Most DNS tools (like dig and nslookup) perform IP lookups against DNS servers, ignoring /etc/hosts entries. Luckily, OS X provides the dscacheutil command to perfom a number of functions including checking local host entries. Below is an example that I used to verify the hostname/IP address combo that my system had registered in /etc/hosts.
While attending a recent PHP meetup, I was told about how great New Relic has been for a local company with some large PHP applications. I made a mental note that I would have to give New Relic a look to see if it is something that may be helpful for my personal work or application monitoring at Classic.