Monday, June 25, 2012

Rose Villa

Innovations in modern restaurant dining collide with old world charm at Ormond Beach’s own Rose Villa. Located in the middle of Ormond’s historic main street (Granada Blvd.), Rose Villa comes to us from the same minds as Caffeine.

On a beautiful springtime weekday, D and I were invited to Rose Villa one early evening to experience a most scrumptious dinner. I say experience; because Rose Villa is not just a place you have a meal at. The whole process is about a three-hour event. For this reason, reservations are highly recommended!

Rose Villa occupies a historic manor house originally built in the late 1800’s by Frank and Mary Mason as the first exclusive hotel in the area. The home exchanged hands numerous times, even becoming an office building at one point. The current tenants strive to keep as much of Rose Villa’s lush history intact as possible. And that was clearly seen, as we pulled up to the beautiful purple and green building surrounded by roses.

Shortly after taking a few steps into the historic home, we were greeted by the ever-pleasant Dolly who sat us in the Rockefeller Room East Wing, one of their more popular dining rooms. We were treated with excellent service for the evening from both Kim and Steve.

After presenting us both with water, we were offered a chance to peruse their wine list. Which I must say, was quite surprising, because it was on an iPad. Their wine list app, featured hundreds of wines separated by a variety of categories. With the app, you are able to select a wine and then read all about the taste, origin and date of production. We chose a wine we’ve seldom seen at most restaurants: Inniskillin Ice Wine VGA Niagara Peninsula Vidal 2007 Canada. The sweet and fruity wine would definitely be considered a dessert wine, but not nearly as sweet as your typical moscato. It was very smooth and both of us enjoyed our glass immensely. We were already planning on buying a bottle before our glasses were empty.

After checking out the wine menu, it was time to see the dinner menu. As the menu changes with the seasons, some of the food we partook in won’t be available for someone going in the present, but the experience will remain.

While we both awaited our appetizers, we were presented with some house bread and butter as well as a variety of salts to try with our evening delights.  The three salts included 99 percent pure Himalayan salt, Hawaii Red Lava Salt and Hawaii Black Lave Salt. I specifically enjoyed the black salt, as I thought it gave each bite an extra flavor burst.

Soon enough, our appetizers arrived. That’s right, we ordered two appetizers. We just couldn’t decide between the Pistachio crusted shrimp with Dijon orange glaze or the escargot served beef wellington style. Personally, I was a huge fan of the shrimp. The shrimp itself was massive, very meaty and had a great flavor with the orange Dijon glaze. The escargot, although not my favorite of the two, was certainly the best prepared I ever had. The snail meat melted in your mouth surrounded by a soft puff pastry.

After devouring our appetizers, Dan and I were treated to a Raspberry Sorbet intermezzo. It had been a long time since we enjoyed the refreshing delicacy while dining out in the area. The short break gives diners a chance to cleanse the palate in preparation for the main course ahead.

The main course was soon presented after we successfully cleansed our pallets. D, being a huge fan of duck, decided to go with their roasted duck: half of duck served with a blackberry bordelaise, asparagus, carrots and three-cheese au gratin potatoes. The duck was skillfully prepared, but the blackberry bordelaise impressed D the most. The sauce expertly complemented the duck, creating a sweet and savory delight. Rose Villa’s homemade three cheese au gratin potatoes also came with his duck. Their slightly sweet taste was a great match for the duck.

 I, on the other hand, went in a completely opposite direction and chose their whole main lobster over pasta with a cheesy red pepper infused sauce and asparagus. It was so refreshing to enjoy the sweet taste of lobster without having to crack or dig out any of the meat. I loved the contrast between the slightly heated sauce and the sweetness from the Lobster.

Once D and I nearly stuffed out stomachs to capacity, we decided to look over the dessert menu. Like the previous menu, the dessert menu was backlit, reminding us that the year is 2012 instead of 1912. The sweets menu also displayed a photo from Rose Villa’s late past and a recent shot showing just how similar the present restaurant looks to the original structure.

At the request of our server Steve, we chose a dessert that would allow him to play with fire … Strawberry Romanoff. A little fire combined with some strawberries, butter, sugar, orange zest, Grand Marnier and Bacardi 151 creates not only a spectacular show, but also a wonderful concoction of strawberry goodness that tastes perfect over ice cream. Having had Bananas Foster in the past, I somewhat knew what to expect taste wise, but was extremely pleased nonetheless!

