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Mary Zuzik Andrechik’s Food Musings: THIS HOLIDAY SEASON, COZY UP AT HEARTH

Words and Images courtesy of Mary Zuzik Andrechik.

Noshing Through the Town

I’m a newbie to Virginia Beach. I’m also an artist, passionate homecook and “Food Snob” who loves to discover and EAT the best food possible. Truly, if you don’t live for a first bite that makes you sigh, I don’t think we can be friends. In any new city, the local cuisine is how I find my way. Lucky for me, I stumbled into The ViBE District--Virginia Beach’s Arts hub, nestled about four blocks inland from the Oceanfront and jam-packed with hand-painted murals, quaint local boutiques, and absolutely DELICIOUS FOOD. This coastal town has so much more than overpriced crabcakes and fried shrimp! And where best to enjoy a cozy winter’s night of nosh here? Hearth Wood-fired Cuisine and Craft Beer.

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas...and really great pizza

Stated right in the name, food at Hearth is wood-fired, and that blazing oven greets you the moment you step through the door. There are more fireplaces in the dining room and the whole atmosphere is warm and inviting. Perfect for this time of year!

You could order any number of tasty bites at Hearth, but honestly, it’s all about the pizza. It’s what I’m craving when I come here, and this pizza is the best Neapolitan style pie in the city. The crust is thin and charred, giving it that delectable, smokey flavor. The tomato sauce is rich and fruity, but doesn’t lose it’s natural acidity. And the cheese...OMCheese! Fresh mozzarella, creamy and gooey, makes the ultimate cheese pull from slice to bite. It’s incredible!

I usually go for the standard Margherita (pictured above), but do treat yourself sometime to the Sweet Jane: crushed tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, Soppressata, chili flakes, and local honey. The Soppressata (think fancy schmancy salami) is super fresh, and it’s saltiness plays so well with the sweetness of the honey, while those chili flakes cut through all the richness of the cheese and meat like a gastronomic karate chop. It is, quite literally, a slice of Heaven.

Hearth is the perfect place to go if you are looking for an adult night out (their cocktails are amazing!) or if you are doing a family outing, as I did. We went before taking in the holiday lights on the boardwalk with our two boys and everyone left happy. The food is varied and sophisticated enough for any discerning adult, and for the kids...seriously? There's pizza! Who doesn’t love pizza?! EVERYBODY needs this pizza!


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