Story by Sarah Murphy Robertson
Acme Ice House in Seacrest has done it again. Wednesday November 19th’s installment of “Food Fights” showcasing local 30A chefs cooking head to head (with three mandatory secret ingredients and only an hour’s time!), was overflowing with creativity, talent, and entertainment.
Eager guests poured into the warm, inviting doors of Acme, ready to enjoy the festivities and generous with their donations to the sponsored charity, Food for Thought. The room filled with the buzz and energy from supporters of both chefs. This month’s contestants were Chef William Wiehl of Restaurant Paradis and Chef Gregg Smith from The Pearl. It was quickly dubbed “The Battle of Rosemary Beach” as the prep gloves went on.
Surprised and enthusiastic murmurs were audible as the chef’s secret ingredients were revealed. Not for the food unadventurous, they were: duck confit, aged goat cheese in the Morbier style, and dried mullet roe. Just like mama never made!
As the chef’s began their challenge, Acme passed appetizers highlighting the secret ingredients to the guests. They included deviled eggs using the mullet roe, puff pastry topped with apples and aged goat cheese, and quesadillas with the duck confit. Tasty signature drinks were also flowing: a Cosmopolitan made with New Amsterdam Citron, Cointreau, lime and cranberry juice and a Manhattan with Ridgemont Reserve Bourbon, sweet vermouth, and bitters. Providing attentive, excellent service, the Acme Staff seem to be having as much fun as the crowd.
Along with John Certo, Owner and Chef of Andy’s Flour Power in Panama City Beach and Denise Crider, Culinary Director at Gulf Coast State College, I was privileged to enjoy and assess the dishes created by these two highly talented chefs.
Chef William started with a version of hummus – a Mediterranean style dip including two of the secret products: the roe and the aged goat cheese. The dip was airy and light and a nice start to the meal. Next, he served us a salad made up of ribbons of carrot and zucchini as well as the thinly sliced roe, and dressed with a dreamy lemon-thyme vinaigrette. It was crisp, sweet, bright and well-seasoned. Chef William’s last dish was another star: the duck confit atop a hash of roasted carrots, potatoes, and pork belly and a sweet and tangy reduction complimenting the vegetables and duck expertly.
From Chef Gregg’s corner of the kitchen first appeared a homemade flatbread pizza: straight from Acme’s wood fire oven. The tender yet crispy crust was topped with aromatic caramelized onions, basil pesto, goat cheese and pulled duck meat. I mused that if offered on a menu, I would order this pizza combination again and again as the gourmet pie’s flavors melded so harmoniously. Chef Gregg also created the judges’ favorite dish of the night: his version of a Shepherd’s Pie. The duck was nestled in a ragout of vegetables with complex, rich flavor. It was hard to believe this plate was executed in just an hour’s time.
After a thoughtful deliberation including a lively debate, we came to a consensus and deemed Chef William Wiehl from Restaurant Paradis the champion! He was ecstatic and his friends and family swarmed him with high-fives and hugs of congratulations.
Follow us at 30afoodandwine.com to find out which two chefs will duel in January’s Food Fights contest! While enjoying watching them duke it out, you’ll be the real winner!
Story by: Sarah Murphy Robertson
Warning: reading this article may result in one’s immediate craving for fare from these fantastic local establishments.
As the weather cools and fall settles in, the holidays aren’t far behind. Thanksgiving is synonymous with family fun and good food. Here in our corner of paradise known as 30A, there are lots of ways you can play the day. Sure, you can make the whole meal all by yourself, but with so many delicious options, we recommend letting our area’s finest restaurants help with some or all of your special meal.
Chanticleer Eatery in Grayton Beach provides nearly everything for your Thanksgiving this year. From your favorite side dishes to freshly crafted rolls, pies, cakes, and cookies, all you’ll need to do is roast a bird. All orders must be placed no later than Monday November 24th at 12 noon. Pickups will be Wednesday, November 26th 11-3pm. 850.213.9065. (And if I were you, I’d order extra treats to enjoy all weekend long!)
