June/July 2017

Twist - Virginia Beach

A martini bar isn't the typical destination for a brunch. After meeting Gals That Brunch–Virginia Beach (GTB-VB) at Twist Martini & Associates, in Town Center, I realized why that is.

I walked into the dimly lit martini bar just a few minutes late. There was no one at reception but the restaurant was practically empty so I quickly found the Gals. I sat at the table and ordered a glass of water while I browsed the menu. I made the rookie mistake of not eating before this 11:30 a.m. brunch, so I was ready to eat anything in sight. I quickly ordered the Spaniard frittata, the Pork Banh Mi Sliders and a side of bacon. I asked the server if my order could be spread out so I didn't occupy the whole table with all of my food.

Of course the food for myself and everyone I was sitting with came at the same time. After inhaling my bacon, I moved to the frittata (cold eggs are the worst). The Spaniard is an open-faced frittata with onions, garlic, asparagus and roma tomatoes, topped with shaved parmesan cheese.

This "frittata" was noticeably flat. Any time I've had, or made, a frittata, it's been thick with the vegetables or meat mixed into the egg. Twist's idea of a frittata was more like an open-faced omelette. I could look past the thin dish if it at least had some flavor. There was little to no seasoning in the eggs or vegetables. I rarely ever use salt or pepper at restaurants, but this time I did.

I pushed the frittata to the side to try the Pork Banh Mi sliders. Immediately I could smell the pickled peppers. They paired so well with the crispy pork belly, cucumbers and peanut sauce. These sliders were the highlight of my meal and filled me up along with the breakfast potatoes.

I was shocked that Twist didn't have a cocktail list specifically for brunch. Some Gals ordered off the regular cocktail menu and didn't enjoy what they ordered. Luckily, I wasn't in the mood for anything too strong so I had a mimosa.

Brunch at Twist was an interesting experiment but I think my next meal at the martini bar will be for happy hour or dinner.


Sage Kitchen - Virginia Beach

I rarely venture out to the Princess Anne area of Virginia Beach, but after a brunch at Sage Kitchen, I realized that I had been missing out on a hidden gem.

I met up with the lovely ladies of GTB-VB on a beautiful Sunday. When my GPS said I arrived, I thought there had been a mistake. I pulled up to Anderson's, a garden center. I was hesitant but I walked inside to the huge, beautiful market. Towards the back was Sage Kitchen, an open restaurant with a bar and outside seating in the green house. We were seated inside at a long table. It didn't take long for the server to come over and ask if I wanted anything to drink.

In an attempt to not have a "boozy brunch," I ordered a mango iced tea. I did not know that the tea came unsweetened. Aside from not being sweet, I hardly tasted any mango syrup or flavor. When I looked at the drinks again, I felt regret for not ordering one of the fresh-pressed juices.

Our server told us that they stopped serving breakfast shortly after we arrived. Considering it was still fairly early, I was bummed because that's what I was craving. My mood quickly changed as I browsed Sage's food menu. Sage Kitchen offers a wide variety of salads, sandwiches and other great lunch time options. I couldn't decide between the "craft-your-own salad" option, The Dip sandwich, the Traegermeister sandwich, the Cali Club quesadilla or the Bella Pesto wrap.

I finally landed on the Bella Pesto wrap with a side of Bayou Balls. At first glance, this wrap with pesto, mozzarella and asiago cheeses, chicken, romaine lettuce, bacon, red onion and sun-dried tomatoes seemed unassuming. Once I took the first bite, I was punched in the mouth with all the flavors from the pesto, tender chicken and cheeses.

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After eating half of my wrap, I focused my attention on the Bayou Balls. Bayou Balls are filled with bacon, broccoli and cheese, served with a side of Tiger Sauce. The Bayou balls were pretty good and reminded me of my Grandmama's broccoli casserole. However, I quickly got a bad case of food envy when I smelled the Flash-Fried Dynamite Shrimp that one of the Gals ordered. The Po Boy sauce on the shrimp smelled just like Bonefish Grill's Bang Bang Shrimp Sauce.

Overall, I'm very glad I went to this brunch at Sage Kitchen. Our server was amazing and was able to give us suggestions on menu items. Sage Kitchen isn't far from Sandbridge Beach, making it the perfect spot to stop for lunch before a beach day.


Back to Bay Local - Virginia Beach

This month, I had the honor of receiving a visit from three of my college friends. I've lived in Virginia Beach for almost two years, so it took them long enough to visit. After a day of beaching and drinking, my friends and I were ready to eat. Of course I had to take them to Bay Local.

We visited the Laskin Road location since it was closest to the Oceanfront. It was a beautiful summer day, so naturally Bay Local was crowded. After a 15 minute wait, we were seated in one of the spacious booths.

Immediately, I ordered the Jumbo Sorbet Mimosa for the table. In my opinion, this mimosa should only be ordered when :

  1. You have a big enough group to split the $40 drink with.
  2. You know the people you're sharing it with won't back wash.

We hadn't eaten all day so we put in some appetizers to share. My friend Elyse and I split the Banging Balls. It was a no brainer since we're both Maryland natives who practically worship the crab. My friends Taylor and Katie shared the Ta-Chos.

If you've read my previous post about Bay Local, you know that I'm obsessed with these crab balls. Elyse and I woofed them down and grabbed some of Taylor and Katie's tots to get the rest of the spicy cajun aioli.

The Ta-Chos could easily be an entree because of the size of the dish. Perfect for sharing. Bay Local's parmesan tots are covered with bacon, tomatoes, arugula, jalepenos, avocado and onions, then drizzled with sour cream and cajun aioli and served with a side of melted cheese sauce.

Between the appetizers and the amount of mango sorbet mimosa we drank, we were full by the time the rest of our food arrived.

I tried something new and ordered the Willis Wharf Special omelet. Imagine Oysters Rockefeller in an omelet and topped with hollandaise and fried oysters. This was easily the richest omelet I've ever had. After three bites, I was tapping out. Definitely don't fill up on appetizers if you want to order this omelet.

I spent months telling my friends about how good Bay Local is and, of course, the restaurant did not disappoint. We went back to my apartment in a food coma and didn't have another meal until 8 p.m. That's brunch done right.

Arielle Patterson