Food News: Being savvy, the Quirk Hotel, and letting go of tradition

It has to happen once in awhile.

Newer, Grander, Martier

A Northern-Virginia-based International Grocery Chain has opened its first of two Richmond-area locations in Chesterfield, according to WTVR. New Grand Mart now resides in the former Marshall’s space at 7415 Midlothian Turnpike. Inside, you’ll find a sensory overload of Southeast Asian, Latin American, and African ingredients and the most eerily affordable selection of fresh produce my eyes have ever feasted on. From jackfruit to bitter melon, the vegetable bins overflow with exotic selections and herbs, my god, the herbs! There’s also a Korean Food Court/Restaurant called “Noodles and Friends,” where you can make friends with all the noodles, but you’ll want to put your name down in advance because, as of opening weekend, the wait can be up to an hour and a half for said friendship.

From the Ashby Inn to the Quirk Hotel

The Quirk Hotel’s restaurant may not have a name yet, but it has a chef. Richmond Times-Dispatch reported this week that Ashby Inn and Restaurant chef David Dunlap will be commanding the kitchen attached to the hotel to be located at 201 W. Broad Street, slated to open in September 2015. Dunlap was previously executive sous chef at the Inn at Little Washington, where he probably had to wear those dalmatian chef pants because, well, they all do.

Yunnan Can Cook

Richmond Magazine has the goods on Lapple, a Chinese restaurant, operated by two former Peter Chang alums, that prides itself on authentic flavors from the southwestern Chinese provinces, as opposed to Chang’s fiery Szechuan specialties. Lapple is located at 48 W. Grace St. in the former Panda Garden location. The menu, which focuses on hot pots and curries, has a wide selection of vegan entrees to fill the meat-free void left by Panda Garden.

BONUS: FIVE FOOD THINGS

There are so many Things this weekend that there are actually five food-focused activities, each deserving of your consideration:

  1. Lebanese Food Festival: Our own Susan Howson watched the making of Lebanese delicacies, and you can gorge yourself on the results, all weekend long!
  2. Cookie Factory Pop-Up: At first, the Cookie Factory pop-up on Saturday–featuring art and jewelry from Ghostprint Gallery, Geraldine Duskin, and others–doesn’t seem to have much to do with food at all, except for “cookie” being misleadingly part of the name. BUT WAIT, what if I told you that ZZQ and all their brisket-y goodness would be there? Yeah, that’s what I thought. See you there.
  3. Eat Oysters, Drink Beer: Don’t mind if I do! Union Market will be serving up Anderson’s Neck oysters, while their taps are commandeered by Allagash Brewing Company from 4:00 – 11:00 PM on Saturday.
  4. Graze at Origins Farm: Some serious culinary talent will be gracing the pastoral landscape at Origins Farm this Sunday from 12:00 – 4:00 PM for Slow Food RVA’s Graze event. Dishes from Longoven, Metzger Bar & Butchery, Comfort, Shoryuken Ramen, and Sophisticated Soirees will focus on Slow Meat, using pork and lamb from Lockhart Family Farm and Origins’ peak-of-spring produce.
  5. Candy-Making Class: Channel your inner Willy Wonka with a class on the art of CANDY at Southern Season. Pastry chef Morgan Botwinick will take you through the ins and outs of soft caramels, peanut butter nougat, and marshmallows.

FROM ELSEWHERE

You know all about dim sum, sure, but what about Hello Kitty dim sum? Because it, apparently, exists..

UGHH. The future looks bleak for olives in Salento, Italy.

SIP OF THE WEEK: Ninja Kombucha

There’s coffee, there’s lemonade, there’s even cold-pressed juice; but now farmers-market-goers will have a new option to quench their thirst, thanks to Ninja Kombucha, a Richmond-based kombucha outfit, owned and operated by Brett Nobile. Their Hibiscus Mist flavor is beautifully floral and slightly fizzy with black tea, strawberry, and blueberry rounding out the sip. Find them at South of the James, Carytown, and William Byrd farmers markets.

BITE OF THE WEEK: Metzger Bar & Butchery’s Softshell Schnitzel

Softshell season is upon us, and the wee crunchers are popping up on menus all over town. Last night, Metzger Bar & Butchery debuted their Softshell Schnitzel, served with crispy duck fat potatoes, mustard aioli, chicory, and pickled ramps. The special will run through the weekend (or while supplies last), but get there early; the plate sold out in a mere two hours last night.

‘GRAM OF THE WEEK: @LONGOVENRVA

http://instagram.com/p/0GUtacne3a/

Chefs Patrick Phelan, Andrew Manning, and pastry chef Megan Fitzroy Phelan are the culinary trio known as Longoven. Until now, if you wanted to experience their food, you had to snag tickets to one of their highly sought after pop-ups. But this weekend, they’ll be among the chefs at the aforementioned Graze at Origins farm, and I recommend you get to know them before you go via their visually-stunning, drool-inducing Instagram.

image courtesy of 3North

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Stephanie Ganz

Stephanie Ganz thought there would be pizza.

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