What's Happenin' Wednesday August 31

We’re in mourning here at Let’s Share A Dish… because it’s our last summer What’s Happenin’ Wednesday — excuse me while I go cry in the corner. Yes, I know there are still 22 days until fall officially starts, but let me be a little bit dramatic to close out the month.

Good bye summer, you will be missed

  • Since today is the last day of August, that means pumpkin spice season is upon us! Want to start stocking up on everything basic? Refinery29’s got you covered with some of the best fall flavored snacks out there. Even though I hate pumpkin spice lattes, I’ll admit I am excited for pumpkin Noosa (yogurt) and the pumpkin spice flavored Oreos.
  • Blue Bee, Richmond’s (and Virginia’s) first urban cidery is almost ready to make its move to Scott’s Addition. We cannot wait to check out the new space when it opens later this fall.
  • Opening a restaurant is hard work, opening a restaurant inside a refugee camp is inspiring but also a matter of survival. Meet two women who opened restaurants inside of South Sudan’s largest refugee settlement.
  • Even though I am less than thrilled that summer is over, that does mean it is time for college football! Here’s one of my favorite (easy tailgating recipes and ICYMI Virginia Tech was just named by Princeton Review as the best school for quality of life — love Hoda in this video.
  • If you haven’t done a Real Richmond Food Tour, what are you waiting for?! We recently embarked on what felt like a marathon of eating at work through Real Richmond Food Tours and had a great experience. These food tours are great options for native Richmonders and tourists alike.
  • I’m so jealous of the people who will be taking a culinary food tour through Italy with the folks behind Dinner in the Field. Follow the 10-day journey through Southern Italy on Instagram and be prepared to have major travel envy.

What to add to your calendar:

  • If you’ve been following the devastating earthquake in Amatrice, Italy you might be wondering how you can help. Restaurants across the country are cooking the town’s famous dish, pasta all’ amatriciana, and donating proceeds to relief efforts. And what do you know, two local restaurants Deco Ristorante and Nota Bene are doing just that (Nota Bene’s proceeds also benefiting victims of the flooding in Louisiana). So go treat yourself to this delicious spicy pasta dish and you won’t have to feel guilty about eating all those carbs.
  • Tomorrow night, Stock Provisions is hosting its Endless Summer Party starting at 7:30 p.m. There will be delicious meats, including a housemade spam burger and tropic thunder nachos. Saison will be helping with the grilling and The Veil will be providing delicious brews, including the recently released Raspberry Gose.
  • Beer brunch is back! This Sunday, Ardent with the help of Stock Provisions will be serving up Tasso Ham biscuits and breakfast burritos. If the breakfast burritos are as good as the ham biscuits, you will not be disappointed. And for all of you bloody mary fans, Texas Beach Bloody Mary mix will be on hand to make beer bloody marys.
  • Starting on September 9th (aka the worst day of the year because summer Fridays are over) Ellwood Thompson’s can help get you through the day with a special pour over bar. Every Friday local coffee roaster
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48 hours in maine portland head light

Taylor and I recently got back from a week long trip to New England, where we visited New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. It was the perfect time of year to visit the Northeast, and I have to admit the cool nights and fall-like temperatures we left behind have me eager for fall. We flew into Boston and slowly made our way up  our way up to Portland, with stops in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Kennebunk and Kennebunkport along the way. We spent the trip’s first 48 hours in Maine, where we stayed in an Airbnb in the East Bayside area of Portland that was within walking distance of everything the historic Old Port area had to offer.

Though our visit was quick, you’ll see that we managed to do, eat and see a lot with just 48 hours! Hopefully some of our adventures highlighted below will serve as a helpful guide if you’re planning a visit to the area anytime soon.

The Clam Shack

the clam shack 48 hours in maine

Thanks to a recommendation from  my friend Allie of Alexandra Bee Blog, lunch at The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport, Maine was the first stop of our trip. With a view overlooking the Kennebunk River, The Cham Shack has gained the national attention of a number of publications for its lobster rolls, which come served with butter and mayo. We enjoyed a lobster roll, fried whole belly clams, onion rings and fresh squeezed lemonade from the seafood-filled menu while overlooking the water and watching kayaks go by. Let’s just say there’s a reason the lobster rolls are famous here — The Clam Shack lives up to the hype. The restaurant is open daily from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Snug Harbor Farm

snug harbor farm 48 hours in maine

After our lunch at The Clam Shack, we made our way to Snug Harbor Farm, a beautiful property in Kennebunk that includes a shop, a barn, a nursery, five greenhouses and more. We spent about an hour browsing the shop and walking the grounds, admiring the paintings, gifts and succulents. There were a number of animals on the properties and it was fun to spend some time watching the chickens. The hardest part of our visit to Snug Harbor was walking away without bringing something home from the gift shop, one of the downsides to the limited packing space that comes with carry-on luggage!succulents 48 hours in maine

