Going Out Guide: Food/Cooking

Fresh Food in Old Town Alexandria
FOOD/COOKING Old Town is not just known for its rich history, but also its rich dining sce
ne featuring a variety of unique, locally owned and operated restaurants. A tour guide will walk you through the streets of Alexandria, stopping to sample some of the best of the town’s dining including local beers, seafood, American dishes and sweet desserts. Tours typically last 3-3.5 hours. Thursdays-Sundays at 1 p.m./$60 per person. dcmetrofoodtours.com

Taste and Tour
FOOD/COOKING Home to many historic sites and historic people, Leesburg is also home to amazingly tasteful dishes and cuisines from all over the world packed into one modest town. After tasting house made pasta, local seafood, Virginia barbeque and award-winning dessert, your appetite will certainly feel satisfied until the following day. Tours last for about 3-3.5 hours. Friday and Saturday at 2 p.m./$50 per ticket. dcmetrofoodtours.com

Sweet treat party for two
FOOD/COOKING Satisfy your sweet tooth during a two-hour private chocolate party that teaches the art of chocolate making. The evening will include a tour of the intimate factory, the history of the dessert, hands-on instructions on chocolate molding and custom decorations, as well as an overflowing chocolate fountain. Date/time varies/ $25 per person (10 person min.) schakolad.com

Cookology (Photography by Jonathan Timmes)

Casual cooking for two
FOOD/COOKING Whether you are looking to perfect your skills or start from scratch, Cookology’s instructors teach a variety of classes centered on inspiring people to connect with food. Bring your best friend, your main squeeze or fly solo as you learn to whip up different cuisines, seasonal favorites and healthy meals at this casual cooking school. Typical start time between 6:30 and 7 p.m. on weekdays/$65 average cost per class. cookologyonline.com

Chez Le Commis
Chez Le Commis (Courtesy of Scott Suchman)

Underground eats
FOOD/COOKING Leave behind the traditionalism of a sit-down restaurant and visit Chef Tom Madrecki’s Clarendon apartment for some underground dining instead. Madrecki and his partners in culinary crime serve eclectic six-course dinner menus—along with three wine pairings—to eclectic eaters. Dinners accommodate up to 14 different people. This dining club is top secret to outsiders, and the only way to attend is to join an email list—but act fast; dinner reservations disappear quicker than a good red wine. And because Madrecki says his lease is up in March, diners may have only 8-10 dinners before he changes locations. Chez Le Commis ; 2-3 times per month/suggested $50 donation per person. chezlecommis.com


The Tasting Room
The Tasting Room (Photography by Kate Bohler)

Wine and Dine

Screwtop Wine Bar and Cheese Shop
1025 N. Fillmore St., Arlington; screwtopwinebar.com
Whether you’re working on the computer, chatting with a friend, or solo at the bar, the wine flows freely at this quaint bistro. Each week, the drink menu changes to reflect the newest trends in imbibing fermented fruits, and each month brings a bounty of tasting events and classes. Additionally, many of the eatery’s cheeses come from local farms.

The Wine Kitchen
7 S. King St., Leesburg; thewinekitchen.com/leesburg
This tiny wine kitchen is packed on a typical weekend where the dining area and the small bar mesh together with young locals. You’re lucky if you get a seat at this busy establishment, but friendly service is guaranteed. Local wines include White Vine from Early Mountain Vineyard, Longbomb IV from Tarara Winery and a Cabernet Franc from Pollak Vineyards. To avoid the dinner rush, visit happy hour during the week for artisanal fare made with ingredients from local farms.

The Wine House
3950 University Drive, Fairfax; winehouseonline.com
This wine bar in downtown Fairfax is packed with friendly locals who come for a generous glass of wine and a hearty meal. The menu changes daily, but diners can expect New Zealand wines like the Fernland’s Sauvignon Blanc or the Lil Rippa Pinot Gris, perfectly paired with a bowl of mussels.

