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Blend 111 has evolved since it first arrived on Church Street in Vienna two years ago.

With the Latin fusion restaurant approaching its second anniversary on Saturday (May 8), owner Michael Biddick reflected on the work that went into establishing Blend 111 and refining its menu and style to make it what it is today.

A 20-year resident of Vienna, Biddick started the restaurant in 2019 after selling a successful cybersecurity company that he founded.

He had long been interested in wine but began to seriously learn about it while going through the Court of Masters Sommeliers training. Along the way, he also developed an interest in coffee.

“Through a lot of the traveling I did I had the opportunity to eat at a lot of different restaurants around the world,” Biddick said. “So, I thought it would be great to bring a different type of restaurant to Northern Virginia that focused a lot on international cuisine and [felt like] more of an urban and international city-like restaurant.”

Biddick is now the head sommelier at Blend 111 and a certified French Wine Scholar. He published the book “43 Wine Regions” in 2018 and has contributed to Somm Journal, Food and Travel, and Go World Travel magazines.

To commemorate its two-year anniversary, Biddick says the restaurant is bringing back a few of its more popular drinks, including a very popular spicy margarita, and Executive Chef Andrés-Julian Zuluaga will prepare some surprise dishes that will pop up on the menu come Saturday.

There will also be a special three-course all-day brunch menu for Mother’s Day on Sunday (May 9).

Blend 111 was built in an old furniture and card shop, right down the road from the Town of Vienna’s Town Hall. The name comes from their mission to seamlessly blend food, wine, and coffee from different Latin cultures, along with their address, 111 Church Street.

Although there is currently only one location, Biddick says they are actively looking for other locations to expand in the DMV area.

When designing Blend 111, Biddick made a conscious effort to buy as much local produce as possible and avoid the waste issues that typically plague restaurants.

“One of the things I wanted to do was to have a really minimal waste impact and as little environmental waste as possible,” Biddick said.

Blend 111 has developed relationships with local farms and now specifies what crops need to be grown for main courses, salads, and sides. In addition to supporting local providers, Biddick says cultivating these relationships helps the restaurant develop new flavors.

Blend 111 has a goal to produce only one bag of trash per day. Other leftover items are either recycled or composted through an organization called Compost Crew.

They also are conscious about using organic wine and coffee, and they try to offset anything brought in from outside the D.C. area by investing in renewable energy sources.

“You never reach a finish line with sustainability,” Biddick said. “It’s just something you always have to continually work at and try to improve upon.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit 10 months after it opened, Blend 111 briefly shut down before working to adapt to the new environment.

Putting his information technology background to use, Biddick designed a platform to facilitate carryout and delivery services without having to go through a third party. This helped keep the existing core staff employed and engaged and opened the door for more people to come on board, even as many other restaurants were letting people go.

“I really looked at it as an investment opportunity,” Biddick said. “We found that we were able to make it through the last year, and then, I think once things started to reopen slowly, we then saw business come back significantly.”

Blend 111 brought on a new culinary team in May 2020 that consisted of a new executive chef, a sous chef, and a pastry chef. Biddick says the new team “was able to take the menu up several notches above what we had at opening.”

Blend 111 also benefitted from relaxed zoning rules that enabled the restaurant to convert its parking lot into an outdoor patio space.

“Dealing with a pandemic is really challenging,” Biddick said. “A lot of it comes down to…the individual circumstances that you’re in, but I just try to look at how you can make the best of it and I think we just leveraged everything we could to pull out of that period.”

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Updated at 3:00 p.m. — The Town of Vienna has postponed its Arbor Day celebration again, citing inclement weather that is supposed to hit Fairfax County this afternoon.

The tree planting will now take place at 4:30 pm on Thursday (May 6).

Earlier: The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Monday (May 3)

  • Arbor Day Tree Planting — 4:30 p.m. at Southside Park (1317 Ross Dr. SW) — The Town of Vienna will celebrate Arbor Day by planting a tree at Southside Park. This ceremony was originally scheduled to take place last Friday (April 30), but it got postponed due to the windy weather. (Update: This event has been postponed to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday.)

Tuesday (May 4)

  • Family PASS 5th Annual Golf Benefit — 12 p.m. at Westfields Golf Club (13940 Balmoral Greens Ave.) — The fifth annual Family PASS Golf Tournament will be held at the Westfields Golf Club in Clifton to support working families facing homelessness in Fairfax County. There will be prizes for the top three teams, along with various other contests. Register and donate online to support this cause.
  • Fit4Mom Stroller Strides — 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the Mosaic District (2910 District Ave.) — Fit4Mom Stroller Strides is a total-body workout for moms with their kids in tow. The 60-minute workout includes strength training, cardio, and core restoration, along with entertainment for the little ones in your stroller. The class will meet in Strawberry Park in front of Mom & Pop. Register online for the class. Your first session is free.
  • Town Election Day — 6 a.m.-7 p.m. at the Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry St. SE) — Three seats on the Vienna Town Council are up for election. Residents of the Town of Vienna who are registered to vote can cast a ballot in person at the Vienna Community Center. Voters must show a valid form of ID to cast a ballot. Call 703-255-6303 for more information.

Wednesday (May 5)

  • Cinco de Mayo at Urbano Mosaic — 12-9 p.m. at Urbano (2985 District Ave.) — Eat, drink, and dance to celebrate Cinco de Mayo at the Mosaic District. There will be outdoor events with some tent coverage. A live DJ will be playing from 4 to 6 p.m., and a live band will perform from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are on sale for food and drinks, and guests must be over 21 years old to enter the party.

