Monday Nights are Ramen Night at Stockpot ;)
Memorial Day was a rainy one this year. Shelby and I were kinda lounging around the house when she suggested we head over to New Earth Farm in Pungo (a rural section of Virginia Beach, VA.)
We don't travel out there much but we've been following the farm for years now. They just opened up a nice, big shop carrying the stuff they grow and produce in addition to the other area farms products such as butchered meats, honey, baked goods, produce, etc... The market is a renovated old farmhouse that was on the property forever and it's water tight - great place to hang out in the rain.
Marion and Paul Schultz were working that day and put the word out they'd be open for the afternoon. When we walked in they were inside the shop behind the counter. They told us about this weird leafy vegetable they grew called Celtuce that looks kinda like a stalky lettuce but has bitter leaves. The stalk is what you want to eat and Paul described it as "buttery popcorn." They asked if we wanted to try it and of course we said yes. We'll try just about anything. They peeled some and chopped it up in bite-sized bits. I kinda got the butter thing they were talking about and a few other flavors that were hard to place. They said they'd give a couple to play around with. I'll post that later when it happens!
We chatted for a while, just chillin' out. Paul asked if I wanted to check out the greenhouse where they were trying a new growing system for some tomatoes. They were tying string from the roof of the enclosure that they would slowly lower as they thew grew taller. In the end you'll have a spiral effect on the stem that helps the plant. It's something I'd like to learn more about for sure.
We hung out on the back porch of the shop and watched the rain and I saw a lone hen hopping around on one leg. Paul said a few of their chickens were attacked by a raccoon while they slep in their coop. Apparently the raccoons will grab whatever they can through the cages and just eat it. This includes live chicken legs! Poor things. They had to put some down but one of the farmhands nursed this one back to health and now it's living it's best life and a one legged chicken. She's a farm pet now and her name is "Lt. Dan", also known as "Danny."
Once back inside the market Marion told Shelby to take home some of the flowers since the shop was going to be closed the next day and they wouldn't do well untended. We also got a dozen eggs from the farm. I can't wait to try them out. We also bought some Brentwood Farm lamb kebab meat from Suffolk, we'll grill it while Marleigh visits this week. You'll see it posts I'm sure.
All in all we had a great day and I'm glad Shelby mentioned heading over. It was nice to talk to Marion and Paul and get to know them better. We see them around a lot but it's usually quick conversations in passing. Please go out to the farm and check it out yourself, when you see everyone there say "Hi!"
I was invited to take part of a social media gathering of sorts organized by the Visit Virginia Beach and a group called Travel Mindset this past Friday. They're a social media/influencer marketing group that help promote travel and anything associated with online shout outs. It was fun seeing people taking photos of food, I do it all the time and sometimes I wonder what I look like hoping up on a chair or bench to get a good shot.
The meeting was going to be at Esoteric, which is one of my watering holes. I love the wings there and at happy hour they're .50 cents! I arrived a little bit early so I could eat all the wings a grab a beer. While I was at the bar I saw the group start gathering in the back on the patio. They ordered food for the event and before anyone touch it photos had to be taken. I always say "the camera eats first" lol.
After I finished wings I went out back and mingled a bit. There were some familiar faces and everyone seemed to be having a good time. I found out what the itinerary was for the weekend and was going to try to make some of the other events they had setup while they were in town. Sunday was supposed be a trip out to the oyster beds lead by none other than one of VB's finest Chris Ludford of Pleasure House Oysters. Unfortunately it rained like crazy that day and they had to call it off.
It was fun to bump into people that do similar things as me, especially from out of town. Hopefully I'll catch up with them next time they're in town. Maybe we'll get out on that oyster boat ;)
Chayce and Katie have their own place now! I'll be honest and say even though we were sad that the kids had moved out of the house it was nice having our own space! Shelby and I got married at 18 and 19 with a lil baby already in tow. We've always had our family and never knew what it was like to be on our own. Funny to think of it that way right?
So about the seafood up top, Katie's mother and brother came to town on Spring break and we though we'd show them a little bit of the classic Virginia Beach scene and took them to The Back Deck for dinner. It's on the inlet to between the Lynnhaven River and Chesapeake Bay, you can sit outside. The weather that day was beautiful, so we couldn't pass it up. Oh, they have great Crushes too.
We started off with a couple of drinks and waited for everyone to show up. I ordered a dozen raw oysters because you just do when they're available.