Duckfat

On our first night in Portland, we went to Duckfat for dinner, a popular spot known for its duck fat french fries, milkshakes and pressed sandwiches. Duckfat was opened in 2005 by Nancy Pugh and Rob Evans, and in 2009 Chef Rob was named “Best Chef Northeast” by the James Beard Foundation, so we knew we were in for a treat. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, and even on a Sunday evening around 8:30 p.m. we encountered a wait, but it was well worth it for the meal that we had ahead of us.

On our visit, we shared the poutine, Belgian fries fried in duck fat topped with cheese curds, duck gravy and fresh chives, and the slow roasted pulled pork cubano panini. The dipping sauces available for the french fries are worth noting, too, with unique offerings like garlic mayo, curry mayo, horseradish mayo, Thai chili mayo and truffle ketchup.  To cap off our delicious meal, we ordered a sea salted duck fat caramel milkshake to go, which was perfect for sharing. Duckfat is open everyday from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Union Bagel Company

48 hours in maine union bagel company

Union Bagel Company was located right around the corner from our Airbnb, and it was the perfect place to stop for an inexpensive and quick bite to eat. The bagels here are made with organic flour before being hand-rolled, boiled and baked.

I ordered my go-to bagel sandwich, an everything bagel with scallion cream cheese, capers and red onion, while Taylor had a bagel sandwich with smoked salmon, egg and cheese. This tiny little spot is best for takeout with only one or two seats inside, so we took our bagels to go.

Allagash Brewing Company

Photo Aug 28, 10 15 58 PM

Allagash Brewing Company is located about 15 minutes from downtown Portland, and it’s the only activity we booked ahead of arriving to Portland since the tours often fill up days or weeks in advance. Allagash offers tours seven days a week, and the tours (and the tastings that come with the tour) are free! We toured with a group of about 20 people while the brewery was in production, and it was fun to do a tasting and learn more about how Allagash beer is made. My favorite beer that we tried while at Allagash was the Farm to Face, a limited release beer that’s tart and filled with peach flavor. Every single person we encountered within the brewery was incredibly friendly, and my biggest takeaway was how much they focus on sticking to their roots as they continue to grow.

Eventide Oyster Co.


You know a place is good when there’s a line outside the door every time you walk by no matter the time of day. And my guess is that the line has been out the door since Eventide Oyster Co. was named one of Bon Apppetit’s 50 best new restaurants in 2013. That would have been enough to make me to want to try Eventide Oyster Co., but when I realized their menu offerings included a brown butter lobster roll, I knew this unique take on a New England classic was something I wanted to try. The menu is composed mostly of small plates, so we also noshed on raw and fried oysters and hand-cut potato chips dusted with nori and served with tartar sauce. The raw oysters are served with accompaniments that range from cocktail sauce to horseradish ice and pickled red onion ice.

chips eventide 48 hours in maine

Eventide is open daily from 11 a.m. to midnight, and they offer brunch on Sunday and Monday from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. The wait is worth it, promise.

Portland Head Light

We took a 20 minute drive to Cape Elizabeth to see the Portland Head Light, Portland’s oldest lighthouse that overlooks the coastline of Fort Williams Park. The lighthouse and the view were beautiful, and as we wandered around we both commented that this spot just felt like quintessential Maine. If you visit around a mealtime, be sure to check out Bite into Maine, a lobster roll food truck within the park that Food & Wine named one of America’s best lobster rolls.

48 hours in maine lighthouse

Believe it or not, this only covers half of our adventures in the Pine Tree State! We managed to pack a lot in to our 48 hours in Maine, and you can find all the details on the second half of our time in Maine here.

Have you ever been to Maine? I’d love to hear your favorite spots in the state in the comments below!

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Southbound brunch Richmond

Breakfast might honestly be my favorite meal of the day. In fact, growing up I looked forward to breakfast for dinner nights. So when I was introduced to the concept of brunch (beyond Easter brunch) in college, my life was never the same. Yes, I know that sounds dramatic, but that’s really how much I love a perfectly cooked omelette and plate of french toast.

Southbound is a joint venture from Lee Gregory of the Roosevelt and Joe Sparatta of Heritage, and the restaurant was even featured in Bon Appétit last year as one of  2015’s best new restaurants. Earlier this year, the restaurant announced that it was starting brunch service, and I knew I needed to add it to my list of places to try.  And while I still haven’t had dinner at Southbound, if it is anything like the brunch, I know it will not disappoint.

