Posts Tagged ‘Warren Rojas’

Brunch Battles

We sent our writers into the ring to determine which of our favorite morning staples is the best brunch dish. —Brendan Spiegel, Warren Rojas, Tim Regan and Carten Cordell

 

 

 

 

(May 2014)

The Brunch Issue



Freeze Jag: The Swiss Bakery

Posted by Warren Rojas / Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

August is historically the steamiest, stickiest, sweatiest month of the year–brilliant move, Founding Fathers, building the nation’s capital on a swamp–in these parts. We’ve tracked down 31 frozen treats (one a day for the rest of this month) to provide you with some temporary, and often insanely delicious, relief.

The place: The Swiss Bakery – Multiple NoVA locations; www.theswissbakery.com

The prescription: meringue glace. Pastry chef cum Swiss Bakery co-founder Laurie Weber clearly fears no sugar rush. So we, in turn, thought nothing of ordering the meringue glace, a double helping of your choice of house made ice cream (we recommend apricot, almond nougat, black forest and/or mint straciatella) or sorbet (dig into blood orange-pomegranate, green apple-kiwi, pink lemonade and/or chocolate-banana) escorted by twin meringues. The airy cookies double as textured spoons, the ice cream or sorbet naturally sliding between the grooves of raised sugar and soaking into the chewy center. Sangria sorbet was potent stuff, relaying lots of ripe red fruit (cherry, mixed berries, grapes), while the pina colada was mostly sweet, slightly tart and totally refreshing.

On the off chance you do over indulge—all the featured ice creams and sorbets, plus other overstock flavors are also available by the pint—just snatch up one of their novelty aprons (painted with images of rugged mountain men and buxom frauleins) to keep up the fit and trim façade.

–Warren

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Keep tabs on the month long Freeze Jag trek here.



Freeze Jag: Nielsen’s Frozen Custard

Posted by Warren Rojas / Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

August is historically the steamiest, stickiest, sweatiest month of the year–brilliant move, Founding Fathers, building the nation’s capital on a swamp–in these parts. We’ve tracked down 31 frozen treats (one a day for the rest of this month) to provide you with some temporary, and often insanely delicious, relief.

The place: Nielsen’s Frozen Custard – 144 Church St. NW; Vienna; 703- 255-5553; www.thecustardstore.com

The prescription: Peppermint bark concrete. Dear holiday calendar–Just a quick note to let you know that I have officially been freed from your myopic subjugation. My liberator? Why, none other than Nielsen’s Frozen Custard. While you make me wait till the dead of winter before trotting out spicy-sweet manna known as peppermint bark, Nielsen’s allows me to indulge whenever I like. Their specialty concrete conjures Christmas in a cup via extra thick vanilla custard bolstered by quick hardening chocolate syrup (contact with cold quickly transforms it into chocolate brittle) and crushed peppermints, then turbo whipped into a breath freshening sludge that forcefully weighs down your spoon.

Those who prefer to live in the moment should enjoy seasonal selections like blueberry custard and other fresh fruit offerings (bumbleberry, a strawberry-raspberry hybrid is a particular favorite).

–Warren

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Keep tabs on the month long Freeze Jag trek here.



Freeze Jag: Buzz

Posted by Warren Rojas / Monday, August 29th, 2011

August is historically the steamiest, stickiest, sweatiest month of the year–brilliant move, Founding Fathers, building the nation’s capital on a swamp–in these parts. We’ve tracked down 31 frozen treats (one a day for the rest of this month) to provide you with some temporary, and often insanely delicious, relief.

The place: Buzz – Multiple NoVA locations; www.buzzonslaters.com

The prescription: open-faced oatmeal cookie sandwich with cereal milk ice cream. “It’s supposed to taste like the milk leftover after you eat a bowl of cinnamon toast crunch,” a Buzz worker says of pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac’s whimsical creation. Maybe–if you’re used to having breakfast at Charles Bukowski’s house. The cookie—spot warmed right when you order—is great, delivering mouthful after mouthful of whole grains, golden and traditional raisins plus bonus cinnamon spice. But it’s the boozy cereal milk, which gets a boost from a long pour of bourbon, that had us cleaning our plate and clamoring for more.

Should you (unlike me) happen to NOT be a raging alcoholic. MacIssac’s treat churning prowess extends to virgin flavors (the aptly named “exotic” weaves together ultra tart mango and lusty spice cake; vanilla is plain delicious) as well as seasonal sorbets (raspberry, apricot).

–Warren

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Keep tabs on the month long Freeze Jag trek here.



Freeze Jag: Haymarket Delights

Posted by Warren Rojas / Sunday, August 28th, 2011

August is historically the steamiest, stickiest, sweatiest month of the year–brilliant move, Founding Fathers, building the nation’s capital on a swamp–in these parts. We’ve tracked down 31 frozen treats (one a day for the rest of this month) to provide you with some temporary, and often insanely delicious, relief.

