Restaurant Review: The River City

One of our newest bloggers, David, who writes at From Ballparks to BBQ recently tried a new restaurant in Roanoke, VA called The River City. Check out his delicious review!

The River City

The River and Rail is a new restaurant in the Crystal Spring neighborhood of South Roanoke. It is located in the old Lipes Pharmacy building along one of Roanoke’s most beautiful and quaint streets. The restaurant features outdoor seating, a cozy dining area, and a lively bar, all beautifully decorated and classy looking. Everything about the décor gives the impression that a great deal of planning and thought went into putting this restaurant together, and that feeling continues when looking at the menu.Nicole and I are trying to start a new tradition of having Sunday brunch together. It gives us the chance to spend some quality time together on Sunday mornings and talk about the past week and life in general. It also gives us an excuse to try some unique foods at different restaurants. Roanoke doesn’t have a ton of restaurants that offer Sunday brunch, but a decent number of them do and I look forward to discovering some cool new places we haven’t tried before. One of the first new places for us was The River and Rail, which we visited a couple weeks ago.

We decided to sit outside because it was a beautiful day and it was fun to see people coming by on their Sunday morning walks. The menu featured a number of items that looked very appetizing and I was torn between the Grass Fed Beef Burger or the Carolina Smoked Shrimp & Grits. Even though I’d heard great things about the burger, I ordered the shrimp & grits because it felt more appropriate for a brunch setting. Nicole decided to try the Hanger Steak & Eggs.

Shrimp & Grits
Our food came out and we both agreed that it looked incredible. My shrimp and grits were served in a large bowl and were topped with wild mushrooms, scallions, & a poached egg. The wild mushrooms were outstanding and offered such a different flavor than the typical mushrooms you get at the store or in most restaurants – so much more hearty, robust, and flavorful. The large shrimp were cooked perfectly and the grits (which I believe were rice grits) were also very good. And the poached egg added a rich, creamy flavor when I mixed it in with the shrimp and grits. Everything about my dish was excellent and I could say the same for Nicole’s. Her hanger steak had terrific flavor and was tender and juicy. I also really liked the sweet potato wedges and homemade ketchup that were served as one of her sides.

The prices for The River & Rail weren’t cheap, but this was a different experience than what we are typically used to in Roanoke. These dishes are being created using local ingredients and they are really featuring the great flavors of the ingredients – like the wild mushrooms in my dish. We paid $40 for brunch (including tip) but I would say it was $40 well spent. The service was good, the atmosphere was perfect, and the food had us telling everyone we knew about how good it was. It’s exactly what we were hoping for on our Sunday brunch date.
The River & Rail is the sort of place you’d expect to find on Highland Avenue in Atlanta or in Hell’s Kitchen in New York City, and the type of restaurant that will make people want to visit Roanoke.
The River and Rail Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Next Virginia Bloggers Meet Up- Oct 20th

Hello friends!

There have been tons of events and activities going on around the state, so hopefully you’re all enjoy the season now that fall is underway! We’re excited to announce the next “official” Virginia Bloggers Meet Up!

What: Virginia Blogger Meet Up (ALL bloggers welcome! Lifestyle, fashion, food, fitness, DIY, etc.)

When: Saturday, Oct. 20th @ 1pm

Where: Flames 231 – a new local pizza place located in downtown Richmond (click here for directions)

And just in case you’re not totally convinced…

The pizza is delicious!

We love meeting new people, so even if you’ve never come to an event before, we’d love to have you!

Please RSVP by Oct. 15th, by e-mailing us at

Guest Post: Have the World on a String

Hey there from Have the World on a String! I’m a travel-junkie and can’t get enough of exploring. You’ll find me all around the globe, but a lot of the time, I’m just exploring our backyard. Virginia is a gorgeous state with so much to offer!

Autumn is my favorite season, for the crisp air, sweet pies, holidays spent with family, and the colors. The explosions of reds, purples and oranges are such a reminder that there is beauty in change and natural expression in things coming to an end. On one of the first fall Sundays, there is nothing more appropriate to do than trek out to the Shenandoah valley to do a little apple pickin’.

Escaping the city

Autumn has, in fact, arrived.

About an hour west of DC, we found ourselves on back roads, over train tracks and gazing at the mountains in the distance. Stribling Orchard welcomed us (and, pretty much the entire population of northern Virginia) with their apple orchards in peak gleaning form.


A little orchard ambiance

They had about 10 different types of apples for picking – some to eat, some to bake. Granny Smith’s, Rome, Golden Delicious, Jonathan’s… apples I didn’t even know existed! Many trees had been picked around the bottoms, so we went for the big ones, just out of our reach.

Granny Smith’s are the best pick for this lady!

Enter our apple pickin’ picker. As I exclaimed about an hour into our trip, it was one massive picker! And pick apples, it did. It was a wobbly thing. I really wanted to take off running and javelin throw that sucker through the trees.

