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EatBar’s Holiday Sparkler Tasting

Posted by / Monday, December 5th, 2011

Image: Ivanova Inga/Shutterstock

Want to get fizzy?

This Saturday, December 10, from 1-4 p.m. EatBar in Arlington is hosting a Sparkler Tasting and sale of 20 of the best sparkling wines of the holiday season.

The afternoon will be full of fizzy delight as EatBar uncorks 20 sparkling wines.

From Cava to Champagne to Cremant, featured wines will include: Aubry 1er Cru Brut, Champagne France; Argyle Brut, Willamette Valley, Oregon; Pierre Paillard Grand Cru Brut, Champagne, France and Chateau Gaillard, Cremant de la Loire, Loire Valley, France.

The fifth annual Sparkler event is open to all with tickets for $25 per person and includes tastes of the 20 different sparkling wines with the opportunity to purchase any of the featured bottles at a special price (all bottles are under $50).

Tickets must be purchased in advance at

For more information, visit or

-Julia Harbo


Networking Benefit at Caribbean Breeze

Posted by / Monday, December 5th, 2011

Networking For Good- Connections for a Cause

Networking For Good, a new organization that works to create networking opportunities for local business professionals in the Washington DC Metropolitan area, while also benefiting charities and non-profit groups around the globe, is hosting its first ever charity networking event tomorrow, Tuesday, December 6 at the Caribbean Breeze Restaurant in Arlington, Virginia.

This first charitable networking event will help benefit the Capital Area Food Bank, the largest nonprofit hunger and nutrition education resource, in the DC Metro area. Unlike some other charity events, one hundred percent of the net proceeds from every Networking For Good event will go directly to a featured charity. Each event will be hosted at a different area restaurant or local business, and a host committee made up of local business professionals will coordinate and market each event. The featured charity will benefit from ticket sales as well as a portion of the hosting restaurant’s revenue for the night of the event.

Mike Cordero, Chef/Owner Caribbean Breeze, AguaViva & PrimeTime Sports Bar

Connect with like-minded business colleagues for a good cause! Bring plenty of business cards AND a non-perishable food item for a chance to win one of our fabulous door prizes! The more items you bring, the more chances you have to win!

Enjoy complimentary appetizers with a Latin flare while you network with a great group of professionals. The more people that attend, the more money that is raised for the Capital Area Food Bank!

There will be $2 Drink Specials and complimentary desserts from Chica Bom Bom!

Tickets are $15 at the door but just $10 if you register online now! 100% of the net proceeds from this and every Networking For Good event go directly to the charity.

And now for your enjoyment, Mike Cordero, Chef/Owner Caribbean Breeze, AguaViva & PrimeTime Sports Bar shares his family recipe for the ultimate holiday drink. So get into the holiday spirit everyone!


Coquito – Puerto Rican Coconut Milk-Rum Christmas Drink


1 cup coconut milk

1 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 cup evaporated milk

1 cup white rum, or to taste

1 cup water

3 cinnamon sticks

4 egg yolks, well beaten

ground cinnamon for garnish

How to make Coquito

Combine all of the milks and the rum in a blender or a food processor, set aside. Boil the water with the cinnamon sticks. Cool to room temperature. Discard the cinnamon sticks.

Combine all of the ingredients except the ground cinnamon and beat well in a blender or food processor in batches. Pour the eggnog into glass bottles and refrigerate until ready to use (a fewweeks is best).

To serve, transfer the eggnog to a punch bowl and sprinkle the cinnamon on top. “My grandfather used to make this the beginning of December,” Cordero said. That way it could “brew” properly and be “ready for Christmas eve.”

**Networking for Good hosts exciting networking events in the DC Metro area that benefit both the business and non-profit communities. Look for new event announcements on their website, When you attend a Networking for Good event, everyone benefits.

– Jennie Whistler


Holiday Sippers

Posted by / Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Deck the halls with boughs of holly—and fill your mugs with something yummy. In the spirit of the season, we rounded up four signature NoVA drinks that will have you humming holiday tunes in no time. —Lorin Drinkard

Spiced Cookie Steamer
Buzz Bakery [Arlington, Alexandria]
Steamed milk mixed with a sliver of buttered batter, cinnamon and sugar.

