Sunday, October 28, 2012


Oh, snap! It's time for the first RVAdventurer post ever.

So what is RVAdventurer? (Note: RVAdventurer is not to be confused with RV Adventurer, which is about peeps doin' it up traveling around the good ol' US of A in their RVs...which is cool I guess, but not the same thing. At all.) RVAdventurer is a place for me to document my life in Richmond, VA, or "RVA" for those in the know. If you're a local, you probably recognize my logo, which is a pimped up mLeinked version of those bumper stickers that are EVERYWHERE in this city. My boyfriend and I finally got our mitts on our very own personal copies, so our cars are now the proud bumper-displayers of stickers of their very own. We've been trying to get these stickers for months and finally came across them at the Folk Festival. Woot. And that's what got the gears turning for RVAdventurer.

Jer and I have lived in Richmond for just over a year, although the first 12 months only half count because we were too scared to leave our apartment building half the time to enjoy life in the River City. However, after moving to the coveted Fan/Carytown/Museum District area about 2 months ago, we are ten bazillion times happier (and safer), and are finally seeing what it's like to be able to walk to a market, bar, festival, or restaurant without worrying about getting shot or mugged for the better 99.99999% of the commute. Woot.

But since we've lived here for a bit, we've discovered some sweet noms, green spaces, awesome annual events, and just unique aspects of Richmond that we love. So while I'll share new things that we find as we go, I figured I'd share what we've already come to love and look forward to in good ol' RVA. After making a mega list that grew and grew, I finally decided to break it down into some categories, including where to eat, shop, play, drink, and visit. And if you know me even a smidgen bit, you know where I'm going to start: with the grub. These aren't exactly listed in any specific order, but they are vaguely reminiscent of the order of my super-all-time-faves to my pretty-sweet-faves, as they're mostly in the order that they came to mind. So without further ado.

RVAdventurer: Where to Eat

  • Carytown Sushi   Oh Carytown Sushi, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…amazing tea…cozy atmosphere…super cute pink-octopus-drawn-on-the-chalkboard…mini Connect-Fours on the tables…oh, and half-off (most) sushi on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 5-7. Yes. Half. Everything is delicious, but the more unique rolls I like that I don’t think I’ve seen elsewhere are the seaweed salad roll and the sweet potato roll. So. So. Good. And affordable. Even Jeremy approves! (On a side note, all the wait staff know him as “5-Cucumber-Rolls-Please guy.” He gets that almost almost every week. One time he got 4 cucumber rolls and a carrot roll and I thought the waitress was going to die of shock. However, I encourage being a bit more adventurous because everything is awesome!)

  • Selba   This isn’t particularly dude-friendly, but this is my number one go-to spot when I have girl friends come to town. The portions are on the small side, but I haven’t eaten anything that caused me to say “Man, I wish I had gotten something else…” and I’ve tried a LOT. They have a pretty big selection of vegetarian and vegan options, plus some really interesting cocktails. I believe it’s characterized as “new American” food, but I think of it as just “really really awesomely good food.” If you like seafood, the scallops are ree-donk-u-lous. Plus, they always do fun little extras for special days (Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc.) that include freebies like champagne and/or roses. Nothin’ like feeling’ extra special.

  • Can Can   I finally got to try this place out for brunch last weekend and it was fantastic. During the wee morning hours of the workweek, it’s just small pastries and coffee noms, but they also have legit fancy French food at lunch, dinner, and Sunday Brunch. It’s definitely not an everyday place (pricey McPricerson for my budget), but during our brunch visit, Jer was able to find some manly-food options (potato sausage omelet), and I had both a fig-and-goat-cheese crepe and caprese cocktail that were amazing. Plus, you get free bread (who doesn’t like free?), and the cherry-almond bread is stupid good. If you like spicy, you can also give the Devil’s Bloody Mary a shot, which even Jer said was almost too spicy. I know, right?

  • The Boathouse   This bad boy has multiple locations, but I’ve only been to the one in Rocket’s Landing, which has an awesome patio space that overlooks the river. We almost always go on Thursdays for happy hour and half-off-pizza-night. My faves are the pear-pistachio and the crab-asparagus versions, but even their plain cheese is quite yummy. Plus, for $6, it’s a STEAL. If you’re feeling snazzy, lush, and 21+, I also recommend the Blood Orange Mimosa…I’m pretty sure they send someone to Florida to pick an orange direct from the tree to squeeze into my glass because it’s the BEST ORANGE JUICE EVER TO APPEAR IN A COCKTAIL. Seriously. 

