My Favorite Richmond Vintage Furniture + Decor Boutiques

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Some of my most beloved pieces of furniture and decor have been culled from the vintage furniture stores right here in Richmond. I try to make a habit of scoping out my favorite second-hand shops monthly. I usually stick to the ones nearby in the Near West End — Eviction, Susan’s Selections, Verve Home Furnishings, and Born Again Furnishings.

In August, Class + Trash opened a second location in Scott’s Addition at 1720 Altamont Ave. I stumbled upon the new warehouse while leaving Eviction one Saturday morning. Class + Trash’s new space is filled with a mix of antiques, industrial pieces, hardware, along with patio furniture and garden decor. I purchased a galvanized “Virginia” sign that now hangs in my home office, along with a rusty metal “M” (for Moomaw) that adorns our tiny kitchen.

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One of my all-time favorite places to find unique pieces is Verve Home Furnishings at 4903 W. Leigh St. Owner Kim Vincze’s love for Asian-inspired decor and Hollywood Regency style is on display in the 12,000-square-foot warehouse that she shares with a few other local vendors. When we first moved to town, we scored a fabulous English antique dining room table along with a funky orange floral wingback chair from the warehouse. If you are looking for a statement piece, this is the place to go.

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Another go-to for accent furniture is Born Again Furnishings at 5446 W. Broad St. One recent Saturday morning when visiting the shop, as new items were being unloaded, and I eyed this teak record cabinet ($175). I have been looking for a new entryway piece for the past year-and-a-half, and finally came across this clean, contemporary-looking cabinet.

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Born Again also sells up-cycled furniture as well. A few years ago I purchased this bar cart ($225) created by Bill McCarthy, who fuses together pieces to create rustic-meets-industrial furniture. I wrote this little Q&A about his re-fabricated pieces for R•Home awhile back.

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Tucked behind the Krispy Kreme off Broad Street, Susan’s Selections has always proven to be a gold mine. When we first moved to town, I purchased an Martha Washington sewing table for $125 from the store. I even recall at one point in time seeing an authentic Cherner Chair.

The above vintage rattan chair that I found at Susan’s reminds me of my Nana Sue. When I was a little girl, her beach apartment was decorated with ’70s-era Peacock chairs. This small rattan chair was just $40 at Susan’s, which is such a steal. I saw a similar chair on Etsy recently for $225! Word on the street is that Susan’s is moving to a new location. More info TBA.

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POP-UP SALES: Another way to find great pieces is at pop-up sales. For instance, Susan Auman of Ralph’s Warehouse had a fabulous yard sale a few years back, where I purchased a vintage typewriter ($25) in working condition, along with a few fun tcotckes. Also, last year, artist Maurice Beane and gallery owner Geraldine Duskin were hosting monthly warehouse sales in the back of Ghostprint Gallery. For $40 I bought three animal skulls, much to my husband’s chagrin.screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-7-11-20-pm

What are your favorite places to purchase second-hand and vintage pieces in town? Currently looking for statement rugs, abstract artwork, and prints. I look forward to hearing your recommendations! cheers, marissa

Isca Greenfield-Sanders exhibit at Reynolds Gallery

Dunes, mixed media oil on canvas, 2015, 63 x 63 inches

New York-based artist Isca Greenfield-Sanders will be exhibiting her contemporary paintings, watercolors, and drawings in the exhibit Balance Point at Reynolds Gallery Sept. 9 through Oct. 28, 2016. An opening reception will be held at the gallery Friday, Sept. 9 from 7 to 9 p.m.

Painted in subtle hues, Greenfield-Sanders’ ethereal watercolors of American experiences — beach trips, the sea, summer camp — have a washed-out quality to them, playing on the concept of fleeting time and hazy memories. Greenfield-Sanders blends elements of time through paint, manipulating memory, vision, and historical art practices. 

Dock Girls, mixed media oil on canvas, 35 x 35 inches

Greenfield-Sanders’ process is almost like that of memory — as each image is recollected, details fade.

“The integrity of memory is diminished the more you recall it. As you think about something over and over, you infuse it with details that did not exist. This relates to how I make my work,” Greenfield-Sanders says. “I drag the original image through different incarnations but by keeping the photographic scaffold, my viewers read it as within the realm of the real. Yet each turn I’m eroding the photographic information.” 

Bucket Beach, mixed media oil on canvas, 35 x 35 inches

ARTISTIC PROCESS: The artist transforms found slides from the ’50s and ’60s by scanning and gridding them, and then applying layers of watercolor, colored pencil, or oil paint.