D and I fully intend on returning to Rose Villa in the future. It’s the perfect place to celebrate promotions, birthdays or anything else with your near and dear. Or if you’re simply interested in having a classic and elegant dining experience, than it’s the place for you!

Rose Villa on Urbanspoon

43 W. Granada Blvd.
Ormond Beach, FL 32174
(386) 615-ROSE (7673)
Tuesday – Saturday: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Caffeine Bistro & Wine Bar

Recently, on a beautiful and relaxing Friday afternoon, D and I headed into the increasingly popular Caffeine, located on the historic Ormond Beach MainStreet. After passing by Caffeine for a couple years, I was more than excited to check them out when we were invited to come by for a meal.

I must admit, after an amazing lunch within the wonderfully decorated restaurant, they might just be my new favorite spot! Just as spectacular as our meals, the décor kept our eyes roaming as we awaited our delicious eats. If Caffeine didn’t serve any food, I am completely confident that it could continue to function as an art house. Beautiful, unique and fun paintings line the brightly colored walls of the front part of the restaurant. This artwork combined with the retro furnishings and chilltastic music, created an absolutely wonderful place to grub and spend some quality time with D.

While we were still soaking in the ambiance, our fried calamari appetizer ($11) arrived. Lightly dusted and fried strips of calamari are served over a bed of spring mix with lemon beurre blanc and marinara sauce. D and I have two completely different tastes in calamari, but this was one batch we both loved. The strips of goodness were appropriately battered so that the taste and texture of the squid could be appreciated. Both sauces were scrumptious and I particularly enjoyed having both to bounce back and forth to.

Before polishing off out appetizer, our entrees arrived hot and fresh. I had decided to go with the Fresh Maine Lobster ($17) apple wood fired pizza. A friend recommended the gourmet pizza and after savoring the first slice, I knew I too would be recommending this pizza to everyone! Chunks of fresh Maine Lobster sit atop a saffron champagne sauce and Boursin cheese, with a micro green salad situated in the middle. I loved the sweetness from the lobster combined with the herbs from the Boursin. I’ll definitely be returning for this treat.

Now, we all know D can polish off a pretty epic sandwich, but even he had a time with the Italian Grinder ($11). Salami, capicola, pepperoni, sopressatta, mortadella, Italian sausage, shredded mozzarella, romaine lettuce and tomato are all stuffed in a fresh hoagie roll baked in their wood fired over and served with olive oil dipping sauce. D really enjoyed the size, freshness and taste of the hoagie not to mention the delectable sweet potato French fries that accompanied it. No doubt that you get all your money’s worth with this sandwich or with any of the dishes at Caffeine. All the portions were pretty hardy.

After devouring all that we could, we were lead on a property tour by Duffy, Caffeine’s manager. Not only does Caffeine have amazing décor in their main dining room and bar, but outback they also have one of the coolest, most elaborate tiki bars in the Daytona Beach area. Enormous fire spewing totem poles surround the giant deck area that holds tables and chairs for conversing over a meal or just a few drinks. The outside bar is most impressive as well. A vast collection of miniature tikis from around the world surrounds the liquor, while petrified puffer fish dangle from the ceiling.

Back inside, the cellar rests off to the side of both the main restaurant and tiki bar. Perfect in size for small parties or meetings, the cellar has a warm and welcoming ambiance with dark wood furniture, wood ceiling paneling and bottles of wine stored everywhere.

So, whether you’re in the mood for a relaxing meal with retro ambiance, partying it up Hawaiian style, or sipping on wine with your closest 30 friends; Caffeine has a dining experience just for you and I INSIST that you try the lobster pizza. Like I said, I plan on recommending it to everyone!

Caffeine Bistro & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Caffeine on Urbanspoon

49 West Granada Blvd.

Ormond Beach, FL 32174

(386) 672-7277

Tuesday – Friday: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Saturday: 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Grille at Riverview

At the bottom of Flagler St., just minutes from some of New Smyrna Beach’s most eclectic shops, sits “The Grille at Riverview”. Combine a picturesque water front background, an inviting dining room, delicious eats and add beautiful weather to create the perfect afternoon getaway!

