Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Beer is the Answer.

Today is the long awaited opening of An Bui's new venture.  And there is no surprise that beer is at the center of his "The Answer BrewPub."

I had a chance to visit last week and sample some goodies.  In addition to 36 beers on tap, listed on high tech digital screens above the bar ( an interesting counterpart to Mekong's whiteboard technology next door), the Answer will be serving some tasty food, perfect Vietnamese bar food to accompany the beer.

I sampled a Vietnamese Tamale and a Bahn Mi and was pleased with both:

The tamale was a nice riff on the Mexican classic; a banana leaf replaces the corn husk and the traditional masa is bumped for a smooth and creamy rice. Cut open the top and drizzle some spicy sauce into the meat and mushroom stuffing.

The Bahn mi comes in a variety of flavors and is the perfect bar food, with just the right mix of crusty bread, various meats, pickled veggies, and heat. The hangover special comes with the addition of
two fried eggs. Boardwalk style fries with onions and cilantro complete the platter.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Meet my friend, Spigarello

I love greens. kale, chard, escarole,  mustard, turnip, beet, bok choy, mizzuna, raab.  I have a new friend, spigarello, or more formally called Cavolo Broccolo a Getti di Napoli

Broccoli spigarello is an heirloom variety, similar to broccoli raab.  It’s native to the south of Italy, but its seeds are being sown in the US now as well.  It has a flavor profile that is somewhat sweeter and earthier than the more bitter raab or rapini.
I was in Los Angeles last week and chose it on the menu at Superba Snack Bar in Venice Beach. It was sauteed and served in a dashi broth, topped with a poached egg.

I was excited to return to Richmond last week and find spigarello being sold at the South of the James Farmer’s Market by Tomten Farm.  Tomten is a small farm run by Brian Garretson and Autumn Campbell on 18 acres in Prince Edward County, Virginia.

Raw spigarello ready for sautéing

After a few minutes in the cast iron pan with olive oil and garlic

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Fair Wages are just the start

While I have significant issues with our culture of fast food and the health and environmental havoc it has created,  I also support the need for fair wages.  However, that's just the start.  What needs to happen is for fast food to slow down, and begin to serve food that creates health and wealth, not poverty and diabetes.

View image on Twitterw

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Monument City Coffee & Records

The 300 block of Grace Street has a hip new place to check out. Monument City Coffee & Records opened a few weeks ago and couples two of my favorite things, coffee and music.  They are open most days from 8-5 and serve a variety of breakfast things like fresh baked biscuits, bagels, and doughnuts.  Coffee is guaranteed to please through a partnership with Lamplighter Coffee Roasting Company.

Lunch items include their take on the Vietnamese classic bahn mi ( Bomb Mi), as well as other sandwiches, soups and salads. There are plenty of vegetarian and vegan items to choose from as well.

Dining is downstairs and records on the 2nd floor. 
Before you head upstairs to browse , perhaps have  One more cup of coffee.....

Monument City Coffee and Records
306 E. Grace Street

Monday, April 14, 2014

What's for Dinner ? It's Pizza Tonight.

There are three main elements to any pizza: dough, toppings and heat. Pizza Tonight nails all three of them.

The dough is magical. The secret is in the flour. The mobile pizzeria uses an Italian, finely milled 00 Caputo flour, and a 24-hour proofing process that allows the dough to rest. It imparts the perfect chew to the crust and makes for dough that’s easy to work with.

Pizza Tonight’s toppings go beyond the traditional options. The RVA Pepperoni includes local Calabrese-style salami from Olli Salumeria; The Fig & Pig trades red sauce for fig preserves and prosciutto topped with Gorgonzola cheese; The Bacon and Spinach is topped with, well, garlicky spinach and smoky bacon. An olive-oil base is the foundation for The Vegan Potato, which is then layered with thin slices of potato and sprinkled with sea salt and rosemary. 

