Thursday, February 23, 2017

"The South You Never Ate" Wants to Tempt People to the Eastern Shore.

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 12:59 PM

Clam fritters and Hog Island mutton will be on the menu, but organizers of “The South You Never Ate” event want folks to leave with more than a full belly.

The event on Friday, Feb. 24 at Ker Place in Onancock invites people to experience ingredients and dishes that are unique to the area and are some of the oldest in the eastern U.S. It also aims to whet the appetite for what the Eastern Shore has to offer. That could be jobs as a chef, restaurateur or a vintner, reasons for people to make their homes on the Shore.

One of the brains behind the affair is Bernie Herman, chair of the department of American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He’s also a man with a deep admiration for the Shore, and is there part time in Machipongo. Herman knows the high poverty levels that persist in Northampton County and drive many young people away.

But the county is special when it comes to food, he said.

“The cuisine is every bit as distinctive as the low country of South Carolina and the bayou of Louisiana,” Herman said.

“It’s literally the South you never ate outside of this community. ... It’s an awareness of what makes this place so special. If we could create one job for one person so that one family would not have to leave, that would be something.”

Herman has collaborated with others over the years to research the foods and recipes that are native to the Eastern Shore. Last year, the group held its first event, with chef Amy Brandt creating a seven-course roster for the evening. Brandt has brainstormed another menu, giving this year’s the title “The South You Never Ate: Second Helpings.” It is already sold out.

Several individuals pulled the event together, along with the Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society and the Eastern Shore of Virginia Foodways Project. Five “supper scholarships” will allow five students interested in the culinary arts to attend. Money raised from the night will go to the historical society.

The five-course menu reads like modern twists on old Eastern Shore cookbooks, or tweaks to long-ago talks around a battered kitchen table.

One course includes family-style lattice-top oyster pie with pan-fried black twig apples. Another pairs Hog Island mutton roast with spoon bread. (Hog Island sheep were indigenous to the area, as were Hayman sweet potatoes, which will go into the bread.)

The foods will be enjoyed with wines from Chatham Vineyards on the shore.

Another organizer is Heather Lusk, whose family began HM Terry Co. Inc. in 1903; it continues to grow oysters and clams.

She’s a native of Willis Wharf and left for college, worked in corporate law and then returned home six years ago.

Her father, she said, encouraged her to leave – temporarily.

“He said there’s always a place for you here, but you need to go away and get some experiences for you to bring back here.”

Now she wants others to see the unique place she calls home.

“We want to give people a sense of place in a place that’s not historically ripe for opportunity,” she said. “We’re not going to reach hundreds of people, but if we can reach one or two people, that’s large.”

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Weekly Food Notes: It's All About Cookies

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 12:34 PM

This year, L’Opossum’s David Shannon won chef of the year at the Elbys, Richmond magazine’s restaurant awards, and his restaurant took home the prize for restaurant of the year, while the former Pizza Tonight, Nota Bene, was named best new restaurant. richmondmagazine.com/restaurants-in-richmond/elbys.

The 2017 Virginia Wineries Association’s Governor's Cup went to the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon made by the Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards in Hamilton. The Virginia Wine Board describes it as "a full-bodied wine with well-balanced acidity. It is aged in French and American oak and expresses notes of dark cherry and coffee. ... Clove and tobacco notes add complexity and extend through the finish." virginiawine.org.

Cookies are the center and we all revolve around them: Richmond BizSense reports that Hero Cookies, stared by Air Force veteran and local firefighter Andrew Parsley has reached its goal on Kickstarter. He bakes gluten-, dairy- and egg-free cookies with organic coconut oil and coconut sugar for his mail-order business and donates 10 percent of sales to help families of veterans. Just last week, Barbara Corcoran of “Shark Tank” tweeted, “Looking good, Hero Cookies!” herocookies.us.

And Red Eye Cookie Co., Richmond’s cookies-and-milk delivery service, opened a second store in Charlottesville in the spot formerly occupied by Campus Cookies to bring University of Virginia students the fuel they need to keep going during those all-nighters. redeyecookie.com.

Publix Super Market plans to build another store at Brandy Creek Commons, a shopping center still in development on Mechanicsville Turnpike. It’ll bring the total to 12 stores in the greater Richmond area for the Florida-based company. publix.com.


