December 4, 2017Read More
What do you get when you cross gaudy high tech Christmas celebrating with one of the most beautiful theme parks in North Americaâ€¦.?
You get Christmastown and there is no equal
Christmas In America: Big Is Never Big Enough
You can never over Christmas in America. We take having fun at Christmas very serious in this country. So that being the case you have to experience Christmastown at Busch Gardens. I mean who better to exaggerate the pageantry of American style Christmas than Busch Gardens. A great theme park is looking to be larger than life and to put on a show.
Â Upon entering the park I was totally overwhelmed, in a good way, as mountains of Christmas lights were..EVERYWHERE. It was beautiful, exhausting, phantasmagorical, and exciting all at the same time. It really was a different park. Yes it was Busch Gardens Williamsburg, but it was transformed convincingly. And they did a great job getting you into the Yule tide mood almost immediately.Â The placeÂ did not look faked or makeshift, but a new flavor of theme park experience.
Walking Through The Gates
First of all I was in the dark most of the time I was there. Walking into the park I was wearing a heavy coat, not feeling as energetic as those t shirt months when I would jam in with a giant crowd of summer thrill seekers. I immediately noticed that the majority of Banbury Cross in England was decorated in soft Christmas lights. It was a great way to set the mood as Big Ben, lighted to perfection, protruded into the dusk. And because it was the holiday season, and cooler, I immediately wanted to eat.
Festive Feelings In Christmas Town
The first stop was to get my hot chocolate that people who had been to the park at this time of year have raved about. So I purchased my refillable mug, and defacto souvenir, and ordered my first cup of hot cocoa. But it is never that easy. Next to the very nice barista was a sign for a smore and no campfire needed. Of course on an empty stomach I had to try the holiday treat.
ChristmasTown Sugar Rush
For the first few bites it was heaven..cookie, graham cracker pieces, chocolate chips and marshmallow crĂ¨me. All of course being washed down with hot cocoa. I am estimating that I was consuming about 1000 calories with every bite and at least a tablespoon of pure cane sugar with every forkful. After about ten bites my blood sugar was spiking and the family begin the trek further into the park. I certainly wasnâ€™t going to be hungry for a while!
Subtle And Welcome Differences
As I traversed the festive atmosphere I noticed a lot of details that were put in place to maintain the mood. They were:
- Custom park maps designated and designed with the Christmas Town theme
- Lighted maps (perfect for the nighttime) all through the park
- Custom signs giving directions to the new attractions
- Delicious holiday treat style menu items like hot cocoa, smores etc
- Warm up stations with outdoor heaters
A Few Drawbacks
- It was night and I found myself sitting down to eat in the dark. Dark and cold are not a magic combination, Christmas season or not
- I should have researched the park a little more because it had all new shows and it was hard to digest it all
- I should have planned the meals a little better for maximum consumption. I didnâ€™t know there was a sausage wrapped pretzel until I had filled up already.
But Still A Great Experience
In fact I enjoyed Christmastown USA more than the usual summer fun park experience. People drive around looking for incredible displays of lights on homes. In that context a theme park with tens of thousands of lights is a must see spectacle, for some as much as any new ride or roller coaster.
A Few Christmas Town Tips
Check the weather
If the weather is less than 58, bring your heavy coat. It is going to feelmuch colder than you think. You are going to be out in the cold for hours. Even 45 degrees can get rather chilly over time, even in the festive atmosphere.
Premium Parking..Just Pay It
For $10 extra dollars you can park in walking distance from the parking lot to the entrance of BG. It is worth it. At ten a night when you leave you are not going to want to wait in the cold for a tram and then freeze on that tram from a cold air blast as you are shuttled to your car. Pay the extra $10.
November 20, 2017Read More
Your sitting down with that perfect steak. Whether at our Williamsburg steakhouse or at home, you are not going to eat that steak alone. You will have certain sides and of course the right beverage. Naturally you are there to enjoy the flavor of that meat. Whether a charcoal grilled ribeye or a heavily seasoned sirloin, you want things that complement it, not detract from it. A beverage is going to follow every bite, or at least every other bite. Something with a flavor that does not jell with beef is going to taint the taste.
We cannot let that happen
Pairing the right beer with the right cut of steak is not rocket science, but it is important. Naturally though, it all comes down to what you like in your steak beer flavor duo. The focus should be on balancing the flavor of the steak. This in mind, there are some things to consider.
Steak Is Bursting With..
