Street Style: Raquel Burbano

I absolutely adore Raquel. She has been on the Stomping Ground team for less than one year and I find it difficult to remember how we ever managed without her. Raquel possess two qualities that I value very much in a colleague and a friend: she is candid and direct. The more I have gotten to know her, the more I have learned that this degree of honesty can only come from a fiercely caring and loyal woman with high expectations of herself and others. She does not expend emotional time or energy on the minutiae of things that don’t matter.

Raquel, more than anyone else I know, has style that reflects the qualities of who she is as a person. A true individual, both confident and carefree but also somehow simultaneously rebellious and posh — there is an ease to Raquel’s style that reminds me of the classic styles in Europe, but always with an edge.

I have a deep respect for Raquel’s commitment to hospitality. Like her style, she makes her craft seem effortless, but I know behind it is hard work, true grit, and deep affection for those who are lucky enough to work with and for her. While I know posing in an article isn’t exactly her cup of tea, I couldn’t be more thrilled to introduce you all to her!

Raquel is wearing the Winslow Dress by Xirena and Wild Maquis Earrings by Lizzie Fortunato available at The Hive
and Woven Griffin Shoes by Veronica Beard available at The Shoe Hive  | 📸:: Sarah Marcella Creative




How do you spend your time? Catering to a two year old, lol. I like exploring D.C. New places to eat, drink, and different galleries and art and music events.

How long have you lived in Alexandria: It will be seven years in July.

What is your hometown? I grew up in Woodbridge, so I consider most of Northern Virginia my “hometown.”

What brought you to Alexandria? Family. I moved away to go to college and did the whole “never coming back to (live in) VA!” statement. That changed once my siblings started having kids and I moved back to see my nieces and nephews grow up. One of the best decisions of my life.

What would surprise people about you? I majored in vocal performance and have sung in several small opera companies and a cathedral in New York City after college. Some of the most memorable singing experiences I had were at the cathedral. I loved learning new, beautiful, and challenging music every weekend and it was a humbling experience working with so much talent in such sacred spaces.

You’re a superhero: what’s your superpower? I feel like being a mom IS my super power! Add a full-time job to the mix and I feel like I can take over the world! Or at least a playground!

Favorite cocktail: A Negroni, heavy on the gin.

Last book read or movie seen: Currently reading and thoroughly enjoying Becoming by Michelle Obama.

Guilty Pleasure: Dr Who or Parks and Rec reruns

Phrase you overuse: At work “let’s use our critical thinking skills.”

Facebook or Instagram? Instagram

Latest binge-watch: Umbrella Academy

Bucket list travel destination: Tokyo, for the temples, food, and the Studio Ghibli Museum.

If you only could have one for the rest of your life: wine or coffee? Coffee! It’s what gets me through the day and afternoon and night!





Define your style in three words or less: Simple, whimsical, and grandma chic.

The go-to piece in your wardrobe: An over-sized cardigan. I own like 10!

Favorite trend ever: Floral prints

Favorite current trend: High-waisted, wide-leg crop pants

Beauty product you can’t live without: Bliss ex-glow-sion face moisturizer

Favorite fragrance: Tocca Eau de Perfume in Florence

Heels or flats? Stacked heels and wedges. Impractical, but they just make me happy.





Favorite room in your home:  My dining room. It’s cozy, gets the best sunlight, and I love entertaining and cooking for friends and family.

Antiques, modern, or a mix? Mixed

Last item bought for your home: Throw pillows. I love how that one small change can bring new life to a room.

Next planned purchase: Garden supplies to tend our out-of-control flower beds.

Favorite way to entertain: Cooking for the people I love and talking into the night with coffee and wine.

Clutter-free or well-lived in? Very well lived in, lol. Such is life with a toddler!

Wallpaper — yes, totally modern or no, so dated: Yes!





Your go-to work-out: Running to keep up with a two year old, squats when I pick her up.

Most fun way to exercise: When I can get in a work out, I like going to yoga classes.

Group exercise or solo: Group classes help keep me motivated.

Fitness goal: If I can still fit into my favorite pair of jeans, tank top, and dresses, I call it a win.

Haven’t yet, but might be willing to try with coaching / encouragement: Don’t think this is for me, lol.

Proudest fitness achievement: Being eight months pregnant and walking more than five miles a day while doing all the touristy things in New Orleans.





Favorite spot in Alexandria: Beatley Central Library. I take my toddler for story hour several times a week and love that we can have snack time and read books in their lovely courtyard.

Last purchase in Alexandria: A bag of single origin coffee beans and a six pack of Von Trapp Helles Lager from Stomping Ground to enjoy my days off with.

Best coffee / happy hour / date night spot: Stomping Ground for coffee, Hank’s Oyster Bar for happy hour, and Momo sushi for a date night.

Favorite charity: Black Girls Code and Girls on the Run. Both organizations do amazing work opening opportunities for young girls and to help them get involved in their communities.

Favorite annual Alexandria event: Art on the Avenue in Del Ray



  • The latest from Nicole
Head Janitor, Chef, and Proprietor | Stomping Ground
Nicole’s cooking style is rooted in, but not limited to, her love of southern biscuits and her diverse culinary upbringing. A military brat, she spent her childhood in the Chicago suburbs enjoying her great-grandmother Mae’s Lithuanian cooking. As a tween, she moved to Paulding County, Ga. where she begrudgingly fell in love with the charmingly perplex small towns of the Deep South. She fondly remembers grubbing on Martin’s biscuits, late-night Waffle House debauchery and cooking with her family. After graduating from the University of Georgia, Nicole started a marketing career at an art nonprofit in Atlanta. At 25 years old, she became the youngest executive at the local Atlanta NPR affiliate. Chasing her dreams, she moved to Alexandria, Va. where she took a short post in the Whole Foods marketing department. Realizing that cooking had been her true love all along, she began night courses at L’Academie de Cuisine. She completed her apprenticeship at Blue Duck Tavern where she was promoted to a line cook after graduation. From there, Nicole worked as a private chef for busy Washington D.C. executives and their families. As grown-ups tend to do, Nicole realized something about her childhood — the best parts were enjoying small town communities, cooking with her great-grandmother and sharing meals with family and friends. She opened Stomping Ground to build a safe and welcoming community around yummy, handmade food from local sources. As her first foray running her own kitchen, she has shamelessly hired better, smarter cooks to fill her kitchen and your bellies. Her great-grandmother’s recipes often appear on the Stomping Ground menu without advertisement and, no, she won’t tell you the secret ingredients. Nicole lives in Del Ray and won’t shut up about how much she loves living there.

If you wander down Del Ray’s, “The Avenue,” you won’t miss the farm-red building with a rustic fence bordering the patio. Stomping Ground opened two years ago and quickly became popular for its made-from-scratch biscuits and its neighborhood vibe. On weekends, excited guests line up before Stomping Ground opens hoping to be the first to get a just-out-of-the-oven biscuit or a fresh salad. Stomping Ground is mostly known for its fast casual breakfast and lunch but on Thursdays and Fridays they provide a full dinner service after 5:00pm. All meals are built from local, seasonal food that is organic whenever possible.

2309 Mt Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301


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