There is an old saying that a man cannot live on bread alone, but I think it can if it is really good bread and accompanied by really good wine.
From soft drinks like coffee, soda, and tea to hard drinks like beer, spirits, and wine, there are plenty of drink options when dining out. What you drink with your meal often directly affects how you enjoy that dish.
For 27 years I am a food journalist. During this one year I have eaten at restaurants in and around Norfolk. Along with a memorable meal, we also enjoyed unique beverages. This column has some standouts.
You should see two Bloody Marys in the list. They are my favorite cocktails and a must for breakfast or brunch depending on the situation.
As I mentioned in my April 3 column, there are some non-cocktail drinks on the menu.
I wrote about this and the excellent selection of Oenopus Alpa Red 2019 wines at Press 626 on these pages on April 17th.
Made from Xinomavro, Limniona and Mavroudi grapes that I wasn’t familiar with, the blend proved to be full of red fruit, balanced and vibrant. It was intense without being overpowering and paired great with the steak, but you could see this in many other dishes that even had a hint of umami.
For New Years, check out these drinks if you want. If you find your own food, please share it at PatrickEvansHylton@gmail.com.
cheers! Here are my 5 amazing, must-try drinks in 2022. They are listed alphabetically by restaurant.
Do-Nut Dinette is a long-standing and very popular eatery serving classic diner fare in the heart of Ghent, Norfolk.
it had it all. Glossy exterior with large windows that flood the small dining room with light. A prominent long counter with padded stools. cubby booth. And a menu that spans all traditional breakfast and lunch dishes.
I enjoy many meals there and love the term ‘greasy spoon’. Then it closed.
Located in the same location, Little Dog Diner offers a charming atmosphere, excellent service, and good old-fashioned diner food. There is also a Bloody Mary.
Tangy and eye-opening, Little Dog Diner’s Bloody Mary is an impressive drink and a welcome addition to the menu.
The brightly colored cocktails are rich in flavor and well-balanced in taste. I took a sip and pursed my lip into a saucy seasoned rimmed glass with crisp celery sticks. The first bite was as good as the last. I wrote about this discovery on these pages on September 25th.
Little Dog Diner is located at 1917 Colley Ave., Norfolk. Call or visit us at 757-333-4137 www.LittleDogDiner.com
I can’t imagine a brunch without a Bloody Mary.
Topped with a crown of bright reds and groceries like celery and olives, it’s the most elegant way to imbibe respectfully by noon.
This drink has been around for a century. Liquid Lore was created in 1921 by bartender Fernand Petiot at the New York Bar (later Harry’s New York Bar) in Paris. The original name was Bucket of Blood. Thanks for the name change.
The Bloody Mary at Karla’s Beach House is a lovely rendition. The mix is zippy and the vodka pour is generous. An intense blend of Old Bay seasoning and crushed red pepper flakes ring the rim, garnished with crunchy celery and tangy olives. She first wrote about this absorption in her Norfolk Eats column on April 3.
Karla’s Beach House is located at 3248 E. Ocean View Ave., Norfolk. Call or visit us at 757-937-3844 www.KarlasBeachHouse.com
I have long been a fan of Orapax, a charming and die-hard Greek restaurant in West Ghent.
The menu is full of Old World favorites such as moussaka, souvlaki and pastiggio. They make average pizzas too.
Another favorite on the menu is the Santorini Sunrise. A Greek take on the classic sangria, this wine comes with your choice of white or red wine. I chose the latter. Orange and pineapple juice and fresh fruit are added.
The periwinkle cocktail came in a large goblet, ice cold and served with citrus and strawberry slices. The wine flavors dominated, but were pleasantly subdued by the sweetness of the fruit juices. It was delicious and refreshing. We talked about this delicious drink at Eats on July 24th.
Orapax is located at 1300 Redgate Avenue, Norfolk. Call or visit us at 757-627-8041 www.OrapaxRestaurant.com
Crush is the region’s informal cocktail, and orange is a sentimental favorite.
But don’t rule out other variations. Stony’s Dockside Bar & Grill has more than six options on its price list, and the only question is which one to try.
As a longtime Conch Republic lover, I chose Key Lime Crush. This is a gorgeous drink, perfect for when you’re dreaming of the warmer months or endless summers. Please. I first wrote about this in my May 1st column.
Shaken and served over tons of ice, it’s an addictive blend of whipped cream-flavoured vodka, triple sec, key lime juice, cream, and a touch of lemon-lime soda for frothing. was full of key lime pie. It was so good, in fact, that I chose not to try another crush during this visit and just get these other crushes.
Stony’s Dockside Bar & Grill is located at 8166 Shore Drive, Norfolk. Call 757-937-6889 or visit www.StonysDockside.com
Located in Chelsea’s West Ghent enclave, Torch Bistro has been a community staple for several years now. The bistro is also a great tribute to other foodie outposts such as Benchtop and his Smartmouth brewery, The Birch craft beer bar, Grandiflora Wine Garden, Orapax and Vessel Craft Coffee.
Reverend Spirits is close by as well. We love Reverend Spirits, a Norfolk-based distillery a few blocks from Torch Bistro. Here, distiller Karl Dornemann concocts some fine spirits, including Reverend Gin.
This gin in this cocktail is the base of the cleverly named Don’t Put it Pastor cocktail, boosted by fruity and floral notes from two liqueurs. It has lovely raspberry flavors from Chambord and a delicate essence of elderflower from Saint-Germain. Additional sweetness and effervescence come from the lemon-lime soda topping.
This drink was addictive, balanced and delicious.
Torch Bistro is located on Orapax St. 601 in Norfolk. Call 757-416-6848 or visit www.TheTorchBistro.com.
Waffles, waffles, and more waffles are on the menu at the New Year’s Day Waffletina Brunch on January 1st at Benchtop Brewing Company. Things start at noon.
For more information on Waffletina, please visit www.facebook.com/Waffleina.Norfolk.
Benchtop Brewing is located at 1129 Boissevain Ave., Norfolk. Call 757-321-9482 or visit www.BenchtopBrewing.com.
The New Year is never a drag with the New Year’s Day drag brunch on January 1st. The celebration will take place on January 1st at 12:30 pm.
37th and Zen is located at 1083 W. 37th St., Norfolk. Call 757-533-5151 or visit www.37thAndZen.com.
Patrick Evans-Hilton Patrick EvansHylton@gmail.com