Rapp Session, the new oyster bar from Rappahannock, is now open. More on that, below. (Photo by: Stephanie Breijo)
Hi and welcome to this week's Food News, where we've got 850,000 pounds of Virginia produce! We've got big awards ceremonies! We've got new coffee! We've got free whiskey! What more could you possibly want??? (We may have that too, whatever it is!)
- In some huge, exciting news, the annual James Beard Award semifinalists are out, and L'Opossum's David Shannon was selected out of more than 20,000 nominees to be recognized in the country's prestigious restaurant awards! He's up for the Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic category, as is Peter Chang (though Chang is noted as representing Arlington, Virginia). "I'm just absolutely thrilled," Shannon says. "I kept reading the list over and over again to make sure that was my name there!" For more on the awards and what comes next, click this. (Richmond magazine)
- This week also saw a few openings, including that of Rapp Session, the new oyster bar adjacent to (and from the same team as) Rappahannock Restaurant. The spot at 318 E. Grace St. opened at 7 a.m. just this morning, offering a full coffee bar, raw bar, curated market, cocktail program, and plates from Rappahannock's chef, Dylan Fultineer. Get more details here. (Richmond magazine)
- Scott's Addition's Ironclad Coffee Roasters also opened, located at 2904 W. Moore St. for all your bean needs. Husband and wife team Ryan and Kelly O’Rourke first started roasting while living in Ireland, where tea is king. Hellbent on obtaining a good cup of coffee, Ryan purchased his own small roaster and gave it a go; before their return to the States, the two decided to pursue roasting full-time, and made plans to open up shop in Richmond. You can now find bags of single-origin beans at the roastery and at a handful of markets around town, with blends on the way. Who knows — there may even be a walk-up coffee window in the space's future. For now, just swing by for samples and a bag o' beans. (Richmond magazine)
- Sometime by the end of 2016, the Richmond area will most likely get the first of what could be up to seven Firenza Pizza restaurants. The sit-down pizza chain is considering Short Pump, Midlothian, VCU and downtown areas, among others. (Richmond BizSense)
- News on the cider front: Blue Bee Cider's upcoming move from Manchester to Scott's Addition will not only bring its hard cider across the river, the $1 million renovation to its new home in the stables at 3101 W. Clay St. will also see a tripling of current production, enabling the Blue Bee team to bottle more than 100,000 ciders per year. The cidery will also purchase more than 850,000 pounds of Virginia apples and berries over the next three years, according to a news release. Blue Bee's expansion is being funded through the cidery with aid from the Commonwealth and the city; a $50,000 grant, approved by Gov. Terry McAuliffe through the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund, is being matched by city monies. "Blue Bee’s high-quality, Virginia-grown products have won national acclaim and will continue to be a landmark in Richmond," Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore says in the release. "Indeed, these craft beverages and others are contributing positively to cities and rural communities across the Commonwealth, adding to the Governor’s call to build a new Virginia economy.”
- DO-GOODER NEWS BULLETIN: Flint, Michigan's need for clean water is staggering, and though the city is a solid 700-ish miles away, Richmond, Virginia wants to help. The Fresh Water for Flint campaign is currently accepting donations of gallons and bottles of water through March 1, which you can donate at any or all of the three locations available in our city. For more details, click here. (Richmond magazine)
- In closures, Urban Farmhouse's Church Hill location will shutter after service, at 8 p.m., this Sunday. According to the Times-Dispatch, the local coffee shop and cafe franchise is already eyeing spaces for a new East End location. (Church Hill People's News / Richmond Times-Dispatch)
- Relay Foods just launched a new pickup location at Legend Brewing Co., where every Thursday evening, you can now swing by to grab your online grocery order between 4 and 7 p.m. Whether you're new to the Relay game or a longtime fan, you can visit RelayFoods.com/LegendBrewery to receive $10 off an order for pickup at Legend through March 3. (news release)
- And a small media advisory: For those with tickets to see the Barefoot Contessa in the flesh, the famed cookbook author and celebrity chef's Feb. 25 engagement at the Carpenter Theatre at Dominion Arts Center has been rescheduled to Tuesday, March 29, at 7:30 p.m., due to injury. "Unfortunately, Ina [Garten]'s had a small accident," says Cindy Creasy, a representative of the venue. "She will be fine but she won’t be able to travel for a few weeks. There is no need to exchange tickets as all existing tickets will be honored on the new date. Refunds to those who can't attend the new date will be available at the original point of purchase."
Make your weekend event-full:
- IT'S BACK! The Virginia Wine Expo returns with tastings, walking tours, brunch, dinners and a showroom floor full of enough wine to fill your heart with joy. (And wine is good for the heart, right? Nothing not to love. It's science.) Peep the full schedule and ticket info here, but if you're coming to Burger Blast on Friday night, we're sponsors and I will be there. Come say hi.
- Curious about the aforementioned Ironclad coffee beans? On Saturday from noon to 2 p.m., you can find a tasting of the coffee, along with sweets from Chocolates by Kelly, all at Streetcar Cafe in North Side at 10 E. Brookland Park Blvd. (Ironclad Coffee Roasters)
- Sunday, Sunday, Sunday is the big night: The 5th Annual Elby Awards will celebrate the Richmond restaurant industry, and boy, do we have some fun surprises in store. This ceremony acknowledges the city's chefs, staff, bakers, purveyors and more, with winners all chosen by visiting dining critics, chefs, award-winning beverage directors, sommeliers, culinary-school teachers and then some. The event is woefully sold-out, but keep your eyes on our Twitter, Facebook and homepage for winners, photos and the blow-by-blow recap. The hashtag #Elbys will help you follow the fun online.
- And if you're curious about the aforementioned Rapp Session, on Tuesday night, head downtown and catch a tasting with Virginia Distillery Co., who'll be there be sampling its Virginia Highland Malt Whisky from 5 to 7 p.m. While you're there, snack on small plates from chef Dylan Fultineer including oysters with a Whisky citrus granita; bluefish salad on rye; and a Virginia fluke ceviche. The event is free and it's first come, first served, so get there early for best results.
And now for a few (inter)national links:
- Vodka sales are down internationally, but Russia's export is taking the biggest hit in its country's global conflict zones. (Way to go, Putin.) Fun fact I learned while reading this article: On average, a Russian man will drink more than eight gallons of pure alcohol every year. My liver hurts just thinking about it. (Munchies)
- In some food media news, Yahoo is shuttering Yahoo Food, the site's vertical for content both original and syndicated. It's just one of Yahoo's sections to get the axe, with Yahoo Health, Yahoo Parenting, Yahoo Travel and Yahoo Real Estate following suit. (Eater)
- Writing or designing a cookbook? Here's a great primer on choosing the right fonts for the job. (Adobe)
'Til next time, we'll be swooning over fonts and running our hands over well-designed cookbook pages. Don't make it weird.