what's happenin' wednesday

What’s Happenin’ Wednesday

  • Just ahead of the 10K, King of Pops – Richmond is releasing a Ukrop’s Rainbow Cookie pop. Let’s all a take a minute to fully appreciate that…rainbow cookies in popsicle form! You can try one for yourself this Thursday from 4-6 p.m. at 3001 W Clay Street where the pops will be free thanks to Sportsbackers.
  • Thrillist put together a list of the best late night eats in major cities throughout the United States. Take a look and tuck this list away until your next visit to one of these cities so you know where to go for some late night grub.
  • If you follow us on Instagram, you may have seen my recent story where I was super excited about finally getting some fresh herbs in the kitchen. I’ve been using the mint (along with lemon, lime and just a touch of sugar) to infuse my iced tea the past few weeks with the help of one of my favorite kitchen finds from Crate & Barrel.
  • Need a way to impress guests at your next gathering but don’t have much time? Check out this slideshow from Food and Wine on fast hors d’oeuvres with options that will impress even the most refined palate.
  • Why are pickles often served on the side of sandwiches, you ask? The Kitchn has the answer to that one.
  • In local restaurant news, the old American Tap Room underwent a quick turnover over at Willow Lawn and is now operating as Hattie Mae’s Southern Kitchen. You can read more details about the new restaurant over at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
  • Just when I thought I couldn’t love North End Juice Co. any more than I already do, they introduced fresh-pressed juices to their menu, including watermelon juice! So excited to have this option, especially as things start to warm up again around Richmond.

What to add to your calendar

  • I’m co-hosting an event at Kendra Scott this Thursday (tomorrow!) where the store will be donating 20% of the proceeds from 6-8 p.m. back to the Massey Alliance. Come out, bring s friend,  enjoy some sweets and make your own piece of jewelry at the color bar! Details here.
  • The Boathouse and Trapezium Brewing Co. have partnered to develop a custom house beer for The Boathouse, The Boathouse Oyster Ale,  which is made with The Boathouse Oyster shells. The debut of the beer is taking place this Friday at a Trapezium beer dinner at The Boathouse at Sunday Park, and you can get your tickets here.
  • Hosted by Ardent Craft Ales, Swine & Brine is returning this year on Saturday, April 8. This is one of our favorite food events of the year in Richmond, you can read our recap from last year here.
  • Have you made your plans or reservation for the second annual Richmond Brunch Weekend yet? It’s happening this weekend and you can check out the full list of participating restaurants on the event website. Just remember, the harder you brunch, the more you’ll be giving back to the Massey Cancer Center and Massey Alliance.
  • Word on the street is that tickets are moving quickly for the third annual Supper at Sunset to benefit ChildSavers which is coming up on Thursday, May 25, so don’t wait to buy tickets if you’re hoping to attend.


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What's Happenin' Wednesday March 15

What’s Happenin’ Wednesday

  • SO MANY LISTS. Richmond’s Roosevelt restaurant and Strangeways Brewing were just recognized by Southern Living. The magazine just released its first ever South’s Best winners and the Roosevelt appeared on the South’s Top 10 Bars list and Strangeways was named one of the South’s 10 Best Breweries. And Richmond was number nine on The South’s Best Cities 2017 list by Southern Living. Separately, The Veil was featured on Thrillist’s Best New Breweries in America list.
  • Did you know that Shake Shack uses Martin’s Potato Rolls for its burgers? If you didn’t you do now. Eater has the scoop on why this classic bun has become so popular among burger joints across the nation.
  • In case you missed it: Yesterday we celebrated one year of blogging by sharing our 10 favorite dishes from the past 365 days!
  • What’s old is cool again. Blizzards® aren’t just for the fast food drive thru anymore, desserts inspired by this frozen treat are popping up all over the place. And you can even make one in your own home.
  • Richmond Magazine has all of the details on Flora’s planned opening on March 21 and I cannot wait to make my way over to try some of the Oaxaca-inspired dishes. The restaurant opening in the former Balliceaux space is the brain child of a few of my favorite Richmond chefs and restaurant owners — Jay Bayer of Saison, and Jason Alley and Michele Jones of Pasture and Comfort. Sign me up for a gallon of the chocolate soup served with toasted marshmallows!
  • Speaking of frozen treats, milkshakes are finally back at Roaring Pines, and King of Pops/The Reign is open after a seasonal hiatus.
  • If you watch Chef’s Table on Netflix, you need to watch this Portlandia parody featuring Fred Armisen.

