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.

Friday, October 21, 2011

27 Fathoms

As a society we surround ourselves with as much beauty as possible. Whether people, artwork or even our food, we crave the aesthetically pleasing. A delicious and attractive meal will receive much more attention than that ok looking delicious one. Nowhere have I been, that they take such care to beautifully present a delectable meal like they do at 27 Fathoms.

This past Friday evening D and I headed down to the Pavilion at Port Orange, after being invited to check out the new eatery, 27 Fathoms. The not too large, pleasantly quaint restaurant has a very subtle nautical them with incredible ambiance. Abstract photos of water adorn the walls, while lighthouse-like light fixtures hang from the ceiling. Although we sat at one of their high-top bistro tables, I did notice that the bar had purse hooks. I know I hate setting my purse on the floor or on the back of my chair for people to knock into. No problem here, they have hooks on their bar to hang your bag. ,vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv

After quickly glancing over the appetizers, D and I put in our selection. While continuing to peruse the menu, our waitress Melissa brought out some roasted red pepper humus and chips for dipping to “snack” on. Different variations of hummus and even crab dip occur on various nights. As this was my first time trying flavored humus, I was surprised on how I liked it compared to regular hummus. Made in house, it had a good, but subtle flavor. fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb

After snacking on a few chips with dip, our Fried Green Tomato Tower ($7) arrived. Nice thick slices of fried green tomatoes are stacked in a tower and beautifully presented at the end of a garlic peppercorn aioli swipe. I almost regretted ordering the appetizer, unaware that we would be receiving the hummus snack, but I quickly removed that thought after tasting the fried green tomatoes. As it was my first time trying the southern delight, I was blown away. The tomatoes themselves were full of incredible flavor. Add the garlic peppercorn aioli and they were out of this world. The aioli accentuated the taste of the tomatoes while giving them an extra little garlic kick that was most enjoyable. .vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv

Next came our entrees. I ordered the 8 oz Filet Mignon ($22), which was seared and served atop a wild mushroom and leak potato croquette, next to a swish of broccoli puree and charred pearl onions. I’ve had a lot of filet mignons, but never has one melted in my mouth like this before. Cooked medium and paired with the croquette, the combination was flawless. Not only did they taste as if they were made for each other, but the different yet similarly soft textures melded well together. Next to the delicious stack, the broccoli purée and pearled onions waited to be tasted. Both slightly sweet, tastes of either dispersed between bites of steak sweetened the stack. The overall plate was not only designed to be aesthetically pleasing, but also to ignite your taste buds in delight. .vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv

D, the ever-loving sushi fanatic, ordered a couple rolls off their sushi menu. First came the Boomshakalaka ($14) containing seven spice scallops, snow crab, smoked bacon, asparagus, cucumber, scallion, macadamia dust and kabayaki glaze.
Larger than life, this roll was quite the mouthful. It’s sweet and delicious with combined flavors of macadamia nuts and scallops. Next, D attempted to tackle the 27 Fathom’s roll ($14). Cucumbered wrapped, their namesake roll includes yellow fin tuna, snow crab, shrimp, asparagus, cream cheese, scallion and citrus ponzu. A rollercoaster of flavors, the 27 Fathom’s was spicy, sweet, salty and then spicy again. Although beautifully presented around a lobster tail shell, D was unable to conquer it after consuming the entire Boomshakalaka roll. Considering the large size of their rolls, I think D will only be ordering one next time. vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv

After eating what we could and taking a few moments to digest, out server brought out an amazing platter full of their different desserts. With something for every one’s craving, my jagged sweet tooth was humming with excitement. Unable to choose just one, I went with the

Dulce De Leche Chocolate Bomb ($6) and the Key Lime Tartlet ($5). While the bomb was delicious in a chocolate covered peanut butter way, the tartlet was absolutely phenomenal. As much as I love chocolate, and trust me I love chocolate, I’ll choose key lime pie every time. The tartlet, served with a raspberry paint and whipped cream, was unlike any key lime treat I’ve ever had. With a more intense key lime flavor, the tartlet was nestled on a very subtle grahm cracker crust. A bite on its own was delicious, but a bite with the raspberry sauce and whipped cream was extraordinary. This dessert alone makes 27 Fathoms someplace to revisit for me. vvvv cvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv

In the end D and I had an amazing evening at 27 Fathoms. It’s definitely someplace I see us going to celebrate special occasions. In fact it’s a restaurant I would recommend for couples or even a group of friends, but probably not children. The service was spectacular, especially our server Melissa. Overall, dining at 27 Fathoms was a foodie experience unlike any other. Their use of all fresh ingredients combined with beautiful presentation and ambiance, made for an unforgettable time.

- A

5635 S. Williamson Blvd., Suite 656, Port Orange, FL 32128

(386) 256-4791

Serving Brunch, Lunch and Dinner

Open Tuesday – Saturday: Lunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Dinner from 4 to 10 p.m.

Open Sundays: Brunch from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Dinner from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

27 Fathoms on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Na’cho Average Taco Joint!

Cabo Taco Mexicali Grill is a lot of things, but they’re definitely na’cho average taco place. With a quirky staff, an inventive menu and a good heart; you’ll be making Cabo Taco a must SEE shortly into your visit.

Located about five minutes from the St. Augustine outlets, my BFF L and I decided to head there for lunch after a morning of bargain hunting. We were hungering for some delicious eats and they did not disappoint.

