Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Winner, winner, chicken liver: lunch at The Black Sheep

Wow. Today, I ate the most delicious sub-- no, BATTLESHIP-- in my life. Before you read on, do me one favor and promise yourself you'll visit this place as soon as possible.

Located at 901 W. Marshall St. and run by talented chef/owner Kevin Roberts, The Black Sheep is a quirky restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The walls are adorned with eclectic artworks and a huge "black sheep"s head. Even the furniture is interesting and full of personality: my cousin E settled on a church pew across from me, while I sat on what used to be a park bench. Black Sheep is also known for their unique lamps and salt and pepper shakers (forgive me for all of these phone pics. I didn't take my camera).

The menu is creative but grounded in familiarity, topped off with a French-N'awlins twist. Actually, there are various cultural influences: dishes like the Shrimp Saganaki appetizer ($8) and Lamb Kebab entree ($14) can be found on the dinner menu. Prices are very reasonable, and the ingredient quality is top-notch (and local when possible). Although the place is known for its huge "Battleships" (imagine a sub on steroids that is also sprinkled with fairy dust, all made in a perfect fantasy land where edibles are magically delicious), everything has gotten great reviews. Today, my cousin and I tried some Battleships. I CANNOT wait to go again. And again... and again. I think I'll ask to go here for my birthday.

...And baby Jesus' birthday?

Beverages are served in wide, stocky glasses that make you feel small and awesome. It's like you're drinking out of a bowl but people don't look at you funny! Perfect pairing with your humongous Battleship.

I got the CSS Virginia ($9): "fried chicken livers served in toasted french baguette with shredded cabbage, green onions, granny smith apple, & remoulade sauce." Lemme tell you something. I've never tried chicken livers, nor have I had Louisiana-style remoulade... BUT I THINK I'M IN LOVE. The livers were breaded and fried to perfection: wonderfully crunchy on the outside, not greasy, and creamy on the inside. The remoulade was bursting with fresh lemon juice, zingy whole grain mustard and pure deliciousness. The baguette was everything a baguette should be; reminded me of the times I'd walk to the local bakery in Courcouronnes (umm, the mayor was hot, btw) to buy warm baguettes and pan au chocolat.

Ok, seriously. This thing is no joke. I'd guess it's about 2 ft long.

My cousin ordered the USS Cumberland ($9): "roasted eggplant & white bean spread, roasted red peppers, black olives, spinach & an herb cucumber tomato salad." I believe she enjoyed it very much. Didn't snap a pic.

"All come with a knife for doing battle & a napkin to signify your surrender."

Both of us ended up "surrendering" after eating about 1/2 of the monstrosities and got the rest wrapped up to go. We split La Brea Tarpit ($4) for dessert: "dark chocolate crème brûlée with animal crackers captured in the bruleed top." Pretty much the best crème brûlée I've ever had. The custard was cool and rich underneath the crackly brûlée, and the animal crackers complemented the whole thing with a buttery, crunchy bite. The desserts are made in-house, and all of them seem drool-worthy. Also, I've gotta mention that our server was attentive and made sure our dining experience was smooth.

I have so many more good things to say about this place, and I'll probably write about The Black Sheep again, but for now I bid you adieu. And PLEASE!!!!! For the sake of your forlorn stomach, taste buds, and whole being, CHECK THIS PLACE OUT!


P.S. Keep in mind that I write this only having tried very little of the menu, but I have high hopes with good word from trusty sources.

The Black Sheep
901 W. Marshall St. Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 648-1300
Mon-Thur: 9am-9pm; Fri-Sat: 9am-10pm; Sun: 9am-8pm
Take-out available.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009



Vanilla cupcakes (boxed :D!) w/ cinnamon-vanilla frosting.

Man I'm so excited. Not expecting much substance from this kind of movie, esp by Michael Bay (sry). I just love the testosterone-driven action and such. And who didn't like Transformers growing up? For a laugh, read this article my fraaaand Seyoung linked to.


