I always get excited when I get the opportunity to venture down to The Candy Apple Cafe. It has become one of my favorite places in downtown Jacksonville! Just being in there makes me happy! I've said this before but with it being attached to Sweet Pete's, it's like walking into a real-life Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory! At the cafe, the food is always deliciously eclectic and so are the cocktails! You can read more about my delight here! This time around was just as awesome. I was invited to a media dinner to try some of the new brunch and dinner menu items that are now available and to my delight, we were welcomed with a sinful skewer of candy bacon at our place setting. From then on, I knew we would be in for a treat the rest of the evening!
Executive Chef Jamey Evoniuk, staff, and On Ideas Marketing have done an amazing job revamping the menu! For starters we had the opportunity to taste the Pork Belly and Cheddar Waffles which is part of the new brunch menu. It was gobbled up before I could snap a picture but take my word on it, it is something that cannot be missed. Just think about it...pork belly is amazing all by itself but if you add it to a savory and cheesy waffle and dress it with mustard glaze and apricot preserve, you've got a winner winner chicken dinner!
Here's what else we were able to try:
Here's what else we were able to try:
We had a choice between soup or salad.
French Onion Soup:
Oooey and gooey goodness! Made with sherry, carmelized onion, and gruyere. Mmmm, Mmmm, Mmmm.
Made with sweet gem lettuce, boquerones (anchovies), pepper-parmesan dressing, and croutons. The boquerones were an interesting surprise because I'm used to them being melted into the Caesar dressing. It was a little weird seeing little fishies on my salad but I appreciate the thoughtful creativity. You can also enjoy this salad gluten-free without the croutons.
Mayport Shrimp and Grits:
Nice and creamy dish of Greenway Farms stone-ground grits, sauteed mayport shrimp, and tomato relish.
Char Grilled Filet Mignon:
This was probably my favorite dish of the evening! The meat was cooked perfectly and it was served with an amazing savory brioche bread pudding, wild mushrooms, roquefort, and a topping of grilled asparagus! DELICIOUS!
Herb Roasted Chicken Moutarde:
This was another wonderful dish with lots of flavor. Made with potato dauphinoise (scalloped potatoes), a creamy caper sauce, and grilled asparagus.
Short Rib Pot Au Feu:
This was a pretty fancy beef stew served with oxtail, my fav, bone marrow, celery root, cornichons. and a baguette. A totally gluten free option if you omit the baguette!
Wild Mushroom Risotto:
This was another favorite, which for me, is kind of surprising. It wasn't until a year or so ago that I started liking mushrooms, but I digress. This risotto was perfectly prepared with the right consistency. Made with sage-beurre noissette and shaved reggiano.
When at the Candy Apple Cafe, it would be completely unheard of not to enjoy a cocktail or two!
If you like a little spice, this cocktail is made with Mezcal, pressed lemon juice, blackberry-raspberry puree, and a housemade jalepeno simple syrup. It's garnished with a jalepeno slice! Spicy!!!
This was definitely a dessert cocktail! It was made with housemade chocolate infused Four Roses bourbon, Kahlua, Kerry Gold Irish cream, milk, demerara syrup, and a marshmallow fluff! Oh, and you can't forget the graham cracker rim! If you like s'mores, this is the drink for you!
White & Red Mimosa Popsicles:
These were so cute! As a matter of fact, I would love to try to make something like this the next time I host a brunch. They are made with a frozen St. Germain popsicle, raspberry-orange juice, blueberries, and Bolla prosecco.
Ginger Carrot Cake and Orange Cheesecake:
No meal would be complete without dessert! The carrot cake was made with crystallized ginger, buttermilk glace, and delicious mascarpone vanilla bean mousse. It was good but I preferred the cheesecake that had a subtle orange flavor and a mixed berry compote.
Ofcourse you can't go to The Candy Apple Cafe and not get Candy Apples! That would just be wrong! It was a wonderful evening of great food, wonderful service, and good laughs! Next time you venture to downtown Jax, a stop at The Candy Apple Cafe should be on the to-do list and while you're there, definitely give the new brunch and dinner menu a shot! You'll be very pleased!
As always, thanks so much for stopping by!
Have a great weekend!