What’s Happenin’ Wednesday

This week in Richmond restaurant news.

11 Months, the rotating restaurant concept brought to you by the owner of Don’t Look Back and New York Deli, is now open in Carytown. It’s opening theme: BFFs. Seriously. Soft open hours through the weekend. Yaki, in Jackson Ward, appears to be days away from opening — it just got its ABC license — and we cannot wait to taste all of the yakitori. The Capital Ale House owners are planning to open a beer garden/restaurant in the Woodlake Commons Shopping center (in Midlothian) later this summer. And also in Midlothian, Chesterfield County’s first Mellow Mushroom is set to open in June. Look at you go Midlo, look at you go.

An avocado toast article, but probably not the one you saw floating around Facebook.

If you’ve ever ordered avocado toast in a restaurant and thought to yourself this is amazing but why am I paying $11 for half an avocado smashed on toast? Here’s your answer. P.S. If you’re in San Francisco, or planning a visit, I highly recommend the avocado toast at Cafe St. Jorge. But only if you bring me back a slice!

On the other side of the coin, Richmond is home to some delicious cheap eats.

Richmond Magazine’s latest cover story was all about the cheap eats. And they even included some of our favorites, like the pupusas from Shelly’s Food – Comida Latina, the bagel sandwiches at Black Hand and the battle ships at Black Sheep. And Stephanie Breijo has us dying to try Pop’s Dog’s & Ma’s Burgers, the 16 ft. x 16 ft. diner in Lakeside. She’s been doing God’s work taste testing a variety of chili cheese fries options at Pop’s and we salute her for it.

For what it’s worth.

The people have spoken and Style Weekly’s Best of Richmond list has been released. You’ll find the results from this year’s reader’s poll for a variety of categories from burgers to doughnuts and brunch to favorite Richmond chef. See if your favorite spots made the cut here.

Step up your Memorial Day Weekend game.

Grilling season officially kicks off this weekend — okay realistically it probably kicked off weeks ago — and if you’re looking to impress your friends and family over the weekend here are a few things to get you started: when to grill with the lid open or closed, apparently wine coolers are back and these are the one’s worth trying, the best use cases for gas vs. charcoal (I thought the answer was always charcoal?), and 13 tips for improving your grilling from BBQ experts.

In weird food trends made popular by you guessed it, Instagram.

Last but not least, in why do we need this land, I leave you with activated charcoal pizza and the (secret) history of cloud eggs.

What to add to your calendar

If Saturday Farmers’ Markets aren’t for you.

The Scott’s Addition Farmer’s Market kicks off this Sunday at the Veil. Drink a brew while you shop, we hear they have good ones, and stock up on fresh produce and meats for Monday’s grilling festivities. You can expect vendors like Stock Provisions, Agriberry, Nate’s Bagels and Ninja Kombucha.

I want to ride my bicycle. 

Breakaway RVA’s second ride of the season is tomorrow! Join your fellow community members to explore RVA and make Richmond a more bike friendly city. Routes range from 3-5 miles and will take place throughout the city at 6 p.m. Find the nearest starting location and sign up here.

Sour beer lovers, where you at?

Confession: I love sour beers. Really they are the only style of beer I consistently like no matter the brewery, and Ardent has teamed up with O’Connor (a brewery in Norfolk) for a Gose release on June 3. Added bonus: ZZQ and Aloi will be on site feeding hungry beer drinkers.

Go early, or suffer in the crowds. 

That is the advice I always give when someone asks me about Broad Appetit. Can you believe my favorite Richmond Food Festival is just a week and a half away! Here’s the 411: $3 small plates, some of Richmond’s best restaurants, come hungry, leave full and it all benefits our local food bank — FeedMore.

Speaking of events with delicious foods benefiting a good cause.

