Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Long Anticipated Brunch at Millie's

Millie’s in The Bottom has been touted as the best brunch spot in Richmond so when my friend and I were undecided as to where to go for brunch last weekend, I quickly suggested we give it a try.  I was really excited and did my research beforehand: I checked foodie blogs, contacted a local foodie friend, and read the menu to narrow down the options that I liked best. 

We got there right when they opened and there was still a bit of a wait.  It went by really quickly, though and before I knew it we were being shooed into a booth.  I wish I’d had a little more time to look around since we were seated in the side room (the one that’s not part of the bar).  I did manage to catch a glimpse of the kitchen, which is literally to the right of the door.  Just hanging out.  Free as a bird.

I was a little taken aback at how abrupt the servers were.  Don’t get me wrong – they were nice, they just seemed to be rushing us to get in and get out.  But that’s how some local RVA joints operate, I suppose.  Millie’s doesn’t do substitutions, by the way, so don’t try and ask for fruit instead of potatoes or white bread instead of wheat.  I had read this on the menu beforehand and wasn’t going to push my luck once I got there.

I decided I was going to get one of their many “messes” and pass on a drink – although I hear they are pretty good.  I have been craving a Bloody Mary lately, but am just not going to spend $7 on one.  Especially when my meal cost $11.  The mess I chose was the “Cajun” one because I’ve also been wanting some seafood and a little somthin’ spicy.  The others at my table got their “Veggie mess,” the “Cuban mess,” and their Eggs Benedict (which was way too sinful for me since it’s served on a croissant and not an English muffin). 

My mess was good – you could definitely taste the white cheddar and there was a lot of seafood.  The only thing that got me was that the texture was a little mushy.  I get it, I get it: the idea of a mess is to cook the eggs with the add-ins and stir and stir so it because a giant pile of goodness.  But come parts of my portion was really, really chopped up – to the point where I didn’t have to chew.  That was weird.  You should chew your seafood.  But the portion was really big and the flavor was there so I was a happy camper. All entrees come with a side of potatoes which were, in my opinion, the star of the brunch.  They were spicy and crispy and well seasoned.  I especially liked how they have Siracha sauce on the table for you to use instead of ketchup. 

The final bill for the four of us came to about $50 I think – so, reasonable for a brunch spot.  Was it the best in Richmond?  I still think Perly’s gets it.  But I’m biased and I admit it.  I love their omelets.  And the biscuits.  And the breakfast potatoes.  And the fact that they let you sit and catch up with friends for hours and hours.  In fact, Gray will stop by and chat you up too.  And that, dear readers, is the best way to start the day.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Cafe Caturra

Cafe Caturra is a cute little cafe tucked away near the University of Richmond campus. I'd heard about it for the longest time and finally was able to venture over that-a-way and sample some of their offerings. I decided to try their Curry Chicken Salad and upon first bite, I was incredibly impressed.  The balance of heat and sweet was perfect.  It was absolutely delicious.  So delicious I wanted the recipe and also so delicious I knew they wouldn't give it to me.  I tried anyway...

The only thing I wasn't so keen on was the texture.  It was a little too mealy for me.  I like to actually taste pieces of chicken in my chicken salad.  It's a preference thing, so not a deal-breaker - just a reason to experiment at home and eat lots of Cafe Caturra chicken salad in the meantime! Whole Foods uses giant chunks of chicken in their salad which I love!  There's is extremely heavy on the mayo, though, so that stops me from eating it. I'd definitely take this over WF because the flavor is just so perfect.

The following is for my own benefit as much as yours, because I wanted to jot down some of the ingredients I could pick out: curry, sugar, golden raisins, turmeric (that's why it has a yellowish hue), salt, pepper, mayo, and I believe celery.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

"Pieces" of Pizza

Pizza Pull-Apart Bread - one of the greatest recipes to stumble upon during a procrastinatory hour.

What You Need:

Trader Joe’s Sourdough Loaf (or any crusty loaf of bread)
Trader Joe’s Garlic Loaf
16 oz  fresh mozzarella, grated
15 oz black olives, sliced
8 oz sliced pepperoni
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp black pepper
2 Tbs butter of butter spread (I used Smart Balance)

The concept here is simple: shove pizza toppings into a loaf of bread and bake it. 

This recipe couldn’t be easier and I swear, if you have kids, they’re going to go nut-bar helping make dinner once you explain to them the concept. 

All you do is cut the loaf of bread crosswise in a checkerboard pattern: go all the way down through the loaf and stop just short of the bottom.  The idea is that after you put all the toppings inside you pull the pieces out kind of like bread sticks.   Mix the pepper and oregano into the cheese so it has some “pizza” pizzazz. 

So, after you’ve cut the bread and seasoned the mozz, take your cheese and pack it down into the bread.  Then the pepperoni and olives.  It goes without saying that you can swap out these toppings for anything you and your family like.  I personally am a big pepperoni/olive fan.  Weston isn’t a fan of mushrooms so we don’t usually pair those with our pizza flavorings.  Bummer.  He’s good about eating stroganoff, though, because it’s one of my favorite meals :)

Sprinkle on another layer of cheese and make sure the toppings are well packed and the bread is filled to the brim.  Take your butter and brush the tops of the loaves with it.


Wrap the loaves tightly in aluminum foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.  You can crank up the heat to 375 or even 400 for the last 5-10 minutes just to be sure the bottoms are crisp. 

Unwrap the loaves and dig in! This is perfect as a new and improved dinner treat, a potluck, or Game Daaaaay! Close call on Saturday, boys, but a win nonetheless. Go Blue!