David Shannon, bedecked entirely in leather, took home two big awards at last Sunday's Elbys ceremony. But more winners abound, in more ways than one. Keep scrollin' for more goodness and accolades (but sadly, not more leather). (Photo by Jay Paul)
I know that in the past I've told you a week's Food News roundup is lengthy, but this week's Food News roundup is especially impressive. We've got Elby winners, Mardi Gras parties, synthetic alcohol, new restaurants, anniversaries, brunches, the governor's new favorite wine and so much more. Honestly, just start reading:
- Another Elby Awards came and went but this year, Prohibition garb — and a few feathers and corsets — were everywhere. Sunday night saw the sixth annual, Richmond magazine-sponsored dining-awards ceremony and the region's chefs, restaurateurs, bartenders, sommeliers, servers, brewers and managers lit up the stunning Altria Theater. L'Opossum's David Shannon and crew won big, taking home Chef of the Year and Restaurant of the Year. East Coast Provisions' Trevor Knotts took home Rising Star, Nota Bene snagged Best New Restaurant and Acacia's Aline Reitzer won Philanthropist of the Year, to name a few more. Check out the full list of winners — and photos from the event — right over here. Want to see some photobooth fun? We've got you covered. And, of course, there's a video highlight reel, which I refuse to watch because I cannot watch myself, but I would venture to say that it's a lot of fun. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees, as well as those within the dining community busting their butts to make our dining scene what it is — even if you didn't win a thing on Sunday, thank you.
- Tangential but uniquely special is news of The Holli Fund, which Associate Publisher Susan Winiecki announced during the Elby Awards. Hollister Lindley is a fixture in the community and a contributor to a few local publications, including Rmag. Stricken with ALS in 2008, she's never let the disease dim her love of Richmond, nor its dining community, and throughout the years she's always been a supporter — no matter her mobility — of local restaurants. To honor her, a new fund has been set into motion to provide chefs financial support in their times of need. From Winiecki's own newsletter this week: "Hollister is a world traveler, a fine home cook and a champion of the Richmond dining scene. With her blessing, a nonprofit called The Holli Fund will be created to provide two types of grants to restaurant community members — those who a) are experiencing a crisis or b) want to further their education. SCC registration has been submitted by Hollister's close friend (and Richmond magazine contributor) Robey Martin, and from there, an independent board will be developed along with grant-making procedures. The Holli Fund was inspired by Hollister’s personal good works and by The Giving Table, which was formed by the restaurant Staplehouse in Atlanta."
- Speaking of winning, on Tuesday night, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced this year's Governor's Cup winner: The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards' 2014 cabernet sauvignon. Every year, the winner is accompanied by 11 other Virginia wines, which comprise the Governor's Case. "Our team is especially proud of this wine. It is a classic Virginia Cabernet Sauvignon. Perfectly balanced, and has mature tannins that are ripe but not overly extracted, and it has nice acidity,” Michael Shaps, the winemaker, says in a news release. “The fruit comes from mostly Carter’s Mountain with some additional fruit from Mount Juliet vineyards. Carter’s Mountain has southwest exposure, constant breezes, great drainage and a slightly cooler climate to retain nature acidity.” We caught up with master sommelier and Gov Cup judge Bartholomew Broadbent to learn just how the winning Virginia-made wines are selected, just how involved the governor is in the process each year, and how this year's 100-plus wines stacked up against prior years' contestants.
- Speaking of our gov, he just signed a new bill allowing the sale of metal beer cans throughout Virginia. Starting July 1, under SB 1469, licensed indoor and outdoor venues can do away with plastic and paper cups when distributing beer and now offer "a single original metal can," if they so choose. Identical bill HB 1744 also passed. (RVA Mag)
- In but a few weeks, pending permitting, The Stables restaurant will breathe new life into 201 Belmont Ave., the former location of Zeus Gallery Café. The New-American concept will be helmed by executive chef Evan Campbell of Café Caturra and feature small plates and entrées inspired by the South. (Richmond BizSense)
- Keep it on your radar and keep your lunches and dinners open: Richmond's inaugural Black Restaurant Week kicks off March 6 and runs through March 12, offering $15 lunches and $25 dinners from some of the region's best African-American owned establishments. Celebrate Black Excellence in food form with meals from Chef Mamusu's Africanne on Main, Croaker’s Spot, Spoonbread Bistro and more, all while helping to raise awareness and money for Renew Richmond. Learn a bit more about what to expect — and how this great event all began — right over here. (Richmond magazine)
- Ukrop's diehards, rejoice: The beloved regional grocer's been distributing its baked goods and prepared food items through Martin's and on Amazon, but starting here and now, you can find an expanded selection at Kroger stores throughout the Mid-Atlantic! Here in Richmond, look for the familiar "Ukrop's" name; elsewhere, you may find these products under "Good Meadow" and "Fresh Food Market." (Style Weekly)
- The Big Easy hits Richmond this weekend with a few choice restaurants offering Mardi Gras specials and events! The longest-running of these starts today at Rapp Session, when the downtown oyster saloon kicks off nearly a week of gumbo, hurricanes, beads, drink specials and, of course, oysters; we caught up with the team there about what to expect this weekend and every day through next Wednesday. You can also find a Fat Tuesday celebration at Lady N'awlins and a Fat Tuesday party overlooking the city at Kabana Rooftop, both on Tuesday. Laissez les bons temps rouler, etc.
