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Posts tagged ‘Italian food’

Beyond the Flavor: Sunday Sauce.

A few weeks ago I had the HONOR of cooking authentic Italian Sunday Sauce with Dotty Cappellino at her home along with her wife Sherry, and the ladies from Beyond the Flavor. It was an afternoon I’ll never forget, not only for the happy experience, but because it’s my first official feature for BTF. I’m proud of this piece, and hope it captures the joy, the jubilance, the unadulterated cheerfulness that makes Cappellino’s Crazy Cakes one of my favorite places on The Downtown Mall. I can’t wait to make Sunday Sauce in my own home. It won’t be as good as Dotty’s, but I’ll sure have fun trying…

2012 Best Dishes.

I ate a lot of things in 2012. But when the time came to sit down and compose my “Best Restaurants” blog, I found it wasn’t so much the restaurants I remembered as the individual dishes I ate.

Even on their best day, a restaurant can have a difficult time hitting on all cylinders. Most of the time it’s just enough to have one, shining moment. A bite so memorable, even months later, I can still recall the wide-eyed glee I felt upon eating it. So, without looking at any notes, or consulting any gluttons in my vicinity, here are my 12 best dishes of 2012. These are the bites (and brews) so scrumptious, so noteworthy, they deserve a mention, and their restaurants deserve a place on the blog’s homepage in 2013. Congratulations to all!

12. Arancini at Bella’s Italian Restaurant. Who doesn’t love risotto balls? Mozzarella cheese stuffed into risotto which is then breaded and deep fried. The orbs at Bella’s are made with LEMON risotto, which adds a nice acid and lightness on what can be a gut buster. Ever squeeze a lemon over fried calamari or shrimp? Kinda like that. You’ll want seconds. And thirds.

11. Hill and Holler put on a FANTASTIC cider tasting event at Albemarle Cider Works back in November. Cider galore, plus tasty bites from area chefs. Chef Jason Alley of Richmond’s Pasture served up a tasty morsel of smoked chicken sausage, Kentucky beer cheese, cider pickled mustard seeds on a saltine. Holy mother was it good. Every time I sip cider I wish I had this to chase it with. And did you say Pasture is soon opening a branch at Stonefield? Guess who’s going to be first in line?

10. Sushi Bar at Sakura (Hollymead Towncenter location). I have to thank foodie friends Ed and Virginia for turning me on to Chef Cho’s charms. Never have I had sushi so lovingly prepared, with quick, exact precision, and every piece fresh fresh fresh. It’s delightful and his friendly nature and wonderful conversation skills make a seat at Chef Cho’s sushi counter a wonderful experience. It seems like word is spreading! Weeknights used to resemble a desert island but as of this post, it’s full house time every time we schedule a date night. Go Chef Cho!

Delicious bites 9-7 appear here.

Scrumptious bites 6-3 appear here.

Escape Cville. Rome, Part 3.

When I was 12, my family took us to Myrtle Beach for vacation as they always did. Except that year they decided Sis and I were old enough for some culture. Amid much protest and complaints about missing “valuable beach time” we drove south, to Brookgreen Gardens, hundreds of acres of plants and statuary developed back in the 1930’s by Anna Hyatt Huntington, an artist known for bronzes.

Highly pissed, but hoping to make the best of it, I packed my new Kodak Instamatic camera, the circular one, with film resembling a roulette wheel. Figured since I was about to be bored out of my skull for several hours I might as well have a toy to play with.

Little did I know I’d begin a love affair. I vividly recall wandering the grounds in unbelievably hot, stifling humidity, shirt stuck to my back, breathing difficult. Climbing the crest of a hill to find a life-size modern bronze sculpture of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. I had delved headlong into this novel the previous summer, precocious little shit I was, understanding about every tenth word or so. Seeing this sculpture, out there in the open, displayed so prominently like a national monument, was beyond overwhelming. The conjunction of art and nature started cogs in my artist brain that up to that moment had lain dormant. I started snapping photos like mad, exploring the grounds in earnest, a hunter whose prey was statuary.

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