Hot Spiced Sangria
Trummer’s on Main [Clifton]
Assorted fresh fruit (figs, pomegranates, oranges, etc.) infused with nutmeg, cloves, star anise, cinnamon, orange peel and allspice, served in a rum, honey, orange juice and red wine concoction.

Candy Cane Cappuccino
Extra Perks Coffee Shop & Café [Alexandria]
Dark chocolate sauce and mint syrup mixed with steamed espresso and milk, with Christmas-colored candy cane bits sprinkled on the foam.

Toasted Almond Eggnog Martini
Panache [Tysons Corner]
Creamy eggnog, Frangelico, and Maker’s Mark combined and shaken, served with toasted almonds on top.

Illustrations by Libby Burns
(December 2011)


Bobby Flay’s Throwdown, Defeated

Posted by / Friday, December 2nd, 2011

I know this is old news in NoVA, but ever since moving to the area I crossed-my-heart-hoped-to-die that I would try the pad thai that beat Bobby Flay’s on his cocky T.V. show “Throwdown: Pad Thai.”

The sign doesn't lie.

Not that I really doubted the ability of an authentic Thai chef’s pad thai to win hands-down over the pad thai of Bobby Flay, owner of Bobby’s Burger Palace.

Bobby Flay may be an American culinary hero, but Nongkran Daks of Thai Basil in Chantilly’s pad thai looked like something I obviously had to try.

Really, it was about dang time.

So on a cold, rainy afternoon, I called in an order for one pork pad thai to go. My favorite part of ordering? I was asked on the phone, after placing my order, “Spicy? 1, 2, 3, 4?” as the level of my preferred spiciness. Initially, I went for a “3,” but the voice on the other end of the phone informed me that it was “very spicy,” so I switched it to “2.” I have a high tolerance for spicy food, but to me, the “2″ was perfect — just the right amount of fiery heat to be complemented by the fresh acidic lime juice and crunchy peanuts.

This one’s a winner.

Thai Basil is located at 14511-P Lee Jackson Memorial Highway in Chantilly (703-478-3666).

-Julia Harbo


December Is National Fruit Cake Month!

Posted by / Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Well you either love them, or love to hate them.

December is official fruitcake month which makes sense since this seems to be the time of year that we punish our distant friends and relatives with (re)gifts of this oft-mocked dessert. Fruitcakes are the butt of jokes and widely, yet affectionately, despised by almost everyone. Nevertheless, they have remained popular for hundreds of years.

A dense cake made with chopped candied fruit and/or dried fruit, nuts, and spices, and (optionally) soaked in spirits this cake is said to have originated in Ancient Egypt, where they were often placed inside tombs as essential food for the afterlife. Soon after they proliferated all over Europe and have been around ever since. The Crusaders were even known to eat fruit cakes because they were full of nutritious items like dried fruits and nuts and could also withstand their long journeys.

Something that’s lasted for that long couldn’t be all bad, right? Or does it’s reputation as the most despised dessert give it its only lasting legacy?

Whatever the reason, it’s just not quite Christmas without them… So here’s a recipe from the Food Network that promises an edible fruitcake even for non-believers! So go forth a bake cake for some lucky aunt- you only have to utter the F-word and they will know just how lucky they are.


Holiday dream... or nightmare?


      • 1 cup golden raisins
      • 1 cup currants
      • 1/2 cup sun dried cranberries
      • 1/2 cup sun dried blueberries
      • 1/2 cup sun dried cherries
      • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
      • Zest of one lemon, chopped coarsely
      • Zest of one orange, chopped coarsely
      • 1/4 cup candied ginger, chopped
      • 1 cup gold rum
      • 1 cup sugar
      • 5 ounces unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks)
      • 1 cup unfiltered apple juice
      • 4 whole cloves, ground
      • 6 allspice berries, ground
      • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
      • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
      • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
      • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
      • 1 teaspoon baking soda
      • 1 teaspoon baking powder
      • 2 eggs
      • 1/4 to 1/2 cup toasted pecans, broken
      • Brandy for basting and/or spritzing



Combine dried fruits, candied ginger and both zests. Add rum and macerate overnight, or microwave for 5 minutes to re-hydrate fruit.

