Congratulations! Since we’ve all clung on and averted the 12/21/12 faux-doomsday-Myan-Fiasco and entered the New Year, I thought it’d be a little cliche and appropriate to give a few shout-outs to some noteworthy (and not so noteworthy) Richmond dishes, drinks, and the restaurants that serve it.
1. Best Coffee – Lamplighter. Besides serving stellar coffee and chai lattes so good that’ll make Starbucks taste like an artificial imitation, Lamplighter sells their beans so you can bring the goodness home. Bravo.
2. Best Fried Green Tomatoes – This one is tricky since Richmond’s a die-hard Southern cuisine mecca. I say Julep’s, my girlfriend says Helen’s. We still bicker about it.
3. Worst restaurant in Richmond – Another tie! Shackleford’s and Casa Grande. Do I need to explain? If so, let me know.
4. Best cocktails – I. Can’t. Choose. A tie between Blue Goat and Balliceaux. Balliceaux conjures up a TOM YUM YUM – vodka & coconut rum with lemongrass syrup, fresh lemon, hot chili & ginger. On the other hand, Blue Goat’s got a Black Buffalo with
Bourbon, Chambord, muddled blackberries, lime & cranberry juice. Read more about Balliceaux here
5. Best overall restaurant – Helen’s. This place is consistent, it never lets me down and my last waitress was a hottie (and nice…bonus). The scallops with vanilla cauliflower whip is orgasmic. Li-ter-i-ally.
6. Best (worst) people watching – Cheesecake factory. Ah, the mother of all chain restaurants nestled into a corner of the exquisite and refined Short Pump mall. Get a preview of the patrons who dine here (and likely sitting next to) as you try to angrily wrangle a parking spot in the miniscule parking lot. Come inside to wait 30 minutes for gluttonous over-sized portions that’ll cost you more than a trip to the gym. Diners here here are hungry and just got done blowing plastic at the mall. I’ve never experienced so many people (during one sitting) complaining to management to get free food. I was a waitress for 3 years, I know how it works (and looks like).
7. Best Mexican food – I don’t know, if you do, PLEASE let me know. Read about one of my Mexican food experiences here
8. Best Antipasti – Mamma Zu serves up a white bean, arugula, and squid dish that’ll make you so happy you might just ignore the shabby (not chic) interior and mediocre service. Try to get there before the big dinner rush, if they run out of it, they’re out. Read more about Mamma Zu here
9. Awkward food moment of 2012 – Yapple vs. Sweet Frog. Carytown’s Sweet Frog location felt the heat this summer when Yapple set up shop next door. My girlfriend and I would make a special trips (out of the lovely ‘burbs) just to sit outside and listen to the hilarious, defensive, and serious reactions to the neighboring competition. Read more about this throw-down here
10. Noteworthy Dessert – Pasture’s pecan pie infused with smoked maple and bourbon cream. This place does a brilliant job at combining classic pecan pie with a bacon-bourbon creamy sweetness. Read more about Pasture here