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Celebrate the leap year with these 10 drink specials

Westlake Legal Group cocktails Celebrate the leap year with these 10 drink specials wineries specials Northern Virginia leap year deals Leap Year Leap Day Food Drinks drink deals breweries
Photo by Brooke Lark

Leap day, falling on Saturday, Feb. 29, only comes around once every four years, and in 2020 that celebration takes place on a weekend. Take advantage of this extra day and celebrate with one of the many local drink deals happening in its honor, below.

Saturday Beer Run!
Saturday, Feb. 29, 9:45-10:45 a.m.
Start your extra day off right with Lake Anne Brew House’s weekly Beer Run. After taking a 1.5-mile jog or walk around the lake, stop inside for a free 5-ounce sample with the purchase of a pint or flight. // Lake Anne Brew House: 11404 N. Shore Drive, Reston; free entry

Leap YEAR, Leap BEER
Saturday, Feb. 29, 10 a.m.-11 p.m.
If you don’t feel like running to earn your free beer, you can still celebrate at the brew house. Everyone’s first purchase of a pint or flight comes with a bonus sample to keep the fun going. // Lake Anne Brew House: 11404 N. Shore Drive, Reston; free entry

A Leap Around Wine Tasting
Saturday, Feb. 29, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Head out to the vineyard for a special tasting event. To ring in the extra day, 8 Chains North Winery is offering a choose-your-own-tasting experience. Guests will be able to choose eight wines to sample from a list that includes its current selection, old favorites and a few new releases. // 8 Chains North Winery: 38593 Daymont Lane, Waterford; $10-$20

Leap for Wine!
Saturday, Feb. 29, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
If you are a leap year baby, this event is for you. Celebrate your birthday with free wine tastings at 868 Estate Vineyards. Not born on Feb. 29? Don’t worry, the vineyard will be offering special discounts on wine throughout the day for everyone. // 868 Estate Vineyards: 14001 Harpers Ferry Road, Purcellville; free

366 Day Weekend Sale
Saturday, Feb. 29 and Sunday, March 1,  11 a.m.-6 p.m.
If you want a more low-key weekend, take advantage of Barrel Oak Winery’s 366 Day Weekend sale. Stop by and purchase take-home wine bottles and growlers with a 25% discount. Members receive an additional 5% off. // Barrel Oak Winery: 3623 Grove Lane, Delaplane; free

Leap Day Deals
Saturday, Feb. 29, 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
Potomac Point Winery is breaking out its new 2019 rosé to commemorate the special occasion. Along with the special release, guests will be able to buy the new rosé at $29 for two bottles. Guests with Leap Day birthdays can also enjoy a classic wine tasting for only 29 cents. // Potomac Point Winery & Vineyard: 275 Decatur Road, Stafford; free entry, $7-$12 for tasting

Leap Beer Day
Saturday, Feb. 29, noon-10 p.m.
Port City Brewing is turning leap year into Leap Beer Day. All flight and pint purchases will come with a complimentary 5-ounce taster. Leap year babies will also receive 11% off their order. // Port City Brewing Company: 3950 Wheeler Ave., Alexandria; free entry

Wine Tasting
Saturday, Feb. 29, 1-4 p.m.
Spend your Saturday afternoon sampling delectable wines at Cheesetique. This free weekly tasting features exquisite wines with a rotating list of seasonal favorites. // Cheesetique Del Ray: 2411 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria; free

Hop on Leap Day
Saturday, Feb. 29, 4 p.m.-1:30 a.m.
Join the patrons of 14 Loudoun for a hoppin’ leap day party. Deals for this once-every-four-years celebration includes beers, bites and specialty cocktails for only $4. Stop by from 8 to 11 p.m. for a round of beer pong in the backyard. // 14 Loudoun – Home of Fa La La: 14 Loudoun St. SE, Leesburg; free entry

Hoppy Leap Year Party!
Saturday, Feb. 29, 6 p.m.-midnight
One Loudoun is partnering with Old Ox Brewery for an epic holiday deal. Stop by the party for free swag, giveaways and beer and food deals, including $3 hoppin hot pockets and $3 Jack’s rarebit minis. // One Loudoun: 20416 Exchange St., Ashburn; free entry

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Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

5 new healthy-ish cookbooks to add to your kitchen this year

Let’s be honest: Cooking can become stale. Maybe you’ve been using the same recipes for months on end and are becoming bored. Or maybe you’re not confident in your cooking skills and view making meals as a chore. Don’t worry; these five new cookbooks are here to help. Below, find details on each.

Cool Beans: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking with the World’s Most Versatile Plant-Based Protein, with 125 Recipes
By Joe Yonan
Inspired by vegetarian dishes, Yonan, The Washington Post food editor and a James Beard Award-winning food writer, teaches readers how to turn chickpeas, lentils, pulses and more into tasty main dishes, snacks, soups and desserts. One of the best parts? The recipes can be cooked using any appliance, including stovetops, slow cookers and Instant Pots. // Available now; $20

 

