Situated a few chopsticks’ length away from a nearby beach, Sushi Shoya serves Japanese fare and sushi amid ocean breezes. Inside, foliage spills from wicker baskets lining the doorway, echoing the pale green walls that envelop the eating environment in a natural tone. Guests can settle into black leather chairs at a table or sidle up to the sushi bar, where chefs slip fresh fish such as salmon, tuna, and spicy yellowtail into a variety of specialty rolls. Unlike their more secretive maki counterparts, nigiri sushi pieces covered with eel, surf clam, and smelt roe let it all hang out, much like clotheslines on vacation.
Restaurateur Bob Spoto’s culinary clubhouse, open only for dinner, procures the warmth of Chicago's neighborhood joints with a menu of steak, seafood, and wine. Enter through an archway smattered with neon blue lights and share starters of calamari bruzzi ($9.90) ornamented with pepperoncini relish, sundried tomato aioli, and several layers of holiday lights. In the back kitchens, chefs cleave robust cuts of certified Angus beef porterhouse ($27.90) and baste it in a buttery robe of maitre d’ butter before tucking onto a king-size plate. Those averse to dunking their heads in gulf shores to catch a fresh meal may instead order from Spoto’s Grill 131’s seafood selections, choosing from regional favorites such as black Florida grouper picatta, ($21.90) or classic broiled lobster tails ($34.90 for twin tails/$23.90 for single tail). When finished, cozy up in a moody booth as the attentive wait staff fills flutes with Santa Margherita champagne ($35/bottle).
Since before the advent of windshield wipers, the Meyer family has been whipping up fresh treats, hand-poured creams, and homemade jellies and caramels. Those with glucophobia can opt for sugar-free vanilla-walnut fudge ($7.99 for half pound) or a tub of sugarless taffy ($5.25 for half pound, $9.95 for a pound). For everyone else, Meyer's House of Sweets rivals Candy Land in terms of delicious décor and a sequence of play that forms a mathematically perfect Markov chain. Feast on at least 24 rotating flavors of fudge (including caramel pecan, Bailey's Irish Cream, and rocky road), 16 flavors of natural ice cream, or an impressive collection of chocolate-based confections. Chomp on European-style truffles that are almost too pretty to eat, or bite into cashew-rich bark. All chocolates are $17.95 per pound and are available in half-pound, pound, 1.5-pound, and two-pound boxes.
Winner of two gold metals and five silver medals at the Indy International Wine Competition, the Florida Winery prepares its Vino Florida wine on-location and often infuses it with tropical fruits, including raspberries, strawberries, kiwis, and melons. Vino Florida's blends and traditional wines are sure to please both vino novices and difficult-to-impress wine connoisseurs alike. A bottle of the Vino Florida ORWI, a species of flavorful fermented Florida orange juice, arrives stuffed with enough fruit to stave off scurvy in malnourished sailors' monkeys ($14.99). Free wine tastings are offered at The Florida Winery store, so you can meet the winemakers and hone in a bottle that best complements your taste buds. The shop also concocts ice cream made from its own wine and stocks a diverse supply of gourmet foods sourced from the Sunshine State, including coconut candies, spices, salsas, and more.
As you get ready to play palate-poker with Boulevard Bistro's menu, ante-up with an appetizer of one dozen of the steamed mussels, which are simmered in a chipotle cream sauce ($8.25), or the bistro's famous lavash and bean dip ($2) with crispy flatbread. From there, circumvent light appetites with a BLT pizza ($8.95), topped with applewood-smoked bacon, fresh tomatoes, and spring greens atop garlic ginger aioli, or plow directly into hunger with a mighty bistro French dip ($8.95)—slow-roasted sirloin shaved and stuffed into an asiago ciabatta bun served au jus and with a choice of spicy potato hash, french fries, coleslaw, or smoky chipotle baked beans. The wild mushroom steak Diane ($22.95) comes accompanied by parsley garlic potatoes and a bistro or Caesar salad and will find a leggy, sensual tango partner in the Wild Horse cabernet sauvignon ($9.50 glass/$38 bottle) from Boulevard Bistro's extensive wine list. Finally, give your carnivorous comedy an appropriately happy Hollywood ending with a dessert of iced lemon pound cake ($3.95) or homemade chocolate fudge brownie ($4.95).