Fire, Flour & Fork’s Carnaval Latino

This year’s Fire, Flour & Fork food festival brought chefs, food personalities, foodies and “the food curious” from across the country to the Richmond, Virginia region to explore the best of Richmond’s food culture and history. The Carnaval Latino, a street festival held on the block of East Clay Street in front of the Valentine Museum, as well as inside the museum itself, showcased the region’s Latino heritage. From food and drinks to music, dancing, fashion and history, this event was a delicious and fun-filled evening.

First, let’s talk food. Some of Richmond’s best restaurants serving Mexican and South American specialties were represented, including Pao’s Bakery, Bocata Latin Grill, Shelly’s Comida, Flora Restaurant, Empanadas Market and more. From shrimp ceviche to lamb tacos and the most delicious tres leches cake I’ve ever had, the food was the star of the show!

There was also plenty of wine from Spain and other regions, as well as Steam Bell Beer Works, which had a delicious stout brewed with Mexican spices.

The entertainment was varied, from traditional dancing of Mexico to Colombian salsa dancing. A fashion show from a promising fashion designer who is only sixteen years old was a highlight! The Valentine Museum also had an exhibit of Latino heritage in the Richmond region, which was filled with unique artifacts and history.

My mom and I attended the Carnaval Latino to celebrate our birthdays (hers is two days before mine at the end of October), and it was a festive night out with plenty of great food and entertainment. I hope Fire, Flour & Fork does another Carnaval Latino at next year’s festival.

Advertisements

Fire, Flour & Fork is Coming Up!

Richmond’s annual festival “for the food curious,” Fire, Flour & Fork takes place November 2-5 in and around the city. This fun and informative festival highlights the city’s and the region’s food history and local ingredients. From signature dining events to classes and discussions, there’s plenty to discover as we celebrate the Richmond region’s cuisine.

This year’s festival features a wine tour and luncheon at Barboursville Vineyards, a “Liquid Launch” sponsored by the Richmond Beer Trail, a Street Art and Street Food Tour and much more. Local chefs and food experts like bbq master Tuffy Stone of Q Barbecue, John Maher of The Rogue Gentleman and Yaki, Jason Alley of Pasture and Comfort and many more will be cooking and discussing foods and beverages from around the world and from right in our backyard in the Richmond region.

If your interests lie in Richmond’s booming craft beverage scene, you won’t want to miss Sake at Yaki, the Gathered and Grown Cider Dinner with local restauranteur Joy Crump at Blue Bee Cider or Mezcal: Time, Place & Family at Flora on Friday, Nov. 3. Saturday’s Turning Tea on its Head at The Jefferson features tea cocktails, and Sunday’s Put a Shine on Your Holiday Cocktails with Belle Isle Craft Spirits will show you how to class up your festive drinks. Sunday’s Bartender Battle at Brenner Pass is a can’t miss event too!

The Third Annual Dabney Dinner, honoring the legacy of 18th century Richmond caterer, restauranteur and barman John Dabney, features remarks from Michael Twitty, culinary historian and author of The Cooking Gene, an exploration of food, family history and the history of the American south.

Saturday’s class pass offers a kickoff talk from James Beard award-winning chef and author Gabrielle Hamilton, then splits into concurrent sessions divided into Fire, Flour and Fork. Sessions on corn as an ingredient, Ethiopian spices, heritage grains, specialty breads and much more fill out the packed schedule.

Tickets for some of the most popular signature events have already sold out, so be sure to get your tickets early. Special “signature event and class pass” and other combination options are available this year.

photo 5 (2)

Montross Oktoberfest & Port Royal Antique Shopping

My husband and I got a rare kid-free weekend this weekend, so we headed to a part of Virginia we rarely visit – the Northern Neck. Our first stop was Port Royal, a tiny town on the banks of the Rappahannock River with a history that is long and colorful. Beginning as a colonial port town, Port Royal was also where Abraham Lincoln’s killer, John Wilkes Booth, hid out before being captured and hanged for his crime. All this information and more can be learned at the Port Royal Museum of American History, where you can also view artifacts from the local area’s history and a selection of White House china sets.

The Port Royal Trading Post has a wide selection of antiques and vintage finds, from rustic homegoods and antique books to tobacco memorabilia, movie posters and props and more.

After visiting Port Royal, we crossed the Rappahannock River and headed to the tiny town of Montross, stopping in another antique shop on the way. The annual Oktoberfest, held on the grounds of the Inn at Montross, features live music, wine tastings from Ingleside Vineyards, delicious seafood and German fare and crafts from local vendors. We had fried oyster sandwiches with cole slaw and potato wedges, and did a wine tasting before checking out the local vendors.

On our way back home, we stopped at Red Barn Antiques in Colonial Beach for some flea market shopping. We found this amazing mid-century bar, but alas, had nowhere to put it so we had to pass it by!