  • Station 2   This is definitely dude-approved, and is Jer’s number 1 go-to spot for good beer and even better burgers, especially if we have friends from out of town that are a mixed-crowd in the gender category since the food appeals to an array of tastes. It’s an old converted firehouse on Main Street halfway between downtown and Rocket’s Landing that serves up gourmet burgers with delicious sides. Some burgers are more expected, while some are…not (peanut butter and banana burger anyone?) My favorite is the BBQ Barrista, and I almost always get their soup of the day for my side, which is unfailingly super yummy, but their salads and fried green beans also top my list if I’m feeling adventurous. The beer selection is pretty good (and always changing), and they even have “adult milkshakes” if you actually manage to have room (hah!) at the end of your meal for something extra scrumptious. (They also serve non-alchy versions for the dry folks out there, too. Half the time, I prefer the virgin versions, but it’s nice to have the happy juice option for…“those” days.)

  • Bottoms Up   Bottoms up, bottoms up. Let me fill your cup…Nope, sorry, this aint a drinkin’ place. But if you like pizza—and I mean real pizza with big puffy awesome crust, tons of cheese, and mega-amazing toppings—this place is for you. Plus, if you like trains (Sheldon Cooper anyone?), it gets bonus points because this puppy sits right under the RR tracks downtown. (Honestly, it’s always so packed you hardly even notice a 50-ton passenger train sail over you, but it’s an extra piece that makes this place different.) The pizza selection runs from simple and delicious to decadent and amaze-balls. That’s pretty much all there is to say because it’s just that good. Oh, and if you go, make sure to take note of the indicators on the wall where the owners marked the height of the river when she flooded yeeeeeears ago. I was shocked how high it was. Nuts! (Or should I say…Pizza! Too far?)

  • Weezie’s Kitchen   This is a recent discovery of ours since moving to our new apartment, and we’re smitten/obsessed/going to get fat because of this place. I only have one word for you: Mac-n-Cheese. (Is that technically two words? Or even three? I don’t know.) Honestly, I think this may be the best MNC I’ve ever had. I’ve tried other items on the menu that were good, but I’ve pretty much just come to the realization that no matter how good something else is, I always think “I should have just gotten the mac-and-cheese.” It’s heavy-duty stuff though, so watch out! The dinner-sized portion would probably feed me for 3 meals. Even as a side to something else—forget it. Too much food! Luckily, however, it comes as an a-la-cart side—Huzzah! When I go, that’s all I get. I order a $3 side of mac-n-cheese. And I can barely finish it. On Saturdays or Sundays, if we go for brunch, I also get either a mimosa or bloody Mary (both quite strong) for an additional $3. It’s the best $6 you can spend on brunch. If you’re feeling wealthy, toss in another $3 cocktail and you are good to go ‘til dinnertime. So. Good. You’re welcome.

  • Bev’s   Ok, ok, teeeechnically this is an ice cream place, but I consider ice cream/gelato/sorbet to be its own food group on the new-and-improved mLe Food Pyramid. This is a favorite of mine in the summer if I’m a good girl and save some room after hitting up Carytown Sushi (see above) since it’s about 20 feet further up the street (but let’s be real. That seldom happens because I'm a sushi-pig so I have to make a special trip at a later time instead. Oh darn.) They have many a permanent flavor, but my faves are the ever-changing rotating specials, which they post to their Facebook page daily, so you can check ahead of time if you want. If you’re lucky enough to be there on a day when the have Basil, Ginger, Pumpkin Cheesecake, or even Sweet Corn (I swear—it’s really REALLY good), feel free to do a happy dance and order a pint to-go. Their dairy-deliciousness (and non-dairy versions too!) are so good, heavy, and creamy, that I always only get a kiddie size and have plenty for my taste, but you can go all out if you prefer. Plus, they offer free samples, which I pretty much have to try one-each-of before hand just to make sure, so my belly is already on its way to satiation. And your could be too…right…now…Nom.

Okeydoke! That sums up the list-makers in the food category so far. Sorry I don't have pictures for each, but a lot of them come out dark and dreary since the lighting in most of these places is a bit on the low side. I'll update any good ones I get in the future (because you know I'm gonna go to each of these numerous times over the next few months). I'll also add any new scrumptious find we come across. Cheers to that!

What about you all? Any amazing restaurants in the RVA that you're digging lately? After writing this post I really REALLY want a sweet potato roll...

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