Check out this bad boy!

Going after the red delicious!

Wandering through the orchard, we had time to catch up on our lives and our plans. And what we were baking these babies into. Muffins, pies, turnovers galore. We had already worked up an appetite, so of course we chowed down on some gourmet eats outside of the barn and general store at the orchard.

On the menu, a hearty veggie chili on a bed of white rice. So much more delicious than my super healthy, barley/whole wheat grain, cheese-less chili at home.

sooo good I even ignored the styrofoam!

Once I was sufficiently warmed by this gooey deliciousness, it was time for an even more appropriate treat. Apple Turnover!! Do you know, this was my first ever apple turnover? Sure, I’ve had apple pie, apple strudel, etc…but never in my memory did I enjoy this flaky, buttery goodness.

And it’s portable!

As much as I’d like to think I’m going to bake my loot into a delicious apple turnover or some other version of a baked good, I know what will really happen. One at a time, they will be smothered in peanut butter and devoured as a 3pm snack. I’m just not.a.baker.

2.5 pounds for all that effort!

Prepare yourself to be peanut buttered!

Happy fall, ya’ll.

Bests Around The State via My Life, Laughs, & Love

Photo Credit Here (she’s from NOVA!)
Hey fellow Virginia Bloggers (or future residents of VA, or visitors of VA!), I’m Christina and I blog over at My Life, Laughs, & Love.  My blog is a little rambling account of my life and helps me to avoid being an adult from time to time.  I found the VA is for Bloggers through another Stafford, VA blogger & couldn’t have been happier I did – how awesome is it that we have a “base” to refer back to for events & happenings in this beautiful state!? 
So anyhow, let’s get down to the business.
I don’t know about you, but the way to my heart is food. 
So is the way to Nick’s heart (he’s my fiancé).
And the hearts’ of our family members.
And everyone else that I know.
So basically, if you can’t tell this post is going to incorporate lots of info. about food!
When we moved to VA we went through a little break-up with delicious cuisine found in the smaller town Nick grew up in & have since been on the hunt for good food & drink in the area.  Here’s what we’ve found:
Best beer selectionCapital Ale House!  Capital Ale is all throughout VA with locations in Fredericksburg, Richmond, Midlothian, & Harrisonburg & offers an impeccable variety of beers…  They literally have 62 beers on draught and 300 choices in bottled beer.  Can you say beer heaven!?  They also have an ice-lined bar to keep your drink chilled.  Genius.  If this doesn’t get you excited, also know that in Fredericksburg they host Octoberfest in late September & shut down the streets of downtown Fred for drinking, music, & delicious German food.  This year it’ll be held on September 29th & I will certainly be there!
Best ice cream:  Let me just say, I’ve had some good ice cream in my day, but when Nick’s family & I found Wally’s homemade ice cream in downtown Fredericksburg after a day of antiquing we were ecstatic.  I highly recommend the mint chocolate chip (my favorite!), and Nick recommends the death by chocolate.  Both delish!
Best grocery store:  If you have never stepped foot into a Wegmans – get your buns in the car and get to one ASAP!  It is the Mecca of grocery stores.  They have literally everything & anything and it is not only fairly priced, but is always fresh & delicious!  We’ll find ourselves at their restaurant (tip-free might I add!) and/or at their variety of buffets/food bars before grocery shopping (or just as an excuse to not cook dinner).  Love Love Love our Weggies!
Best appetizer/drink specials:  If you’re in the area around mid afternoon/early evening head to Bravo! for amazing food specials.  Y’all, $3.95 bar bites AND $5 drink specials?  Yes.  Please.  Not to mention the food portions at the bar are great and the food itself is yummy!  I wouldn’t recommend eating in the main dining area unless you’re willing to pay up, but this bar deal is unbeatable!  
Best AmericanFirebirds.  Oh my most delicious wood grilled food ever.  I have literally never had anything off of their menu that I didn’t eat every last bite of it’s that good (only after consuming their hot bread & side salad mmm).  Not to mention such a classy ambiance with the openly viewed grill and wine bottle wall!  Love.  We went last year for Nick’s b-day and might have to get back there for this years’!  
Best fun with your food:  If you like to play trivia and enjoy a good deal, get to F.W. Sullivans.  For Real.  Trivia is every Monday at 8pm and food specials are M-F (hello $5 appetizers!).  I recommend the hummus – it comes with a full spread including pita breads, kalamata olives, pepperoncinis, feta cheese, cucumbers, and tomatoes.  For $5 Sullivan’s makes me one happy lady :)  Orrrr you can get there F/S nights for darts & dancing. Take your pick.

Sure there are plenty of other fun things around the area, but if you’re anything like us, your world revolves around your next meal.  Hopefully you’ll take our advice and find yourself stopping off anywhere aforementioned & enjoy it as much as we do!  And be sure to come by my blog to say hi + get to know me just a little more!  

Thanks again for reading
xx, Christina