Pastries with a Czech-Texas twist coming to RVA

Get excited Richmond! Craft Kolache will soon be baking its pastries out of the old Chocolates by Kelly space in Church Hill. And while the space will only be used as a commercial kitchen for now, it’s possible that it might serve as a retail location in the future.

**UPDATE** Craft Kolache is now serving these delicious pockets of love out of their space in Church Hill. They are open Friday 7 a.m. – 11 a.m., Saturday 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. and Thursday hours are coming in February.

Never heard of kolache?

Pronounced kuhlah-chee, these pastries originally from Central Europe, can be found across the United States, but first gained popularity here in the States in Texas. If you’ve ever visited Texas you might’ve seen a Kolache Factory or two, especially if you were in Houston. These little pillows of dough are often filled with fruits, nuts, cheeses and even meats.

Heather Horak, owner of Craft Kolache, is hoping that her pastries will be the next big thing here in Richmond. Horak was raised by her mother in San Antonio, and when Horack’s mom was working a few jobs and needed a healthy, quick grab and go meal to feed her children she started baking the kolache that her Czechoslovakian mother used to make her.

Family recipe meets SEED grant

Horak recently won a $5,000 SEED grant from Virginia Local Initiatives Support Corporation, an organization which aims to transform distressed neighborhoods into healthy communities of choice and opportunity. She’s using that money to create her commercial kitchen and also purchase the equipment she’ll need to keep her kolache warm at South of the James every Saturday. Recently, Horak worked with Rose McAdoo, a pastry chef based in New York to perfect her own spin on her family’s kolache recipe.

Kolache Richmond

Starting next weekend (6/11), you’ll be able to find Craft Kolache at SOTJ where you can purchase these unique pastries individually or the by dozen/half dozen. And if you need to place a special order for a special occasion, Horak will be able to take special orders soon. She hopes to change her menu seasonally and to source her ingredients locally whenever possible. And she’s already been playing around with a few speciality offerings.

A photo posted by Craft Kolache (@kolacherva) on

Oh and just a heads up, there are even some collaborations already in the works with Ironclad Coffee and ZZQ — we’ll be first in line to try a kolache filled with sausage and  jalapeño mac and cheese!

Follow:

Sure Hand Signs Leaving Its Mark on RVA

Chances are, you’ve admired the work of Sure Hand Signs somewhere around Richmond. It might have been at the new City View Lofts in Manchester or at the entrance to Quirk Hotel where a hand-painted sign or gilded window with a vintage look caught your eye. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that I noticed the company’s work at the many restaurants they’ve contributed to around town, a list that includes some of my favorite places to eat like Early Bird Biscuit Co. & Bakery, Ardent Craft Ales, The Dog & Pig Show and Union Market.

sure hand signs early bird
Ross Trimmer, the owner of Sure Hand Signs, started the Richmond-based company a few years ago. He was working as a tattoo artist when he decided he wanted to make a hand-painted sign for his tattoo shop. A short time after, a friend asked him if he would do a similar project for his company, and from that job came another one. The painting work became steady enough where Trimmer couldn’t keep doing both of his jobs, and just like that Sure Hand Signs became a business about six months after Trimmer picked up a lettering brush for the first time. Fast forward a few years and business is going so well that Trimmer recently added an employee to the Sure Hand Signs team, Aaron Cruse.

When starting out, Sure Hand Signs mostly worked with small businesses in the Richmond area. Today, the company’s clientele has expanded somewhat, both when it comes to location and client type. While the bulk of their work is still with small businesses here in town, they’re also doing projects in places like D.C. and Baltimore and their client roster includes names like Thalhimer. Whether a project is big or small, they approach it the same way, every project starts with a sketch that ultimately comes to life by way of a paint brush.

sure hand signs sketch

Trimmer acknowledges that the signs they create are mini works of art, fitting given his background in fine arts, but he tries not to make his signs overly fancy. “They have a job to do,” he said, “they need to be clean, easy to read.” And while most of their signs convey basic information like the name of a business, an address, or the hours of operation, it’s clear that each hand-painted sign is a labor of love.

In addition to loving the work, Trimmer admits there are a few other perks to the job, whether it’s being one of the first to know about a new spot that’s opening or seeing a space come to life as he’s working in it.

sure hand signs ross

Through Sure Hand Signs, Trimmer feels like he’s leaving his mark on Richmond. “A lot of the places I love in Richmond are now contacting me to work on signs for them, and that’s a cool feeling,” he said. “Many of these businesses will be around for a long time and it’s neat to think I could move away and come back in 20 years and drive by somewhere and think hey, I did that.”

