Final Feasts: Foodies and Local Celebs’ Picks for Their Last Meal in CoVa
We asked some of our favorite food writers, media personalities, politicians and local celebrities what they would choose for their last meal in Coastal Virginia. Here are the results.
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J David Hillery
Lamb meatballs from 1608 Crafthouse, Virginia Beach. Photo by J. David Hillery.
Appetizer: Lamb meatballs from 1608 Crafthouse. Border Springs Lamb, creamy grits, hunter style, roasted bone marrow and fresh tarragon. Served in a hot skillet. One of the best apps I’ve had in the 757.
Main Course: Hearth Wood Fired Cuisine’s 60/40 Burger. Double patty of meat on a Brioche bun, American cheese, Bibb lettuce, red onions, fancy sauce. Mind blowing awesomeness that’s only available on Thursdays.
Dessert: Blue Seafood & Spirits’ Warm Bread Pudding. Chef Charles Thain says, “It is made with a ‘special bread’ and soaked in a chocolate mixture for two hours before baked in a double boiler for an hour and a half. It is a recipe I have perfected over decades and has become one of my signature dishes. And adding the creaminess of the anglaise with a punch of Crown Royal makes the whole dish come together perfectly." Large, rich, chocolatey and decadent to the extreme. Several regulars start with this for their main.
Drink: Bay Local’s Bay Shake. Baileys, Kahlua, Frangelico, Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream with whip and a cherry. Served in a pint-sized glass milk jug. So darn yum and pairs great with their burger.
Host of “Cooking from the Heart”
Charcuterie from Saint Germaine, Norfolk
Appetizer: Saint Germain. I could easily live off their charcuterie! They have a huge selection, so you can mix and match and try new things or stick to old favorites.
Main Course: Island Krave in Norfolk. The Smoked Jerk Pork is ... OMG I want some right now ... delicious, especially when coupled with rice and their amazing plantains.
Dessert: Saltine in Norfolk. The Chocolate Orb is a visual-taste experience. The server paints a beautiful, delicious design on a plastic table covering then hits it with an amazingly indulgent explosion of chocolate wonderfulness!
Drink: Simple Eats in Virginia Beach. Their Bloody Mary Flight is to die for. The bloody Mary mix is made from tomatoes they grow in their own garden! So YUM!
Blogger at Lipstick and Gelato / Pastry cook at Four Eleven York
Appetizer: Sweet potato fries at The Cutting Edge Cafe. Hands-down the best sweet potato fries of my life, those at Cutting Edge are always searing hot, crispy as anything and glittering with flaky sea salt.
Bleu Blazer from Handsome Biscuit, Norfolk
Main Course: I’d have to go for a final Bleu Blazer biscuit from Handsome Biscuit. That perfectly fried chicken ... the ruby slaw ... the slosh of blue cheese dressing ... Despite frequent plans to the contrary, I never end up ordering anything else—it’s just that good.
Dessert: As a sworn fan of both espresso and gelato, an affogato is never far from my mind. For my final dessert in Hampton Roads I’d have to go for a last affogato from Confetti Cafe in Virginia Beach’s Town Center. Go for the stracciatella gelato and sit by the window to people-watch.
Drink: A London Fog latte from Cure Coffeehouse would be my drink of choice. A London Fog tastes like a hug, and there is nothing more comforting on a slushy day than to drink one in a warm coffee shop!
“Some Guy Named Allen”
Creative Director and On-Air Personality
My perfect meal:
Appetizer: The shrimp at The Landing. I can’t get enough of those crispy, golden drops of heaven!
Main course: The Fruitti Di Mare from Il Giardino. So many amazing memories in one dish. LOVE IT!
Dessert: The Sweet Potato Bread Pudding from Blue Pete’s in Pungo. The rustic setting and amazing food are only outdone by the hospitality. One of my favorite places to take the family.
Smoked Old Fashioned from Hunt Room, Virginia Beach. Photo by Marcus Holman.
Drink: I really can’t decide to be honest. The Orange Crush at Waterman’s is amazing. My friends say I always have a good time after a few of those! Ha! As of late it’s the Smoked Old Fashioned at the Hunt Room. I dream of that hickory and cherrywood smoke wafting out of a glass of local Tarnished Truth bourbon, Angostura, orange, bitters and I am pretty sure the tears of the bourbon gods are in the syrup.
