiday Tourism Marketing Forum.
 
Stephanie Brown and Anna Jones presented the 2009 ACVA Superstar Awards and holiday marketing campaign and then there was plenty of time for networking. After the presentation, Mount Vernon offered free admission to the estate to see the holiday decorations, including 12 Christmas trees, a gingerbread Mount Vernon by former White House pastry chef Roland Mesnier and Aladdin the Christmas Camel.
 
On Saturday, Friends of UCM gathered at the home of Danae Delman’s for a holiday brunch. This volunteer group of women generates well over $100,000 for United Community Ministries by hosting special events and restaurant nights, also contributing generously of their time.

In addition to enjoying a festive gathering with food and drink, members donated toys for UCM’s Holiday Toy Drive, which is distributing gifts to hundreds of needy families in the Mount Vernon area.
 
Have a story tip? Email me at galecurcio@verizon.net.

For more information n Union Street Public House, call 703-548-1785 or visit www.unionstreetpublichouse.com. To find out more about Alexandria Chamber of Commerce, call 703-549-1000 or visit www.alexchamber.org. More information about Alexandria Convention & Visitors Association can be found at www.visitalexandriava.com or by calling 703-746-3301. Anybody interested in donating to UCM’s Holiday Toy Drive should contact United Community Ministries at 703-768-7106. More information about Friends of UCM can be found at www.ucmagency.org/abo-friends.html.


Courtesy Photo<br /> <br />On Saturday, Friends of UCM gathered at the home of Danae Delman’s for a holiday brunch.
Courtesy Photo
On Saturday, Friends of UCM gathered at
the home of Danae Delman’s for a holiday
brunch.



Courtesy Photo<br /> <br />Chef Mike Soper visits with guests after preparing the food for his annual Holiday dinner at Union Street Public House.
Courtesy Photo
Chef Mike Soper visits with guests after
preparing the food for his annual Holiday
dinner at Union Street Public House.



Courtesy Photo<br /> <br />Chef Mike Soper stops to chat with Chris Chaconas after preparing the food for his Holiday Dinner at Union Street Public House.
Courtesy Photo
Chef Mike Soper stops to chat with Chris
Chaconas after preparing the food for his
Holiday Dinner at Union Street Public
House.



Courtesy Photo<br /> <br />Vada and Steve Chaconas enjoy the Holiday dinner at Union Street Public House.
Courtesy Photo
Vada and Steve Chaconas enjoy the Holiday
dinner at Union Street Public House.



Courtesy Photo<br /> <br />The Alexandria Harmonizers entertain guests at the Holiday dinner at Union Street Public House.<br />
Courtesy Photo
The Alexandria Harmonizers entertain guests
at the Holiday dinner at Union Street
Public House.



Photo by Chuck Fazio<br /> <br />Holiday Inn manager Durwood Gould was pleased with the results of his first Small Office Party.<br />
Photo by Chuck Fazio
Holiday Inn manager Durwood Gould was
pleased with the results of his first Small
Office Party.



Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />Thomas J. Lantz, Mayor Bill Euille and Tina Leone all praised the work being done by ICON and Executive Director Mike Purkey during Alexandria Chamber of Commerce’s Professional Networking Breakfast.<br />
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
Thomas J. Lantz, Mayor Bill Euille and Tina
Leone all praised the work being done by
ICON and Executive Director Mike Purkey
during Alexandria Chamber of Commerce’s
Professional Networking Breakfast.



Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />Stephanie James, representing Reston Limousine, networks at the ACVA Holiday Tourism Marketing Forum.
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
Stephanie James, representing Reston
Limousine, networks at the ACVA
Holiday Tourism Marketing Forum.



Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />The ACVA's staff are all smiles at the ACVA Holiday Tourism Marketing Forum.
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
The ACVA's staff are all smiles at the ACVA
Holiday Tourism Marketing Forum.








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