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If You Like It, Put a Pin On It: NoVA Mag Now on Pinterest

Posted by / Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Facebook, over. Twitter, done-zo. Pinterest, of the moment. 

Head on over to the world’s newest time suck and enjoy wonderful photos courtesty of Gut Check and the other, awesome NoVA Mag blogs.

Like us. Pin us. Lick your screen.

Pinterest: Lick Your Screen Board


Chicken Alert: Task Force Assembled with Voiced Opposition

Posted by / Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Our March issue investigates the movement in Arlington toward urban backyard chicken farming. Here are some updates, keeping the chicken train moving (even amongst opposition):

Last week, Arlington County Board scheduled its first meetings to launch Participation, Leadership and Civic Engagement (PLACE), an initiative to improve interaction and engagement between residents and the county government. Mary Hynes, County Board Chair, hopes this will get more people active in making key decisions to shape the county’s future. Perhaps a possible place for a backyard hen forum? PLACE’s next events are scheduled for today (March 15) and this Saturday (March 17) with multiple 90-minute sessions during each day. [ARL now]

Two formers chairs of the Arlington County Civic Federation advised Arlington County Board members to stop the proposal to change current zoning regulations to allow backyard hens. Robert Atkins, a vocal civic activist, echoed this suggestion stating, “send it [the proposal] to the slaughterhouse.” [Sun Gazette]

On March 13, Arlington County Board assembled its anticipated Urban Agriculture Task Force with a unanimous vote among board members of 4-0. The task force is made up of 17 members—many whom are associated with environment-friendly, education or community-based projects—and will look at the possibilities of backyard hens among its many other urban initiatives. The force was given one year to collect information, after which there will be at least another round of community input before any changes are made. [Sun Gazette]

For more information, check out the article in Northern Virginia Magazine’s March issue on stands now.

Photo: Dmitriy Shironosov/Shutterstock

[tips for the food desk]


Show Your Work: Does Table-Side Guacamole Make a Difference?

Posted by / Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Few people can really deliver a show. Liza Minnelli, for one. Terrell Owens, Beyonce, Bob Ross. But can the average waiter, at the average Tex-Mex restaurant, perform well under the watch of hungry patrons? 

My guess is no. Or so my terribly under-salted guacamole told me a few weeks ago.

I watch Mad Men and I adore the restaurant scenes where groomed masters of ceremonies perform impressive culinary feats like steak Diane or a proper wooden bowl Caesar. But these days, I don’t see the care. Or the panache that must accompany such public displays of cooking. I’m not enticed watching an avocado mashed into the sides of crevassed stone. 

I’d rather my guacamole meet my table perfect, where the chef had full concentration, rather than deal with a noisy dining room and eager stares.

Do you prefer table-side preparations?

Photo: Stefanie Gans

[tips for the food desk / follow @gansie]


Palates Behind the Plate: Tarver King of Ashby Inn

Posted by / Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

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

Restaurant: Ashby Inn
2011 Rank: #4
Executive Chef:
Tarver King

NoVA’s best dish:
Chicken served with green mole sauce at Casa Maria in Winchester.

Never would I ever eat:
Boiled veal brain.  I love brain prepared any other way but boiled.

After work grub:
My fiancé and I are really into making homemade pizza.  So, we make the dough, freeze it and take it out when I come home.  Last night, we made a cheese, bacon and brussel sprout pizza.

At home cooking:
Steamed fish served with tzatziki sauce. My fiance is vegetarian so we take turns on cooking meals to accommodate both of us.

Burger, burrito or bánh mì:
Bánh mì.

Photo: Ryan Haury

[tips for the food desk / follow @JoeyHndz]


St. Patrick’s Day 2012: Drink Up at Irish Pubs

Posted by / Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Although St. Patrick’s Day, technically, has nothing to do with drinking—it started out celebrating a saint named Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland—drink we will.

With this year’s festivities falling on a Saturday, wake up bright and early to celebrate all day at one of these NoVA Irish hot spots.

Finnegan’s Irish Pub, Ashburn
Specials: Traditional Irish breakfast at 9 a.m., cornhole on the patio and live music on their outdoor patio with a heated tent.

Ireland’s Four Provinces, Falls Church
Specials: K’eggs breakfast at 8 a.m., new outside bar (rain or shine), live music, Irish dancers and giveaways.

Kate’s Irish Pub, Springfield
Specials: Doors open at 10:30 a.m. for a day of live music and drink specials.

Molly’s Irish Pub, Warrenton
Specials: Kegs and eggs at 9 a.m. with live music, Charlie Donnaelly and Magick Kat.

Ned Devine’s, Herndon
Specials: Green beers served all day accompanied by a rotation of live bands starting at noon and three performances of The Boyle School of Irish Dancers.

Read the rest of this entry »


Cheap Eats: The Game

Posted by / Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

The Cheap Eats issue has been out for about three weeks now, which is just enough time that you should have started chowing your way through the list. To help you keep track of what you liked, join on our Cheap Eats: The Game, to rate each dish.

