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gutreactions | Jul 31, 201806:53 AM    

Had the pleasure of returning to Richmond, VA. with family and friends. Our nephew Ryan, who is in the food & wine business down there, was a great tour guide. There is a burgeoning food scene in and around historic Richmond and it blends beautifully with the scenery and sites.
We drove down for the day from the Beltway and Ryan suggested we start with a visit to Upper Shirely Vinyards, a plantation/estate that has been producing some of Virginia's finest wines for many years. It is lovely as you drive in surrounded by horse stables, corn and cotton fields. The main house is right on the banks of the James River and works as a wine tasting center, restaurant and catering enterprise. We sat down for a tasting and two big assorted cheese platters. They arrived at perfect room temperature and we savored every morsel with a variety of crackers and pita. As for the wines: a 2015 Petit Verdot, 2016 Sparkling Rose, and a 2016 Chardonnay. Each had its own signature and melded well with our cheeses.
It is such and airy setting, just a half hour or so outside of the city of Richmond. www.uppershirley.com
We had a surprise waiting for us at dinnertime: our able tour guide led us to the newly opened ZZQ-Texas Craft Barbeque on W. Moore St. in the industrial part of town. Folks, this turned out to be the best BBQ I have had in quite a while. You get on line the old-fashioned way, and get your tray. Order what you want as you go down the cafeteria type line. Meats and all are sold by the pound. Sheets of wax paper are your plates. And I must say, each and every item we tried had its own delicious touch: tender brisket, pulled pork, habanero fontina sausage links, buttermilk potato salad, and Terlinqua cole slaw. It was served with slices of white bread. It was a feast for the 5 of us, and enough was left over for Ryan to take home.
As we left, the line was curving out the door. www.zzqrva.com

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