"There's no place like home. . . there's no place like home. . . there's no place like home." Home for The Belt Team is Vienna, Virginia. Please stop by frequently and share with us all the things about life in Vienna that make Vienna truly the best place to live.

Welcome to Vienna, Virginia

Saturday, February 26, 2011


If you're a "foodie" like I am, then Vienna, VA is DEFINITELY the place for you! Who needs to travel to New York or Paris or Rome when you've got such an array of restaurants here at home?

A few weeks ago, we finally got a chance to try Maple Avenue Restaurant (MAR). (For you "old-time Vienna-ites" - it's in the location where "the original Vienna Anita's" used to be - just across Maple Avenue from Magruder's).

We've been wanting to try MAR for a while, but just haven't had the time. We've been following them on Facebook and the specials they post always sound yummy. And boy was it worth the wait!

The night we chose for our first visit was Valentine's Day - probably not the ideal day to try a new place - but nevertheless, that's what we did. I was worried that on such a busy night, the service might be lacking. But thankfully I had nothing to worry about. It was great. I can only imagine on a "regular" night, that it must just be stellar!

The atmosphere of the restaurant is sleek & modern. Some might call it stark, but I like the floor-to-ceiling windows and the elegant simplicity. And there is nothing simple about the food. THIS is where MAR excels. They describe their cuisine as "eclectic American Cuisine in the heart of Vienna, Virginia blending American with Asian, Latin American, French flavors and techniques."

Normally they have a very reasonable menu with "small plates", "main plates" and "dessert plates" - kind of a tapas-style thing - with all kinds of delightful sounding bites. (I'd give you a list of some sample dishes, but they change the menu frequently based on what's fresh.) Since it was Valentine's Day, the menu was prix-fixe and a little pricey. So, would the food live up to our expectations?

Well, we enjoyed four courses and each one was better than the last. Here's what we had:
  • Jicama and Granny Smith Apple Salad (with a ginger lime vinaigrette)
  • Saffron Coconut Milk Mussels
  • Argentinean Sausage with Housemade Chimichurri Sauce (on a bed of frisee)
  • Panko Lollipop Lamb Chops & Creme Fraiche Mashed Potatoes
The courses may sound simple, but the flavors were complex and perfectly melded together. Definitely not your "same old - same old"! It was truly a symphony of food, where each course built upon the one before - until you reached the highlight of the meal.

Did we have room for dessert? Well, at least one of us did - but to tell you the truth, I can't even remember what it was. I think we were in a coma of happiness by then!

We will DEFINITELY go back to MAR . . . because based on what we tasted, we'd like to try ANYTHING Chef Tim Ma wants to make. (And this includes my "meat & potatoes" husband!)

PS - Maple Avenue Restauarnt also has a "food truck" that makes the rounds sometimes in the Vienna - McLean area. If you follow them on Facebook, you'll see when they take the truck out & where it will be. AND you'll see the specials posted. (For example, on Thursday it said "sweetbreads are here" and "Soup: roasted piquillo pepper served with Firefly Farms goat cheese and parsley. Wine: $5.00 chardonnay, shiraz and godiva white chocolate coffee. Sweet plate: apple pistachio pie served with salted caramel sauce."

Sounds tempting, doesn't it?!

Fabulous food . . . just another reason why WE LOVE LIVING IN VIENNA, VA!

What's your favorite restaurant in Vienna?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sixth Man Sets The Tone & Brings Home A Win For Madison

Friday night was Madison High School's last regular season basketball game of the season. And Madison's Sixth Man was out in full force! In case you haven't been able to make it to a game and are wondering what all the "buzz" is about - here are a few glimpses into the electric atmosphere the Sixth Man has created. (Read more about Madison's Sixth Man here.)





Congrats to Madison High School's basketball team AND to the Sixth Man. You have truly inspired many people in the community with your spirit, perserverance, creativity & passion. Job well done!