Sullivan's Island Pizza

If you follow Let’s Share a Dish on Instagram you might’ve noticed that I recently took a little vacation and road tripped down to Sullivan’s Island and Charleston with a few of my sorority sisters from Virginia Tech. We made our way down to South Carolina after I spent the day in Bedford, Virginia for work, so let’s just say my road trip snack essentials were clutch. Just a quick warning before you continue reading this post, there are going to be quite a few food photos, so please don’t read on an empty stomach!

Sullivan’s Island

Sullivan's Island beach

We booked a quaint little beach house on Sullivan’s Island (about 25 minutes from Charleston) which had direct access to the beach. Unfortunately the weather didn’t want to cooperate and the cold steady breeze meant we spent most of our time catching a few rays on our large back patio. On the island there are a few restaurants and shops, so we didn’t have to go far to grab a quick bite. On Friday night we had dinner on the patio at Poe’s Tavern, a restaurant known for its burgers. I tried the Pit & Pendulum Burger topped with cheddar cheese, bacon and onion straws.
Poe's Tavern Pit & Pendulum Burger

The Obstinate Daughter

After visiting Bearcat’s (the gelato shop below the restaurant), we made brunch reservations for Saturday at The Obstinate Daughter . I’d venture to say that it was the most well decorated restaurant I’ve ever eaten in. The space was bright and beachy but not over done. When we arrived for our reservation around 1:30 p.m., it would be an understatement to say we were starving. The Obstinate Daughter’s menu is full of pizzas, pastas, small plates and seafood, perfect for a group of hungry gals.

To start we tried the Geechie Frites, the chef’s take on polenta fries and then all ordered main dishes to nosh on. I opted for the Old Danger pizza topped with pancetta, mozzarella, white sauce, farm egg, scallion, black pepper, parmesan — basically the pizza version of a carbonara (pictured at the top of this post). And I’ve been dreaming of this pizza ever since. We finished up the meal with a piece of carrot cake to share. Admittedly I probably ate 90 percent of it, surprise, surprise.

Obstinate Daughter
Drink and menu
Polenta fries
OD Oysters and Pizza
Steak and eggs
Frittata
Carrot Cake Obstainate Daughter

Charleston

Rainbow Row Charleston

While we did spend a majority of our time on Sullivan’s Island, we were able to make the short drive into Charleston to see what the city had to offer. This was my first time visiting, so I was excited to see Rainbow Row and explore King Street. Even with the misty, rainy weather the colors on the buildings were vibrant. I can only imagine what it is like to visit on a sunny day. Honestly, with the old houses and cobblestone streets, I felt like we had been transported to the streets of a European city.

Hominy Grill

I was able to make a quick stop into Hominy Grill, a popular restaurant known for its southern fare, for breakfast one morning (all because I shattered the screen on my phone and needed to get it fixed, oops). When I saw the menu, I immediately knew what I was going to order, the Charleston Nasty Biscuit — a fried chicken biscuit with cheddar cheese, covered in sausage gravy. YEP. I have to say it did not disappoint.

HG menu

Hominy grill Charleston Nasty Biscuit

Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit

I’ve stalked Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit on Instagram for what feels like a few years now and when I was invited on this trip, I just knew I had to find it. Can you tell that Meg and I both love a good biscuit? Meg learned how to make them in a recent Southern Seasons class and the two of the three real meals I ate in Charleston just happened to be biscuits.

The small shop had limited seating but that was okay because we stopped in before hitting the road on Sunday morning. You know a spot is good when you stop in at 8 a.m. on a Sunday (in a city with an estimated 400 churches), and the place is packed. I tried one of the day’s specials — the bacon, egg and cheese biscuit and packed a couple of the blueberry biscuits to go. I also grabbed a tub of the pimento cheese to bring back to the office – you’re welcome Hodgers!

Callie's menu

Biscuit
Callies

Overall it was an incredible weekend with good friends, great drinks and amazing food. I’ll be counting down the days until I’m able to visit Charleston again. If you have any suggestions for things to do or places to eat the next time I visit, please share your recommendations in the comments below.

