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Hungry for Linkage: RIP Nora Ephron; CityEats Launches Reservation App; Cheesetique Serves Brunch

Posted by / Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Smelt at Me Jana / Photo by Stefanie Gans

The case for a sardine fork. [Slate]

CityEats, the Food Network-related reservation site and hostile competitor to Open Table, released its iPhone app. The free download offers seats in Alexandria, Arlington, Ballston, McLean, Old Town, Pentagon City, Reston, Tysons Corner, Tysons Galleria and Vienna. [NVMwire]

“Everybody dies, there’s no avoiding it and I do not believe for one second that butter is the cause of anyone’s death.” RIP Nora Ephron. [HuffPo]

Cheesetique now offers brunch, with a banana and Nutella panini, oatmeal brulée and quiche margherita.  [DelRayPatch]

RedRocks will open its third location on Columbia Pike, which is one of many heading toward this newly revitalized strip. []

Fancy chocolate, Fleurir Hand Grown Chocolates, headed to Old Town. [Wash'tonian]

“The rainbow-colored Oreo graphic unveiled for LGBT Pride month proves at least one thing: Gays are just as susceptible to clever marketing as straights. At long last! Equality under commercialization.” [WaPo]

Are these links not enough? Sign up for Relish, our dining newsletter. [NVM]


Say Cheese! McDonald’s Quarter Pounder Gets Dressed Up for the Camera

Posted by / Wednesday, June 27th, 2012


We’ve all seen that thick, juicy burger on the menu board: The patty just hangs off the bun, the cheese is perfectly melted, tomato slices are bright red, pickles are piled high and the mayonnaise and ketchup appear to be dripping off the cheese onto the counter. And wait? Is that steam I see coming from the burger?

Instead, what we notice as we pull off from the drive-thru is that we received a shriveled-up, lukewarm burger with a perfectly un-melted square of cheese, one-third slice of a mushy tomato, one pickle and either too little or too much ketchup and mayo. Nope. It doesn’t look like the picture.

McDonald’s Canada recently posted a video of how its Quarter Pounder with cheese is primped and prepped for its menu photo shop. The video also briefly explains why the burger in the box looks smaller.

Ah come on! We always knew the images were manipulated but must you rub it in our faces?


UPDATED: Jeff Black Apologies to Food Bloggers After Nasty (Misunderstood?) Remark

Posted by / Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Lucky Business/


During his RAMMY acceptance speech, restaurateur Jeff Black made disparaging comments about the blogging community that—no surprise—pissed off the blogging community. (Side note: bloggers weren’t all that mad, as they gathered at Black’s 14th St, NW bar for free drinks and food at the after party.)

1. Here’s the excerpt on Black’s remarks from Eater DC:

 “I started out scrubbing pots and pans and cleaning toilets and doing a lot of crappy shit… But you work your way up. It’s great to see respect being given to people that work in the business that do the long hard hours, not the bloggers and not the people on the outside.” He went on to rally the audience into cheers with his speech long after the music began to play.

2. Washington City Paper broadcast a few tweets from angered bloggers, including this from @bonappetitfoodi

Jeff Black throwing bloggers under the bus aside, great speech #RAMMYs

3. The Washington Post then grabbed Black’s story, which explained that the chef actually meant to attack Yelpers, not bloggers. Tim Carman writes:

When I pointed out to Black that there’s a difference between a diner who rants on Yelp and an often poorly paid or unpaid blogger, he recognized his error. “That’s my mistake,” he says of his use of “blogger” in his speech. “I was referring to those who get ahold of a phone and start typing out on it, thinking they’re an expert.”

4. And today Black’s publicist sends a letting directly to those very dear online writers:

To the blogging and media community,

I certainly apologize if my comments at the RAMMY awards were upsetting and I am sorry they were taken out of the context I intended. The point I was trying to make is about the underappreciated people in our industry. Have you ever cleaned a toilet you didn’t own? Scrub pots of food you were not allowed to taste. Clean a table that the food and drink from were more expensive than you can afford. Many of us in the restaurant business have. It’s where we start and hopefully with enough dedication we prosper.