Follow:

What’s Happenin’ Wednesday

Happy Humpday!

  • I bought a new water bottle this weekend at Target and I am obsessed. It keeps drinks cold for hours (supposedly 24) and can keep coffee hot ALL day. Also, love the fun patterns, even though I opted for the classic white.
  • You can now make reservations for Dutch & Co. online! I’m dying to check out their Monday pasta nights and finally try the perfect egg.
  • Bravo to Stephanie Ganz for putting together this Biscuit Guide for RVANews. We’re super jealous of all the flaky buttery biscuts that she ate. My personal favorite: Saison Market’s chicken biscuit.
  • I know this isn’t new anymore but I just cannot stop listening to this song. In fact, I’m listening to it right now as I write this blog post.
  • Okay recent (and not so recent) grads, it is time to step up your beer game. Sorry, when you are 25, drinking a Miller Lite is only acceptable in a couple of situations. Luckily this guide will help you find an acceptable beer to drink based on your cheap college tastes.
  • I’m attempting to be on a health kick, and when I saw this collard wrap from Eating Bird Food, I knew I just had to try it. I did my own take on this healthy wrap this week for lunch and I am loving it! The collard green leaves are crispy and crunchy in the best possible way.

What to add to your calendar

  • Tonight VCU’s Massey Alliance is hosting Cheers for Charity at Strangeways Brewing Company. Grab a beer or two and support Massey Cancer Center. Ten percent of proceeds will be donated to the organization.
  • One of our favorite local summer beers, Ardent’s Honey Ginger, is finally being released again on June 4. Event details here — bonus points because ZZQ will be smoking all the meats.
  • Do you like Italian foods and classical music? Then we have the event for you! Classical Revolution RVA presents: A Taste of Tuscany, on June 1 and 2. Last year’s event sold out so if you’re interested in attending, buy your tickets early!
  • Broad Appètit is almost here! This food festival basically kicks off summer, and it is an event that we are extremely excited about. Broad Appètit takes place on June 5, and local restaurants will be competing for a variety of awards such as the To Dine For Award. This means you can taste small plates from your favorite restaurants for just $3. Get there early to avoid the largest crowds.
  • Next weekend is a big weekend for food events. Thursday June 2, through Sunday June 5, Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral will host the 41st annual Greek Festival. And each day benefits a different local charity. We love the Yahni and the Greek cheesecake! If you don’t want to fight the massive crowds you have two options: go early or try the drive-thru.
Follow:

Richmond Market: Little House Green Grocery

Bellevue is currently one of Richmond’s hottest neighborhoods. In this family friendly neighborhood, you’ll find a cluster of shops and restaurants within walking distance, including Little House Green Grocery — a neighborhood grocer stocked with fresh produce, local products and carefully curated speciality items.

Inside little house green grocery

Erin wright little house green grocery
Outside little house green grocery

Little House Green Grocery was opened in 2012 by Erin Wright. And like many of the Richmonders we’ve talked to since we’ve started Let’s Share a Dish, Wright did not start her career in the food industry — she spent time as a teacher, school administrator and as a volunteer coordinator and horticulturist at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens before opening her store. While living in California, Wright learned a lot about the beauty of fresh food, and was inspired to open Little House Green Grocery. “I just didn’t see why we couldn’t have the same food focused culture here,” Wright explains. Her vision for the shop is a place where you can find fresh vegetables, humanely raised meats and everyday staples that you can feel good about feeding your family. And while the shop attracts all walks of life, her goal is that she’s helping people enjoy a meal together. “Great things happen around the dinner table,” said Wright.

Tea and iced coffee little house green grocery

Sandwiches
Shelves

Fresh produce

When you walk into the store, you’ll find everything from grab and go vegan sandwiches, organic granola, small batch caramels and even vietnamese iced coffee. The carefully selected offerings bolster the fact that Wright likes to describe her store as a small business incubator of sorts — a space where small businesses can perfect their production process before trying to go big. And what does Wright think will be the next big food trend? Drinking vinegars and fermented foods are two strong possibilities. Isn’t it crazy how what’s old always becomes new again?

And speaking of new, starting in June, look for Little House Green Grocery to begin offering a meal kit program, similar to Blue Apron or Hello Fresh. For about $20, you’ll be able to pick up everything you’ll need to make dinner for two.

Similar to our last Richmond Market post, we asked Wright to help us pull a few items that you should look out for on your next (or perhaps first) visit to Little House Green Grocery.

