Brunch at Shagbark

Richmond was recently named to Travel and Leisure’s list of America’s Favorite Cities for Brunch. In fact, RVA ranked number six on the list and I’m in full agreement — Richmond is a great town for brunch. But Travel and Leisure (and its readers) failed to mention one of the best brunches in town. Don’t get me wrong Metzger and Southbound deservedly made the list — I’ve been to brunch at both restaurants and was extremely impressed. But, Shagbark is also doing something special. (Note: Lucy’s is probably also deserving of its mention, I just haven’t had a chance to make it over there for brunch yet.)

On a recent trip (aka on Easter Sunday — which was a date chosen accidentally), I was smitten with everything that came out of the kitchen at Shagbark. And it didn’t hurt that the weather was beautiful and we were given the option of sitting outside on the shaded patio.

You’ll notice a common thread in my brunch adventures — sharing is caring — and my friend Nicky and I shared three dishes on this trip to Shagbark.

Our meal started where every good brunch meal starts: cocktails. I enjoyed the brunch punch while Nicky went a little more traditional and sipped on the classic mimosa. The brunch punch was sweet, but not overly so, and made for easy drinking — a good choice for a warm spring day.

Making decisions on what to drink was easy, making decisions on what to eat was a very, very hard. Everything on the menu sounded delicious, so we had a difficult time choosing between these four options:

BBQ spiced duck confit hash with roasted sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, soft egg, buttered almonds and Highland County maple creme fraîche.

Dill pickle-brined chicken & waffles with Hubs peanut crumble and bourbon-maple butter.

Sub Rosa polenta bread french toast with local strawberries, lemon mascarpone and oat streusel.

The Old Virginia — Edward’s country ham steak, Byrd Mill grits, SSU hen egg, red eye gravy and a buttermilk biscuit.

Ultimately we went with one sweet and one savory dish. We couldn’t say no to the duck hash — (1) because I wanted to see how it compared to Metzger’s and Southbound’s versions and (2) because it is freaking duck hash. Always. order. the. duck. hash. For our sweet entree, we went all in with the french toast made with Sub Rosa bread.

What a pair. We cleaned both plates and we were dying for more. The Sub Rosa polenta bread french toast was less sweet than I expected, definitely less sweet than most french toasts, but I wasn’t mad about it. I mean, let’s be real, it is pretty hard to mess a dish up that starts with bread from Sub Rosa. The strawberries tasted so fresh and bright, and the lemon mascarpone was to die for. My only complaint was that the crust of the bread was a little hard to cut with the not so sharp knives we were given, but if that’s the worst part of the meal I’ll take it.

I’m honestly not even sure where to start with the duck hash. It was plated beautifully, and the soft egg was poached to perfection. The roasted sweet potatoes balanced well with the salty, rich duck and the toasted almonds gave the dish the crunch that it needed. And that sauce, I could eat that Highland County maple creme fraiche by the spoonful. I love the duck hash at Metzger and Southbound, but Shagbark’s version blew those out of the water. Let’s just say our server was impressed at the speed at which we consumed this plate of food. I promise I’m not exaggerating, it really was that good.

To wrap things up we split the coffee cake for dessert. The roasted banana brown butter coffee cake came topped with honey chantilly, fresh blackberries and toasted malt powder. I don’t know what honey chantilly or toasted malt powder is, but what I do know is that they taste great on top of this coffee cake. Similarly to the french toast, this dish was not overly sweet and it was a lot lighter than expected.

Overall the brunch experience at Shagbark is top notch. The service was lovely, the drinks were refreshing and the food was incredible. This meal for two came out to about $70 (including tip), which might seem a little spendy for brunch but when you factor in the fact that we both had drinks, shared a dessert, and we were at Shagbark, I was actually pleasantly surprised at how inexpensive our meal was.

The cost of brunch at Shagbark is much more approachable than dinner is there but they are both equally delicious.

Shagbark is located at Libbie Mill-Midtown (4901 Libbie Mill East Boulevard, Suite 175) and they serve brunch on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. They do take reservations, and you can browse a sample menu here. P.S. There is plenty of free parking around the restaurant so you won’t have to worry about parallel parking.


