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Cravings: Fried Pumpkin with Salty Egg Yolk at Taste @ Hong Kong

Posted by / Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Photo by Stefanie Gans

By Stefanie Gans

Dish: Fried Pumpkin with Salty Egg Yolk, $12.95

Where: Taste @ Hong Kong, 3912 Lee Jackson Memorial Highway, Chantilly.

Taste: The promise of beta-carotene and Vitamins A and C compels the inner guilt-ridden indulger to order sweet potato fries over the often-superior standard fries. But the inherent sweetness of sweet potato fries turns me off, lest I smother each stick with spicy mustard or garlicky aioli.  

At Taste @ Hong Kong in the massive Sully shopping center on Route 50 (near the ABC store), I found a fried orange specimen that didn’t make me miss a russet. Fat slices of creamy pumpkin fill the center of a bubbly, light—and just salty enough—batter made from egg yolks. They’re crispy and salty. And make sweet potato fries feel like the  third-string quarterback. 

MORE | Cravings


Hungry for Linkage: Ovvio Osteria Loses Chef + Sri Lankan in Arlandria + Cauliflower is the New Brussels Sprout

Posted by / Monday, January 6th, 2014

Ovvio Osteria / Photo by Jonathan Timmes

Ovvio Osteria, one of the newest restaurants in the growing dining scene of Merrifield, loses its chef. Here is the review from the January issue of Northern Virginia Magazine.

A cartoon on eating live octopus explores feelings of both joy and guilt. [The New Yorker]

The new Shakthia Sri Lankan restaurant in Arlandria, receives praise from Tyler Cowen for its string hoppers and also its Indian menu: “I would not be surprised if they made this place one of the areas’ best Indian restaurants too.” [TCEDG]

Cauliflower, by the way, is the new Brussels sprout,” and other 2014 predictions. [NPR]

The most disturbing food trend: distracted dining. “Now restaurants are beginning to put their menu items into forms that accommodate the cell phone obsessed—so you can eat with one hand, while the other holds the phone.” [The Food Channel]

Recipe crush: mustard roasted broccoli pate with leeks and lemon. [The First Mess]


New Diet? No Problem: Where To Eat To Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by / Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Katerina Belaya /

Suddenly committing to a new diet at the start of the year can be hard, but these Northern Virginia restaurants can help accommodate your new choices.

Vegetarian/Vegan – Amma Vegetarian Kitchen
While the mango lassi might be off-limits for vegans, the creaminess in dips such as the spicy chutney comes from coconut milk, giving it deceptively cheesy hints. The chutney comes with the crepes or dosas. Go for the chole batthura that looks like a bread balloon and comes with a bowl of warm, hearty chickpeas. /Amma Vegetarian Kitchen344 Maple Ave. E, Vienna.

Paleolithic Diet – Green Pig Bistro
Truly channel the Paleolithic human by savoring every part of the animal. Green Pig’s emphasis on offal and choices such as the kung pao sweetbreads or bone marrow accommodate the pre-historically inspired diet. Most of the main courses feature vegetables in conjunction with the star protein, making it a welcoming establishment for the wheat-less. / Green Pig Bistro, 1025 North Fillmore Street, Arlington. 

Raw Food Diet – South Block Café
With an emphasis on organic and healthy food, South Block Café also offers an entire selection of Acai bowls made using almond milk rather than anything from animals.  /South Block Café, 3011 11th Street, Arlington.  


Hungry for Linkage: First Brews at Adroit Theory + No Guns at Toby Keith’s Restaurant + Michelangelo’s Grocery Shopping

Posted by / Thursday, January 2nd, 2014


Adroit Theory Brewing starts the New Year by brewing its first beer this week. [Twitter]

Look forward to honest vending machines. [Grub Street NY]

Enter Reggie Abalos, the new pastry chef at Trummer’s on Main. [Eater]

What’s the wine for 2014? [WaPo]

Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill bans guns from its Woodbridge location, creating a heated gun debate on Facebook and making national news. [ABC News] [Time] [Fox News] [The Daily Meal

Even Michelangelo had grocery lists. [foodiggity] 


Drink in the New Year at the Grand Opening of Heritage Brewing Company

Posted by / Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Photo Courtesy of Heritage Brewing

Manassas welcomes its second brewery (joining BadWolf Brewing Company) this year as Heritage Brewing Company opens tonight with a celebration of beer, food and live music. The party starts at 5 p.m. / Heritage Brewing Company; 9436 Center Point Lane, Manassas. 

MORE: Celebrate New Year’s Eve at NoVA restaurants.


13 Restaurant No-Nos That Shouldn’t Exist After 2013

Posted by / Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Photo courtesy of Snvv/


- The repeated use of “housemade” on menus

- Hard, cold butter

- Vibrating discs or texting to let you know when your table is available

- Sriracha squiggles

- You can have a fall menu without pumpkin spice

- Salted caramel everything

- Deconstructed anything. It’s a restaurant, not Legoland

- Sushi in non-sushi restaurants

- Foie gras with anything but foie gras (don’t need it on a  burger or mac n cheese)

- Charging for the bread basket

- Doughnuts for the sake of having a trendy treat

- The small plate trend … with each small plate costing the same as an entree

- Out of season fruit as dessert garnish (no one eats that strawberry next to the chocolate lava cake)

- Chocolate lava cake


Contributors:  @chrisjbukowski @cityshopgirl, @EpicureanDC, @ frijolita, @gansie, @jamechamberlin, @KitchenBuey, @kstreetkate, @nevinmartell,
@onioncloute, @russellwarnick, @WARojas