There’s more cookie news: On Thursday, Feb. 23, from 5-9 p.m., Buskey Cider will pair its wares with five different varieties of Girl Scout cookies provided by Troop 4905. I can’t even believe it’s Girl Scout cookie season again — it’s one of the happiest times of year. buskeycider.com.

Rapp Session is going full Mardi Gras from Friday, Feb. 24 through Wednesday, March 1. It’ll be crawdads all the time, Rappahannock Oyster Co.’s newest bivalve, dubbed Rochambeau, plus gumbo, étouffée and king cake. It’s a little homage to the space’s old owner, Louisiana Flair. You can bet I’ll be bellying up to the bar to grab a Hurricane pretty much all weekend long. rroysters.com/restaurants/rapp-session.

Skip lunch and dress up for Zest Fest, FeedMore’s annual gala, on Saturday, Feb. 25, starting at 6 p.m. at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. Just a few of the chefs you can expect include Sara Ayyash of the Jefferson Hotel, Frances Lewis’ private chef J. Frank, Velma Johnson of Mama J’s Kitchen and the Boathouse and Casa Del Barco’s Corey Sheldon. feedmore.org.

And don’t forget Lady N’awlins Cajun Cafe’s annual celebration of Fat Tuesday, where the the Louisiana fare will overflow from 2 p.m.-2 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28. ladynawlins.com.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Weekly Food Notes: Cake, Awards + More

Posted By on Wed, Feb 15, 2017 at 12:27 PM

The biggest news is, of course, the nominations of Metzger Bar and Butchery’s Brittanny Anderson for the James Beard Foundation’s best chef: mid-Atlantic and Evrim Dogu of Sub Rosa Bakery as best baker. Finalists will be announced March 15, and the glamorous James Beard Awards gala, where the winners will be announced, will be held in Chicago on May 1. jamesbeard.org.

Hardywood Park Craft Brewery opened its latest location in Charlottesville. The company plans to experiment with small batch beers there and other innovative brews. hardywood.com.

There's a new downtown restaurant in the works, reports Richmond BizSense. Chicano’s Cocina Bar & Grill, brought to you from the folks of Lalo’s Cocina Bar & Grill and Mechanicsville’s Patron Mexican Restaurant, will open at Main and Sixth streets this spring. laloscocina.com and thepatronrestaurant.com.

Stroops Heroic Dogs announced on its Facebook page that it was closing. The owners are looking for a tenant for the space but in the meantime, the post says, “We are excited to diversify our menu. The change will be gradual [and] … we'll be looking to exercise our creative taste buds.” stroopsrva.com.

Willow Lawn's the American Tap Room, a small chain with spots in Bethesda, Maryland, and Reston, is closed, reports the Times-Dispatch. The company that owns the taproom plans to retool and open as Hattie Mae's Southern Cuisine & Oyster Bar. pheastfg.com.

A new Olio — technically the third — is opening at 2028 W. Cary St., the Times-Dispatch also reports. The first Olio was sold and renamed Branch & Vine by the new owners, and the downtown location lost its lease. Olio at the Brownstone is a catering company unrelated to the new venture.


Garden Grove Brewing Co. is celebrating its second anniversary for the rest of the week with new releases, such as Precision Collision, an ale that combines both beer and winemaking techniques. You can also expect prizes and lots of live performances. gardengrovebrewing.com.

You can come for the live music at Stir Crazy Cafe, but you ought to stay for the coffee and dessert. Shyndigz and Ironclad Coffee Roasters are teaming to pair things such as Congo Idjwi Island coffee and lemon lava cake on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 6 p.m. Tickets for Scrumdiddlyumptious by Shyndigz and Ironclad cost $10. stircrazyrva.com.

CORRECTION! Gold Cart will hold its no-holds-barred Winter Lodge event at Comfort on Sunday, Feb. 26, not Thursday, Feb. 23, as originally published. facebook.com/goldcartrva.

Two Richmond Semifinalists for the James Beard Foundation Awards Announced

Posted By on Wed, Feb 15, 2017 at 10:52 AM

The James Beard Award semifinalists have been announced and this year, two Richmonders got the nod. Brittanny Anderson, chef and owner of Metzger Bar & Butchery, was nominated for the Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic award. The restaurant’s German-influenced cuisine also was chosen as Style’s restaurant of the year in 2015. Brittanny is a native Richmonder and comes from stints at New York’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Northern Spy Food Co.

