Thursday, June 10, 2010

weekend review: gourmands dream

This weekend I ate. I think that's actually all I did. Tuesday I picked up my CSA and just eat vegetables for the rest of the week. Until this weekend's Italian Fest. I think I may be in love with Richmond.

I started off Friday evening early with the Olio Wine Dinner. It was even better than the first one I attended. This month the wine was selected by Jason, the owner of Olio, and the pours were nearly full glasses. Broadbent Vinho Verde, a wine I have enjoyed in the past, was featured and comes from, it turns out, a Richmond importer so that's neat (even if it's not actually grown and produced locally.) The food was excellent, my only complaint was the cheese on top of the gazpacho. Somehow it just felt like the wrong texture, I wanted something more creamy/ crumbly but I'm not a big cheese fan so not really the one to judge. The 'grown up' mac and cheese with crab and truffles was heavenly (and luckily being added to the regular rotation!)

After that I headed to First Fridays, where I didn't actually make it inside any galleries, but did see some sweet bellydancing and fire-breathing.

Saturday I headed to Greek Fest. Richmond's Greek Festival is legit enough to own the rights to and is in it's 34th year. Sure, it was hot and crowded but a bottle of decent (and authentically Greek) wine was $15 and you could carry it around. Long lines were made short by a bottle of wine and friendly line companions.

My friend and I split all the basics- pork souvlaki, rice pilaf, dolmades, pastichio (my new favorite), and spanakopita. We also bought a to-go pack of assorted pastries and one just of baklava. There wasn't much reason to stick around so after eating we took our pastries to enjoy someplace air conditioned.

Sunday was full of even more eating. I headed with a group to Broad Appetit in 90 some degree heat. The basics of Broad Appetit- restaurants from around town set up booths and offer typically one sweet and one savory dish. Each sample-size dish is $3 or a combined plate is $5.

I definitely ate less because of the heat but got around to a number of vendors. I started off with the pork belly from Six Burner. I love pork belly and with a side of asian slaw, this did not disappoint. It definitely piqued my interest, so I may have to try Six Burner soon. I followed it up with Olio round two, mostly to make all my friends try it. It definitely wasn't as amazing as Friday night (some in the Twitter-verse called it too oily), but outside on a 90 degree day is no way to enjoy creamy, cheesy dishes. I'm glad it'll be on the regular menu there soon. Acacia was serving a soft shell crab that I didn't try, though my friend Brandon raved about it and he has some high standards for seafood.

[Acacia's softshell slider]

Other favorites included Comfort's fried green tomatoes, which were slightly overly salty but solid. Stronghill had a sausage with brie and maple-bacon ice cream over pancakes. The breakfast-y theme wasn't overly cutesy and I loved the sausage. The ice cream was also good, my first taste of the bacon-dessert trend and they did it well. (Though quick shout out to Bricktop's in Charlotte for their sugared bacon that came with Daddy's deviled eggs. Yum!) Stronghill's ice cream was not overpoweringly bacon-y, just a hint of salt and smoke. Definitely want to have a meal or two at Stronghill now.

[Mezzanine's lamb pop]

My favorite of the day was Mezzanine's lamb with watermelon salad. The lamb was excellently prepared, which is difficult when churning out hundreds of pieces of meat outside and the pairing was well done. Also one of the best values of the day for $3, though bargains abounded.

It's amazing I still wanted dinner but I had managed to work up an appetite by 7pm when an old friend came through town on his way home to Charlotte from New York. Since he had just made it past the 'sweet tea line' we decided to go get barbecue. He ordered the pulled pork sandwich (I think, unless it was chicken) and I had a half-rack of ribs. A small plate comes with two sides and I opted for potato salad and coleslaw. I've gotten into slaw lately and this did not disappoint, but the potato salad was amazing! Creamy and tangy, it had huge chunks of potato. I love potato salad and had to keep myself from ordering extra to take home. The ribs were great and I still have a quarter rack in my fridge.

And now I'm posting this on Thursday because I've been a food coma since Sunday night!

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