Thursday, July 3, 2014

Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery


Stars: 4.2 out of 5.0
Pros: Beautiful Location, Friendly Service
Cons: Far Away, Mostly Not My Beer Style

     It was a beautiful Saturday for an exodus from our normal watering holes to try something new. So, BN and I got in the car and committed to a trek to deep Goochland to check out Virginia’s first farm brewery, Lickinghole Creek. In route we had a small distraction (see previous post), but we finally pulled into the long driveway which led us right up to the beautiful white barn we had been driving for.

     Read more here:

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Tour of Church Hill


     So, for all those who don't know, I am part of a new group rolling around Richmond. We are the Richmond Food Coalition (, a group of food bloggers and food enthusiasts that try to get out and experience all the Richmond culinary scene has to offer. And we have done a pretty good job at it. Like, for example, the first Saturday outing that most of us were able to attend. We decided to take a small tour of Church Hill, a neighborhood I have not spent much time in. It was quite the day.

Read more here: Tour Of Church Hill

Thursday, May 8, 2014

2113 Bistro


Stars: 4.9 out of 5.0
Pros: Big Layout, Handicap Accessible, Friendly & Knowledgeable Staff, Good Drinks, Excellent Food

    Another Sunday arrived which could mean only one thing; it was brunch day. Sunday has always been and will always be the day for brunch. It's a recovery day. A quiet time to catch-up with friends, allow your body some recovery and enjoy a solid meal. This brunch I was feeling like heading to Shockoe Bottom despite this dumb bike race. Actually, that was part of my motivation for heading that way. I saw all the pleas from the businesses down there for people to come out. So, BN and I headed out to a new place for me, 2113 Bistro with high hopes and empty stomachs.

Read more here: 2113 Bistro

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

New Site Has Launched

     It has finally happened! After just over a year of stalling, humming and hawing I have finally decided to make a reality!! The site is up and running. It looks a little different then what you are used to seeing here, but the content is just the same (sorry, I can't improve EVERYTHING at once).

     I will stop adding full length posts here starting very soon. Instead, I will add a small preview of the post and a connecting link to the new site. It should take you right where you want to go. Trust me, it will be wonderful.

     Also look for Going Out In Richmond to start to dabble in some new things. Shirts might be making an appearance soon. A podcast with Marcella Lee of Broad Appetite is also in the works. I will soon be doing some work as editor/writer for RVA Live starting very shortly. I will also hopefully be taking part in growing Richmond's newest group of food writers, The Richmond Food Coalition (RVAFC for short). Look for us to start doing some big things. And finally I will be taking any and all freelance writing jobs I can get my hands on.

     As you can see, I have taken big steps since I started this thing. I want to thank you, my loyal readers, for your constant support. It's really been a huge source of encouragement. I also want to thank those who help me be the best I can, be it as editors or idea sources or sounding boards or even critics. I'm in debt to you all.

     As we journey on here at Going Out In Richmond, I hope you stick with us. It only get better from here.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Dash: Kitchen + Carry


Stars: 4.75 out of 5.0
Pros: Bright Space, Unique Décor, Well Priced, Fast Friendly Service, Great Food

     I couldn't have been more excited when I found out Jessica & Josh Bufford, owners of Toast & Estilo in the Village Shopping Center, were opening a new joint near VCU. When I had the opportunity to talk to Jessica about it a month or so ago her excitement was palatable and contagious. So when she sent me a Tweet inviting me to come give Dash a test run prior to their scheduled 5pm opening on 4/7, I couldn't resist. I picked up SB, and off we went for a late dinner.

     Dash (Dash Kitchen+Carry Facebook) has moved into the former home of The Well and Cous Cous on VCU's campus. It's not a massive restaurant space, being decidedly smaller than both Toast and Estilo, but it seats roughly 65-70 people. Also note that seating around the perimeter of the dining area has little storage cubbies underneath, perfect for stuffing all those book bags & computers hauled around by folks from VCU, one of Jessica & Josh’s target clienteles. It has massive amounts of windows which will make it bright and cheery during the day. To those who were familiar with Cous Cous, in contrast, at night Dash is nicely lit thanks in part to a floor to ceiling lighted wall dividing the ordering counter from the seating area that Josh made himself. Jessica explained to SB & I that back in school she and Josh were both theater kids (I was one myself). Josh specialized in lighting design and has carried that passion to each of their restaurants. This center divider is a great example.