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ITS FINALLY HERE! THE DAY HAS COME. I’m officially a published author and THE DEFINED DISH cookbook is available in stores on the freaking shelves TODAY! Westlake Legal Group 1f64f-1f3fb 5 new healthy-ish cookbooks to add to your kitchen this year recipes healthy health and wellness Health Food Features Food cooking cookbooks   Westlake Legal Group 2728 5 new healthy-ish cookbooks to add to your kitchen this year recipes healthy health and wellness Health Food Features Food cooking cookbooks   # This has been about a 2 year process and I’ve learned so much about myself along the way. Forever grateful for this opportunity and I know I sound like a broken record here but I am SO grateful for this community because this book wouldn’t exist without you. Westlake Legal Group 2764 5 new healthy-ish cookbooks to add to your kitchen this year recipes healthy health and wellness Health Food Features Food cooking cookbooks   thank you, defined dish family! # Words cannot begin to express how excited I am for you all to cook your way through this book in 2020. It’s everything you love about my blog in book format, with 90 new recipes you’ve never even seen before (10 are fan faves from the blog). I hope you enjoy cooking these recipes in your kitchens as much as I do in mine. # Do you have any questions about what’s inside of the book? Lmk in the comments below and I’ll do a Q+A on my stories later today! Westlake Legal Group 1f970 5 new healthy-ish cookbooks to add to your kitchen this year recipes healthy health and wellness Health Food Features Food cooking cookbooks   # Happy New Year to each of you! Go grab a copy (or 2 Westlake Legal Group 1f602 5 new healthy-ish cookbooks to add to your kitchen this year recipes healthy health and wellness Health Food Features Food cooking cookbooks   ) of the book today at your local bookstore, Barnes and noble, target, BAM, Indie Bound, and of course you can get it online via Amazon! IM SO EXCITED! #thedefineddishcookbook

A post shared by Alex Snodgrass Westlake Legal Group 1f374 5 new healthy-ish cookbooks to add to your kitchen this year recipes healthy health and wellness Health Food Features Food cooking cookbooks   (@thedefineddish) on Dec 31, 2019 at 5:23am PST

The Defined Dish: Whole30 Endorsed, Healthy and Wholesome Weeknight Recipes
By Alex Snodgrass
Alex Snodgrass, of thedefineddish.com, is the third author in this Whole30 Endorsed series. The recipes included are gluten-free, dairy-free and grain-free, and at least 60 of the recipes are fully compliant with the popular Whole30 diet. // Available now; $18

Simply Laura Lea: Balanced Recipes for Everyday Living
By Laura Lea
Laura Lea, the creator of llbalanced.com, is the face behind this cookbook, which features 130 delicious and balanced recipes based on the food she eats daily. Each recipe includes familiar ingredients and can be cooked in 30 minutes or less. // Available April 7; $31.50

 

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It’s here! It’s tangible! It’s absolutely classy and sassy just like me! I am over the moon excited to share my new book CBD Cocktails with you and the whole world! Such fun and delicious classic cocktail recipes with a twist! CBD! It’s honestly the best way to set the tone for any gathering. Your guests will love you forever!! You can preorder from me link in bio if you order from me I’ll sign it, ship it to you and include a little love gift from me to you. Dreams do become a reality I am living proof!! I’m a published author!! Blessed beyond! #theofficialsailene #mamasailene #onmypath #cbdcocktails #book #cbdcocktails100recipestotaketheedgeoff #recipes #mocktails #drinkyourcbd #cbdpartydrink #hostesswiththemostess #plantmedicine #fullspectrum #simonandschuster #cidermillpressbooks #imapublishedauthoryall

A post shared by Sailene (@theofficialsailene) on Jan 30, 2020 at 7:59am PST

CBD Cocktails: Over 100 Recipes to Take the Edge Off
By Sailene Ossman
CBD is everywhere: in face creams, holistic medicine and now, in cocktails. Ossman, who works in the Los Angeles cannabis industry, created the recipes with wellness in mind, to help alleviate stress, while adding depth to mixed drinks. // Available April 14; $19

The Kitchen without Borders: Recipes and Stories from Refugee and Immigrant Chefs
By The Eat Offbeat Chefs, Sibohan Wallace and Penny De Los Santos
Eat Offbeat, a catering company in New York City staffed by refugee and immigrant chefs, will be releasing this cookbook in the summer, filled with 70 nourishing recipes from all over the globe, including Syria, Iran, Eritrea and Venezuela. The cookbook also includes chef profiles and portraits. // Available June 9; $25

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Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Vermilion chef leaves after nearly 3 years; longtime Brabo chef steps in

Westlake Legal Group vermilion-great-date-spots Vermilion chef leaves after nearly 3 years; longtime Brabo chef steps in Vermilion Tom Cardarelli restaurants new chef king street Inti Villalobos-Coady Food News food and drinks Food dining Chefs alexandria
Photo courtesy of Vermilion

Vermilion has transformed itself time and time again over its 17-year tenure on King Street in Old Town. After Tony Chittum’s stint at the local restaurant ended in 2018 (when he moved on to Iron Gate in Dupont Circle) Tom Cardarelli stepped in. The new executive chef was a graduate of the Culinary Institute of New York, spending several years at Jean-Georges and in the role of executive sous-chef at Michelin-star Marea in New York City. 

Since making his way to Vermilion, Cardarelli earned local accolades and put his own spin on the restaurant’s ever-changing menu. He brought house-made bread and butter to the table. Vermilion became a crowded spot during Alexandria’s biannual restaurant week. The restaurant earned the No. 2 spot on our 50 Best Restaurants List in 2019. 

But, Feb. 14 was Cardarelli’s last day. Upon his departure, Inti Villalobos-Coady, a veteran of five years at Brabo, has stepped into the helm. 

“Leaving is definitely bittersweet,” says Cardarelli. “I think we really did great work as a team during my tenure at Vermilion. I am very proud of the product that we put out and the growth we achieved in our capabilities as a kitchen and as a restaurant. I will absolutely look back at my time at Vermilion with great fondness and nostalgia.” 