The Mexicali grill is nestled in a local strip plaza. On the outside, Cabo Taco appears like any other plaza storefront: uniform and in place. Once inside though, an explosion of color and artwork welcomes you. Not to mention, an incredibly friendly staff who’s already greeting you before you’re halfway inside.

Next to the register at the back of the restaurant, you’ll find the expansive menu on the wall. With appetizers, tacos, wraps, salads, burritos and desserts; Cabo Taco has everything including typical Mexican fair like nachos, quesadillas, fajitas and chimichangas. Trust me when I say, they have something for everyone. In fact, they have multiple somethings.

Overwhelmed by the huge menu, I inquired what was good. Next thing I knew, our order was in and I didn’t know what we were having. L and I grabbed a couple of brews, after the staff insisted they were the only true complement to a Mexicali meal. Not a huge beer fan, I went with a Seagram’s Escapes Mango ($3.50). Like a sparkling mango juice with a kick, the alternative was delicious and perfectly supplemented the upcoming grub. The same could be said for Leanne’s Corona Light ($3.50) … if you drink beer.

Mentioning beer, let’s talk about boobies – beer for boobies. Throughout October, Cabo Taco will support local breast cancer survivors by donating $1 to Unity Outreach of St. Augustine every time a Budweiser, Bud Light or Bud Light Lime is purchased.

After a short chitchat at the table our identical meals were delivered. On each plate, we were presented with one Seared Ahi Tuna Taco ($4.99), a half of Cabo Burrito ($9.99/whole) and home made tortilla chips. It was just as scrumptious as it sounds and that’s a huge compliment coming from a non-fish eater.

I first tried their special, the ahi taco. Lightly seared sushi-grade ahi tuna, accompanied by cucumber, avocado, sesame ginger coleslaw, cucumber wasabi dressing and sesame seeds, all nestled together in a soft taco shell. Served cold, this light and delicious taco won’t leave you feeling miserably stuffed.

For fear of becoming full, I moved onto the Cabo Burrito. Blackened Mahi, cilantro lime rice, black beans, avocado, pico de gallo, mango, fire roasted corn and cilantro sauce come together to make this one incredible fusion of flavors. I tried not to inhale it, but the warm burrito on a rainy day was just too scrumptious.

Sometimes it’s the little details that blow me away. Like at Cabo Taco they make their own tortilla chips. Perfectly sized, they are great for dipping and enjoying in one bite. Their three different salsa choices were phenomenal. My personal favorite was the pineapple salsa. With chunks of pineapple, it was slightly sweet but still very salsa like.

Shortly after finishing our lunch, we were presented with what looked to be the King of all Mexicali desserts. A base of crispy cinnamon and sugar coated tortilla chips were drizzled with chocolate syrup and brown sugar agave sauce, adorned with chunks of mango, pineapple and strawberries; and topped with a mound of whipped cream. Simply phenomenal.

Definitely na’cho average taco joint, my BFF L, and I left Cabo Taco Mexicali Grill more than pleased with their delicious eats, quality service and philanthropic endeavors.

- A

Cabo Taco Mexicali Grill

965 SR-16 Unit 110, Saint Augustine, FL 32084

(904) 201-3790

Serving Lunch and Dinner

Open Monday to Thursday, Saturday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Friday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Sunday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Cabo Taco Mexicali Grill on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Hyppo Gourmet Popsicles

Ice cream, frozen yogurt, gelato… old St. Augustine has it all. Now they’ve got the original treat on a stick at Hyppo Popsicles on Hypolita Street. Not your average popsicle, flavors range from strawberry banana to mango habanera, and their not exactly dainty.

While exploring St. Augustine one Saturday afternoon, my BFF L and I deemed it necessary to have an ice-cold snack in our hands. Just off the beaten path, a little down Hypolita St. we found the quaint Hyppo Popsicles.

Deceiving from the outside, the interior of the popsicle place is an explosion of colors and cute animated hippos. A simple setup includes a kitchen, a cooler for popsicle storage and an iPad for a register. That’s right an iPad, my receipt was sent to me in a text.

When we walked in, there were only a couple of people in front of us. But by the time we were headed out, the little shop had filled up. All the popsicles are the same shape and size. The cooler hold flavors like datil strawberry, pineapple cilantro, Riesling pear and Mexican hot chocolate, as well as some tamer flavors like strawberry banana, orange crème, coconut coconut and banilla vanana.

Although I was tempted to play it safe with strawberry banana, I decided to be a little more daring and go with the key lime popsicle. L, clearly in the mood for some bubbly, went with mango champagne. At $3.50 each, we grabbed our frozen snacks and hit the streets once more.

As we walked the streets feverishly licking out popsicles, I began to notice patrons everywhere doing the same thing. From children to adults, everyone seemed to be enjoying a delicious popsicles from Hyppo.

I particularly loved my key lime flavor choice as did Leanne, who ended up helping me finish the popsicle. It was a little sweet and mostly tart, just like any good key lime pie. They only thing missing was the graham cracker crust, but I’m not quite sure how that would have tasted on a popsicle. L also thoroughly enjoyed her choice of mango champagne. More mango than champagne, it was perfectly refreshing on the warm Saturday afternoon.

Overall, we had a great time licking on our popsicles while enjoying the streets of old St. Augustine. The gourmet flavors were delicious and their wide selection already has me planning my next visit.

- A

the Hyppo Gourmet Popsicles

15 Hypolita St., St. Augustine, FL 32084

(904) 217-7853

Open Monday to Thursday: 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Friday to Sunday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

The Hyppo on Urbanspoon