Breakfast Burrito with Chorizo

This morning we made breakfast burritos using the chorizo that we made in the Pendulum Fine Meats Sausage class.  The taste was very well  balanced with spices, and not overpowering from heat.  This shows the mark of a good blend in that you can taste all the components.  As our focus this morning was trying out the chorizo, the burrito was very basic and simple.  The next time there will be some additions, such as onions and peppers. Continue reading

Smoked From Above Virginia Beach VA

Smoked from Above is a local family owned business in VA beach.  The atmosphere is inviting and provides you with the family friendly feel. The menu is well laid out and ordering was quick.  We had to clarify our order a couple of times to ensure accuracy which I believe was from the ambient noise in the restaurant causing difficulty in communication.

Kathy and I along with a niece and her friend ate dinner there before going to see a concert at the amphitheater.  The service was quick and we did not have to wait long for our meals to arrive in the window.

Chris: I ordered the 2 meat plate which consisted of Chopped Pork and Ribs.  The rib Meat had a good flavor but not heavy smoke flavor.  The meat was not dry which is important to me. When I picked up the ribs the meat fell off the bones and the bones looked over-cooked.  I prefer a slight “snap” when the meat comes off the bones meaning some resistance.  I was not provided with the option of a dry or wet and it was covered in sauce.  There are three types of sauces to choose from.  The original which was very sweet to taste and I believe is what came on the ribs. Then there was the newer style which was not as sweet but still the sweet was the most dominant flavor.  The last was a mustard based which was basically ketchup and mustard mixed.  Mustard was the primary taste to this one.

The Pulled Pork was dry but the flavor was good having little to no smoke flavor also.  I am not sure if this was that the shop was slow on a Tuesday and the pork had been on the warming table for some time but my Niece actually commented that hers was quite dry also.  For my sides I had the collards and Brunswick stew which were both good. I would eat here again but it honestly does not give me the “urge” to go again and will be a passing thought when we visit and not planned.

Kathy:  I ordered the two meat plate as well, but with ribs and chicken.  My sides were green beans and coleslaw.  The ribs were overcooked, but not burnt.  They were smothered in a sweet bbq sauce and the smoke flavor was non-existent. The coleslaw had a plastic taste that was very disconcerting and rendered the slaw inedible.  The green beans tasted as if they had been cooked with vinegar, which I found to be an unpleasant surprise.  The hush puppies were good — crisp and tasted of corn meal.  However, all in all, for me my Smoked from Above meal was disappointing especially coming from a place that boasts being “Best Of the Beach, 6 years running”.

Our niece’s friend had BBQ the night before and ordered a salad which was a decent looking salad and a large portion.  As she was eating she encountered three small pebbles on the lettuce.  Thankfully she did not break a tooth.  We informed management and they apologized and offered to replace the salad or refund the money.   We chose neither, as our concern wasn’t about the money or replacement food, but rather how sanitary the conditions were and if the lettuce was cleaned properly.  I don’t want to cite any health issues or concerns as the restaurant looked clean and well maintained.  The kitchen area is visible from the front so you can see that it appeared clean.  This was just our experience at that meal.



Chris & Kathy
Smoked From Above BBQ on Urbanspoon

Pasta E Pani

Pasta E Pani  is a local, family-owned business and has been in Virginia Beach for years.  The décor was modest and unassuming, providing a style of Italy.  The service was beyond awesome.  Again, this is a family and it is obvious they love what they are doing.  The owners, Chef Angelo Serpe and wife, Maria,  are regular vendors at the Old Beach Farmers Market every weekend.  Whenever we go, we get some pasta, bread and fresh cheese. Continue reading

Croc’s 19th Street Bistro Virginia Beach VA

I want to start off by saying that my wife and I have become true lovers of fine dining and have developed what I call a sensitive palette and can pick a meal apart. This is not bragging but to define the review. We are also very strong believers of Buy Fresh Buy Local. We are not only getting the freshest foods but at the same time helping our neighbors in supporting the local farms they work so hard to maintain.
The wife and I have frequent the Farmers Market that Croc’s is so generous to offer their parking lot for on Saturdays. We have heard nothing but good things about the restaurant and have wanted to visit there. We live in Portsmouth so it is typically a planned trip and restaurant week came up so we made the trip. We were pleased and everything on the menu took our taste buds on the “I want it” journey.
My In-laws were with us, and my father-in-law who is very picky, noted over and over throughout his meal of the Scallop Pasta mmmm this it good. hmmm this is really good. The bread is great mmmm. I could continue however I don’t think it is needed. My Mother In-law had the lamb on the butternut squash risotto and she continually commented on the flavor and perfect balance.
The wife had the Carpaccio appetizer and it was tasty and balanced in flavor. The only point is the meat should have been sliced thinner but the flavor was spot on. The wife and I had the duck confit on sweet potato mash. The duck was perfectly cooked and every bite was a pleasure. To add to the surprise there was a carrot puree vinaigrette at the bottom so when you dipped through you got this wonderful tang to add to the pleasure of eating this wonderful dish. The only flaw were the leeks. The idea of leeks should have been a good counterpoint to the sweetness of the mash and unctuous duck, but they were basically raw, with a slight char here and there. This grilled needed to be cooked more but not removed. I will also make a note that the deserts were good but the grilled pear could have cooked for a couple of minutes longer as they were stiff inside. I have seen many notes about the service being slow and yes it was slow tonight at times however we could see the kitchen window and when the food was ready it was quickly delivered. They were very busy tonight and they had a lot of staff working. The slowness had nothing to do with the speed and effort as the whole team in the front of this restaurant was moving at a very quick pace and did not slow down. Again there was not an open table that I saw and everyone was being taken care of.
I was extremely impressed when I walked in the door and we were personally greeted by the owner and she was our hostess for the evening. She continually maintained full awareness of what was taking place in her place. I saw her tirelessly patrolling the restaurant to ensure everyone was having a pleasant experience. Too many places you never see the owner or Chef’s in the front participating with the guests. To me this proves she is not ashamed of what she produces and something I look for when I go into a nice place. We both look forward to returning and experiencing more of the menu here.

Croc's 19th Street Bistro on Urbanspoon

Site under construction

I see that people are starting to look at the site and we have placed little to nothing here yet.  I want to let you know that we are working to develop some guides that we will follow for the reviews and also starting to work on getting some educational posts going.  Please be patient as this is my first adventure like this and I wan to make this site the best it can be.  I picked up an instructional book so that I can research WP and set the site up correctly to provide proper categories and index the posts correctly to provide you the viewer with a level of ease and comfort in finding what you want to read up on.