Category Archives: Food

121 Tapas on the Water – Restaurant Review

by Thomas Miller – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine and Vero Beach Foodie

My next tasting experience review takes me down to Fort Pierce and to 121 Tapas on the Water!  I first met the owners, Chef Jason and Hallie Alfonso earlier this year at the Hope for Families Center’s Top Chef event in April.  They made some of the most amazing potato gnocchi that I’ve ever tasted, so I knew that I needed to pay these guys a visit and see if the other items on their menu were just as amazing! 

The restaurant is located at the corner of Melody Lane and Orange Avenue in Fort Pierce.  If you are not familiar with the location, Melody Lane is the street that runs along in front of Gazebo Park where the Fort Pierce Farmers Market is held.  There are lots of parking options all around, but be sure to arrive early if you want to find one easily, plus you can take advantage of their Happy Hour.  This area tends to be quite busy with lots of events, different markets, Sailfish Brewery, and lots of other businesses close by, so the parking spots tend to fill up fast.  Walking up to the restaurant you notice the beautiful view of the intercoastal waterway just across the street.  They do have a few tables in front of the restaurant if you prefer to dine outside.  The interior is tastefully decorated with dark and light-colored walls, a few booths and tables in a dark cherry stained wood, and a large bar takes center stage on the left upon entry.  Lots of unique and colorful artwork adorn the walls.

 

Let’s jump right in and see what I had to eat and drink!

Jumbo Lump Crab Bisque – First up for us to taste is this wonderful Crab Bisque!  It’s a cream based bisque with a generous portion of lump crab meat.  The bisque was very smooth and creamy.  The crab meat was quite a generous portion and was tender and sweet.  The crostini was soft on the inside and had a slight crunch on the outside.  The wine pairing that Chef Jason chose for me was a Butternut Chardonnay and was light and fruity, and paired perfectly with the bisque. 

Meat and Cheese Charcuterie Board – ($15.00) –  I love a good charcuterie board, so I was happy to see this when it was brought to the table.  It has olives, a sweet and spicy grain mustard, Port Wine, Manchego, and Charmont cheeses, thin slices of hard salami and chorizo, slices of Granny Smith apples and honey (behind crostini), and several crostini.  The board had a nice variety of meats and cheeses, the olives were not as salty as I had expected them to be and were quite good, and the sliced apples and honey added a nice contrasting flavor and texture with all of the fatty and salty items on the board.

Sliced Filet – ($13.00) – Filet tends to be a very popular cut of meat for most people due to its tenderness, but for me, it lacks flavor due to the low-fat content.  Chef Jason cooked this via the Sous Vide method and was able to further tenderize and increase the flavor potential of this cut of beef.  The meat was so tender it was almost silky in texture.  The roasted Brussel sprouts were some of the nuttiest I have tasted and were cooked perfectly.  A very good dish!

Rock Shrimp Gnocchi – ($12.00) – This is the dish that I first tasted by Chef Jason at the Top Chef event earlier this year and what actually inspired me to go visit them for this review.  First off, the gnocchi are outstanding!  Its silky smooth texture is some of the best I have tasted anywhere.  The rock shrimp were perfectly cooked and the sauce was rich and creamy.  One more element you don’t see is a sweet pea puree tucked underneath everything which adds a little sweetness to the dish.  This is one that I will definitely order again and highly recommend that you try it too!

Scallops – ($13.00) – What a beautiful presentation!  Three U10 scallops were seared and placed over a Corn and Jalapeno chutney.  The scallops had a beautiful sear on them, but were just a touch over on the cook and were closer to medium well in the middle.  The corn chutney was really sweet and had just a touch of Jalapeno flavor without any heat.  (Note – The menu says two scallops, I was served three.  The owners were not available at the time of writing for me to confirm the price difference).

Carrot Cake – Most people either love or hate carrot cake, there does not seem to be much middle ground with this dessert.  I’m someone that does really enjoy a good carrot cake and that’s what we have here.  The cake itself was moist and had some texture from the walnuts and raisins in it.  This one also had just the right amount of frosting on it and it was not killer sweet.  It added just enough sweetness to let you know it’s there, but not overwhelm you with the richness.    This is one of the better versions that I have tasted in quite a while.

In Conclusion:

I really enjoyed my time here during the review.  The atmosphere was comfortable and very relaxed, the food was exceptional, and they even have live entertainment on select nights.  Happy Hour is from 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm and you can get half off any drinks or Tapas dishes which is a great deal!  If you don’t mind the short drive to Fort Pierce, then stop by and give these guys a try, I know you won’t be disappointed!

Have you tried 121 Tapas on the Water?  What has your experience been with them?  Sound off in the comments below and let me know your thoughts, or feel free to email me at thefoodguy@verovine.com with your questions or comments.