What’s Happenin’ Wednesday

Live your best sandwich life. One of my all time favorite food trucks in Richmond is the Sammich truck. Usually you can catch them at SOTJ for a breakfast sandwich or around town during the week (think Hardywood and at The Martin Agency). And now you can grab a sandwich on the go from Outpost Richmond. Three varieties are currently available, now including this vegan sandwich that can only be described as beautiful.

Brookland Park Boulevard is on fire (in a good way). Towards the end of last year, Richmond BizSense did a deep dive into Brookland Park Boulevard being a diamond in the rough, and some were even wondering if the area was going to be the next Scott’s Addition. Well, eight months later, new developments keep rollin’ in. Things sort of got worse before they got better with Street Car Cafe’s sudden closure. But since that news broke, Lunchonette Northside opened, Black Hand Coffee is officially roasting coffee beans with a cafe in the works, Lamplighter has an offer on a property and two sisters are turning an auto repair shop into a restaurant — Dixie Bell’s.

Puppers and doggos are a 12/10. DoggoLingo is a real thing people and if you need a pick me up this week I suggest reading this article from NPR on the internet trend that you might’ve missed. Hazel is of course is of course a h*cking good girl.

Happiest of hours. High on my happy hour to do list is Flora. One, because it is super convenient to my apartment and two, because they’re running some awesome deals. From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. you find half price Pacificos and $2 off draft beer, wine, cocktails and small plates. I want the chilaquiles, like now, and I’m hoping this frozen hibiscus grapefruit sangria wasn’t a one time deal.

821 cafe is officially a teenager! The restaurant just steps from VCU’s Monroe Park Campus recently celebrated its 13th anniversary. They also recently unveiled a new spring menu (sign me up for the fried zucchini tacos) and a revamped outdoor patio.

Another day, another best of list. Richmond was recently named to Travel and Leisure’s list of America’s Favorite Cities for Brunch. Richmond, Va. ranked number six, featuring mentions of Southbound (I can vouch), Metzger Bar and Butchery (co-sign) and Lucy’s (need to try). Richmond wasn’t the only Virginia city to make the list, Norfolk came in at number 15.

What to add to your calendar

One night only? On Thursday, May 4, Stock Provisions is hosting a ramen pop-up (OMG!) at the Veil Brewing Company. They’ll be slinging all the nood(el)s, both of the veggie and pork variety and bonus points because the pork is coming from Autumn Olive Farms (fancy!). Join them from 6-9 p.m. but plan on going early in case they sell out. See you there?

Good things come in threes. Gold Cart is hosting its third pop up event on Sunday, May 7 and they must’ve known that Richmond made Travel and Leisure’s list of America’s Favorite Cities for Brunch, because you guessed it, they are taking on brunch. Everything on the menu sounds amazing and if you’ve ever wanted to have brunch at Pasture, here’s your chance. The Jean Claude Van Brunch Gold Cart pop-up is happenin’ on Sunday May 7th and starts at 11:30 a.m.

The O.G. Virginia Hopped Cider. This weekend, Blue Bee Cider (the first hopped cider made in Virginia) is hosting the Virginia Hopped Cider Festival to celebrate the beverage’s growth throughout the Commonwealth. Eleven Virginia hopped ciders will be available, and entry to the festival is free — although a $15 ticket will get you a flight of five Virginia hopped ciders, three glasses of cider or a ticket to a Grand Tasting class. Camden Dogtown Market, Continental Divide and Nightingale Ice Cream Sandwiches will be on site with food and there will also be art and live music. Pro tip: pack sunscreen it is going to be a scorcher this weekend.

This is your final reminder. It is Restaurant Week in RVA! $4.17 of every RRW meal at participating restaurants will be donated to the Central Virginia Food Bank and Meals on Wheels. Make plans and go enjoy a three course meal for a great cause, you have no excuses, there are 40 restaurants to choose from.



What’s Happenin’ Wednesday

Good things come to those who wait. Rappahannock Restaurant is opening its doors again on Thursday after a fire closed the restaurant for six weeks. Head to their Facebook page where you can like or comment on their most recent post to enter a giveaway for $100 and then open your OpenTable app to make a reservation to celebrate the restaurant’s return with the staff, which is returning entirely intact after the hiatus. Bonus: If you visit on Thursday, there will be $1 oysters for your dining pleasure.

