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Avalon Restaurant & Raw Bar, Metro Grill and Angie's Gourmet Market

Tastemakers

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With four big, new numbers on the calendar, Avalon Restaurant & Raw Bar chef Q Derks thinks it's the perfect time to bust out a fresh new menu, spit-shine the logo and secure the restaurant's status as a provider of fine cuisine, and not just an after-hours swillery.

The new Avalon menu definitely has variety, with dishes such as Chaing Mai noodles, forest mushroom farfalle, and macaroni and cheese gracing the same page. Turn it over and you'll find more tried-and-true selections like the roast duck and crusted salmon.

Save room for dessert, because Avalon's winter dessert menu gives new twists to old favorites. Peppermint tiramis-q!, chocolate crŠme br–lée and turtle cheesecake are just a few of the interesting creations. Avalon is open for dinner seven days a week. 2619 W. Main St. 353-9709.

Metro Grill celebrates its second anniversary in January with specials designed to capture the style chef James Smith has given to the restaurant during his two years of innovative cooking. The specials rotating in and out of Metro Grill over the next few weeks will include such savory dishes as filet of beef in crab and andouille gravy and blackened salmon with lobster Mornay. Metro Grill is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday, and open for brunch Sundays. 301 N. Robinson St. 353-4453.

If you're trying to refine your own home cooking, a trip to the recently opened Angie's Gourmet Market in Shockoe Bottom should add some spice to your kitchen creations. Owner Angie Heath has filled her store with specialty gourmet items — including wine, coffee and baked goods — to tempt Richmonders into some unique culinary adventures. Angie's is open Tuesday through Sunday, 8-6 p.m. 1823 E. Main St.

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