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Knot NowRichmonders may remember Stuart Hotchkiss, whose business and fashion savvy led him from here to New York to develop Capital Ties, a men's necktie design and manufacturing firm. Now Hotchkiss and company have unveiled a tie for wine-lovers — a tribute to Robert Parker Jr., considered the world's most influential wine writer and critic. The Parker-approved necktie, featuring corkscrews and hearts, sells for $65.

Parker is founder of The Wine Advocate magazine and a best-selling author of a dozen books. Highly decorated by the governments of France and Italy, he's also made a name for his so-called million-dollar nose by advising everyone from students to presidents about which wines to select and enjoy. His Web site, www.erobert parker.com, features a wine of the day and The Hedonist's Gazette, which describes his "gustatory experiences" dining and drinking around the world. The Maryland-based writer gave up a career as an attorney (but not, apparently, his need for neckties) to follow his passion for wine.



Tall Tales Around a Wineglass
If your appetite for wine is whetted, consider an unusual event this weekend out in Gum Spring, about 30 miles west of Richmond. Grayhaven Winery will stoke up a bonfire for an evening of wine tasting and storytelling with Gary Lloyd, known for his animated and sound-effect-filled presentations. The winery bills the Feb. 18 event as "The Bonfire Series: Stories From the Barrel Room," and it will serve wine by the glass and food described as hearty. See www.grayhavenwinery.com for information.



Unsolicited Rave
Glowing testimonials are so rare in the restaurant business that it's surprising to hear one, especially about a tiny Chinese place in a strip mall. But Side Dish reader Lisa Fulcher says she was compelled to write about her fondness for a restaurant called Eat Rice and its menu's specialty items.

"One of the owners brought us tempura eggplant to try. That dish still haunts me. I dream about that plate of eggplant," Fulcher writes. "I can't say enough about this little gem of a restaurant over here in the Forest Hill area. I keep telling my friends and they keep telling their friends."

The place, at 6104 Jahnke Road, is family-owned and has been open since late last year.

Have a tip about the Richmond restaurant scene? Send it to sidedish@styleweekly.com.

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