Vittoria’s Italian Coffee & Pastry, Daytona

Friends and I discovered this pastry shop by accident on a girl’s weekend to Daytona. A few months later, on a trip with my boyfriend’s family, I nervously suggested it for breakfast. It’s one thing to over-eat sugary pastries with girlfriends. But his family is Italian and I wasn’t sure if this Italian pastry shop would be scoffed at as not Italian enough.

Suffice it to say it was a big hit. Vittoria runs the place and she’s a five-foot-nothing Italian lady from New York who’s been in the business forever (you can read the yellowing newspaper articles framed on the wall). And the cafe is a tiny little converted storefront decorated exactly like your grandmother’s house was when you were a kid. Well, my grandmother’s at least.

She makes everything by hand from real ingredients. Don’t look for fat free or sugar free anything here. Aside from a broad selection of traditional pastries and cakes, she also does panini, coffees, and special requests. Call ahead by a day or two and she can make just about anything on request. Some of these pastries I had to Google when I got back just to find out what it was I had breathed down.

Mmmmm… cannoli, tiramisu, cream puffs, almond cookies… I am drooling on my keyboard as I type. If you’re in the Daytona area, you absolutely must stop in and have a few goodies. Last time we were there it was still a cash-only shop, so we recommend bringing at least $100 on you… trust me.

Vittoria’s Italian Coffee & Pastry
3106 S Atlantic Ave / Van Ave
Daytona Beach Shores, FL 32118
(386) 788-6063

[Girl21]

Fresh Kool-Aid Shakes

It’s probably a good idea to avoid restaurants with an apostrophe-n in the name.

Steak ‘n Shake gives us a very good reason with their Kool-Aid shakes… choose from grape flavored or tropical punch.

Have you tried this? I died a little bit inside just seeing an ad for this taste sensation. But how bad could it be? Probably as good as their fresh guacamole! Made from scratch daily!

We’re not saying that the term “good fast food” is an oxymoron. There are quite a few places you can get meals made with identifiable ingredients that are actually prepared on-site by heathy staff members that don’t purposefully use their bodily secretions as ‘special’ seasonings.

And for legal purposes I’ll add that I’m sure Steak ‘n Shake is a fine dining establishment that regularily passes all of its health inspections.

But really? Kool-Aid shakes?

[Girl21]

Cidre Bouché

Cidre Bouche Brut de Normandie
2007

Cidre BoucheThe most annoying thing about randomly buying a bottle of something-or-other to try is that sometimes you kick yourself for not picking up more than one bottle. We found this at Dorn’s while mooching around for something besides the three bottles of wine we came for. I’m not a beer drinker but am more than willing to explore cider. The French label made me hesitate (nothing to do with that fact that I barely passed my required French classes in high school). I thought we might be overpaying for a sub-par bottle of something the French wouldn’t make their nervous little dogs drink.

This cider was lovely though. Very light and sparkling. Very good mouth feel. Balanced flavor curve from beginning to end. Very fruity without even the slightest hint of insincerity. Absolutely no doubt that the flavors of the cider were the elements of its origin, from the dry soil and clovered orchards, to the tight and tart apples, to the oak aging barrels. This cider tasted of the story of its creation.

For a 750mL bottle of cider in the $10 price range, we were glad we took the risk of random selection. If the price jumped to $18 or $20, it would still be worth it.

Recommended as a solitary drink, or with cheese and other light snacks so you can thoroughly enjoy the delicate flavor palette.

www.calvados-dupont.com

Flying Biscuit for Brunch

You’re with family or friends and everyone in the group wants something different to eat. It’s Sunday morning. You’re hungry. You don’t want to deal with this before you’ve had a cup of coffee.

Simple. Flying Biscuit. It’s a small chain from Atlanta. Our Gainesville restaurant is one of the few not in Georgia. It’s up near 43rd and 16th/23rd a few doors down from Fresh Market and Dorn’s. They open every day at 7AM.

It’s a medium size restaurant. A bit on the cute side with their interior design. Southern style food in a we-don’t-cook-everything-in-lard kind of way. It’s always busy on Sunday morning. Even if you call ahead to get on the list (and we recommend that you call ahead) the wait can get to be 1+ hour. But that’s a good sign.

Flying Biscuit for BrunchThe menu covers breakfast and brunch in depth, from omelette to grits (oh the grits!) to pancakes to french toast. And of course, biscuits. And let me tell you, if your meal doesn’t already include a biscuit, order one on the side. That is the whole point of the place, and you’ll thank me for the advice. Big, fluffy, sprinkled with seasoned sugar, and spread with cranberry apple butter. Num num num.

But most important before the food is caffeine. Duh! Coffee. Can’t tolerate your breakfast-mates until you’ve woken up the old grey cells, right? If you don’t think a good old cup of coffee is good enough, you can get a Steamer, which is basically four shots of espresso and steamed milk (or soy milk) in a BIG cup. Better yet, confuse your brain… get a Guinness with two shots of espresso. Yes, beer and coffee. What better way to wake up?

As vegetarians, we’re happy to find any place that recognizes our second-class status. Flying Biscuit has Morningstar Farms soysage patties, several variations of tofu scramble, and even organic oatmeal pancakes. And they’ve got a few healthier dishes in case you want to sooth your guilt and go for some collard greens or black bean patties.

The menu is laced with some other options if you’re not in a breakfast mood. They offer salads, sandwiches, wraps, burritos and daily stoup (that would be where soup and stew meet into a perfect bowl of goodness). Honestly, I’ve never been in a non-breakfast mood walking into that place though. A switch gets thrown in my head and I MUST order something I can put butter or syrup or apple butter on.

If you’re like me, you have a hard time settling on one thing on the menu. Especially when you look around and see the amount of food you get with each order. Which is why I love a corner of the menu where the sides live. They’ve got half-orders of some of their best goodies. That way you can choose the things that tickle your drool circuits without overdoing (much). Half order of french toast. One pancake or biscuit. A bowl of grits (probably the yummiest restaurant grits EVER!). A bowl of fruit. Soysage patties. Mix it up and pack your tummy with exactly what you want.

The prices are fair; you get a lot of food for your hard earned dollars. I don’t think we’ve ever been there without taking food away for later. Usually the car ride home. And might I suggest ordering a few biscuits to take home? Trust me on this.

www.flyingbiscuit.com
(Yes, they’re on Facebook too!)

4150 NW 16th Blvd.
Gainesville, FL 32605
Phone: (352) 373-9500

Hours: 7AM-9PM (Wed-Sat)
7AM-4PM (Sun)
7AM-3PM (Mon-Tue)
Tables & Booths (some outdoor tables, and breakfast bar stools)
Service: polite, personal, efficient
Payment: All of the usual options

[Girl21]