Chefs in pasties, DIY dumplings, and dreamy pimento cheese fries

Secret Sandwich Society


In case you missed it, the 2017 Elby's nominees have been announced, and it is truly a list of the top players in the RVAdine community, with nods for the usual suspects--L'Opossum, Metzger Bar & Butchery, Heritage, and the Roosevelt; plus some love for newcomers like Nota Bene and Laura Lee's. We're especially fond of the local purveyors category, which includes Autumn Olive Farms, Dave & Dee's Mushrooms, Tomten Farm, and Victory Farms.

Make sure your pasties are in place; with a "Six-Tease" (burlesque) theme, this promises to be one very wild night.


Speaking of Elby's noms, you'll have a chance to hit up a half dozen of them at the Ardent Craft Ales dinner at Heritage on Monday, January 16th. Chef Joe Sparatta will host Brittanny Anderson, Lee Gregory, Jason Lucy and Adam Hall to serve up a five-course tasting menu, paired with beers from Ardent Craft Ales. Proceeds benefit Diversity Richmond.


Clear some time on January 15th and 16th for the Richmond Jewish Food Festival, now in its tenth year. We'll have more on the festival next week, but here's some of our coverage from years past to stew on: A Rookie's Guide to the Jewish Food Festival & The 2016 Richmond Jewish Food Festival Guide.


It's truly a good start to the year when we have not one but TWO good bits of dumpling news. First, International Dumpling Company will soon be available on Amazon Fresh. The Amazon service will offer IDC's Potato and cheddar pierogies, caramelized cabbage and mushroom pierogies, 6-cheese ravioli, and portabella and parm ravioli. Sounds to me like it's time to hunker down and eat some dumplings.

If you're more of the DIY dumpling type, there's news for you too: Sarah and Seo Choi have announced two Dumpling Party dates. And we all know there ain't no party like a dumpling party, cause a dumpling party gets STEAMY. The first dumpling-making soiree is on January 26th, for Chinese New Year; and the second is my idea of romance: a post-Valentine's date night on February 16th


Over the break, we learned that we'd be saying sayonara to Balliceaux and HOLA! to Flora, an upscale-casual Mexican restaurant which will continue to serve as a live music venue. And the team behind the dream is icing on the tres leches cake: Jason Alley, Michele Jones, and Jay Bayer will be leading the way.

And while we lost Olio as we knew it, we gained Branch & Vine, a rebranding from owners Matt Fraker and Jason Ferrell. There are flatbread pizzas. (And, I'm told, other things; but you know I'm in it for the PZA.)


Ian Merryman's pan-Asian-inspired Jackdaw pop-ups have a devout following. Merryman riffs on his inspirations in unexpected ways and never repeats a menu, much to the delight of fans. On Monday, February 6th, at Kabana, The Jackdaw will pop-up with a brand new concept: a traditional Kaiseki meal, paired with beverages. While Jackdaw events have been first-come-first-serve so far, this one is ticketed to allow the chefs to prepare this intricate feast appropriately, so grab your tickets while the grabbin's good. I'm calling this one as a sure sell-out. (And there's another more familiar Jackdaw pop-up on 1/16 at Millie's to tide you over until then.)


Weird and quite possibly wonderful, The Unicorn Latte, from The End in Brooklyn is packed with cold-pressed ginger, spirulina extract, maca root, and coconut mylk (and there are sprinkles because obviously). The End says on Instagram, "Let this plant magic fuel your ascension." It sounds so crazy it just might work.


Whereas the Unicorn Latte might be a little bit of a palate stretch, pimento cheese fries are the type of no-brainer comfort I crave on these 40-degree days. Crispy fries, seasoned with the mysteriously delicious Society Magic Powder, are gilded with a stand-up take on p-cheese in a way that encourages a strict no-sharing policy. 


We've taken over the Instagram for our clients, Cavalier Produce, and we're delighted to help them share their story of helping chefs creating great meals all around Virginia. This week, we featured Chef Lee Hendrickson of Red Pump Kitchen on the blog and Instagram, and now we're planning a field trip to Ch'ville for a Chef's Table tasting at Red Pump posthaste!


Stephanie GanzComment