Tag Archives: pineapple

Blue Star – Restaurant Review

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

Beachiest Kids Photo Contest

For my next Tasting Experience, I head back to downtown Vero Beach and to Blue Star!  Even if you are familiar with 14th Avenue in Vero, how many of you know that Blue Star exists and where it’s located?  Just like everyone else, I have passed by it only a handful of times because it’s at the far end of the 14th Ave, a little bit past Pocahontas Park.  With a very unassuming looking blue building, I would never have guessed that this was a fine dining establishment.  Is this place worth adding to your fine dining restaurant rotation?  Keep reading to find out!    

Parking was quite easy since this is one of the few restaurants on 14th Ave that has its own parking lot.  Upon entry, you step right into what I would describe as a very intimate, romantic, dimly lit dining room.  There is a full-service bar with 6 stools, or if you prefer, a mixture of tables and booths throughout the dining room.  They also have a couch and a few chairs if you prefer a more informal seating arrangement to just have a glass of wine or just hang out and wait for your table to be ready.  There is a grand piano in the corner and they do have live performers most evenings.  Chef Kitty Wagner runs the kitchen and began her career as a Pastry Chef.  She has traveled extensively to further her career, working at many different restaurants to gain valuable experience.  She has owned a few other restaurants around Vero and has won many Readers Choice awards.  Most notably, the Indian River Chamber of Commerce Industry Award for Entrepreneur of the Year in 2013.  She also has participated in Dancing with Vero’s Stars in 2014. 

 

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

Gazpacho – ($8.00) –  A chilled soup is a wonderful way to start your meal on a warm summer evening!  It’s made with tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, onions, tomato juice, and cubanelle peppers.  The gazpacho was slightly chilled and very refreshing.  While tomato was the predominant flavor, you could still taste all the other ingredients used to make it.

Blue Star Chopped Salad – ($14.00) – Wow, what a beautiful presentation!  This salad contains iceberg lettuce, red and yellow tomatoes, broccoli and topped with crumbled bacon.  The dressing is made with avocado and their house made Stilton blue cheese dressing.  Everything was beyond fresh.  The dressing was smooth and creamy.  You could most certainly taste the Stilton blue cheese in the dressing.

Coconut Curried Fresh Catch – ($36.00) – Fresh fish is one of the many reasons why I moved to Florida and this one confirms my decision!  Yellow Tail was the fresh fish of the day and was so moist, I had to check and make sure it was fish.  Never have I ever eaten fish that was this moist.  Middle Neck clams were served alongside with steamed Asian vegetables over jasmine rice.  The curry broth was both sweet and savory with a touch of heat on the back end. 

Gio Cato – ($9.00) – This Pinot Grigio is made from grapes hand-selected from some of the best sites along the Italian border in Slovenia. It is bright and crisp, with aromas of delicious green apple, acacia flower, and almonds. A perfect summer wine and pairs nicely with just about everything. We enjoyed the house suggestion with all of the dishes in this review.

Chinese 5 Spiced Duck Breast – ($34.00) – Duck is one of my favorite proteins, so I was happy to see this dish brought out for us to try.  The duck breast was seasoned with Chinese 5 spice seasoning and seared to a perfect medium internal temperature.  The fat was perfectly rendered and the duck was nice and tender.  The blueberry coulis sauce paired nicely with the duck.  The corn pudding served alongside was quite interesting.  It had whole corn kernels in it and had a similar texture to a Crème Brulee. 

Low Country Shrimp & Grits – ($32.00) – I’ve tasted several renditions of this around Vero, and I must say I think this is the best one I’ve had yet.  Two perfectly cooked and seasoned jumbo shrimps are placed over aged cheddar grits, then topped with sautéed bell peppers, onions, bacon, and dressed in a lemon and Sriracha glaze.  The grits were very creamy and had a bold cheddar flavor.  The peppers, onions, and bacon had a sweet, salty, and spicy flavor that we could just not get enough of.

Roasted Pineapple Brown Butter Tart – ($8.00) – I love pineapple, so my dessert choice was obvious!  Pineapple is roasted, then layered in the middle of this brown butter tart.  Vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and a raspberry was served alongside.  The crust was light and flaky and flavor-wise, it reminded me of a pineapple upside down cake.  It was delicious!