P.S. Random food fact: I have eaten way too many cupcakes today.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Homemade Pasta

It is what it is.

Served with a homemade tomato sauce (fresh tomato, garlic, red onion, herbs, etc) w/ Italian sausage

I think I'd like a pasta machine in the near future (AKA when I have some moolah). More uniform shape/thickness = more uniform deliciousness. Still, these had a great bite to them, and I was full faster than if I'd eaten boxed pasta. Not knockin the boxed though, because I live off that stuff and there's nothing wrong with it.

Bleh. fluorescent lights.

Random food fact: Arabs invented caramel, which served as a depilatory (hair removal) for women in a harem.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

BAKING NOOBS, UNITE!!!! Simplest banana bread ever.

Don't hate on the tattered green oven mit. It's my favorite.

Ok, so everybody knows that I kind of don't like baking. I have the utmost respect for patissiers and zealous home bakers. Such precise measurements, various factors that can make or break the dish, and I've always been a savory/salty girl. Mix in a few bad baking adventures, and voila! I'm a pretty lousy baker and I do not enjoy baking.




All fellow baking n00bs/haters, huddle over here! Heck, even if you DO have baking skills, try this recipe. It's so simple, so moist, and rich with banana goodness. Found the recipe via TasteSpotting, and the original recipe is from a lovely lady named Ms. Hockmeyer, who has sinced passed. I think it's really sweet how she lives on every time this recipe is discovered and loved! Recipe found here, my adapted version below (because, AGAIN, I didn't have all the ingredients).

Simple Banana Bread
Adapted from Ms. Hockmeyer's banana bread recipe, via Simply Recipes

3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed (I only had 2 bananas, so I added the puree of 1 peeled small red apple. This provides the missing nanners' sweetness/moisture/some texture)
1/3 cup melted margarine
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

No need for a mixer for this recipe. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. Pour mixture into a buttered 4x8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.

C'MON! How much simpler can it get? The outside crust is TO DIE FOR. Slightly caramelized, crunchy, and sweet, giving way to the moist banana-y inside... Mmmm...

I like it slightly chunky.. Look at all those banana bits :D

Sometimes, when I scroll through my photos, I cringe at the thought of how cloyingly sweet or rich everything would be as a daily diet. It's at these times that I have to remind myself that I don't gorge myself on all these things, all the time hahah. Hmm maybe I should post up some healthier things next :D Believe it or not, I do eat salads and such!

Random food fact: Starburst was created by the European confectionery Mars Inc. in 1960 and was originally named Opal Fruits.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Biscuits and My Visit to Sticky Rice

I woke up at 7AM today, which is a major feat for me. Especially during the summer. With so much time on my hands before I had to go to Short Pump (I got my macbook bezel/frame replaced for free even without warranty.. hollaaaa), I decided to make a breakfast nibble. I turned to TasteSpotting for a biscuit recipe, and decided on one of the simplest ones, found at The Cooking Photographer (her blog/recipe found here). Definitely try that recipe. You can easily add extra flavorings, and she even has suggestions for buttermilk substitutes if you're in a pinch (which I was). Here, I added sharp cheddar cheese, garlic and scallions.

Mmm.. look at all the cheese, scallions and garlic speckled throughout these tasty morsels!

These biscuits were garlicky, slightly cheesy, and wonderful with a glass of milk. They were firm and flaky on the outside, which I absolutely adore in biscuits. The insides were soft and fluffy with nothing left to be desired. SO GOOD! Making biscuits is surprisingly easy, and you can feel good about sending family off to work/school with something homemade to nosh on. Give these a try, they take less than 30 mins (including baking time).

