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Inti International – Restaurant Review

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

For my next tasting experience, I head to Miracle Mile and to Inti International Restaurant.  This concept comes from the minds and owners of locally owned restaurant chain Ay Jalisco.  Opening November 2017, the restaurant is named after an ancient Incan sun god and is a new concept for Vero.  The dishes offered come from diverse backgrounds and cultures like Peruvian, Mexican and Latin American, thus the name “International”.  The restaurant served us a nice variety of dishes to try so we could sample some of what they have to offer.

Located in Miracle Mile on 7th Ave in what was previously known as The Long Branch Saloon, is one of the hottest new restaurant concepts to come to Vero in years.  The place has been completely redone and while I don’t know what the old Long Branch Saloon looked like, there isn’t much that appears to remain from the previous tenant.  The outside has been updated with a fresh look and feel and the inside is absolutely gorgeous.  From a bright, bold tropically decorated wall, two-toned green booths, and the accent lighting throughout, no stone was left unturned when they renovated this place.  Even the bathrooms were completely redone which is something that most places tend to overlook.  Parking is somewhat limited by the spots along the side and at the rear of the restaurant, but you should be able to park in a few additional spots that are along 22nd Street later in the evening when the businesses in the strip mall next door close for the day.

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

 

Cancha – These are served free of charge to all tables while you wait for your food.  I found a definition online to better explain what these are.  “A popular snack in Peru and Ecuador is made with a special type of large-kerneled corn called maize chulpe.  The dried kernels are tossed with oil and salt and toasted in a hot skillet until they are browned and puffed”.  They taste a lot like popcorn and have a similar texture.  Be careful, they are addictive!

Caipirinha –  Living up to their “International” name, they brought us Brazil’s National cocktail to try.  Made with cachaça, simple syrup, and lime juice, my wife first took a sip and I asked her if it was tangy, sweet, or sour, and she said “Yes!”.  I took a sip and was immediately slapped in the face with the tanginess of the lime in the drink.  It truly was all of what I described above, tangy, sweet and sour.  It was so good!

Tallarin Verde con Bisteck – ($15.50) – This was the first time I’ve seen this dish, so I could not wait to try it.  Grilled skirt steak was served over green pasta that had been tossed in a pesto and spinach sauce.  The skirt steak was cooked and seasoned to perfection, the Fettuccini pasta was cooked al dente, and the pesto was not as “green” tasting as I thought it might be considering how green the color actually was.

Lomo Salteado – ($15.50) – Peruvian dishes are new to me, so I was curious to see what flavor profile the steak was seasoned with.  Peruvian marinated strips of Sirloin steak are sautéed with onions and tomatoes and served with white rice and french fries.  The Peruvian flavors seem to be a mix of Asian and Mexican spice blends with a combination of soy sauce, lime juice, garlic, and cumin being used in the marinade.  The steak was cut thin and had just a little chew to it.  Only thing I’m a little bit confused by is the french fries.  White rice and french fries don’t seem to go together, but they may be trying to appeal to a general audience that is not yet familiar with this type of cuisine.  I personally would have preferred black beans to be served with the rice which would have been more traditional.

Inti Burger – ($13.00) – We at Vero Beach Foodie are always looking for something different and this one fits that description!  From the bottom up, we have a fried green plantain (tostones), sirloin burger patty, bleu cheese, tomato, onion, lettuce and topped off with another fried green plantain.  Waffle cut fries and a pickle were served alongside.  First off, the presentation was gorgeous!  The burger was cooked to perfection and the veggies were very fresh.  The fried green plantains were fairly thin but held up well when I picked it up to take a bite which was another feat since I had to unhinge my jaw to take a bite.  This one’s definitely a stunner!

Pargo Frito – ($18.00) – Back in the mid 90’s I had the opportunity to travel to Mexico with my dad and we had a dish similar to this, only it was called a Guachinango.  A whole red snapper is fried and served with tostones and a side salad.  If you love fish, don’t let the fact that this one still has the head on it scare you away, because it’s delicious!  It can be a little challenging to eat, but so worth it.  The fish was still moist and flaky and the skin was nice and crispy.  It brought back some great memories of my travels to Mexico.