Steak, especially great steak like that served here at our steakhouse in Williamsburg, is very hearty. Steak is thick and rich in flavor. The fibrous nature of steaks absorbs flavor like a sponge absorbs water. Smoke, salt, butter, oil, seasoning, and fats are all weaving a dense fabric of potent flavor. There is no light, non-filling, or dainty food here and..No wimpy beer is going to penetrate the flavor ofÂ steak.
You Had “Bitter” Balance The Taste Of That Steak
A school of thought was to go with a beer that had some bitterness. A beer with strong flavor like a porter or dark ale might be the go to beer. These darker beers help to balance out the heavily fat nature of the steak. This would be especially true in a more marbled piece of meat like a porterhouse or ribeye.
Your Steak Palette
Regardless it comes down to what you like. I have seen plenty of people who will order a type of beer with anything..and be happy.
Steak Domination.. Not A Bad Thing
Another thing to consider is that the star of the steakhouse meal is STEAK. You are not going to subjugate that taste and you wouldnâ€™t want to. It is a heavy dish with massive amounts of flavor.
Back To The Steakhouse
So when you are looking for a great steak come visit us at the Fireside Chophouse. You can pair it with wine, beer, or anything you want. Check out our menu
- (n.d.). Steak and Beer Pairings. Retrieved November 20, 2017, from http://www.themashhouse.com/uncategorized/steak-and-beer-pairings/
September 11, 2017Read More
I constantly search for steakhouse and steak grilling recipes. Not because the ones I use arenâ€™t delicious, it is always neat to try different methods other grill masters and chefs have used to flavor their steak. At the end of the day, whatever method you used to cook should be about flavor.
Flavor with meats, steaks, and chops can come from an array of sources. We have gone over many of them in this blog. They include temperature, variations in heat during cooking, marinades, prime beef, types of beef, marbling, dry aging, and more. One area where you can also add flavor is smoke.
A steakhouse generally does not depend on smoke because the cut of meat is the highest quality and the method involves locking in those juices and marbling by searing it on high heat. This is great if you have a commercial oven that can get up to a thousand degrees. Unfortunately, this may not be practical.
Grilling at home in Williamsburg, Virginia or Beyond
You may find yourself at a backyard cookout, using un-aged choice burgers that come from the sirloin with little marinade or marbling. Your only allies? Your grill and the miracle of smoke, or more specifically the flavor of letting smoke seep into a steak or cut of beef.
Different woods carry an aroma. When put on the grill and allowed to give off their scent, they impart this flavor into the food. The smoke becomes a layer of taste adding to the meat. It is an aroma that is heavenly and can take average meat and make it pretty spectacular. (add the right marinade with the right smoke and it will be out of this world)
A few thoughts on Smoking meat or adding smoke flavor to meat on the grill
Smoke isnâ€™t like a sauce. You cannot just dump it for instant flavor. Smoke is the byproduct of time. You have to let the smoke from the wood to slowly marinate in the food. More specifically, the smoke vapors permeate the meat. Though slow, the attention to this key detail will pay off.
Different Types Of Wood For Your Steak
Not all woods are created equal either. Some impart a stronger flavor than others. This is something you want to consider when grilling or smoking beef. Three really good woods for beef are:
These give a strong flavor for something complex like steak. They are potent which is a good match for steaks, sirloins, and burgers on the grill.
Check out our other steakhouse articles
July 5, 2017Read More
Many of our steakhouse customers also love grilled meats. The methods of cooking are different, but both produce some tasty results . And for them I have put together some simple tips to help in this area. For some grilling is a rite of passage. For others it offers the most amount of flavor in the shortest amount of time. But, like anything else you have to do it right or so I have been told by article after article of tips and tricks to be a great grill master.
One place I saw some interesting tips was a less known site called the Daily Burn. It mentioned a few tips that could be potentially useful. For our purposes here I am going to focus on an area that seemed the most important from the article. The area I am talking about is preventing contamination.
By contamination I mean pathogens and germs that occur during anyÂ part of the food process from acquiring the meat to actually grilling it.Â
GrillÂ preparation For Steak And Other Meats
When the steak, beef, chicken, pork or fish is raw, make sure that it gets near NOTHING else. Make sure you have a separate plate and utensils. In fact relegate one side of the grill for raw food and one side for the finished cooked steak or meats. Do not even go out with less than two sets of plates and utensils.
Meat And The Unclean Grill
Some other things to watch out for are bacteria lurking on the unclean grill. Make sure to clean that grill often. Also make sure to run it on high heat for 20 to 30 minutes before cooking to ensure it is bacteria free. Also use a thermometer, especially with chicken and fish, to make sure it is actually done and you are in the safe zone before you eat it.
