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Hampton Roads, Virginia

Hey BLG,

Some of my favorite Italian restaurants on the Southside:

-La Bella Italia, Birdneck & Laskin, VB (and a new location in Ghent)

-Paste e Pani, Hilltop, VB

-Aldos, Hilltop, VB

-Amalfi, Ghent

Hope this helps!

Patrick C=:-)

McDonald's Confession

I have very fond and vivid memories of eating at a McDonalds on the corner of Glenwood Ave. and Columbia Dr. in Decatur, Ga. in the late 60s/early 70s when I was a child. The food was freaking awesome. I live in Virginia Beach now, and it is true, some Macs are better than others. When I get a craving, the store at Birdneck Rd. and General Booth Blvd. always sates. I usually just go for a simple cheeseburger or two and a small fries.

Jan 26, 2008
basicfoodgroupie in Chains

Breakfasts and brunches in Hampton Roads

I ended up going to Charlie's this morning - it was awesome. I am so glad that it is smoke free, too. We really pigged out - eggs over easy, grits, french toast. potato omelet, scrapple, country ham, biscuits. It is a new favorite; now I need to make it back for lunch.

I've also heard good things about The 219 and Omar's brunches. I need to check those out.

Breakfasts and brunches in Hampton Roads

I haven't been to Charlie's in a long time - have you been since they changed ownership?

Breakfasts and brunches in Hampton Roads

Hey fellow HRers

I'm working on an article about great places for breakfasts and brunches in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Hampton, Newport News, and wanted to see what other Chowhounds thought?

I live at the VB Oceanfront, and I love Doc Taylor's for breakfast. I've also seen great improvement at brunch at Tradewinds in the Virginia Beach Conference Center & Resort on Shore Drive.

What do y'all think?

Patrick C=:-)

Virginia Beach Taco Truck

aye carumba! - i was more interested in it from the standpoint of uniqueness in it's offering, rather than the quality of it's offering, but it seems that there was much more than meets the eye! --- thanks for the info

Southern food issue of Gourmet

I loved the issue too, and *ahem*, the photo of the ham near the front about the online blog "Choptalk" is one John T. Edge borrowed from me to use - there is more on the blog about the Smithfield "pet ham." It is from my book, "Smithfield, Ham Capital of the World" ---

And yes, I loved reading the new-found piece by Edna Lewis. Simply awesome.


IACP convention in New Orleans

Registration began today for the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) annual conference, to be held in New Orleans April 15-20.

Looks like a good line up in the regular agenda:

Food and travel writer Pableaux Johnson, Times Picayune columnist and food writer Lolis Eric Elie, Nick Spritzer of NPR's "American Routes" radio program, co-chair of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery Paul Levy (who coined the word "foodie" in his 1984 book "Offical Foodie Handbook"), chef/author/celeb Paul Prudhomme, and others. Many of the topics look great.

I also know Nathalie Durpee, John Shields, John Folse and more will be in attendance.

Are there any other food media professionals on the board planning to attend? I'm going down on Monday and staying until the next Monday. Would be great to meet some others from the Chowhound boards while down there.

Flying with wine

I agree with several of the posts - find a bottle to store it in in which you can secure the seal - perhaps in a grolsch-style bottle which has a ceramic stopper attached. And, I never pack anything that can spill, stain or otherwise mess up things in my luggage without putting it in two heavy-duty zip top bags (yeah, i'm kinda an@l that way, but I reuse the bags over and over and over). So, what kind of wine is it?

Jan 08, 2008
basicfoodgroupie in Wine

Hampton Roads - Norfolk & Virginia Beach area discussions

Hey fellow Hampton Roaders,

In lieu of our own regional discussion board, I thought it would be good to have a general discussion thread regarding living and eating in Hampton Roads, Virginia: Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Smithfield, Isle of Wight, Newport News, Hampton, Poquoson, Yorktown and York County, Gloucester, Williamsburg and the Eastern Shore.

This is such a wonderfully diverse area both geography and cultures. Maybe on this thread we can share upcoming food events, restaurant reviews, restaurant openings and closings, great finds at farmers markets, and the like.

