Posted by Eliana Reyes / 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
As someone who loves crafting, DIY and home decor projects big and small, I am constantly picking up new products for my adventures in art. My latest project was diving into the diverse world of chalkboard paints. There are quite a few to choose from as it happens. After narrowing it down, here are my top recommendations for creating wonderful chalkboard creations.
Quick and Easy Sprays: Both Michaels and Home Depot offer terrific chalkboard paint sprays at reasonable prices. Michaels offers Krylon brand in both black and green sprays in a 12-ounce can for $6.99. I used a 50 percent-off coupon (check their online ads for coupons every week that you can use on your smart phone) making the paint only $3.50. Home Depot, offers Rust-oleum Brand in an 11-ounce can for $3.76 in black.
After having wood cut at Home Depot to fit into empty frames I had around the house, I sanded the wood and sprayed with chalkboard paint. I tried both brands on different boards and both came out wonderfully.
When painting with any kind of spray paint, it’s a good idea to spray from a few feet away so the paint won’t bubble. If it does start to bubble, dab the spot with a dry or slightly damp paper towel and re-do the spot when you apply your second coat of paint. It is always wise to apply a second coat for a polished finish, but especially so with chalkboard paint as you’ll want a nice smooth surface for writing on later.
If you don’t have any empty frames to make chalkboards, just omit the frame to create a chalkboard. Simply buy a sheet of relatively thin flat wood (available at Home Depot or other home improvement stores), paint with the spray, drill two holes in the top for some heavy duty twine or ribbon and voila. You have a chalkboard to hang.
Chalkboard Paints in Color: For another chalkboard I chose to try Home Depot’s can of chalkboard paint that you can have tinted at the store (no additional cost) to one of 12 different colors. This was also Rust-oleum brand but costs a little more ($9.67) but you get 30 ounces. This can is not a spray, so you will need to buy a paint brush and take a little more time, but it’s completely worth it for the variety of additional colors you can choose from.
I chose peapod green. After spreading out plenty of newspaper on my kitchen floor, I got to painting. When using a paintbrush versus a spray paint, it takes a bit to get the hang of not glopping on too much paint and evenly spreading out the strokes to create an unblemished texture. I did three coats with this paint, waiting for each coat to dry before starting the next coat. This took less than an hour and the finish was just as pleasing as the spray paints, but now I had a new color. The benefit of buying a can of paint instead of the spray is that you can do a variety of chalkboards in your home without worrying over a major mess from a spray.
Try painting the inside of a door for grocery lists and your kids measurements. Or square off a space on a wall in a playroom to paint; then affix a frame around the chalkboard for a doodle space for your children.
Mini Chalkboards: If you don’t want to fuss with chalkboard paints, but love the look for other household items, go small and simple with chalkboard stickers. Michaels offers chalkboard stickers in different sizes and shapes that you simply stick to whatever surface you please and have make-shift signage.
Try a sticker on a vase and write, fresh flowers, or a jar filled with Hershey Kisses and write, have a kiss. These stickers stay put nicely, the only downside is the chalk doesn’t show up as brightly as on the other chalkboard surfaces, so write out your words and then go over one more time with the chalk so the words are visible.
Note: I would not recommend Martha Stewart’s chalkboard paints. I purchased a small bottle of the multi-surface acrylic chalkboard paint and tried it on a vase, however, after every coat, the paint seemed to clump even after many attempts to smooth it out. While Martha Stewart has other home decor products I would highly recommend, when it comes to chalkboard paints, hers isn’t one of them.
For chalk paints that are not chalkboards but create a fun chalkboard-esque look for furniture in your home, check out local shop, Stylish Patina in Falls Church. They have an exceptional selection of colored chalk paints that are perfect for home decor projects.
Deeds’ stabbing prompts questions about Va. mental health.
Were beds really not available for Deeds’ son?
JFK’s weekend home spotlighted in Middleburg.
An ATF agent and his wife were killed in their Chantilly home early Wednesday.
Va. ABC has charged a Falls Church woman for running an illegal from-home bar.
D.C. airports “backtrackers” beware! Police stakeout happening today.