The second nominee is Evrim Dogu of Sub Rosa. He’s been tapped as a semifinalist for the best baker award. Sub Rosa Bakery has been mentioned in a plethora of major publications, such as Esquire, Food & Wine and Saveur, along with the two big U.S. newspapers, the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Hard Shell Downtown Reopens

Everything old is new again.

Posted By on Fri, Feb 10, 2017 at 2:49 PM

The Hard Shell Downtown has been shucking oysters in a block that straddles Shockoe Slip and Shockoe Bottom for 22 years. A month ago, Richmond Restaurant Group, which also owns the Daily Kitchen & Bar, East Coast Provisions, Pearl Raw Bar and the Hill Cafe, quietly closed the seafood restaurant for renovations.

Tonight, the Hard Shell will open back up. You’ll see a lighter, more upscale, industrial-chic space with gray-buttoned booths and lots of wood, along with Carrera marble and white washed wood tables. The stage area is now a raw bar, and although the paper on the tables hasn’t gone anywhere, the new interior is meant to match a new menu that will roll out during the next couple of weeks.

The Hard Shell Downtown is located at 1411 E. Cary St. and is open Mondays-Saturdays 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. and Sundays 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Weekly Food Notes: Shockoe Slip's New Restaurant, Virginia's New Oysters + More.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 8, 2017 at 12:18 PM

La Grotta made its move to Broad Street last year and now Mijas Cantina has opened in its old space at 1218 E. Cary St. in Shockoe Slip. The upscale Latin American restaurant that serves things such as Mexican style egg rolls, duck tacos and an 18-ingredient mole enchilada, along with a full craft cocktail menu. Smoked margaritas, anyone? mijascantinarva.com.

Bombolini Pasta on West Main Street is branching out — but in a way you might not expect. It has plans to start a distillery on its premises. As the Times-Dispatch points out, however, the permit to do so has yet to be approved and goes to the Planning Commission on Feb. 21. bombolinipasta.com.

Last week we heard that restaurant dream team Michele Jones, Jason Alley and Jay Bayer were opening a brewery/restaurant/arcade in Scott’s Addition. Now, it seems, another one in the neighborhood is in the planning process. Robert Lupica, who was one of the first franchisee owners of SweetFrog Premium Yogurt, will open his version in April, reports Richmond BizSense. It’ll use a similar model to Richmond Wine Station, also coming to Scott’s Addition in spring. Customers can pour 60 craft beers, ciders and wine through an automated system that uses iPads and pre-loaded swipe cards.

White Stone Oyster Co. is producing a new kind of oyster, Jane Black of the Washington Post writes. Well, an oyster that’s physically a little different from most raised in Virginia — all Atlantic-grown oysters are Crassostrea virginica. What makes this deep-shelled variety different is the way it’s grown — instead of cages that rest on the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay, the company uses a floating variety that exposes them to the vicissitudes of weather and its effect on the water’s movement. This creates a thicker, deeper shell and a meatier oyster that resembles those from the West Coast. whitestoneoysters.com.


Tonight you can begin gearing up for Valentine’s Day at Amour Wine Bistro in Carytown. Starting at 6:30 p.m., the French restaurant is offering a champagne tasting for $45. amourwinebistro.com.

Perk Coffee and Lunchbox will celebrate its second anniversary in Bon Air with tastings from Mother Shrub, Vegtabowl Foods and Craft Brew Bread, along with coffee from Blanchard’s Roasting Co. — plus, the Backpack Storyteller will be on hand with a few tales starting at noon. perkbonair.com.

There are a million things going on at restaurants for Valentine’s Day, such as dessert and rosé at Blue Bee Cider from Feb. 10-14, a prix fixe special at Maple & Pine Restaurant and Camden’s Dogtown Market’s sixth annual Romance in the Market event with braised coffee-rub lamb, smoky coq au vin and cedar-planked salmon on offer. I suggest planning ahead and getting on the phone now for reservations. bluebeecider.com, destinationhotels.com/maple-and-pine-restaurant, cdmrva.com.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Kabob Place Is Now Open in the West End

It's a taste of authentic Afghani, Pakistani and Indian cuisine.

Posted By on Thu, Feb 2, 2017 at 11:48 AM

If you’re feeling peckish after your workout at Gold’s Gym in the West End, you can pop over to the Kabob Place — House of Kabobs and Karahi's and either eat-in or grab some takeout for dinner later on. The owners, Shawn Munir and Juana Ulloa, who also owned the Fan’s Trolley Market, opened their new spot at 8900 W. Broad St. on Wednesday, Feb. 1. It specializes in Afghani, Pakistani and Indian fare.

