How would you like some andouille on deviled eggs this weekend? We thought so! Read all about Upper Shirley Vineyards, below. (Photo by: Stephanie Breijo)
We've got wine, we've got a beer-and-wine hybrid, we've got chef change-ups, new spots, new concepts and more, and — oh yeah — free groceries. Read on for this week's food news, plus a giveaway:
- Did you know that there's a new winery just 20 minutes from Downtown? What? Yes! Upper Shirley Vineyards, next to Shirley Plantation in Charles City, is home to 16 acres of grapevines; a tasting room; a locally focused restaurant; enormous front and back porches just perfect for perching; wedding suites; and a view of the James. We stopped by to check out the new winery,restaurant and events space, not to mention a few of its 11 wines available. Curious? Take a peek right over here.
- Speaking of new spots, consider this Grace Street mystery solved: The building at 412 E. Grace St., just next to Pasture, should be home to Mexican-Asian fusion restaurant Wong Gonzalez by the end of July. Expect items such as Asian tacos and Mexican fried rice, with most plates ringing in at $10 or less, and all from the same team behind Fat Dragon, Boulevard Burger and Brew, Wild Ginger, Foo Dog, Osaka Sushi & Steak and The Blue Goat. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
- Last week we brought you news of Shagbark, the Southern, locally sourced restaurant hitting Libbie Mill - Midtown this May. This week, we dig a little deeper into its chef, Walter Bundy, who helmed Lemaire for 15 years. Our March feature "Into the Wild with Walter Bundy" retells the wild past of the acclaimed chef and takes you onto Chesapeake Bay with the avid fisherman, into a duck blind on a hunting trip, and into the kitchen of Shagbark as it's being built. Bonus: Learn how to break down a rockfish, from Bundy himself, right this way.
- Speaking of chefs, there's a new food collective in town and it wants YOU to join in if you happen to be of that restaurant/purveyor/food-product ilk. Real Local RVA aims to bring independent food businesses together for networking and collaborative endeavors, and it's got some big names attached. RVANews' Stephanie Ganz, who co-owns The Apple Cart Co., which is involved in the new organization, gave us a glimpse into the group's first meeting. (Richmond magazine / RVANews)
- More on the chef front: Congratulations to DeAndre Wilson, former sous chef of Rappahannock, on his promotion to chef de cuisine of the busy downtown restaurant! Now that Dylan Fultineer is the Rappahannock brand's executive chef across its large (and ever-growing) family of restaurants, we can expect to see even more of Wilson's talent shine, and we're so looking forward to it. (Style Weekly)
- In even more chef news, Ian Robbins of Millie's Diner has been named executive chef of both Café Provencal and Gabriel Archer Tavern within the Wedmore Place hotel in Williamsburg. I think it's safe to say RVA will miss you, Ian! (Café Provencal)
- WAIT WE'RE NOT DONE WITH CHEF NEWS YET. The Blue Goat has a new executive chef, Paul Kostandin, formerly of Birch & Barley in D.C. Congratulations all around! (news release)
- And in pitmaster news, Q Barbeque's Tuffy Stone and his Cool Smoke team took second place in brisket, fourth place in ribs, and 20th in chicken, out of 400 teams, at the Houston Livestock Rodeo World’s Championship Bar-B-Que competition. Speaking of Q, for every local craft beer sold at any Q location this month, $1 will be donated to the chain's charity partner, bereavement nonprofit Camp Comfort Zone. Help children heal from the loss of a loved one, and drink beer to do it. Win/win. (news release)
- On the beverage front, what happens when you mix beer and vermouth? We're about to find out this May when Thomas "T" Leggett of The Roosevelt and Michael Brandt of Garden Grove Brewing Co. unveil the product of their longtime dream: locally made vermouth. With an assist from The Roosevelt's Brandon Peck, they're brewing a beer-and-wine hybrid, which will be available at The Roosevelt and Garden Grove this spring. Want to learn more? We've got your back. (Richmond magazine)
- And now for some sadder news, though it's not all bad: Forest Hill's White Horse Tavern will close within the next two weeks due to less than stellar restaurant turnout. (We actually quite liked the pub-inspired spot; you can find our review in this month's mag.) On the bright side, Kendra Feather, local restaurateur extraordinaire, is stepping in to help rebrand the space and open it as something new in the near future. (Style Weekly)
- OK, you've made it. (WHEW.) It's time for a giveaway, but first: Do you remember Kroger's new online grocery shopping initiative, which we mentioned a few weeks back? No? Well the grocer is rolling out ClickList in the Richmond region, and it allows you to shop from the comfort of your own home, scoop up your goods at a time you deem convenient, and head on your merry way (preferably all while still wearing pajamas). The Chester location at 10800 Iron Bridge Road is the first RVA-area shop to launch it, and just kicked it off this week. To celebrate, Kroger is waiving the $4.95 service charge, for a customer's first three orders. What's more, Kroger stopped by our office with a $25 Kroger gift card and a growler, which we want to give to you! To enter, send an email with the subject line "Supermarket Sweep" to email@example.com and tell me what you'll be putting in that growler. I'll notify the winner by email next Tuesday, March 8! Easy peasy.
Ready for that weekend? Here's some great stuff, no matter the weather:
- Take in some local art while you slurp up some noodles why don't ya, and stop by Shoryuken Ramen tonight for a ramen art show featuring works submitted by the restaurant's own customers. 5 to 7 p.m. (Shoryuken Ramen)
- Or end your week with a wine dinner at The Brownstone, brought to ya by Butler's Unique Catering and New Kent Winery. A cool $50 gets you four courses with wine pairings and includes dishes such as mussels with fennel, tomato, garlic and Sambuca, and braised lamb shank with herbed goat cheese polenta and seared broccoli rabe. R.S.V.P. to firstname.lastname@example.org and arrive tonight at 6 p.m. (Butler's Unique Catering)
- And then on Sunday maybe quench both your thirst and your need for inner peace at Hardywood's Brewasana, where you can cap off a donation-based yoga class with a beer or two. The fun starts at 2 p.m. (Hardywood Park Craft Brewery)
And now for a few (inter)national links:
- Here's a recent profile on Michael Twitty, food writer and the man behind Afroculinaria, and it includes a bit of background on that now-open letter to Paula Deen, not to mention his passion for anthropology and African food. Worth a few minutes of your time, I promise. (The Washington Post)
- Breaking it down: What does cage-free really mean, and what's it mean on a national, fast-food level? (Eater)
- Drinking a gallon of coffee each morning is soooo expected; instead, switch things up with this bracelet, which will pump caffeine directly into your bloodstream. The only catch (aside from maybe some health-related issues but shhhh don't talk about that) is that it's not due out until July. (Foodbeast)
'Til next time, we'll be drinking that daily gallon of coffee 'til summer.