Finally made the Pendulum $6 Burger lunch! It was everything I heard it was and more. They service it with a garlic mayo that was crazy, I had to get more so I could dip my seasoned fries. A must try if you can make it out on a Friday.
I have fallen in love with The Stockpot's Lamb Burger Salad. Oh, here's what I'm talking about.
The Stockpot was formerly a pop-up in the area that moved into brick-and-mortar within the past year. I used to grab a soup from them at the Old Beach Farmer's Market on the weekends - just across the street from where they are now. Knowing how good their soups are, I knew their shop menu would have to be super too. I try to explore items other than soup when I visit now.
I first tried the Lamb Burger Salad when I was flying solo for lunch. Shelby had a lunchtime commitment that day. A straight shot down I-264 to the Oceanfront, I was there in no time. They have pastries, toasts (open-faced sandwiches), wraps, salads and much more! The Lamb Burger caught my eye right off the bat. I ordered it and while I was waiting, owner Ann Galante, kindly gave me a bowl of their soup du jour - Chicken Tortilla. It was delicious, love the broths they make in house.
I finished my soup right as my salad arrived and I was excited. I love food, I get excited over it (see name of blog.) The burger smelled wonderful and the dish itself was beautiful. Nice colors, bright roasted tomatoes, cabbage, cucumber, and mixed greens lightly tossed with a dressing I'm still trying to figure out. As you can see in the photo up top, the burger sits upon this lofty throne of goodness waiting to be bathed in a nice, light wasabi dressing.
I intended on eating half of it and taking the other half home to Shelby, but I ended up eating the whole thing. I reasoned that the greens would wilt and I would buy her a fresh one soon - I did a week later ;) Take a look at the burger:
Try it yourself. Better yet, try everything they have, it'll be worth the few pounds you put on.
I was on Granby St. yesterday chatting with the owner of Brink Anchor (where Jack Quinn's used to be) and realized I was super hungry. Sometimes I get wrapped up in the idea of what it is I want to do and forget to do things like, say, eat. So I was starving after my visit with Phil and was trying to decide where to eat lunch. It's been a while since I've had a lunch option in Norfolk since I live in Virginia Beach and I'm at my regular job during the day (no, I don't blog for a living.) The decision wasn't hard to reach after remembering a photo I saw online this week. The image depicted a mountain of a sandwich - no more like a volcano with lava of peach chutney tumbling down stacked, curry braised pork. It was called the Shah Raan and I was going to rise to the challenge issued by Field Guide to "conquer" it.
I mentally prepared myself, image Sir Edmund Hillary getting that high knowing he was going to climb Mt. Everest. I was right down the street from this monster, all I had to do was find a parking spot. The Fates were with me because a car pulled out of a spot right in front of Field Guide and I quickly slid in and paid the meter. It was a beautiful day, overcast and cool, I love how it feels when it's like that.
I walked into Field Guide and was greeted by Jeremy behind the counter and saw an acquaintance Chris Revels seated at the bar. He was taking a break from mural painting a few blocks away. Jeremy mentioned it had been a while since I've been there, which is true, but I knew exactly what I wanted. I asked for the "big ass sandwich". He smiled knowingly and shouted to the kitchen, "Big Ass Sandwich!" I waved to Cristina and crew in the back and headed back to say hi.
My sandwich was being made as I stepped into the doorway to the kitchen. I watched from afar, a little giddy with the idea that I was going to eat it. I know it sounds cheesy, but I get excited about eating - especially good food and Field Guide is on point. Always. I chatted a little bit about the Shah Raan and Cristina (Waffletina)told me about some of her other projects she's working on. By the way, if anyone wants to rent a great space next to Toast in Norfolk, get in touch with her. The space could be used for about anything and the rent would be a great deal.
