Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Churrascaria Craze: Have my meat and eat it too....

Churrascaria: The South American inspired barbeque or grilling technique made famous by the gauchos of Brazil and Argentina has made a large stake in the American restaurant scene as of late.

The traditional fireside roasts include ample cuts of sirloin, flank steak, prime rib, filet mignon, pork loin and even shrimp; to name a few. *sigh*

Each MEGA cut of MEAT is skewered through a large spear and brought from the grill to table side (in an elegant setting of course). The churrascaria restaurants usually offer at least a minimum of 10 different meats that are brought to the diner's table.

There's a wonderful find here in Jacksonville Beach: Tento Churrascaria on North First Street. You can read more about my pleasurable dining experience in this month's Jacksonville Magazine now at newsstands.

If you miss that particular read I will be highlighting my profile of that visit next month here on

I would say Tento Churrascaria is one of the best Jacksonville restaurants.


They do not compromise.

Obviously there is the large 'quantity' - which is not my reasoning factor to say this.

The stand out is their commitment to the quality of their ingredients and acute attention to detail in preparation & service.

I cannot say enough about their sensibilities. Finally, a restaurant in Jacksonville that gets it.

Read more here in May or eat at:

Tento Churrascaria
528 North First Street
Jacksonville Beach, Florida

Tel 904.246.1580
Reservations recommended

Above photo courtesy of

Friday, April 20, 2007

Iron Chef at Publix: Heated battle Jax vs. Sarasota

Chef Patrick Walley, Resident Chef of Publix Aprons in Jacksonville preps fresh pineapple slices with cardamon pods, cinnamon sticks, rum and the secret ingredient.....maple syrup

Pre-Dining pep rally.....

One of the final dishes by the challengers from Publix Aprons Sarasota: Roasted duck salad with oranges

Slight of hand flambe

The Publix Aprons program for the Iron Chef battle was completely sold out...

Publix Aprons Sarasota Resident Chef Marc Positano(left) presents his courses and Jacksonville Resident Chef Patrick Walley (right) with his team

By the Sarasota team: Precursor complete with oysters, truffle oil, asiago cheese and rinsed caviar

Final Scrutiny: Food fans from all over Jacksonville step up for the final plating

From the Sarasota team: Banana fritters with chocolate ganache - what could go wrong?

The winning combination: pineapples flambe with maple cream and cream of cauliflower soup laced with maple syrup

Last Thursday night was the first Iron Chef competition at the recently opened Publix Aprons Cooking School located in Mandarin. Competition was pretty stiff against the challenger arriving from Sarasota's Aprons Cooking School(red team) which included Resident Chef Marc Positano and Tom Longo.

The Jacksonville home team(blue team) lead by Resident Chef Patrick Walley won the evening after a heated competition. It must have been his delicately seasoned yet kicked up soup made of pureed fresh cauliflower, spices reflective to Thai seasonings and an ample shot of the secret ingredient: pure grade maple syrup. Another knock out was his spinach salad tossed in maple inspired dressing and topped with pinenuts toasted in maple syrup.

Needless to say the sensibilities of the visiting team should not be overlooked. Chef Marc overwhelmed Chef Patrick's patronage with grandeur compositions: Oysters in truffle oil blended with asiago cheese and topped with ruby red caviar, beef tenderloin stuffed with lobster and the Maple Banana Compote finished with dark chocolate ganache.

The rivalry was pretty intense yet friendly during the cook off. Jacksonville fans rallied with intense fervor to what resembled pre-game festivities prompting an edgier fight amongst the amicable chefs.

The Publix Aprons Cooking School is a hidden gem located inside the Mandarin supermarket. Gilded complete with the makings of any coveted gourmet kitchen: two ample size cook stations, dining area and TV screens to highlight celebrity chef nights.

Scheduled to arrive to Aprons in Mandarin this May:

Bistro Aix: Executive Chef Tom Gray

Paula Deen - SOLD OUT

Clos du Bois Vineyards - Winemaker Erik Olsen

Step inside the out of ordinary and visit.....

Aprons Cooking School
Publix at San Jose Boulevard
10500 San Jose Blvd.
Jacksonville, Florida 32257
Cooking School: 904-262-4187

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Comfort in sweet & savory

Southern staple: sweet, savory, habit forming & irresistible sweet potato fries
at The Happy Tomato Cafe

Watch this week for coverage on the battle of IRON CHEF competition at the local Publix Apron's Cooking School.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

So much to savor/So little time: Fernandina Farmers Market hits the mark

Tasty tidbit from the Augustine Crab Cake King

Located just north of Jacksonville the Fernandina Beach area is a quick weekend getaway or the perfect day trip. We recently went up there and made a breakfast jaunt to the weekly Saturday farmers market. Petite in selection, yet the vendors really packed a punch with some quality produce and eats.

Every Saturday Fernandina Farmers Market

These Florida babies were pretty yummy for winter berries

Homemade Tamales

Like jelly beans - you just can't stop popping these down. Flavors came in chicken, beef, pork, pork & jalapeno and vegetable. Smokey and smooth corn meal blend wrapped around tender meats in a juicy marinade that left a zing in every bite! Salsa was cool too.

Meaty greens from Lighthouse Farm Florida

There were several produce vendors - I opted to go with these guys as they kept taking out their greens from their cooler as they sold out to keep them crisp. Organically grown - we purchased the baby bok choy, baby spinach, baby kale and lettuce blend. Real meaty and flavorful. You'll say goodbye to supermarket blends after this.

Baked Goods

During our visit, we just came across one vendor and a good find it was! But you had to act fast - they had TWO 8 ft. long tables stocked full of loaves, rolls, cookies and pastries and I promised to go back after I got my tamales. When I came back around I noticed they had brought their tables down to one small square table with only a few items left! Don't leave without trying the spinach & feta rolls. Even if you don't like spinach or feta - this was something else.

Crab cakes in a row

Fernandina Farmers Market
Every Saturday (except during the annual Shrimp Festival: first Saturday in May)
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Located at corner of Centre Street & 7th Street North in downtown historic Fernandina Beach

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Happy Easter

Bouquet of Easter cupcakes

Speaking of Easter and all the trimmings....I came across an interesting food find. Mind you the photos may be a bit alarming, but I thought the final outcome looked rather tasty. Read more and see more about bunny ears via Hungry In Hogtown, another great food site!

Happy Easter and Spring weekend!