Gut Check

About  |  Writers  |  @NoVADining

Hungry for Linkage: Hank’s Oyster Bar Opens Expansion This Week + New Restaurant in Del Ray + Being a Wine Director

Posted by / Monday, December 9th, 2013

A new Del Ray restaurant is in the works that plans to serve food, gelato and have on-premise beer and wine. [Patch]

Local fast food workers organized to demand better wages. [WCP]

New management and chef at Leesburg‘s Palio Restaurant. [Loudoun Times]

Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s—known for local favorites such as Vermillion and Rustico—wine director, Brent Kroll, gives a look at his drinking life. [BYT]

“There are about 200 other hot sauces I’ll reach for before I reach for Sriracha,” says Andrew Zimmern of the (perhaps overly) popular brand. [TODAY]

While food is an art itself, an exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago gathers famous works from visual artists to examine its “importance in American culture, the history of American cuisine, and the ways that these have shaped and reflected our national identity.” The show, Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture and Cuisine, will be in the Windy City until Jan. 27.[npr]


Brew Pursuit

Posted by / Monday, December 9th, 2013

‘Beer Nerd’ combines trivia and beer drinking in an appropriately geeky board game. 

Photo by Mike Ramm

Blending “Trivial Pursuit” rules with beer sampling, the board game “Beer Nerd” taps into the hysteria around today’s obsession with craft brews.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Return of Pho Hoang In Centreville: Same Name, New Owner

Posted by / Friday, December 6th, 2013

Rice Vermicelli with Grilled Pork and Bun Bo Hue / Photos Courtesy of Pho Hoang

There was a Pho Hoang in Centreville that closed. And now there is another Pho Hoang in the very same strip mall on Lee Highway. Another similarity: Phu Nguyen

Nguyen once cooked at the original Pho Hoang and then co-owned Pho Nam in Silver Spring, Md. Now with the late October opening of Pho Hoang, Nguyen is back in Northern Virginia. 

The menu here, rather than the first iteration, says Lee Nguyen, the owner’s son, is more focused on phos with about 15 options of the Vietnamese noodle soup, including a vegetarian choice. A handful of appetizers and a weekend-only option of bum bo Hue, a traditional spicy beef soup from Hue, Vietnam’s historical imperial city, is also available.

Lee tried to convince his father to change the name to alleviate confusion, suggesting Pho Vietnam or Pho Bac. But his father hoped the familiar name would bring in fans of the previous location—plus he liked the meaning of hoang, which means royal, and references the kingly nature of their special soup from Hue. Pho Hoang, 13830 Lee Highway, Centreville; 703-830-3301



New Chef at Goodstone Inn, Elevates Sous Chef John Leonard to Chef de Cuisine

Posted by / Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Beet Salad at Goodstone Inn / Photography by Jonathan Timmes

After less than six months with Benjamin Lambert as the head of the kitchen—and who also moved to live on the property—Goodstone Inn has a new chef. John Leonard, a sous chef under Goodstone’s former Executive Chef Ian Dieter and previously of L’Auberge Chez François, will now serve as Chef de Cuisine, a publicist for the restaurant confirmed. According to the representative, “Leonard will continue Goodstone’s classic French presentation with heavy emphasis on local products from Goodstone and other local farms but will draw on his strong seafood background, rotating seasonal seafood specials on the menu.” 

In an interview with Lambert for Goodstone’s placement as the sixth Best Restaurant in Northern Virginia, Lambert said he was shifting away from French cooking at the Middleburg restaurant, and turning instead to a more seasonal and modern American approach. Lambert couldn’t be reached for comment. 

MORE | Updates from 50 Best Restaurants list Northern Virginia’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2013


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.

Read the rest of this entry »


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.

Read the rest of this entry »


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

Read the rest of this entry »


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 


Page 41 of 238« First...102030...3940414243...506070...Last »