It was a bitter coastal Virginia winter storm, with wind chopping via these silly sufficient to be exterior. So as to add insult to harm, heavy, moist snowflakes and frozen pictures of rain pelted these uncovered to the weather. The temper was bitter, belying the truth that the vacations had been right here.

In December 1608, Virginia was lower than two years previous, and the colonists had been in survival mode.

That 12 months, John Smith traded with the Natives at Kecoughtan, a small Native American village near present-day Hampton. Smith had negotiated with Powhatan via messengers for a boatload of corn in alternate for the constructing of an English-style home and different objects, together with weapons, copper and beads. Throughout this era, the primary written account of Christmas within the New World is given.

Late December despatched in a winter nor’easter, confining Smith and his 46 males to Kecoughtan for a number of days. Unable to return to Jamestown, the vacation was noticed within the village.

Smith wrote: “The subsequent evening being lodged at Kecoughtan 6 or 7 days, the acute wind, rain, frost, and snow prompted us to maintain Christmas among the many Savages, the place we had been by no means extra merry, nor consumed extra loads of good oysters, fish, flesh, wildfowl and good bread, nor by no means had higher fires in England than within the dry heat smoky homes of Kecoughtan.”

Now 414 years later, our area nonetheless celebrates a coastal vacation, supplementing traditional dishes with those who have our personal distinctive tastes and traditions.

We requested 5 of our favourite space culinarians their favourite issues concerning the season, together with what’s on their vacation desk, and to share a recipe so that you can add to your invoice of fare.


“The vacations have at all times been a particular time for me,” mentioned Chef David Brue of the Atlantic on Pacific in Virginia Seaside, a locally-sourced, seafood-focused modern American restaurant showcasing an intensive uncooked bar program.

Dave Brue is the chef at The Atlantic on Pacific in Virginia Beach, a locally-sourced seafood-focused contemporary American restaurant showcasing an extensive raw bar program. Courtesy of Dave Brue

“I’ve a really tight-knit household and we at all times collect for the vacations,” Brue mentioned. “We have now a number of traditions, together with apple selecting, vacation adorning, seafood boils and oyster roasts. We prefer to share this with others on the Atlantic as nicely. We love seeing households come collectively and make their very own traditions, making it an yearly factor to return to the restaurant to get pleasure from our choices.”

The chef suggests his “Thanksgiving-stuffed” baked oysters to start out a vacation meal.

“We selected this recipe as a result of it showcases the oysters, that are my favourite native ingredient. It’s a tackle a traditional oyster stuffing and one thing enjoyable that the entire household can participate in getting ready,” he mentioned.


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 quarts cubed and toasted bread
  • 1 carrot, peeled and small diced
  • 2 ribs celery small diced
  • 1 onion, small diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 pound cooked and crumbled Italian sausage
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups rooster broth
  • 3 dozen Virginia oysters


Soften butter in a saute pan. Add carrots, onion, celery and garlic and prepare dinner on low warmth for five minutes or till the greens are tender.

Place bread in a medium sized mixing bowl and add vegetable combination and herbs. Add the sausage. Combine the egg with the rooster broth and incorporate. Add to the bread combination and let sit, coated, for half-hour.

Warmth oven to broil.

Shuck oysters and place on a baking sheet. High every with 1-2 tablespoons of the stuffing combination. Broil the oysters for five minutes till they’re cooked and the stuffing combination is golden brown.

Yields 3 dozen oysters.


Wicker’s Crab Pot Seafood in Chesapeake is a family-owned enterprise that has been working domestically for greater than 4 generations. Hallmarks of the restaurant embody Virginia blue crabs, locally-harvested oysters and quite a lot of different recent seafood. Jason Campen is the chief chef.

Jason Campen is the executive chef at Wicker Crab Pot Seafood in Chesapeake, a family-owned business that has been operating locally for many generations. Hallmarks of the restaurant are Virginia blue crabs, locally-harvested oysters and a variety of other fresh seafood. Courtesy Jason Campen

“The vacations are a time to spend with family members, share reminiscences, make new reminiscences and most significantly, get pleasure from some nice meals collectively,” he mentioned.

Foregoing conventional vacation fare, the chef suggests including a distinct aspect.

“Maybe one thing extra adventurous might make a splash on the random evening of entertaining family and friends,” he mentioned, providing a recipe for his oven-baked Mediterranean flounder as an entree.


