Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day Brunch - Todd Jurich's Bistro

Todd Jurich's Bistro dish: Eggs Benedict Norfolk Mother's Day should probably be renamed "Mothers Refuse to Cook Day". Based upon the masses of families heading out to eat on Mother's Day each year, I think it is pretty safe to say that everyone else in the family refuses to cook on Mother's Day too. Back in the dark ages when I waited tables, I dreaded Mother's Day. It was the busiest day of the year AND the day you made the lowest percentage of tips. Nothing like taking mom out to eat and stiffing the server!

Now that I am a mom, I like to go out to eat too and Mother's Day for me means brunch. Even restaurants that aren't normally in the brunch game dip their toes in the water for Mother's Day. I have been going to the same places loyally now for about 8 years, and was ready for a change. It's no secret that Todd Jurich's Bistro is one of my favorite restaurants. The brunch menu looked good to me, so I booked a reservation through Open Table. I have started to use Open Table more and more. It is easy to use and has a Dining Rewards program through which you earn points which can eventually be redeemed for Open Table Dining checks. Not bad, considering it is a free service.

Todd Jurich's Bistro dish: Chesapeake Bay Soft Shell Crabs
We arrived on time and were promptly seated in a booth located in front of the door. A great spot for people watching, and in close proximity to the salad / soup bar. I was very curious about the salad bar. The Bistro converts their bar by covering it with linens. Viola! No rocket science required. There were three soups offered: She Crab Chowder, Spring Gazpacho, Spicy Coconut Milk Lobster Bisque. The salad bar consisted of four prepared salads: Tomato and May peas, Spring mix greens, Chick Pea salad, Fresh Cucumber and Sweet onion. There was also a meat and cheese platter. I tried the Lobster Bisque (delicious with a little kick) and the Tomato and Cucumber salads. The vegetables were all fresh and nicely seasoned.

Todd Jurich's Bistro dish: May peas, morels, shaved aged pecorino Romano, fettuccini
The menu was slightly different than the one posted online. There were a few ommissions. I was sad to see the Southern Bourbon Pecan Pie with brown sugar-cinnamon Ice Cream was no longer an option. For the children we ordered the pasta dish of May peas, morels, shaved aged pecorino Romano, fettuccini and Local Cage Free Farm Eggs. They really liked this. I ordered Eggs Benedict Norfolk: Homemade Black Pepper Biscuits, Surryano Ham, Local Cage Free Farm Eggs, Lump Crabmeat, Lemon Hollandaise. This was exquisite! The biscuits were special, and I loved the ham. The Mister ordered exactly what I anticipated, Chesapeake Bay Soft Shell Crabs: Crab-Bacon Slaw and Sweet Pickle Tartar Sauce. You never know what you will see when you order a soft shell. This one looked great. Lightly battered, served on top of the slaw and sauce. It received two thumbs up! The original menu listed Old Bay Gaufrette Potatoes, but this was changed to sliced ‘chip’ potato or croustilles (not waffled). As you can see from the pictures, the presentation on everything was lovely. We ordered dessert early as suggested to make sure it was reserved for us. All three girls went chocolate with the Dark Chocolate Pot de Crème. I added a shot of espresso to round it out. This was a rich decadence which none of us could quite finish.

Todd Jurich's Bistro dish: Dark Chocolate Pot de Crème and Espresso



Todd Jurich's Bistro
150 W Main Street, Norfolk, VA 23510

Todd Jurich's Bistro on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 6, 2013

Som Bao Cafe, Virginia Beach, Virginia

I was delighted to try Som Bao Cafe with a good friend.  It is definitely not somewhere on my usual travel route, but I see myself journeying there again for good Thai. She discovered Som Bao by way of Groupon and wanted to visit again so we headed out a couple weekends ago. We were greeted by a very friendly host and seated immediately.  The decor is sparse but fits with the crisp and clean theme of the restaurant. Everything is very, very tidy which made me feel at ease. Clean and clutter free is never bad. Our waitress was very helpful and knew the menu inside and out.

Som Bao Cafe dish: Cucumber Salad  Som Bao Cafe dish: Spring Rolls

We started with the Cucumber Salad ($7.95) which had Japanese style thin noodles with cucumbers, pineapple, tomatoes, lime juice and chili peppers. It was great, but it does have a kick to it so prepare yourself.  Thai food is always 'clean' and healthy to me since a lot of the heavier ingredients, like cheese, are vacant from the dishes.  With the salad, we ordered the Som Bao Spring Rolls ($3.75), as they were out of the vegetarian version of their Egg Rolls. Those were also fresh and came with the familiar spicy peanut sauce, but Som Bao's was a tad spicier than the usual. I like spicy food and this had a kick to me.

Som Bao Cafe dish: Lazy Loa Noodles

For my entree, I typically order Pad Thai with tofu when I eat Thai but I saw the Lazy Loa Noodles ($9.95) which included pineapple, so I had to ask how that was. She said it was one of their signature dishes and the pineapple gave the dish a sweetness along with the spice from the sauce. When I asked if they would add tofu and peanuts, she said no problem and that I could mix and match anything on the menu. I can customize, music to my ears! My friend ordered the Chicken Ka-Boun ($9.95), Japanese style noodles in a broth infused with lemon grass, galanga, kaffir, coconut milk, and red curry. [I deleted the picture by accident, but it is a beautiful dish!] She and I both love coconut milk and this might be the largest bowl of soup I have seen. Most Thai restaurants certainly give you your money's worth and Som Boa did not disappoint. Finally, I ordered a White Chocolate Boba Tea. I have had Boba once before in Portland, Oregon and it reminds me of a milkshake, just lighter. The white chocolate intrigued me and it was as good as it sounds. The 'beads' take a bit of getting used to, but overall I like Boba. After all that, we were finally ready to leave, stuffed. I ordered the Chicken Paid Thai ($9.95) to go for my other half and he was very pleased with the dish. I like to think of him as a good judge because he is a Chicken Pad Thai connoisseur. In addition to the take-out, we departed with leftovers which meant no food debacle the next day, a plus. Prices were extremely reasonable and service was lighting fast. I look forward to venturing to Sam Boa again soon.



2476 Nimmo Parkway, Suite 101
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456
(757) 430-1066
Som Bao Cafe on Urbanspoon