EAT |Lunchtime in Tampa Bay at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants @CHWinery

LUNCHTIME in Tampa Bay at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant | SobeSavvy.com 


During our recent family visit to Tampa Bay, we worked up quite an appetite when visiting some of the top family fun attractions. While fast food for lunch can be convenient for some, we wanted quality food and after dining at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants in Orlando last year, we were happy to find a location in Tampa. Known for their upscale dining in a casual setting along with wonderful wines and food pairings, Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants is a dream for food and wine lovers alike.

COCKTAILS & APPETIZERS


Select Cocktails at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants | American Mule | SobeSavvy.com


Not a wine lover? No problem. Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants has a great selection of cocktails on the menu as well as non-alcoholic beverages. The specialty cocktail that caught my eye was the American Mule made with Tito’s Vodka, lime, simple syrup, ginger beer, mint and candied ginger. Not only did I like the presentation of this cocktail, but I also enjoyed the taste!


APPETIZERS at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants |  Asian Pork Belly Tostadas | SobeSavvy.com


For appetizers, we had the award-winning Asian Pork Belly Tostadas. You get five of the most divine tostadas that combine so many amazing flavors in one bite. Sharing is caring, but these are so good you may want to order one for yourself.


KIDS MENU


Healthy and Delicious options on the Kids Menu at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant | SobeSavvy.com


While some may think this sounds like a restaurant for adults only let me assure you they are family friendly. Not only do they have a special Kids Menu, but they even have dedicated restroom for families. My kid enjoyed her chicken parmesan and pasta with a side of fresh fruit. She got her some extra cheese to sprinkle on top and was pleased! Prior to her meal arriving to the table, she enjoyed coloring and playing the brain games on the menu while having a favorite of everyone at our table: the pretzel bread. It comes out to the table warm and fresh and just seeing the picture below makes me wish I had some now!

Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants serves warm pretzel bread and butter and it is my kid’s favorite! | SobeSavvy.com


WINE


Try exclusive wines like John Legend’s LVE wines available at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants | SobeSavvy.com


Wine lovers like myself would enjoy dining here and discovering a new favorite wine. Handcrafted Wines are what sets this restaurant apart from others. Beside each dish on the menu at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, a wine “bin” number is listed for the suggested pairing. Order it by glass or bottle and feel free to request a taste prior to ordering. Their “no risk policy” allows you to ask for a taste before ordering a glass to challenge you to order something new. Still not sure what to order? The staff is well versed in all of their wines and before you know it you may find yourself in an extended conversation about all things wine and food!


With such a vast variety of wine, choosing one is made simple with Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants  “no risk” tasting policy | SobeSavvy.com


LUNCH


White or Red Wine, Salad or Burger..there’s something for everyone on the Lunch Menu at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants | SobeSavvy.com


After reviewing the Lunch Menu, which is available daily from 11:00 am until 3:30 pm, we decided to each get something that would pair with a white wine for me and red wine for my husband. He decided on their RoadHouse Burger and pretty much devoured it before I could get a foodie pic..lol. It came with Bourbon👏🏽Bacon👏🏽 Jam👏🏽 y’all so I can’t blame him. It also had triple cheddar cheese and caramelized onion ranch aioli. I managed to get a bite and *correction…he did snap this photo below. His burger did taste as good as it looks!

Feast your eyes on the Roadhouse Burger at Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurants | SobeSavvy.com

Feast your eyes on the Roadhouse Burger at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants | SobeSavvy.com


I ordered from the Chef Recommendations menu and got the Cilantro Lime & Crispy Shrimp Salad. Again a great choice. Plenty of salad greens dressed with fresh ingredients,  a nice portion of shrimp, and an amazing dressing. It was paired with the November wine of the month, a glass of Gewurtztraminer Savignon Blanc. If you like white wines with sweet notes, try this one. Even though it is December now, the wines of the month are available all year long.