Place fruit and liquid in a non-reactive pot with the sugar, butter, apple juice and spices. Bring mixture to a boil stirring often, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for at least 15 minutes. (Batter can be completed up to this point, then covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before completing cake.)

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients and sift into fruit mixture. Quickly bring batter together with a large wooden spoon, then stir in eggs one at a time until completely integrated, then fold in nuts. Spoon into a 10-inch non-stick loaf pan and bake for 1 hour. Check for doneness by inserting toothpick into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, it’s done. If not, bake another 10 minutes, and check again.

Remove cake from oven and place on cooling rack or trivet. Baste or spritz top with brandy and allow to cool completely before turning out from pan.

When cake is completely cooled, seal in a tight sealing, food safe container. Every 2 to 3 days, feel the cake and if dry, spritz with brandy. Like us, the cake will get better with age.

Happy National Fruitcake Month!

– Jennie Whistler


2941 Global Flavors Menu — Egypt

Posted by / Thursday, December 1st, 2011

All turkeyed out?

Image: nicepictures/Shutterstock

Me, too. Good thing Restaurant 2941 is still spicing things up with their Global Flavors series — special prix-fixe menus inspired by different places around the globe.

For the next two weeks, 2941 will serve their three-course prix-fixe menu of Egyptian food, featuring:

Shourbet Ads
red lentils soup, tamiya, coriander

Stuffed Quail
grilled over charcoal, stuffed with bulgur, wrapped in grape leaves, tahina, whole wheat bread

Om Ali
phyllo custard, pistachio ice cream, orange blossom foam

The prix-fixe menu is $42 per person for dinner only and last through Friday, December 9.

For reservations, call 703-270-1500.

2941 Restaurant is located at 2941 Fairview Park Drive in Falls Church.

-Julia Harbo


Port City Beer Meets RedRocks Pizza

Posted by / Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Tonight from 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Beer? Check. Pizza? Check. Awesome? CHECK.

Go out to RedRocks Pizza Napoletana in Old Town Alexandria TONIGHT for fun, food and beer! Join them to celebrate Alexandria’s own Port City Brewery and RedRocks Pizza.

Port City founder Bill Butcher will be there to showcase his fine selection of draft beers, accompanied by samplings of RedRocks famous Neapolitan pizza, small plates, charcuterie and dessert!

Port City Brewing Company is an innovative brewer of top-quality beers right in the heart of Old Town Alexandria. A new craft brewery, they take great pride in producing locally crafted ales for the DC and Mid Atlantic market. If you haven’t tried it yet, tonight is the perfect time to sample their IPA, Pale Ale, Witbier, and Porter.

Beer and pizza: possibly the best combination since peanut butter and jelly.

Tonight, December 1, 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at RedRocks Pizza Napoletana in Old Town. Admission is $35 pp + gratuity.

For more information or to make a reservation call (703)717.9873 or email

RedRocks Pizza Napoletana – 904 King Street, Alexandria

– Jennie Whistler


Memphis BBQ Opens in Crystal City

Posted by / Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Memphis BBQ

Photo Credit: Memphis Barbeque

It seems like Pork Barrel BBQ may have stolen its thunder, but the grand opening of Memphis Barbeque tomorrow, December 1, should not be missed either.

So, a little sneak preview to what will appear in the January magazine: Memphis native and former DC chef Chris George is bringing the heat to Crystal City with the restaurant’s large smokers and hickory grills to cook up their Memphis style meat — and lots of it.

Of course, they’ll have the traditional Memphis-style barbeque like pulled pork sandwiches (the pork is smoked in their smokers for 20 hours) and ribs — their famous Memphis style spare ribs (slow-cooked over a charcoal fire pit, served either wet of dry) and baby back ribs (smoked and then finished over the hickory grill).

But Memphis BBQ is also serving more experimental barbeque items like pulled pork egg rolls, brisket enchiladas, and spicy BBQ shrimp.

Side dishes include barbeque baked beans, baked four-cheese mac & cheese, grilled marinated zucchini and squash, and buttermild battered onion rings.

