Tag Archives: Chocolate

Joy’s Ice Cream Plus – Restaurant Review

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

My next tasting experience takes me down to Fort Pierce and to Joy’s Ice Cream Plus.  Ice cream tends to be a favorite in our house, but we don’t bring it home from the grocery store too often.  I work from home and I don’t seem to have much willpower against sweet stuff, so we just go out on special occasions to have a treat.  My wife got her love of ice cream from her mother, Ruth who called it her “nightly medicine”. 

Joy’s has two locations, one in Fort Pierce and one in Port St Lucie.  The Fort Pierce location is conveniently located in a strip mall just off of US Hwy 1.  Since I had not been here before, I used my GPS to guide me to their location and I’m glad I did.  While their address is on US Hwy 1, they are around the corner and not directly visible from the highway.  Upon entry, it was much larger inside than I expected.  Pink and white adorn the walls and make it feel bright and cheery.  While Vero does have some great ice cream options, is Joy’s worth the drive down to Fort Pierce?  You will just have to keep reading to find out!

 

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

Chocolate Cannoli – Nothing says Italian quite like a cannoli!  I have to say this is the first time I‘ve seen one stuffed with ice cream.  The filling was vanilla ice cream that had a subtle cannoli flavor with mini chocolate chips in it.  The cannoli shell was coated in chocolate and was not as hard to bite through as I thought it would be.  They fill it just before it’s served so it is not frozen solid.  A perfect sized treat if you don’t want to overindulge!

Ice Cream Cake – While not available unless you buy a whole ice cream cake, they wanted me to taste and see a cross-section of one of their more popular cakes that they make.  From the bottom up:  Pureed bananas in vanilla ice cream, chocolate cookie crumble, chocolate ice cream, a decadent layer of hot fudge, and garnished with whipped cream and a chocolate covered banana slice.  All of the flavors worked very well together.  The hot fudge was some of the best I’ve ever tasted, the chocolate cookie crumbles added a nice texture variation, and the chocolate ice cream was smooth and creamy.

Brownie Boat – Since we were tasting quite a few different items from the menu, we were provided smaller tasting portions of some of the desserts.  For example, we were told this is 1/8th of the normal size, so the normal one must be HUGE!  You get to choose the ice cream that goes on top and I chose a scoop of Peanut Butter Crunch which was the perfect choice with the brownie.  The brownie was moist and fudgy, the ice cream was of impeccable quality and had a wonderful peanut butter flavor.

Black Cherry Lemon Smoothie – We were a little hesitant on this flavor combination at first, but we decided to go ahead and try it anyway.  Black cherry and lemon didn’t really seem to go together, but surprisingly it worked.  The lemon was not overpowering and actually enhanced the flavor of the black cherry a little bit.  The smoothie was more milkshake like in texture since it was on the thicker side and had large chunks of black cherry in it.

Luffle – What the heck is a “Luffle” anyway?  Taking inspiration from a new show on Netflix called Zumbo’s Just Desserts, Ice Cream Cake designer Brittany decided to try something different.  This is one of those “secret” menu items you won’t find on the board and have to ask for it.  Here are the all of the layers starting in the middle working our way to the outside:  Strawberry ice cream, strawberry cheesecake ice cream, hot fudge, red velvet cake, whipped cream, chocolate magic shell and garnished with hot fudge, strawberry topping, whipped cream, and chocolate cookie and graham cracker crumbles.  It was frozen solid, so we had to let it warm up a bit before we could eat it.  It was quite complex in both flavors and textures and was really good!  To see what the inside layers look like, check out my photo gallery above for an inside peek at this dessert.  

In Conclusion:

It’s always fun to discover a new and interesting place to try, and I’m happy to have found Joy’s Ice Cream Plus.  Having been in business for over 21 years, they must be doing something right.  All ice cream is made in-house, and with over 50 flavors to choose from, the possibilities are endless.  From one ice cream lover to another, next time you are in the Fort Pierce area, I HIGHLY recommend you go check these guys out, I know you won’t be disappointed!

