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Farm-to-Table Turns Corporate: True Food Kitchen Opens Today in Mosaic District

Posted by / Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

True Food Kitchen

Photo Courtesy of Fox Restaurant Concepts.

By Susannah Black

The restaurant’s concept is simple: “farm-to-table, organic, local foods,” says Sam Fox, owner of True Food Kitchen. It’s the same ethos which has been driving the modern mom-and-pop shops and now is showing up in corporate America.

The East Coast’s first True Food Kitchen, based on the Mediterranean-leaning anti-inflammatory diet developed by Dr. Andrew Weil, opens today in Merrifield‘s Mosaic District.  

Weil, a renowned doctor, professor and author, collaborates with Fox to create this nutritional menu. With Weil’s assistance, Fox says “all of the food on the menu has been thought out about how it reacts in your body.”  For example, Fox says “a lot of our dishes are gluten-free or dairy-free” and added are “special spices and herbs to reduce inflammation,” as “Andy believes that inflammation is the root of a lot of diseases.” 

Also behind the menu, Michael Obermeier, Fairfax’s True Food Kitchen’s executive chef, relocated to the D.C. area from West Palm Beach after becoming connected with Fox: “Fox found me … I was looking to broaden my horizons and when this opportunity came my way, I kind of jumped on it.” Obermeier reiterates Dr. Weil’s and Fox’s dedication to a menu with nutritionally high standards. “Everything that we do is supposed to be natural … introduce nothing but good products.”

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Hungry for Linkage: Virginia Wine Country + Bone Broth + Hershey’s Candy Corn Creme Bars

Posted by / Monday, September 22nd, 2014



By Stefanie Gans

José Andrés  shows off Virginia wine country. [F&W]

Life is like a latte. [Cupcakes for Breakfast]

Recipe: gluten-free quinoa cakes from Arlington‘s Willow. [WaPo]

For the love of bone broth. [New Potato]

“If I close my eyes and use my imagination, there’s something slightly fruity at the end as if someone spliced Cadbury Egg Crème with dehydrated strawberry nubs, but it’s more about the abundance of sugar and texture: melty, melty, melty,” on Hershey’s Candy Corn Creme Bars. [The Impulsive Buy]


Hungry For Linkage: Pig Roast + Historic Manassas Restaurant Week + Good Year for Virginia Apples

Posted by / Friday, September 19th, 2014

Courtesy of

successo images /

By Susannah Black

River Bend Bistro hosts Port City Brewing Company’s first pig roast on Sunday: a whole hog from Serenity Farms in Maryland will serve as the main course along with side dishes like balsamic-braised swiss chard, applesauce, corn on the cob and fried pig ears. ($45/pp) [Port City]

Historic Manassas Restaurant Week begins this Sunday, with such restaurants as Malones, City Square Cafe and Carmello’s participating. [Historic Manassas Restaurant Alliance]

Society Fair and TNT on Columbia Pike are expected to close its doors for business by the end of this month. [ARLnow].

Eat BBQ and drink Mad Fox Brewing Company’s Keller Kolsch, Defender APA, Stir About Oatmeal and Saison on Saturday at the Beer Bourbon BBQ Festival  in McLean. [Mad Fox]

Experience an authentic German food buffet, drink beer by not-yet-opened Portner Brewhouse and play board games in Alexandria today at Okto-Board-Fest. [Portner Brewhouse]

Stephens City apple farmer Dudley Rinker says that despite this summer’s “dry spell,” apple pickers can expect “a fairly large crop for 2014.” [NVDaily].


Technically, It’s Still Summer: 7 Season-Spanning Chambourcin Rosés from Northern Virginia Wineries

Posted by / Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Photo By Susannah Black

Rappahannock Rose Fizzy 2013/ Photo By Susannah Black

By Susannah Black

What is a dedicated drinker to do while moving from summer to fall? Jim Livingston of Hartwood Winery suggests that a a chilled Chambourcin Rosé is “naturally good for transitioning” from summer to fall because of its “dry, lighter…. and very refreshing” tasting notes. This rosé, a medium-bodied, fruit-forward, off dry, wine with mild earth tones and herbal notes, will satisfy summer’s dedication to drinkable, light wines while providing the richer, fuller notes of a colder-weather wine. Here are seven wineries in Northern Virginia that offer a noteworthy Chambourcin Rosé. 

