Food News: Ins, outs, ups, downs, brews, chews, and tiny TV winners

The new Chopped Jr. star, the new Urban Farmhouse star, and the new vegan chicken star!


Claire Hollingsworth may be just ten years old, but now she’s $10,000 richer. This kid from Moseley, along with Emily Waters, an 11-year-old from Glen Allen (and two other kids from other places!), competed on Tuesday’s episode of Chopped Junior, a culinary competition for contestants between the ages of 9 and 15.

Hollingsworth, who was among the youngest group of contestants to appear on the show, impressed the judges–chefs Amanda Freitag and Jeff Mauro and actress Hayden Panettiere–with three dishes, eventually taking home the win with a bread pudding dessert that looked really impressive. Claire was clearly the star of the show, adding well-needed humor to a tense dynamic (no one wants to see a kid get chopped!) with quips like “When I see Ted Allen, I feel like I’ve known him for years!” and “Dude, what’s with the alcohol,” regarding a fellow contestant who uses booze in two dishes.

Claire dished with Richmond Magazine and RTD about the thrills of celebrity and her plans for the future, which include becoming a food chemist and having her own Food Network show. Watch out Ted Allen et. al!


There have been a lot of ins and outs this week. A lot of what-have-you’s. Urban Farmhouse on Semmes and Duck Donuts in Short Pump are IN. Unfortunately, both Torero Tapas and Grill and Cielito Lindo are out. Cielito Lindo isn’t all the way out, however. The storied southside spot plans to reopen in the Spring, possibly with a whole new concept; but owner Betsy Roman is quiet on the details. We’ll all just have to wait and see.

But, in late-breaking open-for-business news, the ins have it! The Japanese-inspired fast-casual Hibachi Box opened yesterday at 411 N. Harrison Street, ‘neath Edo’s, and Boulevard Burger & Brew opens, like, RIGHT NOW. Let Richmond Magazine’s peek at BB&B get you in some kinda way.


Did you nab tickets to the now sold-out Longoven dinner at Sub Rosa on January 17th? Try not to torture your less fortunate friends with the details of what will probably be another exceptional meal. As for the rest of you, you’ve gotta be quick on the draw if you want a seat at one of these dinners, as the last two have easily sold out well in advance. Best to follow Longoven on Facebook and Twitter to get the jump on things.

There are, luckily, still tickets available to Heritage’s second annual Ardent Craft Beer Dinner, which features the culinary stylings of Joe Sparatta, Adam Hall, Ian Boden, Craig Perkinson, and Mike Hill. That’s an impressive line-up, but there’s another impressive line-up: THE BEERS. They include Ardent’s Rye Kolsch, Earl Grey Brown Ale, Rum Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, Barrel-Aged Honey Ginger, and Sweet Potato and Sage Saison. Plus, I hear tell of a surprise beer making an appearance, and if there’s one thing I like more than beer, it’s surprise beer! Call 804.353.4060 for reservations.


According to RTD, Scott’s Addition is getting a Gelati Celesti, so now I’m looking at office spaces in Scott’s Addition! This will be Gelati Celesti’s fourth location. Their most recent of which is at The Corner at Short Pump across from Short Pump Town Center and Stony Point Shopping Center on Huguenot Road. It opened in December of 2014.

#RVA #PSA: Stroops is now available via Quickness RVA, because you’re a fancy person, and you deserve someone on a bicycle delivering you artisanal hotdogs and apple chamomile sodas, dammit!


This is the most charming illustrated history of bagels I’ve seen all day.

If you can get through this Popsugar list of the best new grocery store snacks of 2015 without reaching for a bag of something crunchy, salty, and possibly covered in cheese powder, I envy you.

How can we even trust Chipotle anymore!? (…We ask ourselves as we order another giant steak burrito.)


I love almost anything that makes claims to Earl Grey flavors–cakes, macarons, even yes, the tea itself. That floral, citrusy bergamot gets me every time. So, imagine my joy when I learned that Ardent Craft Ales is releasing an Earl Grey Brown Ale on my birthday weekend! It’s like they KNOW ME. Raise a glass to my ability to continue the aging process at its release on Saturday, January 16th. Mean Bird will be there with the fried chicken and sides that such a beverage requires.


Sure, I could go on and on about Mean Bird’s perfectly crisp, impossibly tender fried chicken; and I could rave about their selection of house-made dippies, including a very satisfying ranch, a zippy chimichurri, and a vegan buffalo sauce that their fried tenders just beg to be slathered in.

I could. But I’m most impressed by the vegan bird. Not since Jen Mindell’s Rooster Sandwich has a vegan thing so captured my heart. This vegan bird isn’t made from the usual chemically junk that fake meat often relies on. It’s grains! It’s vegetables! It kind of tastes like Thanksgiving stuffing that’s been lovingly battered in coconut milk and then deep fried; and when you open a big paper box of it and breathe in those faux fried chicken fumes, it seems like you’ve stumbled onto something special. And you have.

If you want to make this special thing a more regular reality, consider throwing Mean Bird some love (ok, money) on Kickstarter.


The steez behind the cheese.

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Stephanie Ganz

Stephanie Ganz thought there would be pizza.

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