Opinion

Whole Foods

Open letter to Whole Foods

 

Dear Whole Foods,

Some might get frustrated at me for this. You know, the folks that think Whole Foods is a hispter-mecca-cash-cow or the others that turn their nose since you’re a chain grocer. There will also be others that argue that I can find the same experience and selection at Ellwood Thompson’s in Carytown, plus I’d be supporting local businesses.  That’s entirely valid but my 5 minute drive to Whole Foods vs. 20 minute drive to Ellwood’s makes it convenient.

I’m really not concerned because I love you. Yes, I love you, Whole Foods.

To be quite honest, I don’t go to you for my routine Sunday grocery shopping trip, if I did, I might be a little broke. But I’m there, in your store, at least once a week. Anything can bring me in from “oh crap I need a gift”, your awesome health and body section, to a crack-like craving for your salad bar. I feel bad to even call it a salad bar, hell, let’s call it the salad smorgasbord of awesomeness.

Although you satisfy my every need, what really makes me come back is your staff and service.  Your employees are pretty rad.  Unlike the 95% retailers and restaurants I visit, I actually get the vibe that your Whole Foods team likes working there. Travesty!  To like your job so much that you converse with the patron, offer suggestions, a smile?! Yes! Yes! Yes!

Your people are awesome.  I’ve never run into someone at your store that acted above (or below) me.  On my most recent trip, I was looking for new body wash for my girlfriend and I – specifically one with a woodsy-lavender smell.  While searching the shelf, one of your team member’s came up to me and started a conversation, not a stale standard “can I help you” response, but a warm and natural “hey there, you doing good? Anything I can help you find?” After he listened to what I wanted, he pointed me to two options, one that his girlfriend used (which was a little too floral-y for me), and the other they actually use there in their showers at the store.  This guy knew exactly what he was talking about and had connection with both products.  While thanking him for my new $10 body wash (proceeds going to raise funds for community projects in West Africa & trade free certified = feeling good), I realized I needed some more incense.  He directed me to the newly moved incense section and helped me pick a new one.  He never said, “you should get this, it smells good”  instead, he told me about the guy that makes these particular sticks in New Mexico, how seriously he takes the craft, and he blesses each stick.  Sold.

This guy took his time listening.

Your store is exceptional and your employees are a beam of hope, reigniting the faith that customer service is not a lost art.

Thank you times infinity.

Truly Yours,

Grub like a girl.

p.s. – Whole Foods Market is selling pies for 10 bucks through the 14th.  They’ll also be hosting a Pie Walk & Tasting this Saturday, July 6th from 11am to 1pm.

Who: You eating pie!

What: Pie Walk & Tasting

When: Saturday, July 6th 11am-1pm

Where: Short Pump Whole Foods Market, 11173 W Broad St  Glen Allen, VA 23060

Join in the Pie Walk fun and you could win a free pie! A Pie Walk is just like a traditional cake walk but with PIES! Pie Walks will be held every 15 minutes, starting at 11am. And, there will be plenty of pie sampling happening too.

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Discriminate my H20

I have beef. Major beef.

Over time I’ve let it slide and calmly (and slightly annoyed) accepted it. It wasn’t until I was handed a shot glass sized cup (ok, a little exaggeration) at a local barbecue joint that ignited my festering frustration.

When I order water, give me a normal cup. That is all.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. No grownup wants a baby cup. Just because I choose to consume water instead of carbonated chemical crap doesn’t mean you hand me a flimsy plastic 4 oz cup.

In true Stephanie Tanner fashion “how rude!”.

And I believe in karma, so I promise if you give me a “normal” cup, I won’t sneak a soda. It ain’t my style.

So when you place a rinkydink cup in my hand that holds 3 gulps, I’m going to ask for the same cup other customers get. And if its a problem, I might just bring my own.

BYOC.

 

scolding

Reservation Rules

My co-worker came across some seriousness on The Roosevelt’s site that got me cracking up … yes, this is real.

RESERVATIONS

Please call us at (804)658-1935 to make a reservation. You can most easily reach us after 4pm Tuesday-Saturday.