Dry Mill Winery 2013 Chambourcin Rosé
Winemaker Karen Reed describes this $20 rosé as “reminiscent of summer’s first strawberries,” finishing with noticeable acidity and mild sweetness. / 18195 Dry Mill Road, Leesburg.

Hartwood Winery 2013 Rappahannock Rosé
This $19 French-style rosé won the bronze metal at Finger Lakes International Wine Competition.  General Manager Beverly Livingston suggests the “soft cherry-like flavors” and “hints of citrus” are well-suited to “light foods.” / 345 Hartwood Road, Fredericksburg.

Hidden Brook Winery 2010 Rosé
Tasting room manager Ken Strasberg suggests “this is not your typical rosé;” it is “very spicy” and collaborates with a “blend of lemon, blueberry, grapefruit and blackberry.”  This $20 wine pairs “great with Thai and Mexican.” / 43301 Spinks Ferry Road, Leesburg

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From City Bartender to Country Farmer, Gary Hall Opens Brassicas Farm Fresh Market & Cafe

Posted by / Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Photo by Stefanie Gans

Photo by Stefanie Gans

By Susannah Black

For the last eight years, Gary Hall worked at various establishments in various positions: bartending and cooking at Local 16 in D.C., bartending at Rocket Bar in Chinatown, and bartending and managing at Chi-Cha Lounge on U Street. While Hall’s work history gave him experience within the industry, he says he eventually became “interested in growing ingredients locally.”

Last year, Hall’s desire in “providing fresh, healthy, seasonal food in an accessible way” inspired him to temporarily move from D.C. to Loudoun County in order to open Brassicas Farm Fresh Market & Café. “I decided to give it a shot,” says Hall. 

Opened last month in Aldie, Brassicas is both a restaurant, market and farm. The locally sourced ingredients on the menu are as close by as the restaurant’s backyard, where a large garden provides much of the menu’s produce and the chickens living on the land provide the eggs. Other products are sourced from Quarter Branch Farm, with cheeses from Oak Spring Farm and George’s Mill Farm and smoked bacon from Spring House Farm, all in Lovettsville

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Hungry For Linkage: Oyster Season + Apple and Honey Pairings + President Obama’s Coffee

Posted by / Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

NoVA Wine Fest

39th Annual Virginia Wine Festival / Photo by Nicole Bayne

By Nicole Bayne

Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks are back, duh. But getting your hands on the coveted pumpkin spice syrup is more difficult, and more expensive, than you might think. [GrubStreet]

Learn the proper techniques of oyster shucking while it’s still in season. [Forbes]

Broken down by region, find the Virginia wineries known for views, tastings, food and fun. [WaPo]

The origin of where President Barack Obama gets his coffee has become so secretive that the difficulty is making headlines. [BostonGlobe]

Apple and honey pairings for the Jewish New Year. [WaPo]




After a Year of Renovations, Leesburg Restaurant Turns into Leesburg Diner; Expect Milkshakes, Peanut Soup and Peacock Omelets

Posted by / Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Photo by Susannah Black

Leesburg Restaurant-turned-Leesburg Diner / Photo by Susannah Black

 By Susannah Black

Late last summer, a downtown, comfort-food-serving restaurant closed its doors. The Leesburg Restaurant operated for about a decade until owner Michael O’Connor decided to renovate. A little more than a year since its temporary shutter, the restaurant will reopen next month with the new name: Leesburg Diner.

“We are in the final evaluation with the county,” says O’Connor, who says the name change “felt appropriate … it is a diner.”

For about five months after O’Connor closed Leesburg Restaurant, he served its combination breakfast-lunch menu out of Palio of Leesburg, his Italian restaurant around the corner.  “I didn’t want to see Leesburg Restaurant’s employees cut loose,” says O’Connor, who will now rehire several of his previous employees for the diner.

Included in the renovations are a revamp of the kitchen and the addition of a new ice cream machine, keeping O’Connor’s promise that “we will always have the best milkshakes in Virginia.”  

