I’ve known chef Randall Doetzer
for awhile now but had never eaten at Julep’s
where he has been the Chef for a number years. Shame on me. I am not proud to admit this, but I never venture out to eat in the Bottom. I know I’m hardly alone in that, but it does nothing to lessen my embarrassment.
Tonight I had the immense pleasure of attending their tenth anniversary wine dinner. The evening featured Barboursville wines and started with a minerally and delicious Sauvignon Blanc. Each dish was accompanied with selections from the local vineyard as well as Jason Tesauro’s non stop wit. By the way, he has some serious new cowboy boots, and you should be very jealous. Julep’s is known for its very traditional Southern cuisine but the courses tonight made clear the effort that was made to bring these iconic dishes to a new and fresher relevance.
Due to a very unfortunate allergy I recently acquired, I had to forgo the shrimp and grits but was beyond delighted, (I think I may have sworn gleefully in fact) when I was presented with a substitute of pork cheeks so delicate and tender, a casual look could cut through them.
The Grouper with new potatoes and baby Bok Choy in broth that made the table both swoon and consider slurping was also a favorite. It was one of those “oh-wait-I-ate-it-before-I-could-photograph-it dishes. Additionally, I won’t soon forget the homey warm blanket nature of the rack of Wild Boar, sweet potato and chard (good grief that CHARD!!) in a gentle mustard gravy.
Rack of Wild Boar
Moral of this story, get over yourself and eat at Julep’s. I did and it was awesome.
This past weekend we took a whirlwind 24 hour trip down to the Crystal Coast, as I learned it is called, of North Carolina. As we were there only for the day on Sunday, there was not too much going on food-wise. Winter time in a beach community was desolate to say the least. Most of the restaurants were either closed or did not open until dinner. We drove down to buy some records in Morehead City, where there more places open and it was there that I got to eat this:
oyster "burger" and hushpuppies!
An oyster sandwich from an actual Drive -In! We pulled into the parking lot, there were no actual spots marked with white paint, just all willy nilly every which way parking and a woman clad in winter boots and a hat and sweatshirt came out and took our order. Ten bucks and about 8 minutes later- BANG. I’m eating a fab fried feast and happy as a clam ( sadly, they did not offer any clam items).
Also this happened:
Over the New Year in Richmond, we were lucky enough to hang out with our pals Johnny and Tara Skaritza and their cat Jeepster. For dinner we made Rockfish (aka Atlantic striped bass, aka pimpfish!) which is available locally in Virginia.
In fact the well loved RVA Italian restaurants Mamma Zu’s and Edo’s Squid both serve really fantastic Rockfish.
Instead of trying to re create their dish we went with a garlic and citrus treatment. No one in the group had cooked a whole fish before but it was no big!! Especially after the nice fish monger took care of the nasty bits for me.
When I got all squeamish Tara jumped in and took care of business. Jeepster was great at helping to pass the time while our fish cooked and at general anticipation.
We listened to William Onyeabor which is great fish roasting music it turns out!
ROASTED ROCKFISH A LA SKARITZA
one whole (ours was 3.5 lbs)Rockfish
head, guts and scales removed (if you are not keen on doing it yourself, or leave on the head for an authentic presentation)
a whole mess of garlic both sliced thinly and crushed
thinly sliced citrus ( oranges lemons limes)
1/2 cup of olive oil ( add your crushed garlic to this)
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place your fish on a foil lined cookie sheet splashed with some oil. Rub with salt and pepper. Stuff with thinly sliced garlic and citrus rounds. Cover the fish in remaining rounds. Spoon half of the garlic oil over the fish and put in the oven for 20 minutes. Take out and pour the remaining oil over the fish and return to the oven for another 15 minutes.
Watch the bones on this fish, it has many-but it’s worth it-so delicate and sweet!
Ukrops cornbread which may as well be cake it’s so addictive.
Jeepster even made off with some. Those who still had room in their bellies nibbled on our friend Jada’s butternut Squash cheesecake which can be found here.
We had it with Broccoli Rabe as well as the Hoppin’ John that Tara made which was SOOOOO GOOD and some of
Posted in Fish
Tagged Rockfish, VA