Atmosphere – 5 Forks

Service – 5 Forks

Food – 4 Forks

Rating Scale Legend:

1 to 5 Forks – 1 Bad to 5 Excellent

Website  |  Facebook

Address121 Melody Lane, Fort Pierce, FL 34950

Phone(772) 781-0943

Happy Hour Daily from 4:00 pm till 5:00 pm with half off drinks and tapas items.  Tuesday is open mic night, Wednesday is $2.00 you call it beers, Thursday is Ladies Night with Live Music, and Sunday night two can dine for $49.00 which includes two appetizers, two entrees, and one bottle of wine.

Taste, Toast & Celebrate Together: Chefs, Charities & Celebs Right Here in Vero

 

Get Tickets NOW for the Inaugural

Vero Beach Food, Wine & Music Event (VBFWM)

February 16-18, 2018

written by Sherry Nist

Before your Holiday eggnog curdles or your New Year’s bubbly goes flat, make plans to be part of Vero’s first ever Food, Wine & Music Destination Event.  Gifting this event to your loved ones, colleagues, clients (or okay, even yourself) is truly a gift that keeps on giving.  Attendees receive three days of exciting wine, food, music, fashion, junior chef challenge & pet preening fun. And, the giving doesn’t end there. VBFWM is also the first multi-charity platform event of it’s kind.  Each charity VBFWM supports, receives greater visibility for their mission(s) and more importantly, funds to accomplish their goals.  

Here’s some exciting buzz surrounding the event:

This three-day destination event will showcase the talents of the world’s most renowned wine and spirits producers, chefs, and culinary personalities locally, nationally and worldwide.This event not only enhances and elevates the exposure of Vero Beach, but also specifically supports  charities focusing on the environment, education, health, human services, animals in distress, and children and family.

An event of this stature would also power the local economy through increased tourism revenue as well as expand the audience for real-estate interested parties. It offers an elite excursion with a one of a kind experience for all those who attend.

Has the VBFWM Event “wet your appetite”?  Here’s a taste of what’s to come:

Thursday, Feb 15th, 2018

Opening the VBFWM Event is a VIP Cocktail Party & Press Conference featuring Culinary Personalities, Celebrities & VBFWM Sponsors. 

Friday, Feb 16th, 2018 

Friday evening is filled with music:  band showcases, musical performances & The Beat Goes On Afterglow Welcome Party benefiting United Against Poverty & Indian River Lagoon National Estuary.

https://upirc.org/

http://www.irlcouncil.com/

Saturday, Feb 17th, 2018

Saturday’s events focus on the family. 

A  Junior Chef Challenge begins the day.  Your afternoon is filled with food, wine & music featuring:  Tastes of the World, Chef Personalities Showcases, Local Caterer Tastings, Wines of the World & an Array of Bands serenading you and your guests.  Round out the day with a Chefs Table Tasting Dinner & Auction.  The Source & Hibiscus Children’s Center are Saturday’s beneficiaries.

http://www.iamthesource.org/

https://hibiscuschildrenscenter.org/

Sunday, Feb 18th, 2018.

Sunday’s events benefit Halo No Kill Rescue & the American Cancer Society.

Start your Sunday off with Brunch Cuisine such as Crepes, Champagne & More provided by renowned Local & International Chefs.  Watch & learn Specialty Food Techniques while you nibble.  Late morning into the afternoon enjoy the Pups & Pinot Human & Canine Couture Fashion Show & a Bark Bistro with Pet Parent & Pup Cooking Demonstrations.  Round out your Sunday Fun Day with VBFWM’s Closing Cocktail Party.

http://www.halorescuefl.org/

https://www.cancer.org/

Wrap this up, and gift it!

VBFWM’s combination of philanthropy for the six charities, fine foods, wine, and entertainment creates not only an amazing event experience, but establishes a precedent for an annual, signature spree where all involved gain a positive return in participating. 

VBFWM is excited to bring Vero such an intimate event over a three-day time frame. VBFWM’s event will provide you & your guests with a unique, fun & memorable experience while supporting  our local charities. Additionally, this event is sure to enhance Vero Beach’s position as a premier destination for high-end culinary, wine, philanthropic & musical experiences. 

VBFWM makes the perfect present!  No more procrastination on finding that one unique Holiday gift.  You might even consider ‘super-sizing’ your gift by becoming a VBFWM Sponsor and/or by travelling onward with your guests to the Food Network’s SOBE Food & Wine event taking place in Miami right after Vero’s. Think, “Bucket List”. We only live once after all!  


VBFWM Event Founder:

Vero Beach, Food, Wine & Music came to be, thanks to the love Fé Domenech has developed for Vero Beach and the charities of the community. After relocating her family and her business The Event Firm International to Vero Beach from Miami in 2011, she has produced multitude of events throughout the local area. Which has earned her not only the respect of those she’s worked with, but also has become beloved by her clients due to her unwavering commitment to exceed all expectations. She could do no less as she’s come to understand that philanthropy is the true heart of this wonderful community…

Through this, she  became inspired to figure out a way to pay it forward on more than just one level.  After extensive research, scouting the local areas, and using her many years of experience producing large successful events combined with putting good people together the vision of The Vero Beach Food Wine & Music came to be.  It is the very first of its kind for the area. It’s going to be a nationally marketed event, with star studded attendance.