In Conclusion:

This place took me by surprise.  I did not know what to expect when I walked in the door since I’ve not seen any reviews about it and no one from our Vero Beach Foodie group has posted or talked about it before.  All of the food is freshly prepared from scratch and artistically plated, so it not only tastes great, but it also looks fantastic too.  If you are in the mood for something different, then head down to the Blue Star and give these guys a try, I know you won’t be disappointed!

Have you tried Blue Star?  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.

Blue Star Website  |  Blue Star Facebook Page

Address2227 14th Ave, Vero Beach, FL 32960

Phone(772) 492-9057

Hours of Operation:  Monday – Saturday, 5:00 pm till 12:00 am, Closed on Sundays

Cobb’s Landing – Restaurant Review

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

Beachiest Kids Photo Contest

My next tasting experience takes me to down to Fort Pierce and this time to Cobb’s Landing.  I’ve passed by and parked near this place quite a few times when attending the Farmers Market and did not realize it was more than just a bar.  In fact, it’s a fine dining restaurant.  Executive Chef David Gould runs the kitchen and tries to use as many local and seasonal items as possible when creating his dishes.  They do change the menu 3 times per year following the seasonal change and I’m here to check out their summer menu and see what they have to offer.

They are located off North Indian River Drive and Avenue A near the roundabout next to Marina Square.  They do have limited street parking, but plenty of additional spaces are available across the street in Marina Square.  It’s also located next to the Fort Pierce Marina and just a short walk from the Original Tiki Bar & Restaurant.  As you walk in the front door the hostess stand is on your left and a large bar on your right.  The main dining room is open to the outside but they do have the zippered window coverings that can be closed if the weather takes a turn for the worse.  They also have a dining room with A/C if you would prefer to dine inside.

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

Pineapple Jalapeno Margarita – This is one of the newer drinks that is not on the menu yet, so they wanted us to try it.  They infuse tequila with pineapple, jalapenos (seeds removed), and then let that mixture sit for a few days to allow the flavors to bloom.  The margarita is then assembled with a few fresh slices of Jalapeno, muddled with the infused tequila, Cointreau, and poured over ice in a glass that has a cilantro sugared rim.  This cocktail is one that could get you in trouble because it does not have a heavy alcohol taste and goes down easy.  It was sweeter than it was sour, the jalapeno slices added more flavor than heat, and the cilantro sugared rim had an herby scent.  It was quite refreshing!

Lockhart Punch –  This is another new drink that is not on the menu yet, but should be shortly.  It is made by muddling several blackberries with simple syrup.  Then they add ice, vodka, Natalie’s Orange Juice, lemon juice, and a touch of Grenadine.  They shake the cocktail and finish it up with a blackberry and mint leaf garnish.  This one also went down easy, but it was a little bit too sour for my taste.  If that’s your thing, then you should give this one a try.

Chicken and Bacon Quesadilla – ($12.00) – Quesadillas are quite popular and on a lot of restaurant menus, but this one stands out from the rest.  It’s made with herb roasted chicken, bacon jam, goat cheese, and fire roasted peppers.  An avocado cilantro cream sauce was served alongside.  The flour tortilla was perfectly grilled and crispy, the bacon jam added a slightly sweet and smoky flavor, and the goat cheese was creamy and was not as tangy as I expected it to be.  It was very good.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Shrimp – ($20.00) – This is a perfect summer salad, light, fresh and filling with the shrimp addition.  Sliced heirloom tomatoes are tossed in herbs, olive oil & balsamic vinegar dressing and topped with feta cheese, capers, Kalamata olives & pistachio streusel.  The shrimp was an extra charge (included in the price above) and paired nicely with the salad.  The shrimp are wood grilled and seasoned very well.  They tasted like Hibachi shrimp you get at one of the restaurants where they cook in front of you.  The lettuce was crisp, the tomatoes were nice and sweet, and the streusel crumbles added a different texture than I’ve ever had on a salad before.  It crumbled like a pecan sandy cookie, yet was salty because of the olives it contained.

