Lunching Richmond: 52 Lunches

It started as a game. Of course it started as a game.

We (Adam & Ethan) work for the same company and had briefly worked together, but didn’t realize at first how much our interests overlapped. Cyclists, dads, gamers, geeks. We started a weekly lunch and on the way to the second one, Adam turned it into a game. “You know what would be fun? If we never ate at the same place twice.”

The rules were simple. One of us picked a new place to eat and also paid. The following week the other would do the same. The first to repeat a choice, loses.

We made it to somewhere around week 30 before a repeat (for the record, Ethan lost). Instead of giving up though, we started round two and doubled down. We added reviews to the mix. Whoever picks still pays, but the recipient of the free lunch has to review the choice. We’d both blogged with some regularity previously, so writing was something we already enjoyed. At the time, a years worth of new restaurants seemed like a monumental undertaking, so we went with 52 and were off to the races. We also started capturing our Lunch Topics. Regular readers know we’re very much into games.

The learning curve for restaurant reviews was surprising at first. Expanding our culinary vocabulary beyond “that taste good” took some time. Eventually we got our sea legs though. We know what we like and are more than happy to share it with our readers. When we finally hit review 52, we discussed briefly resetting the game. A season 2 if you will. We quickly did away with that notion however and are now on the brink of 100 reviews. At this point it looks to go on to the bitter end, neither of us yielding until Richmond runs out of restaurants. And given the turnover in the Richmond restaurant scene, that doesn’t seem imminent.

Adam & Ethan @ 52 Lunches

You can check out all their reviews of Richmond restaurants on their blog, but here are some of our favorites (all pictured above):

Anyone have some suggestions to pass along to Adam & Ethan?

Guest Blogger: The Lunchbox Diaries

Today’s guest blogger is Colleen, currently a resident of RVA, who blogs life & healthy living. Her blog will motivate you to stay healthy, and make you laugh out loud! 

Hello, friends! I’m Colleen, the blogger behind The Lunchbox Diaries. Over at my little piece of the interweb, I gab about things such as being a newlywed, giving healthy living my best shot, and everything in between!

My take on healthy living is, in a word: humorous. I don’t take myself too seriously, and I don’t think you should either 😉

To be honest, I’ve had tons of ups and downs in the healthy living realm. I’ve run a half marathon.

On the other hand, I actually wrote a break-up letter to running – it’s an tumultuous relationship. I’ve found my fitness love, Body Pump – and I struggle with controlling myself around food.

I’m a firm believer that fitness looks different on every body, and that we (I’m talkin’ to the ladies here!) need to celebrate that. I, my friends, will never be a long distance runner or have a perfectly flat belly. I just won’t!

(Editors note: But she does have some sweet guns! I asked Colleen if I could include this picture!!)

And you know what? After tons of hard work, I’m okay with it.

Truth be told, my “being okay with it” fuels my mini-mission with blogging: to help other people realize how awesome they are.

Yeah, that’s right – I’m talkin’ to you 😉

Colleen @ The Lunchbox Diaries

To meet more Virginia Bloggers, check out our blogroll, and keep your eyes peeled for an event announcement coming later this week!

Restaurant Week & The PB&J Fund

Twice a year restaurants in Charlottesville cook up delicious three-course meals and do a little good for the community while they’re at it.

Restaurant Week is upon us running through July 15th. For $26 diners can create a three course meal from 16 participating restaurants. Let me tell you, three courses for $26 is a darn good deal. In fact, I’m pretty sure in Philadelphia and Washington, DC (my old homes) dinners are $35. Not only can you try out a new restaurant, but your meal will also include a $1 donation to the PB&J fund.

The PB&J fund is a local organization that connects Charlottesville youth and families with the resources and knowledge necessary to help develop a healthy diet. PB&J Fund runs a number of programs throughout the year, from healthy lunches for toddlers and Mom’s to cooking programs at the Boys and Girls Club. Last year, PB&J was able to provide over 5,000 meals to Charlottesville students over winter break so no one went hungry without the stability of free lunch. More than 50% of Charlottesville students participate in the free and reduced lunch program, many of who rely on school meals as their primary source of nutrition. So during winter break PB&J Fund works to help fill those gaps with nutritious food and education.

The money raised through Restaurant Week will support the “holiday giving” program, which sends holiday gift baskets home with students in Charlottesville city schools so they too can enjoy a holiday meal. If your local to Charlottesville or are free to make a mini-road trip this weekend, join in the Restaurant Week fun and help out a few kids.

