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For a trip to Spain, and other food destinations, head to the Oceanfront – Virginian |

For a trip to Spain, and other food destinations, head to the Oceanfront – Virginian

Did I tell you I took a culinary trip to Spain in early May?

No passport, packing or planes involved. I got in my car and drove to Salacia Prime Seafood and Steaks in Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront. That’s where I attended a Spanish-themed wine dinner.

I’ve been to Catch 31 at the Hilton many times, but had never set foot in Salacia. It’s a restaurant-within-a-restaurant, tucked over on the side with exclusive oceanfront patio seating and a very fancy feel. From the cobalt blue mosaic tile fireplace to the leather-padded wall to the dark wood ceiling, linen tablecloths and gorgeous dinnerware, this place is posh.

Salacia features a monthly series called Vino With the Vintner. On May 4, patrons were treated to the cuisine of Spain, such as octopus, arugula salad with serrano ham, chorizo-quail-rabbit paella, fennel-crusted rack of lamb and a tart-flan-churros trio for dessert. Each course was beautifully plated, professionally served and delicious. Starting with the glass of Marques De Gelida Brut Gran Reserva 2012 that was handed to us all upon entering, each course was accompanied by lovely sips of Spanish wines to enhance and complement each dish. A trio of ports was served with dessert.

I took my friend Gale, who is partial to her own cooking and her favorite New York restaurants. She once had a less-than-stellar visit to Salacia, but admitted that based on what she had this night, she would definitely return .

Perhaps the fact that Salacia Executive Chef Dan Elinan’s pedigree includes working at Daniel and Le Bernardin in New York City and The French Laundry and Norman’s in Orlando is proof positive that this restaurant is worth your attention.

Vino With the Vintner goes to Chile on June 1, and Elinan has quite a menu planned, including Chilean sea bass ceviche, pisco- scented Verlasso salmon, Chilean beef empanadas, Chilean pot roast and a dessert trio of tres leches, chocolate-dunked cuchufli and leche asada.

Elinan introduces each dish and talks a bit about the ingredients. Amanda Einhorn and sommelier Don Paul will tell you about the wines.

The reception begins at 6 p.m. with a glass of Pascal Toso sparkling brut; dinner is at 6:30. Prepare to be very full at the end. Happily full.

Tickets are $85 at For questions regarding the dinners, contact Kara Dough at 757-491-3000.

Salacia Prime Seafood Steaks, 3001 Atlantic Ave., Virginia Beach, 757-213-3473,

Like knowing where your food comes from? Who grows it? Who makes it? Then you need to know about the Kings Grant Farmers Market that will be held every other Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. beginning June 8.

In the parking lot of Kings Grant Baptist Church, you’ll find over 25 local vendors including Full Quiver Farms, Grace and Gratitude, Nottalotta Acres Urban Farm, Pendulum Fine Meats, Jubilee Seafood Co., Gateaux Bakery, Dee’s Nut Butters and It Started With a Fig Jams . There will be food trucks, music from Dustin Furlow and activities for the kids. Families, pets, strollers and bikes all are welcome.

“This is a great opportunity to support your local farmers and small businesses, and it’s during the week,” said organizer Lori Golding-Zontini.

Kings Grant Farmers Market, 873 Little Neck Road, Virginia Beach,

Shawn Dawkins over at Cutlass Grille in Chesapeake recently added a Sunday brunch buffet, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Breakfast items include the expected eggs, bacon, waffles and grits. But he’s also serving ackee and saltfish, the national dish of his native Jamaica, as well as fried dumplings. Prime rib roast, rotisserie ham and jerk turkey will be on the carving station. Selected chicken, beef, seafood, potato and vegetable dishes will make up the hot luncheon buffet.

Every Sunday for $28 a person.

Cutlass Grille, 805 N. Battlefield Blvd. #101, Chesapeake, 757-382-0015,

Send tips to Judy Cowling at

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