Folio Byte by Byte 2009

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<p>C</p> <p>hicago chef and restaurateur Charlie Trotter once compared cooking to improvisational jazz a skill rooted in knowledge, but guided by</p> <p>inspiration. Indeed, any chef worth his or her salt considers cooking a creative enterprise. While many of us are content to let the food do the talking, most chefs also have plenty to say on the subject why we eat what we eat, for instance, or how our eating habits both reflect and shape our lives. So, in our annual Bite By Bite by Cuisine, we decided to let the chefs do the talking. In a series of interviews with some local culinary expert some well-known, some not we ask about their personal histories, philosophies on food preparation, and passion for making and sharing food. We also present a comprehensive list of Northeast Florida restaurants by cuisine, making it easy to find exactly what you want, be it barbecue or vegetarian, Thai or home cookin. So grab a copy, flip to your favorite flavor, and let the improvisation begin.</p> <p>BitebyBite by cuisinephotos by Walter CokerBarbecue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Brazilian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 British &amp; Irish . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Cafs, Delis &amp; Sandwich Spots . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Caribbean &amp; Cuban . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Casual Spots . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Chinese . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Coffeehouses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Diners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Eclectic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 French . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 German . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Global . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Greek &amp; Mediterranean . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Home Cookin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Hot Dogs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Indian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Italian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Japanese . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Mexican &amp; Southwestern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Middle Eastern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Neighborhood Hangouts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Peruvian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Pizzerias . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Regional . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 Seafood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Spanish . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 Specialty Restaurants &amp; Markets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 Sports Bars, Wings &amp; Oysters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 Steakhouses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Sweet Spots . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 Thai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 Vegetarian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 Wine &amp; Martini Bars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71JOSH HOYE</p> <p>18 FOLIO WEEKLY August 11-17, 2009</p> <p>BARBECUEBLACKJACKS BBQ4610 San Juan Ave., Westside, 387-3900 A family-owned-and-operated barbecue restaurant that never reheats anything, Blackjacks serves ribs, salads and chicken falling off the bone. Blackjacks also offers four unique Cole Pepper Blackjack barbecue sauces. A kids menu is available, and carry out is available. Open Tue.-Sat.</p> <p>greens. Fresh ingredients are used in every dish. Open for lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat.</p> <p>BULLS BAR B Q8602 Baymeadows Road, Baymeadows, 739-3874 Bulls serves pork, ribs, beef, chicken and baby back ribs, as well as salads and sides. Open Mon.-Fri.</p> <p>cue along with chicken-fried steak and Delta-fried catfish. A kids menu and carry-out are available, along with a full bottled beer selection. Open daily. A Best of Jax 2008 winner for Best Barbecue. The Beaches location features live music and a full bar.