Sunday, February 6, 2011

Dogs on the Beach

So what does one think of when I say " Virginia Beach"? You might think of the sand, the sun, frolicking in the ocean and maybe even a cold drink or two.

However, when you visit the beach in January all thoughts of such fun disappears.

So instead, my fancy turned to, wait for it, FOOD! I arrived on a chilly Tuesday afternoon with an aching in my belly. It was getting late in the afternoon and with the anticipation of a good dinner (so I was told by David), I didn't want to go over board on lunch and ruin my appetite. So David suggested a light snack, "how about chili dogs" he asks? That's right up my alley, so off to Tony's we go. Walking into this place reminds me of the old time cafeterias that one used to see in department stores. A few tables scattered around and then of course the service counter where it seems that everyone sits. I sat down looked at the menu board only to see one item available, Hot Dogs!!! This is my place, one item and nothing to distract me. We both ordered two chili dogs loaded with onions and condiments. The buns they were served in were perfect and the dogs were cooked (unsure how) to perfection. I downed those two jewels in no time and if I am to be honest with myself, could have gone for a couple more. With my appetite in check it was off to work and wait for the clock to turn to dinner time.


Dinner time has come, and as promised, David is taking me to this Italian Bistro that he had visited many years ago. Couldn't quite remember the name or the location, but with me in tow, it didn't take long to find it. The goal of Mannino's owners is to give patrons great Italian food at reasonable price points with wine choices to match. This group works with great passion & attention to detail to try and ensure that their guest develop a sense of home and comfort while enjoying their dining experience. So if this indeed was their mission, in my eyes, they succeeded! I started with a glass of Melbec to get me in the mood and took my time to look at all my options. After asking the waiter to come back numerous times, I finally settles on one of the evening specials:

That my friends, is a rather large bowl of homemade fettuccine with roma tomato's, olives, mushrooms, those little round green things and four massive scallops in a light broth! So, you know how a dish can come out you look at it and say, I wonder if it's the real deal, well once taste of this masterpiece, I was convinced. The flavor exploded in my mouth and I was brought back to the North End in Boston where I have found some of the best Italian dishes anywhere. David was right, this place is a keeper and one everyone must experience.

Dog Days Afternoon

After having a couple other note worthy meals (Prime Rib dinner and an outrages breakfast that features scrapple) it was time to think about the last meal of the day before I head to the airport. After much discussion with David and the fact that breakfast was a filler, we decided, to end the week the way we started, chili dogs! David knew of this dinner that had some rather large portions (their motto is "if you finish we made a mistake"), so off we went to The Route 58 Delicatessen.

Here we found a multitude of tempting choices; Rubens, hot pastrami, burgers, you name it and in sizes that are fit for the more robust of appetites. As tempted as I was for some of the menus other choices, I stayed the course and went with the chili dogs (that's right, plural as in two dogs) with cheese.

Just take a look at those beauties! Notice how the dogs hang over the buns? Notice just the correct amount of cheese to onion ratio? All looks good, except something is missing, what is it? What could it be? Now I understand that this meal is not for the faint of hearts or for that matter, good for the heart, so I guess I needed something a bit healthier to go along with it:

You guessed it, gravy fries! Ouch, I'm in for it now! What a lunch! I can tell you that it stayed with me the rest of the afternoon and right on into the evening. In fact, after several of my flights were canceled (surprise, surprise), I finally got home around midnight and could still taste the dogs and fries! Now that is a meal to make me moan about!!!

What a trip!!! Next up is Birmingham, Alabama where I plan to take in some down home Bar-B-Q delights. Check back to see what meals in Birmingham had the stuff to Make Me Moan!