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Food & Drink

Go Eat at Abuelita’s on Midlothian

I’m not wise to the ways of restaurant reviewers but I hope you’ll take my word for it and give this fairly new restaurant a try.

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Richmond is lucky to have more than a few excellent restaurant reviewers. I’m not one of them. I do however eat out way more than I should. My dining out shows in my vast waistline and empty. So while not an expert in the writing of food I do have strong opinions and one of those opinions I’m dropping on you right now.

If you want to get a plate of authentic home-made Mexican food you need to get your stomach over to Abuelita’s. Abuelita’s is at 6400 Midlothian Turnpike, near my favorite taco spot Taqueria Panchito. You’re not going to find your typical Americanized taco, nacho fare instead owners Karina Benavides and Everardo Fonseca serve up Mexican stews called guisos. Don’t be put off by the fast-food chain looking building, this place is anything but chain style Mexican.

Every day they have a menu (usually posted daily on their FB page) for the different stews they’re serving up. The one below is from a few days ago so don’t head out there today expecting these items.

You have options of a small plate pick one of the items above  and one side (black beans, refried beans, rice) or a large plate pick two and a side. Regardless of large or small, you get made on site tortillas. Fresh tortillas are a completely different beast from what you’ll find any nearly every other Mexican restaurant in town. The owners and worker there are so nice and will happily answer questions and guide you through your first visit.

Un Plato de Huevos con Chorizo, Papas con Ejotes y Frijoles Fritos es más rico con una salsa de Tomatillo, queso y cebolla con habanero.
Photo from Abuelito’s Facebook.

I’ve tried about six different dishes and haven’t been disappointed in any. The meat is always tender and flavorful. Nothing I’ve sampled dips into the spicy category but fear not my heat-seekers there is a selection of 6-8  homemade salsas and pickled jalapenos if you need to kick it up a bit. All the salsas have their own distinctive flavor and all fall into the hot category with none going into the sweet Jesus what the hell is this hot lava I just put in my mouth category. Also before I forget, Sunday is tamale day and the tamales are great.

No ABC license but they do make a kick-ass aqua fresco, Jarrito’s, and the usual lineup of Coke products.

If you received your most recent Valpak there should be a coupon with 20% which will make an already reasonable meal cheap. We picked up a small, large, soda, and aqua fresco for right around $20. Bottom line if you want to try something different head over to Midlothian Turnpike and put some stew in your belly.

If like me you want more places serving up authentic, inexpensive, homemade dishes in Richmond you need to get out there and support these efforts.

Photo from Abuelito’s Facebook

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Governor Northam tightens Virginia COVID restrictions as daily new cases increase rapidly

The new rules affect the restaurant industry most heavily, as gatherings are now capped at 25 people and no alcohol may be served after 10:00 PM beginning Sunday night.

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As COVID-19 surges in states across the country, Governor Ralph Northam today announced new actions to mitigate the spread of the virus in Virginia. While the Commonwealth’s case count per capita and positivity rate remain comparatively low, all five health regions are experiencing increases in new COVID-19 cases, positive tests, and hospitalizations.

“COVID-19 is surging across the country, and while cases are not rising in Virginia as rapidly as in some other states, I do not intend to wait until they are. We are acting now to prevent this health crisis from getting worse,” said Governor Northam. “Everyone is tired of this pandemic and restrictions on our lives. I’m tired, and I know you are tired too. But as we saw earlier this year, these mitigation measures work. I am confident that we can come together as one Commonwealth to get this virus under control and save lives.”

Governor Northam shared a new video to update Virginians on the additional steps the Commonwealth is taking to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, which is available here.