Half-pan Sides: (feeds 10-12)
• Squash Casserole 1/2 pan $35
• Sweet Potato Casserole 1/2 pan $20
• Mashed Potatoes 1/2 pan $25
• Pasta Salad 1/2 pan $25
• Baked Beans 1/2 pan $20
• Apple Sage Cranberry Dressing 1/2 pan $30
• Cranberry Sauce pint $15
Scratch-made Baked Goods:
• 8 inch Pies – Sweet Potato or Pumpkin are $13; Pecan, Traditional Apple and Apple with Streusel Topping for $15
• Rolls (1/2 dozen $4.50/dozen $9)- Sweet Potato, Rosemary Sage, or Honey Oatmeal
• 3 Layer Cakes $42 – German Chocolate Cake, Lemon Cake, Carrot Cake
• Cookies (1/2 dozen $7.50/dozen $15) – White Chocolate Coconut or Double Chocolate Chip
Modica Market in Seaside once again has UNCOOKED organic free range turkeys for pre-order by Friday November 14th. Sizes available are: 10 – 14 lbs, 16 – 20 lbs, and 20 – 24 lbs. They will also have uncooked turkey breasts, smokes hams, steaks, and tenderloins available. 850.231.1214
Don’t forget to add their incredible side dishes and pies. Available in store, first come, first serve:
• Cornbread Dressing, Oyster Dressing, Corn Souffle, Sweet Potato Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, Squash Casserole, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, and Cranberry Relish. AND, Fresh Pecan, Pumpkin, Sweet Potato and Apple Pies.
Let Highlands House in Santa Rosa Beach and Chef Kevin prepare an amazing dinner for you and your family! You can email your order to firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 850.267.0110
$30 per person for: ½ lb white and dark Herb-Roasted Turkey, Sage-Scented Gravy & your choice of 4 sides. (Add a pie – either Pumpkin or Pecan for just $20.)
Highlands House side options include:
• Sweet Potato Casserole with Bourbon Marshmallow Brulee, Haricot Vert with a Wild Mushroom Cream, Cornbread with Honey Butter, Citrus spiked Cranberry sauce, Roasted Pecan, Leek and Herb Stuffing, Pimento Mac n’ Cheese, Honey Ginger Glazed Carrots, Creamed Corn Casserole, Country Ham and Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower Gratin, Gruyere Potato Gratin, Ham Hock Braised Collard Greens.
Café Thirty-A in Seagrove has Thanksgiving covered with their excellent cuisine available as entire To-Go dinners feeding up to six people for $180.00. They include:
• Deep-fried Brined Turkey (whole or carved), choice of soup or salad, and side dishes of: Green Bean Casserole, Sausage and Cornbread Stuffing, Candied Yams, Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes and Giblet Gravy. But that’s not all. You also get a choice of dessert – Pumpkin Pie or Double Chocolate Pecan Pie.
You can call in your order or email until Sunday November 23rd and pickup will be on Thanksgiving Day between 11 am and 4 pm. 850.231.2166 extension 1 or email@example.com.
Or get some fresh air, pack up the fam, and head on over to Stinky’s Fish Camp in Dune Allen for the big meal. They are taking reservations (for this day only!) from 11 am – 7 pm, and along with a pared-down seafood menu, are offering a Thanksgiving Day meal including all the much-beloved trimmings. 850.267.3053
Stinky’s Traditional Turkey Dinner includes:
• House Brined Turkey, Giblet Gravy, Cranberry Chutney, Fluffed Potatoes, Andouille Cornbread Stuffing, Baked Winter Squashes, Broccoli and Cauliflower Casserole, Buttered Green Beans, Praline Sweet Potato, Creamed Corn, and Dirty Rice for $25.95
Another option is their Three Course Turkey Dinner for $34.95:
• Includes Pear Salad, the Traditional Turkey Dinner, and choice of any dessert: Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie, Pecan Pie, Key Lime Pie, Peanut Butter Pie, Bread Pudding, or Heaven & Earth.
