Posts Tagged ‘Steak’

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Katie and I received a night at the Shores Resort in Daytona Beach as a Christmas present from Kathy and Mac – Katie’s Parents. We’d stayed here for 3 nights after our wedding before flying off to Hawaii for our honeymoon (almost 8 years ago!) so it was really lovey to go back for a night. And let’s not forget – It was nice to have a night off from the baby for once! We both made sure to sleep in the next morning. Ah, uninterrupted sleep…

 

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We did have a nice view from the room..

Anyway – so the in-house restaurant at the Shores is called Azure – I vaguely recall eating here on our honeymoon and thinking it was ok but it was a long time ago so my memories are somewhat vague. We had toyed around with going somewhere else but then decided it was all too hard and we should just eat in. Since it was very much the off season for Daytona Beach we didn’t worry about a reservation and had the pick of the best tables when we came downstairs around 8pm. Of course Katie made us move a couple of times until we got the right spot…

The first thing that hits you when you open the menu here are the prices – just a warning, they are astronomically high. I guess you have to expect high prices at a resort, but to be honest these seemed very over priced. Being as it was a special occasion we threw caution to the wind and ordered without thought of the prices… Well at least we told ourselves not to worry.
Katie opted for a starter and a side for two as her meal – she chose the lobster mac and cheese which was a side for two ($13) and the small plate of crab cakes ($17).
The Crab cakes were apparently very good – although you only get two – so small plate means small… The lobster mac and cheese was apparently a little fishy – just not that great, although you do get a generous serving – it would be more than enough as a side for two.

I decided to got all out and choose the New York Strip which came with brussel sprouts with bacon lardons and a parsnip puree ($37). I ordered my steak medium rare – although it was probably more on the medium side when it arrived (I’m not that picky if the steak is rested enough it should still be ok). The steak itself was nice – well seasoned and rested – a juicy enough steak, although as with all strip steaks (What we call the porterhouse back home) it is on the tough side. The pay off is that you get a stronger beef flavour and a lovely strip of fat. However, for some reason the chef had removed the best part of the strip – the fat. Coupled with the fact that the steak itself wasn’t the best quality, lacking in intramuscular fat – or marbling – the result was a fairly tame cut, with none of the buttery, sensuous mouth feel that you can get with a New York strip steak. The Brussel sprouts were actually just the leaves separated and toasted through with bacon pieces not lardons, scatted over the top of the steak and the parsnip puree – which itself was quite nice – smooth, rich and buttery. I probably didn’t help maters with my wine selection – the wine that I had ordered, a Californian Zinn, wasn’t great, far too jammy and on the sweet side, no real tannin or length either – just all fruit up front. But either was – at the end of the day the steak just didn’t deliver for the price they were charging. At half the price it would have been fine – just not at $37 before tax and tip!

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So dinner was ok, but nothing to write home about – the problem is that you really don’t have much of a choice down this end of Daytona Beach. It’s probably the only real option to be honest. We did order breakfast to our room the next day and that was actually quite nice and not ridiculously over priced. Look, if you’re here on vacation and staying at the resort, it’s a nice enough restaurant – just be aware of the prices. If you are not staying, then I’d stay away and find somewhere else up the other end of the beach.

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I love French food. I love to cook it, I love to read about it, I love to watch people cooking it and talking about it on TV, it’s a cuisine the just resonates with me. Particularly the provincial-style cuisine – French peasant food. God I love butter, cream, duck fat, wine and garlic and all those good things that go into French cooking. I find it pretty difficult to pass up an opportunity to gorge myself on a good confit duck or a tasty cassoulet… So when my Step Mum, Penny texted to say that she would be in town from her quick trip over to look after Granny in New Zealand, and suggested that we all catch up at A La Bouffe in Toorak for dinner – well, lets just say that I didn’t need any convincing. I’ve been to A La Bouffe a few times now and always enjoyed their approach. The menu is a collection of the classics, with a few interesting twists – generally executed exceptionally well, and the service is always friendly yet professional – not pretentious. Overall I feel they have the balance just right here. Generally I’ll start with the French onion soup, order one of the classic peasant style dishes or of course some form of Duck confit matched to a nice Côtes-Du-Rhône or Burgundy… I might even finish with their delicious tarte tatin. Of course, that’s if it’s not 40 degrees Celsius. The problem I faced on the last trip was that none of the usual food sounded appealing considering it was so bloody hot. I mean, Hell probably would have been a few degrees cooler on the day we met up. Opening the door of the car to walk to the restaurant was like opening the door to an oven.

Katie and I arrived early, and even though the restaurant is air conditioned, it’s hard to cool off completely – I sort of felt sick from being so hot all day. Looking though the menu, none of my usual French favourites really appealed. I was certainly not in the mood for soup. After much discussion and some refreshing beverages, I decided to opt for the steak. Jo, Penny and Taz had joined us by this stage and Jo had suggested the Eye Filet steak with Béarnaise. Since I love Béarnaise, this seemed like an appropriate choice. I ordered my steak medium rare and it came perfectly cooked, a really simple approach to the meat, no seasoning other than the necessary salt and pepper. The Béarnaise was amazing. There something about the buttery tarragon richness that I just love with steak. I don’t know why I don’t have it more often… Oh, that’s right – you either have to make it fresh yourself which isn’t all that easy, or find a restaurant that offers it – which is increasingly difficult… Jo felt that she could have done with a little more sauce, but then she was slathering it all over her steak – I felt there was more than enough. The lightly dressed green salad on the side was refreshing and the dressing tangy and bowl of French fries as always the perfect accompaniment.

Jo and I both decided to order Crêpes Suzette for dessert, I love the sauce and the theatre of the Flambé at the table. On this occasion though it felt a little more dangerous than usual. I almost felt like the waiter could just take the dish outside and wait for it to spontaneously combust in the heat!

Oh no - my dessert is on fire - oh wait - it's supposed to be...

Oh no – my dessert is on fire – oh wait – it’s supposed to be… That’s totally ok then.

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their meals and the waitstaff were fun and friendly. I’d highly recommend A La Bouffe Bar & Bistro if you want good quality, and great tasting French cuisine.

 

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