"Sail from that safe harbor" Mark Twain
I remember first meeting Brad Ewing of Three Ships Coffee, it was at the Old Beach Farmers Market in Virginia Beach, VA. I try to stop by the market when it's in season and under Terrapin's tent was a guest vendor selling cold brew coffee. I'll admit I had no idea what cold brew coffee was all about. I'm like most people, I have an electric pot at home that I program to brew on a timer. That way our coffee is ready when we get out of bed for work in the morning. I assumed cold brew was a little more involved than that.
After talking to Brad for a bit what I picked up was this: He wanted to do something new in the area and I really liked his coffee.
It's been well over a year now (longer?) and Three Ships Coffee is well known in the area. They have a mobile Slow Bar that prepares their home roasted bean on-site. They're also carried and served in select shops in the area. I discussed with Brad the direction Three Ships Coffee was headed while attending Buy Fresh Buy Local's Farm to Fork the other week. They have outgrown the home roasting operation and will be moving to the Oceanfront in a space that will provide room for people to sip and relax while being immersed in the delicious aroma of hand roasted coffee. They also want to have their mobile operation covering more the Hampton Roads area so there should be an announcement on how that work soon.
To learn more about how Brad and Amy jumped into the coffee scene read Brad's story:
"I am not very good about little blurbs. They are typically long like this ...I have always been into beverages and my first coffee was what my grandma called a "Cowboy Coffee". It was likely 90% milk 10% Maxwell house, but I felt like I was an adult for a minute. In my time out west the local coffee shops in small beach towns like San Clemente and Encinitas were always the centers of the community where you always run into someone you know. The other thing is that Amy and I got into the tradition in our travels to always try the local cuisine. That to us is food, beer, wine, and coffee. I originally wanted to start a woodworking business, but that required too much time. Two things happened that got me real into coffee.
1. Amy asked me to stop drinking beer and whiskey when she was pregnant. Coffee became my pacifier.
2. I bought a growler of coffee at a downtown pop-up food market in NYC to keep me awake on the way home and the rest is history.
While using all kinds of coffee from all around to make my cold brew recipe I learned that coffee has so much more to offer than that burnt tire and dark chocolate. Amy is the secret weapon in all this. Her sommelier's palette and attention to detail have made it look easy. But we put a lot of emphasis on quality control, but what has propelled us forward is that we spend a lot of time tasting coffees from around the globe and researching how the best coffee roasters work their magic. We are small enough that we can make the kind of coffee we love and that has led us to a Nordic Style of roasting that is very unique to our area and only now catching on in big cities.
We think what sets us apart is that we feel its so important to engage people in a conversation about coffee and show them what is possible with coffee. That often means leaving the preconceived notions about coffee behind along with the milk and the sugar. We are excited about expanding our operations in the coming year so that we can have more opportunity to engage more people about the potential of coffee and our local community."
The official copy on Three Ships Coffee:
We are a small batch coffee roaster in Virginia Beach Virginia. We believe coffee creates community and are focused locally to great coffee and a pride of place to our small town.
Our goal is to give our customers a truly different coffee experience. This is achieved with a craftsman's attention to detail in how we source, roast, and serve our coffees. We define a quality cup as one that has a clean and exhibits a high degree of complexity. We are a Nordic style coffee roaster. What this means is that we roast lighter than traditional American roasters to expose the natural beauty and fruit qualities that best represent the coffee growing region where they are sourced. It’s our goal to engage our customers more like a wine tasting and talk them through how we experience each coffee. Our coffees vary based on seasonal harvests to ensure they are as fresh as possible when we roast and sell them.
All our production is done from our home garage and we are regulars at our local farmers markets and pop ups around town in our 1970's camper. Our coffees can be found in select retail locations around town and have been shipped around the country. We are currently building an online store for release in June.
If you see them around town, try a cup. It's light, flavorful and probably very different from anything you've tried before.
The Virginia Bacon Festival will be at the Scope Fountain Plaza again this year in Norfolk, VA. Last year drew over 2,700 bacon lovers and included an Iron Chef-type cook-off (you can probably guess what the secret ingredient was), live music and tons of bacon laced recipes from the area's restaurants.
