The open kitchen at Bruno’s Pizza reveals the cooking process for all to see. Before customers' eyes, pizza chefs toss dough into the air and whip up house sauces, using these as building blocks in pizzas, calzones, and towering crust castles. Their specialty pizzas are laden with toppings that include black olives, italian sausage, and portobello mushrooms; one pizza even comes with five types of peppers. Craft beer or soda accompanies each meal.
The pizza gurus at Bud & Alley's Pizza Bar layer sauce-slathered dough disks with artisan ingredients such as buffalo mozzarella, arugula, and eggplant. Patrons can drown memories of unsuccessful fly-fishing trips in the sauce from a seaside pizza covered in fresh fish, basil, and tomatoes ($15). Classic margherita pies topped with an aerodynamic layer of san marzano tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, and fresh basil ($14) soar from the oven onto waiting platters. Bedecked with arugula, shaved squash, zucchini, eggplant, and cheese, the Farmer's Market pizza ($14) sprouts with vegetables the way the earth would if it were flat and watered with sauce. Customers can also pair slices with meaty clam spaghetti ($16), or orecchiette pasta adorned with morsels of fennel sausage ($15). In between bites, diners can lubricate lips with selections from the lengthy drink list of top-shelf tequilas, mixed drinks, and wines ($9–$13).
Inside Roberto's Italian Pizzeria, 14 flat-screen TVs surround the dining room, so guests are never in danger of missing a play as they dig into pizzas fresh from the oven or pastas recently unearthed at a nearby ravioli mine. In addition to serving up crowd favorites, the kitchen crew fires up Italian specialties such as stromboli, caprese salad, and classic minestrone soup.
Held from 1 p.m to 5 p.m., closing ceremonies of the three-day wine festival will feature samples of more than 700 wines, some paired with gourmet food in the culinary pavilion, and many for sale at a discount in the retail tent. Whiffs of fruit and oak season the air in the Village of Baytowne Wharf during the annual Sandestin Wine Festival, a three-day event now in its 26th year. Vintners uncork more than 700 wines aged in America and abroad, including rare and specialty varietals parceled out during charity wine auctions. Novice tipplers learn basic wine styles and pairings as they explore the Grand Tasting and special events such as “Winemakers and Shakers,” which matches wines with gourmet meats and cheeses. As live music floats across the grounds, special lectures enlighten curious festivalgoers on topics such as biodynamic wines. New cooking demonstrations in the culinary tent include a Sunday session led by Stinky’s Fish Camp’s executive chef, Jim Richard, who will divulge the secrets of Spanish paella—a dish renowned for its compatibility with red wine, white wine, and grape-flavored Juicy Juice ($20 per demonstration). When guests empty their stemware, they can track down their favorite wines of the day in the onsite retail tent and take bottles home to savor and share.
Chef Quinlan draws upon his inspiration from coastal, Cajun, and Caribbean cuisines as he cooks at Poppy's Seafood Factory. His menu showcases entrees pulled from the Gulf Coast, such as lobster thermidor and fried shrimp, as well as boiled seafood feasts available by the pound—like British money or an absurd amount of American money. There are also plenty of steak and pasta dishes to go around, as well as an ample wine list.
Poppy, the owner, hails from New Orleans—a city known for both its good times and exquisite cooking. He came out of retirement to keep the good times rolling within the laidback, casual fine dining environment of his restaurant.
When The Melting Pot originally opened in 1975 just outside Orlando, diners had just three options: swiss-cheese fondue, beef fondue, or chocolate fondue. The restaurant first expanded four years later, when an enterprising waiter at the initial location opened up a new outpost in Tallahassee. Today, the company—now owned by that original waiter, Mark Johnston, and his brothers Mike and Bob—reigns as the premier fondue, wine, and drink restaurant, stretching across North America with more than 140 restaurants. The restaurant's menu has also expanded, and patrons can now expect six varieties of hot dipping cheese paired with salads, entrees, and molten chocolate.
On a given night, groups of viscous-dip-loving foodies gather around tables to nosh on cheese-fondue appetizers and various salads while cooking steaks and seafood in a choice of healthy broth or oil. Birthday revelers and romance seekers cap decadent evenings sharing the chocolate desserts that have defined The Melting Pot for decades.