What to add to your calendar

  • On Monday March 27th, say goodbye to winter with Metzger’s Iki Kai pop-up. There will be poke and tropical cocktails, what more could you need?
  • Patina’d on Grace will be hosting its Spring Fling Market on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Here’s your plan for Saturday: do some spring cleaning to make some room for your new finds at Patina’d on Grace, do some shopping at the Spring Fling Market and then pop over to Cask Cafe for a brew and/or lunch.
  • The Brunch Market is back this Sunday in Scott’s Addition. There will be fried chicken biscuits, flat breads and mimosas, plus lots of local vendors to check out. Please go and enjoy a biscuit for me, I’m counting down the days until the end of #cook90 so that I can partake in this biscuit partayyyyy.
  • The first BreakawayRVA ride is scheduled for April 29th. I’m giving you a ton of notice so that you can get your bike in order ahead of time. Rides will be held monthly from April to October this year.


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One Year of Sharing Dishes

I don’t know if you’ll believe it — we can’t — but it’s March 14th and that means we’ve been doing this whole blogging thing for a full year now! One-hundred and twenty-six blog posts later and a million calories later (OK, we don’t know how many calories, but its a lot), we haven’t killed each other yet and we can’t wait to see where the Richmond food scene will take our taste buds in year two.

It seems like just yesterday we decided to pull the trigger and claim our little piece of the internet and we’ve had a blast, in large part due to all of you. Can you believe we’ve had readers from ALL fifty states?! We love hearing your suggestions and feedback for more places for us to try. We hear you and we can’t wait to visit some of your favorite spots and try some of your favorite foods!

It’s been so much fun telling you all about our favorite spots around Richmond, our travel adventures and our random musings on our favorite recipes, cute dog pictures, podcasts, shopping finds and more. We love sharing our weekly dose of food news with you every Wednesday in our What’s Happenin’ Wednesday posts, and we’re thankful to the Richmond restaurant community that has welcomed our many questions with open arms.

In just one year, there have been too many memorable moments to name — from getting a behind the scenes look at Mrs. Yoder’s to taste testing at Gearhart’s to trying all of the things on the menu at East Coast Provisions thanks to the generous Mike Ledesma. If Kelsey wasn’t doing the #Cook90 challenge, we could celebrate today with a glorious dinner somewhere, but instead we’re going to tell you the 10 most memorable meals we’ve had in the past year, in Richmond and beyond.

La Barbecue

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I would fly to Austin, Texas just to have La Barbecue for lunch. Texas folks aren’t kidding when they say barbecue is the real deal there. Just one visit to La Barbecue was enough to convince me of that. After waiting in line for a few hours it felt like we ordered just about everything on the menu, and 11 months later I’m STILL thinking about the brisket and sausage and the bobby sauce I dipped my bread in. It was an added bonus that one of the employees gave me a behind the scenes look at the brisket smoking, a 14 to 16 hour process that is worth every minute. – M

merroir angels on horseback

Merroir

Let’s just say there’s a reason Merroir is featured prominently in the new Virginia Tourism video promoting some of the best things in Virginia. Picture perfect location on the water, delicious food, great drink list…Merroir has just about everything I want in a restaurant. I only make it to this spot in Topping, Virginia two or three times a year, but vacation mode starts the minute we hit the gravel parking lot. Everything on the menu is delicious, but I go back time and time ago for – no surprise here – the oysters of all varieties. They are delicious whether they are served raw, roasted or all “dressed up” like these Angels on Horseback baked with herb butter and Edwards Ham. – M

the clam shack 48 hours in maine

The Clam Shack

Apparently I have a thing for restaurants on the water, but The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport, Maine is another spot that made it into my top meals of the year. The lobster rolls here were so incredible and warranted every ounce of publicity and attention this restaurant has racked up over the years. Lobster rolls here come served up with mayonnaise and butter and are perfectly enjoyed with the fresh squeezed lemonade that’s available for sale in front of the restaurant. – M