Have you tried Joy’s Ice Cream Plus?  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.

 

Joy’s Ice Cream Plus

4959 S US Highway 1

Fort Pierce, Florida 34982-7011

Phone(772) 461-5544

The 2017 EPCOT Food and Wine Festival

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

It’s that time of year again as I head back to the 2017 EPCOT Food & Wine Festival and try all the different dishes as we take our “trip around the world”.  Disney does a fantastic job in keeping with the authenticity of the dishes, yet making them palatable for the majority of the public that are not that adventurous of eaters.  A lot of the same options that I reviewed last year were back again, but I tried to work in some new ones too.  I always try my top 3 from last year to see if they were as good, if not better. 

Below I will not feature everything I ate, just my “Top ATE” dishes from 2017, so let’s jump right in and see what I had to eat!

#8 – Belgium – Belgian Waffle with Berry Compote – ($4.00) – Moving down my list from #4 to #8 is this dessert.  They prepared it differently this year and added way too much berry compote.  The waffle ended up being a little bit soggy and the whipped cream was not that appealing with the sauce over the top.  We did detect a hint of wine in the berry compote which we did not last year, so they must be playing with the recipe a bit.  This is still a favorite and it had to make the list even though the execution was not as good as previous years, but we hope they fix the presentation issue, then it would be perfect. 

***UPDATE*** – I have seen another photo of this dish from others attending the event on social media, and it was not assembled this way, so I guess it depends on who is making it.

#7 – The Cheese Studio – Braised Beef “Stroganoff” with Tiny Egg Noodles, Wild Mushroom, and Boursin Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese Sauce – ($5.00) – Next up at number seven is a new dish that I was looking forward to trying the most.  While the beef was fork tender and had good flavor, the cheese sauce that should have been the star of the dish, was lacking flavor and quantity. The egg noodles were more like a spätzle than a noodle and were a little bit chewy.  I was a little bit disappointed with this dish, but it was still good enough to make the list. 

#6 – Spain – Sweet Olive Oil Cake with Powdered Sugar and Lemon Curd – ($3.75) – The first dessert to make my list is this wonderful olive oil cake!  The cake was slightly chilled and had a texture like corn bread.  The lemon curd sauce was drizzled over the top just before service and was wonderful!  It had just enough zing to “tweak the cheeks” as I like to say.  Portion size for the price paid was also very generous.

#5 – Brazil – Escondidinho de Carne “Little Hidden One” – ($5.00) – Moving down three spots from #2 to #5 this year is this “South American Shepard’s pie”.  Execution of the dish was the same as last year, but it seems like there was a flavor element that was different or missing.  It did not seem to have the same richness that it did last year.  The Yucca on top was very smooth, creamy, and slightly crusty around the edges which gives it an additional texture element that I am a fan of.

#4 – Earth Eats – Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Mousse with Caramel Drizzle – ($3.50) – Anything dessert with peanut butter in it always gets my attention, and this one did not disappoint!  While probably one of the smallest portions at the festival, it was packed with BIG flavor!  Layers of white chocolate mousse, peanut butter mousse, caramel drizzle and candied peanuts are repeated in this small container.  I think I got maybe four bites out of it, but they were so good!  I highly recommend this one, but make sure you get a few of them, because it will disappear before you know it!

#3 – New Zealand – Lamb Meatball – ($5.25) – This dish also came in at my #3 pick for last year and it was good enough to keep its position on my list again.  This time I saw them make it and put the golf ball size meatball in the bread bowl before putting the chutney over the top.  It’s a decent portion for the price and very filling.  The lamb meatball does not have any gamey flavor, so don’t let that stop you from trying it even if you’re not that fond of lamb.  The bread bowl held up well when I picked it up to take a bite.  The tomato chutney was fresh, sweet, with a slight bit of heat.  It was delicious!