Posted by Eliana Reyes / Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
If turkey-baking and stuffing-making aren’t your thing, Northern Virginia restaurants can help.
Posted by Anthony Baracat / Tuesday, October 29th, 2013
Director Laura Connors Hull of Creative Cauldron will present her “Tales From the Brothers Grimm” November show Friday, employing noted actors, composer Matt Conner and designer Margie Jervis. Dani Stoller and Stephen Gregory Smith (recipient of the Washington-Area Helen Hayes Award for his 2004 “110 In the Shade”) will accompany a host of serious young actors from the Cauldron’s Learning Theater Ensemble.
According to Hull, Conner—whose original score gives the tales a dreamscape feel—“is the connective tissue” to the production. In addition, set and costumes created by designer Margie Jervis contribute in bringing to life the eerie, illusory quality of the show’s seven-tale storyline.
The Nov. 1 premiere will present “Hansel and Gretel,” as well as lesser known tales “Snowdrop” and “Dummling and the Golden Goose” by 1800s German brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. The pair became legends for work such as “Cinderella” and “Snow White,” employing a psychological dose of genius—albeit creepy—techniques into their children’s stories.
Signature Theater composer Matt Conner has been teaching young students at Creative Cauldron for the past 12 years, creating four original musicals for the group. The thespian academy, consisting of children between six and 13 years of age, has been crucial in building a creative community in the Falls Church area. In a way, Hull believes the Cauldron builds shows around and for these young apprentices, and finds professionals to fill in and form the gaps.
With the experienced work of all involved and John Sami’s unique lighting and sound, the dreamy forest setting comes to life—just in time for Halloween. Don’t miss your chance to jump into a Grimm fantasy world with this magnificent piece of both modern originality and traditional folklore.
Fridays 7:30 p.m., Saturdays 2 and 7:30 p.m., Sundays 2 p.m. (Nov. 1-24)
ArtSpace Falls Church
10 South Maple Avenue
To quote the Grimm version’s quizzical last line of “Hansel and Gretel”:
“My tale is done, there runs a mouse, whoever catches it
may make himself a big fur cap out of it.”
By Lexi Gray Steacy
Discussions about breast cancer risks in the media and through various outreach groups have led to a higher public interest in accessing screening methods and technologies that identify and treat the illness. Health care providers in Northern Virginia are meeting the needs of their patients by continuing to add new and effective technologies that target the prevention and treatment of breast cancer.
3D Mammography Provides Increased Accuracy of Breast Cancer Screenings
For many women, breast cancer screening is an important part of their overall healthcare maintenance—and options for early detection continue to improve throughout the years. 3D mammography is a relatively new technology that visualizes each layer of the breast tissue, providing radiologists the ability to review certain details that are not captured by older mammography tools.
“3D mammography does three important things, including: decreasing the mammogram recall rate; increasing the positive predictive value for whether a lesion is cancerous; and decreasing the benign biopsy rate,” says Deborah Blair, M.D., chair of the Department of Radiology at Invoa Mt. Vernon and a member of the medical staff of Ultrasound Associates in Alexandria.
The improved visibility that comes with 3D mammography may be of special interest to women with dense breast tissue, according to Stephanie Akbari, M.D., medical director of the Reinsch Pierce Family Center for Breast Health at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, where the technology has been offered since late 2012. Traditional mammography may be unable to detect cancerous cells if a woman has dense breasts—which is what happened to Nancy Cappello, Ph.D., founder of the breast cancer awareness organization Are You Dense. Cappello was diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer in 2004, after a decade of annual mammograms that failed to detect the illness, due in part to the density of her breasts.
Since Cappello’s story became public, Virginia and several other states have adopted laws that require radiologists to send notification to women about the density levels of their breasts. The technology is a viable add-on even for those women who do not have dense breasts, says Akbari, who adds that 3D mammography can be performed at the same time as traditional digital mammography.
While there is a slightly higher amount of radiation emitted with 3D mammography, there is a lower chance of being called back for a repeat test, which may occur more frequently with traditional digital mammography. “A decrease in recall rates with mammograms also means a decrease in the patient’s anxiety level related to their health,” says Blair. “The benefit of identifying cancer earlier and more accurately outweighs the risk of being exposed to a slightly higher amount of radiation.”
