Thursday, September 16, 2010

Woman (and man and teen) vs Food: A Richmond Day Trip

Just a reminder that I am competing to be the Next Food Blog Star in Foodbuzz's Project Food Blog. You can check our some amazing posts from over 1800 contestants for Challenge #1: Ready Set Blog! And don't stand on the sidelines- you can be part of the Foodbuzz community even if you are not a blogger-lots of foodies do! And check back on September 20 when voting begins. If you check our my challenge post, leave me a comment- I love to hear what you have to say!!

As a blogger and a person generally interested in food, a good percentage of my TV time is spent watching food-related shows - Top Chef, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Anthony Bourdain, and even Gordon Ramsey's latest, Master Chef. It is especially exciting when a show features a restaurant or cook nearby, and that happened a couple of months ago when Man vs. Food did a feature on Richmond, VA. Several restaurants were featured in this episode but the one that really appealed to me was the feature on the "battleship" sandwiches at the Black Sheep, so when my work required me to take a day trip to Richmond, I took my husband and daughter Molly for a mini-adventure, culinary and otherwise.

The drive was pretty uneventful and we got to the Patrick Henry Building in plenty of time for me to make my meeting. The plan was for Gavin and Molly to wander around the recently renovated state Capitol building until my work was done and then we would head to the Black Sheep for lunch. I didn't know till I looked at the pictures that apparently there was a lot to see, even though my meeting was only an hour-ish long. You can see that Molly had a great time exploring(She took all the scenery pictures in this post-good,huh?)

Once I was done, we headed down near to Virginia Commonwealth University to find the Black Sheep. Once we located the small storefront, we had to circle a couple of times to find a parking space, and even though we were there before noon, we had about a 10-minute wait. Even though the restaurant was filling up, the staff was friendly and welcoming, getting us seated and giving us our menus. She also brought us our iced tea right away (it was extremely hot outside) and returned with a pitcher when she heard my husband was diabetic. We already had checked out the menu online and had a good idea what we would order. My husband and I were determined to try one of the fabled "battleship" sandwiches. I knew I would order the Virginia because I had seen this one on Man vs. Food and I am a big fan of chicken livers (I know some of you will be saying "Yuck!"), Gavin wanted to get the SS Sultana, but they were out of the lamb gyro meat, so he decided on a whole SS Congress filled with, what else but pork!! Since he had promised to take some home for Bridget who could not come, he ordered a whole battleship. Molly, who can be a fussy eater, ordered the Cuban Reuben. We enjoyed the decor, looking around at the eclectic variety of art, memorabilia, and knick knacks that adorned the brick walls (Molly particularly liked this guy, above).

When our food came we were blown away. Even though Gavin was having half of his battleship wrapped for Bridget, they insist on presenting it to you whole first. You can see the effect!!
The SS Congress is piled high with honey & chipotle roasted pork shoulder topped with a tomatillo barbeque sauce, grilled pineapple & mexican style pickled cabbage salad. The combination was traditional enough to please a meat and potatoes kind of guy, but with unique flavors that really pulled the different ingredients together.

My SS Virginia featured an unusual combination of fried chicken livers loaded into a toasted french baguette with shredded cabbage, green onions, granny smith apple & remoulade sauce.It is also offered with chicken for the less adventurous. I wasn't sure about the fried liver and apple combination, but it really worked- this was one of the best sandwiches I had ever had!

Molly's Cuban Reuben was served on a ciabatta roll with thinly sliced pastrami cured roasted pork loin, chorizo sausage, pink saurkraut, swiss, pickles and a special house sauce, pressed in the style of Cuban sandwiches. Even though this was a regular sandwich, it was piled with ingredients and Molly ate half and decided to take half home.

The staff at Black Sheep was very friendly and solicitous, making our lunch more like a meal with friends than a restaurant meal. Black Sheep has an extensive menu (I want to go back for their breakfast roast duck hash or green eggs and ham!) While it takes awhile to find, this little place is well worth the trouble!


Joshua Burgin - New Day, New Way said...

Your chicken liver and granny smith apple sandwich on a baguette sounds delicious! I love Man vs. Food, too! This entry really makes me miss the food from home, I am in France for 9 months. Definitely need to travel to VA when I get back!

kosher said...

this really fantastic idea to versus up woman and food, really catchy title. Your foods shots really fantastic it really make my tummy hungry.

jillian said...

We LOVE the granny smith sauce at Black Sheep. GREAT posting! They are a wonderful little small business, representative of a greater food and business movement happening in downtown RVA. Plus, their pickled veggies are reason alone to visit. Wonderful post! Thanks for your vote too. You get my vote on your profile pic alone. SO creative and super fun.

Deborah Dowd said...

Joshua- The SS Virginia will be here waiting!!

kosher - Thanks- I tried to have some fun with it!

Jillian- I love taking day trips up to RVA, there seems to be something new to discover each time. Thanks for your vote- my daughter Bridget had the idea for the photo and I can't tell you how many takes it took, but I wanted my picture to represent the juggling act I do every day!

croquecamille said...

Love the sound of that Cuban reuben! (I also like how it rhymes.) :) Thanks for your comment on my blog, and your vote. I'm voting for you, too.

healy said...

I really enjoyed this post. Your trip sounds wonderful – I love it

Deborah Dowd said...

croquecamille- Thanks for your support and I hope you will be a frequent visitor!

healy- great to make an adventure out of a business trip!!

Madhura Manoj said...

very informative blog...