Fall Look 1

Fall Look 1

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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!

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A new look

2017 has been a year of change, and in that vein I’ve decided to make some changes to my blog. While my obsession with culinary history continues, I wanted to open this blog up to be more of a lifestyle blog reflecting who I am and the things I love, from food and recipes to music, movies, clothes, home decor and more.

It’s no secret that I’ve been drawn to a darker aesthetic since I was a teenager, but what happens when you’re goth af on the inside, but you’re married, have kids and a career and live in the ‘burbs?

From the Wikipedia: Southern gothic is “a subgenre of gothic fiction in American literature that takes place in the American South.” Themes that are typical in Southern Gothic literature “include deeply flawed, disturbing or eccentric characters who may or may not dabble in hoodoo,ambivalent gender roles, decayed or derelict settings, grotesque situations, and other sinister events relating to or stemming from poverty, alienation, crime, or violence.”

For me, the Southern Gothic aesthetic encompasses urban and rural decay, melancholy music, rustic industrial decor, antiques and found objects, the spectre of history looming large and, my favorite part, the note of eccentricity that’s the hallmark of people who don’t fit into boxes. Imagine walking down a deserted Southern country lane, the air heavy with humidity and the scent of magnolia, as you explore a roadside antique shop or graveyard.

Join me as I share my obsessions and explore the Southern Gothic aesthetic.

What’s on the horizon: the promised recap of my anniversary Europe trip with my husband, antiquing in the mountains of Virginia, music, favorite recipes and more.

 

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Opens New Craft Bier Brauhaus

In keeping with the craft beer trend, Busch Gardens in Williamsburg has opened a brand new “brauhaus” featuring 30 rotating craft beers on tap. This cozy spot is located inside “Das Festhaus” in Germany, and is tucked away at the back of the building, offering a quiet place to enjoy a craft beer or beer flight accompanied by various bar snacks.

On the day of our visit, there were beers on draft from DuClaw, Starr Hill, Bold Rock Cider and St. George, among others. My husband and I each got a beer flight of four different beers. I tried the Flying Dog Blood Orange Ale, Hofbrau Dunkel, Founders Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale and DuClaw Sweet Baby Jesus Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter. We got a meat and cheese platter and a pretzel and hung out in the brauhaus for a bit. It was great to sit down and rest a bit after walking around the park all day, and the tucked-away location and great selection of craft beers make this a spot I’m sure we’ll hit up whenever we visit the park.

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Make your plans for DC’s Cochon 555!

This April, I’ll be heading to DC to partake of some of the most delicious pork, wine, bourbon and cocktails in the country at Cochon 555. If you’ve never heard of this celebration of all things pig, don’t worry – there’s plenty of time to buy your tickets and find out what you’ve been missing!

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Cochon 555 is a national tour promoting heritage breed pigs by inviting five chefs and five winemakers in each stop on the tour to cook one of five pigs in whichever ways they choose, and to pair the dishes with the best wines. Besides the most interesting and innovative nose-to-tail bites of pork, each event features tastes of other foods, sips of bourbon and brews and popup cocktail bars featuring themed drinks.

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Cochon 555 events take place from coast to coast, and additional events have been added in recent years, such as Asian Speakeasy and Heritage BBQ events.

Washington, DC’s Cochon 555 event will be held on Sunday, April 17, with an Asian Speakeasy the preceding Friday evening and a Chef’s Course dinner series that Saturday. I hope to see you there! If not, be sure to follow all the excitement on my Instagram account.

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Virginia Wine Expo

My husband and I hit up the Virginia Wine Expo in Richmond yesterday, and I must say we had a great time. A wide range of Virginia wines were represented, from classic styles like Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay to those made from Virginia’s native grape, the Norton. We also got to sample some delicious Italian wines, as well as discover some new wineries making really unique and interesting wines.

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As this year’s “Guest Region,” Italy was well-represented in tastings throughout the show. I discovered two reds from Sardinia, made by winery Argiolas.

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Virginia standbys Barboursville Vineyards had a large tasting booth and plenty of wines to try.

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Sumerduck, Virginia’s Rogers Ford Farm Winery brought a bevy of interesting wines. Standouts were their First Frost Vidal Blanc 2014 and Brandy Station Dulce.

Other favorites from the show:

Notaviva Vineyards‘ “Back Dat Glass Up” white

Byrd Cellars‘ Winter Solstice red

Mattaponi Winery‘s Miskwamin red (“grownup grape juice”)

Cobbler Mountain Cider‘s hard cider

Everybody’s opening a food hall concept!

A while back, when I first heard about Anthony Bourdain’s planned indoor market in New York, I was intrigued.  The concept of an indoor market/food hall dates nearly as far back in time as the concept of trade in food and spices itself, and most foodies can attest that the first and best place to visit in a new city to find out about its food culture is its local food market. Bourdain’s market, slated for Pier 57 in Chelsea, will feature heavy Asian influences, drawing from markets like Hong Kong’s Temple Street Night Market and Sapporo’s Ramen Alley. It’s already on my foodie bucket list, even though it won’t be open until at least 2017.

Apparently, other celebrity chefs want to get in on the market action too. Enter Mike Isabella of Top Chef fame, owner and restauranteur of Italian-concept Graffiato and Greek concept Kapnos, among others. Isabella is getting in the food hall game with a planned eatery in Tyson’s Corner that will showcase 10 different concepts, from Graffiato’s Italian small plates to Kapnos’ spit-roasting Greek fare, and adding Mexican cantina Pepita, Japanese/Korean restaurant Yona, a raw bar, Spanish tapas, coffee, ice cream and more.

Up and down the East Coast, the food hall concept is the hottest innovation in food retail. While many cities are hanging onto a proud food market history, such as Lancaster, Pennsylvania, home to the nation’s oldest continually-operating indoor food market, other cities are re-imagining the food emporium in the image of today’s in-the-know foodies. Atlanta’s Ponce City Market is home to concepts from James Beard award winners like Sean Brock, while Tampa’s Sundial shopping and dining complex boasts chef Michael Mina’s food market and restaurant, along with potential tenants like Masaharu Morimoto and Emeril Lagasse.

Here’s hoping the food hall trend will make its way to Richmond – perhaps in the guise of the new and improved 17th Street Farmer’s Market!

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Lancaster Central Market, Lancaster, PA