Belgian to the Max’s

Max’s On Broad is by far my favorite restaurant in Richmond. Not only is the food magnificent, but it’s a Belgian place too, which makes it all the better. I am so happy I get to rant about it to y’all.

I have only been here once, and for my birthday, since it’s so fancy. But my father and his girlfriend came into town, so we tried it out for brunch.

The restaurant itself almost feels like you are stepping into a real brasserie in Belgium. The decoration and motif do my country well. The food does too. The best part about Max’s in the summer: the windows upstairs open up to create a bit of a patio feel. It was the perfect day for this.

Being at a Belgian place for brunch, I decided to go big or go home and get something not so normal on the menu. I was between the salmon benedict, my normal brunch option, and the breakfast poutine. I just couldn’t be as simple as getting my brunch norm. So poutine, it was!

Poutine, although not a Belgian dish, incorporates many Belgian things. In a nutshell, it is fries topped with some sort of gravy, cheese and other various toppings. Since this one was a breakfast variation, an egg topped the whole lots, with chicken gravy, cheese curds, and the biggest bacon bits you have ever seen.

The level of flavors in this dish are hard to even explain. The crunch of the fries, with the saltiness of the bacon, and the meltiness of the cheese. I really cannot do it justice. It was everything I wanted and more. Oh my goodness.

Expect to see more about this place.

Fall Break Brings Baked Goodies

When I have fall break, what do I do? Bake. A lot. It was my therapeutic realize from school because I never get the chance during the semester.

Pinterest is my favorite for recipes. All of the following came from there. It really is so great. It is far easier to sift through the results than Google. That sounds basic, yes. But it does me some good.

Pumpkin Ginger Softs

Talk about addictive. I am already the biggest fan of ginger softs. Adding pumpkin only made the situation worse. The twenty four cookie bag was finished in a day, sadly. I took a few to my favorite professor and guinea pig. She loved them. They were soft and chewy, as you would expect from ginger softs. The pop of pumpkin added such a nice touch and flavor.

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Cilantro Cornbread

I have never made cornbread from scratch. Without a doubt, it is one of the easiest and quickest breads to make. I added a bit of my frozen cilantro olive oil that I made a month ago. It added just the right amount of kick. It also helped add moisture to the bread.

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Cheddar, Caramelized Onion and Olive Oil Bread

The bread did not come out according to the picture but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t wonderful. The thickness resembled focaccia but a bit more dense. Loaded with olive oil, the bread was moist and the combination of cheese and onion would go so nicely with a bowl of soup.

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Peanut Butter Bomb Cake

If you’re looking for a cake that tastes like a Reese’s Cup, this is it! No joke. It came out so moist; I am still baffled. I omitted an egg in hopes of a more fudgy consistency. It didn’t happen but the result was still wonderful.

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Soft Pretzels

So good. Seriously. Other than the ginger cookies, this was the favorite thing I made over break. These were also surprisingly simple and especially when I am not the best for working with yeast. A simple recipe with simple ingredients. The flavor was still amazing. Not overly sweet or salty, perfect balance. These puppies are even better with side of caramelized onion mustard.

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I did not get much of a break because of work and school reading. But getting to bake so much was the highlight of my “break.” My roommates too. Even though, we have all been overloading on crabs.

B-more

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The best burger in Maryland. The best burger in Baltimore. Or so they claim. After eating this burger, they may very well be right. I was in Baltimore for the day and had heard so much about this place, I had to go. The restaurant, Abbey Burger Bistro, is in a random spot, sort of in an alley. It is a tiny pub but boasts a huge beer list with some very delicious Belgians too.

It may have been two o’clock when I went but I couldn’t pass these up. I have found a new favorite beer. Frutli. And guess where it’s from? Belgium. It is one of their fruit beers that they truly have down. Although their fruit beers are some of my favorites, this one was unlike any other ones I had seen in Belgium and in the US. A strawberry beer. Oh my goodness. So refreshing, crisp with a lovely strawberry undertone. I could drink it all day.

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Not only can you order a million and one different beers, but the variety of meat you can get on your burger is wild. Seriously. This month’s special was venison and you can also get yourself a kangaroo burger.

I opted for the classic ground beef topped with caramelized onions, tomato and a spicy creme fiache. It may have been the classic but this two inch tall burger almost melted in my mouth. So juicy and perfectly cooked. I don’t know if I’ve had anything better. Honestly. And I know burgers.

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If you are ever in Baltimore and love a great burger, stop by this place. You won’t regret it. Potentially life changing. Also, check out the McCormick spice store near the Inner Harbor. The only one in the world and all the Old Bay your heart could desire.

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The Great Wall of Tequila

  So who likes margs? I know I do! And even better, at happy hour prices? With half priced empanadas and tacos? Casa Del Barco on Richmond’s Canal Street has perfected the art of a successful happy hour. A somewhat-pricey tequileria with an expansive Mexican food menu. From 3 to 7, college kids can actually afford their menu. Insert sad face emoji. But let’s also remember the heart eyes.

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The bar boasts over 150 different kinds of tekillya, as I like to call it. One of these shots will put you $180 in the bucket. We can only imagine how good their margaritas are then. Served in a cocktail glass, they are also far stronger than the normal Tex-Mex frozen variation. But they are twice as good!

The chips are served with crème and salsa. Both are so fresh. Oh my goodness. You can taste the freshly crushed tomato taste with the fresh herbs. And the crema, I tried it, and couldn’t stop eating it. Delicioso.

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Bringing it back to the beginning. These empanadas I was telling you about. You can get five different flavors. I stick to my trusty Portobello mushroom, spicy chorizo and shrimp adobo. These are fried to a light brown perfection and served with black beans and rice. They do a great job of combining extras with the bases of the empanadas. The flavors work so well together. The tacos are no less than amazing too. Everything is phenomenal to say the least. But there is just something about margaritas and the fried goodness of an empanada that work oh so perfectly together.

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Fun fact: the name, Casa del Barco, literally means “house of boat,” which is funny because the owner also owns the Boathouse, down by the river. I see what he did there.

The rest of the menu, I promise, is just as good as the other pieces I just described. When I mentioned I had a a food blog, they actually gave me a $25 gift card to return. I will return and try the rest of the menu. And you’ll know when that day comes.

We’ll Be There In A Dash

Being on the College Panhellenic Council exec board this year has honestly been one of the best experiences I’ve had in college. I’ve mentioned before I do the public relations and I’ve learned more about building a brand and social media hype than I ever thought possible. I even disaffiliated from my sorority for a time to be a part of this. Also wildly enriching.

Our biggest event is formal recruitment. In a nutshell, it’s speed dating for 4 days straight. It’s definitely an interesting experience from all angles. Being on exec, you get a free lunch everyday. This event helped me bring to you a lovely take out find of Richmond. Dash. It was so good the exec board went twice that weekend.

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The salmon burger was more of a salmon cake on a bun than an actual burger. Nonetheless, the flavor of this burger is suburb with the dill perfect for fish.

The burger had so many different levels of flavor. The fried onions and pickles added another dimension and texture. The burger itself was dryer than I prefer. Overall, quality burger. And we all know how I feel about burgers.

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I’ve never seen tots done in a better way. The chucks are bigger, making thicker tots. And sweet potato! The flavor is great with just the right amount of salt and pepper. The puppies are served with a side of tot sauce, a spicy mayo based sauce reminiscent of Sheetz boom boom sauce. I could not stop eating them.

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The location of the spot is notorious for having restaurants that go quickly out of business. Fingers crossed this isn’t the case for this place!