I, for one, and excited about something I am involved in, and will start the thread off with the news: a convivium of Slow Food USA has been approved for Hampton Roads. This local Slow Food chapter will cover the whole region, and celebrate our foods and foodways. I hope many of you will get involved.

The website for now is basic:

We hope to have a board meeting in the next week or so to start things off, but if you want to get more information on joining, check out the website or leave a post here.

Now, what is happening in everyone else's food world in our region?

Fresh Seafood in Virginia Beach

Welton's is awesome - very fresh and operated by folks who know their stuff.

Virginia Beach Taco Truck

Hey everyone, I was hoping for an update on the Virginia Beach taco truck. Is it still in business? If so, is it the same location, days, times, etc.? Thanks.

Best and worst on the Outer Banks

I agree with Jay - it hasn't been that long since I've been to the Left Bank at the Sanderling and had a great meal. I have been several times and have enjoyed the atmosphere, service and cuisine. In fact, last year The Left Bank was named on Hampton Roads Magazine's ( Top 50 restaurants in the HR metropolitan area (a bit of a stretch, but lots of HR folks head to the OBX often.) Disclaimer - I am food editor for HR Mag, but I don't get any free meals at the Sanderling. BTW Jay, email me - I'd like to pick your brain about HR food. My email addy is patrick at hrmag dot com.

Dec 12, 2007
basicfoodgroupie in Southeast

Airline Food in First Class --

In regards to the earlier mention about the Admirals Club, I belong to Delta's Crown Room and enjoy the experience. There is free alcoholic beverages, and occasionally nice snacks. There are usually offerings of fresh fruit, too. Another benefit is the admission to Continental and Northwest's lounges, too. I had a nice experience recently at one of Continental's clubs. Although I do not often fly Delta, I do like the Crown Room and you can have access even if you are not flying Delta, Continental or Northwest, but rather another carrier (I prefer Air Tran.)

Cringe-worthy words in restaurant reviews

There is a local "reviewer" that begins the tale with "First we had appetizers..." --- whoa! Hold the presses! Now that is newsworthy. Who would have ever thought of FIRST having appetizers!

This reviewer also uses the words "nice" and "good" too much, like "The shrimp were nice." Well, isn't that special? I bet those shrimp pulled up a chair and entertained the group the whole evening. Maybe they even comped dessert.

Another sin: "My dining partner said it was the best ravioli she ever had." Who *$)#*%* cares? Who is this dining partner? Did you try it? What made it so *#*$($)# great?!?!?


I need a drink - a yummy, toothsome, ethereal drink. Cheers.

Favorite Shenendoah Vinyard?

The Virginia Wineries Association ( divides the state up into five geographical areas, among them Eastern, Northern, Central, Southwest and Shenandoah Valley. There are many wineries close to the Shenandoah Valley region in the Central region, including one of my favorite on the western side of the mountains, Rockbridge. Check out the website and look at the maps. You are bound to find some great wineries - and - generally - all the views up there are great.

Also, a new wine magazine devoted to Virginia wine (and food) is starting next year - the website is


Nov 02, 2007
basicfoodgroupie in Wine

What do Chowhounds do for a living (besides eat of course)? [old]

After spending 13 years in banking and finance, I attended Johnson & Wales University in pursuit of a degree in culinary arts. After school, I ran an area (I'm in the Norfolk, Va. area) country club and my own catering business. For the past five years, I've had the best job ever - food editor for the regional city/lifestyle magazine - Hampton Roads Magazine. I get to coordinate food events, write about food, and, of course, eat lots of food!


Of all the fast-food chains ... who makes the best ice cream shakes?

While this is not a "fast food" chain, it is a chain of ice cream stores ... Handel's Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt (

Handel's was named in the top 10 best ice creams in the world in a book from National Geographic that ranked a wide range of things. I concur.

Everything they do with their ice cream, including their shakes, is incredible.

