My final week on the East Coast was spent in Richmond and Charlottesville with my girlfriends Leslie, Linnea and Mandy. Leslie did a lot of research beforehand, and thank God for that (Ipanema!). There was lots of exploring and eating and shopping...
FOOD WE ATE // PLACES WE WENT
Ipanema Cafe: [website]
I am still thinking about this place. If I ever get back to Richmond, this will be my first stop. It is touted as the best vegetarian restaurant in all of Richmond. And after our meal, I can say that I'm not surprised.
The tofu sandwich I had (with a side of sweet potato fries) was one of the best veggie sandwiches I've ever tasted. It was grilled tofu with oven-dried tomato, hummus, caramelized onions, and spinach. It was divine. Foursquare told me that it would blow my mind; Foursquare was right.
Also, this place is apparently known for their pies. My friend Leslie and I split the Mexican Chocolate pie. She loves pie and this one made her cry; it literally brought tears to her eyes.
We wandered down the street for an after dinner drink. The Republic was close by and they had some localness available; we chose one of the Hardywoods.
Black Hand Coffee Company: [website]
I had to get some work done the next morning so we needed a place with wifi. The Black Hand was close at hand. A bagel sandwich (egg & cheese on everything) and some coffee did the trick. It was good. Not as good as Vic's in NYC, but good.
Halcyon Vintage Clothing: [Facebook]
Leslie turned me into a vintage store junkie, and in her Richmond research, she discovered Halcyon. The lady who owns the store is said to have vintage superpowers. I believe it. She had some amazing things in this store, whether they fit or not, whether they were practical or not, she had some amazing pieces.
I did end up buying a simple black dress that works well for work and probably the coolest necklace that I will ever own.
Mary Angela's Pizza: [website]
Leslie loves pizza, and Mary Angela's on Cary Street where we shopped was convenient for lunch. We split a veggie pizza and then took the leftovers to our airbnb apartment. It made the poor girl's refrigerator smell of onions though (sorry, girl!).
Carytown Cupcakes: [website]
We can't pass up a chance for a dessert, and especially a cupcake for that matter. I had a difficult time deciding between vegan lemon and vegan lemon-blackberry. The gal behind the counter talked me into the lemon-blackberry because it was a special. But since I was going to be in Richmond for a week, I felt it likely that I would eventually come back in for the vegan lemon. Though, the lemon-blackberry was quite delicious.
Rooster Cart: [Facebook]
In her research Leslie discovered that there was going to be a food truck rally one night in the parking of the Virginia Historical Society, down the street from our apartment.
She also noted that the Rooster Cart was going to be there and that this cart was supposed to be amazing. It was. I had the Tofu Bahn Mi. The veggies were fresh, the bread was great and the sauce just right. You can see a picture of their creations on their Facebook page. This would be the second place I eat if I ever get back to Richmond.
Commercial Taphouse: [Facebook]
On Leslie's list for post-food cart happiness was another search for localness. I experienced the best beverage of my life here. I almost died from happiness.
Lamplighter Roasting Co.: [website]
So good that we had to go back with the girls later in the week. The breakfast and coffee was perfection. I had an egg sandwich with grilled asparagus, tomato and havarti. I could eat that every morning; goodness gracious it was good.
Agecroft Hall: [website]
From breakfast we went over to Agecroft Hall for a tour of the house and gardens. It was really quite interesting.
This house is a Tudor estate, a manor house that was actually built in Lancashire, England in the late 15th century. The house fell into disrepair and went up for auction. So Thomas Williams, Jr. of Richmond purchased the structure, had it dismantled, crated, and shipped to Richmond. It was then reassembled in Windsor Farms, a neighborhood in Richmond.
Most of the rooms in the house were actually redecorated in the manner that they would have appeared back in 16th century England. All except the library. That was left as the owners set it up in Richmond. That was my only complaint; I wanted to see how the people who bought the house, shipped it and rebuilt it lived. I didn't care about the authentic pieces from the 16th century that the estate had collected and pieced together to show us how people in England (and not Richmond) lived.
The gardens were pretty extensive, though we missed some the blooms. They were lovely to wander through.
If you go visit, just remember one word: priesthole.
Moshi Moshi: [website]
Sushi! We just needed a little snack. And their Dirty Hippie Roll hit the spot. We stopped at one more vintage/thrift store, which had far too many good things. I narrowed it down to one dress and one shirt. Then we hit the airport to pick up the other two girls and make the drive to Charlottesville.
The Local: [website]
Now, we're in Charlottesville for the night. Leslie was checking it out as a new hometown. And we wanted to go to Monticello.
