Bringing Belgium to RVA

Some of you all may know this, some of you may not. But I am what most people would call obsessive over the small European country of Belgium. I studied abroad there on what is going on 2 years. The whole experience changed my life as should any study abroad experience should do to a person. This trip, believe it or not, actually heightened my fascination with food.

To my astonishment, there are two Belgian places in my lovely city of Richmond. I knew I loved it for some reason. Max’s, I have posted about before, only for their brunch. Although they boast a wonderful menu with Belgian fare, they also have some signature French and French Canadian dishes. Not a truly Belgian place. Brux’l Cafe, on the other hand, is pure authentic Belgian.

The interior isn’t as fancy as Max’s but the food makes up for it. They have the walls lined with beer glasses and pictures of all my favorite Belgian places. The owner always walks out to greet his customers, with the biggest smile on his face. Hospitality at its finest.

The food! Oh yum! I jumped for the standard Moules and Frites, mussels and fries, the most signature of Belgian dishes. The broth of the mussels of my particular choice was dosed with garlic and herbs. The mussels were so tender they almost all feel out of their shells. That’s how you know it’s good. They were some of the best mussels I have had. They were tender and juicy, and of course, covered in garlic.

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Not to mention, the fries are double fried and almost as good as the real thing from Belgium. They serve them with a delicious fry sauce, the Belgian way.

Did I tell you they serve my favorite beer off the tap? This was a hard thing to find even in Belgium. The beer is one of the first wheat beers, brewed since 1445 in Hoegaarden, Belgium. It’s namesake. This beer is light and crisp. The perfect thing on a hot summer afternoon.

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Needless to say, if you’re looking for authentic Belgian in Richmond, check out the place with t he Belgian flag as their awning!

PS: Their burger was also voted the best in Richmond. Don’t you worry, the burger queen is going back for more.

Comparing Cubans

Ham, pork, cheese, pickles and mustard once came together for a party. And they made something beautiful down in Key West. The Cuban.

 There are more than a few places in Richmond that may serve a Cuban. But I took it upon myself to compare a few of the ones I had the joy of eating.

Kuba Kuba is a well known Cuban restaurant in Richmond. They serve breakfast all day and the best Cafe con Leche’s. The vibe is something I would expect to see straight out of the Cuba. Even in the dead of winter, it feels warm inside with the bright colors and Spanish lining the boards on the wall.

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Their Cuban was delicious. It was fresh and the amount of meat could’ve almost been too much. I was quite bummed by one thing: the bread. For a sandwich like this, I would prefer something softer than more so melts in your mouth. Their Cuban was crunchy and almost hurt my mouth eating it. The ingredients on the inside made up for the indiscretion on the inside.

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Along a busy street in Richmond, there sits a hole in the wall cafe. There are no seats, just a kitchen. Where they provide their customers with fresh and local ingredients in an assortment of sandwich formats. The Naked Onion. Their Cuban was probably not the type of Cuban you would actually find in the homeland. But nonetheless, the bread was soft. Might I add, cut differently than the Kuba Kuba Cuban. The meat, again, was almost too much but amazingly roasted to perfection. It almost melted in my mouth.

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These Cubans are hard to compare in all honesty. They are in different ballparks. The Kuba Kuba one ranks supreme when you are looking for a real Cuban. But the Naked Onion variation is a solid choice when you want a darn good sandwich.

Side note. The rest of the menu at both of these places is outstanding. The Naked Onion’s is also always changing because of the restaurants local food aspiration. And if you’re looking for true Cuban food in RVA, you would be dumb not to try Kuba Kuba.