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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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Food & Drink

Duke’s Mayo Hot Tomato Summer Being Served Up this Week

One Mayo to rule them all, One Mayo to find them, One Mayo to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.

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There are two things everyone that moves to Richmond from the non-south, should learn right away or risk the wrath of their neighbors. Hanover tomatoes are the best and Duke’s is the only type of mayonnaise that should be used.

I just found out that Duke’s Mayo is partnering with local restaurants to present Hot Tomato Summer: A week-long event featuring seasonal pairings of tomatoes and mayo from participating Richmond restaurants. There are 13 participating restaurants, including favorites like ZZQ with a Put up your Duke’s Tomato Pie – House made biscuit pie crust filled with Shalom Farms tomatoes, poblano peppers, garlic, basil, cheddar cheese, and Duke’s Mayonnaise and Union Market which is offering up – Heirloom Tomato Sandwich with Edward’s Hickory Smoked Bacon, Romaine, Smoked Sweet Corn Duke’s Mayo, pickled red onions and a schmear of House Pimento cheese on Toasted Billy Bread. Find out what the others have on tap here.

For those unfamiliar with Duke’s check out the story on NPR.

Unlike most other mass-produced mayonnaise, Duke’s contains no sugar. This gives it the signature tang that has kept both chefs and home cooks raving about it since the company was founded over 100 years ago. “When they teach you how to make mayonnaise in culinary school, they are essentially teaching you how to make Duke’s,” says Fleer. “It has the right balance of richness and acidity.”

Southern Living posted just three days ago an article about what makes Hanover tomatoes so great.

“The Hanover tomato is defined by its soil, not by its variety,” David Hunsaker, a farmer at Village Garden RVA in Hanover, says. “So, you’re looking at this strip of sandy soil, and that soil is what makes Hanover tomatoes what they are.”

The sandy, coastal region, mixed with a little Virginia red clay, if you’re on Hunsaker’s farm, makes for a richer flavor in this bright crop. All of the growing circumstances – soil pH, composition, rain, and sun – marry to produce the Hanover.

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Community

Wildcraft Focaccia Company in Manchester Opened Last Week

Current hours are Thursday through Sunday 11 AM – 10 PM.

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The latest restaurant in Manchester had a soft opening last week. Wildcraft Focaccia Company (1303 Hull Street) as you’d guess from the name specializes in naturally leavened focaccia and serves up flatbread, sandwiches, salads, soups, and pies. 

RichmondMag.com ran a story about the venture on July 1st.

“We share a common vision of how we want to treat people,” Parfitt says, “and that’s so important.”

The two also share an adoration for simplicity, such as salami paired with good bread and cheese.

“We both eat bread and cheese every day and make so much at home, too,” Murphy says with a laugh. “I could eat bread and cheese every day and be happy,” says Parfitt, a L’Academie de Cuisine pastry school graduate, in agreement.

You can check out their menu online. I’ve screengrabbed one page below. Current hours are Thursday through Sunday 11 AM – 10 PM. I hope to check it out soon.

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Community

Bryants Cider RVA Giving Away Cider for those Getting Vaccinated

Free cider for those that get the vaccination on-site and 1/2 off pours for those already vaccinated.

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Bryants Cider RVA (2114 E Main St) is hosting a FREE vaccine event today June 25th from 4-6 pm with Richmond Health District and Bremo Pharmacy.
  • No appointment necessary
  • Those who get vaxed on site with get a free cider flight
  • Those who bring in their vax card get 1/2 off pours!

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