#2 – Islands of the Caribbean – Mojo Pork with Black Beans and Cilantro Rice – ($5.00) – A new dish at the festival has made its way to the top of my list!  It looks quite bland, but it’s anything but.  The pork was very tender and had lots of juice with it to keep it moist.  The mojo flavor was just enough to let you know it was there, but not overpowering.  But the star of the plate was the rice and beans!  They had TONS of flavor and I seriously could have gone back just for them, they were that good!

 

And finally, the #1 dish from this year’s EPCOT Food & Wine Festival 2017 is. . .

#1 – Canada – “Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon – ($8.00) – Congratulations once again to the Canada booth for taking the #1 spot two years in a row on my “Top ATE” list!  The filet was cooked to a perfect medium and cut so easy with a plastic knife, you would think you were cutting through warm butter.  Its served with sautéed mushrooms in a truffle-butter sauce that was outstanding!

In Conclusion:

How much did all of this fun cost us you ask?  We were surprised when we got home and totaled up all our receipts.  For everything that you saw in this post plus a few more dishes that were not featured, two people sharing each dish, our total was only $68.50!  Last year’s total was $63.25, so we ended up spending $5.25 more this year.  I did notice a slight increase in price on some of the items, so that accounts for the higher amount, and we may have had 1 more dish than last year too. Our total for the day, with a tank of gas and parking included on my wife’s annual pass was just a little over $98.50!  I originally was not planning on going again this year, since the dishes had not changed that drastically from last year, but Disney contacted me and offered two press passes to get into the park so I could write about it again.  If they offer them again next year, then I’ll just have to take them up on their offer and eat my way around the world again!

Cobalt – Restaurant Review 2017

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

If you are a regular reader of my restaurant reviews, you may recall my review of Cobalt from last year.  I was invited back to check out their brand-new summer menu for 2017.  As one of my favorite restaurants on the island, I was definitely looking forward to dining with them again.  Executive Chef Danial Traimas has been with the restaurant now for close to a year and a half and I always look forward to seeing what innovative dishes he and his team come up with.

2016 Review of Cobalt

Parking is limited due to its location right at the ocean, but they do offer free valet parking, or you can park on the street with only a short walk to the hotel and restaurant.  The outside of the hotel is still nicely maintained and always beautifully landscaped.  There is a separate entrance to the restaurant and upon entry, you’ll find both an elevator and a winding staircase that will take you up to the second level where the restaurant is located.

As you enter the restaurant, the large wall of windows at the back of the dining room immediately grabs your attention, as does the ocean view.  The dining room has a comfortable elegance to it with dark stained wood paneled walls, beautiful lighting fixtures, and very comfortable table and booth combinations with lots of pillows.  There is also outdoor seating for those of you that want that direct ocean view.

We arrived around 5:30 pm on a Tuesday evening for an early dinner.  We were greeted shortly after taking our seat by Sous Chef Ryan Krull.  Chef Daniel had the night off, so he left us in Chef Ryan’s capable hands.

Now without further ado, on to the food!  Let’s jump right in and see what I had to eat!

Poke Salad –  Our first of six courses was this wonderful salad.  It’s made with fresh yellowfin tuna, marinated seaweed, mixed greens, cucumbers, carrots, toasted sesame seeds, and a soy reduction.  Its dressed with a carrot-ginger dressing and topped with tobiko roe.  Everything was extremely fresh, the tuna was seasoned very well, and the lettuce was crisp.  The flavor of the dressing was reminiscent of the salad dressing you get at a hibachi grill, but so much fresher and more flavorful.