Chef’s Recommendation Lunch Menu and Wine Pairing at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants | SobeSavvy.com 


SobeSavvy Tip:  Stop by the Artisan Market for unique wine gifts and wine to go. There is also a tasting room where you can stop in and enjoy wine only if you choose not to stay and dine. Join Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants Wine Club for exclusive membership perks that are incredible and unique. Cheers 🍷!


Handcrafted Wines, Wine Tasting in a Napa Style Tasting Room, Artisan Market, Casual Dining..enjoy it all at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants | SobeSavvy.com 


The next time you are in Tampa or any of the cities where Cooper’s Hawk  Winery & Restaurants are  **[as of 2018, there are more than 30 establishments nationwide, found in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Virginia], I hope that you are inspired to stop in for lunch with your family. The Founder & CEO said it best in his statement below as to why you should.  Thanks Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants for the Good Food, Good Wine, and Great Memories!


Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants
4110 W Boy Scout Blvd
Tampa, FL 33607
www.chwinery.com
Inside Look at LUNCH at Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant | SobeSavvy.com 

Inside Look at LUNCH at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant | SobeSavvy.com 



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#FoodieFriday Feature| Dinner For Two Review @bukuwakeforest! Eat Global,Support Local and Celebrate Grand Opening 6/28 in Wake Forest, NC

Recently, SobeSavvy.com was invited to a hosted dinner at the new bu•ku Wake Forest, a restaurant that is recognized for its global street food menu thanks to its flagship establishment in downtown Raleigh,NC. Their website states they are inspired by the pushcarts of street vendors from all over the world. I was excited to taste what they offered and hoped it would remind me of my experiences abroad as well as introduce me to something I’ve never had before.

If you are asking yourself… what is global street food?..It is basically no frills food native to the area it originates from. It tastes exactly like they would make these dishes in their home for their families. My introduction to street food was sudden and unexpectedly delightful. The year was 2006 in Phuket Island, Thailand. My friend who lived there at the time was taking my husband and I around and showing us the sights. We were hungry and he said “Let’s go by noodle stand #5”. Not quite sure what that was so we went along with it. We pulled up to a side street where an elderly woman had set up a plastic table on the back of her bike with a steaming contraption alongside. To our western sensibilities this was strange. We had one of the best meals of our lives right there in the alley. That unique dining experience shaped my willingness to try different foods and made me ready to enjoy dinner for 2 at bu•ku.

RESTAURANT VIBES

Since this locally owned and operated restaurant is celebrating global street food in an elevated way, you will not find plastic tables here. The decor is modern and the ambiance is inviting yet intimate. You have the option to dine inside or outside on the patio but as soon as I walked thru the doors at bu•ku Wake Forest, I knew I would enjoy dining in the serene, beautifully designed dining space. I had an early dinner reservation at 6p but soon the restaurant was bustling with quite a few large dinner party celebrations as well as friends casually meeting for drinks after work at the bar. There were even families with children enjoying dinner and couples enjoying a dinner date night. No matter how busy it got, service was welcoming and attentive throughout the evening.

COCKTAILS ANYONE?

If you are one that enjoys a good drink before, during or after your meal, then you will be quite satisfied with the wine list, beer and cocktail menu at bu•ku Wake Forest. Whether you choose to enjoy on their patio, at the bar or with your dinner, I do suggest this restaurant for their interesting selection of wines, beers and craft cocktails. Here are two drinks that you must try on your next visit to bu•ku:

Sangria Roja at bu•ku is the perfect Summertime Sip!

My new favorite bubbly cocktail: The Secret Garden at bu•ku

DINNER MENU

Per bu•ku Wake Forest, their Global Street Food menu is ..”a new type of dining, designed for the type of mix & matched tasting and plate-sharing that sparks conversation.” If you’ve ever been to the Raleigh location owned by culinary visionaries Sean Degnan and Tony Hopkins, you will notice some menu differences. The team partnered with longtime friend, Todd Ohle, owner of the second bu•ku Wake Forest, and each restaurant has its own Chef that develops their own creations while still supporting menus and programs for the entire restaurant group. Just like the Raleigh location ( which is moving to Cary in 2019), bu•ku offers gluten free, vegetarian and vegan dishes on the menu. Feast your eyes on the small plates, large plates and big bowls we enjoyed for dinner:

Small Plates | Chinese Steamed Buns at bu•ku | 2 per order- Braised Pork, hoison sauce, pickles and scallions. Served on a perfectly warm “steamed” bun. Perfection in it’s simplicity yet complex in it’s flavors. Yum!

