Posted by Editorial / Monday, April 14th, 2014
By Natalie Manitius
Celebrate the end of Lenten abstention by indulging in buffets and multiple course brunches.
Bastille Restaurant: Choose from entrees such as eggs benedict with biscuits and caviar and a three-cheese macaroni gratin for this three-course brunch. Adults eat for $49 apiece and kids under 12 are half-price. Brunch runs from 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Call 703-519-3776 for reservations. / 1201 N. Royal St., Alexandria; bastillerestaurant.com
Evo Bistro: A three-course brunch menu runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with both savory and sweet options for $32 per person. Call 703-288-4422 for reservations. /1313 Old Chain Bridge Road, McLean; evobistro.com
Grandale Restaurant: From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Grandale presents seared grouper, omelet provencal and Maryland crab cake Benedict as brunch offerings, with duck breast and beef rib eye for dinner. Cal 540-668-6000 for more information. / 14001 Harpers Ferry Road, Purcellville; grandalerestaurant.com
Magnolias at the Mill: Enjoy a brunch buffet at Magnolia’s at the Mill replete with baked salmon, Belgian waffles, butterscotch bread pudding and berry tarts. Adults eat for $42 each, children $19.95, and under 5 free. Call 540-338-9800 for reservations. /198 N. 21st St., Purcellville; magnoliasmill.com
J. Gilbert’s: Reward your moderation with J. Gilbert’s brunch buffet. Breakfast devotees will have waffles and quiche at their disposal, and seafood fans can indulge in maple glazed salmon and mac n’ cheese made with lobster cream. Leave room for dessert: A chocolate fountain awaits. Brunch runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. $32 per adult, $15 for children ages 5-12./ 6930 Old Dominion Drive, McLean; jgilberts.com
Salamander Resort and Spa: Head to Middleburg Easter Sunday for a family-friendly event replete with egg hunts, crafts for the kids and a brunch buffet. The egg hunt and roll will be at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 3 p.m., along with brunch seatings at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Sunday Brunch costs $85 per adult and includes sparkling wine, while children cost $34 each. View the menu here. Reservations can be made by calling 540-326-4161. / 500 N. Pendleton St., Middleburg; salamanderresort.com
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Based on a glance at the calendar, it’s spring.
Mother Nature, being the bipolar brat that she is, is messing with our heads about the weather. So it might seem anything but. One day she’s serving us up sunshine. The next day she’s dishing out sleet. It’s confusing and awful and enough to make you sick (literally and figuratively).
This can’t last forever, though. I don’t know about you—I’m ready for real spring. True spring. Birds chirping. Cherry blossoms. Green grass. An absence of snow and ice. No more winter! (Let’s chant it together.)
I’ve always thought, too, that spring is the best season for socializing. The vibe is right and there’s activities aplenty. Plus summer in this region is a cousin to the climate of Hades. Unless uber sweaty is the new sexy, it’s a tough look to pull off.
My zest for spring certainly carries over to dates. Winter, with its burr factor, might present the opportunity to snuggle up under a blanket in front of a fire, thus breaking the touch barrier with a suitor. Spring, however, brings possibility and ample opportunities for outdoor time and outdoorsy excursions in which to get to know someone.
Here are my favorite spring dates and Northern Virginia versions of where to make them happen:
Get in the water
Not only did Ryan Gosling’s character yell this in “The Notebook” to Rachel McAdams’, it’s also a good dating tactic. When it comes to water activities, there’s also no one size fits all deal here. Kayaks, canoes, paddle boats. If you want to take a really extravagant, fancy approach, there are even dinner cruises.
Take a hike
There’s no better way to see the area than hundreds of feet up on the side of a mountain climbing on top of rocks. Challenge each other, get physical and keep taking breaks to savor the view.
