Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Fat Canary in Williamsburg

I already posted about spending the day in Williamsburg right before Christmas. On that day we capped it off by dining at The Fat Canary located in Merchants Square. By far, the best restaurant in Williamsburg. We ate there last year and were wowed. We were not disappointed this year. And it got even better.

The Fat Canary is connected and owned by the same family that owns and runs The Cheese Shop. In the basement of the building is the wine shop. On this day as we perused the wine offerings, we chatted with the salesperson and mentioned that we would be eating at restaurant that evening. She proceeded to let us know that we could choose any wine in the shop and have it served upstairs for a $10 corkage fee. Heaven to our ears.

We returned for dinner quite early despite our Open Table reservations due to the impending snow storm. We were please that they could accomodate us (I'm sure an early seating meant they could squeeze another table in later).

We splurged on the wine for dinner and selected a 2005 Harris Vineyard Merlot, Oakville, Napa Valley from Nickel and Nickel. It was decanted and we enjoyed it tremendously. Our waiter continued to fill our glasses without prompting. He was professional and efficient and took care of our needs without being chatty or over-friendly. We both appreciated his service.

For the food we began with Crispy Rappahannock Oysters with Roasted Chile Butter Sauce and House-made Mozzarella with Virginia Ham, Roasted Tomato, Fennel, Olives, and Fresh Pesto. The oysters reminded my husband of eating Virginia oysters when he was growing up, except these were much smaller in size. He also liked the batter.

The mozzarella and Virginia ham was a stellar pairing. Both flavors melted into one another superbly.

For the entree we both ordered Grilled Piedmontese Beef Tenderloin with Potato and Leek Gratin, Grilled Asparagus, and Tarragon Butter. The beef had a good charring on the outside and was medium rare and tender on the inside. And paired well with the wine. The tarragon butter was served in a little dish on the side, so I could have as much or as little as I wanted. I liked the butter with the charred bits of beef and left it off of the non-charred bites. The potato and leek gratin was not overly cheesy (a good thing) and turned out to be a great accompaiment to the beef. The grilled asparagus left a lot to be desired in both presentation and taste.

For dessert we shared little ice cream sandwich cookies - spearmint ice cream nestled between chocolate cookies.

While dining it had started to snow and we could see the beginnings of a winter wonderland.

Fat Canary on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cafe Caturra on Grove with Friends

We went out to dinner with S and R-2 Monday night. We were surprised that Northside Grille was closed. So were a number of others who were parking along the sidewalk. So, we piled into R-2's car and headed for Cafe Caturra on Grove. They had never been. The fire in the stone fireplace welcomed us on this snowy evening and acoustic music greeted our ears. The cafe features music on Mondays from 6:30-8:30 PM.

I admired all of the seasonal decorations.

We tasted a couple of reds to determine what would be good to imbibe and decided upon a Zinfandel. The Grove Ave. cafe continues to encourage patrons to try before you buy. It's a great policy.

The Club in a Spinach Wrap with Roasted Pepper and Goat Cheese Soup won over my hubby.

I was partial to the Chicken Club with fresh mozzarella and bacon.

We enjoyed engaging conversation and good food.

Cafe Caturra (Far West) on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Glorious Cheese Shop Sandwiches

Once a year I make an annual pilgrimage to Williamsburg either right before or right after Christmas. I briefly stop at the Prime Outlets and spend no more than an hour and a half (I am not a fashionista). I then motor around to see what has changed. This year La Tienda opened up a retail shop. I then head over to Merchants Square for lunch at The Cheese Shop.

Such heavenly sandwiches! My all time favorite is smoked turkey on wheat with extra house dressing. So yummy...

It deserves a close up. Did I mention how yummy this was??

And because the rest of the day I roam around Colonial Williamsburg, I also purchase a 1/2 bottle of 2003 Chateauneuf du Pape.

Such exquisite heaven.

Of course, they also carry cheese and other gourmet delicacies. Don't forget to check out the wine shop in the basement. They always have a red and a white open for sampling.

In the evening my hubby and I eat dinner in the 'burg before returning home.

Cheese Shop on Urbanspoon

A Night at Lulu's

Back in the beginning of December we finally made it down to the Bottom and had dinner at Lulu's. Loved the decor, especially the Trask paintings. We were lucky enough to arrive right before the masses walked in and were seated at an open booth immediately.

We ordered an inexpensive but tasty Cabernet.

And I could not resist trying an appetizer - Smoked Chicken Nachos on Crispy Wonton Chips, with avocado creme and chipotle aioli. Oh yes! I loved the smokiness of the chicken. The wontons stayed crispy. And what's not to like about avocado and chipotle? My mouth is watering all over again.

For entrees, I stepped out of my food box and had Pan Fried Cornmeal Crusted Carolina Trout stuffed with dirty rice, and tasso ham gravy. Gotta give a thumbs up on the trout head. The cornmeal crust tasted like the trout was wrapped in corn bread, which I really liked. But because of the presentation, the fish was served skin side up and I had to flip it over to avoid the skin. I also encountered a few bones, so I had to be extremely cautious in eating and chewing (part of the reason I do not like fish). My trepidation impeded my enjoyment. The rice seemed a bit bland.

My hubby could not resist ordering Steve’s Meat Loaf and Mashed Potatoes w/ vegetable du jour and mushroom demi-glace. He thought it was decent (but not like Mom's - of course not, it was Steve's!).

While our dishes did not wow us, the service was great and Lulu's sported a good wine list. We would be willing to go back again and try other dishes...and order more smoked chicken nachos!

Lulu's on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas at the Governor's Mansion

During Richmond's Grand Illumination we decided to wait in line to see the Governor's Mansion all decked out. We were very pleased to be able to take pictures of the rooms.

Ribs at Buz and Ned's

In December I had the opportunity to eat twice at Buz and Ned's and gobble up some ribs. Mmmm... smoked baby back pork ribs with an order of hush puppies and Buz and Ned's hard lemonade.

And so convenient after watching a movie at Movieland on Boulevard.

Buz and Ned's Real Barbeque on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Jason's Deli

As most of you know, I do not patronize chain restaurants most of the time, but last week my hubby and I were out holiday shopping and wanted something relatively fast for lunch. So, we went to Jason's Deli for a quick bite since they were in the neighborhood.

My spouse ordered:

MeataBalla Po’boy 6.59
meatballs, Jason’s own italian red sauce, provolone.

I ordered:

Pot Roast Melt 6.59
juicy pot roast, provolone and smoked
red pepper-cilantro aioli.

And you know what? Both were very good. The pot roast really did taste like slow cooked beef. There was so much meat stuffed into the sub roll that I took half of it home to have for lunch the next day. Jason's Deli does not use MSG and they have eliminated high fructose corn syrup from the menu items. Currently, they are letting patrons vote about eliminating sodas containing high fructose corn syrup and replacing them with sodas containing cane sugar.

If you must choose a chain, Jason's Deli is more than decent.

Another Wonderful Meal at Kuba Kuba

A couple of weeks ago when S was out of town R-2, my hubby, and I had dinner at Kuba Kuba. This place continues to be one of my favorite Richmond restaurants. I love the dive-like/pantry decor. And the food continues to be oh so yummy.

We enjoyed Red Beans and Rice

Black Bean Soup

a bottle of Can Blau from Spain

and Cuban pressed sandwiches. We finished up with Cafe con Leche with sweetened condensed milk. Always great for dessert.

Kuba Kuba on Urbanspoon