CAN you catch more flies with honey than vinegar? And who wants flies, anyway.
Yesterday, over 160 businesses exhibited to a bustling crowd of media, chefs, restaurateurs, and food buyers at the Virginia Department of Agriculture’s Food & Beverage Expo.
My business partner Barb and I walked the floor, and by walked the floor, I mean “started drinking tiny cups of Virginia-made spirits at 10:30 AM.” Turns out, we sort of did the track backwards, but it worked just fine that way!
We started the tour with high fives from King of Pops and Sausage Craft and ended the first (which was supposed to be the last) aisle sipping James River Distillery’s not-yet-released Øster Vit, an Old World style aquavit with a modern twist–steeping with Rappahannock River Oyster shells. (If you’re thinking this calls for an aquavit Bloody Mary with a raw oyster garnish, congrats, Samebrain; we’re onto something!)
After I had put back a few Rappahannock Oysters and sizzling samples of Milton Local’s new sausage bacon in aisle two, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore started announcing the winners of the Best New Product competition. Mother Shrub‘s drinking vinegars took the honor for Best New Product. Barb and I cheers-ed our tiny cups of cranberry shrub mixed with tonic water. Gearhart’s Fine Chocolates won Best Food Product because they were smart enough to put Virginia Malt Whisky in their truffles. Well played, guys. And remember when I mentioned Bloody Mary’s mere seconds ago? We tasted at least a half dozen mixers at this show, but it was the guys from Texas Beach who took the award for Best New Beverage. Cheers to them!
Pro-tip: If you’re as fan-girly about local food businesses as Barb and I are but didn’t make it to the expo, might I suggest The Fare Trade? According to RIchmond Magazine, this San Fransisco based company has teamed up with a few Richmond chefs (and national chefs, but focus, people!), starting with Jason Alley and later to include Metzger’s Brittanny Anderson and Dutch & Co/Stroops’ Caleb Shriver and Phillip Perrow. The chefs curate a box of their favorite ingredients, and the Fare Trade delivers it to your door each month. It’s like a little sneak peek into the pantry of our favorite chefs! Jason Alley’s pantry, for example, is stocked with Gearhart’s drinking chocolate and Texas Beach Bloody Mary Mix (among other things) because Alley knows a winner when he tastes one.
THIS TOO SHALL BRENNER PASS
How would you like to be feasting on a fondue-topped burger in a light, airy Scott’s Addition chalet come next winter? Well, scurry over to Richmond Magazine and get all the details on Brenner Pass, a 100-seat restaurant with an Alps-inspired menu from the team that brought us Metzger Bar & Butchery and Saison beverage director James Kohler.
OH NOODLE, MY NOODLE
Would you spend more time at My Noodle & Bar if you knew they had a sno-cone machine? I know that affects my decision-making process greatly, and I’m planning a return trip to My Noodle & Bar accordingly. Style Weekly reports that My Noodle has upped their game with a renovated interior and a revamped bar menu. Come for the ample parking on Sunday, and enjoy a French-Thai brunch from owner Joe Kiatsuranon and GM Madison Pere (beginning April 17th).
Boka Tako Truck’s Patrick Harris will make the former Belvidere on Broad space his new “muse,” as Antler & Fin, a “chef-driven, locally-sourced” restaurant that Harris plans to open in late summer, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
SIP: IRONCLAD COFFEE
This here is coffee with a heart of gold. According to a press release from the company, Ironclad will partner with UMFS Charterhouse School “for a new coffee cart to help those with intellectual and physical differences learn vital business skills.”
BITE: IDLE HANDS BAKERY’S TOMATO, PROVOLONE, AND BASIL PASTRY
It was, no joke, the best thing I ate all week, and I’ve eaten, like, a ton of stuff this week. Roma tomatoes, baked into a buttery and not-overly-flaky pastry shell with one perfect slab of provolone cheese and whole leaves of basil. I devoured it like a golem in my car, worried that someone would try to take it from me.
Happy 4th Anniversary, dudes!