Tompkins Square Bagels NYC

Tompkins Square Bagels

New Yorkers know how to make a darn good breakfast sandwich, and Tompkins Square Bagels makes one of the best. We stopped here for breakfast on the first day of our visit to New York City back in September, and I’ve been craving this breakfast sandwich ever since. We ordered an everything bagel that came stuffed to the brim with with bacon, egg and cheese and it was so simple but so, so heavenly. A well-executed breakfast sandwich on a New York bagel is the stuff food dreams are made of, my friends. – M

Perly’s Restaurant & Delicatessen

The matzoh ball soup, the schlubby fries, the blintzes, what isn’t there to love about Perly’s Restaurant & Delicatessen located in the heart of downtown Richmond. This cozy spot feels like an old friend every time I slide into a booth here (which isn’t quite as often as I would like!) and I’m usually thinking of when my next visit can be before I’ve even left. I spend forever looking at the menu whenever I come here because I want just about everything on it, but whatever you choose, you really can’t go wrong at Perly’s. Unless you don’t order the matzoh ball soup. – M

La taqueria carnitas burrito - San Francisco

La Taqueria

I am still dreaming of this carnitas burrito at La Taqueria more than eight months after visiting San Francisco. If you’re planning on visiting the Mission District anytime soon, do yourself a favor and add this to your must visit list. The melty cheese, creamy refried beans, and salty carnitas, omg I am salivating just thinking about it. And even better this meal cost less than $10, which is hard to come by for lunch in SF. Pro tip: order it dorado style and they’ll toast it on the flat top for you. – K

Plow brunch

Plow

The Plow at Plow in San Francisco is everything you could want for brunch and more. Everything on the plate was outstanding, but for me two things really stood out. The pancakes and the Nueske’s bacon. These might be the best pancakes I’ve ever eaten and if I could eat Plow’s lemon ricotta pancakes all day I would. The Nueske’s bacon had a smokey flavor unlike any bacon I had ever had and I’ve been craving it ever since. If you plan on going, get their early. It gets packed, quick. Be patient, enjoy the cool San Francisco breeze and keep reminding yourself it will definitely be worth the wait – K

Xi'an Famous Foods Beef Noodle

Xi’an Famous Foods

Confession: I love spicy food. I also love noodles (I will eat ALL of the pastas). Xi’an Famous Foods had been on my radar for quite a while and I was giddy when Meg and I ate here together in September when we made a quick trip to New York. We came, we saw and we conquered this plate of spicy & tingly beef hand-ripped noodles. This dish was the kind of spicy that gets you addicted, and I just kept eating and eating. My only regret is that after a marathon day of eating, we weren’t members of the clean plate club at Xi’an Famous Foods. – K

L’opossum

Waiting and anticipation can either be your friend or your foe. In the case of L’opossum it is your friend because good god the food there is good. I can count on one hand the number of meals I’ve had in Richmond that hold a candle to the experience that I had at L’opossum. Everything from the cocktails to the appetizers (we had escargot btw) to the entrees were incredible. Filet Mignon of Beef “Swellington” was probably my favorite dish of the evening, and I think I would’ve licked the plate if I knew no one was watching. – K

Southbound brunch duck hash

Brunch at Southbound

You had me at duck hash. It is so hard to pick just one thing to eat at Southbound brunch, so just do what I did and pick three things to eat (and share — if you have too). #Firstworldproblem, solved. The common thread to successful dishes during Southbound’s brunch service: bacon hollandaise, which is probably something you didn’t know you needed in your life, but the more you know. You can thank me now for showing you the light. Oh, and do yourself a favor and order a cinnamon roll or two for the table, I promise you won’t regret it. -K

As you can tell, it’s been one delicious year and we’re looking forward to the next one! If you enjoy following along with us here, don’t forget we’re also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat.