Small Plates | Edamame + Ostras Asadas at bu•ku | Edamame has a bit of a kick thanks to the addition of peppercorn. The grilled local oysters are some of the best I have had in the Triangle because of the flavorful toppings!

Large Plates | NC Catch at bu•ku | Local Seafood meets Global Flavors on a plate! The flounder was perfectly cooked and served on a bed of cauliflower,rutabaga mash, pistachio and topped with fennel-shallot confit. My favorite part was pouring the parmesean beurre on top!

Big Bowls | Vietnamese Phô at bu•ku | The seared filet mignon was so tender and my favorite part about this dish. I wanted more flavor from the broth and plan to do some spice additions to my leftovers at home!

Dessert | Tres Helados at bu•ku | You get a trio of chefs selection of gluten free sorbet and ice creams, toasted coconut flakes, and fresh berries. It was my first time having avocado ice cream and I loved it!

SobeSavvy Tip: EVENT ALERT A celebration for the new bu•ku Wake Forest will take place Thursday, June 28th with a cocktail hour and ribbon cutting for media and city officials on Thursday, June 28th. Dinner service will begin at 5pm and feature live music from Joe O’Keefe’s “3 Second Rule” band (who owns neighboring Wine 101), as well as complimentary sangria for all guests. As founding members of A Place at the Table, Degnan and Hopkins will donate a portion of proceeds from this evening to this charitable cause!

Thanks for reading and I hope you are inspired to make dinner reservations for 2 at the new bu•ku!

bu•ku Wake Forest

1228 Heritage Links Dr suite 100, Wake Forest, NC 27587

#FoodieFriday Feature | Where to Dine in #Baltimore Inner Harbor PART II @MissShirleys #ShirleysLove

When seeking a family friendly brunch while in Baltimore, make sure to place Miss Shirley’s Cafe at the top of your list. I was visiting family and friends during Thanksgiving and wanted to enjoy non-traditional Thanksgiving food during Brunch where I could indulge in some regional cuisine featuring my fave: SEAFOOD!

Miss Shirley’s Cafe | SobeSavvy.com shares #ShirleysLove for Breakfast, Brunch and Lunch

During our stay in Baltimore, we dined at two restaurants that not only feature delicious food, but served as the perfect family friendly places to fuel up for holiday shopping. Phillips Seafood (which you can read PART I of my #FoodieFriday here) and Miss Shirley’s Cafe are both Maryland favorites that should be on your Where to Dine in Baltimore list. Here’s what my experience was like at Miss Shirley’s: 

Upon arriving at Miss Shirley’s Inner Harbor location at 750 E.Pratt St. you will see that this place is popular for breakfast, brunch and lunch. The original location in Roland Park was started in 2005 so Miss Shirley’s simply spread their perfection here {and an Annapolis location}.

After being warmly greeted, we were seated at a booth where the hostess handed an old school etch-a-sketch to my 6 yr old. What an awesome throwback for the kiddos to occupy themselves with while waiting for their food! I absolutely loved their kids menu. My little one ordered the silver dollar pancakes and they come served in a cute bento box! We adults occupied ourselves with Mornin’ Cocktails. I recommend the Miss Mimosa & Southern Ruby Crush.

My Mom started with the “Loaded Southern Fried Deviled Eggs” which she LOVED! I ordered their soup of the day, which was a gumbo that was packed with shrimp, sausage and plenty of flavor.

For entrees we feasted our eyes on the Miss Shirley’s House Favorites like “Get your Grits On” which is their take on Shrimp {Or Salmon} and Grits. It features Blackened Shrimp on top of Grits + Fried Green Tomato and tastes as awesome as it sounds and looks! 