New Technology Improves Outcomes of Lumpectomies
Members of the radiation oncology team at Virginia Hospital Center (VHC) in Arlington, express an awareness of the opinion that most people would define a positive healthcare experience as one that leaves them feeling informed and aware of all available options.
When patients have access to clear and complete information about treatments, it creates a more positive and trusting healthcare environment.
VHC recently expanded its list of tools available to breast cancer patients with the addition of the Margin Probe System, which is designed to lower the need for additional surgery following a lumpectomy. Lumpectomy surgery seeks to remove only the malignant tissue from a patient’s breast, and is one of several surgical options available to breast cancer patients. After a lumpectomy is performed, samples of the excised breast tissue are examined under a microscope to determine if the edges—or margins—contain malignant cells. When malignancy is discovered, the patient must undergo additional surgery, when possible, in an attempt to remove the rest of the cancer. Despite careful planning and attention from the surgical team, a chance exists that malignant tissue will remain in the breast following the procedure. And, the prospect of additional surgery can cause considerable stress for the patient, both mentally and physically, says VHC’s Akbari.
Surgeons at VHC have recognized the benefits of the Margin Probe System for several years, since receiving an opportunity to use this tool during its clinical trial phases. When this technology received FDA approval earlier this year, VHC was able to officially integrate the Margin Probe System into its lumpectomy procedures. “We planned for a year so that we could permanently bring this technology to VHC as soon as possible. It’s important for us to have access to the most effective tools for improving patient outcomes,” Akbari says.
When a patient is informed that more surgery is needed following the initial lumpectomy, it can be traumatic for the patient. “The patient wonders why the surgeons were unable to remove all malignant tissue the first time around. We do everything we can to get it right the first time, but unless a patient undergoes a mastectomy, there is a risk that cancerous tissue remains in the breast,” Akbari adds.
Recognizing the importance of minimizing additional surgery, the team at VHC saw the Margin Probe System as useful tool that can be used in the operating room to help lower the incidence of re-excision following a lumpectomy. During the initial lumpectomy, this tool provides a way for surgeons to perform an immediate assessment of tissue that has been removed from the breast. Samples of the excised breast tissue are still sent for microscopic examination following the surgery, but the Margin Probe offers an additional assessment technique that occurs before the first surgery is finished.
“Margin Probe is a valuable tool in the operating room that can evaluate the breast tissue for malignancies during surgery and potentially eliminate the chance that a patient will need additional surgery. Lumpectomies walk a fine line between taking out too much breast tissue or not enough—and the Margin Probe helps to clarify the correct amount,” Akbari says.
Based on clinical trials on the efficacy of Margin Probe, Akbari expects this technology will dramatically decrease the need to re-excisions following a lumpectomy. In one particular study, the technology lowered the rate of additional surgery by 56 percent. “While the results from the microscope will still be the final determining factor for whether a patient needs an additional surgery, the Margin Probe provides another assessment that is better than the surgeon’s eye alone,” Akbari says.
Robert L. Hong, M.D., medical director of radiation oncology at VHC, says he is excited that his hospital is able to provide a confluence of technologies that rely on one another, each working in parallel to provide the most advanced care for breast cancer patients. Hong adds, “We are working daily to stay on top of possible developments and advances that may be viable additions to the hospital. This requires careful and deliberate consideration, and the search is constant for ways to improve cancer outcomes and quality of life for our patients.”
Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center began offering a new technology to treat patients with early-stage breast cancer through its 2013 introduction of the Xoft Axxent Electronic Brachytherapy System. The Xoft system is used during intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) to deliver a targeted dose of radiation directly to a malignant tumor, which minimizes radiation exposure to healthy surrounding tissue.
David Weintritt, M.D., of Sentara and the National Breast Center in Lorton, says the Xoft system “allows a full course of radiation treatment to be delivered in just one dose during the lumpectomy procedure.”