Here’s to year two!

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As I write this post, I’m 12 days into the #cook90 challenge, meaning I’m almost halfway there (if you missed my recipes from week one, check them out here)! And I have to say, cooking this much is kind of exhausting, especially when you do not have a dishwasher. There are always so. many. dishes.

During week two of the challenge, I tried to eat healthy during the week (keyword: tried) and saved indulging for the weekend. I also added a cast iron skillet to my cabinets full of cheap pots and pans and so far I am loving it. I’ve used it almost every day since it came in the mail (thanks, Amazon).

#Cook90 Week Two: My Favorite Recipes

The Beyond Burger. One of my coworkers had recently been raving about the veggie burger that isn’t a veggie burger and after hearing the founder’s story on a podcast (oh the power of marketing) I set out to find the Beyond Burger at my local Whole Foods. If you’re used to the typically veggie burger — the kind that’s made out of well, vegetables — this burger might have you confused. It looks, cooks and (almost) tastes like real meat. It even left behind grease in the pan. It even stays pink in the middle thanks to beets! I would definitely eat again. Also the key to a good burger — Martin’s Potato Rolls.

Overnight Oats with Tahini

Overnight Oats with Banana, Maple Syrup and Tahini. I bought a jar of tahini at Trader Joe’s months ago with every intention of making a tahini vinaigrette with it and never got around to it. So when I ran out of peanut butter last week and was craving some overnight oats I knew I had hit the jackpot with this recipe from Bon Appétit. I didn’t follow their instructions for overnight oats because I typically stick to a 1 to 1 to 1 ratio of oats, greek yogurt and almond-coconut milk. This combo makes super think oats, but you can always add extra milk when you’re ready to eat to get it to the consistency of your liking. I also added a scoop of protein powder for some added nutrition. The maple syrup tahini sauce was super easy to make and perfect for a creamy bowl of cold oats. Add this one to your breakfast rotation and you won’t be disappointed.

Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma. This recipe from the New York Times was super simple and packed with flavor. I used this chicken to top my salads for lunch for the week and chicken pitas. This will make your house smell delightful, if roast chicken is your kind of thing. And the turmeric gives the chicken a lovely bright yellow color. I paired this with a chickpea, tomato, cucumber, feta and pickled onion salad over a bed of mixed greens. For the dressing I made another batch of the honey balsamic vinaigrette I mentioned last week. Full disclosure for the chicken pitas I cheated and purchased Sabra cucumber dill yogurt sauce instead of making my own tzatziki sauce, and surprisingly it was really good.

Cheesy Monkey Bread. You can probably tell but the healthy recipe portion of this post is over and we’re onto the good stuff. This was honestly the easiest recipe I’ve made so far and I want to share it with the world because it was so good. Not healthy, but perfect for any upcoming March Madness parties you might be attending. All you need is pizza dough (I used my favorite Idle Hands dough), cheese, butter, spices, garlic and shallots. I highly recommend cooking this recipe in a cast iron skillet so that the sides and bottom of the bread gets all crunch and crusty. Yum.

Mushroom Cheese Ravioli with Rosemary Butter Sauce. This is by far one of the most ambitious recipes I’ve made in recent memory. Thankfully I had a partner in crime in the kitchen (thanks Nicky!) that made making this time intensive recipe all the more enjoyable. We even got a little crazy and made our own ravioli dough. None of the steps for this mushroom, cheese ravioli recipe were particularly hard, but it did take us two hours from start to finish. We added bacon to the rosemary butter sauce because why not, and used some flour to thicken the sauce a bit. I would not recommend making this on a week night, if you’re going to make your own dough. Totally worth it though to put the time into this dish, there was so much flavor in this dish and the fresh herbs really made a difference. I cannot wait to finish eating the leftovers.

