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Warming Foods to Keep the Winter Chill Away in Alexandria

Winter has come to Alexandria! We hope you are all staying warm but enjoying the beauty of the season. Read about some foodie finds to keep you warm!

Stellina Pizza founders Antonio Matarazzo and chef Matteo Venini. (photo courtesy of Stellina Pizza)

Alexandria, VA – Winter has come to Alexandria! I hope you are all staying warm but enjoying the beauty of the season. Watching the gently falling snow always makes me feel hungry because of family tradition. Whenever we were ‘snowed in’ in our suburban Chicago home, the neighbors would get together to dig out the cars and street so we had access to the main street. That night, we would always go out for Chinese food. Do you have a similar tradition? I don’t always get Chinese but I have gotten other personal favorites like kabobs, wings, Mexican, etc.

A box full of mole enchiladas from Taqueria Poblano (photo by Debby Critchley)

For me, there’s nothing like a plateful of warming enchiladas, burritos, tacos, or tamales. Jeff Wallingford manages to fulfill my winter desires at Taqueria Poblano, 2400 Mt. Vernon Ave. If the enchiladas with mole are on the menu, I highly recommend them. Three enchiladas filled with pork or chicken There absolutely warming and filling. Even closer to my heart are their tamales. These are Mexican style and each bite is a taste of childhood. Don’t forget to get a margarita or one of their many beer choices.

This luncheon bowl of Butter Chicken from Indochen will warm you to your toes (photo by Debby Critchley)

Indian food also warms me up. I visited Indochen, 4906 Brenman Park Dr., in the West End. They are offering lunch bowls that are hard to pass up. I had a plate of one of my favorites, butter chicken. The dish was filled with a generous portion of the chicken, wondrous veggies, and basmati rice. A cone of papadam crowned the plate! There was barely enough to take home leftovers. Their butter chicken has such a delightful nuanced flavor, it’s one of my favorite dishes to order. I suggest you get an order of garlic naan on the side, you’ll be very glad you did.

What’s new

The most obvious difference in &pizza is its oblong shape. Here’s the Maverick, a meat-lover’s pizza. Mike’s (photo courtesy of &pizza)

There’s been a lot of pizza around town lately. By the time you read this, Stracci has opened and closed but may return storefront form later in the year. Coming to Bradlee Shopping Center around the time you are reading this is &pizza, at 3690L King St. The pizzas are long ovals and can be topped with a variety of traditional and non-traditional toppings. You can currently find an &pizza on Richmond Hwy and coming to Eisenhower Ave. Shirlington is now home to Stellina Pizzaria in the former Cafe Pizzaiolo location at 2800 N. Randolph St. Stellina is an offshoot of the shop at Union Market in DC, founded by friends, restaurant operators and native Italians Antonio Matarazzo and chef Matteo Venini. According to their website: “Our simple, yet spirited menu nods to the street food of the southern Italian coast with a selection of fried seafood and veggies served in paper cones called cuoppo; light, flavorful Neo-Neapolitan pizzas with a distinctly crisxxdpy crust; house-made pastas; and creative panini served on our signature pizza dough.” The Bottega offers ready to cook meals, make at home pizza, pasta, cannoli kits, and wine.

Check out the hot steak & cheese sub from Jersey Mike’s (photo courtesy of Jersey Mike’s)

Also arriving in the ‘hood is Jersey Mike’s, now open at 360 S. Pickett St. This well-known sandwich shop joins favorites Taste of Asia, Mediterranean Bakery and Cafe, and City Kitchen in the West End Shopping Center. There is a wide selection of both hot and cold subs in a variety of sizes and filled with all sorts of meats, cheeses, and veggies. The former home of Society Fair has become Mae’s Market and Café, 277 S. Washington Street comes from and is the brain child of Stomping Ground founder Nicole Jones. Not open at press time, it may be open by the time you read this. They will be serving breakfast and lunch including a selection of coffee, baked goods, salads, and gourmet sandwiches. The market features house-prepared food and pantry items, produce, freshly baked bread, charcuterie and cheese, a prime meat and seafood case, craft beer, wine and more.