Group photo

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What's Happenin Wednesday 3.30

#RVAdine

  • Northsiders are in a state of mourning because Early Bird Biscuit Co. has moved to its new space in the Fan. If you’re an EBB virgin, here are two tips: (1) Follow EBB on Facebook where they announce specialty biscuits daily, (2) try the biscuits and gravy.
  • Stroops is gearing up to roll out its new Spring menu and new, longer hours (aka dinner, yay)! Winter dogs will only be available until April 5. We can’t wait to see what tasty seasonal combinations these mad hot dog scientists will come up with. (Note: We love Stroops so much, we were in line on opening day, and may or may not have been the first customers to try the Winter menu.)
  • Travis Milton, the former chef of Comfort, will open Shovel & Pick in Bristol, not Richmond. Sad news for us, great news for Appalachia.

So. Much. Food. News. Happening.

  • Have you ever thought about how your food sounds? If you answered yes, you’re not alone. In last week’s Bon Appétit Foodcast, Adam Rapoport, editor and chief of Bon Appétit Magazine, spoke with Dan Ashman, host of WNYC’s podcast Sporkful, about the sounds we associate with food. Rapoport also previewed the first episode in Sporkful’s new series Other People’s Food, which explores the intersection of race, culture and food. You can also learn more about the series here. I would highly recommend subscribing to both podcasts.
  • When a headline contains, “Disney World for Food Lovers” the only logical question is how do I book my ticket?
  • Shoutout to my coworker Paulyn for putting the new warm cookie ice cream sandwiches at Baskin Robins on my radar and for enabling my ridiculously impulsive snack habit. Without a doubt, I would buy one again.

This ice cream cookie sandwich had us wishing it was summer already. Details in today's blog post. – K

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What to add to your calendar:

  • The Richmond Kicker’s are hosting the Carytown Craft Beer Festival at City Stadium on Saturday, April 9. Go for the beer, stay and become a part of the Red Army.
  • Speaking of beer, celebrate National PB&J day at Isley Brewery in Scott’s Addition (one of Meg and I’s favorite local breweries) on Saturday, April 2.
  • March’s Feast RVA Dinner was (unfortunately) rescheduled, for April 17th. Lucky for you there’s still time to purchase a ticket. Join the community for a meal, while also learning about and supporting local creative projects.
  • RVA Street Art Fest is back! And this year, the festival is coming to Manchester. Mark your calendars for April 21-24.
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Kinsfolk Richmond Brunch

When Kelsey and I first started talking about what we wanted Let’s Share A Dish to be about, one thing was clear from the start — we wanted to try places in Richmond we both had never been to before. Identifying the places that neither of us have tried was more of a challenge than you might think – collectively, we’ve covered a lot of the Richmond restaurant scene! We put together a “dining bucket list” of sorts and separated it into categories with the goal of going to at least one or two new places each month.

The first place we decided to visit off of our list? Kinsfolk, a newly-opened restaurant in Forest Hill serving brunch, lunch, dinner and tube lunches to-go. With a focus on serving locally-sourced cuisine and food for the whole family (they not only have a kids menu, they have a baby food menu, too) we were excited to give this spot south of the river a try.

Kinsfolk Richmond

Kinsfolk Brunch Menu

The Dish

We went to check out Kinsfolk brunch on a Sunday morning a few weeks after they opened. We had a reservation and we were quickly seated at a cozy table near the window. Before even looking at the menu, I was talking to Kelsey about how much I loved the look and feel of the space. With fresh flowers, colorful paintings and a fun playlist, Kinsfolk is a place where I would be happy to sit for a few hours and just take it all in.

