What makes a bite bold? Welp, I can offer some broad parameters—bold bites are loud; they tend to photograph well; they tend to flout conventions about what ingredients “go together”; and they’re delicious, no doubt. 

But ultimately, defining a Bold Bite is a bit like describing “umami.” Sure, umami is widely known as the fifth taste, alongside sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. But look for examples of foods that are generally considered to have an umami taste—mushrooms, seaweed, tomatoes, soy sauce, cured meats—and it gets a wee bit confusing (to see us try and pin an umami definition to the plate, pick up the mag). 

It could be said that, like umami, we know a Bold Bite when we try it. With that in mind, we asked an army of influential and epicurious eaters to tell us about the boldest bites they’ve taken of late (“The Best Thing I’ve Ever Eaten (Recently)”). From assuredly saccharine desserts to salty street food to vegan dishes that are—somehow, some way—umami, Northeast Florida’s culinary scene is currently activating taste buds on all portions of the tongue; often in bold new ways. 

Humble pancakes made Bold, care of Murray Hill’s Community Loaves found on page 48 of our Bold Bites issue. These little cakes were one of the “Best Things” our crew has “ever eaten (recently). || Photo: Jesse Brantman

It should be stated, however, that Bold Bites don’t fit neatly on any plate. Nor will they be confined to regular kitchen hours, as contributor Darby Moore found out when she spent some time after what most would consider regular business hours at St. Augustine’s historic district’s late-night snack institution, Carmelo’s Marketplace (“An Hour After Hours at Carmelo’s”). 

If food is indeed a love language—and we certainly believe it is—then it’s language that allows as much flexibility and room for passionate debate as English does. We at Void love our bites bold, our food photography kinda porn-y, and our series’ with Oxford commas. But we know that’s not everyone’s cup of cheesy, chili-flaked street food esquite. Still, let’s dig in together.

Matt

This feature originally appeared as the Liner Notes to Void Magazine’s February 2020 issue. 

Void’s Bold Bites issue lands at more than 300 locations in and around Northeast Florida on February 1, 2020. || Cover image: Wesley Parsons