When asked what his favorite dish was over the course of nearly three years, the answer wasn’t easy. Cardarelli took pride in the plates of prix fixe menus and steadfast classics, such as Vermilion’s house-made pastas and ice creams. 

“I was always really happy to serve our housemade sourdough with the cultured butter that we churned here at the restaurant, and proud that this was something we gave to all our guests as a welcome,” says Cardarelli.

Now in the hands of Villalobos-Coady, the menu and experience of the restaurant that served former president Barack Obama and first lady Michelle on Valentine’s Day back in 2012, is subject to change. He already has ideas. A new spin on strawberry rhubarb pie to honor his grandfather. Fried fingerling potatoes that emulate his favorite snack: salt and vinegar potato chips. 

But before making any big changes, Villalobos-Coady is simply excited to get involved with the future of the restaurant now that Cardarelli has laid even more of the groundwork to build from. 

[Vermilion] has been one of my favorite restaurants in Alexandria for years and now to be able to call it my new home is very rewarding,” says Villalobos-Coady. “It is important to me to keep advancing the level of cooking in Alexandria. Vermilion has always been a great restaurant and I want to try to make it even better.” 

As of now, Villalobos-Coady is hoping to re-introduce himself in a way that brings his background into play at the restaurant. It’s important to him that local fans of Vermilion know one of their favorite places is in good hands. 

“I’ve been cooking my entire life; starting when I was 5 years old, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my great-grandmother. She would make steaks in a cast-iron pan and I was fascinated by how this red and white piece of meat would turn into something brown and extremely delicious,” says Villalobos-Coady. 

After starting work as a dishwasher in restaurants at the age of 13, Villalobos-Coady went on to become a line cook, a high school student in a culinary vocational program and a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. He’s been in the DMV ever since. He was the saucier at 2941 Restaurant, followed by sous chef at Brabo Brasserie for over five years. This will be his first experience as an executive chef.

“I’d like for Vermilion to be the spot that people talk about in Northern Virginia. We have an amazing team in the kitchen and in the dining room and we all want to create the best experience possible for our guests,” says Villalobos-Coady. 

As for what’s next for Cardarelli? 

“Northern Virginia is a great dining scene that I would love to continue to be a part of,” he says. “I don’t want to say anything concrete at this point, but I have a few things on the horizon that I am excited about.”

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Annual Chance for Life fundraiser returns to the DMV this month

Westlake Legal Group chance-for-life-event-1 Annual Chance for Life fundraiser returns to the DMV this month Things to Do Features Things to Do special events restaurants Philanthropy healthy living Health fundraiser Food Events eats eating dining Culture Chefs chance for life celebrity tastings cancer
Photo courtesy of Chance for Life

When Brad Nirenberg found out his best friend’s daughter had an aggressive spinal cord tumor at the young age of 2, he immediately wanted to do something about it. With the help of his friends, the Arlington-based entrepreneur gathered a small group of about 20 people for a poker tournament to raise both funds and the spirit of his friend, Jeff Snyder. 

That was 15 years ago. Today, the friendly poker tournament has transformed to become Chance for Life, one of the largest charity events in the Washington, DC region happening on Saturday, Feb. 22 at MGM National Harbor.

As the CEO and founder of experiential marketing agency RedPeg, Nirenberg has utilized his expertise to curate a one-of-a-kind event to help end pediatric cancer, featuring a day-long poker tournament, an evening celebrity chef tasting with nearly 30 local chefs and an after party. As for the latter, the highlight of the night is the surprise celebrity entertainer who makes an appearance, which in the past has included stars Robin Thicke, Blues Traveler and Joe Montana. 

The tasting portion of the affair is also highly celebrated, as chefs from the region’s most-esteemed restaurants share specialty cocktails and dishes. This year, chefs include Opie Crooks of Adams Morgan-based A Rake’s Progress; Scott Drewno, Danny Lee and Angel Barreto of newcomer Anju; Kevin Tien of Emilie’s; and many more.

 

 

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Chef “Peter” of Yume Sushi bringing us VIP delicacies for a great cause. #CFL2020

A post shared by Chance for Life (@chanceforlifedc) on Feb 12, 2020 at 5:00am PST

Of the 29 chefs from the DMV making an appearance at this year’s event, two are leaders of NoVA-born concepts—Victor Albisu of Taco Bamba and Peter Saran Kannasute of Yume Sushi. Here, they share their take on the upcoming affair. 

You’ve both attended this event before. What’s it been like and why do you think it’s important?

Chef Albisu: I’ve done it every year and there’s great energy. There are so many charity events here and they are all worthwhile, but this one stands out from the perspective of how much fun everyone is having while they are giving. It’s lighthearted for a serious cause. They bring so much positivity to it, and it just has a great feeling. 

Chef Kannasute: The charity supports these special children, and kids of our future. So, we need to support them. For us, it’s special because we [Peter and wife, Cici] have two kids and it means a lot to us. We want to appreciate these people who are spending their time working toward this cause. 

What are you most looking forward to about the Chance for Life event this year?

Chef Albisu: I hope to be involved with this way into the future, it’s one of my favorite events. The ability to come together with restaurateurs really feels good, and I love that it’s not hundreds of restaurants, it’s a few. That gives us the opportunity to lean into the experience for the guests. 

Chef Kannasute: I’m excited to help bring people together and share my creations of food while raising funds toward a meaningful subject. 

What food will you be preparing this year?

