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 • Food & Drink  • TasteBudz Plus — March 8, 2018

TasteBudz Plus — March 8, 2018

Let’s take a quick look at what’s going on around town – food wise, that is.

SMOKING HOT: I attended the Smoked event at the Wine Expo last week. I just want to take a minute to commend some of the food vendors that were there. Often at such events where you’re tasting small plates, it’s been my observation that some of the vendors skimp a bit on the quality of the food they’re serving. Such was not the case at Smoked. I tasted some of the best foods I’ve had in my life. Here are a few of the places that I stopped to sample. The food was so good I was tempted to pull up a chair and stay the evening.

Peter Chang: The folks at this popular restaurant with locations in Short Pump and in Scott’s Addition were serving shredded smoked duck and smoked sausage. Both were excellent, but the thing that I could have eaten a ton of was the shrimp wonton in spicy sauce. It had a delightful kick to it. So good.

Die Küche: I met Veronika Hendrickson who runs this local pop-up restaurant and catering firm. She was serving the most fantastic desserts that I’ve ever had. If you want to impress your friends, let Veronika plan a dinner beyond compare.

Empanadas Market: Clara Dutari creates the tastiest empanadas which she sells online and at

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local farmers markets. Had I not been so filled up by the time I found her station, I’m sure I could have cleaned out her supply.

Sub Rosa: There was only one thing that I wanted from this amazing little Church Hill bakery and that was bread. Oh and more bread. I sampled quite a bit. Some of it I put on a plate , took it over to the Publix station and added some of the grocery chain/event sponsor’s olive oil. What a combination. Publix was also serving a delicious Asian taco.

My only complaint is that I filled up too quickly. I do have one other complain, which I shouldn’t voice, but I think for an event that costs nearly a hundred bucks per head (with accompanying stomach), there should have been more wine stations. I was at a wine expo and never got any wine. Also, while I can understand offering just a small tasting pour at the walk around event, this was promoted as a dinner and I think that had the pours been more generous, there wouldn’t have been crowds standing around trying to get enough pours to actually taste the wine. There. That’s my complaint for 2018.

FAN COOL: Well, it’s about time. Breweries have been going up all over town, but until now (officially this Saturday), there was no brewery in the Fan. However, that all changes when Brad and Brittany Cooper, owners of Steam Bell Beer Works, located in Chesterfield, open their Canon & Draw Brewery in the Fan this Saturday. The brewery, located at 1527 W. Main Street, will have its grand opening beginning at noon.

MORE BREWS NEWS: I spoke with the folks over Pies and Pints, a cool pizza and craft beer place, the other day. They tell me that their new spot, at 2035 W. Broad Street should be opening in April. I toured the restaurant recently. It really looks like it’s going to be a great, fun and lively restaurant. But why do they have a White Elephant on their wall?

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HOT DOG: Yes, you heard me – Hot Dogs. Where do you go to enjoy your favorite dog? Well, Richmond Navigator is starting a contest today. You tell us where your favorite restaurant is for a good hot dog and you just might win a valuable gift certificate to a local restaurant. Just go to, submit your online form and voila! We do the rest, which might include picking your name at random to win a couple of free meals.

FRUGAL FOODIE: This week’s bargain find takes us to the far West End and to the Pickel Barrel. If you haven’t had a chance to check this place out, you really should,, especially if you’re a fan of great down south home cooking. The folks at the Pickel Barrel have just started doing a Happy Hour, from 3 to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. There are some good values on beer and well drinks. And their appetizers are $2 off during those hours. Here’s another kinda cool bargain they run every day from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. – Bloody Marys and Mimosas for just $3.

WEEKEND MUSIC: Here are our picks for listening to some great music this weekend:

Friday, March 9

Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen – 7 p.m. The Rock & Roll Jubilee – This fantastic show features The Taters – You do not want to miss it. Honest, you really don’t.

Rare Olde Times – 8 p.m. – Cindy Jennings and Thensome. Cindy is the owner and she’s been making great music at Rare Old Times since before I got my first liver spot.

Saturday, MARCH 10

Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen – 7 p.m. The Rock & Roll Jubilee

Iron Horse Restaurant – 9 p.m. Kari Smith will be appearing at Ashland’s premier spot for great food and live music.

Rare Olde Times – 8 p.m. The Mashup is a very entertaining group that do everything from the tunes from the fifties to the modern hits on the radio today.

JJS GRILLE – 8 p.m. If you’re a fan of British rock, you[re going to absolutely love English Chanel.

Sunday, March 11

Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen – 2:30 p.m. The Rock & Roll Jubilee

Okay, that’s all he wrote for this week. Send us your restaurant news, Frugal Foodie finds, weekend music calendar or just a little note to say hi. Email us at


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