Friday, February 5, 2016

A New Cafe Opens in Altria Theater

Let's grab a coffee and a show.

Posted By on Fri, Feb 5, 2016 at 9:00 AM

The 1927 Café & Bakery is now open inside the lobby of the Altria Theater, with coffee from Greenberry’s Coffee Co. and food from executive chef Carlos Silva.

01-12-2016 9:00 a.m.: The hunt for chef Carlos Silva is over. From La Grotta, Amici, Bistro 27, Max’s on Broad to Sodexo at Capital One, Silva has moved over to the performing arts world to open a bakery in the Altria Theater at 6 N. Laurel St.

The 1927 Cafe & Bakery will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily and serve coffee from Charlottesville’s Greenberry’s Coffee Co., along with pastries and light fare from Silva.

It’s a way to get that java jolt while singing along to “Wicked” — the strains of “Defying Gravity” can warble through your earbuds or from Altria’s stage, since the plan is for the cafe to function as both a full-blown coffee shop and another option for the theater’s attendees. It will be open 6:30 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays and 7 a.m.-7 p.m. on the weekends, although the closing time will be stretched, depending on the performance that night. Beer and wine will be available in the evening for theater attendees only.

The 1927 will start to get its legs on Wednesday, Jan. 20, with the real deal, grand opening happening on Friday, Feb. 5.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Snow Thaw Bar Crawl

Stop in at Metzger's, the Roosevelt and more.

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2016 at 3:23 PM

It was a tough weekend for small businesses. While the rest of us were blowing on our hot chocolate and flicking through Netflix, restaurant owners and retail shops were languishing behind empty cash registers.

Metzger Bar & Butchery’s Brittanny Anderson decided to do something to help fellow restaurant owners out. “We thought we could lead a bar crawl to some of our faves to let them know we are back and ready to party!” she says on the Snow Thaw Bar Crawl’s Facebook event page. It takes place Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 6 p.m.

The festivities will start at Metzger’s, move to the Roosevelt, then Comfort and end at Saison. You can expect lots of food and drink specials along the way, but not a ride. When you call to reserve a spot (325-3147), make sure you have a designated driver or a taxi service app ready to fire. metzgerbarandbutchery.com.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Jackdaw is Popping Up Tonight

Get out of the house, people.

Posted By on Mon, Jan 25, 2016 at 3:17 PM

It’s been a whole lot of time indoors. I almost committed family-cide (that’s a real word, right?) when I went to get the honey and it came crashing down on my foot because it was stuck to the door of the cabinet. How does that even happen?

I need to get out. You need to get out.

Most of us are realizing that somehow we’ve managed to eat every single thing in the refrigerator over the weekend. My advice? If you can get your car over to a main road, head to Broad Street, take a quick turn on Summit Avenue and stop in at Lunch tonight, Jan. 25.

The Jackdaw, which is former Graffiato sous chef Ian Merryman’s Chinese-influenced pop-up, will make an appearance at 1213 Summit Ave. from 5:30 p.m. until the food runs out.

You can expect riffs on traditional Chinese cuisine such as dumplings with lapcheong 'nduja sausage and shrimp with apple hoisin sauce, congee with a soft-cooked egg, bonito flakes and pepitas or beef noodle soup with adobo broth, enoki mushrooms, chili noodles and leek flowers. You probably couldn't make any of this at home even if you did have the ingredients. I know my leeks aren't flowering.

Prices range from $8-$12 and for more details, follow this link to the event's Facebook page.

UPDATED: Dixie Donuts to Close

The trailblazing shop will serve its last doughnut in February.

Posted By on Mon, Jan 25, 2016 at 10:45 AM

UPDATE: Due to popular demand, Dixie Donuts will remain open through Sunday, Feb. 14.

1-19-2016 3:37 p.m. Dixie Donuts at 2901 W. Cary St. will close Jan. 31. It opened in 2012 and was the first doughnut shop that strayed from standard offerings to step into gourmet territory.

With chef J. Frank at the helm, you could grab a vanilla cake doughnut with rose water and pistachio glaze for an exotic treat or a maple and bacon to sub for breakfast. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ shows were noted with doughnut decoration inspired by artists and holidays celebrated with inventive nods to classic imagery.

In 2014, Betsy Thomas and co-owner Frank decided to close the doughnut shop’s second location and focus on the Carytown spot.

Thomas says that sales have been declining for the past year. “We’re not doing what we need to do,” she says. “I don’t want to be dramatic, but our time has come.” She cites increased competition -- and perhaps a doughnut trend that may be at its peak.

Thomas is also the owner of Cafe Ole at 2 N. 6th St.

“I’m so excited about just the thought of a normal life,” she says. “It’s been so much fun and I’m proud of what we’ve done, but I can’t wait for sleep.”

"We have loved every minute," she adds.

