Tag Archives: Cheese

Nick’s Family Restaurant Review

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

My next Tasting Experience review takes me to Nick’s Family Restaurant in Downtown Vero!  This is one of those places that I like to call a local’s place.  It’s somewhat hard to find and parking is not the best, but it’s so worth seeking out.  It has the feel of a place like the TV show called Cheers, and it feels like everyone knows your name since you will most likely bump into your neighbor while you are there.  The building they occupy dates back to the 1920’s and it got its start as a jewelry store called J.C. DuBose.  Mr. DuBose also used it for the practice of optometry.  Through the years it has seen many different restaurants including Sand Bar & Package Tavern, Bobby’s Café, Pepin’s Pub, Pickles Deli Café, and lastly before becoming Nick’s it was the Palm Tree Inn.  Nick and his wife, Meggin have owned and operated Nick’s Family Restaurant for the last 16 years, the most of any previous restaurant tenant.  The word “family” in the name best describes who is working here more than the atmosphere.  Nick and his mom run the kitchen with help from his niece on busy nights, and you can find Meggin working the dining room and waiting tables.  What are they doing differently than the previous tenants did that has kept the doors open this long?  Keep reading to find out!

I’m sure most of you have passed by this place 100 times and did not even realize it was there.  As you head west on Hwy 60 there is a sign and an entrance, but no parking available.  To park and use the back entrance, turn left off of 14th Ave right before Blue Agave into the ally, and a few businesses down is where Nick’s entrance is located.  They have a few designated parking spots, but in the evening when most businesses close, there are quite a few other spots available.  The rear entrance from the ally feels like you are going into the employee entrance, but it takes you into a long hallway right into the dining room.  The dining room has a large bar that has 10 seats and on the opposite wall are tables and chairs.  They do have a few high-top tables at the front entrance if you prefer.

 

Now let’s jump right in and see what this place has to offer and what I had to eat!

Garlic Knots ½ Order – ($3.95) – I haven’t met a garlic knot that I don’t like yet, and these are no exception.  Perfectly baked till golden brown on the outside, soft and fluffy inside.  They are served with a side of house-made marinara is the perfect appetizer to start your meal.

Sausage Parmesan Sandwich – ($7.95) –  OMG that looks so good!  Made with a toasted sub bun, they use a mild Italian sausage and place it inside the bread with their marinara sauce and top it with Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.  The sausage was ground very fine and had the consistency of a meatball in a casing.  The marinara was the same as served with the garlic knots, and as you can see from the picture above, they don’t skimp on the cheese.  It was amazing!

Bacon Swissburger – ($8.95) – A classic cheeseburger with bacon and sautéed onions & mushrooms is always an excellent choice.  The burger was cooked to a perfect medium and was very juicy, the bacon was nice and crisp and added a subtle smokiness, and the bun was soft and very fresh.  French Fries were served alongside.

Chicken Wings (10 pc) – ($9.95) – Wings are one of my all-time favorite foods on the planet, and Nick’s multiple Award-Winning wings are some of the best that Vero has to offer.  The jumbo wings are fried then tossed in the sauce of your choice.  The wings are crispy on the outside and moist and tender inside.  With 11 different sauce options, they have something to please everyone. 

Cannoli – ($2.95) – We were getting pretty full from all the food they served us, but we still wanted something sweet to round out our meal.  The cannoli made sense due to the size, and there is always room for dessert, right?  The cannoli shell was fried till golden brown, stuffed with their house-made filling, then dusted with powdered sugar.  The super smooth filling had the perfect amount of sweetness and small chocolate chips added a slight texture to the filling.  It was really good!

In Conclusion:

I only just discovered Nick’s less than 6 months ago and I’m glad I did.  I was so impressed with their wings that we decided to do a Vero Beach Foodie wing eating contest at the end of January with their hottest sauce called Italian Pain.  It was a raving success and we plan to do another one later this year, but with a much hotter sauce.  This is a place that both my wife and I continue to suggest as a dinner option since they have items that we both like, so this place comes up often as our go-to place.  If you have not been here before, then might I suggest you give them a try and see for yourself, I know you won’t be disappointed!

Have you tried Nick’s Family Restaurant?  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.

