by Brandon Fox
Where is my mind? It’s been far, far away in a distant land. And yet the food and dining scene keeps on spinning, no matter where I might land. Here’s a round-up of the bridge between 2016 and 2017 — otherwise known as this past week.
Olio, the wine/specialty grocer/takeout/eat-in/delivery spot at Meadow and Main streets, changed ownership in 2015. For 2017, owners Matt Fraker and Jason Ferrell decided to spruce up the interior, revamp the menu and give the place a new name — Branch & Vine. “Our loyal customers will absolutely be able to find options that are familiar,” Fraker said in a release. “My goal with the new menu was to simplify and freshen things up.” branchvine.com.
January is a slow month for the restaurant industry after the high-pitched excitement of the holidays, and in the tradition of New Year’s fresh starts, the Hard Shell will be closed for renovations this month. C’est le Vin is also taking advantage of the year’s less hectic period and will be closed until March for renovations. thehardshell.com and cestlevinrva.com.
Cirrus Vodka has joined Reservoir Distillery and James River Distillery with the opening of its own tasting room at 1603 Ownby Lane. You can check it out Thursdays and Fridays from 4-7 p.m., Saturdays from noon-7, and Sundays from noon-5. cirrusvodka.com.
For those of us who look for daily tips on fashion, makeup and trends — think Marie Claire, only a lot more entertaining —Refinery29’s newsletter is a must-read. And to underscore the impeccable taste of the site’s staff, Perly’s Restaurant & Delicatessen made its list of the best brunch spots in Virginia. facebook.com/perlysrichmond.
Richmond magazine has announced the nominees for the 2017 Elbys. The quick take: Heritage, L’Opossum, Metzger Bar & Butchery and the Roosevelt have been nominated for Restaurant of the Year, and Brittanny Anderson of Metzger Bar & Butchery, Shagbark’s Walter Bundy, David Shannon of L’Opossum and Heritage’s Joe Sparatta made the cut for Chef of the Year. The full list can be found at richmondmagazine.com.
Happenings: Max’s Positive Vibe Cafe will celebrate its 12th anniversary Jan. 14 from 6-10:30 p.m. with an all-star musical lineup for VibeFest ’17. positiveviberva.com.
Questlove — yes, that Questlove — will appear at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on Jan. 15 from 3:30-5:30 p.m. He’ll talk about the creative connection between food and music — also the subject of his new book, “Something to Food About” — with Gwar member and chef Mike Derks, Richmond drummer and restaurateur Jason Alley, University of Richmond president, cellist and home cook Ronald Crutcher, plus singer and songwriter Natalie Prass. Tickets are $30-$60. fireflourandfork.com.
Also on Jan. 16, from 6-10 p.m., Whisk will hold Bubo Pop-Up, a six-course Mediterranean tasting dinner focusing on Virginia ingredients. Tickets are $45. whiskrva.com.
And it’s another all-star lineup — this time of the food and drink variety — for Ardent Craft Ales’ beer dinner to benefit Diversity Richmond on Jan. 16 from 6-8:30 p.m. You can expect five courses and beer pairings from Brittanny Anderson of Metzger Bar & Butchery, Lee Gregory of the Roosevelt and Southbound, Adam Hall of Saison, Lucy’s Restaurant’s Jason Lucy and Joe Sparatta of Heritage and Southbound. Tickets are $75. ardentcraftales.com.CORRECTION: The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts' website was originally listed for the Questlove event. It's actually a rescheduled event for Fire, Flour & Fork.