The truth of the matter is I should have directed my comments to people who use the internet as a Bully Pulpit to deride or denigrate many in the restaurant business. Not the trophy chefs and restaurateurs (who should have thick enough skin to take critical comment in stride), but the people who really make the industry work. Countless times nameless, faceless “Posters” on food blogs deride waiters, bartenders and other restaurant employees without thought of the consequences or the commitment these people make every day.  

At Black Restaurant Group we support blogs that celebrate Hospitality, That support The Local Food Scene, that spotlight farms and farmers and all the hard work they do. What we don’t support are people who come to the restaurants and make threats of negative posts for “freebies” or to skirt the rules. (You can call me anytime and I will give a laundry list of outrageous behavior from certain people, cell [redacted]). Again I do humbly apologize if my comments where taken out of context. I was merely trying to stand up for the people that make my company the success that it is.

Thank you,
Jeff Black
Black Restaurant Group

5. Will the feud continue, especially with his poor usage of capitalization? Will Nevin Martell continue with his threat of creating a t-shirt that reads, “Jeff Black Hates My Blog?” Does anyone else care about this fight except bloggers?

6. Black is keeping the feud in the spotlight by wearing an “I LOVE BLOGGERS” t-shirt to an event Tuesday night. Ugh. Really hoping #Bloggergate ends soon. Here’s the most recent update from Eater DC:

Finally, last night Black wore a shirt declaring his love for bloggers to an event last night, while freelance writer Nevin Martell declares that there’s “no animosity from either side” — though he’s totally still going through with custom t-shirts that read, “Jeff Black Hates My Blog.”

So, to recap, maybe the bloggers aren’t really mad. Maybe Jeff Black isn’t really sorry. Maybe he actually likes — nay, loves — bloggers. And maybe nobody really cares, so here’s hoping it’s all over.

7. Food writer Nevin Martell makes good on his promise: Here’s where you can buy a “Jeff Black Hates My Blog”  t-shirt, sweatshirt,  trucker hat and onsie.


Passion Food Group To Open Mexican Restaurant Fuego Cocina and Tequileria

Posted by / Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

J. Helgason/

Passion Food Restaurant Group will open a casual Mexican restaurant, Fuego Cocina and Tequileria, in the Clarendon space previously occupied by the short-lived Market Tavern. Fuego is expected to open this fall. 

Alfredo Solis, who worked in Passion Food’s AcadianaCeiba and, most recently, District Commons, will run the kitchen. Solis, originally from Mexico, will offer authentic small plates and full-sized entrees, and as publicist Simone Rathle confirmed, the food is “not at all Tex-Mex” and there will never be burritos on the menu.  

The ground floor will host the tequileria. Details for the bar area are still being worked out, but (trend alert!) who’s guessing there will be tequila on tap


Suggestions Welcome: Where to Find Allergy-Friendly Dining in NoVA

Posted by / Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Dejan Stanisavljevic/

Dear hungry NoVinians,

I received an email this weekend from a concerned husband. His wife, a well-known Middle Eastern dancer, suffers from numerous food allergies and has trouble finding places to enjoy a meal out:

My wife has several food allergies, gluten, soy, dairy and bean just to name a few. Which restaurants in the area would you suggest for finding dietary issue dining. The ones that do not look at you as a pain, but as a challenge, ones that will listen and then make suggestions and work to make her visit pleasurable and not stress filled.  She did not ask for her allergies, and in the past we resorted to dining experiences that meant I ordered and she brought her dinner. Not high up on the romance ticket!

We have found some, Lonestar in Alexandria, The Fish Market in Old Town, and BBQ World in Burke.  But we want to enjoy a full realm of flavors and entertainment. Any advice or suggestions. 

Please send fill the comments with area restaurants willing to accommodate such a request.


