Date Night: Red Pump Kitchen + Alley Light

July 9, 2014

When my parents were here last week on the tail end of our reunion trip, they sent Matt and me out on another date night! We can’t complain : )


We have two new restaurants we have been wanting to try downtown: Red Pump Kitchen and Three Penny Café. While it’s fun to have two new spots, it’s also sad because they replaced two restaurants we loved: Positively 4th Street and Zinc.

But the renovation inside was truly stunning!


We chose Red Pump (how many times am I going to write Red Pumpkin!) for our date night because it was a shorter walk from home on a rainy evening. It was opened by the same owners of Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards so I knew we would like it. The menu features Mediterranean, Tuscan and Italian-inspired dishes plus a wood-fired pizza oven!



I especially loved the hand-blown glassware.


I had a glass of Sangiovese while Matt ordered a cocktail – a bourbon drink with a hint of apples poured over smoked ice! This ice was actually our favorite part of our experience at Red Pump. Loved how much flavor it infused into his cocktail.


We decided to share 3 dishes so we could taste as much as possible. First up: Grilled Trumpet Mushrooms, Sea Island Red Peas, Pistachio

While the mushrooms were amazing, I didn’t love the combo with the beans and fennel. It tasted good, just not my fav or what I was expecting.


Of course we had to try a pizza, and the Octopus, Pimento Cheese, Smoked Tomato, and Vietnamese Coriander pizza had me at pimento cheese!!

The smoky flavor on this pizza was incredible. Red Pump has mastered the art of smoke! Loved the crust as well.


Finally we shared a pasta dish – Tagliatelle, Squid Ink, Bay Scallops, Manila Clam Brodo. A seafood extravaganza. The pasta was hidden under all those shellfish!


We had a great time at Red Pump Kitchen and would like to go back soon for more tastes!

But to keep our date night flowing, we decided it was too early to go back home (I think it was like 7:15pm when we left!!) We should have done drinks first, dinner second, but instead we tacked drinks and dessert onto the end of the night.

We ended up at Alley Light, our new favorite bar in town. It’s really more of a lounge, and their menu of small plates is awesome.

I asked Micah (our fav bartender!) for something on the sweet side of the wine spectrum – but not as heavy as a port. He came up with this fortified wine from the south of France.


It was perfect – ripe, sweet and not too syrupy.


And for dessert – a giant macaron flavored with hazelnut and praline and smothered in chocolate.


Yes sir!


A really fun night that ended on a sweet note!

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jackie July 9, 2014 at 6:23 am

That sounds like a fun and delicious date to me!


2 Anna @ On Anna's Plate July 9, 2014 at 6:53 am

Wow– that all looks amazing. Funny how much more you appreciate a good date night after the kiddo comes along, right? 😉


3 Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner July 9, 2014 at 7:13 am

I love that old glassware–my family used it to redo kitchen cabinets up at our cabin, and it looks so cool. A little more character than modern thin glass.


4 Katie @ happygokatie July 9, 2014 at 7:18 am

You two are a gorgeous couple! And I’d like to take that dessert out for date night…..


5 Anele @ Success Along the Weigh July 9, 2014 at 7:38 am

Hurray for date night! It all looks delicious. Glad the restaurant was a hit. There’s nothing worse than trying a new place and it’s a dud.


6 Maggie July 9, 2014 at 8:06 am

I’m working in Raleigh for the summer but I can’t wait to get back to school and try Red Pump!!! It looks delicious.

Definitely try 3Penny ASAP- get the fig salad (forget the actual name but it was one of the best salads i’ve ever had) and the scallops were also really good and gave zocalo a run for their money for my favorite meal in town!!


7 KathEats July 9, 2014 at 8:24 am

Good to hear!


8 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats July 9, 2014 at 8:10 am

I love the idea of sharing dishes for date night, I’m the kind of person that likes to try a little bit of everything!


9 [email protected] July 9, 2014 at 8:35 am

Oh that macaron sounds divine!!! Love anything with hazelnut and chocolate…one of my favourite comobos! Pizza looks incredible. mental note..need to try octopus!


10 Stephanie @ My Freckled Life July 9, 2014 at 9:01 am

That macaron looks AMAZING!! You guys always manage to find the best restaurants in Charlottesville!


11 Kate July 9, 2014 at 9:33 am

That dessert looks awesome. Great photos in this post, they’re all beautifully done. Making me hungry!


12 Livi @ Eat, Pray, Work It Out July 9, 2014 at 9:52 am

I love sharing to try lots of dishes! It makes the dinner so much fun!


13 Lauren July 9, 2014 at 9:57 am

I love reading posts like this because we are visiting Cville in August for a long weekend! i’m so excited and want to visit as many awesome places as possible!


14 Alex @ Kenzie Life July 9, 2014 at 10:05 am

I love the name “Red Pump” and pimento cheese on pizza is a brilliant idea. I’m so trying that!


15 Leslee @ Her Happy Balance July 9, 2014 at 10:31 am

YUM. It’s so nice that you can walk to some great restaurants! I live in the Philly suburbs and I can’t really walk to anything besides water ice, whomp!


16 Hannah @ eat, drink, and save money July 9, 2014 at 11:01 am

Looks fun! I wish we could walk to as many places as you can. It must be nice to be so close to a good downtown area.


17 Arrbee July 9, 2014 at 12:06 pm

A great looking selection of food!

I noticed under your picture and “welcome” you may have forgotten to add “wife”.

Have a great day! :)


18 KathEats July 9, 2014 at 1:53 pm

haha – good point!


19 ellie @ fit for the soul July 9, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Ohmahgooshhh I really want to try that seafood pasta!


20 Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves July 9, 2014 at 3:07 pm

What a sweet date night! That pizza sounds so unique and flavorful. And a giant macaron always sounds good to me :)


21 sally mae July 9, 2014 at 3:32 pm

You guys are always so good about getting out for date nights…I’m jealous!!! It looks like a wonderful evening. :)


22 Laura @ She Eats Well July 9, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Wow…the dessert. Just wow. I hope it tasted as good as it looks!


23 Tiffany July 9, 2014 at 4:20 pm

This is so sweet but there’s something missing! A picture of you! :) I love seeing your date night outfits!


24 KathEats July 9, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Actually I looked rather drab this night and wasnt up for photography 😉


25 Blaine July 10, 2014 at 2:31 pm

When my parents were here last week on the tail end of our reunion trip, they sent Matt and I out on another date night!

Not to be the grammar police, but this should say “they sent Matt and me”. If you remove Matt’s name from how it is written, it would say “they sent I” which is obviously incorrect.


26 Martin July 11, 2014 at 9:49 am

You guys looks so cute together. I’m so jelous


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