The Dish — Southbound Brunch

Not knowing how busy the restaurant would be, I made reservations online for brunch just before 11 a.m. The reservation probably wasn’t necessary since we were on the earlier end of the brunch rush, but as we were leaving the restaurant was definitely getting more crowded, so I’d recommend making one just in case.

Glazed…. Brunch is ready, are you?

A photo posted by Craig Perkinson (@c_perkinson) on


I’m sort of a stalker and follow Craig Perkins, the chef de cuisine at Southbound, on Instagram and after his many posts about his cinnamon rolls and I was extremely excited to try them. When I didn’t see them on the menu, I frantically asked the waitress about our options — thankfully she informed me that the cinnamon rolls are a special and are only available in limited quantities so while they weren’t on the menu, I could still order one (success!). This past weekend’s roll was lemon glazed and it was everything I had hoped it would be, the perfect compliment to our savory main dishes.

Southbound mimosas

Southbound cinnamon roll

After ordering mimosas (hold the orange juice, add grapefruit juice) we decided to split two main dishes, the duck hash with duck confit, potatoes, soft poached egg* and bacon hollandaise, and the fried chicken and grits with soft poached eggs and bacon hollandaise. Which leads me to this question, why isn’t bacon hollandaise a thing yet? The eggs in both dishes were cooked to perfection, the duck hash was seasoned perfectly and the fried chicken was just incredible. I’m not typically a huge fan of grits, but these were so creamy and flavorful, I might now be officially converted.

Southbound fried chicken and grits

Southbound brunch duck hash

Overall, we left stuffed and happy. Even with drinks, the brunch equivalent of an appetizer, and a main course, we were in and out of Southbound in just under an hour. And we didn’t break the bank, with our combined bill totally around $50 (not including tip). Now, that is my kind of brunch. I cannot wait to go back to try the Bon Air beast — a sausage, egg & cheese biscuit with sausage gravy and potatoes — or the french toast served with seasonal fruit compote.

Details you should know

Southbound Richmond reservations

Southbound Richmond bar

Southbound is located in the Stony Point Shopping Center at 3036 Stony Point Road (not the mall) and is open for brunch on Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. — I suggest going early in the day if possible, before they run out of cinnamon rolls! Reservations are accepted and can be made online if you have a party of less than 15 people. Also worth noting, our waitress was extremely sweet and asked us as soon as we sat down if she needed to inform the kitchen of any food allergies we might have. Thankfully, I don’t have any food allergies, but if you are looking for a restaurant with gluten free or vegetarian options Southbound seems to be extremely accommodating.

Overall, my brunch experience at Southbound was wonderful and I’d put it up there with Metzger as my favorite brunch in Richmond. It’s okay to have two favorites right? If you’ve had a brunch dish you loved at Southbound, let me know what I should order on my next visit in the comments.

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What's Happenin' Wednesday August 24

It’s Wednesday, here’s what Happenin’

  • Did you know that wine slushies apparently date back to the 1500s? NPR’s got the history of frozen treats, perfect for this beautiful summer weather. Oh, and stay tuned for a post about a few of our favorite frozen Richmond treats coming soon.
  • Speaking of wine slushies, there’s still time to make frosé (frozen rosé) and Brittany over at Eating Bird Food has a great recipe for Strawberry frosé, and bonus each drink is only 200 calories!
  • I posted this late last week on my personal Facebook page, but I’m too jealous of all those incoming Hokies not to share it here, too. Virginia Tech’s dining services just launched its first two food trucks. Whoever came up with the name The Grillfield, kudos to you.
  • Labor day is almost here, which also means summer is nearly over (boo!). Before the warm weather leaves us, you need to make this corn, avocado and cucumber salad.
  • The Veil Brewing Company has quickly become one of my favorite breweries in Richmond. I’ve honestly never been a huge IPA drinker because I don’t love the bitterness in the hops, but at The Veil, I love their Crucial Crucial Taunt Taunt dry-hopped double IPA. Matt Tarpey, the head brewer has a very interesting backstory, and Good Beer Hunting has all the details. Also, Corey Smith took some amazing photos of the brewery.