  • 2 kilos recent flounder filets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning (or mixture of oregano, rosemary and thyme)
  • 1/4 tablespoon crushed crimson pepper flakes, optionally available
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 pound tri-color cherry tomatoes, halved

Minimize flounder into roughly 6-ounce filets, then rub every portion with just a little olive oil on either side.

Frivolously sprinkle equal elements of salt, pepper, garlic powder and Italian seasoning on the either side of every fish piece. Optionally, sprinkle on crushed crimson pepper flakes. Warmth oven to 425 F.

Spray a lipped baking sheet with non-stick spray and place flounder filets pores and skin facet down, leaving about an inch between each bit.

Bake 6-8 minutes; it is going to be finished cooking as soon as it has an inside temperature of 145F. As soon as cooked, take away from oven and sprinkle grated parmesan and a few diced tomatoes on prime of every filet. Return to oven for about 30 seconds to barely soften cheese.

Yields roughly 4 servings.


“As a seasoned hospitality skilled for 3 many years, my household dinner has at all times been shared with our friends’ households and with the ability to put together and host not solely a meal however a shared custom,” mentioned govt chef Wes Stepp, proprietor of Pink Sky Cafe and NC Coast Grill & Bar in Duck, North Carolina. “Nothing epitomizes household greater than a reminiscence making meal with a double serving to of southern hospitality.”

Wes Stepp is executive chef of Red Sky Cafe and NC Coast Bar & Grill. Both of Stepp’s restaurants focus on fresh coastal Outer Banks meats, produce, and seafood. Red Sky offers Southern contemporary cuisine, while NC Coast showcases globally-inspired dishes. Courtesy of Edible Photography OBX

Each of Stepp’s eating places deal with recent coastal Outer Banks meats, produce and seafood. Pink Sky presents Southern modern delicacies whereas NC Coast showcases globally-inspired dishes.

For a landlubber’s vacation entree that goes past the ham and turkey, Stepp suggests his tomahawk pork chop with red-eyed bacon jam.

“This dish featured on the NC Coast menu…delivers within the decadence of southern consolation meals that the vacation delicacies calls for,” he mentioned.

Chop Substances

  • 1 10-ounce tomahawk chop
  • Coarse salt
  • Freshly floor black pepper

Jam Substances

  • 1 pound thick-cut bacon
  • 2 further giant candy onions, quartered
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sturdy espresso
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Chop Technique

Preheat oven to 350 F. Season the chop on either side with salt and pepper. Place on a scorching grill for 2-3 minutes on both sides, then end within the oven for 10-Quarter-hour or till there may be nonetheless pink subsequent to the bone when chopping into it. Serve with Pink-Eyed Bacon Jam atop.

Jam Technique

Minimize the bacon into half-inch slices and fry in a scorching pan. Cook dinner over medium warmth for 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon, take away bacon and reserve.

Pour out all however 1 tablespoon of the bacon fats drippings. Add onion and prepare dinner for 8-10 minutes, stirring sometimes. Cut back warmth to low, add sugar and stir. Cook dinner an extra 20 minutes, stirring sometimes.

Add the reserved bacon, espresso, and water and improve the warmth to medium. Proceed to prepare dinner till the combination turns into thick and jam-like, about half-hour. Style for salt. Use instantly or refrigerate as much as one week.

Yields 1 chop.


Cafe Stella in Norfolk, an ethereal house adorned with classic and trendy treasures, roasts espresso in-house, presents globally-inspired dishes, scratch-baked desserts, wine, beer and cocktails.

Stella Pomianek is owner/baker of Cafe Stella in Norfolk, an airy space decorated with vintage and modern treasures, roasts coffee in-house, offers globally inspired dishes, scratch baked desserts, wine, beer and cocktails. Her husband Mariusz owns the bistro with her and is the coffee roaster. Courtesy of Stella Pomianek

“I’ve an enormous household, so the vacations meant boisterous gatherings, scrumptious meals and desserts — each American and Filipino,” mentioned Cafe Stella’s namesake, Stella Pomianek, who owns the bistro with husband Mariusz.

“Our tables had been loaded with essentially the most scrumptious dishes. I’m a baker, prepare dinner and decorator, so Thanksgiving and Christmas meant I might do all of the issues that make me completely satisfied, after which share with all.”

For a candy ending on a vacation meal, Pomianek presents her pecan-pineapple meringue cake.

