August 2017

Gosport Tavern - Portsmouth, Va.

I've lived in Hampton Roads for almost two years and I've only ventured out to Portsmouth once. That was, until, a brunch with my favorite Gals That Brunch-Virginia Beach was scheduled at Gosport Tavern. After that brunch, I opened up my foodie mind to all of Portsmouth's potential.

Portsmouth is uncharted territory for me. Maybe it's the 30-minute drive or the sneaky toll, but I NEVER venture out west. I wanted to break out of my comfort zone and there's no better opportunity than brunch with some of my favorite Gals.

Gosport Tavern is on High Street in Portsmouth. I missed my initial exit, so when I finally got off the highway, I was in a fairly desolate part of town. After a couple miles, I was in the more charming part of Portsmouth. Parking was easy to find close to the restaurant, and it was free.

The inside of the restaurant is huge and very open. I found my table and instantly began perusing the Southern-inspired menu.

I was slightly hungover so I knew a bloody mary would hit the spot. Gosport has 14 brunch cocktail options, and the bartenders certainly aren't stingy with the pour. I ordered the BLT Bloody Mary.

BLT Bloody Mary

This light and refreshing cocktail uses Square One Cucumber vodka and a house-made bloody mary mix. The drink is garnished with slice of bacon. If you don't like spicy bloody marys, this is the one for you. I felt like I was drinking a delicious and boozy V8.

While we waited for the rest of our party to arrive, a few of us ordered appetizers. I could not pass up the Fried Gosport Pickles. I've had my share of fried pickles, but these were hands down the best ever.

Gosport Fried Pickles

Gosport's homemade pickles are cut into chips, so you get just the right amount of vinegar flavor in every bite. They are served with a tangy Tavern Sauce that adds a little kick to the pickles. I would drive the 30 minutes on a NFL Sunday just for these fried pickles.

The appetizers at Gosport Tavern are certainly for sharing. By the time my entree arrived, I was close to being full. I pushed through because I was so excited to try my sweet and savory eggs benedict.

Southern Eggs Benedict

The Southern Eggs Benedict tops a warm biscuit with braised pork, mixed berry jam and an egg over medium. The pork was juicy and I love the way it paired with the fresh mixed berry jam.

Our server was amazing. Usually when you ask for a server's opinion, you think they're BS-ing you when they praise how good the food is. This was no BS. It's very rare that you go to a meal with a group of people and EVERYONE loves their food. We spent at least 15 minutes after eating to sit, digest and proclaim how much we love Gosport Tavern.

Brunch House - Virginia Beach

Let's get real for a second. When you go to brunch hungover it can go one of two ways. 1. You feel completely revived–like a new man/woman. 2. You eat one tater tot then immediately run to the bathroom. While I have experienced both reactions, I was fortunate that it was the former when I went to Brunch House for the first time.

Since opening in March, I'd been dying to go to Brunch House. I thought it would be the perfect location for a GTB meet up. Sadly, Brunch House does not accept reservations and the person on the phone warned me that they do get crowded on weekends.

It wasn't until I arrived with my friend Zoe that I realized that Brunch House would not be able to accompany a squad of GTB's size. They don't call it Brunch House for nothing. We pulled up to the location on Shore Drive and saw the spacious outdoor patio. Walking inside, you're met with a quaint and very comfortable seating area. We were seated in a booth towards the back and immediately greeted by our server.

I decided to press my luck with a brunch cocktail. Zoe ordered the Watermelon Mimosa, while I had the Chicken & Waffle Bloody Mary.

The standard mimosa is served in a champagne flute, unless a larger option is offered. At Brunch House, a wine glass is the standard. The large watermelon-flavored drink was served with a slice of watermelon on the rim–simple and refreshing.

My bloody mary, however, was far from simple. Not only did I get a cocktail, but it was accompanied by its own appetizers. The drink was topped with a skewer with green olives, tomato, bacon and mozzarella. On top of that was a segment of waffle and a crispy chicken tender. Naturally, this bloody was recognized on Coastal Virginia Magazine's list of "Most Outlandish Bloody Marys." The combination of alcohol and snackage dispelled the hangover from my body. I was ready for my entree.

I spent a long time going back and forth in my mind about what I wanted to order. I was stuck between the Shrimp & Crab Omelet, the Corned Beef Casserole, all of the eggs benedict options, and the Shrimp & Grits. It had been a while since I had Shrimp & Grits so I was leaning closer to that. When the server told me that was a popular item, I had to try it.

Shrimp & Grits

The creamy grits were loaded up with sautéed shrimp, bacon, green onions and spinach. The dish was served in a large wide bowl, so I had some left to take home. My only complaint was that they left the tails on the shrimp. I'm not sure if Brunch House left the tails on for flavor or if they thought it made the dish look more appealing, but it's my pet peeve. Taking the tail off a shrimp slows down my eating process and makes it harder for me to enjoy the dish cohesively (I end up eating the shrimp instead of returning it to the grits).

Brunch House also left the tails on Zoe's shrimp dish, the Garlic Shrimp Benedict. While it did make it trickier for her to eat, she didn't enjoy it any less.

Garlic Shrimp Benedict

Before we got our checks, our server told us about the Flok app. Flok is a customer rewards loyalty program. The server explained to us how to check in and once we did, we received a "punch" in our virtual punch card and earned 20-percent off our bill. Definitely take advantage of this app at Brunch House and other local establishments.

I can't wait to return to Brunch House and experience the rest of their menu. What's better than a restaurant where it's always brunch time?

Arielle Patterson