Cheers to a decade. No doubt about it, the South of the James Farmers’ Market is one of our very favorite Richmond activities, we even did a post last year on our 10 favorite market vendors. The market turns 10 this year and Stephanie Breijo over at Richmond Magazine has the scoop on how the market has grown and what it looks like now. Here’s to another 10 years!

What’s new in the restaurant scene, you ask? Church Hill People’s News has the scoop on Chef Jessica Wilson and her desire to bring a garden-to-table restaurant to Chimborazo. Fighting Fish, a restaurant specializing in sushi and poke bowls opened on April 12 at 317 N. 2nd Street.

The world’s best restaurant is… Back in the United States for the first time in over a decade, for one thing. Head on over to The Washington Post to read more about Eleven Madison Park, the New York spot that took the number one spot on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list earlier this month.

In the mood for something fizzy? You’re in luck. I’ve been following along with the updates from Trussings Craft Fizz on their Facebook page and it sounds like release info is coming soon for the handcrafted small-batch beverages in some delicious sounding flavor combinations. Good thing, because I already can’t wait to try the ginger lime fizz and the apple sage fizz!

Shell shock. Easter might be over, but it’s always a good time to enjoy deviled eggs, and what a wide range of deviled eggs there are! Stephanie Ganz has you covered with a list of where you can find some of the best in RVA, with prices per egg ranging from 75 cents to $12.

Word on the street. Kudos to Richmond’s own Ames’ Hot Southern Honey, featured in the May 2017 issue of The Local Palate. I’ve had the chance to taste test this “sweet heat” on a few items (including a recipe for mini chicken and waffles I hope to share on the blog soon!) and this stuff is delicious.

What to add to your calendar

Tomorrow, tomorrow. The Cask is hosting a German dinner on Thursday, April 20 from 5- 8 p.m. and the menu looks mighty good.

A winning combination. King of Pops + free yoga? Count me in. Every Tuesday 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Carillon through October 10, you can participate in all ages / skill levels yoga and then get a free pop at the end. More details here.

Good fun for a good cause. The Tredegar Society’s sixth annual Loose Cannons event is coming up on Friday, April 28 from 7 – 10:30 p.m. The event will feature live music, craft beer, cider, wine, food trucks and more. Tickets are $25 in advance and all proceeds benefit the American Civil War Museum.


5 Bites and Sips I’ve Been Loving Lately

After a brief hiatus, the latest 5 Bites and Sips post is up on the blog today featuring items from some of my favorite recent dining adventures!

If you missed the first or second post in this series, don’t fret, you can give them a read here and here.

The Taft at Secret Sandwich Society

I first sang the praises of The Taft when we had the chance to get a sneak peek of Secret Sandwich Society before the restaurant opened to the public back in November — you could say this sandwich had me at hello. But, this menu item is one I’m not planning to part with anytime soon. Why is this sandwich so darn good? Made up of slow roasted pork shoulder, rosemary mayo, braised kale and provolone on a toasted baguette, every individual element of this sandwich is done to perfection and perfectly complements the other ingredients.

I could eat the braised kale by the spoonful and the slow roasted pork shoulder is so flavorful and tender, you can tell with every bite the care that went into preparing it. The only bad thing about this sandwich? I don’t know if I’ll be able to bring myself to try anything else on the menu at Secret Sandwich Society.

Fried Chicken at Tanglewood Ordinary

I’ve been wanting to try Tanglewood Ordinary ever since reading the restaurant’s wonderful review in the Richmond Times-Dispatch this past summer. I made a reservation for a recent Saturday night and Taylor and I headed out for some homestyle cooking.

We opted for the family-style dining option, where for $15.99 a person we enjoyed an all you can eat meal that included fried chicken, pot roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, collared greens, green beans, macaroni and cheese, cornbread and biscuits. Everything was delicious, but the fried chicken was the most memorable part of the meal. Even if it seems a bit off the beaten path, you won’t regret a trip to Tanglewood Ordinary.

Just about anything on the menu at Cava

I know I’m not the only one excited that Cava is finally in Richmond, with a first location open near VCU and a few more locations on the way. I love Mediterranean food in general but there is just something so satisfying about being able to build my own mini pitas or bowl with greens and grains and whatever toppings my heart desires. Speaking of toppings, my order at Cava usually goes something like this no matter what protein or base I’m getting that day: ALL of the pickled red onions, feta and olives topped off with some combination of crazy feta and tzatziki.

