Be the Change Foundation offers fall business workshops for women

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A series of business workshops offered by Be the Change Foundation is seeking women looking to start their own business or improve an existing one, according to a news release.

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Zoo buries dead animals at Chesapeake tree farm

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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Ever heard the rumor there were dead zoo animals buried in Chesapeake? Turns out, it’s true. The Virginia Zoo buries its animals on a Chesapeake tree farm near the St. Brides and Indian Creek Correctional Centers. The City of Norfolk owns the property. Don’t expect a count on how many zoo animals are in the burial grounds. A list of animals is not available, said…

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Public could pay $10 million for Va. redistricting lawsuits

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia taxpayers could be on the hook for more than $10 million in legal fees related to three redistricting lawsuits. The state has already paid more than $6 million in legal fees related to the cases. Of that, the GOP-led House of Delegates has paid lawyers about $4.5 million defending the map lawmakers drew in 2011 for state legislative and congressional districts.

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Review: The Conche

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Lamb flatbread // Photo by Rey Lopez

Whenever the subject of The Conche—or its now-closed D.C. predecessor, Co Co. Sala—comes up in serious food circles, a familiar question surfaces: Are chef-owner Santosh Tiptur’s chocolate-infused savories nothing but a forced gimmick, or do they actually taste good?

It turns out, the chef’s liberal use of chocolate isn’t the issue—but consistency might be. One Saturday night, when Tiptur was in the kitchen, we arrived skeptical and left thrilled. On a follow-up dinner on a Sunday night a week later, when the chef was absent and the menu had undergone a seasonal overhaul, two dishes listed weren’t available and the cooking was uneven.

Chef Santosh Tiptur // Photo by Rey Lopez

Among the starters, the highlights include a stack of well-seasoned fried calamari, tender on the inside and crispy on the outside. The addition of chocolate beer to the batter likely has a beneficial effect on the crunch factor but doesn’t add much to the flavor—a good thing if you’re wondering whether chocolate and calamari ever needed to appear in the same dish. Other successful appetizers include the sweet and sour cauliflower with a wonderfully crackly exterior and slightly spicy, slightly sweet garlic-ginger sauce served over fried spinach, as well as an excellent version of the Hawaiian dish du jour: ahi tuna poke.

An appetizer to steer clear of is the tempura-fried Brussels sprouts, since its pickled mustard seeds, cotija cheese and citrus vinaigrette don’t make up for the fact that they came to the table soggy. Plus, you only get seven Brussels sprouts for $8. (It would have been nice if our server had mentioned that they also come with the scallop entree that someone at our table ordered.)

Like Co Co. Sala, The Conche remains dedicated to serving sliders, despite the trend being long over. Passé or not, the beef sliders are excellent thanks to moist, flavorful patties made from ground sirloin stuffed with braised short ribs, buttery sesame-seed buns, great sauces and a fried cheese fritter. The Buffalo chicken sliders, however, were nice and spicy but both the meat and bun were dry. While tasty, a seasonal risotto also missed the mark since its texture was more like leftover oatmeal than a traditional risotto.

Calamari // Photo by Rey Lopez

The lamb flatbread was definitely (and thankfully) not the trendy pseudo-pizza we were expecting—in fact, it’s quite elegant. The base was more like a pressed puff pastry, and the wonderful chermoula-spiced shredded lamb on top is accented with feta, kalamata olives, labneh and shaved fennel. Two other entrees that didn’t disappoint were the cocoa-nib-crusted scallops atop a cocoa-infused black bean puree, which is truly more delicious than it sounds, and a cocoa-rubbed New York strip accompanied by a ton of ingredients that don’t sound like they should go together—tomato, raisins, kale, raspberry vinaigrette—but actually do.

Jivara, a passion fruit and chocolate confection. // Photo by Rey Lopez

And now to the part you’ve all been waiting for: dessert, an area where this chocolate-obsessed chef truly shines. The passion fruit and chocolate confection dubbed the Jivara was the far-and-away favorite, with layerings of chocolate cake and milk chocolate ganache over a pool of passion fruit caramel and garnishes of passion fruit gelée and sorbet.

Another knockout was the homey monkey bread sundae, which was quite unlike the fancier Jivara but no less craveable. A cluster of slightly salty monkey bread nuggets anchored by an awesomely decadent caramel rest beside a dish of outstanding vanilla gelato, whipped cream, almond slivers and chocolate shavings. While no longer on the menu, fingers are crossed that it makes a return.

In the name of research, we couldn’t resist ordering a $48 dessert called The Conche Entremet. Once you get over the sticker shock and do some quick math, you realize that a table of four can share it for $12 per person. This showstopper starts as a large orb of chocolate that arrives at the table on a golden cart, then is doused in liqueur and set afire. The chocolate sphere melts to reveal a hodgepodge of presciously crafted sweets, including layers of sour cream chocolate cake, whipped “blonde” chocolate, chocolate crémeux and three types of ice cream that are all then drizzled with chocolate and caramel sauces.

Is it worth it? Well, that depends on how much you love chocolate and how many people share it. But it’s the Jivara that I’d return for over and over.

Notes:

The Conche
1605 Village Market Blvd. SE, Unit J108, Leesburg
Open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner and for brunch on Sundays
Appetizers: $8-$18
Entrees: $16-$68

(July 2018)

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Review: The Conche

Protect your assets with the best divorce attorneys in Fairfax Virginia

Lamb flatbread // Photo by Rey Lopez

Whenever the subject of The Conche—or its now-closed D.C. predecessor, Co Co. Sala—comes up in serious food circles, a familiar question surfaces: Are chef-owner Santosh Tiptur’s chocolate-infused savories nothing but a forced gimmick, or do they actually taste good?

