Tag Archives: Farm to Table

Bits and Bobs: My First Month in RVA

I’ve been saying to myself, “I have to write a blog post. My fans need me.”

But in reality, I’ve had nothing to which I wanted to dedicate a whole post. Please get off my jock, fans. I just want a normal life.

My friend, Anna, is always really incredible about writing about the bits and bobs in her life for her blog Curiouser and Curiouser. So, inspired by Anna, I give you highlights from my first month in Richmond/my life/my binge-watching of Top Chef.

  • No, really, I’ve watched every episode of Top Chef. I’m not kidding. I started from the beginning and just plowed on through. I think I started right before I moved…but even so, that’s PROBABLY an unhealthy level of TV watching. (Who are you to judge, weirdos?) Even the seasons I didn’t like originally had merit when I watched it again. What’s next for me? A season of MasterChef. DONE. Now onto MasterChef Junior and Hell’s Kitchen. And of course, the current season of Top Chef. Perhaps I might try a non-food show. But…I’d have to pay so much more attention…
  • Thanksgiving is in the air and I’m not upset about it. I love Christmas. But the fact that Christmas is trying to push Thanksgiving out of the way? Thanksgiving needs to hit Christmas in the face with a shovel. Defend November, Thanksgiving. I’ve already started fantasizing about my turkey day menu and have made my first stuffing of the year. I’m hosting the meal this year (in addition to cooking….like every year, MOM), so the research starts NOW.
  • I went on an oyster crawl. I remember eating my first raw oyster. I was on a shoot and we were at Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain and my former boss was scoffing that I’d never had a raw oyster. I remember trying it and distinctly NOT liking it. Cause it’s weird. (Seriously, who is the first person who saw an oyster and said, “I better eat what’s inside there.”) Now, I can’t get enough of them. My friend Melissa organized an oyster crawl because Richmond has enough places that serve oysters that you can organize a whole crawl. MMHMM. The stand out was Rappahannock, an oyster bar whose owners are cousins that took over their grandfather’s oyster farm. The story is great, the food is greater. Order a dozen and the shrimp app, and be sure to chew on a licorice root just to see if it tastes like anything. (IT DOES, YOU GUYS, I SWEAR.)
  • I went to a food festival alone. Richmond had their inaugural Fire, Flour & Fork, “a gathering for the Food Curious,” a few weeks ago. I wanted to go and since I have like three friends (hey, it’s more than 0!), I went alone. The meal was stunning. The chef is a guy named Justin Carlisle and he’s got a tiny restaurant in Milwaukee called Ardent. He brought his farm-to-table philosophy to Richmond. Farm-to-table is really an understatement. It’s farm-to-table meets nose-to-tail. It’s farm-to-tail eating. Nose-to-table? (Weird.) He’s sourcing everything local, but not because it’s trendy. Because that’s the only way to truly understand your product. Every bite I ate was better than the last. The homemade muenster cheese was perfection. Mild and creamy and when paired with their milk bread (FROM THE SAME COWS?!), perfection. If you’re in Miwluakee, go. Make a reservation, it’s tiny! Also, it was kind of fun to go alone. I sat with a couple of gramma aged ladies and they were really nice. You can’t have a BAD time at something like that.

 

 

Those are my bits and bobs for now. Go make friends with a random old lady and chew on some licorice root.

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Mi Viaje a Barcelona (Part 3): Market Cuina Fresca and Being a Douchebag

This may just be the douchiest thing I say today, but: the way to eat at the most delicious restaurants on the earth is to have friends who know the owners of the most delicious restaurants on the earth.

I know, I know. I’m SO fancy. I put my Christian Louboutins on the same way you do: in my mind and not in reality.

I digress.

I serendipitously happened to be in Barcelona at the same time as a very cool friend of mine, Director Jonathan Barber. (I like calling him Director Jonathan Barber because he is, in fact, a director. He asked me to call him ‘sir’ but I have no evidence that he has been knighted. PROVE IT, JON.)

The last time I saw Jon, we shot a spot together and he bought me a Nintendo Game Boy fanny pack. We also ate 7 dozen oysters (calm down…with the help of 4 other people) and had a SICK meal at this place in Toronto called Parts and Labour. Jon is friends with one of the owners of Parts and Labour, which just got written up as one of Food and Wine’s Insider Picks for Toronto restaurants.  So, I trust Jon with the foods. And all of my Nintendo-based accessories, obviously.

Jon’s friends Ana and Damien own this little place on Carrer de Badajoz in Barcelona. And it is legit. If you are in Barcelona, go find Market Cuina Fresca.

Every morning, Chef Damien gets up at 6 and goes to the market to shop and put together that day’s menu. Everything is incredibly fresh. And not to mention, incredibly delicious. (Bonus? It’s healthy. WHAT?!)

They’re just open for lunch, but that’s more than enough. In Spain, they do this terrific thing called a “menu del dia” or “menu of the day.” (Now you know Spanish!) For a fixed price–at Market,  it’s 12 euro–you get a first and second course and a dessert, plus a drink. I mean, that’s kind of awesome.

The restaurant is light and airy. Which is amazing when I saw the pictures that Ana showed me of what it used to be. It was literally brown and orange inside. And now it reminds me of something that could be in the less pretentious parts of Santa Monica. Wherever those are.

And the food. Shit, y’all. I ate lunch there twice, which breaks my travel rule of not repeating restaurants. But the food is just that good. And the menu is always changing. It’s whatever is fresh and at the market that moment, hence the name: Market Cuina Fresca.

By the by, sidenote. The whole farm to table thing is a seemingly new trend here in the US. But the reality of the way Damien shops for Market and the care that he puts into his menu, it’s just the way things are done over there. And doesn’t that make sense? If a tomato tastes best and is in season in the summer, why would you want to eat it in the any other time? (And why would you want to eat a tomato from like Iceland to eat one in December…??)

Market Cuina Fresca. Go. Seriously. Look at all these foods I ate.

Photo credit: Director Jonathan Barber

Photo credit: Director Jonathan Barber

Jon told me I had to credit him for taking this picture. And to be fair, seeing as he is an actual director with an eye for visual composition, the food photos on this blog have lit’rally never looked better.

This was dessert: Cheese, quince, pear. AMAZING.  The photography? Awful.

This was dessert: Cheese, quince, pear. AMAZING.
I took this picture. It’s ain’t great.

I highly recommend a trip to Market. And a trip to Barcelona. If you happen to run into Jon there, it’ll be even more fun. (Stop by Drunk Beach. The half liter Estrella Damms will get you.) I’m looking forward to running into him in another city. And I fully expect him to have a pair of Sega Genesis legwarmers for me.

Sadly for me, this is my last Barcelona post. But I shall carry it in my heart. And on my thighs.

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