My foodie-in-crime, Dan, and I recently took off on an afternoon adventure to the wonderful New Smyrna Beach to find a delectable lunch and explore the always-entertaining Flagler Street. We elected lunch at “The Grille at Riverview,” after deciding the riverfront view their outside seating provides would be perfect on the cool autumn day. After taking our seats and basking in the ambiance, we were given our menus while viewing boats sail past and the drawbridge work it’s magic.

We began our meal with the Calamari Parmesan ($9.50)— deep-fried calamari dusted with fresh grated Parmesan and served with spicy marinara, orange coconut and sweet Thai chili dipping sauces. Not only beautifully presented, but this dish was delicious to boot! The calamari pieces were perfectly fried, crispy and not too chewy. The dipping sauces were all fun to try, but my personal favorite was the kind of spicy, kind of sweet Thai chili sauce. The marinara with its bit of spice had a nice kick and although the orange coconut was a little sweet for me, I still enjoyed it. ectly fried, crispy and not too chewy. The dipping sauces were all fun ectly fried, crispy and not too chewy

I decided to go with something a little different, their Open Faced Club ($9.95). Turkey and shaved honey baked ham are layered on a single piece of Texas toast piled with crisp bacon, Swiss cheese, tomato and mayonnaise, while fresh basil and chipotle aioli paint the top. It was an absolute explosion of flavor in my mouth with the basil and chipotle aioli sauces mingling with tons of delicious meat and cheese. Although scrumptious, it’s what I like to refer to as a “knife and fork” sandwich; otherwise you’ll have quite a mess on yourself. ectly fried, crispy and not too chewy. The dipping sauces

Dan chose the Chicken and Smoked Gouda Panini ($9.95). Thin sliced chicken topped with smoked Gouda, bacon and roasted pepper and garlic spread is served on focaccia bread. Like an extreme gourmet grilled cheese, every bite of this sandwich melts in your mouth. Dan enjoyed it thoroughly and had no problem cleaning his plate. ectly fried, crispy and not too chewy. The dip

To finish it all off, we satisfied our sweet tooth with one of the many desserts offered, Nicole’s Turtle Pie($5.95). A chocolate graham cracker crust is filled with a mix of caramel, walnuts and light chocolate mousse, while luscious whip cream tops off the delectable dessert. Although the whip cream appeared bountiful, it was in perfect balance with the chocolate of the turtle pie. We took each bite, savoring the sweet flavors and before we knew it the plate held nothing but crumbs.

Dan and I had a great time at the Grille at Riverview. Whether you are looking to have a romantic evening dinner or a relaxing lunch on a beautiful day, the Grille is where you want to be. Great food, excellent service and a breathtaking view make for a dining experience I for one can’t wait to repeat.

Grille At Riverview on Urbanspoon

101 Flagler Ave.

New Smyrna Beach, FL

(386) 428-1865

Lunch 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Mon – Sat

Early Bird 4:30 p.m. – 6 Mon – Fri

Dinner 4:30 p.m. – 10 Sun – Thursday

Dinner 4:30 p.m. – 11 Fri & Sat

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

SoNapa Grille

There’s just something so relaxing about a glass of wine. It’s a feeling that slowly washes over your entire body relaxing you from head to toe. Never have I been to an eatery that nearly encompasses this feeling with just its ambiance. Shortly after taking our seats at SoNapa Grille, I felt instantly tranquil and ready to enjoy a pleasant evening with D.
Recently invited, D and I enjoyed a more than calming evening at the New Smyrna Beach eatery, SoNapa Grille. The restaurant sprung from a wine club among friends into the establishment seen today, with a second location opening soon in Maitland, FL.

With an expansive wine list and a variety of interesting beers, I felt it necessary to start the evening off with a couple of beverages.

After discussing my wine preferences with our server, I went with a glass of Trinitas Moscato. Always sweet and rarely dry, I’m never left disappointed with some moscato.

D, on the other hand, chose one of the more unique beers they carry called Wild Blue. A blueberry lager, it fuses blueberry juice with premium American and German hops, two-row and six-row barley and cereal grains. D found it to be very smooth with a pleasant after taste of sweet blueberries, and needless to say he enjoyed it thoroughly. (He keeps looking for it every time we go grocery shopping!)