We have exactly 36 seats in our dining room. We leave approximately 12 seats for walk-ins on a first come, first served basis. Our bar seats are also first come, first served. During prime dinner hours we often have a wait list. Our host will be able to give you a wait time approximation as you arrive.

***WE DO NOT TAKE RESERVATIONS BY EMAIL***
We don’t always get emails in a timely manner and we don’t want to miss our chance to get you a table!

WE DO TAKE PHONE CALLS
Please call during our business hours 4pm-10pm Tuesday-Saturday. If the phone line is busy or you get our answering machine, please try again. We get a large influx of calls and sometimes can’t help all of our customers at the same time.

LATE SHOW POLICY
We need one member of your party to claim your table within 5 minutes of your reservation time. We will not seat you until your whole party is present. We try to be flexible, but if your group runs late by 20 minutes or more you may lose your reservation or have your names added to the end of the WAIT LIST.

LARGE PARTIES
Because of our size it is difficult for us to seat more than 12 people at one table. We do accept large party reservations but for no more than 8 persons on Friday and Saturday nights.

TABLE LIMIT
All reservations have a 3 hour maximum time limit. If we have no other choice and have reservations to honor, we may have to ask you to finish your evening at the bar .

CHANGES TO RESERVATIONS

LESS PEOPLE
If you know your party will be less than your reservation amount, we would appreciate you letting us know ASAP, so we can use those spaces for other customers.

MORE PEOPLE
Because of our limited seating, we cannot always accommodate a party that has added members to their reservation. Please call ahead and ask if the extra seating is available.

I know, I know, the Roosevelt is noteworthy and they’ve snagged an Elby but the rules of their reservation game might be a little intense.

And I get it – they’re strict. Don’t email your reservations, don’t be 5 minutes late to your reservation time, and note the 3 hour table limit or you’ll find your sweet ass sitting at the bar.  I thought 3 hour table limits were only for Golden Corral-ers.

Whew.

TExas

Texas Trending

I started to take notice when Dickey’s Barbecue Pit appeared on Broad Street. It wasn’t until I heard Chuy’s was opening a location in Short Pump (April 9th) that I realized Texas generated restaurants are making their way to the East Coast.

This is exciting folks! Finally a [potentially] good Mexican restaurant – something that RVA’s been lacking since… well, forever.

A little background on Chuy’s .. A Texas born chain of Tex-Mex eateries, its first location opened in ATX (Austin) and served up badass burritos, beer marinated fajitas, margaritas, and a plethora of signature sauces (the Creamy Jalapeno is not to be missed). Since then, they’ve spread to 8 states including Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Finding a home in Short Pump Village will be cause for some serious hour long waits and cramped parking lots, but I’m hopeful the food will be exciting for Richmonder’s that haven’t experienced decent (or real) Tex Mex.

What is Tex-Mex you ask? Even though its definition is highly arguable, the simple explanation is this – Mexican cuisine adapted and influenced by Southwest American culture and ingredients. It seems easy right? But blending Mexican and American flavors to pump out good grub is trickier than it seems. Hearty meat sauces, liberal cheese toppings, and an emphasis on bold spices are standards for real Tex Mex.

You won’t find stale bagged tortillas or jarred salsa here. Chuy’s hand rolls tortillas (yes – all day), cranks out fresh salsa, and fire roasts Anaheim chilies for stellar Chile Rellenos. This authentic “made with love” taste is classic Tex-Mex but might spoil some taste buds (but in a good way).

Although I’m stupidly thrilled, I’m still cautious. As with many chains, its easy for decreased quality, crappy service, and flavors to diminish from the original taste.

With this being a new kid on the block, give it a try. You just might love it. Check out updates and upcoming events here … https://www.facebook.com/ChuysRVA

And a quick tip… [for god's sake] please don’t order “cheese dip”, it’s called “queso”.

Chuy’s will be at 11229 West Broad Street (in West Broad Village)

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Foodie News

A few quickies for your RVA foodies …

- Weiman’s Bakery in Shockoe Bottom closed their deliveries and production last weekend after 78 years of business.  Still looking for buyers, Richmond restaurateurs including Mint, Bottoms Up, and Street Deli RVA are now looking to other bakeries for their supply.

- Urban Farmhouse is looking to open two other locations in addition to their East Cary Street Market & Cafe.

