Foo Dog is intoxicating, tasty + affordable

scallion chickenScallion Chicken (photo from Foo Dog’s Facebook page)

I like a restaurant that serves strong drinks and tasty, affordable food. Fortunately, Richmond’s newest Asian-fusion restaurant Foo Dog, which opened its doors officially on April 1, does both these things effectively. We hit up the new watering hole (located in the Fan’s old Main Art & Frame shop) last weekend on April’s First Friday after seeing the Susie Ganch: TIED + Radical Jewelry Makeover exhibit at VisArts (my place of work).

First Fridays on West Main Street are always bumpin’, so we knew we’d have a wait no matter where we ended up for dinner. We were courageous though and decided that no matter the wait, we’d wander over to Foo Dog to try it out in its first week of business.

We made it to Foo Dog a little after 8 and were put on a wait list for 45 minutes. We hung out at the bar and ran into some friends from VisArts, so stood around and chatted and ordered cocktails. The bar seats dinner guests, but is also good for sidling up to to grab cocktails while you wait. (Although, I wouldn’t suggest eating dinner at the bar on busy nights. It seems to have an active bar scene. Note the cocktail list.) In our 45-minute wait, I ordered two Hey Joes, a refreshing sweet-and-sour drink with Bulliet Bourbon, local honey, thyme and ginger beer ($8). Two Hey Joes put me in my happy place and by the time we were seated I was definitely enjoying myself, and all the murals painted on the walls and bar top. (VCU art students painted murals on the interior and exterior of the restaurant.)

We were seated in the front window of the restaurant at a high-top bar table, so that everyone walking by on the sidewalk could see us and what we were eating. I felt like a food exhibitionist as I drank and ate and talked to my partner in front of all that were walking by on West Main Street. (I even made some faces at the passers-by because I’m weird like that — and because I drank two Hey Joes.)

We ordered three dishes to split between the two of us: the KFC (Ken’s Friend Chicken), chicken tossed in the “chef’s blend of secret spices and herbs and wok fried” ($7); East to West Pad Thai with mushroom, red pepper, cilantro, fried egg, cashews and bean sprouts in pad Thai sauce with chicken ($8 for noodles + $2 for chicken); and Scallion Chicken with Malaysian marinade, scallions, pepper, broccoli and fried rice ($12).

We both weren’t big fans of the KFC. The pieces were small and the meat dry. (I grew up eating Publix supermarket fried chicken, so its hard for anyone to compete with that.) On the other hand, we were huge fans of the pad Thai and scallion chicken dish. Both were flavorful and original and left us wanting to come back again for both those dishes — and to venture out and try something new.

Overall, great experience at Foo Dog. Friendly staff that engaged all my questions and chatter, delicious boozy cocktails, and a menu that will keep us coming back.

Good job, Foo Dog! You have filled a void that was very much needed in the Fan.

Cheers! marissa

Lynchburg, Virginia travel story in Southern Living

southern living april 2014 coverHey friends,

I wrote a travel story on Lynchburg, Virginia, that is published in the April issue of Southern Living. Be sure to grab a copy. My story is only printed in the MVA travel zones, which are distributed in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

Also, back in November Southern Living published a travel story I wrote on where to shop in Charlottesville, Virginia, on their website. Read that story here.

I have a few other travel pieces I wrote for Southern Living that I’m hoping to see in print soon. Stay tuned!

I will make a point to do a future post on other great Lynchburg shops, restaurants and sites.

Cheers, marissa


Retail therapy on West Main Street in Charlottesville, Va.

My two favorite murals from Charlottesville’s West Main Street.

Awhile back I wrote a travel story for Southern Living on where to release your retail fiend in Charlottesville, Virginia. The story features shops along Cville’s West Main Street, which is the main drag connecting the Downtown Mall and University of Virginia’s Grounds. At the time I wrote this story, I lived right off West Main Street on 5th Street, so I visited these shops, coffee spots and restaurants frequently. Read the story here. Cheers, marissa

Sonya Clark’s The Hair Craft Project at 1708 Gallery

20140303-221314.jpgA few months ago, I interviewed artist Sonya Clark in the September/October issue of R•Home mag (read the Q&A here). In our interview, she told me about her exhibit Material Reflex at the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles and about her upcoming show in Richmond, The Hair Craft Project, which is on display now at 1708 Gallery. I stopped by 1708 the other day to check out the exhibit, which runs through March 8.

The exhibit is a collaboration with Clark, African American hair stylists, photographers, and the VCU art community. Local hair stylists styled Clark’s hair in an African American weave, it was photographed with the hair stylist, and then the hair stylists created the same hair style on a stretched canvas. The exhibit is an ongoing exploration where Clark uses hair, the most primordial fiber, in her artwork to address how identity, race, economics and culture are intertwined. “Hairstyle is how we speak about culture and identity,” Clark said to me during our interview. Our conversation and the exhibit opened my eyes to African American hairstyle and the time, effort and beauty that goes into making it part of identity, culture and tradition.

Many trips to Colonial Williamsburg lately

2013-09-21 05.53.12In the January/February issue of R•Home magazine I wrote a travel story about Colonial Williamsburg with an interior design focus. Check out the story here.

Also, I wrote about Williamsburg Inn, Williamsburg Lodge, Spa of Colonial Williamsburg and the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club for Forbes Travel Guide back in the fall. Click here to read my reviews.

And during these trips, I took an amateur photo essay while bumming around. Click here for that.

I hope to head back soon for play! Let me know what you love about Colonial Williamsburg so I can make it part of my visit next time. cheers, marissa

Escape to Bath County, Virginia

One of the last projects I worked on as associate editor at Richmond magazine was helping put together the travel package “Weekend Escapes” for the March issue. I wrote about an outdoor adventure I took to Bath County, Virginia, where I spent a few days mountain biking, fly fishing, kayaking, canoeing and relaxing at Natural Retreat’s Meadow Lane properties. I was excited to see that my travel story made the cut for the cover. What a great image of beautiful Bath County! Grab a copy from newsstands! cheers, marissa

richmond mag_march2014

Beer + Design = awesome

Beer + Design

A few months ago I heard about a group called Beer + Design that meets up every few months in Richmond to talk about … beer and design. It’s a group of professionals and students who are involved in some niche of the design industry — interiors, architecture, graphics, advertising, art, tattoo, craft, photography and video, etc. The events usually are focused around a topic of discussion and a few people are chosen to speak and present about what they do.

This time around, the event was at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond, my new place of work. (I just started working as their communications manager four weeks ago after leaving my job as managing editor of R•Home mag/associate editor of Richmond mag.) This event was a great way for me to see old friends and work acquaintances in my new milieu, while also getting introduced to a whole new group of folks. The topic of lecture was “Tall Tales” and the speakers were tattoo artist Amy Black, photographer Briget Ganske, and brand expert and VCU advertising professor Kelly O’Keefe. Beer master was Harrisonburg’s Three Brothers Brewing, tapping their saison and IPA.

Beer + Design was uplifting. There were three totally different people with three totally different stories and ways of telling their stories. There was laughter, tears, music, photography, and words. I left the event with my mind and heart full. We are so lucky to be part of such an strong, loving arts community. Thanks for the great event, Beer + Design and speakers. Richmond is lucky to have you! xo, marissa