Restaurant Reviews

Barracuda's Bar and Grille: Best New Restaurant in New Smyrna Beach

I've quickly grown to love Barracuda's Bar and Grille in New Smyrna Beach. The place opened a few months ago and I've been there three times. Each has been a fun experience with great serivce, great food, and great cocktails.

What I like about Barracuda's Bar and Grille is they serve really fresh food and offer an eclectic menu with something for everyone. In fact, their menu is why we chose this restaurant for a birthday celebration. Our guests were a mix of vegan, vegetarian, and carnivores and everyone was happy with the options.

One of their specialties is oven baked flatbreads. My favorites are Ocean Gardens (great for vegetarians) and Jamaican Chicken Chorizo (great for carnivores). They also have an interesting Caribbean Jerked Pulled Pork flatbread that is next on my list of things to try.

If you love fresh garden salads you'll be impressed with the selection at Barracuda's.  One of the most unique is their Grilled Hearts of Romaine. Yes, they actually grill a wedge of romaine then top it with croutons, shredded carrots, and caesar dressing. 

You can also get a house salad, traditional Greek salad, spicy buffalo shrimp salad, or their really yummy Sunrise Yogurt Salad that has fresh fruit, shaved almonds, and a low-fat yogurt dressing.

If you're looking for something a little heartier select from the Barracuda Big Bites or Killer Sandwiches section. My favorite entrees are the Tropical Fish Tacos and Barracuda Buffalo sandwich. One of my vegan friends said the 3rd Ave Veggie Burger was the best she'd ever eaten. There is also a great selection of wraps, including a Cordon Bleu Bacon wrap that is also on my "to try next" list.

A great feature of Barracuda's is the upstairs gathering area. It's a nice place to hang out with friends and enjoy cocktails or soak up the ocean view and gentle breezes while waiting for your table.

You'll find an abundant selection of specialty drinks, great wines, and beers. If you love chocolate martinis, you must order the Terry Dactyl. It truly is the best chocolate martini on the planet.

There's always something going on at Barracuda's throughout the week, so check their event calendar to take advantage of specials. Guys will appreciate Manday Monday with half-off select drinks, 50 cent wings, and $5 burgers. Gals will love T.G.I. Ladies Night each Thursday. Not only are flatbreads half-out, but can you also get that Terry Dactyl chocolate martini I mentioned earlier for only $5. 

Barracuda's Bar and Grille is located at 203 S. Atlantic, directly across the street from the Flagler Avenue beach parking lot. You can't miss the bright yellow, orange, and green building with the awesome Barracuda fish logo.

Phone:  386.957.3931

Website:  www.barracudasnsb.com

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/BarracudasNSB

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Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free in New Smyrna Beach Florida

Looking for "Kids Eat Free" restaurants in New Smyrna Beach?  The following NSB restaurants help tourists reduce travel expenses while visiting this traditional Old Florida beach town, as well as helping locals slash food budgets.

Most NSB restaurants only provide kids eat free offers during weeknights of Tuesday through Thursday. Some offer complimentary kids meal throughout the day, while others restrict to certain hours.

If you're visiting the area take advantage of these money-saving deals. It's best to call ahead to confirm restaurants are still providing special offers.

Monday:

Lost Lagoon Wings and Grill offers great beach pub food including fish and chips, burgers, and of course, wings. Kids eat free is available all day Monday through Thursday with 1 free kids meal per adult entrée purchase.

515 North Dixie Freeway
New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168
Phone: 386-366-3360

Tuesday:

Denny's Restaurant is a family favorite because it offers so many food choices. Everyone can find something they like; making it an ideal dining spot while vacationing. Kids aged 12 and below can eat for free every Tuesday at the New Smyrna Beach location. Offer limited to 1 complimentary kids meal per purchased adult entrée.

1830 State Road 44
NSB, FL 32168
Phone: 386-427-5384

Find more dining deals and download the Denny's Mobile App at www.Dennys.com.

Wednesday:

The Taco Shack is a family owned and operated establishment serving great quality food at affordable prices. Kids eat free from the Lil' Ripper menu when an accompanying adult purchases an entrée. Available to children 12 years of age and younger, from 5pm-9pm.

642 N. Dixie Freeway
New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168
386-428-9882

The Taco Shack has nightly specials each night of the week. Check their website at www.TheTacoShack.net.

Thursday:

New Smyrna Beach Dairy Queen has a kids eat free special every Thursday evening from 6:30pm-8:30pm. This location does not have indoor seating, so be prepared to eat ice cream quickly during hot summer days. One free meal for kid's age 12 and younger with an accompanying adult who buys a meal.