Prior to our appetizer, we were presented with house bread and an olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pesto-dipping sauce. The sweet vinegar was swirled in an S on the olive oil with a dab of pesto in the center. Just as beautiful as it was delicious, the complimentary nibble reminded me how much I enjoy the balsamic vinegar, olive oil combination. The added basil pesto was just an additional perk of flavor. wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

Before polishing off the bread our appetizer of Crescent City Shrimp ($8) arrived. Crispy fried shrimp tossed in a spicy aioli sauce are presented on a bed of field greens with additional spicy aioli designs on the plate for adding extra heat. Chopsticks in hand, D and I dived right into this delicious sea fare. Definitely with a kick, the shrimp were perfect bite size appetizers great for sharing. wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

Next came our entrees. I went with the Healdsburg Chicken Ravioli ($14), a homemade ravioli stuffed with fire roasted chicken and cheese, topped with an alfredo tomato sauce and shaved parmesan. A very comforting dish, I enjoyed the subtle flavor of alfredo with the raviolis. Not too overpowering, I was able to continue enjoying my wine while dining on the dish. wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

Two sides accompanied the raviolis, pesto risotto and the vegetable of the day: a melody of edamame beans, corn, red peppers and spices. The creamy risotto melted in my mouth and although you could taste the pesto, it wasn’t overpowering. The melody of vegetables entwined well together with the red pepper tying all the flavors in the rustic ensemble. wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

D decided to go with one of their evening specials, the Turf and Turf. A decadent filet with a mushroom marsala sauce paired with a duo of lamb chops atop a red skin potato mash accompanied by the the edamame vegetable melody of the evening as well as some asparagus. He was most impressed by the succulent lamb, typically an overcooked and dry dish; it was a relief to have the delicious meat cooked to perfection. The filet was equally impressive and flavorful with or without the marsala sauce. wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

We rounded off the evening with their Diamond Mountain chocolate cake. This chocoholic was in heaven with a warm liquid chocolate center, whipped cream and raspberry sauce. If you can imagine a dark chocolate brownie with a super gooey center; you can begin to understand why this dish was so heavenly. wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

Overall, D and I thoroughly enjoyed our experience at SoNapa Grille. A knowledgeable staff combined with amazing ambiance and delicious eats, makes this locale the perfect place to wind down after a long day of work or enjoy the company of someone special on a romantic evening.

- A

SoNapa California Grill and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

3406 South Atlantic Ave.

New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169

(386) 402-8646

Open 7 days a week at 5 p.m.

Happy Hour to 6:30 p.m. daily

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bubba Gump Shrimp Company

“Shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, bake it, sauté it. Dey’s uh, shrimp kabobs, shrimp Creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan-fried, deep-fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that’s about it.” – Bubba, Forrest Gump ..............................................................

Shrimp, shrimp and a little of everything else, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company is true to the movie with a little something for all. One of my best friends A and I recently partook in a girls only afternoon lunch at the Forrest Gump themed eatery located on the ground floor of the Ocean Walk Shoppes. ................................................................................

As soon as we walked in, we were immersed in everything Forrest Gump. From pictures to painted quotes on the wall, every memento brought to mind a different scene from the classic flick. Our table was covered in famous quotes from the movie, a ping-pong paddle drink menu and a sign that could be switched from “Run Forrest, Run” to “Stop, Forrest Stop” depending if you needed your server or not.

Of course, we kicked off our lunch with the Cajun Shrimp ($8.99) appetizer. And boy, were they kickin’! Sautéed in a hot and spicy Cajun butter sauce, the shrimp were served along with garlic bread for dipping in sauce. Loaded with flavor from the sauce the grilled shrimp were delectable and definitely had some heat. I was particularly fond of the bits of garlic within the flavorful sauce. And having the garlic bread for additional sauce dipping was just an added perk! ..........................

Shortly after polishing off our appetizer came our entrees. I went with the Texas Cajun Chicken Sandwich ($10.79) to continue with my Cajun flow. With big flavor, the toasted bun housed a grilled chicken breast, crisp bacon, Pepper Jack Cheese and Guacamole with a side of French fries. Naturally the sandwich was the star of this dish. Big Cajun flavor and guacamole brought the delicious while sweet heat and I was more than satisfied with the savory midday meal. .....................