This year the festival will host a Bacon Bowl that Culinary Institute of Virginia and their student chefs will compete in. They will start cooking atnoon and at 2:00 PM the public can sample the the students efforts and cast a vote for their favorite. Afterwards at 3:00 PM the bacon eating contest will be held. Lucky participants will be selected from the Viginia Bacon Festival Facebook page, there is no charge for the contestants chosen. Whoever eats one pound of bacon the fastest wins!
Attendees will be able to purchase delicous dishes from some of the best restaurants and food trucks in Hampton Roads (and beyond.) Samples will also be available at most of the tables around the square but be prepared to stand in line for them. I'd like to mention that the restaurants put a lot of time and effort to serve the festival, please bring some cash to buy a dish--help support your food scene! Speaking of lines, there will probably be lines for drinks too, it's just how these things work. Bring some singles to tip your servers. They're going to be super busy. Here are some some of the participating restaurants: Todd Jurich's Bistro, Eat American Bistro, Belmont House Of Smoke, Cotton Southern Bistro, Bite, FM Backstage Restaurant, Public House, Gosport Tavern, Reverend Jim's Southern BBQ, Over The Moon Pizza, Pendulum Fine Meats, Rustic Roots Gourmet, Sooey's BBQ, The Coop, Mad Platters
The Food Trucks present will be: Stuft- Not Your Average Street Food, Sofrito, Twisted Sisters Cupcakes, Malbon's - "The Flying Pig", Bros Fish Tacos, Karnage Asadano Brick Grill and CXB BBQ.
Craft beer will be available too. Local favorites O'Connor Brewing, Smartmouth and the delicious Larry's Lemonade will be there. Regional brews from Hardywood Park, Lickinghole Creek, Heritage, Wild Wolf and many more will also be poured.
Live music by The Fighting Jamesons, The Killroos, The Fuzz Band and more will be on the main stage in addition to the other entertaining cooking demonstrations and competitions. Bacon inspired beverage and spirit sampling, bacon art and a kids area round out the festival. The portions of the proceeds of the event will benefit Princess Anne Hunt Club Foundation for their Agricultural Education and Animal Rescue Funds and Beyond Boobs!
Purchase your tickets online here before they sell out. If there are any left you can you can purchase them at the gate but there will probably be lines. See you there! I'll photographing the event, come up and say "Hi" if you see me.
Admission price will be $25 General, $40 VIP, $10 Kids. You can go in on a VIP table for 10 at $500. Buy tickets here.
Photos from Virginia Bacon Festival 2013:
Cantillon releases a special brew once a year at select establishments around the world. These spots are carefully picked to pour the coveted beer on Zwanze Day. This year's beer is the "Cuvee De Florian", it is Iris with Cherries and was named after Cantillon's Jean Van Roy's son Florian in honor of his 18th birthday this year.
Zwanze day will be on September 20th and starts at 3:00. Tickets can be purchased to garuntee that you have a spot to sample the keg. $15 will get you a pour of Cuvee De Florian and a commemorative glass you get to keep. If you're part of The Birch's Green Glass Guild (GGG), you will gain access to the bar at noon--hours before the general ticket holders.
To accommodate Zwanze fans, the sidewalk will be closed during the event and delicious pizza from The Bakehouse at Chelsea will be available for purchase for hungry revelers.
This past Saturday was this month's Cheap and Cheery at Grape & Gourmet. Always fun and lots of new wines/beers/ciders to sample
Known as the Party of the Year--the 2014 Oyster Crush Charity Fundraiser by Cape Henry Rotary at The Yacht Club at Marina Shores. The date is Sunday, September 21, 2014, 1:00-6:00 PM. There will be Virginian Eastern Shore Oysters (served roasted or on the half shell), Smartmouth beer, Rodman's BBQ and live music by The DeLoreans.
I was at the party last year and it was a ton of fun. All the oysters you can eat, all the beer you can drink and 80s music & dancing if you that's your thing. $50 a ticket, go here to purchase them. Check the photos from last year's celebration.
Swung by Yiannis Wine Shop after visiting Grape and Gourmet. I just caught him and Valentina the day before they took off to Cyprus to get married! Congratulations to the two them. I did the wine tasting too :)
Every Friday night is Wine Tasting night at Grape and Gourmet in Virginia Beach, VA. This past Friday it was Bill pouring.
