Monday, September 26, 2016

Deliciousness at Shagbark

Let me just come right out and declare that we had a lovely meal at Shagbark. The decor, the staff (a few who used to work at our old Tastebuds stomping ground), the attention to local purveyors, the food all were spot on for our first visit.

The interior of Shagbark: An airy space with rustic touches. The communal table made from a shagbark hickory sports a centerpiece accented by wild game feathers.
We arrived at 5 PM for a cocktail on a Sunday. Since we had no reservations and this place has already garnered national attention we thought arriving early would be the best strategy. We were happy to be correct. After imbibing in a Shagbark Sour featuring Bowman Brothers bourbon and James River ostervit, we were escorted to a cozy table for two.

Cocktails at Shagbark
Our bartender carefully crafts our Shagbark Sours.
Many of you are probably asking about the name. When I mention the name to friend or acquaintance, immediately the reply is "Shag whaaat?!" The name comes from the Shagbarrk Hickory tree. The communal table at Shagbark is made from the bark of one of these trees.

Walter Bundy (owner and former executive chef at Lemaire) features a menu with plenty of both local and Southern charm that changes with the seasons; at times focusing on items from a micro-season. Some of the temptations include fried green tomatoes, country ham, onion bisque with crab, frogmore stew, and fresh figs.

Highlights of our dinner included pan roasted Carolina grouper with shrimp, corn, and tomatoes as well as chicken breast with fingerling potatoes and butter-milk dill dressing.

Pan Roasted Carolina Grouper
Pan roasted Carolina grouper: A meaty white fish with a delicious crispy edge and served with summer corn and succulent shrimp.
River Oak Chicken Breast with Fingerling Potatoes and Buttermilk-Dill Dressing
The chicken came from River Oak Farm . This breast was the best I've ever eaten outside of my Mom's fried chicken. Both tender and moist. The buttermilk-dill dressing seemed an unusual accompaniment for the chicken, but it made for a delightful taste experience that not only enhanced the breast, but brought even more life to the roasted potatoes. Yumminess in abundance!

A delightful experience that hubby and I need to repeat as often as we can.

Shagbark Bouquet

Sunday, September 18, 2016

How to Fall in Love with Belle Isle Ruby Red Grapefruit Moonshine

So this is how I did it:

The Ruby Moon consists of Belle Isle Ruby Red Grapefruit Moonshine, Aperol, Lillet Rose, and white grapefruit juice. Refreshing, not wimpy.

Belle Isle Ruby Red Grapefruit Moonshine

Kolache RVA

While Kolache RVA has a storefront in the Church Hill area, they also show some love for Southside by setting up a tent at the South of the James Market.

Apple and Cherry Kolaches

That's where I encountered the apple and cherry varieties. Kolaches are little bread pockets and can feature both savory and sweet offerings. The dough is slightly sweet so I prefer the fruit and cheese varieties, but Kolache RVA also carries pockets featuring Alamo BBQ or the soon-to-be-famous maple cream and sugared bacon,  No matter your preference RVA is definitely filled with delightful yumminess!

Mrs. Yoder's Donuts

Such sweet deliciousness at Mrs. Yoder's Donuts.

Mrs. Yoder's Donuts

Get Out of Town to Boxwood Estate Winery

On a hot August weekend hubby and I spent some time in Northern Virginia and became enamored with Boxwood Estate Winery.


Located just outside of Middleburg, Boxwood contains 19 acres of vines, and currently grows mostly red Bordeaux varietals. A rose has also been bottled, and soon a venture into Sauvignon Blanc will emerge.

All of the reds are surprisingly good. I still believe in the "taste it before you buy it" method when it comes to Virginia wines. This tasting impressed. The Topiary made my mouth the happiest, and I now have this wine in my rack at home.

The winery features a stainless steel tasting and indoor picnic room as well as a great space for outside relaxation (as long as temps are mild). The sleek contemporary design paired with old world style wines lends an overall sophistication to this gem of a winery.

Tasting Room

Boxwood Winery

Definitely worth a visit to check out some red deliciousness.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Trio Grill - An Indulgence in NOVA

In July we traveled up to Northern Virginia for a brief weekend respite from RVA. On Friday night we weighed a few options for dinner and had decided to take our chances in the Mosaic area when we drove by Trio Grill. In the span of a few seconds my thoughts were: I remember seeing/hearing something about the place - It's right here on Lee Highway? - Maybe we should try it. And then, "Hey Hubby! Can you turn the car around?"

We were early and thirsty and they had a table just for us. With a Trio Manhattan under our belts we indulged ourselves with a kick-ass wine, medium-rare steak, and over-the-top fries with duck fat hollandaise sauce. While the meal wasn't too adventurous, it was sumptuously delicious. Our waiter was personable and attentive, and it was a great beginning to our getaway weekend.

Conn Creek Anthology - A Mighty Fine Wine
Trio Grill received an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator in 2016. Conn Creek Anthology was a real treat for us.
Steak with Onion
A perfectly cooked steak topped with a roasted shallot. Yum!
Fries with Duck Fat Hollandaise
The ultimate indulgence - fries with duck fat hollandaise

The menu should have something to please most palettes, and they have a nice patio when the temperatures become reasonable.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Peter Chang Scott's Addition

At last, a great Chinese restaurant in the city! And one that serves cocktails and dares to have a decent wine list. Thank you Peter Chang for bringing your culinary vision to Scott's Addition! I appreciate the duck dishes in particular. Take a gander at the Shredded Duck with Onion and Scallion.

Duck with Onion and Scallion

The duck slices are so tender, and the portions are generous enough to take home some leftovers for lunch the next day. Quack, Quack Good!