Leopold Bros

Apples will always have a home in my heart. Growing up in the Hudson Valley meant you liked apples even if you didn’t.  Leopold bros managed to capture two things close to my heart well crafted whiskey and New York Apples.


At a 40 dollar price point this should be a easy add to any home bar.liqueur is flavored with a wide range of apples, from Golden Delicious to rare Macoun apples. The apples are allowed to become almost overripe before juicing and blending with whiskey. The blend is then aged in bourbon barrels.

I liked it with a ice cube or two in it to help bring out the apple. Straight up it can be little aggressive, but slightly chilled on ice its smooth and beautiful.  This whiskey can be easily paired well with ginger beer, cider, or a hard cider for a elevated flavorful drink combo.




Pop-Ups and hot days

The pop up restaurant every chef’s dream often showcased on shows like top chef and in the movies. In reality not the easiest thing in the world to pull off for many reasons. Lucky here in Norfolk a husband and wife are trying to pull it off once a month.

Chef Nate who is doing is residency at the Norfolk’s Legrand Kitchen sous-chef takes over once a month on Sunday’s to create their own pop up restaurant Pro-Tiem. I got lucky to check out their pop up at a local b&b owned by friend and other restaurant owner Jamie Summs of 80/20 burger bar.

chef nate

Overall not a bad day I will have to say the heat was a bitch to have the event outside, but gave me a reason to drink more cocktails. A nice touch offering local wine and two signature cocktails created by the house bartender. I opted for the Gin Nikki which was gin, mint, club soda, lemonade, and lavender. Refreshing to say the least on a 90 degree Virginia day.

gin nikki

Food offerings came out in a series of passed plates which were different than the normal sit down course style offered at their traditional pop ups at Legrand. Grilled flank steak with avocado mousse was good for the hot day. The steak was cook well seasoning was enough not to overpower. The avocado mousse personally didn’t do much for me, just kinda bland and was just there didn’t add anything really to the dish other then to cool the heat of the pepper on the meat.

flank steak

Side offerings of charred baby vegetables and chimichurri. The churri was really good I started to put it on everything I could get my hands on. It went really well with the steak actually.

roasted veg

Mixed salad with Greek yogurt and edible dirt was an interesting combo for the hot day. Overall I liked this dish, but the dirt wasn’t super good it was comprised of toasted barley, wheat, and granola. While it added the crunch the dish needed some of the toasted notes were a bit tough to chow down on.

pro tiem 3

The seared pork belly was my second favorite dish of the day. Belly was salty, buttery, and fall apart in your mouth good. The black garlic puree was an awesome addition of sweet and sour to the salty smooth belly.

seared pork belly

Ahhhh the pickled shrimp I must have ate probably twenty of these guys that day. The pickling liquid was so flavorful and added this crisp bite to the sweet shrimp that was perfect for a hot day. The liquid had notes of smoked paprika, rice wine vinegar, and citrus.  These bad boys were good just as they were cocktail sauce not needed, but the smoked tomato sauce brought them to a whole different level.


jamie and me

pro tiem 2

Basil Mojito


Basil ah sweet sweet basil. You tricky whore you are. Can be sweet or savory a garnish or a critical component of dish. You are the global call girl of herbs being used all over in all kinds of cooking.

Above its a photo taken from my days pretending I was Tom Cruise in cocktail and swooning trophy wives into poor choices and blackmail. Its a easy cocktail to make on a day like today 67 degrees and sunny.  I’m going to give two variations on the drink because some of you people don’t like gin (go find a bridge and jump now)

Starts off like a regular mojito grab a set of tins if you don’t own them get a pint glass add basil. If you can find sweet thai basil or lemon basil it will generally work better because its sweet. If your a purest or a filthy Italian like me regular basil is just fine.

Add 3 tablespoons of sugar and a 5-10 leafs of basil. Throw some ice down and muddle till its a pulp.

Add in 1-2 shots of gin (I like tanqueray rangpur due to the lime content)

Add grapefruit juice and sprite to fill leave about a 4 fingers of space at the top. Shake like mad man then pour over ice.

Now if all of that horrifies you the gin and grapefruit juice change out the gin for white rum and the grapefruit juice for sprite and lemonade.