The Shah Raan sandwich was created by one of the line cooks in Field Guide's kitchen. I love the fact that the people in the back have the opportunity to put something together and then have it featured in the shop. David Hausmann, the creative mind behind Field Guide and several other projects in Norfolk, has been spot on when introducing new concepts to the area. Especially those dealing with food, I mean who doesn't like Handsome Biscuit? Back to the sandwich - the Shah Raan is made up of curry braised pork shoulder, sunflower pecan raita, and peach chutney. I'll be honest and say I have no idea what the name means, I think it was just something the guy came up with when they made it. It sounds exotic and the sandwich itself reflects that with Indian-style curry infused in the pork, just enough so you know it's there. The raita is lightly tossed with red cabbage and the peach chutney rounds out everything with a slightly pungent sweetness. What's really neat about this is the flavor profile is usually seen used with chicken or lamb, I think it pairs perfectly with pork though.
Please don't judge me, but I didn't even try to pick up my sandwich. I mentioned that I would probably use a fork and knife and Jeremy laughed and grabbed me my flatware and a bunch of napkins. I was going to need them. They call mustaches "flavor savers" for a reason!
I was working on my sandwich when Dave walked in. The guy is busy and was hitting his spots tying up loose ends. We chatted for a bit about some ideas he had about expansion, new shops and things he'd like to introduce to the area. Exciting stuff. I have to mention that Cristina put together a great dessert for me made with a almond shortbread recipe she loves. The recipe is actually from one of Dave's old restaurants The Boot, I'm sure a lot of you remember that place. 80/20 Burger Bar is in the old location now. The dessert was made with charred peaches, a delicious homemade cream that reminded me of Shelby's Dirty Cake, and a little bit of mint leaf. So good!
I was able to finish my whole sandwich. That thing was huge, so unlike Hillary who did manage to reach the summit of Mt. Everest I made it about halfway. I bowed out gracefully asking for a container to package my unfinished portions so I could share them with Shelby later at home. I was very satisfied with the whole experience and told myself to not wait so long before visiting Field Guide again. Oh, and thanks for the beer Jeremy.
Additionally, here are a few shots of the mural Chris was working on.
I remember being at Yiannis Wine Shop last year and Yiannis said I had to check out the Greek place across the street. He said the food was very good and authentic, I assumed he knew what he was talking about since he was from Cypress. Yiannis even offered to pay for dinner if Shelby and I went to check it out. I declined his generous offer and promised that I would check it out. Sadly it took me several months but we finally made it and we weren't disappointed.
I met Shelby and her friends Crystal, Laura and Jonathan who were already seated. There were supposed to be 6 of us but one of them couldn't make it, no worries though, seating was readily available for them when walked in arrived. Our server, Adriyan, promptly offered water and asked if we wanted anything else to drink. The Restaurant Week menus were on the table, we checked out what was being offered.
We were given choices for two courses, here's what was being offered:
- Choice of Dip (tzatziki, melitzanosalata, taramosalata, scordalia, tirokafteri or hummus)
- Cup of Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo or Lentil Soup
- Gyro or Chicken Pita with Fries
- Small Greek Salad with Gyro or Grilled Chicken
- Mediterranean Pasta
I already knew Shelby would go for the Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup, she loves that stuff. I saw a Greek version of Baba Ganoush called Melitzanosalatawas available with the pita so I ordered that. Crystal, affectionately known as “Turd” had the Lemon Chicken Orzo too, Laura took the Spanakopita and Jonathan had a cup of Lentil Soup. Adriyan was a great help explaining what was available and what might be the best bet when ordering courses. She told us the Lemon Chicken Orzo is on the normal menu, but the Lentil Soup was a special for Restaurant Week. I think that had Jonathan lean towards the lentil which he ultimately ordered.
Adriyan went over the our second course options and I decided I'd go with the Chicken Gyro since Shelby was ordering the Greek Salad with Gyro. Laura and Jonathan both went with the traditional gyros plates and Crystal had the Mediterranean Pasta. After heading back to put in our orders she quickly returned with our first course meals. My Melitzanosalatawas was served with a generous amount of soft pita for dipping. I liked the texture and it had plenty of garlic, which I love. I don't know if Shelby will later when we were home though. I didn't get to try the soups but the feedback was good. I was snapping photos of peoples plates but didn't get a shot of Laura's Spanakopita, she had already ate half of it!
