Food News: Stewing, grazing, taverning, and just eating in general

Pack on that winter weight, people. Pack it on.


The Brunswick Stew Festival returns this Saturday, November 7th, now with more stout! So much so that it’s now the “Stew and Stout Festival”! In the 16th year of this event, 14 stewmasters will arrive at the 17th Street Farmers Market in the wee hours of the morning to compete for honors in “Traditional Brunswick Stew” and “Most Original Stew,” and for FREE dollars, you can join in the judgement. Once you’ve picked out your personal favorites, you can buy pints of them to take home and squirrel away for the long winter ahead.

This year, the stewgods have added beer, stoutly beer, to the line-up with a rotating cast of over 16 craft breweries and special tappings every hour; so pace yourself, this is five solid hours of stewin’ and stoutin’.


Roam Grace Street between 4th and 7th, nibbling samples of signature dishes from area restaurants this Sunday, and no one will even stop you. That’s because Slow Food RVA will again close the street down from 12:00 to 5:00 PM for an afternoon of leisurely eating, celebrating good, clean, and fair food. Participating restaurants include Lucy’s, the brand-new Belle & James, and Rappahannock Restaurant, whose menu item description is, “Steamed Oysters with a Badass Surprise Topping from Chef Dylan Fultineer.” You got me, Rappahannock, I must know what this Badass Surprise Topping involves.


Sometimes a concept doesn’t pan out the way a business owner might expect. The restaurant industry can be a gamble that way. For Garland Taylor, the owner of The Urban Tavern, the time has come to turn the location at 10498 Ridgefield Parkway into something new. Taylor announced last week that Urban Tavern, which opened in July of 2014 with Tim Bereika leading the kitchen, would close immediately and open in the next month or two with a different focus. As for the Urban Tavern as we know it, Taylor suggests it may find a new even-more-urban home into the “heart of the food district.”


The Roosevelt will host a wine dinner this Sunday, November 8th with Michael Shaps Wineworks. The four-course menu is paired with Shaps’ award-winning Virginia wines, which were celebrated in Saveur just a few days ago. This menu sounds incredible, with a monkfish cassoulet and a salted caramel pot de crème and lots of warm, cozy fall flavors to pair with each of Shaps’ wines.

Ellwood Thompson’s will host Castlemonte Farm and Amour Wine Bistro on Wednesday, November 11th. Think of it less as a ticketed dinner (though it is certainly that) and more of a chance to pick the brain of two well-spoken farmers and food advocates, Bill and India Cox of Castlemonte Farm, while enjoying food from Amour Wine Bistro’s Paul Heitz and Rob Hamlin.

Cider Week approaches! Kick it off at this dinner at Harvest Grocery Supply with JM Stock and Potter’s Craft Cider on November 12th. Tickets are $50 per person and include a menu prepared by JM Stock owner Matthew Greene, paired with a flight of Potter’s Craft Cider.

Finish up your week by giving three cheers to the folks that work year-round to fix food access issues in Richmond at Tricycle Gardens’ 7th Annual Golden Trowel Awards, with food by The Roosevelt’s Lee Gregory, Ipanema’s Will Wienckowski, and Patrick Phelan of Longoven.


The Richmond Relay Foods is now in the booze-delivery business! Relay users can now order from a well-curated selection of affordable wine and beer, including Virginia breweries like Lickinghole Creek and Champion Brewing Company! Because who’s got time to go to the store and possibly stand in line for wine/beer?! Not you, that’s who.


Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog.

Francis Lamb’s article on Edna Lewis gets my vote for longread of the week.


Virginia Distillery opens to the public on November 14th, with their brand new malt whisky, plus food from Spiked Food Truck. According to their website, “Our flagship Virginia Highland Malt Whisky is port finished for nuanced character that boasts notes of rich dried fruit, toffee, and dark cocoa.” That sounds like both a cereal I would totally eat AND a whisky I would totally drink.


It’s persimmon time! The weird-tomato-looking fruit is at its peak right now, and keen eyes can find them in trees along Fan-area back alleys, which, as anyone who’s ever gone alley shopping knows, is totally fair game. These little buggers are a great source of vitamin A and fiber and they’re a welcome departure from pumpkin, though also an appropriate autumnal shade of orange. While sweet persimmon recipes persist, my money’s on this Bresaola-wrapped persimmons with arugula dish for an easy, crowd-pleasing side to bring to a holiday potluck.


IT’S VIRGINIA OYSTER MONTH!!! I could not possibly be more excited about a month.

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Stephanie Ganz

Stephanie Ganz thought there would be pizza.

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