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NoVA Wineries Win Gold

Posted by / Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

NoVA has three gold medalists (even before the Olympics begin): Potomac Point Winery, Sunset Hills Vineyard and Tarara Winery.

This past Thursday, the Virginia Wineries Association’s Governor’s Cup Gala kicked off the 5th Annual Virginia Wine Expo, a one-stop shop for tasting the many liquid libations of 75 Virginia-exclusive wineries.

The gala honored the 2012 top twelve, highest-ranking wines in Virginia (out of the thirteen that received gold medals). Three of these gold medals belong to wines that are NoVA grown.

Which wines won?

Potomac Point Winery: 2009 Heritage Reserve Meritage Blend

Sunset Hills Vineyard: 2007 Cabernet Franc

Tarara Winery: 2010 Honah Lee White Vinifera Blend

Check out upcoming events at these wineries and more on our March Food & Wine Calendar!

Photo: JirkaBursik/Shutterstock

[tips for the food desk]


Order Me: Sweet Ginger’s Haru Maki

Posted by / Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Haru Maki at Sweet Ginger

Cream cheese is good as a spread on bagels, spun into cheesecake fillings and—who are we kidding—eaten right from a spoon. But warm the thick and tangy condiment and cream cheese turns into something else. 

Snuck into a crispy, fried spring roll, Sweet Ginger lets a column of cream cheese soften and just slightly loosen to mingle with shredded carrots and cabbage. The sultry cream cheese further plays well when the roll dunks into a sweet and sour sauce. 

Egg rolls will never be the same once you’ve seen it through the eyes of cream cheese. 

Photo by Stefanie Gans


Lick Your Screen: Eat Your Roots Edition

Posted by / Friday, February 24th, 2012

Beets │The Farmers Table 2012│2709 West Ox Road, Herndon

Photo: Sally Traynham


Taste Summer All Winter-long: Smoked Sea Salt

Posted by / Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Who’s heard of 60 degree weather in February? While the next few days are hopeful to remain warm, next week brings back the (relatively) cold winter temperature.

The good news? You can taste summer anytime, any season and anywhere (as long as you are within the radius of Whole Foods).

Last year, I discovered the beauty of smoked salt. Its aroma is intoxicating as you open the container and the flavor it imparts on everything it touches reflects the deep, earthy essence of the hickory wood with which it was smoked.

My Whole Foods (in Clarendon) hides Salt Works’ Durango Hickory Smoked Sea Salt behind the gourmet cheese counter, an insider find that might be one of food’s best kept secrets. After approaching the counter, they will hand over a small deli container with as much or as little smoked salt as you’d like. It costs $12.95 per pound, but let’s be real: If you are asking for a pound of salt, the price is the last of your concerns.

Use this summer-inspired, naturally smoked salt on fish or to season sweet potatoes before roasting. For the more adventurous, try it mixed into brownies, as a substitute for regular sea salt in a salted caramel or even to flavor the base of dark chocolate ice cream (I tried the latter this past summer and it was rather interesting).

However you eat it, it’s a definite must-try.

Photo: Salt Works

[tips for the food desk]


ISO: Travel Size Sriracha

Posted by / Thursday, February 23rd, 2012


Pho lovers recognize the bright red bottle at the table:  Sriracha.

Sriracha is a Thai hot sauce that is simply delicious and for some like me, addictive.  This magical bottle comes in two sizes 17oz and 28oz and can be found in stores ethnic markets, such as Lotte and Hmart, as well as mainstream supermarkets.

Travel size bottles of ketchup, mustard and tabasco can be found easily but finding travel size Sriracha is simply impossible.  What is a girl to do, carry a 17oz bottle of sriracha in her purse? 

 In search of baby Sriracha. Please help a heat addict out! 

Photo by  Joey Hernandez

[tips for the food desk / follow @JoeyHndz]


Where’s the Bacon? Vintage 50 Grinds the Pig Right into the Beef

Posted by / Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

50/50 Bacon Burgers at Vintage 50

Bacon cheese burgers usually cause such a mess. Strips of pork poke outside the perimeter of the bun, crackling all over the place. And if the bacon isn’t placed on the burger at the right moment—when the cheese melts enough to act like glue—then the bacon will never coexist with the bread and meat.

Enter the 50/50 Sliders. Vintage 50 managed to bring the addicting smokiness of bacon to the classic beef patty by grinding the two together.

“One night after service,” explains Executive Chef Jeffrey Sklaney, “we were talking about different ideas [and] what we could do to make the lounge menu a little more creative and still hold true to favorite classics.”