Before we could finish out the first course the second came to the table. The portions were good and everything smelled great. My Gyros plate came with fries so I started picking at them. I have a tendency to always eat my fries first—I have no idea why, been doing it since I was a kid. I pinched off a piece of the grilled chicken in my pita and it was cooked perfectly. Moist, a little grill char on the outside and seasoned nicely. The sauce and vegetables in the pita wrap blended well and I didn't have a problem finishing the whole thing. Shelby's salad looked good and she was getting into the feta cheese and olives. The gyros meat on the salad was the same in the Gyros meals and it was standard fair, what you would find in most Greek restaurants. Crystal seemed to be enjoying her pasta which had sun dried tomatoes, capers, onions, olives and a few other things including a white win garlic sauce.
All in all it was a good meal and the service was great. I'd like to come back and hit the regular menu for a proper dinner sometime. I love lamb and I bet they have a couple of great plates with it. Their Restaurant Week dinner menu does have a braised lamb on it, so maybe that's an option? Maybe next time, we try to head to different restaurants during Virginia Beach Restaurant Week to try places that are new to us.
Can't wait to see where we end up next!
Virginia Beach Restaurant Week 2015 has kicked off for the new year! Just thinking about all the possibilities for lunches and dinners has me worrying about my cholesterol and blood pressure. If you're not familiar with Restaurant Week, participating area establishments offer lunch and/or dinner specials at reduced prices to entice diners to visit their restaurants to try something new. On average lunches are $10 and dinners run from $20-$30.
Virginia Beach Restaurant Week is celebrating its 10 year anniversary with over 90 restaurants taking part. We were able to hit a few last year: Braise, Croakers, and Chic's to name a few. Our first Restaurant Week outing this year was to Mannino's for lunch! If you didn't know it yet, Mannino's has the best She-Crab soup in Virginia Beach—hands-down. I don't say those words lightly either! Starting with a good soup sounded perfect since we're in cold weather now. Shelby made reservations for us at the new Oceanfront location, this will be our first time at that shop.
They have an extensive Restaurant Week lunch menu made especially for Restaurant Week. I didn't realize how much they were offering until I actually checked out the menu. For $10 you get two courses: The first could be Prosciutto & Fresh Mozzarella, Calamari Friti or a cup of the Award Winning She-Crab soup! (I know what I was ordering.)
The second course ran one and a half pages, anywhere from salads, sandwiches (including an Oyster Po' Boy), and a wide range of pastas and sauces. We had 5 in our lunch group Shelby, myself, Nana and Marleigh who brought along a friend for us to meet. Once we were seated our server brought out a hot, fresh loaf of bread for the table and small plates to mix olive oil and balsamic. We used the delicious, crusty bread to dip into the mixture and finished off the small loaf quickly. I asked for another immediately afterward. The table pretty much stuck with the first course She-Crab soup except for Nana who has an aversion to shellfish. Our meals came with salads too, a nice house salad and a Caesar. As for entrées we ordered the following: Two plates of Four Cheese Ravioli (one spicy), Vitello Parmigiana, Smoked Turkey & Provolone Panini and a Fried Oyster Po' Boy.
When the first course was brought out I was surprised at how large the calamari plate was, it was the regular serving size. The soup came in cups, as described on the menu. Nana ordered the calamari and passed it around the table to share, even after doling out some to everyone she had a healthy portion left to herself. The She-Crab soup was spectacular as expected. The large chunks of sweet crab meat were hiding just below the creamy soup and I made sure to divvy out equal amounts of each with every bite. I can be a little anal about how I eat my food. The Caesar was very nice and I loved the croutons that came with it, I like mine a little airy. I didn't try the house salad but it was pretty with a variety of lettuce and long slivers of carrots and beets.
After the bread, salads, soups and calamari we were getting full. I had to finish Marleigh's soup because it would have been a sin to let that go back to the kitchen to be dumped! When the entrées were brought out we saw they really did stay with the regular menu portion sizes (or close enough!) I had the Vitello Parmigiana, veal Parmesan, that I really enjoyed. I don't get out for Italian much so this was a nice change of pace. The veal was lightly breaded and cook well, the cutlet was sitting on top of a mound of penne and sauce. I ended up giving the rest to Shelby in a take-out. She had the spicy ravioli and was gushing over the sauce. Nana had the panini and seemed pretty happy with what she ordered, it looked good and she ended up taking home some too. Marleigh's friend Patrick had the oyster po' boy that was huge. It had at least 6 plump, fried oysters in it with all fixings to the side with two sauces to choose from.
