Bites: Rants, raves and raspberry sauce squiggles

There was a lot to be happy about, and complain about, in the food life of dining editor Stefanie Gans.

Photo by Stefanie Gans
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It’s the last week of the year, and the lists continue. Not in any particular order, here are some notes on dining in Northern Virginia, the greater food and drink scene, things I never want to see again and some wish list items (like why can’t I find Noosa in 24 ounce tubs?).

1. One night, my favorite part of dinner was the server not asking what kind of water I wanted. If I want sparkling, I’ll let you know. Otherwise, just send out the tap.

2. No more chef memoirs. They are all the same, and if you aren’t as good a writer as Gabrielle Hamilton—the chef and owner of New York City’s Prune, who also earned a Master of Fine Arts in fiction writing from the University of Michigan—don’t even try to write a version of her Blood, Bones & Butter.

3. Endorsement: The onslaught of Uyghur restaurants in the region.

4. Stop decorating dessert plates with raspberry sauce squiggles. I can’t even believe I have to type this in 2017.

5. All-day, all-night concepts seem to be trending nationwide (says Wall Street Journal) and I’m excited to see this playing out at SideBar, which opens in Leesburg today. Baba, which debuted this year in Arlington, also serves coffee through cocktails.

6. The Fairlington Farmers Market kills it. It keeps just enough stalls to encompass most needs—would love to see yogurt, though—but isn’t overwhelming either. Closed for the season, my daughter and I can’t wait until spring to grab a loaf of Atwater’s Bakery rye bread and tear apart a Bonaparte Breads almond croissant while watching the bluegrass ensemble.

7. In this golden age of local, craft spirits, why are Absolut vodka-starring cocktails like appletinis and cosmos still on the menu?

8. Though I don’t get to cook much, I love cookbooks. My favorites this year are Dining In by Alison Roman and Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden.

9. Why can’t I find a good food podcast?

10. Next year, I want to eat more interesting meatless entrees, non-traditional ramen and pumpernickel bagels decorated in everything seeds.

Here’s to a delicious 2018.