The story of Cakes by Happy Eatery begins with a family who appreciates good food. Today, sisters and second-generation owners Victoria and Emily Wu continue to uphold the bakery's classic baking traditions while giving it a modern twist. It's here where a team of dedicated bakers and pastry chefs spend their days whipping up a staggering selection of pastries, cakes, and desserts. The baking gurus excel at showcasing both sweet and savory flavors; Chinese-style roast pork buns, hand-held chicken pot pies, and chicken salad sandwiches with seasonal champagne grapes rank among their most popular items. The bakery is best known, however, for its European genoise sponge cake, a light, never-cloying style of cake exuding a blend of signature sweetness. While Cakes by Happy Eatery prides itself on making old-fashioned creations using only real butter and sugar, those with restrictive diets will also find vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free delights.
The chefs at each Copper Canyon Grill, a mid-Atlantic favorite, craft their regional American dishes from scratch every day. Their kitchens fill with flames and savory aromas as they roast meats and vegetables over hardwood fires, making customers happy, but leaving behind bare earth at local basketball arenas.
The kitchen yields hearty servings of grilled prime rib and filet mignon, ahi tuna and Atlantic salmon, and Delmarva-style crab dip and Eastern Shore jumbo lump crab cakes. It also tempts with a signature rotisserie chicken and jalapeño- and serrano-pepper cornbread baked in an iron skillet.
To ensure farm-fresh ingredients for their East African dishes, the culinary team at Manna Bistro & Bakery goes a step beyond shopping at local farmers’ markets. They cull their meat and produce straight from their affiliate farm, Mena Farm, where lambs and goats graze freely and fresh vegetables sprout from the gardens, rather than from test tubes in the goats’ labs.
In a similar DIY spirit, bakers knead their own bread at an on-site bakery, in styles ranging from round loaves to injera, the slightly sour flatbread served with most Ethiopian stews and sautéed meat dishes. Diners also have the chance to try Manna's take on a menu of Mediterranean dishes: salads tossed with feta cheese, veggie sandwiches slathered with hummus, and paninis with a choice of three different pestos. There's also a full breakfast menu, introducing sweet and savory traditional dishes of spiced bread, buttery crushed wheat, and eggs given a kick from jalapenos, tomatoes, and onion.
If there's anything that matches The Winery at Bull Run's owners' passion for wine, it might be their passion for American history. Knowing the land’s proximity to historic battles, before breaking ground on their new winery the owners teamed up with Civil War excavators to salvage hundreds of bullets, buttons, and breastplates that laid dormant underneath the winery’s Centreville soil since the 1860s.
While sipping on award-winning red and white wines in the tasting room, guests can look over display cases full of artifacts and listen to stories of the farmland's historic past. During warmer months, guests are welcome to relax on the outdoor stone ruins, whose waist-high walls and stone fireplace are all that remain from the original 19th-century estate house.
The menu at Pho Aura may be simple, but its flavors are wide-ranging. The dishes span culinary boundaries, from the traditional entrees of Hanoi to the innovative cuisine of Saigon. The list takes up only a single page, with choices nearly organized into seven dish types, such as báhn mì (baguette sandwiches), bún (noodles), com tay cam (entrees baked in earthen pots), and, of course, pho. Arguably the signature dish of Vietnam—and definitely the signature of Pho Aura—this rich, aromatic soup bubbles with roasted ginger, anise, onions, and coriander. Guests can order it with their choice of beef, such as sirloin, tripe, tendon, or meatballs, or enjoy it with chicken. And though pho is a must-try, the eatery’s other dishes—including braised lemongrass pork ribs and beef charbroiled over a charcoal grill with peanuts, sweet and sour pickles, and vermicelli noodles—are hardly second place, especially when paired with a choice from the surprisingly wide selection of Asian and Belgian beers.
Dragonfly Bistro brings Vietnamese flavors and pop culture to America's capitol. The restaurant's chefs specialize in the country's classic recipes, making 10 distinct types of pho, as well as pork ribs and catfish in clay pots. They follow up savory creations with signature desserts such as cardamom-infused wild black sticky rice and banana sacs—fried bites of fruit filled with sweet cheese and coconut served over a dish of ice cream.
The spacious dining room boasts wide-open hardwood floors, providing ample elbow room and space to lie down for a post-meal nap. After the last drop of pho has been served, the open area transforms into dance floor, where guests can get down to DJ sets and live music.