Ever Seen a Kehinde Wiley in Person?

I still haven’t, but I did see a giant stuffed whale. More on that in a second.

Shaun and I took a trip to Richmond today to go to one of the holiest of places for vegetarians and vegans: Ipanema Cafe. Snuggled below a tattoo parlor on Grace Street, this cafe is one of the most un-assuming yet absolutely delicious places I’ve eaten at to date. It’s not an exaggeration to say that we drive to Richmond for Ipanema and Ipanema only, and it’s always worth it. It’s actually made Richmond’s “50 Best Restaurants” list every year since 2006, and consistently makes Richmond’s “Best of Richmond” list [much like our Best of C’Ville here].

you could miss it.

The only copy of the menu is located on a chalkboard wall by the door. It’s easy to tell who is an Ipanema newbie because those customers sit down and wait patiently for a menu to no avail. Know what you want before you sit, and you’ll look like a pro. They have a decent selection of drinks, and an awesome tea list: they boast ten to twelve unique tea blends that you can order in individual pots. I opted for the masala chai, spiced with ginger and cardamom.

cute chai.

The lunch and dinner menus are primarily vegan, with a few vegetarian and maybe one or two pescetarian options. I got my usual: vegan caesar salad with grilled tofu. I love this dish because it is the same, big flavor of a caesar salad without the guilt [they replace the cream-and-egg-based caesar dressing with a vegan “caesar” dressing made with silken tofu], and the flavor of the grilled tofu is rivaled only by the tofu at C’Ville Coffee.

dreamy caesar.

It may look simple, but the taste is to die for. Shaun branched out [from his usual tofu burger] and got the vegan reuben sandwich. Made with tempeh, sauerkraut and a vegan thousand island dressing and served with sweet potato fries, this sandwich was dreamy.


big lunch.

Did I mention they have an all-vegan dessert menu, too? The star is definitely the Elvis cake – a peanut butter, banana and chocolate delight. I’ve tried to replicate it many a time in vain. We exercised some self control and didn’t get it…this time. We’ll save it for the next time we come for dinner and their 5-7PM $2 wine special.

Anyway, back to the giant whale. After lunch we stopped at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to take a look at their 20th and 21st Century American Art collection… AKA fulfill a Kehinde Wiley craving.

The VMFA [one of the first Southern state-funded museums] is entirely free except for the special exhibitions, making it a no-pressure stop when you’re in town. Much of the building is brand new [it opened in May of 2010], and the architecture is almost as beautiful as the art. We had a really great time exploring the grounds, but were sad to discover that Kehinde Wiley’s artwork had been rotated out in favor of Tristin Lowe’s “Mocha Dick,” a giant stuffed whale inspired by Moby Dick. I’m not kidding about giant. It was definitely life-sized.

doesn't fit in a photo.

As with all stuffed animals, I wanted to touch it. VMFA clearly planned for people like me.

not the please touch museum.

I was sad to leave without seeing any Wiley works; but thanks to the fact that the museum is free, we’ll definitely be back before we move. Maybe for the MUMMY EXHIBIT. I love all things related to Ancient Egypt.

We returned home and fulfilled a craving for grilling by whipping up some No-Bull burgers on our Bodum grill with sweet potatoes, carrots and brussels sprouts. This was served with a special home-made mustard… recipe to follow tomorrow!

a completely vegan day.

Now it’s time to sit down with Season 2, Episode 1 of The Walking Dead. I hope it lives up to Season 1. Does anyone else watch?

Here’s a few more shots from the VMFA:


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Categories: Food


Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/courtney-marello/1a/375/b30 Tumblr: http://abarrelofoddsandends.tumblr.com/


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4 Comments on “Ever Seen a Kehinde Wiley in Person?”

  1. October 17, 2011 at 11:29 pm #

    I recently visited friends who live very close to the museum. I never did get to go to the museum but the grounds are beautiful!!! I walked all around the grounds and fountains. Have you ever been to Panda Veg in Richmond?

    • October 18, 2011 at 8:22 am #

      No I haven’t. My fiance has and he said it was good, but I’ve been looking at their Facebook and Urbanspoon and people seem REALLY unhappy with it! Is it just asian vegetarian food?

      • October 18, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

        Yes. I thought it was good as far as vegan greasy Chinese goes. Everyone needs mock shrimp in some kind of sauce sometimes. COME ON! Haha. It’s not unlike New Harmony in Philadelphia. But New Harmony is better.


  1. Spicy Beer Mustard | Ryes and 'Shine - October 18, 2011

    […] Post navigation ← Ever Seen a Kehinde Wiley in Person? […]

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