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Puchina

Norfolk & Virginia Beach, Virginia

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Pi

Catch 31

Lunch today was at Chick's Oyster Bar. They had fresh jimmies. We didn't know what jimmies are so we asked. They're crabs. Should've guessed since the table had all kinds of caked on crab parts. Unfortunately, the place doesn't have hush puppies. I spent a chunk of my youth in Atlanta - not having hush puppies just ain't right! We ordered simply - dozen steamed clams and Caesar salad to start. Nice big clams (same size as Catch 31) steamed just long enough to open the shells. I tried the cocktail sauce and the drawn butter but fresh clams don't really need any adornment. The Caesar salad was okay - no table-side dressing making and no anchovies. My entrée was a combo platter of fried shrimp, fried oysters and fried fresh catch. Lightly battered and lightly fried - loved the oysters and the fish. The shrimps were fine but honestly the only fried shrimp I like are tempura fried shrimp. My wife had a pulled pork sandwich which she said was good - I don't eat pulled pork so you'll have to take her word for it.

Dinner was at Ammos on 14th st. They advertised authentic Greek cuisine but we just wanted gyro sandwiches. The fried zucchini tasted good but they look suspiciously factory made. The gyro meat were all the same width - like they were pre-cut and then heated in a pan. At least it was relatively inexpensive for a meal on the boardwalk.

In the last few days, we did a dolphin watching tour, the aquarium, and today the botanical garden. We wanted to check out the Cape Henry lighthouse but when they wanted to body cavity search us, including the baby, to enter Fort Henry, we told the lighthouse, no matter how magical it is, to kiss our asses.

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For our last meal in VA Beach, we went to Pacifica. This place is off the beach, 1 block past where the boardwalk ends but it has the most interesting menu of any place we've been. So we ordered (i) Smoked salmon on bagel crisps w/ caramelized onion & fresh horseradish - $7, (ii) Cumin spiced black bean dip w/ roasted corn, tomato salsa, & pita chips - $5, (iii) Cardamom spiced pulled leg of lamb on pepito w/ chipotle apple chutney - $9, (iv) Confit chicken adobado w/ soft polenta & avocado salsa - $7, (v) Grilled chimichurri flank steak w/ plantain mash - $8, (vi) Grilled ahi ssam w/ bibb lettuce & mustard seed sauce - $9, and (vii) Grill squid piri-piri (a special of the day). The bean dip came with deliciously fried pita chips that were crunchy on the outside but chewy on the inside. One can't go wrong with cold smoked salmon, onions and some form of bagel. The lamb was a bit gamy and I have no idea what pepito is (the lamb came with a pita-like bread) but definitely worth trying. Similarly I have no idea what adobado means but in this case it was a rather bland tomato sauce that topped the flavorless chicken - they struck out on this dish. The ahi was nicely seared. I didn't get to taste the chimichurri while it was fresh because the baby upchucked during dinner and we had to take that to go - but it was nicely marinated and thus flavorful. The grilled squid were a couple of slabs of squid generous coated with hot sauce - they weren't kidding around with the piri-piri. They were a little tough - would've been nicer if they scored the squid first but certainly worth trying.

ETA - cheap drinks. 1/2 bottle of Gruet was $18. Xingu Black beer was $4 per bottle.

(feel free to combine all these into one post)

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I will be down in Virginia Beach next month with kids for a week. There will be three kids 7 - 11. We will be staying in a condo on the boardwalk (around 6th Street) so we will probably only be doing dinners out. Any current recs for family friendly but not fast food.

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I had the worst lemonade ever at an Air Force base officer's club in Hampton this week. ICK.

Carabba's for a business dinner was actually surprisingly good however.

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Virginia Beach is about as close as you can get to being a culinary wasteland while still having restaurants.

I did find one decent place, but it took a lot of looking. A lady at the Va. Beach farmers market gave me a list of the "Buy Fresh Buy Local" places in the area. I found one that seemed to focus on fresh seafood. That was Burton's Grill, the southern-most outpost of a small New England chain. This wasn't up to the level of Kinkead's in DC, but it wasn't bad. The wine list is somewhat well chosen, although their one Virginia white is from the Eastern Shore, and is a regrettable selection. Glad I asked for a sample first.

For the most part everything was fine. They can make a martini cold enough, the scallops are almost cooked perfectly (30 seconds too long) and the crabcake likewise (30 seconds too little). But the cucumber salad was remarkable.

We were here checking Virginia Beach as a retirement possibility. As my wife said, we've been spoiled. Virginia Beach is off the list.

Wayne Rash

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Well, I had a lengthy and detailed review written for One Fish Two Fish but I lost it somehow so here is the abridged version.

Had the calamari and onion starter. It had a horseradish sauce poured over the top that made everything soggy. Crab cake main. Worst crab cake I have ever had. Remoulade sauce was overpowering. And it wasn't just finished with the sauce, the crab was tossed in it. Terrible. Wife had shrimp and crab scampi. Was excellent. Daughter had crispy fried parmesan flounder. Was not crispy at all. Barely had any color to it, slightly brown. Fish was done however, not sure how they screwed that up.

Overall, I think this place could be excellent. Right now they are only getting 95% right.

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Super casual, an order-at-the-counter-in-a-strip-mall kinda place, and I might get the Locals Only mob coming after me, but visitors to the Virginia Beach oceanfront should not miss the MexiCali finds at Pelon's on Pacific Avenue.

Each trip to my hometown includes a dash to inhale the mother of all things fresh and fabulous: Pelon's shrimp tacos. With pineapple salsa, creamy chipotle kick, impossibly thin-sliced cabbage, perfectly briny (and smartly deveined) fried shrimp, all tucked away into soft, utmost quality white corn tortillas, there is a lot to love in three tacos for $8.75. No table service, but several types of bottled beer are available to wash down your treasured morsels. Ingredient quality is top notch across the entire menu board, with breakfast burritos on weekends as another success. Fish tacos are their claim to fame, but aim for shrimp to experience something even more special.

I often prod the owner about how soon he plans to come to DC. And every time, he quotes local neighborhoods where they have been looking, mostly in the Northern Virginia 'burbs. Keeping my fingers crossed the Baja stars align and Pelon's arrives here soon.

(spanish speakers will know)

(and laugh)

(at the aptly named establishment)

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Doc Taylor's at 207 23rd St, VA Beach for lunch is a good option. Food was not to die for but is good enough to eat there again.

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No one responded the last time this was tried but I'll bump it up.

Heading to VA Beach for work for a few nights and would love suggestions on any new good places to eat.

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