Dairy Queen
729N. Dixie Freeway
NSB 32168
386-428-8066

Join the Blizzard Fan club at Dairy Queen website to receive six buy one get one free coupons throughout the year.


Carrabba's Italian Grill in Orlando, Florida FoodBuzz Tastemaker Event

Carrabba's Italian Grill has been at the top of restaurants I have wanted to visit for quite some time. As a Featured Published for FoodBuzz.com, I received an invitation to attend a special Tastemaker event at the Carrabba's restaurant at 5701 Vineland Road in Orlando, Florida.

Carrabba's Italian Grill hosted a private party for FoodBuzz Featured Publishers on Saturday, August 14th and we were treated to a food cooking demo and dining experience of a lifetime. The managing partner, Angela Gutierrez, along with Norris Wagner who is the event coordinator for special events, and staff members, Marissa and Joel, were incredibly welcoming and treated us like royalty. My sincere gratitude goes out to the Carrabba's team and the Community Team at FoodBuzz.com.

The Carrabba's / FoodBuzz Tastemaker event began with an overview of Carrabba's, which was founded in 1996 by Johnny Carrabba and his uncle, Damian Mandola. At present, Carrabba's has over 200 restaurants in 33 states. Obviously, they excel in the food service industry to have acquired this many restaurants in less than 15 years.

Everything at Carrabba's is made with the freshest ingredients. Angela Gutierrez and the chefs performed an outstanding cooking demo to show how each dish was prepared from start to finish. The following photos provide insider-insight to the kitchen facilities, food preparation, and the final dishes. You might want to grab a napkin to wipe the dribble from the corners of your mouth, as these entrées were not only pleasing to the eye, but delightful to the palette. Bon Appétit!

Carrabba's Italian Grill has a large selection of wines, Italian and American beers, sparkling water, soft drinks and iced tea. I opted for a glass of Blackberry Sangria to accommodate my authentic Italian meal.

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We were then treated to Carrabba's breaded Calamari served with a side of spicy Italian pepper and lemon butter sauce and a lemon wedge. I've never been a big fan of calamari, but Carrabba's has changed that! Their calamari was perfectly prepared and so tender it melted in your mouth.

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Next, Angela Gutierrez prepared Tag Pic Pag; a vegetarian signature pasta dish consisting of long, paper-thin noodles known as Tagliarini pasta. The delicate pasta is served with Carrabba's Picchi Pacchiu sauce consisting of olive oil, garlic, fresh basil, and crushed tomatoes. It is a light dish with a distinctly sweet flavor. 

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Next, Carrabba's chefs prepared Linguine Pescatore consisting of shrimp, sea scallops, mussels and freshly prepared linguine tossed with spicy marinara sauce. I had only eaten scallops twice and both times they were rubbery and somewhat gritty. Carrabba's knows how to properly prepare scallops and I am eager to try my hand at cooking these delightful treasures from the sea.

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Angela Gutierrez at Orlando's Carrabba's Italian Grill prepares fresh mussels for Linguine Pescatore served to FoodBuzz food bloggers attending Tastemaster Event on Saturday, August 14, 2010.

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Our next delightful Italian dish was Penne Franco. Angela provided us with a special treat by adding grilled chicken to our dish. She explained about the quality of the chicken and how it is shipped fresh, never frozen. Carrabba's also uses special secret spices which make the flavor of this chicken explode in your mouth. It was by far, the most tender and tasty piece of chicken I have ever eaten. 

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In addition to the yummy grilled chicken, Penne Franco is combined with fresh mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and black olives, and served with ricotta salata; a dense sheep milk cheese which can be grated and melts into a slightly salty, milky-flavored delicacy.

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The grand finale of the Carrabba's Italian Grill / FoodBuzz Tastemaker Event consisted of three beautiful mini-desserts presented in square shot glasses. We were treated to Chocolate Pecan Mousse, Deconstructed Cannoli, and Dessert Rosa.

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Our server, Joel, explained the ingredients in each. Below he is discussing Dessert Rosa which consists of a bottom layer of butter cake topped with a layer of strawberries and bananas, a layer of vanilla pudding, and topped with fresh whipped cream and decorated with a strawberry slice. Delightful!

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As you can see in the photo below, the FoodBuzz Featured Publisher food bloggers had a great time and huge smiles on our faces from the exquisite Italian food and impeccable service!

