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Shake Shake Shake Your Way into the Holidays!



One of the most familiar fruits this time of year are cranberries. In our Jingle Bell Butter, the little red gem is takes centerstage with complimentary flavors in a rich, creamy spread that you’ll want on your table throughout autumn and into winter. Try this at breakfast spread on bagels, flapjacks, muffins, and waffles. At lunch smear it on bread to accent a chicken, ham, or turkey sandwich.


At dinner, put a pat on hot veggies or a baked sweet potato, or on entrees such as pork or poultry and let it melt into a quick, sumptuous sauce. For a delish dessert, spread some of the Jingle Bell Butter on top of a grilled piece of pound cake and drizzle with chocolate sauce. Here’s how to make it:

In a medium mixing bowl add two sticks of soft butter; you can leave the butter at room temperature overnight for them to soften. Add a half-cup to three-quarters cup of cranberry relish or cranberry sauce, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger, and the zest of one orange. If you’d like a spicy version, add a half or whole jalapeño – depending on the amount of heat you are looking for – seeded and finely minced. 


Using a spatula, mix all ingredients to incorporate. Either spoon into a ramekin or small bowl, smooth over the top, cover, and refrigerate until use; it will last refrigerated for up to a week. Alternatively, add the butter compound onto a length of plastic wrap in a log shape and roll to shape. Refrigerate up to a week, or freeze up to six months, and cut off a medallion for use.

In our segment, we spread the Jingle Bell Butter on a freshly-baked morning muffin, make with a recipe from our friend Stella Pomianek of Cafe Stella (www.CafeStellaRoasters.com).

Cafe Stella is a charming bistro and coffeehouse in Norfolk’s Ghent, offering delicious offerings at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


Here is Stella’s recipe:

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners

Sift together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Stir in the 1/2 cup sugar and 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen fruit, like blueberries, raisins, and the like. 

Lightly beat 2 large eggs in a bowl, then beat in 1 cup milk, 6 tablespoons melted and cooled  butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and finely grated rind of one lemon.

Make a well in center of the dry ingredients and pour in the beaten liquid ingredients. Stir until combined. Do not  overmix.

Spoon batter into muffin pan. Cake for 20 minutes, until golden brown, and cake tester comes out clean. 




Elongated flutes of gold-hued elixir sparkle with the slightest hint of light caught by thousands of tiny bubbles that ride the length of the glass; this is champagne, and it is magic.

But all that sparkles is not necessarily champagne. And not all sparking wines use the traditional Méthode Champenoise process of a second fermentation in the bottle; some wines get their sparkle by having carbon dioxide injected into the quaff.


For a wine to be called Champagne (notice the capital “C”), it must be produced in the Champagne region of France, and typically follows traditional production methods.

shake shake shake

Most Champagne is made with Chardonnay and/or Pinot Noir grapes. Most is also non-vintage, meaning that juice from a number of harvests are blended to create the wine; non-vintage is usually indicated with the letters “NV” on the label. Most champagne is white; some is rose’.


Other popular sparklings are:

shake shake shake

Cava – a sparkling Spanish wine crafted in a traditional champenoise method using Spanish grapes like Macabeo, Parellada, and/or Xarel-lo. Styles range from dry to sweet. The differences in Cava and Champagne are often subtle, coming from grape varietals and terroir.


Prosecco – a typically brut (pronounced broot – meaning “dry”) or extra-dry sparkling typically made with Glera (also known as Prosecco) grapes. It’s often lighter and more crisp than traditional Champagne. Secondary fermentation is done either in stainless tanks, or in the bottle.


Spumante/Asti – a light, sweeter sparkling from Italy typically made with the Moscato grape. Secondary fermentation is done either in stainless tanks, or in the bottle.

For our Champagne 102 handout, with even more information, email PatrickEvansHylton@gmail.com with “champagne handout” as the subject.

In today’s segment, super sommelier Marc Sauter of Zoes Steak & Seafood (www.ZoesVB.com). Zoes is an approachable, upscale restaurant focusing on steak, seafood and other dishes. It offers an impressive wine list, as well as a wine shop where folks can purchase bottles for home enjoyment.

The wines Marc chose for our segment are:

+ Banfi Rosa Regale Sparkling Red, Italy

+ Champagne Andre’ Clouet brut, France

+ Barboursville Vineyards Cuvee 1814 brut rose’, Virginia

A classy and classic way of enjoying champagne is with a Champagne Cocktail. Here is my favorite recipe:

Place one sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne flute and sprinkle 2-3 dashes of Angostura or other bitters on the cube; do not crush sugar cube. Fill the flute with sparkling wine, squeeze a lemon twist on top, and drop in as a garnish. Optionally, add 1 teaspoon Cognac to flute before adding champagne.



My career as a food journalist began in December 1995 – 27 years ago this month.

I dine out many times over the course of the year, across Coastal Virginia and beyond, and when I am making note of an experience, I follow criteria I set up years ago: DINES.

Dines stands for:

D – Dishes + Drinks; an examination of each thing that I am eating and drinking

I – Interactions with Host/Servers/Others; basically, how is the service? How am I treated?

N – Non-Tangible Qualities; items outside the other criteria’s realm, like how the place feels.

E – Expense, Cost + Value; what’s the price on the dishes and drinks, and is it appropriate?

S – Surroundings + Setting; is the place comfortable? Welcoming? Clean?

In each criteria, I rank from 1, below average to 10, above average. Average/acceptable is 5.  I do this for each dish and drink, and come up with an average. With that number, I average the rest of the criteria to come up with a number from 5 to 100.

I score restaurants with 97 and higher as a Diamond Dish. From 80 to 96 it is a Platinum. From 70 to 79 it is a Gold, from 50 to 69 is it Silver, and from 35 to 49 it is Of Note, and restaurants scoring 5 to 34 are listed, but not given a specific designation.

Additional note: these are restaurants which I’ve dined at one or more times in the past 18 months, ordering a complete meal at the visit.

Here’s my Top Ten for 2022, listed alphabetically.

Aldo’s Ristorante


Fine dining Italian in a comfortable setting. Virginia Beach.

Cafe Stella


Charming bistro and coffeehouse. Norfolk.

Coastal Grill


Upscale seafood-centric restaurant. Virginia Beach.

Cobalt Grille


American and continental dishes in an approachable setting. Virginia Beach.

Press 626 Wine Bar


Casual restaruant and wine bar in sophisticated setting. Norfolk.

Still Worldly Eclectic Tapas


Internationally-inspired small plates menu in a speakeasy setting. Portsmouth.



Cosmopolitan American eatery with delightful dishes. Virginia Beach.

Rockafeller Room at Williamsburg Inn, The Rockafeller Room


World class accommodations and dishes focusing on local foods and foodways. Williamsburg.

Zoes Steak & Seafood


Upscale and approachable steakhouse with an impressive nod to seafood. Virginia Beach.


Get all the information from today’s Virginia Eats + Drinks on Living 757 segment plus more: giveaways, recipes, tips, and tricks on our website, www.VirginiaEatsAndDrinks.com

And be sure to join the conversation on our Facebook group, www.facebook.com/groups/VirginiaEatsAndDrinks