Wednesday, July 20, 2016

What Should You Save From Your Refrigerator When the Power Goes Out?

When in doubt, throw it out — but there's a little leeway.

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 3:26 PM

In the aftermath of another surprisingly powerful storm, around 70,000 people in the Richmond area were without power this morning. As power is slowing being restored, however, those folks may be wondering whether the food in their refrigerator is still OK to eat.

The most important thing is to resist opening your refrigerator and freezer doors when the power is off. You may want that six-pack, but don't do it. You’ll save a lot more of your food if you keep the doors closed at all times. The magic number to remember is 40 degrees and if food goes over that temperature, it’s beyond redemption.

Here’s a handy guide that breaks down what you should keep and what you should pitch:

Things you should throw away after two hours without power:

Raw, leftover or open cans of cooked meat, poultry, fish, or seafood — or any dish with those things in it, such as tuna salad, broth or gravy. Vegetarians, take note: Soy meat substitutes and tofu should be thrown out, too.

Lunch meat, hot dogs, bacon and sausage. Also dried beef, but I’m not sure how many people have that hanging around.

Pizza with any toppings — which is a bummer.

Canned ham. Enough said.

Soft cheeses such as brie, Monterey Jack, cream cheese. You’ll find a full list here.

Shredded cheese and low-fat cheese.

Dairy products such as milk, cream, sour cream, buttermilk, open evaporated milk, yogurt, eggnog, soy milk, baby formula.

All eggs and egg products.

Custards and puddings, plus quiche.

Cut-up fruit.

Discard if above 50 °F for over 8 hrs.:

Fish sauce, oyster sauce.

Open bottles of creamy salad dressing.

Open jars of spaghetti sauce.

Biscuits dough, refrigerator roll and cookie dough — the last one is your own fault for not eating it sooner.

Cooked pasta, rice, potatoes.

Pasta with mayonnaise or a vinaigrette.

Fresh pasta.

Cheesecake. See comments above, re: cookie dough.

Cream pies. Why did you wait so long to hit someone in the face with one anyway? Plus other custard, cheese-filled or chiffon pies.

Bags of pre-cut and/or prewashed greens.

Cooked vegetables.

Opened vegetable juice.

Exception: Opened mayonnaise, horseradish and tartar sauce can hang tight for 8 hours while over 50 degrees.

Food you don’t need to throw out:

Hard cheese such as cheddar or parmesan, and processed cheese.

Well-wrapped butter and margarine.

Condiments such as ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, pickles, relishes, hot sauce, oil-and-vinegar-based salad dressings, Worcestershire sauce and steak sauce.

Olives. No word on capers, but use your judgment.

Jams, jellies, preserves and syrups.

Fruit pies. Hurray!

Peanut and other nut butters.

Cooked waffles, pancakes.

Bread and bagels. Obviously. They don’t even need to be in the refrigerator.

Mushrooms and fresh herbs.

Whole raw vegetables and whole fruit.

Lastly, if your freezer is packed, the food will keep for 24 hours and can be refrozen. After that, chuck it. Important caveat: If you notice obvious thawing, throw it out with the other stuff after two hours above 40 degrees.

Information found at fsis.usda.gov, the United State Department of Agriculture’s website. And there's an app for that — you can find it here.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Author Caroline Wright Makes Magical Cakes

She'll show you how on Sunday.

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2016 at 2:57 PM

Caroline Wright always loved baking. The graduate of Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne, veteran of Martha Stewart magazine and author of “Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals” is coming to Richmond on Sunday, July 17, at 2 p.m.

She's headed for Mis En Place to demonstrate how to make two of the cakes in her new book, “Cake Magic! Mix and Match Your Way to 100 Different Combinations.” She’ll then take a walk down the block to Fountain Bookstore to sign a few copies.

In her book, Wright offers two baking blends, one traditional and the other gluten-free, plus a series of flavored syrups that can create almost endless varieties of cake. Style has never met a piece of cake that it didn’t like and decided to give her a call to hear how the baking magic happens.

Style: Did you specialize as a pastry chef in culinary school?

