Tag Archives: richmond

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!

RVA Holiday Shopping + Events

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Photo by Sarah Walor

Last week I kicked off my holiday shopping, which is a huge feat, considering every year I wait until last minute. R•Home Magazine held its annual Embellish holiday party at Williams & Sherrill with local makers like Mother Shrub, Bear Ceramics, Drift / Riot and Tulip & Bear. I loaded up with all sorts of goodies for friends and family (and maybe for myself, too).

While shopping, it reminded me how special Richmond is because of its local artisans and businesses. With Amazon and other websites as my go-to, sometimes I forget to stop and support RVA during the holidays. After all, isn’t that what the holidays are about — giving back and showing love to our neighbors?

While in the holiday spirit, I compiled a little list of fun shopping and holiday events in and around Richmond. Mark your calendars and grab your friends and family for these fun yuletide happenings.

xo, marissa

wrap-bash

Photos by Nikki Santerre

Tart Event Co. Holiday Wrap Bash

WHAT: Tart Event Co.‘s giant gift wrapping party. (View photos of last year’s fun here.)
WHEN: Sunday, Dec. 11, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
WHERE: Paisley & Jade‘s warehouse in Scott’s Addition @ 3119 W. Moore St.
WHY GO: Because wrapping presents with your friends is fun and is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit! There will beautiful paper and craft supplies so you can personalize each gift.
RSVP: Tickets are on sale now!

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Wreath Workshop with Photosynthesis Florals

WHAT: DIY floral design class with Photosynthesis Floral Design
WHEN: Tuesday, Dec. 6, 6 to 9 p.m.
WHERE: Paisley & Jade‘s warehouse in Scott’s Addition @ 3119 W. Moore St.
WHY GO: I took this workshop last year and it was a blast. We made two kinds of wreaths — a lush wreath and a minimalist wreath. Make one for yourself and give the other to a friend. This is a good way to get in the holiday spirit, while creating something beautiful.
RSVP: Purchase your class via Photosynthesis’s site

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Dear Neighbor Grand Opening

WHAT: Dear Neighbor is a fabulous gift shop that will be opening its doors just in time for holiday shopping.
WHEN: BLACK FRIDAY! How perfect, right?!
WHERE: In Church Hill @ 2416 Jefferson Ave.
WHY: This new gift shop has a curated array of gifts from local jewelers to other makers from far off places.
STAY TUNED — Follow the shop on Instagram for updates on opening events.

andrea-donnelly-scarfCraft + Design Show

WHAT: Visual Art Center of Richmond‘s annual high-end craft show
WHEN: Friday, Nov. 18 – Sunday, Nov. 20
WHERE: Science Museum of Virginia @ 2500 W. Broad St.
WHY: In its 52nd year, this craft show is a one-stop shop for unique gifts made by artists from here in Richmond and around the country.
RSVP: Buy your tickets via VisArts

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Moore + Gile’s Holiday Pop-up Shop at Ledbury

WHAT: Ledbury will host Lynchburg-based luxury leather bag + accessory maker Moore & Giles for a holiday pop-up shop
WHEN: Wednesday, Nov. 16 kick-off party, 5 to 8 p.m. (w/ goods for sale through the end of November + Black Friday weekend)
WHERE: Ledbury’s brand-new flagship store in downtown Richmond @ 315 W. Broad St.
WHY GO: Because supporting local is important, and Moore + Gile’s is a badass company. Also, during the kick-off party, Mattias Hagglund will be mixing Bulleit cocktails. (YUM!)
RSVP: More info on their Facebook event page.

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And a few other things to keep on your radar this season . . .

QUIRK GALLERY trunk shows — A perfect opportunity for purchasing unique and beautiful gifts

PHARSALIA holiday workshops — From ornament-crafting to wreath-making, these workshops are ideal for those who like to embrace the holidays surrounded by crafts and nature.

STUDIO TWO THREE print workshops — Tis the season at Studio Two Three with fun classes like Holiday Photogram. The art center’s gift shop is a great option for cards and gifts too.

Richmond’s CURRENT Art Fair: Build Your Art Collection

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PREFACE: As a journalist I love transparency, so I must let you know that I have been helping out CURRENT Art Fair with its public relations, social media and marketing. So, in a sense, I am biased. But, I would totally write about the art fair even if I wasn’t involved, because it is THAT cool. 

