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March kicks off the Virginia is for Lovers Culinary Challenge for 2015.
Restaurants, locals and visitors nominated their favorite entrée for the 2015 Virginia is for Lovers Culinary Challenge. The dishes were critiqued by three judges who know and love Virginia's culinary product. From there, each entrée was placed into a bracket style vote-off to narrow the field to 16. Voting continues until one remains. Who will be crowned the "Virginia is for Lovers Culinary Challenge Champion" for 2015?
Meet the judges who will taste and comment on each plate at the cook off, offering critical information.
More than 25,000 votes have been cast to arrive at these final four entrées. Meet the Chefs.
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Crispy Cast Iron Seared Mountain Trout
Served with artisan bacon, braised fennel, smoked ham gravy, grilled shrimp and Wade's Mill (Raphine, VA) bruleed cornbread croutons. Trout sourced from Casta Line Trout Farm in Goshen, VA and The Rock Barn in Arrington, VA.
Cristina's Crazy Cuban Burrito
Locally raised, slow cooked, pulled pork with cheese, jalapeños, pickled onions, avocado, black beans and chipotle Aioli all in a flour tortilla. Served with a side of baby greens grown in Cristina's garden and farm with her fresh, homemade cilantro vinaigrette. All ingredients are locally sourced.
Highland County Mountain Trout
Cornmeal crusted and pan-fried. Served with sweet potato and andouille hash, braised baby kale, spaghetti squash, toasted walnuts, and lemon beurre blanc.
The Waterwheel Restaurant
Red Hen Bolognese
A house made pasta with local veggies and Lexington, VA's Buffalo Creek beef.
The Red Hen
Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza
Wood fired pizza topped with tomato puree, Edward's (Surry, VA) Surryano ham, mozzarella, parmesan and fresh Shenandoah Grower's Arugula.
Bella Luna Wood Fired Pizza
Leaping Water Pork Loin
Moist, flavorful and delicious pork over Buck Wheat Polenta with Braised Beet Greens and a Rhubarb Gastrique
Smoked Spruce Creek Farm Quarter Chicken
Spruce Creek Farm (Roseland, VA) slow smoked quarter chicken with house-made sausage, Turnip The Beets (Gladstone, VA) spinach and creamy Woodson's Mill (Roseland, VA) grits.
Wild Wolf Brewing Company
Bratwurst, Apple and Onion Pizza
Double H Farm bratwurst (Wingina, VA), caramelized onion, apples, mozzarella, fresh marinara and balsamic reduction on our house-made Hungry Hill Farm (Shipman, VA) honey wheat thin crust.
Blue Mountain Brewery
5 Fat Fried Chicken
Fried Chicken cooked in a cast iron skillet using country ham fat, chicken fat, bacon fat, duck fat and pork fat.
Some of the best bbq in the south according to Southern Living Magazine. Pulled pork that melts in your mouth.
Saucy’s Walk-Up BBQ
Double Smoked Fatty
Local ground beef, pork and veal wrapped in applewood smoked bacon and stuffed with house smoked pulled pork, cheddar and jack cheeses, onions and homemade pickled peppers. Finished with tomato gravy over smashed potatoes and petite green beans.
Applewood Smoked Turkey Dinner
Uber-local Virginia turkey and vegetables are put over the top with the addition of cornbread made from the "bloody butcher" variety, a deep red heirloom corn from Virginia. The turkey, peas AND cornbread are all smoked, making the dish earthy and delicious.
Pork Ribs Plate
Rib plate comes with 1/4 rack of ribs and two sides, like the slow-simmered baked beans and homemade banana pudding.
Cracker Crusted Trout with Orzo Salad
The cracker crusted trout is perfectly cooked and served with a salad complement.
Palisades Pork Chop
This pork chop is thick-cut with a chai tea brine, maple bourbon glaze and chipotle pecans.
The Palisades Restaurant
Aromatic Crusted Local Rockfish with a Chesapeake Crab Reduction and Chevre Cheese Potato Gratin
Brunoise of red pepper, squash and zucchini is crusted on the rockfish, giving it a colorful confetti crust. Add to that a reduction of a rich crab stock with crabs from the Chesapeake Bay. Served with local goat cheese and red bliss potato gratin, and garnished with spicy peanuts and pickle fennel.
Shenandoah Dry Aged Beef Brisket
Served with sweet potato puree, root vegetable ragout and stout jus.
BRABO by Robert Wiedmaier
BBQ Ham Biscuit
Monk's BBQ ham on a bacon and pepper biscuit. The sauce is a honey viognier mustard.
Chicken and Waffles
Buttermilk fried chicken served with a golden housemade waffle, whipped maple butter and warm Virginia maple syrup.
Virginia Peanut and foie gras soup with Quince mostarda & espelette pepper
Silky foie gras-laden Virginia peanut soup garnished with a bright quince mostarda and espelette pepper.
Trummer’s on Main
Local Virginia oysters - James River, Watch House Point, Old Black Salt, Misty Point, Rappahannock - are served on the half shell with cocktail sauce, horseradish, mignonette sauce and lemon wedges.
Ford’s Fish Shack
Baked Stuffed Local Flounder & Lump Crab “Norfolk”
A truly Norfolk dish, the baked, stuffed local flounder and lump crab are garnished with lemon butter and farm greens.
Todd Jurich’s Bistro
Local York River Oysters baked with spinach, Edwards (Surry, VA) ham, local crab meat, topped with hollandaise and baked off.
Waypoint Seafood & Grill
Sydz PoNo Shrimp and Grits
Stone ground grits cooked slow and creamy then topped with gulf jumbo shrimp, tomato, pimento cheese, house sausage and fennel.
Stove the Restaurant
Seafood Mac n Cheese
Macaroni tossed with lobster, crab, scallops and shrimp in a creamy three cheese sauce.
Oceans and Ale
Two premium lump crabcakes made with traditional herbs and spices, broiled and served with our roasted red pepper aioli.
Waterman’s Surfside Grille
Oyster Po Boy
Shanty Signature Dish! Cajun fried local oysters with sesame slaw and our house remoulade on a sub roll.
Apple, Brie and Bacon Burger
Ground beef from The Taylor-Wright Farm (Brodnax, VA), topped with whiskey caramelized apples, brie cheese and crisp bacon on a whole wheat bun. Fresh arugula and honey mayo made with local honey from Yerby's (Brodnax, VA) finishes it.
Bourbon Molasses Porterhouse Pork
A 16-ounce double-cut, marinated and grilled chop is served with gingered cranberry applesauce, honey mashed sweet potatoes and haricots verts.
Roasted Veggie Pasta
Roasted green and yellow squash, eggplant, mushrooms and sweet peppers are served with our homemade tomato sauce and Gemelli pasta. House salad included with your choice of homemade dressing and a Ciabatta roll with our boursin cheese spread.
Jake’s on Main
Island Clams “Espagnole”
Steamed Littleneck Clams complimented with fresh made Pasta and Spanish Chorizo skinned Sausage in a Spicy Port Wine reduction, Demi-Glacé all tossed in an enhanced fire roasted Tomato Sauce
The White Dog Bistro
Hunka Hunka Large Smoked Prime Rib
The smoked large prime rib is around two pounds of choice beef, bone in, served with a slow-cooked burgundy gravy. The whole rib roast is covered with spices and smoked three hours in a BBQ pit over hardwood harvested from the farm until perfectly medium rare in the center. The rib roast is then finished and kept warm in the woodfired oven and sliced to order fresh for each customer.
Cuz’s Uptown Barbeque
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