Posted by Anthony Baracat / Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
Before he plays Vienna’s Jammin’ Java on Thursday, we thought we’d provide some light reading on Garland’s past, present and future. The Perez Hilton mentee-turned-R&B star answered a few questions for us, and will headline for openers Colby O’Donis and Erica Ashley on the 14th. Get your tix for the show today!
Posted by Eliana Reyes / Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
If turkey-baking and stuffing-making aren’t your thing, Northern Virginia restaurants can help.
Pieter Sheehan worked as a health inspector in Arizona, California, Missouri and for the past year: Fairfax. Besides inspecting restaurants, his public service includes calculating air quality at gas stations and preventing disease outbreaks at tattoo parlors. Today the 46-year-old rises at 5 for a bakery opening and ends with refereeing rugby. —Stefanie Gans
5:09 A.M. I am up. Feeding cats then off for a quick walk.
Still discovering new things about my neighborhood [on my route] of mile on Huntington Ave., from Richmond Hwy. to Telegraph Rd. and back.
It is dark out. I am listening to JT’s album “The 20/20 Experience.”
Juice is good, but I might leave broccoli out next time.
Need to hurry. Catching a bus to Huntington Metro in 5 mins!
6:15 A.M. On metro heading to Vienna (via L’Enfant Plz). Best part of the day! Sit back and read: “Rugby: The Player’s Handbook” I am a referee for a new club in area, DC Scandals.
7:06 A.M. Will get coffee at my local coffee house in Fairfax and then do an inspection of a breakfast eatery in Vienna.
I need to start early in field. We try to get to restaurants while they are operating.
7:08 A.M. The health department inspections are always unannounced.
7:13 A.M. Dark roast. Cream, no sugar.
7:30 A.M. We generally conduct two types of inspections. Risk-based inspections and routine inspections.
Risk-based are quicker inspections because the health inspector focuses on those areas in the operation that can lead to food borne illness. Food temperatures for example.
A routine inspection looks at risk-base items as well as GRPs (Good Retail Practices). GRPs are floors and walls for example.
This first inspection is a risk-base and should not take longer than 30-45 minutes.
There is approximately 27 categories a GRP violation can fall into. There are also 27 risk factor categories. Risk factor violations can lead to a food borne illness. Is food from approved source? Is potentially hazardous food kept at right temperature? Are good hygiene practices being followed?
9:03 A.M. Just arrived at office. Going into a Consumer Protection Program meeting. CPP is part of the Environmental Health Division and is responsible for food safety inspections. As well as hotel, daycare, pools, tattoo and massage parlors.
9:26 A.M. John’s Cafe. It is in the ICF building. There was no issues/violations during the inspection.
9:32 A.M. Mr. Jae Kim (owner of John’s Cafe) and I going over inspection form.
9:37 A.M. Inspection frequency depends on the risk category a facility is assessed to. There are 4 categories. A food facility can be inspected from 1 to 3 times a year.
10:51 A.M. About to head back into the field with District Standardization Officer (DSO). There are approximately 25 food inspectors. To ensure we are all doing uniform inspections, two DSOs are assigned to evaluate us during an inspection.
10:55 A.M. Debbie [Crabtree, the DSO] will be giving me feedback on aspects of an inspection.
10:57 A.M. Heading out. It is a Lebanese Mediterranean restaurant.
12:34 P.M. We look at the process of food handling and food processing at a restaurant. How food is received, stored, cooked, etc. If a restaurant has a lot of potentially hazardous food (PHF) we would be interested in how an operator is dealing with those food items. Examples of PHF are beef, chicken, seafood, cooked veggies, etc.
Debbie and I went to Al-Maza Restaurant in Fairfax City. Debbie gave me pointers on how best to conduct a standardized inspection.
We [review the menu] to ensure we focus our inspection on those foods and processes that are most relevant to public health.
