Friday, July 1, 2011

J-Ward ♥ Guerrilla Dining.

I did it again only this time I got to pick the alley.

The pop-up restaurant I'd so enjoyed a couple of weeks ago materialized just across the street from my apartment after I recommended a prime Jackson Ward spot for the festivities.

The organizers welcomed me back enthusiastically but how could I resist a guerrilla meal barely two houses from home?

Surely they knew I'd show.

Like last time, the five-dollar price tag covered a cocktail, main dish and dessert.

As a bonus, there was also a salad tonight.

The evening's cocktail could have been a Karen mix.

Reposado tequila that had been infused with habanero and jalapeno was mixed with cucumber sour mix and cilantro and served with half a salted rim.

To those with no tolerance for a bit of heat, it was hot.

In my opinion, it was beautifully balanced with cool cucumber smoothing out the peppers' heat.

Dinner tonight was shrimp and yellow corn grits with diced local tomatoes, green onions, mushrooms and locally salt-cured Thai bird chilis.

The chilis' spice infused the grits, making for a much hotter mouthfeel than the cocktail.

I devoured it.

A small grill took care of the cooking requirements as the crowd continued to grow when neighbors got wind of the goings-on.

One guy walked up and said, "Hi, I'm your neighbor. Can I share this car hood with you?"

He must have been enjoying himself because soon he went to call his friends and alert them to the fun.

As I ate my savory shrimp and grits, I met the occupants of a nearby house and heard tales from their corner.

A guy I met last time arrived, sans girlfriend, and marveled again at my lack of cellphone, even telling his friend.

She, too, marveled. "That's awesome!"

I was surprised at how many people had read my post about the last dinner.

One guy said he'd missed the last one but my description was so vivid that he'd made sure he didn't miss this one.

As a bonus, one of my very favorite summer dishes is panzanella and it was also on tonight's menu.

The food talent makes (excellent) bread and today some of their sourdough was used as croutons with local tomatoes, garlic, onions, basil and olive oil for a refreshing salad that epitomized summer.

Meanwhile, the occupants of the nearest house got wind of the activities in their own backyard and joined the party.

Sadly for them, they had just consumed an enormous burrito meal, but they were able to sip cocktails like pros.

Our houses practically face each other and this was the first time we'd met, so it was fun to talk midnight movies and late night museums with them.

Tonight's main entertainment came from the very recently-installed graffiti prevention box.

Mounted high on an alley-facing pole, it detects motion and flashes lights while yelling at the potential perpetrators.

It's completely obnoxious and I think it will probably drive the nearest neighbors batty.

Besides, I have to think my tax dollars could be better used.

Dessert tonight was a sourdough pancake with strawberries, mint and honey (I think) and even people who couldn't eat their dinner somehow managed to polish off an entire bowl of dessert.

Funny how that works.

Toward the end, the bartender offered second drinks to any takers and I couldn't think of a good reason to pass up another given my affection for teuila, especially given my proximity to home, sweet home.

The organizers already asked if I knew of another appropriate alley and my only question was whether it could be another one in my neighborhood.

Yes, it could, they said.


With a little planning, I might be able to suggest a different Jackson Ward location at least every other time.

Seems like the ideal place for a locavore restaurant to pop up every now and then.

We're the new dining destination, haven't you heard?


  1. You forgot me. How do you hear about these?

  2. They have been discontinued because, according to the organizers, a self-aggrandizing blogger/tweeter put out too much information on them and blew them up.

    It's a real shame,too.

  3. Wow, Karen. Tough words. We learned about it from friends and here. And as you do, we wish them only success. I spoke with them over email and it didn't seem an issue. I am utterly blown away by this. My apologies if posting them to my blog caused any strife.

  4. Karen's words were NOT tough enough. Tweeting obnoxiously about a well protected and much loved secret. You single-handedly destroyed a generous gift to Richmonders who love food and each other's company. Tell me Whinemedineme - why was it so important to your ego to ruin that for everyone?