</p> <p>SONNYS REAL PIT BAR-B-Q12485 San Jose Blvd., Mandarin, 288-7928 4434 Blanding Blvd., Westside, 777-0730 1923 S. Lane Ave., Westside, 786-0081 2742 S. Eighth St., Fernandina Beach, 261-6632 1976 Kingsley Ave., Orange Park, 272-4606 12719 Atlantic Blvd., Intracoastal, 220-9499 10840 Harts Road, Northside, 751-4225 5097 University Blvd. W., Southside, 737-4906 1720 U.S. 1 S., St. Augustine, 824-3220 2720 S.R. 16, St. Augustine, 824-3315 For more than 30 years, Sonnys has been a Northeast Florida favorite, voted the Best Barbecue in Folio Weeklys Best of Jax readers poll. The beef, pork, chicken and ribs are cooked in a wood-fired pit, and sides include Vidalia onion rings, corn nuggets, potato salad, barbecue beans and coleslaw. All-you-can-eat specials daily. Take-out is available. Beer is served. Open for lunch and dinner daily.</p> <p>JACKS BBQ691 A1A Beach Blvd., St. Augustine Beach, 460-8100 This low-slung building has lured regulars and locals for more than six decades. Part of Jacks appeal is the old-fashioned pit barbecue, but the place has been updated with a Tiki bar, a large wooden deck, even a swimming pool. Lunch and dinner are served daily. Live entertainment is featured Fri., Sat. and Sun.</p> <p>BONOS PIT BAR-B-Q12620 Bartram Park Blvd., Mandarin, 652-2989 2420 U.S. 1 S., St. Augustine, 794-9424 4907 Beach Blvd., San Marco, 398-4248 10065 Skinner Lake Drive, JTB &amp; Gate Parkway, 998-1997 9820 San Jose Blvd., Mandarin, 268-2666 3303 San Pablo Road S., Intracoastal, 223-1391 8011 Merrill Road, Ste. 23, Arlington, 743-3727 5229 Jammes Road, Westside, 772-0050 1036 Dunn Ave., Ste. 2, Northside, 696-6968 1266 S. Third St., Jacksonville Beach, 249-8704 5711 Bowden Road, Southpoint, 448-5395 705 S. Lane Ave., Westside, 783-1404 10645 Philips Highway, Southside, 886-2801 100 Bartram Oaks Walk, Julington Creek, 287-7710 5903 Norwood Ave., Northside, 765-1817 1765 Town Center Blvd., Eagle Harbor, 269-8870 For more than 50 years, Bonos has offered slow-cooked and tender meats served with tangy sauces. Theres also the baby back ribs or barbecue salad, smoked sausage or chicken breast sandwich. Folio Weekly readers have repeatedly picked Bonos as their favorite barbecue joint in our annual Best of Jax poll. A kids menu is available. Open daily.</p> <p>JENKINS QUALITY BARBECUE2025 Emerson St., Lakewood, 346-3770 830 N. Pearl St., Jacksonville, 353-6388 1791 Kings Road, Northside, 358-9915 5945 New Kings Road, Northside, 765-8515 For more than 52 years, Jenkins Quality Barbecue has served some of the best down-home barbecue around. Slather sauce on a whole smoky chicken or a basket of crinkle-cut French fries. Most locations open for lunch and dinner daily.</p> <p>JOHNSON PIT BAR-B-QUE4530 Brentwood Ave., Northside, 768-4409 This is basic barbecue chicken, wings, ribs, pork, beef and the sides youd expect, but with some unusual items (like fried rice dishes and fish sandwiches) thrown in. The casual atmosphere is retro, relaxed and friendly. Open Mon.-Fri.</p> <p>STICKY FINGERS363 Atlantic Blvd., Beaches Town Center, Atlantic Beach, 241-RIBS (7427) 8129 Point Meadows Way, Baymeadows, 493-7427 13150 City Station Drive, River City Marketplace, 309-RIBS A true Memphis-style rib house, Sticky Fingers ribs, chicken and barbecue are slow-smoked over aged hickory wood. The menu also includes chicken wings and rotisserie-smoked chicken. Dine indoors or out on the screened patio. Happy hour is featured weekdays. Open daily. Live music on weekends.</p> <p>MOJO BAR-B-QUE1607 University Blvd. W., Southside, 732-7200</p> <p>MOJO KITCHEN BBQ PIT &amp; BLUES BAR1500 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville Beach, 247-6636</p> <p>BROWN BROTHERS BBQ1522 King St., Riverside, 388-9227 Brown Brothers serves authentic North Florida barbecue, including ribs, chicken, pork and sausage, with down-home fixins like okra and fresh</p> <p>MOJO SMOKEHOUSE1810 Town Center Blvd., Fleming Island, 264-0636 This Southern blues kitchen offers pulled pork and Carolina-style barbe-</p> <p>TOMBOS BACKPORCH BARBECUE8929 Philips Highway, Southside, 363-0990 Tombos bright yellow awning screams BBQ! and the menu</p> <p>Locally owned Ancient City Subs serves subs toasted, pressed or cold from its St. Augustinethemed location in Mandarin. See listing page 23.20 FOLIO WEEKLY August 11-17, 2009</p> <p>Bite By Bite</p> <p>INTRODUCING</p> <p>THE ITALIAN HOAGIEThe most authentic Italian Hoagie south of Pittsburgh. Its a lot of sandwich, for a lot of tastebuds.