Flavors of the Month is a monthly feature of some of the best dishes and restaurants I enjoyed.
Florida Beer and Eats
Leesburg, Florida has a population of about 22,419 according to the 2016 census. (We went to visit Boyfriend’s family and Disney World.) Visiting the only brewery here was a fun adventure. Great Chicago Fire Brewery is all things Chicago, from Chicago dogs on their food menu to the amount of Chicago décor and references on their walls. We also went to World of Beer, a restaurant chain that features local beers, so we got to try craft beers from all over Florida!
Dinner at L’Oca D’Oro
I had previously enjoyed brunch at L’Oca D’Oro a little less than a year ago and finally made it back for dinner. We enjoyed the grilled okra, Campanelle (pasta with octopus), and Cavatelli. [This restaurant is on my wallpaper list!]
Hops and Grain Brewing River Beer
A lot of times I make my own six-pack at HEB so I can try different beers without being stuck with beers I don’t enjoy. I’m glad I grabbed Hops and Grains’ River Beer. True to its name, the beer would be perfect for drinking on the river, smooth yet flavorful.
Chocolate Tasting at Chocolaterie Tessa
To promote the book Bean to Bar Chocolate, author Megan Giller partnered with local businesses to put on some events. One was a fun chocolate tasting at my favorite chocolate shop in town, Chocolaterie Tessa. We got to taste chocolates from craft chocolate makers and Tessa’s delightful bon bons made with those chocolates. Of course, I couldn’t leave without a box of the delicious. Don’t ask how long those lasted after I left the store. I recommend the praline bon bon and the single origin bon bons.
Omakase Dinner at Otoko
Whaaaaaaaa? I know. It’s a bucket list experience that I was excited to have! We decided to celebrate our anniversary here. It was a flawless service experience and the quality of the sushi was superb. The seating is very intimate – only 12 seats – so it was a little awkward at times. But seeing Chef Yoshi Okai and team creating our dishes in front of us was fun.
Some of my favorite dishes included the mango and shrimp gazpacho, ocean trout, tempura mushroom, and the oyster. I’m bummed I forgot to grab our menu on the way out (and hadn’t taken a photo of it because I had planned to take the physical copy) so I don’t remember all the specific ingredients and combinations of our 20-course meal. It all boils down to this: the fish was incredible and needed little creativity and additions to help it shine, though the chefs did a great job with the dishes. I’m still raising an eyebrow at the sustainably raised Bluefin tuna, questioning why we (sushi eaters worldwide) are eating a fish that is endangered even if it was sustainably raised. While it was buttery and one of the better tuna I’ve ever had, I enjoyed other nigiri pieces, like the madai, more.
At $150 per person not including drink pairings or tip, the amount for the meal is an investment. If you love sushi and have the budget to try this experience, I say go for it. This type of experience – for the food and ambiance – is rare. If you don’t love sushi, dip your toes in with Austin’s other sushi restaurants before dining here. You’ll more likely appreciate and understand the difference in quality and see the value of the price. As with any dining experience, don’t come solely because of the buzz.
Lunch at Salt Traders Coastal Cooking
Second visit (first visit here) and I’m impressed! Y’all know I’m a dessert gal and they’re two for two on desserts that wow. This key lime pie was the perfect end to a seafood meal. Let me back up. We started with raw oysters because it’s highly recommended (by me). We also got a snapper collar to start. We then moved on to the Caesar salad and seafood gumbo. I pick around the anchovies but this is a Caesar salad I found myself craving days after. That snapper collar was so good, we ordered a second! By the end of the meal, we were rolling ourselves out of the restaurant.
Breakfast at Pitchfork Pretty
I met up with my friend Kelsey for a quiet breakfast catch-up at Pitchfork Pretty. I enjoyed The Pitchfork (potato roll with soft scramble, daily charcuterie, sambal, Dijon, provolone) and Kelsey ordered The Lox (everything bagel, house-cured lox, cream cheese, capers, red onion, tomato). I’m curious about what the restaurant is like for happy hour.
Craft Beers at Texas Craft Brewers Festival
We tried many new-to-us beers at the Texas Craft Brewers Festival this month! You can read all about that experience here.
Dinner at Kemuri Tatsu-ya
First of all, if you decide to dine at Kemuri without a reservation, you’ll likely sit on the patio, so be sure to wear bug spray. My legs were a mosquito buffet for the first half of our meal and it was miserable, as it still is during the recovery. This is nothing against the restaurant, just an FYI to you, dear foodie who hates mosquitos as much as I do. (Somehow I forgot about this from our first visit but maybe because being right by the fan saved us?) We ordered a few dishes we enjoyed our first visit: charred shishitos and smoked fish collar. We also got the beef tongue and scallop skewers, Classic Karaage Chicken (fried chicken thigh bites), and the Texas Ramen. Nom nom. I like that Kemuri’s menu is full of shareable plates and flavors.
Try any new restaurants lately? Have a recipe I should try? Comment below!
P.S. What’s on your food bucket list? Check out what some of my favorite foodies had to say.