- Burger Bach owner, Michael Ripp is eyeing space in Short Pump Village to expand.  Local eateries in the West End? Yes, please.

And, if you missed it, the Elby Awards winner list …

Fine Dining Restaurant: Lemaire
Upscale Casual: Stella’s
Neighborhood Restaurant: Kuba Kuba
New Restaurant: Deco Ristorante
Cocktail Program: The Roosevelt
Excellence in Service: Wendy Kalif of Bistro Bobette
Rising Culinary Star: Mike Yavorsky of Belmont Food Shop
Chef of the Year: Dale Reitzer of Acacia Mid-town
Restaurateur of the Year: Kendra Feather (love this girl) of Garnett’s, Ipanema and The Roosevelt

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Burger Bach

When Burger Bach (pronounced Batch) moved into Ellwood Cafe’s old digs last February, it triggered a buzz that this Carytown newbie was not just a burger joint but a gastropub that’d be serving up quality New Zealand grass fed burgers.  Like the procrastinator that I am, I waited almost a year to grab dinner here.  Shame on me.

The word, “Bach” is New Zealand’s term for vacation home so it’s no surprise the interior is small, airy, and laid back. The decor is practical with walnut colored woods, exposed ductwork, corrugated tin, and exposed brick. Aim to get here early, the dining room slowly begins to fill around 6 with hungry energy, by 7 there’s a wait.

The West Coast burger ($11), a recommendation from my server, was wonderful.  The jalapeno remoulade, bbq sauce, cheddar, bacon, and caramelized onions housed with a savory grass-fed beef patty is a kick in the mouth. Burgers are served alongside a simple mixed green salad with a tangy vinaigrette.

20130114-211027.jpgOn my next visit, I ordered up the North Lamb ($11) – a lamb burger with tzatziki, lettuce, tomato, onion, and garlic aioli.  Similar to the flavors of a lamb gyro but 100% better. Burger Bach steers clear of plain ingredients – everything here’s high quality and fresh, resulting in something (much) greater than any fast food crap. My girlfriend made an outstanding selection with the French Chick ($11) piled high with honey mustard, brie, grilled green apple (yes, grilled), turkey bacon, and caramelized onion.  The combination of these flavors in this chicken sandwich are incredibly rich and unforgettable … this is something you’d crave. It’s a must try.

Being a bun enthusiast (take that any way you’d like), , I was pleased that Burger Bach does their buns right.  Fresh (baked next door at Ellwood’s) and perfectly doughy, these buns fit the burger in a simple, complementary way unlike some that overpower in size.

Besides delicious burgers (around 14, including lamb, chicken, and veggie), Burger Bach serves up mussels, shrimp, and oysters served traditional or jazzed up with exotic additions like red curry, ginger, green chile, lemongrass, coconut, lime, & cilantro.  Sexy, right?  Fries are just as enticing as they’re served with an lineup of dipping sauces like cilantro, roasted onion, and spicy dijon.

Being the foodie I am, I’ve grazed other reviews and comments. I haven’t seen one that disliked the food however, the only negative comments came from the folks that thought Burger Bach was a pretentious “burger boutique” established nickel and dime customers for some organic-smorganic food.  Go ahead and nickel and dime me … I’d rather feast upon a delicious burger that than force myself to order a Hardee’s Hot Mess (no, this is not on the menu).

My first time here was pretty damn perfect, I was so impressed that I went again (3 days later) and had the same experience. Burger Bach didn’t let me down … it’s consistently good and straightforward with crowd pleasing grub and burgers that are done unbelievably right.

Burger Bach on Urbanspoon

RVA

2012: In a bite

Congratulations! Since we’ve all clung on and averted the 12/21/12 faux-doomsday-Myan-Fiasco and entered the New Year, I thought it’d be a little cliche and appropriate to give a few shout-outs to some noteworthy (and not so noteworthy) Richmond dishes, drinks, and the restaurants that serve it.

lamplighter1

1. Best Coffee – Lamplighter.  Besides serving stellar coffee and chai lattes so good that’ll make Starbucks taste like an artificial imitation, Lamplighter sells their beans so you can bring the goodness home. Bravo.

