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

Sausage Class at Pendulum Fine Meats

Stop in and meet your new neighbor

Stop in and meet your new neighbor

Kathy and I are always looking for local products as you will see and continue to see on our site.  A few weeks ago we stumbled on a website for Pendulum Fine Meats in Norfolk VA.  On reading the site we became very interested in the Fresh Grass & Grain fed meats they provide.  We visited the store and instantly fell in love with the place. Continue reading

Smoking Foods

 

I have over the years growing up in NC and VA developed a passion for quality smoked food.  I believe that if something is properly prepared and smoked your taste buds cannot be offended.  Now with that being  said the wife and I typically  experience  disappointment the majority of the time when we visit smokehouses.  She jokingly says I blame you as I have created the expectation of good food that cannot be achieved elsewhere. I want to say that I am not a professional or by any way try to state this.  I simply follow some basic guidelines when I smoke. The number 1 offence we find is over cooking the food.  I am not sure if the food is cooked properly then pulled or chopped tossed on a warming table and continues to cook and dry out however regardless dry meat IMO is not a desirable thing. When I smoke meat there is one basic simple process that I always follow.  I have a moisture pan in the smoker.  This provides a moist smoke to allow the meat to remain moist and also I think the smoke takes on a quality of its own.  Now I do not use water in the pan.  I use different juices.  My primary is apple juice which provide along with the hickory a hint of apple to the meats final taste without overpowering it with “smoke”  I will also add different items to the drip pan to add to the season of the smoke like garlic or other spices that complement that style of meat.  Then I plan my day around smoking and set aside 12 to 14 hours of my life to being around the smoker so that there is a constant temperature of 225 to 250 in the smoker.  Monitor the meat temperature to around 180 degrees also ensure it is not burned or dried out. I also find that many times the food it in my opinion over seasoned.  Yes I grew up in the land of vinegar based BBQ however you need to taste and enjoy every part of the meal.  This is simple as you should not be overwhelmed by the vinegar or the or the paprika etc.  You should be able to taste every component evenly.  There should not be anything that overpowers the other to the point of not tasting anything else.  I find many sauces overwhelming the taste also.  I use BBQ sauce however it is not soaked in the sauce again overpowering the meat or other elements of the meal.  As this section develops I hope that we can provide everyone with a good understanding of what needs to take place to have a great meal.

Mount Pleasant Farms

Mount Pleasant Farms is a great farm store.  they carry not only fresh Veggies but also Locally made sauces & dressings.  This is a great place to visit if you are in the area.  Peaches are in and taste great.

Peaches

Mount Pleasant Farms

Email: info@mountpleasantfarms.com

2201 Mt. Pleasant Rd. Chesapeake, VA 23322

(757) 482-0739

Store Hours

Mon. CLOSED

Tues. – Sat. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Sunday 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

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.
Chris

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