From Cocktail Tourist to Cocktail Native

Fiery Igloo CocktailHappy (Belated) New Year! I know it’s been awhile – I’ve been on a bit of a blogging hiatus these last few weeks but between the holidays and moving, the Mr. and I have been keeping pretty busy. That’s right, my fiancée and I now officially call Richmond, Virginia home. It’s been a whirlwind…new home, new restaurants, new way of life… but it’s exactly what we were looking for.

There has definitely been up-side: Dwayne and I went on our first official RVA date night last weekend. For pre-dinner cocktails, we hit up Rogue Gentleman since we love their seasonal cocktail program. The restaurant had transitioned from the autumn menu (which we loved) to the winter menu (which we semi-liked) – but, the drinks were still way pricier than my ‘everything should cost less now that we live in Richmond instead of DC expectations’ (two cocktails were $28 plus tip).  Regardless, thanks to Chef Johnny we enjoyed ourselves at the bar and then it was then off to dinner at a place we were trying for the very first time, Stella’s, a Mezze-style Greek restaurant.

I’m not sure what I expected of the RVA restaurant scene on a Saturday night, but needing reservations for dinner was not it. But, after a quick twenty minute wait we were able to grab two seats at the bar. And, can I just say, Stella’s turned out to be one heck of a hidden gem tucked into a quiet residential neighborhood. The pre-dinner libations were authentic and delish (and appropriately priced; Dwayne’s Aris Greek Lager was $5 and my glass of Techni Alipias Sauvignon Blanc was $9), the staff was kind and welcoming, and the food was delicious. Be sure to try the Village Salate and the Mushroom Saganaki as these were our two favorite dishes of the night.  Bonus: dinner only cost $47.86 plus tip.Mushroom Saganaki and Village Salata

And for those brunch lovers out there; Sunday afternoon we made our first trip to Millie’s in Shockoe Bottom. While this spot wasn’t quite my style (views of the chaotic kitchen, empty egg cartons that missed the trash can and ended up under the bar, etc.), the real disappointment was that they ran out of sausage and therefore had to ‘86’ their world-famous Devil’s Mess.  On the bright-side, the Evil Keevils Rum Punch was the highlight of our visit — super boozy, quite tasty, and only $8.

But, as with most things, there has been down-side: Just this morning, as Dwayne and I walked to our cars at 4:30am to start our 120 mile (one-way) commute to work, the very real down-side hit us like a ton of bricks. There was a man who took it upon himself to act as the welcoming committee…and for no reason started shouting at the top of his lungs ‘I bet you want to kill me you little n***a bi**h’, you’re a n***a’, ‘n***a’, etc.

Let me reiterate, January 15th, 2015 — at 4:30am this morning — in downtown Richmond — getting called the N-word. Scared and disappointed doesn’t even begin to summarize my thoughts – and these thoughts weren’t improved as we were forced to drive by the Confederate flag which flies right next to I-95 between Fredericksburg, Virginia and Stafford, Virginia – it’s like leaving the South to head to the North for work.

But, despite the drama, we’re (still) excited for our new life in Richmond and can’t wait for our next date night which looks like it will include stops at Strangeways Brewing, Dutch & Co., the Magpie, and maybe even a Sunday lunch date at soul food super star, Mama J’s!