Artisan BLT – ($14.00) – This was an interesting twist on an old favorite.  It’s made with chive and parmesan crusted sourdough grilled bread with Applewood smoked bacon, avocado, micro cucumber greens, yellow and red vine ripened tomatoes.  The bread was thick like Texas toast and had the texture of French toast.  All ingredients were very fresh and the sandwich was quite tasty.

Wood Grilled Rack of Elk – ($28.00) – This dish was a special on the night we visited so the Chef wanted us to try it.  It’s a frenched rack of Elk served with a green peppercorn, Cognac, and demi cream sauce.  The elk rack was served over Irish cheddar & white truffle whipped potatoes.  Roasted carrots and mini zucchini were served alongside.  The elk was fork tender and cooked to a perfect medium.  The sauce was rich and quite flavorful.  The potatoes were not to be taken lightly either, they were just as much a star of this dish as the elk was.  They were rich, buttery, and had a subtle truffle flavor.  A truly fantastic dish!

Seasons Best Veggie Pasta with Grilled Swordfish – ($32.00) –  This one is quite the feast for the eyes with all the different colors.  It’s made with sautéed summer vegetables, wild mushrooms, and tossed in a lemon butter sauce with parmesan cheese.  Vegetables include zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, red onion, and watermelon radish. We had grilled swordfish added on top (included in the price above).  The pasta was cooked to al dente and the sauce was so creamy, it almost seemed like an alfredo.  The grilled swordfish was spectacular!  It was perfectly seasoned, wood grilled, and the sear marks on top were as perfect as I have ever seen before on grilled fish.  The texture was almost chicken like and was fork tender.  Hands down, my favorite dish of the night!

Summertime Ice Cream Sandwich – ($8.00) – Make sure you have a few people with you when you order this because it’s HUGE!  The cookies were at least 3 inches in diameter and the ice cream filling must have been 2 inches thick.  It’s served over chocolate and caramel drizzles and topped with whipped cream and berries.  The cookies had a large amount of chocolate in them, so when they were frozen with the ice cream, it makes it a little difficult to cut into it, so we allowed it to melt a little bit and it was easier to eat.  It was rich, creamy, and it hit the spot after all that we ate.  A perfect summer dessert to round out our meal.

In Conclusion:

This place caught me by surprise.  I was expecting your typical bar food since that was my first impression of the place when passing by on the street. While the atmosphere does not say fine dining, the food certainly did.  Chef David Gould took very good care of us and presented us with several dishes from the menu that gave us an overall view of their offerings.  All the food is freshly prepared to order and served artistically on the plate, so it not only tastes good, it also looks good too.  If you are in the mood for something different, then head on down to Fort Pierce and give these guys a try!

Have you tried Cobb’s Landing?  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 – 4 Forks

Service – 5 Forks

Food – 5 Forks

Rating Scale Legend:

1 to 5 Forks – 1 Bad to 5 Excellent

Cobb’s Landing Website | Menu | Facebook Page

Address200 N Indian River Dr, Fort Pierce, FL 34950

Phone(772) 460-9014

Open Daily from 11:00 am till 10:00 pm, Friday, and Saturday till 11:00 pm.  Happy Hour from 4:00 pm till 7:00 pm everyday

The Crab Stop of Vero Beach – Restaurant Review

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

Beachiest Kids Photo Contest

For my next tasting experience, I head downtown to The Crab Stop of Vero Beach.  Seafood is one of my all-time favorite meals, but I don’t get to eat it on a regular basis because my wife is not a fan. When this opportunity presented itself, needless to say, I was excited to finally get a chance to try them.  What really peaked my interest in reviewing this restaurant was first and foremost the Facebook pictures they post of their food.  I’m always seeing these large platters of seafood that look so good.  If you have not liked their page yet, I highly recommend you do, so you can see what I’m talking about.