In Conclusion:

With the variety of restaurant choices that Vero Beach has to offer, you would think it would be difficult to do something different and stand out from the crowd, yet Inti has done just that.  Even if you are not as adventurous of an eater, like some of us here at Vero Beach Foodie, there is something for everyone on the menu that will please even the pickiest of eaters.  For those of you that are adventurous, you will love this place and want to come back, again and again, to see what they come up with next.

Join us next Wednesday, March 28th from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm for the Vero Beach Foodie MeetUp and try some of these dishes you just read about with other local foodies right here in Vero Beach!  They will be extending happy hour for us and I’m sure they will have a special or two planned for us that you don’t want to miss.  Hope to see you there!

Inti International Website  |  Inti International Menu  |  Inti International Facebook Page

Address2199 7th Ave, Vero Beach, FL 32960

Phone(772) 257-6652

Hours:  Monday – Thursday, 11:00 am – 9:30 PM, Friday & Saturday, 11:00 am – 10:00 pm, and on Sunday, from 12:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Vero Beach Food Wine & Music Event 2018

In case you missed it, over the Presidents Day weekend was the inaugural year for The Vero Beach Food Wine & Music event.  The brainchild of Fe Domenech of The Event Firm International, she became inspired to figure out a way to pay it forward on more than just one level.  Six deserving local and national charities were selected to benefit from this event.  The charities were the American Cancer Society, Hibiscus Children’s Center, One Lagoon, H.A.L.O No Kill Animal Rescue, United Against Poverty, and The Source.   With her extensive experience producing large successful events not only for her own business, she also helped produce what is now known as SOBE (South Beach Miami Food & Wine) and Pebble Beach Food & Wine events.  This event is the first of its kind for our area and it was marketed nationally with top name talent in the industry.  On the entertainment side of the event was Matteo Bocelli, the son of the famous opera singer, Andrea Bocelli, who flew in from Italy for the Friday night opening concert.  On Saturday night, four amazing celebrity chefs, two of which were from the TV show on Fox called MasterChef.  Chef Graham Elliot and Season 7 Winner, Chef Shaun O’Neale were here, and Chef Alex Thomopolous, a stand-up comedian turned chef has made appearances on MTV and the Hallmark channel.  Finally, is Chef Christi Ferretti, a Vero Beach native who is the owner of Pine Valley Market in Wilmington, NC area. 

The event kicked off a day early on Thursday evening with the Fire & Ice VIP cocktail party at Costa de Este.  Guests got to mingle with the celebrity chef’s in attendance and hear a little about each benefiting charity.  Friday night was the Matteo Bocelli concert, Saturday night was the VIP Dining Experience with culinary demonstrations by each celebrity chef, and the event came to a close on Sunday with an event called Pups & Pino, a fashion show for cancer survivors and animals from H.A.L.O’s shelter.  In addition, a Sunday Brunch Tasting Pavilion was featured with local restaurants serving up some of their amazing dishes to the event’s guests.  Chef Alex Thomopolous was featured once again for a demonstration of her famous chicken sandwich, and Chef Christi Ferretti created a dish that you and your pet could enjoy together in the Bark Bistro that was also a part of the Tasting Pavilion.

 

As an assistant producer of the event, I can tell you that it was a lot of hard work to pull off this event.  I believe we gave our guests a first-class guest experience that was second to none.  Fe has dedicated her life to this event for the last two years and poured her heart and soul into it.  The production team is already thinking of next year’s event and planning for it will be underway shortly.  It will be bigger and better than ever, so stay tuned for The Vero Beach Food Wine & Music event in 2019, you don’t want to miss it!

Station 49 Pizza – Restaurant Review

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

For my next tasting experience, I head over to Vero’s newest, and the only wood-fired pizza place that I’m aware of in town called Station 49.  Located in what was once known as Garage Pizza, Station 49 has only been open for a few months.  I’ve been hearing wonderful things from our foodie group about it, so I could not wait to check them out for myself.