Tweet pictures of your meal to me (@ieatasphalt)! I’ll be dining out tonight!

Alex @ I Eat Asphalt

 

Secondhand Sundays @ The Roanoke Market

Hello there VA Bloggers, and friends, my name is Bekuh and I blog over at Secondhand Sundays. Secondhand Sundays is my personal blog that showcases my love of vintage, food, crafts, and the great outdoors. I live in the southwest corner of Virginia with my husband Ryan and our pup named Nellie. I’m here today to share a little bit about our recent adventures at the historic Roanoke farmer’s market. It’s important to Roanokers that you add the word historic before farmer’s market whenever you mention the downtown area, just a little tip if you ever visit, wink wink.

Ryan and I are committed local shoppers and a huge portion of our monthly food budget goes towards locally sourced fruits and veggies. For a lot of people, my family included, this seems like a crazy budgetary decision considering we’re newlyweds with more than a few student loans to pay off, but it doesn’t have to be expensive to live this way. Farmer’s markets do have pricier booths, and organic can get outrageous quick, but with a little effort and menu planning you can find great deals on real produce. A bonus, you get to spend a morning with the one you love picking out all the goodies.

We love to go to the markets early when the booths are still being set-up and the crowds are sparse (this was right after the freak storm so the crowds were even more tame last week). We scope out what looks good, and what vendors carry items we’re anxious to look at, and then we get coffee or some goodies to eat while we plan our attack.

Now I’m not saying we don’t make some rash decisions on what to buy based on looks, like those carrots above. We had no plans to buy carrots but I couldn’t resist snatching up a bunch and they made a delicious addition to our grilling that night. You also have to remember to browse all of the stands for a good deal, the tomatoes below were beautiful but we ended up finding the same gorgeous tomatoes for $1.50 a pound just a few stalls down.

Farmer’s Markets are also a great source for floral and fauna and I love checking out the flower stalls both growing, and cut for bouquets. It usually inspires me to go home and redesign our centerpieces, or buy a bunch of flowers for our bedside table. They had giant succulents for $7 and I found it really hard to resist such a great deal.

Buying in bunches seems to be the best method for saving money at the markets; containers full of potatoes, or cucumbers that they sell at a discount. You can usually tell when something is hitting it’s peak season because they have bunches and bunches of it at every stall. I’ve also been told you can haggle with the stall vendors, though they’re mostly older farmers and I feel terrible asking them to make things cheaper. Their sweet old faces always melt my heart.

We left the market with a container of cucumbers, potatoes, three tomatoes, a basket of peaches, and a bunch of carrots having only spent $14. Take that Walmart and Kroger, I kick your chemical and pesticide covered veggies in the face. I hope I’ve inspired you to visit your local farmer’s market and try out the delicious foods that live there. I promise you won’t be disappointed by the quality or the price. You are what you eat, at least that’s what I’ve always been told.

big kiss,

bekuh

Thursday Feature: Blogger Blitz

Hi VA Bloggers! I’m Eliza + I’m the voice behind Case Study, a blog about my life as a newlywed + soon-to-be grad student. I talk about being married, post little bits of inspiration, and share stories and pictures to document the seasons of my life. You’ll find gluten-free recipes, giveaways, and some fashion inspiration as well as a new series about taking care of yourself that debuted this month! I hope you’ll stop by and say hello :)
I’m pretty confident that if you read my blog, you also read Alison’s blog. Because really, who doesn’t keep up with Long Distance Loving? I’ve been reading Alison’s blog for over a year now + finally got to meet her in person at Blogger Blitz DC Sunday night! She’s just as sweet + charismatic in person as I had expected and I think the blitz was a major success. :)
I met up with Kate for a quick metro ride into the city, enjoyed meeting several beautiful bloggers that I’ve “known” for quite some time including Alison + Megan + Jenna, and spent two fun hours chatting with so many new-to-me bloggers like Erika + Natalie + Jayme + Mendi + Cara + Emily. Two hours of drinks + great conversation passed quickly and now that I’m settled at home I’m excited to go through the blogger directory and explore new blogs!
One last thank you to Alison for hosting a fabulous blogger blitz!! :)

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My friend Emily introduced me to this drink months ago and they’ve been a weekend staple in our house ever since 😉 I hope you pin this recipe, make this drink, and come back to tell me how good they were!!
Beergaritas are cold + refreshing + perfect for summer. A salted glass + lime wedges would really jazz this drink up :) Make up a pitcher + stick it in the fridge – they’re best icy cold!
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