The Collegian
Thursday, February 29, 2024

Ask Maddy: Tired of Spider Chicken? Here’s some food for thought

Dear Maddy,

I don’t know if I can keep eating DHall food. What are some recipes or restaurants that you love?

Dear reader,

THIS is the question I’ve been waiting for! Thank you so much for asking!

For those of you who don’t know, I am a major foodie. On a Friday afternoon, I’m on my couch in my apartment watching "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" with Guy Fieri while simultaneously scrolling through foodie accounts on Instagram.

I love some food!

While I don’t want to harp on the food at the Heilman Dining Center – I’m personally a fan of Mongolian Grill – it can get a bit repetitive after four years. So, I want to share some of my favorite recipes I’ve made this year from my own apartment, as well as some of my favorite restaurants out in the city. 

It’s some food for thought if you will.

Maddy’s Top Recipes of 2023

White Wine and Garlic Butter Bucatini

Pasta is one of the easiest – and cost effective – dishes, in my opinion. This recipe is great for getting rid of those last few cloves of garlic or the pasta sitting in the corner of the pantry. The recipe calls for pretty simple ingredients: white wine, garlic, butter, heavy cream and shredded parmesan cheese. I also used some spaghetti that I’d had sitting in the pantry for a minute. If you’re short on time, it takes less than an hour, and it is fully worth it. The best dish I’ve made this year!

Salmon Cakes

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I meal-prepped some salmon cakes a couple of weeks back, and they were really good! I would say it’s a relatively cheap recipe – I used canned salmon, breadcrumbs, eggs and additional seasoning for the cakes. After forming the cakes, I also prepared some brown rice and spinach. Super nutrient-rich and tasty, too.

Chicken Teriyaki

I have had a hard time finding teriyaki or hibachi in Richmond, so I decided to make my own! I picked up some chicken, broccoli, onions and alfalfa sprouts (a good source of fiber), and added a scrambled egg. I also made my teriyaki sauce from scratch, which included soy sauce, brown sugar, a bit of honey, garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce. I tossed all that into some rice and almost ate the entire four servings in one sitting.

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so I had to include one item for the early risers. These pancakes are probably the easiest of all these recipes. I usually use Bisquick mix, but make sure to throw in a small amount of vanilla extract and some cinnamon. I add some lemon juice (and if I’m feeling fancy, some zest) to the batter, but not too much so that it becomes watery. Then, I add the blueberries on top while the pancakes are cooking on the first side. It’s a refreshing change of pace from my usual toast and eggs.

Maddy’s Top Restaurants of 2023 

Bacchus - If you like pasta, you’ll like Bacchus. The inside of the restaurant is a little chaotic – there are a ton of string lights decorating the entire interior, and somehow a romantic balcony – but the food is good. I always go for the carbonara. It’s slightly pricey, but it’s still nice for a quick date night.

Lucky AF - Lucky AF is located in Scott’s Addition, one of Richmond’s newer foodie hotspots. They offer a large selection of Asian fusion, but, if there’s one thing I’m always going to get, it’s their sushi. They also have some really eccentric cocktail choices – I got one with activated charcoal in it the first time I went.

Buttermilk and Honey - Following the chicken sandwich craze of the last few years, Buttermilk + Honey is taking Richmond by storm with three locations opened in a relatively short amount of time. If you’re looking for a chicken sandwich done the right way, you have to go here. The concept was created by husband-wife duo Chef Mike Lindsey and Kimberley Love-Lindsey, who own a number of restaurants across the city, including Lillie Pearl and Jubilee.

Fire & Hops Pizza Co. - Pizza is for sure my favorite food of all time. If I could eat it every day, it would be from Fire & Hops. And if I had to choose one pizza, it would be their Fig and Pig, which features fig preserve as the pizza’s base, with gorgonzola cheese, prosciutto, romano and balsamic drizzle. It’s ridiculous.

Boulevard Burger & Brew - I absolutely love when a restaurant captures a concept so clearly, and Boulevard Burger & Brew is just that place. If you’re looking for an authentic diner with amazing burgers and shakes, it’s here. Located just blocks from the Science Museum of Virginia, it’s the perfect place to get together with friends.

Home Sweet Home - My comfort meal consists of a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato basil soup, which Home Sweet Home specializes in. This place has some of the neatest grilled cheese concepts I’ve ever seen, and the appetizers are just as good. They also put a cute little Goldfish cracker in the soup, which is so adorable to me. 

Bottoms Up Pizza - I’ve been going to Bottoms Up Pizza since I was in high school, and I can truly say they have some of the best pizza I’ve ever had in Richmond. Not only are the portions large, but the recipes are ridiculous. My favorite is the Chesapeake, which comes with crab meat, onions and Old Bay seasoning on white sauce. Truly a must-visit.

Hatch Local Food Hall - This spot is a bit interesting in that it’s not a restaurant but a food hall. The indoor-outdoor setting includes seven local spots where you can order food to enjoy in the spacious hall or to-go. There is also a full-service bar with beautiful drinks. My favorite place at the hall, of course, is Buttermilk and Honey, which I mentioned above.

Bar Solita - There is nothing like weekend brunch, and not many places do it better than Bar Solita in Downtown Richmond. The gorgeous interior design isn’t the only eye-catching aspect of the restaurant — their brunch menu is to die for. Even if you end up missing out on brunch, their dinner menu is just as splendid but a bit pricey.

Urban Hang Suite - I absolutely had to plug my favorite Black-owned business in Richmond: Urban Hang Suite! The cozy social cafe is perfect for a Sunday study session, or just a quick break during the week for coffee. Their coffee and small bites are a perfect way to start the day.

Bombolini Pasta - Finally, I’d like to suggest another contender for the best pasta in the city. Located a short distance from campus, Bombolini makes their own pasta in-house — you can see it through the window while walking by. While the restaurant is located in a pretty small building — there’s literally no indoor seating — the large array of pasta shapes, sauces and wines is astounding. You can also buy their goods to use in your own kitchen!

That’s about all I have for this week. Unfortunately, I cannot share every single restaurant with you all — my boyfriend wants me to gatekeep the best for ourselves. But, I hope this is a good start to exploring other forms of dining on and off campus.

Write to you all soon!

Warmly,

Maddy

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