Pizza Tonight tows a one-of-a-kind wood-burning oven to farmers’ markets and events. It cooks pizzas in minutes, transforming the dough into a crispy, crunchy crust, topped with bubbling cheese, meat and veggies to make my favorite pizza in Richmond. I feel lucky to have it in my backyard.
Originally published in the April issue of Richmond Magazine.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Zagat names Rappahannock's Dylan Fultineer as one of the 10 Southern Chefs to watch

Congratulations to Dylan Fultineer for the accolades and for the company he's keeping---- to read the whole article chow down.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Governor's Cup Results

This is late.... not late breaking news.  Meant to post this on Friday but it got stuck in my outbox

From the Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office:  "Governor Terry McAuliffe awarded the 2014 Virginia Wineries Association's (VWA) Governor's Cup to The Williamsburg Winery's 2010 Adagio, a blended red wine.  The Williamsburg Winery's Adagio is a blend of 42% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot and 28% Petit Verdot. Aged in French, American and Hungarian Oak, the ratio is 43% new oak, 14% one year old oak; 29% two year old oak; and 14% three year old oak. The winemaker's tasting notes are as follows: The 2010 Adagio is a very bold upfront wine with loads of jammy fruit. The blackberries and blueberry notes are accentuated with some elegant mature darker fruit such as figs, dates and prunes. There is a hint of spice (warm cinnamon) with molasses and soy. The earthy notes come across with a touch of nuttiness. The oak is very integrated into the weight of the wine and the tannins are smooth and graceful. The wine has a wonderful finish that lasts for quite awhile.

 In addition to The Williamsburg Winery's 2010 Adagio, the other 11 wines in the Governor's Cup Case are:
  • Barboursville Vineyard - 2008 Malvaxia Passito
  • Barboursville Vineyard - 2010 Nebbiolo Reserve
  • Barboursville Vineyard - 2010 Octagon
  • Barren Ridge Vineyard - 2009 Meritage
  • Fabbioli Cellars - 2011 Tannat
  • Horton Vineyards - 2010 Tannat
  • King Family Vineyards - 2011 Meritage
  • North Gate Vineyard - 2011 Meritage
  • Rockbridge Vineyard - 2008 Meritage, DeChiel Reserve, unfiltered
  • Sunset Hills Vineyard - 2010 Mosaic
  • Two Twisted Post Winery - 2012 Chardonnay

  • For a complete list of previous Governor's Cup winners and information about the Virginia wine industry, please visit the Virginia Wine Marketing Office http://www.virginiawine.org/governors-cup/awards/

    Pasture and Rappahannock   both hosted post gala parties, complete with paired food and wine stations curated by Jason Alley and Dylan Fultineer, fire breathers, body contortionists, and lots of lovely folks.

    We were also treated to a new jam by Jason Tesauro, rivaling his Elby prose

    The Modern Gent Rap

    Stinson 2012 Chardonnay, paired with  Braised clams, tomato, preserved lemon, house-cured Tasso ham

    Breaux 2012  Marquis de Lafayette, paired with Shredded duck/duck pastrami salad, winter greens, tangerine, tallegio

    Gabriele Rausse 2011 Nebbiolo, paired with House-made sausage balls, pepper jelly

    Potter's Craft Barrel Fermented Cider, paired with Roasted pumpkin rice grits, pecorino, pickled chard stems

    Williamsburg Winery 2010 Adagio, paired with Braised beef shank with red wine jus, shaved collard slaw, and hickory king cornmeal porridge

    Thibaut-Janisson  Blanc de Chardonnay, paired with oysters on the 1/2 shell

    Boxwood 2011 Trellis, paired with fried shad roe

    Blue Bee Mill Race Bramble, paired with a VA cheese platter, pickles, jams, crackers

    Barboursville 2007 Cabernet Franc Reserve, paired with Braised Barboursville goat, smoked faro, chimichurri

    Blenheim 2012 Painted White, paired with Dulce de Leche crepe, VA pink lady apples