Richmond isn't the first city you might think of for craft cocktails, but if you know where to look, you can find surprisingly great drinks served up in bars full of Southern charm. Now that I live here, I can think of no better place to find a great cocktail.
'Virginia' on Serious Eats
We went down to Virginia and were pleased to discover that 2013 was a great year for local cider from longstanding cider makers and fresh new ones.
The display case at Paradox Pastry is extremely inviting, with mini pies (buttermilk and lemon meringue when I was there), scones, muffins, and a serious looking Virginia Peanut Butter Mousse Torte. I wanted something relatively light to hold me over until brunch, so I went to the selection of (actually not small at all) cookies. The Pignoli Cookie ($2) was recommended to me—and I'm so very glad it was.
The biggest question on my mind before a recent trip to the Mt. Vernon distillery: "Did George Washington's wooden teeth add a little bit of extra aging to whatever whiskey he drank?" I quickly learned that the wooden teeth thing is a myth. One set of his false teeth was composed of a cow's tooth, one of Washington's own teeth, and hippopotamus ivory, making his mouth a Noah's Ark of dental wizardry.
The innards of the Porkstrami are pastrami-style pork, bacon, mustard aioli, and bacon-braised sauerkraut. With basically every ingredient a form of pork, besides the mustard, each bite is dripping with meaty, salty pork flavor.
Like all good burgers, Red Apron's Original doesn't waste effort or stomach space with superfluous flourishes. The burger is simple, familiar, and the better for it.
The Italian Store—Arlington's eminent Italian importer-grocer-pizzeria-deli—has a reputation for good food that takes the form of a half-hour wait in line. As we've reported before, the sandwiches are worth the time (or at least an advance phone call for pickup).
The sandwich features a generous portion of freshly sliced, house-roasted turkey that's nice and moist. Granny Smith apples add crunchiness, their sweetness combining with that of the fig jam to be a good counterbalance to the Tallegio cheese. The cheese melts slightly on the fresh-baked, warm baguette, which is slathered with garlic aioli spread for extra zing.
Known as Eden Center, this suburban strip mall has been growing into the East Coast capital of Vietnamese immigrant culture for almost 40 years. Here are the 10 must-eats: broken rice, bun cha, and more!
If you did a double take, too, then we're probably on the same page. And yes, you heard me correctly. Virginia Beach's All Around Pizza and Deli is offering a generous 15% discount to anyone who brings in their concealed handgun permit or just, you know, whips out any old concealed weapon.
Epic Smokehouse is an Apple store-esque man cave. Since opening in early October, owners Joon Yang and Wayne Halleran are hoping to "take the backyard BBQ to the next level." Check out photos of the dishes, including pancetta macaroni and cheese, Pig Rolls, and the single largest piece of bacon I've ever seen.
This week's Virginia Cider Week is the first time the community has come together to officially claim their presence in the emerging American cider scene. Check out our slideshow to see all that the South's most predominant cider region has to offer.
According to local legend, that restaurant where Hank Williams could have eaten his last meal, had he not declined it, was the Burger Bar. Now, there has been a fair amount of kick-back against the legend. Carr himself has said that he may have misremembered his meal and may not, in fact, have stopped in Bristol. One report that I found online claimed that the Burger Bar did not even exist in 1952, when Hank died (that is not true—it's been in Bristol since 1942). I ceased all research when I heard the conviction of the line cook at the Burger Bar. "Of course it happened," he said. No need to pry too much into a good story.
Earlier this month, Smashburger brought its signature clobbered burgers to the Washington, D.C. area with a location in Fairfax, Virginia, along with a special regional burger, The Capital Burger.
A little ways down Lee Highway, away from the more high-profile Arlington hot spots—like Michael Landrum's expanding stable of "Ray's" restaurants—is The Italian Store. It's a smallish Italian grocery and deli where, if you're willing to brave the often 30+ minute waits during peak hours and cadre of well-meaning but inattentive young men behind the sandwich counter, you'll be rewarded with one of the best Italian subs in the D.C. area.
There's no shortage of worthy food-related projects waiting to be funded on Kickstarter, but I'd like to give a shout-out to the good folks at Foster Harris House in Washington Virginia, just down the road from the Inn at Little Washington. Chef-owner John MacPherson is a really good cook who's committed to sustainable agriculture in an inclusive way. He's trying to raise money for a PBS food show, In Season. Read more about the Kickstarter project here.
My last trip to Roanoke, on official hot dog business, was for the famous Roanoke Weiner Stand, which was delicious. But I had no idea it was only a few blocks away from one of the coolest looking "Texas" themed hot dog joints in the country. Texas Tavern, also known as Roanoke's Millionaires Club , has been around since 1930.
This episode of Perennial Plate is about the very compassionate Anne Shroeder of Star Gazing Farm in Maryland. She started the farm with just one sheep and two goats, but has turned it into a sanctuary. In this video she introduces us to her animals. "She's on a diet but doesn't seem to be losing any weight," (in reference to her pig).