As I pulled into the parking lot around 5:30 pm, the lot was nearly full already.  I luckily got one of the two remaining spots that were left.  Street parking is also available with a short walk to the restaurant.  After taking a few pictures of the outside of the building, Ellis, one of the Co-Owners, came out to greet and welcome me to his restaurant.  As we walked in, I noticed that there were only a few empty tables available. This was a good sign that the food must be really good.  The walls are painted bright yellow and classic R&B played on the radio, so it had a fun, yet laid back comfortable atmosphere.  I had a seat at my table and prepared for what I anticipated to be an epic meal, so let’s get started!

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

Conch Fritters – ($8.95) – For those of you that don’t know what a conch fritter is, think of it like a hush puppy with diced up conch in it.  The outside had a nice crunch, while the inside was soft and tender.  They were perfectly seasoned and not greasy at all.  Served alongside was a rémoulade sauce that had a slight kick to it.  It was very creamy and a nice compliment to the fritters.

Corn Fritters – ($2.75) – Now these look tasty!  Corn fritters are very similar to the conch fritters, only they have a sweeter batter and have corn instead of conch in them.  The outside had a nice crunch to them, and they were soft and slightly sweet inside.  They were dusted with powdered sugar to garnish and were so good!

Crab Cakes – ($8.95) – What better way to serve crab cakes than in the shell of a crab!  The crab meat mixture is stuffed inside the crab shell, fried, and served with a side of their rémoulade sauce.  While the outside looks quite crunchy, it was softer than I expected.  The inside was chock full of crab meat and very little fillers.  They were very well seasoned and quite delicious!

Caribbean Rice – ($15.95) – As a food writer, I’m rarely at a loss for words, but this one had such a WOW factor, I didn’t even know where to begin to describe it.  It’s made with half of a pineapple that has been scooped out.  A mixture of rice, sautéed yellow squash, zucchini, peppers, onions, carrots, chunks of pineapple, diced up shrimp, and Caribbean seasonings.  The mixture was stuffed back into the half of the pineapple, baked, then topped with grilled shrimp to complete the garnish.  This thing was HUGE, it overhung the plate as you can see from the picture above.  I dug in and it was sweet, salty (in a good way), spicy, and had all kinds of different textures going on.  This is definitely a one of a kind experience in Vero and it was insanely good!

Snow Deluxe – ($49.95) – Since it was just me at the review, they brought out a “smaller” version of this dish since the full-size one would just be too much food for one person.  The bowl had to be at least 12 inches in diameter, and it had at least a half-pound of garlic potatoes, sliced smoked sausage, peel and eat shrimp, hard boiled egg, two corn coblets, two clusters of snow crab hanging off the side of the bowl, and topped with a lobster tail fluffed on top of its shell.  This was my first time trying something like this and it was wonderful!  The aroma of the garlic coming off of this when they set it down on the table was intoxicating!  I dug in and gave it my best shot, but sadly I was unable to finish it and took the rest of it home.

Strawberry Pound Cake – ($3.99) – While not made in house, it’s made by a local bakery and friend of the restaurant called Bon Bon’s Sweet Confections.  The cake was very moist and had a wonderful strawberry flavor.  A nice way to round out a fantastic meal!

 In Conclusion:

As a food writer that eats at a lot of places in town, it’s getting harder and harder to impress me, yet these folks somehow managed to do just that.  Everything was beyond fresh and cooked to order.  The flavors were bold and everything was seasoned to perfection.  The owners, Ellis and Beverly can be found throughout the restaurant working and greeting their customers, making sure things are to your liking.  At the end of the year, I write an article about the best of the best.  I call it my GOLDEN FORK Awards.  I have a category for Best Seafood and I’m going to go out on a limb and say that The Crab Stop is going to be pretty hard to beat.  Will they win my GOLDEN FORK award for Best Seafood in Vero?  You will have to stay tuned to see if anything else I eat this year can top it.

Have you tried The Crab Stop of Vero Beach?  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

The Crab Stop of Vero Beach Website  |  Facebook Page

Address: 2263 14th Ave, Vero Beach, FL 32960

Hours:

Thursday 11AM–8PM
Friday 11AM–10PM
Saturday 11AM–10PM
Sunday Closed
Monday 11AM–8PM
Tuesday 11AM–8PM
Wednesday 11AM–8PM