And there’s a bar, too — a tequila and bourbon focused bar, serving some southern specialties, along with beer on draft and over 50 wines.

In this suddenly nippy weather, doesn’t hot barbeque sound good? I don’t know about you, but my mouth is watering.

Memphis Barbeque is located at 320 S. 23rd St., Arlington (571-970-2727;

-Julia Harbo


Pajama Brunch at Virtue Feed and Grain

Posted by / Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Virtue Feed and Grain in Alexandria

At Virtue Feed and Grain, wearing your pajamas is not only encouraged, but rewarded!

On the first Sunday of every month, Virtue Feed and Grain is going to be offering a pajama brunch where you can enjoy traditional Irish breakfast, great beer and live music- all in your coziest pair of jammies!

And on Sunday, December 4th, Virtue Feed and Grain will host the Georgetown Saxatones, who will perform some of their greatest hits for Virtue’s guests.

The Georgetown Saxatones are the newest co-ed a cappella group on Georgetown’s campus. Originally founded as an oldies group in 2000, the Saxatones have expanded their repertoire to include everything from Motown to Michael Jackson, Alanis Morissette to Stevie Wonder, and Timbaland to Taylor Swift. The Saxatones were created with the purpose of serving the community through performance and music, and regularly partner with organizations both on the Hilltop and in the greater DC region.

Virtue Feed and Grain is the latest culinary endeavor from Chef Cathal Armstrong and his business partner/wife Meshelle.  Specializing in modern American “pub grub,” Virtue is the ideal spot for a relaxing Sunday brunch.  Chef Ryan Wheeler compiled a menu based on all time brunch favorites, including Corned Beef Hash with poached egg, French Toast with bacon and even the traditional Irish Breakfast, a nod to Chef Armstrong’s upbringing in Dublin.

Priced at $23 per person, prix fixe brunch includes coffee & juice, your main course, and the morning spread: assorted pastries, organic yogurt with various fruit fillings, assorted cereals, fruit salad, cured meets, cheese, smoked salmon, fresh bread and other goodies—the perfect way to get your appetite going.

Virtue Feed and Grain - 106 S. Union St., Alexandria; (571)970.3669

– Jennie Whistler


Jean Louis Palladin Tribute Menu and Cookbooks

Posted by / Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

It’s now officially the holiday season, with Christmas less than one month away. Need a gift idea?

Jean Louis Palladin cookbooks are now available for sale at MICHEL in Tysons Corner. The cookbook was originally published in 1989, with recipes that revolutionized the way chefs and food lovers viewed fine dining in America, and is now out-of-print. The book includes photographs by world-renowned photographer Fred Maroon and a limited quantity will be on sale for the whole month of December.

The Jean Louis Palladin cookbooks are $50 each and 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the James Beard Foundation so you can help support the mission to celebrate, nurture and preserve America’s diverse culinary heritage and future. Both Jean Louis Palladin and Michel Richard have received the James Beard Outstanding Chef Award.

And in collaboration with the cookbook deal, MICHEL will serve a Jean Louis Palladin tribute menu from December 6-10. Michel Richard honors the legendary chef with a six-course prix-fixe menu, featuring: Quail Eggs with Smoked Salmon in Brioche; Chestnut Soup; Terrine of Foie Gras with  Black Truffle Tricolor Pasta, Prosciutto and Fresh Herb Tomato Sauce; Fricassee of Snail with Crispy Sweet Breads, Mirepoix, Chanterelle Mushroom and Shallot Sauce; Roasted Duck Breast with Date Puree and Date Sauce; Chocolate Pasta with Mocha Sauce and White Chocolate Curls and Petits Fours.

And, of course, Jean Louis’ famous Brioche with Anchovy Butter will be served with the meal. After the tribute menu’s completion on December 10, special items from the menu will remain on the regular a la carte dinner menu through the rest of December.

The Jean Louis Palladin tribute menu is $150 per person and is available from 5:30-10 p.m. Tuesday, December 6-Sunday, December 10.

MICHEL by Michel Richard is located at The Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Galleria (1700 Tysons Blvd., McLean; 703-506-4300;

-Julia Harbo


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