     The concept of Dash is that you order from the counter, get a number and find a table. A server brings you your food and will occasionally be around to ask if you want refills or condiments. The concept is a beautiful fit on a college campus if you think about it. College students usually take lunch to accomplish one of two things: study or socialize. The laissez faire-esque approach of Dash is perfect for both activities as it eliminates the hovering server from the picture. Jessica also expressed her hope that this will be more than just a college hot spot. She told me there have been plenty of times when she and her mom would come down to the Altria Theater to see a show after getting of work around 5pm. If the show is at 6 or 6:30, that didn't give much time for a full sit down meal. That makes a place like Dash ideal because you can be in and out quickly while still enjoying a quality meal. I love this idea and hope to get the chance to utilize Dash for this purpose.

     SB and I took a moment to review the menu. It's not very big consisting of burgers, salads and sandwiches. What amazed me is that for such a small menu, the variety in choices was huge. And the prices were super reasonable. You can build your own burgers with an amazing amount of toppings starting at just $6. Granted, that doesn't come with a side, but $6 for a burger is a steal. After eyeballing the menu for a few moments, we decided to split a Fire Roasted Caesar Salad. SB also ordered the Costa Rican Chicken Salad sandwich and I went with the Estilo's Cubano. The employee behind the counter gave us a number to put on our table and we sat down.

     Our food came out very quickly; faster then I expected really. When we were talking with Josh later on he said the kitchen aims to have most of the dishes out in 7 to 10 minutes tops. That right there is speedy folks. The server who brought us our food also walked around the seating area keeping up on people’s drinks and clearing away the dishes. All of the staff was wonderfully friendly and helpful. Even on a night where they were still getting down the gist of the system they were great.

     The Fire Roasted Caesar Salad was excellent. SB asked what made it fire roasted, as the romaine itself isn't. It turns out the cherry tomatoes chopped up (SB & I both agreed that we loved the chopped tomato as opposed to whole ones) in the salad are garlic infused and fire roasted. They aren't overpoweringly garlicky either, which was pleasing to me. The Caesar dressing that is on the salad is nice as well because it’s a vinaigrette which means it's not as thick as regular Caesar dressing. The portion was perfect for 2 people to split or a solid meal for a single person.

     SB's Costa Rican Chicken Salad was spot-on wonderful. It is essentially two split top rolls packed with chicken salad and topped with arugula. We both could have used a little more of the arugula, but the chicken salad itself was all that chicken salad should be. It wasn't too dry or sopping wet. It had a little crunch from the cashews and a bite of tangy heat from the lizano sauce. SB got sweet potato tots as a side, which I'm usually not a fan of. She loved them! They were very good (I did try one) but sweet potato is not my bag of oats. She said she could eat them as a side every time so they must be good.

     I wanted to try something new, I really did. But when I saw that Estilo’s Cubano staring up at me from the menu, I caved. Pork, ham and salami with mustard and pickles makes for a complete and happy sandwich. I loved everything about this Cuban. I would venture a guess and say that it wasn’t pressed in a typical Panini press, but perhaps a waffle iron. I only say this due to the uniform criss-crossed press pattern. The bread was amazingly soft on the inside with a beautiful crust on the outside. And the meats were wonderful. The pork was beautifully marinated and cooked. I could have eaten just that as a sandwich and been very pleased. The mustard added a tang to cut the saltiness of the meat. This sandwich did not disappoint. I also went with the hand cut fries as my side. I would have liked a little more salt, but otherwise these are delicious. They have great crisp to the outside. Dip them in the house made ketchup that comes along with it and you have a delectable combination.

     Dash Kitchen + Carry certainly impressed both SB and I with their décor, service and food. The concept is wonderful. Their execution looks to be spot on. VCU students, faculty and staff are in for a real treat having this in their yard. I look forward to my return trip, maybe after SB and I see Wicked later this month. There is a custom made burger with my name on it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Burger Blast


Stars: 4.5 out of 5.0
Pros: Lots of Restaurants, Lots of Breweries, Excellent Food
Cons: Super Crowded, Some Places Out of Food

     I have a deep affection for burgers. Something about patties of meat with toppings on a bun just gets me going. When my new boss offered to take me to Burger Blast, an all you can eat & drink event, I was an immediate yes. So, we all headed down to the Richmond Convention Center, got a tasting glass and walked into a room filled with greatness.

