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Fall for Darker Beers, Part II: 8 Local Brews for the Season, Plus Food Pairings

Posted by / Thursday, December 5th, 2013

urbanlight /

Darker days and nights call for darker beer. Try these local cold-weather brews with tasting notes and beer pairing recommendations from each brewery. 

Fuel from Capitol City Brewing Company
This Imperial Coffee Stout is made from barley and roasted coffee from Arlington’s Rappahannock Coffee and provides a coffee flavor accompanied by sweetness from the chocolate malt. At an alcohol content of 9%, this beer is strong and warm. Pair it with more robust foods, such as chocolate desserts, more pronounced cheeses and smoked meats. / Capitol City Brewing Company, 4001 Campbell Avenue, Arlington.

Forge Imperial Oatmeal Rye Stout from Forge Brew Works
A bolstered version of Forge’s own Oatmeal Stout, the Imperial version has an alcohol content of 9.5 percent and a hint of spiciness from the rye. With three malts to give it some chocolate and toasty notes as well as sweetness, this dessert beer makes another good pair for cheesecake. / Forge Brew Works8532 Terminal Road Suite L, Lorton.

Festivus from Mad Fox Brewing Company
Made fragrant with cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, clove, cardamom, and mace, Festivus tastes just like the holidays. As an English-style winter warmer, this ale is rich and robust with lots of malt. To fully enjoy all the fragrant flavors, pair this beer with either banana bread or a holiday spice cake. / Mad Fox Brewing Company, 444 West Broad Street, Suite I, Falls Church.

Port City Porter from Port City Brewing Company
A mix of German and British malts evoke bitter chocolate and coffee flavors by roasting the malts like coffee beans. While the porter is perfectly good solo, it pairs well with desserts, such as flourless chocolate cake. / Port City Brewing Company, 3950 Wheeler Ave, Alexandria.

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Hungry for Linkage: Trummer’s on Main Happy Hour + RIP Doritos Locos Guy + Dairy Cliff means $7 Milk Gallons

Posted by / Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Illustration by Eliana Reyes

During the holiday season, Trummer’s on Main will hold late happy hours with half-off bar items. [Eater]

So long, Red Mango. [ARLnow]

If the House and Senate agriculture committees don’t pass farm bills, Americans will face the “dairy cliff,” where prices for milk will jump up to $7 a gallon. [npr]

The committee at Old Town Alexandria discussed ideas for the new Blackwall Hitch coming to the old Torpedo Factory pavilion. 

RIP Todd Mills, the man who launched a crusade for Doritos Locos tacos at Taco Bell. [Grub Street NY]


Notes on Northern Virginia Magazine’s 50 Best Restaurants Issue, 2013 – Now Online

Posted by / Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

“Am I an optimist or a pessimist?” I asked Warren Rojas, the former Northern Virginia Magazine dining editor, at dinner last night. Over fried calamari (with a wasabi aioli at a Chinese restaurant; I’ll get to that in the February issue), we were talking about hope. I want every restaurant meal to be wonderful. Glorious. To flush me with enough fodder to create taste memories forever. But sometimes they don’t. And then I’m heartbroken.

“You have to manage your expectations,” Warren tells me, as I’m about to finish my second year as a restaurant critic. 

“So, if I always want the best, but then am disappointed, does this make me a deluded optimist? Or a perpetual pessimist?” We didn’t figure it out. 

Eating for the 50 Best Restaurants issue is a balance in presumptions and, after the swallow, reality. Will my favorite restaurants from last year continue producing thoughtful food? Will a new restaurant fail to fulfill its promise? Will an established restaurant suddenly feel more vibrant than ever? 

