Food News: Rapping with positive vibes, special sups, and total tomato overload

This week’s trend is for local culinary geniuses to offer you a chance to sit at a table and let them serve you giant, lovingly prepared dinners. These guys and gals, you know? Just doin’ it for the community.


In late-last-week’s bivalve news, Rappahannock Restaurant owners Ryan and Travis Croxton will expand to the property next door in order to create Rapp Sessions, an oyster-and-cocktail-bar-seafood-market, set to open mid-September. Let us all ready our bibs and rejoice!

Food Republic got in on the always enjoyable passtime of praising the Croxtons this week with the story of how Ryan and Travis took the dive into the family business after planning to do just the opposite. Thank the lord for “accidental restaurateurs.”


Max’s Positive Vibe Café may have been closed since June, but the team, including Executive Director and General Manager Garth Larcen, hasn’t been on vacation. Larcen’s been working with former Country Club of Virginia chef Gary Whitecotton to retool the restaurant/training program’s menu to focus on basic, simple dishes using locally-sourced ingredients.

You can taste the difference for yourself at the Vibe’s grand re-opening celebration on Friday, August 7th, and when you do, you’ll be contributing to a program that, according to Richmond Magazine, will have given practical culinary skills to somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000 students with disabilities by the end of 2015.


If you missed the first two Belle & James pop-ups this month, you have but one chance to get in on the action; and it’s coming up on Monday, July 27th at Curry Craft. Curry Craft chef Mel Oza and Belle & James chef Michael Crowley will prepare three courses representing a blend of French and Indian culinary styles. The $45 tickets include three courses, with three options for each course. If my mathematics skills hold up, that means you should probably take at least two of your best buds and work your way through every single dish. Booze options also come in threes–a signature pin from Lickinghole Creek with flavors of cardamom, cinnamon, local honeycomb, ginger, and coconut; wine pairings from Amour’s Paul Heitz; and a selection of Indian-and-French-inspired cocktails.


Little House Green Grocery invites you to sup at their table from 7:30 to 9:30 PM on Sunday, August 2nd. The Good Eats Company chef Michele Humlan will prepare five courses using ingredients from local farms, including Pine Fork Farm, Polyface Farm, and Old Church Creamery. Hop & Wine has selected wine pairings for each course. The meal, including wine pairings, is $50 per person, which is a crazy value that should sell out soon if it hasn’t already!


Club Saison may be the best of all clubs, and to prove this point further, Saison will host a Summer Wine Down with wines from the western side of the Mediterranean, selected by Mel Sisathong of Williams Corner Wine and Saison’s own Virginia Samsel. According to a press release, the wine list includes:

  • Castell d’Age, Anne Marie, a beautiful Cava with a native tongue
  • Pretty young Sicilians, Cala Cala and Tami, Nero d’avola
  • The lovely Leccia Rosé and red duo from Corsica
  • Jordi Llorens funky, fresh Blanc 5-7
  • From Sardinia, Panevino’s always charismatic, Cannonau, Su Chi No’Nao

Saison chef Adam Hall will pair his bites to these sips with dishes including this dual-plated seafood number for the second course: “Sea Scallop, Hen of the Woods, Oxtail Demi / Salt Cured Sea Scallop, Shiso, Sherry.” Get your all-inclusive $75 tickets while the gettin’s good.


Not since Gallagher’s 1984 hit Melon Crazy have so many watermelons seen so much carnage! Sunday, August 9th is the 32nd annual Carytown Watermelon Festival, and an estimated 3,000 watermelons will quench the insatiable 115,000 Carytown watermelon-fiends. Based on my experience living on Ellwood Avenue for several years, I recommend securing your parking space….now.


Bid a fond, daiquiri-filled farewell to your inhibitions with the crew at Rogue Gentlemen as they get ready to enjoy a well-deserved week of R&R. Chef Johnny and his band of merry pig-roasters and rum-slingers will be partying from 1:00 to 6:00 PM on Sunday, August 9th before they take a week of vacation. Their friends at Saison as well as D.C. restaurants the Royal and Smoke & Barrel will be on hand to help all of us celebrate properly. There will be pigs; there will be drinks; there will be hashtags. (#hellafancy, #freecuba, #porkinducedcoma–I made the last one up!) Your $25 ticket gets you all the roast pork, Parker House rolls, and sides you can handle. Drinks start at $7.


Metzger Bar & Butchery and Sub Rosa Bakery will team up for a one-night-only, Sicilian-inspired dinner at Sub Rosa on Monday, August 24th. Brittanny Anderson and Evrim Dogu will prepare five wood-fired, family-style courses, including pasta con ricci de mare and slow-roasted whole baby goat, each paired with a Sicilian wine and enjoyed in the leisurely style befitting a hazy Sicilian summer night. There will be only one seating, and there are only 20 seats; so if you want tickets ($65), stop whatever you’re doing (unless it’s operating a motor vehicle!) and call 804.325.3147. Just blurt out “Sicilian feast!” and someone should be able to help you.


How I went from being a Backstreet Boy impersonator to a sustainable seafood chef, via Munchies.

Are hospital farms the next big thing in healthcare reform?, via Civil Eats.


I like my gin like I like my men–strong, smooth, and highly combustible. Luckily for me, James River Distillery has released a 114-proof gin that meets all of my needs, with hints of citrus, ginger, and coriander. It’s the gin of my dreams, and if I happen to buy it at select Virginia ABC stores, it even comes with a nifty hat.


Tomatoes are at the peak of their season, and farmers market tables overflow with a rainbow of assorted heirlooms. Whether you’re a white-bread-Duke’s-tomato sandwich kind or person or a tomato-cucumber-onion salad kind of person, now’s your season. Garden & Gun magazine has rounded up five cool tomato recipes for hot summer days. Don’t miss Nick Detrich’s Bloody Jerk, a Caribbean take on the classic brunch bevy that uses good ol’ rum where plain ol’ vodka used to be and then gets very irie with fresh ginger, Thai chiles, and allspice.


I’m going to be honest with you: Elliott Shaffner is my buddy, and I think she’s totally awesome. But even an objective viewer would drool over her ‘grams and now, so shall you too drool.

This kept three people sustained on what turned out to be a ten hour drive.

A photo posted by Elliott (@fforfood) on

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Stephanie Ganz

Stephanie Ganz thought there would be pizza.

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