Steak Over The Open Flame
I have read that grilling can potentially create compounds that are carcinogenic. I am not denying that but I know people who have grilled every meal for the past 60 years who are in perfect health. The compounds in question are the byproduct of meat over the open flame, especially when burning or scorching takes place. Some of the ways to reduce the chances of this compound forming are
- Marinate your meat which coats it
- 1 to 3 minutes in the microwave can reduce the impact of potentially carcinogenic compounds forming
- Go with leaner steak or meat to reduce dripping fat which reduces flare ups which reduces the amount of potential scorching which reduces the chance of bad compounds forming.
The Grilling Mistake That Could Make You Seriously Sick. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://dailyburn.com/life/health/healthy-bbq-grilling-tips/
June 12, 2017Read More
The steakhouse, like Colonial Williamsburg, is part of American history. I mean this literally, as both places have roots in the Old World Of Europe. The steakhouse as we know it, including our Williamsburg Steakhouse Restaurant, are part of a cultural phenomenon that is indigenous to America. Many things have converged to define the modern steakhouse, but one historical anchor of note are the beefsteak banquets.
One of the origins of the steakhouse..Beefsteak Banquet
Until I began writing this article, I had never heard of a beefsteak banquet, let alone connected it as one of the origin points of the modern American Steakhouse. Instantly though, I was intrigued by a beefsteak banquet. It sounded suspiciously like a steak banquet, and all I can say to that is…sign me up.
ThousandsÂ of pounds of Steak
Beefsteak Banquets were 18th century political rally and fundraiser food blowouts. And the guest of honor, besides the candidate, was STEAK. These food blowouts featured an all you can eat meat fest garnered with beer. I read that thousands, yes thousands of pounds of steak and hamburger were consumed at these. I do not need to be a history major to know that steak was a coveted item that drew Americans in.
Is Steak Finger Food?
Well these beefsteak banquets served small slices of quality beef that were meant to be eaten with your hands. Sort of like an ultra rugged appetizer for the working class man of the North. Some would scowl at this as not proper, but I think it is just one more way to enjoy it. The smaller slices of beef are thinner than a thick Fireside steak so you really do not need the utensils.
They chose steak
I mean they could have chosen a seafood banquet, beer banquet, or the like. They chose steak and beef. To be honest, if I were alive at the time period you couldnâ€™t keep me away from one of these, whether I like the candidate or not. I wish they would bring this tradition back. In fact they kind of have. I guess today this would be a cookout for the candidate. The only thing more intriguing about this is that the focus is around the beef, not just a cookout with multiple meats and sides.
I have seen these small slices of beef in different forms on different menus and as part of different cooking styles. I have seen them served at wedding banquets on a roll. I have seen some restaurants feature these as the main course calling them beef tenderloins or beef tornadoes.
Fireside Chophouse Steakâ€¦.
As one of Williamsburgâ€™s Oldest Steakhouses, come join us for your own personal “beefsteak banquet.” Granted you will order one high quality steak, but the spirit of this American tradition is present in this iconic restaurant style.
May 16, 2017Read More
Steakhouse And Your House: Prepping Steak At Home
It has been brought to my attention that you will to not be able to enjoy every steak you ever have at our Steakhouse Restaurant. In fact many steaks you may have wonâ€™t be at a steakhouse at all. Even if you live here in Williamsburg you are going to come across two things that corroborate this:
- You will not always have a cut of steak like we have here
- You do not live in a steakhouse and do not have the same equipment
No harm there, steakhouses have giant ovens that fire up to over 1000 degrees.This is would be dangerously impractical for your kitchen at home and it probably wouldnâ€™t fit anyway. So I will pull different tips to help you cook multiple methods using multiple sauces and multiple types of beef. I will try to do a comparison of how the dish compares to the steakhouse type cooking methods I have talked about frequently.
Here are some basics I read from bon appetit magazine for the home preparation of steak.
Prepping the steak at your personal â€śsteakhouseâ€ť
I will confess I like an occasional grilled burger or chicken on the grill. The grill does impart flavor and allows you subtle flavors. A large number of your home steakhouse experiences will involve the grill, though not all. Here are some basic preparation tips for the meat..
Take your time
Let the meat rise to room temperature when you remove it from the refrigerator.
The nature of your steak, very much like at a steakhouse restaurant, will affect how long and how you should cook it. Thicker marbled steaks will take longer than thin lean steaks. A great way to know if you are overcooking is a digital meat thermometer.
