To Market, to Market…
There are three winter farmer’s markets throughout Alexandria. All of the markets offer composting stations. The Old Town Market in Market Square in Old Town is the longest running market in the US. George Washington used to bring his farm products to sell at the market. Open on Saturdays from 7 am to noon, there is an eclectic mix of veggies, cheese, fruits, gifts, and more. The Four Mile Run Market at 4109 Mt. Vernon Ave. at South Glebe Rd. is open on Sundays from 8 am to 1 pm. When the weather is too windy or nasty, the vendors move inside the bright red building (also known to old timers as the old Duron Paint building) where you can shop in cozy comfort. The market features producers only products including apples, oranges, pears, cider, Satsuma mandarins, and other top of the line fruits, organic vegetables including greenhouse grown lettuces and other tender greens, certified kosher/vegetarian raw milk cheeses made with vegetable rennet, microgreens, coffee, bacon, sausages, books, stationery, coffee, and fresh baked goods.
One of the best amenities is plenty of free parking in the lot and on the street. The Del Ray Farmers Market at the corner of Mt. Vernon and Oxford is open all year round on Saturday from 8 am to noon and is also a producers only market. They offer a wide variety of gourmet cheeses and yogurt, winter fruits and veggies, fresh frozen meats, and baked goods. The winter market includes several new vendors including Potomac Sweets, a European gourmet bakery that specializes in the hard to find kouign amann (my favorite), croissants including plain, chocolate, and almond, and a variety of other Old and New World baked goods. Another new entry is Paella to Go by Chef Mario. Mario, a Basque native, brings the flavors of his home to Del Ray. He and his helpers offer an outstanding Paella Valenciana filled with chicken, Spanish chorizo, shrimp, mussels, clams, and other seafood. Try the two varieties of croquetas including baccala (codfish) or mushroom – both topped with a Romescu sauce that is exceptional. Rumor has it is soon to be available in bottles. Also rumored is Chef Mario may bring his wares to the Four Mile Run Market.
We have soup dumplings in Alexandria! Kung Fu Kitchen, 3233 Duke St., is now open. According to their website, “Our Chinese restaurant is known for its modern interpretation of classic dishes and its insistence on only using high quality fresh ingredients.” Kung Fu Kitchen was voted New York’s Best Steamed Buns and Hand-Pulled Noodles Restaurant. Try the hand pulled noodles with or without soup, kung fu steamed buns, handmade dumplings, kung fu dim sum, stir-fried dishes, appetizers, desserts xiao lao bao-soup dumplings, and Peking duck buns.
Bonchon is now open at 6852 Richmond Hwy. The kitchen offers Korean style fried chicken wings – bone in and boneless and chicken drumsticks. The breading virtually shatters as you bite into the chicken. Each piece is battered by hand in the kitchens every day then twice fried and hand-glazed to order. On busy days, expect a wait – but it’s worth it. Their signature sauces were created in Korea. Watch out, the spicy is SPICY HOT! Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, 102 S Patrick St. in the former Mischa’s location, has been open for over six weeks but hosted its grand opening on 12/19. A line snaked around the corner from this newest location. The first 50 customers scored free ice cream for a year.
On a quick note, Aldi will open in new mall where bowling alley and Shoppers Food Warehouse used to be at 6226 N. Kings Highway. A new change is the Domino’s at 5418 Duke St. is becoming AJ’s Pizza. And, as a follow up to a story from another news source about the former Generous George’s location, this Foody is very much aware of a nationally known, local chef looking very seriously at opening in that site possibly by summer 2020. Sorry, sworn to secrecy!
Flying out of Reagan National will provide better amenities in the new 14-gate northern concourse expected to open in 2021 The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority announced the restaurant and retail There are six new food concessions, including: Elevation Burger, Founding Farmers, Mezeh Mediterranean Grill, Peet’s Coffee, P.F. Chang’s, and Timber Pizza Co. WH Smith USA retail will open new convenience shops, Capitol File and WH Smith Café along with a souvenir shop in the concourse and security checkpoints.
It’s just a temporary goodbye to the Dairy Godmother, 2310 Mt. Vernon Ave., as they take their yearly break from Jan. 7 through Jan. 16. Look for a new flavor when they open on January 17. Shoppers Food Warehouse in Potomac Yards closed one day earlier than posted as the shelves were empty. There were plenty of sad staff and customers as the store closing was announced with no warning. A big concern is plastic bag recycling. It is still available at other groceries in the area. We’re looking forward to hear what will replace the store. Another goodbye to Catch on the Avenue in Del Ray. No reason for the closing but they will be missed.
Alexandria Keeps Getting Noticed
Eater DC is busy making lists even though Christmas is over. Two Alexandria restaurants received kudos as part of the list of the 17 most beautiful restaurants that open in DC in 2019. Chop Shop Taco, 1008 Madison St., was named #16 on the list. Reviewed in the Zebra in May 2019, the restaurant is the former site of an auto body shop. With its original garage floor, the décor blends organic elements and earth tones with bright pops of color. Furniture are made from the old auto shop lift, the restaurant is a fun place to have lunch, dinner, or late-night small plates and tacos. Urbano 116, 116 King St., was #17 on the list. The rooms are decorated in warm Oaxacan desert colors. The walls are covered with Lucha Libre mask paintings while lighted display cases hold a variety of real masks and beautiful bottles of tequila and mezcal. The food is just as beautiful with a variety of flavorful ceviche, small plates, tacos, and entrees, designed and informed by Chef Alam Méndez Florián’s Oaxacan-inflected cooking.
According to Food & Wine Magazine, the best fast food in VA: Virginia is Five Guys. From its first location in the 80s in the back corner of the street mall at S. Glebe and Columbia Pike and second location at King St., and Beauregard, the chain has grown internationally from Dubai to Paris. The burgers are made exactly the same way at every location with freshly ground beef cooked until done on a griddle and topped with a variety of veggie toppings and sauces that will make you feel like you are eating something healthy. Add in an order of fries, regular or Cajun. Has it changed much since it first opened? They’ve added a small size fries – still a lot of fries – and milk shakes.
Pentagon City is offering some new eatz. Bun’d Up of Union Market in DC has opened a stand-alone location at 1201 S. Joyce St. Featuring Taiwanese food, it’s also a great place to dine on Korean street food. According to their website, they are “Putting a modern, Korean twist on the original Taiwanese “gua bao” with handmade buns, local produce, and sustainably raised meat…” The menu will be greatly expanded from their farmers markets and Union Market locations and will include items like kimchi pancakes, soups, stews, and new bao options including fried chicken and shrimp. Also opening a second location in nearby Arlington at 1621 S. Walter Reed Drive, is well known Arlington Neapolitan pizza shop, Pupatella. The pizza is made according to the 200-year-old Neapolitan technique with only 00 Italian flour, sea salt, fresh yeast, and water, and baked in a traditional wood-fired oven made of bricks from Mt. Vesuvius. The website proudly states: “Pupatella is honored to be certified by the Assozione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN).This legal Italian entity defines what true Neapolitan Pizza is, and ensure that each certified pizzeria observes strict traditional Neapolitan pizza making rules.”
Don’t miss it. Alexandria Winter Restaurant Week is scheduled for January 17-26. Look for our table of the over 70 restaurants in the area offering brunch, lunch, and dinner menu deals. If you can’t wait, the DC Metro Winter Restaurant Week is January 13-19.
Do you have the inside scoop on foody newz in the ‘hood? Let me know at [email protected]