</p> <p>Chef Profile</p> <p>7 days a week 7am-2:30pm Breakfast served all day long!</p> <p>Four time Best of Jax Winner</p> <p>THE ART OF CRACKER COOKINGART JENNETTE Owner and chef, Checker BBQ &amp; Seafood San MarcoArt Jennette never went to cooking school to learn how to fry a shrimp or flavor a pot of collard greens. The Jacksonville native says his training in Southern cooking came from his Aunt Pennie, his Aunt Agnes, his Aunt Florabelle and his mother, Bernice. Daughters of Georgia sharecroppers, the women schooled Jennette as he grew up in Springfield in the 1950s. After his stepfather died in a plane crash when Jennette was 8 and his mother returned to work to support her seven children, Jennette says he appointed himself kitchen helper. In the afternoon, Jennettes mother would talk him through, step-by-step, prepping food for the family dinner. Though it was his Aunt Florabelle who showed him how to cut corn, then scrape it twice to get the juice out for creamed corn, his mother taught him the basic methods that he still employs today: how to make cornbread in a skillet without leavening, how to flour shrimp when frying, how to douse fish in cornmeal. Oh, yeah, Im still making a dollar off my mothers cooking, says Jennette, now owner, chef and bossman of Checker BBQ &amp; Seafood, which is located on St. Augustine Road in Jacksonville. As he speaks, a plate of fried green tomatoes, fried shrimp, pulled pork and collard greens, known on the menu as, The Trailer Trash Special, leaves the kitchen. It was natural for Jennette to gravitate to the restaurant business after high school, but he really learned his trade while working with caterers Ruby Dell Williams and Mildred Gilliam, two African-American women who catered for prominent Jacksonville families. I learned to put a little more seasoning than I grew up with in the collard greens, says Jennette. And to use smoked neck bone for flavoring rather than bacon grease. He also says that Williams taught him elegant presentation. I was inspired. In 1979, Jennettes mother married Jack Norton and the couple re-opened Palms Fish Camp, serving hamburgers and some seafood. Jennette later joined them and Jack went back to his tire shop. Jennette and his mother redesigned the menu around family recipes and the Southern cooking Jennette learned from Williams and Gilliam. When the city of Jacksonville bought the waterfront property where the fish camp was located, then-Mayor John Delaney cut a deal with Jennette. Jennette would operate the restaurant, and the city would get a portion of the income. That agreement fell apart under Mayor John Peyton, but Jennette regrouped and opened Checker in 2006 with the help of a benevolent Palms Fish Camp fan. He resurrected his Friday and Saturday night all-youcan-eat buffets, which begin with the ringing of a bell. Jennette roams the kitchen with skillets of fried or spicy shrimp, the contents of which he heaps, still steaming, onto plates. The chef counts former Mayor John Delaney, Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver, former Jacksonville Sheriff Nat Glover, former Times-Union publisher Carl Cannon and U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown among his fans. Jennette calls his food the art of Cracker cooking and believes his recipes define Jacksonville-area cooking better than any other out there. In part, he says, thats because he isnt just a mere chef. He calls himself a North Florida food icon. Whos going to argue with that? Susan Cooper EastmanAugust 11-17, 2009 FOLIO WEEKLY 21</p> <p>doesnt disappoint. Tombos offers low-fat dishes, like barbecue salad, and a full breakfast menu, but the restaurant will also smoke your hogs, hams, deer and turkeys. Open for breakfast and lunch Mon.-Sat.</p> <p>ample salad bar and an extensive wine list, including the traditional Caipirinha. A full bar is served. Open for dinner Tue.-Sun.; closed Mon.</p> <p>WOODYS BAR-B-Q14985 Old St. Augustine Road, Mandarin, 880-7427 5930 Powers Ave., Lakewood, 739-7427 4291 Roosevelt Blvd., Westside, 384-3442 8206 Philips Highway, Ste. 25, Southside, 265-0066 1638 University Blvd. S., Southside, 721-8836 10771 Beach Blvd., Ste. 301, Southside, 642-3774 9825 San Jose Blvd., Ste. 46, Mandarin, 262-3955 1482 S. Sixth St., Macclenny, 259-5800 950 Blanding Blvd., Ste. 1, Orange Park, 272-1419 226 Solana Road, Ste. 1, Ponte V...</p>