2. Best Fried Green Tomatoes – This one is tricky since Richmond’s a die-hard Southern cuisine mecca.  I say Julep’s, my girlfriend says Helen’s.  We still bicker about it.

3. Worst restaurant in Richmond – Another tie!  Shackleford’s and Casa Grande.  Do I need to explain?  If so, let me know.

4. Best cocktails – I. Can’t. Choose. A tie between Blue Goat and Balliceaux.  Balliceaux conjures up a TOM YUM YUM – vodka & coconut rum with lemongrass syrup, fresh lemon, hot chili & ginger. On  the other hand, Blue Goat’s got a Black Buffalo with
Bourbon, Chambord, muddled blackberries, lime & cranberry juice. Read more about Balliceaux here

Helens5. Best overall restaurant – Helen’s. This place is consistent, it never lets me down and my last waitress was a hottie (and nice…bonus).  The scallops with vanilla cauliflower whip is orgasmic.  Li-ter-i-ally.

6. Best (worst) people watching – Cheesecake factory.  Ah, the mother of all chain restaurants nestled into a corner of the exquisite and refined Short Pump mall.  Get a preview of the patrons who dine here (and likely sitting next to) as you try to angrily wrangle a parking spot in the miniscule parking lot.  Come inside to wait 30 minutes for gluttonous over-sized portions that’ll cost you more than a trip to the gym. Diners here here are hungry and just got done blowing plastic at the mall.  I’ve never experienced so many people (during one sitting) complaining to management to get free food.  I was a waitress for 3 years, I know how it works (and looks like).

7. Best Mexican food – I don’t know, if you do, PLEASE let me know. Read about one of my Mexican food experiences here

20121125-105630.jpg8. Best Antipasti – Mamma Zu serves up a white bean, arugula, and squid dish that’ll make you so happy you might just ignore the shabby (not chic) interior and mediocre service. Try to get there before the big dinner rush, if they run out of it, they’re out. Read more about Mamma Zu here

9. Awkward food moment of 2012 – Yapple vs. Sweet Frog.  Carytown’s Sweet Frog location felt the heat this summer when Yapple set up shop next door.  My girlfriend and I would make a special trips (out of the lovely ‘burbs) just to sit outside and listen to the hilarious, defensive, and serious reactions to the neighboring competition. Read more about this throw-down here

10. Noteworthy Dessert – Pasture’s pecan pie infused with smoked maple and bourbon cream.  This place does a brilliant job at combining classic pecan pie with a bacon-bourbon creamy sweetness. Read more about Pasture here

Mamma Zu

Mamma Zu

At night, Mamma Zu sits on an ominous ill-lighted corner in Oregon Hill.  The windowless building looks like a uniform outlet, an adult video store, or a corner bar – take your pick.  Inside, you’ll find the decor dark, mismatched, eclectic and a large dining room full of hungry patrons.

What this restaurant lacks in decor and elegance it gains with good food.  Very good food.  The menu boasts classic (no Olive Garden crap here) Italian dishes. There’s no physical paper menus here, everything’s listed on the massive chalkboard on one wall.  Can’t see it?  Turn your head.  Your favorite dish has a big X on it?  They don’t have it, order something else.  Forget “have it your way” hospitality, Mamma Zu has customers playing their way; of course, this can make pretentious diners feel powerless, making for one interesting customer service experience.  For me, I prefer the raw un-fluffy service and ambiance centered around good food, not fancy font menus or hand stitched table linens.  If you’re open to mediocre service, no ass-kissing, and food that’ll make you melt with delight, this is your place.

My dining companions and I started with a few dishes. Not a fan of eggs or tuna, I made a pass for the eggs in tuna sauce ($5) but I quickly fell in love with the squid, bean, and arugula antipasti ($14).  After checking out other online thoughts and reviews, this was one cherished dish.  The fresh and peppery arugula paired with warm olive oil and mellow white beans and squid is amazing, nothing compares.  Also ordered Sweetbreads – my first experience and although a little chewy, I haven’t decided a yay or nay opinion but I was impressed with the mushroom/sage/wine sauce (if you think sweetbreads is sugary bread, get the real deal here). I was also pleased they serve one of my favorite nostalgic brews, Abita Purple Haze.