I had an idea that Joey and Tracey hadn't had raw oysters before, seeing how they're out in the Illinois's heartland. The Lynnhaven is world renown for its oysters since the day of the European explorers. You can't come hang out on the Bay and not eat oysters.
I crashed one of Shelby's work lunches. Honestly though...I am an honorary workmate when it comes to lunches ;)
Shelby and I were craving Mazari Kebab & More last night and called in a little take-out. She got the Lamb Kebab and I got the Chicken. I doubled up on the eggplant side because it's so luscious!
We were in the D.C. area briefly to see my daughter's artwork in a Sweetgreen shop in Logan Circle and my buddy said he was kinda craving a a quesadilla. A few shops down was a place called Logan Tavern, we checked out the menu on the door. I saw Boneless Fried Chicken and I was in!
Very cool on the inside, had a nice vibe and prices were good. I got the chicken with sauteed Swiss Chard and Garlic Mash Potatoes. My friend ordered what he was craving, the quesadilla.
Loved the food and our server was funny too. She said she needed a photo lol.
We were invited to watch a move our friend directed at the University Theater at ODU. It was great experience and we bumped into a bunch friends. After the movie we ended up heading over to Chow with our buddy Carmen. We met Carmen a while back at Whole Foods, she's at Tinto's Wine & Cheese now - which you should check out if you haven't been yet!
Chow was open a hour later than most places about the area which meant we could relax and grab a bite to eat, a drink (or two) and not worry about rushing out or keeping the shop open on our account.
After grabbing a spot to eat we tried to figure out what to drink. Since we had Carmen with us we decided we'd have her peruse the wine list and pick a bottle we could share. She suggested a Zin from the Frank Family Vineyards. The 2013 Napa Valley Zinfandel was super smooth, fruity, and dark, just the way we like them. Good call Carmen!
The next line of business was figuring out what to eat. Chow's menu is centered around "southern comfort" food and it's truly represented! We've had dinner here a few times before and it's always been good. Speaking of good, I decided wasn't going to be with my entree because all I had to eat that day was two apples and a Caesar salad (seriously!)
I went for the Chicken Fried Steak (below), Shelby got the Steak Frites (photo at the top of the page), and Carmen got the Vegetarian "Meatloaf". I didn't try Carmen's, though I should have, but Shelby's dish was basically a delicious steak on top of some Parm-Truffle Fries. The compound butter on top was melting making the whole sexy. Yeah I said sexy. You can look at a Insta story I made here, sorry for the vertical and low-res clip. The Chicken Fried Steak was great and I loved the Collards I picked as a side. The mac and cheese looked good but I would have liked for it be more cheesy!
All-in-all a great meal with great company, I need to get back and try some of the burgers there, they looked great. Head to Chow, try it for yourself!
I was approached recently about an event coming up this Saturday called the Virginia Craft Spirits Roadshow "Virginia Spirits are for Lovin'." The event is new to me so I checked it out online and it looks pretty nice. Here's a blurb from their Evenbrite page:
"Calling all lovers of local spirits! Come join us for the next The Virginia Craft Spirits Roadshow: Virginia Spirits are for Lovin’ at The Mariners' Museum and Park in Newport News, Virginia, on February 10th from 4-8pm. Tickets will include all samples of artisan spirits, craft cocktails, local beers, and delicious southern foods pairings - inside the beautiful backdrop of the Mariners' Museum."
I need to get out to Newport News more often and I do love the Mariner's Museum, not to mention all the booze that's going to be there... Seriously though we love trying out what the great state of Virginia has to offer and the event will feature 8 distilleries from around the state in addition to beer from our buddies at Smartmouth Brewing! There will be food too! All in all, my kinda event! If you really like something there you can buy a bottle to take home too. Take a look at what you get to enjoy:
Participating Virginia distilleries:
Belle Isle Craft Spirits / Richmond
Chesapeake Bay Distillery / Virginia Beach
Copper Fox Distillery / Williamsburg & Sperryville
Ironclad Distillery / Newport News
James River Distillery / Richmond
KO Distilling / Manassas
Virginia Distillery Co / Lovingston
Vitae Spirits / Charlottesville
Participating Virginia brewery:
Smartmouth Brewing Co. / Norfolk & Virginia Beach
Participating area restaurants:
I've already linked the event page so you buy tickets, but they asked me if I wanted to give away a pair of tickets ($45 value) to my readers! Lucky you, it's contest time!
All you have to do is leave a comment below stating your favorite cocktail and I'll pick a winner from the group. The winner will be picked by a random drawing and announced Friday around noon.
Good luck and I'll see you there, cheers!