- - -

Your Basic Food Groupie

Jan 19, 2007
basicfoodgroupie in Chains

Your favorite way to use pumpkin seeds?

in the style of homer simpson .... mmmmm .... brit-tle

that does sound awesome

Jan 06, 2007
basicfoodgroupie in Home Cooking

Your favorite way to use pumpkin seeds?

i like to make a brittle, like a peanut brittle, and substitute pumpkin seed (or sunflower seeds or pinenuts) in place of the classic legume ingredient.

after you spread out the candy onto a silpat-lined baking sheet, while its still warm, sprinkle a little sel de mare on top ... yum

Patrick C=:-)
Your Basic Food Groupie

Jan 06, 2007
basicfoodgroupie in Home Cooking

How do you feel when a guest suggests changes to a dish?

I think, like so much in life, it is not what you say but how you say it.

It also depends on if you solicited comments and the amount of intimacy and comfort you have with the individual.

There are some people, even if they asked my opinion, I would have answered something like, "This is just lovely."

There are others that, only if asked, would I have said something like, "It was great. I might add a little more basil, but that could be my palate."

Rarely would I just go and say something like "This needs more basil" unless I have a very close relationship with the person and a degree of understanding.

Now, if someone said something like that to me, even if I was offended or didn't care for the individual personally, I would simply thank them for their advice.

If a person offered their opinion rudely, I might suggest to them another serving, but in a different orafice.

Patrick C=:-)
Your Basic Food Groupie

I have 2 days in LA --- where and what should I eat?

I have to admit, the notion of the traffic is a bit daunting, but I grew up in Atlanta and frequent D.C. --- and with all the bridges and tunnels even in our area of 1.8 million folks, it can be quite challenging. It routinely takes 2 hours to get from the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, where I live, to the Colonial Williamsburg area.

I have been looking at the options on your Metro - and I am actually staying near a stop in El Segundo - so especially when I venture downtown, I am sure I will take the train.

Because of time constraints on this visit, I am hesitant to venture too far out of the downtown - Hollywood - Santa Monica area. I am hoping for a longer visit sometime in the future, but the 2 free days I will have on this trip (plus the day I will be in the food/travel writing workshop) is all the time I have for now.

You guys have some great recommendations. I am very excited about the visit.

As some of you have noted, the majority of cuisine in our area is either seafood, largely crab, oysters and local catch like rockfish, augmented with Southern Regional (although growing up in Georgia, this area doesn't feel truely "southern" to me.)

In our area, there are lots of peanuts - Suffolk, within the MSA of Norfolk, was the headquarters of Planters Peanuts for some 75 years before they were bought out about 20 years ago. The large, Virginia gourmet style peanuts are awesome.

Also close is Smithfield, Va., home of the Smithfield country ham. Our area also grows lots of corn, tomatoes and strawberries.

Of course, there is the seafood, which is one thing I love about our area. I live just one block off the Atlantic Ocean, and just 5 miles south of the Chesapeake Bay.

But I have, for so long, heard of the sushi and Mexican offerings in your area. And of course, the famous restaurants like Spago, et. al.

One question on Spago - how "stuffy" is it? I am not checking in luggage with the airline, and my wardrobe will consist of khaki pants largely and casual shirts (probably short sleeve, with collar.) Is a trip there worth it, just to come back home and say I went?

Of course, I am mostly interested in the smaller places, like so many of you have mentioned. And I certainly want to hit the Farmer's Market while I am there.

Thanks again for all your ideas - keep them coming!

Patrick C=:-)
Your Basic Food Groupie

My First Tin of Old Bay: What should I make??

Crab cakes and Bloody Marys !!!

Also, if you like Old Bay, I think you may love Blue Crab Bay Co.'s Seafood Seasoning. Blue Crab Bay is a small specialty food company on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, and has many Chesapeake Bay-related items, including the Seafood Seasoning, which is kin to Old Bay but made in smaller batches and has a more refined flavor, IMHO.

Blue Crab Bay Co. can be found at ...

Regardless, enjoy the flavors of my home region!

Patrick C=:-
)Your Basic Food Groupie

Jan 04, 2007
basicfoodgroupie in Home Cooking

I have 2 days in LA --- where and what should I eat?