Five under $50 at Little House Green Grocery

Little house green grocery five under 50

  1. Raising Green Kids Napkins, $14.00 – These reusable napkins can be thrown in the washing machine after each use, and are a great alternative to paper napkins and fun prints, perfect for a child’s lunchbox.
  2. Fleur de sel caramels from la vache microcreamery in Charlottesville, $4.00 for a four pack – Yes, just yes, Erin you are speaking this sweet tooth’s language. These creamy soft caramels are incredible. Bonus they’re a great treat for all of your gluten free friends!
  3. Farmstead Ferments Immune Tonic Kraut, $11.95 – Okay, we’re back on the healthy train. This kruat contains Cabbage, kale, onion, kombucha, garlic, shiitake mushroom, reishi mushroom, nettle, astragalus root, ginger, lemon balm, lemongrass, Celtic Sea Salt. And this could be the perfect cure to that spring sickness floating around your office.
  4. Little House Green Grocery Pancake Mix, $4.00 – According to Wright, this house-made mix makes the “fluffiest pancakes.” She suggests adding chocolate chips or fresh blueberries if you want to kick it up a notch. Sidenote: these jars have a $1 deposit so bring them back to the shop once you’re done. It’s good for the environment and your wallet.
  5. Potter’s Craft Cider, Grapefruit Hibiscus, $8.95 – This adult beverage is perfect for the 90 degree weather we’re FINALLY expecting on Thursday. This cider is made with grapefruit peels, grapefruit essential oil and hibiscus petals soaked in apple brandy. I cannot wait to try it!

Five for $50 total: $42.90 + tax

What’s for dinner?!

By Wednesday afternoon, it takes all of my willpower to not pick up takeout every night for the rest of the week. When I asked Wright to pull together a few items you can use to pull together a quick and delicious meal, she knew the way to my heart — pizza!

Dinner from little house green grocery

  • Asparagus, $6.25 per pound – Just grab a handful, you don’t need a whole pound for your pizza. And because there is a green vegetable, we can pretend this is a healthy option now right?
  • Garlic clove, $1 per clove – Quickly roast the garlicbefore topping your pizza with it. I promise it is easy and will add so much flavor.
  • Fontina cheese, $5.50 – Use those arm muscles and freshly shred your cheese.
  • Idle Hands pizza dough, $4.50 – And finally, the pièce de résistance, pizza dough from an awesome local bakery. Warning, this is not a thin crust pizza dough. Little House Green Grocery sells the dough in its frozen section, but if you’re lucky you’ll find a nice defrosted container perfect for your weeknight dinner.

Make a trip out to Little House Green Grocery or visit the next time you’re on the Northside. You’ll find everything you need to make a meal that you can feel good about serving you or your family. Do you have a favorite local market you think we should check out? Let us know in the comments below!

Follow:

Full Disclosure: An Evening with Peter Chang

If you live in Richmond, you might be familiar with Full Disclosure, a national radio show based in Richmond which airs on WRIR-FM 97.3. Roben Farzad, the show’s creator and host, upped the ante last month when he put on his first live broadcast featuring Sherry and John Petersik of Young House Love. This past weekend, Kelsey and I were lucky enough to attend the second live broadcast in what Farzad hopes will be a series of monthly shows. May’s show was an evening with Chef Peter Chang at the Hippodrome Theater. The evening included an interview of Chef Peter Chang conducted by Farzad and Style Weekly food and drink editor Brandon Fox and was accompanied by a four-course dinner prepared by Chang himself.

While the famous chef might be characterized by many as elusive, it was also evident that this incredibly successful man is both humble and kind. During the interview (listen here), Chang talked about his path to becoming a chef and the dedication he has to feeding people. We spoke with him for a few minutes after the interview and it was easy to forget we were talking to a James Beard Award finalist – a chef who has been featured in everything from The New York Times to Bon Appétit. Then we remembered how good our dinner was and quickly remembered just who we were talking to.

The Dish: Full Disclosure, An Evening with Peter Chang

Kelsey and I have both dined at Peter Chang’s restaurant in Short Pump before so, we knew we were in for a treat. What we didn’t know is that we were in for the equivalent of a Sichuan smorgasbord – and a very delicious one at that.

The appetizer course included dry-smoked beef, smoked salmon, chicken with mustard sauce and cucumber in fresh garlic sauce. My favorite thing from the first course was probably the chicken with mustard sauce, though the cucumbers were a nice complement to the spice in all of the other dishes.