Overall everyone was impressed with the meals being offered on Mannino's special menu for Restaurant Week and can't say enough how great of a deal it was for $10 a plate! I hope we're as lucky with the next place we pick. Make sure to get out and see what's being offered, the chefs and kitchens usually put something special together to let people get a taste of what they have to offer. Take a tour of Virginia Beach's restaurants, see if you find a new favorite out there.
Virginia Beach Restaurant Week runs from 10-19 January 2015.
I lucked out today. There was actually a food truck parked in the general area of my office building and not just any truck but Hashi!
The office park I work in a surrounded by a lot of places to eat and I admit to loving a quick trip to the fast food joint but when Shelby told me Hashi was going to be down the street I got excited. It was rainy but all the better with what was on the menu. We ended up with a smoky stew and some Korean noodle stir-fry. We got a good portion and it was very filling. Both were delicious but I think I could eat the the japchae all day long. Shelby loved the pickled onions which added some pop to each bite.
They were serving a house made apple soda too, which I almost passed. I'm glad I didn't, it was tart and sweet and made your tongue tingle. The apple pulp gave the drink a great texture and all together it was a delicious drink--I wish I bought two.
Don't pass Hashi up if you see them parked around town, definitely worth a stop.
In the Hampton Roads area we recently finished up a couple of restaurant week events for Virginia Beach and Norfolk. Newport News still has one going on till February 2nd and Portsmouth will be running theirs in April. Unfortunately, we only made it out for Virginia Beach's because of bad weather and a head cold that popped up during Norfolk restaurant week. I meant to have this written up last week but I've been pulled in a few different directions. Better late than never tough right?
Virginia Beach Restaurant Week (VBRW) basically works this way: participating restaurants offer a lunch and/or a dinner at a discounted rate. Most of the time the dishes they serve showcase what the eatery has to offer and it also affords people the chance to try out different places without breaking the bank. Shelby and I tried four places in Virginia Beach, I'll give you a little rundown on what we had.
As soon as Shelby and I got off of work we started checking out the restaurant week menus. It was hard to choose one place to eat but we finally settled on Croakers Neighborhood Grill. We've heard good things about the Virginia Beach local's spot and the menu looked good. Croakers is located on Shore Dr., if you're not familiar with Virginia Beach, Shore Dr. runs the length of the Chesapeake Bay to Norfolk.
When we pulled up the parking lot was packed. After a couple of run-arounds we got a spot and went inside. It reminded me of the classic Virginia Beach aesthetic—beachy, colorful, and the feeling its been around for a while. The hostess immediately seated us and the server came out and gave us info on the restaurant week menu. Croakers gave you the option of having a drink or cocktail instead of your third course dessert. We both opted for drinks, Shelby got a chocolate martini and I got a beer.
The appetizers being offered were Fried Calamari, Oysters Rockefeller, and Breaded Popcorn Shrimp. I chose the Rockefeller and Shelby got the calamari. The calamari had a great batter on them. Probably a beer batter with a little bit of Chesapeake Bay seasoning at the end. You get the whole squid; I love the tentacles. The oysters were good but I've been eating so many Oysters Rockefeller lately, I've been spoiled (I'm talking about Croc's.)
Entrees were Blackened Chicken, a NY Strip or something called St. Charles. Here's the description:
“Chef's choice of fish pan sauteed and topped with fresh mushrooms, tomatoes, scallions and shrimp which have been simmered in our special sherry, lemon and butter sauce – delicious”
Sounded good, we both ordered it. I was glad I did, normally this is a $20+ dinner but they put together a little something for restaurant week and it was so good. Out of everything I tried during VBRW, this was my favorite. They used talapia the night we went and it was cooked perfectly. I'm actually going to write more about this dish later, so I'll stop now. Definitely worth a try.
The second thing we tried was the lunch menu at Braise the next day. Braise recently opened in the city by the locally known chef Bobby Huber of Bobbywood fame. Braise was offering a $10 lunch with a few options to choose from. We went with one of our friends—Alisa—who had never been before.