From now until close at the end of the month, you can check Dixie Donuts’ Facebook page for updates and specials.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Recipe: Spanish Hot Chocolate

Inject a little Mediterranean sun into your winter blues with a European classic.

Posted By on Sat, Jan 23, 2016 at 7:00 AM

I have a feeling that we’re all going to be inside drinking hot chocolate and watching the flakes fall this weekend. With that in mind, here’s a recipe for the best hot chocolate, I would argue, that you can make.

It’s from Spain, the land that, after a few atrocities, brought back cacoa beans from the New World and had the genius idea to add sugar to the drink that was made from them. According to Smithsonian.com, “Legend has it that the Aztec king Montezuma welcomed the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortes with a banquet that included drinking chocolate, having tragically mistaken him for a reincarnated deity instead of a conquering invader.”

Spanish hot chocolate is so thick that you can practically stand a spoon up in it. This isn’t because of an excess of chocolate, as many believe, but to the addition of a small amount of rice flour. If you don’t have any handy, cornstarch can be substituted. I like to add the kick of a pinch of cayenne — although this is common in Mexico, most Spaniards would be horrified.


Spanish Hot Chocolate
(makes 2 servings)

2 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon rice flour
3 ounces chopped dark chocolate (I prefer Callebaut, but buy the best quality you can find)
4-6 tablespoons of sugar (the amount depends on how dark your chocolate is)
1 pinch kosher salt
Variation: a pinch of cayenne

Add rice flour to a medium saucepan and whisk together with 1/4 cup of milk. Turn the burner on medium-low and add the rest of the milk, whisking briskly. Once you start to see tiny bubbles forming on top of the milk, add the chocolate, whisking all the while to melt it. Add the optional cayenne and stir thoroughly. Pour the hot chocolate into two mugs and let stand for a minute or so to thicken properly.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

New Cafe to Come to Forest Hill

The owners of the Bell Cafe are opening their second venture.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 20, 2016 at 9:51 AM

A new restaurant is on its way from the folks that opened Mechanicsville’s Bell Cafe in 2011. Danny and Tiffany Ingram say they found their original restaurant on Craigslist under the “free” section and started the business with just $100.

Tiffany Ingram, after the birth of their first child, began looking through Craigslist again recently and found another appealing spot in Forest Hill.

Kinfolk, their new venture, “will hone in on all the better points of Bell Cafe and will experiment with a new food-centric, rotating small menu,” the Ingrams say in an email. It will offer takeout “tube” lunches: Customers choose a soup or sandwich and customize it from a menu of meat, cheese and condiments, along with a side and a drink for an inclusive price of $12. To-go lunches will be available Mondays-Fridays from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

“Chef Cory Chaney [formerly of Southerly Restaurant] will be preparing a small, focused and very deliberate menu nightly,” the email continues. “Tiffany will be training an A-team of friendly, approachable, not dickhead know-it-alls to warmly welcome every guest.” Craft beer, wine and cocktails will also be available, plus brunch on Saturdays.

Kinfolk will be open for dinner Tuesdays-Saturdays from 5-10 p.m., plus lunch hours. It will be located at 3514 Forest Hill Ave., the former Chef MaMusu's African-Caribbean Cuisine space.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Water Coastal Kitchen is Closed for Rebranding

It will reopen as East Coast Provisions

Posted By on Tue, Jan 19, 2016 at 4:50 PM

Water Coastal Kitchen at 3411 W. Cary St is closed, and after a few renovations, it will reopen as East Coast Provisions, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. Plans are underway for a second location in the West End as well, to be named West Coast Provisions. Patina Restaurant & Bar and Max’s on Broad’s Michael Ledesma is the new executive chef for the Richmond Restaurant Group, and Trevor Knotts, former head chef at the Betty on Davis, will lead the kitchen at East Coast Provisions.

"Basically, our lease was up and we were kind of at a crossroads," Richmond Restaurant Group’s co-owner Michelle Williams says in the story. "We knew it needed a major appearance overhaul, but we didn't want to invest the money in a name we weren't in love with." The company changed the original name, Water Grill, after trying and failing to reach an agreement with the owners of a group of restaurants on the West Coast with the same name.

The rebranded restaurant will open in mid-February.

Food Notes: Lemaire's New Chef, Hibachi Box + More

Posted on Tue, Jan 19, 2016 at 11:20 AM

New gig: Chef Patrick Willis was sous chef at Lemaire at the Jefferson Hotel for four years under executive chef Walter Bundy. With Bundy moving on to open his own place, Willis is stepping up to the position.

