Last week Meg and I attended Ardent’s second annual Swine and Brine and let me say, it did not disappoint. We both enjoyed our fair share of tasty small plates created by some of Richmond’s best restaurants. And even though it rained — for the second year in a row — we still had a great time!
Let me start by saying, Ardent knows how to throw a great event. The staff were super well organized, the check in process was streamlined and they had more than enough staff on hand to pour beer and serve food. This is not one of those events where you have to stand in the beer line for thirty minutes. Tickets ($20) were mainly sold presale, and upon entering you were given three tickets — redeemable for one beer or food item each (a select few food items cost two tickets) — and an Ardent bandana.
This year, Ardent added more restaurants to the line-up (yay!). We had to make a few difficult choices because we just couldn’t possibly eat every small plate. We skipped ZZQ, knowing that we’ll be able to find them at Ardent every Saturday, starting this weekend. Meg went straight for Rappahanock and tried the crab cake and a plate of oysters. Two thumbs up.
My three small plates had one thing in common: pork. This is Swine and Brine after all! I picked up food from Metzger, Sabai and The Rosevelt. Everything was so delicious but for me, the Sabai pork skewers stole the show, they were just packed with so much flavor.
By the way, I am 100 percent regretting not marathon eating and also attempting to try the carnitas tacos from Amuse and the pastrami ribs from Saison.
Now that this year’s Swine and Brine is over, I’m patiently waiting for my favorite Ardent beer, the Honey Ginger to be back on tap. Follow @letsshareadish on Twitter and we’ll keep you posted on this year’s release date! We can’t wait to see what Ardent has in store for next year’s event – hopefully third time’s the charm and we won’t need our raincoats.