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Where to Find Valentine’s Day Dinner in Northern Virginia

Posted by / Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Sergey Furtaev/

By: Evan Milberg

Where to take your sweet for Valentine’s Day. 

Bastille: Don’t have the money to fly out to Paris for Valentine’s Day? Bastille brings the tastes of France to you with a four-course tasting menu for $85. Chefs Christophe and Michelle Poteaux offer a variety of options, including: lobster bisque with caviar and veal topped with anchovy and sweet garlic sauce. Dessert offerings include: Roquefort ice cream garnished with poached pears or a tanori marquise. / Bastille, 1201 N. Royal St., Alexandria; 703-519-3776 

Brabo: This five-course meal features lobster with Anaheim chili and a vanilla-passion fruit vinaigrette, duck with candied kumquat and candy stripe beets and Roseda Farms beef striploin with a chestnut puree, chanterelle mushrooms and marble potato$85pp for meal with choice of $50pp wine pairing. / Brabo, 1600 King St., Alexandria; 703-894-3440

Breaux Vineyards: This aphrodisiac wine dinner promises to tantalize your senses with a seven-course meal with courses romantically named for each part of a date. First comes “the seduction:” clove blinis paired with sparkling pineapple wine. Then comes “foreplay:” an asparagus tower paired with a 2012 Sauvignon Blanc. The “prelude to a kiss” is oysters with Chardonnay. After that, “French kiss:” poached lobster with a 2012 Viognier;  “Streetcar Named Desire:” a crispy coriander duck with a 2007 Nebbiolo; “as good as it gets:” a hanger steak paired with 2007 Cabernet Franc Reserve; and “the last seduction” is Vanilla hazelnut pot de Crème, death by chocolate truffle, pistachio brittle, and raspberries. $125 pp. / Breaux Vinyards, 36888 Breaux Vineyards Lane. Purcellville; 800-492-9961

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Hungry for Linkage: Welcome the Doughscuit + Glen Manor Vineyards’ Jeff White Wins Grape Grower of the Year + Fruity Hookah

Posted by / Monday, February 3rd, 2014


By: Natalie Manitius

Super Bowl ads get foodie with spots on yogurt, beer and Butterfinger. [AJC]

Carmello’s celebrates its 27th  anniversary today by offering guests 27 percent off meals. Reservations are still available.

The cronut has a trendy relative: meet the doughscuit, a doughnut-biscuit hybrid. [NPR]

A new Turkish restaurantYayla Bistro, will open in East Falls Church. [ARLnow]

Local wine-maker success: Fairfax County native Jeff White, owner of Front Royal‘s Glen Manor Vineyards, was recently awarded the Virginia Vineyards Association’s Grape Grower of the Year award. []

Sheesha and smoothies? A combination hookah lounge and smoothie bar tentatively called Al-Huda Hookah and Smoothie Bar will open in Arlington. [WBJ]




NoVA Beer News: Adroit Theory Brewing Company Officially Opens Saturday + Old Bust Head Brewing Company Offers Sneak Preview

Posted by / Friday, January 31st, 2014

Photo by Mike Ramm

Just in time for the weather breaking out of freezing temperatures on Saturday, two Northern Virginia breweries open their doors. Plus, more beer-related events.

Adroit Theory Brewing Company
With an experimental, try-anything attitude—showcased in one of their first beers, T/P/D, The Perfect Drug, an absinthe-inspired brew (pictured)—founder Mark Osborne says, “We’re only interested in making boundary-pushing … or just over the top beers.”

Grand Opening: Saturday, 12 – 6 p.m.
Serving: B/A/Y/S Imperial Stout brewed with hazelnuts, cherries, and aged on chestnut; B/A/Y/S NitroB/A/Y/S Randal, served through a Randall packed with dried fruit including apricots, figs, dates and Citra hops; Saviours & Guillotines, Imperial Saison brewed with Syrah grape must, aged in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels; Scorpion Black IPA, brewed with Simcoe; Scorpion Black IPA Bourbon Barrel Aged; and Agave IPA Bourbon Barrel Aged. Prices range from $3 taster, to $12 375 mL bottles to $30 growler fills.
Where:Adroit Theory, 404 Browning Court, Unit C, Purcellville

Old Bust Head Brewing Company
The 30,000 square-foot brewery, which uses geothermal power to operate, opens its doors for a preview of its first beer.
Preview Weekend: Saturday, 1-5 p.m. and Sunday, 12-3 p.m. (21 and over)
Serving: Bust Head English Pale Ale; $5 tour fee, $5 pints, $8 growler fill, $7 glass handle growler, $27 metal handle growler.
Where: Old Bust Head, 7134 Lineweaver Road, Vint Hill

More Beers To-Do: 

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Hungry for Linkage: Heritage Brewing Tap-Takeover at Malone’s First Anniversary Party + New Chef at Liberty Tavern + Dangers of Grazing