Sentara will also participate in a clinical study (“A Safety and Efficacy Study of Intra-Operative Radiation Therapy (IORT) Using the Xoft Axxent eBx System at the Time of Breast Conservation Surgery for Early-Stage Breast Cancer”) regarding the Xoft system, and is currently seeking participants. [clinicaltrials.gov]
Improved Options for Post-Surgical Complications
Physicians from the Inova Breast Care Institute were able to drastically improve quality of life for an Alexandria woman suffering from painful lymphedema—the result of lymph node removal during a previous mastectomy. In early 2013, Viola Karbo was the first patient in the Northern Virginia region to undergo a lymph node transplant, a procedure designed to provide relief from the daily discomfort of lymphedema. Healthy lymph nodes were transplanted to Karbo’s affected underarm during the seven-hour surgery in order to recreate the lymphatic flow that existed prior to her mastectomy.
The lymph node transplant was performed by A.N. Mesbahi, M.D. and Mark L. Venturi, M.D., both of the National Center for Plastic Surgery in McLean and the Inova Breast Care Institute in Falls Church. The planning period to perform the lymph node transplant included traveling to Barcelona, Spain for an international meeting on lymphedema, and then to New York City to observe a colleague perform the procedure, according to Mesbahi. Karbo was later referred to the doctors as an ideal candidate for this surgery.
In order to be considered a good candidate for lymph node transplant, says Mesbahi, an individual must have severe lymphedema that is not alleviated through other measures such as lymphatic drainage, massage and compression wraps. The individual must also otherwise be in good health. Prior to her surgery, Karbo had tried a number of methods to improve her lymphedema, without success.
“Lymphedema can really impact a person’s overall quality of life—there is discomfort, dependence on compression wraps, and it can be aesthetically disfiguring. Patients may not be able to wear jewelry like rings, bracelets or watches,” Mesbahi says. “Lymphedema doesn’t have a cure—unfortunately it’s a surgical complication that many people have to learn to live with and manage long-term.”
The ultimate measure of success for Karbo was a significantly increased quality of life that has provided improved hand mobility and less swelling, says Mesbahi. Since Karbo’s surgery was performed, the physicians have heard from a number other individuals throughout the country who are suffering from lymphedema and are interested in pursuing a lymph node transplant; additional lymph node transplants are currently being planned at Inova.
Posted by Robert Fowler / Monday, September 30th, 2013
We all cherish our firsts. Our first kiss, the first time we flew in a plane, the first time we tasted bacon. All of these singular beginnings launched us into beloved traditions that shape our lives. So what better way to start off the month then doing the first Friday right and proper? Celebrate with friends and family at these locations that honor the First Friday of October, each providing all of the merriment to help set the tone for weekends to come.
Head for Falls Church and you will enjoy a bevy of activities and fun-time savings for FIRSTfriday. Throughout the city will be art exhibitions, great food and swell discount deals at local retail stores. Listen to a live performance by The Irish Balladeers at Ireland’s Four Provinces Restaurant or pour over the artwork of Angel Escudeo at Art and Frame of Falls Church. Even get your yoga on at Sacred Well Yoga Studio.
Friday, Oct. 4. Events throughout the day.
Various locations in Falls Church
Few areas do First Friday as well as downtown Leesburg, where visitors will be treated to music, wine and fashion. Listen to the bluesy Hard Swimmin’ Fish at The Cajun Experience or admire the vast gallery of beautiful photography at Photoworks. Make sure to cap the night off by heading to the Tally Ho Theatre for its bluegrass concert.
Friday, Oct. 4. Events throughout the day.
Various locations in Leesburg
Fauquier County residents, make sure to make a stop at Old Town Warrenton this Friday. There you will be treated to a Fall Harvest-themed good time including a scarecrow lamppost competition, pony rides, plenty of wine tastings and live musical performances. Stroll through town and take in art demonstrations, great food and local stores.
Friday, Oct. 4. 6-9 p.m.
Main St., Warrenton
By Stefanie Gans, Dining Editor
FOR: TONGUE IN YOUR TORTILLA
2190 Pimmit Drive, Falls Church; 703-639-0505;
Chef Victor Albisu opened two restaurants within two months: a fancy Argentine steakhouse in D.C., and a low-key taco shop in Falls Church.
