Could you eat 4,000 of East Coast Provisions' tuna tartare tacos? I CERTAINLY COULD, and certainly felt like I did at this year's Folk Feast. For more on that fundraiser and some great events to come, read on. (Photo by Stephanie Breijo)
Everybody's workin' for the weekend, and now, it's here! Celebrate with new restaurants, look ahead to new beer, and remember a few spots, now gone. It's been a whirlwind of a news week, so let's get to it:
- Looking for more global flavor in Carytown? Sen Organic is now open in the former home of Dixie Donuts, and its vegan, organic and gluten-free pho, báhn mì and more could be just what you need to fill you up and brighten up the next few gloomy days as we dive into some cooler weather. Learn more about Sen's organic mission, its offerings, and the close ties between French and Vietnamese fare, right over here. (Richmond magazine)
- In brew news, Strangeways is expanding! The punny West End craft brewery will soon bring its "exquisitely peculiar" beers with names such as "Gourd of Thunder" and "Wake Me Up Before You Gose" to a new, $2.5 million facility and taproom in Fredericksburg. The 10-barrel brewhouse, event space and tasting room is set to open at 350 Lansdowne Road by July 2017 with 50 beers on tap. Nothing not to love. (Richmond BizSense)
- This year's Folk Feast raised around $30,000 for the Richmond Folk Festival, which is great news; the annual dining event that kicks off the Fest is also one of the chief reasons your weekend of music is free year after year (though donations are, of course, welcomed enthusiastically by the Bucket Brigade). 2016's Folk Feast saw a handful of newbies and more than a few familiar faces serving up some killer small plates under charming strings of bulb lights at Tredegar Iron Works. Missed the sold-out event? Want to relive it? Maybe you just want to see +/-30 photos of lovely food from some of the city's best chefs? We've got your back with this slideshow recap including every dish served.
- Another fun thing that happened this week: Netflix and "Gilmore Girls" took over around 250 coffee shops across the U.S. and Canada, and two of those very coffee shops were here in RVA. The Lab by Alchemy Coffee and Captain Buzzy's Beanery both transformed into Luke's Diner on Wednesday morning, each serving up around 200 cups of free coffee (accompanying shot of cynicism optional). (Richmond magazine)
- And while a number of fun openings and events recently hit Richmond, so, too, did a few closures. Castanea was located in Shockoe Bottom but rooted in Mediterranean flavor, garnering an Elby nomination for Best New Restaurant last year. You can learn more about its shuttering right over here. (Richmond magazine)
- Downtown's Venezuelan outpost Kanoa brought arepas and pepitos to Richmond, but after just a year and a half in business, the restaurant shuttered. Owner Yofre Blanco is in the process of changing the restaurant's concept and is set to reopen his venture as Alero Mexican Restaurant in a few weeks. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
- Hit the road, Jack: If you're looking for a quick jaunt from the city that'll land you smack-dab in a vineyard alongside the James, try the scenic drive to Upper Shirley Vineyards. We sure did, and the wine is fine. Here's our full review of the Charles City winery and restaurant, now online. If you're looking to go west a-ways, check out our neighborhood roundup for Manakin-Sabot, where you'll find old-school charm and some of the best hidden fried chicken in the land.
- If you're heading farther west, you might as well make your way to Charlottesville for some Bodo's Bagels, which Time-owned site Extra Crispy just hailed as the best bagels in the world.
- It's almost time for Richmond Restaurant Week, wherein a handful of RVA spots offer prix fixe dinner menus and proceeds benefit local food charities and organizations. This year's lineup is looking mighty fine, and you can catch the full list of participating restaurants right over here. Stop by for a $29.16 meal, and some of your dining dollars will go toward FeedMore and Meals on Wheels.
- On a much, much sadder note, Richmond lost one of its first Innsbrook settlers to cancer at the end of September. Scott Bruce Elias Sr. was one of the first restaurateurs to set up shop in the office-laden area, opening his beloved Boychik's Deli in late 1991. His sons Jonathan and Scott and daughters Joanie and Jessie will oversee Boychik's future and maintain the restaurant. Read Richmond BizSense's lovely remembrance of Elias right over here.
It looks as though Hurricane Matthew is going to miss Richmond, which means you have no excuses to miss these events:
- Tonight, Friday, I recommend you head on over to VisArts for a very (ful)filling Art Junction Chili Throwdown from 5 to 8 p.m. Amuse Restaurant, 821 Café, Alamo BBQ, Blue Goat, Bombolini Pasta, Citizen, Curbside, Everyday Gourmet, Fresca on Addison, Garnish Catering, Goatocado, Hometeam Grill, Joe’s Inn, Kitchen 64, Kitchenette, Libbie Market, Maple & Pine, Mean Bird, Mosaic Restaurant, Mosaic Catering, Postbellum, Savvy and Well, Sidewalk Cafe, The Mill on MacArthur, and Union Market will all be whipping up chili, which you can taste your way through for $25 ($20 for members). Ticket proceeds will help purchase a new kiln for the organization, which offers community art classes. Also, I'll be there judging, so come say hi and eat with or throw some chili at me or something. (VisArts)
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY, O'TOOLE'S! "RVA's oldest pub" turns 50 this weekend, and to celebrate, the Forest Hill restaurant is offering live music all day and night tomorrow, plus food priced as it was when the restaurant first opened. Can't argue with that. Fun starts at noon. (O'Toole's Restaurant & Pub)
- Hurricane Matthew cannot stop the beer from flowing. The Veil Brewing Co. rescheduled its oyster roast and the release of Unloved, its new imperial oyster stout, so be sure to stop by on Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. for this chocolatey new brew, along with Northern Neck Oyster & Seafood Co. goods including grilled oysters; hush puppies; oysters on the half-shell; and baked oysters with Swiss chard, goat cheese, shallots, Vidalia onions and garlic. (The Veil Brewing Co.)
And now for a few (inter)national links:
- WHAT'S THE PASSWORD? If you've ever stopped by Shockoe Bottom's Grandstaff & Stein, or any other speakeasy-inspired bar, it's possible you were asked for a password, and depending on your social-media savvy, it's also possible you drew a blank. Here's a peek at how a few choice bars around America come up with their passwords, why they need them, and where you can often find them. (Bon Appétit)
- This week, a bit of investigative journalism shook up the food world vis-à-vis make-at-home meal services. This report on the health violations, bomb threats, workplace hazards and violence is well worth your time and consideration. (Buzzfeed)
Till next time, I will take my make-at-home steak without the side of aggravated assault, thank you.