Sunday, June 3, 2012

Broad Appetit ISO Virginia Dionysus

Okay, so Broad Appetit.

The good: it brings people to Jackson Ward (not so scary in the daylight, is it, people?), it allows people who dine out infrequently to try restaurants they haven't (on the cheap - $3 a pop) and it's a unique way to eat lunch.

The bad: street stands offering fair fare (cheese fries, really?), not enough room for the lines (would one or two more blocks of Broad kill city officials on a Sunday afternoon?) and the absence of any wineries worth tasting.

For me, being two blocks from the event, there are no parking hassles and I can be there when it opens and is still civilized.

And even if I go alone, which I did, I'm guaranteed to know people.

From the second I got close to Broad Street, I ran into friend after friend.

The boutique owner doing her first Broad Appetit. The man about town in a seersucker suit. The frustrated restaurateur's wife. The favorite couple with their Broad Appetit game plan printed out on multiple sheets of paper.

I spent the first hour with a teenager who shares my love of eating everything odd.

I talked her into trying blowtoads for the first time ("Mmm, fish tail!" she crowed) and she bought me apple cinnamon churros in caramel sauce in return.

An early stop was Bistro 27's table for Moroccan lamb meatballs and one of mixologist's Bobby Kruger's famous watermelon lemonade with a mint leaf smacked into it.

After two years of drinking it as I promenade through the event, I think it should be the official drink of Broad Appetit.

He and I placed bets on when he'd run out of the fifteen gallons he'd made.

I spent the second hour with a BA virgin, trying Magpie's goat curry for the first time and mozzarella ice cream with cherry tomatoes for the second.

At Lehja, we had the ginger curry leaf scented sea bass and the chickpea/potato dish.

I really must make the trek to Short Pump to enjoy Lehja's food to a larger extent.

Amour provided the last course, divine chicken liver mousse with bacon and chive in puff pastry.

We stopped in the Empire Theater for the open rehearsal of "Spring Awakening," a Tony award-winning play I am eager to have open in Richmond.

Let's shock the bluehairs, shall we?

Back on the street, we opted out of the madding crowds and took Marshall Street home, still hearing the bands playing and dodging suburbanites looking for parking spaces in what they no doubt consider "the hood."

The conclusion: I love having so many visitors here in my beautiful, historic neighborhood. It's fun to get to eat from so many different restaurants in one day.

But why in the world can't we make Virginia wineries a viable part of Broad Appetit? Virginia beers were certainly well represented.

Broad Appetit, you're on the right track, but you're not there yet.

You've got a year to get it right. Let me know if you need some suggestions.

As an upstanding local citizen, I'm always eager to help improve things in the 'hood.

Here's to number six, Broad Appetit!


  1. Great and agree on the va wines!

  2. Great and you should check out Lehja !