Food and Lifestyle Blogger at So Full Zest
Appetizer: Baked Prosciutto and Chevre from Lubo Wine Bar in Virginia Beach. How could you go wrong with creamy goat cheese, roasted garlic, basil and balsamic reduction? These flavors keep the salt in the prosciutto from overpowering the dish.
Main course: Curry Chicken with macaroni and cheese, Jamaican rice and peas and Coco Bread from Cutlass Grille in Chesapeake. If you close your eyes while eating this and think you hear steel drums in the background, you aren't dreaming, they really are there.
Hummingbird Macaron and Desserts, Norfolk. Photo by Ilsy Serrano.
Dessert: Banoffee Pie and a Nutella Macaron from Hummingbird Macaron and Desserts in Norfolk. I've been indulging in desserts by Kisha since her business was located in Chesapeake and called Terebinth. While she is known for her French macarons, her cakes and tarts are unlike anything I've ever had in Hampton Roads.
Drink: Where Is My Kimono at Saint Germain in Norfolk. You could try to make this at home, but the fun is in the eclectic ingredients and presentation. The drink consists of tequila, lime, rosemary, orange blossom, egg white, ginger beer and lots of dry ice. The finished product makes for a good Instagram shot, but it does taste as good as it looks.
Retired NFL Player/Virginia Beach City Councilman
Appetizer: I would immediately choose the New York Strip Carpaccio from Aldo’s Ristorante. The flavor between the beef, the Dijon and fresh greens is unmatched.
Main Course: As a professional athlete (I like to eat) I can never choose just one main course. However, I would choose the Waterman’s Burger cooked medium well for good flavor and the Bronzed Yellowfin Tuna from Waterman’s Grille. They are two totally different dishes, but I love them both, and I can always count on Waterman’s to have the fresh catch of the day.
Dessert: I’m a very simple guy when it comes to desserts, but Aldo’s Ristorante has the best coconut cake, and I don’t think I’d be able to have my last meal in Coastal Virginia without it.
Drink: I’m not a huge drinker. I work out often, so water is always my go-to but back to Waterman’s Grille for this one. I would of course order water first and then gradually work my way up to their Lemon Crush. It goes well with a lot of their seafood dishes, and I would most likely substitute the vodka for tequila.
President/CEO of Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce and Virginia Peninsula Chamber Foundation
I hope it doesn’t come to this anytime soon, because I love it here in Coastal Virginia—but if I had to choose one or two places for a last meal in Coastal Virginia, I’d take my go-to girl (of 33 years) to two of our go-to places here on the Peninsula.
Appetizer and Drink: We’d start at Fin in Port Warwick where Katie makes a delicious barrel-aged Old Fashioned, and we’d also have a bowl of she-crab (with lump crab meat) soup.
Main course and Dessert: After savoring our drink and appetizer and some good conversation with fellow patrons of the bar, we’d head (by cab or Uber, of course) to Kismet in Hilton Village for one of their unique and tasty gourmet pizzas, and, of course, a visit to Kismet would not be complete without some Krispy Kreme bread pudding—with two spoons.
Blogger at I-Heart-Food
Appetizer: Mannino's Italian Bistro has the best she crab soup in the area—hands down. It has proven itself through countless competitions winning over judges and public taste panels alike. It's so good they're not allowed to compete in the East Coast She-Crab Soup Classic anymore because they always won. The chunks of sweet blue crab about the size of your thumb are impressive. Do yourself a favor and try it. You'll add it to your "last meal" list too.
Also, Esoteric has my favorite wings in the area. It's a joy if I can make it in for their happy hour, or as they call it, LMOTD (Last Meeting of the Day) for 50¢ wings. I order about a dozen and a half, knowing that I probably can't eat them all, but I still try. Powdered with bleu cheese dust and sided with shredded celery, they're coated in a delicious Buffalo sauce.
Spicy Miso Ramen from Stockpot, Virginia Beach. Photo by George Culver.
Main Course: I mean how do you pick one? I love to eat everything, and I'm working on trying to do just that. The question I used for criteria here was, "What do you look forward to eating every week?" If you know me, then you know the answer: The Stockpot's Spicy Miso Ramen. People who follow me on Instagram know when it's Monday they're going to see some ramen on my feed. I can't help it, even when I say I'm going to skip a week, I don't. I'm back in the shop at the counter ordering my ramen with extra noodles and extra broth (sometimes a little extra pork belly too). A local chef was ribbing me recently about my Monday ramen ritual. What can I say? It's that good.
