Blue Tape


13680536_10209102843720751_6238197870503885271_nNotice: Blue Tape will be at O’Connor Brewing‘s new Beer Garden 5-6 August! Tickets sell out so grab them early. Here’s the blurb from the event page:

“We are ecstatic to partner with the team at O’Connor Brewing Company to host our very first beer garden dinner. Join us as we venture into uncharted territory and “pop-up” our shop for two nights in Norfolk. The reception begins at 7 PM in the killer new beer garden, with a multi-course dinner to follow. The OBC crew will expertly pair a beer flight to accompany the menu which can be purchased through the brewery the night of. We look forward to seeing you in the garden!”

I’ll add that this pop-up will be the first in the newly created space, if I’m not mistaken. If you go you’ll have a “first time” experience!

Ok, let’s get going on the story.

I’m going to continue on Hampton Roads pop-ups. Last time we covered Commis and if you started to follow their Facebook, you would have been in for a little good news. You’ll have to go there to read it!

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This week I’m covering the pop-up Blue Tape. Chef Eric Nelson’s creation is what he likes to call a true pop-up. Everything needed for the dining experience is brought on location, this includes prepped food, plates, glasses, beer, wine, etc. He wants to put together the guest’s meals as quickly as possible – onsite – and then leave no evidence of the dinner once it’s over. Although he might have a smoker and warmers in his setup, the cooking done at the location is minimal. Prep is key for his dinners. The name Blue Tape was inspired by the blue tape used in painting, it is easily lifted and leaves no trace of itself when removed. That’s how he likes to run his pop-ups.

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You might recognize Nelson from other restaurants in the area. His last gig was at locally legendary Steinhilber’s Restaurant, the endearing bastion of prom dinners in Virginia Beach for generations now.  When I first met Eric years ago he was still at Todd Jurich’s in Norfolk; basically he has the experience and know-how to get this type of thing done. He has the connections with local producers too; he uses fresh ingredients from the local waterways and farms when available.

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Nelson has jumped in with both feet and made Blue Tape his full time gig. It’s been a dream of his to have something of his own, calling the shots and having full creative direction on the menu. Eventually, Nelson says, “the goal is one day in the far future to have a brick & mortar but for now… just enjoying the ride…” As of now they are popping-up every few weeks and tossing around the idea of doing a once-a-month “industry” night on a Sunday. These are popular with those in business, hanging out with kindred spirits minus the pretense.

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I loved everything I was served at the dinner I attended. I’m looking forward to going to another (hopefully the next one in August!), do yourself a favor and check out Blue Tape’s Facebook or webpage for more info. You can see all the photos from my experience on my page here.

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George W. Culver is Eater-in-Chief at I-Heart-Food.com and contributes to several online and print publications. He makes a pretty mean Thai Basil Fried Rice too.