Peter Chang Chicken

The dim-sum course included Szechuan cold mixed noodles, kung-pao chicken buns, pork and sticky rice shumai and some amazing green beans. Each time I tried something new, I thought okay, this one is my favorite – until I tried the next dish and I would think the same thing.

Peter Chang Green Beans

Peter Chang Spicy Noodles

Peter Chang Buns and Dumplings

The two entrees were pan-fried sliced chicken with Szechuan chili peppers and roasted fish filet with Thai chili and curry. The chicken had Chang’s signature spicy kick, without being too overpowering. The fish was flaky and perfectly cooked in a savory, flavorful sauce.

Peter Chang Chicken with Peppers

As you might guess, we were quite full by the end of the evening but it was worth it – everything we had was incredible.

What’s next for Full Disclosure

I caught up with Roben Farzad the morning after the live broadcast to learn more about his background, Full Disclosure and what’s next for the show.

In addition to hosting Full Disclosure, Farzad is a special correspondent for the PBS NewsHour. He lived in New York City for years covering covering economics for Bloomberg Businessweek before making the move to Richmond – a place that holds a lot of significance to him, as it’s where his wife was born and raised and where they got married.

Similarly to the renowned chef he interviewed, Farzad’s love for what he’s doing is immediately clear when talking to him, and he has big plans for what’s ahead. Ultimately, he hopes Full Disclosure will be a national show, with national guests and a national audience. Farzad mentioned names like Pat Benatar and Vince Gilligan when I asked him who he would love to have on the show in the future.

His hope for these live broadcasts is that they are a full experience for his audience – something that they won’t find anywhere else. When reflecting on his successful second live event, Farzad acknowledged that the evening with Peter Chang was one of a kind. “The people that came together, that will never happen again in that forum,” he said.  “I was most gratified by the people that came up to me afterwards and said they knew they wouldn’t be able to get that experience elsewhere or get it again.”

The next Full Disclosure event is still in the works – but once it’s announced, you’ll want to get your tickets quickly. As Farzad mentioned above, the experience truly is one of a kind.

Follow:

What’s Happenin’ Wednesday

Another week, another What’s Happenin’ Wednesday:

  • Southbound is now serving brunch on Sundays from 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Once you check out the brunch menu, you’ll probably want to go ahead and make a reservation through their website, so that you can try the duck hash with bacon hollandaise for yourself.
  • In the kitchen: I’ve been eyeing these mini blueberry galettes from The Pioneer Woman for a while now and I think this weekend might be the perfect time to give them a try.
  • If you enjoy reading about food, you should definitely add Lucky Peach to your reading list. Each issues focuses on a certain theme – the next issue is all about pho and will be on sale soon.
  • Three words: Grapefruit rosé slushee. If that sounds right up your alley, you can find the recipe on Thrillist. I definitely plan to enjoy one a lot of these this summer.
  • I was scrolling through my Instagram feed recently when two words caught my eye – bagel club. It’s a real thing right here in Richmond, and it’s launching soon from Nate’s Bagels. If you want to get on the list, follow the instructions here.
  • Is it bad that I want this taco truck taco holder, #7 on BuzzFeed’s list of products that make eating more fun?
  • If you follow us on Twitter, you may have seen the news that Pasture claimed Virginia’s spot on Travel and Leisure’s list of the best farm-to-table restaurants in every state.
  • On a non-food related note, I’m slightly obsessed with Humans of New York, a series of photographs and interviews by Brandon Stanton that range from funny to inspiring to heartbreaking. The series is typically focused on the streets of New York City, but from time to time Brandon does a special series and this past week’s has been one of his best, albeit sad. You can follow along on the HONY Facebook page.

What to add to your calendar:

  • Antler & Fin’s soft opening starts today, and you can make reservations here.
  • Dominion Riverrock is this weekend! The festival is a great combination of sports and music, and is another reason we can thank Sports Backers and Venture Richmond for making Richmond even more awesome. My favorite part? The Ultimate Air Dogs competition.
  • Did you know Acacia offers a special to-go lunch on the first Wednesday of every month? You pre-order online and pick up your lunch at the restaurant between 12 and 12:30 p.m. Last month’s offering was a fried local softshell crab sandwich, and this month’s option is sure to be just as good. The next to-go lunch is on Wednesday, June 1. Follow along on their website and social media pages to find out what they’ll be serving next.
  • This year’s Broad Appetit is just a few weeks away! Mark your calendar for Sunday, June 5. At the event you’ll be able to try a number of small plates from different local restaurants from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Follow: