Side Dish 

Waiting for Pizza in Westover Hills

Munching without animals at Rentz

Chef Maura, whose catering and meal-delivery business is moving into a new commercial kitchen just before the busy holiday season, says she'll serve a mostly vegetarian spread for this month's Bacchus & Beast event at Rentz Gallery. The chef says the benefit, to support the animal-training and adoption programs of Save Our Shelters, hits home: "I have three SOS cats myself — they're my babies." Maura's preparing a suitably meat-free spread in honor of the nonprofit's rescue work.

For the Nov. 17 gathering, spiced jumbo shrimp and red-wine-marinated grilled vegetables will share tables with stuffed brie, chocolate-dipped strawberries and other dishes. Regional wines will be featured alongside silent auction merchandise. Tickets are $25. www.saveourshelters.com

Slaughterhouse rules in reverse

On the same theme, vegans can celebrate a meat-free Thanksgiving at a potluck dinner next week. The Vegetarian Society of Richmond, which sponsors monthly gatherings at local restaurants, brings members and others to Friends Meeting House, 4500 Kensington Ave., at 4 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. Participants provide a vegan dish to share, and nonmembers also pay $5. They'll learn about the Farm Sanctuary's Adopt-A-Turkey project, which encourages people to feed, rather than feed upon, turkeys. To learn more, contact the VSR at 344-4356 or go to www.adoptaturkey.org.

From jack-o'-lanterns to puree

Furthermore, pumpkin appears on a few menus around Richmond this season, along with lots of butternut squash in soups (Chez Foushee) and roasted beets as sides (Acacia, Racine). At Pasta Luna, pumpkin fills ravioli and ricotta cheesecake, and it's paired with spicy sausage in a traditional pasta sauce that's served in a natural pumpkin shell. At Pomegranate, the cream of pumpkin soup with balsamic vinegar reduction and white truffle oil is a perennial favorite, one of the bistro's most-requested items for fall.

Have a tip about the Richmond restaurant scene? Send it to sidedish@styleweekly.com



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