Summertime and the grillin' is easy: Find the best spots for grab some dogs this weekend, plus other food 4-1-1, all below. (Photo by Stephanie Breijo)
Good afternoon, patriots and food lovers! Whether you're angling to enjoy some quality home grilling or dine at one of Richmond's Best New Restaurants this weekend, we salute you. Here's your guide:
- Ready your grills, your stomachs, your palates and coolers: July Fourth is almost upon us, which means it's time to indulge in the bounty of summer the whole long-weekend long. If you've got all of your bases covered, good on you. If not, don't fret — I put together a handy guide to Richmond's Independence Day food specials, events and where to stock up. If you're searching for house-made mustards, racks on racks on racks of ribs, gourmet hot dogs or just a bunch of samples, you'll find it all right over here.
- And if you're looking for a spot to watch fireworks — a spot where you can also enjoy a beer and maybe a food truck, at that — here's a roundup of local breweries, rooftop bars and cideries with great views and brews. (WTVR)
- Over in Jackson Ward, a new restaurant and hookah bar is coming to 522 N. Second St. Meso will offer Indian, Greek and Lebanese fare sometime after its vague post-July Fourth opening. (And I'm hoping it's sooner rather than later.) The second floor will host a hookah lounge, and the rooftop will purvey alcoholic libations, provided Meso's ABC license clears. (Richmond BizSense)
- Speaking of rooftops with drinks, kudos to Quirk Hotel's rooftop, which Conde Nast Traveler just named one of the top 10 rooftop bars in America! "Richmond, Virginia gains major small-big-city cred with the May 2016 opening of this seductive, bi-level, open-air rooftop venue," the slideshow says, and suddenly I'm craving a cocktail and sweeping views.
- In Summer Closures news, The Dog & Pig Show will shutter from July 5 to Aug. 2 for some "recombobulating," and Sub Rosa will close June 28 to July 7 for summer vacation. You've missed the boat on Sub Rosa until the seventh, but you've still got a few days to visit D&P! Go! (Church Hill People's News)
- What could be better than an 80-pound doughnut? Well, nothing, but a runner-up could be an 80-pound doughnut-shaped sign that looks big enough to sate/confuse Godzilla. As sadly noted in prior posts, Carytown's Dixie Donuts is now closed, and is selling off various equipment — including its massive pink doughnut sign. The stucco- and Styrofoam-concocted behemoth is going for $1,500. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
- It's coming down to the wire for your final La Grotta visits in the Slip. This weekend, bid farewell to the restaurant's Shockoe location with a 22nd anniversary menu, which you can enjoy through Saturday, July 2 — La Grotta's last day at 1218 E. Cary St. The three-course dinner (with wine pairings!) will run you $55 and include such Northern Italian dishes as veal scallopini, house-made pastas and filet of sole. “We have been lucky to be a part of many engagement, celebration and wedding parties, and we want to welcome everyone back to dine with us at our original location one more time before we move," chef-owner Antonio Capece says in a news release. "We look forward to welcoming everyone to our new space when we re-open in the historic Miller & Rhoads building on East Broad Street in August.” For more on the restaurant's move and what to expect, step right this way. (Richmond magazine)
- HEY, LIGHTEN UP: Looking for a bright, summery bite? Greg Johnson of Citizen downtown shared a recipe for a shallot vinaigrette that's just perfect as a marinade or dressing. Find it, along with a bit about the gentle, Highlander-like allium, thisaway. (Richmond magazine)
- And in general ICYMI News, Shagbark is now open in the Libbie Mill-Midtown development. The new restaurant comes by way of Walter Bundy, former executive chef of Lemaire, and it's serving up some seriously decadent dishes and ambiance. Get a preview and a look inside, right over here. (Richmond magazine)
- COOL UPCOMING JULY 10 EVENT, LAND-LOVING EDITION: There is almost nothing as fulfilling as coming together with other members of the community to benefit a communal cause, and on July 10, that fulfillment will also be filling. Sub Rosa is hosting a family-style dinner at 6 p.m. to benefit The Birdhouse Market and will feature fare from Evrim Dogu and Evin Dogu (of Sub Rosa), Autumn Campbell and Brian Garretson (of Tomten Farm) and Paul Winston (of Dutch & Co.). The $100 ticket includes dinner, drinks and gratuity, but act quickly; only a handful of seats remain. Snag yours here.