The local chapter of Buy Fresh Buy Local is holding its annual Farm to Fork extravaganza September 21, 2014. I went last year and had a great time checking out what the area had to offer in the way of fresh foods straight from the fields, waters and land. There was a ton of food and live entertainment. They did a good job of letting people know what was being produced right here in Hampton Roads.
In addition to food there will be regional Chatham Vineyards wine and local craft beers from Beach Brewing Co., Back Bay Brewing and Smarthmouth. A silent auction will be held too. Check out the photos from last year and please click the link to purchase tickets today! The event is a lot of fun and you'll be helping out our local farmers, makers and culture.
Farm to Fork Evenbrite page for tickets HERE!
We were honored to be invited to our friend's wedding this past weekend. It was a typical Virginia summer evening—sunny and hot—and we bumped into a lot of familiar faces. After the ceremony we were congregated on the porch for refreshments, including Blueberry Mojitos that Markella (the bride) and Stuart (the groom) help put together by prepping the fruit.
The hors d'oeuvres included fruit kebabs, caprese kebabs, crab cakes and more. We were offered wines and local craft beers; intermingled with the regular domestics. Once we were inside for reception we had a great garden salad with entrees that included stuffed chicken breast and marinated steak. Delicious and I actually got an extra plate I shared with my tablemate.
Congratulations Markella and Stuart! Here is to many years of happiness!
Our friend recently came down for the weekend and we met for drinks at Lynnhaven Pub in Virginia Beach, VA. It was nice because I got to trade some beers with Rob McGraw (Pub owner) and take some photos for an upcoming story I wrote for HR Growler.
Make sure you read my post about the food at Lynnhaven Pub here.
After splurging this weekend we have tried to eat a little lighter during the week. Last night was skillet seared salmon with seasoned broccoli. It was tasty!
I made sure the salmon fillets were thoroughly thawed and heated up the iron skillet very hot on the outside grill. The salmon was only seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic. Cooking was done within 10 minutes. We microwaved broccoli and dinner was done.
We planted our garden boxes later than we should each year and then we cross our fingers and hope for a huge bounty. We plan on canning and jarring enough homegrown goodness to last us a lifetime!
This hasn't happened yet, but we're working on it. <promise!>
This year we have been picking some decent Roma tomatoes and small cucumbers from the garden. We figured we could clean and blanch the tomatoes and put them in the freezer to make sauce later. The cucumbers were made into refrigerator pickles. Shelby made some last season and they turned out great. She used a different recipe this time and they should be about ready.
I was checking out the tomatoes from our own garden when my mother called and said she had some a customer brought into her barber shop. She'll trade produce, seafood, venison, etc... all kinds of stuff if someone wants a haircut. She dropped off a box of of huge, ripe tomatoes with some other vegetables! I picked out a few that were too "ripe" and washed them off. The rest I put aside till we decided what we were going to do with them.
After a day or two we decided to go ahead and blanch, then freeze the tomatoes. Shelby likes to make her own tomato sauce at home, she'll put them in a pot all to stew and it makes the whole house smell great. We had a bunch of tomatoes so I blanched them in a couple of batches. Here's all you'll need:
- 1 Large Pot
- 1 Large Bowl with ice water
That's it--of course water and tomatoes but I really don't need to say that right?
Fill the pot enough to cover the tomatoes with about 2 inches of water and for every cup of water put about 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Put the tomatoes in the boiling water for about 30 seconds then removed them from the pot and immediately places them in the ice bath. This will stop the cooking process and keep the tomatoes firm.
After they sit in the ice bath for approximately 45 seconds remove them from the ice bath and remove the skins. You'll notice that the skin has started to peel by itself, it will easily separate from the flesh. Pick off stem or other parts you don't want to save from the outside.
What I do afterwards is cut the tomato in half and then gently squeeze it to remove the seeds from the inside chambers. That's it. I ended up with about 4 1/2 pounds of prepared tomatoes that were put in the freezer for later use. Easy!
August's "Cheap and Cheery" at Grape & Gourmet had a special guest, Drew from Champion Brewing Company out of Charlottesville, VA. He was at the tasting table with Gabe, pouring Champion's Killer Kolsch and Missle IPA. I recently had the kolsch at home and think it's a great beer to drink chilled on a hot day. The Missle IPA was very good, blended with 5 hops it didn't over-power you and was herbaceous.
