Earlier this week I had the honor of attending a media dinner for Chef Rosaria Anderson of ThisChick’s Kitchen! Originally Chef Rosaria worked, catering, in the Jacksonville area under the brand ThisChickCanCook and recently opened up her restaurant in this cute little house off of 3rd street in Jax Beach.
ThisChick’s Kitchen marries Chef Rosaria’s market and catering experience of “grab and go” with her passion for creating elaborate dishes for sit down meals. Her brick and mortar restaurant is modeled after the restaurants in Italy, where she’s from, that exist within people’s homes. This is exactly what we experienced. We enjoyed a beautiful meal prepared from the heart and we “broke bread” Thanksgiving style! In addition to the daily service at the restaurant, Chef Rosaria offers cooking classes and Farm Fresh Feasts.
We enjoyed a Farm Fresh Feast this evening, where everything made was with what was freshest from the farm that week. This included the tea that she made for us as well. The meal we enjoyed was harvested less than 24 hours before we partook in it.
Before dinner, we took a quick walk around the restaurant and garden. This has to be the most beautiful looking Rosemary I’ve ever seen!
In the back of the restaurant is a “peace and healing” garden where Chef Rosaria grows some of the most unique crops including Aztec spinach and curry. It’s also an intimate space with a patio and table for guest to enjoy their meal outdoors.
The garden has a circular path that guests can walk around and meditate. ThisChick’s Kitchen is located next door to a yoga studio so sometimes you may find people doing yoga poses in the garden.
This is what a curry plant looks like. It smells amazing! A couple of us spent the evening trying to figure out where the yellow comes in at from the curry powder we typically use to cook with.
I love that Chef Rosaria uses the freshest ingredients from the garden to cook with on a daily basis. A notable mention is how she focuses on giving back to the community. Not only does she purchase directly from local farms like Berry Good Farms, Alvarez Farms, Gyo Greens, Eat Your Yard JAx, and Homestead Farms, she gives 5% of her net income back to local food and educational charities.
Now on to the food! After our quick tour around the facility we went back in to enjoy our family-style, sit down, mostly vegan dinner. Chef Rosaria cooks for all dietary needs and lifestyles and primarily prepares meals that are gluten free and plant based and I’ve never tasted vegan meals so wonderfully prepared. Here is some of what we enjoyed.
I’ve heard of this dish before but I’ve never tried it before so I was really excited to do so tonight. It was super fresh and tasty with very versatile flavors. It was served with Local Florida tomatoes and Chinese chrysanthemum and micro basil salad. There were also Nigerian olives which were amazing!
This dish was so fresh and delicious! It was arugula and moringa tabbouleh with quinoa. Quinoa has become a fast favorite of mine as of late.
Phad Thai Kelp Noodle Spring Rolls:
This was my favorite dish of the eveneing. These were almost too pretty to eat! Chef Rosaria told us that their spring rolls are made with what they have available for the day and this particular day we had the pleasure of indulging in spring rolls made with watermelon radishes, salad turnips, carrots, and cucumbers. It was dressed with butter crisp lettuce and borage flowers. Served with tamari, tahini, and sweet chili dipping sauce and a side of sticky curried coconut sushi rice. Delicious!
BBQ Jack Fruit Taquitos:
This was probably the most unique dish of the evening. The jack fruit was wrapped in root beer leaf and the fruit itself was shredded and cooked with BBQ sauce. It resembled pulled pork. If you didn’t know any better, you probably would’ve thought you were eating meat. The root beer leaf gave it a very distinct flavor. The dish was beautifully garnished with fresh nasturtium flowers.
This was the side dish for the jack fruit taquitos. It was made with collards, carrots, and bird pepper mayo. It was a nice, healthy twist on your average cole slaw. It also had a nice crunch. I really enjoyed it.
Broiled Bone Marrow:
So if you remember reading about my first experience with bone marrow here, you already know how I feel about the delicacy. Well…my feeling haven’t changed. I’m still not a fan but these were nicely prepared, topped with melted Romano cheese and fresh coriander flowers.
Potato & Fennel Salad:
I did enjoy the potato salad that was served with the bone marrow. It was made with quan yin potatoes and fennel bulb.
These babies were rubbed with cacao and coffee and served with mixed mushroom and balsamic onions. They were slow cooked to perfection!
This beautiful dish was roasted and sesame seared baby beets. carrots, and purple yams. This was my first time trying purple yams and they were yummy.
Brie and Fig Jam Grilled Cheese Sandwich:
This was one of my favorites of the evening. It was made with roasted pear and goji berries on Community Loaves sourdough bread.
Mini Chocolate Cupcakes:
These little delights were made gluten-free and were accompanied by maple syrup sweetened whipped cashew cream and mulberries (not pictured). To wash it down, we also had a delicious cup of locally sourced coffee which was amazing. There was also a coconut gluten free waffle filled with elderberry blossoms that I gobbled up before I could get a picture. It was actually my favorite dessert and I was told it is the waffle used in their chicken and waffle dish which I am looking forward to trying on my next visit.
This dining experience was different for me since I am typically a “carnivore”! I have to admit that I truly enjoyed everything though! I didn’t really miss having the meat. I guess it’s true what they say “you are what you eat” because the dishes were all beautiful and you felt super healthy on the inside eating them. This would definitely be a vegans paradise. Next time you’re near the beach, stop in at ThisChick’s Kitchen for lunch! You’ll be glad you did! To find out more about what’s happening at ThisChick’s Kitchen or how you can sign up for a cooking class, check out her website here or social media here.
Thanks for stopping by!
Have a great weekend!!!