Taco Bamba, which launched breakfast last month, resides in the same shopping center as his mom’s Latin grocery store and butchery and relies on some of her meat for the offerings in his ordinary (carne asada) and extraordinary (fried tilapia with squid ink) tacos.
The fried pork and beef tongue is both crunchy and pleasantly chewy. A searing spice on the mushroom taco keeps it interesting. Tilapia is fried to a puff with a Corona batter and surprises with squid ink, adding a luxurious (and messy) note. The rice and beans come mushy and homey.
After tasting six tortilla brands, Albisu settled on La Banderita. I can’t help wanting homemade from this gourmet taco shop. A little help, mom?
Posted by Eliana Reyes / Wednesday, August 28th, 2013
The end of summer means replacing cool treats with even cooler weather. But summer isn’t quite over yet. Before restaurants take off this warm weather soup, try NoVA’s unusual versions of the classic Spanish tomato blend.
Years before Columbus brought tomatoes to Spain, there was the white gazpacho. José Andrés’ interpretation of this historic dish topped with local crab involves the traditional preparation with grapes and almonds to create a richer, heavier soup that can be eaten even into fall. / $12; 2250 S. Crystal Drive, Arlington.
2. Chef Geoff’s Tysons
Almond lace croutons delicately accent this dish that bursts with refreshing flavor by mixing watermelon into the gazpacho. / $7.95; 8045 Leesburg Pike, Vienna.
3. Willow Read the rest of this entry »
While gazpacho is usually of a pureed consistency with textural toppings on top, Willow’s signature gazpacho reverses the thinking. Full of chopped vegetables—red onions, red peppers, tomatoes, jalapenos, yellow peppers and cucumbers—the gazpacho and coarsely chopped almonds are chunky while its topping, avocado mousse, provides the creaminess. / $8.50; 4301 Fairfax Drive, Arlington.
Read the rest of this entry »
Actually fruits from the gourd family, cucumbers offer much more than a supporting role in the garden salad.
By Kate V. Comfort, Stefanie Gans & Lindsey Jenkins
“The smaller, the crunchier the cucumber,” says Christopher Dalton, the farmer and owner of Chilly Hollow Farm in Berryville. Another reason for buying the little guys, says Dalton, is because the larger the cucumber, the bigger and tougher the seeds become. “And then you have to spit them out.”
cool as a
While taking in the arts and culture, reading in the lounge, or being otherwise sophisticated at Busboys and Poets enjoy a cucumber martini: Square One Cucumber, an organic rye vodka, with house-made cucumber simple syrup and lemonade. “It’s a very light,” says bar manager Jason Foskey. “You got that crisp flavor.”
Found only in salty waters, sea cucumbers are oblong animals with thick leathery skin and a soft cucumber feel. There are over 1,200 known species with different colors, shapes and sizes, ranging from four inches to three feet, and uses include medicinal and culinary in the Middle East and Asia.
“They don’t really have their own flavor,” says Michele Hal of Miu Kee Cantonese Cuisine in Falls Church, but when stir fried, turns “crispy, like pig skin.”
mother nature’s maid
It’s not often that rubbing food against items in our house might be a good thing. But cucumbers—with tartrate acid, a gentler version akin to the cleansing properties of lemon—can help tidy around the home. Does your morning shower routine often leave your bathroom mirror too fogged up to be usable? Try wiping a freshly sliced piece of cucumber over the mirror to keep the streaky fog at bay. Have lovable little artists in-residence and the resulting inevitable stray pencil mark on the wall? Rub a cucumber slice on the streak then wipe pulp and pencil clean with a damp paper towel.
a world tour
The well-growing cucumber pops up on tables all over the globe: Cucumber subs in for cabbage in a refreshing version of kimchi in Korea (Lotte Plaza).The Greeks mix cucumber into yogurt for tzatziki (Taverna Cretekou). To help quell spicy Indian food, the garam masala-spiced yogurt and cucumber condiment raita is often found as a side (Ammas Vegetarian Kitchen). And the Iranian mast-o-khiar combines cucumber with dried mint for a cooling dip (Shamshiry).