This past week, a new and exciting dining event, "Sampling Shockoe" took place right around the corner from Rocketts Landing, AND if you missed it, please let me assure you will want to mark your calendars for next year.
Before I put the napkin in my lap, I did a little research, as I wanted to be sure I could share the best of this local event with all of you.
First, I found out that I was getting a great deal. I would receive a three-course pre fixe menu (often accompanied by a glass of wine) for the set rate of $30. That worked for me. Second, some of Richmond's well-known Shockoe Slip and Shockoe Bottom restaurants were going to participate, such as Caf Gutenberg, Julep's New Southern Cuisine, Millie's Diner and Dora's Brazilian Grill.
Some of the other favorites that would also be participating included: Europa, The Hard Shell, Havana '59, La Grotta, Lulu's Restaurant, Morton's, Old Original Bookbinder's Richmond, Sam Miller's, Sensi, Tobacco Company and Trevi's the Flavor of Italy Restaurant at the Omni Hotel. That is an all-star team, if you ask me.
Lastly, and somewhat mostly importantly, I found out that most places required a reservation. (I will be sure to make note of this next year!)
However, after completing my research and studying the location of each restaurant, I was hungry and ready to take on the event. Every place I went, I tried a little bit of everything, and of course, I always saved room for dessert (picture of vegan chocolate pecan tart below). However, I have to say the best part of the entire event (aside from the food, since I will never be able to pick a favorite) was the energy and positive atmosphere engulfing Shockoe and the adjacent neighborhoods. People were enjoying each other's company on restaurant patios, laughing in the streets and catching up with old friends in the bar. It was a true neighborhood party.
Josh Padarathsingh, the barista at Caf Gutenberg, summed up the event and surrounding neighborhood perfectly. "Events, like Sampling Shockoe, unify and make this area more appealing and engaging for Richmond citizens," stated Josh. "By bringing more cultural elements and positive attention to the area, patrons of the restaurants and residents cannot wait to come back."
I agree with Josh. I know I will -- especially for dessert.