Posted by / Friday, January 31st, 2014

By: Stefanie Gans

Liberty Tavern, Lyon Hall and Northside Social hire new chef Matt Hill, formerly of Charlie Palmer Steak and Range. The former Liberty Tavern chef Liam LaCivita is now working at his brother’s Richmond restaurantPomegranate, which opens next week. LaCivita is also looking to open his own restaurant. [ARLnow, Eater]

Heritage Brewing Company will do a tap takeover at Malones for its one year anniversary party tonight, which includes a performance by Ryder & Zani. [FB]

An Alexandria woman may, or may not, be in on the joke of  Tim’s Kitchen Tips, a faux cooking show by comedian Tim Heidecker. [YouTube via @MrTimRegan]

New in agriculture: underground farming. [YouTube]

Port City Brewing Company celebrates its third anniversary with COLOSSAL THREE, a Hellerbock, with a 3 p.m. tapping party at the brewery tonight. [PCBC]

Attention snackers: a grazing diet may bring complications. [US News]

The craft beer industry proves its dominance with the Culinary Institute of America starting an onsite brewery. [SmartBrief]

Follow the last of Scoopsies‘ journey as the blog finishes its goal of making 100 ice cream flavors (Sweet Potato with Toasted Marshmallow, Bacon & Waffle, Mimosa Sorbet) in 365 days. [Scoopsies]


Second Shift: Rick Mealy Hangs up His Suit and Tie for a Life of Meat and Cheese at Trattoria Villagio

Posted by / Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Rick Mealy / Photo Courtesy of Trattoria Villagio owner Marcus Silva

 By Robby Osborne

A series on NoVA chefs who have made kitchen life their next career.

For over the past 30 years, Rick Mealy worked for many different start-ups with his most recent position as the director of business development at WWPass, a high-end internet security start-up company based in Manchester, N.H. specialized in protecting  internet financial transactions. Mealy’s lengthy commute consisted of traveling to Manchester every Monday and flying back to his home in Clifton every Thursday. No longer. He now works in his own town, as charcuterie chef for Trattoria Villagio.

NVM: What prompted the switch from a suit and tie, to the chef’s hat?
RM: I have always loved cooking. I have always enjoyed cooking. I am halfway through creating a cookbook that would be internet-based. Cooking has always been the thing that made me feel good. I would come home from a 12-hour day and what I wanted to do was make dinner for my family. I was wrapping up with my company, my contract was coming to an end, and I thought: “I don’t want to do this anymore. I am sick and tired of dealing with the corporate world and I really want to do something that’s fun.” And I flat out quit. My wife was very much supportive of it. This job that I came across right here in Clifton popped up within three days of making that decision and I was hired two days after that.

What was the hiring process like?
The actual advertisement said “Walk-Ins only, no resumes to be sent.” I was the first person to come in for an interview. My wife saw the advertisement on Craigslist on a Sunday, and I came in on Monday. I took my resume that covered 37 years of corporate development: VP here, VP there, and I thought “This isn’t going to work for a restaurant,” so I whacked my resume down to about six inches on the first page.

[In the interview] I talked about my love of cooking and about my great kitchen skills. I have a knowledge of food. I’ve managed a bar, albeit in 1972. I took that resume, handed to them and they were very confused. They chewed on it for a while and I talked with the chef. The next day the managing partner called me and wanted me to come down and talk. He offered me the charcuterie chef’s job. I was absolutely astounded.

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Shoes Cup and Cork’s “Stupidest Promotion Ever” from now until Jan. 31

Posted by / Wednesday, January 29th, 2014


By Evan Milberg
From now until the end of the month, if you show up between 7-8 a.m. at Shoes Cup and Cork in Leesburg, everything is free. The initial reaction by some customers has been disbelief. “People at first were asking, ‘really? Everything?’” says Lee Beddow, the shop’s general manager. “Yes, everything.” 
In particular, Beddow says people have been taking advantage of the free coffee.  “We’ve definitely been giving away more of the coffee items than the food items,” Beddow says. They’re calling it the “Stupidest Promotion Ever,” but Shoes Cup and Cork is hoping the idea is smarter than it sounds. 
“It was actually the owner’s idea,” says Beddow. “We were looking at sales breakdowns by hour and we were looking at the 7-8 a.m. hours being a bit light. We were wondering if there was even a market to be had this early–having a shop on King St. with not a lot of parking. We figured free brings people out. If there was a market to be had, free would bring it in. Go big or go home.” 
The promotion ends this Friday. / Shoes Cup and Cork, 17 N. King St., Leesburg


Hungry for Linkage: Meat Week Event Tonight in Alexandria + Jose Andres Messes with Mezcal + New VA Happy Hour Laws

Posted by / Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Pulled pork platter from Absolute BBQ

Photography by Kyle Martell

By Evan Milberg

Tonight’s DC Meat Week event will be at Pork Barrel BBQ in Alexandria.  [Meat Week]

Tim Carman and Joe Yonan say the Super Bowl is like a sandwich. [WaPo]

Jose Andreslatest project is Mezcal made with a touch of Iberico ham. [Eater]

Virginia’s new ABC laws start today, including new allowances on happy hour promotion. But bars still can’t advertise exact detail. Here’s the full list. [VA ABC]