The food and drink line up at the Brewer’s Ball (on June 1) this year looks fantastic, as always. Some of the participating breweries include Triple Crossing, Isley, Ardent and Steam Bell, and some of the participating restaurants include Rappahannock, Southbound, Heritage and Mosaic. The night’s festivities benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Tickets are $75 and include food, drink and parking.

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What’s Happenin’ Wednesday

Headed West. In local news, new tenants are headed to Regency Square Mall, including Regal Cinemas, Chipotle and MOD Pizza. You can read all of the details over at The Richmond Times-Dispatch. And, there’s more: Robey Martin has info on other developments west of Short Pump in this article for Richmond Magazine.

Just in time for Memorial Day. It’s true, you can now try your hand at making a Shake Shack cheeseburger at home with this recipe that TastingTable shared on their website from the new cookbook Shake Shack: Recipes & Stories. The best part? The recipe for ShackSauce is also included.

What’s that sound? I’ve been getting more into podcasts lately and have found them a good way to make productive use of the time I have in the car every day on my ride to and from the office. I’ll be honest, the ones I’ve been listening to have nothing to do with food but I highly recommend tuning in to Happier, Side Hustle School and Young House Love Has a Podcast. Next on my list? Garden & Gun just launched a podcast, Whole Hog, in celebration of their 10th anniversary, and I’m excited to check it out.

Helpful hints. Oh, BuzzFeed, the world of cute animal pictures and super helpful guides. I love the monthly round-ups they put together with ideas for what to cook in any given month of the year, and they did it again for May. I’m a rhubarb fanatic so you know a strawberry rhubarb pie is already on my list of things to bake, but I’m also excited to try a few new asparagus recipes this season.

Serious about cereal. This recent article from The Washington Post discusses the most important meal of the day – breakfast – and how we’re doing it all wrong.

Talk about a win win situation. Whoever said you can’t have your cake and eat it too must have never come across these boozy popsicles from FrutaPop. Hat tip to Delish for the heads up on these babies because this is what I like to call a summer game changer.

What to add to your calendar

Watermelon + beer and cider = this Saturday. If you like the idea of combining watermelon with alcoholic beverages, you’re in for a treat this weekend. Buskey Cider is bringing back their Watermelon Rosemary Cider for the summer and they are kicking things off this Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. If beer is more your thing, have no fear, Midnight Brewery is releasing a Watermelon Lime Kolsch on Saturday from 1 – 8 p.m.

This way to rosé. Y’all, next Thursday, May 25 from 5-8 p.m., Barrel Thief Wine Shop & Cafe is hosting a rosé tasting on the same night that lobster roll season kicks off at the restaurant AKA the best night ever. Details here.

Pack a picnic and take a drive. Looking for a fun Memorial Day weekend activity? Look no further. Polo returns to King Family Vineyards on Sunday, May 28 from 1-3 p.m. The free matches are held every Sunday through mid-October, weather permitting.

Cheers to a good cause. Save the date because the Brewer’s Ball is coming up Thursday, June 1 at the Virginia War Memorial. The funds raised at the event go to finding a cure for cystic fibrosis.

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What’s Happenin’ Wednesday

If you’re lazy like me but still want a garden full of fresh veggies. I saw these cute little seed packets on a recent episode of Shark Tank and I’m obsessed. I like the idea of gardening, but who really has the time. I think I am going to order the Grow Your Own Taco SeedSheet, which includes cilantro, arugula, scallions and radishes.

Restaurant news round up. Eleven Months, the spot brought to you by the folks behind Don’t Look Back, just posted hiring information on Facebook which means the opening date can’t be too far away. If you follow Bon Appetit on Instagram, you might’ve seen a peek at the status of Brenner Pass which looks like it might be opening in the next month or so. Frontier — brought to you by the owner of Alamo BBQ — is shooting for a September opening date. And Athens Greek Tavern (on Robinson) is set to reopen later this spring.

If my post about Shagbark brunch didn’t convince you to go, maybe this will. Tim Vidra has all the details on his dining experience at one of our favorite Richmond restaurants. Spoiler alert: he gave Shagbark 3.5 out of 4 forks.