Salt n Pepa
Season the meat with salt and pepper before cooking.
2 is better than one
As a general rule the steakhouse way of searing at high temperature and then cooking slowly once the meat is seared will translate to a grill or a pan. Make sure to use a two burner gas grill, one burner on high heat the other on low. No this will not be like a steakhouse exactly but it is a good method to try and sear in juices in the meat.
More Tips From Fireside Chophouse Steakhouse
These are by no means every tip. These are just a starting point. In the meantime check out our other articles on steakhouse methods, selecting the right cut of steak, as well as overall direction for its preparation.
April 13, 2017Read More
Steakhouse Tips: Eating Healthy At the Steakhouse
I never thought I would actually write about healthy eating at a steakhouse or steak place but I saw a good article about the healthy way to eat steak when you are out. I have listed the link at the bottom of the article. The article was great and dead on. If you are looking for lean healthy steak cooked to its perfection potential, we have a great sirloin which is tasty. Also there are a few other things you will have to substitute or not have to meet the “healthy steakhouse” criteria:
- Skip the potatoes and enjoy our salad (garden of course)
- Avoid the sauces if you can resist our creamy peppercorn Bearnaise steak sauce
- Skip the appetizer
And while we are at it I might as well throw in a few libations. Skip the beer, the dessert, the ribeye, tbone etc.
If you have to do this for health, Kudos, but a steakhouse is about FLAVOR and lots of it through cooking techniques and quality beef. Yes you will enjoy your sirloin but your going to be sitting around a table with people eating the most flavorful Porterhouses and Ribeyes you can imagine on a steak menu.
But to each their own. Here is the link to the article
Our Location In Williamsburg, Virginia
We are near everything including Busch Gardens, Colonial Williamsburg, and William and Mary
Articles about the best steaks you can get at a steakhouse
March 20, 2017Read More
As a Williamsburg steakhouse we have served steak for over 50 years in Williamsburg. In this time we have learned the nuances of what makes great steak. One thing that makes a superb steak is something called marbling. Marbling is the official term for those little white streaks that you see throughout an uncooked piece ofÂ steak. Those streaks add a little bit of fat to the steak and because of that they offer two incredible benefits that help make any cut of beef or steak taste great.
Steak: Marbling Means Moisture
One of marbling’s primary benefits is that it adds moisture to your steak or prime rib. Those streaks of fat help lock in moisture. They add a coating of sorts, trapping it in the meat. This is what helps to make that steak tender and keep it from drying out. If you have ever had dry unpalatable steak there is a strong chance it was not marbled. Likewise a large number of great steaks probably have some marbling.
Fat is flavor. TheseÂ thin marbled streaks als0 carry flavor. Fat transmits to our taste buds very easily. So when someone says they want that unique steakhouse taste they certainly are thinking about the scrumptious effects of marbling.
Great steak flavor in a Williamsburg restaurant
How big is Marbling?
People come to the Fireside chophouse for great steak in Williamsburg Virginia They are thinking about a cut of steak that has an incredible aroma and flavor. And that comes down to a prime piece of meat that is well marbled. Marbling is an official term by the USDA. Steaks with the most marbling are considered prime which means it is the best steak you can get. Steaks with a little bit of fat or Marbling are considered choice and if there’s no marbling it’s considered select. Not to say that there’s anything wrong with a lean piece of meat, but a great steakhouse knows those little streaks of fat are critical to great taste. The government also has different degrees of marbling which can get very specific but the key is to try to make sure that you have Marbling at all.
Williamsburgâ€™s best choice for steak
Find out why people come visit us week after week month after month in Williamsburg,Virginia. For over 50 years with serve steak that is been marbled beautifully and cooked to perfection. We also can help you pair the best craft beer or wine to balance the flavor of the meat perfectly.
More Steakhouse Topics
March 14, 2017Read More
The Best Steak is a matter of opinion, as long as that opinion is in line with what I put as the criteria for the best steak (just kidding…maybe). To say that this steak is the best, whether here in Williamsburg, the Peninsula, or the Southside, is a little general. I mean there are seemingly endless numbers of different cuts of beef. Even in what is considered the tenderest cut of meat you can buy, you have the Porterhouse,New York Strip, Rib Eye, Filet Mignon,Delmonico, T Bone, and of course, the delectable prime rib. One of these would have to be the â€śbestâ€ť and I cannot choose.
