Richmond! Richmond! Read All About It!*

*I don’t know the city of Richmond very well. However, I DO know a certain Bethany Novak quite well, and (as of last fall) she lives in Richmond. I went up to visit her in her newly adopted city last weekend, and loved what I saw. (Mainly, I loved getting to hang with Bethany. But Richmond was a lovely — and delicious — backdrop to our friend reunion!)

Here’s what our weekend itinerary looked like:

  • We visited Pure Barre Near West End on Saturday morning, and it was such a great studio. Not only was it in a beautiful building, but we also had a wonderful instructor (thanks, Nikki!) who made us feel super welcome. I always love trying out PB studios when I’m in other cities, and was glad Bethany was up for a barre visit. This is by far one of the friendliest I’ve been to.

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  • Bethany suggested we refuel (and get some caffeine) following Pure Barre class at Duck Donuts, which is a build-your-own-donut shop. Yep — you read that right. You select toppings which are then placed on a still-warm donut and given to you to enjoy. It’s an amazing idea and I have no idea why more donut shops aren’t in on this genius. (Bethany got lemon iced and I got strawberry iced with coconut. We obviously split each so we could try them both. Because we’re smart.)

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  • We stopped by a nail salon for much-needed pedis, grabbed a DELICIOUS lunch at the aptly named restaurant Lunch., chilled for a bit at Bethany’s (where we whipped up a batch of Girl Scout Thin Mint Puppy Chow, which I’ll address in a separate post because it deserves that), and then headed to Criterion Cinema for the 4:50 showing of What We Do In The Shadows. (Former Mullenite Katie Kroko and her husband joined us, which was so much fun!). Fellow Flight of the Conchords fans likely have heard about this comedic documentary-style film about New Zealand-based vampires, and Bethany and I were thrilled that it was released in Richmond while we were both there to see it together. I’m glad to report that we LOVED the film (and we’re not alone — Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 95%) and I can’t wait to see it again. Anyone who enjoyed these guys’ previous work (Flight of the Conchords, Short Poppies, etc.) should be sure to see this flick.

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  • When Bethany and I get together, one of our favorite activities is cooking (especially experimenting with new recipes), and so for dinner Saturday we opted to try out the vegetable spiralizer I purchased several months ago and hadn’t yet tried out. After some thorough online research (shout-out to the blog Inspiralized and all its great tips!), we landed on a zucchini-based recipe that included roasted cauliflower and prosciutto crumbles. YUM! (My spiralizer is this inexpensive one from Target, and it worked great! It was both easy to use and easy to clean.)

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  • While we ate, we watched the first season of the just-launched Netflix Series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. To say we loved it would be an understatement. Between Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, we inhaled all of Season One of this amazing series. (More to come on that. This show just deserves its own post as well. It needs far more than one wimpy bullet point.)

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  • Speaking of inhaling, Bethany suggested we brunch at a Greek restaurant called Stella’s on Sunday, and it was one of the highlights of the weekend. We split a hummus appetizer (that hummus was perfection, and the accompanying pita bread was freshly grilled and light and fluffy) and, despite being drawn to savory items for most brunch outings, I ordered one of the Greek Toast dishes, Tsoureki Vyssino. I was so happy with my selection. This was the best French toast-like dish I’ve ever had, hands down. It was topped with sour cherries and toasted pistachios to cut the sweet some, and instead of whipped cream it had a whipped Greek yogurt garnish which I can’t wait to try to recreate. Bethany also won at brunch with her Loukaniko Sausage Skillet. Deliciousness all around.

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I was so glad to finally get to visit Bethany in Richmond, and can’t wait to make another trip up there soon. There’s so much more to explore: art museums, the Edgar Allan Poe museum, historic sites, some great shopping areas, more awesome restaurants…and, most importantly, THIS GIRL lives there! And she’s one of my most favorite people on the planet. (This is where she lives. Isn’t that house beautiful? Built in 1908, people!)

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So, to summarize, Richmond is wonderful and if you’ve never visited I suggest changing that. And if you’re reading this and happen to live in Richmond, congratulations on having one of the world’s best people become a resident as of last fall. She’s got the license plate and everything now to prove it. Winston-Salem misses you, Bethany!

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