     Burger Blast (Burger Blast) is held the night before the VA Wine Expo. It is basically an event that brings in 15 different chefs/restaurants who will each create a slider-size burger with all sorts of different ingredients and toppings. You can eat as many as you want and are free to try all 15 locations. There was also over 25 VA craft beers and various VA wines for sampling. You could try all of those as well. It's pretty much heaven in a room.

     I will say right off the bat that this event draws a crowd. They sold out of tickets and the room was packed. There were lines and groups of people every way you turned. It made negotiating with full hands very difficult. It also meant that some burger lines were super long. It also meant you would start out in one beer line and randomly end up at another tap. I wasn't such a huge fan of the crowd.

     As soon as we got through the door, we got some beer. I started out with Lickinghole Creek's Magic Beaver. It was excellent. With a full beer in hand, it was time to focus on burgers. We jumped in the closest line, which turned out to be Mezzanine's line. They were serving up what was easily top 2 non-beef burger I tried. It was ground chicken & avocado with a red onion pineapple relish. The chunks of avocado mixed into the ground chicken gave it a fresh taste. The relish was citrusy and bright. It accented the earthy taste of the burger well. My boss went back for a second later in the night. I can't blame her.

     We started to make our way around the room. We stopped at the Brew booth. The burger was beef laced with pepperoni, onion & garlic. It was topped with mozzarella, goat cheese & marinara spread. It was very good. I'm a big fan of goat cheese so adding that is always a winner for me.

     We also grabbed a burger from Reynolds Community College. This group of culinary students put together bison & short ribs with a VA dark lager/bacon glaze on a house made bun topped with cherry tomato jam, smoked Muenster cheese, pickled red onion and watercress salad all finished off with a grainy mustard. This burger had a lot of things going on. It was richly flavored with all of the flavors blending nicely. I was very impressed because I thought it was going to be to busy. Kudos to the culinary students.

     Next up was Toast with the other of the top 2 non-beef burger I tried. It was a salmon burger topped with dill cream cheese, poached shallot and a Cabernet Franc wine reduction. First off... WHOA! This burger was a phenom. The salmon was fresh and fantastic. I love love LOVE dill and I think it's hard to have salmon sans dill. Add it with cream cheese and you have a luscious topping. The shallots added that light onion flavor while the wine added a little tang. I wanted to sit at the Toast booth and eat these salmon burgers till I died. Nicely done.

     In the midst of filling my glass and wandering around, I stumbled upon Carytown Burgers & Fries offering. It was a chopped sirloin burger with mushrooms, peppers, onions, lettuce, tomato, mayo, Italian dressing and provolone cheese. It was a basic burger in my book. And one thing Carytown Burgers & Fries can do is a basic burger. It was perfect. This is just one more reason they are one of Richmond's top 5 burgers in my book.

     In all I ate 9 sliders that night. That is roughly 3 lbs. of meat over the course of 2 hours. I wanted to hit all 15 places, but some ran out of burgers. Granted, they could only prepare so much food and bring so much product with them, but damn it!!! I wanted all of the burgers! Next year I guess I'll just have to get there earlier.

     Burger Blast is every carnivore booze-hounds dream. I know for a fact that I will be going back next year. It's worth every penny of admission. It's well laid out, well organized and I was well fed. High fives to everyone involved!

Friday, March 28, 2014



Stars: 4.8 out of 5.0
Pros: Pro-Active Twitter Presence, Accommodating Staff, Fun Menu, Fresh & Flavorful Food, Dessert

     Now that all us food bloggers had met, we decided we needed to get together more often and review new places. An email chain got started one night and we all decided to descend upon Toast for a Sunday night dinner. It's a place I had yet to visit for food, but it was on my list. Once it was agreed, the massive tweet conversation began. The excitement was palatable and it tasted awesome.

     Toast (Toast) is located in The Village shopping plaza on the corner of Patterson and Three Chopt. It isn't hard to find as it's big, simple sign sticks out. The front isn't gaudy or pretentious, blending in well with the rest of the storefronts. It's a surprisingly big place, being much deeper than outside appearance leads you to think. It's not very bright inside, but lighting is sufficient for dining.