- COOL UPCOMING JULY 10 EVENT, SEAFARING EDITION: AVAST YE. Saison is setting sail off the banks of the James with another riverboat cruise, and if it's anything like last year's, it's going to be raucous. A cool $75 nets you entry to the boat party from 6 to 9 p.m., which comes complete with full meal and finger foods by Saison's Adam Hall, beverage tickets, access to the dance floor and a cruise up and down the river. The Roosevelt's Thomas "T" Leggett and Brandon Peck will be slinging tiki-inspired drinks out of "The Daquiri Factory," DJ Marty Violence of Steady Sounds will be spinning records, rapper Chance Fischer will take the floor for a performance, Saison's crew will be serving up frozen drinks and other boozy libations (Ballast Point beer and cocktails and sparkling rosé, anyone?) and Anderson's Neck Oyster Co. will be there with bivalves for purchase. "We're just trying to pile as much fun on one boat as humanly possible," Saison co-owner Jay Bayer says. The ticket link is not yet live, but you can make your reservation by calling Saison at 269-3689. Arrive at 3101 Wharf St. at 5:45 p.m. on July 10. Don't get left behind.
- THIS JUST IN: Our July issue is hitting newsstands now, and wouldn't you know it, there's a ton of food coverage in there! Within the regular dining section, you'll find reviews of Forest Hill's Kinsfolk and Carytown's Home Sweet Home, plus our five favorite locally made ice cream sandwiches, the scoop on Petersburg's new restaurant and market, and a behind-the-scenes look at how Belle Isle Craft Spirits moonshine gets made. On the cover and in the center of the mag, you'll find 2016's Best New Restaurants: the top 10 full-service spots that nail cuisine, ambiance, service and innovation, plus 10 of the city's best quick 'n' casual restaurants. A preview of that is just one click away.
Ready for that weekend? We hold the awesomeness of these events to be self-evident:
- Hey! Did you catch those fun Fourth of July-themed events and specials? I'm going to point you back to this list for not one but two ciderie events, plus a seafood shindig at Whole Foods. Live your best patriot life, you know?
- From 5 to 8 p.m. tonight, you can find sparkling wine and lobstah rolls at The Barrel Thief Wine Shop and Cafe in the West End. (But do check on the status/quantity of remaining lobster as the evening progresses by calling 612-9232 because those are limited.) (Barrel Thief)
- On Friday, IT'S CHRISTMAS IN JULY. Pasture will be serving up frozen egg nog, frozen poinsettias, sausage cheese balls and vegetarian-sausage cheese balls, plus some other choice food specials. (And, yes, you can still find the regular menu all night long.) Get in the holiday spirit this weekend but for a different holiday than the actual holiday that's this weekend!
- Then on Saturday, dig into ALL THINGS VIRGINIA at the first annual Taste of Virginia Festival at Innsbrook Pavilion. There will be Virginia-made food. There will be Virginia-made beer and wine. There will be fireworks. There will be live music. There will be a kids' zone. There will be all of this from 3:30 to 9:30 p.m., and all for $5 general admission, with food and beverage available for purchase! (Innsbrook Pavilion and Capital Ale House)
- Saturday night head to Comfort for Yacht Rock Night, where Hawaiian shirts and a captain's hat or two can probably be spotted. You can also expect strawberry margaritas with a candied habanero garnish, and piña coladas, as well as a smooth-sailing playlist.
And now for a few (inter)national links:
- Have you ever bitten into something and thought, "Oh this is so good I could die here and now, happily"? (If you haven't, we're probably not friends in real life.) Some people have taken this to the next level and think that the crab cakes at Faidley's Seafood in Baltimore are so good, they spread someone's ashes in the restaurant. (Munchies)
- Move over, ketchup. There are some new 'dog toppings in town, and they're here to make your mouth water. Here's a fun little list of some ways to inspire your hot dog game this weekend, including toasted nori sheets with shishito peppers. (Bon Appetit)
'Til next time, I will be eating all the burgers and hot dogs and only God can judge me.