Dish Update – February

by erin thursby
A hundred-drink, touch screen soda fountain can now be found at select Firehouse Subs locations. Having experienced the one on Roosevelt, it’ll make you feel like the future is finally here.
The Homestead Restaurant will be reopening under new ownership in February, under the new name The Copper Top. They still will be serving southern-style food, including the fried chicken we all come back for.
At The Loop, I always get their signature tomato bisque soup. I guess I’m not the only one who loves it because they’re adding a tomato bisque pizza to the menu! Bacon, Asiago cheese and mozzarella top a thin crusted pie and they’ll be using their tomato bisque instead of the standard tomato sauce.
Pollo Tropical is getting behind getting healthy. To promote the concept, they’re putting on a contest until the 28th of February. The grand prize winner gets 21 days worth of free meals, $1,000 towards a new wardrobe, a $250 grocery makeover and year-long gym membership. For contest details and meal tips, go to www.pollotropical.com.
Jax Beach’s Giovanni’s has changed names and cuisine. The menu is now a mix Japanese and Italian food. Not fusion, which would be interesting, but a mix of menu items. Price points are also a little lower.
Wednesdays Wine Tasting at Matthew’s Restaurant Cost $15. 5:30- 7 pm.
Fridays and Saturdays High Tea at the Row Nibble on an assortment of tea sandwiches and a scone as you sip your tea at the elegant Riverdale Inn’s restaurant. When you’re done, enjoy four petite desserts. $15 per person plus tax and gratuity. 1 pm- 3 pm, 1521 Riverside Ave.
Saturdays Orange Park Farmers Market 10 am- 2 pm, www.orangeparkfarmersmarket.com
Saturdays Beaches Green Market 2- 5 pm, www.beacheslocalfoodnetwork.web.officelive.com
Third Thursdays Affair in the Square San Marco Square Restaurants, bars, boutiques and shops are all in on the affair. Stroll the square- enjoy live entertainment, sample special cocktails and appetizers at great prices, and shop late in an array of specialty boutiques and shops only found in the San Marco Square. 4 pm- 9 pm
February 6 Big Game Spectacular at Whisky River Catch all the Super Bowl on 29 HDTV’s. Make your seat and table reservations now. Reservation includes: one complimentary cocktail, $.50 wings, $2 Miller Lite and $3 Three Olives Cocktails. Having a Big Game Party at home? Let us take care of the food, you take care of the cheering! Group & VIP Packages available. Game Day To-Go Packs available for every size party! Call 645-5571. 5:30 pm, Whisky River at St. Johns Town Center
February 22 Karma Charity Night for Ponte Vedra Women’s Club Wine tasting, delish eats, fashion show by A’propos Boutique, raffles and more. Call 813-6302 for more info. $25, 6 pm, Karma Global Eats & Cool Vibes, 822 A1A N. Ponte Vedra, www.karmapv.com
February 22 NFHLA 2011 ROSE Awards Nominations The North Florida Hotel and Lodging Association (NFHLA) invites the hospitality, destination and restaurant industries to nominate outstanding employees and staff for the third annual Recognition of Service Excellence (ROSE) Award. See website for more info. 6 pm, Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, www.nfhlaroseawards.com
V-Day Suggestions
Your Valentine’s doesn’t have to be extra fancy, you can head to Atlantic Beach to Culhane’s Irish Pub for an excellent repast and a complimentary glass of champagne if you reserve in advance. Their regular, fab menu will be available, as well as a special V-Day menu. The Johnston Duo will be playing from 6- 9 pm. Check out www.culhanesirishpub.com for details or call 249-9595.
Lots of people will be having their Valentine’s Day on the weekend before the actual day. It is, after all, on a Monday. Bella Luna: Dessert Under the Stars is coming to the MOSH once more. Saturday the 12th from 7-10 pm, you can take your sweetie stargazing on the rooftop, listen to a concert, stroll the blissfully child-free museum and have to opportunity to interact with some cuddly creatures from the Florida Naturalist’s Center. Hors d’oeuvres and desserts will be catered by Biscotti’s, Catering by Liz Grenamyer, Corporate Caterers and Catering by Fernando. Tickets to Bella Luna are $45 per couple ($35 for MOSH Members). For required reservations and pre-payment, call 396-6674, ext. 240, or register online at themosh.org/Bella_Luna.html.
Another place you can celebrate an early V-Day is at Omni Amelia Island Plantation. There are three options at the Plantation. The Verandah has a five-course available the 12th through the 14th. The Ocean Grill has a seven-course. (Call 321-5050 to reserve either of those). If you’re a homebody but don’t want to cook, get romantic with Marché Burette’s to-go dinner, with two Beef Wellingtons with Madeira sauce, roasted vegetables, twice baked potatoes and dessert. Orders must be placed at least 48 hours in advance and may be made by calling 491-4834.
Other fine dining suggestions we’d make are Bistro Aix, Blue Bamboo, Matthew’s, Orsay, Taverna, ‘town or 13 Gypsies. All of these fill up fast, so reserve, even if you’re going for the weekend before or after Valentine’s Day.

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