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.