Go all artsy
So this isn’t an outdoor activity per se but creativity bonds people. That’s a fact. And I’ve always wanted (but never really had success in getting) a man to take me on an art-tastic date. That could mean a painting or drawing lesson that’s more structured, glimpsing someone else’s beautiful work or even visiting a studio and seeing artists in action as inspiration.
Make it mini golf
I’m a sucker for games. Not in relationships to gain an upper hand, mind you. But if a man can’t be a child every once in a while and goof around partaking in games, well, we’re probably not soul mates.
Dining Al fresco
Let’s face it. Dinner on a rooftop, in a courtyard or sitting in a patio is heads and shoulders above a cramped bar or eatery’s interior — when the temps are right. The region is chock full of places like this, so make reservations already.
Where to do it: Almost anywhere on the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria, and many to choose from throughout NoVA
Drinking in the great outdoors
If eating outside, why not imbibe? To me, this means vineyards. Virginia is known for its gardens to grapes, so a winery tour and tasting seems like an ideal way to get to know that special man or lady.
The idea of a traditional movie date has never thrilled me. But taking it outdoors brings a whole other dimension to it. Suddenly the date is a icnic and movie in one. And luckily in the region there are more and more outdoor movie options popping up every season.
What are you waiting for?
Posted by Editorial / Friday, March 14th, 2014
By Janeé Williams
Get your creative juices flowing at the Northern Virginia Mini Makers Faire, sponsored by the Community for Northern Virginia Innovation Fund. Allow your creativity to run wild as you collaborate with inventors, hackers, crafters, artists and DIY’ers from across the region at this family-friendly expose of innovation.
Although this is the first Mini Makers Faire in Northern Virginia, the movement began in 2005 in San Mateo, Calif. and now has faires across the United States and other countries. The goal is to inspire creativity with hands-on activities. The faire will include local entrepreneurs, craftsman and investors and is for all ages. Even the makers of the show range from 12-92 of age.
“All kids – and adults – need more encouragement to follow their curiosity and be innovative problem solvers. The Mini Makers Faire celebrates working with raw materials, engaging kids’ minds and helping them to become critical thinkers,” says Brian Jacoby, president of Nova Labs, which will provide all the tools needed for these hands-on workshops.
The Innovation Fund supports and upholds innovation and programs that promote creativity, inventiveness and new design throughout Northern Virginia. The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia looks to continue nurturing innovative ideas and solutions in the region, drawing interest from many local entrepreneurs. Tickets for the faire, which will be held at Reston’s South Lakes High School and Hughes Middle School campuses, will run between $5 and $15 if ordered online. Tickets for the day of the event will run between $8 and $20.
With more than 100 booths, you will be provided with several hands on projects to try and explore. You won’t get bored. Projects like aluminum aerogami (a combination of origami and model airplane building from aluminum cans), 3D scanning and printing, solar-powered cars, hand-spinning yarn and spy gadgets from the International Spy Museum are some of the projects that you will see.
Northern Virginia Mini Maker’s Faire
11400 South Lakes Dr., Reston, 20191
Sunday, March 16, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Tickets: $5 pre-orded for children, $15 for adults; $8 for children and $20 for adults at the door
By Anthony Baracat
Back in January of 2013, CEO Tina Leone and the Ballston BID (Business Improvement District) set out to enhance life in the Quincy Street, Glebe Road, Fairfax Drive area of Arlington—about 25 blocks.
Through marketing, promotion, maintenance and general beautification, the team hoped to make their neighborhood greater than it was before in terms of business, culture and entertainment.
As home of the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research and Marymount University and Virginia Tech campuses, the BID wanted to continue Ballston’s prominence as the place “Where Minds Meet.”
Their January venture, supported by Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, was to find the next big idea and to challenge local entrepreneurs. LaunchPad received over 200 applicants from varying lines of work as a local “Shark Tank”-esque competition.
Besides finding that big idea and weaning the challengers down to one, they also hoped to “encourage and support entrepreneurship, strengthen the connections within our community and attract more great minds to start-up and grow their businesses here in Ballston,” says Leone.