IMG_0402

 

Dumpster Diving Find

I’m not afraid of a little dirt if it means I can find something vintage and amazing I can clean up and use in my home. Lately I’ve had a couple of awesome dumpster finds:

IMG_0382

This antique Dubl Handi washboard was made by the Columbus Washboard Co., an Ohio-based company that has been manufacturing washboards since 1895. My guess is that this particular washboard was made around the early to mid 1940’s. It looks great in my kitchen now, and will look even better when we redo our kitchen to have more of a rustic-industrial look.

This awesome Nordic Ware bundt cake pan was found intact, in the original box, with the original paper liner complete with recipes. It seems to be from the late 1960’s or early 1970’s, and looks like it’s only been used once or twice.

I gave it a try by baking my favorite vanilla pound cake in it (recipe by King Arthur Flour). The pan still works like a charm, and the cake was delicious topped with Aldi’s blackberry jam and whipped cream!

What are your favorite dumpster diving finds? Do you have any favorite bundt cake recipes?

Mid-Atlantic Fall Food Events

The weather is getting cooler, there’s pumpkin spice everywhere and I had to break out my hoodie the other day. Fall is on its way, and the cooler weather is a great time to attend some foodie events. Here’s what’s going on in the Mid-Atlantic region this fall:

  •  42nd Annual Virginia Wine Festival – Oct. 14 & 15, Oronoco Bay Park, Alexandria, VA – Taste the best Virginia wines and ciders at this long-running wine festival complete with a Virginia Oyster Pavilion. General admission and VIP admission both include a tasting glass and unlimited tastings of Virginia wines and ciders. Some of Virginia’s best wineries are represented, such as Barboursville, Chateau Morrisette, CrossKeys Vineyard, Horton Vineyards, Jefferson Vineyards and Prince Michel.
  • 5th Annual Craft Spirits Celebration – Sept. 14, Houston Hall, New York, NY – “The best spirits tasting event of the year” takes place this weekend in the West Village. Offering dozens of distillers, food pairings, live music and more, this event promises a good time.
  • New Kitchens on the Block (NKOTB) 3 at Mess Hall – Oct. 8, Mess Hall, Washington, DC – Try signature dishes from 11 of the District’s best new restaurants. Cocktails featuring Catoctin Creek, Green Hat and One Eight Distilling will be offered, and VIP guests receive swag bags with plenty of super secret stuff inside!
  • Virginia Craft Beer and Wine Festival – Sept. 16, Portsmouth Pavilion, Portsmouth, VA – Craft beer from breweries such as Starr Hill, Devil’s Backbone, Center of the Universe and South Street Brewing meets cider from Bold Rock and wine from The Williamsburg Winery, Lake Anna Winery and more. This waterfront event features delicious food and unlimited tastings of beer, wine and cider.
  • Virginia Spirits Festival – Sept. 30, The Passenger Bar, Washington, DC – Explore the distilleries of Virginia at this showcase. On-site sampling and purchasing enables you to buy what you try. Discover a new favorite spirit or cocktail!
  • 2nd Annual Craft Spirits Showcase – Sept. 16, Roanoke City Market Building, Roanoke VA – Master Distillers explain their craft and introduce you to their Virginia-made spirits at this second-year event. A Battle of the Bartenders pits bar staff from across the Commonwealth against each other in the fight for the best cocktail. Unlimited tastings of Virginia craft spirits are included.
  • Cocktail Classes at Barmini by Jose Andres – Sept. 27, Oct. 10, Nov. 1 and Dec. 16, Barmini, Washington, DC – Learn techniques and recipes for unique cocktails at acclaimed Barmini. Tickets for this interactive experience are extremely limited, so purchase early! Some sessions are already sold out.
  • Taste of DC – Oct. 7 & 8, The Festival Grounds at RFK Stadium, Washington, DC – This food, beer and wine festival literally has it all.  65+ of the region’s best restaurants, a wine walk, Oktoberfest, 3 stages of live music and culinary entertainment, the 7th Annual Ben’s Chili Bowl World Chili Eating Championship, the DC Chili Cookoff and a Kid Zone make for an action-packed weekend of the best food and drinks in the region. Various VIP options let you tailor-make your experience.

If you’re a foodie, there’s plenty to do this fall on the East Coast. Enjoy!

nkotheblock4

River Rock Mason Jar

On our trip to Madison, Virginia a few weeks ago, my kids loved playing in the gorgeous stream behind our cabin. The area where the stream was located was so peaceful and tranquil, and every few minutes a butterfly or two would drift along with the water. While the kids played, my mom and dad and I roamed up and down the banks looking for interesting pieces of wood (for my dad, the woodworker) and interesting rocks (for me, for craft projects). Many of the rocks in the stream bed were the prettiest blue color, and I gathered a bunch, along with some stray pieces of birch bark.

IMG_0116

On our visit to Feed Store Antiques in downtown Madison, I came across the perfect container for my river rocks:  an antique Mason jar with a zinc lid in a beautiful blue shade.

IMG_0163

I washed the rocks, washed out the Mason jar and lid and let everything dry well, then I carefully filled the jar with the river rocks, put the lid on and voila – a gorgeous window decoration with rustic charm that brings back memories of the peaceful stream we discovered on our trip!

6178779040_IMG_1013