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Hungry for Linkage: Free Fast Food Coffee + Cheesetique, Part 3 + ‘The Virginia Housewife’

Posted by / Monday, March 31st, 2014

Owner of Cheesetique Jill Erber / Photo Courtesy of Jill Erber

By Stefanie Gans

Half-priced gift cards available tomorrow only from Union Street Public House

The first regional cookbook, “The Virginia Housewife” by Mary Randolph (1824) reminds us that American history, from European settlement to cultural phenomenon like regional cookbooks, does not always begin in New England (sorry, family).” [History's Just Desserts]

Fast food breakfast wars: Free coffee at McDonald’s today through April 13. [Patch]

Not to be outdone, free coffee at Dunkin Donuts. Today only. [WSJ]

Cheesetique, with locations in Del Ray and Shirlington, scouts for a third location. [Eater]


8 Things to Know About Fair Winds Brewing Company

Posted by / Sunday, March 30th, 2014

Fair Winds Brewing Company's Casey Jones, Todd Parker and Shawn Johnson / Photo Courtesy of Fair Winds Brewing

By Natalie Manitius

1. Around Town
Fair Winds Brewing Company is technically a packaging brewery—at least 75 percent of beer is sold off premises at restaurants, bars or retail vendors—and plans for a fall opening in Lorton. There will also be a tasting room in the 12,000 square foot operation featuring 30 barrels. 

2. Sea Change
The nautical theme ties into founder Casey Jones‘ background: Jones has a masters in marine biology and navigated waters as a Coast Guard officer. He moved to NoVA in 2011 to work in corporate executive recruitment, all while homebrewing. 

3. Finding Fairfax
Jones’ interest in beer grew after having access to local beers while stationed in Coos Bay, Oregon. He looked into buying a Sea Dog Brewing Co. brewpub in Maine, but Shipyard Brewing Company beat him to it. The vision was accelerated once the brewer moved to NoVA, observing that Fairfax County “didn’t have a packaging brewery where you could literally have a local Fairfax brew on tap,” says Jones.

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Blue Sea Seafood to Open in Shirlington April 9

Posted by / Friday, March 28th, 2014

Photo courtesy Jonathan Theriault.

By Evan Milberg

Blue Sea Seafood and Bar in Shirlington is set to open April 9, according to manager Jonathan Theriault. They will occupy the space, at 4251 Campbell Ave., that was once Bear Rock Cafe. According to ARLNow, the space was originally going to be a vegan restaurant

“We’ll have a lot of Cajun-influence dishes that can’t you find anywhere else in the Village [at Shirlington] here,” says Theriault. One such dish, the Étouffée, is a Cajun/Creole stew traditionally made with shrimp or crawfish and served over rice. Other dishes Theriault recommends are the pecan-crusted catfish, the black and red fish, the BBQ salmon, the “Big Easy” shrimp and grits, the cajun crab artichoke dip and the Creole BBQ shrimp. Blue Sea Seafood will also serve “gator tots,” which are made from actual alligator. The two big dishes are The Little Skipper (six oysters, six clams, six shrimps, half pound crawfish, three stone crabs) and The Blue Sea Titanic, which is a double portion of The Little Skipper. 

Shortly after Blue Sea Seafood opens, Theriault says the restaurant plans on having daily specials and will eventually expand into brunch. The chef will be Daniel Marteny, who has a Cajun background and over 15 years of experience cooking in Northern Virginia, most recently at T.J. Stone’s in Alexandria

This post has been updated. 


Lease Signed for Curry Mantra 4 London Curry House in Alexandria

Posted by / Friday, March 28th, 2014

Mango Salad at Curry Mantra 3 / Photo by Erick Gibson

By Stefanie Gans

Last March, Gut Check reported: “Asad Sheikh is on the prowl.” And the owner of the Curry Mantra family of restaurants hasn’t stopped. This week Sheikh signed a lease for Curry Mantra 4 London Curry House to open in Alexandriaoff Duke Street across from Landmark Mall

After multiple trips to London last year, Sheikh discovered the difference between the curries made in this country and London-style curries. “The dishes might be the same,” says Sheikh, “but the taste is completely different. They use a lot of spice, not heat-spice, but very aromatic.” Although Shiekh also found London-made curries spicier than those here. 

Planned for an August debut, London Curry House will be the biggest Curry Mantra yet: 5,000 square feet with 170 seats. The first Curry Mantra opened in Fairfax three years ago, Curry Mantra 2 in Falls Church opened in March 2013 and Curry Mantra 3 opened in Vienna last September. To celebrate the first anniversary of Curry Mantra 2, Sheikh is offering complimentary lunch and dinner to all guests this Sunday. 


