Posted by Stefanie Gans, Dining Editor / Thursday, January 9th, 2014
Hops are becoming the new vines in Virginia’s liquid tourism industry. Reston Limousine will launch NoVA Brew Bus on Feb. 1, and continue the series every first of the month.
“I see it developing the same as the wine tours,” says Tony Simon, the chief operating officer of Reston Limo, of the newly established beer loop including Mad Fox Brewing Company, Port City Brewing Company and Beltway Brewing Company. In 2002, when Reston Limo started wine tours in Virginia, “people were not used to going out to these wineries,” says Simon.
Simon sees beer following the same slow-growth path of wine tourism. “It’s in the infant stages,” says Simon, but with “a resurgence of these microbreweries and their approach of doing tastings, and making it an event, we felt that it was going to take on the same excitement and feel.”
Out of the three breweries on the tour, Beltway is the newest to the beer scene and differs because it operates as a contract brewer. Beltway offers two house beers—Batch One Amber Ale and Suite Dee Session IPA—in its tasting room and for this tour, will also showcase beers developed for Adroit Theory Brewing Brewing Company, a brewery aiming for “boundary-pushing” beers. A black triple, Shadow of Truth, brewed for Leesburg‘s Crooked Run Brewing Company will be available on the tour. Beltway also brews for Wooden Skiff Brewing Company from Hilton Head, S.C.
The tour starts at Mad Fox with a lunch of pizza and sandwiches (with vegetarian options) served with: Mad Fox Kolsch Ale, Dingo India Pale Ale, H Street Belgo IPA and Wee Heavy Ale. Port City’s offerings include: Optimal Wit, Essential Pale Ale, Monumental IPA, Maniacal IPA, Porter and Revival Stout, made with local oysters.
The tour costs $55—not including tasting fees, which have been discounted at 20-percent off at Port City and Beltway Brewing—with departures from Dulles Town Center Mall or the East Falls Church Metro. Full details below and at NoVA Brew Bus.
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Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, January 8th, 2014
People ridiculous enough to wear shorts in yesterday’s #polarvortex were rewarded with free smoothies at Tropical Smoothie Café in Arlington. [DCist]
Starting Jan. 29, Virginia bars will finally be able to advertise happy hour. Advertising drink specials, however, will remain a battle to be fought another day. [WBJ]
Hamburger Hamlet in Crystal City has closed. [ARLNow]
Apparently, lentils, the original superfood, can be used for more than soups and stews. [WaPo]
Sriracha announced it will resume shipments at the end of the month. According to a Huy Fong Foods spokesperson, shipments had been halted to ensure the sauce was “free of harmful microorganisms.” [Eater]
Quick: Eat like that guy you know, a Velveeta shortage is looming. [NPR]
Posted by Editorial / Tuesday, January 7th, 2014
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
Posted by Stefanie Gans, Dining Editor / Monday, January 6th, 2014
A cartoon on eating live octopus explores feelings of both joy and guilt. [The New Yorker]
The new Shakthi, a 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]
Posted by Editorial / Friday, January 3rd, 2014
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 Kitchen, 344 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.
Posted by Editorial / Thursday, January 2nd, 2014
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]
Even Michelangelo had grocery lists. [foodiggity]
Posted by Stefanie Gans, Dining Editor / Tuesday, December 31st, 2013
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.
Posted by Editorial / Tuesday, December 31st, 2013
- 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
Posted by Editorial / Monday, December 30th, 2013
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]
Posted by Editorial / Tuesday, December 24th, 2013
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?
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.
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