Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ocean Boulevard Bistro & Martini Bar - Kitty Hawk, NC

Ocean Boulevard Bistro and Martini Bar dish: Flounder Special
Flounder Special
Previously, I have mentioned how much bad food there is on the Outer Banks. This is still the case. Stick with restaurants that have limited seating and do not serve the masses, have a dress code of sorts (people are not wearing baseball hats at the bar or tables!) and where waiters are professionals, meaning they do this for a living and take pride in it.

Ocean Boulevard is one of the chosen places I will dine. Prior to last fall, I had not been since I became a vegetarian as I was unsure of my options. My mistake! Ocean Boulevard has a completely separate (and full) vegetarian menu. It is not a restaurant where they piecemeal together random vegetables to make a wannabe dish (this drives me insane). They have appetizers, salads and entrees that are completely vegetarian, i.e. they do not contain seafood, and care has been put into the ingredients.

Ocean Boulevard Bistro and Martini Bar dish: Pinot Noir Risotto
Pinot Nior Risotto
Last fall, Nikki* and I decided to give Ocean Boulevard another shot once I discovered they had a vegetarian menu. That evening, I enjoyed a rustic vegetable gnocchi with a light white wine sauce. I needed something with carbs but not too heavy as I was running a half marathon the following day. The gnocchi was homemade with spinach, Brussels sprouts, garlic and white wine. Homemade pasta is one of my absolute favorite entrees and Ocean Boulevard did not disappoint in their creation. The vegetables were cooked to perfection and the sauce was just what I needed that evening. Nikki and I split the White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Tart. This is an absolutely fantastic dessert. The pastry is made from scratch, which makes me never want pastry that is not, and topped with caramel ice cream. Could it get any better? It was just the right size to split the night before my race. I wanted something sweet but not a dessert to myself. Nikki is not quite the dessert addict that I am, but she took one bite of this dessert and decided she would surely get her half this time (I usually take care of three-fourths of desserts when we ‘share’). The presentation is worthy of the Food Network and the flavors are as well. There are always five or six desserts and a few varieties of homemade ice cream for the choosing at Ocean Boulevard.

Ocean Boulevard Bistro and Martini Bar dish: White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Tart
White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Tart

This past weekend included another half marathon and therefore, the increased rigidness of my schedule and diet. Our waiter, who also served us in the fall, was very professional and knew the wine and food well and from the wine selection, Nikki chose a half bottle of the Sauvignon Blanc ($24). The fresh bread and soft butter also win praise. Out of the four vegetarian entrees, I chose the Pinot Noir Risotto ($17), which came with sautéed asparagus, roasted tomatoes and red onions and honey. The honey meshed so well with the other flavors in this dish. I was thrilled and would love to have this again. Nikki ordered the special, lightly fried flounder with asparagus in a white wine bacon sauce ($30). She said the sauce was watery and would not order this again, so Ocean Boulevard missed a five on the food rating.



Ocean Boulevard
4700 N Virginia Dare Trail, Kitty Hawk, NC 27949
Open for dinner 7 days a week, all year long
Open Table Reservations Click HERE

Ocean Boulevard on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 20, 2012

Outer Banks Brewing Station - Kill Devil Hills, NC

Outer Banks Brewing Station ExteriorAccording to their website, “The Outer Banks Brewing Station is the first wind powered brewery in the United States! We were also the first business to produce wind power on the Outer Banks. We pride ourselves in being innovative and conscious about the environment, while helping others learn as much as they can about renewable energy and sustainability.” Okay, that is great, but how is your food?

Spring break found me down at the OBX for an overnight with my family. Arriving right around lunchtime, we headed for a familiar spot we had been before and liked: The Outer Banks Brewing Station. The restaurant interior is dark. The decor doesn’t appear to be overly thought out. My daughter found it hilarious that rugs were hung up high on the walls, right next to the disco ball. The women’s restroom doesn’t say “Ladies” or other iterations on the door; it simply has a Wonder Woman Doll. This always makes me smile. Everything has the look, feel and smell of a bar, but what else would you expect? Live bands play most nights and the restaurant morphs. The real eye catcher is the brewery, of course. Through large windows you can see the all the inner working of the process. Occasionally you will see someone walk through doing whatever task is needed at all the different stages of brewing. I am not a beer drinker these days; however they also offer non-alcoholic home brews of Ginger Ale, Root Beer and Cream Soda. My husband tried one of the hearty beers and I sampled the Root Beer. Hands down, the best Root Beer I have ever had!

Outer Banks Brewing Station dish: Kid's Cheese Pizza
Outer Banks Brewing Station dish: BarbecueWe were the first customers of the afternoon, followed by one or two other tables during our stay. The service was brisk and friendly. I think they have a great kids menu, which even includes a kid’s steak. My daughter ordered a kid pizza (typical). The crust on their pizza is really more of a whole grain flatbread, with cheese topping and very light sauce. Not at all a typical kid’s pizza, but she devoured it. It was so large we had to take leftovers home. Leftover packaging is recyclable and compostable. Nice! I ordered a Caesar Salad with grilled Salmon. It was perfect. Sometimes Salmon gets overcooked at restaurants, but this one was just right. My husband ordered the Barbecue. When it hit the table I knew I had been out-ordered. I am a hush puppy lover, and had to steal one from his plate to sample. They were tasty and sweet. The cornmeal was a light flavor that came though subtly versus overpowering other flavors.

