Not everybody sees delicious food and divisive political issues as a perfect pairing. Like it or not, the head and the heart are inseparable from our appetites. Or maybe we actually assume that those who share our tastes also share our values. Well, if you thought politics made for strange bedfellows, you should try making friends with fellow food bloggers, or making small talk with local chefs. Even though you are what you eat, we lead complex lives, and the personal is often political.
Enough with the platitudes. I just bought my ticket to Sunday’s Pizza Party for Reproductive Rights at Lamplighter. With my past experience in clinic defense, attending pro-choice rallies, and even N.O.W. membership (hey, I went to Mary Washington College), I’m happy for any opportunity to support women’s rights – especially at a time when religious zealots in government are cutting funding to women’s clinics around the country. Getting to try pizza from the Pizza Tonight mobile oven is just gravy for me. But, I think it’s also about as synergistic a collaboration as I can imagine.
If we can all swallow the religious posturing that comes with our frozen yogurt at Sweet Frog or flame cooked hamburgers at Cook Out, then it shouldn’t be a surprise when a small business throws in on an important though contentious issue with a local community organization. (more…)
To be honest, I don’t really know what “real Chinese food” is, and finding out has never been very high on my to-do list. More important to me than real Chinese is better Chinese. In fact, I think most Richmonders who’re looking for authentic Asian dishes are really just hoping to find more wholesome and nuanced Chinese food than the take-out places where we habitually pick up the same beef with broccoli and General Tso’s chicken. Luckily, the roasted chicken feet and squirming octopus tentacles that some adventurous eaters gloat about eating at Full Kee isn’t the only game in town for exploring beneath the surface of Chinese cuisine. The newst player on that scene is King of Szechuan, in the old Vietnam Garden at Staples Mill and Glenside.
The still shot doesn't convey the bubbling within this hot vessel.
In striking up conversation with our server about the previous tenants, we got some useful tips after I mentioned Vietnam Garden’s tough road to hoe being across from Dalat. (more…)
Beef and broccoli… I don’t know why I didn’t share this with you all years ago. Immortal Technique is one of my favorites. However, he didn’t make this video, just the song. So, the misspelling of “arroz con pollo” isn’t an error of the artist. Anyhow, I don’t endorse every word of this, and the revolutionary activist talk should just be considered a metaphor for whatever social status, but overall, the spirit of the thing makes me smile.
We all have our moments in the kitchen. One thing goes wrong, and it sets off a chain reaction. There are reasons for the errors in judgment you see above. It’s complicated, to say the least. The point is that I made the best pizza ever tonight, and no, that’s not it in the picture. Despite the serious misstep with a white mushroom pie, that night I was actually able to feed my family successful pizzas (not pictured). And once that was done, I proceeded to make one for myself that truly transcended.
In the movie Idiocracy, this is how they make pizza.
So, I owe you an explanation for that mess. (more…)
As many restaurants as Richmond has, there are plenty of foods you just can’t find here. Or at least really good versions. While talking to Zach at Lamplighter about local food trends, he lamented one of this town’s shortcomings. “We don’t have a country fried steak that’s a 10.” (apparently, in his travels, he once cooked in a restaurant making just that, so he should know)
These are in reverse chronological order.
There was a picture of country fried steak here, but it was from Homesick Texan’s site and they threatened legal action if I didn’t take it down. Um, order a side of perspective instead of grits next time.
It was like he spoke the magic words just then triggering some long forgotten childhood memories to flash before my eyes. I LOVED country fried steak as a kid (must’ve blacked out those experiences during veggie reporgramming). The thick coating of crunchy batter. The flattened piece of mystery meat. And my favorite part: the gloppy white gravy, speckled with black pepper (oh, that’s why it’s been expunged from my memory).
That’s right. I haven’t even thought about that dish while living in Richmond. (more…)
Thanks to my 10 years of experience helping Virginians pass the GED test, I got invited to conduct a couple workshops at the Maine Literacy Conference this past Friday. I’d never been to Maine before. It was just a day before leaving that I realized that I was flying into a significant culinary destination in Portland, Maine. But somehow, I hadn’t budgeted any time to explore. It was just gonna be 1) Arrive in Portland, 2) Rent a car and drive an hour north to Augusta, 3) forage for food before sleeping in a hotel, 4) eat a catered conference lunch 5) race back to the airport. No time for a real taste of Maine, or so I thought.
1) Arrive in Maine
On the plane, I sat next to a Mainer. She advised that I not refer to my audience as Mainiacs. (more…)