“I picked this recipe to share as a result of it has been in my household for many years. My mother made this cake for particular events and the vacations,” she mentioned.

Cake Substances

  • 1 cup sifted cake flour, plus extra for pans
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 giant eggs, separated
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • 3/4 cup pecans, finely chopped

Filling Substances

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 13-1/2 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained


Make the cake: Warmth oven to 350 F. Line the bottoms of two 8-inch spherical cake pans and match with two circles of parchment paper. Spray the paper and pan sides with pan spray. Put aside. Sift the cake flour with baking powder and salt. Put aside. Beat the egg whites to mushy peaks, utilizing a mixer. Step by step beat in 1 cup sugar, persevering with to beat till stiff. Fold in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Put aside.

Cream butter with remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar nicely, utilizing a mixer, till fluffy. Add the egg yolks and beat till mixed. Cut back mixer velocity to low, mix in flour combination alternately with milk. Beat till the batter is easy. Stir in remaining teaspoon of vanilla. Divide the batter evenly between the two ready pans. High every half with the meringue and sprinkle with pecans. Bake till golden and a cake tester inserted into the cake comes out clear, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool desserts fully, of their pans, on a wire rack.

Make the filling: Beat the heavy cream and confectioners sugar collectively to stiff peaks. Fold within the pineapple.

Assemble the cake: Loosen edges of cake with small spatula and end up. Place one cake layer, meringue-side down, on a cake plate. Unfold the cream filling over the cake and prime with the remaining layer, meringue-side up. Refrigerate till able to serve, a number of hours or in a single day.

Yields 8 servings.


“The vacations are a particular time,” mentioned Robert Gregory, normal supervisor of Fin & Tonic in Suffolk and Steak & Tonic in Newport Information. “Thanksgiving units the tone for the entire season with getting along with household and associates and everybody cooking and sharing meals.

Robert Gregory is general manager and mixologist at Fin & Tonic in Suffolk and Steak & Tonic in Newport News. Fin & Tonic is a tapas restaurant offering fresh local cuisine and a cocktail speakeasy. Steak & Tonic is an upscale steakhouse serving exotic meats. Courtesy of Robert Gregory

“Christmas could be very magical, and at this stage of my life, it’s simply one of the best factor on the earth to see my youngsters’s pleasure and the happiness they expertise.”

Fin & Tonic is a tapas restaurant from chef Kenny Sloane Jr. and providing recent native delicacies and a cocktail speakeasy. Steak & Tonic is an upscale steakhouse serving unique meats, additionally from Sloane.

Gregory is famous for his artistic cocktails, and to assist make spirits brilliant, he mentioned serve up his Port of Virginia.

“I picked this variation of a Manhattan as a result of it’s simple to make,” he mentioned. “It’s also scrumptious and approachable. Generally, holidays may be hectic, and this cocktail will assist us all chill out and benefit from the moments.”


Word: Gregory prefers to make use of the Flying Fox Whiskey Case bourbon from Ironclad Distillery, positioned in Newport Information. For bitters, he prefers R1VAL Breakfast Bitters, handcrafted by Gregory and bought at Ironclad Distillery.

  • 2 ounces Virginia bourbon
  • 3 drops bitters equivalent to R1VAL Breakfast Bitters or Angostura bitters
  • 1 ounces Taylor Fladgate Reserve Tawny Porto
  • Cherry


Add ice, bourbon, bitters, and port to a mixing glass and stir. Pressure into an Previous Normal glass and garnish with a cherry.

Yields 1 cocktail.





Begin your morning with at present’s native information

The Atlantic on Pacific is at 3004 Pacific Ave., Virginia Seaside. Name 757-422-2122 or go to

Wicker’s Crab Pot Seafood is at 4201 Indian River Highway, Chesapeake. Name 757-351-2724 or go to

Pink Sky Cafe is at 1197 Duck Highway, Kitty Hawk, N.C. Name 252-564-8606 or go to

NC Coast Grill & Bar is at 1184 Duck Highway, Duck, N.C. Name 252-261-8666 or go to

Cafe Stella is at 1907 Colonial Ave., Norfolk. Name 757-625-0461 or go to

Fin & Tonic is at 1301 Bridgeport Manner, Suffolk. Name 757-800-1074 or go to

Steak & Tonic is at 11810 Fountain Manner, Newport Information. Name 757-690-8474 or go to

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