- In closures, Willow Lawn's American Tap Room shuttered to make space for a new restaurant owned by the same restaurant group. Hattie Mae's Southern Cuisine & Oyster Bar is set to open sometime this month. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
- In anniversary news, Upper Shirley Vineyards is coming up on its first birthday! (My, how the time flies.) With one year under their belt, executive chef Carlisle Bannister and team are already looking ahead to the future, and that future may just hold picnic offerings and some more casual, outdoors-able fare. "We feel like there will be enough demand to offer a casual grill/picnic lunch option and still [have] table service with our full menu for restaurant customers," Bannister mentioned to Rmag contributor Robey Martin earlier this week. "We are in the works of expanding our kitchen garden this season, and at the same time so excited to get out there and see what Virginia has to offer from farms, dairies and the sea for our upcoming spring menu." Revisit our first trip to the winery and restaurant right over here.
- BRUNCH PSA: Laura Lee's launches brunch service next Sunday (March 5) and if this pic is any indication, it's going to be delicious and 'grammable. (Don't worry, I hate myself enough for that abbreviation.)
- And now, an update on Elby Award winner Travis Milton: The former Comfort and Family Meal chef left Richmond last year and set out to open his own Appalachian-inspired restaurants elsewhere in the state, and it appears the first of them is set to open this summer in Southside Virginia's St. Paul. Milton’s at the Western Front will be a meat-and-three, and next year, he's set to launch two conjoined, full-service concepts. "Milton will next focus on the collocated Shovel & Pick and Simply Grand," media representative Lacey Irby writes in a news release, "slated to open in Bristol, Virginia, in early 2018, and showcasing respectively the rustic, soulful comfort food of his childhood on one side of the building, with a more modern take on those traditions on the other."
Ready for the weekend? It's ready for you:
- Tomorow at 1 p.m., head to The Answer Brewpub for the eighth annual Screens 'n' Suds event, wherein you can shop and drink your way to Saturday-afternoon nirvana. There will be a number of artists and vendors on hand, and the beer will be flowing. The event is free, but a $5 donation is welcome. Proceeds benefit the National MS Society (Virginia-West Virginia Chapter) and Strength in Numbers. (The Answer Brewpub)
- Tomorrow evening at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, from 6 to 10 p.m., nosh on small plates for a great cause at Zest Fest, FeedMore's annual gala and auction. The Boathouse, The Jefferson, India K’ Raja and others will be there to provide the evening's bites. Registration closes tomorrow, so get your $50 ticket today. (FeedMore)
- SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY you've got a couple choice events, so let's start chronologically: At 5 p.m., catch another installment of Nota Bene's PIZZA CLUB, and this iteration features none other than Apple Cart co-founder, Rmag contributor and all-around food whiz Stephanie Ganz, who just so happens to be Pizza Tonight's first-ever employee! Stop by from 5 to 9 and say hi to the lovely lady, who designed her own special pizza creation for the evening, and you'll also find a few other pie options and drinks, to boot. (Nota Bene)
- Starting at 6 p.m., the Gold Cart pop-up returns, and this time, the team's hosting dinner out of Comfort. This menu features not the Latin-American cuisine you may have tried at the debut event, but instead Québécois-inspired fare. Expect vegan poutine with mushroom gravy; venison pie with mashed potatoes and gravy; and maple syrup pie, with all dishes between $5 and $8. Plus, $1 Black Label beer. Find the full menu here. (Gold Cart)
- Kick off your week with another Jackdaw industry night pop-up at Millie's on Monday, featuring late-night eats such as steamed buns with chicken-fried lobster, spicy mayo and avocado; and ramen in black chicken broth with bok choy, fermented chili, and Tamari-marinated egg. Shaun Loughran of The Rogue Gentlemen will be stirrin' and shakin' up some drinks. Get down on that full menu here. 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. (The Jackdaw)
- Looking ahead to next Wednesday, Shagbark's hosting a wine dinner with master sommelier Bartholomew Broadbent of Broadbent Selections, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Arrive early if you'd like to be seated in your group, as this five-course meal features communal seating. Dishes include Seven Hill steak with thyme-scented creamer peas, Parmesan Swiss chard and a huckleberry demi-glace; and brown-butter-seared jumbo sea scallops with parsnip mousse, citrus butter, shoots, sprouts and upland cress, each dish paired with a Broadbent Selections wine. Find your $75 tickets here. (Shagbark)
And now for a few (inter)national links:
- THE FUTURE IS NOW: Scientists are fast developing alternatives to food and beverage, whether the reasons are economical or environmental. But one David Nutt has developed synthetic alcohol — “alcosynths” — to save you a lot of pain, and feels he could eliminate hangovers by 2050. (Grub Street)
- A bit saltier, and fired using Japanese wood, Tokyo's own take on Neapolitan-style pizza is trendy and exactly what I wish I were eating right now. Read up on the makers elevating pizza to an art form, and try not to drool over those photos while you're at it. (Eater)
Till next time, help me, I am now so hungry.