2014 Restaurant Reviews: Elevage, Rooster and a Cask

If you like fresh, tasty and beautifully plated food, these are three restaurants you do not want to miss.

Back in January 2014, I wrote a post about which restaurants I would like to try in 2014. I figured instead of writing a list of resolutions, I would write about something I enjoy: trying new restaurants. I’m happy to report, that I actually made it to all three. Here are my 2014 restaurant reviews.

Elevage Restaurant at the Epicurean Hotel:

Ah, Elevage. How I love thee… We went there for brunch on a Sunday morning. I mean, can it get any better than that? First, this place is just beautiful. I’d like to move in and live there, forever. The decor alone is something to dream about.

Elevage Restaurant at the Epicurean Hotel, Tampa
Elevage Restaurant at the Epicurean Hotel, Tampa

But on to the food. After our trip to Charleston and Savannah, I’ve become obsessed with grits. So, if I see them on the menu, I have to order them. No surprise, Elevage had them on their menu with a poached egg. Win win. My husband was surprised when I passed on the lobster dish he ordered to try Elevage’s grits. Both dishes were amazingly prepared. Fresh and delicious. We hope to get back there soon and try their dinner menu. Oh and before I forget, they serve really good coffee there too. I mean, really good. They use illy, Italian coffee, which has become a staple in our household now!

Rooster and the Till, Seminole Heights:

This place is very unassuming. It’s a little spot in a small strip mall type building. We made it there one Monday afternoon right before they begin their dinner serving. The menu options were limited because we got there too early, but everything we had was beautifully prepared and tasty.

Rooster and the Till, Seminole Heights
Rooster and the Till, Seminole Heights

We ordered off their raw and cured menu: oysters, shrimp and charcuterie. Let’s start with the seafood. I’ve never had such fresh oysters and shrimp before! It just melted in your mouth. So much flavor packed in such little bites. The shrimp were so delicately prepared and light, I just wanted more. Definitively, we’ll be going back here soon to try their dinner menu!

Cask and Larder, Winter Park:

We had the pleasure of meeting Chef Petraski back in 2012 when he came to Parkesdale for a cooking demonstration. At the time, he was promoting his cookbook and the ravenous pig, which is also located in Winter Park. After a wonderful dinner at the ravenous pig, I knew we had to try Cask and Larder. Knowing Cask and Larder would be a completely different experience than the ravenous pig made it even more interesting.

Cask and Larder, Winter Park
Cask and Larder, Winter Park

We finally made it to Cask and Larder for breakfast. Their concept is that of a Southern Public House, and by that they mean its’ a place to grab a bite to eat, hang out, try some new foods or maybe one of their craft beers. The concept works. The space is beautifully decorated inside with lots of wood and delicious aromas emanating from their kitchen. As you can see in the picture above, I indulged in a Bloody Mary while we were there. First, I like tomato juice, V8, clamato, and vodka as well. Most of the times I don’t like them mixed for one reason or another. More often that not, I never finish them. Not this time. This was a perfect Bloody Mary.

On to the breakfast. The sandwich was delicious, but what I remember most is those beautifully seasoned tomatoes in the mason jar on the left. Oh my. Can you say fresh? These were the tastiest tomatoes I’ve ever had. And please remember, I walk around Parkesdale taking tomatoes off the vines. Shhh, it’s our little secret, ok?

Now to think about my 2015 Restaurant Wish List!

The History of Ulele

Are you a Pocahontas fan? Well, it turns out Pocahontas’s story may have been an adaptation of Ulele’s story. Ulele was an indian girl who threw herself in the fire to protect 17 year old Juan Ortiz in the name of love. And that’s how the story goes.

It seems pretty fitting that the new talk of the town restaurant in Tampa Heights would be name after such a love story because the work that went into renovating the 1903 structure to what it is today could only be referred to as a labor of love. The beautiful high ceilings and ornate wood siding as well as the beautiful iron sculptures throughout Ulele has a fancy yet comfortable feeling. Sophisticated, yet accessible.

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Fun places to eat – South Florida Edition

While staying at the Renaissance in Boca Raton we had the option to eat at a lot of new to me places.  Trying out new restaurants is always a favorite of mine.  Here’s a list of the fun places to eat we found while in South Florida.  These are all “kid approved” places too.

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Dinner at Red Door Wine Market

Tonight we decided to head over to Lakeland to have dinner at the Red Door Wine Market. I heard about the Red Door Wine Market through Fit Niche. They host a 5k pub run on Tuesday nights which starts and ends at the Red Door Wine Market. While I would love to join their pub run, this time I was there with the family. A quick check on yelp, revealed that they are “not” good for kids. I contacted the restaurant before heading there. Their response was that they did not have a dedicated “kids” menu. Was I worried about bringing my kids? Yes and no. Yes, because I didn’t want to bring them to a “bar” but I knew that my kids would find something in their menu to eat. So, I felt confident we’d be ok. Besides, we were headed there at 6 pm so I knew there wouldn’t be too much of a drinking crowd.

Walking up to the restaurant, it is very unassuming place. It’s a little old house with a white tent outside. On this day, the tent was hosting a lot of runners. So we walked right by them to get a sit inside. Can I just tell you, how much I love the decor? It’s a really comfortable setting with wooden floors and original art on the walls. Again, nothing fancy but definitively nice.

Menu Lakeland Red Door Wine Market

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