The Pearl-Wearing Pig

This Richmond spot is one that has been on my list for awhile, along with a million others. The Pig and Pearl serves up pork BBQ and other southern favorites, hence the name. My older brother, who moved here in December, is the fan of the Rocket Dog, something he enjoys for lunch on the regular.

To give some background, I have been living in Oregon Hill since I got to VCU, except for a two month stint in a freakishly expensive apartment. Anywho, I have been in this particular house in Oregon Hill for two years, going on my third. All the previous roommates moved out because they graduated and such. I may have graduated but I am still stinking around.

One of my new roommates is named Charlie, or Charles, as I like to call her. She is the one I am closet to in the house. We went on spring break together with two of our other sisters. She was a freshman who barely knew any of us, and just decided to tag along. But this trip would not in any way have been the same if she hadn’t come. In a matter of months, she’s become one of my best friends. She’s also always down to experiment with food with me and be my first guinea pig.

I had the pleasure of enjoying this meal with her and her dad. I now understand Charles a little more after meeting her dad. Her goof ball nature and the way she talks, everything makes more sense. It was great company!

But back to the food, we shared Fried Okra for the table. I had never had them before. I must admit they were a little heavy on the breading but they were still great. The sauce they were served with was awesome! It’s a bacon remoulade, basically an aioli. The flavor of it with the bacon and spices was amazing!

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I wasn’t necessarily in the mood for a burger but the toppings on the Southern Gentleman were just too appetizing to pass up! Pimento cheese, fried green tomatoes, bacon, bourbon and blackstrap molasses BBQ sauce. I mean, come on, how could I have not ordered that?

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The burger was delicious. The fried green tomatoes were probably the thickest I had ever tried. Unfortunately, the burger was a little light on the pimento cheese, but we all know how I feel about that. It was so messy I could not even put it down. And it was delicious! Not my favorite burger in Richmond but this dish got me excited to try the rest of their menu.

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The Pig and Pearl also boosts an astounding beer and liquor menu. The liquors all have an explanation, namely the whiskey and bourbon. Being the southern place they are, I can see why.

For drinks or food, The Pig and Pearl is a solid choice in Richmond for a twist on Southern food.

Relay Recipes

As some of you may or may not know, I used to work for Relay Foods last fall. Relay is an online grocery store and farmers market. As I liked to call it, something between Amazon and Whole Foods. There’s something about it for everyone. Whether you wanna use it for the organic options, the online shopping or for the pure convenience of not going to the grocery store.

Something I really love about Relay is that they have recipes and meal planning options for busy families or people like me. Recently, they honored me with a few bucks to make some recipes for my blog.

I decided on Mexican Lasagna and Eggplant Parmesan. Both vegetarian and delish.

Eggplant Parmesan

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For something so popular, this was my first time even making Eggplant Parmesan. It was exactly as I had expected. The breading can get tough if you don’t keep the process on the clean side. But it is definitely a messy process. The spice blend that this uses really makes the dish. It has a little kick but adds so much flavor. It feels really healthy eating this dish because of the eggplant and then you realize all the stuff you just put in it and how it may not actually be that healthy. Also, I am quite a fan of all the cheese that it uses. Provolone, parmesan, and Italian blend – keep it coming.

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(Excuse my slightly over-broiled variation)

Mexican Lasagna

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This recipe was one of the easiest ones I have made in awhile. And it was amazing! You also feel healthy eating it because of all the beans in it. You get a little bit of all the things you need in one place. The enchilada sauce has a ton of flavor and adds so much to the dish. Full of flavor and a bit on the spicy side, the crema uses the chiles and cilantro. It is the best addition to this dish. The dish has a lot of texture and every bite has a little bit of a different flavor. For a busy family, this would be an easy weeknight dinner to whip up. It’s also pretty fun to make.

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I really love Relay and how easy they make buying groceries. They also make sure that the customers are always happy with the products they are getting. They even have an awesome refill opinion for people who repeatedly buy something weekly or monthly. My only only issue with them is that for a college kid or graduate, Relay can be a little bit on the pricier side. I got the fixings for these meals and a little something extra for $50.

This particular post may sound like a sales pitch, but in actuality, it’s about the recipes. As I was making these dishes, I realized they were both casseroles and both vegetarian. I did not mean to have such little variation between the dishes I made for them. Just the same, choose Mexican or Italian and you’ve got an easy dinner in the making.

Torino, Amore Mio

Happy August!! I can’t believe it got here so quickly!


For my 50th post, I have happy news!

I finally get to unveil to you my number 1 restaurant, as least for flavors sake.

Located in tiny Warrenton in the middle of horse country Virginia, Cafe Torino serves some of the most authentic Italian experience in, I dare say, Virginia.

The owner and head chef is a Italian-born man with the robust Italian personality. He comes to greet you and even catch a few jokes. As for his food, being born and raised in Italy, I think this guy knows Italian.

My family and I have a long relationship. We lived in Warrenton for 7 years while my mom worked at the AIA headquarters in DC. My godparents live here and this is where she grew up. The unfortunate thing is we only came to try this restaurant only 3 months before we were supposed to move.

Ever since, any time we are there, we have to go! It is just the best treat. I’ve even gone by myself. This time, I drove 3 hours for a 2 hour meal with part of my family. Every time, it’s worth it. I have never met something more consistent in flavor or better in Italian. My go to is the Pennette with Prosciutto and Sage, but I’ve also only gone at lunch.

We were there dinner this go around. My dish of choice: Tortellini with Prosciutto and Sage. I was between this and another but the waitress suggested this, so I had to do it. There was no regret.

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The tortellini was the most fresh tortellini I have ever tasted. You could just tell it was recently made. The creaminess of the sauce was the perfect consistency, thin and full of gusto. The sage flavor is so wonderfully underlying. As for the prosciutto, for dinner, its thick cut. With every bite, saltier than the last. The pairing is marvelous. This dish has inspired me to use more sage in my cooking – recipes to come.

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I must admit I haven’t strayed too much from ordering this dish at Cafe Torino. But I have had the joy of trying a few dishes and every single one is just such a great Italian representation. Especially, the focaccia, soft and fresh. Even the environment, it is very relaxed. Not trying to be a high class place, but serving amazing amazing Italian food.    Not a bad Idea.

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After this trip, I happily had the opportunity to go again within the week. It was the best but very rare for me. This time, my mom and I shared the Tortellini with Ham and Peas. I have to say, it wasn’t nearly as delicious but still amazing!

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So Warrenton Friends, if you haven’t tried this, leave your house right now to try it. Everyone else, find a way. It is the best needle in a haystack.