We mark items IN, OUT, N/A or N/O … depending on the item number. It is important to distinguish between an item “not observed” or “not applicable”.
12:39 P.M. Being around food does not make me hungry. Guess I am use to it now.
12:40 P.M. I am back in office now. Lunch then giving a training on environmental health at 2 PM.
Basic lunch: Hommus and cucumber sandwich with cheese. Made it at home. Not too exciting!
I always bring my lunch. Honestly, I have never had a problem eating after an inspection.
1:57 P.M. We are conducting a training on environment health for another department. Department Code Compliance inspects zoning, property maintenance, building violations, etc.
3:21 P.M. Need to go out on a complaint.
4:28 P.M. Complaints come in usually by the Internet or someone in community calls with a concern. Complaints can be given anonymous or with a name. We respond to complaints usually within 48-72 hours.
The complaint I got was on a pizza restaurant that the pizza they ordered had a strong smell to it. It was an anonymous complaint so I could not ask them questions about the specifics. I checked when the last inspection was (June 25).
5:28 P.M. I just stopped in and did an inspection of temperatures, food quality and when PHF was received. It all checked out and there were no violations.
5:29 P.M. In route to office to check email and voice messages.
5:42 P.M. We use a database to manage our caseloads and permitting activities. Food safety is a community endeavor.
As restaurant customers we need to remember that hot food needs to be hot and cold food needs to be cold.
Ask a restaurant questions if you are unsure if food is not safe. Restaurant operators are very diligent about food safety. We support the community in ensuring that the food we eat is served safely.
An inspection is one component of a sound food safety regulatory program. Food safety education and outreach is an important factor also.
6:03 P.M. [Infractions I’ve seen today are] date marking, uncovered food in a walk-in cooler. Both were one or two items. The issues could be corrected while I was there.
6:19 P.M. I have witnessed imminent health hazards, [fire] of course. We respond to many restaurant fires after they have been put out.
We help assess food that needs to be thrown out, etc. I have never seen a restaurant that would not close after a fire.
The health department plays a huge role in emergency response activities, often after first responders like fire and police.
6:27 P.M. I am out for a while. Rugby. Need to get to Arlington. I practice refereeing [with] the club I belong to.
8:22 P.M. On Metro, Court House. Back to Huntington. A quick bite to eat.
9:16 P.M. Left over chili. I made it Tuesday…. slow cooker.
No TV. Shower then bed. Early morning tomorrow.
9:19 P.M. [I have] no problem sleeping. I get up early and am usually dragging by 9 PM
Edited for style and readability. Darn auto-correct.
Posted by Stefanie Gans, Dining Editor / Monday, October 28th, 2013
“If we actually opened on time, I’d think we were cursed,” says Joey Hernandez, the wife and business partner of Tim Ma, who together are opening Water & Wall in Arlington. The two also own Maple Ave Restaurant in Vienna. The “creative American” restaurant’s debut will shift from November 1 to November 2, this Saturday. “I think Maple Ave also opened a day late,” says Hernandez.
Posted by Brandon Payton / Wednesday, October 16th, 2013
This weekend, Oct. 19-20, is the return of the seventh annual fall Northern Virginia Brewfest, for the first time, at the Special Events Center at Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville. The Northern Virginia Brewfest is a day splurged in good food, good music and most importantly the best micro brews in NoVA. Over 40 breweries will in attendance, 14 of which are new to the Northern Virginia Brewfest.
The emphasis for the fall Brewfest this year is on European micro brews (and New Zealand). Some breweries from across the ocean to appear are: Black Sheep Brewery and Strongbow Ciders (England), Moa Brewing (New Zealand) and Brouwerji Roman (Belgium). But what would beer be without the Germans? German microbreweries that will be featured at the festival include: Brauerei Fruh Am Dom, Brauerei Gebruder Maisel, Kulmbacher Brauerei, Paulaner Brauerei, Unertl Weissbier and Warsteiner Brewery.