Chef/Partner Liam LaCivita has left Liberty Tavern and its sister restaurants, Lyon Hall and Northside Social. We’re still awaiting details.[Eater]


Lothar’s Gourmet Sausages Finds a Home in Purcellville

Posted by / Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Lothar Erbe, wife June Bush and son Jack-Henry Bush / Photo Courtesy of Lothar's Gourmet Sausages

By: Stefanie Gans

After looking at spaces for three years, Lothar Erbe and wife June Bush will open a permanent space for Lothar’s Gourmet Sausages. For the last six years the couple sold their mostly German-style sausages—Erbe attended butchery school in Frankfurt, Germany and apprenticed in the Bavaria region of Germany and Spain—at area farmers markets, and finally found the right fit in Purcellville. With only 750 square feet, the shop, as Bush says, will be “cozy and unique” and “designed for customers to have view of the production area.” 

Erbe will make sausages onsite, and the long list of meats includes: nuernbergers, English bangers, hot Mediterranean brats, sweet Italian grillers, andouille, Bavarian country brats, bacon (traditional and non-nitrate) and smoked hams. New to the store will be frankfurters, fleischwurst (pork, beef and combination), weisswurst, liverwurst, gelbwurst, and schinkens. Although there will be no ready-made food or sandwiches, Bush hopes to find Virginia-made mustard and other condiments.

Lothar’s Gourmet Sausages isn’t expected to open until early May, Bush says, “we’re already getting phone calls. People are already stopping by.” /  Lothar’s Gourmet Sausages, 860 E. Main St., Purcellville

*This post has been updated


Opening Thursday: Ted’s Bulletin Comes to Reston Town Center

Posted by / Monday, January 27th, 2014

Photo by Natalie Manitius

By: Natalie Manitius

Set in a 1930s Prohibition era-theme, Ted’s Bulletin—opening this Thursday in Reston Town Center—recreates the environment in which owners, and brothers, Ty and Mark Neal‘s father, Ted, grew up. From rural West Virginia, Ted, as Chef Travis Weiss puts it, was “known as the guy with the pot on the stove,” often feeding postal workers and neighbors, evoking “hospitality at its best.” Between the atmosphere and the menu, Ted’s Bulletin serves “comfort food with a Southern influence: large portions, hearty breakfast, breakfast all day, and a from- scratch kitchen,” Weiss says. This is the third location of Ted’s, with spots in Capitol Hill and 14th Street in Washington, D.C. 

Using salvaged pieces—door trim from the original Philadelphia Convention Hall, subway tile, tin ceilings and old-timey law office doors serving as the bathroom entryway—the vintage theme begins at the front countertop and extends all the way to the back of the restaurant, where an antique-like projector hangs from the ceiling. The bulletin theme comes into play with menus that are black felt bulletin boards with white letters pressed in, hearkening back to a time before digitization. 

Photo by Natalie Manitius

Ted’s classics include the “Walk of Shame,” a burrito with skirt steak, eggs, hash browns, cheddar cheese and spicy green chili sauce; crispy fried steaks; smoked Alabama chicken; and apple and hickory smoked pork. Sweets include a line of “adult milkshakes” and homemade pop-tarts (strawberry, blueberry cheesecake and peanut butter bacon). With its barrel-aged program, Ted’s uses homemade bitters, syrups, and vermouth for cocktails and boozy milkshakes.

It seems no flavor is out of reach here, as Pastry Chef Kelsey Pitta crafted a Thanksgiving pop-tart consisting of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes, while the milkshake end honored a customer request to place a slice of pie in their milkshake. Weiss explains how Ted’s Bulletin “lives and dies by a phrase called ‘giving the pickle,’” where no customer request is too far-flung. / Ted’s Bulletin, 11948 Market St., Reston.


Hungry for Linkage: Cat Cafes + Gluten-free Girl Scouts + Tobacco Turns Foodie

Posted by / Monday, January 27th, 2014

By: Natalie Manitius


The opening of Kettles and Grains, where customers can brew on premises, proves that “new legislation and proposed zoning amendments make it seem like the pro-business side of Virginia is convincing the teetotaler side of the commonwealth that beer can be good for business.” [Loudoun Times]

Calling all cat ladies and feline fans: San Francisco is looking forward to the opening of KitTea, its first-ever cat cafe, intended as an oasis for furry friends and humans alike. [Eater]

Subway pledged $41 million for the next three years to join Michelle Obama‘s crusade against childhood obesity. [WTOP]

Gluten intolerance will no longer be a sufficient excuse for your neighborhood Girl Scout. With cookie season upon us, a new gluten-free Chocolate Chip Shortbread makes its debut next month. [Foodbeast]

Virginia’s former cash crop is finding a new niche, and not in cigarettes. Tobacco has recently trickled its way into vodka, ice cream, cupcakes, and even perfume. Find it in items like Honey-Tobacco home spray, scotch and cigar cupcakes with molasses, and tobacco-leaf and coffee custard. [Newsweek]




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