Zzaam! Quick as lightning, the local Korean fast-casual chain is already expanding to Midlothian for bulgogi bowls, mandu and more. (Photo by Stephanie Breijo)
Craft soda, Korean treats, more caffeine and a side of Super Bowl, if you please. This week's Food News has it all, including an $18,000 meatball:
- Do you remember that craft soda bar we told you about last year? Whether the answer is "YES!" or "...No, not even a little," rejoice because Roaring Pines, the new soda jerk and general store, is now open at 2025 Venable St., and it's serving up house-made fizzy concoctions by glass and growler. Swing by for a Blue Ribbon Pie soda, which is flavored with blueberry and lavender, or the Coal Miner's Daughter, a creamed Cheerwine soda with candied peanut garnish. (Richmond magazine)
- Reminder: Altria Theater's new 1927 Cafe & Bakery soft-opened throughout this week, with its grand opening still set for tomorrow, Feb. 5! BONUS: Stop by today or tomorrow for free coffee or tea, all day. Extra, extra, read all about it right over here. (Richmond magazine)
- Meanwhile in Midlothian, restaurateur Derek Cha just signed on to bring another Zzaam! Fresh Korean Grill to Richmond, this time at 4508 Commonwealth Center Parkway. The build-your-bowl, fast-casual Korean local chain began with a food truck here in RVA and a restaurant in Charlottesville, then recently opened another brick-and-mortar in Carytown, and now is headed across the river for its third location. According to Cha, there's more to come; the Zzaam! owner and Sweet Frog founder says he hopes to open 10 Zzaam! outposts within the next year. (Richmond BizSense)
- BUT FIRST, COFFEE: Here's a great peek into Blanchard's Coffee Roasting Co.'s new digs, and a deeper look into the company's rebranding and expansion. Check out the company's new "roast lab," plus its plans for its new education center, where the Blanchard's team will both train clients and host public workshops. Cannot. Wait. (Roast Magazine)
- In more rebrand news, Devil's Triangle mainstay Caliente will close next week and reopen two weeks later with a retooled menu, plus renovated walls, booths and bar area. Don't worry, the Stupid Wings are sticking around. (Style Weekly)
- While Richmond's dining scene is full of some excellent fare from all corners of the world, the region is also home to one of the largest food deserts for a city of its size. Here's a recent look at Richmond's urban farming boom, and how its growth is helping to sprout better food nutrition for the city's surrounding areas. (Richmond magazine)
- Speaking of international fare, our annual Sourcebook issue is now on newsstands, with a focus on the communities and global influences that make this region so diverse. Each section is filled with great stories and information, and when it comes to dining, we've got a guide to international markets, profiles on restaurateurs bringing a taste of home to RVAdine, a where-to-find-it list of cultural cuisine and more. Check it out.
- And of course we wouldn't let you head into Super Bowl weekend hungry; visit this roundup of the excellent #SB50 food specials available around town, plus a few choice spots for watching the game. From house-made sausages and stroopwafel ice cream to trays upon trays of chicken wings, we've got you covered.
SPORTS!FOOD! (Richmond magazine)
- What's up with all this juice? Is juicing actually healthy? Is a tiny bottle worth the $12 price tag? IF I DO NOTHING BUT DRINK JUICE, WILL I BE CONDEMNED TO A LIFETIME OF HUNGER? Juicing leaves me, and possibly you, with so many questions, but luckily, RVANews just helped to answer a few of them.
- Last week we mentioned a very important fundraiser at Uptown Alley, where the restaurant was helping to raise money for server Kaitlin Hunt, who lost five family members and all of her belongings in a Chesterfield County fire last month. In light of the recent, but unrelated, passing of Tony Smith, "a member of the Wild Ginger family, and a beloved patron of the community," EAT Restaurant Partners says in a news release, Wild Ginger will help the Hunt and Hudson families throughout the month of February. The restaurant will donate $2 from every specialty benefit sushi roll sold, as well as $2 from a featured benefit cocktail. "Helping fellow human beings was something Tony championed during his lifetime," says the EAT family. "We can all learn and benefit from his example. Rest in peace, Tony, you will be missed." (news release)
- Congratulations to Carytown's Pomegranate, which turns 2 today! Stop by for a Donut Burger and some seared foie gras to celebrate. (Pomegranate)
- And last but not least, congratulations to The Boathouse, which TripAdvisor's FlipKey just named Virginia's most romantic restaurant worth traveling for. The ranking didn't specify which location, so we're going to say congratulations to all three of them. (And remember, Valentine's Day is almost upon us ...) (FlipKey)
Rain, sun, flood warning, who cares! Your events are here, regardless of the crazy yo-yo weather we've supposedly got comin' our way:
- In #BoozeNews, Virginia Distillery Co. is hosting its very first Richmond tasting tonight! Teaming up with Wild Ginger to bring everyone a spicy way to quench their Thirsty Thursday, the new distillery will offer sips of its Virginia Highland Malt Whisky while Wild Ginger's team slings a specialty cocktail made with the stuff. You'll also find small bites such as lamb tostadas with goat cheese, and lobster wontons with mango salsa to pair. The fun's at Wild Ginger from 5 to 7 p.m. (Richmond Navigator)
- You can also head over to Hutch Bar + Eatery for a special $10 preview of its new monthly supper club. Tonight's event is a preview tasting, so stop by from 6 to 9-ish p.m. for a selection of beer and wine, plus an unveiling of the month's event calendar, which will include more tastings, plus dinners and education events. Neat! (Hutch)
- Then tomorrow, head to Isley Brewing Co. for beer and $1 Rappahannock oysters at Isley Oyster Fest. Eat your weight in bivalves from 6 to 8 p.m., and know that your leftover shells will help the brewery craft its new oyster stout. (Isley Brewing Co.)
- On Tuesday, Feb. 9, be sure to stop by Quirk Hotel from 5 to 7 p.m. for a very special wine tasting with guest "winetender," Valentine frontman and general man-about-town Bill Martin. The $15 ticket benefits The Valentine, an RVA institution and supporter of all things RVAdine. (Quirk Hotel)
And now for a few (inter)national links:
- First off, yesterday First We Feast published a thinkpiece on the state of food journalism and a number of its problematic practices which, it should be noted, are in no way universal, but they are generally present enough that the piece got much of the food (writing) community buzzing. It's difficult to summarize my thoughts here in this quick blurb, but I'll say that if you either take part in food media — whether you write it or consume it (and I'm guessing that's anyone reading these weekly Food News posts) — I recommend that you read it. Then, if you'd like to talk about it, give me a shout. Not joking. (First We Feast)
- Stem cells: MAKING THE MEAT OF THE FUTURE. Say hello to the $18,000 meatball, grown in a lab by food-science start-up Memphis Meats. It's the prototype of the "cultured-meat" the organization believes it can bring to the market in the next three to four years, theoretically eliminating the environmental wear and tear, and slaughter, emblematic of the meat industry. (Sounds cool, and yet, all I can think of is the end of that movie "Antiviral." Go watch that and then get back to me.) (Munchies)
'Til next time, cook us up a batch of weird-science dinner.