Posted by Laura Hayes / Tuesday, November 24th, 2015
Four buzzed-about restaurants are headed to Northern Virginia in the coming weeks and months, and two others opened yesterday. There’s something for everyone to be thankful for in this class of newcomers, from ramen and barbecue to naan pizza and fresh pasta. Here’s what to expect at Yona, Texas Jack’s, Palette 22, Hank’s Pasta Bar, Spice-6 and Hula Girl Bar & Grill.
Posted by Laura Hayes / Thursday, November 19th, 2015
It was a blow to Del Ray when Mancini’s Cafe + Bakery shuttered with the announcement of Barbara Mancini’s retirement. Mancini nurtured the community, providing its residents with decades of hot breakfasts and other meals. Taking over the 1508 Mount Vernon Ave. address is Junction Bakery & Bistro from Noe Landini and Nathan Hatfield. Landini is also behind Landini Brothers, Fish Market and Pop’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream in Old Town Alexandria.
Posted by Laura Hayes / Monday, November 16th, 2015
If you’re saddled with the cooking duties this Thanksgiving, take a cue from the professionals. We asked five chefs to spill it on the dishes that have played on repeat for decades, even becoming tradition. Some were willing to share their recipes.
Posted by Laura Hayes / Thursday, November 12th, 2015
The Nov. 16 opening of matchbox American Kitchen + Spirit in the One Loudoun development doubles as a debut of what matchboxfoodgroup CEO Ty Neal calls matchbox 2.0 because it’s a refresh of the home-grown concept about to become a sizable national chain. “It’s next generation in design, menu and uniforms, and it’s all coming together at One Loudoun,” Neal says. He has been a Loudoun County resident for eight years.
Posted by Laura Hayes / Tuesday, November 10th, 2015
Robin Li wants you to trust him. So much so that he’s eliminated a la carte menus except for in the lounge area of his restaurant, Secret Chopsticks, opening in Rosslyn on Nov. 17. By taking a seat in Li’s dining room, you’re saying bring it on in the form of five tasting menus showcasing American Chinese cuisine. “Personally, I really like this style because whatever is on the tasting menu is what the chef is really satisfied with,” Li says. “As far as Chinese restaurants and Chinese food, I don’t think anybody is doing this.”
Posted by Editorial / Thursday, November 5th, 2015
Dish: 7-ounce or 10-ounce tri-tip served with two signature sides ($16.95/$18.95)
Where: Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill, 6797 Springfield Mall, Springfield
Taste: When you think of barbecue, the trinity of brisket, pulled pork and ribs come to mind. In California, however, where Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill is headquartered, tri-trip is part of the conversation. After one bite, you’ll see why. The triangular cut of meat from the sirloin is largely considered a California obsession, though states like Texas also serve it.
Posted by Laura Hayes / Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015
When Greg Engert curated the list of brews for the fourth annual Novemberfest, he wasn’t just checking boxes to make sure he nailed the right balance of beer styles or breweries, though that was important to the Neighborhood Restaurant Group beer director. “It’s not just a beer from every brewer in Virginia—it’s a few beers from exceptional breweries that show the full spectrum of craft brewing in the state,” Engert says. “People want to drink local, but Virginia beers are far more interesting beyond just being local.”
Posted by Laura Hayes / Thursday, October 29th, 2015
Del Ray’s Reserve 2216 closed quietly on Saturday. It was their last night in operation at their current address (2216 Mount Vernon Ave.) above sister restaurant Del Ray Pizza. Regulars will be relieved to know the restaurant focused on Southern-leaning food such as hot chicken and fried green tomatoes will only temporarily shutter as they seek a new location in the same area. “We’re really looking forward to finding a space and signing a lease soon,” says chef Eric Reid.
Posted by Editorial / Tuesday, October 27th, 2015
October’s Show and Tell
By Laura Hayes
When parents pass on, it’s natural to hold on to some of their treasured earthly possessions. When Andrew Kim—founder of matchboxfoodgroup, which has 12 restaurants in the Metro-D.C. area including Ted’s Bulletin and Matchbox—lost his mom in 2008, it meant taking home her collection of 1,500 Pez dispensers: “They remind me of something that put a smile on her face,” Kim says.”
It’s fitting that these restaurants, like Kim, have a nostalgic side. The massive Pez collection is now on display at matchboxfoodgroup’s headquarters in the District.
Kim is adding to the collection, but he’s on a specific mission. “I’m just trying to complete sets,” Kim says. Kim’s personal favorite: Star Wars.
Kim’s mother didn’t begin amassing PEZ until the late 1980s, but there are certain dispensers, like Mickey Mouse, that date back to the ’50s or ’60s. As with most collectables, the older the dispenser, the more valuable it is. “The ones without the little feet are antiques and worth quite a bit more,” Kim explains. A quick check on eBay doesn’t show any astronomical asking prices, though—a vintage Pluto dispenser sans feet was available for $5.
Although Kim and his wife, Addie, have two sons, he’s not sure if he will saddle them with the collection. “I don’t know if I want to pass down all that clutter.”
Laura Hayes hails from Philly (but don’t hold it against her). She’s been covering the local dining scene for three years, and her work has been published in the Washington Post, Food Network, Washington City Paper, Arlington Magazine and more. Having lived in Japan for two years, she finds herself in a constant state of craving sushi. Laura always orders her favorite savory dish again for dessert and keeps her gut in check through lots of CrossFit classes.
Posted by Editorial / Monday, October 26th, 2015
By Laura Hayes
Mosaic District newcomer DGS Delicatessen reminds customers it’s more than modern Jewish deli with the launch of DGS After Dark. Every Thursday of the month the restaurant will flex its bar muscles by offering themed bar nights with discounted drinks from 6 p.m. until late. They range from playful ’80s cocktail nights that may involve adult bar mitzvahs to more serious tributes to Virginia beer, wine and spirits. “It’s a celebration of the new delicatessen drinking culture inspired by our grandparents’ long nights in Lower East side taverns, winter getaways to Florida and jazzy escapades to the Catskills,” says co-owner Nick Wiseman.