In addition, BID found strong partners in the Ballston Mall—to occupy vacant space and spice up creativity on Wilson Boulevard—as well as in Bruce Mancinelli, executive director of Reston’s startup incubator Spire.
Ballston-based organizations can claim to have created or funded the internet, the barcode and the first satellite, so nurturing an inventive culture was crucial for all those at BID.
On Dec. 4, four finalists gave their last elevator pitch and two winners were chosen for the $15,000 cash prize, including office space and furniture in Ballston and legal assistance from Saul Ewing LLP: CarSquare and BuilDATAnalytics.
By Lynn Norusis
A lot has happened for Reston’s indie-go-go band RDGLDGRN (that’s RedGoldGreen for those who need vowels) since last we spoke with them. First, they’ve changed their name (formerly “The Five One”). They’ve released a self-titled album that dropped this past September. And received quite the endorsement with their “Doing the Most” video premiering on Pharrell William’s I Am Other blog.
Let’s start with, yes, that was Dave Grohl. Did we forget to mention he played drums on the new album? (Williams also made a cameo.) They met while recording at Sound City Studios when Grohl was making his documentary on the famed studio.
RDGLDGRN got it’s start much like Grohl, in a home basement. “The most random things in life, will just change everything for you,” says Gold*. “Someone I played basketball with introduced me to these guys. Since the day I met these guys, we’ve written music [together]. We’ve never stopped writing music.” (Names have been changed to colors the trio has taken on that they feel express themselves the best. No legal names are known.)
Green was making music since he was 12. After high school Red joined in playing guitar. “I wanted a different type of vocalist,” says Green. “Basically a man with a white voice.”
“Let’s be honest. You wanted a Caucasian, noticeably Caucasian,” Gold chimes in.
“Yeah,” chuckles Green. But it works.
The trio, who met through different connections they had while at South Lakes High School, formed in 2011 as RDGLDGRN but has played together for more than 10 years. And just like their name, the music is changing, though the influences of D.C.’s Chuck Brown and slang of the Metro-D.C. area are constant. “Music was always changing anyway,” says Green of the change in group name. “From playing so much in D.C. that is something that seeped in. We love the music from here and around the world. Put that together, and that is what you get.”
The current album sticks with the indie go-go, though the sounds of rock is heard. “Last album, if you want to generalize, is more a rock album,” says Red. “This time, if going to generalize, [it's] going to be more hip-hop album. But it will always be eclectic. It’s going to be music, and you’ll probably like it.”
This year they are focusing on their upcoming album, which they are hoping will drop this summer, and still making a name for themselves.
The success of a nod on Williams’ blog was not their first appearance on the main stage. Four times they’ve played SXSW, and hit the stage at The Van’s Warped Tour and D.C. 101’s Chili Cook-Off. They want more.
“We have a lot of successes and strives, but it’s still, we’re nowhere to an extent,” says Gold. “There’s a lot of people who don’t know who we are. In the industry we’re nobody. We kind of have a problem with that, actually. We want everyone to know who we are and what we do.”
By Anjelica Michael
Have you recently moved or gotten a new job in the area and are worried about your pet adjusting? If your pet is getting lonely at home in a new environment, PetSmart’s Doggie Day Camp is a place for you to bring your dog to play, eat pet-friendly ice cream and bond with other dogs while you are at work. Dogs need friends just as much as their human counterparts, so this may be a place to set up future pet play dates. This service is available at the Vienna, Springfield, Reston, Chantilly, Fairfax and Alexandria locations.
