Monday, March 8, 2010

weekend review

This weekend I was in Richmond all on my own since roomie was out of town. I was looking forward to kicking back as much as possible and for the beginning of the week that meant avoiding grocery shopping and cooking. I also wanted to get out and explore a little, even if it meant doing it by myself.

Wine Tasting
To kick off the weekend I stopped by two wine tastings that were Twitter recommended to me by RVA Foodie. I first stopped by Grape and Cheese in the Fan. Sadly, they weren't having a wine tasting this week but the owner did give me a taste of a bottle he had opened. I also found a red wine from my favorite label from the summer. I'd only had the white before so I bought it and am excited to taste it soon (before it gets too spring-like outside for me to ever want to drink red!) The owner seemed very knowledgeable and there were several other people browsing, but sadly the shelves seemed a little empty and dusty. I hope it isn't a sign that the shop is in trouble. I'll have to stop by next Friday as well.

Without my fill of free wine, I headed to River City Cellars. The shop was bustling. Sometimes I feel awkward asking for wine tastings when they are out but no one is really pouring. Here there were no feelings of awkwardness. Apparently the drill is you bring your own glass or else you are served in 'medicine cups' as the server called them, or small plastic condiment cups. This week's tasting was Austrian wines and we were given helpful sheets with information about each wine.

Moshi Moshi

After the wine tasting, I decided to get dinner at Moshi Moshi, a Carytown sushi restaurant. I had thought it would be a good place to eat alone since I could sit at the sushi bar, but it turns out they don't have a sushi bar so I sat at the normal bar. To start I wanted to get a cocktail. Despite being right in front of it, I failed to realize there was a full bar so I ordered one of their saketini specials listed on the menu. It was pear-melon which sounded amazing and I hoped for a clear mixture of vodka and sake. Instead, the addition of some kind of melon liquor turned the whole thing a bright green and I couldn't tell if it was the green liquor or the sake that gave the drink a strange taste. The bartender was teaching a fellow staff member how to make it, however, and she loved it so maybe it just wasn't to my taste.

As I was deciding on my rolls, I ordered a cucumber melon salad with cilantro. I love tart and vinegary, but sadly this salad was all tart and the melon pieces were diced cubes that didn't lend any juiciness to the salad. If they had been left off, it would have tasted the same. The cilantro didn't really come through either, so I was disappointed with the starter.

I also ordered a yellowfish roll and spicy tuna roll. The yellowfish roll was fine, but nothing special with perhaps too much rice. I should have ordered the yellowfish sashimi to enjoy the fish. The spicy tuna was much more delicious, with spicy tuna, avocado and cucumber.

It's hard to give a full review given that I ordered only two rolls and no speciality rolls. I like the vibe so I'd definitely come back here with a friend or two to give it a second try.

Total: $24ish + tip

Black Sheep
Saturday afternoon I slept late and at 1pm started to think about lunch. Lunch turned out to be the highlight of my weekend. I've been wanting to try The Black Sheep, which is near my house and I've heard is excellent.

The Black Sheep is known for it's huge sandwiches also known as 'Battleships' that are served on baguettes. I knew that was where I had to start. I ordered the CSS Virginia, substituting roasted chicken for the fried chicken livers (I just couldn't bring myself to order liver, sorry Daddy.) It came with shredded cabbage, green onions, granny smith apple & remoulade sauce. I ordered the half and still only managed to eat half of it.

I also ordered the Mason-Dixon which was half hard cider and half lager. It was tart but mellower than most hard cider and less sweet. Very good but I love cider so was sort of craving more of a punch. A few others were enjoying brunch drinks, but most folks were going for the Southern standby sweet tea (though several folks were getting their sugar rush from a Mexico-made sugar Coca-cola classic.)

Deciding to save half of my half-sandwich, I still had a little room for dessert. I ordered the banana pudding, described as lady fingers layered with a fluffy ripe banana & rum spiked pudding, nutmeg & sweet whipped cream. One bite and I was in love. The lady fingers made the dessert very light and the banana pudding is sweet but not cloying. I had made friends with table next to me and had to give them a bite as well. I think it convinced them to order dessert.

When I arrived at 2pm the small seating area was full, but I was seated within 5 minutes. The whole time I was there, folks kept arriving and there wasn't an empty table until 2:30. The hostess and two servers were super friendly and I loved the vibe the decor gave The Black Sheep. I'm already planning on bringing my Dad here because he loves good sandwiches and banana pudding. I'll also be back more afternoons on my own. I kept checking out the sides and other sandwiches other tables were eating, and I have to try the cauliflower, mac and cheese and the Miss "E".

Total: $18 + tip for sandwich, beer and dessert

Post lunch, I did some thrifting and will share the spoils later once they are re:purposed. I'd have to say though, even with my delicious meals and great finds, the best part of the weekend was the warm sunny weather!

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