Their thought process: “We all love burgers, we all love bacon,” says Sklaney.

But that sounds much easier than it was to create this mystifying burger, just a few weeks ago. 

Read the rest of this entry »


Edible Holidays: Margaritaville

Posted by / Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Most people don’t even need one reason to sit back and enjoy a margarita, but today you have two.

Number one: The weather outside is freakishly beautiful for this type of year, so take advantage.

Number two: More importantly, today is National Margarita Day.

Here is a round-up of places paying tribute to the margarita with unique twists on this classic drink:

Spicy Orange Margariita 
Tequila Blanco infused with chile Serrano, fresh orange and sour mix on the rocks
(La Sandia, McLean)

Vampire Kiss Margarita
Juarez tequila, cranberry juice and chambord
(El Paso Café, Arlington)

Guava Skinny Margarita
Guava juice, light sour mix and tequila—one of their newest creations rolled out this week
(Uncle Julios, Fairfax, Reston, Woodbridge, Arlington)

Patron Margarita
A solid, top-shelf version of the classic
(Los Tios Grill, Alexandria)

If you’d rather stay-in, celebrate in-style with chic hand painted glasses from The Lolita Store.

Photo: Tom Nance/Shutterstock

[tips for the food desk]



Hungry for Linkage: Michel Closes, Rustico Wins (so far) Best NoVA Pizza and Restaurant Eve Up for Top Industry Award

Posted by / Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Restaurant Eve nominated for Outstanding Service, Wine Program and Best Chef for this year’s James Beard Awards. [Eater]

Would you support public roads by paying a meal tax? [Mt.VernonPatch]

Michel Richard‘s Tyson restaurant, Michel (named in NVM’s Top 50 Restaurants), closed Sunday. BUT WHY??? [WaPo]

The Slice Is Right. Or is it? Rustico won yesterday for best pizza in NoVA. What’s your choice? [NVM]

Virginia’s iconic dishes are braised collards, oyster stew and peanut soup. Really? [Cooking Channel]

Hey Girl. It’s your birthday. Sign up for some freebies from area restaurants. [ManassasPatch]

Five Guys receives perfect marks on latest Fairfax City Restaurant Inspection. [FairfaxCityPatch]

And these are the most amazing and very best cupcakes of all time. But, where’s Janice? [Mostly Cabbages]

Bombay Club‘s return to Del Ray looking good. [DelRayPatch]

Take cover. Chains are coming. [WBJ]

Proper Turkish tea requires a two pot system. [AlexandriaPatch]

No more bun. Taco Bell changes tag line. [AdAge via Smartbrief]

Bye-bye disturbingly cheap Tex-Mex. [ARLnow]

Nearly one-third of Arlington kids receive free/reduced lunch. [Ballston-VASquarePatch]

Cheap Eats issue hits news stands this week. [NVM]

Photo by Stefanie Gans, ginger at Lotte

[tips for the food desk / follow @gansie]


The (Indoor) Farmers Table: Herndon’s Answer to Local Food During Winter

Posted by / Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Many NoVinians suffer winter’s (usual) cold, harsh winds to meander through tables and select what local produce is offered during the off-peak season. They sacrifice warmth to gain access to locavore products, meats and vegetables, speaking to their freshness and flavor that leaps and bounds over superstore counterparts.

Fear not. This week the Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon is supplying a simply warmer alternative via, The Farmers Table 2012, their new indoor farmers market.

Starting this Thursday, Feb. 23, and running (almost) every Thursday until April 26, The Visitor Center at Frying Pan Farm Park will be hosting vendors with locally grown produce, meats, pastries and food-focused products from 2:30pm to 6:30pm.

Want to get really local? Check out Stallard Road Farm, nestled just west of Warrenton, a confirmed vendor who will be selling local meat, honey and teas.

Photo: Frying Pan Farm Park 

[tips for the food desk]


A Second Opinion on Pane e Vino

Posted by / Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

pane e vino

Photo Courtesy of Kyle Martell

Pane e Vino dishes out amazing Italian fare and an impressive wine list in an unpretentiously chic atmosphere. From the meek to the adventurous, the menu offers something for every palate. Go for the linguine and clam sauce and stay for the gelato.

–Jamila York on Pane e Vino

Good? Bad? Tweet-worthy? Let us know where you’ve been dining in Northern Virginia. If we like your review, we’ll feature it in the magazine (and send you a prize).


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