The full Musakhan meal of roast chicken and sides from Shababi Chicken (photo courtesy of Shababi)

Palestinian Chicken and Taboon has arrived with Shababi from Marcelle Afram and fellow Lebanese American chef Roro Asmar. Roro operates Roro’s Modern Lebanese restaurant at 5655 General Washington Dr. and is providing the ghost kitchen for Shababi. The rotisserie-style halal chicken with brined for 24 hours, then coated with allspice, sumac, cumin, fenugreek, and cardamom, then placed into a specialty oven imported from Lebanon. Meals are available for pickup during weekends for now but should be offering delivery soon. Taboon is spread with a puree of caramelized onions, cashews, and parsley atop our hand-stretched dough before baking it in a traditional taboon oven. Sides include cucumbers in chili garlic oil, za’atar seasoned fries, hummus, and the flatbread, taboon. There is also vegetarian mushroom shawarma.

Coming soon

Nothing Bundt Cake carries a wide variety of sizes, cake flavors, and frostings

Head east on Duke St. and find the new Nothing Bundt Cakes at 4553 Duke St. in the Shoppes at Fox Chase. This is the fourth location of this chain that started in Las Vegas. You’ll be able to purchase an assortment of bundt cakes, cake towers, and both mini and bite size bundts. Flavors include vanilla, chocolate, white chocolate, marble, pecan praline, confetti, red velvet, carrot cake, and raspberry. No opening date yet.

Have you heard?

Here’s just a sampling of all of the fabulous goodies from MB on the Go photo courtesy of MB Bakery on the Go)

MB Bakery on the Go, 3103-3107 Colvin St., is teaming up with the Royal Restaurant, 730 N St Asaph St., to supply their amazing baked goods. Don’t know what will be available but anything baked by the bakery is always delicious. The Royal was founded in 1904 and has been a neighborhood favorite for all this time. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be that much better with Maribeth’s bakery treats.

Lawnstarter studied the best cities for cheese and ranked Alexandria as the 19th cheesiest cities in the US. Arlington ranked 6th. Washington, DC was ranked 21st These 2021 rates were the result of comparing the 200 biggest U.S. cities across 10 cheesy metrics, from the availability of fondue restaurants and Cheesecake Factory locations to average cost to the number of cheese-related events.

(photo courtesy of Ulyssees Pr)

Did you know that Aldi’s has a cookbook coming out? We know that Aldi’s has taken Alexandria by storm with their many options for organic and healthy foods. Now, Ulysses Press is introducing The Unofficial Aldi Cookbook by Jeanette Hurt, Copyright © 2021. Here is an excerpt provided with permission, of one of their easy recipes:

QUICK FROZEN YOGURT – Takes about 5 minutes to make. Yield: 1½ cups or 1 to 2 servings

2 cups Season’s Choice frozen fruit, such as strawberries or tropical fruit blend, or other frozen fruit of your choice

1 (6-ounce) container Friendly Farms light vanilla yogurt or other yogurt of your choice

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Place all the ingredients in a blender fitted with a standard blade.

2. Blend until completely smooth, about 5 minutes.

Notes: This has the consistency of soft-serve yogurt. If you like it richer, choose a Greek-style or full-fat yogurt. If you prefer it with a more frozen consistency, put it in the freezer for 30 to 60 minutes. And if you’re partial to sweetness, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar

One last word, or two

Make a reservation before you head out to your meal at your desired restaurant. There is limited dining space right now due to Covid restrictions. Some restaurants are charging a fee to use there specialty outdoor dining too. As a by the way, Delia’s Mediterranean Grill & Brick Oven does not charge when reserving their igloos as some other places are.

One more note for you. Remember to support your local restaurants and stores. And whether you dine in, carryout, or get delivery, tip, tip, and tip some more.

Until next time, eat well and enjoy!

Got a foody tip to share, let me know at [email protected]

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