Shelby and I left Virginia when we were young. I was 18, she was 19, and we had a baby. It's hard to remember but I'm pretty sure I thought I knew everything at that age. It was when we were on our own I started to play around with recipes from a Betty Crocker cook book my grandparents sent us. My grandfather was an employee of General Mills a long time ago and the plant he worked at closed down. The cool thing though, is that he received gift boxes from the company for years and years afterwards because of the closure. The cook book being of those things he received and my grandmother sent us when we were young and making our way into the world. It's something I cherish.
What's that have to do with beefteki? I guess not a whole lot but when I think about this recipe, I think about our young family starting out and learning we didn't know everything. We ended up in Germany while I was in the army, we say it was the best three years of our lives. We loved the culture, being centrally located in "The Continent", and Greek food! Yeah, we ended up eating a lot of Greek food and stuff similar to it. There were a lot of Greeks and Turks living in Germany and our time there allowed to enjoy things like beefteki, donner kebabs, etc... Ah, the memories of drinking downtown and grabbing a "gyros" (that's what we called the donner kebab over there for some reason) and having garlic, death breath makes me warm and fuzzy inside.
The Beefteki though, that was something Shelby fell in love with! We would always go to a gasthaus next to the Bahnhof in a small town called Parsberg. I'm pretty sure it is this place called Taverne Korfu, it's where Shelby discovered the Beefteki! The owner at the gasthaus was very kind, I always remember him smoking a cigarette near the bar. It was cozy, a place where you could nurse a beer all day and no one say a word about it. Our kids were still babies and he would give them treats. Sometimes he would take one of them into the kitchen for a piece of candy. I wish I knew his name...his daughter (I assume) worked as the runner and behind the bar. Sometimes other families would see the kids and then invite them to sit with them and buy them ice cream. It was our first experience with communal seating too. Here in the U.S. we're used to getting our own table, keeping separated from the other diners. We liked being part of the "economy" as it was called. One thing I learned is no matter where you go in the world, if you're cool, they'll be cool. Oh, one thing the taverna owner would do is correct my German. I remember once time having to say "81" (the menu item number I ordered a lot) in German what seemed like a million times before he would take my order.
I still wonder if they're still there, I'd love to find out one day...
After coming back to the States in the 1990s we couldn't find a restaurant that served anything like the Beefteki we had in Germany. Searching online back then didn't net any hits, the huge boom in food sites hadn't arrived yet. I did manage to find enough Greek recipes that I was able to put together a basic recipe to build on. So over the years I tweaked my original recipe to what it is here. I originally started using a mixture of veal and lamb, then eventually phasing the veal and using just lamb. I mention that because beefteki is normally made from beef (I guess the name makes that obvious.) I think you can find a bunch of them now but there's no need for that. You have my once secret recipe to make and enjoy at home!
You need to serve this with my Tzatziki recipe linked here. Yes I said "need"! Let's start cooking, this is what you'll need.
- 1 lb Ground Lamb
- 1 Small Onion, finely minced
- 4-8 oz. of Goat or Feta Cheese
- 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 Tbsp Mint
- 1 Tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 Tsp Dried Parsley
- 1 Tsp Minced Garlic
- 1/2 Tsp Dried Thyme
- 1/4 Tsp Cumin
- 1/4 Tsp Nutmeg
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Dress Beefteki with:
- 1 Lemon sliced in wedges
- Olive Oil
Before You Start:
- I always grill these. I guess you can try these in a skillet to get a nice crust on them, but the smoke and grill marks are part of the deal here.
I don't need to tell you to heat the grill up first before using it right?
- I listed 4-8 ounces of goat or feta cheese, add as much as you like! I prefer soft goat cheese but feta is just as good.
- This recipe doubles-up well too, make a ton of it. I get about four beefteki per pound of lamb. You'll be happy you did.
- Some times the heat makes the cheese ooze out a bit, this is OK! It's kinda sexy actually...
- Add all the ingredients - except for the cheese - into a large bowl and mix it well to incorporate all the spices and herbs.
- Once mixed make a football shaped portion in your hand and then push your thumb int the center to create a space for the cheese.
- Add a tablespoon or two of cheese to the center of the beefteki then fold or pinch it closed. Ensure it sealed so the cheese doesn't cook out.
- Brush with olive oil before placing on the grill.
- Cook for several minutes on each side till desired doneness.
I hope you enjoy my famous (famous in these parts at least) Beefteki recipe! It's something I never thought I'd share but it's something the world needs.