"We have always wanted to open a kabob restaurant in the West End since the area is very diversified and there is no genuine kabob restaurant in the surrounding area,” Munir said in a news release. "We decided to open our restaurant at Gold's Gym Plaza because of its diversified dine-in/out [destinations ] which was missing Indian/Pakistani/Afghan representation."

The Kabob Place is open Sundays-Thursdays 11 a.m.-10 p.m. and Fridays Saturdays 11 a.m.-11 p.m .

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Weekly Food Notes: New Restaurants + Even More New Restaurants

Posted By on Wed, Feb 1, 2017 at 2:20 PM

Center of the Universe Brewing Co.’s Origin Brew Lab and all of its scientific trappings will celebrate its grand opening at the end of the week. Want to know more? Annie Tobie has all the details here. cotubrewing.com.

More Mexican fare is sailing into Short Pump, says Boathouse owner Keven Healy. He plans to open a second location of Casa Del Barco in Short Pump Town Center. And although the downtown location has a scenic canal view, you’ll be able to sit under the stars in this spots rooftop bar -- and have 200 varieties of mescal and tequila from which to choose. casadelbarco.com.

I have an abiding passion for wings -- there, I’ve said it. And I’m particularly happy to hear that Anchor Bar -- the reputed inventor of my favorite snack -- is opening in Stony Point Fashion Park on Feb. 18.

Spoonbread Bistro owner Michael Hall is planning to open a barbecue joint at at 105 N. Robinson St., right around the corner from his restaurant. Black Market Barbecue will open this spring, reports Richmond magazine. spoonbreadbistro.com.

Not content to have just two new spring projects going, Sur Taco and Sandwich and Flora, Michele Jones and Jason Alley, along with Flora partner Jay Bayer, plan to open a brewery/restaurant/arcade in -- you guessed it -- Scott’s Addition, the Times-Dispatch reports.

RateBeer.com’s readers are falling in love with Virginia beer. The Veil Brewing Co. is the No. 3 best new brewer in the world, as well as the best new brewer in Virginia. Mekong Restaurant is Virginia’s best beer restaurant, as well as one of the best places for beer in the U.S. Hardywood Park Craft Brewery took the best brewer in Virginia spot, Strangeways Brewing has the best brewery tap room and Lickinghole Creek’s Great Commander was awarded the No. 1 spot for best beer in the state.

Happenings: If you need a break from football mania and would rather start thinking about Valentine’s Day, on Sunday, Feb. 5, Blue Bee Cider will hold Chocolate Loves Cider, from 2-3 p.m. It’s a team effort that includes Gearharts Fine Chocolates and you can sample four pairings for $18-$20. bluebeecider.com.

Monday, Feb. 6, is pop-up night at Kabana Rooftop, when the Jackdaw crew makes it their way for a Japanese-influenced five-course kaiseki event. Tickets are $70 and include paired beverages. facebook.com/thejackdawrva.

A Second Casa Del Barco Is Coming to Short Pump

Independent restaurants are making their move west.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 1, 2017 at 9:59 AM

It’s time for Short Pump to sit up and take notice. Casa Del Barco is on its way to Short Pump Town Center this summer, to keep its sibling restaurant, the Boathouse, company at this shopping center full of chain restaurants.

“We wanted to find the right fit for our second Casa del Barco location and when the opportunity to open at Short Pump Town Center was available, we knew we couldn’t pass it up,” said Boathouse Group owner Kevin Healy in a news release.

For downtown denizens, the spot west of Richmond won’t hold too many surprises — but that’s a good thing. One addition will differentiate it from the other location. Besides craft cocktails, the restaurant’s Mexican menu and 200 tequilas and mezcals inside, the new Casa Del Barco will make private event rooms available, and — best of all — offer an open-air, rooftop tequileria, spokesperson Megan Irvin says.

It’s a busy time for Healy’s restaurant group. A fourth Boathouse is planned for Hopewell this year, too.

“We’ve been a part of the Richmond dining community for almost 30 years and we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon,” Healy says.

CORRECTION: This story originally spelled spokesperson Megan Irvin's name wrong. It's been corrected.
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