What would you do for free chicken nuggets? A tweet about free chicken nuggets for a year just surpassed Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscars selfie tweet as the most retweeted tweet of all time. And speaking of fast food if you’ve ever wanted to know what it takes to own a fast food franchise Eater has a comprehensive guide for you to read.

It’s ok to lie to your mom about this gift. Impress her with these ready to bake morning buns from Whisk and we won’t spill your secret. If these are anything like the take and bake croissants they offer, your mom will love them!

Hot ticket. Alton Brown is coming to Richmond this fall to the Carpenter Theatre and tickets for his“Alton Brown Live — Eat Your Science” tour go on sale tomorrow at 10 a.m. See you at the show?

Bitter sweet news from L’Opossum. Chef and Owner David Shannon is stepping aside to let former sous chef James Garland take the reigns. Brandon Fox has all of the details over at Style Weekly including info about a forthcoming L’Opossum cookbook.

What to add to your calendar

Give me all of the Berliner Weisse. I recently tried Triple Crossing’s Berliner Weisse, the Waxing Poetic, and I cannot wait for Ardent’s release later this month. If you love a good gose, you’ll like a Berliner Weisse. If sour beers aren’t your thing, you can still enjoy one of Ardent’s other beers and food from ZZQ or the Continental Divide.

Peonies galore! Tuckahoe Plantation is hosting its Peony Picnic this Sunday (perfect Mother’s Day timing). Tours of the historic house will be offered for a small fee and Gelati Celesti will be on site with their ice cream truck.

Riverrock is coming. Mark your calendars for May 19-21 because outdoor sports are coming to town. My personal favorite event at Riverrock is the Air Dogs competition. Sadly Hazel will not be entering because she refuses to willingly let water touch her, but we’ll be there to cheer on the other brave dogs.

Families that brunch together stay together. If you were wondering where to take your Mom to brunch this weekend, Richmond.com has all of the details on what restaurants are doing buffets, prix fixes and special menus. My best advice if you want to go to brunch this weekend is find a place that takes reservations and do it now.

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What’s Happenin’ Wednesday

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. In a recent What’s Happenin’ Wednesday, we mentioned that we would jump at the chance to be ice cream judges for Gelati Celesti for a friendly flavor competition they were holding among their four locations. Well, consider us lucky, because they invited us to be judges and we had a blast sampling different ice cream flavors and voting for our favorites. The winner was Scott’s Addiction, a nutella ice cream with biscotti pieces throughout. Definitely worth a try if you see the flavor on the menu on your next visit to Gelati Celsti!

Not only bad things come in threes. Johnny Giavos announced last week that he is opening not one, not two, but three new spots in the Richmond area – a restaurant in Forest Hill, a gourmet market in Scott’s Addition and a coffee shop in Stratford Hills. You can learn more about all of the new concepts over on The Richmond Times-Dispatch website.

Tacos aren’t just for Tuesdays. In case you’re making your plans for Cinco de Mayo this Friday, here’s our list of five great places to find tacos in Richmond. The spots on our list span throughout town, so no matter what part of Richmond you call home, there’s probably a taco with your name on it that’s not far.

For your recipe collection. I made a recipe this week from the May issue of Cooking Light that was so quick and delicious I wanted to share it with all of you. These crispy potato cakes with smoked salmon have a short ingredient list and only take about 20 minutes to whip up, so perfect for a weeknight meal. I had capers, lemon and dill on hand so added a bit of each to the sour cream for some extra flavor.

Same taste, new hours. Sally Bell’s Kitchen is now open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. What this means for you: if you want to get your deviled egg and cupcake fix on a weekend, no one is stopping you now.

Beer gardens, taprooms and restaurants, oh my. Thai restaurant YaYa’s Cookbook opened last week in Short Pump from the owner of Sabai, and The HofGarden, a biergarten and taproom, is opening today at the Hofheimer Building at 2818 W. Broad Street.