Posted by Editorial / Monday, January 27th, 2014
By: Natalie Manitius
Set in a 1930s Prohibition era-theme, Ted’s Bulletin—opening this Thursday in Reston Town Center—recreates the environment in which owners, and brothers, Ty and Mark Neal‘s father, Ted, grew up. From rural West Virginia, Ted, as Chef Travis Weiss puts it, was “known as the guy with the pot on the stove,” often feeding postal workers and neighbors, evoking “hospitality at its best.” Between the atmosphere and the menu, Ted’s Bulletin serves “comfort food with a Southern influence: large portions, hearty breakfast, breakfast all day, and a from- scratch kitchen,” Weiss says. This is the third location of Ted’s, with spots in Capitol Hill and 14th Street in Washington, D.C.
Using salvaged pieces—door trim from the original Philadelphia Convention Hall, subway tile, tin ceilings and old-timey law office doors serving as the bathroom entryway—the vintage theme begins at the front countertop and extends all the way to the back of the restaurant, where an antique-like projector hangs from the ceiling. The bulletin theme comes into play with menus that are black felt bulletin boards with white letters pressed in, hearkening back to a time before digitization.
Ted’s classics include the “Walk of Shame,” a burrito with skirt steak, eggs, hash browns, cheddar cheese and spicy green chili sauce; crispy fried steaks; smoked Alabama chicken; and apple and hickory smoked pork. Sweets include a line of “adult milkshakes” and homemade pop-tarts (strawberry, blueberry cheesecake and peanut butter bacon). With its barrel-aged program, Ted’s uses homemade bitters, syrups, and vermouth for cocktails and boozy milkshakes.
It seems no flavor is out of reach here, as Pastry Chef Kelsey Pitta crafted a Thanksgiving pop-tart consisting of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes, while the milkshake end honored a customer request to place a slice of pie in their milkshake. Weiss explains how Ted’s Bulletin “lives and dies by a phrase called ‘giving the pickle,’” where no customer request is too far-flung. / Ted’s Bulletin, 11948 Market St., Reston.
Posted by Editorial / Thursday, January 9th, 2014
The Farmer’s Almanac has projected that Virginia will experience a particularly snowy winter this year. It’s about time.
One of our favorite past times during the winter months is enjoying the simple pleasure of gently gliding down a hill of powder on a comfy sleigh. Or nestling with the family on a Toboggan and holding on a long stretch down the slopes. Or speeding like a bullet down the steepest plunges around. Whatever your speed, sledding is a must this winter. Be prepared. —Robert Cameron Fowler
Sonic Snow Tube
When you climb into a tube and tilt yourself over the precipice, you’ve given yourself over to fate, blasting down the slope without any control. Which is why you want something sturdy and insulated, like L.L. Bean’s Sonic Snow Tube, built to last for years and able to zip along any type of snow, be it packed or powdery. Speed: Whoa! Control: It’s in God’s hands now.
Lucky Bums Wooden Toboggan – 48 in.
Get the entire family on the happiest of road trips—straight down a wintry slope. Toboggans are the most beautiful of sleigh rides, and the Lucky Bums Wooden Toboggan has all the features you want: built from smoothed wood, front curl to the leader of your pack to slot their feet into, and a comfy sled pad your family to sit back and enjoy the fun. Speed: Whoa! Control: Make sure you have a clear path.
PT Blaster Sled
Some slopes require the deft touch. When you are gliding past trees and jutting rocks, maneuverability is essential. The PT Blaster Sled, constructed from high-impact plastic and complete with steering, is a great way to navigate the more treacherous hills. Speed: Moderate Control: Easy to pilot.
Pelican Kinder Sleigh
Plastic is efficient, but it lacks winter magic and polish. This nostalgically crafted sleigh by Pelican Sports is perfect for your children, a safe and durable little sleigh that recalls the wooden sleds of yesteryear to mind. Speed: Moderate Control: Make sure you have a clear path.
Snow Sled Saucer Heavy Duty
If you are the straight-forward kind of rider and just want to zip down the slope at awesome speeds, go with a saucer. The Snow Sled Saucer Heavy Duty by MH Sleds is an incredibly sturdy and affordable dish for you to surf the snow on. Speed: Whoa! Control: Surrender to fate on this one.
