Thursday, May 28, 2015

Exploring RVA: Southbound

Finally, Southside has a hipster eatery - Southbound RVA!

All the good places (except Brick House Diner, YUM) are downtown, and while we can get there within 20 minutes on a good night, it's nice to have dinner in your own neighborhood occasionally. Right?

We didn't plan this out very well and just thought this brand new place from the chefs behind The Roosevelt and Heritage (2 Richmond institutions) would have room on a Saturday night. Nope. We were offered a table at 8pm or a cozy table in the bar, so we chose the latter.

They have since changed their menu, but we got the Thai chicken wings which had just enough spice for my palette. One was underdone, and they were very nice about it. I got the lamb bolognese with their house made pasta and it was fantastic!

We will definitely be back once the hype dies down and we can get a spontaneous table. Next time I'm trying a Bayside Tiger (if they still have it)!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Pecan Pie

A couple years ago, Nate's mom gave Bonnie and I each a huge bag of pecans that she picked from a friend's tree. What to do with all those pecans?

One of Bonnie's co-workers was willing to share a family pecan pie recipe with us, so I tried it out. You know how you think something must be really time consuming and then when you find out how easy it is, you feel really dumb for not trying it before? Yep, that happened here.

Here's what you'll need - I'm sure this is not how anyone's grandmother would make this, but I ain't got time for any nonsense:
  • Frozen pie crust (sure, you can make your own, but I figure Marie Callender has a pretty good routine down, and why mess with perfection?)
    • I recommend the deep dish pie crust because this expands while cooking and it may make a mess of your oven
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup corn syrup (I've used light and dark and it only affects the final color of the filling)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
And the very detailed assembly steps:
  • Thaw the pie crust for 15-ish minutes and put on a baking sheet
  • Chop the pecans
  • Mix all that other stuff together in a bowl and throw in the pecans
  • Stir to combine
    • I thought it was weird to mix in the pecans with the rest because then they wouldn't all be at the top. They rise to the top while baking, so don't worry about that. #science
  • Pour all that into the crust
  • Bake at 350* for 45 minutes
  • When it comes out, it's ok if it jiggles a little bit in the middle - it will firm up as it cools
    • Too much jiggle is not ok - that will mean your pie will still taste fantastic but the filling will be soupy
  • Let it cool - it will deflate and become very dense and stiff
  • Refrigerate overnight

We've made this many times since I got the recipe and it is soooo good! I have messed it up a couple of times by being impatient (too much jiggle), not measuring pecans (overflowing pie), and using a regular pie crust (overflowing pie).

It takes like 5 minutes to put together, so give it a try!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Eleanora turns 2!

Our littlest friend turned 2 last weekend, so we celebrated her with a Curious George party! She is *obsessed* with him!

Her mom is very creative and executed this even though Curious George stuff is very hard to find in stores. She found some great licensed stuff and supplemented with lots of bright colors and monkey-themed things.  Let's start with the food:

Dave and I provided monkey bread and banana bread, as well as little No Yo Mama's banana pudding, served in itty bitty Mason jars. Ashley also put out banana chips for the little monkeys and provided the non-sugar food - BBQ chicken, baked beans, roll-ups, etc. There was no shortage of food!

The little ones played with bubbles and colored in Curious George coloring books, while the adults sat around and wished we had their energy. The man in the yellow hat (AKA Grandpa Tom) even showed up! Eleanora could not be fooled - when we asked her who it was, thinking she'd say 'mannnnninahaaat' (that's my best impression), she didn't miss a beat and called him Grandpa. Also looked at us like 'shouldn't you know him?' Haha.

We all crowded around to watch her eat her smash cake like a champ!

Happy 2nd birthday, sweet girl!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Central Virginia Food Truck Rodeo

RVA has an obsession with food trucks! There are food truck nights at churches, there are always several at all special events around town, and Capital One even invited some to the campus during the summer months to add a local dining option to our choices for lunch!

Last fall, Dave and I went to the first Central Virginia Food Truck Rodeo with my brother and SIL - they took over part of the parking lot at Chesterfield Town Center with ~30 trucks and live bands, and it was a great time! Very hot, very sunny, a lot of lines, but it was a good fall activity to get outside and enjoy some fresh air and try some new dishes.

This spring, they decided to have another one so I took my Bonnie so she could see what the fuss was about :)

Well, she tried some new dishes. I got exactly the same things I got last time. ;) I'm sneaky like that.

*all photos are Bonnie's because I was too busy eating to take pictures. #fatkid

First stop was Goatocado for a mountain tropp. Yum - quinoa, avocado, corn, black beans, arugula, apple, and a mango lime sauce. Oh my this thing is so good - and good for you! I'm sure the sauce has some naughty stuff in it, but this is way healthy!

Then we went to Happy Empanada for some deep fried goodness. Not healthy. We shared some fried plantains, Bonnie got a beef empanada, and I got a spinach/feta/mushroom empanada. We had to wait about 25 minutes for our order, which was annoying since we were first in line, but it was worth the wait. I suppose? Very tasty.

Last stop was Gelati Celesti for some dessert. This place is right next door to our grocery store, so you would think we go there all the time, but I had never tried it until my brother and SIL introduced us to it at the last rodeo. Bonnie got a cone of chocolate decadence, which I think is their most popular flavor. I got a cup of just ask - they line the tub of white chocolate ice cream with peanut butter and mix in some oreos. I mean, why would you get anything else?

I think there was one more place Bonnie wanted to try, but after these 3 stops we were both stuffed. I didn't even finish my ice cream, which is *so* unlike me. :) We were in and out in under an hour and before the crowds really showed up, and then headed across the river to spend some time with Ashley and Ellie-belly!