In support of her high-decibel new album, Rihanna kicks off her hotly anticipated LOUD tour with emphatic gusto and a sizzling roster of special guests. Like an art show at a sundae bar, the LOUD tour floods the senses, enchanting audiences with lavishly designed sets, myriad costume changes, move-busting dancers, and Rihanna's songbook of Grammy magnets. Crooner Cee Lo Green augments the songful offerings with his own vocal talents, and Roc Nation rapper and rhythm scientist J. Cole further helps resuscitate ear drums traumatized by the outside world's blaring car horns and shrill howler monkeys.
Since opening in 1974, The Jewish Mother Backstage has hosted the likes of Dave Matthews, Hootie & the Blowfish, and Ice Cube. But despite its famous visitors and the media frenzy surrounding Ice Cube's melting accident, the New York–style deli still maintains a neighborhood atmosphere. Local and regional music acts fill the stage with groovy tunes, and the menu of hearty comfort fare is rooted in tradition, inspired by the owner's own Jewish mother. More than a dozen delicatessen sandwiches boast family names such as the Mother's Son reuben and the Mother's Sailor Friend, a split knockwurst with gooey swiss cheese and pastrami. Aromas of meatloaf fill the eatery at dinner, and breakfast service sates guests' early-morning hunger and desire to crow onstage.
Inside The Salsa Room, Latin artists such as Marc Anthony, Oscar D'León, and Gilberto Santa Rosa croon to diners pouring over a menu of steak and seafood dishes. Drawing on influences from Latin America and the Caribbean, the club's chefs construct a menu bursting with spicy, flavorful ingredients like a piñata full of jalapeños. Chorizo adds a splash of flavor to breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes, creating taste-bud-tempting fare such as the house specialty guiso de garbanzos con chorizo—a blend of chickpeas, beef, and spanish chorizo in a tomato-based creole sauce. On Wednesday at 8 p.m., salsa and bachata dance instructors take to the floor to lead patrons in the rhythmic steps and sly glances that compose Latin choreography.
In 2009, The New York Times named The Camel Richmond's "premier venue" for "up-and-coming Southern rock and bluegrass bands, acoustic singer-songwriters, and jazz and funk musicians." So far, nothing's changed: The Camel still hosts local and nationally touring acts such as Ben Kweller and James McCartney, who, unlike his father, has never toured with a band named after icky bugs. But even though it's lauded for providing live music seven nights a week, The Camel makes a space for all art, including occasional film screenings.
Like its entertainment lineup, The Camel's cuisine is an eclectic mix of American flavors. The culinary team, lead by executive chef Xavier Beverly, whips up gourmet vegan risottos, grills fresh seafood, and tops flatbreads with spinach, mushrooms, and hummus. But they also keep things casual with finger foods such as the popular sausage stars and housemade beef burgers crowned with horseradish mayo. Served until 2 a.m. nightly, each dish can be paired with local or craft beers, which fill the 28 taps lining The Camel's exposed brick wall.
The Camel is open for lunch Monday through Saturday, and brunch on Sunday.
Saisaki's chefs weren't content to simply fuse the dishes of two different cultures. Instead, they culled culinary techniques and recipes from Japan, China, Thailand, and Malaysia to prepare raw and cooked Eastern cuisine. Traditional and specialty sushi rolls slip snugly between chopsticks, as do Hunan-style scallops and tender cuts of steak cooked over a toasty hibachi flame. Hot and cold bottles of Gekkeikan and Ozeki saki clink symphonically above slices of hot-fudge chocolate cake that provides a satisfying epilogue to the meal.
An old-fashioned ambiance reigns in The Carlyle Club, expressed in an art-deco design scheme, frequent visits from respected jazz musicians, and guests’ predilections for saying “horse feathers.” Tall palm fronds back cushy leather booths and elegant marble tables loiter near the bar, all within sight of the intimate, blue-curtained stage. A bow-tied wait staff completes the back-in-time vibe, as do vintage posters and the intricately patterned wallpaper.