For our Bold Bites issue we asked Northeast Florida writers, creatives, foodies, and personalities to dish on the boldest bites they’ve taken of late. Dig into Part I of that feature below. If you’re not full, try Part II here. And Part III, here.

Duck Quesadilla 
Coastal Wine Market & Tasting Room | Nocatee 
I’m positive everything from Chef Jody Petronella at Coastal Wine Market has to be the best. Especially the duck quesadilla! The contrast of textures of the duck-meat fat and crispy skin, the contrast of flavors and how Chef Jody can make the best out of simple things. It’s one of those places where you can feel the love and experience of the chef in every bite. 
-Marcel Vizcarra 
Owner and chef, Llama Restaurant 

Elkton Green and Grains 
The Floridian | St. Augustine
It’s a mouth-watering blend of locally grown greens, quinoa, oven-roasted squash puree, green beans and cashews…topped with grilled, fresh local Mayport shrimp. Mmmmmm. The flavors blend beautifully together and the portion size is perfect. Enjoying locally grown and sourced greens and grains, lovingly prepared by owners Jeff and Jeanne McNally, two beautiful souls who care about our community as we do, make it my favorite dish. 
-Philip McDaniel 
CEO and Co-Founder, St. Augustine Distillery 


Sourdough Pancakes 
Community Loaves | Murray Hill
This is a tough one! I did a quick scroll on my Instagram and I saw a recurring dish: Sourdough Pancakes from Community Loaves. The key to this dish is the fruit—be sure to get extra. It could be apples, strawberries, plums, blueberries, or my favorite: peaches. Sweetness from the fruit, savory butteriness from the pancakes, crunch from the walnuts, and lightness from the whipped cream. They only give you two pancakes, so it leaves you begging for more. If they had these everyday it would be a problem!
-Nate Mayo
Food-Influencer, Blogger, Nate Does Food

Grand Salami Pizza 
Tony’s Pizza | Ponte Vedra Beach
We’ve got a lot of little local favorites that we like but the one that hits the top of the list is Tony’s Pizza in Ponte Vedra Beach. It’s a family-run program: the owner is named Pete Modica and he’s there constantly. His wife Maria is there; if they’re not, then their nephew Danny is. It’s a small, little place and they’re from New York and they’ve brought true New York pizza here. It’s the highest quality we’ve ever seen and it just never fails to deliver. Those guys are the real deal.
-Ben Groshell 
Owner, Fish Camp Restaurants 

Short Rib
Bellwether Restaurant | DT Jax
So many restaurants to choose from. This is a hard task! My normal favorite would be the fish special at Orsay, a pan roasted fish with Anson Mills antebellum grits, creamed corn, Eden Farms bacon, lobster roe butter, upland cress, with a Calibri to drink. Now, though, I think my new favorite is Bellwether’s short rib served with charred broccoli, smashed fried golden potatoes, smoked tomato gravy, fried okra, and shallots. I usually have an old fashioned with rye along with it, and am a very happy camper.
-Steve Williams
Entrepreneur, Gallery Runner, Architecture Enthusiast


Street Food Esquites
Taqueria Cinco | 5 Points
The perfect mix of sweet corn, salty cotija cheese, zesty lime, and warm spice. Umami! I’m pretty sure that’s what it is—or has. What exactly is umami? This is umami.
-Lena Simon
Musician, Producer, Founder of Winterland Presents

Valhrona Chocolate Cake 
Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants | Town Center
Totally decadent but not too heavy. It had Valrhona chocolate, hazelnut ganache, and vanilla ice cream. We all shared it, of course. It was paired with this amazing (see: expensive) bottle of red wine called Camilla Brave. You can’t do better. 
Melissa Ross 
Radio personality, host of First Coast Connect on WJCT

More Bold Bites
The Best Thing I’ve Ever Eaten Recently, PART II 
Part III
Anticuchos from Llama Restaurant
Roots Biscuit from Southern Roots

These entries originally appeared as part of the feature “The Best Thing I’ve Ever Eaten (Recently)” in Void Magazine’s February 2020 issue.