All great responses! I may need to extend my trip ... ;-)

Keep them coming!

Patrick C=:-)
Your Basic Food Groupie

Great Chowhound Handles

I've only been on the board since yesterday, but the abnormal amount of time I have already spent reading through the posts, here are some of my favorites:

Torta Basilica

... and I know there are others, but I am at Starbuck's now and don't want my FF SF hazelnut latte to get cold.


Patrick C=:-)
~Just your Basic Food Groupie

Got Red Lobster gift what?

It's a true dilemma, isn't it?

One one hand, if you go, you will have a dining mis-adventure, rather than adventure.

If you re-gift to the wrong person, any foodie credibility goes up in smoke.

I recommend giving the card to someone you know who likes RL or similar restaurants. Based on my experience of eating there last year, after someone gave me a gift card, I do not recommend dining there. After I left, I felt cheap, dirty and needed a shower.

Best of luck.

Patrick C=:-)

Jan 03, 2007
basicfoodgroupie in Chains

Let's Tell Each Other Our Favorite Food Catalogs

Two of my favorite "locals" are:


Blue Crab Bay Co.

I always love looking through: Williams-Sonoma, Harry & David, Stonewall Kitchens and (gasp!) Swiss Colony.


Patrick C=:-)

I have 2 days in LA --- where and what should I eat?

Hey there

I am attending a food writing workshop in Los Angeles in two weeks, and have some ideas of where I want to eat while I am there (I know I want a hot dog from Pink's and to perhaps grab a bite at Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles) but I wanted to get some advice from you seasoned Angelenos.

This will be my first visit to your fair city. I will be staying at a hotel near LAX and will have a rental car. My workshop is in West Hollywood. I am a food editor for a regional magazine in the Norfolk, Va. area.

Any suggestions on where I can get a good flavor of your town in the two days I will be there?



Favorite Seinfeld food moments

All of the above posts are great! They definately bring back fond memories of the show.

I love the episode where the gang is going to see a movie (I think "Rochelle, Rochelle" and Kramer has the jones for a hot dog from Papaya King.

Mmmm, hot dogs.


Food Franchises That Don't Suck

The "Top of the Chains" I like are:

-Bonefish Grill. The atmosphere is vintage Florida (think Bogart's "Key Largo") and fresh fish is nicely prepared. Good price points too.

-P.F. Chang. Although lettuce wraps are now the norm, they were something special when Changs brought them on-board. Decent interpretations of Asian flavors.

-California Pizza Kitchen. I have always liked the fresh flavors, creative toppings and sleek feel of the place. A trend setter that has settled into a comfortable place on my "to dine" list.

-Silver Diner. Delicious diner food in a fun, shiney atmosphere. Great brunches and delicious dinners, from Texas-sized French Toast to classic meatloaf. Only in the Mid-Atlantic.

Middle of the Road:

-Qdoba. Same concept as Moe's and Chipotle's, which I like as well. Fresh Mexican-esque flavors and good price points.

-Chick-Fil-A. My idea of comfort food is one of these delicious chicken breasts resting on a buttery bun with pickle accent and a large lemonade. Only in the East.

-Five Guys Burgers & Fries. An absolutely delicous burger and incredible french fries. Only in the Mid-Atlantic.

-Waffle House. Incredible Southern cooking, from fluffy waffles to hashbrowns spiked with grilled onions to Bert's chili. My alternative to the blatant homophobic Cracker Barrel. Generally only in the East.

Never in a million years:

-Applebees. An insult to the tastebuds. Shame on you, Tyler Florence. But you are still cute. I guess I am most upset with Applebees because, having grown up in Atlanta, I remember them before they were a chain (they were T.J. Applebees then) and they had some pretty good food.

-Olive Garden. Pastey pasta and sloppy sauces. The whole country of Italy should file a class action lawsuit for defamation of dining.

-Dead Lobster. Ooops, I mean Red Lobster. I think I've said enough already.


Jan 03, 2007
basicfoodgroupie in Chains