Exploring Richmond: Part II

The weather on Saturday was not what one would describe as “ideal”: wind, rain, and just above freezing temperatures. You cannot escape winter. We did spend our later morning exploring the Carytown neighborhood, full of boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants, and other quirky installations. Sometimes I do fall prey to retail therapy: this was one of those times. The first shop was one of my favorites: Clementine, a consignment shop. Its corner display caught my attention:

IMAG1348Brilliant!

While I didn’t find anything to purchase by the pound, I was still quite pleased by the concept. During hour two of shopping adventures, Aaron gently bowed out to find him both a warm venue and an adult beverage, leaving me to lurk inside another used book store that turned out to NOT offer used book store prices (and only upon evaluating my receipt did I realize this – label this an official “dunce moment.”)

Aaron had parked himself across the street at Portrait House, imbibing some local VA brew:

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This place didn’t offer much for the non-meat/dairy crowd, so we found a Greek restaurant down the street. Ironically, the Greek Cafe’s special for the day involved black bean patties – I had the gyro while Aaron ate his patty in burger form, and both of us gave the meal a big thumbs up:

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Then, it was time to make it over to a brewery bucket list location: Hardywood Park Craft Brewery. Unintentionally, we were visiting on the weekend of its Raspberry Stout Release. Per our usual brewery MO, we saw out in the parking lot until the doors opened at 2pm, watching the hardcore beer nerds begin to line up [did I mention the rain/wind/cold awaiting the folks outside?] from our heated seats.

Once inside, we jumped in line, grabbed a Raspberry Stout and The Great Return [West Coast IPA] and began our task of people watching as well as ooing and awing over the space.

IMAG1353Beerfection.

After purchasing some goodies to bring back, we ventured to brewery #2 on Saturday: Isley Brewing Company.

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Full of a diverse group of patrons, this open brewery space offered intriguing options for the palate. We opted for the Root of All Evil [Ginger Golden Ale] and Choosy Mother [Peanut Butter Butter]. Both were fantastic, as we sipped and sad on a coach overlooking the entire taproom.

What to do after some day drinking? A little hotel hot tub, a little napping, and some reading. [Yes, party people!] Dinner that night involved another highly-regarded vegan restaurant via Yelp: Phoenix Garden Vegetarian Restaurant. All menu items were vegan – pretty exciting, eh?

I ordered the Vegetarian Pho while Aaron tried the Bahn Mi:

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I did end up adding from sriracha to the Pho, which overall I found welcoming on a cold evening, choked full of rice noodles, mushrooms, and bamboo sprouts. But, I was not impressed my the Bahn Mi. And, what I found as my biggest turnoff was the abundance of faux meat. Not tofu, not seitan, not tempeh but some pinkish, processed (?), meat-like product. That’s not my jam, and it was the main star in the Bahn Mi and even played a supporting role in my Pho.

The following day, we spent our final morning wandering through downtown Richmond proper: starting off at Urban Farmhouse Market & Cafe for coffee and then venturing to and around the State Capitol Complex, Governor’s Mansion, canal walk along the James River, Tredegar Iron Works, and more. Although another chilly morning, the sun was out and warmed us on our journey of Richmond’s historical and pivotal role for the South in the Civil War. On future visits, we plan to do more around the historical components of this city. For now, enjoy some of our final shots of a fantastic weekend in Richmond:

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