Wright: Nope. The training we did was pretty generalized classic French which obviously includes a great love of butter and all things pastry. There was more about pastry in the program than ones here in the States, I’d say.

As an avid baker, was there something in particular that made you fall in love with baking?

It really comes from when I was a kid. In my house, there just wasn’t any junk food. We weren’t allowed to have any unless we made it ourselves. Obviously, that backfired.

How did you come up with the concept for the book? I haven’t really seen a cookbook like it before.

Over the years, through a variety of food editorial jobs, I’d gotten to be friends with lots of professional bakers. One thing I found common among all of them was [the use of] syrup — I felt like that had been largely overlooked in all other home baking books. It’s just another way to deliver flavor and the moist kind of cake everyone is looking for. The cake mix idea isn’t a new one, but it’s exciting when paired with mathematics — you take the different components, mix them and turn them into a bunch of different things. With baking, in general, you take the same five ingredients — flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda — and it’s all about ratios. A little of this and a little of that and you can get radically different things. [The mix] is a way to get people into baking by taking a friendly approach to making cakes. I feel like people at home get nervous about it.

What’s your favorite cake in the book?

Well, that’s a hard question! Take for instance, my classic birthday cake. It’s obviously my favorite because it’s my birthday cake! I have to say, though, I’m really proud of the gluten-free mix. I worked really hard on it. The Black-Out cake [made with dark chocolate cake, chocolate syrup and bittersweet chocolate frosting] is one I’m really, really proud of. The gluten-free version turns out really well every time.

Were there any disastrous combos that you — obviously — didn’t include in the book? What was the testing process like?

There was a lot of cake-baking. And a lot of making friends giving away cakes. Some of the things I was trying to do in terms of new and different combos didn’t quite translate the way I’d hoped them to. But I started from a place of classic things that worked pretty well. There weren’t really any massive fails. Some of the things you might look at and say: “Hmm. Tea and cake? I don’t know about that.” I can tell you the flavors of the syrups are pretty subtle. The ginger or the red wine syrup — they’re not terribly aggressive flavors, they’re just a nice little background hum.

Wright is posting other recipes on her blog, The Wright Recipes, for non-cake things such as muffins or banana bread that use the "Cake Magic" mix she devised. You can also find her on Twitter as @TheWrightCook and on Instagram as wrightcook.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Pokemon Love Richmond Restaurants

And they love them back.

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 4:40 PM

The madness must stop. But I don’t think it will.

It all started when web editor Colby Rogers drifted behind me on the sidewalk while we were supposed to be walking purposefully together. “Pokemon Go,” I discovered, had infected him on its very first day.

But the craze isn’t all about tripping over curbs and risking heat stroke. Restaurants, breweries and even the Flying Squirrels are getting in on the action, too -- and for them, it’s just business.

Today, Carytown and RVA Magazine are planning a huge “Pokemon Go” takeover with 12 Pokestops surrounded by lures lasting an hour. “These bad boys increase the frequency that Pokemon show up,” RVA Magazine writes, “so it should give people who have just dabbled in the game a chance to catch up with some of the folks who have doubled down.” It starts at 5 p.m. with happy hour at Carytown restaurants and play begins at 6.

Confused? Here’s a quick primer to get you up to speed.

Are you back? Good. Yesterday evening, I spent a little time going around town and stopping at a variety of restaurants to figure out the game and to see what kinds of creatures and features were around.

I discovered that lots and lots of restaurants have Pokestops. By now, maybe all of them do. Everywhere I went — and I mean everywhere — there were usually a couple of cars pulled up out front with drivers intently staring at their phones and at least one or two other people walking slowly on the street doing the same thing. I found stops at Home Team Grill, Baja Bean Co., En Su Boca’s mural and Kitchen 64, among many, many others, plus entire gyms at Kuba Kuba and Lunch/Supper. Scott’s Addition is crawling with opportunities.

In addition, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has eight Pokestops — plus one, it’s rumored, in its restaurant, Amuse — and a gym outside.