“The resulting painting blends photographic and painted elements to reimagine scenes of beach vacations or Nantucket outings. With fuzzy figures and muddled blues, her painted imagery evokes a nostalgic air that tugs at the viewer’s memory and perception.” – Reynolds Gallery

To learn more about about the artist, visit iscags.com.

The Big Easy meets Asian at The Dog & Pig Show

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Photo by Betty Clicker

Recently I wrote a profile on Richmond’s eatery The Dog & Pig Show for The Scout Guide. I’m a huge fan of this little joint because of the way Chef James marries the bold flavors of New Orleans and Southeast Asia. It’s such an unexpected and perfect fusion of flavors. Here’s a little excerpt from the piece.

Richmond, Virginia is enjoying a Golden Era of dining. It seems that every week a new article is published on the city’s latest culinary triumph, with one journalist after the next raving about the area’s restaurants and food producers.

The much-deserved credit for this newfound recognition goes to the restaurant owners and chefs who saw potential in the city, and who recognized that Virginia has an amazing arsenal of farms, fisheries, and food makers that can provide them with the fresh bounty that’s at the heart of their creations.

Among the people at the center of this culinary movement are James and Isabel Eckrosh, who moved to Richmond and opened their fast-casual eatery, The Dog & Pig Show, in January 2015. At the time, their historic neighborhood, Church Hill, was already enjoying a resurgence, and the city’s culinary scene was making leaps and bounds toward its current status as an up-and-coming food destination.

Arriving from New Orleans, where James was head chef in highly regarded—and highly popular—restaurants, the husband-and-wife duo brought the distinct flavors of The Big Easy to their new endeavor. A menu of comforting dishes like po’ boys, shrimp and grits, and grilled cheese that you can dip into a hot habanero tomato soup lured in hungry diners and made The Dog & Pig Show an instant hit.

You can read the whole story here. cheers, marissa

 

Discover Richmond: A Dog Owner’s Guide

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Earlier this week, the fall edition of Discover Richmond hit newsstands, and my sweet little Harvey’s face is gracing the cover. (That’s also me pushing him in his bike basket.) I pitched a dog owner’s guide to the Richmond Times-Dispatch because Harvey comes with me when I’m out and about — to breweries, the river, restaurants, you name it. Richmond is such a dog-friendly city, and I wanted to highlight some of the places you can go and things you can do with your furry friends in tow. Since moving to Richmond nearly four years ago, I’ve been exploring the city with Harvey by my side. Here are a few of my favorite snapshots of our adventures in the city. Also, a behind-the-scenes look at Harvey conducting research for this story.

Go out and grab a copy off newsstands now, and be sure to include your canine companion in your next River City adventure. cheers, marissa

Shagbark, Where Eating Is Believing

“Eating is an agricultural act.”
— Wendell Berry

Dining at Shagbark, Chef Walter Bundy’s dazzling new restaurant, I can’t help but think of Wendell Berry’s wise words, “Eating is an agricultural act.”

From produce grown in the fertile Shenandoah Valley to seafood culled from the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia’s bounty is overfloweth. I find myself constantly amazed by the farmers, artisans, and chefs who are stewards of our land and food, championing community and what is grown nearby. RVAdine’s newest gem, Shagbark embraces Virginia’s bounty with such sincerity and beauty, shaping dishes (and cocktails!) out of the freshest flavors of the season.

Choosing what we eat and where we eat empowers not just us as consumers, but our greater community. While eating at Shagbark is a one-of-a-kind experience of delicious food and lovely wine, it’s much more. It’s supporting our local purveyors — folks who run oyster companies on the eastern shore, wineries along the Blue Ridge, and the little farms just right out our back door.

Below, I’ve shared some of the dishes that highlight local flavor.

SUMMER STRONG. This cocktail is a summer Caprese salad in liquid form with milk-washed UA navy-strength gin, Campari, local basil and tomato shrub, lime, and garnished with a mozzarella ball, cherry tomatoes, and basil leaf. $13

TASTE OF TANGIER. These meaty oysters have layers of depth. Tangier, an island off the coast of Virginia, just started harvesting and selling their oysters. The island is located in its very own zone, which makes these oysters truly one of a kind, unlike any other in the Chesapeake area. Great eaten straight-up or dressed. I really wish we would’ve splurged and gone for the dozen.