The place: Haymarket Delights – 15111 Washington St., #113, Haymarket; 703-743-9730; www.haymarketdelights.com

The prescription: Some ice cream shops regard fruit as, at best, a topping or, at worst, an afterthought. Not Haymarket Delights. They’ve developed over two dozen “Tropi-Kool” smoothies featuring carefully considered premium ice cream –one attendant said she favors strawberry or raspberry hard pack for berry based beverages, but switches to mocha hard pack for javafied frozen drinks–soft serve, or not (non-dairy options abound). Our strawberry-pomegranate cooler did not disappoint, the fresh, tasty bits of real strawberry swimming up the straw during each protracted slurp while luscious pomegranate permeated every sip.

What was most surprising, though, were the non-dessert options. Turns out, Haymarket Delights is also a den of Mediterranean delicacies, turning out overstuffed Greek gyros, crunchy falafel sandwiches and savory spinach pies.

–Warren

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Keep tabs on the month long Freeze Jag trek here.



Freeze Jag: Boccato Gelato & Espresso

Posted by Warren Rojas / Saturday, August 27th, 2011

August is historically the steamiest, stickiest, sweatiest month of the year–brilliant move, Founding Fathers, building the nation’s capital on a swamp–in these parts. We’ve tracked down 31 frozen treats (one a day for the rest of this month) to provide you with some temporary, and often insanely delicious, relief.

The place: Boccato Gelato & Espresso – Multiple NoVA locations; www.boccato.com

The prescription: Chilean peach gelato. Gelato is, by design, naturally denser and sweeter than your run-of-the-mill ice cream. But Boccatto’s jaw-dropping Chilean peach is nothing short of ambrosial. The boozy chiller (left me punchy, anyway) captures the nectar-like sweetness and intensely floral bouquet of the foreign fruit, a combination that translates into an absolutely intoxicating thrill ride that slides down your throat.

The homegrown shop hangs its hat on experimentation and variety, boasting a recipe Rolodex with over 200 flavors–evaluating every single one sounds like a perfect challenge for next year, no?–including: rum raisin, chocolate cake batter (lawdhavemercy), cafe con leche, lucuma (fruity and refreshing), cinnamon risotto, blueberry-banana (smurf blue with a tropical undercurrent)  and Ferrero Rocher truffle.

–Warren

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Keep tabs on the month long Freeze Jag trek here.



Freeze Jag: Effee’s Frozen Favorites

Posted by Warren Rojas / Friday, August 26th, 2011

August is historically the steamiest, stickiest, sweatiest month of the year–brilliant move, Founding Fathers, building the nation’s capital on a swamp–in these parts. We’ve tracked down 31 frozen treats (one a day for the rest of this month) to provide you with some temporary, and often insanely delicious, relief.

The place: Effee’s Frozen Favorites – 5051 Lee Highway, New Baltimore

The prescription: Tye dye igloo. A true roadside stand–Constant din of commuters buzzing by on Route 29? Check. Handful of umbrella-topped tables for those inclined to recline after promenading/pedalling over? Check.–Effee’s deals in chilled-to-the-core comfort. Take their signature igloo. The two-fold treat begins with ribbons of Effe”s “ice”–a frosty goo that management insists is non-fat and non-dairy, yet manifests sherbet-like consistency–piled upon by good old fashioned vanilla soft serve. The specialty ices tend to skew towards splashy fruit flavors (lemon, mango, watermelon),but we couldn’t resist giving tye-dye, a kaleidoscope of sweet-tart-sour (blue raspberry, lime and lemon, respectively) fun.

The heat stroke-averse tend to pull up to Effee’s wide and welcoming front porch, leave their vehicles running (a/c cranked, no doubt), tick off their order, retreat to the climate controlled womb of their conveyance, watch for the teeny bopper servers to wave them back over, dart out to snatch up their goodies and then whole back up in their vehicles.

Do yourself a favor: order big. Sit down. Catch up. And, most of all, savor the moment.

–Warren

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Keep tabs on the month long Freeze Jag trek here.



Freeze Jag: Kline’s Freeze

Posted by Warren Rojas / Thursday, August 25th, 2011

August is historically the steamiest, stickiest, sweatiest month of the year–brilliant move, Founding Fathers, building the nation’s capital on a swamp–in these parts. We’ve tracked down 31 frozen treats (one a day for the rest of this month) to provide you with some temporary, and often insanely delicious, relief.

