Broad Appètit is definitely my favorite Richmond festival. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Broad Street is shut down from Henry to Adams and local Richmond restaurants create small plates at an affordable price ($3), all benefiting FeedMore. At the event, this year more than 70 restaurants were competing to win over attendee’s taste buds, and also vying for five awards:
- To Dine For Award: Best signature dish
- To Diet For Award: Best dessert dish
- The Healthy Dish Award: Best well-balanced dish
- The Ambiance Award: Best decorated booth
- The People’s Choice Award: Voted on by the people
More on those winners later! After attending for the past two years I’ve got my Broad Appètit strategy down. For someone who doesn’t like crowds, going into a festival with a winning game plan is essential to keeping my sanity. Before the event, I review all of the posted menu options — thankfully for this event most of the small plate offerings are listed on Broad Appètit’s website ahead of time. Next, I print a map and highlight the places I know I want to visit. And finally, on the back of my map for each booth I want to visit, I write down the dish(es) that will be served. This eliminates the time consuming task of scrolling through all the options on your phone, time is of the essence people!
Oh and one other piece of advice — arrive early. Thankfully this year the strong thunderstorms that were forecasted for the event cleared up and a rainout was avoided. But that also meant dealing with Richmond’s heat and humidity. So do yourself a favor and arrive right at 11, when the crowds seem to be the lightest.
Okay so now on to the food. This year I had two patient and fearless companions accompanying me through this literal taste of Richmond —thanks Andy and Nicky for being my hand models too. Together we tasted around 10 dishes in total, before we started feeling like we might go into a food coma on the spot. Here were some of our favorites:
Castanea’s paella and double chocolate gelato
Maple and Pine’s beef shortrib strudel, wild mushroom ragout
Amour Wine Bistro’s duck confit and mushroom crepe
The Hungry Turtle’s pho soup dumplings
The Rogue Gentleman’s lamb cheesesteak
Tazza’s brisket taco
The Chili Forum’s steak and grits
And now, drum roll please for the winners:
- To Dine For Award: Maple & Pine’s beef shortrib strudel, wild mushroom ragout
- To Diet For Award: India K’ Raja’s mint kulfi
- The Healthy Dish Award: Everyday Gourmet’s succotash tomato pie
- The Ambiance Award: Tio Pablo
- The People’s Choice Award: Rogue Gentleman’s lamb cheesesteak topped with a house cheez wiz, jerk aioli and caramelized onion
But let’s be real, Richmonders are the all around winners of this event because we get to enjoy some fabulous food, while giving back to our community. I’m already counting down the days until next year’s event! If you went to Broad Appètit let us know what your favorite dish was in the comments below.