Shopping in Carytown and A Review of Can Can Brasserie in Richmond, VA

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 When I visited Anne recently, we had a grand time going shopping together in the Carytown neighborhood of Richmond, Virginia. I loved the whole feel of the district: kind of historic, kind of hip, kind of funky.

 Carytown is full of vintage clothing stores, and Anne took me to one of her favorites,  a Goodwill store called the Carytown Boutique: Second Début. Second Début gets most of the crème de la crème of the donated articles that come into the local Goodwill stores. When we walked in the door, I saw a gorgeous evening dress hanging up. I meandered over in the direction of the dress, and sidled up to it. Hmm…my size, too. Casually, I checked out the price tag. Only $30.00. Are you kidding me? Anne and I took it to the dressing room, where I tried it on.

“Get it!” crowed Anne. “Sooze, it’s perfect.”

Still, I waffled. I have absolutely no occasion in the works for wearing a dress like this! On the other hand…could this possibly be a “Field of Dreams” fashion scenario? (If you buy it, the event will come???”)

I left the dressing room with the dress draped over my arm, uncertain. I NEVER planned on buying an evening dress. I have no need for an evening dress. Still…

Then, this sweet silver-haired woman sidled up to me. “Are you getting that dress??? It’s not in my size or I would have bought it myself! Who designed it?” she breathed, lifting the dress off my arm and eyeing the label.

“It is pretty…”, I sighed.

  “That dress is spectacular, my darling. You must buy it. Some event will come along, and you’ll have just the thing you need, hanging in your closet, waiting for you” she reassured me.

“Really…you think?” I questioned.

“Without a doubt, my dear.”

I’m a sucker for a guardian angel who gives fashion advice. I caved. I bought it. No regrets, either. I’m a Fun Girl who’s prepared for her next big event! Get busy and write an award winning song, dear husband of mine. I’m ready!

I also really enjoyed going into the Penzey’s store to shop for spices. I’ve never been into a store exclusively devoted to spices before, but it sent my joy meter zinging to the top. I have a huge love for all things culinary, and this place is like Spice Mecca. What a great selection! Now I know where to look online for any hard to find spices that a recipe I want to try might require.

And, of course, I loved going into  For the Love of Chocolate: the perfect place to shop for a souvenir gift for my chocolate loving son. My favorite part of that store was their huge selection of “vintage” candy brands: candies I haven’t seen since my childhood.

 Any time girls get together to go shopping, you’ve got to take a break and do lunch, right?

Anne took me to an adorable little bistro in Carytown called the Can Can Brasserie.

View from the back of the Can Can Brasserie.

The bar.

Fresh flowers: nice!

Not surprisingly, with a name like Can Can, the restaurant has a distinctly French flavor. From the beautifully arranged fresh flowers, to the baker’s racks filled with selections of just baked bread,  to the hammered tin ceiling, to the towering old fashioned bar, well stocked with wines, to the French flag proudly displayed from the ceiling, I felt like I’d gone back to the days when I lived in Europe. Even the bathroom with the old fashioned fixtures was quaint.

Roasted Chicken Salad with arugala,  cherries, and almonds.

Grilled Shrimp Salad with grapefruit, pineapple, fennel, arugala, and coconut vinaigrette.

Our salads were delicious. The service was outstanding. The prices were reasonable.

A selection of fresh breads: I loved the one with dried cherries and almonds.
What better way to end a meal than a café crème?
Can you find a delicious meal in a charming restaurant, tucked away in the Carytown neighborhood of Richmond, Virginia? With apologies to the president of the United States, to borrow one of his favorite expressions:

Yes, We Can-Can!

So, next time you’re in the Richmond area, I’d strongly encourage you to visit the Carytown shopping district: wonderful shopping and great food,  Everything a Fun Girl or Guy could possibly require for a grand day out.

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