Plate and Cup: Free Ice Cream, Fodder, and a Late Chance to Celebrate Fourth

Topping the list of foodie news – newscasts you can use this month:

*On Sunday, July 17, Gelati Celesti will be giving away free individual scoops at all area locations to celebrate National Ice Cream Day. In Henrico, Gelati Celestis can be found at The Corner at Short Pump and at Gold’s Gym Plaza on the West End.

*As of this week, Sloop John B (mentioned in June P&G) is opening its rooftop bar. The restaurant is located outside the Regency Mall, facing Quioccasin.

* Libbie Mill-Midtown has rescheduled the Fourth of July event, which was canceled due to weather, for July 21. Red, White and Brews will offer patriotic cocktails, live music, food carts and handcrafted beer.


New and new nest:
* In June, Bell Greek opened its third location in the Village Shopping Center.

Formerly Moe’s Southwest Grill, the restaurant features patio seating created by pushing the original storefront back to save space. Although I haven’t been to the village site yet, I am keen to visit after enjoying my favorite gyros and souvlaki dishes at the Midlothian Bell Creek site.

* Shawarma Bistro, located in a shopping center on Gayton Road and Ridgefield Parkway, started as a food truck under a different name. Run by two brothers from Iraq, it features Middle Eastern food made from scratch and meat slowly cooked on a spit.

Favorite menu items:

My friend Annie and I were recently discussing favorites at Henrico restaurants, and I was quick to name Hogshead Cafe’s Irish nachos, which feature the typical toppings of nachos served on a base of French fries.

For me, the cravings are Mekong Pho Do Bien (seafood) and a plate of their spring rolls. Another favorite is the Paella Mariscos (seafood) or Paella Vegeta at Kuba Kuba Dos.

Do you have a favorite menu item that you’d recommend? Send it to [email protected] for possible inclusion in P&G.


And for some food-related pastimes:
Daniela Gallarza, a columnist for the Washington Post, published an interesting column this month about “measurement,” or the art of putting together the odds and ends of the pantry and refrigerator to form makeshift meals.

She described, for example, a couple who dug into the refrigerator and made an impromptu dinner of leftover Chinese fried rice and a half-finished chicken salad with shredded pickles and leftover roasted cauliflower, and a hostess produced a plate of roast beef and olives. And a bowl of tapnad with bread, cheese and dried fruits.
In our family we called this practice “foraging,” and my youngest daughter, a foodie, was a master at this craft.

Lani was adept at using earlier berries and vegetables to make smoothies, and at making a sauce of juicy tomatoes or a stir-fry of vegetables that were beginning to age. One summer when she was home from college, she foraged for three whole months — she barred me from buying any groceries except milk, fruit, cheese, and veggies so she could cut back on canned goods and pasta in my stocky pantry.

During the pandemic, foraging has become commonplace – so common that group meals (usually dinner) in some households acquire special names. When Gallarza surveyed these endemic and grazing folks, she found a variety of unique labels for their throwaway meals—everything from “spa dishes” to “jicheronis.”

Other families called improvised meals “eeks,” “elf meals,” “forest dinner,” “messy kitchen,” “blackout bingo,” “go wild,” and “go to Darwin.” In at least two of the households surveyed, these meals were known as “ifits,” as in “If they’re in the fridge, that’s fair game.”

Gallarza noted that in one family, this snacking tradition began in the 1970s, with a working mother classing Fridays as “EMFH night.” On Every Man’s Night for Himself, Mom took a welcome break from planning and preparing meals and letting others fend for themselves.

I’d be hard pressed to find something hotter than “going wild” or “messy kitchen,” but there are probably other ingenious names out there. Anyone interested in sharing their clever stickers for improvised meals? Or to share an example of an especially great list from someone? Email [email protected], let’s see if there are creative researchers out there.

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