Cracker Country is my favorite part of the Florida State Fair. It's more like visiting a historic area, such as Colonial Williamsburg, where characters in period costumes introduce you to the traditional way of doing things. Very different from the rest of the fair experience!
I tend to suspect a restaurant in the heart of a tacky tourist district can't be good, but Sakura is the exception. It bills itself as Asian Fusion, but there is really not fusion going on, it's simply a collection of Asian foods from many countries, including Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, and China.
The sushi selections are extensive and appear fresh, but I concentrated on the Vietnamese items, and they were among the best I've had, including many of the restaurants in Orlando's Vietnamese district.
The summer rolls are delightfully fresh and cold, and sever with a tasty peanut and chili sauce.
The Bun Saigon is a classic Veitnamese vermicelli bowl with loads of basil, grilled pork, and fresh veggies, and served with a bowl of fish sauce. Ask for Sriracha and Hoisin to elevate it to sublime. My server also gave me the tip to add my leftover peanut sauce from the summer rolls, and that was indeed a great idea!
The interior decor is pleasant, with a variety of Asian decor. Service was very friendly and efficient.
This charming little place in an unlikely location does a great job with Puerto Rican food.
Of particular note is the Q'Keenan Paticon. It's essentially a sandwich made with plantains instead of bread. You have your choice of sweet or green plantains, and beef or chicken filling. I chose sweet plantains and shredded beef, and the combination was sublime, especially with the provided garlic and hot sauces.
Also a shoutout to the caramel cappuccino, which was made without sugar by default, so as not to be overly sweet.
Excellent curries are the highlight here, served in generous portions. If you've had Caribbean curries before then you know to watch for bones, as the meat is cleavered, so if you're new to it, be alert, as this applies to not just the goat but also the chicken.
I prefer a drier jerk style, done over flames, rather than the wetter style done here, so my choice here is one of the curries.
We had the most delightful Christmas lunch here. The place was packed, and I can see why–If we lived nearby it would become out Christmas tradition.
This is an absolutely authentic French bistro, right down to the jars of mustard on the table, and the basket of wonderfully fresh and crusty baguette slices.
We started with the Sturgeon caviar, which was served with all the proper accompaniments, including blinis, and the duck liver mousse, which was smooth and creamy, and perfect with the spicy mustard.
Both the lobster bisque and French onion soup were excellent. The bisque was a bit thinner style than usual, but just as flavorful without being so rich as to seem like a sauce. The French onion soup was one of the best I’ve had, with the perfect amount of cheese seared onto the top, and a balanced, flavorful base.
My wife enjoyed her smoked salmon carpaccio. The smoked trout wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, begin more like smoke salmon, so just keep that in mind if you are expecting a more traditional dried preparation.
Our waiter encouraged us to try his favorite creme brulee, and it was good advice. There is a layer of chocolate mousse somehow sandwiched between the nicely burnt sugar crust and the creamy creme brulee. I have no idea how they did that!
The wine list is excellent, and even more impressive is the backside of the menu, with many, many wines offered in 4 different pour sizes.
We sat outside in the patio, which was closed in and heated for the winter, and it was lovely, and quieter than the bustling interior.
All the wait staff were very efficient and friendly. Definitely a great choice for our Christmas celebration!
Phenomenal experience on Christmas Eve. Eleven courses (more like 40 if you count every item) and it’s hard to pick a favorite. But it’s my job, so I’ll make the call: the smoked salmon covered in steelhead roe!
But seriously, everthing was superb, and the service was that perfect balance of professionalism and friendliness that you rarely find accompanying elevated cuisine.
Although not inexpensive, I have to say that the dinner is very fairly priced.
The wine list has impressive breadth, and some depth, with stunning selections of the top wines, and stunning prices to match, but for those who invest some effort (I suggest a thorough perusal online before your visit) there are some gems here. A specific recommendation for chardonnay fans: 2015 Journeyman Chardonnay (complex, malolactic, good acid, touch of oak, apple, citrus, spice, caramel, honey, true expression of chardonnay fruit).
Great historic roadside eatery from the 1940s, now occupied by a small local burger chain. Terrific chili fries, Impossible Burger, and some of the best onion rings I’ve had anywhere. Also a shout-out for the coffee shake! Sounds like a great 10am breakfast on Christmas Eve to me!
Charming service and ambiance are the highlights of this space right in the center of St. Helena. The brunch menu also offers lunch dishes such as fried chicken, and smaller plates such as tuna two ways. Both were good. But the highlights were the two soups, on creamay and one a curry broth base, both of which were superb.
The other highlight was the basket of complimentary muffins. These alone make it worth visiting at brunch!