Tuesday, August 31, 2010

VMFA, Amuse, ArtWorks, and Cafe Rustica

Last Friday was busy. We visited the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to wander and have cocktails at Amuse.

Friday around 5 PM turned out to be an excellent time to check out the sculpture garden.

Folks had not quite arrived for the evening, so we thrilled to the fact that the wide white airy expanse was bare.

Two barstools awaited our arrival at Amuse. Tommy fixed a Blackhound for me (vodka, muddled blackberries, elderberry and thyme syrup, and grapfruit juice).

For hubby - a Richmond Summer (rum, vanilla bean syrup, mint, orange, and club soda).

With drinks tossed off, we headed for the 20th century section and enjoyed some of the more colorful details of the collection.

And then, off to ArtWorks for the August All Media show benefitting the Richmond SPCA (a photo of my darling kitty had also made the art show cut and is proudly displayed along with the other wonderful pet-related art). While at the show we hopped next door to Russell Projects. I was most impressed with the paintings of Susan Jamison - bright, eclectic, thoughtful, provocative.

We then headed back across the James to eat at Cafe Rustica. A 2007 Perrin and Fils Gigondas called to us and we answered "Here!" Bright cherry at first taste. As the bottle received air, it became more hearty with a deeper fruitiness.

The Tuscan bean soup was delicious.

The German pot roast with roasted bacon potatoes turned out to be most excellent comfort food as well as the Jaegerschnitzel with red cabbage.

We believe that Cafe Rustica is the only place in Richmond serving German cuisine. We are glad of it.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Farmers Market Photos from 8/21 South of the James

This week's SOJ Market continued to bring forth lots of good eats.

For more photos of the local farmers markets or to post photos, go here.

La Chaumiere

Today - it's cloudy and muggy. I'm doing laundry. My cat threw up on the tablecloth in my dining room - more laundry to do.

Since today is not so great, I'll reminisce about dinner last Friday at La Chaumiere in Georgetown.

A classic French restaurant with a rustic charm. We are suckers for these type of places, especially my husband. While we saw a few other tempting boites, we could look no further once we perused the menu.

The interior, bedecked with half-timbered walls, ancient jars of preserved fruits, crisp white tablecloths, and wooden farmhouse chairs, made us feel cozy and comfortable. We were casually dressed and no one batted an eyelash.

The wine list contained many tempting French reds, but in the end we ordered a 2007  Owen Roe Ex Umbris Syrah from Washington State. Lovely.

As an appetizer I ordered one of the specials - smoked trout with radishes, capers, and seaweed salad. I did not think the trout and the seaweed salad paired well, but individually, they were phenomenal.

Hubby tried the baked, stuffed oysters. An unusual choice for him - he generally only eats the fried variety, He liked them very much.

For the main course, I had to order the duck breast with black current sauce accompanied by wild rice and veggies. This duck had a huge breast - all good. The sauce was the right balance of fruit and pan juices. I also liked the addition of the wild rice. A bit of a nutty side dish that paired well with the meat and sauce.

My spouse had the medallions of beef with a red wine sauce. The dish came with three medallions, progressing from almost medium well to medium rare  (a bit inconsistent, but because the beef was good, it was acceptable) and very tasty mashed potatoes.

The apps and entrees were so big that I could not contemplate dessert, which was a shame since chocolate souffle was listed (maybe next time). Hubby did have room for an after dinner coffee with creme de coconut.

Our service was attentive, yet unobtrusive, and the food delicious.

La Chaumiere on Urbanspoon

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Farewell Smokey Pig

The Smokey Pig in Ashland serves up BBQ for the last time on August 29. I will miss the NC style minced smokey goodness and the hushpuppies.

That'll do pig.

Watermelon Festival Pics - A Few Weeks Late

We always manage to go to the Watermelon Festival in Carytown, but we never seem to have a good time. It's way too hot and way too crowded. And I really feel for the dogs who pant incessantly and have to walk the hot black pavement. Our strategy is to arrive early, walk down one side and up the other and then get the hell home. I managed to snap a few photos, but there was little inspiration this year.

The bright spots were seeing Vanessa of Sweet Cheeks and the dark and cool Byrd Theatre where a band was setting up and donations were being collected.

Out with the Old and In with the New

Don't Big Box Carytown  Ben and Jerry's couldn't do it.

Cafe Rustica

We went back to Cafe Rustica a couple of weeks ago. It had been quite a while. Mainly because we were afraid it would be packed. But on this evening we had dinner early. And even though we had the chance to sit at a booth, we still opted for the bar.

We started with a lovely Cab Franc from Chinon.

From past visits I remembered some killer desserts. So, in hopes of a still-delicious dessert menu, I had a pork tostada appetizer.

The pork had been cooked to pull-apart tenderness. Fresh salsa-style veggies topped the pork along with  Mexican crema. Great flavor. And very filling.

Hubby ordered the seafood cakes with crab, shrimp, and scallop and served with roasted potatoes. He thought the sauce overpowered the seafood, but the cakes themselves were tasty.

Dessert, for me, did not disappoint - grilled pound cake with lemon curd, whipped cream, and fresh berries. So, so good.

Hubby had the chocolate tart with a walnut crust. He loved the chocolate, but did not like the crust. Being more of a chocolate purist, he said the walnuts distracted from the chocolate.

A home run for me in the eats department, not so much for my spouse. He is still willing to go back, he just made some poor choices for his palate this time around.

Cafe Rustica on Urbanspoon