Thursday (May 6)

  • Intentional Gardening: Make Way for the Pollinators (Online) — 7-8 p.m. — Master gardeners and Habitat Restoration Team members Sandy Tarpinian and Amy Crumpton lead the second session of Falls Church City’s three-part series about how gardeners can help create a healthy habitat for humans and wildlife. Email Marshall Webster at [email protected] to get the Zoom link.

Friday (May 7)

  • URBNmarket Spring Pop Up Market — 3-8 p.m. at the Mosaic District (2905 District Ave.) — The URBNmarket is back at the Mosaic District. Started in 2014, the pop-up crafts market features home decor, jewelry, toys, clothes, and more from artisans, collectors, and creators in the D.C. area. The market will also appear on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Saturday (May 8)

  • Pups & Pints — 12-7 p.m. at the McLean Metro station (1820 Dolley Madison Blvd.) — For a second weekend, Capital One Center will convert the McLean Metro station parking lot into a pop-up dog park and beer garden. The event features live music, food trucks, a puppy parade, a Mutt Strutt contest, and vendors with dog-centric products and services. Advance registration for a time slot is required to ensure adequate social distancing on the site.

Sunday (May 9)

  • Virtual Mother’s Day Tea: Bringing Up Baby (Online) — 3 p.m. — Hosted by Green Spring Gardens, this virtual tea will focus on parenting through history. Learn about the child-rearing advice from the past that would shock and amuse us today. Register online for the Zoom link. Call 703-941-7987 for more information.

Photo via Town of Vienna/Facebook

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 10th — just 2 weeks away!

This year, there will sadly be no handmade gifts sent home from school or teacher assisted poems, which leaves you on your own to celebrate the women in your life who are still lucky to be with you! Now, some of the women may be like me — literally just dying for a few hours alone! — but if they’re not, here’s an easy resource for putting together some thoughtful ways to show your love and appreciation.

Local contact-free flower delivery, skip the trip to the grocery store or the online shipping fees:

Gift cards are also always welcome, and especially helpful right now to small businesses like spa’s, nail salons or her favorite restaurant.

There are some really funny questionnaires to ask kids especially if they’re under 5. You can find a free one here.

I anticipate many of the restaurants will have Mother’s Day special take out option, so remember to check back for her favorite breakfast.

And most of all, just remember to be grateful if you’re healthy, safe and comfortable. Wishing all of my fellow mom’s a Happy Mother’s Day. Hope your day is tantrum free, dishes free, and full of warmth and sunshine.

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve scoured the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Tuesday (May 7)

  • Town of Vienna Election6 a.m.-7 p.m. at the Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry Street SE.) — There is a competitive race for the Town Council in Vienna, mainly focusing on the scale of new developments.
  • “The Guest Book” Reading and Signing7:30-9:30 p.m. at Barnes & Nobles (7851 Tysons Corner Center) — Sarah Blake, author of the historical novel The Guest Book, will read from the book and sign copies at the Tysons Corner Center Barnes and Noble.

Thursday (May 9)

  • Innovation Breakfast: The Opportunity in Opportunity Zones8-10:30 a.m. at Valo Park (7950 Jones Branch Drive) — The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia is hosting a business breakfast looking at opportunity zones, tracts of land targeted by state and federal governments for economic development. The breakfast will look at where they exist and what can be accomplished with them. Registration is $40 and includes breakfast.
  • Urban Forest Perfume Making Workshop 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Brandbox Lounge (Tysons Corner Center) — For Mother’s Day, the Urban Forest Perfume Company is setting up a workshop looking at the art of plant-based perfumes. Participants will get a class in understanding synthetic versus plant ingredients, perfume notes and basic formulas. Light food and wine will also be served.
  • Vienna Community Brainstorming on Public Parking in Commercial Corridor6-7 p.m. at the Town Hall Council Chambers (127 Center Street S.) — The Town Business Liaison Committee and Mayor Laurie DiRocco will host a community conversation about parking. This is an opportunity to gather further feedback from business owners and refine solutions proposed at the March 14 community meeting.
  • The Civil War in Northern Virginia7:30-9 p.m. at the Patrick Henry Library (101 Maple Ave E.) — Historian William S. Connery, author of “Civil War Northern Virginia 1861” will host a discussion of notable events and battles throughout Northern Virginia after the firing on Fort Sumter.

Friday (May 10)

  • Young Adult Dungeons and Dragons — 3:30-6 p.m. at the Patrick Henry Library (101 Maple Ave E.) — A group of players are putting together an all-experience levels Dungeons and Dragons group aimed at grades 7-12.

Saturday (May 11)

  • All the Way Live — 1-2 p.m. at the Alen Theatre (1234 Ingleside Ave.) — The history-through-hip-hop children’s show is coming to the Alden Theatre in the McLean Community Center. Tickets range from $10-$15.

Sunday (May 12)

  • Mother’s Day Brunch — 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Cheesetique Mosaic (2985 District Ave.) — Cheesetique in the Mosaic District is hosting a Mother’s Day event featuring a mimosa bucket, green eggs and ham, french toast, and lobster mac and cheese. The shop will also be open with special gifts for mothers. Reservations are encouraged.
  • Mother’s Day Brunch — 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Inca Social (2670 Avenir Place) — Inca Social is hosting a Latin-style brunch on Sunday with cocktails and special brunch items. Children under 6 years old eat for free.
  • Listen to Your Mother’s Jokes5-7 p.m. at Tysons Biergarten (8346 Leesburg Pike) — In a special comedy show, the Tysons Biergarten is hosting local standup comedians who are also mothers. Seating starts at 5 p.m. with the show starting at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10.

Photo via Facebook

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