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Absinthe-Soaked Cheese from Brooklyn and More Cheeses to Know, Curated by The Curious Grape’s New Cheesemonger Katie Carter

Posted by / Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Cheesemonger Katie Carter at The Curious Grape / Photo Courtesy of Christopher Byrne

By Natalie Manitius

At age 11 Katie Carter visited a creamery in the Savoie region of France, “back in the ’80s when brie was a big deal,” she says, and from there, became hooked on the ways of cheese. Before being named earlier this month as the new cheesemonger at The Curious Grape in Shirlington, Carter: dropped out of college to work at McLeod Creamery of Oak Grove Farm in Marshall and with just six months of cheese-making experience was recruited to work as the cheese buying manager for Arrowine Cheese in Arlington, while attending artisanal cheese classes in New York. She also helped open Cowgirl Creamery in D.C. and started her own cheese-making company. 

Carter says she plans for “a more intelligent, thought-out cheese plate that will kind of mimic what’s coming out of the kitchen,” like pairing cheeses with a spring strawberry basil compote. She also wants to hold tastings to teach the science behind beer and cheese pairings, offer cut-to-order cheese for retail (instead of letting wedges sit in “plastic, [the] enemy of cheese,” says Cater) and debut housemade cheese for the kitchen’s use. 

Here, Carter walks through new cheeses from  The Curious Grape:

Absinthe-Soaked Cheese from Brooklyn
A cheese called the Miranda, initially made and aged in a Brooklyn apartment, will be part of the new cheese menu. Bringing in his Dutch background, Jos Vulto crafts a half-pound wheel using raw cow’s milk, washing it after production in absinthe. Carter describes it as “beautifully sweet, it’s amazing. Like you would think it would take on that liquor-ish quality, kind of really super strong, but it actually sweetens the cheese. It’s so lovely. The texture is this semi-soft, silky, really smooth texture.”

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The New CSA: Community Supported Medicine

Posted by / Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative's Harvest Tea Blend / Photo Courtesy of Michael Donaghy

By Evan Milberg

“Food is medicine and medicine is food,” says Casey Spacht, the co-founder of Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative (LFFC), a network of 85 different farms, selling herbs, tonics and syrups throughout the East Coast. One of the farms in the cooperative is Spacht and Elisabeth Weaver‘s Lancaster Farmacy in Pennsylvania. 

If an apple a day keeps a doctor away, then Spacht and Weaver are looking to keep you out of the doctor’s office with their collection of herbs and medicines. Lancaster Farmacy offers a unique form of community supported farming: shared medicine, also known as community-supported medicine, or CSM. The idea was inspired by Weaver’s work at Goldthread Herb Farm in Massachusetts where Weaver learned about CSM and applied it to her farm with Spacht.  

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Hungry for Linkage: Peter Chang’s Following + Nat Geo’s New Food Site + Menchie’s Opens in Sterling

Posted by / Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Chef Peter Chang / Photo by Jonathan Timmes

By Evan Milberg

Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt has opened a frozen yogurt location at 45591 Dulles Eastern Plaza in Sterling. [Eater]

Where Peter Chang cooks, they will follow. According to the New York Times, that could include Fairfax later this year. [NYT]

Red Apron Butchery carries Nutella soft-serve, available in Mosaic District. [Twitter]

National Geographic has launched a new site dedicated to “the future of food.” [Nat Geo]

Tandoori Village in Manassas has closed for renovation. It will re-open some time in May. [Twitter]


5 Things to Know about Thursday’s Opening of Ciao Osteria

Posted by / Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Chef Antonino Di Nicola making mozzarella / Photo Courtesy of Ciao Osteria

By Stefanie Gans

1. Authentic
Ciao Osteria sent Chef Antonino Di Nicola (who used to cook at Lorton‘s Pan e Vino) to Los Angeles for training in authentic Neapolitan pizza-making. The restaurant hopes to become certified by VPN Americas.  

2. The Gear
Authenticity comes at a price. At more than $30,000, the restaurant is home to a 6,000-pound oven from Naples, specialized refrigeration equipment, dough mixer and marble built with a sloped lip to better help move the dough onto the peel and into the oven.

3. The Ingredients
Italian imported bottled water, San Benedetto, and housemade mozzarella will be used for the pizzas. Says Sal Speziale, who owns Ciao Osteria with his wife Gina, about the mozzarella, “It’s a completely different taste. You know when you buy a tomato at a store and you bite into it and there’s no taste? And have you ever had a garden tomato and you bite into it and it’s like, ‘wow?’”

4. Seven
This is Speziale’s seventh restaurant (including two night clubs). He opened his first, Paradiso Restaurant on Franconia Road in 1991, which is now owned by his sister. The Italian-born and New York-raised (from 14 years old), Speziale is also a commercial airline pilot for American Airlines and was a fighter pilot in the Air Force.

5. Ciao
“When you go to your mom’s house and you’re comfortable and you don’t want to leave, that’s what I wanted,” says Speziale on the vibe he hopes to create at Ciao Osteria. The name plays into that too: “When you meet someone you say ‘ciao’ and when you say goodbye you say ‘ciao’.” It’s a cycle of greetings and beginnings, a concept already attracting attention. “I’ve already been asked to put one in Leesburg,” says Speziale. / Ciao Osteria opens Thursday at 11:30 a.m.; 14115 St. Germain Dr., Centreville


Brunches, Feasts and Desserts for Easter Eats

Posted by / Monday, April 14th, 2014

Robin’s Egg Milkshake / Photo Courtesy of Ted's Bulletin

By Natalie Manitius

Celebrate the end of Lenten abstention by indulging in buffets and multiple course brunches.

