For our February Bold Bites issue, we asked Northeast Florida writers, creatives, foodies, and personalities to dish on the best thing they’ve ever eaten (recently). Find Part 1 here. And dive into another sampler platter below.
Stew Chicken w/ Rice & Peas ($4 + sides)
Island Tropics Restaurant | DT Jax
Even though I’m not Jamaican, I find Jamaican cuisine very comforting. Brown stew chicken is one of my favorite dishes. And Island Tropics even had the proper ginger sorrel drink to wash everything down. Heaven on earth!
Fried Mayport Shrimp ($25.99)
Cap’s On the Water | St. Augustine
It’s just a simple, back-to-basics dish that really celebrates the region. Plus, this was the first thing I ate out at a restaurant since March, so it had a 2020 feel to it. It’s something I definitely would have eaten a lot more of if we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic!
City Columnist, Florida Times-Union
Wafaa Shawarma Platter ($13.50)
Wafaa & Mike’s Cafe | Springfield
I didn’t eat out a lot this year but discovering Wafaa & Mike’s really helped me get through a tough year. The pita bread that comes with it really makes the meal!
Political Consultant & Host of Why You Should Care? Podcast
Shroom Sandwich ($6)
Chancho King | Murray Hill (inside Vagabond Coffee) & San Marco (Aardwolf), @chanchoking for pop-up locations
The vegan version of Chancho King’s Ecuadorian street food sandwich is so authentic, it darts me right back to South Florida where I grew up. I always order two with a side of their addictive plantain chips, which are somehow bottomless, no matter how many you think you’ve eaten.
Education Reporter, Florida Times-Union
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Fuji Special Roll, sans cream cheese ($8.85)
Fuji Sushi West | Fairfax
It’s a perfect balance of flavors, (my favorite: sweet and savory) and Fuji Sushi Wet’s rolls have the best texture. The Fuji Special Roll is crispy and tender. And big! They don’t do the fun lunch special like the other location in San Marco, where you can get endless food for like $11. But the quality of the rolls is certainly worth the price.
Bandeja Paisa ($15.99)
Delicias Colombianas Jax | Arlington
Fried Egg, white rice, beans, sweet plantain, pork ring (chicharrón), avocado, grilled steak (carne asada), corn cake (arepa), and Colombian sausage (chorizo). Even though I am of Mexican descent, Colombian cuisine is very similar in taste (dare I say maybe better) with every item seasoned and cooked to perfection. Also, my meal was balanced with the refajo clásico (Colombian soda mixed with beer) which was refreshing and tasty. I have been taking family and friends there ever since discovering this dish!
DJ Papi Disco, founder of Tropical De Dia
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Crab Meat Grilled Cheese with Avocado ($13)
Funkadelic Food Truck | St. Augustine
The act of eating a grilled cheese sandwich brings with it much anticipation and expectations. That first bite needs to satisfy the soul, comfort us, and let us know all’s right with the world. While it is one of my favorite sandwiches, I am hesitant to order it when dining out for fear of disappointment. With this in mind, when I found myself at Funkadelic Food Shack for lunch recently, I considered their offering of Lump Meat Grilled Cheese with trepidation. But the description of this spin on a tuna melt was intriguing and sounded promising: wild caught lump crab, caramelized onions, provolone, goat cheese, Funk sauce and pepper jelly on Asiago Cheddar Cheese Bread. I asked for avocado as well. My order came up pretty quick and I found a spot at a table alongside the San Sebastian River. (Funkadelic Food Shack is parked at Marina Munch in St. Augustine.) Even if the sandwich turned out less than satisfactory, the view was soothing. With the moment-of-truth first bite, however, it was clear this sandwich met my expectations: from the crunchy bread crusts to the gentle pull of the provolone and everything in between, this was indeed culinary comfort. Synergy between the different ingredients satiated my taste buds, including that elusive umami element. The sweet caramelized onions added depth of flavor while balancing the bite of pepper jelly. Warm and gooey, chock full of fresh crab meat, bursting with four different cheese flavors, every ingredient unified by that savory house-made Funk sauce: this sandwich goes on my worth-a-second-bite list. I relished both the view and the food, with thoughts of a return visit already on my mind.
Editor, Edible Northeast Florida
This feature was excerpted from the Bold Bites section in VOID’s Feb. 2021 issue.