Chef Albisu: We will be doing some funky, spicy tacos. We are still working on it but we have a pretty spicy chipotle mushroom taco that is fun, and we are creating another one right now.

Chef Kannasute: This year, I will add a sake tasting bar to complement the dishes, and we will serve specialty cocktails too. As always, there will be traditional sushi rolls. I am also including a scallop shooter, which will be inside a lemon shell to add fragrance.


For Nirenberg and his wife, Callie, who is also a founder, elements like the surprise guest and gourmet tastings are what make this event special.

“For people to want to take part in a cause, you have to connect to the heart and the minds,” Nirenberg explains. “Then they make the conscious decision to donate, get involved, to sponsor. They have to believe what we are doing. And when you create an experience that people have an emotional reaction to, they are more likely to invest.”

According to the National Pediatric Research Foundation, of the billions of dollars spent annually on cancer research and treatments, just 4% are dedicated toward treating childhood cancer. Over the course of 15 years, Chance for Life—now a certified nonprofit—has raised $6.5 million in support of childhood cancer research. This year, the goal is to make $3 million as a result of the event. 

As the foundation has grown, it has partnered with Children’s National and Alex’s Lemonade Stand to help fund research and trials. The most recent work by Chance for Life has led to research initiatives that give 16 children and families the resources needed to successfully fight the battle of childhood cancer. 

Each year, Jeff Snyder’s now 17-year-old daughter, Kennedy, steps on stage to share a word with the attendees and, according to Nirenberg, she is a guiding light for people in a similar situation. 

“Every time Kennedy comes up is another year she is with us,” says Nirenberg. “This event is a trampoline for her and always has been, even when she was having a bad day with chemo or radiation. The powerful spirits of 1,000 people saying, ‘You’re incredible; we’re behind you’ … it’s great medicine. And she inspires others. It’s a great gift to be able to give hope to these families going through the worst moment of their lives.” 

While the Chance for Life event is sold out, those who are interested in donating to the cause can do so here

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5 kid-friendly restaurants all ages will love in NoVA

Westlake Legal Group little-boys-eating-pizza-and-spaghetti 5 kid-friendly restaurants all ages will love in NoVA reston restaurants pizza Kids Food Kid restaurants Food Features Food family-friendly restaurants Family fairfax dinner diner children's menus Caboose Tavern bartaco alexandria
© EvgeniiAnd / stock.adobe.com

Chicken fingers, pizza and mac and cheese aren’t found on every menu across the region. You know, you’ve checked. 

But that doesn’t mean eating out with your kids can’t still be enjoyable, even when it’s at places that you, your spouse and your adult family members would like to visit. Here, we’ve rounded up local places that cater to children so you can get back to going out, no matter the table size. 

Bartaco
A finger food that everyone eats with their hands? Tacos. If you’re craving fresh, cantina-style Mexican food but don’t want to stop at the nearest Chipotle again, head to Bartaco instead. Not only will you and your partner (as well as other adult family members and friends) get to enjoy chicken empanadas, tuna poke and roasted duck tacos, you’re kids will get to choose their very own spread of tacos and finger food, as well as nonalcoholic drinks. They can enjoy corn wheels and cucumbers with “not spicy” guacamole, as well as quesadillas paired with limeade, a “nojito” (mint, lime juice and club soda) or a “sunset” (pineapple juice, fresh orange juice and grenadine). It’s hard not to be happy when everyone gets to share chips and dip. // 2920 District Ave., Suite 120, Fairfax and 12021 Town Square St., Reston

Caboose Tavern
Family-friendly breweries have been popping up everywhere in the past few years. Parents can toast to the weekend or after a long day at work while kids run around outside in the warmer months. This local spot doesn’t just offer parents and kids a chance to sit at a table and have a drink (alcoholic or nonalcoholic), it also provides a full food menu for both little and big kids alike. Kids can enjoy milk, orange juice or even a root beer float to drink, and dine on grilled cheese sandwiches, organic chicken tenders, kids’ cheeseburgers or mac and cheese. Then the adults can enjoy the OG mac and cheese (Goot Essa aged cheddar cheese, cow’s milk asiago, pecorino romano, parmigiana reggiano, toasted panko crumble), fried chicken sandwiches and hand-cut fries. We don’t always have to eat like grown-ups. // 520 Mill St. NE, Vienna

Fontaine
The easiest way to eat silver-dollar pancakes is with your fingers. Kids are smart enough to figure that out, except for the syrup part. But at Fontaine, kids can take their love of pancakes or sweet treats to a new level. Let your kiddos order from the “Kinder Crepes” portion of the menu, featuring the Lunch Box, Naptime, Playtime and Tea Party. In order, they come topped with peanut butter and strawberry jam, dusted with powdered sugar, stuffed with ham and cheese, or topped with banana and chocolate sauce. The crepes are nearly half the price of the adult versions, but it gives you a little extra room to indulge too. Time for the parents in charge to show the kids how it’s done with a knife and fork, but also topped with spicy lamb sausage, lentils, spinach and feta, or a poached pear with butter pecan ice cream, cognac and dark chocolate. // 119 S. Royal St., Alexandria 

Paradiso
Pizza, pizza, pizza. It’s a staple in a family with kids. But that doesn’t mean you always have to eat it at your house. Paradiso offers all of your Sicilian favorites, from pizza con carne (topped with tomato sauce, sausage, pepperoni, bacon and mozzarella cheese), to calzones and a vast selection of pastas. But instead of sharing slices with your kids, let them dine on their own in the supervised children’s room. There’s a one-way mirror that allows you to eat in peace and keep an eye on your kids, while they enjoy watching movies, eating kid-friendly meals and socializing with other little ones like them. It can be a play date for the kids and a date night for you and your partner, minus the babysitting costs. // 6124 Franconia Road, Alexandria 