I was really excited about was that Chef Huber's popular Oyster Stew was on the special menu. Shelby and Alisa both got the Braised Short Ribs with Cheddar Grits and Fried Spinach. They offered starters before the aforementioned dishes: Emily's Famous Lumpia or a Wedge Salad. I had the wedge salad while Shelby and Alisa, again, chose the same thing. Emily's Famous Lumpia.
Let me back up a bit. When we arrived it was packed! We lucked out because we were able to grab the only available table. We settled in and eventually our server arrived, it took awhile because the volume of customers in the restaurant. We looked at our menus, were given water, and then we ordered. We got our food eventually but my water glass wasn't refilled. I'm only mentioning it because that is my one major pet peeve when I eat out. I hate not having water, it really bothered me. I ended up drinking Shelby's since she didn’t want it.
I loved my salad. I love lettuce, so this would be easy to make me happy. The wedge had crumbled bleu cheese and dressing poured over it. A nice balsamic was dashing around the plate with some grapes and tomatoes. Mixed in with the cheese and dressing was nice, chewy bacon. Good stuff.
I didn't try the lumpia but Shelby and Alisa both seem to enjoy them. The entrees took long time to get out, and as I mentioned, I had no water. When the food came out, they forgot one of our entrees. I was worried it would take a while to get the missing plate out, but he was back quickly with it.
The oyster stew was very good. Tasty with perfectly cooked oysters and mildly seasoned. I like being able to taste the oysters without them having to compete with the rest of the soup. Potatoes and more bacon were in the bowl too, can't go wrong with that combo. The Braised Short Rib was good and the portion was small, but I guess I shouldn't complain about a $10 lunch right?
We've been to Sonoma before and liked the service. The food was good, but I thought a little overpriced and my entree could have used a little seasoning. I was looking forward to trying again though.
We went for the lunch menu and we had another of Shelby's friends, Crystal, with us this time. It was later in the week and the lunch crowd was manageable. The soup of the day was the first course and we had a choice of Chipotle Pork Taco, Blackened Crabcake Sandwich, and Seared Mahi. Shelby and Crystal went with the crabcake and I picked the tacos for variety.
The soup of the day was French Onion, which is one of my favorites. It was delicious and the cheesy baguette was great for soaking up all the broth. The Crabcake Sandwich was pretty good, not overloaded with filler, but definitely not lumpcrab. The tacos weren't too exciting and but they were good.
The last place we tried was Chick's at the Lynnhaven Inlet. A local staple, if you live in Virginia Beach you know about this place. I'll have to admit though, I've never been. I didn't realize how big this place is, on the outside it doesn't seem like much. They have a several bars services the different sections of the restaurant. We were seated on the deck which was enclosed for the season. Casual and relaxed, easy place to roll into for a drink or to grab a bite to eat. I'll probably write a little more about the place later.
Luckily we had Marleigh and Chayce with us that day and we met with my step-father, John and my sister Diane. After we were seated I walked around a bit to check out the joint. I bumped into Gerald from Hoffman Beverage who was there with one of his people who was pushing Monster drinks at the bar.
The lunch menu offered some pretty good choices: Open with a salad, She-Crab Soup or ½ Dozen Oysters (steamed or raw) and an entree choice of Fresh Catch Sandwich, Blackened Mahi Tacos, or Everything Greek Salmon Salad.
Chayce and I ordered the oysters, his steamed, mine raw on the half shell. Shelby got the She-Crab soup. She had the Greek Salmon salad and I thought I'd try the tacos here too. Chayce got the fish sandwich which turned out to be flounder that day. It was huge and looked great. My tacos, again, weren't anything I got excited over and Shelby said I might not want to order tacos anymore. Her Greek salad was huge too and out of everything we had that week, she said that was her favorite. The She-Crab was very good too. I'd like to go back again and try some of the other menu items, they have a lot to choose from.
All in all restaurant week was fun, like I mentioned earlier, it's a great way to get out and try some places you might not normally head to. The prices were good and the overall experience was a good one. Can't wait till next year's event.
