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Posted by / Thursday, August 9th, 2012

If you’re not following us at @NoVADining, you’re missing some real gems. 


Hungry for Linkage: Italian Chain to Open in Arlington; The Naco; ‘I Love Lucy’ Gets Foodie

Posted by / Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Summer is for blackberries / Photo by Stefanie Gans

Chain Italian restaurant moving into former Restaurant 3 space. No, not that chain. []

I Love Lucy” loves food. [The Salt]

Eamonn‘s second location, plus Todd Thrashers new mixology home, Bar TNT, to open next Monday on Columbia Pike. [WaPo]

Remember that storm in June? Here’s its baby, Derecho Common. [WCP]

The Naco, a nachos taco. [That Weird Phanatic] (dedicated to @bekahlowe)

The Majestic makes the 30 Most Underrated Restaurants list. [Eater DC]

On wasabi.  [The New Yorker]

Got plans? Nah? Check our NoVA food and drink calendar. [NVM]

Ice cream has never been sexier. [A Troubled Cure]


Etiquette in Question: Meeting a Stranger While Eating With Your Hands

Posted by / Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Photo by Stefanie Gans

While I admire the beauty of utensils, I don’t find them all that necessary. Sure, I like to look at sparkly things. I like to find art in the roundness of a knife’s handle. I like to twirl noodles with pointy tines. And I like spoons. I like wide Japanese-style soup spoons for eating ice cream. 

But sometimes, I want to pick up a hunk of steak with my hands and gnaw on it. I can’t find a lot of reasons why we can’t eat more with our hands. But then there’s the tricky question of greeting a stranger while dining manually. And maybe this is why we spend money on silverware. 

I sat at the bar of an Ethiopian restaurant and explored what it was like to eat family-style portions for one. In case you are wondering, the portions don’t change with the amount of people ordering. My order filled the entire round of injera, just like when I’m with a party of six. 

Anyway, sitting at the bar usually involves meeting strangers. In my job as an anonymous critic, I often lie about who I am and what I do. I am not a great liar, but I am working on it. While I could sit at a table, by myself, and avoid potentially awkward and fiction-filled conversations, I like people, so I sit at the bar. This job is lonely and chatting with new people always provides me a learning opportunity. (Side note – I now know how to operate an electronic cigarette, understand how expensive the gadget is—$80 at 7-Eleven—and spied someone one “smoking” one in a pretty posh restaurant bar the other night.)

At this five or six seat bar, at this Ethiopian restaurant, I used my hands to scoop up chickpeas and lentils and you know, other standard fare. This man, with the most magnificent bling on his fingers, started to talk to me. Dude was like 60-something-years-old and wore jewelry like an 8-year-old playing dress-up. I was mesmerized. Again, I like shiny things.  We chatted. I asked him about his favorite restaurants, as I always do with strangers, as I try to learn the dining land of NoVA. 

He told me that he’s a really good cook. He told me about his mother, whom he still lives with. He told me about his jewels. He got up to leave and put his glimmering hand out for me to shake. 

Couldn’t this man see that  I was eating with my hands and that maybe I should be recused  from shaking his hand in this situation? But I didn’t know what to do. He was lovely and he wanted to say goodbye. So I wiped my hands on my napkin, shook his hand and then went back to eating with my hands as he stood there watching me for another few seconds. I didn’t know what else to do. 

More: Etiquette in Question


Trendspotting: Cookbooks in Restaurants

Posted by / Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Mokomandy / Photo by Stefanie Gans

Okay, maybe we’re only at the “two is a coincidence” phase, but I have a feeling this homage to literature will continue. Recently spotted (as I write this, I hear Kristen Bell/Gossip Girl narrator in my head and I feel like I should finish this sentence with Chuck, Blair and the Upper East Side…) in kitchens across NoVA are cookbook displays in restaurants. 

Green Pig Bistro uses a high-end collection to separate its bar area from the back room, plus, cookbook pages also act as wallpaper; from the August review:

Torn pages from iconic cookbooks plaster the wall for a faux-DIY look. Owner Scot Harlan, a fourth generation Arlingtonian, lent his collection of brightly colored, much-prized Le Creuset pots and pans for a mini-museum piece in the middle of the dining room. The narrow walkway between the front bar and the dining room shows Harlan’s cookbooks: Behind a glass wall, dimly lit like a Smithsonian exhibit, James Beard cookbooks share shelf space with Momofuku’s dessert queen Christina Tosi. Nearby sits the six-volume, 2,400-page “Modernist Cuisine” series, selling on Amazon for over $450.

And at Mokomandy in Sterling, about a dozen and a half books on beer, wine, barbecue and charcuterie fill shelf near the open kitchen. 

In a time when restaurants pay major bucks to design firms to highly stylize spaces, it’s nice to see a homey touch in the ultimate function-as-decoration. As Harlan says about Green Pig’s library, “I like my cooks looking at books. The more information the better.” 



