1 Flavorful Finishes
Ah Love Oil & Vinegar. Photograph by Andrew Propp.
The folks at Ah Love Oil & Vinegar (2910
District Ave., Suite 165; 703-992-7000) are as obsessive about pantry
staples as wine connoisseurs are about their cellars, and custom-ers are
encouraged to sniff and taste with abandon. There are small-batch olive
oils from Greece, France, South Africa, and even Palestine. Some oils are
infused with accents such as truffle or roasted chilies, and
dessert-drizzling balsamics come in flavors ranging from dark chocolate to
2 Best in Beauty
Old Town shoppers will recognize Bellacara (2910 District Ave., Suite 150; 703-992-0850), a girly beauty boutique
that just opened its second store at the new Mosaic development. A large
counter of hard-to-find Kevyn Aucoin makeup is the biggest draw. Other
high-end cosmetic and skin-care labels such as Dermalogica, Smashbox, and
the locally founded Alchimie Forever fill the shelves alongside candles by
Acquiesse and trendy nail polishes by Butter.
3 Hefty Sandwiches
Five years ago, Bernie Socha sold his share of ownership in
DC’s Wagshal’s Deli and headed to the burbs, opening Bernie’s
Delicatessen (4328 Chain Bridge Rd.; 703-691-1269), a friendly
sandwich shop and market. We go for corned beef piled onto rye and
enriched with creamy-sweet coleslaw and Russian dressing or an Italian
cold-cut sub perked up with sweet peppers and vinaigrette. While you wait,
browse the shelves of wine or fill a bottle with Greek olive oil from a
4 Sweat in Style
In addition to a clean, 1,500-square-foot studio space,
Bikram Yoga Fairfax (3950 University Dr.; 571-572-9583) provides chilled, lavender-scented towels at the end of each class—the
perfect close to a detoxifying sweat session. In the lobby, you can
purchase mats and yoga clothing by such brands as Om Shanti.
5 Sushi and Skewers
Although the izakaya trend has only recently taken off
in Washington, Blue Ocean (9440 Main St.; 703-425-7555) has been serving Japanese-style snacks and sushi for 17 years. Graze on
the daily raw-fish specials, then move on to grilled, terikayi-glazed
skewers of chicken and, if the kitchen has it that night, tender and sweet
6 Indian With A Twist
Bollywood Bistro. Photograph by Scott Suchman.
Olive-flecked raita, pomegranate guacamole, and fried
chicken “lollipops” are among the surprises on the menu at cozy,
paprika-red Bollywood Bistro (3955 Chain Bridge Rd.; 703-273-0031), a nice spot for an impromptu weeknight date. Those
whimsical touches are fun, but it’s the aromatic curries—tender goat
masala, fiery lamb-shank vindaloo—that keep us coming
back. You’ll want plenty of bread to soak up the spicy flavors, whether
cheddar-laced naanor a traditional mint
7 Heat Seekers
It’s hard to find a taste of the islands in these parts.
Luckily, the bare-bones but cheery mom-and-pop carryout Caribbean
Corner (4008-A University Dr.; 703-246-9040) fills the void,
ladling out generous helpings of blazing-hot jerk chicken, deeply flavored
“brown stew chicken,” and sides of peas and rice.
8 Vintage Treasures
There’s a great mix of high and low at the consignment shop
Chic Envy (11895 Grand Commons Ave.; 703-268-5228), where
you’ll find shoes by Jimmy Choo and Tory Burch as well as furs from
Chanel, Escada, and Armani. More practical options are in back: J. Crew
tweed jackets, flats by Kate Spade, and sweaters by Ralph
9 Curry Chic
Curry Mantra. Photograph by Scott Suchman.
Shimmery tiles and vivid shades of red and orange spiff up the
dining room at Curry Mantra (9984 Main St.;
703-218-8128), and the plates are just as artfully presented. The menu
features good versions of old favorites, from mulligatawny soup to chicken
tikka masala. More unusual: Balti-style goat, redolent of ginger
and chilies, and split yellow peppers stuffed with paneer (fresh
cheese) and potatoes and blistered in the tandoor.
10 Family Night Out
With its diverse lineup, George Mason University’s
Center for the Arts (4400 University Dr.; 888-945-2468) is a good
source of entertainment for all ages. Events—many of which are free—range
from student art exhibits to book talks, standup comedy, and classical
music. The Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, the Mason Dance Company, and the
kid-friendly productions Seussical and Ramona Quimby are
on the schedule this spring.
Building on the success of her Bethesda women’s boutique,
Gretchen Hitchner chose Mosaic to open her second Ginger
(2905 District Ave., Suite 125; 703-992-7372). Shoppers will be happy to
find a lot of the same looks—from stylish office-ready ensembles to pretty
cocktail dresses. In addition to clothing by such brands as Joie, Calypso,
and Red Engine, the store stocks colorful home goods and lots of
handcrafted gold jewelry.