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But, wait! That's not all! Carrabba's Italian Grill also provided each guest with a take-home bag consisting of an entrée of Penne with Fennel Sausage Pomodoro, a wooden bread serving board, bread dipping oil dish, Carrabba's private label olive oil, and containers of fresh herbs and grated cheese.

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Penne with Fennel Sausage Pomodoro with Carrabba's secret sausage recipe, caramelized onions and fennel, topped with fresh ricotta cheese.

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Wooden bread serving board, fresh dipping oil and Carrabba's freshly baked bread.

In closing, if you are a food blogger and would like to participate in Featured Publisher Tastemaker events or take advantage of the numerous opportunities to earn recognition, visit www.FoodBuzz.com to become a member.

If you aren't a food blogger, but love good food and are always on the lookout for unique and interesting recipes, FoodBuzz is the answer to all your food dilemmas. With over 4,000 food bloggers you are practically guaranteed to find something to satisfy your taste buds, sharpen your cooking skills, and impress your friends and family!

Would you like to meet the FoodBuzz bloggers who attended the Carrabba's Italian Grill and FoodBuzz Tastemaker event? Click on the links below to learn more about what each has to offer.

Peter and Christey Krause at http://FotoCuisine.com
Laura at Finding a Healthy Balance - http://FindingAHealthyBalance.wordpress.com
Miranda at My Food and Life Encounters - http://ForTheLoveOfKidsAndFood.blogspot.com
April at Mama Loves Food - www.MamaLovesFood.com
Elaine at Saturday Night Suppers - www.SaturdayNightSuppers.com
Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers – http://PBFingers.com
Katie at Katie's Cucina - http://KatiesCucina.blogspot.com

Disclosure Notice: Foodbuzz, nor Carrabba's Italian Grill required me to write a review. This was a marketing event hosted by Carrabba's for Foodbuzz Featured Publishers. While we did receive free food, drinks, a take-home meal, bread serving board and dipping oil dish, I did not receive monetary compensation or a request to review the restaurant.


Danny Veltri of Flip Flops Grill and Chill in New Smyrna Beach, Florida Wins Hell's Kitchen Competition!

We are so happy that Danny Veltri of Flip Flops Grill and Chill in New Smyrna Beach, Florida won the Hell's Kitchen competition. As Danny says, he is a culinary prodigy. The food at Flip Flops is amazing and we love his Mahi Gone Bananas recipe; regardless of what Chef Gordan Ramsay has to say!

Danny Veltri is a sweetheart and our community is celebrating his success. Currently, it is somewhat challenging to get a table at Flip Flops Grill and Chill. Two weeks ago, my husband and I attempted to attend the Grand Opening of Flip Flops. Unfortunately, there was a three-hour wait. Some of our friends joined us and they had children with them, so we opted to eat at another location. Sorry, Danny, but the kids had to get up early for school the next day.

We think Danny Veltri's accomplishments are astounding. This 23-year old man knows his destiny and is taking action to reach his goals. His enthusiasm for culinary arts is contagious and we wish him the best when he takes over the helm at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, NJ.

Fox Broadcasting and Hell's Kitchen are currently offering a contest. The Grand Prize includes:

  • Round-trip airfare for two to Atlantic City, NJ
  • Two nights accommodations at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
  • Ground transportation between airport & the Borgata Hotel
  • Dinner at one of the Borgata's fine dining restaurants
  • Select spa treatments
  • Admission to the Borgata's exclusive mur mur nightclub
  • $500 American Express Gift Card


This contest ends May 18th, so go to www.BBCAmerica.com and submit your entry today. Contest rules state only one online entry per person. More than one entry disqualifies entrants.

In closing, we offer our CONGRATULATIONS to our hometown chef.


What Do Flip Flops and Chef Gordon Ramsay Have in Common?

Flip Flops Grill and Chill is a quaint beachside restaurant located at 103 S. Pine Street 725 East Third Avenue in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Their motto is "Fine Dining in Flip Flops and Tank Tops" and they live up to their aphorism. Although we didn't see any diners wearing tank tops, the food was sublime and the service exquisite.

We arrived at Flip Flops around 7:30pm on a Thursday night. The restaurant was packed and a line of hungry patrons stood outside enjoying the salty air and gentle breezes. While waiting for our table, we noticed a framed newspaper article with a photo of the infamous Danny Veltri; the self-proclaimed "redneck chef" currently competing in Hell's Kitchen.

