Posts Tagged ‘Norfolk’

Cool way to sample a lot of cuisines

I’m still going to dinner with friends almost every Wednesday evening, and this summer has been especially fun, because Ghent, the neighborhood in Norfolk where I work, has been the site of a Taste of Ghent event.

Every Wednesday during the summer, a group of restaurants has offered a fixed-price, three-course meal for $18. There is one or more appetizers to choose from, usually two main courses, and a dessert. So far, for me, the most memorable was at The New Belmont: a house salad; tempura-fried lobster tail with raspberry cream; and chocolate mousse. It was perfectly prepared and just delicious. Can’t beat that for $18.

Last week, we went to Amalfi, an Italian place, for another very good meal. I had a house salad with Italian dressing, chicken breast stuffed with spinach and fontina, and a cannoli dessert; Barbara and Liz both ordered salmon, which they thoroughly enjoyed. Barbara got the tiramisu and Liz ordered a Napoleon. We shared the desserts. Yummy!

Dinner at Bodega

This was from a couple of weeks ago. We always love Bodega, a tapas restaurant in downtown Norfolk. Here’s what we had, that I remember. It was all great 🙂

  • Antipasto – salami, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, drizzled with evoo and balsamic vinegar
  • French baguette with roasted tomato hummus
  • Sesame-seed encrusted seared sashimi tuna over seaweed salad
  • Fried calamari with fresh marinara sauce
  • Sauteed tiger shrimp with crab and orange basil cream sauce
  • Potato gnocchi with cheese sauce and tomato

I was so taken with the potato gnocchi I bought some in a vacuum-packed package to have with homemade marinara. Haven’t had it yet, but soon… soon…

Dinner at Zio’s

I still go out to dinner with friends most Wednesdays, so I’m going to start keeping track again of where we go, what we have, and how we like it. Last Wednesday, April 25, we went to Zio’s, an Italian restaurant on Colley Avenue in the Ghent section of Norfolk. Good food, reasonable prices. Here’s what we had:

  • Barbara had one of her favorite Italian meals: chicken Marsala. It was quite good and a large enough portion that she took half home.
  • Keith had the lasagna – he also enjoyed it, but ate it all up 😉
  • I ordered the veal parmesan – it too was a large portion, plenty to take half home, especially with the side of spaghetti with marinara sauce. Very tasty. I also ordered crostini with roasted red peppers and fresh mozzarella – yummy.

Dinner at Azar’s

(This one’s for you, Eric 😉 )

My friend Barbara and I had dinner at Azar’s tonight, our favorite Middle Eastern restaurant with the attached market. Need some fabulous feta? Terrific tabouli? The best baklava? This is the place to find them.

I had a kefte wrap – a hotdog-shaped piece of hamburger mixed with spices, cooked, and wrapped in a pita with pickles, hummus, tomato, and Azar’s famous Mama Lina Sauce. I also ordered an appetizer of stuffed grape leaves, to bring home to Dan for his dinner, along with half of my sandwich (they’re huge!). Barbara had seafood kebab, beautifully grilled and served with saffron rice. Great meal. We skipped the baklava, since I, at least, overindulged a bit during our vacation to Michigan last week.

Eating there reminds me of my trip to Turkey in 2001, with my mom, aunt, uncle, and two couples who are friends of theirs. Our tour guide in Istanbul said that, because the Ottoman Empire covered practically all of the Middle East and parts of Europe and Africa, for hundreds of years, most modern-day countries in those areas claim lots of the same recipes, such as hummus and tabouli, as their own. In fact, the recipes came from the Sultan‘s kitchen and were spread by the Ottoman army throughout its territory. For example, stuffed grape leaves in southern Europe became stuffed cabbage.

Dinner: A.W. Shucks

On Tuesday, Barbara and I went to dinner at A.W. Shucks, a local seafood restaurant we had not been to before. We think it’s a great value – good food at good prices with good service. It seemed to be very popular, too. They don’t have a Web site, though. But here’s what we had:

  • Barbara: fish ‘n chips. The fish was tilapia; looked good and the fries were great 😉 You get two sides – the other one she ordered (as did I) was the tomato-feta salad. What a great idea! It was a hit with both of us.
  • Kim: fried shrimp, with mashed potatoes and tomato-feta salad. The shrimp were a bit overdone, and I would have preferred a traditional cocktail sauce. It came with a slightly spicy, thin sauce that was okay, but I guess I’m a bit of a traditionalist about some things 🙂

Dinner at Bangkok Garden

Last Tuesday, my dinner group went to Bangkok Garden, our favorite local Thai restaurant. I love the back room, with its beautiful wood-carved walls and life-size Buddha statues, as well as the elephant statues. But this time, we sat in the front room, which was bright and sunny from the large windows.

I love Thai food, but I always have difficulty determining what to order when I want to try something new. The menus don’t say anything about the seasonings included in any sauces, they just list the meat and vegetable ingredients, and the staff, most of whom are Thai immigrants, usually don’t communicate in English very well. Last week, though, our server, one who had served us before, spoke better English, so I thought it would work out better. She had advised me to ask for a teaspoon of spice, so the dish would be a little spicy but not overpowering. That evening, it didn’t work out, unfortunately. It was too hot for me to eat, so I took it home for Dan.

Luckily, Barbara had ordered Pad Thai, because her usual curried seafood special was not on the menu that night, so she shared it with me. It was quite good – so good, I printed out a recipe for Pad Thai from the Food Network. I’m going to try it tonight. We’ll see how it goes 🙂

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