Hubby opted for the “Crab Cake & Fried Green Tomato Eggs Benedict.” Jumbo lump crabmeat with poached eggs & Old Bay hollandaise sauce. He said it tasted EXACTLY like he imagined actually … BETTER!

The “Crab Happy Chesapeake Chicken Sammy” was what my Mom ordered. Here is what’s on it per the menu ..

She thought it was AMAZING and even though it had alot going on, it all surprisingly went well together. This dish definitely fit the Miss Shirley’s motto: Southern Inspired with a Maryland Twist!

Service was very good as well as the entire meal. It was a great way to bond with my family over good food in a locally owned, upscale-casual, yet kid-friendly restaurant.

SobeSavvy Tip: Miss Shirley’s Cafe has a special called “Family Time Tuesdays“. All Miss Shirley’s Cafe locations are offering 50% OFF* Kids Bento Boxes ALL DAY on Tuesdays from November 7th – December 12th, with the purchase of an entrée of $11.99 or more. Make sure to mention this ad to your server while dining, to redeem your discount!

Holiday Promotions

Make sure you make Miss Shirley’s Cafe a favorite of yours and also your company. This holiday season Miss Shirley’s Cafe is offering a special party promotion that’s available for a Limited Time Only! Book your upcoming Holiday Party or Event for a WEEKDAY between Monday, November 27th – Thursday, December 21st & receive a $20 Bonus Card* for every $200 spent during your event!

Missed Cyber Monday?! No worries at Miss Shirley’s, it’s Cyber Monday all season long! Order Miss Shirley’s Cafe gift cards online & receive a $10 Bonus Gift Card* for every $100 in gift cards purchased! *Promotion valid through 1/2/18. See website for restrictions.

Digital E-Gift Cards are also available online throughYiftee.com.

Remember to Follow @MissShirleys #ShirleysLove on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and make plans to dine there soon and taste the award winning breakfast, brunch, lunch dishes for yourself! 

 

#FoodieFriday Feature | Where to Dine in #Baltimore Inner Harbor PART I @PhillipsSeafood #PhillipsSeafood

Recently my family and I spent Thanksgiving in Baltimore and stayed in the Downtown/Inner Harbor area. We enjoy visiting ‘Charm City’ mainly because there are plenty of things to do and great restaurants where we can enjoy my favorite food: SEAFOOD! During our stay, we dined at two restaurants that not only feature delicious food, but served as the perfect family friendly places to fuel up for holiday shopping. Phillips Seafood and Miss Shirley’s Cafe are both Maryland favorites that should be on your Where to Dine in Baltimore list. Here’s why:

PHILLIPS SEAFOOD

Phillips Seafood Baltimore Inner Harbor | #outandaboutAva is ready for Lunch at Phillips Seafood

Phillips Seafood | Lunch in Baltimore means seafood to my family. And seafood means a visit to the world famous Phillips Seafood Restaurant. Located at the
Inner Harbor, Phillips has been a Baltimore iconic brand for decades. It had been a little while since our last visit so we were excited about trying their seasonal specials.

One Winter special we ordered was an appetizer called “Local Oysters and Crab Claws“. For THE  low price of $5 we received a platter with 4 raw
oysters and a cluster of individual crab claws. Fresh and good are two words to
describe this wallet friendly appetizer that promptly disappeared.

Our waitress Z recommended I try one of their new cocktails on the menu. I was glad that I did because their “Crabby Tea” was both refreshing and a great drink to toast to the holidays with! 

We dived into the main portion of their menu and so many things looked SO
GOOD it was hard to decide on a nice steak or continue with the seafood theme. The good news is my husband chose something that was the best of both worlds. 

For a limited time they have a Surf & Turf special. For only $19.95 they served a 6 oz. broiled lobster tail and a tender 6 oz. filet mignon cooked to order. The lobster and filet were both superb! No sides are included, however my hubby was pleased and glad he ordered it. 