 

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Ted’s Bulletin
It might have taken a little while to convince your kids that breakfast was worth eating, especially if it was something other than cereal while watching cartoons. But when you’re ready to head out for a local breakfast or lunch, Ted’s Bulletin is ready to serve. The local chain offers a kids’ menu featuring “Mr. Breakfast,” a single pancake with fruit and bacon, with an option to add on a scrambled egg. If they’re still not into breakfast food, there’s also the classic PB&J, grilled cheese and chicken fingers. But it’s the shakes/sweets menu that will truly make this a family affair. Ted’s Tarts (a fresh-baked version of the childhood favorite, Pop Tarts) come in  strawberry, brown sugar and cinnamon, s’mores and blueberry cheesecake, and are topped with rainbow sprinkles too. The only thing that might be even better? The accompanying milkshake menu. Some even classify as adults-only (featuring alcohol). Time to get your sugar rush on before lunch. // Various locations

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NoVA-based Dana’s Cake Shoppe set to open storefront this spring

Westlake Legal Group dana-with-cakes NoVA-based Dana’s Cake Shoppe set to open storefront this spring storefront specialty cakes new opening new gourmet cakes Food News Food eats eating dining dessert Dana's Bake Shoppe custom-made dessert cupcakes Cakes cake baking bake
Photo courtesy of Dana Alfahham

While growing up in Dubai, Dana Alfahham spent her free time baking, making anything from mini cupcakes to three-tiered cakes on a regular basis. At first it was just a hobby, yet overtime she continued to advance her craft both in Dubai and England, eventually becoming an authorized cake decorating instructor abroad. 

“It just seemed natural to continue with my passion when I moved to the U.S.,” says the now-South Riding resident who is the proud owner of Dana’s Cake Shoppe, a local bakery that has been offering gourmet desserts, freshly baked goods and special-occasion cakes in the region for nine years. 

Westlake Legal Group floral-wedding-cake NoVA-based Dana’s Cake Shoppe set to open storefront this spring storefront specialty cakes new opening new gourmet cakes Food News Food eats eating dining dessert Dana's Bake Shoppe custom-made dessert cupcakes Cakes cake baking bake
Photo courtesy of Dana Alfahham

With the simple ingredients of butter, sugar, flour, eggs and cream, Alfahham creates intricately detailed cakes for any type of event, with weddings being the most common. Come spring, you’ll be able to witness the artist at work for the first time, as Alfahham is opening a brick-and-mortar location at the Village at Leesburg.     

“We are planning an open-kitchen design, which is currently being constructed right now,” says Alfahham. “I want customers to see the cakes being made and be part of that experience.” 

Westlake Legal Group geode-cake NoVA-based Dana’s Cake Shoppe set to open storefront this spring storefront specialty cakes new opening new gourmet cakes Food News Food eats eating dining dessert Dana's Bake Shoppe custom-made dessert cupcakes Cakes cake baking bake
Photo courtesy of Dana Alfahham

In addition to full-sized cakes, Alfahham plans on offering a variety of other baked goods, including ready-to-go slices that customers can enjoy in the small eating area of the space, as well as macarons, cookies, eclairs and more. 

For customers planning a future wedding, Alfahham suggests booking her services about six months in advance, as she bakes and designs each custom cake by herself. When the new shop opens, she has plans to hire a full-service baking team. 

Westlake Legal Group cake-with-shoes NoVA-based Dana’s Cake Shoppe set to open storefront this spring storefront specialty cakes new opening new gourmet cakes Food News Food eats eating dining dessert Dana's Bake Shoppe custom-made dessert cupcakes Cakes cake baking bake
Photo courtesy of Dana Alfahham

While the exact date is not finalized, Alfahham is hoping for a mid-April grand opening. Until then, Dana’s Cake Shoppe will remain open for business, serving up anything from a graduation-themed cake featuring stacked books made of fondant to a five-tiered wedding cake for your special day. // 1604 Village Market Blvd. SE, Unit 125, Leesburg

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Tacos and tunes: Alexandria waterfront could get a new music venue at Riverside Taco

Westlake Legal Group riverside-taco-music-feature Tacos and tunes: Alexandria waterfront could get a new music venue at Riverside Taco Tacos riverside taco performing arts Music live music Food News food and drink Food Culture city council beer alexandria waterfront alexandria
Photo courtesy of Riverside Taco

There is no shortage of places to catch live music across Northern Virginia, especially when summer rolls around. You can hear just about any kind of music you’re looking for too, whether it’s bluegrass and folk, or rap and R&B. 

But live acoustic music could start to radiate through the Alexandria waterfront if a permit, filed by Riverside Taco, is approved by the City Council in early March. The eatery, which reopens for the season on Sunday, April 5, is best known for slinging tacos, soft drinks and beer out of a vintage Airstream, and gathering locals and visitors alike in the surrounding 90-seat picnic area. 

If approved, “The outdoor market will continue current operations, but would feature live acoustic musicians and/or amplified background music for market patrons and passerby during the hours of operations,” according to the permit.

With the location’s proximity to the Torpedo Factory Warehouse Center and other local art initiatives, Riverside Taco believes this would better the area even more so, and align with the city’s goals of continuing to create welcoming spaces across the waterfront.

Tacos, beer and live tunes? Let’s start counting the days to warmer, breezier days. 