Play on. Cheap Eats: The Game

[tips for the food desk / follow @gansie]


Should Northern Virginia Magazine Review Chain Restaurants?

Posted by / Monday, March 12th, 2012

Marilyn Hagerty, an 85 year old restaurant critic for the Grand Forks Herald, reviewed the town’s 6-week-old Olive Garden. Hagerty notes the opening was much anticipated, with waits stretching an hour long at lunch.

She compliments the “attractive bar area” near the entry way, as well as the Italian-American classic, chicken Alfredo, which she called “warm and comforting on a cold day.”

Hagerty’s review has since gone viral, landing the critic on national television shows (see video above). The attention rotates between out-right mocking (who would eat at an Olive Garden, let alone take it seriously enough to write about it for a newspaper) and endearing condescension (oh, look, that little old lady is so cute and so out-of-touch with current food trends.)

But does Hagerty have a point?

Chain restaurants are by nature not supposed to vary from location to location. Jack Daniels flavored ribs should taste the same in Birmingham as in Oakland. This type of restaurant, where consistency is valued over creativity, would not normally deserve editorial ink. 

Unique, locally-owned restaurants open with regularity in Northern Virginia, allowing this magazine to focus on these community-building businesses instead of a new TGI Friday. But do occasional check-ins at chain restaurants offer any incite into the dining scene? Is it important to eat how “corporate America” wants us to eat, to understand mass-appeal, nationally-enjoyed dinners? 

Should Northern Virginia Magazine ever review a chain restaurant?

[tips for the food desk / follow @gansie]


Where to Find a Seat and a Deal: Makes Its Case

Posted by / Monday, March 12th, 2012

An occasional series on restaurant deal sites.

If you haven’t “Savored” yet, then you are missing out on one of the best deals in the area. While OpenTable is the household name in online restaurant reservations, offers discounts that could possibly have restaurant goers shifting their allegiances. sits somewhere between Groupon and OpenTable. By booking your reservations through their website, you are guaranteed 30 percent off of your entire bill (including alcohol)! Once you book, just show up (no need to whip out a paper confirmation during dinner) and you are welcome to cancel or change your reservation up to 2 hours before the reserved time.

What’s the catch? You must pay a $10 reservation fee (however, from personal experience, this is a small price to pay for such a big discount). Another downside is that the list of NoVA restaurants currently included is rather miniscule (in contrast to the many big name restaurants in DC on board), however they urge you to contact them with suggestions to add to the website. NoVinians get on it!

My bigger question was: How is this advantageous to restaurants?

The angle pursues is filling tables that are normally empty in restaurants. Restaurants give up these usually-empty tables to the website and if booked, the restaurants keep the entire check (hey, 70 percent is better than an empty table), with keeping just the reservation fee; One article suggests it is the Priceline of restaurants.

Nevertheless, check this service out. It is definitely a win-win-win situation for restaurant, consumer and alike.

Photo: Losevsky Pavel/Shutterstock

[tips for the food desk]


Three Natural Remedies for Minor Kitchen Burns

Posted by / Monday, March 12th, 2012

Living life on the edge, I’ve been known to test how hot a pan is with my bare hands.  Not the brightest idea, but I got my answer: the pan was hot.  While burning my fingers doesn’t happen often, when it does I turn to my grandma’s natural remedy for minor kitchen burns:

Tomato First Aid Kit

1. Cut tomato in half

2. Place tomato directly on burn

3. Hold for a couple of minutes or until burn sensation decreases

 It’s said that the acid in the tomato helps sooth the burn area and prevent blisters from forming.  Other natural remedies used by kitchen professional—but not necessarily recommended by doctors!— that can be used for minor burns are:  honey and toothpaste. They both shield the burn from the air, thereby decreasing the hurt. Wash the injured area and apply honey or toothpaste directly on burn.

Of course, it’s always a good idea not to burn your fingers in the first place…

 Photo by:  shutterstock/Jiri Hera

[tips for the food desk / follow @JoeyHndz]


Achin’ for Some Bacon

Posted by / Friday, March 9th, 2012

This Sunday, Daylight Saving Time will steal an hour that we so desperately need for catching up on some shut-eye before the work week starts again.

Wouldn’t things be different if you could wake up to the smell of sizzling bacon instead of that dreaded beeping? Here are a few spots NoVA places that play up the pig.

Bacon on a Stick, Three
This pork-centric restaurant pushes the boundaries offering bacon-infused drinks, bacon-studded waffles and bacon-dotted ice cream. While not so taken by the later (too chewy), how can anyone pass up bacon on a stick, which showcases just how good its house-cured and smoked bacon really is?

50/50 Sliders, Vintage 50
It is here that they are grinding the pork right into the burger patty. WHAA?? Yup! Check out the chef’s inside scoop about these wonderful mini bites.

Korean BBQ Pork Belly, Honey Pig
A 24-hour joint that cranks out Korean BBQ packed with flavor. The crispy pork belly, cooked on a grill as you watch, is mouth-wateringly amazing.

Photo: Sally Traynham

[tips for the food desk]


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