Eat | Shop | Play
by Victoria Bourne
Coastal kitchen vibe
Step up your seafood game by adding to your kitchen arsenal. Check out Toadfish Outfitters’ Coastal Kitchen Collection. The Charleston company has created a set of tools designed to make cooking and eating easier and safer. Some examples include the Put ’Em Back Oyster Knife with a bent-tip design and handles made from recycled
plastic; the Frogmore Shrimp Cleaner, which peels, deveins and butterflies shrimp in one motion; and the Toadfish Crab Claw Cutter, which boasts “stunning presentations” with zero mess. We spotted these turquoise-handled beauties at Taste in Norfolk; you can also get them online.
The Coach House cometh
Some recognizable figures in the region’s culinary scene plan to bring a new modern-American vibe to the old Chow restaurant on North Colley Avenue in Norfolk. Partners John Power, co-owner of The Blue Point in Duck, and Kevin and Dana Kern, most recently of No Frill Grill in Norfolk, told The Virginian-Pilot in August they want to create an iconic space that harkens to the culinary heyday of Colley Avenue where all feel welcome and well-treated. The food will be high end, they said, but not fine dining.
Hot, hot sauce
Sweet Heat, a hot sauce by North End Sauce, ranked in February as the best medium and best all-purpose sauce in the 12th annual Hot Pepper Awards presented by The Hot Pepper, a community forum for hot sauce and hot pepper lovers. Created by Nick van Goidtsnoven, who was raised on 64th Street at the Oceanfront, Sweet Heat combines Carolina Reaper peppers with local honey and brown sugar to create a condiment that offers a bite and a kiss. It comes in medium and hot and is available at locations including North End Juice Co., Cowboy Neil’s Cantina, Big Sam’s Raw Bar and Jose Tequilas.
No, it’s not Zima
Virginia breweries and cideries are giving White Claw and Truly a run for their money by offering their own versions of the newest trendy drink: hard seltzer. Locally, O’Connor, Rip Rap, Smartmouth and Back Bay brewing companies were among those that jumped on the bandwagon this spring and summer, exploring flavors from grapefruit to black cherry, pomegranate hibiscus to strawberry mango kiwi. Bold Rock Hard Cider, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, has made its hard seltzers available in grocery stores. Brewers say their hard seltzers tend to be low-calorie, low-carb and in some cases low- or gluten-free. We say it’s nice to have some Virginia-based alternatives for our friends who don’t drink beer.
For the love of bourbon
Craft bourbon is on the rise and there’s no better place to immerse yourself in it than the Virginia Bourbon Invitational Festival on Nov. 2. This is the second year for the event, which features a bevy of distilleries on the sprawling lawn of the historic Cavalier Hotel at the Oceanfront, home to Tarnished Truth Distilling Co. Guests will get to taste and vote for their favorite bourbons, but other spirits will be represented as well. Food and music will be served up alongside all that booze.
Of wine and horses
Two companies in the western part of the state offer tours of vineyards by horseback. Afton-based Rebel’s Run has a 2½-hour ride that ends with a wine tasting at Afton Mountain Vineyard in Nelson County. Indian Summer Guide Service in Keswick has hour-plus rides to eight Albemarle County vineyards and cideries, including King Family, Pollack and Castle Hill Cider. Both offer these private, guided rides year-round and say you don’t have to be an equestrian to have a good time.
On the Table
with George Culver from I HEART FOOD
Butcher shop burger. If you’re free on a Friday and looking for one of the best burgers in Norfolk, you’ll find it hidden inside Pendulum Fine Meats. Now, by revealing this information I’m asking for trouble from devotees, but the world needs to know. The beef used in the burger is made from the trimmings of what they’ve butchered in the shop, commonly of the chuck variety. The cut guarantees that the burger has enough fat content to stay juicy after hitting Pendulum’s fancy chrome flat top. The buns are toasted – one of the underrated touches of masterful burger construction, in my opinion. You can top your burger with the usual suspects or customize it. (Pro tip: Add house bacon.) You get a pile of herbed fries that are crispy on the outside and perfectly soft on the inside, and served with an addictive smoked garlic mayonnaise that I recommend slathering on your burger. You’ll walk out of Pendulum paying less than at most fast food drive-throughs after eating a much higher quality burger.
Mea Culpa, etc.
Flubs | Feedback | Follow-ups
In our August/September Being Social, we misidentified a guest of the CROP Foundation fundraiser. Pictured with Derek Eason and Joel Salatin was Brittany Timbreza.