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A Royal Affair brings French, Mid-Atlantic cuisine to Adams Morgan

Westlake Legal Group beets-from-imperial A Royal Affair brings French, Mid-Atlantic cuisine to Adams Morgan washington dc the imperial Reviews restaurant reviews new restaurants French food food reviews food and drink Food eats eating district dining dining scene dining DC Adams Morgan
Beet carpaccio with blue cheese mousse, mint and dill give veggie-based dishes a good name. (Photo by Heather Victoria)

As with well-known sibling spot Jack Rose Dining Saloon, located just a couple of doors down in lower Adams Morgan, it’s tough to tell whether The Imperial is chiefly a bar or a restaurant. Both personalities assert themselves strongly at the newcomer, reflecting co-owner Bill Thomas’ love of rare and vintage spirits and his ability to recruit solid culinary talent.

He has also relocated the wildly popular speakeasy, Dram & Grain, from the basement of Jack Rose to a subterranean home at The Imperial. Make a reservation through Resy to hit the experimental cocktail bar, cozy up near the gas fireplace and order something fun like the bright green Teahouse Tipple, a blend of gin, nigori jasmine rice syrup, matcha tea, lemon juice and a yuzu-cocchi espuma.

Westlake Legal Group meat-from-the-imperial A Royal Affair brings French, Mid-Atlantic cuisine to Adams Morgan washington dc the imperial Reviews restaurant reviews new restaurants French food food reviews food and drink Food eats eating district dining dining scene dining DC Adams Morgan
Beef Wellington with black truffle jus is a standout on the menu. (Photo by Heather Victoria)

Echoes of Jack Rose can also be found on The Imperial’s dinner menu since chef Russell Jones cooked there from 2014 to 2016 before heading to South Carolina. Here, his most successful dishes include an earthy beet carpaccio with blue cheese mousse and fresh herbs; steamed local oysters with a tomatillo mignonette and serrano peppers that bring a tingly green heat; and a luscious beef Wellington cooked to a gorgeous pink, surrounded by puff pastry and served with a not-too-rich black truffle jus. These dishes are reason enough to enter the doors and bask in the competent, friendly service.

The kitchen did still have some kinks to work out when we visited—particularly with a dry, undercooked bucatini dressed with anchovy, bread crumbs and a quail yolk that did little to bring much-needed succulence. Another dish that wasn’t up to snuff was a bowl of saffron shrimp over farro that lacked seasoning, including the promised saffron. The puff pastry atop a honeycrisp apple pie wasn’t baked long enough and couldn’t entice us to go in for a second bite.

Westlake Legal Group oysters-from-imperial A Royal Affair brings French, Mid-Atlantic cuisine to Adams Morgan washington dc the imperial Reviews restaurant reviews new restaurants French food food reviews food and drink Food eats eating district dining dining scene dining DC Adams Morgan
Steamed local oysters with tomatillo mignonette (right) brings the heat. (Photo by Heather Victoria)

With so many hits though, the misses felt more like a kitchen gaining its sea legs rather than one that’s about to sink. We’ll be back to sample the raw bar and the fried chicken that was unfortunately sold out the night we visited—and to check out the two-tiered rooftop bar that will open once the weather warms.

The Imperial parts ways with Jack Rose most noticeably in decor—while Jack Rose is dark and broody like the whiskeys it showcases, The Imperial is as light and bright as its Spanish-inspired gin and tonic sprouting a garden’s worth of herbs and citrus.
Despite the hiccups, you’ll feel lighter and brighter after spending an evening there.


SCENE
The bright, modern decor featuring punches of aqua and chartreuse, atomic-inspired silver pendant lights, blond wood accents and marbleized tabletops that all add up to lend the feel of a Parisian cafe of the future. The space skews cool and chic, but the service is warm and welcoming.

DON’T MISS
Beet carpaccio with blue cheese mousse; steamed local oysters with tomatillo mignonette; beef Wellington with truffle jus. // 2001 18th St. NW, Washington, DC; Open for dinner Monday–Saturday; Starters: $2.75-$144; Entrees: $17-$59


City Buzz

Georgetown
Owner of Mirabelle and Ottoman Taverna has opened the equally gorgeous Brasserie Liberté, serving reasonably priced French classics. // 3251 Prospect St. NW, Washington DC

Petworth
Chef Alfredo Solis replaced his Cuban spot with a coastal Mexican concept called Anafre, serving dishes like grilled oysters with crab and jalapeño butter. // 3704 14th St. NW, Washington, DC

Capitol Riverfront
ABC Pony from celebrated DC chef Erik Bruner-Yang makes an unlikely yet very tasty marriage of Asian and Italian flavors. // 2 I St. SE, Washington, DC

This post originally appeared in our February 2020 issue. For more food stories, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Whole Foods in McLean is not your average grocery store. Here’s a look inside.

Spanning 70,000 square feet, there is certainly plenty to explore at the Whole Foods Mid-Atlantic flagship in The Boro, a sparkling mixed-use development that opened last fall in McLean. And since grocery shopping while hungry is a terrible idea, perhaps it’s best to begin your expedition by grabbing a bite at one of the food stalls located on the main or upper levels. Here’s how we suggest filling your belly before filling your cart.

