Tag Archives: Centreville

A String of Birthdays

Happy Birthday Everyone!
Happy Birthday Everyone! copyright: pinkcakebox.com

My niece turned three a few weeks ago, two Saturdays ago was the party to celebrate.  Wolf Trap has a Theatre in the Woods which holds performances geared towards kids.  On Saturday Rocknoceros was playing the final concert of the year and we gathered to celebrate Ellie’s birthday with close friends and family.  The show itself was pretty cool, certainly entertaining.  As I looked around the venue it was funny to see all these adults and kids rocking out to some crazy music.  The lyrics are nothing complicated, teaching kids about the state of Virginia, or counting to 10 on their fingers.  After the performance we had a picnic in the woods which was  nice.

The following week was Pat’s birthday and my Dad planned a surprise dinner for her at the Heart in Hand in Clifton.  Pat knew about the dinner, she didn’t know that everyone showing up to help celebrate.  By everyone I mean everyone.  Bobby, Tracy, Matt, me, Nancy, Stephen and Audry all made it out to celebrate.  Nancy and I managed to arrive way early so we bellied up to the bar for a quick drink, shortly after Bobby and Tracy arrived.  We didn’t know it at the time, but my Dad got a drive to drop them off at the restaurant.  Bobby and Nancy were outside smoking and didn’t see the Lincoln Town Car pull up as the two of them got out, so much for the surprise.  Just about the time Pat arrived my brother and his girlfriend showed up.  While waiting for Matt to arrive we had another round of drinks before sitting down for some dinner.

The food there was great, the restaurant is certainly rustic on the inside and rather empty for dinner.  Besides our party of nine, there was only one other group seated for dinner.  Around 8:30 there was a live band and the bar area started to fill up quickly for that.  The locals don’t eat there, but they certainly use it as a watering hole.  After dinner I spent most of my time outside catching up with Stephen.  I don’t see him enough so when we do meet up I have a lot to talk about.  After disappearing for a while we decided to head back in, I was hoping to get one last class of an excellent Chilean wine, but the ladies polished the bottle off right proper.

Ellie blowing the candles out
Ellie blowing the candles out

After dinner we debated what to do next.  Bobby and Tracy didn’t have the kids, Nancy and I wanted to have a little more fun, plus it was a Friday night.  No sense in turning in early on a weekend.  We quickly made a call to Lulu Cafe to see if they had any private rooms available for a little karaoke action.  Surprisingly they had room for us so we quickly went from Clifton to Centreville to sing our hearts out.  We lost Stephen and Audrey but we managed to have a great time singing to classic songs everyone knows by heart but wont admit to knowing.  Late into the evening it was time for everyone to head home.

The following day was the last celebration for the week, for Nancy and I.  Her sister’s birthday was coming up on Monday so we took her to dinner Saturday night.  Her husband was in New York with his daughter and Maggie’s kids were with their father, she was all alone and we couldn’t have that.  She almost didn’t want to go out that night, but we twisted her arm to go to Bone Fish just down the street from her house.  We had a great time over drinks and a well prepared dinner.  Afterward, just like the two other birthdays this week, we headed out for drinks.  We didn’t go anywhere special, its cheaper to drink at home, so we opened a bottle of nice wine and settled in for a few hours of conversation.

In the span of seven days we celebrated three birthdays from the very young to the young at heart.  Each party was a blast and a chance to catch up with family and friends, some of whom I don’t see often enough.  I can’t remember the last time so many birthdays happened so close together.  Makes me wonder who’s birthday it is next?  I feel like a little partying!

La Gloria Cubana BBQ and dinner

The cigar shop I work for, Old Virginia Tobacco, has been around for 37 years at this point.  In that time we have built a very good relationship with many of the top manufactures in the industry.  One of those is Ernesto Perez-Carrillo from La Gloria Cubana.  This guy is a legend and everything he makes is a real winner.  Rarely does he do public events.  He is a cigar maker, not an entertainer.  So when we talked to him about doing a release party for his new cigar we were shocked when he said he said yes.

I saw Ernie at this years trade show in Las Vegas and I spoke to him about his new line, the Artesanos de Miami.  We spoke further during the General Cigar dinner at Aureole in the Mandalay Bay Hotel.  He loves to talk about cigars and was telling me about why he came up with it, how different the tobacco is in this cigar, and how exclusive the line would be.  Come to find out only 100 retailers in the country will get it and there will only be 125,000 sticks made.  We were one of two shops to get it first, weeks before it would be released to everyone else.

a serious LGC fan
a serious LGC fan

When the BBQ finally came on Saturday, September 20th everyone was excited.  The customers had been looking forward to the event for weeks and they were not disappointed.  We blocked off a large portion of the lot in front of the store for the event.  Not only so people could sit and mingle, but for the large BBQ grill used to cook the food and enough space for DJ Randy to setup his rig.  The weather that day could not have been better and everyone enjoyed the event immensely.

Ernie holding court
Ernie holding court

Finally about 4pm the BBQ ended and I had to run.  I needed to get home, shower, and be at Alto Plaza by 6pm when cocktail hour started.  It was a bit of a stretch but me and Nancy arrived right on time.  In fact the only other person there was a long time customer Scott.  Slowly other guests started to arrive and we all just mingled at the bar.  Unfortunately the guest of honor got delayed so everything got pushed back.  Finally about 7:30pm we were seated.  Scott, me, Nancy, Mark, Randy, Mike, Barbara, and one other guy took a table in the back.  Just like in high school all the cool kids went right for the back.

very fashionable
very fashionable

The dinner was fantastic.  Our table had spent most of cocktail hour talking and drinking so all we did was move the whole affair to a table and continued the fun.  Before any course was served Scott had ordered three bottles of wine for the table.  After that it was on like Donkey Kong.

Even after dinner our group didn’t leave.  We must have stuck around for another hour or so while everyone else left out.  Eventually those of us left (me, Nancy, Scott, Mark, Bob, Gary, and Ernie) moved to the head table and continued to talk till almost midnight.  What a wonderful evening.  Not only did I get to enjoy some great food and drink, I got to enjoy it with some very good friends.  What more could you ask for?

As a whole the BBQ and dinner were a smashing success.  Ernie told me it was great to see so many people attend the event and smoking his cigars.  Not smoking his cigars because he was the guest of honor, but smoking them because they actually enjoy them.  We didn’t become the number one La Gloria retailer in the country for nothing.

I would like to thank Ernie for spending the day with us and I look forward to future events with him.  I will see you at IPCPR next year in New Orleans.