When asked if My Noodle Bar had any “Pokemon Go”-related things going on, co-owner Whitney Kiatsuranon, said, “No. Please. No. The stairs. My God!” Sorry, Whitney, there’s a Pokestop right out in front of your restaurant at the J.E.B. Stuart monument.

“It's been pretty funny,” says Toast, Talley’s Meat & Three and Hutch Bar & Eatery owner Josh Bufford, “We didn't realize it was going to mean anything, but on Saturday we had four families come into Hutch and inquire about WiFi and let their server know that they were checking into the Pokestop, but they reassured their server that they were all having brunch — and they wouldn't sit on the table.” 

Grab a cold beer and a hot burger, people. It's going to be a long, sweaty summer outside for trainers.

Here are a few things that are planned in the upcoming days:

Triple Crossing Brewing Co. is holding a Smash Bros. Tournament tonight that will double as a “Pokemon Go” meetup.  Plus, their deck mural is a Pokestop.

Sticky Togogo seriously got creative when it devised a series of “Pokemon”-inspired sushi rolls, including the Pikachu ($11), composed of broiled eel, red peppers, tamago, cream cheese and tater tots, rolled in panko flakes and black sesame seeds, and drizzled with eel sauce. And if you take over its gym outside, you’ll get 25 percent off of your order.

Pokemon are supposedly running rampant at Pasture and bar manager Beth Dixon has created a drink in honor of them: the Miltank ($9), composed of bourbon, Pimm’s, raspberry shrub and chamomile bitters.

Perk! Coffee + Lunchbox is planning to set lures and lay out some “Pokemon” incense on Saturday, July 16 at 2 p.m., to entice a few of those rare yellow monsters to show up.

There’s another gym at Center of the Universe Brewing and the folks there are planning a “Pokemon Go” meetup and battle on Wednesday, July 22 at 6 p.m.

On July 30, from noon to 9 p.m., Belly Timber is holding an RVA "Pokemon Go" Bar Crawl with drink specials, Pokedex, maps and a special fanny pack, presumably to stash said map in.

If you know of other “Pokemon”-related events, great restaurants to catch a zubat or anything else hungry trainers need to know, leave a comment below or email me at shortorder@styleweekly.com.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Publix Is Buying Martin's

It's true — change is on its way.

Posted By on Wed, Jul 13, 2016 at 10:41 PM

Surprise! Publix Super Markets announced in a press release that went out at 9 tonight that it is buying all 10 Martin’s stores that were rumored — never confirmed — to be slated for closure once parent company Ahold merged with Delhaize.

This comes hard on the heels of news earlier today, first reported by Supermarket News, that the merger, valued at $29 billion, was due to be completed at the end of the month upon approval of the Federal Trade Commission.

This means that pesky antitrust issues that had been holding up the deal were resolved — specifically, because the two companies together would create one monolithic grocery company that would include Food Lion, Giant Food, Hannaford (remember that name, folks?), Stop & Shop, as well as the Martin’s chain of stores, at least 80 stores would have to be axed before FTC approval.

It looks like the first 10 dominoes have dropped.

In a news release, Publix chief executive and president Todd Jones says: “Acquiring these 10 locations aligns with Publix’s aggressive growth plan for the commonwealth of Virginia. We are looking forward to providing Virginians with the high-quality service and products our customers have come to expect and have earned us recognition throughout the industry.”

What does this mean for the ever overheated Richmond grocery scene? Publix ventured into the fray when it announced last February that it would build a store on the footprint of what was once going to be a Ukrop’s in Nuckols Place Shopping Center in Glen Allen. The Florida-based chain is employee-owned and known for its great customer service — some Floridian transplants have likened it to Ukrop’s itself.

Now that the company has scooped up 10 stores at once in a single area, it’s thrown the most powerful punch to date in this never-ending grocery store cage match that Richmonders can’t get enough of.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Antler & Fin Will Become Boka Tavern

The Broad Street restaurant will undergo a two-week transformation.

Posted By on Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 12:47 PM

Update and clarification: Patrick Harris says that Antler & Fin plans to remain open during its transition to Boka Tavern: "We're wide open for business," he says. During the next two weeks, diners will be able to try Antler & Fin while it pulls in elements for its new concept, Boka Tavern. Diners are encouraged to call ahead to confirm that the restaurant is open for dinner as it undergoes the changes through July 17.

