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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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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#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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What’s Happenin’ Wednesday

  • More restaurants are coming! The folks behind Rogue Gentlemen (not to be confused with Club Rouge) are opening a new concept in the old Boka Tavern space on Broad Street. Yaki will be a take on the modern izakaya, aka Japanese gastropub, serving mainly yakitori-ya (chicken skewers) — read all of the details on Richmond Magazine. Also making moves this week is Mean Bird. The beloved fried chicken (and vegan fried chicken) food truck will soon be opening a brick and mortar location in the old Sticky ToGoGo space on Main Street in the Fan. Note: they’ll have a limited schedule for the truck while they work to get that space up and running.
  • Does the warm weather have you wishing you were drinking a beer on the patio? Here are five Richmond beers to help you start celebrating spring early.
  • In related beer news, Hardywood’s Goochland facility is facing some setbacks thanks to some not so cooperative soil. The project is now slated to open in spring 2018.
  • I think I mention my love for podcasts at least once a month in What’s Happenin’ Wednesday and guess what, it’s that time again! Bon Appetit asked chef’s what they’re listening to and they aren’t all food related. I 100 percent endorse Revisionist History, Stuff You Should Know and the Sporkful.
  • ICYMI: I’m attempting to do the #cook90 challenge — meaning for the month of March I must cook all of my own breakfasts, lunches and dinners (with the exception of three cheat meals). If you have a recipe that you love to cook, share it here (or in the comments below) and I’ll try my best to cook it! I’m currently searching for a good bagel recipe so let me know if you’ve got one.
  • If labels at the grocery store often leave you feeling confused, you aren’t alone. Soon companies will be encouraged to cut those pesky “sell by” descriptors from 10 options to two, meaning consumers will only see “Use By” and “Best if Used By” dates on food. Yay for changes that make our lives easier. Side note, most foods are typically okay to eat if it is past its “Best if Used By” date.

What to add to your calendar

  • GUYS! GET EXCITED BECAUSE MRS. YODER’S MAKES ITS TRIUMPHANT RETURN TO SOUTH OF THE JAMES THIS WEEKEND. Sorry for yelling but I’m excited. My love for donuts runs deep and these are my absolute favorite in Richmond. Catch them this Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.
  • Forget March Madness (ok not really, but go with me on this one), March Mindfulness is here. Take a break from the current chaos that is social media and just life in general with some classical music and meditation. Classical Revolution RVA will be hosting solo instrumentalists every Wednesday in March from 12-12:30 p.m. at 1708 Gallery (319 W. Broad St.). The events are free and open to the public.
  • Tickets are on sale for Steam Bell Brew Works’ RVA Brews & Blues Fest on March 25th. Seven acts are slated to perform and they’ll also be releasing a small batch beer, Old Salt Gose.
  • Brunch is starting at Laura Lee’s this Sunday and they just shared a sneak peek of the menu. Brunch will run from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and reservations can be made on the restaurant’s website. They had me at avocado toast and pork shoulder, sunchoke and sausage hash.
  • If the Oscars were your jam this past Sunday, you might be interested in attending the Richmond International Film Festival. More than 150 films from 35 countries will be shown during the festival and 50+ bands will be performing now through Sunday. More details including a list of films, bands and events can be found here.



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I’m an avid listener of the Bon Appètit Foodcast and in late January I listened to an episode featuring the editor of Epicurious, David Tamarkin. Most of the episode was spent talking about this cooking challenge where readers of Epicurious challenged each other and themselves to cook every breakfast, lunch and dinner for the month of January. Well, I missed the memo on the start of the challenge in January, so I’m going to be doing the #Cook90 challenge in March.