(December 2013)


Hungry for Linkage: Bye Bye Jiggle Jiggle + WBJ’s Top Restaurants + Extract and Drink Strawberry DNA

Posted by / Monday, December 30th, 2013

crossstudio /

Jiggle Jiggle Korean BBQ in Annandale is closed (and still). [Patch]

Tomatoes are officially a vegetable, says the 19th Century US Supreme Court. [npr]

Water, water everywhere: Washington Business Journal names Water & Wall and Waterfront Market and Café to the list of 2013’s top restaurant openings. [WBJ]

The food trends that 2014 hopefully doesn’t bring. [The Braiser]

Eater’s annual recounting of 2013 — in one word. [Eater]

Need unique drinks this New Year? Try extracting DNA from a strawberry. [Grub Street NY]

Still unsure of your New Year’s Plans? Try any of these NoVA places. [NVM]


Santas of the Kitchen: The Chefs Behind Your Holiday Meal and Why Restaurants Stay Open During Christmas

Posted by / Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

hxdyl /

From tasting menus to morning buffets, restaurants everywhere stay open on Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Eve to bring joy to guests dreaming of that white dinner plate . What’s it like to be a chef, working as a holiday warrior in the kitchen? See what these NoVA chefs have to say about Christmas magic and running a restaurant during the holidays. 

2941: Chef Bertrand Chemel
When do you celebrate Christmas? What drives you to keep the restaurant open for the holidays?

While working on New Year’s Eve, it’s always what I would say a crazy time in the kitchen. We’re trying to combine good service, good food for a special holiday. I think we’ve found that [during the] holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, people like to celebrate more in restaurant than previous years.

We close for Christmas Day so that’s kind of the day that we give to our staff. You know, [I've] been working for almost 22 years and … I think it’s part of the sacrifice to be a chef and be in the restaurant business. People want to celebrate on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, so chefs and restaurant have to be open. But on the other hand, you know, it’s great for the business. It’s the period of the time that people celebrate more, enjoy more high-end food, spend a little more money, drink a little bit more, high-end liquor. So, it’s better revenue for the holidays.

Usually I don’t eat family meal [food for the kitchen staff provided by the restaurant] on Christmas Eve, and when I go home, I do something with my wife and my kids. I think it’s a nice spirit; People come celebrate. It’s a great atmosphere. Usually it’s the month that’s the most busiest of the year. So for sure it’s more hectic than regular months. There’s a lot happening. We’re having a lot of banquets, big lunches, big dinners. It’s long days. 

Have you ever experienced a sparkly, magical holiday moment in the kitchen?
My sparkly moment is to make my guests happy, so usually it happens at the end of the service. I think that if everything went smooth, the guests are happy. We are happy with our staff. I think that’s the magical moment for me, to provide what we sold to the guests. It’s good food, good service, great atmosphere, and I think we try to do that for our guests but also for our staff. We open this year for lunch and dinner for Christmas Eve so I’m going to organize a family holiday meal for my staff the … first week of January because it’s slower and we have more time for our staff. 

Tuscarora Mill: Chef Patrick Dinh
Have you ever had a magical holiday miracle holiday moment while working in the kitchen?

No. [Laughs] 

What drives you to stay open during the holidays when considering employees, profit and family?
I think it’s all that. Employees, profits and family and also our customer demand is pretty high. This is our busiest time of year. You know, everybody’s going out to eat. But yes, these things have a particularly high demand right now. We’ve been booked for Christmas Eve and all week long for a while. And so it’s, I believe, the customer demand for us to be here for them is what keeps us open. 

I’d rather be fishing.

Any other thoughts on working over the holidays?
But this will all come to an end abruptly right after New Year’s. The remainder of next week will be pretty busy until Sunday, and then when Sunday happens–I guess that’s what, the fifth?–by the sixth, Monday, it will be like, they shut everything down. So you got to make hay when the sun shines. It just slows down because the customer demand is no longer there. The holidays are when everyone has been binging on everything for two weeks now, and suddenly you realize the party’s over, and it’s now got to come back to work and I got to get a diet. And this is the reality of the business. 

And you know, we expect it. I like to think of it as a biorhythmic cycle of business because it swings up and it swings down but all very much in almost a predictable way. So, we’ve seen this movie before.

Read the rest of this entry »


Hungry for Linkage: Hank’s Oyster Bar Expansion + Mystery Seafood + Restaurant Week is Back

Posted by / Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Photo courtesy of think4photop/

How to (almost) enjoy airline food. [NPR]

The expanded Hank’s Oyster Bar in Alexandria now also has a larger bar, which means a bigger drink menu. [WCP]

Something’s Fishy: What seafood are you really eating? Is that lobster bisque actually shrimp? DNA tests reveal mislabeled seafood. [Smithsonian]

It’s the most wonderful time of next year: Restaurant Week is back. Here’s the list of participating Arlington restaurants. [ARLnow]

Virginia chef Todd Schneider talks about his time working for Governor McDonnell. [WaPo]

Combining childhood with Christmas, a redditor created an Adventure Time Candy Kingdom out of gingerbread. [foodiggity]


Chef Shuffles: A year of kitchen swaps in NoVA

Posted by / Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Photos by Jonathan Timmes (Fausett, Dunlap, King); Kyle Martell (Zahidi); Courtesy of Justin Kriel (Edwards); Courtesy of OVVIO Osteria (Chris Watson).


(December 2013)


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