Celebrity Chefs

Chef Alex Thomopolous

http://alextcooks.com/

Chef Shaun O’Neale

Shaun O’Neale

 

Chef Graham Elliot

http://www.foodnetwork.com/profiles/talent/graham-elliot/bio


VBFWM 2018

http://foodwinemusicvero.com/

 

VBFWM Event Schedule & Tickets

Tickets

 

South Beach Wine & Food Festival 2018

https://www.facebook.com/verobeachfoodwinemusic/

https://www.everfest.com/e/south-beach-wine-food-festival-miami-beach-fl

 

 

Bistro Fourchette – Restaurant Review 2017

by Thomas Miller – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine and Vero Beach Foodie

I was invited back to Bistro Fourchette in downtown Vero Beach to check out their new menu.  The owners took the summer off to travel, but now they are back and open for business again.   Owners Chef Stephane Becht and his wife Loretta opened this place in November 2015, serving classic French bistro style cuisine along with a few American favorites.  I had such a fantastic meal last time that I could not wait to dine here again. 

If you have driven down 19th Place through downtown Vero, I’m sure you have passed by a few times and did not even realize it.  They are located at the corner of 14th Ave and 19th place.  Parking is in the back as is the entrance to the restaurant.  If the lot is full, there is additional parking on the street.  As you enter the building, there is a long hallway that leads to a courtyard where the entrance is located.  As I walked up to the restaurant, I noticed some changes on the exterior.  It appears they have not yet reinstalled their awnings or sign on the front of the building after Hurricane Irma.  I decided to just use my photos of the exterior from my 2016 review due to this.  Upon entering the restaurant, you come right into the main dining room, with the hostess stand on your right.  It’s cozy, yet it does not feel cramped, decoration was subtle with all kinds of different mirrors and French artwork on the walls.  Lighting was dim, but not so much so you could not read the menu.  I arrived at 5:30 pm when they opened and there were quite a few people checking in for their reservations, which are recommended.

There is a second dining room separated from the main one by a short hallway, that allows them to seat a total of 80 guests.  I was promptly greeted upon entry by Loretta and shown to my table.

 

Let’s jump right in and see what I had to eat!

Charcuterie Board – ($16.00) –  I was a bit confused by this dish since it did not contain all items that were listed on the menu.  I can only assume they were either out of those items or wanted me to focus on just the pate since that is made in-house.  The normal charcuterie board does contain Prosciutto and Rosette de Lyon sausage.  The pate was very smooth and creamy, the garlic confit was wonderful when smeared on the crostini.  Cornichon pickles and grain mustard were served alongside.

Filet de Truite – ($23.00) – First thing I noticed when they set this dish down in front of me was how moist looking the fish was.  A boneless trout filet is served with sautéed green beans, carrots, potatoes, and a lemon chives beurre blanc sauce.  The fish was perfectly cooked, very moist, yet crunchy on the skin side.  The veggies were nicely seasoned and cooked perfectly.

Black Angus Burger – ($17.00) – Wow, now that’s a burger!  Burgers are a very popular American dish that is on a lot of restaurant menus, so I didn’t know what to expect when ordering one in a French bistro.  Needless to say, I was impressed when this burger arrived at our table.  It was served on cutting board along with Bibb lettuce, slices of tomato, French fries, and ketchup.  The burger, per our request, was cooked to a perfect medium.  The bun was very fresh, the caramelized onions were nice and sweet, and I chose the Roquefort cheese to go with something different, and it was an excellent choice.

Grand Mariner Soufflé – ($10.00) – They only make soufflés on Friday and Saturdays, so I was happy the review was scheduled on a Friday night so I could try one.  When it arrived at the table, you could smell that fresh baked goodness that I expect from a soufflé.  They can be tricky to make and a delicate balance of pulling it out of the oven at the right time.  This one was slightly under and could have used another minute or two in the oven to finish baking, but the flavor was spot on.

In Conclusion:

When I reviewed them a year ago, I mentioned in my previous article that it can be a tough for a small chef-owned restaurant in Vero to survive with so much competition around.  With limited options for French cuisine in Vero, I’m happy to report that they are still going strong and the food is still just as amazing as my first visit.  When dining here, you can expect top-notch ingredients that have been expertly prepared by a chef with years of experience, a professional wait staff with matching French outfits, and an atmosphere that makes you feel as if you are in France, even if for just the evening. 

Have you tried Bistro Fourchette?  What has your experience been with them?  Sound off in the comments below and let me know your thoughts, or feel free to email me at thefoodguy@verovine.com with your questions or comments.

Atmosphere – 5 Forks

Service – 5 Forks

Food – 4 Forks

Rating Scale Legend:

1 to 5 Forks – 1 Bad to 5 Excellent

Bistro Fourchette Website  |  Bistro Fourchette on Facebook

They are open Tuesday through Saturday, 5:00 pm till 9:00 pm,  closed Sundays and Mondays

Address1309 19th Pl, Vero Beach, FL 32960