Kinsfolk Decor

We ordered from their winter brunch menu (soon they’ll be switching over to a new spring menu) and it didn’t take too long for us to decide what we wanted. Kelsey ordered the Monte Cristo with melted swiss, turkey and ham between slices of donut pudding french toast, topped with whipped kumquat and I ordered the dumplings & gravy with house country sausage, pepper dumplings, a sunnyside up egg and fried Brussels sprouts. We also threw in a side of homefries and a biscuit for good measure, not realizing that Kelsey’s sandwich came with homefries and we would soon have enough potatoes to feed a small family. Oh well, leftovers are never a bad thing in our book! (Evidence here – Kelso saved her biscuit to make a breakfast sandwich the next day.)

Kinsfolk Brunch

Kinsfolk Brunch Richmond

The food arrived quickly and I immediately knew I had made a good decision – no order envy here. Not only were the dumplings & gravy plated beautifully, the smell of the gravy was divine. I managed to get every element of the dish into my first bite and it was SO good. I wouldn’t have thought to add the Brussels sprouts if I was making something like this at home, but they really took this dish to the next level both in flavor and texture.

Of course, we both had to try each dish that we had ordered and the Monte Cristo was also delicious. The highlight of the dish was the donut pudding french toast (shocking, I know) and the whipped kumquat, which had just the right of amount of fruity flavor and sweetness. I had been eyeing the standalone donut pudding french toast dish on the menu, but after trying Kelsey’s sandwich, I was glad to have the savory complement of the turkey, ham and melted swiss cheese alongside the sweet french toast.

I asked Kelsey what her favorite part of Kinsfolk was, and she didn’t pause before saying the dumplings & gravy – I guess it’s a good thing we did in fact, share a dish.

Would we go back? We’d definitely do Kinsfolk brunch again, though we might have to try their Friday night special first – Donuts & Drinks.

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Road trip snacks

I’ve done my fair share of road trips over the years and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that snacks (or the lack thereof) can make or break your road trip experience. You do not want to be stuck in the car with four hours to go, when HANGER hits. And if you’re just along for the ride, you don’t want to be THAT friend that needs to stop every 30 minutes.

For any trip longer than two hours, I try to bring both sweet and salty snacks to satisfy any hungry passenger’s palate. On my seven hour drive to Charleston this month, I packed five essentials.

My five road trip snack essentials

  1. Boylan’s Ginger Ale. This hand-crafted soda contains no high fructose corn syrup — only pure cane sugar found here. I keep this in my snack bag in case I feel car sickness coming on.
  2. Oreos! Oops, I’m making up for the lack of high fructose corn syrup in my soda by eating these. Sue me. Oreos are my guilty pleasure snack, and if I’m going to suffer being in a car for seven hours you better believe I’m bringing these. Insider tip: Try the new filled cupcake flavor.
  3. Lara Bars. Dates are fruit right? I’m not a total junk food queen. These bars are the “healthy” snack in my bag. Each bar contains four grams of protein, which is better than nothing. They’ll tide you over until you can convince your car-mates to pull over for a real meal. My current favorite flavors are chocolate chip cookie dough and apple pie, but I’ve heard the chocolate chip cherry torte is also amazing.
  4. Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies. A year ago, this would’ve been Cheetos Puffs but hey, I’m sophisticated now. I shop at Fresh Market.
  5. Gin Gins Chewy Ginger Candy. You might be sensing a ginger theme because there is one. Basically anytime I’m in the car for longer than an hour and a half, I get car sick (unless I’m driving or sleeping). Meg gave me these candies to try and while they don’t really taste like candy, I do think they helped to keep my car sickness at bay.

We have a few road trips, train rides and long flights ahead of us this year. If you have any snack essentials you think we should try, share them in the comments below!

P.S. Bonus essential for your next long road trip: Podcasts! One I’m obsessing over right now is Reveal, a podcast produced by the Center of Investigative Reporting and PRX.

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Can you believe it? It’s already time for round two of What’s Happenin’ Wednesday. (If you missed last week’s introductory post on What’s Happenin’ Wednesday, feel free to catch up here.)