Parallel Wine Bistro
43135 Broadlands Center Plaza, Broadlands; parallelwinebistro.com
“Wine First” is the motto here. After all, why limit your consumption to one glass when you can use a self-serve wine machine? Don’t forget the wine and dinner pairings with the live music. Order these local wines: Notaviva’s Ode to Joy Meriage is rich, and the 2011 Virginia Cardinal Point, A6 Viognier/Chardonnay has notes of black fruit and a lingering finish. After dinner, you can’t go wrong with a flight of house-made white and dark chocolates to nibble on between sips.

Northside Social
3211 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; northsidesocialarlington.com
Northside Social serves as the staging ground for first dates, study groups and happy hours. Visit the wine bar on the second floor during the week to meet the sommelier and kick back with a glass of wine hailing from such regions as Germany, South Africa, California and Canada. The sommelier can give you options for seasonal and local wines that are not listed on the menu. Pair any wine with housemade charcuterie, cheeses, Virginia meats and crostini.

2411 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria; 4056 Campbell Ave., Arlington; cheesetique.com
As the name implies, Cheesestique’s livelihood depends on cheese and wine. Enjoy half off wine during happy hour, tastings on the weekends, $5 wine on Wednesdays, or take an olive oil class. With tons of classes to choose from, you’ll surely find an event to fit your schedule. From the wine list: one must-try is the 2006 Virginia Late Harvest Vidal Linden dessert wine. Pair it with the bourbon bread pudding or the Nutella panini.

Twisted Vines Bottle Shop and Bistro
2803 Columbia Pike, Arlington; twisted-vines.com
Part Bistro, part wine shop, this eatery sets the perfect mood for savoring bold reds and subtle whites. After munching on cheese-filled meatballs and crabcakes grab a bottle to go and extend your happy hour at home. Local wines like Fabbiolo’s Something White from Leesburg and RdV Vineyard’s Rendezvous from Delaplane. On Wednesdays and Sundays during “bottle night,” select wines are $10 off.

Grand Cru
4401 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; grandcru-wine.com
The wine selection changes often, but the house normally stocks its shelves with wines from such local producers as Cobbler Mountain Cellars, a winery based in Delaplane. The tapas menu includes prosciutto wrapped figs, foie gras terrine and pâté, red wine-braised beef sliders and wild mushroom strudel to pass around the table.

The Tasting Room
Reston Town Center, 1816 Library St., Reston; thetastingroomwinebar.com
Sample the 2009 or 2010 Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec for fruitful sips, or the 2010 Boxwood Petite for hints of ripe blackberries. Don’t leave without taking a bottle to go ($10 off). Catch live music on Thursdays and Saturdays.

400 William St., Fredericksburg; kybeccawinebar.com
Local, organic wines are featured among the 32 samplings. Try the red and white Virginia wines offered from Glen Manor Vineyards in Front Royal, Sugarleaf Vineyards in North Garden, and Linden Vineyards in, where else, Linden. For local flavors, taste bison and blue cheese sliders made with locally raised bison. Other eats: herbed-panko fried mozzarella, roasted beet salad, and garlic shrimp bruschetta.

Dolce Veloce Cicchetti Wine Bar
10826 Fairfax Blvd., Fairfax; dolceveloce.com
This award- winning Italian wine bar and shop offers a laid back but intimate atmosphere with a vast selection of Italian wines and generous pours. Try the Borgo Montepulciano or the Terre di Valgrande, Amarone della Valpolicella. Sample the Mediterranean olives and Italian cheeses, and then head next door to its sister restaurant for an Italian meal.

EVO Bistro
1313 Old Chain Bridge Road; McLean; evobistro.com
This “try-before-you-buy” wine bistro and store allows you to travel the globe over the course of a few hours by choosing samples of over 50 wines from around the world at a tasting station. Sip your samples with tapas influenced by French, Spanish, Italian and Moroccan cuisine.

(October 2013)