It takes a lot of meals, money and miles to put together a list of upstanding restaurants from Arlington to The Plains, from Lovettsville to Fredericksburg. It also requires some intuition. When the Loudoun County chef shuffle placed some of the area’s top chefs in new restaurants—just before our deadline to close the list—we had to decide how to handle the switches. The magazine’s policy would normally allow the chefs to gain comfort in their new kitchens before formally reviewing the food. But we didn’t have the editorial time in bizarre magazine world where we work on Christmas stories when it’s still jacket-less weather. My editor and I decided to judge them immediately because they were established chefs at established restaurants. It was a time I hoped for the best and a time when these newly rearranged talents rewarded me with lovely dishes. Maybe I am an optimist.

The 2013 Best Restaurants list was compiled differently than last year: Only the top 10 restaurants are ranked and the remainder of the restaurants are compared to other restaurants in that same county, which should help you find a great place to eat, much closer to home. 

Northern Virginia’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2013


After the jump: Updates on the list, as the chef shuffles continue.

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Where to Find Cold-Brew Coffee in NoVA

Posted by / Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Photo Courtesy of South Block Raw

Cold-brew coffee, made from grounds soaked overnight for a sweeter and less acidic wake-up call, is starting to trend in Northern Virginia. It’s a drink that can mix with ice, or by adding water and a microwave, but work as a hot beverage too. 

South Block Raw
Known for its cold-pressed juices, South Block Raw debuted Caveman Cold Brew this past September. It’s creamy and vegan-friendly thanks to the addition of Caveman Milk, made with cashews, dates and pink Himalayan salt. /South Block Raw, 3011 11th Street N., Arlington. 

Basic Beverages
By starting with water at a pH level of 7.5, Basic Beverages reduces the acidity of coffee. The Fauquier-based brother and sister team (see the December issue of Northern Virginia Magazine for how the two started in the cold-pressed coffee world) uses only fair trade organic beans. This past fall, they released a pumpkin spice flavor. / Basic Beverages

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Hungry for Linkage: Chef Katie Busch Starts Today at Bistro Vivant + Waterfront Market Opens + Receipts Dole Out Dieting Advice

Posted by / Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Claudio Divizia /

Cyber Monday Deal: Lebanese Taverna gives customers who buy $100 gift cards $40 dollars more. [Eater]

Nagging receipts now print passive-aggressive comments about your fast food diet. [Grub Street NY]

Cider: The alcoholic beverage makes a comeback with the bonus of being gluten-free. [npr]

Welcome Bistro Vivant’s new chef, Katie Busch. The New York transplant starts today. [WaPo]

The anticipated Pan American Bakery and Café is no longer coming to Arlington. [ARLnow]

The Waterfront Market opened in Old Town Alexandria. [FB]


Pho Factory Owner to Open Eden Kitchen

Posted by / Tuesday, November 26th, 2013


From Alexandria’s Pho Factory owner Andy Phan comes another noodle venture, this time based in Northern Virginia’s Vietnamese mecca, Eden Center. Unlike its smaller neighbors, Eden Kitchen will open with over 3,300 square feet of space; The average Eden Center restaurant is 1,500 square feet. 

Eden Kitchen’s menu will include almost a full-page of vegetarian options, featuring mixes of tofu, vegetables and mushrooms and of, course, the vegetarian pho with broth made from fruits and vegetables. There are also fish dishes, included a fried version in a garlicky, spicy fish sauce. A seasonal menu with be available with 10 rotating items, including sour soup with shrimp and a pork and vegetable soup loaded with watercress, tofu, ground meat, shrimp and Chinese mustard greens.  

Eden Kitchen is currently awaiting permits, with a hopeful opening in early December. / Eden Kitchen, 6793-C Wilson Boulevard, Falls Church; 703-534-3336 


Tallula and EatBar Welcome New Chef: Rob Rubba, Debuting New Menu Tonight

Posted by / Monday, November 25th, 2013

Photo Courtesy of Rob Rubba

After less than a week on the job, Chef Rob Rubba debuts a new menu tonight at TallulaNate Waugaman left the post after almost a year-and-a-half at the helm of Tallula and the adjoining EatBar. Waugaman would not comment on the departure.