During the slow days of summer, restauranteurs’ minds drift and they begin to think about change. The latest, Antler & Fin and Boka Tako owner Patrick Harris, is changing his restaurant at 506 W. Broad St. during the next two weeks. When it opens again, it will be the latest member of the Boka family — Boka Tavern.

“This is going to be the biggest and the baddest Boka yet,” Harris says. “It’ll be a combo of Boka Tako Bar and Boka Grill [on South Side].”

Harris doesn’t have a bar at Boka Grill & Growlers, but the restaurant does have an expanded menu — something Boka Tavern will also have, plus craft cocktails, local beer and a late-night menu for its bar crowd similar to Boka Tako Bar in the Fan.

“We’ll have all of the signature stuff Boka is known for: the award-winning tacos — brisket, shrimp and grits, fish, all of those,” he says. “But then we’re bringing in a lot of things and the character of what we’ve been doing [at Antler & Fin]. … People will still be able to get an idea of what we were doing before.”

This means incorporating some of the more exotic ingredients into less chef-y dishes — things such as empanadas with wild boar, a braised lamb sandwich or venison cheesesteak. Specials at night will showcase less conventional dishes, or “the intrigue of nuance,” as Harris calls it.

The interior will remain the same, although chef Ian Merryman will be moving on. Harris will function as executive chef and is still deciding who might act as sous chef.

The GRTC bus stop directly in front of the restaurant will be relocated in four weeks, creating a much more prominent profile on the street for the restaurant. There’s also a parking lot around the corner on Henry Street.

“Honestly, this is like getting out of a bad relationship,” Harris says. “You say, ‘I’m sorry,’ but the other person always says, ‘You know what, it’s for the better.”

“I’m happy with this and I’m excited.”

Boka Tavern's hours: Sundays-Wednesdays 11 a.m.-midnight; Thursdays 11 a.m.-2 a.m.; and Fridays and Saturdays 11 a.m.-3 a.m.

Bobby Kruger Is Leaving Belle & James

Now he gets to sip cocktails instead of making them.

Posted By on Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 11:55 AM

Bobby Kruger, one of the first folks to bring craft cocktails to Richmond, is leaving Belle & James as general manager at the end of his shift on Saturday, July 9.

He’s been with the restaurant since its inception and helped create its bar program and, along with owner Kunal Shah, its brand. Belle & James opened at 700 E. Main St. last fall.

“I am very much looking forward to relaxing and sipping on a delicious cocktail at this beautiful bar without having to jump up and address something work-related,” Kruger said in the announcement, posted on his Facebook page.

Kruger says he plans to announce his next move at the end of the month.

Editor's note: We have corrected the spelling of Washington restaurateur Kunal Shah's last name.

Friday, July 1, 2016

The Remaking of Rancho T

The Fan restaurant will get a makeover this summer.

Posted By on Fri, Jul 1, 2016 at 11:13 AM

Rancho T is closed for a revamp, says co-owner Tuffy Stone. The spot took a hit when chef Aaron Cross left and the city rerouted traffic after a circle was installed where Floyd Avenue, Morris Street and Brunswick Avenue meet.

Nonetheless, business has been tough since the beginning. “As much as I love Rancho T,” Stone says, “it just didn’t satisfy enough people.” The decision was a recent one, coming on the heels of three slow weeks of business, he says. New chef Danielle Goodreau devised a menu that differed from the Latin American-inspired one of Cross, in the hopes of attracting new customers.

“When Ed [Vasaio] and I came up with the name, it was really inspired by a piece of artwork here on the wall,” Stonesays. “We didn’t think it called for a specific menu. We just wanted a good, neighborhood place.”

So Stone and Vasaio are taking a break in order to retool the menu, revamp the interior and change the name. Most important to Stone, though, is the assurance that Goodreau will remain in the kitchen.

“Danielle has the skills so that whatever she touches — be it a solid entree or a good sandwich — will be delicious,” he says. “I really believe in her.”

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