Tag: Richmond

This Week in RVA News

Richmond has had quite the week!

The Metro Richmond Zoo might get yet more cheetah cubs!

Another cheetah could be expecting at Metro Richmond Zoo | Richmond Times-Dispatch

On the heels of Richmond’s recent first-ever National Beer Expo…

Guide: Craft beer a heady growth industry | Richmond Times-Dispatch

I went to this yesterday, and it is pretty swanky.  Plus the dessert cases and cooking school look pretty impressive.

Customers get first look at Southern Season store | Richmond Times-Dispatch

Richmond will get more of a taste of DC!  We already knew that another Top Chef alum, Mike Isabella, plans to open a restaurant in Richmond, and the RVA offshoot of DC’s Rappahannock Oyster Bar has been in town for a while.  Personally, I was hoping the news was that yet another Top Chef alum, Spike Mendelsohn, was bringing his Good Stuff Eatery or We, the Pizza to Richmond, but the Voltaggio brothers have made quite a name for themselves, so no complaints there.

Another Top Chef makes a Richmond move | Richmond Times-Dispatch

…Not to mention the less flattering continuing news about apparent poor personal decisions made by our former governor and his wife (widely publicized enough that you hardly need me to tell you about them), and the fact that my high school has chosen to keep the Rebel mascot name, even though it has already done away with the Rebel Man mascot (who was essentially a Confederate soldier).

Richmond-area school to keep Rebels name | Washington Post

Thanks for reading, and make it a good weekend!

Dinner at Rock Bottom is not as bad as it sounds

Last night, my parents and I wanted to get some dinner after seeing the new Transformers movie.  We tossed around some ideas for places to go but none of them stuck until I recommended Rock Bottom Brewery in Short Pump.  Sure, it’s a chain, but they make their own beer on the premises and the menu sounded really good.  I knew there was one in Arlington, but never went there when I lived in Northern Virginia.

It was a gorgeous night out, so we were able to sit outside and enjoy the nice big patio.  We were quickly attended by our waitress Nicole, who proved to be exemplary.  My stepfather and I enjoyed our limited-time-only nitro coffee cream stouts as we waited for our dinner.  I had ordered the Bourbonzola burger, which combines my love of burgers, gorgonzola, onion straws, and bourbon; my mom got fish and chips; and my stepfather ordered the bell peppers stuffed with chicken and chorizo.

After a little bit, not too long we thought, Nicole came back to apologize for the food taking so long, offering to get us something like the chicken tortilla soup to eat on the house while we waited.  We discussed appetizers, which she said would likely arrive after our entrees.  Mom and I decided that the chicken tortilla soup would do fine (we’re big fans of that in this family), and we asked for a loaf of their bread as well.  Nicole had hardly left before the manager Tim came by to also apologize for the “long wait,” saying that someone from the kitchen had left early, causing our food to be delayed.  He offered to pick up the check as recompense.  We were floored by his generosity!  Then we started talking about beer, and before long, our food arrived, including the chicken tortilla soup and the sourdough bread loaf.  Mom and I sampled the soup and both agreed that it was really good.  We dug into our respective meals and agreed that those were tasty as well.  I wondered how the black beans I had ordered as a side would taste, and they were good, not spicy or anything.

Full as we were, we wanted dessert.  My parents ordered the carrot cake, apparently made from a recipe by the founder’s mother that had never been changed–and why would it need to be?  It was moist and delicious and had pineapple in it.  The cream cheese wasn’t slathered on too thick, which was nice.  I ordered the brownie sundae, which was also very good–dark and rich.  We were told that the desserts were all made in-house, which impressed us.

We enjoyed our dinner enough that my parents signed up for a Rock Rewards loyalty membership, and Nicole told us we would get $10 toward our next dinner.  Can’t pass up that deal!  Plus my parents had gotten wind of an upcoming beer that would incorporate Nutella, so I know I have to go back for that…and I could probably be persuaded to have a meal there too!

Thanks to Nicole and Tim for making our dinner even more awesome!  We’ll be back!

Where to next?

So what have I been up to in the two months I’ve been back?  Well, I’ve been to the DC area a couple times to visit friends, done some touristy stuff around Richmond, spent a lot of time entertaining my parents’ cats, and have (unsuccessfully…) applied for a few jobs.

I’d told myself I would give Richmond another chance after having been so unimpressed with it pretty much my entire life.  People seem to love it here.  One of my best friends says she loves it and believes she’ll live here at some point before she retires; tons of people have those RVA stickers on their cars; even Frommer’s named Richmond one of its top 20 destinations this year in the entire world.  I told my parents that and their response was the same as mine:  “Why?”

Maybe I am going to feel eternally let down by my hometown because I’m from here and thus it will always feel pedestrian to me.  Still, it’s been good to catch up with friends here and visit some old haunts (Casa Grande’s grande chicken quesadillas are exactly as awesome as I remembered them being) and try to find some new ones while I’m here (the salted caramel chocolate cake at Shyndigz is completely amazing).  However, I am disappointed by the lack of decent gyms and yoga studios near me–I’m not driving 20 minutes each way to go work out!  (The Gold’s Gym near me is nice enough but is big, overwhelming, and full of gym rats, and thus I’ll probably join the community center near me instead.)  And with all the things Short Pump has to offer (Richmond’s only REI, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, and some of the best upper middle-scale shopping in town, if you care about those kinds of things), the sprawl out there is so bad, Arcade Fire would write a song about it.  What is now the monstrosity of West Broad Village (village, my ass) was farmland less than 10 years ago.  It’s a massive shame, really.

Sure, there are things I like about Richmond.  I have friends and family here.  I love Maymont, although I haven’t been there in years. Hollywood Cemetery was pretty cool too.  But one thing is still glaringly obvious to me:  I will move out of Richmond, again.  It’s just a matter of when and to where.

That said, I visited the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) in February before its Hollywood wardrobe exhibit closed.  I got to see one of Christopher Reeve’s Superman costumes and one of Christian Bale’s Batman outfits, as well as Indiana Jones’ getup and one of Beyonce’s dresses from Dreamgirls–pretty cool!  I loved that exhibit (I wish I could have taken pictures!) and took the opportunity to explore most of the rest of the museum while there.  I really enjoyed the South Asian art exhibit on the top floor, with a lot of it drawing from mythological influences.  My feet were pretty tired by the time I finally got up there though, so I should definitely go back and see it again–after all, it’s free to get in (unless you’re seeing a special exhibit such as the movie costumes).  It should be noted that the VMFA also has the distinctions of having been one of just seven museums in the world to get a big travelling Picasso exhibit in 2011, as well as having the largest public collection of Faberge items outside of Russia.

I have discovered some other interesting things about Richmond, some of which I didn’t know.  For example, it has street art and dragon boat festivals.  This past weekend’s Monument Ave 10K had over 36,000 participants from 44 states and even other countries and has become one of the biggest races of its kind in the nation.  My friend who ran it says she loved the camaraderie and wants to make it an annual event for herself.

Hopefully, I’ll put my foot down and finally begin sifting through the 2500+ photos I took in Australia and post them to my Flickr.  Who knows, I may also do some travelling just because I have nothing much else going on right now aside from the job search (which I admittedly could be working much harder at).  We’ll just have to see.

Until next time.