Ciao Osteria an Authentic Italian Eatery

Ciao Wood-Fired Pizza & Osteria
14115 St. Germain Dr.
Centreville, VA 20121
703-543-8955
http://www.ciao-osteria.com

Italian | $$

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Tucked away in a busy Centreville strip mall is one of Northern Virginia best Italian restaurants. Ciao Osteria has received an OpenTable Diners’ Choice award in 2014, 2015, and 2016, Best of NOVA 2015 and 2016 by Northern Virginia Magazine, and 4.5 rating and Certificate of Excellence 2016 on TripAdvisor. It should go without saying, reservations are recommended.

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The delicious warm bread arrived shortly after we were seated.

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For our appetizer we chose buttermilk battered fried oysters, served on a bed of roasted corn and sweet relish. The oysters were lightly battered and cooked perfectly. They paired nicely with the corn relish.

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For her entrée, my wife chose the Lasagna di Carne. She uses lasagna as a dish by which to judge Italian restaurants and loved this one. The lasagna noodles are smothered in a hearty meat sauce with fresh ricotta and mozzarella.

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I asked the chef to choose my dish and was pleasantly surprised with this Maccheroni con Fritella, with pancetta, onions, fava beans, tossed with egg and pecorino Romano. The lightly coated fresh Maccheroni pasta was superb. The pancetta and onions give the dish that savory balance. The fava beans were a nice touch since you don’t see them on many menus these days.

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The homemade cannoli were the best I have had and reminded me of my days in New York. The traditional New York Cheesecake with a sponge cake crust was good. It was almost unfair to the cheesecake to taste the cannoli first.

Service was excellent with ample staff, attentive but not intrusive. The noise level was light but grew louder as the restaurant filled, but was never in the hard to hear range. This is a must add to your list. Half way through her lasagna my wife said, “this is not a restaurant that serves Italian food, this is an Italian restaurant.” She was so right.

Dizzy Pig Opens at New Location

11301 Braden Drive
Manassas, VA 20109
703-273-3580
http://dizzypigbbq.com

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This great custom light shade is a focal point of the store.

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Coming through the front door the first thing you see is the complete line of Dizzy Pig seasonings.

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Dizzy Pig is a Big Green Egg and Yeti Authorized Dealer.

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Just about every accessory you can think of is available for all your grilling needs. Stop in and say hello to Chris and the team and get ready for a great Spring. See you at DizzyFest 12 on June 3rd.

Birthdays at the Warrior Retreat at Bull Run

I have the distinct honor and privilege of volunteering at the Warrior Retreat at Bull Run. The retreat is a 2.5 million dollar 11,000 sq. ft. home on 37 acres in Haymarket, Virginia. We invite wounded Warriors and their families out from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital to spend 5 days out of the hospital and rehab environment.

I am the lead on the Visiting Chef Program. On Sunday night during each guest stay we invite chefs from the area to come out and prepare extraordinary meals for the wounded warrior and their family. Last night was the Warrior’s birthday dinner with 10 friends and family and I thought I would invite some special chefs.

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Our Chefs from left to right:

Sierra Tyler, USN Assistant Chef to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Warrior’s son, who learned how to be a Sous Chef
Jason Rohrs, USGC Chef to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Ken Gardner, Executive Event Chef Warrior Retreat at Bull Run
Jim Cole, Resident Sous Chef Warrior Retreat at Bull Run

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Each warrior completes an application to come to the retreat that includes about 20 food questions. Gluten free, allergies, spice tolerance, favorite dishes etc. The answers to the questions go to the Visiting Chef to help them design a 4 course meal.

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The Warrior’s son learned what it was like to be a Sous Chef.

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Filet Mignon is ready for searing and the oven.

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Just about done searing and then into the oven.

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There is always prep work.

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Chicken Posole cooking.

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Tortilla sliced up and crisped in vegetable oil.

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Preparing the first course of Chicken Posole Cilantro, Lime, Crema, and Tortilla Crisps

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Plating the salad course.

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Apple and Brussel Salad Pecans, Shallots, Gorgonzola, and a Champagne Vinaigrette

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Here comes the main course.

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Filet Mignon Mushroom Lasagna, Parsnip, Green Beans, and Demi-Glace

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The birthday cake was created by Brenda Wilks with our amazing Bakers on Call Team. Bakers on Call are more than 30 volunteer home bakers who make sure the Warrior’s favorite fresh baked goods are waiting for them when they arrive for their stay. The Bakers on Call have just started supporting the Visiting Chef Program. Most of our chefs are savory with just basic pastry skills. We looked at increasing the involvement of our Baker’s on Call Team and they are now doing much of the custom dessert work for Visiting Chef Night. The Chef is welcome to make dessert if they like, but most of relieved not doing it.

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Everyone had a great time and loved the food.

If you would like to see more pictures from this dinner and other Visiting Chef Night dinners visit our Flickr.com page. If you are a chef and would like to learn more about how you can volunteer and give back please see the Visiting Chef Program web page.

Warrior Retreat Coffee

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Vint Hill Coffee has created a fresh roasted blend for the Warrior Retreat at Bull Run called Warrior Retreat coffee. Vint Hill Coffee is donating bags of the Warrior Retreat freshly roasted beans to the Visiting Chef Program and donating a portion of the proceeds from each bag sold to the Warrior Retreat. This is really great coffee, a smooth and balanced blend.  You can order ground or whole bean bags to be shipped by calling them at 540-907-8930.

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Vint Hill Coffee owners Lori D’Amico and husband Chris Keen were thrilled to be able to give back to military service members. “It’s the least we can do to give back for all they sacrifice for us. It’s a cause we really care about.”, owner Lori D’Amico.  According to Chris Keen “Warrior Retreat coffee is a spot on medium roast made blending beans from Brazil, Ethiopia, and Honduras.”

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Vint Hill Coffee was founded in 2012 by Lori D’Amico and Christopher Keen. In early 2016 Vint Hill Coffee transitioned from a wholesale distribution warehouse into a retail coffee shop. At Vint Hill Coffee, all raw coffee beans are sourced from farms around the world and roasted fresh on-site.  You can visit Vint Hill Coffee at 4257 Aiken Dr. Vint Hill, VA 20187 or visit their website, www.VintHillCoffee.com.

Dizzy Pig Construction Nears Completion

The awesome line of Dizzy Pig seasonings and rubs.

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Dizzy Pig’s new headquarters and manufacturing facility is just about finished. They hope to get the keys from the builder soon.

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Tradesmen are finishing up electrical, displays, and trim.

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The new retail space will be more than twice the size of the current store.

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One side of the building is reserved for a large training room with access through double doors to a large patio for cooking.

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There is a large shipping and receiving area.

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There are large grinding and bottling rooms for manufacturing. Keep an eye on the Dizzy Pig Facebook page for information about their grand opening. https://www.facebook.com/DizzyPigBBQ/

Dizzy Pig Moving Sale

Dizzy Pig BBQ Store
8763 Virginia Meadows Dr.
Manassas, Virginia 20109
703-273-3580
http://dizzypigbbq.com

As Chris and the crew at Dizzy Pig get ready to move to their new headquarters they are having a big sale. On Saturday January 21st, there’s a storewide 10% off sale. Everything except Thermapens and Smoke Thermometers. It’s a great time to stock up on your favorite seasonings, BBQ accessories, and that new Big Green Egg you didn’t get for Christmas. Chris will be cooking from 11am to 2pm so you can eat while you shop. It doesn’t get much better than that. Wait, Dizzy Pig is a Yeti dealer.