MY FAVORITES OF SUMMERTIME FARE

Summer has arrived! Although most of us shout the same statement excitedly every single year, it’s still a little shocking when [like clockwork] the cool weather is replaced by heat and humidity.

Richmond is an ideal city during the summer months. From Friday Cheers at Brown’s Island to Flying Squirrels games, to Texas Beach adventures and grubbing at outdoor food festivals, this city is packed with plenty of events – and the best part is most of them are free.

Besides scouring the city (and surrounding areas) for stuff to do, Richmond restaurants are capturing the taste of summer through seasonal menus. It’s that time again when the spring fare is out, making way for a summer menu Richmonders are sure to soak up, much like the sun that beats down (at times) relentlessly.

summer 1
Watermelon soup at the Savory Grain

Restaurants like MosaicLemaire, and Blue Goat are making additions to harmonize summer flavors and ingredients that are sure to keep hungry patrons coming through their doors.

Did someone say fruit? Yep, produce is taking precedence. Savory Grain serves a chilled pureed watermelon soup topped with basil oil and goat cheese ($5).  A little too sweet for my taste but the bubblegum pink coloring and adventurous attempt was fun.  Saisonalso serves up a watermelon gazpacho that looks divine. Blue Goat embraces summer fruits in their braised goat perogies with peach rhubarb preserve and balsamic drizzle.

Alamo Barbecue’s jalapeno mac n cheese
Alamo Barbecue’s jalapeno mac n cheese

When I think of summer foods, a few things come to mind – good ‘ol barbecue and cool salads.  This city loves some BBQ and we’ve got plenty of joints boasting summer favorites like slaw, ribs, and baked beans. I’ve got my favorites …  Buz and Ned’s potato salad, Q Barbecue’s corn pudding, and Alamo’s jalapeno mac n cheese and smoked chicken.  I love barbecue, but with that being said,  I haven’t committed to a “favorite place.” There is however, something about Alamo and Buz and Ned’s (Boulevard location) outdoor, come-as-you-are dining that makes the food all the better.

If you’re washing it all down, the abundance of seasonal beers and cocktails are plentiful.  Saison puts a Southern twist on a rum & cola classic with their Carolina Libre ($11) – all they’ve done was add cheerwine.  Simply brilliant. Hardywood Singel holds a special place in my heart that won’t let go.  This unfiltered brew is heavenly and pairs well with just about anything – barbecue especially. Kansas-born, Boulevard Brewing Company, a newbie to RVA (this was the “Hardywood” of beer when I lived in Oklahoma) makes a Boulevard Wheat that’s fantastic.

Sweet tooth?  King of Pops puts a unique twist on popsicles with flavors like lemon basil, coconut lemongrass, and pomegranate limeade. With no real storefront, you can find them at The Food Truck Court (the foodie version of the Oregon Trail), Farmers Market, and a few other random locations. And if all else fails, we’ve always got Cook-Out.  To me, this is the ultimate summer late-night go-to (and a great place for people watching) with over 30 shakes and a Cheerwine float that’s crazy amazing, you can’t go wrong.

Whatever this hot season has in store for you, our faithful city is making sure you get the good eats (and drinks) to go along with it. Cheers!

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