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The Rappahannock Oyster Bar includes an array of fresh seafood, perfect for a pre- or post-grocery shopping meal. (Photo by Heather Victoria)

Rappahannock Oyster Bar

Spoiler alert: We’re starting with the best in show. This adorable counter looks like it was lifted out of a chic, urban food hall and plunked down in the ’burbs. Staff members are incredibly helpful with walking wide-eyed newcomers through the menu. An outstanding crab cake with zero fillers perches atop an addictive celery root slaw studded with capers and red onion. Golden fried oysters tumble across a stack of Old Bay-seasoned fries, all served with remoulade and cocktail sauce. The rich oyster stew is loaded with plump, briny bivalves, sliced fingerling potatoes and good-quality bacon. Everything tastes incredibly fresh, perfectly cooked, seasoned with precision and thoroughly delicious—and not just by grocery-store standards, by any standards. Serving eat-in orders on real dishes instead of in plasticware, this place strikes exactly the right balance between fast-casual and restaurant-quality fare.

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Why pick just one? This choice includes tonkotsu ramen at Genji. (Photo by Heather Victoria)

Genji Izakaya

Is the ramen here going to win any awards? No. But as part of a well-established national chain, the Japanese izakaya turns out a fine version that nevertheless has nearby office workers lining up on drizzly winter days. The original tonkotsu ramen teems with springy noodles, red ginger, seaweed, mushrooms and a marinated half of an egg with an impressively runny yolk all swimming in a nutty, slightly sweet pork broth. Less impressive is the thin, dry and fatty chashu pork found in both the ramen and a bao bun. Try the bang bang shrimp bao bun with its spicy sauce instead. Shrimp was a star of the sushi taco trio too, with the tempura maintaining its crispiness despite being loaded up with a creamy sauce and a tiny pile of green onion.

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Why pick just one? This choice includes sweet treats from Curiosity Doughnuts. (Photo by Heather Victoria)

Curiosity Doughnuts

With so many choices of doughs, glazes and toppings, curiosity quickly turned to confusion. Potato, sourdough, yeasted, not-quite-vegan, super cake—all of them looking pretty tasty but difficult to remember after all the varieties of the day have been rattled off. Just give into the excess of it all and order a dozen, see which one you like best and share the rest. Our favorites were the pineapple glazed and the peach glazed, and a lemon twist had a great lemon zest flavor along with a nice, crispy crust.

Westlake Legal Group woman-pouring-beer-whole-foods Whole Foods in McLean is not your average grocery store. Here’s a look inside. whole foods shopping Reviews restaurant reviews restaurant oyster bar grocery store grocery shopping groceries foods food reviews food hall Food eats eating doughnuts dining chain
High Point Pub offers hot bars of food and local brews. (Photo by Heather Victoria)

High Point Pub

Whole Foods is admittedly playing fast and loose with the word “pub” here, but this upstairs bar is a friendly, bright, casual place to grab a local beer or a glass of wine with co-workers or with the kids in tow on a Sunday night. A nacho hot bar features chips, braised meats and Tex-Mex fixings, and another food bar offers favorites like chicken tenders, pizza and chicken wings sold by the pound. Large TVs peppered throughout the space show sports matches, while all ages will want to try their hand at retro arcade games like Ms. Pac-Man and pinball. There are also three shuffleboard tables, plus an outdoor terrace with lounge seating for when the weather improves.

Officina

As an offshoot of the DC restaurant from Michelin-starred chef Nicholas Stefanelli, expectations were high. Pasta offerings are basic to boot, so they should be fairly easy to nail—yet this food stall doesn’t yet come close to living up to the chef’s reputation. Cacio e pepe arrived soupy, drowning in a creamy sauce that tasted faintly as if blue cheese had been accidentally thrown into alfredo sauce. The rigatoni alla norma was slightly better, but the eggplant lacked silkiness and the sauce wanted seasoning. A warmed porchetta panino somehow managed to register as both oily (the bread) and dry (the meat). Better to sit this one out until these folks get the process down. // 1635 Boro Place, McLean

This post originally appeared in our February 2020 issue. For more food stories, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

10 great places to warm up with a bowl of soup in NoVA

Westlake Legal Group yunnan-by-potomac 10 great places to warm up with a bowl of soup in NoVA where to eat Vietnamese Soups soup restaurants ramen pho Japanese herndon gainesville fredericksburg Food Features Food fairfax eating dining arlington alexandria 100 Bowls of Soup
Photo by Rey Lopez

We’ve all ordered bread bowls a time or two … with the additional side of bread, of course. (Looking at you, Panera.) 

But when you’re craving warm, comforting soup, there’s more in the region than just what fast-casual restaurants have to offer. 

So, put your crock pot away and get to these local slurp-friendly spots when you’re craving a just-like-Mom-made-it bowl of steaming soup. 

100 Bowls of Soup
The name easily gives it away as a go-to spot for whatever bowl of soup you might be in the mood for. You’ll want to give yourself the chance to look through the dozens of options in the store’s refrigerators, especially if you’re hoping to curl up on the couch with a bowl and a spoon later. Vegan soups include three-bean chili, caraway cauliflower, minestrone, masala split pea, vegan French onion and more. At the nourish ‘n go soup bar, check the daily rotating soup specials for a quick and hearty lunch. You might just find the sweet potato vindaloo, mushroom onion miso or carrot ginger. Need we say more? // 279 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon

Blue Ridge Seafood Company
Save peeling shrimp and drenching lobster in butter for another day (some time soon, of course) and enjoy one of your favorite seafood soups instead. Offering all three of the classics is Blue Ridge Seafood Company, with lobster bisque, New England-style clam chowder and Maryland-style crab soup. All are served with a side of oyster crackers and can guarantee you’ll be feeling full, warm and satisfied, even if your next beach trip is still a long way away. // 15704 Lee Highway, Gainesville