The menu will be similar to that of Leesburg Restaurant—including the famed peanut soup—and O’Connor is thinking about featuring an Irish-themed breakfast on Sunday mornings. O’Connor is especially excited to feature the occasional peacock egg omelet on the menu, courtesy of the 20-plus peacocks he raises on his Mt. Gilead farm, Stoney Lonesome. Patrons can expect this omelet, which O’Connor describes as rich and gamey, about twice a year when the peacocks lay eggs. Unlike most greasy spoons, O’Connor will source some products locally: all beef will come from his farm and Great Country FarmsQuarter Branch and Fields of Athenry will provide some produce.

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September’s By the Numbers

Posted by / Tuesday, September 16th, 2014


Tres Hermanas restaurant in Alexandria

Photo courtesy of Mike Anderson.

The amount of money Mike Anderson spends on 300 tropical plants, including palm trees and banana trees, for Tres Hermanas, the restaurant that replaced Mango Mike’s in July.

Costs also include shipping (renting a tractor trailer from Florida), supplies (full-size backhoe, mulch, white sand) and labor (Anderson, plus a team of five). Catch the 14th annual display of the tropics in Alexandria until December, when the frost destroys the flora. —Stefanie Gans

(September 2014)


Hungry for Linkage: Hell-Burger is Back + Oktoberfest at Trummers + Industry Night at BRABO

Posted by / Monday, September 15th, 2014

Photograph by James Kim

Hell-Burger / Photograph by James Kim

By Stefanie Gans

Hey hey DJ McClure. BRABO Tasting Room launches industry night beginning at 10 p.m. with food specials ($5 tarts; $10 pots of mussels; $5 housemade punches; $5 glasses of house wine; $3 Virginia canned beer) and old-school house music, spun by BRABO’S Chef Harper McClure.

Oktoberfest starts at Trummer’s on Main today. Menu items include spätzle, schnitzel and housemade sausages. 

Olive Garden recieves a lashing from a hedge fund that holds stock in the company. Complaints include serving too many bread sticks and not salting the pasta water. [Quartz]

Hell-Burger is back. [Eater]

Taco Bamba celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month with Mexican specials, including gorditas stuffed with tamarind braised beef and topped with pickled watermelon rind and Fresno chilis ($7.50).


Pizzarella’s opens in Leesburg‘s Exeter neighborhood. [Leesburg Today]


Move Over Wings: Try These 7 Bar Food Snacks During Football Season

Posted by / Friday, September 12th, 2014

Bacon Shrimp

Bacon-wrapped shrimp from Rhodeside Grill / Photo courtesy of Paul Taylor

By Nicole Bayne

NFLseason is more than just football. It’s also more than just wings. Try these alternative fun, mostly fried,  snacks at NoVA bars. And, yes, all places listed here carry the essential NFL Sunday Ticket.

Dingle Dots
From: O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub
More than dots, these breaded and deep-fried balls contain corned beef, cabbage and potato, dressed up with O’Sullivan’s spicy honey mustard. “You can always get wings at bars, but these are hard to find,” says bartender Enda Browne.
NFL-dedicated TVs:  7
NFL Specials: Buckets of Bud Light, $5 Guinness pints, and an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Sundays. / 754 Elden St., Herndon

Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp
From: Rhodeside Grill 
These aren’t your average shrimp. “In the middle is a julienne-cut jalapeno pepper glazed in housemade sauce so you get sweet, spicy and savory notes that pair well with drinking beer and watching the game,” says manager Paul Taylor.
NFL-dedicated TVs: 38
NFL Specials: The weekly specials depend on which teams play on Thursday. For example, “when the New York Giants play the Washington Redskins we will have a Coney Island pretzel dog versus half smoke with mambo chutney,” says Taylor. / 1863 Wilson Blvd., Arlington

District Pork Shanks Wild Wings
From: Clyde’s at Mark Center 
From the lower part of the pig comes deep fried “extra meaty” goodness, says executive chef Robert McGowan. “Our mumbo sauce gives it a spicy-sweet flavor.”
NFL-dedicated TVs: 8
NFL Specials: Wings, burgers, bratwursts and knockwursts for $7 and $2.50 PBRs. / 700 N. Beauregard St., Alexandria

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