Not going to lie: buying art is intimidating. As a semi-artistic person who has worked in the visual arts world and whose mother is a trained artist, I still feel nervous when purchasing art. Aesthetically I know what I like, and what pieces excite and inspire me. But something about the purchasing process has always scared me. Perhaps it’s because I’m not an artist; I feel like I can’t fully appreciate the piece since I don’t understand what went into creating it. Or, maybe I feel that as a young person I can’t have nice things. Who knows. Over the years I’ve unnecessarily made myself feel insecure about buying art, and as of late I’m realizing that is just silly.

Two years ago we bought our first house, and in those two years not much has been hung on the walls. I’ve blame this on our plaster walls (and attempting to be a minimalist). But, in reality, it might just be me holding out, waiting for a situation to present itself.

That situation has presented itself: next week Richmond will welcome its first contemporary art fair, CURRENT. For those of you who aren’t involved in the arts scene, successful national/international art fairs include the likes of Affordable Art Fair, Armory Show, Art Basel,  Art on Paper, Frieze Art Fair, and Pulse Art Fair. Compared to those art fairs, CURRENT is a baby, just entering into the big, bright art fair circuit. In its first year, CURRENT involves seven contemporary Richmond galleries — 1708, ADA, Candela, Glave Kocen, Page Bond, Reynolds and Quirk. The galleries all have a unique perspective, showing a variety of artists and works, which makes their unity so dynamic, giving CURRENT a strong synergy.

Richmond’s new art fair isn’t just for knowledgeable art collectors, but newbies too. CURRENT is a great opportunity for young people who are just starting their art collection to purchase exciting pieces. As someone who has just started a collection at home, the chance to view a range of pieces from local, national and international artists is such a gift. (And, honestly, it’s a great opportunity for not just Richmond, but our region.)

Art events like CURRENT are the perfect opportunity to throw yourself into a new environment and educate yourself. You can pepper gallery owners with questions about the artists and their processes without feeling silly. The gallery owners and managers behind CURRENT are very passionate and excited about spreading their knowledge, welcoming newcomers to the art world.

And now for a little background info about the event …

Local art philanthropists, collectors, and CURRENT advisory board members Pam and Bill Royall commissioned Shepard Fairey, renowned contemporary street artist, graphic designer, and activist to design the logo for CURRENT (see above image). Playing off the fair’s name — a nod to the nearby James River, the idea of the new, and the notion of an electric spark — Fairey created a graphic inspired by the landmark TV tower on Broad Street that is located mere blocks from the art fair.

CURRENT kicks off Thursday, Oct. 20 with a preview party at Hohman Design in Scott’s Addition. The party is an opportunity for collectors to get a sneak peek at artwork and purchase in advance. (If you have your eye on a piece, this is the time to mark your territory!) I’ll be there looking at pieces to buy / catching up with friends, so if you go, say, “hi!” The art fair runs Friday, Oct. 21 through Sunday, Oct. 23. For more details on the fair — times, food and beer info, extracurricular events, etc., click on over to currentartfair.com.

And now for the fun part of the blog post — a few pieces that will be featured at the event …

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“The inspiration of my work is an ever-ricocheting attention span, resulting in a worldview constructed with pop culture, public radio, punk rock, and conspiracy theories,” writes artist Andrew Kozlowski, of his work. “Often my works on paper engage in oblique conversations through their placement, utilizing the process of closure and the language of comics to generate narratives, as well as considering traditional print media and its relationship to the multiples that litter our landscapes.” • Monolith screen print, 13 x 10 inches via 1708 Gallery

bruce_wilhelm_trippels_blue_tape_72_l2Richmond native Bruce Wilhelm is known for exploring new ways of making art — from his animated paintings using homemade video players to his take on British sporting paintings. This particular piece from the series “Trippels” was created using layers on layers of paint and peeling away masking tape, revealing an entirely new, surprise painting underneath. Bruce received his MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design, his BFA at Virginia Commonwealth University, and has been exhibiting with ADA Gallery in Richmond since 2005. He’s received the VMFA Fellowship for Painting in both 2004 and 2006.  • Trippels: Blue Ribbon, acrylic on canvas, 26.25 x 21.25 inches, 2016