Copycat Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies. When I came across this recipe from Broma Bakery mentioned on Food Network’s Snapchat channel (yes, I’m one of those people who actually uses Discover), I just about squealed with excitement. The cookies from Levain are my all time favorite, I’d probably make the trip up to New York City just for a bite of these gooey cookies, but now I don’t have to! I whipped up a batch of these and froze about half of the dough for safe keeping. These babies are massive, but it is hard to tell in photos so that’s why I included the photo with the champagne cork for scale. I think the only thing that’s missing are the walnuts which you could always add if you wanted that extra crunch.

Here’s to the next 18 (17 by the time this post goes up) days!

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what's happenin' wednesday

What’s Happenin’ Wednesday

  • Hurry, or you’ll miss it: the inaugural Richmond Black Restaurant Week is happening now and runs through March 12th with with $15 two-couse lunch options and $25 three-course dinner options. Participating restaurants include spots like Croaker’s Spot, Mama J’s, Sugar’s Crab Shack and Spoonbread Bistro.
  • In my last What’s Happenin’ Wednesday, I highlighted a heartwarming story from Inc. and this time I’ve got one for you from The Washington Post, a piece by Tim Carman about how a dishwasher became a partner in one of the world’s top restaurants.
  • A few Richmond restaurant updates: Early Bird Biscuit Co. is returning to its Northside roots with plans to open a second location planned for 1221 Bellevue Avenue, Burger Bach is moving a few doors down in Carytown and Black Hand Coffee Company is opening a second location in Brookland Park, where roasting has already started. The Brookland Park location won’t have Black Hand’s infamous breakfast sandwiches, as the focus of this space will be more on coffee and roasting.
  • In sad dining news, Rappahannock Restaurant is closed until further notice after a fire this past weekend. Thankfully, everyone got out of the restaurant safely and no one was injured. The restaurant is sharing updates on its Facebook page.
  • Stroops V2: We didn’t have to wait but so long for an update on what our beloved Stroops would be up to next. They reopened their doors yesterday and details on their new hours and menu, which now has a focus on prepared foods and sandwiches, can be found here.
  • In the kitchen: I have not just one but TWO recipes for you this week. An excuse to eat pasta for breakfast with this Alton Brown recipe for breakfast carbonara that was featured in The New York Times and the secret to making your baked sweet potato fries extra crispy from The Kitchn.
  • If you’re a fan of Idle Hands Bread Company, you might want to donate or spread the word about the GoFundMe campaign owner Jay Metzler set up to raise funds for a new deck oven which will allow him to keep churning out all of that delicious bread and then some.
  • Buy a cookbook, get a free burger from Shake Shack. It might sound funny, but you better believe it’s true. You can get all details over at on the UrbanDaddy website.
  • In non-food related news, I’ve been loving on my first pair of tassel earrings since I got them a few months ago and Megan over at Marco Style highlights some super cute ones from Target in a recent post. Better yet, they’re a great deal.
  • Last but certainly not least, I can’t end this week’s post without giving a shout out to Nota Bene, the restaurant that Style Weekly named the 2017 Richmond restaurant of the year.

What to add to your calendar

  • You all have probably caught on to the fact that the Massey Cancer Center is an organization near and dear to my heart with the amount that I give love to their various events AND I have two more coming your way. Aren’t you lucky! Toast is giving 10 percent of food sales back to the Massey Alliance on Monday, March 13 and Kendra Scott is giving 20 percent of proceeds back to The Massey Alliance for all in store sales from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, March 23.
  • The 2017 opening weekend for the Goochland Drive-In Theater is taking place Friday, March 17 and Saturday, March 18. They’ll be showing Beauty and the Beast and Rogue One.
  • Origin Beer Lab and The Caboose are co-hosting a beer and cheese pairing, Flights and Bites, this Thursday, March 9. Tickets are limited and cost $20.
  • RVAHub has all the details on the 2017 line-up for Friday Cheers, which will be celebrating it’s 33rd season this year! The good tunes will kick off on Brown’s Island starting May 5.