Shagbark also serves oysters from Big Island Aquaculture in Gloucester, Shooting Point Oyster Company in Franktown, and White Stone Oyster Company in White Stone. 1/2 dozen $13, dozen $24

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HAM AND CHEESE. Slather a heap of Sam’s ham salad topped with crispy crumbs and Bundy’s sharp Pimiento cheese over Billy Bread sourdough slices. $9
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BREAD AND BUTTER. This isn’t your basic bread and butter. Made from Chef Bundy’s honey (he keeps bees in Goochland), this honey butter is sprinkled simply with sea salt. Spread over Billy Bread.

Processed with VSCO with g3 presetCREAMY VIDALIA ONION BISQUE. This tiny teacup is jam-packed with flavor — grilled onions, Sunburnt Farms rainbow trout caviar, lump blue crab, and red chile oil. $8

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MANAKINTOWNE FARM SQUASH BLOSSOM. Delicate blooms are stuffed with herbed goat chesese, and accompanied by roasted peppers and tomato coulis, and drizzled with an herbaceous basil oil. $9

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CHICKEN-FRIED CHESAPEAKE BABY OYSTERS. Move over tuna, you are no longer the chicken of the sea. Deep-fried in crispy batter, these bivalve beauts are served over Byrd Mill stone-ground grits with dill pickle remoulade and Tabasco butter. $11

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BROWN BUTTER-BASTED SCALLOPS. The crown jewels of the dish, buttery and bright sea scallops are served over Anson Mills Carolina gold rice middlins, applewood-smoked bacon, local swiss chard blackened tomato sauce. $26

Aside from food producers, other talented locals like lighting designer Wendy Umanoff and woodworkers Wellborn + Wright also played an integral role in the restaurant, giving Shagbark its rustic chic atmosphere.

The restaurant has a patio/bar menu, as well as a full dinner menu. So you can stop in for a casual bite to eat and drink at the bar, or if you are looking for the full Bundy experience, make reservations and arrive hungry.

Places like Shagbark make me proud to be living, and eating, in RVA. — marissa

Early Mountain Vineyards Visit

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With a glass of Early Mountain Vineyards‘ bright rose in hand, I’m transported sip by sip back to the Madison County winery.

Located north of Charlottesville, the vineyard is just a 1.5-hour jaunt from Richmond. Driving on the bucolic Blue Ridge Turnpike — the most scenic leg of the journey —  you can’t help but let your worries wash away as you find yourself in one of the most picturesque parts of the state.

The winery is a happy place too. (And, that’s not just the wine speaking.) Sitting on 300-some acres with 33 acres under vine, the vineyard is home to blocks that range in variety from muscat and petit mansing to cabernet sauvignon and tannat. The iconic Blue Ridge backdrop paired with delectable wine makes for a truly magical experience.
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Vines were planted in 2005 with the winery opening in 2009. Then in 2012 the vineyard was purchased by AOL co-founder Steve Case and his wife Jean Case, who spearheaded marketing and branding for AOL. The Cases renovated the tasting facility, hiring Richmond-based interior design Janie Molster to transform the space to resemble a modern-day Tuscan villa.

The winery recently hired the talented winemaker Ben Jordan who got his start in Sonoma. During my visit, Ben explained that at its core Early Mountain is all about the art of blending, creating complex, layered wines with texture and dimension. To name a few, the winery produces a cab franc-driven blend and merlot-driven blend, along with Five Forks, a white mashup of viognier, sauvignon blanc, petit manseng, muscat, and pinot gris.   They also produce straight-up varietals of cabernet franc, chardonnay, and pinot gris. The winery even has a rose (one of my faves) that is exceptionally food friendly, and not saccharine like some blushes.

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My main draw to visit Early Mountain was the arrival of winery’s new chef Ryan Collins, who hails from Think Food Group in D.C. He has a rich restaurant resume that ranges from 112 Eatery in Minneapolis to Oyamel in Washington D.C. Heading up the kitchen at Early Mountain, Ryan is embracing the local bounty and showcasing it in a new, exciting light.

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Summer salad of peaches, buratta, heirloom tomatoes, hazelnut, praline, watercress, and basil oil.

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Shrimp cocktail with a subdued sauce (toned down horseradish), with pickled mustard seeds, blistered tomatoes, and Gulf shrimp.

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Meat + cheese plate with housemade chicken and mortadella terrine, Rock Barn hickory ham, Caromont Red Row cheese, housemade ricotta, apricot mustardo (made with the vineyard’s pinot gris), crystalized honey, and housemade pickles.

