Tag Archives: Cheese

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

 

 

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.