It turns out, the chef’s liberal use of chocolate isn’t the issue—but consistency might be. One Saturday night, when Tiptur was in the kitchen, we arrived skeptical and left thrilled. On a follow-up dinner on a Sunday night a week later, when the chef was absent and the menu had undergone a seasonal overhaul, two dishes listed weren’t available and the cooking was uneven.

Chef Santosh Tiptur // Photo by Rey Lopez

Among the starters, the highlights include a stack of well-seasoned fried calamari, tender on the inside and crispy on the outside. The addition of chocolate beer to the batter likely has a beneficial effect on the crunch factor but doesn’t add much to the flavor—a good thing if you’re wondering whether chocolate and calamari ever needed to appear in the same dish. Other successful appetizers include the sweet and sour cauliflower with a wonderfully crackly exterior and slightly spicy, slightly sweet garlic-ginger sauce served over fried spinach, as well as an excellent version of the Hawaiian dish du jour: ahi tuna poke.

An appetizer to steer clear of is the tempura-fried Brussels sprouts, since its pickled mustard seeds, cotija cheese and citrus vinaigrette don’t make up for the fact that they came to the table soggy. Plus, you only get seven Brussels sprouts for $8. (It would have been nice if our server had mentioned that they also come with the scallop entree that someone at our table ordered.)

Like Co Co. Sala, The Conche remains dedicated to serving sliders, despite the trend being long over. Passé or not, the beef sliders are excellent thanks to moist, flavorful patties made from ground sirloin stuffed with braised short ribs, buttery sesame-seed buns, great sauces and a fried cheese fritter. The Buffalo chicken sliders, however, were nice and spicy but both the meat and bun were dry. While tasty, a seasonal risotto also missed the mark since its texture was more like leftover oatmeal than a traditional risotto.

Calamari // Photo by Rey Lopez

The lamb flatbread was definitely (and thankfully) not the trendy pseudo-pizza we were expecting—in fact, it’s quite elegant. The base was more like a pressed puff pastry, and the wonderful chermoula-spiced shredded lamb on top is accented with feta, kalamata olives, labneh and shaved fennel. Two other entrees that didn’t disappoint were the cocoa-nib-crusted scallops atop a cocoa-infused black bean puree, which is truly more delicious than it sounds, and a cocoa-rubbed New York strip accompanied by a ton of ingredients that don’t sound like they should go together—tomato, raisins, kale, raspberry vinaigrette—but actually do.

Jivara, a passion fruit and chocolate confection. // Photo by Rey Lopez

And now to the part you’ve all been waiting for: dessert, an area where this chocolate-obsessed chef truly shines. The passion fruit and chocolate confection dubbed the Jivara was the far-and-away favorite, with layerings of chocolate cake and milk chocolate ganache over a pool of passion fruit caramel and garnishes of passion fruit gelée and sorbet.

Another knockout was the homey monkey bread sundae, which was quite unlike the fancier Jivara but no less craveable. A cluster of slightly salty monkey bread nuggets anchored by an awesomely decadent caramel rest beside a dish of outstanding vanilla gelato, whipped cream, almond slivers and chocolate shavings. While no longer on the menu, fingers are crossed that it makes a return.

In the name of research, we couldn’t resist ordering a $48 dessert called The Conche Entremet. Once you get over the sticker shock and do some quick math, you realize that a table of four can share it for $12 per person. This showstopper starts as a large orb of chocolate that arrives at the table on a golden cart, then is doused in liqueur and set afire. The chocolate sphere melts to reveal a hodgepodge of presciously crafted sweets, including layers of sour cream chocolate cake, whipped “blonde” chocolate, chocolate crémeux and three types of ice cream that are all then drizzled with chocolate and caramel sauces.

Is it worth it? Well, that depends on how much you love chocolate and how many people share it. But it’s the Jivara that I’d return for over and over.

Notes:

The Conche
1605 Village Market Blvd. SE, Unit J108, Leesburg
Open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner and for brunch on Sundays
Appetizers: $8-$18
Entrees: $16-$68

(July 2018)

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Mock emergency planned to test procedures at nuclear plant

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MINERAL, Va. (AP) — Safety officials are planning to stage a mock emergency at Dominion Energy’s Louisa County nuclear power plant to test emergency procedures onsite and in surrounding communities. The drill is scheduled for Tuesday at the North Anna Power Station. The exercise will involve officials in Caroline, Hanover, Louisa, Orange and Spotsylvania counties, nearby towns and various…

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Charlottesville decides Justice, Emancipation are premature

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Charlottesville’s leaders have decided their city isn’t ready for Emancipation and Justice. Still struggling over how to handle Confederate symbols, the Charlottesville City Council voted 4-1 Monday night to change the names of two parks yet again. The former Lee Park, renamed Emancipation Park, is now Market Street Park. The former Jackson Park, whose name…

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Aircraft crash training planned at Fort Eustis

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — A training this week at Fort Eustis in Virginia means community members might see or smell smoke or note an increase in emergency-response activities. The post in Newport News is scheduled to conduct an aircraft crash exercise Tuesday. Fort Eustis is the headquarters of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. It is part of Joint Base Langley-Eustis — a combined U.S.

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Police: Virginia teen stole police car, hit 2 cars, crashed

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Police say a 19-year-old Virginia man stole a police officer’s car and hit two other cars before crashing on a turnpike. Chesterfield County police spokeswoman Liz Caroon tells news outlets that an officer responded to a McDonald’s on Monday for a reported vehicle theft. The male suspect jumped into the officer’s car upon arrival and took off, hitting a…

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