Category Archives: food + drink

Where To Order Thanksgiving To-Go in Richmond

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Photo via Whisk

While some of us prepare elaborate Thanksgiving meals with all the fixings, others prefer to forgo the chaos of cooking. There are plenty of Richmond restaurants open on Thanksgiving, but for those who are still looking to relax in the comfort of their homes, take-out is also a great option for Turkey Day. Consider these six spots if you are looking to grab something easy to warm up at home. Let someone else do the work this year. You’ll be thankful without the stress of meal prep. Be sure to call these eateries ASAP to place your orders. xo, marissa

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Q Barbecue

Tuffy Stone’s tasty Q Barbecue chain is serving up turkey, gravy, and signature side dishes for families to grab and go.  Brined and slow-smoked 16- to 20-pound turkeys, ready for pick up are $70. They are rubbed in an herb-butter that enhances flavor when you reheat the bird at home. Turkey gravy is $9 / quart and sides (mac n cheese, pineapple hot dish, corn pudding, greens, and side salad) start at $2 / person.

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Stella’s Grocery

Our Near West End neighborhood market Stella’s Grocery always offers take-out meals during the holidays. Mains include boneless leg of lamb and cornish game hens with sausage and apple stuffing. And sides galore! I’m eyeing the wild rice salad and potato fennel gratin. Greek casseroles, pastries and hors d’oeuvres also are available to order for your Turkey Day shindig.

Stroops Heroic Dogs

This gourmet hot dog eatery in Church Hill just launched its holiday catering menu. Stroops will be offering duck confit stuffing ($96, serves 16), sausage stuffing ($32, serves 16), cranberry sauce ($27 / quart), gravy ($20 / quart), smoked deviled eggs ($16 / dozen), ham biscuits ($24 / dozen, and six-packs of their homemade Heroic Soda ($15).

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Yellow Umbrella Provisions

Our neighborhood meat and seafood shop Yellow Umbrella has a lengthy list of options from your traditional turkey and sides to seafood dishes like a salmon platter and crab cakes. This place is a one-stop shop with everything you need for the day — white house rolls, cheese and charcuterie, even pies.

Pies from Whisk

Shockoe Bottom’s Whisk bakery is taking orders for Tuesday, Nov. 22 pick up. (Wednesday is already booked up, so hurry up and order a pie today!) Choose from silk chocolate ombre pie, sweet potato with marshmallow meringue, maple pecan tart, and salted caramel apple pie. All tarts are $25 plus tax.

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Vegan Side Dishes from Fresca On Addison

And for the vegans in the house, Fresca on Addison (one of my favorite lunch spots) is offering an array of sides . Make sure you have a few veg options on your table!

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

 

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

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.

RVA restaurant dishes I’m digging lately

Here’s a handful of yummy dishes that I can’t seem to forget about lately …

IMG_0568Saison Market’s Carnitas Hash ($9) — carnitas, potatoes, sofrito, biscuit and egg

IMG_0461Perly’s fish platter ($16) — choice of smoked fish (trout for me), bagel, schmeer, pickled veggies

IMG_0269-0Perly’s Knish ($8) — broccoli. potato and cheese

IMG_0032Graffiato’s Brussels sprouts ($9) — pancetta, maple, yogurt and egg

lentil burgerFresca On Addison’s lentil burger ($9.50) with avocado, red onion, romaine and spicy mayo. (Order a side of sprouts or orzo.)

vegan cupcakeAnd last but not least, Fresca’s vegan cupcake ($3).

What’s your new fave restaurant dish?

Restaurant Review: Supper

supperPhoto by Bob Brown

I wrote a restaurant review for the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Scott’s Addition restaurant Supper, the sister restaurant of Lunch. Here’s an excerpt from the review:

Little hole-in-the-wall gems, such as the diner Lunch, helped kindle Scott’s Addition’s recent resurgence. In the past year, coffee shops and breweries have started to spring up deeper in the Richmond neighborhood, giving Scott’s Addition a noticeably fresh atmosphere.

With Scott’s Addition on the uptick, Lunch’s owner, Rick Lyons (also of The Republic and Star-lite), decided to take Lunch to the next level, opening the space next door in mid-June and calling it Supper (1215 Summit Ave.).

Supper — double the size of Lunch, but still keeping with the laid-back atmosphere — serves elevated Southern fare in a rustic, tin-ceiling room decorated with antler chandeliers, vintage Budweiser tchotchkes, rusted license plates and framed prints of Richmond monuments.

To read the full review, click here.

Restaurant Review: Chef MaMusu’s African Caribbean Cuisine

mamusuPhoto by Bob Brown

A few weeks ago, I reviewed Chef MaMusu’s African Caribbean Cuisine in my weekly Dining Out column for the Richmond-Times Dispatch. Here’s a snippet from the write-up:

In early April, chef Ida MaMusu took her African fare south of the James, opening Chef MaMusu’s African Caribbean Cuisine in the former Parkside Café in the Forest Hill neighborhood, serving a mix of island, African and soul food.

Hailing from Monrovia, Liberia, in West Africa, MaMusu has been sharing the intoxicating flavors from her corner of the world with Richmond since opening Africanne on Main in 1995. The original restaurant, with its buffet-style dining, serves lunch and Saturday supper, and the new South Side location (3514 Forest Hill Ave.) has expanded hours, serving sit-down dinner and brunch on the weekend.

To read the full review, click here.