What to add to your calendar

Tres chic. A new exhibition, Yves Saint Laurent: The Perfection of Style, opens Saturday, May 6 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The VMFA is the only East Coast venue for the exhibition, which will run in Richmond through the end of August. You can find more details here.

Worth the trip. Norfolk’s Waterside District opens to the public tomorrow, May 4, and free concerts and a number of other festivities are taking place during the grand opening celebration from May 11-14. There will be no shortage of food and drink options for visitors, with The Market at Waterside District including spots like Starr Hill Market Bar and Guy Fieri’s Smokehouse.

The final countdown. We’re just about a month away from one of our favorite food festivals of the year, so save the date because Broad Appetit will take place on Sunday, June 4 from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Start to daydream about the small plates that might be available at this year’s event and then take a look at our recap of last year’s event here.

You do you. We kid you not, there’s a holiday quickly approaching called National “Eat What You Want Day” and it’s coming up on May 11. Plan ahead and make good choices, a day like that only comes around but once a year.



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Five Places to Find Great Tacos in Richmond

We put our taco taste-testing skills to good use to share with you some of the best tacos in Richmond. It’s worth noting that there are many other great taco spots in Richmond that didn’t make this list, but hey, we could only eat so many tacos –we’re seriously considering doing a part two. The places we picked are worth a visit and as you’ll read below — offer much more than just tacos. From pupusas to fresh guacamole to sopes, we were in heaven checking these places out.

Best Tacos in Richmond

Don’t Look Back

Located in Carytown, Don’t Look Back is a great place to visit whether you’re craving a taco or a margarita. The menu is simple, mostly focused on tacos with a few other offerings including burritos, quesadillas, nachos and Frito pie. With summer quickly approaching, you’ll be happy to know that Don’t Look Back has a patio located behind the restaurant. Even better? They offer brunch – which means on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. you can enjoy everything from a breakfast burrito to huevos rancheros. In all of my visits to this neighborhood spot,  the main thing that has always stood out to me is how fresh everything is. This visit was no different.

Don't look back sauces

Don't look back taco
Don't look back tacos

The Dish: We found ourselves at Don’t Look Back on a Saturday afternoon, which meant we had to access to the brunch menu and the lunch menu. We took full advantage and ordered the chorizo taco, pulled chicken taco, breakfast taco and some chips and guacamole. Their guacamole is definitely some of the best I’ve had in Richmond and I can never resist ordering it when I go. Let’s be real: I always want the black bean nachos and the guacamole, but I’ve learned my eyes are often bigger than my stomach. When ordering tacos at Don’t Look Back, you choose whether you want a corn or flour tortilla and whether you want your taco traditional style (cilantro, red onion & lime) or gringo style (cheese, lettuce, sour cream & salsa). I usually mix it up depending on what kind of tacos I get, but both options are delicious. My favorite taco at Don’t Look Back? Hands down, the chicken skin taco. It’s not on the regular menu, but if you’re lucky enough to go at a time when it is on the specials board, order it. I promise you won’t be sorry.

– M

En Su Boca

Patio, check. Margaritas on happy hour, check. Delicious tacos, check. En Su Boca, located on the Boulevard in what is technically Scott’s Addition, is a great place to enjoy a meal outside. The food is described as San Francisco Mission District Inspired Mexican Cuisine, and I’d have to agree — out of all of the spots on our list, the food here definitely has a California twist.

En su boca overheadEn su boca tacosEn Su Boca fish tacos

The Dish: If you just try one thing, try the southern fried fish tacos. Crispy, flaky and fried, I don’t even really like fish and I could eat these everyday for the rest of my life. The Pacific cod is perfectly seasoned and complimented by chipotle crema and a cabbage slaw. On several visits, I’ve tried the carnitas, chorizo and carne asada. Oh and, if you are a vegetarian you’re in luck, En Su Boca has three vegetarian taco options! Happy hour is Monday through Friday and only lasts until 6 p.m. If you can beat rush hour traffic and make it in time after work, you’ll be rewarded with $2 tacos and a few other food and drink specials.