Main course are all served family style. After much deliberation we settled on the Branzino ($23), Lamb Sausage ($17), spaghetti & meatballs ($15), and Rockfish ($22).  A quick rundown… bone-in fish freaks me out so I passed on the Branzino, the Rockfish was incredibly mild and buttery, Spaghetti & Meatballs was simple and lovely, and the Lamb Sausage won my heart.  The lamb was spicy and full of sexy flavors (yeah, flavors can be sexy) and was paired with creamy polenta and warm white beans.  The flavors was comforting and humble.

Mamma Zu offers your choice Cannoli or Tiramisu for dessert, we were all too stuffed so we refrained.

Mamma Zu isn’t one of Richmond’s top restaurant for nothing, this place is an experience and the food is exceptional.  For me, it solidifies the ongoing admiration I have for local eateries and the servers, cooks, and team that delivers authentic deserving food.

*Side note, this place only takes cash and AMEX, don’t make a stink about it.
Mamma Zu on Urbanspoon

Coupons, Groupon’s, Living Social’s, Oh My!

someecards.com - I have a Groupon.When coupons and deal-of-the day sites are slashing prices and giving consumers incredible deals on our favorite restaurants, should we worry? Do we feel cheap and tacky if we use them? How do these affect the restaurants we love?

I recently checked the mail and was set into a mini-panic when I saw a $10 off coupon from a local (non-chain) restaurant I adore.  I’ve been here, this place was great, and also made a mention in Richmond magazine as a best new restaurant.  $10 off?!  Were they going out of business?  Was the owner having financial “difficulties”? Then I stopped my obsessive over-analyzation and thought, maybe just they’re encouraging more traffic and giving everyone an incentive to come check them out. What a comfortable thought to keep my wandering mind at bay.  I have yet to use it but if the time is right and I’m jonesing for this place, I’ll bring it.

A few weekends ago, I uncovered a Juleps Groupon and with one easy transaction, I’d gotten “$20 for $40 Worth of Upscale Southern Cuisine”…direct words. I know Groupon and other daily discount websites are here to make us buy, buy, buy promoting an economic boost while also making consumers pleased. But, I always wonder when you show that cut coupon, living social deal, or whatever it is that lowers the bill, what are your servers REALLY thinking?  I know what I would think if I had seen this back in my waitress days…

“These damn cheap-o’s.  Now I’m screwed out of any tip whatsoever.”

Even when I coyly flash my Groupon’s, I try to convey some sort of look to reassure my server that I fully intend on tipping towards the full amount of my meal and drink – coupon or not.

*tip on what the full bill would have been, not the Groupon price*

Deal or no deal, I’ll still go eat at my favorite places, but I wonder what kind of crowd these coupons bring in.  The suburbanites that travel to the city for a “high-end supper”?  The under-tippers that adore the mark down to the point that they’ll skimp on a well deserved gratuity?  Or maybe, good people just want a good deal on good grub.
I’ll stick with the latter and hope that everyone loves a discount, the servers don’t mind the slight annoyance, and the restaurant loves the ramped-up business.

someecards.com - Please stop using coupons, I will pay the difference.....

Cheers to Fall Beers

If you haven’t noticed, Fall has made itself known (and feels like on its way to Winter).

I can’t get enough of Fall weather, being my 2nd actual “Fall” in Richmond, I still “oooh” and “aaahhhh” at the colored foliage.

Autumn aromas of warm cinnamon, pumpkin, and pecan are becoming beloved flavors that are gracing fall menus everywhere. There’s pumpkin this and butternut squash that, and I love it.  Where better to infuse these flavors than into beer?

I’ve really been a sucker for Fall brews.  So much that I quickly search the drink menu at every restaurant and scour my local grocery store weekly for Autumn inspired beers.

I’ve found a few that are worth a mention…

Shipyard Pumpkin Ale (Portland, ME)

I discovered this one at Galaxy Diner (they have pumpkin milkshakes, too).  This was on the lighter side of all the other pumpkin brews I’ve had.  It has slight and sweet pumpkin flavors, not much spice with a smooth and mellow finish.

Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale (Boston, MA)

This rich copper-colored ale has bold spicy notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove.  Not an overpowering pumpkin flavor, spice reigns in this beer.