The wine tables had some sangrias and other good stuff we enjoyed. Shelby and I ended up buying a bunch of beer and my new stand-by red La Cappuccina.
Check out the photos!
I've been craving Blue Crabs ever since our anniversary dinner in May when I had some soft shells at Terrapin. Afterwards, I couldn't wait to cook some at home. Problem was, we had to wait till they were in season. They are now! I finally made it out to a couple of shops to grab a few dozen to steam.
Unfortunately, though this year's haul looks like it'll be a bad one again. At least that's what I heard from the area's watermen. It's a shame, I remember being a kid and easily filling up a bucket near the house and taking them home for dinner. The day I was looking, I found a couple of spots that had them in stock.
I first checked G Mart in Virginia Beach, VA. G Mart is one of our groceries that carries hard to find Asian and Latino items. I love these places and I remembered that when Blue Crabs are in season they'll carry them for a decent price. When I walked in headed to the back where they keep the seafood I found what I was looking for--apparently so did everyone else. There was a line to pick live crabs out of a large metal bin. They were priced at $3.99 a pound which was great, but they were all female crabs. I always feel bad eating the females because I figured they should be out in the water making baby crabs. I noticed none of them had egg sacs and they were a decent size. While I was checking them out a man from the back dumped more in the bin. I left to check out another place.
Bonney & Sons Seafood in Sandbridge has been around for a while and probably not a place I would have visited when I was younger because it was far from where I lived. Walking into the shop I noticed a couple of old dogs hanging out, obviously comfortable, knowing they belonged there. The staff was running around filling orders, steaming crabs, and checking the trucks behind the shop that delivered fresh seafood. It was very busy with people coming and going picking up orders of shrimp, fish and crabs.
They have a tank with crabs skittering around running water. There was a huge crab in there that had to be 10 inches from point to point--the biggest I've ever seen. Along the back wall were bushels you could choose from: #1 Jimmies Jumbo and regular and #2s too. The #1 Jimmies (jumbo) were going for $120 a half bushel! I thought about getting them, but that would have been a ton of money to fill a craving. The lowest they had were #2s for about $74 a half bushel. I decided to grab some of them but when they checked the back they were all out of bushels and halfs. Really? They didn't have any available in the large either. By the dozen the crabs were going for $30+ and I just couldn't bring myself to do it.
I want to state that I believe they are worth every penny you pay, but I was feeling how light my wallet would feel walking out of there I decided against it.
I ended up going back to G Mart and picking up about 6 dozen crabs at a pretty good price. I took them home and started cooking them. I usually use come cheap beer and Old Bay seasoning, cooking them about 24 minutes in a large, covered pan. While they were cooking I got a pot ready for a shrimp boil and cooked about 1 1/2 lbs of shrimp we could peel. As a bonus, my mother brought over some egg rolls she made! We just about ate everything and the ones we had left over, Shelby and I ate for dinner the next day.
The Old Beach Farmers Market, in Virginia Beach, is on every Saturday till noon during the summer.
Easy Banana Smoothie Recipe:
This delicious, pretty healthy recipe can be customized to please pretty much everyone’s individual taste. It’s versatile in that you can make the smoothies with the freshest in-season fruits or enjoy the convenience of using frozen fruit if you wouldn’t use all the fresh fruit before it goes bad. I do prefer to use fresh bananas in my recipe but they can also be sliced and frozen. The ingredients are pretty simple and can be adjusted for sweetness by using less sugar or if you like a slushy smoothie, like I do, add more ice - which also cuts the sweetness a bit. The banana makes for a pretty creamy smoothie so I don’t add milk or yogurt to mine. After you’ve used the recipe a few times, experimenting with your favorite fruits, you’re sure to find a winner. We made three today, Banana Berry & Pineapple, Banana Mango Peachy Pineapple, and my favorite Banana Berry Blend. Each batch makes 2 servings and you can freeze one for later, it’ll defrost in about 2 hours at room temperature.