     I will be the first one to tell you that I am almost 30 years old and I forget that making reservations is a real thing. Don't ask me why, because I truly don't know. It just never occurs to me that with large groups, restaurants would love a heads up. I'm not that important (yet) that places will just accommodate me whenever I see fit. Thankfully, there are others out here who have embraced being a grown-up. Due to their vigilance on social media, Toast picked up on our (probably excessive) chatter. They reached out to us to see if we had reservations. When I told them no, they took care of us right away. They set us up with a table and a person to talk to when we got there. I appreciate that they look out for their customers like that.

     We all arrived a few minutes apart from each other, but we were able to wait at the bar. We got some drinks while the group assembled. As soon as we all arrived (plus our newest member Bethany) the manager seated us at a big table perfect for 6 people. She left menus and promised our server would be right with us. As we sat chatting over came Mira. She was truly an exemplary server. She was friendly, attentive and helpful. As you all know, I'm big on service. Mira was the picture of a perfect server. I hope that Toast holds on to her as long as they can.

     The menu at Toast is pretty impressive. It's not a big menu, which is always a positive. The type is big enough to read without squinting. All the choices looked great. Toast is an American gastropub so most dishes would be easily recognized by the average Joe. The specials that rotate all looked fantastic. The standard menu items were all intriguing which made deciding hard to do. Thankfully, appetizers were bought to give us some time. Someone ordered the polenta corn dogs and someone else ordered the bacon cheddar fritters. Between placing the order and getting it we all focused on figuring out our order.

     The polenta corn dogs were excellent. I think the polenta brought a little sweetness to the batter. The hot dogs themselves were cooked well. I could have easily eaten a few of these and called it a meal. The bacon cheddar fritters were an awesome combination of flavors. They were salty and sharp from the cheese & bacon. They were served with both a chive aioli and maple syrup. The aioli certainly added to the flavors, but the syrup is what knocked these out of the park. That sweetness really helped these flavors muddle together in an artistic way. You could hand me a dozen of these fritters and some maple syrup everyday for a month & I would celebrate the taste like it was my first time each time.

     Time came for us to order and I was ready. I went with the Cuban Reuben (with veggies) for a few reasons. First, I love Cuban sandwiches with what could be considered a deep passion. So much pork, mustard and pickles! Second, I have been trying to appreciate Reuben's more. I like all the ingredients separate so I'm sure I'll like them together. Finally, that is a fun name to say. Because it rhymes. And I've the mind of a 6 year old. I make no apologies. Moving on, the others ordered a wide selection off the menu, but I can't remember exactly what, See the photos below if you want to take a stab at it.

     When the food arrived I was impressed by the fact that it was all the right temperature. That is hard to do when cooking for a large party. Some things cook faster than others and timing it all out is a skill. Glad to see the kitchen at Toast has that skill. All the food looked wonderful. My sandwich was a monster stack. I liked the presentation, all the sandwich pieces stuck on a skewer. It was accompanied by a big bright side of veggies. It was a visually appealing plate, which is a good start. The sandwich was a combination of amazing on my palate. Here's what is on the sandwich: pulled pork, VA ham, pickles, Swiss, corned beef, smoked mustard, grilled cabbage and 1000 Island dressing. A lot going on, but all blends so well. I was very very impressed. And the sandwich was so big that I, of all people, had some to bring home. Now THAT is a sandwich.

     After we had all stuffed our face, Mira informed us that we had dessert coming. Dessert? Well, if you insist... Next thing we know a slice of cranberry cheesecake, chocolate peanut butter cake and an order of doughnuts with honey mascarpone appeared at the table with 6 forks. I will start with the doughnuts. These warm little pillows of dough were topped with cinnamon and sugar. They were sweet and delicious. The mascarpone was creamy and added a touch of honey flavor to the dough. I want an order fresh made for me every Sunday for breakfast. The cheesecake was just how I like it. It was dense and silky. The cranberry wasn't overpowering, instead lending a hint of tartness to it all. It was all New York style and that's the only way to be. The winner for me was the chocolate peanut butter cake. This is made fresh in the back and it shows. The cake was moist like a good cake should be. It was rich and delicious. The peanut butter frosting was absolutely killer good. I'm a peanut butter freak and this could curb my cravings for a week. It was phenomenal. I will be requesting one for my birthday in June.

     Toast totally stood up and smacked this meal straight out of the park. They did everything just right and have solidified themselves as a go-to restaurant for me. Add in the amazing company I was graced with and this Sunday night meal was all aces. If you already have great dinner company and need a great restaurant, make your way to Toast.