Posts Tagged 'Food'

The Inos and Outos of Tarrant’s Pizza

Tarrantino\'s Quattro Formaggio PizzaTarrant’s, the popular downtown eatery expanded into the former Outre gallery space after being in business for less than a year. The bigger space also brought a new pizza venture, Tarrantinos, featuring gourmet pies and calzones. Surely this is a sign of a booming business, at least one can hope, since they offer an extensive menu, good service, and consistently tasty food. Their cobb salad is one of the best in town. I was curious to try the new pizza upon a reader’s recommendation post-Sette. I’m on a kick lately.

A committee meeting was moved to Tarrant’s at the last minute this evening, so I took this as a sign. I typically don’t indulge in the carb-filled treat very often, so when I do, I want wow. Tarrantino’s was certainly an indulgence. I’d been craving white pizza, so I tried the Quattro Formaggio – a blend of ricotta, asiago, mozzarella, and parmesan. The base layer of ricotta added a nice texture. All of the flavors mixed well, especially with the red pepper flakes and pizza seasoning that are served on the side.

The crust was tasty and soaked up the greasiness of the cheese as expected with a four-cheese pizza. The only setback was the unnecessary drizzling of EVOO on top of a pie already loaded up with fat and oil. The simple sauce underneath was just garlicky enough.

Compared to some of the other menu items, the pizza lacks a little of the Tarrant’s pizazz, but it’s a good pie, and certainly good enough to make it your neighborhood pizza place if you are in the proximity.

Sette’s Pizza Setback

Sette\'s CalamariMaybe it’s my fault for setting the bar high. After visiting Matchbox, a pizza bistro in D.C., I had big expectations for fire-roasted pizza in my hometown. The flames shouldn’t merely bake your pizza, it should mend the flavors together and make them One.

Sette is one street over from Tobacco Row. It’s a cute place with a killer patio. Their menu is a nice mix of salads, sandwiches, and of-course, the fire-roasted pizza which I had heard great things about. We started with a very tasty calamari that was garnished with marinara and an olive tapenade. The calamari wasn’t overly crispy and the shaved parmasan was a nice touch. The flavors went well together.

Sette\'s Little Italy PizzaFor our pizza selection, we went with the Little Italy – a red-sauced pie with chicken, spinach, mozzarella, and goat cheese. It arrived and looked amazing, but simply didn’t deliver. The sauce was not thick and made the crust soggy. The chicken was not freshly grilled and tasted salty like it was scoured on the piefrom a pre-cooked pack. Disappointing.

I guess some things are just left for the big city.

Best Nachos in Town

Speaking of Greek, if you haven’t had the Greek Nachos at Kitchen 64, then you are certainly missing out on one of this city’s culinary masterpieces.

The reviews of the kitchy preppy/hipster/family/anyone-depending-on-when-you-go hotspot have been mixed.

Greek Nachos at Kitchen 64

I’ve personally been satisfied with most of the food I’ve gotten there and the service has been great, but I go for the nachos. The heavenly triangles of corn tortilla are smothered in mozzerella and feta cheese, olives,

lettuce, spicy banana pepper slices, and tomato. The best part is the tzatziki sauce served in addition to salsa that just compliments the salty morsels so darn well.

The nachos are originally a menu item over at sister-restaurant Sidewalk Cafe. I’ve had Sidewalk’s variation a couple of times, but something is just missing in the delivery. Sidewalk’s use of kalamata olives over Kitchen 64’s black olives is alright. The presentation is just prettier at Kitchen 64, but perhaps that’s because Kitchen 64 is just a bit prettier too.

Indulging at the Greek Festival

It was back with a vengeance. A crowd of mythological proportions wrapped around St. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral on Sunday afternoon in celebration of a blowout return of one of Richmond’s largest ethnic food fests.

Baklava Sundae at the Greek Festival

As the church on Malvern and Grove underwent renovations, the past two years had been scaled back to a drive-through only Greek Food Festival. Compared to the pay-as-you-go style of other festivals, if you wanted to sample everything, you had to wait a line longer than a coaster at King’s Dominion. It was worth the wait as the food was as amazing as ever – but as pricey as going out to a restaurant. Souvlaki was fresh and well-seasoned; pasticio (think lasagna) was flavorful and spicy; grape leaves were tightly bound and zesty; and the spanakopita (spinach pie) was better than I had remembered.

My fave was the sinful Baklava Sundae. The combination of the sticky walnuts, honey, and flaky phyllo over soft serve ice cream made this bad boy worthwhile. Some eye candy serving up in the pastry line didn’t hurt either and made for nice dessert.

Another Week, Another Festival

St. Joseph\'s Italian FestivalWhat is an Italian Festival without pasta?  Not much of a festival.

The scene today at St. Joseph’s Italian Festival was wet and muddy.  Attendance was noticeably affected by the rain, but most notable was the lack of food.  With the exception of coffee, gelato, pastries, and pizza, there was not much else available  Perhaps some vendors had to cancel because of the inclement weather.

The highlight was the delectable sfogliatelle at the pastry booth.  Still hot from the oven, this ricotta-filled dessert was wrapped with a spiral puff of dough and sprinkled with powdered sugar.  Yum!

At the core of any festival of this nature is the heart and soul of those putting it on.  Today, everyone seemed preoccupied with the rain, so hopefully better weather tomorrow will set the stage for a more festive event.  St. Joseph’s Italian Festival continues tomorrow at 828 Buford Road in Bon Air from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Corned Beef And More

All Decked OutRichmond has always been a huge town for festivals – with a special place in its heart for those revolving around food. Greek. Lebonese. Italian. Pan-Asian. You name it, this city celebrates it. With March here, festival season is in full swing.

Despite today’s chill in the weather and slight drizzle, a crowd of men in skirts and patrons sporting green enjoyed Church Hill’s 23rd Irish Festival. The event, sponsored by St. Patrick Catholic Parish, brought Celtic goods, plenty of Harps and Guinness, and of course, corned beef.

Irish Suprise/LasagnaThe most notable aspect of this festival was the incredible value. With only a $2 donation to get in and quality fest food homemade by the parish, I spent only $8 and left in need of a carb-detox. Starting out with Irish Lasagna (also known as Irish Suprise) brought a big pile of mashed potatoes, corned beef, and cabbage. Even though it was a little light on the corned beef, it was still delicious for a pile of mush. It reminded me of the corned beef and cabbage my grandmother used to make. The star of this show was certainly the macaroni and cheese (of questionable Irish origin) and the “Shamrock” fries. The massive amount of fries were a steal at $2. Cut fresh and fried to perfection, they were heavy, but satisfying.

Big Hair

Accompanied by my partner in crime, the lovely Lindsay of RVA Fashionista, we ran into a few friends – including our buddy Eric who was dawning a stunning blond wig and getting plenty of photo ops. We just had to get one with Lindsay – I yelled to that kid with the green wig to get in the picture. He agreed.


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Penguin Disco is a social blog based in Richmond, VA. Send love notes to kevin@penguindisco.com.

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