Edible Afield - Clifton, Virginia

by Alexe Lawrence, special to EdibleDC Nestled in the bustling metropolis of Fairfax County lies a small town that hasn’t changed much since the 1800’s. Clifton, Virginia has no stop lights, the VRE train runs through the middle of town, and it is less than 25 miles from the District. Close proximity combined with family owned businesses, boutiques and great food, make for the perfect excuse to drive and get lost in the history of this charming town.

[SHOP] Hydrangea of Clifton Home and Gift Boutique

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Start your day at Hydrangea, a small boutique filled to the brim with shabby chic housewares, cooking utensils, fragrant candles and southern charm. Most items are sourced from independent and environmentally conscious American companies, which means you can treat yourself or a friend guilt free!

Hydrangea is located at 12704 Chapel Road Clifton, VA 20124

[SIP] The Clifton Wine Shop

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Mosey upstairs to The Clifton Wine Shop and you will likely be greeted by the friendliest owner on the block, Lucinda. She and her team provide complimentary wine tastings everyday except Tuesdays, and they sell a fabulous selection of wine, imported olive oils, foodie gifts, and local art.

The Clifton Wine Shop is located at 7145 Main St, Clifton, VA 20124

Paradise Springs Winery

Paradise Springs is the only winery in Fairfax, Virginia and it is a gem among the Clifton country side. As you pull into the parking lot you will see a log cabin that once served as their first tasting room. The main tasting room was later built to accommodate hundreds of visitors and is outfitted with high top barrel tables and plenty of seating for friends to gather.

Try their Chardonnay for a buttery and oaky treat, pull up a seat at their sprawling back patio and listen to live music every Friday and Saturday, or grab friends and tour the winery for $25.

Paradise Springs is located at 13219 Yates Ford Road, Clifton, VA 20124

[EAT] Trattoria Villagio

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Feeling like an al fresco brunch? Trattoria Villagio’s back patio will deliver just that with their build-your-own bloody mary bar and mist spraying fans that make you feel like you’re relaxing at your favorite beach side haunt. Their beet salad with arugula and honey goat cheese is perfect for a light lunch before or after you visit Paradise Springs Winery.

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Trattoria Villagio is located at 7145 Main St. Clifton, VA 20124

[INDULGE] Peterson’s Ice Cream Depot

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This family owned ice cream shop is tucked away off of Main Street and attracts locals and visitors alike. All of the hard ice cream is homemade and they even make their own gelato and sorbet! Try the Guinness ice cream float or The Squish ice cream cookie sandwich if you’re feeling really indulgent, or choose from 30+ flavors and go with a classic milk shake or malt.

Peterson’s Ice Cream Depot is located at 7150 Main St Clifton, VA 20124

Alexe Lawrence Headshot_Edible DCAlexe Lawrence is a food blogger and musician who lives in D.C. She credits her Italian culture for her love of food, her father for her love of music, and her mother for her knack for entertaining. Follow her at keystothecucina.com for recipe and music pairings and cooking tips!

Poppy’s Pop Ups: A Taste of Sonoma

by Raisa Aziz, Edible DC  photos by Jennifer Chase Poppy 3

There is something sumptuous in the simplicity of Californian food - fresh, seasonal ingredients at their best, with an emphasis on unfussy cooking and natural flavors.

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The first dinner in the Poppy’s Pop Ups series from Chefs Jennifer Costa (formerly of Centrolina and Le Diplomat) and Andrew Markert (of Beuchert’s Saloon) was an ode to this California spirit and paid particular homage to the natural bounty of Sonoma County, with a theme of “wine and berries.” Each of the four following dinners will maintain this spirit but focus on a different theme. If A Taste of Sonoma was anything to go by, you can expect a meal in which both meat and vegetables shine, excellent wine pairings and a convivial family-style gathering amongst soon-to-be-friends.

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Pastry Chef Costa developed the concept of Poppy’s Pop Ups to honor her late grandfather (whom everyone called Poppy) and works closely with Chef Markert to develop the menu for each meal. Costa prepares the dessert (in this case, a decadent but light white chocolate mousse, lemon chiffon cake with berries, mint and almond crumble) while Markert presents the savory portion of the meal. The family style nature of the dinner lends itself to sharing food and stories with people seated around you. I was quickly released from the anxiety of sharing a meal with strangers as we immediately bonded over the knockout first course (citrus cured tuna and dry rubbed pork belly; roasted baby beets and pistachios, and a green salad with mixed berries and a cashew dressing). Safe to say, Chefs Costa and Markert have successfully created a fine-dining experience (in terms of food and drink) but with the ambience of a garden dinner party with friends.