Alyssa SalomanANIMAL LAND is a new project by visual artist Alyssa C. Salomon in collaboration with Virginia Commonwealth University, and Anne Wright, director of Environmental Outreach at the Rice Rivers Center. The series shines light on the wildlife dwellings among tamed and untamed habitats threaded along the James River in Central Virginia. The images primarily draw on night-vision infrared stills collected in the James River Park System and are made using 19th century photographic printmaking processes. • EK000183 2015-11-30 JRP, by Alyssa Salomon, in collaboration with Anne Wright, Science in the Park, and VCU Rice Rivers Center. 16.75 x 16.75 inches, Van dyke photo emulsion on kozo-abaca paper, waxed via Candela Books & Gallery 

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“All my work is rooted in nature or in natural phenomena, like wind or *currents* or waves,” Sue Heatley says of her art. “For me, it’s really important that art doesn’t hit you in the face with its meaning. You have to come to it as a viewer and make your own sense out of it.” • Blue Creeper, Rust Ripple, Moss Grainrelief print on Sekishu paper, 18 1/4 x 17 3/4 inches, limited edition Monotype via Glave Kocen Gallery

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“I am passionate about challenging preconceived notions of the shared human experience and eroding the conventionally assigned racial archetypes'” says artist S. Ross Browne. “To that end in [the Self Evident Truths] series I examine the possible in the perceived introspections and shared history of my subjects in classical pictorial representations using delineations of factual chronicles and imagined mythology. Using portraiture replete with persuasive imagery that defies the common visual library, I make conduit for communication and an instigator of discourse.” • Princess______ IV, 2016, oil on clapboard, 12 x 12 inches via Page Bond Gallery

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Suzanna Fields’ spring show at Quirk Gallery, titled “Inside Out”, had an amazing response and those who came to view her work were fascinated by her unique and complex processes of extruding, pouring, dripping, spraying, cutting, and drawing with paint and ink. “An intermingling of high and low, contemplation and spontaneity, my work mixes wonder with ebullience, persistence and unease,” she says. • Chasing The Feeling, detail, ink and acrylic on synthetic paper, 48 by 60 inches via Quirk Gallery

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“There is a modesty in Freed’s work — not of ambition but of presentation — that is like the spread of light in certain Renaissance paintings. One doesn’t know where it come from, but it is everywhere, enlightening, leaving us, somehow, more room to look in, a seduction of sorts that eschews excess,” writes Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Charles Wright, of Virginia artist David Freed’s work • Rain I; etching, woodblock, and pastel on paper; 9.5 x 12.5 inches via Reynolds Gallery

10 ways to enjoy Richmond for FREE this summer

richmond skylineGuest blog post by Kate Prunkl 

Summer is here, and if you’re anything like me, you gravitate towards the refreshing pool or air conditioning during the summer heat until boredom takes over and your brain begs you to do something else. This summer, forgo the tedious lounging by the pool and venture out into Richmond to explore the city by foot.

Ranked third on Travel & Leisure’s list of best places to travel to in 2016, Richmond is a well-known haven for history, architecture, biking, nature and art lovers. The city even topped National Geographic’s list for the top destinations to travel to for food in 2016. While the River City is certainly not lacking in things to do, it can be difficult to think of fun activities that work with a limited budget.

Most local, free activities are old classics for long-time Richmonders, but many of the city’s best free features often get overlooked. If you’re new to the city or just passing through, consider this as your an intro to just a few of the budget-friendly amenities Richmond has to offer.

1. CANAL WALK

Richmond’s Canal Walk stretches 1.25 peaceful miles along the Kanawha and Haxall canals and briefly, the James River. Along the way, walkers are presented with facts about the city’s rich history. If you decide you want to spend a few dollars, historic canal boat cruises are offered at the turning basin (intersection of 14th and Dock streets). The Canal Walk is accessible from almost every block between 5th and 17th streets. Handicapped-accessible entrances are available at 5th, 10th, 12th, 14th and 16th streets.

Map: Canal Walk

2. CARYTOWN

Carytown is the collective name for the approximately mile-long stretch of West Cary Street from Thompson Street to South Boulevard. Carytown’s brightly painted buildings, unique boutiques and specialty shops make it a prime location to stroll and window shop. Carytown also is packed with a wide variety of restaurants. While walking through Carytown is free, the delicious aromas wafting through the air may convince you to spend some money if the shop windows don’t tempt you first!

Map: Carytown

3. CITY HALL OBSERVATION DECK

Richmond’s current City Hall was built in 1972, and at 450 feet tall, the building was the tallest in Virginia at the time of completion. Take the elevator (or the stairs, if you’re feeling adventurous) up 18 stories and reward yourself with unparalleled 360-degree views of the city. The deck features slanted glass panes as protection from the weather, while allowing fresh air and unobstructed views. Bring a lunch or a snack to enjoy at one of the available picnic tables.

