There are no flavor combinations that are off limits at Chill Yogurt Cafe, which fosters flavor experimentation with more than 20 varieties of frozen yogurt. Customers can also innovate by choosing a subset of more than 80 toppings. One might start by selecting swirls of Florida orange sorbet, Italian espresso, and cupcake batter. Each flavor contains only 20?35 calories per ounce, with most options containing no fat or added sugar. At the toppings bar, visitors customize each creation with pieces of fresh fruit, flakes of cereal, bits of candy, and drizzlings of sauce.
The chefs at TokyoSteak House & Sushi Bart whip up more than 80 sushi rolls and sashimi selections, including 27 specialty rolls. The swiftest way to sample the wealth of offerings is by ordering the Love Boat entree for four mere mortals or one Paul Bunyan. The smorgasbord includes a choice of 18 sushi rolls, 30 pieces of sashimi, and orders of the spider roll, lobster roll, and Tokyo roll. If that's not enough food, you can bolster your meal with gyoza appetizers, seaweed soup, entrees cooked on a hibachi, and a slew of other Japanese dishes.
Only a short burger flip from the Santa Rosa Sound, the red-and-yellow-checkered façade of Tops Hamburgers hints at the ample spread of ketchup and mustard one can expect to find on each of the restaurant’s burgers and dogs. Rather than overthink the menu, chefs keep things refreshingly simple with 100% beef patties and produce cut as the sun rises each morning. Cruise through the drive-thru for fried pickles or tots to go, or stop by the brick-paved dining room to challenge a server to a burger-skipping contest on the waters of the nearby Gulf of Mexico.
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.
Scenically perched over the Gulf of Mexico's inviting waters, the seafaring chefs at Harbor Docks whip together tasty treasures crafted from the sea's naturally briny bounty. A parade of ceremonious appetizers opens oceanic feasts with fried crab claws ($10.99+) and fried grouper cheeks ($10.99); stuffed mushrooms are filled with less expressive, but equally delicious lump crab and monterey jack ($11.99). Famished fishermen can sink teeth and hooks into the market-priced catch of the day, culled from Harbor Docks's wholesale market and prepared to your taste, whether you prefer your fish blackened, broiled, sautéed, fried, chargrilled, or converted into a fetching hat. Sushi seekers can take a delectable detour through Harbor Docks's extensive menu of rolls and nigiri, nibbling traditionally prepared bites such as the eel- and avocado-laced Banzai Roll ($8.99). Or rub rice-y elbows with remixed creations such as the Cowboy Roll ($8.99), which corrals hunger using a combination of steak, green onion, and tiny seaweed lassos.
Cuvee Bistro takes its name from the French word that refers to a blending of ingredients. It's fitting for the eatery, which combines its southern roots with worldly inspirations to create sophisticated culinary dishes. To accompany this eclectic cooking, the restaurant features an internationally sourced list of wines, which earned an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator for the last four consecutive years, adding to the restaurant's already impressive award collection that includes a spot on OpenTable's Top 100 Hottest American Bars and Florida Trend's Golden Spoon Award.
Meet the Chef
From a young age, many chefs know they want to spend their lives cooking. But not very many chefs begin working in kitchens at age 14. This is exactly how Cuvee Bistro owner and executive chef Tim Creehan began his career. After being promoted to executive chef, he spent decades showcasing his culinary skills in kitchens from Atlanta to Hong Kong. He also opened multiple restaurants, many of which still serve his signature dishes long after his parting.
His vast experience earned Creehan celebrity status on the Emerald Coast culinary scene. This status only increased after he appeared on regional television programs, was featured as Cooking Light's Shining Star Chef, published three cookbooks, and cooked for celebrities such as Bruce Willis, Cybill Shepherd, and Danny Glover.
Southern Cuisine with a Twist
The addition of white-cheese grits and fried green tomatoes helps reinforce the menu's roots in classic southern cooking. However, Creehan takes those familiar flavors in new directions by incorporating Asian and European influences throughout his cooking. Here are three dishes that reflect the kitchen's commitment to tradition and creativity:
|Grassfed beef carpaccio accompanied by shaved romano cheese and horseradish-tinged cream||Chilean Sea Bass with Avocado Citrus Vinaigrette and Basmati Rice||Colorado Rack of Lamb with Garlic Dijon Cream and Roasted Brussels Sprouts|