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Butcher of Belmont

Armed with a Biro band saw that's nearly as tall as she is, chef Tanya Cauthen is about to become the city's newest butcher, and a very demanding one at that.

The Belmont Butchery is opening at 15 N. Belmont Ave. and will offer artisanal hand-cut meats, house-cured sausages and prepared foods in the European-style storefront.

The Swiss-trained chef refined her meat-cutting skills in the Queen Victoria Market in Australia and says this city is ready for her wares. "I'm picky," Cauthen says. "The quality has to be there and will be a good value. I have the knowledge of the meats and what they can do, and can help customers pick the right cut of meat for their recipes, or to get unique items. I want them to come to me and ask."

She'll also offer prepared roasts and marinated, oven-ready meats, beef and lamb stews, shanks and the sides that pull a meal together, such as mashed potatoes and vegetable casseroles. A gourmet section will feature salts, peppers, rubs, packaged edibles, and a small beer and wine list selected to complement specific meats.

Cauthen is known locally for her work at The Red Oak Café, Sharper Palate, Edible Garden, Patina Grill, Ellwood Thompson's and Virginia Gourmet, among others, and she is a food writer and teacher known for managing every detail with precision. She's also a scuba diver who holds dual citizenship here and in Britain.

"My interests are very eclectic," she says, "and I want people to enjoy life and food and friends and family as much as I do. I'm weird in that most women want to buy shoes, and I want to buy tools. A compound miter saw, a meat saw — they're very cool toys."



Reasons to Dine

Amici in Carytown celebrates its 15th anniversary this week by returning menu prices to the 1991 versions. The restaurant's best-selling agnolotti — spinach and ricotta ravioli pillows in cream sauce — will go for $9.95 instead of the 2006 price of $15.95.

Owners Carlo Gaione and Antonia Capese say they want to thank customers for their loyalty and bring in new business.

"I won't deny that we considered selling the restaurant," Gaione responds to reports he might close, "but we changed our mind and want to keep it going. We just redid the kitchen last January, and we love our customers too much to close." The pair also operate La Grotta in Shockoe Slip, Twenty-Seven downtown and in the West End.

"A Toast for Our Children" is a benefit for IVNA Noah's Children pediatric hospice program, Oct. 21 from 7 to 11 p.m. Wine and food pairings from France, Italy and Spain will be featured, along with dancing, music and a live auction at the black tie-optional event at The Jefferson Hotel. Reservations are $125 per person. Call 254-6659 or visit www.ivna.org.

25th Festival of India is a free event at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, 403 N. Third St., Oct. 28-29. Visitors may purchase a diverse range of foods from across India, prepared on-site with authentic spices and herbs. Indian cooking ingredients will be sold, as well as jewelry, fabrics, books and other items. www.thefestivalofindia.org.



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