Alexandria NewsFoodie Newz

Piping Hot Alexandria, Virginia Foodie Newz

Pizza and beverages available at the Catboat Pizza Bar (Courtesy photo)

Alexandria, VA – This may sound like a broken record but, it’s hot hot hot! More restaurants are offering fresh and cooling food and drink on patios all over town. I don’t know about you but if it’s not air conditioned, I ain’t goin’ out. I recommend pool time and cold showers. And, be careful out there, wear your sunscreen and stay hydrated.

Speaking of hydration and staying cool

Atlas Brewery, 2429 Mandeville Lane, is now open. When in the Carlyle Crossing area, you can cool off with a cold beer. Justin Cox, started brewing in his home. He found his first brewery site in Ivy City and the rest is brewing history. The new location is environmentally friendly as are all of his locations. Beer is brewed in-house and features a variety of stouts, pilsners, ales, IPAs, and more year-round and seasonal beers. If you need something to eat, Andy’s Pizza provides its award-winning pizza. Andy’s specializes in authentic New York-style pizza, wings, fries, and salads.

Another new pizza shop now open on the banks of the Potomac is Sonny’s, at the Washington Sailing Marina, 1 Marina Dr. Belly up to the Catboat Pizza Bar where you can order square slices, slushies, wines, and beer. The menu includes lager, stout, IPA, wheat, pilsner, and sour beer varieties. In addition, you will find natural white, rosé, and red wines, and spiked slushies. Park in the parking lot, ride up on your bike on the Mount Vernon Trail, or visit in your kayak. Sonny’s also donates a portion of all sales to the National Park Service.

New, new, new

Hotel Heron, 699 Prince St., is now open. KILN is their hearth-inspired restaurant featuring Mid-Atlantic cuisine. The restaurant, open all day, offers menu of both local classic dishes reimagined with a contemporary twist and locally inspired dishes that celebrate the Chesapeake Bay and beyond.  Francis Hall is their craft cocktail bar that offers a wide selection of craft spirits and libations in comfortable surroundings. Also open is the Rooftop Bar where you can enjoy views of the Potomac while you sip seasonal cocktails and enjoy small bites. Be cool at Pride, 2312 Mt. Vernon Ave., the latest pop-up by the Homegrown Restaurant Group. The restaurant and bar celebrates Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month in June. Enjoy craft cocktails and food designed for this new iteration from the creative minds of Mike Anderson and Bill Blackburn. I also found out that Justin from the French Toast Company, 1506 Mt. Vernon Ave., will be opening Saladtopia in the white house in the background. He hopes to opening by fall of this year.

The newest pop-up from the Homegrown Restaurant Group celebrates Pride. (Photo: Debby Critchley/The Zebra Press)
Justin of the French Toastt Company is planning to open Saladtopia in the white house in the background (Photo: Debby Critchley/The Zebra Press)

MGM National Harbor Hotel & Casino


I had the opportunity to get a ‘VIP’ tour of the MGM Hotel and Casino at National Harbor. The property is amazing. I started the tour in the Conservatory, a relaxing area beyond the casino. It’s a beautiful space that celebrates the seasons in the DMV. Bellagio Patisserie serves breakfast pastries, omelets, breakfast sandwiches, and freshly brewed coffee. Satisfy your sweet tooth with French-inspired chocolates, cookies, cakes, sandwiches, and more. Dine at one of the restaurants that ring the area. Ginger features interesting and delightful Asian treats in a beautiful setting. Osteria Costa’s new chef is serving Italian classics, many with new twists to delight the palate. Enjoy a variety of wood-fired pizzas, handmade pastas, fresh seafood, and Italian spirits while relaxing in a design reminiscent of the class and comfort of the Amalfi Coast of Italy. Just off the Conservatory is the Theater at MGM National Harbor, an intimate entertainment venue unlike many in the region. It features 3,000 seats, state of the art sound, video, and lighting. With multiple seating arrangements including entertainment suites, it is host to many of biggest names in entertainment including upcoming shows like Joey Fatone & AJ McLean: A Legendary Night, Fantasia, and Martin Lawrence.

