Posted by Stefanie Gans, Dining Editor / Thursday, April 16th, 2015
For: Pizzas, Salads, Beer
2931 S. Glebe Road, Arlington
Salads are so often predictable and so rarely memorable. At Tazza Kitchen in Arlington Ridge, a salad combining smoked mozzarella, potatoes (not so crunchy, as the menu states), almonds and maple syrup vinaigrette over arugula lets plenty of twists of black pepper bring the salad’s flavors together in a way that is filling and fun to eat.
There are both Baja and Italian influences (though diners should be spared the servers’ 10-minute speech on the owners’ inspirations), the former shown with a chicken taco packed with smoky tomato jam and slaw, though a second tortilla would have helped keep the bright, kicky flavors from falling out.
Italy appears with a simple margherita on a crisp crust that doesn’t get bogged down with too much cheese. Pork cheek Bolognese lacks depth, but the abundant amount of meat, and at $14, keeps this dish appealing.
Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, April 15th, 2015
By Susannah Black
Environmental policy analyst-turned-dessert caterer-turned-food truck operator Sandra Panetta expands once more to open Sweetbites Cafe and Bakery in McLean, expected to open at the end of this month.
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Posted by Stefanie Gans, Dining Editor / Wednesday, April 15th, 2015
Tax Day special: Half-priced bottles of wine starting this, and every, Wednesday at Gypsy Soul. [@GypsySoulVA]
“Taxpayers are spending a lot of money subsidizing not people who won’t work, but industries that don’t pay their workers a living wage,”: 52 percent of fast food workers receive public assistance, including food stamps. [WaPo]
Former Washington Post restaurant critic Phyllis Richman details the delights of Arlington over the years. [Arlington Magazine]
Warren Rojas ranks the pop tarts at Ted’s Bulletin, including the newest flavor: key lime. [Roll Call]
Experts help homeowners choose house-appropriate hues. -Jennifer Shapira
Florence Jones, owner of Arlington Color Consultants, is no shrinking violet. The longtime Arlington resident recounts a favorite front door story, one she considers a solid success.
“One of my favorite front doors is in my neighborhood,” she says. “It’s a beautiful pink,” the exact shade of the property’s dogwood tree. Some years ago, Jones says, someone must have talked the neighbor into repainting her door a less vibrant color. “She did, and it was so boring. So I knocked on the door to say, ‘You know, your door was so much better before,’ and she went back and repainted it pink.”
But how does one choose an appropriate front door color without such clear inspiration? Experts take a primary look at the home’s body—is it painted, natural brick, siding?—then consider the color wheel’s spin on complementary hues.
Lauren Withers, an interior designer at Arlington-based KPH Studio, just painted her own front door turquoise, specifically Benjamin Moore’s Peacock Feathers. Her row house in northwest Washington, D.C. is an orange-y brick. “Thinking complementary colors, I knew I wanted to go in a blue tone,” she says.
Sometimes the way to discover a home’s best-suited front door color is take a peek inside. Experts agree there’s often an obvious accent in pillows, throws or vases that the homeowner is already embracing.
In this area, doors are traditionally red, green and black, says Zoe Kyriacos, owner of Takoma Park-based Colors by Zoe. But the type of door on the style of house matters. For example, if a door is half-glass, she says she can be a little more aggressive with the color because the painted space is smaller.
When it comes to trends, Jones says Marsala, Pantone’s color of the year, would be great on a door. “It’s a really rich burgundy red,” she says. “I see that as a color that would last through time.”
Red will always be in style, agrees Kyriacos. It’s welcoming, and feng shui says red can bring fortune and fame. But she also sees more interest in unexpected jewel-toned oranges and turquoises.
Then, says Jones, there’s the discussion of finishes such as matte, semi-gloss and high-gloss. Semi-gloss is more durable, but the finish really depends on the homeowner’s personality.
Best advice? The front door is the home’s focal point, so “work with a color you like,” Jones says.
Posted by Editorial / Friday, April 10th, 2015
By Susannah Black
Lost Creek Vineyard & Winery will have a four-course wine and food pairing with cuisine from Market Table Bistro tomorrow at 6 p.m. [VisitLoudoun]
Ocelot Brewing Company is now open. [FB]
This Sunday, The Vineyard at McLean Virginia hosts a Spring Festival featuring other Virginia wineries like Early Mountain Vineyards and Tarara Winery. Free wine tastings and food trucks will be available. [FB]
Bahama Breeze celebrates the return of warm weather with a deck party tonight at 6 p.m. Festivities will include live music, fresh margaritas, island cuisine and giveaways like gift cards and t-shirts. [FB]
Arlington has a new food truck: Smoking Kow BBQ. [FoodTruckFiesta]
Scapes and ramps: an introduction to springtime alliums. [Bon Appetit]
Warrenton‘s Old Bust Head Brewing Company visits Arlington‘s American Tap Room with some brewery exclusives tonight at 5 p.m. [FB]
Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery releases two new brews tomorrow: Nuclear Nugget (Imperial Honey IPA) and Supreme Leader (Bourbon Barrel Heir Apparent). [FB]
Posted by Editorial / Thursday, April 9th, 2015
Mean, green and abundant in Virginia’s wild, stinging nettles can be tamed and turned into spring-worthy fare. —Nicole Bayne
Avoid the sting
“They’re just a weed; who knew you could eat them?” says Restaurant Eve’s Cathal Armstrong on the stinging nettle, a plant native to Virginia. Armstrong says he finds them on the roadside in the Shenandoah Valley and in wetter areas like the Potomac Valley.