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#cook90: Yogurt Bowl

I’m nearly a week into the Epicurious #cook90 challenge and good news, I haven’t given up — yet. If you missed my post on #cook90 you can read the details here. During week one, it has become clear that meal prep is the key to success. Prepping things ahead of time means it’s easy to turn down temptations. In the first week alone, I was invited to attended two lunches and because I had a fridge full of lunches ready I didn’t feel tempted to use any of my cheat meals. Full disclosure at one of the lunches, I did eat dessert (after I ate lunch at my desk) so that I wouldn’t feel completely left out.

Carnitas three ways

Gimme Some Oven Carnitas

One of reasons I’m doing #cook90 is to try cooking new things, the first thing on my list was carnitas. I followed this simple and easy recipe from Gimme Some Oven that you can make in your slow cooker. I love a good recipe that you can set and forget. The trick to this recipe is crisping the carnitas in the oven after they finish cooking in the slow cooker. From that one recipe I was able to make three different meals: enchiladas, a polenta bowl and nachos. Note: I halved the recipe — there’s no way I could eat four or five pounds of pork.

Enchiladas carnitas

The enchilada recipe also came from Gimme Some Oven, and even included a homemade enchilada sauce. Making the sauce was so much easier that I thought it would be and so so good — goodbye store bought enchilada sauce!

Carnitas polenta bowl

Next up the polenta bowl, which was sort of inspired by the carnitas sopes at Saison Market here in Richmond. I layered polenta (I used the store bought tube, because hey, I already made enchilada sauce and carnitas this week), cuban style beans and fire roasted corn from Trader Joe’s, carnitas and cheese and topped it with a fried egg.

Nachos

Last but not least, I used some of the remaining carnitas to make nachos. Finding different ways to use the carnitas I made early in the week kept things interesting and meant I didn’t get bored of eating the same protein over and over again. When you’re only cooking for one, this is often a challenge I run into since many recipes are written to serve two, four or six people.

Mosaic Kale-Farro Shrimp Salad Copy Cat

Kale Farro Shrimp Salad Copy Cat

I am not a big salad person, although I do end up eating them for lunch at least a couple of times a week (usually begrudgingly). And I rarely eat a salad for lunch when I’m at a restaurant, but the kale-farro shrimp salad from Mosaic is my exception. Why you might ask? Well, this salad is full of goodies —roasted sweet potatoes, dried blueberries, grilled shrimp, toasted almonds — served over a bed of kale, and dressed with a balsamic smoked honey vinaigrette.

I don’t have a grill and it’s early March so I didn’t grill the shrimp, but I did marinade it in this flavorful and simple roasted garlic herb sauce. Seriously, so easy (as long as you have a blender or food processor) and it adds so much garlicky goodness and bright lemon flavor. In addition to the garlic sauce I also tried my hand at making this honey balsamic vinaigrette from Martha Stewart, and made it a little creamier with the addition of a dollop of greek yogurt. After realizing how easy it is to make dressings from scratch at home, I’m not sure I’ll ever need to buy it from the store again.

Keeping lunch and breakfast simple

Easy healthy breakfast - Yogurt bowl

As I eased into more thoughtful and unfamiliar cooking last week, I also made sure to stick to a few staples so that I didn’t get overwhelmed. For breakfast that meant making a few yogurt bowls — plain greek yogurt topped with shredded unsweetened coconut, sliced banana, blueberries, Kashi organic cinnamon harvest cereal, flaxseed meal, a scoop of peanut butter and a drizzle of raw honey.

And for lunch, my go to recently has been a plate packed with avocado toast, chicken sausage and half a roasted sweet potato. I did get a little fancy with my avocado toast this week.

Avocado toast lunch

Idle Hands’ Eps bread replaced my typical sprouted bread from Trader Joe’s and instead of just using avocado and spices I layered flavors starting with chive and onion cream cheese, some of the garlic herb sauce I mentioned earlier and smashed avocado.

Now I’m on to the next week, if you want to share your favorite recipe with me you can still do that here, I’m sure that on week three I’ll start running out of ideas!

P.S. Any other food bloggers out there excited for the time change on Sunday? I cannot wait to have natural light in my dark apartment so that I can actually take some decent photos of my dinners. Hence why the carnitas photos are so dark and the lunch/breakfast photos in this post are so much lighter and brighter!

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