Located in the 1800 block of Old Dixie Hwy, they are not that far off the beaten path of downtown shops and restaurants.  Owners, Jay and Joan McLaughlin have been dreaming about owning a pizza place of their own for a while now.  When Jay’s longtime Executive Chef Dino from Island Restaurant in New York was looking to move to a beach town in Florida, they jumped at the opportunity to try this new concept with him.   If the McLaughlin name sounds familiar, they also own a clothing store and Citron Bistro located a short distance north of Vero on A1A.  Parking was better than expected for a small place like this and the lot was not too full even though the restaurant was.  From what I remember about Garage Pizza, the interior has been greatly improved and is contemporary, yet with a few modern touches.  The space was very comfortable and they have a few different seating options depending on your preferences.  Sitting at the bar is always an excellent choice if you like to watch an active kitchen and see your food being made in front of your eyes.

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

Arancini – ($9.00) – While they might have a strange name, and even if you cannot pronounce them, just point to it on the menu and order them, because they are delicious!  They start with a cube of mozzarella cheese in the middle, then wrap it with risotto rice, then it’s coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried till golden brown.  San Marzano tomato dipping sauce was served alongside.  They are a little larger than a golf ball and have this wonderful crunchy and cheesy flavor.  The dipping sauce was light, flavorful, and a little bit sweet.

Chopped Kale – ($12.00) – Kale is not usually a favorite for most people (including me), but what Chef Dino does with this one might be just short of a miracle.  The kale is chopped finely and tossed with strawberries, avocado, toasted almonds, quinoa, shaved pecorino cheese, and dressed with a citrus-poppy vinaigrette dressing.  Kale can tend to be bitter, but I did not detect any bitterness in this salad at all.  It was light, fresh and quite delicious.

Cavatelli Sausage + Broccoli – ($16.00) – Such simple ingredients, yet they work so well together.  Cavatelli pasta was mixed with chunks of sausage, broccoli, then tossed in a garlic white wine sauce.  The pasta was cooked al dente, the sausage was bold and flavorful, and the white wine sauce had the perfect balance of flavor to bring this dish together.  Most of my regular readers know I’m not a fan of broccoli, but it only added a subtle flavor and texture to the dish, so I was able to still enjoy it even though I’m not a fan.

The Works – ($16.00) – FINALLY, a pizza place in Vero that uses crumbled sausage!  As someone who has lived in the mid-west for most of my life, I’ve never seen so much “sliced” sausage on a pizza until I moved south.  It’s very hard to find a place that uses crumbled sausage, so I was thrilled to see they do.  Hand-tossed to approximately 11”, their pizza has a very thin crust which allows it to cook within minutes. This one has crispy pepperoni, sweet sausage, Grande mozzarella cheese, and San Marzano tomato sauce.  The crust was light and crispy, the sausage was wonderful, and it had just the right amount of smoke flavor from the wood-fired oven.  I can’t wait to go back and have another one!

Donut Holes – ($6.00) –  We wrap up our tasting experience with a little bit of dessert.   After the fantastic food we were just served, these were a bit of a letdown for me.  Appearance wise they looked to be over-fried but inside the cake was light and fluffy.  They were served with chocolate and caramel sauces but the dusting of powdered sugar was the perfect amount of sweetness for me.  They were good, don’t get me wrong, they just lacked the wow factor I’m always looking for, especially after what we already tasted. 

In Conclusion:

Did I forget to mention that they use “crumbled” sausage on their pizza’s?  Ok, so I said it already, but I think it deserves another mention because it’s so hard to find in Vero.  Their wood-fired pizza oven is 16 years old and imparts a wonderful, yet only slightly smoky flavor to the crust from the oak and mesquite wood they use to cook with.  I especially love the healthy twists on a few of the dishes they are offering.  Getting me to eat kale and broccoli in the same meal was a feat in it of itself.  So, do I think this new place will stick around longer than the last one that occupied this space?  Absolutely, and I highly recommend you stop by and check them out sometime, I know you won’t be disappointed!

Have you tried Station 49?  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.

Station 49 Website  |  Menu  |  Facebook Page

Address1802 Old Dixie Hwy, Vero Beach, FL 32960

Phone(772) 492-8342

Open Sunday – Thursday, 11:00 am – 9:00 pm, Friday and Saturday’s, 11:00 am – 10:00 pm