Finally, my spring break had arrived, and I cannot even describe to you how much I needed it. Lately, I had been feeling like I was in a constant pickle between life and work stressors. This spring break was exactly what I needed to recharge and get ready for what the rest of the school year will bring.
For our spring break, Mr. Grape Pairings and I went to VA Beach. Once again, this trip was combining his love of birds, my love of wine, and our combined love of hiking. We went on 4 different hikes to see birds, each ranging from 7-12 miles. Our feet were tired! All in all, we saw about 60 species of birds, and the hubby saw 10 lifers! Pretty successful birding adventures!
While the hubby was in charge of how our days were spent, I was in charge of the night. This mainly consisted of just dinner plans because we were so worn out from our hikes that we were in bed by 8 every night. While we dined at some other pretty good restaurants, there was one that we loved so much, that we went not once, but twice: Blue Seafood and Spirits. According to TripAdvisor, it is the #1 restaurant in VA Beach and has won numerous awards for their crab cakes. Being lovers of crab cakes, we had to check this place out!
Blue is located in a plaza away from the the hustle and bustle of the boardwalk and main area of VA Beach. It is within a 15 minute driving distance from the hotels, and you drive by some nice neighborhoods in the area. It is a smaller restaurant, but we got there right at 6pm both nights and didn’t have trouble getting a table. The food was so good that I ordered the same food both nights.
After ordering drinks (a glass of Bieler Pere et Fils Rosé for me and a martini one night and Landshark Beer another for the hubby), we were given a Shrimp Canapé that was out of this world. It had a mousse-styled cocktail sauce on a homemade cracker with grilled shrimp on top. It had a zing that was so flavorful but not overpowering. We were so impressed just by the starter alone, that we couldn’t imagine how the food could get any better…but it did!
Like I said, I ordered the same meal both nights. I knew going into the restaurant that I wanted a crab cake. Typically, with any kind of shellfish, no matter how cooked or prepared, Chardonnays and Rosés are a good bet. Shrimp, lobster, crab, oyster, muscle, clams…you name it, if it lives in a shell, it will probably go well with an oaky, buttery Chardonnay or a clean, citrusy Rosé. Pinot Grigio could be a good pairing, but you have be careful, as some Pinot Grigio could be too light. Sauvignon Blancs could also go well, but some of the crisp texture may get lost with the heavier flavors of the shellfish. When in doubt, just go with Chardonnay or Rosé. I was in the mood for Rosé, and there being only one on the menu made decision making easy. It was a Provence styled Rosé, which meant that it was going to be dry and acidic, perfect for Crab Cakes.
As crab cakes should be, Blue’s were broiled, full of crab, and had minimal filling. They used Mostle Rudee Inlet and Eastern Shore crab. Along side were steamed veggies and a mini sweet potato biscuit. Blue has won several awards for their crab cakes, and they did not disappoint. If there was any filling, I wouldn’t have known. Many restaurants put potato, mayo, and/or other veggies to hold the cake together, which is a major party foul if you are from the Eastern Shore area and know how to do crab cakes properly. The outside was golden brown from the broiler and moist on the inside. When I cut into it, the crab cake stayed in place and did not ooze out, which would have been another big no-no. When eating, I tasted all crab, and it was wonderful. Crab naturally has a buttery, creamy taste, and without adding any butter or cream to the recipe, the flavor was fresh and light and I didn’t feel heavy after eating it.
With the Rosé, it was a match made in heaven. The citrusy orange and lemon zest flavors were brought immediately to the palate and the natural creaminess of the crab cake bought out the strawberry notes of the wine. The Rosé’s lighter and more savory flavors, such as dried rose petals and rosemary, were not lost, and were apparent at the end of the taste, after the bite of crab cake was savored. I could see how an Oaky Chardonnay would also go well. The buttery flavors of the crab and the oaky flavors of the wine would complement each other. If you want a richer, creamier texture, go with the Chardonnay. If you want a crisper texture, go with the Rosé. Either way, you can’t go wrong!
We took each bite with our eyes closed, feeling the exhaustion of the day but relishing each and every morsel of the delicious food. We were in no way rushed, which was good, because we weren’t going anywhere fast based on the snail-like pace we were moving. Thank you for two great meals, Blue Seafood and Spirits!
So what are the takeaways?
#1 Crab cakes should be just that…crab! Anything extra is hiding the fact that they didn’t put a lot of crab in it.
#2 Crab cakes, and shellfish in general, go well with Chardonnays and Rosés. Yes, they can go with pretty much any white, but when in doubt of the wine’s flavors and textures, your safe bet is one of these two.
#3 Go to Blue Seafood and Spirits!!!
Questions for you:
- Where do you go for a good crab cake?
- What do you drink with it?
- Have you ever been on vacation and loved a restaurant so much that you went more than once? What restaurant and where was it?