The following measures will take effect at midnight on Sunday, November 15:

  • Reduction in public and private gatherings: All public and private in-person gatherings must be limited to 25 individuals, down from the current cap of 250 people. This includes outdoor and indoor settings.
  • Expansion of mask mandate: All Virginians aged five and over are required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces. This expands the current mask mandate, which has been in place in Virginia since May 29 and requires all individuals aged 10 and over to wear face coverings in indoor public settings.
  • Strengthened enforcement within essential retail businesses: All essential retail businesses, including grocery stores and pharmacies, must adhere to statewide guidelines for physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and enhanced cleaning. While certain essential retail businesses have been required to adhere to these regulations as a best practice, violations will now be enforceable through the Virginia Department of Health as a Class One misdemeanor.
  • On-site alcohol curfew: The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol is prohibited after 10:00 p.m. in any restaurant, dining establishment, food court, brewery, microbrewery, distillery, winery, or tasting room. All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms must close by midnight. Virginia law does not distinguish between restaurants and bars, however, under current restrictions, individuals that choose to consume alcohol prior to 10:00 p.m. must be served as in a restaurant and remain seated at tables six feet apart.

Virginia is averaging 1,500 newly-reported COVID-19 cases per day, up from a statewide peak of approximately 1,200 in May. While Southwest Virginia has experienced a spike in the number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases, all five of the Commonwealth’s health regions are currently reporting a positivity rate over five percent. Although hospital capacity remains stable, hospitalizations have increased statewide by more than 35 percent in the last four weeks.

On Tuesday, Governor Northam announced new contracts with three laboratories as part of the Commonwealth’s OneLabNetwork, which will significantly increase Virginia’s public health testing capacity. Contracts with Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, and Sentara Healthcare in Norfolk will directly support high-priority outbreak investigations, community testing events, and testing in congregate settings, with a goal of being able to perform 7,000 per day by the end of the year.

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1115 Mobile Kitchen brings the meats and plant-based heat to Scott’s Addition this weekend

The new food truck, which aims to build bridges between meat-eaters and vegetarians, will debut at Buskey Cider on Sunday.

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1115 Mobile Kitchen is a new food truck serving up southern-style traditional dishes, and it’s parking for the first time on November 15th in Scott’s Addition at Buskey Cider. Owner and chef Henry Fletcher combines his kitchen experience and independence as a skateboarder with his drive to bring about positive change and the desire to break down walls between meat-eaters and those with plant-based diets.

The menu features vegan dishes that are just as delicious as their meaty counterparts, like the Triple MMM Crispy Chicken Sando (available with organic chicken or soy protein), Shrimp and Rice (local shrimp or house-made tofu-based shrimp), and house cut and seasoned home fries dubbed “Homies,” available with a plant-based cheese sauce. It’s not often that a restaurant or food truck does both meat and plant-based dishes so well, but Fletcher aims to change that.

What’s in a number? As a teenager, Fletcher noticed that the number 1115 was emerging throughout his life, in the address of the house where he spent his free time between skateboarding sessions, on the clock, in books, even on buses. Urged to look into the mysterious repeating number, he discovered angel numbers, a concept based in numerology that guides a person on how to interpret numbers that frequently pop up in daily life.

“The number 1115 means that a positive change is coming forward into your life,” explains Fletcher. “For me, 1115 is the positive change to break down the wall between meat-eaters and vegan eaters and allow them to experience similar flavors at no extra cost.”

Expect not just high marks for the food but also additional style points when eating at 1115. Fletcher, after all, is a skateboarder well versed in expressing his individuality. “I seek spaces where I can be myself,” he says. “The two biggest places I feel like I can be who I am and who I want to be is on a skateboard and in the kitchen.”

1115 Mobile Kitchen celebrates its grand opening on November 15th at 2910 W Leigh St, Richmond, VA 23230. For more information, visit 1115mobilekitchen.com.

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Metzger Headed for “Winter Hibernation”

The last day of service is November 22nd which will include a party.with oysters and cocktails outside.

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Posted to Facebook, Metzger’s Bar and Butchery (801 N 23rd Street) :

Metzger has decided to keep safe and cozy during the uncertainty of winter and hibernate. The last day of service is November 22nd and we’re throwing a HIBERNATION PARTY! We’ll have Chef cooking up some oysters outside and very nice hot cocktails to keep you warm✨ 10:30a-4pm
Get your Metzger fix before we slip into our cozy cave of slumber & show some love to our wonderful staff who have remained positive, patient, and amazing though these times 💪
ps this is a masquerade party so wear your 😷 and socially distance please!
Fingers crossed that the hibernation is indeed just temporary as the German-influenced spot has garnered quite a following.

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