Here’s your weekly dose of What’s Happenin’ Wednesday:

  • This past weekend I went to Early Mountain Vineyards for their annual oyster festival. Rappahannock Oyster Company was on site with oysters, crabcakes and their famous stuffin’ muffin and I’m already counting down the days until we can pay a visit to Merroir, one of my favorite spots to enjoy a beautiful day. Look out for an upcoming post recapping the Oyster Fest at Early Mountain.
  • Wish you had a box of Virginia food products curated by a local chef? You’re in luck – thanks to The Fare Trade and Chef Jason Alley, you can order one here.
  • The return of warm weather means Taylor and I are sprucing up our balcony. We made a fountain like this one two years ago and I have to say, it’s nice having a mini waterfall right outside our door. If you’re looking for an easy way to add some ambience to your outdoor space, you should try it!
  • ICYMI: It’s cart season again in RVA, folks. This means that Christopher’s Runaway Gourmay is back on the streets of downtown Richmond. I’m telling you – one bite of their chicken salad or fettuccine pasta and everything is right in the world. It’s a steal with a full lunch coming in at under $6. (Don’t forget – Christopher’s is cash or check only.)
  • This video of a baby pig dancing to Rihanna will make your day.

What to add to your calendar:

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I’m a firm believer that some of best gifts to give (and receive) are experiences. I’m lucky to have friends and family that share that same sentiment, and my husband Taylor and I recently were given a gift card to use towards a Southern Season cooking class.

If you aren’t familiar with Southern Season, it’s a speciality foods store with roots in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and additional locations in Charleston, Raleigh and Richmond. In addition to aisles filled with gourmet and specialty foods, each location has a state-of-the-art kitchen where they offer cooking classes taught by different local instructors. Needless to say, this is a gift we were thankful to receive – and excited to enjoy!

Southern Season Cooking Class Kitchen

When Taylor and I were looking at the winter class schedule deciding which Southern Season cooking class to take, our decision was a no-brainer – we wanted to take Biscuits! 101. Seemingly one of Southern Season’s most popular cooking classes, this class often sells out quickly – I would guess because it is one of the hands-on courses that they offer and also because, biscuits. (Some of their other cooking classes are demonstrations where you get to sit back and enjoy some food and wine while learning the cooking techniques from others.)

This time around, we got into the class (yay!) and showed up to the cooking school on a Tuesday evening ready to learn and partake in some breakfast for dinner.

After introductions and some background on what we would be making, the class split into two teams to make two variations of biscuits: rolled biscuits and drop biscuits. Our team made drop biscuits (the recipe is named after Marilyn, the cooking school director at Southern Season) and it was fun learning this technique while watching the other team make theirs at the other end of the classroom.

Southern Seasons Cooking Class Recipe

Southern season cooking class overhead

Southern Season Cooking Class Ingredient Prep

Biscuits at Southern Season Cooking Class

Once our biscuits were in the oven, our group got back together to make sausage gravy – I’ve included the recipe we used at the bottom of the post.

I’ve made sausage gravy at home before, but this class taught me that I’ve always tried to hurry the process too much and some additional cooking time is well worth it to get just the right texture and build additional flavor.

Once everything was finished, we sat down and enjoyed our biscuits with sausage gravy, grits, homemade jam and mimosas. Pretty pleasant way to spend a Tuesday evening, right?

I’m excited to recreate some of the recipes from our class and purchased some grits after class so I can try my hand on that particular recipe at home.

Have you ever taken a Southern Season cooking class? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Sausage Gravy Recipe

Grannie Wims’ Sausage Gravy (Recipe provided by Southern Season)

Ingredients:
1 lb breakfast sausage
2 Tbsp. reserved fat
2 Tbsb. flour
2 cups milk
Pepper, to taste

Instructions:
1. Cook sausage on medium heat crumbling into small pieces until VERY crisp. Drain completely through a colander and wipe out pan.
2. Return 2 Tbsb. of the reserved fat to pan on medium heat. Add flour and cook until a tan color, whisking constantly.
3. Add cold milk and whisk constantly until thickened.
4. Return sausage to pan and gently cook over medium heat until thick. May need to add more milk as it thickens.
5. Add pepper to taste!

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