Rubba most recently cooked at Azur in D.C., leaving about month before the restaurant closed and before that, Rubba also left just prior to the historic Philadelphia restaurant Le Bec Fin shuttering. Trained in both French and Japanese techniques, Rubba worked under cooking legends Guy Savoy (in Las Vegas and Paris), Todd English, and Gordon Ramsay. Rubba never went to culinary school, instead he learned on the job. “To me that’s what classically trained is in my opinion: I tried to work for as many Michelin-starred chefs as I could.” 

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Hungry for Linkage: Bonefisah Grill in Pentagon Row + Kilroy’s Turkey Festivals + Adopt a Turkey

Posted by / Monday, November 25th, 2013

The only explosive thing about burritos is the flavor / bonchan/

With the growth of the middle class, Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky tries to be the drink of the demographic. [NPR]

Pentagon Row gets excited about next summer’s Bonefish Grill. [ARLnow]

At biker dive bar Moe’s Peyton Place in Springfield, the once-tough atmosphere has evolved to a close-knit biker family bar. [WAMU]

To raise money for a family who lost their home in a fire, Kilroy’s hosts the Turkey Testicle Festival and Turkey Chili Contest this Saturday. [Patch]

Maker’s Mark—off the mark in cocktail creation. [Grub Street NY]

Burrito or bomb? [The Braiser]

Thanksgiving shouldn’t come with any guilt. Save a turkey with the Adopt a Turkey project. 


Red Rocks Begins Hosting Craft Beer Series Tonight with Port City Brewing’s Bill Butcher

Posted by / Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Photo Courtesy RedRocks

“We want to offer things that other people don’t offer,” says James O’Brien, owner of Red Rocks, the pizzera and beer bar that opened a location on Columbia Pike earlier this year. “We know that there are certain things that people like, and it’s great to have those familiar, comfort things, but with our 20 drafts, we want to be on the cutting edge.” Red Rocks also stays local by dedicating 10-to-15 of the taps to area drafts. 

Starting tonight, Red Rocks begins a recurring Thursday night series, The Beer-tender, where every other week brewers come in to talk about their breweries’ special selections. For the premiere, owner of Port City Brewing Bill Butcher presents Tidings Ale and the “stormy” background story of the Derecho Common. 

With hopes to do more of the series in the following seasons and implement it at their other locations, Red Rocks also welcomes Ben Brown of Anchor Brewingwho will present the first tap of Anchor Christmas in the area—and Tommy Hunter of Flying Dog Brewing on Dec. 5 and 19 respectively. / RedRocks, 2501 9th Road S, Arlington


The Landing to Open at Occoquan Marina Next Year

Posted by / Thursday, November 21st, 2013

The Landing at Coles Point /Photo Courtesy of Chef Troy Clayton

While it may sound like an out of body astral projection, the term transient slip is actually boater lingo for “boat parking space,” which will be one of the amenities at the forthcoming, The LandingChef Troy Clayton merges his love of cuisine and boating in his new restaurants. Boaters and land lubbers alike can enjoy a menu with seafood. Like The Landing at Coles Point that opened this past May, the second location of The Landing coming to the Occoquan Marina promises indoor and outdoor bars, an outdoor patio for dining, and a formal party room. 

Clayton—also current head chef and owner of Geranio Restaurant in Alexandria—says that the menu of appetizers, pizzas and entrees will rotate seasonally and include as many locally sourced ingredients as possible. Of course there’s the produce, but the waterside location of both restaurants comes with local crab, rockfish and oysters. With a Wine Spectator Award from Geranio Restaurant, Clayton hopes to have an expansive wine list including Virginia wines such as Chrysalis and The Hague along with local craft beers, though the menu is far from finalized. 

The Landing at Occoquan is hoping to open this February. / The Landing at Coles Point, 13180 Marina Way, Woodbridge. 


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