Alexandria, VA – Hope all of you are doing well and enjoying the season. It was the first time for many of us to get together with friends and loved ones and HUG! As we head into the final holidays of the year, there are some interesting happenings around town. Many restaurants will be open for dine-in, carry-out, or delivery. And, as always, please spend your food dollars locally and help out our friends and neighbors. There is always someone who has less than you and could use your help. Buy canned goods and donate. Make a monetary donation to a charity supplying food for the needy. Make Christmas a teaching moment and volunteer with your kids at a food pantry or help serve a meal at a shelter. The Zebra loved helping out Meals on Wheels and some of us have helped pack, serve, or deliver food. It will make your feel so good!
On to the business at hand (or mouth)
If you had not yet noticed, BunPapa, has opened a pop-up in Bradlee, 3648 King St., in the former Atlantis site. You can get absolutely phenomenal sandwiches – burgers, hot dogs, chicken, and more plus desserts. Vegetarians are treated with great finesse with the chicken fried cauliflower sandwich. Sandwiches are served on brioche buns with the freshest of toppings. Also available are waffle fries, poutine, and chili cheese fries. Indochen, 4906 Brenman Park Dr., has received another kudos as one of the best Indian restaurants in the DC area from Thrillist. Formerly, London Curry House, the ownership made the move to celebrate Chef Ram Thapa’s roots. According to Thrillist, many of the dishes feature Indian dishes that adapted to the influx of Chinese immigrants in the 1700s. Dishes are combinations of Chinese flavors like soy sauce, garlic, and ginger with Indian spices like coriander, cumin, and chilis.
Although not Alexandria, Noosh, 1721 Wisconsin Av. NW, has brought Persian cooking back to the area. A short trip across the bridge brings you to a pleasant dining room featuring Persian and Mediterranean flavors and cuisines. Noosh is Persion for “may it nourish your soul.” Persian dishes include a variety of kebabs, stews, and rice, many generously flavored with saffron. There are also dishes not regularly found on menus locally like lamb tagine, falafel, and shawarma. It’s especially wonderful to find a source for “tahdig.” Tahdig is the crispy, crusty rice on the bottom of a stew. When the cooking pot is turned over onto a service dish, the crunchy rice is the prized finishing touch. Several entrees of l beef, lamb, or chicken include a piece of the tahdig. Try the desserts which include a Persian ice cream, date delights, and rollet, a rolled cake filled with a creamy, not-too-sweet cream.
Coming soon to a neighborhood near you
If you hadn’t heard, Hank’s Oyster Bar at 1026 King St. is closing and reopening in the former site of Hank & Mitzi’s at 600 Montgomery St. Folks noticed the signs changing, causing Jamie Leeds to make an early announcement of the move. Same great food and far more accessible than the original. Village Brauhaus submitted a SUP requesting approval for a 930 sq. ft. roof deck bar to provide service to up to 47 patrons. The only visible change from the street will be a railing around the roof area. Lady Camellia Pastry and Tea Room is coming to Alexandria in late spring/early summer of 2022. According to their Facebook page: “We are pausing our service in order to focus on our tearoom reopening @Waterfront Oldtown Alexandria anticipated Spring/Summer 2022. With that being said we are planning to pause our delivery, shipping, and pick up service at the end of this month in order to put all of our effort in the tearoom opening.” The former home of an artisan chocolate and coffee shop at 1001 King St. is becoming Turkish Coffee Lady. Along with coffee, pastries, and desserts, you’ll be able to purchase traditional Turkish coffee and prepackaged Turkish treats. The new proprietor, Gizem Salcigil White, is planning to share cultural artifacts, gift items, coffee and tea sets, artworks, and more in the 10-seat cafe.
Chewish Deli is opening a second location in Old Town. In paperwork filed with the City, Chewish Deli owner Gregg Linzey is requesting a permit to open up a store at 1640 King Street, the former site of a Dunkin Donuts. Linzey started out in a food truck, then opened his first brick and mortar store at 807 Pendleton St. The store will have some seating and will serve the same amazing assortment of bagels and sandwiches as his other location. Also coming to Old Town is Fresh Baguette at 1101 King St. They currently have locations in Bethesda, Georgetown, and Rockville. According to their website, “As our name suggests we take bread seriously. In addition to our traditional baguette, we offer a wide variety of bread, prepared with all 100% organic ingredients, and baked with that same care. We also offer a full range of Viennese pastries prepared with the same classic French baking techniques. Made with love by skilled pastry chefs, our pastries are as gorgeous as they are delicious.” They will also be offering savory lunch sandwiches served on a baguette or on their latest creation, a Cro’gel, with croissant dough in the shape of a bagel. Look for a January/February opening.
Making your shopping list and checking twice
There’s more to gifts on the holidays. Many of our local grocery stores are often a wide variety of products to tingle your taste buds.
Aldi’s has a variety of delightful products for the holidays and beyond such as their Specially Selected 100% Pure Maple Syrup, perfect for a big plate of pancakes or waffles. Vegetarians are recommending the Friendly Farms Organic Unsweetened Almondmilk. Serve a fancy appetizer plate of their Fremont Fish Market Medium EZ Peel Raw Shrimp. Vegans and vegetarians are loving the Earth Grown Veggie Burgers. If you’re a breakfast person like me, you should look for these two offerings. The Best Savory Breakfast: Breakfast Best Meat Lovers Breakfast Bowl is an all-in-one bowl of skin-on potatoes, scrambled eggs, cheese, sausage, and bacon. It’s all one could ask for. If you’d rather load up on carbs, check out the Best Sweet Breakfast French Toast Sticks or Breakfast Best Cinnamon French Toast Sticks. They are both so good that you can eat them like finger food without any syrup at all. Soaked in a custardy combination of eggs and milk, they are even better with butter and the Specially Selected 100% Pure Maple Syrup.
Trader Joe’s will tantalize your taste buds with their Platinum Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. It’s superb in salad dressings and in glazes for veggies and proteins. Vegans and vegetarians will enjoy an appetizer of Vegan Caramelized Onion Dip made with dairy-free cream cheese and onions previously simmered in balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Paired with chips or crudites, the meat eaters at the table will be jealous. Drink the Chocolate Babka Pastry Stout is rich in the flavor of cacao nibs and cacao. According to the label, it’s “dessert in a bottle.”
Other groceries for your holiday table and every day include the Green Giant Parmesan Garlic Riced Veggie Blends made with green pea pasta, riced broccoli and cauliflower, grilled zucchini, and tomatoes. Heat in the microwave or on top of the stove. It is easy to eat a bag all by yourself. Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough rolls come in four new flavors including Red Velvet, Peppermint Cocoa, Gingerbread, and Snow Day sugar cookie. Get them when you see them because they are only available for a limited time. If you love mulled wine, try the bottled Mulling Spice from Williams Sonoma. Made with cinnamon chips, orange rind, whole allspice, whole cloves, cinnamon oil, and orange oil will make any bottle of cheap red wine taste expensive.
Last but not in the least bit least
Don’t want to cook for the holidays? Need some ideas for places to get a delicious meal? Check out Visit Alexandria, https://www.visitalexandriava.com/major-holiday-meals/ for a list of some of the offerings around town.
Until next time, eat well and enjoy!
Do you have a bit of foody newz you want to share? Please let me know at [email protected]