Side Dish 

Sneed's Latest

Forget plans for The Surrey House. A deal that Jimmy Sneed hoped to complete there fell through, and he's moving on to something closer to his granddaughter in Richmond. The chef says he's opening the city's "finest full-service Jamaican restaurant," partnering with Carena Ives, whose Jamaica HouseM on Broad Street has been a longtime carryout favorite for foodies and chefs. Carena's Jamaican Grille, located in a former Friendly's at Midlothian Turnpike and Chippenham Parkway, will serve jerks and curries as well as ribs, pizza, burgers and salads. Look for an early-summer opening, Sneed says.

Crunchy Goodness

Richmond's not usually on the cutting edge of the food world, but Chris Skinner is taking a shot by opening Out of the Box Cereal Company in early March at 823 W. Broad St. He and co-owner Don McHale took their cues from a few cereal-only restaurants in the Northeast, but this is an independent venture and the first in the region. Skinner, formerly beverage director at Bottega Bistro, will serve 40 cold cereals, five hot oatmeals, 20 toppings and five kinds of milk in a bright green-painted space with 15 seats and Wi-Fi access.

"We really want to reach all the people in the neighborhood with a healthy alternative," Skinner says, "and to make it a friendly, safe environment for kids and adults." As for his own favorite, Skinner says with a laugh: "I'm a peanut butter Cap'n Crunch with sugar and whole milk guy up and down."

Liquid Lexicon

Genevelyn Steele, who manages the Forest Hill Avenue location of Private Stock Cigar and Wine Co., knows that people who are new to wine are often confused by some of the terminology — acidity, tannins, oak, malolactic fermentation — and she's introducing a class to help. She's calling it a workshop for taste buds, using tea and other beverages to explain what tannins are, when acidity is a good thing, and what some of those other wine words mean. The class is March 1 at 6:30 p.m. and costs $5. Call 523-3868 for information.

Fattening Tuesday

Chef Jason Thrasher of North Side's Bella Arte is putting the Creole touch on a special menu for Fat Tuesday, Feb. 28. He'll be serving traditional gumbo, plantation-style jambalaya, crawfish étouffée, sautéed shrimp, Mardi Gras mashed potatoes, red beans and rice, and other classic Louisiana dishes, all while the Matt Balestino Quartet sets the scene with live up-tempo jazz. Best of all, beignets and a special drink menu cap off the night. Dinner begins at 5 p.m.

Kitchen Vet

Over at Manakin-Sabot's Red Oak Café, guest chef Dr. Fielding O'Niell of Tuckahoe Veterinary Hospital will help host a benefit dinner Feb. 28. Proceeds from the Mardi Gras-themed evening will go toward the Rescue & Reunite Fund of the Humane Society of the United States, which serves animals and their owners displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Jambalaya, gumbo and crawfish étouffée are on the menu, along with the café's signature dishes. Reservations are limited.

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