Oh yeah, and I can’t go to Cava and not get one of their specialty juices. Usually drinks on a restaurant menu are an afterthought, especially when they are non-alcoholic, but these juices are just another thing that make Cava’s menu shine. I haven’t visited since they launched their spring juice menu (they switch out seasonally) but I already have my eyes on two I want to try: the strawberry mint lime juice and the grapefruit + mint raspberry shrub.

Donuts from Mrs. Yoder’s

It’s no secret that we’re huge fans on Mrs. Yoder’s donuts (and donuts in general) here at Let’s Share A Dish. I only have one of these donuts every so often – which is probably a good thing for my health — but every time I do, I am reminded of JUST how good they are.

I enjoyed one recently on the day that the donuts returned to the South of the James farmers’ market for the season, splitting the donut with a friend who had never had one of these special donuts before. We each took a bite and just looked at eachother, acknowledging without saying a thing that we were eating one of the best things we might ever taste. Warm and dripping with icing, nothing beats a fresh Mrs. Yoder’s donut. Lucky you, you can get one every Saturday at the South of the James farmers’ market.

Stiegl Radler

As much as I love visiting vineyards and breweries and enjoying their ambience, I’m not someone who drinks beer or wine all too often. I much prefer a cocktail or cider, opting for something a little bit fruitier or sweeter. My preference quickly changes, though, if a Stiegl Radler is on the menu.

This grapefruit beer brewed in Austria is my beer of choice most anytime of the year, but especially in the spring and summer months once warm weather hits. It’s not too sweet OR too tart and the grapefruit flavor is totally natural. It’s just a refreshing drink that goes down (almost too!) easy. If you’re like me and don’t think there’s a beer out there you’ll like as much as you like cider, I encourage you to give this one a try if you see it on a menu or spot it in a store. Richmonders, Stiegl Radler can be somewhat hard to find though its local availability seems to be increasing in the last year or two. I’ve always had luck finding it at Total Wine!

What’s the best thing drink or dish you’ve enjoyed lately? Would love to hear in the comments below!


What’s Happenin’ Wednesday

Dream job = ice cream flavor judge. Gelati Celesti just put out an open call for judges for its spring ice cream flavor contest and I want to know where to sign up. If you want to be in the running for this prestigious job, fill out an entry form at one of Gelati Celesti’s four locations by April 18. Must be available on the evening of April 25th for the spring tasting event.

The keyword here is newICYMI: Pop’s Market on Grace has new Saturday hours, now open 9 to 5. And Union Market just debuted its new spring/summer menu — that melon and prosciutto salad is calling my name — and its patio has a new look.

Get your game plan together, restaurant week is almost here. Meg mentioned Richmond Restaurant Week in last week’s What’s Happenin’ Wednesday, and we’re set to visit Laura Lee’s (also see: the RTD’s recent review of Laura Lee’s here)! More menus are now posted, so pick a spot and make your reservation(s) now.

That’s a lot of hardware. I speak for Meg and myself when I say how much we love reading content from Richmond’s super talented food writers. Richmond Magazine’s food editor Stephanie Breijo, took home all.of.the.awards. Cheers to local journalism! P.S. can we motion for an Instagram category, because this is a winner.

Explore Parts Unknown, to you. CNN is placing an emphasis on food with the launch of this beautiful new website for Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown. Also if you love to travel, add Roads & Kingdoms to your bookmarks folder. Anthony Bourdain is the digital publication’s editor-in-chief.

Take note Virginia. Arizona’s legislature recently passed the Hunger-Free Students’ Bill of Rights Act requiring that all students have access to the same lunch and banning practices like trashing lunches that have been served to students who cannot pay. What a great step towards ensuring that kids can focus on things like learning, while they’re at school, instead of whether or not they’ll be publicly humiliated because of something they can’t control.

What to add to your calendar

It is almost Easter weekend, people! Even of you don’t celebrate the spiritual holiday, you can certainly enjoy and appreciate the spectacle that is Easter on Parade. Stroll down Monument Avenue from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday and look for the pet bonnet competition at 3 p.m. Also, this is your reminder to make Easter brunch reservations if you haven’t already.

