So, this weekend J and I, along with my sis and BIL (A and S) took a long weekend to head to Richmond, VA.  The main purpose of our trip was the Nascar race which was on Saturday night.  However, since this weekend also happened to be our anniversary (ours was the 13th, A & S on the 14th) we decided to stick around through Sunday to hang out in the city and celebrate.

I have to say, we ate really well while we were there!  I don’t know if we just got really lucky, or the food is just overall that good in the city.  We arrived Friday around 8-8:30 in the evening and checked in to our hotel – the Holiday Inn Express, Downtown.  It was a nice place, and the price was right.  Typically on race weekends hotels majorly inflate their prices.  But they actually stayed at about the same price as a typical weekend.

Friday night we looked up some restaurants close by, and walked to a place called Penny Lane Pub, about 3-4 blocks from our hotel.  The weather was beautiful all weekend, so we walked as much as possible.  The food here was really good English/Irish fare in a really great pub atmosphere.  They had an outdoor dining area, which is where we sat.  J and I both got wings and fries, A got some really good looking fish and chips, and S got a Steak & Guiness Pie, which looked amazing!  They had a good beer selection and the prices were really good as well.

Saturday was race day!  We slept in a bit, then decided to head out to Shockoe Slip, and 3-4 block area in town that is packed with bars and restaurants.  It’s a really cute cobblestone street.  Surprisingly, it never seemed extremely busy.  They did business, but when we were there, it was never crowded.

Anyway, we decided to head to a place called Sine Irish Pub for lunch.  J and I actually drank there when we stopped in Richmond on our way to the beach in July, and we were looking forward to trying out their food.

We weren’t disappointed!  J got an amazing Reuben sandwich.  The bread was homemade and the corned beef was delicious!  I had a great turkey and bacon club wrap, I believe S had a Cowboy burger and I can’t remember what A had.  But we also got a appetizer of Fried Green Tomatoes.  This was my first FGT experience, and I would definitely eat them again!  So sweet and delicious!  And, of course, we started the day off some Bloody Mary’s. 🙂

After we filled our belly’s we headed to the Food Lion to stock up for the race… steak and potato/mac salads for pre-race, as well as some chips and snacks, and a hoagie for post-race.  And, of course, beer.  8 hours of drinking = lots of beer. 🙂

The race was a lot of fun!  Although there weren’t quite as many wrecks as I like to see. 🙂  But we did have great seats – half way up on the back stretch we could see the entire track!

After the race we headed back to the hotel to pass out. 🙂  We crawled out of bed (except J, who was up at 7:00) around 10:00 and headed back to Shockoe Slip.  This area was about a mile from our hotel, so we decided to drive there instead of walking, and we’re glad we did!

We found a restaurant that was serving brunch, so we checked it out.  Sam Miller’s is an oyster bar, but for some reason none of us got oysters. 🙂  However, the food was, again, delicious!  I had Sam Millers omelet (which was crab, gruyere cheese, bacon and scallions), A had Andouille Hash and J had a burger.  And I started off right with a mimosa. 🙂

After Brunch we headed to the Virginia Holocaust Museum, just a few blocks from Shockoe Slip. If you’ve never visited a Holocaust museum, it is an interesting, heart-wrenching, eye-opening experience.  They did a really good job with this museum, taking you through the events and showing them to you through the eyes of the survivors.

After the museum, we needed to lighten things up a bit and decided to a Canal Cruise, again just a few blocks away.  This was a 40-minute guided canal cruise in which we learned about some of Richmond’s history.

After the cruise we were all a bit hungry, so we went back to that cute few blocks to Cha-Cha’s Cantina, a Tex-Mex restaurant and another place J and I stopped when in Richmond in July. We just wanted some apps, since we knew we’d be eating a good dinner later.  So we had some chips and salsa (great salsa), wings and these really delicious Tex-Mex Chicken Rolls, which were fried and served with an avocado sauce.  When we were there we discovered it was Happy Hour, so yay for $3 Margaritas! 🙂

After another stop for a quick drink at Sine, we headed back to the hotel to clean up for dinner.

We chose a nicer restaurant for dinner that night, since it was the night we were celebrating our anniversary.  And OMG, it did NOT disappoint!  I found the Lemaire Restaurant just by Google searches and reading reviews. And I made us a reservation through their website.  The restaurant was actually located inside The Jefferson Hotel (which is beautiful).  It ended up being about 6 blocks away – slightly further than anticipated as we had confused the East/West address.  But not a bad walk overall.  Especially as the weather continued to be perfect.

This is not a restaurant type that J and I typically frequent.  This was a NICE place.  The waitstaff was extremely well-trained, and the experience overall was excellent.

We started off the night with some appetizers – Brandy-Peppercorn Dusted Beef Tartare (J’s and my first beef tartare experience… YUM!) and Cream of Vidalia Onion Bisque (AMAZING!).  We followed up the apps with our main course.  I had Garden Oregano Marinated Lamb T-Bone Chops served over ratatouille and roasted corn polenta.  These were melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness.

J and A both had Cast-Iron Seared Virginia Bison Ribeye served with roasted-garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes, green tomato chow-chow and mustard jus.  J and I had never had bison before, but we absolutely loved it!  It has a stronger taste than steak, but it’s not at all gamey, and it was so incredibly tender.

S decided on the ‘as Southern as it gets’ Berkshire Pork Chop serve with mac n’ cheese, collards and coca-cola bbq.  I didn’t try this, but he loved it!

While we were all pretty much stuffed, we just couldn’t pass up the chance for dessert. A and I split Lemongrass Creme Brulee with hazelnut biscotti.  LOVED!  J had the Chocolate Almond Truffle Torte, which was delicious and oh-so-rich.  And S decided on the Ambrosia Salad, which must have been good as he cleaned his plate!

With all of this food, we had some delicious drinks.  By the time we walked out of the restaurant, we were all completely stuffed.  The 8 block walk to the bar we decided to go to was a good thing. 🙂

After Lemaire, we continued the evening at the Capital Ale House. Here we had a few drinks from their amazing beer selection before heading back to the hotel for the night.  I have to say, however, that I was kind of wishing I had just a little more room in my stomach.  They had this ginormous soft pretzel, about the size of your head, that was served with German mustard.  I’m a sucker for a soft pretzel.  But my tummy would allow no more. 🙂

They also had live music that night, which surprised me since it was Sunday.  They had  pretty nice crowd!

Monday we packed up and headed home.  I’m pretty sure I gained 10 lbs this weekend, but it was so well worth it! Overall it was a great weekend.  Richmond is definitely a good place to visit for a weekend.  They have a ton of museums that we did not have time to check out and a lot of great local history and excellent food!