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Slice of New Life

Bean pies divide people into two camps: those who have never tasted one and those whose oldest soul-food memories include the soft, custardy flavors of beans, sugar and spices poured into a pastry crust.

Aqueela Abdul-Badee is hoping to gain a new following for bean pies in a 6-inch snack size, she says, "because that way you can finish it without eating too much." She's also making lemon chess, sweet potato and coconut pies as part of a fledgling business fueled by a local nonprofit, New Visions, New Ventures, which helps women develop their entrepreneurial skills in the food industry.

Abdul-Badee, 52, sells her wares, labeled A Rose Above Pastries, at the Farmers' Market on Thursdays and Sundays through the end of December, and will take special orders by phone. "These are wholesome pies and I'm also working on some sugar-free versions for people with diabetes," she says. "This has given me a new chance to do something that people enjoy." 497-2479.

Closed Doors at Jacqueomo's

A sign on the window says "Mechanical Repairs," but the phone is disconnected at Shockoe Bottom restaurant Jacqueomo's, which opened to much fanfare last fall. No word on whether the place will reopen, but neighboring business owners are surprised that the costly and elaborately decorated establishment shut down without notice, sending those with Restaurant Week reservations scurrying for other options.

Menu Change

A broader, more moderately priced menu at Old City Bar is pulling in new clientele, says co-owner Ian Kelley. New appetizers include crab Harrison with béarnaise and a lamb chop with mint demi-glace. A 16-ounce grilled ribeye steak and quail stuffed with hunter sausage in a blueberry sauce are new entrées. Three pastas are featured as well, and on Thursdays, acoustic guitarist Dave Pollard plays during the dinner hours and beyond. S

Worldly Fare: More Party-Food Menus

When some 200 local physicians stepped onto the grounds of Agecroft Hall for a party earlier this month, they found a global menu of foods, wines and beers, and an opportunity to socialize in one of Richmond's most treasured historic settings.

Sheltering Arms Physical Rehabilitation Centers hosted the fete, and restaurants Osaka Sushi, Amici Ristorante, Ipanema Grill and The Melting Pot set out a tasting menu that covered all the bases, from California rolls to Brazilian potato salad.

Amici served sausage in pastry, nut-filled peppers with Gorgonzola and smoked salmon. Ipanema Grill complemented its traditional roast meats with Brazilian potato salad and fried bananas. Traditional sushi rolls were presented on decorative platters, and guests dipped fruits and breads into chocolate and cheese fondues.

Wine- and beer-tastings drew enthusiastic samplers, and three fine wines were door prizes: Chateau Cos D'Estournel St. Estephe 2001, a luxury cuvée; Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes D'or Brut vintage 1996; and Casisano Colombaio Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1999, acclaimed by Wine Spectator magazine.

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