The place: Kline’s Freeze – 8200 Centreville Road, Manassas; 703-368-2013

The prescription: peanut butter dipped cone. Not to steal the 69 Boyz thunder, but dipping really is contagious. Don’t get me wrong: regular soft serve is great. But once you’ve experience a properly dipped cone–your choice of soft serve dunked in quick hardening chocolate, a la that mysterious commercial goop known as Magic Shell (molecular gastronomy for amateurs)–there’s really no reason to settle for anything less than candy shell coated fabulousity. And Kline’s just happens to carry one of my favorite dip flavors of all time: peanut butter. Which means I can get my frosty-chocolate-(twist works well, too)-enveloped-in-crispy-peanut-butter on any time I please. And I please quite often.

Were I ever to tire (never gonna happen) of my ersatz peanut butter cup in a cone, though, I guarantee I could find solace in Kline’s Boston shake: a custom cooler featuring a full fledged shake–mixed in candies, soft serve and milk are all part of the package–crowned with a single-topping sundae (it’s pretty damn tasty).

–Warren

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Keep tabs on the month long Freeze Jag trek here.



Freeze Jag: Goolrick’s Pharmacy

Posted by Warren Rojas / Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

August is historically the steamiest, stickiest, sweatiest month of the year–brilliant move, Founding Fathers, building the nation’s capital on a swamp–in these parts. We’ve tracked down 31 frozen treats (one a day for the rest of this month) to provide you with some temporary, and often insanely delicious, relief.

The place: Goolrick’s Pharmacy – 901 Caroline St., Fredericksburg; 540-373-9878

The prescription: Cherry Coke ice  cream float. I don’t drink a lot of soda (too sugary). But on those rare occasions when I do indulge, I REALLY want to get my money’s worth.  And Goolrick’s delivered. No canned goods here. Each beverage begins with three firm pumps of cherry syrup, a steady stream of Coke from the fountain, two glassy scoops of vanilla ice cream–Goolrick’s dishes vanilla, chocolate and strawberry PET ice cream exclusively–and a dollop of whipped cream. The old school syrup works like gangbusters, infusing every drop of effervescent soda with stupendously sweet cherry flavoring. Even after siphoning every bit of soda through the straw, my journey into pleasure continued with every cherry froth-covered spoonful of eggy vanilla ice cream I fished from the depths of the fluted glass.

What’s most fun about Goolrick’s, however, is watching worlds collide. “Oh hey, can I use your iPhone?” a scruffy-faced collegian sporting multiple piercings asked a buddy as he plopped down on a blue vinyl-topped swivel stool that in all likelihood predates his parents. What’s old is new again. And the truly delicious, well, it’s always in style.

–Warren

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Keep tabs on the month long Freeze Jag trek here.



Red Meat: Rock Harper

Posted by Warren Rojas / Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

What’s a reality TV-anointed cheflebrity to do once the camera’s glare has receded? Rahman “Rock” Harper now basks in the adoring gaze of aspiring culinary students:

(Image: Urszula Stern)

Having logged countless hours behind the burners at various high profile, local restaurants (B. Smith’s, Ben’s Next Door, The Carlyle Club), Harper now dedicates his time to academia–he currently shares his accrued hospitality knowledge with those enrolled at Stratford University–and his burgeoning cookbook catalog.

WR: Salt. Pepper. What other culinary elements could you not live without?

RH: Tough one but I would go with garlic. It is amazing in flavor and a little goes a long way so you don’t need much. I also love the fact that it is extremely healthy for you!

WR: What’s the very first dish you ever mastered? How long did it take? Do you still make it today?

RH: Don’t know if I have mastered anything, because it can all be improved. My fried chicken is pretty close to perfection though. Over 15 years I would guess. Absolutely!

WR: What seasonal ingredient(s) get your creative juices flowing?

RH: Peaches and tomatoes!

WR: My latest cookbook obsession is …

RH: “Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories with Recipes” from Dr. Maya Angelou. I’ve owned it for a while but after thumbing threw [sic] it the other day I am determined to cook everything in it! She speaks, teaches and writes with such passion and love; her cooking is just as amazing.

WR: What’s the most challenging dish you’ve ever attempted? Would you make it again?

RH: Foie gras torchon from Michael Mina’s book. Yes, I have and I got it, but it was challenging indeed.

WR: If I could the spend the day working alongside any local chef, I’d love to collaborate with …

RH: Wow, that’s tough. We’re a “top 5″ dining city in the country now! R.J. Cooper. I’ve had his amazing cooking before, but I would love to see how he executes Rogue24 from top to bottom.

WR: What’s the easiest/quickest–but still wholly satisfying–meal you make for yourself?

RH: Scrambled eggs, a sharp cheese, chives, summer tomatoes, on toasted wheat.

WR: In the next six months you won’t want to miss my …

RH: Next book! Rock Your Kitchen Rock Your Love Life: Building a Successful Relationship Through Passionate Cooking

WR: It’s quitting time. I’m pouring myself …

RH: Big and beautiful California cabernet

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Just so you know, chef, I’m totally stealing your breakfast of champions.

Come back next Tuesday for another helping of Red Meat.

–Warren



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