Posts Tagged ‘Alexandria’

Cravings: Roasted Bone Marrow at Columbia Firehouse

Posted by Editorial / Friday, November 21st, 2014


Photo Courtesy of Susannah Black

Photo by Susannah Black

By Susannah Black

Dish: Roasted Bone Marrow, $12

Where: Columbia Firehouse, 109 S. St., Asaph St., Alexandria

Taste: Two luges of bone, plump with delicate, beige-colored tissue, sit crisscross on a white plate accompanied by a touch of greenery and toasted bread on which the marrow can be eaten. I scoop out the silky marrow (or attempt to) with the tip of my knife and onto a crunchy slice of bread, and I vacillate between feeling like a scavenger of the Ice Age and a refined Frenchman with a proclivity for delicacies. The marrow is briny, a slippery tissue of rich earthiness and mild sweetness. A marmalade topping couples the cloying flavor of honey with the pungent kick of a shallot, complimenting the marrow’s salty and savory tang. The flavor of toasted hazelnuts within the marmalade completes the dish with a nutty and buttery finish. Scavenger or Frenchman, this dish satisfies the primal and the pretentious in us all.

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A Local Veteran Pays it Forward Through Fashion

Posted by Editorial / Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

By Cate Jensen

Photo courtesy of Laura Fruchterman

Photo courtesy of Laura Fruchterman

Diego Andres Echeverri, a Northern Virginia-based entrepreneurknows what it means to celebrate Veteran’s Day. Having served in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2004 with the 10th Mountain Division of the United States Army, Echeverri is a veteran himself and one with style. 

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Today’s Tech-Savvy Kitchens are Studies in Modern Conveniences

Kitchen renovations in Northern Virginia.

Photo courtesy of Reico Kitchen & Bath/BTW Images LLC.

By Jennifer Shapira

The kitchen. It’s still where meals are prepared. But to fit our daily lives, kitchens are wired to take care of business and help us enjoy entertaining. Appliances are required to multitask.

We’re not in the kitchen anymore to be sequestered away performing sweaty chores, sleeves rolled up scrubbing grime from pots and pans. We’re not simmering over hot stoves; induction cooking has cooled down kitchen temperatures. Convection and steam ovens reduce cooking times and produce tastier meals. And gone are the days of dealing with the odors of past-cooked meals; highly efficient above-range hoods do a serious job of ventilating, and at a hushed decibel level.

No, today we let appliances do our dirty work. And they don’t complain either. Instead, they are the quietest dishwashers on the market. They are the smartest ovens with touchscreens that function with the swipe of a finger. Not home? They can be switched on via smartphone or tablet. We don’t even have to turn on water-saving faucets; they’re hands-free and power on with a wave of a dirty hand or the tap of an elbow. We don’t need cookbooks; instead we can just scroll through the oven’s own library of digital recipes. These are not the appliances of the future; they are here today.

Multitasking is crucial to our daily lives—appliances need to be smart and high-functioning, often so we don’t have to be.

As a result, the kitchen has evolved, says Cathy Holt, a kitchen designer at Lowe’s in Alexandria. Once “a place where you used to cook, it’s now a hub—one of the most important places of the whole home—and you spend more time in there. People want to be able to come and go to the kitchen,” she says.

They want to do their work on laptops, watch TV, send emails and grab a bite. In short, she says, our lifestyles have prompted the kitchen to morph into a new breed of family room, where food preparation and WiFi coexist—sometimes with a little push and pull—which might mean having to set some family ground rules.

Kithcen renovations in Northern Virginia.

Photo courtesy of Reico Kitchen & Bath/BTW Images LLC.

That said, “People don’t want to have to go and get food, then go to another area to do work,” says Holt. “They want to be able to handle all of it in the kitchen and be relaxed.” The smart kitchen provides a single solution to work/eat/entertain/family-together-time.
So, what about the look? Whether modern, traditional or transitional, Holt says in this area, when it comes to a kitchen renovation, homeowners express three musts: a system that looks good, is tailored to the home cooks and is convenient. Within the classic work triangle, she says stainless steel appliances still rule. But she has also noticed a growing interest in the number of requests for counter-depth appliances, resulting in a more polished, finished-looking kitchen, where no appliances protrude into the work space.