12 Art and Antiques
A side project of real-estate agents Rob Golden and Rick
Dickson, Hollie-Rob Art & Collectible Gallery (10409
E. Main St.; 703-268-5815) doubles as an art gallery and antiques shop. On
a recent visit, we found a vintage chess set, decades-old paintings, and
rows of Asian pottery. The friendly owners have a partnership with the
Corcoran College of Art & Design in which every other week they
showcase work by students; on our visit, the front room was filled with
colorful ceramic dinnerware.
13 Contemporary Looks For Less
Langford Market. Photograph by Andrew Propp.
Langford Market (2905 District Ave., Suite
135; 703-942-6879) is full of flirty dresses and flowy blouses made by
Maude, an affordable clothing line rarely found elsewhere in the area.
Built into the store is Addison, a shoe boutique featuring mostly
Breckelle’s boots, flats, and pumps in edgy shapes and hues. The overall
aesthetic is youthful and chic. If mint-colored denim, colorful baubles,
and studded clutches are your thing, you’ll love this wallet-friendly
14 Romantic Respite
With its shades of taupe and dove gray, the quiet dining room
at the cottage-like restaurant Villa Mozart (4009 Chain
Bridge Rd.; 703-691-4747) feels more Armani than abbondanza.
Single red roses are set at each table, and chef/owner Andrea Pace
continues the wooing with sublime olive-oil-baked breadsticks, silken
pastas, and such hearty roasts as a Pecorino Romano-crusted rack of
15 Say “Mangia”
The Great American Restaurants group—also behind neighboring
Coastal Flats and nearby Artie’s—channels Little Italy with its newest
venture, Ozzie’s Corner Italian (11880 Grand Commons
Ave.; 571-321-8000). The dining room’s crimson leather booths and
banquettes are designed for big groups and bountiful meals. Start with a
trio of meatball sliders on ultra-light brioche buns or a cracker-crisp
flatbread scattered with pepperoni and mushrooms. Then tackle the heaping
lasagna, laden with provolone and topped with another meatball. Still not
stuffed? Go for the best dessert—a fluffy chocolate waffle.
16 Quick Bites
Need a mid-shopping refuel? There are lots of worthy fast-lunch
options. Our favorites: the fried-chicken-cutlet, provolone, and marinara
hoagies at Taylor Gourmet (2905 District Ave., Suite 160;
703-462-9970); salads such as the Santorini—with feta, grapes, chickpeas,
and shrimp—at Sweetgreen (2905 District Ave., Suite 185;
703-992-7892); and pitas with tzatziki, red-pepper hummus, and
jalapeño-feta dip at Cava Mezze Grill (2905 District
Ave., Suite 165; 703-988-4313).
17 Classic Bakery
Don’t let the sparse shelves deter you from Victoria’s
Cakery (10430 Main St.; 703-273-0800). The shop specializes in
custom cakes, not drop-in sweets. Still, it always has lovely layer cakes
by the slice and cupcakes for those who want a quick sugar fix. The
white-chocolate Heaven cake, layered with raspberry jam, is the place’s
signature, but we prefer the simpler lemon-frosted cake or the Brock’s
Heaven, layers of vanilla and chocolate cake alternating with the same
flavors of icing.
The Nest Egg. Photograph by Andrew Propp.
18 Pops of Color
The Nest Egg (11940 Grand Commons Ave.;
703-988-0944) is a pretty place to find fun accents for the home—from chic
throw pillows to rugs in trendy ikat and geometric prints. It’s clear that
owner Ann O’Shields, who offers interior-design services, believes in the
importance of details: One section is dedicated to baby gifts, and there
are just as many throws, candle holders, and photo frames as there are
larger furniture pieces.
19 Lunch, Latin American Style
There’s not much to look at at the Peruvian polleria
Wild Chicken (11039 Lee Hwy., 703-383-0266; 3900-B Pickett
Rd., 703-323-6464), but the smell of charbroiling birds is a pleasant
distraction. Chickens are the things to get, with spicy jalapeño sauce and
cooling mayo dip; sides such as plantains were greasy and forgettable when
we tried them. Besides, if you’re at the Pickett Road branch, you can
supplement your meal next door at Dulce’s Bakery and Empanada
Shop (3900-C Pickett Rd.; 703-978-8021), which turns out
terrific, freshly fried beef and chorizo empanadas.
20 One-of-a-Kind Furniture
Although not part of Mosaic, furniture retailer Willem
Smith (2809-I Merrilee Dr.; 703-348-8600) recently opened a
showroom less than half a mile away. (It was formerly in DC’s Washington
Design Center.) The move means that the brand’s environmentally conscious
line of transitional wooden furnishings, previous-ly available only to the
trade, can now be purchased by the public. Beautiful pieces by Ochre,
Powell & Bonnell, and other high-end labels are also for
This article appears in the April 2013 issue of The Washingtonian.