Address: 900 E. Broad Street Richmond, VA 23219
Open: Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

4. HOLLYWOOD CEMETERY

While meandering through a cemetery may sound like an odd thing to do, this beautiful 169-year-old graveyard was designed to be walkable. According to the official website, Hollywood Cemetery is the second most visited cemetery in the nation (Arlington National Cemetery is first) and is the final resting place for two American presidents (John Tyler and James Monroe), six Virginia governors, two Supreme Court justices, and 22 Confederate generals. Hollywood Cemetery also provides beautiful views of the river, downtown Richmond and Belle Isle.

Address: 412 South Cherry Street Richmond, VA 23220
Open: Daily 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

james river5. JAMES RIVER PARK SYSTEM 

Experience the natural beauty of the James River, marshland, forests and wildlife without leaving the city. Admittedly, this includes more than one place. The James River Park System identifies 14 distinct sections from the Huguenot Bridge on Richmond’s west end to the I-95 Bridge on the city’s east end.

Visitors are welcome to fish, canoe, kayak, paddleboard, swim, rock climb, tree climb, walk, run, and even whitewater raft or tube down the James. Guided recreation options are available (some fees may apply). If you’re in or on the river, life jackets are recommended. They are required by law when the river is more than 5 feet; no one is allowed in the James when it is is more than 9 feet. Look for posted signs.

Maps: Bike, Trail and Park Maps
Open: Daily Sunrise-Sundown (unless otherwise noted)

6. BELLE ISLE

While technically a part of the James River Park System, Belle Isle provides a noticeably different experience than other sections of the park. The former Confederate prison camp that is dotted with history markers is now a popular place for sunbathing on river rocks, swimming, hiking, running and biking (including a recently opened bike skills course). Enjoy one of the best views of the city skyline from the pedestrian bridge arcing from the edge of Tredegar Iron Works to Belle Isle.

Address: 300 Tredegar Street Richmond, VA 23219 (parking that leads to the pedestrian bridge)

7. MAYMONT 

Maymont, a 100-acre Victorian estate built by Major James Dooley and his wife Sallie May in 1893, was left to the city of Richmond in 1926. The property now serves as a museum, nature center, children’s farm and park. Wander the expansive grounds and admire the beauty of the Italian Garden, Japanese Garden, arboretum, rescued wildlife and stunning man-made waterfall. Guided tours of the mansion are available Tuesday through Sunday. While Maymont’s Mansion, grounds and Children’s Farm are free to the public, donations are suggested. Admission to the Nature and Visitor’s Center is $3.

Address: 1700 Hampton Street Richmond, VA 23220
Open:  Grounds and Gardens: Daily from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. during the summer
Mansion: Tuesday – Sunday 12 to 5 p.m.
Nature & Visitor Center: Tuesday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

8. MONUMENT AVENUE

This wide, tree-lined street is one of Richmond’s two National Historic Landmark districts. Monument Avenue is a beautiful promenade for a stroll, especially for lovers of history and architecture. Historic homes line the cobblestone street that ambles around the statues and monuments for which the street is named. According to the National Park System, Monument Avenue features a variety of Colonial Revival, Spanish Colonial, Tudor Revival, French Renaissance and Italian Renaissance style homes.

Map: Stuart Circle (where Monument Avenue begins)

9. VIRGINIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

The Virginia Historical Society is located in Battle Abbey, a 104-year-old Neoclassical building on Boulevard. VHS’ The Story of Virginia is a year-round, free interactive exhibit that interprets 16,000 years of Virginia history and features a collection of 500 artifacts. The building boasts a multitude of restored original features, including memorial military murals painted in 1913. The gallery housing these murals is currently closed for restoration of the original leaded glass skylights. Restoration is scheduled to be completed by July.

Address: 428 North Boulevard Richmond, VA 23220
Open: Daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

10. VIRGINIA MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts sits on land used to house Confederate soldiers after the Civil War. In 1936, Virginia legislators completed the English Renaissance-style headquarters of the VMFA on Boulevard. Since then, the campus has expanded to accommodate the Commonwealth’s growing collection and display temporary travelling exhibits. VMFA’s 435,000-square-foot facility currently features 10 exhibits with free admission and beautiful public garden space dotted with sculptures to enjoy.

