Friday, February 17, 2012

Richmond Rave: Sticky Rice/Carytown Cupcakes

As I'm sure you're all well aware, Valentine's Day was this past Tuesday. Instead of going to dinner, Husband and I decided to do lunch. After endless debate about where to go (not really - I've somehow been appointed the "authority" on where to eat, so whenever I invite someone to lunch and ask where they want to go, the answer is "You pick." Don't ask me how I got this power. I don't really know that much), I selected...

Sticky Rice
... Sticky Rice as the winner of our Valentine's Day Lunch Contest. I've been there one or two times for lunch with my coworkers and thought it was a place Husband would like.

Sticky Rice is what I would call a hipster sushi/noodle joint with a touch of grime. Just enough grime to make it hipster while still being chic and appealing to the average customer. The funny thing about the selection of this restaurant is that neither J or I eat sushi, and that is what Sticky Rice is known for. I've tried really hard to like sushi, but it just hasn't happened yet. Maybe someday.

Anyhow, the interior is your standard mix of booths and tables with retro-style metal chairs. We arrived at 11:45, so it wasn't busy yet. I always select a booth if given the opportunity. I really love the attention to detail in Sticky Rice's booths.

Their logo is painted (or maybe inlaid, I couldn't tell) into the wood of the booth.
I also like the bright murals on the walls. And I'm a huge sucker for decorative ceilings, especially pressed tin.

I want pressed tin in my kitchen. WANT.

Today I went with an order of a house specialty - Sticky Balls - as the appetizer. My coworker had ordered these for the table at a previous lunch and they were absolutely divine, so I wanted J to try them.

Tuna, crab, siracha rice in an inari pocket, deep fried and topped with scallions, wasabi and eel sauce.

They tasted as amazing as they look. J also approved.

For my entree, I selected my usual from the Noodles portion of the menu: Sesame Chicken with Udan noodles. I am a sucker for noodles in whatever form I can get them and I particularly adore udan.

Chicken and mixed vegetables tossed with teriyaki sauce
Topped with bean sprouts, sesame seeds, and cilantro
Husband ordered Curried Fried Rice and by my observation, enjoyed every bite of it.

Our total bill was $31 plus tip. The Sticky Balls were a bit pricey at $8 but worth every penny; my entree was $8.50 and Husband's $9.50. He got a Coke ($2), I stuck with water. For the quality and amount of food we received, I would say it's a fine price. The restaurant was also not crowded at lunch (though I hear it can get crazy for dinner), so our service was fast. We arrived at 11:45ish and were out by no later than 12:30, so if you have an hour-long lunch break it is doable.

I think that the next time we go I will try some sushi - probably something on the boring side like salmon, avocado, and maybe shrimp.

Carytown Cupcakes
Because of Sticky Rice's fast service, we had some time to spare and were able to make a quick stop for dessert at Carytown Cupcakes. I know that cupcake shops are kind of passe now, but you all know how much I love cake (including cupcakes), so I don't really care if the new rage is cake pops or gourmet popcicles - for me, cake is where it's at.

Personally, I love Carytown Cupcakes. The fun thing about this shop is that in addition to their classic flavors (vanilla, chocolate, carrot, red velvet, hummingbird), which are available everyday, they plan a weekly special menu of unusual/gourmet cupcakes. For instance, the Valentine's Day Flavors for Feb 7-14 included Chocolate-Raspberry, Strawberry, Chocolate Caramel, and Cherry Chocolate Sunday.


They can get even more creative than that - next week is "Guys' Night-Inspired Flavors" such as Guiness, Bue Moon, and Chocolate-Bacon (which I've heard is the way).

We were a tad bit gluttonous and got 2 cupcakes each:

Blackberry lemon, Raspberry Chocolate, Red velvet, and Carrot cake

Being a gourmet cupcake shop, these 4 little things set us back $11 (technically, they set Husband back $11 as he was kind enough to buy them). At that price they are not something I will eat every week, but they are a nice treat every now and then.

One trick/warning: make sure that you dont' get more cupcakes than you will consume in 24 hours. Carytown Cupcakes are all natural and don't use any preservatives - they need to be eaten with 24 hours or they will not taste so great anymore.

In conclusion - Sticky Rice = funky, hipster noodle/sushi joint with fast service and average price; Carytown Cupcakes = creative and classic, if not slightly pricey, flavors for a special occassion.

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