I grew up in the American South, and as such, a hearty breakfast was part of our household at least two or three mornings of the week.
My grandmother, who raised me from infancy, would serve biscuits, often with gravy, as well as eggs, usually scrambled. There’d be a meat, too: crisp bacon, corned beef hash, chicken-fried steak or sage-y country sausage were the usual suspects.
But occasionally she’d heat up her cast-iron skillet and put a long curl of kielbasa in. The aroma of the highly seasoned, smoked meat was intoxicating. By the time it was heated through, sliced and served up, my stomach announced my intentions with its rumbling before I had time to grab the fork.
THE EAT: KIELBASA AND EGGS, $13
I had the chance to experience that wonderful breakfast again at a recent visit to Pop’s Diner. I’ve long enjoyed the restaurant, and often settle on their pancakes at breakfast. But with a glance at the menu and the promise of kielbasa and eggs, I fell out of the habit that day.
Breakfast plates like this come with two eggs, toast and choice of fruit, home fries or grits. For the eggs, I picked scrambled, and I opted for grits, a favorite breakfast side of mine for more than a half-century now.
The sausage was amazing: nine thick-cut slices, each with gorgeous grill marks adorning the edges, was presented. I cut into one; it was tender, juicy and bursting with the flavor of this classic Polish sausage. The portions were so generous that by the time I ate the fluffy eggs, creamy grits and a slice of toast, I ended up taking half of them home with me.
What’s not to love about a mimosa? It’s fruity and light, and gives you an excuse to look sophisticated while day-drinking.
At Pop’s Diner, there are a number of mimosas to choose from, including the tropical-inspired Hawaiian mimosa. Our server asked if I wanted a double. What do you think I said?
A large glass was filled to the brim with sparkling wine, pineapple juice and grenadine. The grenadine hovered around the bottom, creating a layered effect with the yellow-hued juice atop, reminiscent of a sunrise — or a tequila sunrise, sans tequila.
It was delicious, a great balance of flavors and reminded me of a liquid pineapple upside-down cake, another of my grandmother’s specialties.
The restaurant is in the Greenbrier area of Chesapeake, and also has two Virginia Beach locations.
Pop’s Diner is at 1432 Greenbrier Parkway; call 757-502-8220 or visit popsdinerco.com.
Christmas Eve Cookie & Wine Pairing takes place at Branches Tasting Room, offering four house-made cookies paired with four wines, priced at $24. The event runs from noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 24.
Branches Tasting Room also hosts Bubbles & Bites Dec. 29. The sparkling wine tasting gets underway at 6 p.m. Four varieties of bubbles paired with four small bites are included in the $40 fee.
Branches Tasting Room is at 2125 Starmount Parkway; call 757-392-3942 or visit brancheswinetasting.org.
Hotrodders Cafe hosts its first Candlelight Christmas Dinner 7-9 p.m. Dec. 22. Five courses are offered, served in a festive candlelit setting.
Hotrodders Cafe is at 1457 Mount Pleasant Road; call 757-546-1950 or visit hotrodderscafe.net.
Nosh on Texas barbecue as the Red River Smokehouse food truck pulls up at Pale Horse Coffee. Look for the ‘q from executive chef/pitmaster Steve Jones from 8-11:30 p.m. Dec.26. The smokehouse is noted for a variety of sandwiches that include sliced brisket, smoked chicken, pulled pork and more.
For more on Red River Smokehouse, visit facebook.com/redriversmokehouse.
Pale Horse Coffee is at 1296 S. Battlefield Blvd.; call 757-410-5399 or visit palehorsecoffee.com.
Patrick Evans-Hylton, PatrickEvansHylton@gmail.com