Photo via ZZAAM
SUGAR & TWINE
Beth Oristian had a vision–a lovely vision of sweet bites tied up in twine, darling ceramics holding frothy cappuccinos, and power outlets for every laptop! Her vision became a real place last month at Carytown’s newest coffee shop, Sugar & Twine, in the former Capital Coffee & Desserts location at 2928 W. Cary Street. Give one of Oristian’s pastries a try. The fontina and thyme croissant does this very special thing where a little fontina oozes out and cooks hard on the silpat, resulting in a crispy cheese treat on either end of the fluffy pastry. It’s also seriously cozy in there. I’m talking chill vibes and brisk service.
Since Zzaam opened in November, I’ve been a frequent flier at the healthy fast-Korean Carytown restaurant. I’ve been consistently impressed with the service, value, and food. Think of it as a sort of Korean Chipotle with customizable rice and noodle bowls, plus Korean burritos, which are now, thank god, a total thing. Don’t miss ‘Chef Zam’s Specials,’ namely Man Doo Guk, a dumpling and noodle soup that’s perfect for combating the sniffles, and my personal favorite–crispy, fried Mandoo, pork and vegetable dumplings with a slightly spicy soy dipping sauce. Zzaam’s lighting and rustic wood tabletops are also super conducive to Instagramming, if you’re into that sort of thing. And of course you’ll need a caption. Here are a few to get you started:
- Zzaam, I wish I was your lover
- Zzaam, bam, thank you ma’am
- Zzaam on it
- Yosemite Zzaam
- Space Zzaam
(I encourage you to comment with your own Zzaam captions. The best caption wins me stealing your idea on Instagram!)
It was only a matter of time before the well-loved Richmond chef Owen Lane would find a new spot to flex his culinary muscle. The chef surprised Richmond food lovers with the announcement that he would close The Magpie last summer. Lane found his opportunity right next door to The National where Coda had once been and Gibson’s Grill before that. Here at Vagabond, Lane seems very comfortable serving up a blend his unique nose-to-tail cuisine and a few classics, and the restaurant has been getting the kind of rave word-of-mouth reviews that make me want to book a date night there as soon as RIGHT NOW.
HOME SWEET HOME
Whether you crave buffalo wings, braised lamb, or a grilled cheese sandwich, Home Sweet Home, at 3433 W. Cary St. wants you to have it. Let’s talk about these grilled cheeses. There are specialties, like The Upstate–“Super sharp Vermont cheddar, applewood-smoked bacon and honeycrisp apple on whole grain bread with a side of real maple syrup.” Then there’s The Chesapeake–“Crab dip, bacon bits, spinach and white cheddar on white bread.” Have your culinary interests somehow not been piqued by these specialties? Well, then, build your own. They’ve got the breads, the cheeses, and the bells and whistles to make your grilliest cheesiest dreams come true. Sharp cheddar on sourdough with brisket and pickles! That is a potential grilled cheese option! If you happen to order it, plz call it “The SALGANZ,” thaaaanks!
POP’S MARKET ON GRACE
For too long, it’s been too hard to find decent, fast breakfast options downtown. What’s a working girl supposed to do? Eat at home? Nope. You’re supposed to pop into Pop’s Market on Grace and saunter out with ham, egg, and cheese on a biscuit and then take an extra victory saunter around the block just for good measure.
When mother-and-son duo Patti and Josh Wright announced that they would open Pop’s this summer, it sounded like it would be a pretty magical place–with freshly baked bagels, pitas, and pastries; deli-style sandwiches; prepared foods; wine, beer, and coffee. And, by all accounts, it’s exactly that and more, with a gorgeous, roomy seating area in the old Cokesbury Building at 415 E. Grace Street. It’s so lovely in there, I almost wish I still worked downtown. Almost!
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