Openings: Manchester’s Urban Farmhouse, at 1200 Semmes Ave., is now open for business, as is Duck Donuts in Short Pump at 2437 Old Brick Road. … Virginia Commonwealth University students now have another option: Hibachi Box opened the doors of the old Stuffy’s Subs space at 411 N. Harrison St. … You can pick from among 60 choices to top off that container at Grumpy Growlers, located at 12044 Southshore Pointe Road in Midlothian. … Chef Carlos Silva, formerly of Bistro 27 and Max’s on Broad, among other places, will open a coffee shop located inside the Altria Theater at 6 N. Laurel St. at the end of the month. The 1927 Cafe & Bakery will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily and serve coffee from Charlottesville’s Greenberry’s Coffee Co., along with pastries and light fare from Silva. The plan is for the cafe to function as both a full-blown coffee shop and another option for the theater’s attendees.

Happenings: Fill up on rizek — breadcrumb-rolled pork or chicken cutlets similar to schnitzel — and Czech beer on Thursday, Jan. 21, at 5 p.m. at Cask Cafe & Market at 206 S. Robinson St. thecaskrva.com. … Mott Gallery’s members show, “Untitled,” opens Saturday, Jan. 23, 6-9 p.m. The gallery and coffee shop also has extended its hours and serves drinks now from Thursday-Saturday. mottgallery.com.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Sugar Shack Donuts and Pescados Owners Are Now Partners

Expect to see new locations of both businesses in Charlottesville.

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2016 at 2:46 PM

It’s all about expansion. The new partnership between Sugar Shack Donuts’ Ian Kelley and Tina Manley and Greg Smiley of Pescados, at 13126 Midlothian Turnpike, seems incongruous at first glance. Fish and doughnuts don’t have a lot in common.

But Kelley knows how to take a business and replicate it in another spot. He’ll soon open his seventh Sugar Shack location, in Arlington, and has plans for others in Charlottesville, Asheville, North Carolina and Melbourne, Florida.

Kelley is a longtime Pescados customer — he started young, coming in with his father and often eating at the bar. The teenager struck up a friendship with chef Todd Manley. Kelley talked endlessly to him about food, technique and culinary school. Manley was instrumental in helping Kelley launch Sugar Shack. “When I had a culinary question or when I needed advice or guidance,” he says, “I called Todd.”

Manley now lives and works in St. Croix, and in his absence, Kelley got to know Pescados co-owners Tina Manley and Smiley better.

The three were making doughnuts together one day — avocado tart doughnuts. “They’d been pinging ideas off me and I’d been pinging ideas off them,” says Kelley. “We finally came to the conclusion that I can help them grow their brand.”

Right now, the three are actively looking at property in Charlottesville. The hope is to find a building large enough to house another Sugar Shack store next to a second Pescados. The two businesses would be adjacent but separate.

Here in Richmond, the original Pescados will undergo a sweeping renovation and will close for Feb. 1-4. Kelley, Manley and Smiley plan to create an interior that can be easily duplicated at another location.

For the same reason, the menu will get a few tweaks as well. “Because they make everything in-house,” he says, “some of their stuff is so intensive.” He wants to help Smiley create dishes that can easily be replicated by another chef.

Kelley is now a partner. He’s not stepping away from Sugar Shack, he says. “I’m providing infrastructure and support for them that they don’t now have.”

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Caromont Farm's Baby Goats Need Your Love

Baby goats are the best.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 13, 2016 at 3:38 PM

UPDATE: Unfortunately, Facebook notifications went out this morning, Jan.14, to say that Goatapalozza had been cancelled — perhaps because, when I checked yesterday, over 1,000 people had responded that they were interested in going to the event. Caromont Farm's Facebook page seems to be down as well. We'll all have to love the baby goats from afar from now on.

01-13-2016 3:38 pm: Please don’t tell my children about this or I’ll be driving to and from Esmont every weekend — and that’s about an hour and half from Richmond.

Why? Caramont Farm is in Esmont, and it needs your help cuddling baby goats, according to WVIR-TV NBC 29. The farm expects that in February around 90 baby goats will be born.

And because February is cold, THEY WILL NEED TO WEAR SWEATERS.

I do not use all-caps recklessly. Images of goats are just a few of the many cute baby animal pictures and videos floating around on the Internet. I would argue that they're the cutest. Ever. Please stop arguing with me.

And wearing sweaters? Are you kidding? I don’t know if I can handle seeing that in real life.

And it’s a worthy cause. Caromont Farm makes some of the best fresh and aged goat cheese around. We have a duty to keep the supply coming, don’t we? Everyone knows kids need love to grow up and make good cheese.

There's a glitch, I'm sorry to say. Caromont posted a sign-up sheet that's completely full now. However, you can keep your eye on Facebook to see if any more slots open up.

And the folks at the farm feel your pain. They’re throwing a snuggling event for anyone disappointed that they can't hug a baby goat. Goatapalooza will be held Sunday, April 3, from noon-4 at Caromont. No reservations necessary.

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