"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined." While Thoreau may have had his own meaning behind this quote, I (and the rest of the world who post this to our various social media accounts) use it in whatever way benefits the current situation we are in. The life I imagine is one where I live vicariously through myself and not others. If there is an event that looks exciting to attend, or a restaurant that has been on my list for months, I go and enjoy my own company instead of waiting for the approval and/or company of others.
Last month I had the pleasure of meeting myself at several new (to me) coffee shops, breweries, and restaurants in Norfolk and Virginia Beach that I've been wanting to try since they opened. Check them out below!
Commune - Virginia Beach
When the ingredients in the restaurant are growing literally footsteps from the kitchen, you can hope that the meal you are going to get will be fresh and satisfying...Commune definitely delivers. Based in Virginia Beach, their philosophy is one that emphasizes the use of high quality ingredients and great tasting food.
During my visit I had a Lavender Latte, which uses coffee from Haiti (a commitment they have made from the owners work there) and the Italian Melt. The sandwich has Tuscan salami, pepperoni and prosciutto with aged swiss cheese, oregano pickled sweet peppers and marinara on toasted sourdough bread. I have never eaten an Italian melt prior to this, and was not sure what to expect. Them deviating from the traditional sandwich by adding pickled sweet peppers and marinara was perfect, and helped reduce the saltiness of the prosciutto, something I am not normally a fan of.
When near the Oceanfront (or not) this is a great place to visit. Sit at the bar alone or join a group at one of their communal tables, the experience will be a pleasant one.
Waffletina @ Benchtop Brewing - Norfolk
I will preface this by saying that I hate waffles. When I go to brunch, I will likely get lunch food and not breakfast. If a burger uses a waffle as a bun, I will ask for a regular bread, because why ruin a perfectly good sandwich with a soggy or hard waffle? So I'm sure you are wondering why I would hunt visit a eatery that has the word waffles in their name right? It's because of their huge following.
Waffletina does not have a permanent brick and mortar location, they are not even a food truck. They pop up at locations (normally breweries) around Hampton Roads for a few hours on any random weekend. Get there late and you'll experience long lines or the possibility of them being sold out. When I saw that they were going to be at Benchtop Brewing on a day that I had nothing happening, I thought why not pay a visit.
I ordered the waffle with bacon, a sunny side up egg, sundried tomato, greens (for that healthy balance of course) and chive aioli. The bacon is thick cut with sweet maple goodness, though I would've preferred for the egg to be below the greens(less mess) it was cooked perfectly and the chive aioli offered an extra flavor that you don't get when ordering a regular sandwich with mayo. The waffle itself was neither hard nor chewy, most likely due to the fact that they are making them to order. It had tiny flecks of sugar in it that was a delightful surprise.
The wait was worth it
Three Ships Coffee - Virginia Beach
Keeping with the oceanfront theme, Three Ships Coffee is another small business that focuses on local production and the use of high quality ingredients.
During my visit I enjoyed a Bourbon aged vanilla latte and a Handpie filled with Spinach, Feta, Onion and Cream Cheese. The Cream Cheese was a scary ingredient to me. Since my weight loss, I try to make healthy choices when eating out...and a high calorie coffee and a pastry filled with cream cheese does not fall in line with that. The employee there mentioned that he sees similar reactions to mine and that the cream cheese would not be dessert consistency; he was right. The savory ingredients complimented the sweet and the pastry was the perfect vessel for the two; kind of like putting jelly on a biscuit.
Although I wont be able to try their food on a whim, I learned that several restaurants around Hampton Roads serve their coffee. Great information for a Chesapeake resident who cant always make it (i.e. doesn't like to drive) to the beach.