While those, with no question, are some solid breweries from our continental compadres across the sea, the Northern Virginia Brewfest will still host homage to local Virginia microbreweries like; Capital City Brewing, Mad Fox Brewing, Star Hill Brewing and Devil’s Back Bone.
Artists, retail vendors and craftsmen will also be on hand the event.
Festival hours are 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.
Designated Driver $10
11 a.m. Vienna Bus #1 (Saturday only) (includes adult admission) $45
**the bus leaves Vienna at 11 a.m. and leaves the Brewfest at 5 p.m.**
12:30 p.m. Vienna Bus (Saturday only) (includes adult admission) $45
**the bus leaves Vienna at 12:30 p.m. and leaves the Brewfest at 6:30 p.m.**
Here are your local news links for Monday, Sept. 16, 2013.
New regulations tighten the standards for removal of cryptosporidium in drinking water.
A 16-year-old boy was shot to death early Sunday outside a hotel in the Vienna area.
Aaron Rodgers’ big day was too much for the Washington Redskins.
The Leesburg Town Council voted Sept. 10, 2013 to initiate proceedings to bring Morven Park within town limits.
Say what?! This high school cafeteria is serving students roasted red-pepper humus, greens with chopped kale, falafel flat-bread sandwiches and more.
Posted by Stefanie Gans, Dining Editor / Wednesday, September 4th, 2013
#Free food at the opening of Curry Mantra 3 in Vienna this Sunday. / 262H Cedar Lane SE, Vienna
Really, really insanely terrible, not funny at all ad campaign for Big Mac. [FB]
Rising pressure on Starbucks to outlaw guns in stores. [Grub Street]
Inside accounts from five New York Times food critics. [NYT]
On food, relationships and stereotypes, circa 1962: “And should you find yourself with a girl who orders a pastrami sandwich on whole-wheat toast with lettuce and Russian dressing (a meal I actually heard someone order in a New York delicatessen), you’d best be off before the waiter returns with the check.” [Brain Pickings]
Posted by Eliana Reyes / Wednesday, August 21st, 2013
Latte art—the pretty designs of expertly maneuvered milk on top of lattes—is so valued at the new LoCo Joe, baristas who excel earn more money than their inartistic counterparts. Juanita Tool and Steven Freeman, who have been close friends for over seven years, opened LoCo Joe earlier this month in Purcellville.
Aspiring baristas start as bar temps, cleaning tables and working the register. Under the guidance of more experienced baristas, such as Chris Dodson, formerly of Hypnocoffee, they build their repertoire of skills, starting with pour-over coffees then using the lever-operated espresso machine.
From there, says Tool, who also owns the Purcellville Community Market, ”one of the milestones would be to get proficient at latte art.” And that’s how baristas get a raise. The testing program is not in place yet, but Tool has assigned Dodson to come up with the plan.
When baristas have proven mastery over latte art in an in-house test, LoCo Joe’s pushes them to compete. “They have to participate in those [competitions] and be proficient at nice designs,” says Tool. Along with the heart designs and the classic rosetta, a floral fern-like shape, Evrett Taist, barista at LoCo Joe, lists some of the other possibilities: ”You can make a dragon. You can make a swan. You can make all sorts of stuff.”
But latte art isn’t as valued across Northern Virginia as it is at LoCo Joe.
Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Stefanie Gans, Dining Editor / Friday, August 16th, 2013
Ever since the team behind the much loved Maple Ave Restaurant announced plans for an upcoming place in Arlington, the blogs have been after the Vienna couple for details.
Joey Hernandez, the GM and long-time partner of Chef Tim Ma, released sketches for Water & Wall and are now waiting for approval from the county. Until it opens, tentatively November 1, as a part of Maple Ave’s fourth birthday celebrations, you can taste the “culinary road traveled from Maple Ave to Water & Wall” on August 21-22, four courses for $69.