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Classic buttermilk (boneless!) fried chicken with fennel and pickled rhubarb tossed in a mayo + nectarine vinegar dressing.

I’m dreaming of my next trip to Madison to explore the surrounding countryside. What are your favorite places to visit in the Madison and Orange area?

xo, marissa

Lapple owners share authentic Chinese cuisine with Richmond

Lapple Leftovers

Apple Gao’s love for her home and its food is uplifting. Her voice raises in timbre when describing the dishes from the Chinese province Yunnan — the chicken salad with lemongrass and steamy curry hot pots.

As we sip our dainty cups of green tea, before we’ve even ordered our appetizers, Gao’s intoxicating food descriptions transport us from our table at Lapple to China, and, our mouths are watering.

Gao and husband Adrian Liu opened the new eatery Lapple, which unassumingly sits on the corner of Grace and Harrison streets. She jokes that it opened on her birthday, May 3, because she loves food so much. A happy blessing, indeed.

Gao and Liu both come from China: Gao the southwest province of Yunnan, and Liu, the northeast province of Liaoning. Both of their cuisines are well-represented on the menu — the Yunnan area’s Cambodian and Vietnamese-inspired dishes with fragrant basil, curry, and spicy peppers; and Liaoning’s dishes that have a Korean flair with soy sauce, bean and chile pastes.

We kicked off our feast with a familiar mainstay, three spring rolls ($2) stuffed with cabbage and carrots, rolled in a delicate rice paper and fried until brown and flaky.

The deep-fried diced eggplant ($6) appetizer comes from Gao’s neck of the woods, and she says you can usually find the dish sold street-side. Little chunks of eggplant are fried crisp and simply seasoned with spicy Sichuan pepper and chopped green onions. The Chinese coriander gives it an aromatic heat, and there’s a pleasant saltiness from the frying oil. When Gao comes to check on us, we praise the intoxicating eggplant, and she names off the other variations of the dish that are made in her hometown, from fried sweet potato and pumpkin to yucca.

Entrée portions are enormous, and we found ourselves feasting off leftovers for days. Hot pots and stir-fried dishes make up the large plates. And for vegans, there are two pages of options.

The General Tso’s chicken ($10), thin strips of deep-fried chicken, is coated in a viscous sweet-sour mixture of apple sauce, tomato sauce, along with pineapple and orange juices. Liu makes his sauces from scratch, eschewing artificial flavors and colors.

The Chinese Bloody Henry ($14), a stir-fried dish of beef, wood ear mushrooms, pickled purple cabbage, and green pepper, is served in a sour, spicy sauce that gets its complexity from garlic, jalapeño, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and a hint of pineapple juice.

Hot pots ($11-$15) make up a significant portion of the menu, and range from mild soupy curry dishes to the super-spicy Chinese Dynamite Steak ($15), which Gao warns has a capsaicin burn more extreme than the ultra-hot ghost pepper.

The mixed seafood with curry sauce ($15) is teeming with fresh fish, shrimp, scallops, squid, mushroom and crunchy bok choy, and then cooked in a tomato and coconut milk-based sauce. The tubular squid, which I’ve honestly never been much for, is on the rubbery side; I’m a sucker for he buttery jumbo scallops, though, and the white fish that is so tender and flakey it melts on the palate.

Before opening Lapple, husband and wife both worked for the award-winning Szechuan chef Peter Chang. Gao managed the Atlanta and Charlottesville locations, and then helped to open the outpost in Virginia Beach. While Gao was managing Chang’s front of house, Liu was behind the scenes, crafting spicy creations as a sous chef at Chang’s Richmond and Virginia Beach locations.

Gao’s and Liu’s stints with Peter Chang are worth lauding, but their latest venture is commendable in itself — further introducing Richmond’s dining scene to authentic Chinese food, and showcasing it in a new light.

Now it’s just Liu in the kitchen chopping, marinating, and cooking, while Gao runs the front of house. “I just know about the eating,” Gao humbly says, with a laugh. She does so much more though, I know, as her vivaciousness set the tone for an excellent meal.

When entering Lapple, you can tell the hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant forgoes frills with its eight tables, melamine plates and paper signage in the window. It doesn’t matter though, because the food delivers, and even more so, it transports you to another place with authenticity and genuineness.

Lapple
948 W. Grace St.
(804) 359-6688
Monday 12-9 p.m., Wednesday-Sunday 12-9 p.m.