Did you know Phillips has a special kids menu? Our daughter, #outandaboutAva loves their kid sized crabcake slider. It comes with fries and a drink in a fun, keepsake cup. 


A visit to Phillips would not be complete without ordering one of their infamous crabcakes. I ordered the “Ultimate Crab Cake“, described as.. “the
best of the best, made with 100% jumbo lump crab; with crab macaroni &
cheese & asparagus. 

IT WAS BEYOND GOOD!!  Delicious is even an understatement. I wanted to kiss the Chef…not just for the oversized crab cake but also the scrumptious Crab Mac & cheese.

  

Saving room for dessert is a must when dining at Phillips because they have a variety of choices that will satisfy your sweet tooth and your soul! Take a peek at this menu and the spread:

Taste a bit of history and order the ‘Smith Island Cake‘ -an 8 to 11 # layer cake with fudge frosting, a Maryland recipe you must devour! In 2008, it became the official dessert of the State of Maryland and available at Phillips Seafood Restaurant

SobeSavvy Tip : Be sure to visit phillipsfoods.com to stay informed with recipes, promotions, specials and more. Dont’t forget the holidays are upon us and the best gift for a foodie would be a gift card from Phillips Seafood! 

PHILLIPS SEAFOOD



601 E Pratt St
Baltimore, MD 21202


Top 4 Reasons @ZoesKitchen is a great kid-friendly, #dinnerdate spot for healthy food ! #LiveMed #ZoesKitchen

If you haven’t heard,  Zoës Kitchen serves amazingly fresh food, full of goodness for the whole family. That’s why whenever we have the chance to go on a family dinner date, Zoës Kitchen is our top choice. Recently while on staycation in North Hills, we enjoyed an early dinner at this popular eatery. Here are the Top 5 Reasons why Zoës Kitchen is a great kid-friendly dinner date spot for healthy food:

  1. Serves Mediteranean food that is delicious and nutritious. It’s flavorful and heart healthy, which makes Moms/Dads happy to enjoy with their little ones. 
  2. Lots of seating with bright decor both inside and out makes for a great casual and comfortable dining experience.
  3. Adult beverages..yes, please! Beer and wine are served. Fresh squeezed limeade is available too along with soft drinks and tea.
  4. A variety of flavorful menu options ranging from starters, soups, salads, sandwiches, fresh sides kabobs, desserts and a reasonably priced LIVE MED kids menu for ages 12 and under. Our daughter loves the shrimp kabob entree and 1 side for just $5.99!

I recommend trying the Rosemary Ham & Mozzarella Piadina. It’s a flatbread sandwich that will transport your tastebuds to Italy! I enjoyed it with a side of braised white beans. 

There are locations in 20 states, with 17 restaurants in North Carolina alone! You can order online for take out or dine in. They also cater and offer party nenu ideas and other information at www.zoeskitchen.com 

I hope the next time you find yourself hungry with kids and want to go out to a healthy, tasty dining spot that is casual and family-friendly, you will consider Zoës Kitchen!

Zoës Kitchen
141 -112 Park at North Hills St

Raleigh,NC 27609

Want a Taste of NOLA? Try @BoneFishGrill ‘s New Seasonal Menu now thru June 16 #creolecuisine 

This past Sunday, I took a trip to NOLA by way of my tastebuds, thanks to Bonefish Grill and their new seasonal specials, available through June 16. I am a seafood lover and I enjoy creole cuisine, so when I heard that the fresh fish experts at Bonefish Grill are spicing up things in the kitchen with their new Creole-Style Redfish, I knew I had to make reservations to dine there!

Redfish itself is a new type of fish on the polished casual favorite’s menu. The mild sweet fish with a medium firm texture was introduced in the 1980s in the New Orleans kitchen of famed chef Paul Prudhomme.