Come to find out, Danny is the Executive Chef at Flip Flops and would be preparing our meal. I don't know about you, but I've never had a celebrity chef prepare a meal for me. I've watched Danny in action on Hell's Kitchen and expected an intoxicating meal. I was not disappointed; nor were the other members of my party.

Flip Flops menu consists of so many incredible gourmet selections it was hard to make a decision. We began our dining experience with the Bahamian Conch Fritters appetizer, which were fried to perfection and accompanied by a zesty key lime-Dijon dipping sauce.

My friend, Gail, and I ordered the Tiger Shrimp Satays with Watermelon Pico de Gallo. Entrees are served with your choice of soup or salad and a side dish. Gail chose the Cranberry Spring Salad and I enjoyed the Southwestern Chicken soup.

flip flops tiger shrimp satays
Flip Flop's Tiger Shrimp Satays


Our men indulged in Mahi Mahi Gone Bananas; a wicked combination of blackened mahi and grilled banana halves, and Chicken Bruschetta; a divine char-grilled chicken breast topped with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and garlic. Each of us chose the Peppercorn Bleu Cheese mashed potatoes for our side dish, except for Mike who went with the Pineapple and Walnut Rissoto.

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Flip Flop's Mahi Mahi Gone Bananas

flip flops chicken bruschetta
Flip Flop's Chicken Bruschetta


Not only was our food cooked to perfection, it was beautifully presented and accompanied by a gorgeous edible orchid. I'm certain Chef Ramsay would approve of Chef Veltri's creations.

As we were wrapping up our evening, Hell's Kitchen was being aired on the three wall mounted TVs. All eyes were watching as Danny appeared on the screen. We thanked our server for the excellent service and asked her to thank the chef. She stated he was sitting at the bar and pointed him out.

I approached Danny Veltri during the commercial break and asked if I could snap a photo with him for The Cheap Gourmet blog. He eagerly accepted my invitation and participated in a mini photo shoot.

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From Left to Right - Gail, The Cheap Gourmet, Chef Veltri, Mike and Brad

Although I was a bit starry-eyed meeting a celebrity chef, what I found most impressive was the humble attitude of Chef Danny Veltri. Instead of taking credit for our amazing meals, he introduced us to Chef Erik Amalfitano; stating Erik is the mastermind behind the gastro-delights.

We enjoyed everything about Flip Flops Grill and Chill. From the warm reception provided by the staff upon arrival, the exquisite food and presentation, the down-home feel of the restaurant and the graciousness of the chefs, Flip Flops provided us with a meal experience unlike any other.

Next time you're in New Smyrna Beach you absolutely must pay a visit to Flip Flops. While you're there be certain to tell Chef Danny and Chef Erik that The Cheap Gourmet sent you!


Cafe San Diego: The Ultimate San Diego Dining Guide

Attention all San Diego residents and visitors! I just discovered Cafe San Diego, the ultimate San Diego Dining Guide. Ironically, a client hired me to write an article about San Diego restaurants. I explained to him that I had never been to San Diego and had no idea what restaurants were good or which to avoid. He said he had faith in my research abilities to figure it out.

I typed in San Diego Restaurants at Google and discovered Cafe San Diego. This website offered me everything I needed to write the article. It also made me want to hop on a plane and head out to California to indulge in some serious dining!

What's unique about the Cafe San Diego website is you can search by Cuisine, Neighborhood, Atmosphere and Special Features. Looking for a Bakery that offers breakfast specials? Need catering for a business luncheon? Ready for Happy Hour and Dancing? Just click on your criteria and Cafe San Diego will provide you with a list of restaurants offering everything you are looking for.

An added bonus is the San Diego Restaurant Coupons section. Packed with more than 60 money-saving coupons, you'll find everything from free appetizers and desserts to half-price entrees and discounted Sushi bars.

Once you locate a restaurant of interest, simply click on the "Full Listing" link and you'll be taken to a page which provides the address, phone number, directions and maps from Mapquest, hours of operations and methods of payments accepted.

I had no idea San Diego has such an abundance of restaurants. Nearly anything you could want is located in this beautiful city and Cafe San Diego makes it easy to locate whatever type of restaurant suits your fancy. Visiting the site reminded me of a friend who lives in San Diego whom I haven't seen for many years. I think I may have to take a business trip out West and pay a visit to several of the restaurants I discovered at Cafe San Diego.

In closing, my client was exceptionally pleased with his San Diego Restaurants article. But, he was even more pleased when I told him that all his restaurant needs are right at his fingertips ;-)