Abita Pecan Harvest Ale (Abita Springs, LA)

Although it’s not pumpkin, this Louisiana brew deserves a mention.  I found this 8 pack at World Market (love the place).  This mild light-colored ale has an overall nutty notes.  Yes, that sounds hilarious.

Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale (Easton, PA)

I found this 4 pack at World Market for $10.99 (still cheaper than ordering at a restaurant).  This ale had the strongest pumpkin flavors so far, a nice aftertaste but a tiny bitter. Almost like a pumpkin pie in a bottle.

Cheers!

Fair Play

The Virginia State Fair has come atlas! This annual affair is one event you can fully embrace the art of people watching and glorified gluttony. The State Fair is filled with the types of people you’d only encounter at….a State Fair.

Besides the colorful crowd, the State Fair is a joyous occasion for any foodie and fatty alike.  With fried this and breaded that, there’s no reason to calorie count when it comes this ample smorgasbord comes to town once a year.

Last night, my girlfriend, her brother and sister all made the short drive to the Meadow Event Park. I was surprised and impressed by the parking organization, short lines at the ticket booths (and rides, too), and overall cleanliness – much unlike the last South Texas State Fair I’d been to back home.

After purchasing our tickets, we immediately flocked to the food stands and settled on the one with the longest line…of course.  Here, options ranged from fried mac n’ cheese to pulled pork parfaits (pork, bbq sauce, and mashed potatoes) and doughnut burgers.  I was feeling a little plain and stuck to the simplicity of a turkey sandwich (freshly sliced) and fries. I was lucky enough to get a bite of doughnut burger from my gf’s sister.  Impressed and attracted by the combination of the sweet doughnut, the saltness of the beef, and the crunch of the bacon, it’s no surprise why this artery clogging food is only meant to eat at the Fair.

After taking a walk around the park (definitely not in hopes to burn any calories), we headed indoors to check out the random vendors and exhibitions. After getting our share of people watching we moseyed over to the fluorescent Midway and ended the night by riding the swings.

The night couldn’t be any better, the food any greasier, or the crowd too eccentric.

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Grub on the Streets

This random Glen Allen Dollar Tree sighting was too good not to post.

You got it right, $1 steak at Dollar Tree.

I don’t know if it’s the waving banner, the frightening visualization of where I think Dollar Tree would acquire steak, or the $1 price tag that’s got me asking “does Dollar Tree even sell groceries?”.

(Comments are open for this one)

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The Mill on MacArthur

The Lakeside area has become one of my new favorites. It reminds me of a quiet, older part of Dallas that I adored as a child.

Lakeside, Washington Park, Bellevue District…whatever you want to call it, is perfectly laid back. Not to mention it’s one of those up-and-coming neighborhoods that has been here all along. I love when the usual becomes suddenly “hip”.

My girlfriend’s mom had raved about the Mill and had urged us to try it out for ourselves. So one Sunday, we did, and we took her mom with us.

The Mill’s got a family friendly vibe but won’t scare away hipsters, the gays, or anyone else that doesn’t find monogrammed initials on the back of their car “cute”. The food is home-style, no-fluff, and comforting with a fresh focus on local farmed ingredients. The grub is great and the chill atmosphere is honest and welcomed.

The ample menu ranges from pizzas and wraps to shrimp and grits. Scanning the menu, you’ll wish that you could sample just about everything it has to offer.

The three of us started with the Basil Hummus Plate ($8). It’s not your standard (and bland) pita and hummus dish. This plate’s packed with onions, roasted red peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, warm pita, pepperoncinis, and feta. Ah yi yi. This could be a meal in itself. It was fresh, light, and perfect.

For my main dish, I chose a Blackened Chicken Wrap ($8). It wasn’t surprisingly spectacular but I did enjoy it. The lettuce was fresh, crunchy, and un-wilted. Much unlike other “wraps” I’ve had. I chose sweet potato fries for a side and was very pleased. They were extra crispy, salty, and sweet. I adore sweet potato fries.

My girlfriends mom chose the Shrimp and Grits ($15). They were fantastic- the shrimp were pleasantly large and the grits (the real deal from Hanover County) looked perfect.

