Brentley’s BEST BITES (and Sips)

Pop & Doughnut Collaboration
Bold City Pops, (904) 626-8101, boldcitypops.com
Jayne Dough, [email protected]
It turns out that ice pops and doughnuts are like a relationship that no one saw coming and everyone loves. The first run of this beautiful marriage featured a blueberry-glazed doughnut from Jayne Dough and lemon custard from Bold City Pops. The pops are limited-edition, meaning you have to stalk their social media accounts so you’ll know when and where to get one. It’s worth the effort, as this dessert combo is quite incredible. Now they just need their very own weird combo celebrity name. Bo-Do? Ci-Jayne? Bold-Nuts?

Soup Dumplings
Silver Star Chinese Restaurant, 5016 Blanding Blvd., Westside, (904) 778-8500
Jax doesn’t have a Chinatown, and everyone suffers for it. However, Silver Star offers a glimmer of hope with its Dim Sum menu. I can’t speak for everything on it, but if you order a tray of pork Soup Dumplings, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Side note: It might behoove you to order Egg Foo Young—but no one is telling you what to do.

Perfect Pear Supper Club
The Perfect Pear Catering Co., 3724 Southside Blvd., (904) 270-2101
Once a month, Perfect Pear’s owner/chef Verousce Mckibbin hosts a dining experience open to all. (That’s right, you don’t need to scam an invite to your third-cousin twice-removed’s wedding to indulge in The Perfect Pear.) When I attended, they served arguably one of the best meals I’ve ever had in the area. Treat yourself to several courses by Chef Mckibbin and her team; I guarantee their incredibly inventive dishes will wow you. Each item was more delightful and creative than the last, but two stood out in taste and presentation. The first: Cauliflower soup with a frozen cube of curry custard encrusted with dried black garlic. The creamy curry melted incrementally into the cauliflower purée. Second: Cardamom meringues for dessert blew my mind. The light crunch of a meringue combined with the taste and scent of cardamom was a delight to the taste buds.

The Rhapsody in Lavender
HOBNOB, 220 Riverside Ave., Ste. 110, (904) 513-4272, hobnobjax.com
I’m really all for the lavender trend happening these days. And HOBNOB’s Rhapsody in Lavender cocktail is one of my favorite things in a champagne saucer right now … ya know, besides champagne. Mixed with coconut rum and a little garnish of lavender, it’s delicate, fragrant and oh-so-tasty. The cocktail was first created by Brian Reed for HOBNOB’s generous pours menu as part of a special—some of what you spend on the drink goes back to the community, as a donation to a local charity. And we’re glad it’s now on the menu.

Bulgogi
GangNam Korean Restaurant, 5161 Beach Blvd., Ste. 5, Spring Park, (904) 396-4008
With bulgogi, it was love at first pronunciation, and I’ve been hooked ever since. The bulgogi—and the rest of the menu—at GangNam is authentic, fresh and flavorful. The paper-thin beef slices are dressed in the traditional sweet-and-savory Korean bulgogi marinade, complemented with slightly crisp slices of onions and scallions, which add a nice freshness to the meat. One bite and you’ll be addicted, too.

Double-Casked Bourbon
St. Augustine Distillery, 112 Riberia St., (904) 825-4962, staugustinedistillery.com
Released last September, this is some tasty small-batch bourbon. If you haven’t tried it, take a short trip to the St. Augustine Distillery and adjacent Ice Plant Bar ASAP. (Order the fish dip—you won’t be sorry.) Make sure you order the bourbon neat the first time. You’ll want to taste the delectable notes of caramel and coffee in each sip.

Goat Curry Soup
Gilbert’s Social, 4021 Southside Blvd., Ste. 200, (904) 647-7936, gilbertssocial.co
The textures in this soup are incredible, just like its creator, Chef Kenny Gilbert. This is the most honestly unassuming bowl of soup I’ve ever been served. It’s like a traditional Indian curry with a Moroccan spice kick. The mélange is amazing—the variety of peas and beans so creamy they complement the soft crunch, the nutty taste of crushed cashews sprinkled on top, the dollop of yogurt swirling into the base, cooling things down while the curry spices things up. And the exploding sweetness of plump, juicy, pickled raisins mingling with the spicy finish of the broth; finally, the bone-in, fatty goat as tender as it gets, with a gamey flavor that pairs so well with the spices … perfection. The thing about this soup? Everything works so well together, you’ll be craving it nonstop till you return to enjoy it again.

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