Honorable Mention: Repeal Bourbon & Burgers is known for their award-winning burgers and wide selection of bourbons and whiskey but they also have a dish I rave about to anyone who will listen: Poutine. Bon Ami, their translation of this dish from the Great White North is nothing short of amazing. Crispy fries loaded with melted cheese curds, bourbon mushroom gravy and magic bacon dust (I think it's magic, it tastes magical). A must try if you're in the area.
Drink: There's nothing like starting a meal, or day, with a (H@#$ Yeah!) Bay Local Bloody Bay topped with a fried soft shell crab and anything else they can cram on top of it. Well, except for sliders, I don't need sliders on my drink. The house-made Bloody Mary mix is spicy, flavorful, with a lovely texture all on nugget ice.
There's something about seeing this drink come to the table that makes people turn their heads to gaze upon it with the utmost admiration. It really deserves it, and the bite ... it'll wake you up.
Note: Some drinks require nugget ice to be done right. Crushes fall into this category. Please don't use cubes in crushes. I'll cry if I find out you do this.
Dessert: Confession: I don't really eat dessert. I know, shame, but it's just not one of those things I crave. I do love vanilla malts though. All. Day. Long.
So in lieu of a proper dessert I'm cheating and picking another drink: Auntie's Tiki Bar & Restaurant's Mai Tai. I mean, it's my last meal, right? I can do what I want before abandoning this mortal coil, moving on to the big Happy Hour in the sky. When I get there, I hope they have this drink. I fell in love with the Mai Tai in Hawaii while on holiday with my wife. Every time I sip one of these I think about that perfect breeze flowing over sun-kissed skin and the waves gently caressing white sands ... sigh. Sweet rums with fruit juice qualify as a treat in my book.
Retired Staff Epicure for The Virginian-Pilot
Appetizer: Chicken in hot chili oil at Judy's Szechuan.
Main course: Wild Boar Ragu at Luce.
Dessert: Carrot cake at the Leaping Lizard.
Flight of Champagne from Press, Norfolk. Photo by Ilsy Serrano.
Drink: A flight of champagne at Press on Shore Drive.
Winemaker at The Williamsburg Winery
What a daunting task to pen down just three places in Coastal Virginia for a last meal before departing. Not even sure why one would depart Coastal Virginia.
Appetizer: I suppose if I had to start it would be at Café Provencal for the oysters. Not just any oysters but Big Island Aquaculture oysters. These are amazing oysters harvested from floating beds on Monday Creek off the Chesapeake. I enjoy all Chesapeake Bay oysters and believe it is one of our most signature foods we have in Virginia. These oysters under the care of Chef David are amazing and can be done raw or baked. What Chef David does with the baked ones is something you have to experience. If I didn’t have a Williamsburg Winery wine, I would pair this with a 2017 Church Creek Chardonnay—Steel Fermented from Chatham Vineyards on Church Creek. A great wine, and both the wine and oysters are coming from the Bay. A true Virginia pairing.
Main Course: For the main course I would head to the Amber Ox Public House for the Farm House Meatballs made with grass-fed beef and lamb. Chef Troy is a young chef who cooks with absolute inspiration. I am sure one day soon the rest of America will know him and his food. With this I would pair with a Sciencing Hard American Pilsner from Precarious Beer, which is made at the brewery in the Amber Ox; so that’s convenient. I am not one for the big, heavy, hoppy, thick beers and think a perfectly made pilsner is a true test of a brewer's skills. I also think a good pilsner goes well with food and especially the Farm House Meatballs from Chef Troy.
Dessert: For dessert I then go to Opus 9 for their Chocolate Concerto Plus!!! If you are a fan of chocolate, which I am, then this will satisfy any cravings you may have. They even request you order in advance for the preparation. I am thinking they may have a whole culinary team working on it for you; it’s that good. During this chocolaty indulgence I would sip a glass of Rick Wasmund’s Copper Fox Single Malt Rye Whisky. Rick makes some stunning ryes, and he is local, which I feel is important to support. On a side note, not everyone can do whisky and chocolate, but it works for me.
As a disclaimer this was very difficult as there are so many other places throughout Coastal Virginia that I could have mentioned producing both great food and alcohol. Today though, it goes to the above mentioned who are all deserving of praise.