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The subsequent dinners are on August 11th and 25th and September 8th and 22nd, with more information and registration linked here. Each dinner has a charitable component with a portion of the proceeds donated to a local nonprofit.




Raisa Aziz (@raisaaziz) is a food stylist, photographer and writer in the DC Area. When not cooking, baking or eating, you can find her bopping about town in search of local adventures.

Weekend Roadtrip: Searching for the Best of the Bay in Cambridge, MD

By Tim Ebner, Edible DC Need an excuse to escape the city this summer? There's a quick, weekend-worthy option in a visit to Cambridge, Maryland. Cambridge is located in the heart of Chesapeake Bay country and there are plentiful opportunities to explore, eat, drink, and relax in this quaint Eastern Shore town with a laid back vibe.

Sunset alongside the banks of the Choptank River.


Waterman and oyster farmer, Johnny Shockley.

Hoopers Island Oyster Aquaculture Company

Most people slurp down oysters without realizing the effort that it takes to grow and harvest an oyster. It’s a bit of a drive, so call ahead before your visit, but Hoopers Island Oyster Aquaculture Company is a great excursion for a lesson in Chesapeake Bay oysters and environmental sustainability.

That’s where you’ll find a third-generation watermen, Johnny Shockley, and his son, Jordan Shockley, working hard to build an oyster hatchery. The company has an oyster farm which is harvested almost year-round. One of the biggest surprises is their new “Smoke in the Water” oyster, raised partially in a bath of wood-smoked salt, which in turn give the oyster a savory, smoky flavor. And, while you’re on Hoopers Island, be sure to plan a visit to Barren Island Oysters for yet another look at oyster farming along the banks of the Bay.

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

You don’t have to be a bird lover to appreciate the natural beauty of Blackwater Refuge. This waterfowl sanctuary and escape that will immerse yourself in Maryland’s wildlife. During your visit, keep a lookout for bald eagles, osprey, blue herons, egrets, and turtles. And, try to time a your visit in the late afternoon when there are sunset tours either with bikes or kayaks from Blackwater Paddle & Pedal, located just outside the refuge entrance.



Bistro Poplar

Bistro Poplar highlights what we love in Chesapeake Bay cooking — fresh, seasonal, and plenty of seafood. For a small sampling of the cuisine, plan on spending a dinner at chef Ian Campbell’s French bistro. He previously trained at the French Laundry in Napa Valley, California and has returned home to Cambridge to serve dishes like oysters casino, topped with blue crab and bacon, and a spicy crab Thai salad with mandarin oranges. Try to time your visit on a Sunday night, when the restaurant serves a tapas menu of smaller dishes perfect for family sharing.

Rock Lobstah

A lobster shack might seem out of place on the Eastern Shore. After all this is the Chesapeake Bay, not Cape Cod, but delicious, buttered lobster rolls are what you get at Chef Patrick Fanning’s latest restaurant, Rock Lobstah, which opened earlier this spring. The vibe is casual — think Narragansett beers and koozies, and the restaurant even has its own beer. Fanning partnered with their neighbor, RaR Brewing, to produce a specialty beer called Pat’s Pale Ale.



RaR Brewing

One of the most promising, up-and-coming breweries in Maryland is located in Cambridge. And, RaR Brewing recently expanded their distribution to Washington, D.C. Look for them in places like Boundary Stone, BlackSalt, and Roofers Union. Nanticoke Nectar IPA is a particular summer favorite. But, for a full sampling of their brews, you have to visit their brewpub, located in downtown Cambridge. Owners JT Merryweather and Chris Brohawn are there most nights, and can recommend beers, like Bottom Feeder, a farmhouse blonde, and Hyde, an American IPA.



Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay

No weekend is complete without a little R&R. The Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay is a resort style hotel, which will make you feel like you’ve escaped to a private waterfront retreat. The hotel sits on the shore of the Choptank River and has several amenities, including an 18-hole golf course, three swimming pools, several on-site restaurants and bars and plenty of family fun activities.

For even more ideas about a trip to the Cambridge, MD area go to visitdorchester.org.

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Tim Ebner is a Washington, DC food writer and Edible DC contributor and won the 2015 Edible Communities Reader's Choice Award for Best Feature. Learn more: timothyebner.com

Governor Kicks off Buy Local Challenge

We've Got the First Lady's Recipe for Beef Bulgolgi!