Here’s how Epicurious describes #Cook90:

The #cook90 challenge is simple: Cook three meals a day, every day, for a whole month. Cooking 90 meals requires organization. And creativity. And Tupperware. Lots of Tupperware.

cook90 instagram posts

But they aren’t that crazy, you do get three “cheat” meals because well, life happens and sometimes you just HAVE to go to a work lunch or dinner with a friend to decompress after a tough week. If you’re super into math, this is why for the 31 days in January (and in this case March) I’ll only have to cook 90 meals and not 93. You can read the full explanation of “rules” here, including what actually constitutes cooking — in case you’re wondering, for the purposes of this challenge making a salad is considered cooking.

One thing this is not, a diet plan — which is why I fully intend on whipping up some homemade pizzas (with a little help from Idlehands) and finding the best way to make the perfect burger on my stove top.

So for the next 30 or so days, you’ll probably be seeing more recipe posts from me on Let’s Share a Dish with the occasional post about food that wasn’t made in my own kitchen. I’m hoping that through this challenge I’ll actually find a couple more go-to-recipes because currently I have about three, and that I’ll be inspired to explore my love for food in new ways. Hey, maybe I’ll finally learn to make my own pasta!

If you want to submit one (or more) of your favorite recipes, you can do so below. I’ll try my best to make it! Happy cooking, and if any one wants to join me, I’m sure I’ll have lots of leftovers to share!

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What's Happenin' Wednesday Feb 15

What’s Happenin’ Wednesday!

  • Let’s start with the bad news: Stroops as we know it will be closing this week. And after The Dog and Pig Show closed last weekend, Meg and I aren’t sure what to do or where to eat lunch anymore (kidding, sort of). I ate my feelings today to say my goodbyes (re: I shared five, I repeat five hot dogs with friends). Also closed, American Tap Room at Willow Lawn. The space will be turned into Hattie Mae’s Southern Cuisine and Oyster Bar.
  • The better news, lots of restaurants are opening (and reopening). The Hard Shell Downtown is open again after an interior remodel. The Cava location near VCU opens to the public this week (Thursday with limited hours and FREE food). And Anchor Bar, the restaurant that invented the buffalo wing opens at Stony Point on Saturday.
  • Ukrop’s lives! At Kroger. You can now find all of your Ukrop’s favorites at Kroger starting today — think rainbow cookies and chicken salad, but maybe not together.
  • The Washington Post burst my Kombucha loving bubble this week by informing me that the “health” drink might not be all that it’s cracked up to be. Decide for yourself by reading the full article here.
  • Two new food websites popped up recently that are worth following: Healthyish by Bon Appetit is a place where you can find (mostly) healthy but always delicious recipes and TASTE is an online magazine run by Matt Rodbard, author of Koreatown: A Cookbook, among other accomplishments. TASTE promises to share approachable recipes and to explore “today’s quick moving food culture.”
  • Stella’s Grocery is my guilty pleasure market. If I’m feeling too lazy to cook dinner or if I know I have a busy week coming up, I’ll pick up a pasta dinner there knowing it will last me for like four meals and be more delicious than anything I could make myself. Stella’s Grocery new item alert: housemade butternut squash and ricotta ravioli. Reheat it in your own cookware and we won’t tell anyone that you didn’t make it from scratch.

What to add to your calendar

  • If you’ve already given up on your New Year’s Resolution to get fit, sign up for the Monument Avenue 10k. There’s still time to get back on track and run with 30,000 of your closest friends. Also, non-runners it might be time to start planning your witty signs, you’ve got stiff competition with all the protest signs lately.
  • This weekend, Stone Brewing is celebrating the first birthday of its Richmond location. Join them in Fulton on Saturday for beer, coffee and Patrick Henry re-enactors. No, I’m not kidding.
  • Go grocery shopping for a good cause on Sunday at Ellwood Thompson’s. Five percent of sales will be donated to local non-profit FETCH a Cure.
  • FYI — The nice people that run the Mean Bird food truck have caught the bug that’s been going around and had to cancel all events scheduled for yesterday and today. Send them good vibes so that they’ll be better soon aka in time to serve up some tasty fried chicken at Kindred Spirit Brewing in Goochland on Friday. Go visit them when they’re back up and running, I’m sure it will make them feel better!

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