Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Somewhere New: Richmond VA

Ok so technically I've been to Richmond. But not really. I've been to Richmond for two different shows and pretty much just went there for the show and then came home. So with the end of the month only days away and knowing that I still needed to fulfill my December Somewhere New, I enlisted the company of my friend Rachel and we spent a really lovely, delicious day in Richmond.

One of the things we noticed quite quickly was all of the abandoned, boarded up, and empty store fronts. This is common in pretty much any city but the area we walked through first had a staggering number of them. Rather than finding this deterring though I really enjoyed the remnants of old signs and we speculated about all the new businesses that could one day fill these buildings.

We found out later that many of the neighborhoods within Richmond are doing quite well, such as Carytown's Mile of Style where I got some delicious vegan chocolate covered hazelnuts, blueberries and apricots and seemed to be chock full of independent antique, vintage and boutique stores.

Throughout the day we walked by lots of places with quirky little attic windows, TONS of balconies and porches and tiny little yards and I kept thinking to myself "oh I could plant beets there" or "I could see myself living in that little attic with no air conditioning, sprawling out on the wood floor with Hibou trying to stay cool in the summer." Turns out rent is really inexpensive in Richmond! I'm not looking to move but it did put my rent into perspective a bit.

For lunch we met up with Ed and Compton at Ipanema. Don't be fooled by their bare-bones website people. This place has good food. I'm told their forte is dinner so I'll have to try that before writing a full Where to Eat Vegan post.

Compton's no vegan but he talked me into (I never need talking into food) splitting a piece of the strawberry apple pie and as soon as I tasted it I regretted not ordering an entire pie to myself. No picture. As usual I ate it all before thinking about photographing it. Prior to that slice of amazing dessert I had the Tofu Sandwich, which again, don't be fooled. Grilled tofu with ovendried tomato, hummus, caramelized onions, and spinach. Sounds simple but the tofu was prepared so well and the bun was dense, flavorful and right on point. Oh and yes...I put ketchup on my sweet potato fries. It's not a crime.

We visited the Edgar Allen Poe Museum, said to be the largest Poe museum in the world.'s cute. For someone who only lived to be 40 and died mysteriously in Baltimore I suppose there isn't much one could put in a museum to commemorate this world renowned poet. Our favorite part of the short self-guided tour was the Enchanted Garden. Now, again, the word I would use to describe this would be cute. The dangling christmas balls and the mistletoe did lend to the "enchanted" feel but all together it was just a well kept, nicely laid out garden that houses a bust of Poe looking rather melancholy.

This is not to say we didn't enjoy ourselves there. We most certainly did.

Later in the evening we went to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, home to a giant, felt, sperm whale and, at the moment, an exhibit of Egyptian mummies (which you have to pay to see of course).

To round out our evening we ate dinner at Nile where we sampled all 10 of their vegetarian (they're all vegan too) dishes. I apologize for not taking pictures but my fingers were rather busy stuffing my face. I will for sure be going back there and although it was only my second time eating Ethiopian food I would give it a glowing review.

Thanks to Rachel, Ed and Compton for a lovely time!

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