Thursday, April 29, 2010

Comfort me with offal

Nearly 2 months ago, in a stroke of culinary hilarity, someone came up with the brilliant idea of mashing the tweets of former Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl with the attitude and raunch of Anthony Bourdain. In addition to becoming a mainstay in the culinary twitterverse, "Ruth Bourdain" also maintains a blog, Comfort me with Offal at

Here are some recent tweets that caught my eye:

Down below cars creep down puddled streets. Up here brown sugar, butter, cream swirl into oats. Above a chimp is drinking my absinthe. WTF! 7:14 AM Mar 23rd via web

Mind fucking blown at Marea's Soft Seafood Cuddle Party: snuggled w/eggs, oysters, uni, roe in a giant sea urchin shell. Smell awful now.

Scavenging! Gnawing on a cold, charred Porterhouse bone. Last egg. Only 1/2 lid tangerine zest. Barely breakfast on this cool gray morning

Beautiful RT @andreareusing: Our @ruthbourdain breakfast: soft-boiled farm eggs, crisp toast, children hectoring, projectile vomiting.

@jbchang u know what else works great? Guy fieri's goatee. Best organic bristle brush you'll find. Even cleans beards of mussels. Seriously about 20 hours ago via Tweetie in reply to jbchang

Off to get mani-pedis & cupcakes w/Giada & Rachael. Then, jazzercise w/Alice Waters & Paula Deen. Could be the worst fucking day of my life.

Fuck. Cut myself slicing rhubarb, ruby drops falling from the knife. Outside a finch flies thru window into my mouth. Better than ortolan.

On the river, tiny sailboat drifting by. Batali struggling to do one pushup. Geese nibble my grass as I swat them w/a hot dog, beak by beak 5:03 AM Mar 20th via Tweetie

Breakfast at Balthazar: Quintuple espresso, croissants, conversation. Room abuzz with oversleeping eurodouches. Shit it's sunny! 4:09 PM Mar 17th via Tweetie

There's also an interview on GQ's website that is worth a read.
Click here for the full story

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Amuse (Bouche)

With the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts set to re-open this week, I am eager to try out what may become "the place" for the power lunch crowd. While there has been some debate about the pedigree of the chef chosen to run the restaurant, there's no denying that it is a stylish spot with a great view. While initially slated to be open just a few nights a week, its popularity may dictate otherwise.

Soft Shells

Tis the season for soft shell crabs. The molting season for blue crabs typically begins in late April and runs for several months. It's during this time of that blue crabs shed their hard external shell in preparation for growing. Just got an e-mail from Acacia that they have them in stock and learned a few new terms relative to the different stages of crab softshelledness:

Velvets: Pulled from the water only 30 mins after they shed
Shippers: Pulled from the water 4hrs after shed
Papers: Pulled from the water 6-8hrs after shed
Buckrams: Hard Crab

My favorite way to cook hardshells is pretty simple- dip them in beaten egg and dredge them in cornmeal or flour with some salt and pepper and pan sautee them until they get crispy. One of the sweetest treats from the sea !

Taste of Spring

The timing of one of my favorite Spring treats is dependent upon how the fish are swimming upstream. Shad spends much of its life in saltwater but swims up into freshwater rivers to spawn. The female shad, heavy with eggs, is a fisherman's dream catch. My friend Rob hooked me up a few weeks ago with some gorgeous shad roe, already cleaned.

My father-in-law was in town and has fond memories of shad roe and eggs as a breakfast treat down on the shores of the Nansemond River near Chuckatuck. I lightly dusted the fragile lobes of eggs in cornmeal, salt and pepper and sauteed them in bacon fat until they were golden brown.

Shad roe has a texture more like a rich liver than fish, with a light taste of the sea. Six Burner's Philip Denny featured shad roe with a lemony arugula salad a few weeks ago that was a perfect complement.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

When it's just too hot in the kitchen

As Spring transitions into Summer, and our kitchens become the last place we want to spend time, there are a few newish options for Richmonders looking for take-out. Olio on Main Street, formerly the European Market, and Spoonfed in the near-west end in the former Stonewall Market space, both offer some nice options for take-out. Olio has a more diverse menu that includes sandwiches and salads, pizza and entrees, as well as some mid to high end gourmet items (high end being the $249.00 bottle of aged balsamic vinegar). Spoonfed offers more traditional cocktail party and dinner fare, including ham biscuits, shrimp and grits, and filet mignon.

For the full feed, check out this week's Style Weekly.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

A complete meal

I am not sure how you weigh food vs service when you go out to eat. I like service that is friendly and informed, but not overly chatty or obtrusive. I find service in Richmond to be spotty at best. Too many dinners are overshadowed by less than stellar service. It's too bad, because many of these restaurants are turning out some great food.

Last month I had a few meals at Six Burner, and while their chef Philip Denny is one of Richmond's rising stars, the delivery was lacking. You can read my full review at Style Weekly.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Garden Days

I am so behind on my garden this year, but I promised myself that this would be the year that I figure out irrigation. It has always been my achilles heel and the garden yield has suffered. Foliage always outpaced my fruit because of the way I watered. Hope to get planting in the next day or two.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Maundy Thursday

It's Maundy Thursday, the night signifying the Last Supper. What would be your last supper ?