No matter how you map out your meal, be sure to count your blessings and savor time with those you love. All of us at 30afoodandwine.com wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Story by: Sarah Murphy Robertson
Anyone happening by Seacrest this past Wednesday evening may have heard the enthusiastic roar as Acme Ice House crowned their first Food Fight winner. It was a night celebrating culinary creativity and the crowd buzzed with excitement as two local chefs had one hour to create a minimum of two dishes with mystery ingredients.
As the competition kicked off, Chef Derek Langford from Bud & Alley’s in Seaside and Chef Chris Infinger of g.Foley’s in Panama City Beach were given their three mandatory ingredients: Golden Tilefish, King Oyster mushrooms, and white asparagus.
While the two chefs worked furiously against the clock, guests enjoyed libations and appetizers fit for true food lovers: tender and juicy short rib sliders, beets dressed with Florida honey, walnuts, and bleu cheese, and seared Ahi tuna wrapped in soy and ginger dressed soba noodles. The well-satiated fans eagerly crowded to watch the chefs work their magic as delicious aromas began wafting from Acme’s open kitchen.
Chef Derek prepared fresh ravioli filled with King Oyster mushrooms and homemade ricotta, sauced with a sublime mushroom jus crafted using honey, soy sauce, and veal stock and served with a shaved mushroom salad on top. Next he served his Tilefish dish: perfectly cooked with tantalizingly crispy skin atop an asparagus puree and accompanied saffron sauce.
Chef Chris presented three courses starting with a deviled egg with asparagus puree and a hot sauce gelée giving this little bite a kick. Next his cheesy King Oyster mushroom risotto was creamy and earthy and garnished with dehydrated mushrooms that were first boiled with smoky bacon. This dish showcased Chef Chris’s creative ambition and point of view. Lastly his Tilefish was accompanied by an herbed crab stuffing and resting on crisp-tender asparagus spears and a potato puree. All his components were seasoned to perfection.
It can’t be overstated how challenging a competition like this is. While both chefs are talented, experienced professionals in their field, a mere hour to create composed dishes from previously unknown ingredients in a pressure-cooker environment, is not an easy task. Both competitors were successful and presented stunning dishes in the allotted timeframe.
I was honored to be one of the three judges tasting and evaluating this amazing food. Along with Acme’s owner Bill Shoaf and Gulf Coast State College Assistant Culinary Professor Paul Ashman, we undoubtedly had the best jobs in the house. After a difficult deliberation with scoring so close the winner was decided by less than half a point, Chef Derek Langford received the coveted win and bragging rights. What a battle!
Acme Ice House’s next Food Fight is Wednesday November 19th starting at 6 pm. Stay tuned for the chef line-up and make plans to come experience the fun and creativity first hand!
Each week, the team at 30afoodandwine.com will bring our followers three things for the weekend on 30a. In a nutshell, it might by a wine event, a “can’t miss” happy hour or a special culinary event for the serious food lover. We will also highlight numerous charities throughout the year through our “3 for 30A.”
Check back each week on Thursdays for our “3 for 30a”.
30a and South Walton is a happening place this weekend. October is behind us and with that comes Daylight Saving Time. Don’t forget to “fall back” one hour early Sunday morning at 2AM.
First up for the the weekend is the 7th Annual Taste of the Beach… Friday, October 31 – Taste of the Beach After Dark Gulf Place, Santa Rosa Beach 8pm – 10pm, $55 per person Tickets “Guests at the Taste of The Beach After Dark event will enjoy an unprecedented combination of food, signature cocktails and show beverage mixology. Gulf Place on 30A will provide a beautiful and stunning setting for this special event. Guests will enjoy enjoying magnificent cocktail concoctions, amazing local cuisine and spectacular desserts, all while enjoying live music and a mesmerizing ambiance!”