Enjoy the winter wonderland of the best local hills for a sleigh ride.
A cherished favorite amongst Reston and Herndon residents, this broad and expansive hill beside the Unitarian Church provides enough open space for people of all ages
to glide down the packed-in snow at thrilling speeds. 1625 Wiehle Ave., Reston.
The Big Hill at Wolftrap
A quintessential sledding destination, this big ol’ hill will accommodate an army of sleigh-riders. Expect a smooth, long ride down the slope, which is not to steep and makes for a great time for the entire family. 1551 Trap Road, Vienna.
Do not take the name lightly. This short-but-steep slope will have you jetted off into high speeds—into a condo resting at the bottom of the hill if you’re not careful. Only true thrill seekers should take on this gnarly hill—and make sure to be riding on a sled that is very, very sturdy. Martha Custis Drive and Preston Road, Alexandria
While not as perilous as Suicide Hill, this hill is not a good idea for beginners. Popular and packed, it’s a great destination for more seasoned sledding families to go and enjoy some great powder. 7550 Magarity Road, McLean.
Wintry sledding locales don’t get much cooler than a Civil War monument. Head over the Stone House in Manassas Battlefield Park and you’ll find a hill between 300-400 feet of smooth riding. Speeding down the snow with cannons overlooking on the precipice of the hill is an exciting way to spend your winter holiday. Intersection of Sudley Road and Lee Highway.
Posted by Stefanie Gans, Dining Editor / Tuesday, December 17th, 2013
By Stefanie Gans
Starting in the restaurant business 23 years ago at the defunct Le Canard (now Maplewood Grill), the Vienna-raised John-Michael Hamlet is the new executive chef at Vinifera Wine Bar & Bistro. Hamlet, 38, was most recently at the foodservice management company Compass Group USA and previously worked at Stone Manor Inn (Middletown, Md.), appeared on Food Network’s “Chopped” in 2010 (the last episode of the third season) and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1996.
The Reston Westin’s restaurant will keep its Mediterranean theme, but Hamlet says he plans to add a “French flair” including smoked oyster fricassee and his signature dish, FoiejitasTM. This trademarked dish—”My wife is a lawyer,” explains Hamlet, and she said, “‘let’s throw a mark on there’ … Happy wife, happy life”—follows Hamlet from his eponymous restaurant in North Salem, N.Y. (2007-2011), and includes four pieces of foie gras served with marinated red peppers, candied shallots and nutmeg crepes. “It’s like eating heaven,” says Hamlet.
Hamlet started working in Vinifera’s kitchen last Wednesday—the previous chef, Bo Palker, left for Arlington’s Pinzimini, also in the Westin—and will implement the current winter menu as is. He plans to start adding his own dishes next year, including the famed FoiejitasTM. Another reason for the trademark: “I do plan on writing cookbook,” says Hamlet. “It’s kind of a dish I’ve become known for.”
This is not the first chef-change from restaurants named to Northern Virginia Magazine’s 50 Best Restaurants of 2013; Middleburg’s Goodstone Inn also tapped someone new.
By Eliana Reyes
Today marks the start of the most extensive recount in modern Virginian political history. Fairfax County, Alexandria and Chesapeake kick off the race between Democrat Mark Herring and Republican Mark Obenshain for attorney general with Friday marking the finish line. (Loudoun Times)
The Reston family of Mary Frances DeLorenzo Knight, one of the victims of the Navy Yard shooting, has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Navy and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for failure to properly evaluate the shooter’s mental health. (Fairfax Times)
Building developers can now create below the minimum of parking spaces in exchange for giving county transportation funds. (ARLnow)
Bailey’s Health Center blunder leaves 1,499 clients’ health information open on an “unsecured computer server,” compromising information such as personal addresses and social security numbers. (Annandale Patch)
WAMU’s The Kojo Nnamdi Show remembers local “It’s Academic” host, Mac McGarry. (WAMU)