Outer Banks Brewing Station dish: Caesar Salad with Grilled SalmonAs Alex has mentioned several times, there is a lot of mediocre to bad food at the Outer Banks. This seems to happen in most resort/vacation type cities. Over the years I have found the Outer Banks Brewing Station to consistently serve good meals and good service along with their tasty brews. That they are making a concerted effort to be innovative and conscious about the environment is a great added bonus. Because, let’s face it, if the food is bad, no one is going to eat there regardless of your environmental efforts. The restaurant is conveniently located close to the Wright Brothers Memorial. If you are there with your family, I recommend this as a nice lunch place for all.


Outer Banks Brewing Station
600 South Croatan Hwy, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948
Open 7 days a week! Mon – Sun at 11:30 am, Brunch on Sun til 4 pm

Outer Banks Brewing Station on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Saffron Indian Bistro - Virginia Beach Town Center

Saffron Indian Bistro Exterior A craving for Indian lead me to Saffron in the Virginia Beach town center last Thursday night. I had heard good things and was excited to give them a try. The restaurant has a great location. It is right on the corner of Columbus Street, across from a nice sized parking lot. Getting in and out could not have been more convenient!

We arrived a little after six and were promptly seated. I have heard tales of woe from people who had long waits, but during the week this did not appear to be a problem. The decor of Saffron is clean modern; dark, with lots of tile, brushed steel and subtle lighting. To me it was instantly relaxing. I commented on the music and my husband said it sounded like something you would hear at a spa. Again, calm and soothing.

Service was solicitous, but not rushed. Several waiters served our table throughout the night, picking up plates, or bringing more drinks. I like when restaurants use this type of team service. The customer gets much better service and consequently the team gets better tips. The menu is complex and lengthy. There are many different appetizers, a page of breads, and another 3-4 pages of entrees. One page lists about a dozen curry sauces that can be paired with different “proteins”. One page is tandoor selections. Another page is dedicated entirely to vegetarian dishes. Don’t be afraid to ask the staff for help. I asked a lot of questions about the curried sauces and which paired up better with what protein. I got great details that I would never have know on my own, and consequently made a great combination.

We started out with cocktails, a Meat Samosa appetizer and Aloo Pratha bread. The Meat Samosa surprised me when it came to the table. It was larger that I had envisioned and the shell was crisp. Inside it was filled with crumbled lamb and vegetables. Indian food is all about the dipping sauces too! This had a slightly sweet, and mildly hot sauce that was the perfect accompaniment. Aloo Pratha is my favorite Indian bread, and I always order it at every Indian restaurant. Theirs is paired with a light yogurt sauce. The bread was very tasty, with nice seasoning in the potato filling. I thought it was a bit oily, but not in an overwhelming way. Both items were in the clean plate division by the meal’s end.

Saffron Indian Bistro dish: Aloo Pratha
Saffron Indian Bistro dish: Meat Samosa

We both opted for curry dishes. I ordered TIKKA MASALA (requesting mild), which is a tomato based cream sauce with herbs & spices, and I paired it with lamb. My husband ordered VINDALOO, a classic Goan Speciality, tangy spicy sauce with Ginger & Potatoes, and paired it with scallops. Both dishes were served with one large bowl of Basmati rice, to be shared. Mine was  fabulous. It had a hint of heat and unbelievable flavoring. I could not stop eating it!. My husband’s dish came out and it was bright pink! Interesting.....  He ordered his hot, and about halfway through the meal I could see the sweat rolling down his brow. He agreed that everything about his meal was perfect.

Overall, I loved Saffron and know we will return. In addition to having excellent food and service, the prices are very reasonable. Portions are large, so be prepared to ask for a take home doggie bag.


Restrooms-NA, didn’t use
4532 Columbus Street, Virginia Beach, VA 23462 (757) 644-6904

Saffron Indian Bistro on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Every Holiday Means Peeps

Peeps T-ShirtMy good buddy Alex is a Peep fanatic. Every holiday has us scrounging local markets looking for those hard to find, specialty Peeps. On the other hand, Peeps are one of the few sweets I can have around indefinitely with no desire to eat. This is okay too, because Peeps probably have an unlimited shelf life. Considering that there are only 32 calories in a single Peep, and 5 Peeps equal a single "serving", they really are not a horrible treat choice if you want to break bad on your diet for a day.

If you are interesting in making your own Peeps, I came across this recipe online. Imagine the expressions on the faces of your friends and family when you present them with homemade Peeps! That almost makes it worth the effort.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Omar's Carriage House $10 Entrees

Omar's Carriage House ExteriorOmar's Carriage House is a funky little restaurant tucked back a little bit off the beaten track on West Bute Street. They have good food and I enjoy their eclectic ambiance. Omar has been running this special annually for several years now. It is popular and a good deal. We recommend that you give them a try if you haven't already, and make sure you book a reservation.

In celebration of our 14th anniversary, Omar's will have $10 entrees and $10-$20 bottles of wine every night of April, Monday-Saturday, 5-10pm.

We do this every year as an appreciation of our customers' continued support for the last 14 years!!

313 West Bute Street, Norfolk, VA 23510

(757) 622-4990

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's - April 3rd

Laine and Alex love ice cream! Laine's favorite B&J flavor? Chunky Monkey!

Head out to your local Ben & Jerry's today to get your free cone. Remember to bring your patience along. Whenever something is free, lines are long.

Ben and Jerry's Free Cone Day Flyer