Hungry for Linkage: Woodbridge Top Chick-fil-A Store, Debating Pending Visit from HQ; Shooting at Hooters; World of Beer Opens

Posted by / Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Daniel Hixon/

The Woodbridge Chick-fil-A (near Potomac Mills) was the top store in the country last year, leading the fast food chain’s Chief Operating Officer with hopes to address the neighboring Prince William Chamber of Commerce‘s leadership event. But with the Chick’s strong stance against marriage equality, the Chamber is deciding on rescinding the invitation. Across the county, and in the District, mayors have  spoken out urging Chick-fil-A not to open stores in their cities. The Chamber will announce its plans in early August. [WoodbridgePatch]

Best Buns Bread Company, and other silly area restaurant names. [Zagat]

Cold sesame veggie noodles. [Table for Two]

Accidental shooting at the Manassas Hooters. [Eater]

The ombre look moves from hair to cakes. [oohhhbaby]

World of Beer opens next week in Arlington. []

New pastry chef at Northside Social. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE KEEP THE MINI COOKIE DOUGH PIE. [Wash'tonian]

Karamara Ethiopian opens on Columbia Pike. []


French Press for the Dorms? Who Are These 18-Year-Olds?

Posted by / Monday, July 30th, 2012

Photo by Stefanie Gans

I pretty much didn’t know how to make my bed before leaving for college. I could toast a bagel. I could fry an egg. I wasn’t sure how to separate clothes by color or how to order from a Thai menu. I had yet to drink a latte or eat sushi. My grandmother hated to see a teenager drink coffee.  I wasn’t allowed to stay out past 1 a.m. 

You can tell I entered college years ago. 

I now know an 18-year-old who adores coffee. She knows the difference between Turkish and Greek varieties. She specifically requested a dorm with a kitchen. And I’m sure she already owns a French press, not needing to buy a gimmicky orange-hued device from Target. 

Seriously, who are these culinary-obsessed 18-year-olds?


Spike TV Saves Tacky Pirate Bar in Silver Spring – What NoVA Bar Needs a Makeover?

Posted by / Friday, July 27th, 2012


The second season of Spike TV’s Bar Rescue lands in Silver Spring this Sunday (at 9 p.m.), as host and “nightlife expert” Jon Taffer tries to turn the swash-buckling servers of Piratz Tavern into legitimate waitstaff. 

What NoVA bar would you nominate for a makeover?



Liner Notes: The Dream of Portlandia is Alive in Green Pig Bistro

Posted by / Thursday, July 26th, 2012


I couldn’t stop thinking about Portlandia, the IFC sketch-comedy show with SNL’s Fred Armisen and rocker Carrie Brownstein, while I dined at Arlington’s Green Pig Bistro. The place screamed with so many hipster icons, it almost felt like a parody. Just like Portlandia.

If you’ve never seen the show, I encourage you to grab it from Netflix immediately. It’ll help you understand—and laugh at—this current wave of urban farmhouse dining. 

Review: Green Pig Bistro


Hungry for Linkage: Goodstone and Ashby Inn Named Best Wine Restaurants; Alexandria Restaurant Week; Hipster Breakfast

Posted by / Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Erik Skaar/

Goodstone Inn & Restaurant and Ashby Inn & Restaurant named to 100 Best Wine Restaurants by Wine Enthusiast. [NVMwire]

Buzz Bakery (and the rest of the NRG gang) Pastry Chef Tiffany MacIsaac drops her top 5 kitchen tools. [Open Kitchen]

Field trip to get your artisanal-drink on at Catoctin Creek Distillery. [Thrillist] 

Cathal Armstrong of Restaurant Eve wins WTOP‘s Best Local Chef nod. [WTOP]

Alexandria Restaurant Week: August 17-26. [NVMwire]

The Muppets enter the anti-gay Chick-Fil-A debate, severing all ties with the fast food restaurant. [ABC via FB]

Mike Huckabee, former weight loss proponent, encourages folks to dine at Chick-Fil-A on August 1st. [WaPo]

Want 40% of “Meat London: An Insider’s Guide?”  Email the Food Desk. We’ll help you out. [NVMwire]

Lost Dog Cafe (Best Beers Bar winner) vs. Lost Dog CoffeeFight! [Wash'tonian]

Hipster breakfast: yogurt, granola, peaches IN A MASON JAR. [Amateur Gourmet]

Alexandria’s Pizzeria Paradiso expands bar. [WCP]


Philly Cheesesteak Stars in Olympic Roll; Angry Crab Cakes Threaten Protests (Plus more Olympic Dining Specials)

Posted by / Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Photo courtesy of Sushi Rock


Sushi Rock deemed the Philly cheesesteak the most patriotic way to fill a sushi roll. The Arlington restaurant developed Team America Roll for its Olympic Opening Ceremony watch party this Friday. The roll captures sauteed steak, roasted red pepper, asparagus, mushrooms and avocado between a ring of sticky rice. Smoked American cheese tops the rolls, as well as flying fish eggs.

“People love steak,” says Sushi Rock owner Seokhoon (‘Steve’) Yoon, on his decision to bestow the Philly cheesesteak with this honor, leaving crab cakes, burgers and barbecue behind. Served with a side of tater tots, this Americana-on-a-plate sells for $15 this Friday only. 

Additional Sushi Rock Olympic gifts include: a Team USA cocktail (Southern Comfort, Amaretto, Cranberry and Pineapple Juice, $5) and a free carafe of sake for customers sporting gear from their country.

>>>Watch for NoVians Claire Laubach, Terrence Jennings, Giuseppe Lanzone and Sam Stitt in the Olympics!

More Olympic Dining Specials

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