On Saturday, pack up the kids and head to the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center for their Fall Festival. Events run from 10Am to 3PM. Enjoy the spooky trail, crafts, food, games and more. For more information, please visit E.O Wilson Biophilia Center or call 850-835-1824
Cottages for Kids runs all week from Friday Oct 31st to Sunday November 9th. This is a free event and any and all donations benefit Children’s Volunteer Health Network (CVHN). Ever want to own your own castle or backyard hideaway? Come on out and bid at one of the area’s most unique fundraisers. Builders and designers will knock your socks off with their creations and they are sure to bring out the kid in all of us!
Did you know that Fodor’s named the Seeing Red Wine Festival in Seaside Florida as one of its Top 10 “can’t miss fall wine festivals?”
This year, Seeing Red Wine is partnering with the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation to bring one of the areas top events to Seaside the weekend of November 6-9th.
The Grand Tasting on Saturday afternoon is currently sold out….but you can enter to win 2 tickets courtesy of 30afoodandwine.com. Just enter on Facebook and we will draw the winner the week of the event.
To purchase tickets to any of the other events during the Seeing Red Wine Weekend, please check out all the festivities here.
Pizza. Piiiiiiizzzzzzzaaaa. It is as craved and adored as foods go. Interestingly, it wasn’t until after WWII, when Americans really started their love affair with this cheesy, sublime treat. While occupying Italian territories, many American soldiers tasted pizza for the first time. And since then, pizza has become so beloved, that pizzerias represent 17 percent of all U.S. restaurants and 93% of Americans eat pizza at least once a month!
In 1987, October became recognized as national pizza month. It is no secret that October is a favorite time of year on 30A for locals and visitors alike. So it seems only fitting to recognize this favorite food during this favorite month here on 30A. The two 30A pizzerias we are highlighting are as treasured as their pies themselves.
Approaching their 25th anniversary this March, Bruno’s Pizza opened in 1990 as 30A’s first pizzeria. Self-described as “classic and old school”; every day they make their own dough and sauce, shred and blend their cheeses, and each pie ordered is hand-tossed. Owner Jeff Goodman shared the effort they put into the smoked meats for their Barbeque pizzas: “We smoke butts and brisket every day in house.” Ingredients-focused and proud of it, Bruno’s uses local vendors to source produce whenever possible. Their daily pizza buffet is a jackpot too – including a variety of their specialty pies.
After over 23 years in Seagrove, Bruno’s Pizza moved to WaterSound in December of 2013. When asked about the move, it has been the “second best” decision Jeff Goodman ever made. (Second only to coming to live in Florida in the first place!) “We have nearly 100 seats now and a shaded deck where we can serve many more guests and offer live music. It’s awesome” he replied.
Bruno’s Pizza is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. They are located at the front gate of WaterSound Beach, 6652 East County Highway 30A. Phone: (850) 231.1452.
The newer kid on the block, Pizza by the Sea, is a family-friendly favorite of our 30A community. Their casual, fun locations are the perfect place to bring your little people. Pizza by the Sea regularly supports local charities like Food for Thought (http://foodforthoughtfl.org/) and Children’s Volunteer Health Network (http://www.cvhnkids.org/main/) as well as sponsoring area schools and local youth sports teams. I asked owner Kristi Beer if this sums up their business’s philosophy. She replied yes. “We like that we’re super kid-friendly at our restaurants and also kid-focused with the organizations we help.”
While Pizza by the Sea’s pledge to give back complements the 30A community perfectly, so does their multiple options for the health-conscious lifestyle. With more and more people eliminating gluten from their diets, Kristi has seen the popularity of their delicious gluten-free crust “sky-rocket”, as have their Yum Bowls – all those much-craved pizza toppings served in bowls without the carbs of the dough. Through word of mouth, these menu items have become some of their top sellers.
Pizza by the Sea has two locations: right next to the Watercolor Publix on Hwy 395 and at Gulf Place on Hwy 393 and 30A. Phone: (850) 231.3030 (Watercolor) and (850) 267.2202 (Gulf Place). Open Sunday- Wednesday 11 am-8 pm and Thursday-Saturday 11 am -9pm.