Hungry for Linkage: Raw Bar at Kybecca + Aged Bourbon in Fredericksburg + America’s History with Fat

Posted by / Friday, March 28th, 2014

Agata Dorobek/

By Natalie Manitius

Kybecca of Fredericksburg recently unveiled a new raw bar. [Kybecca]

What does your astrological sign say about your pizza style? [Buzzfeed]

Sing foodie praises for your favorite local NoVA spots and vote online in the 2014 RAMMY awards: Bayou Bakery, Buzz Bakery, and Red Apron Butcher are contenders for the Fast Bites category, Vermilion for Upscale Casual Brunch of the year, and Pizzeria Orso for Everyday Casual Brunch of the year. [RAMW]

Bourbon fans, beware: Fredericksburg’s A. Smith Bowman Distillery Double Barrel Bourbon spent seven years aging and is now ready for consumption. [A. Smith Bowman Distillery]

Try a new brunch at Water & Wall this weekend, which made Zagat’s list for DC’s 10 Must Try New Brunches. [Zagat]

Here’s some history behind America’s fear of fat. [NPR]




Two things to know about the bar at Copperwood Tavern that have nothing to do with drinking

Posted by / Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Photos by Stefanie Gans

By Stefanie Gans

With the arrival of Copperwood Tavern, Shirlington finally scored one of those highly stylized, rustic-chic restaurants so often planted in cities. But instead of a farmhouse vibe, Copperwood plays into a more Montana hunting lodge decor. There are animal heads mounted on the walls and lots of exposed wooden beams. It’s a decidedly rugged atmosphere, which is why owner Reese Gardner chose delicate cloth doilies to use as coasters.

Besides, he says, being great conversation starters—and reminding him of his grandmother’s house—the doilies “add some femininity into a largely masculine venue.” Gardner first saw the doilies in Lancaster and it takes the shop two weeks for Copperwood to receive a 5,000-count order. While the doilies cost triple of what Gardner would spend on cocktail paper napkins, he is committed to the cloth: Through theft, accidental throw-outs and destruction, Copperwood has gone through 15,000 doilies in six months. “It’s part of our concept now,” says Gardner, ” we just have to get better taking care of them.”

And while you’re at the bar, drinking a beer sitting on a doily, enjoy the free popcorn. It’s sprinkled with a housemade barbecue rub—brown sugar, smoked paprika and a dozen more ingredients—which is the same mixture developed for the smoked pork butt sandwich. Chef Allan Javery originally planned to rotate popcorn flavors and started with a truffle and Parmesan coating. The barbecue popcorn was the second installment, but hasn’t shifted off. The 120 pounds of kernels a week the kitchen goes through proves its popularity. / Copperwood Tavern, 4021 Campbell Ave, Arlington  


Hungry for Linkage: Beer Madness + America Eats Tavern Hires Head Chef + Le Sandwich Comes to Clarendon

Posted by / Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Photo courtesy of Steve Cukrov/

By Evan Milberg

Washington Post‘s “Beer Madness” – the DC-area beer equivalent to March Madness – has narrowed its field from 32 to 16 beers. Of those 16, six are from Northern Virginia breweries. [WaPo] 

America Eats Tavern has hired a head chef and is looking to open by Memorial Day. [WaPo] 

100 Montaditos, a Spanish restaurant based in Miami, is opening its Rosslyn location on Monday. [Twitter] 

Le Sandwich has replaced Street Corner Cafe in Clarendon. [ARLNow]

Eight places not named Restaurant Eve that Zagat recommends in Old Town Alexandria. [Zagat] 


Cravings: Chili Cheese Fries at Ben’s Chili Bowl

Posted by / Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Photo by Stefanie Gans

By Stefanie Gans

Dish: Chili Cheese Fries, $5.95

Where: Ben’s Chili Bowl, 1725 Wilson Blvd., Arlington

Taste: The official drunk food of the nation’s capital set up shop in Rosslyn. Will you want to gorge on these fries covered in meaty gravy and melted cheese during your lunch break? Probably not. Will they cure whatever fixing you need after a night of too many beers at Heavy Seas Alehouse? For sure. 

MORE | Cravings


Hungry for Linkage: Craft Beer at 7-Eleven + Sultana Grill Reopens + Boozy Ginger Beer

Posted by / Monday, March 24th, 2014

Photo by Bennett Lipscomb

By Stefanie Gans

The newly renovated 7-Eleven on Braddock Road (across from the Braddock Road Metro) sells local and craft beer. 

Moroccan restaurant Sultana Grill reopens in Arlington. [ARLnow]

Infographic: Know your knife cuts. [Food Network]

Falls Church Restaurant Week starts today. [FCNP]

Make your own boozy ginger beer. [Food 52]

Rejecting savory oatmeal. [The Amateur Gourmet]


It Takes A Village to Raze a Restaurant: Village Bistro Renovates and Changes Name to Mele Bistro

Posted by / Friday, March 21st, 2014

As Village Bistro (2013) / Photo Courtesy Frank Smiley

As Mele Bistro (2014) / Photo Courtesy Frank Smiley

 By Evan Milberg

When Frank Smiley took over Village Bistro a year and a half ago, the place needed fixing. “There were lots of problems, from the interior design to the quality of the food, everything,” says Smiley. He would often receive requests from neighbors to change the name and start off with something new. So less than two weeks ago he changed the name to Mele Bistro.

“The neighbors would say ‘You are not the same management and owner, there is no way for us to know unless you change the name,’” says Smiley. “They said we should change the name so everyone can know we are not the same restaurant.” 

To begin, Smiley started with the interior design. The ladies room has a brand new design. The kitchen will be getting a pasta machine imported from Italy.  Smiley says he will unveil the new sign outside in a few weeks. Once everything is set with the interior, Smiley says that Mele will change its interior decorations every two months so “people don’t get tired of it.”

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