Sunday, November 30, 2014

Coffee Grown In South Florida

When you think of coffee and where it grows I doubt you think of Florida. But at Mounts Botanical Garden and other South Florida botanical gardens that is what they are growing, but only on the small scale.

South Florida grown coffee beans
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
So don't rush to the garden to get your morning cup of brew. Plus these plants are hard to grow and the berries are hard to process into a liquid source of sunshine.

You are better off eating the sweet outer flesh and figuring out how to make an extract of the green coffee beans.

Or you could just appreciate all the hard work that goes into growing, roasting, grinding and brewing of your favorite cup of black gold, the next time you purchase a caffinated beverage from your favorite coffee shop.

But if you are determined to go a step further and grow your own beans then look to some local plant nurseries for coffee plants like at Excalibur Fruit Trees in Lantana, Fla.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Florida Local Food Summit, Orlando, 2014

Orlando, Fla.--This was the first year of the Florida Local Food Summit. It was held last month, on the upper floor of the East End Market in Orlando. The summit brought together people from all over Florida, the United States and even Canada. It was designed to educate, energize, and promote change in the local food movement.
Florida Local Food Summit Dinner, East End Market, Orlando, Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
There were 150 people in attendance from farms, grocery stores, local governments and the public. Keynote speakers like Canadian farmer Jean-Martin Fortier and chef/farmer Matthew Raidford, of Georgia, spoke about local food systems in their areas.

The summit was hosted by Earth Learning, East End Market, Local Roots Distribution and Florida Organic Growers. The first day was all about education and was broken into three categories: organic farming, entrepreneurship, and permaculture.

The second day of the summit was about building communities through breakout session workshops.

Sessions were broken up by meals prepared by local chefs with local Florida ingredients and more. The first day ended in an al fresco dinner in the first floor's gravel courtyard. 

It was a two-day event of seeing old friends and making new ones. It was a way for conventional farmers to meet organic, sustainable and permaculture farmers. It was a huge success.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tampa Bay Brewing Company, Beer Cuisine, Fla.

Tampa, Fla.--Tampa Bay Brewing Company likes to cook with their beer. Located in historic Ybor City, this brewery is one of the oldest brewing companies in Tampa, opened 1995. This means they have more than a bare bones brewery, they also have a restaurant with many dishes made with beer.

Tampa Bay Brewing Company Sample Tray, Tampa, Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
They have an extensive beer list including seasonal styles. If you are not sure which beer to order with your meal, try one of their Sample Trays. You can get as many 4 oz. beers as you like because they don't want to limit you to just four, in a Flight, like at other breweries.

True Blond Hummus, Tampa Bay Brewing Company,
Tampa, Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
I went in recently for dinner and bought True Blond Hummus Dip made with True Blond Ale ($8.50), and an Iron Rat Stout Shepherd's Pie ($11).

Iron Rat Stout Shepherd's Pie, Tampa Bay Brewing Company,
Tampa, Fla.,
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
To go with the meal I bought a Sample Tray of four beers: Old Elephant Foot IPA ($1.50), Collaboration Scotch Ale (from Southern Brewing, TBBC and Big Storm Brewery), Iron Rat Imperial Stout ($1.75) and Moosekiller Barleywine ($2).

My favorite beer was the Collaboration Scotch Ale because it tasted like a delicious cross between earthy scotch and floral beer.

The brewery is located at Centro Ybor, 1600 E 9th Ave., Tampa, FL 33605. Telephone number (813) 247-1422

They are open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mon. to Thurs., 11 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on Fri. & Sat, and 12 noon to 11 p.m. on Sun.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Ice Plant Bar, Farm-To-Table, St. Augustine, Fla.

St. Augustine, Fla.—The Ice Plant Bar embraces old timey food and drink traditions. It is located just south of the historic old St. Augustine and in the 1927 established St. Augustine Ice plant. One of the owners used to be a co-owner of the farm-to-table Floridian Restaurant also located in St. Augustine.

Ice Plant Bar, St. Augustine, Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
In keeping with the name and history of the building The Ice Plant Bar makes their own ice with a method dating back to the 1920s.

They move purified water as it freezes to make large blocks of ice daily that are free of air bubbles, impurities and imperfections. Then they carve that ice into several shapes and sizes.

This means it does not melt as fast as modern ice and so it is colder and makes more precise drinks.

This bar, located on the second floor of the building, makes artisan cocktails, drinks, and plates of food made with ingredients partially sourced from Florida farms including two dairies that make cheese.

Cedar Key Clams in Harissa broth, Ice Plant Bar,
St. Augustine, Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
I went in for lunch back in April of this year. I ordered a small plate dish of Cedar Key Clams in Harissa Broth with black eyed peas and local fingerling potatoes ($13).

It was the best Florida sourced clam dish I had had all year. The spicy, slightly salty broth with bits of fresh tomato and green onions really brought out the sweet, earthiness of the clams.  

If you want to go to the Ice Plant Bar, it is located at 110 Riberia St., St. Augustine, FL 32084. Phone number (904) 829-6553

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Fab Dessert, Ultimate Chef's Dinner, WPB, Fla., 2014

West Palm Beach, Fla.--This year's Ultimate Chef's Dinner featured eight local chefs. The event, that cost $125 per person, was held at Bistro Ten Zero One last month. It attracted a healthly crowd of foodies. It also featured seven courses with accompanying wines from Republic National Distributing Company.

Open Faced Tangerine and Pink Grapefruit Cream Tart, Ultimate Chef's
Dinner 2014, WPB, Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey

The dessert course crafted by Pastry Chef Huma Nagi (of 3030 Ocean) stood out from the rest. It was an imaginative creation that hit all the key components of an excellent dish: creamy, crunchy, juicy, sweet, tangy, bitter, floral, aromatic and refreshing.

Pastry Chef Huma Nagi, Ultimate Chef's Dinner 2014,
WPB, Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey

It was a delightfully light, summer inspired, dish called an Open Faced Tangerine and Pink Grapefruit Cream Tart. Chef Nagi enhanced her dish with carambola ginger chutney, coconut crunch, organic edible flowers and organic micro-mint (from Paradise Farms in Homestead, Fla.).

Many of the chefs at the dinner were associated with Chef Dean James Max formerly of 3030 Ocean in the Ft. Lauderdale Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa.

If you want to experience a dessert from the amazing palette of Pastry Chef Huma Nagi then race to 3030 Ocean located at 3030 Holiday Drive, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316

Or call 954-765-3030