Linguini and clams at Osteria Cost at the MGM (Courtesy photo)


We had a guided tour of the MGM Casino. It is one of the largest in the US. There are slots, gaming tables, a poker room, and sports lounge. The sports lounge features a 360-degree jumbotron projecting games in all directions. Be amazed when you experience a 110-foot, state-of-the-art wraparound screen projecting games in all directions.  The property features a spa worth the trip. The Spa at MGM National Harbor is a 27,000-square-foot oasis that includes eleven spa rooms, a full-service salon, an advanced fitness center, indoor pool, steam and sauna, and other private amenities such as couples’ massages. You will be relaxed, restored, and renewed after your visit.

The roasted carrots at Voltagio’s (Photo: Debby Critchley/The Zebra Press)

The highlight of the tour was dinner at Voltaggio’s Steakhouse. The restaurant is helmed by brothers Brian and Michael Voltaggio, our local celebrity chefs (think Top Chef) who grew up around Frederick Md. Last month I talked about some of my favorite places to eat around town. I am adding Voltaggio’s as the best steakhouse in the area. The menu features new and inventive takes on dinner classics, many featuring molecular gastronomy techniques. Dinner included a selection of appetizers, salads, entrees, and desserts.  Think about their Wedge made with iceberg lettuce, applewood smoked bacon, concentrated tomato, red onion, ranch, and gorgonzola snow. It’s a salad you will never forget. The Voltaggi O’s is their reimagined spaghetti-styled O’s served with house made O’s, chicken parmesan meatballs, and an arrabbiata sauce. Vegetarians and the rest of us were treated to the Beet Steak Tartare, made with roasted beets, Dijon vinaigrette “yolk”, and ciabatta toast.

Voltaggio’s Cedar planked salmon (Photo: Debby Critchley/The Zebra Press)
The Voltaggi O’s is their reimagined spaghetti-styled O’s

On to the steak. We were treated to a 24 oz. roasted Roseda bone-in NY strip and a 20 oz. 45 day dry aged, bone-in rib eye. Words fail me when I try to describe these meats. Perfectly seasoned and grilled, they are they are remarkable in tenderness and flavor! Pescatarians will revel in the flavor and perfect cook on the Cedar Plank Salmon seasoned with shawarma spice and accompanied by pea falafel, charred pea leaves. There were side dishes galore. My favorites were the Roasted Carrots with a carrot BBQ sauce, carrot top chimichurri, and wild rice, and the Broccolini topped with salsa verde and Greek yogurt. Don’t miss dessert either. The double chocolate cake was redolent with pure chocolate flavor. Chocolate whipped cream, chocolate soil, and chocolate shards. If you love chocolate, order it. We were astounded by the key lime pie. It was simply described as coconut sorbet, toasted coconut, and lime curd topped with passion fruit rafts. But it was so much more. The toasted coconut was the base for the sorbet and small mini-limes that burst with pure key lime cream.

Take a water taxi or drive over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge to visit the property. Parking is free with lots of spaces available. Wander around the casino, shops, restaurants and more for a full day of enjoyment.

Here’s hoping you didn’t miss it

The People’s Choice and Judge’s Choice, Spice Kraft, at the Taste of Del Ray (Photo: Debby Critchley/The Zebra Press)

One of the stellar events in Del Ray is the Taste of Del Ray. Sixteen local restaurants gathered on the Mount Vernon Recreation Center fields to provide their dishes for attendees to try. Items ran from a cold avocado soup garnished with blue crab (Del Ray Café), BBQ and hot wings (Hops ‘n Shine), biscuit bread pudding (District Biscuits) to pepperoni and cheese pizza (Benny Diforza’s), and a family recipe falafel (La’Baik). The Boys and Girls Club provided cold bottles of water to help wash down all the tasty bites. The 2024 Taste of Del Ray winners of the People’s Choice Awards as voted by the attendees were: 1st: Spice Kraft Indian Bistro-Delray, 2nd: Del Ray Café, and 3rd: La’Baik . The Judge’s Choice awards were: 1st: Spice Kraft Indian Bistro-Delray, 2nd: La’Baik, and 3rd (tie): Taqueria Poblano Del Ray and Evening Star Cafe ‘s Hi-Fi BBQ. Congratulations to all of the participants and winners. And, if you didn’t attend this year, make sure you get your tickets early for next year – they sell out early.

Until next time, eat well and enjoy!


Do you have any newz or tidbitz to share? Contact me at [email protected]

ICYMI: Ralph Davis opens Mystic BBQ and Grill on Lee St. in Old Town Alexandria

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