But be careful because the name isn’t a misnomer. Nettles’ stinging hairs can cause a rash if you’re not cautious. Though you should be gloved while foraging, the wild provides an antidote: dock leaf, which grows next to nettles. Says Armstrong, “If you rub dock leaf on the rash caused by nettles, the rash goes away—one of nature’s miracles.”
Local farmers markets also sell nettles; when shopping, look for dark green nettles without yellow edges. Once at home, blanching nettles will prevent rashes and preserve the bright color.
Gypsy Soul’s Chef RJ Cooper uses the menacing leaf in a cannelloni. Sauteed nettles are folded into sheep’s milk ricotta with morel mushrooms and sorrel blossoms and stuffed in the pasta.
“[The plant’s] spinach-y cucumber flavors and herbaceousness go well with certain fish, light game meats, mushrooms and fowl,” says Cooper.“ [Nettles] are aromatics to enhance the flavors.” Expect to see the dish at the Mosaic District restaurant later this month.
Steep to cleanse
House of Steep in Arlington uses nettles with marshmallow (the root, not the gelatinous s’mores component) and dandelion leaf in the caffeine-free house blend Restorative ($4.50 cup, $6 pot). General manager Miko Furushima doesn’t have to worry about getting stung, as the nettle comes processed and ready for steeping.
“It’s a great anti-inflammatory, a blood cleanser,” she says. The drink, says Furushima, takes on a grassy aura and an earthy smell.
Furushima says the marshmallow, a hardy root that coats the stomach and boosts the immune system, and the muscle-toning dandelion leaf react with the cleansing nettle to bring recuperative properties in this post-exercise drink.
Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, April 8th, 2015
3rd Annual Arlington Festival of the Arts
When: April 18-19 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: 1101 N. Highland St., Arlington
Need to know: One hundred artists will take over the streets of Clarendon during a two-day juried art show and outdoor exhibit. Not only can patrons peruse the art and converse with the artists, they can make purchases if something catches their fancy. Prices for artwork range from $25 to $30,000 and will include paintings, sculpture, photography, ceramics, mixed media, wood and jewelry, to name a few, and free art giveaways.
Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival
When: May 15-17, times vary
Where: Reston Town Center
Need to know: In its 24th year, the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival turns Reston Town Center into a mecca of art in support ofGreater Reston Arts Center. More than 30,000 people attend the event, which brings over 200 artists’ work to the masses. This year patrons can become artists themselves in the Family Art Park and take in a new installation by Patrick Dougherty. The event is free to the public with a requested $5 donation that will go to GRACE. New this year: a launch party Friday evening that will host a night of music, beverages and food along with a silent auction and raffles.
For 38 years friendships and hospitable competition have moved through the members of the Glebe Ladies Tennis Club.
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Posted by Editorial / Tuesday, April 7th, 2015
Kitchen professionals give tips on curbing picky-eating habits. —Whitney Pipkin
How does the executive chef at PassionFish in Reston deal with the picky-palated at his own dinner table?
“I really don’t tell her what’s in everything,” says Chris Clime, who’s only half-joking about the tactic he first used on his once-choosy wife.
For chefs who are trained at overcoming food biases in their restaurants, sometimes the hardest battles to win are on the homefront. Clime says he tries to respect the maturing, if stubborn, tastes of his three children—Dayvin, 10; Kaylie, 6; Aleena, 4—partly because they are more likely to like something if it is their idea.
“We don’t make dinner wartime,” he says, though it does come with some ground rules. Clime says he cooks dinners he likes to eat, and the kids “either eat them or they don’t.” Unlike at his day job, he doesn’t take individual orders at home.
David Guas, chef and owner of Bayou Bakery in Arlington, has tried similar tactics with his two sons, Kemp, 12, and Spencer, 10. Guas deployed the you-have-to-try-it mantra and a two-bite rule when his boys were younger because “I didn’t want those kids that don’t like something because of the way it looks.”
Now, when Spencer says he prefers mayonnaise to blue cheese, Guas knows it’s because he’s tried them both (or perhaps because his brother likes blue cheese but loathes what he dubs “white condiments”).
“It’s all about exposure, so I totally take credit for exposing them to as many different types of food as possible,” says Guas, who turned the entire family pro-anchovy by pairing the salty fish with a cream sauce over pasta, a dish they now eat weekly.
Guas says kids are more likely to cozy up to a new food when it’s prepared simply and, when possible, on a good, hot grill.
“Everything that I didn’t like as a kid, they like,” he says. “I can only think that it’s because of the household they are growing up in.”
Whether cooking for his kids—Theo, 9; Sasha, 6—or adults, Luc Dendievel of härth says he follows the same basic tenet: “Make it taste good.”
At the McLean Hilton restaurant, Dendievel introduced a Foodie-in-Training menu in the fall that puts those principles to work with a crispy-skinned roast chicken and pork-and-veal meatballs paired with spaghetti.
“We don’t try to reinvent the wheel here but to give them something nutritive,” says Dendievel. “We don’t do black truffles and caviar, but we do have a mac-and-cheese with truffle oil.”
Growing up in Belgium, restaurants served kids’ menus much like his, featuring real food with, he says, “no shortcuts” in cooking technique.
He says young patrons at härth often order the fish of the day over margherita pizza because they want to be adventurous when given the option.
“The first people we have to educate here is parents,” says Dendievel.
Posted by Editorial / Monday, March 30th, 2015
By Nicole Bayne
Frozen Dairy Bar in Arlington has been re-branded as FDB Eatery. [Arlington Magazine]
Burn & Brew is now open and selling tobacco and coffee in Crystal City. [Arlington Now]
What else would you put on your Philly cheesesteak other than Cheez Whiz? [npr]
Look for Flying Dog’s spicy Old Bay beer this summer. [Eater]
Local micro-chocolatier Artisan Confections releases its Easter collection. [facebook]