In fact, according to the 2014 Kitchen and Bath Trend Design Report from the National Kitchen and Bath Association, interest in built-in cabinet-depth refrigerators and freezers is projected to grow in 2014. The report also states that the French door refrigerator is the No. 1 style homeowners want in their kitchens for function and ease of use; the only knee- and back-bending involved is in opening the freezer below. And in terms of cooking appliances, NKBA says that microwave drawers, convection ovens and gas cooktops are on-trend for increasing in popularity; it also states that two-thirds of its kitchen designers incorporated docking and/or charging stations in kitchens.

But what about some of the smartest appliances on the market? Mark Wentsel, a Richmond-based appliance specialist for Reico Kitchen and Bath points to a number of high-end specialty beauties that just may be all about kitchen convenience and improved quality of life.

Wentsel cites a pair of innovative appliances from Dacor. “They have a series of wall ovens that they call Discovery iQ, and these are the industry’s first Android-operated wall ovens,” he says. “They’re designed to sync with your Android device so that while you’re out and about, you can turn on your oven—program it to do whatever it is you want it to do—all from your smartphone or tablet.” The WiFi integrated oven allows the user to save and select custom pre-set cooking modes, all with the swipe of a finger on the seven-inch LCD screen.

And while the Dacor version may be ultra-high-end, Wentsel says a Reico showroom favorite is the Jenn-Air Culinary Center wall oven, which shares some of the same features, albeit at a more affordable price. Page through pre-programmed recipes on the oven’s LCD screen, and follow step-by-step directions on how to cook almost anything.

For example, if you’re cooking prime rib, make that selection, then “up pops a very realistic picture of a cooked prime rib,” he says. Then it asks: How do you want to cook it?

“Do you want it: rare, medium rare, or medium? And then you choose different cooking temperatures. You can actually see the center of the meat change. So if you pick ‘rare,’ it’s going to show red in the center, on the LCD,” says Wentsel. “It’s incredible. With this oven, just following the steps, you’re going to be a gourmet cook.”

And while a number of high-end appliance manufacturers have wine storage products on the market, Wentsel likes Dacor’s Discovery Wine Station. The built-in storage system chills up to four bottles in their upright position. Inside the external glass window, each bottle has its own spout for pouring wine by the glass. Touch-screen features include safety locks and pre-set temperature control, and the system allows the user to program set pour sizes, from a big glass, to just a taste.

But while these appliances may fit into the nice-to-have category, an absolute kitchen renovation must is a powerful microwave. Taking its place securely below the primary oven, microwaves are studies in the convenience of speed cooking.

Sure, they’re great for reheating that cup of coffee, or last night’s leftovers, says Wentsel, but today they are capable of so much more. Ultimately, they function as secondary ovens that can broil and convect with high-quality results.

Like most of the appliances in today’s kitchens, it’s true that the microwave has received an industry makeover. But in terms of technology and convenience, we’ll happily enjoy the fruits of our culinary labors, especially the faster they cook and the better they taste.

(October 2014)

Open Now: Mackie’s Bar and Grill in Old Town Alexandria

Posted by Editorial / Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Photo Courtesy of Igor Ziman

Photo Courtesy of Igor Ziman

By Susannah Black

Lawyer-turned-restaurateur Sang Lee named his new restaurant Mackie’s Bar and Grill after his wife’s maiden name: “It’s the Taj Mahal for my wife.” But that’s not the only romantic pathos Lee attaches to Mackie’s. “We worked for six weeks, night and day, 12 hours a day to make this happen.  You can see all of our work in the paint, the floors, the walls, the ceilings.”

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Curry Mantra 2 and Curry Mantra 3 Closing; Asad Sheikh Opening New Indian Restaurant in Arlington

Posted by Editorial / Monday, October 27th, 2014

Curry Mantra & Curry Mantra 2

Curry Mantra & Curry Mantra 2

By Stefanie Gans

“My goal is to go big now,” says Asad Sheikh. The owner of the Curry Mantra chain of Indian restaurants is closing Curry Mantra 2 in Falls Church and Curry Mantra 3 in Vienna to open a bigger, more upscale restaurant in Rosslyn.  

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5 Scary Cocktails for Halloween-Inspired Boozing

Posted by Editorial / Friday, October 24th, 2014

By Susannah Black

Celebrate Halloween with morbid, creepy and scary cocktails.

  • Ashes to Ashes at Fuego Cocina y Tequileria. Available October 31-November 2, this cocktail contains Patron XO, Cocoa liquor, Mexican Arbol Syrup, a shot of espresso, served with a powdered sugar rim. / Fuego Cocina y Tequileria, 2800 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington. Photo Courtesy of Scott Suchman.