Every year Richelle and Dave Davies open their house for a Christmas Eve brunch with friends. It's a nice little get together where people get an hour or two to chill out and eat some good food with good company.
We usually bring something and this year Shelby had the idea of bringing some baguettes and dipping oil to hand out. I basically used my go-to bread recipe, doubled it, and made small loaves. We bought some 4 oz. Ball jars and mixed in some olive oil, Herbes de Provence, salt/pepper, and fresh garlic. We had an old produce basket from a summer CSA pick-up I dressed up and inside I stacked the breads and oils.
Turned out great and even the kids liked the bread. It was funny seeing them walk around gnawing on baguettes.
I finally made it to Zeke's Beans & Bowls in Virginia Beach, VA and I'm glad I did. Zeke's is located down Norfolk Ave. close to the Oceanfront (Virginia Beach's resort area) and inside an old building that's been around for as long as I can remember. They're sprucing the place up on the outside at the moment; it's been painted blue, looks good.
Inside, it feels casual and there were a several people in there eating or drinking coffee. I noticed that Three Ships Coffee is served there, cool. I talked to Victoria behind the counter and asked her a few questions about Zeke's. She patiently answered everything I asked and helped me with the menu. I ended up getting the Spicy Tuna Poke Bowl: Sashimi grade tuna, wasabi, sesame seeds and oil, cucumber, green onion, and some other ingredients. I also added rice to the order. I asked for take-out and while I waited I checked out the inside of the restaurant. Local art lined the walls with nice signage. A bicycle hung from the ceiling and nice tall windows let a lot of light in.
Once I got my food, I took a few shots of it and headed out. When I got back to my office I ate the bowl and it was amazing. The tuna was so clean and with a great texture. The sesame oil and sriracha really added to the flavors. When I finished I was already planning on my next trip.
Check out Zeke's Beans and Bowls next time you're in Virginia Beach, VA. Definitely worth it.
Check out more photos of Zeke's by clicking here.
I will usually pick up Shelby for lunch during the week and run home. We might grab something or eat leftovers at home. The dogs really need to go out too! We both work close enough to home that we can do this; it's really nice.
The other day Shelby's office had a lunch event so it was just me fending for myself. I thought of the regular places I'd run to near the office but decided I'd grab something different. I remembered being invited to the opening of a new place in Norfolk earlier this year but couldn't make it due to other obligations. Why not finally head over I thought to myself. So that's what I did.
Cilantro Bangladeshi Bistro is in Norfolk on the border of Virginia Beach. It's connected to the old Murray's butcher shop. The iconic, but recently closed, Nautical Antiques store off Virginia Beach Blvd. sits right next door. The restaurant is new, bright and clean inside. You can buy meals or order à la carte. Since it was my first time there I wanted to try a few different dishes. Here is what I got:
Jhaal Beef, Shahi Chicken and Shrimp Malaikari--all of it sitting on a bed of Polao rice. Enver Siddiky, whose family owns and runs the shop, gave me samples of the Chotpotti, yellow chickpea salad, and fresh squeezed limeade.
The shrimp was my favorite out of the bunch, with the peppers he put on the plate and the seasonings, it had a little heat but it all blended well. I loved the rice. I love rice anyway, but this was good, it was cooked with ginger, garlic, ghee and a bunch of other spices. Enver did a good job explaining to me what each dish was and how Bangladeshi food differs from Indian food. I've been calling Cilantro an "Indian" food place, but know I know better.
If you're in the area stop by and grab something to eat. They also have a little grocery next door. It's worth a visit.
Check out the rest of the photos, full size in the Look section of the page:
I’ve been eating ramen from as far back as I can remember and it’s been the standard flavors you pick up in the grocery. While at the Asian market I noticed racks of new, different flavors so I picked up a bunch. The first one I had was Bulalo Bone Marrow Soup.
According to Wikipedia “Bulalo is a beef dish from the Philippines. It is a light colored soup that is made by cooking beef shanks and marrow bones until the collagen and fat has melted into the clear broth. Bulalo is native to the Southern Luzon region of the Philippines.”
Not bad, kinda like beef ramen for the most part. The package had a little packet of beef bits that hydrated in the broth. I’ll post more of these as they come.