Nick’s Family Restaurant Website  |  Nick’s Family Restaurant Facebook Page

Address1453 20th St, Vero Beach, FL 32960

Phone(772) 567-2311

Hours of Operation:  Monday & Tuesday, 10am – 3pm, Wednesday – Friday, 10am – 9pm

Dagwood’s 2018 – Restaurant Review

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

My next tasting experience takes me back to one of my all-time favorite sandwich shops in Vero, Dagwood’s Deli & Sub Shop!  A lot of people often wonder where a food critic likes to spend their money and go back to after the reviews are over.  Dagwood’s is one of those places for me.  Why is that?  I strongly believe in supporting small business over the corporate guys.  They are working hard to give you the absolute best quality and experience possible because their livelihood depends on it.  I know where my money is going and what it’s helping do.  Not only is it keeping the money right here in Vero, but I also know it’s keeping a roof over their heads and putting shoes on their kid’s feet.  Small businesses like this are run by people just like you and me, and it’s good to see them succeed at something they love to do.    

Parking can be tight in the strip mall and this place is always busy over the short 4 hours that they are open.  Plan to come early or be prepared to fight for a parking spot, but trust me, it’s worth it.  Since my last visit, they recently started staying open till 10:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, so parking does get a little easier later in the day since the other businesses in the strip mall are closed.  As you walk into Dagwood’s, you are greeted by a counter with stools and a dining room to the right with low and high-top tables.  One new thing you will notice is a wonderful selection of local beers that they offer on tap.  After placing your order at the front counter, you will receive your drink and then instructed to take any seat and your sandwich will be delivered to your table.  The atmosphere is nice, with ochre-colored walls and black accents.  Decorations are bold and add a unique vibe to the place.  They have also added a large chalkboard menu on the left wall you can browse while waiting your turn to place your order.

 

Now on to the food!  Let’s jump right in and see what I had to eat!

New York Club – ($6.75 half / $9.99 whole) – New York deli is one of my all-time favorites so I was looking forward to trying their version of it.  A combination of Dagwood’s own house-made pastrami and corned beef is layered with swiss cheese, sauerkraut, spicy mustard, and is served on rye bread.  Can’t make the trip to NY for some of the best delis in the world, stop by Dagwood’s right here in Vero and I’m sure you will fall in love all over again.

Open Face Chicken Club – ($6.75 half / $9.99 whole) – Who knew you could have it made open faced?  This sandwich is made with oven roasted chicken breast, bacon, provolone cheese, mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and Dagwood spices. 

The Okeechobee – ($9.99) – As one of Dagwood’s newest creations, I could not wait to try this one!  Roast beef, bacon, cheddar, lettuce & tomato is piled high on white bread and dressed with mayonnaise and bang sauce.  This thing was a monster!  I felt as if I had to unhinge my jaw to take a bite.  Everything worked very well together and you get a little heat on the backend from the bang sauce. 

Vero Beach Classic – ($9.99) – This is also a new sandwich that is not on the menu yet, and I think my new favorite!  Chicken, roast beef, swiss cheese, bacon, avocado, peppercorn, parmesan, lettuce & tomato, Dagwood spices, piled high on garlic toast.

BBQ Sub – ($6.75) – Man, doesn’t that look good?  It’s made simply with pulled chicken, BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, on a sub bun.  While it may sound simple, everything just works and it’s quite tasty. 

In Conclusion:

Dagwood’s continues to impress me with their offerings.  From their house-made meats, beyond fresh ingredients, these are some of the best sandwiches you will find in Vero, period.  Now open till 10:00 pm on Friday and Saturday nights, your weekend dinner options just got easier.  Josh and Marie are also some of the nicest, most hardworking folks you will ever meet in the food industry.  Their drive and passion for what they do shows and you can taste it in the sandwiches they make.

NOTE:  My comments about each sandwich were kept at a minimum for this review because there are only so many ways you can describe a sandwich and how it tastes, or how fresh the ingredients are, so I figured I would summarize my experience in the “In Conclusion” part of this tasting experience article.  I also think the pictures speak for themselves!

Vero Beach Foodie is stepping out of our comfort zone and trying something new!  Check out our very first Mukbang video of Dagwood’s review and let us know what you think!

Have you tried Dagwood’s?  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.