For this restaurant, it's all in the name. It's all about the local here. "Eat, Drink & Be Local," they say. So we did.
There were limited veggie options but they did have delicious that could be made vegan, so I went with it. And loved my choice. It was the Roast Local Zucchini with quinoa, dried cherries and almonds over braised greens with tomato sauce. Mmm, mmm, mmmmm.
C&O Restaurant: [website]
Another downtown stop (in the pouring down rain) was C&O. For after some local after-dinner drinks. We sat in the basement bar and chatted it up with a Facebook friend of Leslie's that lives in the town.
Blue Moon Diner: [Facebook]
Before Monticello, we fueled up at the recommended Blue Moon Diner. We were told if you order the pancakes, you might get the face of Dwight Schrute from "The Office" in powdered sugar on top. I did order an ala carte pancake, but I got a "girl on scooter" and not Dwight.
The home of Thomas Jefferson. Go there. Take the tours (garden and house). Look around and ENJOY! The tour guides were great, the views were amazing, and the history of the man who built this place is important.
Revolutionary Soup: [website]
Voted "Best Vegan Options" by the Best of Charlottesville, it was a good thing I was so hungry by the time we finished at Monticello and headed back to downtown Charlottesville to find food. I went with the (vegan) tofu sandwich. It did not disappoint. (Man, I love tofu sandwiches!)
After our late lunch, we needed a little sweet and coffee. Mandy and I split a chocolate torte-type thing. Mmmmm. Paired with their good coffee, it hit the spot.
Cous Cous: [website]
Back to Richmond for the remainder of our weekend. Another top recommendation for veggie eaters on Leslie's list (what a good friend, making lists of eateries good for me), we stopped by Cous Cous before checking into our swanky hotel.
We got there a little late and they were getting ready to set up a band for the night. But we ate and left before any of that happened.
I went the small food route: Israeli Cous Cous (onion, fennel, carrot and peppers) and the Curry Platas (seasoned fries with curry sauce). I could have ate my weight in the curry sauce, yow!
The Jefferson Hotel: [website]
Leslie's brother works for a sister resort of The Jefferson Hotel so he got us the super sweet Family & Friends deal. We got to stay in this luxury hotel for three nights for like $60/person or something ridiculous like that. It was nice, real nice.
Lamplighter Roasting Co.:
We had to take our girlfriends back here for morning coffee and breakfast. I had to try something a little different this time. I went with The Works, vegan style: Tofutti with capers, red onion and tomato. Yum.
Sweet Frog: [website]
In between shopping on Cary Street, we needed a snack (my blood sugar was getting low and that's never a good thing for the group). Leslie and I split a bowl of frozen yogurt, which included peanut butter and Snickers. Yeah, that was a winning combo.
We went to a little local grocer and got some lunch items to picnic at Maymont. Maymon is another historic estate in Richmond. And once we found the correct entrance, it was good. Though the main house was closed for tours by the time we arrived. So we just explored the grounds. Quite pretty overlooking the river.
Capital Ale House: [website]
My friend Joe in Nashville recommended that we stop by the Capital Ale House. It is one of his all-time favorite places for a beer. He even has the t-shirt.
The menu was extensive, so to narrow things down, we kept it local. We hit a few high points and a couple of weird points, but overall a great experience.
Lift Coffee Shop: [website]
Before hitting the town for our last full Richmond day, we walked a couple blocks to Lift for some coffee and breakfast. Leslie and I found it on Yelp -- it was within walking distance and open. But it wasn't the greatest location on our trip.
Legend Brewing Company: [website]
After a failed attempt at a farmer's market and stop at a design store and some driving around The Fan, we made our way to Legend across the river for a brewery tour. Two of us took the free tour and two of us just sat outside and enjoyed the view of downtown Richmond. Good beer, and good snacks. I had a big baked pretzel. Love those.
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts: [website]
Our afternoon was spent at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. My favorite exhibits: the photography exhibit and the furniture. The modern art section was really great, too. Make sure you visit!
We went back to the cupcake place; Leslie and I had to show the other girls the cute place. And I wanted that vegan lemon cupcake before leaving town.
Fresca on Addison: [website]
I had been waiting and waiting all week to go to this place. This was a "vegetarian bistro." We walked past it numerous times. On Saturdays they have half price pizza. So I went with the pizza; I had one of the special pizzas of the day that included asparagus, I believe.
Byrd Theatre: [website]
The Byrd Theatre is one of those old school theaters that show two movies at a time, one at 7ish and a different one at 9ish. And the movies cost like $3. This particular weekend the 9ish o'clock movie was "21 Jump Street." I haven't laughed that hard and that loudly in a movie theatre, maybe ever. What a fun experience!