Gut Check

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Michelle Obama and Rachael Ray Lunch at Parklawn Elementary School

Posted by / Thursday, January 26th, 2012

A balanced diet is hard for anyone to maintain. With limitations of time, money, resources and knowledge about nutrition, it’s no surprise that obesity is a growing epidemic in our nation.

Yesterday morning at Parklawn Elementary School (in Alexandria), Michelle Obama, Rachael Ray and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, took steps in challenging childhood obesity within the school system by announcing the first changes in 15 years to the $11 billion school lunch program.

With the hope of making a positive impact on the 32 million children who take part in the nationwide school meal programs each day, Mrs. Obama and Vilsack outlined some of the new changes made to the guidelines in government-subsidized school meals while Rachael Ray cooked along school staff to prepare the midday meal. Such changes include: doubling the amount of fruits and vegetables that children are served, requiring all grains served to be whole grains, the distribution of low fat milk, limits on salt and trans fat levels and setting a maximum calorie intake per day based on age.

While these changes have been met with criticism by conservatives who say this is an overreach of government regulation, many nutritionists and representatives of the food industry including Coreay Henry, vice president of communication for the American Frozen Foods Institute, applauded the new efforts.

After the announcement this morning, Mrs. Obama, Ray and Vilsak stood in line with students and devoured Rachael Ray’s turkey tacos with brown rice, black bean and corn salad and fruit in the school’s lunchroom.

Not a bad way to lunch if you ask me.

New School Lunch Rules Aimed at Reducing Obesity [NYTimes]

Michelle Obama: School lunches to have more veggies, whole grains [MSNBC]

Photo by

[tips for the food desk]


A Second Opinion on District Taco

Posted by / Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

“The meal is simple, but undeniably tasty. You can taste the freshness of the pico de gallo and the authentic flair of the carnitas. And for the price, you definitely get a great bang for the buck!” –Ra Chan on District Taco (

Photo by Kate Bohler

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 here on the blog (and send you a prize). Tell us what you think:


Just In: 2941 Opens Monday, January 30th

Posted by / Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

After passing all of its inspections, 2941 will start serving its new upper-scale Mediterranean menu in the renovated space this coming Monday.

Look for more details later today (menu items!) and check out NVM’s interview with Chef Bertrand Chemel about the economy’s impact on losing its French fine dining label.

Photo by Sally Traynham


Lick Your Screen: Ribs Edition

Posted by / Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Ribs │ Aldie Country Store│39285 John Mosby Highway, Aldie, VA 20105

Photo by Stefanie Gans

[tips for the food desk / follow @gansie]



Will Artley to “Pop Up” in Del Ray

Posted by / Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Last night, Will Artley revealed his most recent plans for his pop-up restaurant in Del Ray on Twitter.

Titled “Project 2312,” the fleeting restaurant will be open from January 30 through February 6 with two seatings per night, one at 6 p.m. and one at 8 p.m., and some flexibility for walk-ins at the bar. The menu will feature Artley’s past favorites in an a la carte menu format with four to five options each for the cold and hot appetizers and five to six entrée items.

To wash down the delicious fare, the restaurant will also be serving craft cocktails, a limited wine selection and Port City beer.

Why 2312? The name stems from the location of its temporary home, 2312 Mount Vernon Avenue where Pork Barrel BBQ is located. Because of Artley’s behind the scenes consulting work for the restaurateurs behind the hog-inspired restaurant, they are letting him use the space next door for one week only.

Artley, who is known for his work at Evening Star Café will be bringing on board a few familiar faces from his old restaurant in addition some help from DC Central Kitchen students.

Don’t be surprised if you see other chefs in the building. He teases that some of his chef friends may stop by in the kitchen to play for an evening.

Want to speak to the man himself? Book a reservation at 703-596-2312, which he will be personally answering.

Chef Will Artley Unveils His Pop-Up Plans For Del Ray [Eater DC]

Photo from Artley’s FB

[tips for the food desk]


Beer Me!

Posted by / Friday, January 20th, 2012

Dear beer lovers of NoVA, Volkov

If you’ve spent some time perusing the beer aisle recently or you like to throw one back at your local bar from time to time, we want to hear from you!

For our inaugural beer issue, premiering in May, Northern Virginia Magazine wants to know where you find the best brews in the area. We’ve divided the categories into bars, retail and breweries and hope you’ll plug in your homegrown favorites (i.e., keep the national chains to a minimum.)

Here ya go! Spill it!

This poll has closed. Thanks for your participation!


What Does “Ethnic” Mean to Society Fair’s Cathal Armstrong?

Posted by / Thursday, January 19th, 2012

The highly anticipated Society Fair opens this Saturday at 6 pm in Old Town. The food emporium will offer gourmet sandwiches (braised short ribs and lamb shoulder), as well as unique cuts of meat, plus cheese and wine.

The restaurant, dubbed “The Demo Kitchen,” will feature a rotating theme from Tuesday through Saturday. (Later on, Sunday and Monday will feature classes such as bread making and charcuterie.)

>>Click here for a sneak peek of the wine bar menu. 

For example, Thursday promises comfort dishes, while Friday features fish. But Tuesday? That’s labeled “ethnic.”

Chef Cathal Armstrong, the power name behind the operation, is a son of Ireland and has lived in the United States since 1990. So how does this immigrant view “ethnic?”

Armstrong laughed when posed the question. He then said to, “Look it up in the dictionary,” and quickly called out to others in the room. He returned with not the controversial answer (I was so clearly digging for), “Food from other nations outside of the United States,” which he lists as Lebanese, Greek, Asian, Thai, Indian and Japanese. The broad term gives the kitchen room to play around, he says.

With only 10 seats, be sure to set a reservation for NoVA’s newest experiment.

Photo: Society Fair

[tips for the food desk / follow @gansie]




Get Perspective. Exercise Hard. But Most Importantly, Eat Well.

Posted by / Thursday, January 19th, 2012

It’s January, which means gyms are packed. After midnight hits on New Year’s Day, everyone vows to eat better.

Yet, in about four weeks, everyone abandons their newfound health kick and returns to old, unhealthy eating habits.

With our nation’s high obesity rates, our culture’s glorified obsession with all things fried and the recent declaration of food celebrity Paula Deen’s type 2 diabetes diagnosis, we desperately need to get perspective and truly focus on what we eat and how we exercise.

This is where salads come into play. And NoVA has plenty of places filled with the green stuff.

These go-to items for healthy eating (just make sure you aren’t adding bacon, ranch dressing or mountains of cheese) are easy to prepare, easy to find and leave you feeling light (and not dragging) at work.

Here are a few places that are known for healthy and, equally important, tasty creations to get you going in the right direction.

1. Salad & Things Organic (Arlington)
2. Seasons 52 (Falls Church)
3. Sweetgreen (Arlington & Reston)
4. Rabbit (Arlington)
5. Sunflower (Vienna)

Photo: Food Network

[tips for the food desk]


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