Considered one of their specialties, the Bourbon Street Mahi Mahi ($17.89) was A’s choice of enjoyment. Charbroiled Cajun spiced mahi mahi with bourbon sauce and grilled shrimp is served with mashed potatoes and beautifully presented. Far from disappointed, Anne enjoyed her dish and the perfect combination of flavors it held. .............................

Although neither of us could polish off another bite, their dessert selections sure did look tempting. That included Mama’s Best Strawberry Shortcake, Key Lime Pie, Mama’s Cinnamon Bread Pudding and a Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae. They even had a build your own sundae option for kids with the option of adding their own choice of toppings like chocolate syrup, snickers, sprinkles and much more.

With it’s fun Forrest Gump atmosphere and delicious menu choices, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company is unquestionably a must see in the Daytona area. Whether with your family or a group of friends, you’re sure to have a great time!

“And that’s all I have to say about that.” – Forrest, Forrest Gump

- A

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. on Urbanspoon

Ocean Walk Shoppes, ground floor

250 North Atlantic Avenue, Suite 120

Daytona Beach, FL 32118

(386) 947-8433

Open for Lunch and Dinner: Sunday – Thursday 11AM to 10PM

Friday – Saturday 11AM to 11PM

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ivy Lane Bistro and Wine Room

On a recent and particularly chilly Thursday afternoon, D and I headed to Daytona’s historic Beach Street after receiving an invitation to dine at the lovely Ivy Lane Bistro. Due to the lower than normal tempts I was looking forward to a nice warm cup of gumbo from the Louisiana bistro.

The bistro brings you into a part of Daytona that is seldom visited by most, the historic Beach Street district. With tons of cute shops and even a chocolate factory, there’s hours of enjoyment to be had. Not to mention the delicious Po Boy and gumbo awaiting you at Ivy Lane. gggggggggggggggg

Ivy Lane provides three different dining experiences. Outside you can enjoy a beautiful day or night, a little tunes and some delicious eats from the bistro. The inside front room provides a spectacular view of the street as well as a quaint and casual atmosphere for anytime dining. Lastly, they have a beautiful back room great for large groups or social gatherings. bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb

I knew it was gumbo-time before even stepping into the festively decorated eatery. As we checked out the street view from our window seats, we began perusing the menu. I instantly gravitated to the Cajun club po’ boy combo with some gumbo ($8.50). Served on French bread, andouille sausage tops off Cajun chicken with spinach, tomato and a delectable remoulade sauce. vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv

I thoroughly enjoyed my sandwich and gumbo combination. The gumbo was exactly what I needed on a cold day: hearty, warm and tasty. A virgin to po’ boys I became hooked on the Louisiana classic simultaneously after my first taste of its deliciousness. I will definitely be returning for one of these! wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

D’s, Bourbon St. Blue arrived simultaneously. One of their many wraps, the Bourbon St. Blue ($8.25) has marinated strip steak wrapped in a spinach wrap with shredded cheeses, lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions and ranch dressing. With it came a side of homemade potato chips! If you’ve never had the pleasure of trying homemade potato chips, then make it a top priority immediately. Ten times better than manufactured chips, these were especially crunchy with great seasoning. wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

We concluded our lunch with a devilishly delicious dessert of chocolate, peanut butter, fudge and brownies. Super moist chocolate and peanut butter fudge-like cakes are interspersed amongst each other with a chocolate fudge icing, brownie bits, peanut butter chips and a strawberry topping off the creation. As a fan of everything Reece, I couldn’t get enough of the flavors in this sweet treat. wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

Ivy Lane Bistro definitely has the makings of a superb lunch spot, an intimate dinner or an annual holiday party local. I definitely foresee a repeat visit for some lunchtime po’ boys in the near future!

- A

Ivy Lane Bistro and Wine Room on Urbanspoon

246 South Beach Street

Daytona Beach, FL 32114

(386) 258-7112

Serving Breakfast and Lunch: Tue – Sun 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

(Sunday Jazz Brunch!)

Serving Dinner: Wed & Thursday 5 to 9 p.m., Fri & Sat 5 to 10 p.m.