We decided to all split a slice of the Peanut Butter Pie. I’m not a huge fan of peanut butter desserts (I know, what the hell is wrong with me, right?) but I was absolutely pleased with the cool and creamy dessert. It was rich with notes of pb and chocolate. Need I say more?

This place hits the spot. What can make this place even better? All the crazy specials they offer. As a kind, informative blogger, you’ll find it all listed here (also visit them at http://themillrva.com/)…

Sunday, 5-close- Discounted specialty burgers, $3/glass house reds and whites, $1.50 selected beers

Monday, All Day- $1 off all vegetarian menu items

Tuesday, 6- close- Family style pasta night (pasta, salad, and bread- feeds 2-3) $15- $22 PLUS $12/bottle selected wine.

Wednesday- $5 order of wings (couple of flavors to chose from)

Happy Hour, M-F 3-6- $1 off all Appetizers, $4 Flatbread Pizza with single topping, $3 Glass of Table Red or White Wine, $1.50 PBR, High Life, Genesee Cream Ale, or Lionshead Pilsner

*Until August 31st, Mon-Fri 11-3, Buy 1 item get another item of equal or lesser value 1/2 off.*

Enjoy!
The Mill on MacArthur on Urbanspoon

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Froyo Throw Down

I’ve been attempting to venture out of my cool cave-like house and into the hot hell that has become Richmond summer weather.

Of course, summertime hunger cravings kick in and my frozen yogurt addiction is in full swing. I’ve hit just about every frozen yogurt eatery in RVA, but it wasn’t until I revisited Carytown last week that I realized there’s a newbie to the froyo clan. And its location is uncomfortably priceless.

Yapple Frozen Yogurt is Cary Street’s latest addition, and it’s [literal] neighbor is Richmond’s frozen yogurt champ, Sweet Frog. Close competition in the most literal way. What a way to shake things up for die hard Sweet Frog-ians. I love it.

The newbie is hilarious to some, disrespectful to others, and just plain confusing to a few. Just sit outside and listen to the passers-bys who’ve seen the rival store front. You’ll hear things that will bring on the LOL’s (unless you have a minimal sense of humor) like…

“Yapple? Next to Sweet Frog? How rude.”

“Just what we need…ANOTHER frozen yogurt place.”

“How could they do this?!”

“Hm, Yapple? Next time let’s go there?”

I pride myself on being an avid people watcher and this recent experience I had outside of Yapple almost beats a an hour of people watching at the airport. People are flustered; their expressions were priceless.

Now that I’m done reporting the emotional distress of Richmonder’s reaction to Yapple’s new residence, here’s the scoop (pun not intended…at all).

This place is cool. It’s spacious, clean, and modern. The ceiling looks like a gay bar light show, with oversized colored bulbs flashing wildly and changing colors at every second. There’s ample seating which also stretches outside, with adirondackchairs and small tables (yes, just like Sweet Frog).

As I made my way to the yogurt machines, I noticed plenty of small sample cups. This is a double edged sword. You get the option of testing the (huge) variety of flavors before committing but, you also get the folks who don’t understand the concept of sampling and refuse to move away from the machines as they tongue their samples. This is annoying, but luckily I don’t mind pushing my way through mindless people glued to the ground slurping on sample cups.

I was stupidly excited to see the variety of flavors Yapple has to offer. They even had my favorite, Taro. I haven’t had Taro since I lived in Houston. Yay for me. I didn’t count, but I’d say Yapple had 12-14 flavors available from Salted Pretzel to Blueberry Tart.

The toppings were impressive. Much better than Sweet Frog, Very Berry, and Mix It. They have a plethora of fruits, crushed candy, nuts, syrups, etc. What impressed me was their 3 different types of Mochi- original, green tea, and strawberry. Another perk? Cookie dough balls and real cookie dough. Some could say there are too many toppings, I say try them all out- not at the same time of course.

Compared to other fro-yo places, the consistency of Yapple’s yogurt is much creamier than the icier texture of the others. I actually prefer the icier consistency of “the others” but Yapple’s ample flavors and delicious toppings win me over.

I recommend checking this place out, it’s a little hip being the new kid on the block and all but I’m sure it wont disappoint you…unless you’re highly offended by a little taste-driven competition.