Bonefish Grill’s Creole-Style Redfish is topped with crawfish — a fresh water crustacean similar in taste to lobster and very popular in the South — then accented with a creole-style sauce and served with sweet corn spoonbread.{While I am usually suspicious of any large commercial restaurants claim
that a dish is “Creole/Louisiana style” Bonefish grill hit this one out of the
park! The right blend of hot and spicy made the Creole spirit of this dish
authentic.}

Bonefish Grill is spanning the globe of culinary inspiration for other items on its new seasonal menu, including:

·         Crab Cake Topped Wood-Grilled Atlantic Cobia – for a new twist, Bonefish Grill creates a delicious combination of flavors, pairing a popular starter with an interesting fish offering a rich, sweet flavor that is slightly firm, with a light flake. Served with a jalapeño bacon cream sauce it is finished with jalapeño slices and served with jasmine rice and French green beans. { Being from Baltimore, any fish that is topped by crab meat has to
meet  a high standard in my books. This met that standard. I have had their
crab cakes on prior visits so I know how good they are. The Cobia
underneath complimented the crab meat. I know, I know it should be the other way
around but again being from Baltimore things compliment crab meat and that is
just how it is !! The cream sauce is SO GOOD
.}

 

·         Fresh Maryland Soft Shell Crabs –a delicacy only available a few weeks of the year, the Soft Shell Crab is sautéed crispy, stuffed with a Maryland-style crab cake and served with choice of two fresh sides.{This dish is so popular and rare that the Bonefish Grill we visited had ran out of it. The manager was kind enough to call other nearby locations to see if they had more. Now that’s customer service! If this is the dish you want to try, you may want to call ahead to see availability}

·         Cedar Plank Norwegian Salmon –Sourced fresh from Norway, thisAtlantic Salmon family is higher in fat content, Omega 3 fatty acid and has a velvety texture. Roasted on a western red cedar plank from the Pacific Northwest it is topped with a fresh, light citrus, honey-based glaze and served with a vegetable medley of asparagus, spring peas, pearl onions and button mushrooms.

·         Kate’s Wild North Atlantic Haddock – This nostalgic favorite of loyal Bonefish Grill guests features thismildly sweet, wild white fish — cut in-house — garlic crumb dusted, wood-grilled, topped with feta and a lemon basil butter sauce.

SobeSavvy Tip: Make your dinner reservations between 4pm-6pm and enjoy daily Happy Hour specials. I recommend any of their happy hour priced $5 hand-crafted cocktails and especially the “Tropical Tiki Martini”. It’s like a drinkable vacation!

Be sure to go to www.bonefishgrill.com for more information on specials and sign up to become a BFG insider to get updates sent right to your email inbox!

Bonefish Grill

4421 Six Forks Rd ~ Raleigh, NC

*also locations in Cary and Durham*

Hey #Raleigh, Celebrate #NationalBurgerMonth #NationalBurgerDay @BurgerFi 

May is burger month so SobeSavvy.com wanted to find the best burger joint in the Triangle. A friend had been telling us about Burger Fi for quite a while so decided to see what all the fuss was about. 

We had the pleasure of being hosted by their Wake Forest Rd location in Raleigh. We entered a bright and airy burger joint with an expansive terrace with flat screens showing the sports game. We opted to sit inside. After taking a few moments to look at their menu we finally got decisive with the following orders:


I went with the Breakfast All Day Burger:


Natural Angus Burger, American Cheese, Bacon, Maple Syrup, Fried
Egg, Hash Brown, Grilled Onions, Ketchup


This.Was.Incredible. The ingredients may look a little weird on paper but this went together so well. The hash browns and fried egg just melded
perfectly with my burger. The maple syrup was just enough sweetness to complete this burger of perfection.


Hubby chose the CEO:


Double Wagyu + Brisket Blend Burger, Homemade Candied Bacon-Tomato Jam, Truffle Aioli, Aged Swiss Cheese


He commented how he loved the deep flavor profile. The candied bacon tomato jam was so unique he asked the cashier whether they sold this on the side to take home !


My little one chose from their fun kids menu:


Single burger with a natural snack and a “freestyle” drink from their amazing soda machine, teas or Lemonades.