– K

La Milpa

I’m not sure what I was waiting for but it took me 25 years and a Richmond Times-Dispatch review to finally try La Milpa. And now, I’m kicking myself because I waited 25 years TOO long. The first thing you’ll notice when you walk into La Milpa is the eccentric decor; to the left you’ll find the restaurant and dining room and to the right you’ll find the market/grocery store.

La Milpa OverheadLa Milpa Al Pastor TacoLa Milpa chorizo sope

The Dish: Meg and I might be small people, but together we are an unstoppable eating force. At La Milpa we tried an al pastor taco, grilled chicken taco, carne asada sope, chorizo sope, cebollitas (grilled green onions) and a side of beans – keep in mind this was stop numero uno of the evening. Never had a sope? It’s sort of like a fried tortilla topped with refried beans, meat and melted cheese. Once you place your order you can head over to the salsa bar and stock up on as many brightly colored sauces as your little heart desires. We tried them all and I don’t know if we could even try to pick a favorite. Everything we tried was so flavorful, I can’t wait to go back to have another carne asada sope and an al pastor taco.

-K

Shelly’s Food, Comida Latina

Located at 7304 Staples Mill Road, Shelly’s Food is tucked away in a shopping center where you could easily miss it if you didn’t know what you were looking for. We went on a Sunday right around lunchtime and the place was filled with what appeared to be regulars. We sat down and perused the menu for a few minutes and quickly decided we wanted to share a taco platter and two pupusas, which was the perfect amount of food for sharing.

The entire meal and only cost $12, making Shelly’s a great option for dining out on a budget. And so eaking of cheap eats, Tuesdays are for $1 tacos at Shelly’s Food and Wednesdays are for $1 pupusas. (Stephanie Breijo at Richmond Magazine recently did a web piece entirely devoted to the pupusas at Shelly’s Food.)



The Dish: The taco platter we ordered came with three tacos — chicken, steak and pork — and while we enjoyed each variety we both agreed the pork was our favorite, with a rich flavor that left you wanting to take another bite. The pupusas were delicious, too, and we ordered one with beans and cheese and one with pork and cheese, which was our favorite of the two options. Shelly’s Food is a great place for authentic Mexican cuisine at any time, but especially convenient if you don’t feel like taking a trip south of the river to one of the other options on our list.

– M

Taqueria Panchito

Taqueria Panchito is located on Midlothian Turnpike in a small but comfortable space with a sign outside advertising “authentic Mexican”, and that’s exactly what you’ll find here. We visited on a Monday evening and had no trouble grabbing a table for two. In case you’re following along – with our visit here, we crossed another place off of our “Where to Dish Next” list.

Taqueria panchito overheadTaqueria panchito guacamoleTaqueria panchito chicken taco

The Dish: The first thing that caught my eye when looking at the menu wasn’t the food selection, but the drink selection. Taqueria Panchito serves a variety of aguas frescas, beverages that are a refreshing combination of fruit, sugar and water that I find myself making during the warm summer months here in Richmond. I ordered a watermelon agua fresca and with a squeeze of lime juice, it was so good. We both ordered tacos and I also got an order of chips, salsa and guacamole, which ended up being a highlight of our visit – the jalapeños in the guacamole provided just the right amount of heat and the portion size was more than generous. The tacos were delicious and topped with cebollitas, which was the perfect touch. Like La Milpa, Taqueria Panchito has a self-serve salsa bar which we obviously took full advantage of. Looking for a deal? Taqueria Panchito offers $1 tacos on Wednesdays.

-M

What are your favorite tacos in Richmond? We certainly are not opposed to doing another taco crawl, and we’d love to hear about them!

 

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