What to add to your calendar

  • Hey, RVA! It’s RVA Sandwich Week, meaning that a bunch of local restaurants are running specials for $5 sandwiches through the 28th. I’m heading over to Union Market later this week to try the U.M. Lambwich, with roasted lamb, feta-tomato pimento cheese, english cucumbers and mint pesto on fresh herb bread.
  • Tomorrow night, you should head on over to Sunsets at the Hoff for Celebrate! RVA’s third birthday party. A portion of drink sales will go to the organization so that they can throw birthday parties for children who deserve an awesome celebration.
  • Over the River Mart is happening this Sunday at the Bon Air Shopping Center. Makers and bakers alike will be showcasing their goods including some of my personal favorites: Däl-Kohm, Ginger Juice and Nate’s Bagels.
  • You missed it this week, but every Tuesday is date night at Note Bene (formerly Pizza Tonight) which means for just $50 you get a bottle of wine, one salad, two pizzas/pastas and one dessert to share. I recommend the carbonara and the fig and pig pizza, they’re delicious!
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East coast provisions Richmond

You may think that between working in the same office and doing this blog together, we see each other all the time, but that’s not always the case — especially during the busy summer months. In fact, opposite travel schedules meant that we basically weren’t in Richmond at the same time for the entire month of July. You better believe that when we both landed back in RVA, it was reason enough to celebrate and we decided to check out another spot on our “Where to Dish Next” list.

We lucked out with a beautiful and somewhat cool summer evening, and opted to enjoy a meal on the patio at East Coast Provisions, a seafood restaurant in Carytown formerly known as Water Coastal Kitchen. The space was recently re-branded and renovated by the team at Richmond Restaurant Group, which is a group of six restaurants including The Daily, Pearl Raw Bar, The Hill Cafe and both locations of The Hard Shell in addition to East Coast Provisions.

The Dish

On our recent visit to East Coast Provisions, we were lucky enough to snag a spot on the patio during happy hour. Needless to say, we were already in a good mood and we hadn’t even had any food or drinks yet.

I had taken a peak at the menu online before we arrived and I knew that choosing just a couple things to eat was going to be hard. I’m not even someone who LOVES seafood, and I was impressed by the expansive selection of both seafood and non-seafood options.

While we were looking at the menus, Mike Ledesma, executive chef of the Richmond Restaurant Group, brought out a few dishes for us to try. We sampled the rabbit pate with blueberries and crostini, grilled endives with sea salt and mascarpone cheese and the hamachi crudo with grey salt, picked cucumber, red onion and jalapeno. My favorites were the hamachi crudo, which was so fresh and light, perfect for summer and the grilled endives. Look for a few of these items to appear soon on the regular or specials menus.

East coast provisions rabbit pate

East coast provisions salad

East coast provisions specials

After all that food, I was no longer starving, so I decided to order something “small” off the happy hour menu. The ECP sliders, available only during happy hour, come three to an order and at $6 they feel like a steal. They are by no means small and they are packed with flavor. Topped with arugula, pickled onions, smoked cheddar and a horseradish peppercorn aioli, they would be perfect as a meal (with the edamame or truffle fries) or even to share. I’m a big fan of restaurants that have food and drink deals during happy hour (evidence here), so I can’t wait to go back. Drink specials during happy hour include $4 glasses of wine, $3 well drinks, $2.50 domestic bottles, $2 off draft beer and $2 off select craft cocktails.

East cost provisions happy hour sliders

East coast provisions happy hour

And let’s not forget about cocktails. Meg and I both sipped on craft cocktails off the happy hour menu, the Bubbly Fizz — elderflower, prosecco and lemon — and the Sailor on Leave —vodka, grapefruit, lemon and house made grapefruit bitters — both were perfect for a summer night on the patio. – K

This was my second visit to East Coast Provisions, and I haven’t been disappointed on either visit — the food and service were great both times. Some menus just have all of the things I want to eat, and this is one of them!

East coast provisions mussels

My favorite thing on the menu is one of the small plates, the PEI mussels. The creamy broth has a good bit of spice to it and is made up of white wine, sriracha, butter, cilantro, garlic and shallots, it is down right delicious. If you get the mussels, I have two pieces of advice: Ask for an extra piece of grilled bread because you’re going to want to sop up all of the delicious broth, and make the mussels a meal by ordering another item off the small plate menu, the truffle parmesan fries. You’ll end up with your own version of Moules-frites, and I promise you’ll be happy.

East coast provisions five minute egg

On this trip to East Coast Provisions, Kelsey and I also tried the smoked salmon small plate, which is served with a deep fried 5 minute egg, Crème fraîche, caviar, red onion, dill and crostini. The deep fried egg was a fun play on the way smoked salmon is usually served.