We went with a side order
of  “Cry + Fry” :                .


Double battered Onion Rings and hand cut Fries. We choose one of their fry premium toppings of Parm, Herb and Garlic Aioli. Awesome and a large portion more enough to share.


We had no room to try any of their custard Floats, shakes or Concretes this time. Next time somehow we will pace ourselves to have room !


National Burger Day {yup, that is a real thing} is coming up on Sunday May 28 . Get to Burger Fi and celebrate !!

Check out my delicious pics here:

BURGERFI ~Raleigh

3004 Wake Forest Rd •STE 100

Raleigh, NC 27609

(919) 999-3700

BURGERFI.COM      ■     #tryBurgerFi

5 ways to Wine & Dine Your Valentine on #ValentinesDay @BrioItalian #myBrio NEW menu items

**DISCLAIMER** Thank you BRIO for sponsoring this post. Although the meal was on them, the opinions are 100% all me ! 

I have always loved BRIO Tuscan Grille for their high quality cuisine that has it’s foundation based on the cuisine from the Tuscany region of Italy. Having spent some time in Italy a few years back, I can attest that REAL Italian food is much more complex and nuanced than spaghetti & meatballs {although I like that dish also}. BRIO (means lively or full of life) has an atmosphere that I like to call casual elegance. Most of their ingredients are made in house, like their sauces, pasta, fresh whipped cream and baked bread.  

We sampled some dishes off of their limited time only “Flavorful Features” menu. Chef Mario, whom I met at the Raleigh, NC Crabtree Mall location, was very passionate and informative about the skill and love put into each dish. These recipes were created exclusively by the executive chefs at the company and lived up to the expectation of being flavorful!

In honor of the upcoming Valentine’s Day, I wanted to review these offerings in a unique way to assist our readers who are looking to impress their dates on that special night {or any other night of the week at BRIO’s Tuscan Grille.

Here are 5 ways to Wine &Dine your Valentine at BRIO’s ~

1. Order a unique cocktail, such as an Italian Mule.  If you love a classic mule cocktail, this one will not disappoint as it has a limomcello twist! Pucker Up!

2. If your date is wanting a light dinner or a healthier option, BRIO offers a variety of salads. Try this Kale Ceasar (the kale is marinated which gives the salad wonderful layers of flavor) or Grilled Salmon Salad (underneath those crispy shoestring potatoes lies a nice portion of salmon making this salad a meal all by itself).

3.Get a few appetizers that are not only great for sharing, but will allow you to feed your date!  We loved the Bruleed Parmesan Creme served with Balsamic roasted grapes and grilled ciabatta. Or spice things up with their Spicy Shrimp & Eggplant. You’re gonna want to put that black pepper cream sauce on everything! It’s that good. 

4. Seafood is a known aphrodisiac and BRIO offers a plethora of options for the seafood lover like Scallop Risotto and Crab Stuffed Shrimp and Lobster Tail.  The portion is sized to share but it is so fresh and delicious, you may not want to. The scallops were prepared to perfection and I appreciated the size as well as the taste. Loved the plating of their dishes as well. We eat with our eyes first they say. Just look how beautiful the lobster tail is! 

5. Impress your date by speaking Italian and ordering dolce {that is the Italian word for dessert !}. Try this Dolchino Trio: Creme Brulee, Caramel Mascarpone Cheesecake, Butterscotch Budino (which is Italian for pudding). This was a sweet ending to an amazing meal!

Make your reservations now because these flavorful features are only on the menu for a limited time thru 2/28/17. And for Valentine’s Day weekend,  Brio Tuscan Grille Crabtree Valley Mall is offering this two-course prix fixe menu special from 2/10/17 to 2/14/17:

If seafood isn’t your favorite, I highly recommend the Chicken Saltimboca. Three tender chicken breasts with provolone , fried sage, crispy pancetta and butternut squash risotto. Both tender and tasty , this entree is definitely not your average chicken dinner. 

Visit www.BrioItalian.com for a list of locations and to make reservations online.