Dagwood’s Website  |  Dagwood’s Menu  |  Facebook Page  |  Chow Cab

Address835 17th St, Vero Beach, FL 32960

Phone(772) 778-1900

Hours:  Open Monday – Thursday, 11:00am till 3:00pm, Open Friday – Saturday, 11:00am till 10:00pm, Closed on Sundays

Chef Lippe’s Gourmet Artisan Products – Business Review

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

 

As someone who eats cheese almost daily, I could not wait to try these gourmet cheeses and compare them to what I’ve been getting from the grocery store.  Most of the stuff you find in your local store has sat in a warehouse until ordered and then it sits in the refrigerated case for who knows how long until purchased or it goes bad.  Chef Lippe, gets most of his cheeses directly from the source, thus cutting out the middleman and bringing you the freshest cheeses to market as quickly as possible. 

Chef Lippe’s love of food started at an early age.  His grandmother used to take him to street fairs and local markets and this is where he was first exposed to gourmet artisan foods.   He can still remember the smell of roasted piglet porchetta with the hints of rosemary and garlic to this day.  As a son of a US Diplomat, he got to travel the world and was exposed to many different cultures and cuisines.  No matter where chef traveled, he always felt at home in the kitchen.  The kitchen is where the sounds and smells were all too familiar and where cross cultures could bond over a shared meal.  Later in life, he became a fashion photographer which allowed him to continue traveling around the world and experiencing cultures through food once more.  This is when he really became engaged in local cuisines around the world and would be the founding stone for his culinary style.  Leaving the fashion photography business in 1999, he traveled to Brazil and found a shack in the islands where he developed it into a calzone tavern and ended with a trattoria.  This is where he began the pursuit of his lifelong calling.  In 2007, he came back to the US and attended the New York Fancy Food Show and came across something known as black garlic.  This encounter helped shape the next few years of his career and he became one of the first importers of it in the US.  In 2010, he started his quest to build a website featuring artisanal food, small batch production, farmstead, homestead, local, seasonal, and hard to find items.  His website http://cheflippe.net/ was founded in 2012.

 

Now let’s jump right in and see a few of the cheeses we tasted!

Balsamic and Merlot Wisconson Cheddar Cheeses – We sampled both of these cheeses and personally liked the balsamic one a little better.  It was a little bit smoother and creamier than the merlot.  Both of the crusts had a little crunch to it which added a nice texture variation.

Blue Faribault Cave Aged – Bold flavor is something I expect when I taste a cheese like bleu, and this one did not disappoint.  This one would go nicely crumbled on a salad or atop a nice steak.

Quesera Manchego – This cheese has a firmer, crumbly texture with a flavor profile somewhere between Parmesan and Pecorino Romano.  The longer we held it in our mouth, the better the flavor became.

Grana Padano – This cheese wheel looks very similar to Parmeseano Reggiano that you see all the time at local grocery stores.  While we did not taste this one at the market, Chef Lippe did tell me that its slightly softer and has better flavor than Parmeseano Reggiano.  When he has an assistant at the Farmers Market, he cooks fresh pasta with butter, garlic, and parsley, then tosses it inside the large wheel allowing it to melt the cheese and makes a wonderful pasta dish.

One question that I thought you might be interested to learn is “what cheeses does he recommend for a grilled cheese sandwich and mac and cheese? 

Here is what he had to say about grilled cheese:  “There are as many “good” cheeses to make the perfect cheese sandwich as there are palates. I think the secret lies in achieving the perfect texture-flavor combination. For a grilled cheese sandwich, for example, I would use fontina cheese as the base, that would give me that gooey cloudy fluffy goodness that stretches for miles, and comte for character band depth of flavor. Remember, every gruyere aspires one day to become a comte. I would close the set between two slices of rye bread.”  

Here is what he had to say about mac and cheese:  “Gouda and cheddar would be my choices. Manchego is good in the mix also.  A trick for Mac and cheese, whatever cheese you are using, mix a minimum of 30% cream cheese in the recipe… Nothing sticks to macaroni like cream cheese!”

In Conclusion:

Could I tell a difference in what I tasted?  Absolutely!  They were fresher, saltier, sweeter, smoother and creamier than any other cheeses that I’ve tasted before. You can find Chef Lippe at the local Vero Beach Farmers Market each Saturday morning (rain or shine) from 8 am – 12 noon.  His selection does fluctuate from week to week, so if you want something specific, you can always give him a call and request a specific cheese to be brought to the market.  I also advise you to get there early because he most certainly does sell out quickly.

For more information, please visit:  http://cheflippe.net/

For all your cheese emergencies, you can call him direct at (321) 345-4568