Banana Berry & Pineapple:
1 Whole Medium Banana
1 Cup Strawberry
1 Cup Pineapple
2 Tbsp Turbinado sugar
1/3 Cup Orange juice
8 Ice cubes (or more if you want a slushier smoothie)
Break up the banana, or slice if you must and drop into the blender. Wash your fruit and slice if necessary, not such a big deal with the berries but a must for the pineapple. My pineapple had directions on the back of the label for the correct way to slice it up. Drop your sliced fruit into the blender. Add the sugar, though I have to say, if I am saving my sugar intake for dessert later - I forgo the extra sugar. A lot of fruit is ripe enough to sweeten the smoothie anyway. Add the orange juice, and here, I think a little pulp adds more flavor. Finally, add the ice and blend it up until it’s smooth!
Banana Mango Peachy Pineapple:
1 Whole Medium Banana
1 Cup Mango
1/2 Cup Peach (I removed the skin when I sliced it)
1/2 Cup Pineapple
2 Tbsp Turbinado sugar
1/3 Cup Orange juice
8 Ice cubes (or more if you want a slushier smoothie)
Banana Berry Blend:
1 Half Medium Banana
1 Cup Strawberry
1 Cup Blueberries
2 Tbsp Turbinado sugar
1/3 Cup Orange juice
8 Ice cubes (or more if you want a slushier smoothie)
Adjustments that can be made to this recipe include:
It’s basically a 1 Banana: 2 Cups Fruit recipe - so try what you like, the possibilities are endless!
Try eliminating the extra sugar, the riper the fruit, the sweeter the smoothie.
Use another fruit juice or add a splash of water instead (necessary for the blender blades to move freely)
Add more ice, an easy way to sneak more water into your day and stay hydrated!
Dole has set out to remind everyone that bananas aren't just for brown bag lunches or looking good in the fruit arrangements. “The Peel the Love" “Banana Cabana” Tour is traveling around the county in custom food trucks that will offer recipes, samples and even swag—t-shirts, sunglasses, etc... using Dole bananas and other fruit. They've also reached out to regional bloggers, like myself, to help put the word out. In the Virginia Beach/Norfolk area, they'll be visiting the following locations within the next few days:
If you're outside of the Hampton Roads area, they'll be stopping at these spots too:
- Saturday, 28 June – 7Th Annual Chesty Puller Memorial Bridge 10K and Kids Fun Run, Historic Downtown, West Point, VA (Town Square), 7:00am – 10:00am
- Thursday, 3 July – Fort Lee VA. Commissary, 400 Shop Rd., Fort Lee, VA, 11:00am – 5:00pm
The events are free and ID cards are not required to visit the NOB and Oceana cabana stops. Grilled, blended, sliced—however you might like them, delicious treats made from bananas will be available for visitors to try. You can grab a merch item if you bring by a receipt displaying a purchase of 3 lbs. of Dole bananas too! You' might possibly see a walking banana if you stop by the food truck—who wouldn't want to see a huge walking banana?
Dole selected cities that have shown to have a great appreciation for the yellow fruit when planning out stops on the Peel the Love tour. In all, 26 banana-loving cities will be visited by the Banana Cabana Memorial Day through Labor Day.
To help celebrate the banana, make a cold, refreshing smoothie using the recipes my wife and I use here at home. Click the photo below:
Follow this link for more information on Peel the Love
Here is the official blurb from Dole:
Peel the Love is a year-long Dole campaign that celebrates the fun, irreverence and whimsical side of bananas and other tropical fruit. The program includes everything from delicious new banana recipes, serving, pairing and entertaining tips.
About DOLE Bananas
DOLE® Bananas are the top-selling banana in America and the world — in both conventional and organic product categories. From its founding by James Drummond Dole, the company has built its reputation on a ceaseless commitment to quality. Today, the DOLE® brand stands for more than 150 years of quality produce — and the world’s largest supplier of fresh fruits and vegetables, including bananas. Dole strives to grow, produce, harvest, transport and distribute its bananas and other produce in the most environmentally and socially conscious way possible. Dole Fresh Fruit Company is based in Westlake Village, Calif.
About Dole Food Company, Inc.
Dole Food Company, Inc., with 2013 revenues from continuing operations of $4.5 billion, is one of the world’s largest producers and marketers of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. Dole is an industry leader in many of the products it sells, as well as in nutrition education and research. For more information, please visit www.dole.com.