A Smorgasbord of HR Food Happenings

Hampton Roads Chefs,Food Festivals, and Virginia Beach Restaurants

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Two new Virginia Beach restaurants have opened since spring, both promising approachable upscale dining. Chops, in the new 31 Ocean shops at the Oceanfront, is a sister restaurant to Sonoma Wine Bar and Bistro (in Town Center) and shares award-winning Executive Chef Mackenzie Hess, who heads up both kitchens. Distinct dining spaces, including a more casual setting, formal dining room, patio, bar seating and chef’s table/bar are offered at Sunday brunch, lunch and dinner. Steaks and seafood are the focus. Chops is at 336 Laskin Rd. Call 222-9508 or visit www.ChopsVB.com

Salt at the Point in Church Point has Justin Kealiinohomoku, formerly of Eurasia in Virginia Beach, as executive chef. A varied menu features classic and contemporary dishes, many with an Asian twist. The space is bright and open; clean lines and black-and-white décor offer a fresh feeling. A loft area is available for functions, and patio seating is also an option. Salt at the Point is at 1716 Pleasure House Rd. Call 962-2325 or visit www.SaltAtThePoint.com

Farm To Fork, the annual celebration of local food from the folks at Buy Fresh Buy Local Hampton Roads, takes place Sept. 22. The afternoon features local food tastings; more than a dozen area chefs pair with local farmers to create tasting-sized dishes. Virginia beer and wine is also featured, as well as music. Vendors are on site as well, selling local products like honey, jam, pies and the like. The event takes place at the Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center, 1444 Diamond Springs Rd., Virginia Beach, and runs from 3 until 6 p.m. Tickets are $40 in advance and $45 at the door. For more information on Farm To Fork, visit www.FarmToForkHR.com
For more information on Buy Fresh Buy Local Hampton Roads, visit www.BuyLocalHamptonRoads.org

Dining against a backdrop of English gardens, a fountained lake and jazz music, Tuesdays at Founders Inn & Spa are pretty terrific. But only for a while longer. The popular Tuesdays on the Terrace at the Virginia Beach property wraps up for the season at the end of September. The event is held Tuesdays from 5:30 until 8:30 p.m. and features dining al fresco with a menu that includes grilled-to-order steaks and seafood, Virginia barbecue, and more, as well as a selection of local craft beers and Virginia wines. Reservations are recommended. The cost is $22.95 for adults and $7.95 for children 
age 5–12. Founders Inn & Spa is at 5641 Indian River Rd. Call 757-366-5777 or visit www.FoundersInn.com

Schedules for late summer and autumn cooking classes for the armchair gourmet have been posted at a number of area venues. At Culinary Institute of Virginia in Norfolk, Casual Gourmet classes run from one to three sessions and pair home chefs with 
chef instructors.

Upcoming classes are:
Aug. 6 – Fresh from the Farm
Aug. 8 – Global Cuisine: German
Aug. 13 – Cooking with Fruit
Aug. 15 – Cookbook Series – 
    The Smitten Kitchen
Aug. 20 – Pan Sauces
Sept. 3 – Pizza from Scratch
Sept. 5 – Fish & Seafood
Sept. 10 – Cookbook Series – 
    The Complete Vegetarian Book Box
Sept. 12 – Tastes of Hampton Roads
Sept. 19 – Pies, Pies, Pies
Sept. 24 – Global Cuisine – Brazil
Sept. 26 – Modern Vegetarian

For more information, visit www.CasualGourmet.com

At Taste Unlimited’s Norfolk store, HRM food editor Patrick Evans-Hylton hosts a Chefs’ Table demonstration-style class monthly, which includes recipes and wine pairings.
On Aug. 27, Executive Chef Bobby Huber of Braise in Virginia Beach leads “The Art of Braise,” featuring: Amuse - Chicken and Shiitake Mushroom Potstickers with Slaw, Chili Oil and Chopstyx Sauce
First Course - Eastern Shore Clams with Fennel, Roasted Garlic and Surry Sausage
Second Course - Braised Short Ribs with Cheese Stone Ground Grits
Dessert - Honey Brown Butter Cake with Macerated Berries and Baileys Whipped Cream
On Sept. 24, Executive Chef Mike Farrell of Still in Portsmouth leads “Ooowee: Cajun and Creole Classics.” His menu can be found on the Taste website.