RVA eats – Amour Wine Bistro, Peter Chang, Secco and more

tarteflambee
tarte flambee

Oh… hi. This blog has not been abandoned. It’s just getting harder to write something when all has been said and done in other social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Sometimes I wonder if blogs are still relevant. Apparently, I think they still are because here I am updating mine, albeit less frequently. I think I need to find some sort of direction. I’d like to delve more into pastry experiments, after all I have a ton of cookbooks to do research.

Another direction is the local food scene which has gotten a bit more interesting and I thought I should get all those food pictures off of my iPhone.

Let me start with our recent dinner at Amour Wine Bistro for restaurant week

Selling macarons on Saturdays at Amour has its benefits. I don’t have to think twice about where to go for a special dinner after a long day (or week) and I’ve always loved the restaurant’s cozy set-up. 

As usual, it was an impeccably executed dining experience. We especially enjoyed the asparagus, garlic and bacon tarte flambée – an Alsatian flatbread that resembles a pizza. My chilled pear soup below was very refreshing.

chilledpear
Chilled pear soup, mango, creme fraiche

Our main course of lamb navarin (a hearty French lamb stew) was an ode to the flavor of lamb. I could usually tell if a lamb dish will taste good when I catch a whiff of that all-important lamb aroma – lamb aficionados know what I mean – I think it has something to do with how the fat melts into the muscle or maybe it’s just the quality of the lamb. We were surprised at the sizable portions considering it’s 3 courses for $25.00! We had enough leftover for lunch the next day because we knew to save room for dessert! 

lambnavarin
lamb navarin

For dessert, I ordered the strawberry chocolate tart. A dense chocolate cake similar to a brownie. It was pleasantly bittersweet and did not cry “sugar overload”, I welcome such refined and simple desserts.

chocolatetart
Chocolate tart

I challenge anyone who says there are better sorbets than what Paul Heitz makes. I must say he is obsessed with making them and I guess that is why they are so good.

 
sorbettrio
sorbet trio – grapefruit, mango (hubby forgot the 3rd one which was hidden behind the wafer

As the hubby wouldn’t shut-up about the tarte flambee, I think it wouldn’t be long before we pay another visit to Amour. It’s also available at the bar and that flatbread paired with an onion soup gratinee would make a great meal in itself.

Peter Chang – living up to the hype

In an odd corner of a strip mall in the much maligned area that is Short Pump lies the new “It” restaurant. Peter Chang’s China Cafe opened with so much fanfare, it was bordering on the absurd. But I have not heard of him – I don’t know why he had flown under my foodie radar but I was not as psyched as everyone was. Maybe because I’ve grown up with homecooked-Chinese food – courtesy of fabulous Cantonese cuisine of my dad and grandma – it takes a lot to impress me. Plus, I thought I was not into spicy food…

Except … apparently I was. And it took Peter Chang’s Szechuan cookery to convince me.

To enjoy Szechuan cuisine, it is best to ask for help ordering or to check out this guide. On a recent trip with another couple, I made the mistake of ordering all spicy food, we had to put in a last minute order of Beijing smoked duck to seek relief from all those fiery peppers.

Everyone online or in reviews were raving about the dry-fried eggplant but I did not really care too much for it as I didn’t taste much flavor. Now the scallion-bubble pancake below, I loved.

pceggplant
scallion-bubble pancake

My favorite dish that evening was this amazing crisp bamboo fish. 

pcfish
Bamboo fish

Also a favorite, was the szechuan lamb chops. I’m curious if all those peppers are really meant to be eaten. I usually brush them off because the meat is plenty spicy without them.

pclamb
Szechuan Lamb

Another satisfying dish was the mapo tofu which I’ve raved about in a previous post.

And our palate relief as mentioned earlier was the duck dish that was served with pancakes, scallions, cucumbers and hoisin sauce. *Look at that skin!*

pcduck
Beijing smoked duck

As I live near Short-Pump, I’m surely going to be a frequent visitor to Chang’s establishment.

Secco Wine Bar – restaurant week

seccowinebar
Pork Belly porchetta

As everyone that have tasted this porchetta agree, it’s pretty darn amazing, I could probably eat two of it. Desserts were also very good. I liked my cream puffs but I liked the composition of hubby’s olive oil chocolate ganache and sweet basil more. I was going to order a scoop of the cardamom gelato but was told that it was only with a complete restaurant week menu.

Fried Chicken

Blowtoad

Ever since I’ve watched “The Help”, I’ve had a craving for cast-iron buttermilk Fried chicken. Here’s Blowtoad‘s tuesday night special.  

blowtoad
Buttermilk Fried Chicken at Blowtoad

So for most of buttermilk fried chicken I’ve had, most of them seem to have all their flavor in the crunchy skin. The meat, though juicy, was devoid of much seasoning. Is this typical?

Pho Saigon

I’m so happy to have tasted these chicken wings from Pho Saigon. They’re flavorful all the way to the bone. And because they are not breaded, they’re not disgustingly greasy the next day and tastes just as good. I think they’re one of the best chicken wings in Richmond.

phosaigonwings
 Fried Chicken Wings

Ironfish

     Should have posted about this wonderful Branzino sooner. A bit pricey but delish!

bronzino
Branzino

Zorba’s

zorbas
Feta cheese and olive appetizer

Unfortunately this was the only picture I had on my phone that looked decent. I initially thought Zorba’s was a typical “Americanized” Greek restaurant in a strip mall, but after eating the leftovers I’ve decided it’s a place I’d like to put in regular rotation. The yogurt lamb kebab is not to be missed. 

Seoul Buffet

      Heading over to the Southside, there’s a Korean buffet restaurant. I’m not too fond of buffets but I think it’s a great way to familiarize yourself with the offerings of an unfamiliar cuisine.

bibimbob
bibimbap bar

My favorite, as I’ve discovered, is the Jap Chae. It’s a sweet potato noodle that is stir-fried and doused with some sesame oil. I just love the texture and the crunchiness of the vegetables.

seoulbuffet01
Jap chae

So that’s a few noteworthy eats I’ve had in Richmond from the past few weeks. Ironfish was way back in January but I felt it was so good not to mention here. 

     

5 thoughts on “RVA eats – Amour Wine Bistro, Peter Chang, Secco and more

  1. So many delicious eats, where to even start?! I really want to check out Secco for lunch or dinner one day, I’ve only done wine there but their food keeps tempting me plus I’ve heard such good things.

  2. Whew! Well I’m glad you updated because this is my first time here and that tart flambee just made my greedy eyeball pop out. I love me some food porn. Keep up the good blogging. 😉

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