The Best Steak Restaurant..Why choose at all
Why choose at all. You know when you are at a great steak restaurant like Williamsburgâ€™s Fireside Chophouse the baseline of elite steak quality has been maintained. The highest grade prime beef, aged to perfection with just the right amount of marbling awaits you. So when you pick up the menu which one of the great steaks do you pick. There is a solution.
A Great Steak Lover Can Always Choose The Porterhouse
The Porterhouse is the steak lovers dream steak. The name does not always invoke the prestige of the filet mignon, or the name recognition of the New York Strip or ribeye. It sounds almost like it would be at the same level as ground chuck or sirloin with a utilitarian name like Porterhouse. But nothing could be farther from the truth.
The Porterhouse combines the filet Mignon with the juicy ribeye into one mega incredible piece of beef. So with this choice you essentially have ordered three of the great signature steaks in one massive piece. That means of the seven different cuts of beef I mentioned above, you can pick three with this one choice…wow.
So regardless of where you are in the selection of the best steak restaurant, you can choose about half of the best restaurant cuts of steak with this one item. So this could make a strong, though not complete, argument that the best steak restaurant choice might be the Porterhouse.
All The Steaks Are Great At The Best Steak Restaurant
The Porterhouse is a super choice and should receive top billing at any steakhouse or steak restaurant. But it is a mammoth piece of beef. You may want to be able to walk out of the restaurant without being filled to the brim. Thus the filet or ribeye might be the ideal choice.
Or Ask Our Staff At Fireside Chophouse Steak Restaurant
We are experts in steak. Ask us about the different cuts and we can pair you up with the right cut for your appetite. We are convinced once you try it that you will choose Fireside Chophouse as the best steak restaurant in Williamsburg, Virginia.
March 5, 2017Read More
As a Williamsburg steakhouse serving the finest cuts of steak in Colonial Williamsburg and the general Williamsburg Virginia area, one of the biggest questions that comes up is what is the best wine to pair with our gourmet steak and prime rib. And it is the perfect question to ask considering that Virginia has some of the finest wines that you can get anywhere. Many of which have won awards. Regardless you still want to make sure the wine flavor complements the steak you have ordered. Change the fact that certain ones go better with certain types of dishes or steaks prime rib etc.
A Simple Williamsburg Steak Restaurant Wine Pairing Trick
Naturally the ultimate way to pair steak in Williamsburg would be to have a Sommelier with you. That is not always practical, though there are some great ones here. LIkewise here is a very crude but simple system to help you pair wine with red meat while you are here in the Colonial Capital of America. It is not precise but represents a simple system to use as a guideline.
Red Meat, Steak, Filets,Prime Rib, Ribeyes,And Other Cuts Of Meat Are Hearty Foods
No shock here but steaks, filets, ribeyes, and other cuts of red meat are very hearty. The wine has to be robust enough to counter this heartiness. Thus an appropriate choice is going to come from the red family. Now, the richness of the steak will determine how robust the red should be. Here is a baseline to follow:
- Lean steak with little or no marbling: Choose a lighter red wine
- A good example of this would be a sirloin that is lower fat than other cuts.
- Heavily marbled steak: Choose a heavier richer red wine
- A good example would be Prime Rib or a Rib Eye
One final Caveat: At A Premium Williamsburg Steakhouse Like Fireside Chophouse..err on the side of the robust with our steak
Many of our most popular cuts of meat are Prime steak that is heavily marbled. You are going to need a rich sophisticated red wine to balance that flavor(oh and what a flavor it is). Here are a few that come to mind as possible choices:
- Cabernet Sauvignon
Or Leave The Wine Pairing To Us
Not sure ask us at Fireside Chophouse. We have had over 50 years of preparing the finest quality beef, pairing it with the finest quality drinks and wine and we will do the same for you when you come visit us anytime. After multiple decades you get very good at knowing what is the best parent with the best meat. It is an art form good wind really enhance that flavor. Conversely a bad wine could hurt the flavor of the meat that’s not what you want you’re there to enjoy a delicious perfectly balanced meal at her in terms of flavor.
No you don’t just have to get red meat to get a great wine pairing. We also have chicken, crab legs, and other dishes. And we compare those two with a white or red wine as necessary. Just askCrude but simple system. Not precise but a good rule of thumb
For a Williamsburg Steak think bold red.
For a delicious Williamsburg steak and one of the finest most experienced Williamsburg steak houses come visit us at the fireside chophouse on Richmond Road. We have more experience any chain or any other restaurant tour and preparing great beef.