Welcome to the new 2018 version of Tastebudz Plus. It’s chock full of local food news, shared dining experiences, plus a weekend calendar of events (food and otherwise) that you don’t want to miss. We also are introducing a new feature that we like to call The Frugal Foodie. So, let’s get started.
OPEN WIDE AND SAY AHHH: The new Havana 59 has opened in the West End. What a welcome addition this place is. Owners, James and Sue Lee have done an amazing job of creating the feel of the Shockoe Bottom location, but with a West End appeal. Since it’s almost impossible to teach a West Ender to parallel park, this version of the Cuban-themed restaurant, located in the Gold’s Gym Plaza at 8902 W. Broad Street, is perfect.
Jessica Halasz, a manager and events coordinator for the restaurant says that already a lot of regulars at the original location are discovering the new restaurant. I had an opportunity to sample several dishes at a special media dinner recently and I gotta say it was all good. My favorite appetizer is the Cuban Nachos, which features Beef picadillo or grilled chicken, melted cheese, onions, peppers, black beans, jalapenos, sour cream and cilantro. Instead of corn chips, they serve this tasty dish with plantain chips. Excellent!
THE CHIPS ARE UP: Speaking of chips, I was out in Powhatan the other afternoon and stopped in at The Local PVA Restaurant & Bar at 1795 South Creek One. They have a fantastic happy hour, which features a variety of discounted appetizers, too. Someone at the bar told me that their nachos were great. They were. My favorite thing about this appetizer was the chips. They make ‘em themselves and they are perfect. Much better than the standard out-of-a-bag chips that you get in many restaurants. The chili and salsa were very good, too.
A SWEET DEAL: Right across the street from The Local is the Sweet Shop Donut Café (1800 South Creek One). You may already know how much I love this place. Great food, delicious donuts. Did you know they have a big drawing coming up offering a chance to win a dinner certificate to Capital Ale House? Next time you’re in the Sweet Shop, just enter to win. Because of the recent spate of bad weather, they’ve extended the drawing until the end of February. So, you have plenty of time to get out there, enjoy a cup of the best coffee in Powhatan and enter to win.
GOOCHLAND GOODNESS: My little road trip took me from Powhatan to Goochland and the Courthouse Market & Grill at 2962 River Road W., in Goochland Courthouse. I love this little place. Amin Rayess and his wife, Kari, run the small, cozy restaurant, which is open for breakfast and lunch from Monday through Saturday. Amin used to run a pizza place in Short Pump, so that’s on the menu, gut there’s much more including calzones, Cuban sandwiches, and, says Amin, “really good burgers.” He also tells me that he offers some comforting winter-weather soups this time of year.
The market part of the place offers a nice variety of local products. You really do need to check it out.
LOW COUNTRY HIGH: I discovered a new place this week that I absolutely have got to try in the very near
future. It’s Soulveur Bistro, located at 9545 Amberdale Drive just off Hull in Chesterfield County. I had a chance to chat with executive chef Kim Garrett, marketing
manager, Kelsie McDaniels and owner, Curtiss Stancil during my visit. The menu, Chef Kim tells me, is Low Country and Cajun inspired and features such delicacies as lump meat crab cakes, mustard-fried catfish and fried cheese grits with country ham and red eye gravy. Everything on the menu sounds amazing.
Curtiss also operates Anniebells Restaurants at several golf clubs in the Hampton Roads area as well at Dogwood Trace Golf Course in Petersburg. His CurtMont Global Services, Inc. also provides the food concessions at Chesterfield’s River City Sportsplex.
FRUGAL FOODIE: I’ll admit it. I’m cheap. I’m always looking for a happy hour special or some type of daily food deal whenever I go out. So, I figured that you might be interested in hearing some of my finds. I have two to share with you this week:
City Dogs at has one of the best Happy Hours in town. From 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, rail drinks and domestic bottles are just two bucks a piece and on Mondays, their Richmond original hot dog with chili, mustard and onion is just a buck. You can’t do any better especially considering how great that dog is.
My second choice for frugal foodiness this week is the Grill at Libbie and Patterson (5724 Patterson Ave.) If you’re a raw bar lover (and oysters are, well, you know), you’re going to have a hard time finding a better deal than they offer on their raw oysters every day during Happy Hour (3 to 7 p.m.). How about oysters for $8 a dozen? A pound of shrimp is just $10. They have some really good drink prices, too.
AND NOW – THE PLUS PART: Here are a couple of weekend events that sound good to me:
Flight of Salt will be “Rocking at Poe’s Pub” starting at 10 this evening.
Also, some great music at Rare Olde Times. John Fetherston Band plays tonight at 8 and tomorrow it’s Cindy Jennings and Thensome making music. Cindy, as you probably know, is not just a fixture at this Irish pub. She’s also the owner.
And Richmond singer/songwriter Amy Henderson will be throwing a CD release party at Tin Pan tomorrow night, starting at 8.