Longoven accolades; Wednesday brunch; Sunday supper; and sweet, sweet barbecue
THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT
Easily the best #RVAdine news of the week is Longoven's recognition as one of America's 50 Best New Restaurants by Bon Appétit. I'm very proud to say that I've never missed a Longoven dinner (though I had to skip their Valentine's Day dine around because it's our annual Fond of You Fondue night at Chez Ganz), and here's why: These three chefs, Patrick and Megan Phelan and Andrew Manning, are incredibly talented and dedicated to their craft. Their food is innovative and unique and inspired, and I wouldn't want to miss a single plate.
If you're a chef or food writer in Richmond who hasn't made it to one of the Longoven dinners yet, um, what the hell are you waiting for? You should be, at the very least, curious to see what this trio is doing on a monthly basis at Sub Rosa. I assure you that you will leave inspired and, in all likelihood, elated.
Also, Megan once made me a surprise birthday cake at a Longoven dinner, and I will never ever ever forget how awesome that felt (and tasted. I did not share.). It's Top 10 Life Moments material.
If there are still tickets available to this Sunday's dinner, well, that's crazy; but I'll see you there maybe??
BRUNCH IT UP
The only thing I love more than Sunday brunch is weekday brunch. Little else can make me feel as extravagant as sipping on a Bloody Mary and eating weekend foods during a regular old work day. Live my dreams tomorrow (Wednesday, Aug 3) at Comfort, where Jason Alley will prepare a sneak peek of their upcoming brunch offerings for one special lunch service. Their brunch kicks off this Sunday, August 7th, so if you miss it Wednesday, dry your tears, you've got time.
SUP SUNDAY SUP
Sadly, Nota Bene bid farewell to their Sunday brunch this past weekend. It was easily one of my favorites in the city. But the NB crew has good news for us: Starting this Sunday, they'll offer a special Sunday Supper menu every week from 5:00 to 9:00 pm. This change, inspired by owner Victoria Deroche's recent time with her family in Italy, will be a family-style gathering at its finest. And this particular menu is The Doetzer Show--Chef Randy Doetzer will cook his own unique menu from the open kitchen, departing from the regular weekday menu and letting inspiration take him where it may.
A ROLLING STONE
Richmond is home to some pretty stellar barbecue--Alamo, Carter's Pigpen, Ronnie's, and of course ZZQ come to mind--but it's also home to actual Barbecue royalty. Pitmaster Tuffy Stone is the winningest fellow on the competitive barbecue circuit right now, and trust me, that's one competitive circuit, and he lives and works HERE! Among us! His barbecue chain, Q Barbeque, is a family favorite.
Next week, Stone will take his show on the road to the James Beard House, where he'll prepare a "Sizzling Summer Barbecue" to a sold out audience. Just feast your eyes on this menu, wherein Stone will prepare not just his own signature award-winning dishes, but also where he'll share some great Virginia-grown foods, like Free Union Grass Farm chicken, Manakintowne greens, and Barboursville wine.
FREEZE THE SAINTS
I have to admit, I don't read food reviews. Crazy, right? They're just not my cup of tea, so to speak. It takes a lot to get me to care that much about someone else's opinions when I have my own hardened opinions demanding my constant attention. If I'm really curious about a place I've never tried, I might ask a friend; but usually I'll just jump in and figure it out for myself.
It wasn't until my dear friend started writing the reviews for the RTD that I bothered to give them a second thought. I read them because I adored her voice and the calm, smooth way she could break down a dish to its essential ingredients and then build them back up as a fluid, evocative paragraph that inspired actual hunger in the pit of my belly.
But the thing is, my buddy, my revered, beloved confidant and regular dining pal didn't write all of the words in all of her reviews. Turns out her idol, Jonathan Gold, was responsible for some of them. And that's not good for anyone.
So, Richmond-Times Dispatch, followed quickly by Style Weekly and, after diligent vetting, Richmond Magazine, removed all of her reviews from their sites. And that's a damn shame because Elliott Shaffner IS a good writer, and equally as important (to me, at least), she's a great person. She's kind (so kind!) and generous and funny and genuinely talented, and watching her name get trashed over the last few days has been a real exercise in don't-read-the-comments, or better yet, just-don't-read-for-a-while. Because people are angry, and they have some right to be; but they're also vicious as Cerberus denied his kibble, and I'm looking forward to this particular news cycle being over by the time I get back from vacation.
IF YOU DO NOTHING ELSE...
The Midtown State Fair, a kick-off event for Fire, Flour & Fork is THIS SUNDAY from 11:00-4:00 at the unexpectedly gorgeous lake at Libbie Mill-Midtown (former home of Southern Season and current home of Shagbark). I know I've mentioned this one before, but I'd be remiss to let you sleep on this family-fun-filled day. Plus, you can snag discounted tickets to the Speaker Track at Fire, Flour & Fork, which includes presentations by Pizzeria Bianco's Chris Bianco and Koreatown author Matt Robard, among many awesome others!
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
If you require only the chillest of vibes, mark your calendar for September 14th (It sounds so far away, but alas, it's not really.) when Campfire & Co's workshop series Good Vibes Only returns with Apothecary 101, featuring Maven Made. This good-smelling workshop will explore the very potent power of essential oils. Sign on up!
SIP: HARDYWOOD'S WATERMELON GOSE
Actual summer in beer form. This is a traditional German-style goze, that according to Hardywood, has been brewed with coriander and salt. And IDK about coriander (sounds delicious), but I do know that watermelon and salt are best best buddies. My mom and my daughter both swear by "saltermelon," obtuse chunks of watermelon liberally sprinkled with flakes of the good salt, and I can't say that I blame them.
BITE: ICE CREAM SANDWICHES
IT'S NATIONAL ICE CREAM SANDWICH DAY!!! GO FORTH AND CHRONICLE YOUR JOY!
You already know my love for Nightingale IC sandwiches, but it's just come to my attention that a company called Scuffletown Creamery has joined the party with oatmeal cream pie, chocolate-covered strawberry, and nutella macaron flavors available at the Chesterfield and St. Stephen's farmers markets. Feeling DIY-ier?YOU GOT THIS.
I don't say this lightly: I am obsessed with these chickens. The yellow fat on these birds is succulent and addictive. I've got a chicken-a-week habit, and my yardbird usually finds itself spatchcocked and slathered in sumac and lemon, the leftovers turning into tacos or chicken salad, should they exist.
Free Union also raises pork and beef, and they're great too, but THAT CHICKEN, MY GOD, THAT CHICKEN!