Sunday Brunch

Bastille Restaurant: Choose from entrees such as eggs benedict with biscuits and caviar and a three-cheese macaroni gratin for this three-course brunch. Adults eat for $49 apiece and kids under 12 are half-price. Brunch runs from 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.  Call 703-519-3776 for reservations. / 1201 N. Royal St., Alexandria;

Evo Bistro: A three-course brunch menu runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with both savory and sweet options for $32 per person. Call 703-288-4422 for reservations. /1313 Old Chain Bridge Road, McLean; 

Grandale Restaurant: From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Grandale presents seared grouper, omelet provencal and Maryland crab cake Benedict as brunch offerings, with duck breast and beef rib eye for dinner. Cal 540-668-6000 for more information. / 14001 Harpers Ferry Road, Purcellville; 

Magnolias at the Mill: Enjoy a brunch buffet at Magnolia’s at the Mill replete with  baked salmon, Belgian waffles, butterscotch bread pudding and berry tarts. Adults eat for $42 each, children $19.95, and under 5 free. Call 540-338-9800 for reservations. /198 N. 21st St., Purcellville;

J. Gilbert’s: Reward your moderation with J. Gilbert’s brunch buffet. Breakfast devotees will have waffles and quiche at their disposal, and seafood fans can indulge in maple glazed salmon and mac n’ cheese made with lobster cream. Leave room for dessert: A chocolate fountain awaits. Brunch runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. $32 per adult, $15 for children ages 5-12./ 6930 Old Dominion Drive, McLean;

Salamander Resort and Spa: Head to Middleburg Easter Sunday for a family-friendly event replete with egg hunts, crafts for the kids and a brunch buffet. The egg hunt and roll will be at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 3 p.m., along with brunch seatings at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Sunday Brunch costs $85 per adult and includes sparkling wine, while children cost $34 each. View the menu here. Reservations can be made by calling  540-326-4161. / 500 N. Pendleton St., Middleburg;

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Hungry for Linkage: Praise for Matzah + New Teen Hangout + Oysters and Sparkling on Tax Day

Posted by / Monday, April 14th, 2014


By Stefanie Gans

Tax Day perk: half off Rappahannock oysters and sparkling wine at Trummer’s on Main tomorrow.

Matzo is the best of both worlds — they’re plain in flavor, and they’re wonderfully crunchy.” [The Salt]

Allagash Brewing Company tap takeover at Fire Works Courthouse this Thursday. [DC Beer]

Opening in Denver: Bed Bud & Breakfast. [The Braiser] 

New teen hangout: mall visits down, restaurant visits up. [Jezebel]


By the Numbers: Celebrity Delly’s Matzo ball soup

Posted by / Monday, April 14th, 2014

Celebrity Delly Matzo Ball Soup,

Photo courtesy of Brent Hofacker/

The number of matzo ball soups sold over the eight days of Passover in 2013, at Celebrity Delly in Falls Church.

The family run deli turns 39 next month and continues to serve original owner Chuck Rossler’s grandmother’s recipe.–Stefanie Gans


(April 2014)


Hungry for Linkage: French Perigord Truffles for Sale at Mosaic + Herndon Hot Sauce + $100 Chocolate Toothpaste

Posted by / Friday, April 11th, 2014

Photo Courtesy of Apinya Thai Food Co.

By Natalie Manitius

Celebrate truffles this weekend with Ah Love Oil & Vinegar’s truffle festival. The fetishized fungi’s Italian producer, the Brugnoli family, will be in town to share truffle honey, infused oil, salt and pate. Head to the Mosaic District for the Friday festival, and Shirlington’s location for Saturday. Also for sale: 30 French perigord truffles, a 20 gram piece is $60.  [AhLove]

A guide to finding Filipino restaurants in the DMV, with spots in Falls Church and Crystal City. [Eater]

Walmart plans to undercut its competitors by selling organic products at lower prices. [WSJ]

Herndon-based hot sauce company Apinya Thai Food Co. just released its fifth Thai chili sauce Ghost Vindaloo. The spicy concoction was inspired by a pork vindaloo dish served in southern India, which uses ghost chilies and other fiery ingredients. [Apinya Food Co.]

Chocolate flavored toothpaste exists. Don’t get your kids hooked on it because … it costs $100. [Foodbeast]

Use matzo as a coaster for Passover sangria. [Buzzfeed]


Cravings: Bulgogi at Sorak Garden

Posted by / Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Photo by Evan Milberg

By Evan Milberg

Dish: Bulgogi over onions, $20

Where: Sorak Garden, 4308 Backlick Rd, Annandale

Taste: Sorak Garden’s bulgogi is sizzling as it’s brought to your table. The soft, yet juicy texture of the meat, which is sliced prime rib marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil and a little bit of garlic, is complemented by the crunchy texture of the onions and scallions. The salt of the soy sauce really brings out the flavor of the meat without overpowering, while the side of white rice resets your mouth for the next bite.

MORE | Cravings


Hungry For Linkage: Chocolate’s Role in the Ukraine/Russia Conflict + Openings for Peet’s, Mocha Cafe and Four Sisters Grill

Posted by / Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Liv Friis-Larsen/

By Evan Milberg

Why chocolate is a bargaining chip in the Russia/Ukraine conflict. [NPR]

Ovvio Osteria in Merrifield is now offering a gluten-free menu. [Eater]

Peet’s Coffee & Tea, a specialty coffee and tea company that started the artisan coffee movement back in 1966, is opening a location in Vienna by mid-May. 

Mocha Cafe and Pastry in Arlington is soft opening this Friday from 9 a.m. –  7 p.m. [NVM] 

Four Sisters Grill in Clarendon will be open by next week. [ARLNow]


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