Jackson 20′s Reagan Corbett Wins RAMMY Restaurant Manager Award

Posted by / Monday, June 25th, 2012

Jackson 20 / Photograph by Kate Bohler

Last night the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) held the RAMMY Awards, honoring the best in food, drink and dining industry players. 

 Reagan Corbett of Old Town’s Jackson 20 won the award for  Restaurant Manager of the Year, in NoVa’s only victory. Other notable winners included Virkram Sunderam (Rasika) for Chef of the Year,  Bourbon Steak for Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year and Jeff and Barbara Black of the Black Restaurant Group for Restaurateur of the Year, who will soon be bringing the Empire Oyster House to the Mosaic District in Merrifield (and who really pissed off the blogging community last night).

Check out the full list of winners after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »


Palates Behind the Plate: Frank Maragos of Foti’s

Posted by / Friday, June 22nd, 2012


Chef Maragos

Chef Maragos with a handful of local Golden Oyster Mushrooms / Photo Courtesy of Frank and Sue Maragos

A series dedicated to the palates behind NVM’s 2011 Fifty Best Restaurants. We know what they serve, but what do they eat?

Restaurant: Foti’s
2011 Rank: #19
Executive Chef: Frank Maragos

NoVA’s best dish:
Le Pomme has the most amazing calf liver with a white balsamic and shallot beurre blanc.

Never would I ever eat:
Asian head cheese, the variety of flavors and textures sent me in so many directions that I couldn’t get it past my mouth.

After work grub:

At home cooking:
Around Christmas, I cooked a proper English dinner for my father-in-law who was visiting from England.  I made Yorkshire pudding, boiled carrots, parsnips, potatoes, brussel sprouts.  For dessert we had sticky tofu pudding.

Burger, burrito or bahn mì:
The banh mi intrigues me as I’ve neve had it before.


Hungry for Linkage: Burrito Person Wanted; $14 Salads; 2017 Food Trends

Posted by / Thursday, June 21st, 2012


Rogers’ Banana Pudding Sauce was selected as a trend setter in the best of “The New South” category at this week’s Summer Fancy Food Show. Enjoy the rap, with cowbell. 

Giant burrito man or woman needed. [Craigslist]

Solo cup: for more than beer pong. [via Mostly Cabbages] 

Why a salad can cost $14. [Inside Scoop SF via Eater DC]

How to decide when it is appropriate to write a negative Yelp review. [Amateur Gourmet]

Who knew food was this funny? [WaPo]

 food trend alert. [QRS]  

What if Ariel found a pepperoni pizza under the sea? [DHP]


One Mo’ Fro-Yo Shop: Menchie’s Signs Deal for Two NoVA Locations

Posted by / Thursday, June 21st, 2012



How many fro-yo shops are there in NoVA, again? Do we really need another one? Well, perhaps today isn’t the day to ask since we’re approaching triple-digit temps out there.

Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt recently signed leases in both Alexandria and Arlington. Menchie’s touts a selection of more than 40 rotating flavors and “every topping under the sun.” You can mix as many toppings and flavors as desired and the price is based upon the weight of your fro-yo creation. For those of you who still scream an astounding “Yes!” to mo’ fro-yo, you’ll be disappointed to know it isn’t slated to open until the fall. Sorry.

But if I’ve suddenly gotten you in a fro-yo frenzy, tell us where you’re going to get some and why you chose that shop.


This Saturday: A Taste of Alexandria

Posted by / Wednesday, June 20th, 2012


Chuck Wagner/

Northern Virginia foodies don’t have to wait until later this summer and travel to that other annual food festival, unless you want to, of course. But know this Saturday marks the first annual Alexandria Food and Wine Festival. The festival takes place in Old Town’s Carlyle District complete with a food and wine tasting, a food demonstration and a restaurant competition for best appetizer, main course and dessert.

Participants include The Chart House, La Tasca, Mattaponi Winery and Lake Anna Winery.

The event is free but you need tickets to eat and drink. Taste tickets cost $20 for 25 while wine tickets cost $10.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Carpenter’s Shelter of Alexandria.


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