Cobia Crudo – As many different things that I’ve eaten and have experience with, a Crudo is somewhat new to me, so I Googled it and this is what I found out “a dish of raw fish or seafood, typically dressed with oil, citrus juice, and seasonings”.  This one is made with raw Cobia sliced very thin and layered on the bottom.  Its garnished with watermelon radish, serrano peppers, kaffir lime leaf, toasted coconut, and is dressed with a coconut-lime vinaigrette.  The Cobia was very fresh, the peppers and watermelon radish added a crunchy texture, and the coconut-lime dressing gave it a brightness.  It was a light and flavorful dish.

Steamed Clams – This is not a dish that I would normally order on my own, so I was happy to see it on the menu for the tasting.  It’s not that I don’t like clams, I just don’t think something like this would normally fill me up till I’m satisfied.  It’s made with little neck clams that have been steamed, diced chorizo sausage,  and fire roasted tomatoes in a Yuengling broth.  Crostini were served alongside.  The clams were fresh and cooked to perfection.  The broth was interesting.  A flavor combination that does not seem like it would work, but yet it did.  It was seasoned well, creamy, and had a touch of heat and smoke flavor from the sausage.

Scallops – This dish was a team effort on the part of Chef Daniel and Chef Ryan and was absolutely stunning!  I’ve tasted other scallop dishes that Chef Daniel has made and he definitely seems to have a flair for creating some fantastic seafood dishes.  First on the plate is a charred corn succotash, topped with the scallops, garnished with micro greens and corn tweels, and finished with a sweet corn beurre blanc sauce.  The corn succotash was crunchy, sweet and spicy, and slightly smoky from the diced chorizo sausage.  The scallops were seared perfectly and had that rich velvety texture I’ve come to expect from a great quality scallop.

Aussie Lamb Chops – Most people have a love-hate relationship with lamp chops, but in my case, I love them so I was happy to see them when brought to the table.  The chops are served over sautéed wild mushrooms in an umami butter sauce and garnished with goat cheese mousse and micro greens.  The seasoning on the chops was kept simple with garlic, salt, and pepper and was grilled mid-rare to medium internal temperature.  The mushrooms were lightly sautéed and served with the savory umami butter sauce which was rich and flavorful.  The goat cheese mousse was light and tangy.

My Favorite Chocolate Cake – Our sixth and final course of the evening was dessert and it was a welcome sight!  It’s a dark chocolate 3-layer cake served with a vanilla Anglaise, Raspberry coulis, honey macerated orange segments, and garnished with whipped cream.  The cake was made with dark chocolate and was very light in texture and had a more subtle chocolate flavor than I expected.  This is not a bad thing because most cakes can be too rich, but this one was just right.  It did not leave you feeling like you ate a heavy rich dessert that you soon regret shortly afterward.

In Conclusion:

There is a distinct difference between eating and dining, and I believe that Cobalt excels at providing a superior dining experience.  From the wonderful food, the restaurant’s elegant dining room, and the ocean views, this place has the total package that exemplifies what fine dining should be.  The food here continues to impress me and Executive Chef Daniel and his team’s ability to take simple ingredients and elevate them is something that they do very well.  If you have only “eaten” lately, then might I suggest next time you chose to go out, that you “dine” with them and experience the difference.

Stay tuned for a special announcement next week.  Vero Vine and Vero Beach Foodie are proud to present our next VIP Foodie Dining Experience coming up at Cobalt!  It’s called “Chef’s Table” and will feature a special menu created by Executive Chef Daniel Traimas just for this event.  Tickets will go on sale shortly so be sure to like us on Facebook for updates!

Have you tried Cobalt?  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 – 5 Forks

Rating Scale Legend:

1 to 5 Forks – 1 Bad to 5 Excellent

Cobalt Website  |  Cobalt Facebook Page

Address: 3500 Ocean Dr, Vero Beach, FL 32963

Hours:

Wednesday 7AM–11PM
Thursday 7AM–11PM
Friday 7AM–12AM
Saturday 8AM–12AM
Sunday 8AM–11PM
Monday 7AM–11PM
Tuesday 7AM–11PM