Spices are powerful. During antiquity, the quest for cloves and pepper helped start wars, inspired exploration, and redraw the map of the known world. Today, in many parts of the world, this power has been domesticated, relegated to calm cabinets and old recipe cards. But, there are still places in the world where spice retains its ability to define a dish and transform those who eat it. Extreme Pizza is just such a place. There, though they don't normally specialize in Indian cuisine, cooks harness the flavors of the subcontinent for their Spice Route pizza. Atop scratch-made dough, spice-packed tandoori chicken joins with red onions, green peppers, and mozzarella cheese, a cross-cultural Italian-Indian combination that brings out the best in both countries' cuisines.
This painstaking attention to flavor is evident in all of Extreme Pizza's 21 specialty pies. From the pineapples and oranges that mingle with Canadian bacon on the Paia Pie to the Aveiro's Portuguese linguiça, smoked bacon, and pepperoncinis, each pizza boasts a creative combination of flavors prepared with the freshest possible meats, cheese, fruits, and veggies. They also embrace individuality; guests are invited to chow down on personal-sized versions of each specialty pie, or design their own pizza using six house-made sauces, nine cheeses, and dozens of toppings including everything from broccoli and roasted potatoes to Thai chicken, shredded BBQ pork, and fresh basil and garlic. They even stay sensitive to dietary restrictions, offering a gluten-free menu filled with rejiggered versions of their favorite pies.
In addition to their eponymous pizzas, cooks also whips up their fresh take on other classic Italian eats. The Bahn In The USA Monster Sub riffs on the classic Vietnamese bahn mi, blending shredded pork and peanuts with the signature trio of jalapeno, carrots, and cilantro. On the calzone front, the Big Wednesday packs its pocket of dough with carmelized onions, Italian sausage, and pepperoni held together by a two-cheese blend and a thick dollop of tomato sauce. With all of these options and more to choose from, it's no wonder that the restaurant routinely rakes in awards from outlets including Entrepreneur Magazine and Ernst & Young.
The brother-sister team behind Rudino's Pizza and Grinders incorporated an onsite bakery into the restaurant's design, keeping the kitchen full of fresh, homemade dough for pizzas and sandwiches. After coating crusts with a sauce based on the duo's family recipe, cooks layer on any number of ingredients—including fresh basil, jalapeños, and bacon—as well as a blend of mozzarella and provolone cheeses that melts as beautifully as a box of crayons in a kiln. They also slide open-faced grinders into ovens after loading them with such sandwich fixings as italian sausage, salami, and fresh vegetables that are never frozen or canned.After ordering at the counter, guests can enjoy their meal at one of the many tables scattered throughout the yellow- and red-walled dining area. A mounted television broadcasts sports games, and two walls of floor-to-ceiling windows help to keep the space illuminated with enough natural light to jumpstart a solar-powered monster truck.
Cool sips of creamy green-tea frappes and thai iced coffee balance the fiery curries and delicately seasoned stir-fries at Elephant Thai Short Pump, whose chefs import their spices from Thailand each week. This touch of authenticity is palpable in the seasoned chicken, pork, and shrimp inside the kanom jeeb thai dumplings as well as in the spicy chili and garlic sauce that drowns helpings of vegetarian drunken noodles.
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1972 marked the year that coach Don Shula led the Miami Dolphins to a perfect season—a feat that hasn't been accomplished since. So perhaps it isn't surprising that the same pursuit of perfection inspires the cooking at Coach Shula's namesake steakhouse. Here, chefs begin with custom center cuts of premium, Black Angus beef, patiently aging them to concentrate the beefy flavor before the steaks even touch the surface of a grill. The tender proteins range in size from an 8 oz. filet mignon to a 48 oz. porterhouse, ideal for two diners or or one peckish school of piranhas. Beyond signature steaks, the chefs devote equal attention to entrees such as mint-glazed lamb and twin lobster tails.
Housed within the Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa, Shula's Steak House matches its classic cuisine with a refined environment. White tablecloths provide a contrast to black tables and chairs, a motif repeated by the rooms' dark wooden trim and cream-colored walls. Framed black-and-white photographs of the winning Dolphins roster surround guests as they dine.
Daily Grind Short Pump welcomes visitors with a menu sporting coffee brewed from locally roasted beans, cool specialty drinks, and an edible plethora of coffeehouse fare. Satisfy hungry eyes along with bellies while taking in walls decked in local art and savoring the coconut, chocolate, and macadamia flavors in a CocoMocha ($3.30–$3.95) or a cup of the daily joe ($1.55–$1.90). The scent of the coffee house’s locally roasted beans wafts through the air as patrons kick back with a buttery croissant ($1.85), and flatbread breakfast sandwiches stuffed with egg and cheese ($3.85) launch successful mornings with protein-packed oars. Put noontime hunger to sleep with a sandwich filled with marinated chicken spooning pesto mayo ($6.95), or douse overheated taste buds with a refreshing pomegranate italian soda ($1.75–$2.75).