Sunday supper at The Roosevelt. The Sunday supper pop up at The Roosevelt is back starting at 5 p.m. on April 30. This go-round the focus will be Asian street food and cocktails.

Classical music pairs well with cider. Tomorrow’s (Thursday) weather is looking beautiful for Classical Revolution RVA’s event, Haydn Where You Least Expect It. Enjoy the musicians of Classical Revolution RVA performing a string quartet by Franz Joseph Haydn, while sipping on cider.

Egg rolls (not the crispy kind) and Nuclear Nugget release. Saturday, Lickinghole Creek is hosting its Spring Farm Fest in addition to its Nuclear Nugget beer release. There will be tons of age appropriate activities for the kids and lots of beer for the adults. Festivities kick off at noon and run through 9 p.m.

Early bird gets the worm. Early bird tickets are now on sale for Side by Side’s (formerly ROSMY) spring fundraising event on May 6th at Tuckahoe Women’s Club. Side by Side is a great non-profit organization that is dedicated to creating supportive communities where Virginia’s LGBTQ+ youth can define themselves, belong, and flourish.



What’s Happenin’ Wednesday

What’s Happenin’ Wednesday

  • With the opening of Red Cap Patisserie, the Fan District has another bakery to call its own. You can read more about this French-inspired bakery owned by Martine Wladar in The Richmond Times-Dispatch. I need to plan a visit because swooning over the bakery’s Instagram photos is only going to tide my sweet tooth over for but so long.
  • Speaking of The Richmond Times-Dispatch, did you know you can get a digital subscription to Richmond’s daily newspaper for only $8.99 a month? We’re big fans of local news here at Let’s Share A Dish and after some sad layoffs at the Richmond Times-Dispatch this week, it’s an important time to support local journalism.
  • We talk a lot about restaurant closings and openings in this space, but we also like to celebrate when one of our favorite spots has been around a good long time, so here’s my official happy birthday shout out to Kuba Kuba as the restaurant celebrates 19 years of service this week.
  • It’s no longer Taco Tuesday, but we are ALL about celebrating tacos any day of the week. That’s why we were so jazzed to hear that as of yesterday, Triple Crossing’s downtown location is offering a taco bar featuring chips and dips, pork tacos, vegetarian tacos and seasonal tacos every Friday. This Friday’s taco special is rockfish, which sounds like a delicious reason to enjoy some beer and grab some food with friends.
  • At a recent book club gathering, I got to enjoy a recipe from my friend Amanda that she made from the Skinnytaste Fast and Slow cookbook, and it’s now in my Amazon cart waiting for me. The cookbook has 80+ dishes that take less than 30 minutes to prepare and 60 slow cooker recipes. I can’t wait to put it to good use during my weeknight cooking adventures.
  • ICYMI: Style Weekly’s Brandon Fox did a neat piece back in February on Richmond’s beer caves at Rocketts Landing. Whether you’re a history buff or just a big beer lover, it’s an article you’ll probably enjoy.
  • Thrillist put together a list of the 100 greatest snacks of all time, i.e. a list you should read when you have a full stomach.

What to add to your calendar

  • Trapezium Brewing Co. is hosting an oyster roast this Saturday at their brewery in Petersburg, and the weather is looking mighty fine for enjoying some oysters, music and beer.
  • I was excited about Buskey’s newest cider from the get go because strawberry rhubarb cider simply sounds delicious, but now that Buskey Cider is donating $3 of every pint of strawberry rhubarb cider purchased at the cider’s release this Saturday, April 8, back to Courthouse Creek Cider after a fire… well, you know how I feel about good food and drink that’s also for a good cause. Details on the benefit release here.
  • Richmond Restaurant Week is coming up quickly, friends. The spring edition is taking place from April 24 to April 30, and I already have my heart set on a visit to Laura Lee’s after they posted a look at their restaurant week menu a few days ago. Don’t forget, a portion of the proceeds from each meal enjoyed during restaurant week go back to FeedMore to support the wonderful work they do.
  • It’s never too early to save the date for one of my favorite Richmond weekends of the year, the Richmond Greek Festival. The festival will be back again this year from June 1 – 4 and I am already beyond excited to enjoy a gyro and some loukoumades. The countdown is on!