Del Ray Cafe
There’s a good chance you often skip over the “soup of the day” on the menu. You might even miss it when your server gives you a heads up on the flavor. But instead of having a rotating special, Del Ray Cafe has you covered with its everyday French Onion soup. The homemade beef broth soup is sealed with a crisp layer of cheese on top, giving you the ultimate first scoop to dive into time and time again. // 205 E. Howell Ave., Alexandria

Westlake Legal Group ramen-the-block 10 great places to warm up with a bowl of soup in NoVA where to eat Vietnamese Soups soup restaurants ramen pho Japanese herndon gainesville fredericksburg Food Features Food fairfax eating dining arlington alexandria 100 Bowls of Soup
Photo by Rey Lopez

Kimen
It’s a no-brainer that fan-favorite ramen fits right in with a list of places to satisfy soup cravings. Long wavy noodles, rich umami broth and, if you’re lucky, a runny soft-boiled egg are the perfect combination for a filling meal. Kimen offers a version for everyone, ranging from its original with chashu pork or chicken, a seasoned egg, nori, green onion and kikurake (ear-cloud mushrooms), to the Tantanmen ramen, known as the hot-and-spicy version with roasted peanut soup, silky pork broth, spicy minced pork, green onion, bok choy and more. // 217 John Marr Drive, Annandale

Westlake Legal Group malaysian-curry-laksa-soup 10 great places to warm up with a bowl of soup in NoVA where to eat Vietnamese Soups soup restaurants ramen pho Japanese herndon gainesville fredericksburg Food Features Food fairfax eating dining arlington alexandria 100 Bowls of Soup
Photo by Rey Lopez

Malaysian Kopitiam
So, you forgot your lunch box at home, didn’t make dinner last night or are staring at yet another pre-packed salad and wondering, is there something better for lunch? The answer is yes. This local spot made its first appearance in our Cheap Eats issue, but later landed on our 2019 list of 50 Best Restaurants. The curry laksa chicken noodle soup and the entire “noodles in soup” section surely played a role in those distinctions. Plus, you get to choose between flat rice noodles, egg noodles or long and thin rice noodles, perfect for making you forget about the day’s worries, and that could-have-been cold work lunch. // 5085 Westfields Blvd., Centreville

Nam-Viet
Sure, you can find orders of red and yellow curry, or steaming bowls of pho on this menu, but to really make the most out of your warm soup cravings, order from the lengthy soup section, including the Hoanh Thanh (homemade dumplings stuffed with pork, shrimp and chicken in beef broth served with scallions, onions, chives, cilantro, and Xa Xiu, a Vietnamese roasted barbecue pork), or the Canh Chua Ca/Tom (Tamarind sweet and sour soup with cabbage, bean sprouts, tomatoes, cilantro and served with salmon or shrimp). Almost every option is gluten-free, with a few vegetarian choices too. // 1127 N. Hudson St., Arlington 

Philadelphia Tavern
Sidestep the wings and Philadelphia Tavern cheesesteaks on this menu if you’re craving a warm and comforting bowl of soup. Yes, there is clam chowder and a daily rotating flavor, but there’s also the Philly Chili. Sure, the location lacks in proximity to the Liberty Bell, but it can make up for it in flavor. The deep-red broth of the homemade chili even features a Pennsylvania staple: Yuengling lager. Enjoy a bowl to fill you up, and maybe even pair it with the go-to brew for the full almost-Pennsylvania experience. // 9413 Main St., Manassas

Taste of Korea
Sizzling stone pot bibimbap is just about the hottest item you can order on the menu (seriously, save your tongue and let it cool off a bit first) at this Korean restaurant in Chantilly, but even hotter is the small camp stove servers bring to your table when you order hot pot. Bring friends and family for an order of beef mushroom hot pot with bulgogi beef, oyster and enoki mushrooms and mixed vegetables in beef broth. The beef tripe hot pot is also available with veggies and tofu. Don’t fret if you need to order for one, be sure to check out the soups and stews, ranging from beef short rib soup and kimchi stew, to spicy fish roe soup and codfish soup. // 13906 Lee Jackson Memorial Highway, Chantilly

The Soup & Taco Etc…
There’s so much more to Mexican soups than a bowl of spicy chicken tortilla topped with a spoonful of sour cream. At The Soup & Taco, grab a cup or bowl of its “Grandma’s recipe” of Sopa de Tortilla. The chicken broth base with chicken and cor, topped with tortilla strips, avocado and queso fresco is sure to please. Vegetarian black bean soup with sour cream and scallions is also available, as well as a rotating daily special. And if you’re still hungry—there’s no shame in grabbing a taco too. It’s just the place to cover all of your bases and still get that cup of soup you need. // 813 Caroline St., Fredericksburg; 806 William St., Fredericksburg

Yunnan by Potomac
Have you met mixian before? Because if you haven’t, the day your soup craving hits, it’s time to satisfy it with a trip to Yunnan by Potomac. According to the Southwest-Chinese restaurant’s menu (there’s a letter to customers, it’s worth the read), “In the modern capital of Kunming, its seven million inhabitants consume 300 tons of a gluten-free rice noodle called mixian, every single day.” That’s right, this comforting, rice-noodle soup with chicken bone broth, pork broth or mushroom broth is available right here in NoVA, and you can enjoy it topped with scallion, cilantro and chili oil any day of the week, maybe even those rainy ones. // 814 N. Fairfax St., Alexandria

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