Though it’s going to be hard for me to order anything but my favorite mussels and fries combo when I go to East Coast Provisions, I must admit I’m eager to try out the simply grilled menu, which includes your choice of either rockfish, salmon, mahi, shrimp or lobster tail seasoned and grilled and served over mixed greens or with roasted potatoes & broccolini. – M

If you visit East Coast Provisions

East Coast Provisions serves lunch, brunch and dinner. In addition to their standard menus, they offer a kids menu, sushi and raw bar menu and a great beer, wine and cocktail list. The restaurant is located at 3411 W. Cary St in the heart of Carytown, and it is open from 10 a.m. – 12 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, 11:30 a.m. – 12 a.m. – Monday through Thursday and 11:30 a.m. – 2 a.m. on Friday. If you’re looking for a deal, happy hour is offered Monday – Friday from 4 – 6:30 p.m and the menu includes both food and drink specials.

East coast provisions Richmond happy hour

Reservations can be made via OpenTable or calling the restaurant, but the patio space can’t be reserved. Parking can be difficult in this part of Carytown, but you still shouldn’t have to park more than a few blocks away at most.

All in all, East Coast Provisions is a place that will please the simplest and most adventurous of palates. If you’ve been, we’d love to hear your favorite thing on the menu in the comments below. We’re already planning our next visit!

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Ginger juice Richmond

When I go on an extended vacation, typically that means eating most all of my meals at restaurants. It’s one of my favorite ways to get familiar with a city and on my latest trip to San Francisco, I ate ice cream donut sandwiches and plates of fresh pasta for eleven days straight.

I spare no calories and eat all the things. I like to think that if I’m walking 10-15 miles per day, I’ve earned it, but eating at restaurants 24/7 takes a toll on your body. Towards the end of a trip, have you ever felt so lethargic the thought of eating another bite makes you sick to your stomach? That’s typically what happens to me on day seven, and it continues for a few days after I’m back at home and eating like a normal human being, I call it a post vacation food coma.

Sometimes you need to hit reset, and recently I embarked on an interesting food “adventure” — a juice cleanse. After experiencing a post vacation food coma for a few days, I decided I needed to do something. So after doing some research, I ordered my first ever juice cleanse from Richmond’s only cold-pressed juicery, Ginger Juice, and it was just what I needed.

Wait, what you did a juice cleanse?

After I decided that I wanted to do the cleanse, I enlisted the support of one of my coworkers and we both placed our level one, one-day cleanse orders. If you are a first time juice cleanser I totally recommend finding a teammate who can suffer be healthier with you and keep you accountable. Our one-day cleanse included six juices, which we picked up from Ginger Juice’s retail location in the Village Shopping Center at 8 a.m. on the first day of our cleanse.

Ginger juice cleanse

The juices!

You can opt to do a one, two or three day juice cleanse, and each day you are given six juices to drink throughout the day. All the juices are made with fruits and vegetables and honestly I was surprised by the fact that I didn’t feel like I was starving, I guess that’s what happens when you are drinking a ton of liquids.

My two favorite juices were the Glitzy made with apple, pear and pineapple (which you drink between lunch and dinner) and the Glee made with almonds, alkaline water, local honey and cinnamon (which you drink before bed). I could certainly see myself drinking these on a regular basis. The Golden — carrot, orange and grapefruit — was the most surprising, I thought I was going to hate the strong carrot flavor, but the juice was balanced and refreshing.

During your cleanse you can eat three things if you get so hangry you lose your willpower — raw almonds, apples and cucumbers. I stocked up on almonds just in case I got a headache, because doing a juice cleanse is not an excuse for not doing your work.

Now, I’ll be honest with you and say that Ginger Juice isn’t cheap at $55 + tax for a one day cleanse, $103 + tax for a two day cleanse and $152 for a three day cleanse. You can also pick up single juices, priced between $5.99 and $10.50 depending on size and variety.

Ginger Juice Richmond Va

The Dish

Overall the experience was an enjoyable one, and while I can’t say this is a miracle cure that will help you lose five pound overnight — and I didn’t expect it to be — I did finally kick my post vacation food coma. If you are interested in doing your first juice cleanse, you can order online, just make sure you place your order at least 48 hours in advance. Depending on demand, certain days can fill up quickly so if you’re ready to take the plunge don’t wait until the last minute to order. Ginger Juice cleanses can be picked up from the Village Shopping Center location.

If cleanses aren’t your thing but you want to get the nutrients of 2.5 pounds of fruits and vegetables in a 16 ounce bottle, you can always purchase juice individually at one of Ginger Juice’s three retail locations or at South of the James Farmers Market. I know I’ll be heading back soon to finally try the Gleeful, which is made with almonds, purified water, local honey, cinnamon, cold-brewed coffee and sea salt. Interested in doing a juice cleanse? Leave your questions in the comments below.

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