By Susan Able, Edible DC


Governor Larry Hogan and First Lady Yumi Hogan kicked off next week's Buy Local Challenge by hosting a cookout on the front lawn of Maryland's Government House, the governor's residence in Annapolis.

The popular event, attended by over 400 people, featured local chefs who used local produce, Maryland wine and beer producers, and local dairy farms who brought product in the form of ice cream.BLC_logo_slogan

Wearing a bright red Buy Local shirt, Governor Hogan welcomed guests saying "Agriculture is the most important industry in our state, and we are going to try to convince Marylanders everywhere to buy local all year."

According to the state's website for Buy Local Food Challenge, if every Maryland household bought $12 worth of farm products a week for eight weeks, or over the summer, over $200 million would go to state farmers. This could help keep many MD families in agriculture.

The First Lady once again cooked a served a dish from her native South Korea, this time a family recipe, Beef Bulgogi made with locally raised, sustainable beef from Roseda Farm.




Beef Bulgogi

Mrs. Hogan is the first First Lady to cook and serve in the Annual Buy Local Cookout, and she taps into her roots as a native of South Korea for her dishes, using locally produced meats and vegetables. This recipe is courtesy of Mrs. Hogan and the Maryland Department of Agriculture. For more recipes from this year's Buy Local Cookout, go here. This dish is delicious served with freshly steamed rice.

2 pounds beef boneless top sirloin or culotte steak ½ cup honey or sugar (organic or brown) 3 tablespoons of garlic, minced 1 tablespoon of ginger, minced ½ cup green onions, chopped 1 large onion, sliced 1/3 cup soy sauce ¼ cup sesame oil 2 teaspoons ground black pepper

Preparation Makes 4 – 6 servings

Slice the beef as thinly as possible. (Freezing the beef and slicing it partially frozen may help.) Place the thinly sliced beef in a large mixing bowl, combined with all other ingredients. Let the mixture marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Place large skillet on high heat and add the marinated beef mixture. Sauté marinated beef mixture until thoroughly cooked and liquid is reduced. Remove from heat and pile high on a serving platter with rice. Garnish with green onions, sprinkled toasted sesame seeds if desired.

Easy Summer Cooking Inspirations Starring Cherry Tomatoes and Squash

20160709_193157 By Susan Able, Edible DC Berries, peaches, the first of summer's sweet corn, increasingly luscious tomatoes, beans…so much comes home with me that I have to “Iron Chef” it out on the weekends and am forced to have pop-up dinner parties to consume everything that has come out of the kitchen. Galettes, summer curries, roasted things, simple cheesemaking, ice cream churning have all been happening so far, so stay tuned.

Last week I had the pleasure of sitting with Chef Michael Schlow (Tico, Alto Strado), at a preview of his new restaurant, Casolare, in Glover Park. One of the simplest things served at that lunch was also so satisfying—grilled, oiled and salted thick cut Italian bread. That bread stuck in my head, (is there such a thing as a “food worm”?), and joined a previously created craving from enjoying the homemade bread with toppings at Tail Up Goat in Adams Morgan. (The bread program there is enough of an excuse to go in for a visit.) When I saw the first cherry tomatoes at the Anne Arundel County Farm market, I knew what had to happen. Homemade ricotta (linked recipe is from Epicurious) is so easy you'll wonder why you haven't made it before. And it's delicious, made with fresh milk from Nice Farms Creamery, and slathered on oiled and salted grilled thick bread from the most excellent Bakers & Co. in Annapolis. You could stop there, but no! Top this wondrous thing and turn up the yum volume to 11 with halved and quartered cherry tomatoes that you simply toss with a clove of crushed garlic, great olive oil, fresh basil, sea salt and pepper. It was amazing, and honestly just the bread could be dinner with a side of something green, or corn on the cob.

IMG_20160711_100947Squash is everywhere and in all formats--zucchini, globes, patty pans. I'd already gone through a few iterations of just pan cooking and roasting squash. When I saw this recipe, "Summer Squash Curry, Shellfish Optional" from Chef David Tanis, along with tips on how to select squash, I knew that it had to happen and soon. It took a few moments to assemble, I had no peas and who cares, I added a bit of Thai green curry paste, my hot pepper wasn't hot enough and it was delicious. And no time at all to cook. We did add squid and U.S. shrimp (I’m not buying shrimp these days unless I know it is from the U.S.) and served it with sticky rice. Asian noodles would be good too. It was served at an early Sunday supper. The dinner crowd was happy and finished every last bit, and that of course, makes it all worthwhile.

Celebrate Bastille Day in DC

by AJ Dronkers, EdibleDC I'm a Francophile and love Bastille Day, not only because I adore French cuisine, but love the fact that on no other weekday in DC will you see people in French maid costumes, diners wearing French mustaches and drinking copious amounts of rosé and champagne? This Thursday is your chance to celebrate French independence and we have your official guide whether you are looking for a food-focused or party-centric event.

Le Diplomate

Pétanque Court, face painting, balloon artists, live accordion music, mime performances are just a few of the things that will make Le Diplomate a spot for everyone starting Thursday at 11 am. They will be serving their normal brunch and dinner menus with a few specials and cocktails.

L'Enfant Cafe & Bar


Will host their annual blowout on Thursday which includes happy hour, DJ, and their iconic French Maid Relay Race at 7:30 PM. Also famous for their weekend "La Boum" brunch -- they will host an over the top Bastille version on Saturday and Sunday at Capitale.

Bistro Du Coin

My friends and I have celebrated Bastille Day and Beaujolais day here multiple times and it's one of our favorites. This is definitely a place to be if you want to dance the night away and drink wine. Go early if you want actually grab a seat and squeeze in a meal.


Chef Michel Richard is offering a 3 course menu for $55, live music featuring the Blue Room Jazz Band.


2941 Chef Bertrand Chemel

For true gourmands and avowed foodies, you might like the 3 course prix-fixe offering at 2941 in Falls Church, VA. Chef Bertrand Chemel will serve a variety of classic dishes at dinner Thursday - Saturday including: Paté de Campagne, Salad Niçoise, Escargot De Bourgogne, Plateaux de Fruit De Mer, Lapin à la Provençal, Lobster Thermidor, and Pithivier. Pastry Chef Caitlin Dysart, who we featured in our Holiday issue last year, will not dissapoint with a variety of sweets including: Blueberry Vacherin, Raspberry Millefeuille, and Apricot Clafoutis, to highlight a few.

From Chef Nathan: The Fainting Goat's Peel N' Eat Shrimp

by AJ Dronkers, Associate Publisher & Digital Editor


Summer has arrived! All the adventure of weekend travel and taking care of your subtly curated tan can make it difficult to keep up with your DC friends. Your answer: Fainting Goat launched "Picnic at the Goat" series every on Mondays once a month this summer. These family-style suppers allow you to bring your friends together for a casual evening of catching up and great seasonal food.

We recently attended a Fried Chicken Picnic -- and obsessed so much over the Peel N'Eat Shrimp that the team gave us their recipe. We're sharing that with you, and you're welcome.

Check out one of their next picnics:

  • BBQ Spare Ribs 7/11, 7/18, 7/25
  • Blue Crabs  8/1, 8/15, 8/29
  • Lobster Boil 9/12, 9/19, 9/26

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Peel N' Eat Shrimp

2 dozen shell on shrimp 2 tablespoons Old Bay 6 oz lager of your choosing

Chili Butter

1 tablespoon habanero powder (cayenne is a good substitute) 1 tablespoon lemon zest 1 teaspoon sea salt ½ cup butter, softened

Directions: Make the butter. Mix all ingredients for the butter with a stand-mixer, hand-held mixer or vigorously with a wooden spoon. Refrigerate or set aside.

Take a large pot and add the beer into it. Once it comes to a boil add the shrimp and Old Bay. Cover the shrimp and cook until the shrimp are completely cooked. This should take about 4-5 minutes.

Once cooked, drain the shrimp and toss with the butter. Serve with lemon and cocktail sauce

Beacoup Melon Punch

Juice and strain: 1 watermelon 2 cantaloupe 2 honeydew melons

Combine the juices. Next, add the alcohol. For every 4 quarts of juice, add 1 liter of vodka and 1 quart of mint simple syrup (recipe below.)

Mint Simple Syrup:

Make a light simple syrup, by taking 2 cups sugar and 1 cup water and adding to a saucepan. Bring to boil. Add two bunches of mint leaves--using the leaves only. Bring to a hard boil then drop to a simmer and turn off the heat when the leaves start to brown. Let steep for 5-10 minutes longer. Strain off the mint leaves and chill until ready to use.