  • Ofrendas para Amigos (Gifts to Friends) at Fuego Cocina y Tequileria. Available October 31-November 2, Reposado Tequila, Ruby Port, Jamaica Tea and House-made Orange Bitters served with Dry Ice for a creepy cauldron effect make up this cocktail. / Fuego Cocina y Tequileria, 2800 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington. Photo Courtesy of Scott Suchman.

  • Black Martini at PX. Get this Ketel One Vodka with Dolin Blanc Squid Ink-infused Vermouth cocktail until Thanksgiving. / PX, 728 King Street, Alexandria. Photo Courtesy of Vina Sananikone/Eat Good Food Group.

  • Blood Martini at Circa at Clarendon. Available only on Halloween, this martini contains Veev Acai Spirit, acai juice, lime juice and is topped with sparkling brut in a martini glass with a red sugar rim. / Circa at Clarendon, 3010 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington. Photo Courtesy of Ashley Dibietto.

  • Creepy Lychee-Tini at Sea Pearl Restaurant. This Halloween-inspired martini has Black Vodka, Lychee Saki, Lychee Juice, Cointreau and is garnished with lychee eye ball. It will be served Halloween weekend. / Sea Pearl Restaurant, 8191 Strawberry Lane #2, Falls Church. Photo Courtesy of Sea Pearl Restaurant.


Where to Find Locally Made Syrups without a Pumpkin Spice in Sight

Posted by Editorial / Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

House-made syrup at Killer E.S.P.

The ingredients for Killer E.S.P.’s raspberry syrup / Photo courtesy of Rob Shelton

By Nicole Bayne

In today’s craft coffeehouse culture of sourcing single-origin roasts and taking many dedicated minutes to pour one serving of coffee, these delicate flavors extracted with the help from trained baristas don’t require enhancements. But that purity is over once fall hits and pumpkin spice syrup takes over the world. 

If you like to know where your coffee is sourced, where it’s roasted and exactly how, and for how long, the grinds interact with water, but still want a little sugar in your life, these NoVA coffee shops make their own syrups—none of which mimic the scents of a particular seasonal pie—and combine them with bean blends for personalized, but still pure, combinations. 

Housemade Syrups: Vanilla, Raspberry
From: Killer E.S.P. 

Order: Vanilla Latte; or White Chocolate Raspberry Mocha Latte made with Stumptown’s Hair Bender espresso blend and two pumps of syrup

Owner Rob Shelton says Killer E.S.P. is a “pumpkin–free zone” and uses certified organic vanilla beans in the vanilla syrup. A pastry chef makes the raspberry sauce-like syrup. “We’ve all just been trained to go and drink chemically induced potions,” says Shelton. “You can tell the difference immediately between chemicals and real vanilla.” 

Bonus: no-syrup-added Nutella Latte. Made with a teaspoon of Nutella it’s then followed by about 2 inches of hot milk before letting the concoction rest for a minute. Espresso is added after so it won’t sour. The rest of the milk is poured in last. / 1012 King Street, Alexandria 

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Two NoVA Chefs Star in Season 12 of Bravo’s ‘Top Chef’

Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

By Stefanie Gans

Joy Crump, owner of FOODĒ in Fredericksburg and George Pagonis, an Alexandria native, join the newest cast of Bravo’s culinary competition “Top Chef.” FOODĒ started as a catering company in Atlanta, and in 2010, Crump brought it to downtown Fredericksburg as a small, counter operation with an emphasis on local food. This December, Pagnois, along with “Top Chef” alum Mike Isabella, will open Kapnos Taverna in Arlington. The restaurant is an offshoot of Kapnos in Washington, D.C, where Pagnois is executive chef. Season 12, shot in Boston, airs tonight at 10 p.m. 

(October 2014)

D.C. ranks among top cities for rats; Poll calls for jail time for McDonnell

By Carten Cordell

D.C. ranks among top cities for rats

Firefighter hurt in Alexandria blaze

Poll: Virginians Support Jail Time For Former Gov. Bob McDonnell

Warner, Gillespie spar in Senate debate
(The Washington Post)


Jobless Rate Lowest Since 2008; Traffic Trifecta in the Works Friday

By Michael Balderston

Jobless rate falls below 6%, lowest since 2008.

MLB playoffs, Yom Kippur, and weekend getaways could cause traffic trifecta.

Taxi driver charged with shooting Alexandria police officer found ‘not guilty by reason of insanity.’

Court hearings for UVA case pushed until December.
(Washington Post)

Voter registration deadline just two weeks away.
(NBC Washington)

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