Hey Friends! Happy Friday. I’ve been toying with the idea of sharing my experiences both locally and elsewhere for a while. One of the things I love to do is to travel and explore the food/drink/culture wherever I go. This past year I have not been traveling as much as past years due to work-related reasons but I’m hoping that will change soon.
I’m hoping by sharing with you my experiences you can learn how I navigate a city/town but also be able to experience the town should you ever visit it! It can be easy to visit somewhere and get roped into the familiar names (hello, Starbucks on every corner) but wouldn’t it be so much more fun to say you ate like a local?! I may be biased, but it is far more rewarding and dare I say delicious?! The first destination I’m going to talk about today is Richmond, Virginia as I feel like it’s a hidden gem of a good food, good drink, and some really awesome people.
Why Richmond, VA?
You may be wondering why I’m talking about Richmond when there are millions of other cities I could be exploring. Well, we take a trip yearly to Bald Head Island, NC (keeping the island in my thoughts post-Hurricane Florence xoxo) and it can take anywhere from 13-17+ hours to get there. We decided this year to break up the trip down by stopping in Richmond to visit my brother in law, Kyle (hi Kyle!)
I have been to Richmond a handful of times in the past few years and the food never disappoints. They seem to be more forward in their food culture than Albany (no surprise there) and are really pushing the craft beverage movement. I love that it is a pretty walkable city and everyone is really nice. The only major downfall is that it is beyond hot and humid, making the summer we just had in Upstate NY seem cold and bearable. I’d recommend not visiting in the heart of summer, but making a spring or fall trip there.
I am always pleasantly surprised with the ability to walk the city of Richmond. I almost always have Bode (my dog) when I visit so it’s imperative that we be able to walk because ya know, he’s a dog and has to get his energy out/relieve himself. There are a lot of options to walk, some on brick sidewalks so watch your step but it feels historic and welcoming nonetheless.
We have found a few paths/parks that are easily accessible and good for dogs, here are the ones I’d recommend (i’m sure there are more but these are just the ones we used).
Great Shiplock Park (if you take one of the paths you can get to a quite beachy area–seen in the picture with Bode in it above)
Libby Hill Park (great set of stairs for stair sprints if you are up for it!)
Richmond Hill (a nice incline and view of the city from the top, just watch out for all the dog poo!)
Virginia Capital Trail (goes all the way to Jamestown but it’s great for walkers, runners, and bikers alike)
RVA CrossFit: okay, you caught me….NOT a walking path but I have dropped in here and found the place fun and inviting. If you need a good sweat (i mean heavier than when you’re just walking) then check them out.
Yes I’m a dietitian and yes I like a good alcoholic beverage, it’s called balance. We decided to take a day to explore both the food AND the brews that the city had to offer. We didn’t get to everyone we wanted to but there are a lot of great ones out there. The cool thing was that they are popping up left and right with cideries like Upstate NY AND a lot of the breweries had Kombucha on tap which made me so happy, and extra hydrated.
Here are a few we have been to both on this trip and in the past and/or have had drinks/beverages from:
- Buskey Cider: We didn’t get to the cidery but the cider was available at the restaurants we were at and it was slightly sweet butbearablee. I enjoyed it and it was quite refreshing in the heat.
- Blue Bee Cider: hard pass. These ciders were not only sweet they were also SO high in ABV that they were almost not drinkable. I’d imagine they’d be good in a mixed drink but tasting them straight up was brutal and we had 4 people to taste ONE flight.
- Potter’s Craft Cider: I had one of these at Station 2 and it reminded me of Graft cider from Upstate NY. I highly recommend if you like a drier cider and new flavor combos.
- Ardent Craft Ales: over in Scott’s Addition they have an amazing outdoor area and dogs are allowed! We didn’t go this summer but went last and Bode had a blast making friends with other dogs.
- Stone Brewing: PRobably the best-known brewery located both in San Diego and Richmond. They had kombucha AND nitro cold brew in their refrigerated to-go sections so I was a happy camper. They have both a big outdoor and indoor seating area with tons of games to keep you occupied.
- Triple Crossing Brewery: this place is super cute, near Stone and has a good atmosphere as well as a Bocce ball area where we probably stayed for an hour or two.
- Vasen Brewing Company: This place was over in Scott’s Addition. They had Kombucha on tap and Beer. I opted for Kombucha and it was delightful. Their taproom is very open and spacious and they have a huge projector which had Red Bull TV on it, very entrancing!
Farm to Table
While not all the restaurants we went to were Farm to Table, per se, I have to say the food we had at most places was amazing. There are a few I couldn’t remember the name of so I’ll add them as my brother in law reminds me 🙂
Ironclad Coffee Roasters: a new-ish modern coffee shop that has delicious and fancy lattes
Lunch. Supper!: OMG this one came highly recommended and it did not disappoint. Do yourself a favor and get the cheese/meat board, it will change your life. I was overwhelmed by the menu and can’t wait to go back. They even have life-size Jenga and corn hole outside for when you have to wait for your table, I’m all about that.
McCormack’s Whisky Grill: this was a nice surprise, we ate at the bar and the burger was phenomenal. The bartender was originally from Upstate NY so it was fun to chat with him and hear his story. Don’t come to the bar looking for a beer. Tell the bartender what you like, your price range and they’ll make you a delicious drink.
Whisk RVA: a cute little bakery with good lattes (sorry, skip the black coffee–that’s coming from me who loves black coffee) and while I haven’t had their baked goods I hear they’re good.
Pearl Raw Bar: I went here a few times ago but the food was phenomenal. The drinks are superb and the food/service even better. Pro tip: get the oysters
Millie’s: This is THE place to have brunch in Richmond. Get there early and do not expect to have any room to eat, you WILL elbow the person next to you. While the food is good here, it’s not worth an hour wait so try to get there early otherwise head up the street to 23rd and Main.
Shakers: I know that this isn’t actually in Richmond but it is one of the best restaurants Roanoke so if you are in Virginia then I recommend a road trip that ends up at Shakers.
23rd and Main: This place was super close to where we were staying but I highly recommend their food. They have a breakfast pizza (yes, they have a gf crust) that is unreal and their Bloody Mary’s are delicious. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner so you cannot go wrong here.
Station 2: I have been here almost every time I’ve been in Richmond because it is 2 steps from Kyle’s place. They are open super late and their burgers are SO SO SO good. They also have a ton of beers and ciders on tap so it can make everyone happy. They also have a gluten-free bun which is DELICIOUS. Ps. definitely get the sweet potato tots, you’re welcome.
Tio Pablos: I love Mexican food, no secret there. This place has authentic and delicious mexican food, you’ll leave stuffed and oh-so happy.
Okay, that’s it for now, if you hit up Richmond let me know! I always peruse local blogs as well as Yelp to help me navigate the area and get ideas for new food places, hope this helps!
Where have you been lately? I would love to hear any suggestions for where to travel next. I’m hoping I get to travel more but on my travel list in the next few months is Washington DC, Denver, and Chicago, stay tuned!