Cheddar Garlic Biscuits
Adapted from The Cooking Photographer's Buttermilk Biscuit recipe

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter cut into pieces (I used 6 tbsp veg shortening because I was out of butter.. butter would def be more flavorful)
¾ cup buttermilk (I used 2 tsp vinegar and milk as suggested by TheCookingPhotographer)

1 cup (more or less if you'd like) of grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 tbsp minced garlic
½ tbsp garlic powder
1 handful chopped scallions, white and green parts

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a food processor and process to mix. Add butter and pulse until crumbly with small pea sized butter pieces still in places. Add buttermilk and pulse just until the dough comes together. Pour mixture into bowl and stir in cheddar, garlic, garlic powder and scallions.

Flour a surface, dump out dough, and then flour top of dough. Kneed a few times and roll out to about 1 inch thick. Cut out biscuits with a drinking glass or biscuit cutter. Continue to roll out dough and cut biscuits until dough is used up. *I was too lazy make them pretty, so I just scooped and shaped the biscuits by hand. Then I lightly brushed the tops of the biscuits with some garlic+oil (garlic and butter would be even better!)*

Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

On to my review of Sticky Rice, located on W. Main St. (Richmond). It's a low-key, hole-in-the-wall place that serves fusion sushi and other Asian-inspired dishes.

I don't understand how this place has gotten 5 stars (on Yelp). The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the smell. It sort of smelled like a public bathroom at the amusement park... But I digress.. On to the food.

The lettuce wrap appetizer was probably the best thing I had there, only because it didn't taste off. There was a lotttt of ginger though.

I'm not an extreme sushi purist, but I've gotta say that the sushi here is mediocre. Creative ideas, I guess, but not as delicious as you'd hope. Fish didn't seem very fresh/high grade either, but I'm not complaining too much about that because the place isn't pricey. I ordered the eel roll, broiled salmon skin roll and tuna tempura. The eel was mushier than it should've been (and there wasn't much), broiled salmon skin was soggy (but dry?) and sort of flavorless. I couldn't detect the tuna in my tuna tempura, and the tempura wasn't even thick, so what the heck? It wasn't bad though, and it looked pretty cute all dolled up with some red tobiko. Haha.

My friends ordered the Mongolian beef entree w/ udon noodles. They enjoyed that, and even had leftovers. Maybe you should go with non-sushi dishes, unless you're drunk (there were some obnoxious 20something females next to us downing sake and shoving tater tots down their throats.. I overheard that the tots were "SO FANTASTIC!"). Then it probably wouldn't matter what you eat.

Service was good. We had our waters refilled frequently, and questions/requests were heeded graciously.

Sticky Rice
2232 West Main St.
Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 358-7870

A lot of people wonder wtf canola oil is, so here we go (info selected from Wikipedia): Canola was originally naturally bred from rapeseed in Canada in the early 1970s. However, due to the negative associations with the seed's unfortunate name ("rape" comes from the latin word for turnip), the name was changed to Canola and marketed. Canola = Canadian oil, low acid (referring to the lower levels of erucic acid compared to traditional rapeseed oil).


Wednesday, June 10, 2009


It is currently 7:28am and I should be fast sleep (or early to rise), but for the past couple of hours I've been going through countless food blogs. From the very moment I saw a TasteSpotting photo regarding the "Broad Appetit" festival, I was introduced to a GINORMOUS blogosphere of RICHMOND-based food bloggers!

Now, it's not that I thought these wonderful creatures failed to exist; my searching skills (or lack thereof) just weren't keen enough!

So I introduce to you an aggregate of rva food blogs run by rvafoodie (definitely check that site out too-- super informative yet fun to read) and others: eatingrichmond.

The place offers links to blogs regarding food in general, cooking, dining, and other great tidbits. Do visit and increase your knowledge (and appetites) of Richmond gems! I think I've made note of more than 20 Richmond places I MUST visit once my checkbook allows me ;) I've also learned what chia seeds are and who makes the best cupcakes in town. You know it has to be a great find if I'm raving about it and it's [now] 7:35am. So take a look ASAP!