Address: 200 North Boulevard Richmond, VA 23220
Open: Daily, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., with extended hours until 9 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays

BONUS! RICHMOND TOUR GUYS

When I heard about the Richmond Tour Guys, I knew I couldn’t leave them off this list.  Richmond Tour Guys are a group of history lovers that give historically themed walking tours of the city free of charge! They offer three tours: a downtown Civil War and Civil Rights tour, a Church Hill Revolutionary War tour, and a Shockoe Bottom tour.  Each tour is offered once a week, and they fill up fast! So, be sure to reserve your spot in advance.

Tour Times:
Downtown Civil War and Civil Rights: Saturday 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Church Hill Revolutionary War: Saturday 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Shockoe Bottom: Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Phone: 804-263-7914

The above listed free activities are just a small snapshot of the wealth of experiences Richmond has to offer. The City of Richmond is home to more than 25 museums and innumerable historical sites. Whatever your interests, the River City has something waiting for you.

kpKate Prunkl moved to Richmond in 2007 and has been exploring in and around the city ever since. Kate is an animal lover who enjoys symmetry, writing, collecting a wide variety of knowledge, RVA history, finding beauty in everyday things, exploring nature with camera in hand, and creating art. You can follow her on Twitter at @kapRVA.

Kiyomi Iwata: From Volume To Line

KIYOMIRight now at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond we are installing a new exhibit, Kiyomi Iwata: From Volume To Line, which will open this Friday, April 10. Join us for a reception from 6 to 9 p.m.  The exhibit runs through June 7.

Kiyomi Iwata uses silk organza, metal, and kibiso to create sculptures that synthesize traditional Japanese aesthetics and forms with contemporary western art. Her installations explore the boundaries of East and West through absence and presence, void and volume. This exhibition will include new sculpture, as well as work spanning three decades of Iwata’s career, highlighting her sensitive and ever-evolving studio practice and experiments.

Iwata’s work is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Arts and Design; Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum; DeYoung Museum; Racine Art Museum, The Cleveland Museum of Art, and Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, among others.

1. Chrysalis Four

Chrysalis Four, 2014, kibiso, 25″ x 55″ x 7 ”

2. Southern Crossing Four

Southern Crossing Four, 2014, kibiso + dye, 87″ x 60″

3. Indigo Grid

Indigo Grid, 2011, silk organza, indigo dye, stiffener + metal wire, 39″ x 32″ x 5″

4. Southern Crossing Five

Southern Crossing Five, 2014, kibiso + dye, 87″ x 60″

5. Auric fold with Tanka 6, metal, gold leaf, thread

Auric Fold with Tanka Six, 2014, aluminum mesh, gold leaf, rice paper + thread, 19″ x 21.5″ x6.5″

6. Southern Crossing Seven

Southern Crossing Seven, 2015, kibiso, silver leaf + dye, 52″ x 53″

To learn about the Visual Arts Center of Richmond’s art classes, exhibitions and outreach programs, click here.

Richmond’s inaugural Fire, Flour and Fork food festival

IMG_9282This past weekend — Thursday, Oct. 30 through Saturday, Nov. 1 — marked Richmond’s inaugural Fire, Flour & Fork, a three-day food festival of educational seminars, cooking demos, food and drink tastings, special dinners, book signings and more. My dear friend Sarah Nowicki, restaurant reviewer and food writer for Charlotte Magazine and food blogger for Betches Love This, accompanied me on FFF’s inaugural voyage, and boy, was it an exciting one.

The best part of this event was that it wasn’t just for people involved in the food industry or “foodies” per se. It was for everyone. Or, as the founders Susan Winiecki and Maureen Egan say, “the food curious.”

Here are a few highlights from our FFF weekend:

IMG_9168Day One / Friday, Oct. 31

Forkless: From Hand To Mouth
Rebecca Parker Payne, The Kinfolk Table co-author
Rebecca spoke about her international travels while researching, interviewing and writing The Kinfolk Table. Hygge, one of my favorite Scandinavian words, was touched upon. She said hygge was one of her favorite cultural concepts in her travels abroad. Hygge is the Danish word for “a cozy feeling.” In my Swedish language classes in college, we spoke a lot about the concept and word hygge. I loved that she brought the discussion full-circle, asking what defines Virginia’s culture around the table.

