Monday, June 27, 2016

Summertime in Norfolk

Summertime in Norfolk is our eternal season — one unending sunset over the water, a sustained laugh across the months of Cancer and Leo, the taste of oysters and craft beer and salt and love always a lick away on our upper lips.

It's especially easy to be happy in Norfolk in the summer and to feel grateful for our fair city. For those of you new in town or a native always looking for that next great NFK experience, I've made a list of ways to get the most out of this summer here in the Mermaid City.

The first 25 were published last week. Here are the rest:

26. Behold the majesty of a Hampton Roads thunderstorm over the battleship Wisconsin from the top of the Plume St. parking garage.

27. Breathe in deep and enjoy the sights (and smells!) of the Norfolk Botanical Garden on its tram ride.

28. Learn about sustainable shorelines at the city's free Public Wetlands Education Seminar on July 14. You might just help save Norfolk for future generations of summer lovers.

29. Taste the best of the sea by ordering any of the oyster dishes from A.W. Shucks. I’ve actually done this at the Sunset Grill in Norfolk, during the summer, in the form of an oyster and brie appetizer. Good stuff, but I’ve come to realize I may be allergic to raw oysters. My face has turned red and hot, and my lips have puffed up to Angelina Jolie-proportions. Which, I find to be a big bummer, because I actually liked the raw oysters I’ve had.

30. Check out the latest shows at Work | Release and Glass Wheel Studio, then take yourself on a self-guided tour of the dozens of pieces of public art in the NEON. #NFKARTCITY

31. Toast to good friends with Can Night at Crackers ... underneath the giant scrabble board at Coelacanth ... with a steampunk vibe at Brick Anchor Brew House ... at the new kid on the block in Park Place, Rip Rap Brewing ... on the back deck of Greenies ... Crackers?? I love that place! It’s a really nice establishment where the wait staff there is knowledgeable about the appetizers they serve there and treat everyone well, no matter that you have in your glass. Greenie’s? Not so much. The food is your standard beach bar fare, and you really need to be a drinker with a dick between your legs to get a waitress to notice you. Since I neither drink nor have a dick to show off, I tend to be ignored there unless my husband speaks up for me.

32. Experience Norfolk on two wheels with Cindy Lou's Saturday morning bike rides, starting off at East Coast Bicycles in OV, and ending up at brunch. We tend to go riding around the Ocean View area of Norfolk fairly regularly, but usually in the evenings. As for brunch, I’d recommend The Public House in Ghent.

33. Teach our children well by volunteering with the United for Children program. Looking for an educational place to volunteer? Go to the Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach and work in the whale and dolphin sight seeing department. I got to see humpback whales while on those trips as a docent, and it really changes your view on our ocean out here.

34. Take it easy on Sunday morning with The Team America at 80/20's brunch.

35. Go to Cure in Freemason and get an iced coffee, then stroll along the historic cobblestones in one of America's most resilient cities.

36. Fear no judgment while you dance like wild summer rain to live music at the Cutty Shark.

37. Live Zen, Norfolk. Sunset yoga happens on Wednesday nights at the Pagoda pier with Bhav Brigade and pop-up meditation classes also happen at Slover Library and Stockely Gardens.

38. Find a kayak and explore The Hague for a fun today and a taste of the watery Norfolk of tomorrow.

39. Stand on Willoughby Spit and remember the morning in the 1660s when that plot of land appeared, delivered by storm, much to the surprise of Lady Willoughby. We went kayaking out in the bay, close to Willoughby Spit, this last weekend. Waterfront and beachfront access be damned...WHY would anyone want to build a house on a spattering of sand that was deposited there by a hurricane??? A hurricane can take it right back away! That being said, I think Willoughby Spit and Ocean View in Norfolk are more the stereotypical beach neighborhoods, and I enjoy them.

40. Laugh along with Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson from "Parks and Recreation") and Megan Mullally (Karen from "Will & Grace") on Aug.14 at Chrysler Hall. I've seen "Wicked," Gabriel Iglesias and John Mellancamp here. Great place for smaller shows.

41. See the bustling ports of Hampton Roads and learn about our nautical history on the Rover.

42. Acquiesce to those island vibrations with Nature's Child's regular Monday sets at Scotty Quixx.

43. Buy a copy of the meaty Sunday edition of The Virginian-Pilot, turn the phone off for 45 minutes and dig into the newspaper while enjoying the Beatles at Fair Grounds.

44. Grab a GIANT slice from Benny Damato's on Granby and take it to Town Point Park on a non-festival day. It's our park every day, all year, after all.

45. Build something with your own two hands at 757 Makerspace, where they offer classes for both adults and children.

46. Get hyped with the Norfolk State marching band at the home kickoff on Sept. 3.

47. Decide school will be in for summer. Fall classes at Tidewater Community College begin Aug. 22. I've actually already done this. Several years ago, I tried to go back to school for a new degree and just wasn't able to get into that program, but I was able to get one class taken there.

48. Lower your blood pressure on an evening stroll along Mayflower Road in Colonial Place as the moonlight flickers off the Lafayette River.

49. Get down with elephants — and the Deloreans — at ZooGrooves on Aug. 27. If you’re in the 757, then you aren’t really a local then. Go see and hear them play. You will be transported right back into the 80’s! While a trip to the Virginia Zoo is great, I’ve been there before and prefer to visit just to see the animals. I’ve been there for special events and just didn’t find it very enjoyable.

50. Manifest the Norfolk of your dreams by supporting the local businesses that give our city its unique personality. Whether it's a burger at LeGrand, a turnover from the Bakehouse at Chelsea, a cold beer at the Ocean View Pier, or something nutritious and delicious from Green House Kitchen, visiting local businesses is always in good taste. My favorite local businesses are East Coast Bicycles, Ocean View Hardware and the Book Exchange.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Chili Mayo/28 Recipes Down

Okay, so this is just a weird little addition to my latest obsession with trying to cook everything that Sam the Cooking Guy has published in two of his cookbooks. If you actually read my drivel here, then thanks for hangin' with me, but you know that sometimes I go off on a tangent. Like, sometimes, I need to make something from his show that's not in the books so I have to go find it online.

This is one of those times.

The other night, I was watching a never before seen rerun of "Sam the Cooking Guy" on our local cable access station. It was one where Sam was tailgating at a football stadium, presumably the Chargers stadium in San Diego. I looked for a clip online of it, and couldn't find it. I couldn't even find the recipe on his website. But I'm going to post it here anyway, because all I'm posting is just a small part of the finished recipe.

Sam made a soy marinated mushroom and Swiss cheeseburger, large enough to feed like 4-8 people. He mixed some mayo and some chili sauce (the bottle looked like Sriracha sauce, specifically, the kind with the rooster), and then spread that on the bun.

We were making BLT's today for lunch, and I decided to whip up some of that same sauce. Instead of Sriracha, I had some sweet chili sauce. That's all it was: equal parts of mayo and the sauce.

What did I learn from this recipe?
I've used this saying before, and it applies here today: "Taste so good, make you wanna slap yo'mama!" Holy know what I learned? I learned you can mix chili sauce with damn near anything and it'll taste like heaven!

It was so good that Shane wanted some for his sandwich, so I had to make up another container of it to leave in the frig for a little while for other stuff to try it with. :)