Biscuits of the South
Ronni Lundy, a founder of the Southern Foodways Alliance + Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes, and Honest Fried Chicken author
“It’s hard to make a bad biscuit,” says Ronni, “and, it’s an art to make a good one.” I have no patience for baking, but Ronni filled me with inspiration and hope. When Ronni speaks about cooking, she uses lots of biblical allusions. As you can imagine, this makes baking seem like a religious calling. Also, the lady makes a killer sorgum butter. Amen!

[Break! We headed to the tasting tent and then to Pasture for a cocktail.]

Spice Style
Chef Jehangir Mehtra, of Graffiti, and Chef Mel Oza, of Curry Craft
These guys taught us about the science of spice. One big thing I took away: it takes humans 10 times to taste something for our brains to decide if we like or hate a certain flavor profile. Jehangir and Mel made me want to explore the flavors of black lemons and limes, and combining chiles in chocolate sauce.

Charred Ordinary
Courtney Mailey, Blue Bee Cider owner and operator
Courtney owns and operates the first urban orchard and cidery in Virginia — Blue Bee in Richmond’s Manchester industrial district. With a background in archeology/historical preservation, it was appropriate that Courtney focused her cider talk on folklore and cider history. My favorite part of the discussion was learning that booze production was women’s work and that women traditionally owned the ordinaries (pubs) and passed them down from woman to woman (and their husbands, of course).

IMG_9176After our first day of seminars, we drove out to Short Pump to eat with friends at Peter Chang China Cafe. Our menu included dry-fried eggplant, crispy pork belly, grandmother’s sweet-and-sour pork, bamboo fish and beef with onion and chili in hot pot.

IMG_9173IMG_9177IMG_9180We went home with a Chang coma and rested up for our next day of food seminars.

Day Two / Saturday, Nov. 1

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The Pope of Peppers
Dave DeWitt, journalist and chili pepper expert
This guy — what a hoot! Loved listening to the Pope of Peppers. He was a wealth of knowledge and had a salty sense of humor. Virginia-born and now in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Dave has written 50+ books on chile peppers and launched what evolved into Chile Pepper Magazine. I picked his brain about what to order my first time in Albuquerque this winter when I visit my best friend. And, Dave was kind enough to give us all some gifts — peppers across the spice spectrum.

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Flour-less: Raw Desserts that aren’t half-baked
Lynette Potgieter, Nettie’s Naturally baker
Michelle Williams, Richmond Restaurant Group co-owner
Restaurateur Michelle Williams serves Lynette Potgieter’s gluten-free, vegan and raw desserts at The Daily Kitchen & Bar, one of Richmond Restaurant Group’s healthy eateries. We watched Lynette and Michelle demonstrate how to make cheesecake and then had the pleasure of sampling it.

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[Break! We headed to the tasting tent and sampled wine, cider and food. I purchased two jars of fermented veggies from Charlottesville’s Farmstead Ferments.]

IMG_9202IMG_9194IMG_9201IMG_9209-0IMG_9211IMG_9214Smoked and charred cocktails
Thomas T Leggett, bar manager at The Roosevelt
Bar manager from the Roosevelt, T, spoke about adding smokey flavors to cocktails. One of my favorite cocktails from the Roosevelt, The Seersucker, introduced me to the wonders of smoke-infused drinks. For the Seersucker, T fires up a grill and when it is super hot, he sears lemon halves. These lemon halves are then frozen and used as “charred lemon cube” in The Seersucker. Maker’s Mark, sweet tea syrup, bitters and charred lemon combined to make a delectable cocktail. The drink is sweet and sour and there is a smokiness in the background that is the perfect complement.

Firewater: Bourbon
Dane Huckelbridge, Bourbon: A History of the American Spirit author
This bourbon writer gave us a quick history of bourbon in Virginia and the United States. Some fun facts I took away … Corn whiskey from Jamestown, Virginia, was the first alcohol produced in the U.S. George Washington was the first commercial whiskey producer. Ben Franklin spoke about using corn for booze production so the U.S. would be less reliant on rum importation. Aged whiskey was discovered by accident. When corn whiskey was transported down the Mississippi River, it sloshed around in charred oak barrels for months, and we the barrels were finally cracked open, the properties and taste of the whiskey had changed. It was delicious!

IMG_9278I made some cookbook purchases before heading home — The Kinfolk Table, co-authored by Richmonder Rebecca Parker Payne; The Southern Slow Cooker by Richmonder Kendra Bailey Morris; and Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes, and Honest Fried Chicken by Ronni Lundy.

I’m thrilled that Richmond has this wonderful, new food festival. I can’t wait for next year. xo, marissa

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.