Great Food, Awesome People

I am not a food critic, nor have I been to every restaurant that competes with this one, but I can say that the food I ate there was phenomenal and the service was even better.  Hidden on Thomas Drive next to where Ruthy T’s used to be is arguably Panama City Beach’s most delicious Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria.

Red Rose Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria has been around for several years, but the new owners have only been here since February.  Fred and May moved to the area with their daughters Sidney and Ella to be close to the water and get away from the big city life of Cincinnati, Ohio.  When they purchased the restaurant, they added JEMS to the end and made it home.  I won’t tell you the meaning behind JEMS, you’ll have to ask them the story.

What started this all was a quick lunch there of Friday.  I had been to Red Rose in the past, but a buddy suggested this as a good place to have a quick meeting.  Being a sucker for a good Calzone, I asked Sidney to prepare mine like she would her own.  It was absolutely delectable.  The texture of the bread was just right.  The ingredient/bread ratio was perfect.  Everything was not too dry, but not too moist and the sauce that came on the side had the right amount of tang and seasoning.

The Calzone that was prepared for me had ricotta cheese, blend cheese, hot sausage, peperoni, roasted peppers, onions and mushrooms.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Also on the menu is everything you’d expect at an Italian restaurant from specialty pizzas to stromboli to spaghetti and meatballs.  Everything is made fresh from scratch from fresh ingredients, they even grown their own herbs.  If you’ve not eaten at Red Rose, I highly recomend it.

Again, they are next to where Ruthy T’s (Wahoo’s now) used to be on Thomas Drive right down from Joan Avenue.  If you are going east from Joan, it is just past Moby Dick’s T-shirt shop.

Be sure to tell them you read about them on pcbdaily.

Red Rose Retaurant and Pizzeria
8501 Thomas Drive

Firefly Restaurant Review

The Lighting of a New Era in Fine Dining

Nestled in the Shoppes at Edgewater, Firefly is Panama City Beach’s newest fine dining experience. From the moment I walked through the door I knew this was no ordinary beach eatery serving the usual beach fare. A beautiful waterfall adorning the wall behind the bar creates a “Wow Factor” upon entering the front lounge. An adjoining lounge with sofas and live music on Thursdays and Saturdays adds a tranquil and sumptuous feel to Firefly’s stylish environment. And keep walking…the biggest Wow Factor is yet to come: A huge oak tree – adorned with fireflies throughout – stands smack dab in the middle of the dining room. A description in words doesn’t do this vision justice…you just have to go there and see for yourself. Everything I sampled at Firefly was a notch above “really good.” Which is to say, simply, they got it right.

We began the journey with an aperitif of martinis. The Espresso Martini was thick and rich, cold, and not too sweet (which is a common mistake with martinis). The Pineapple Marini was refreshingly fruity and mellow. Our Tempura Fried Apalachicola Oysters were light and tender, served with a tangy cocktail sauce and an assembly of pickled parsnips, shallots, carrots, snap peas and red endive. The Tuna Nicoise, a scoop of sushi-grade rare tuna, was drizzled with basil oil and had a slightly savory, nutty finish. We sampled a bowl of smooth-as-silk Carrot Ginger Gazpacho swirled with a biting red pepper coulis, and garnished with a steak kabob. The vegetables and herbs that went into this cool concoction were so fresh the flavor spanked my taste buds, and the oversized white porcelain bowl added a cartoon-like whimsical flair to the presentation. Next came the Hydroponic Salad…butter lettuce underneath a confetti of strawberries and goat cheese, trickled with a warm brown butter pecan dressing.

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Churchwell Road CRA Update and Pictures

The Churchwell Road CRA (Community Redevelopment Area) is pretty much done. They were painting the yellow stripes last week and painting the 127 space public parking lot yesterday. The ribbon cutting is on April 16, 2008 at 10:30 am on the new Churchwell Bridge, unless it rains, in which case it will be under a tent in the new parking lot close to Front Beach Road. More after the break.

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RedBrick Pizza – review, it was awesome!

My family and I had the opportunity to dine at RedBrick Pizza last week and had a great experience.  Eating there brought back childhood memories of eating pizza with my parents and brother at a local pizza joint in Dallas.  I remember the good times and the pizza always being awesome.

Inside RedBrick, the environment was cozy.  All the tables on the outside wall had their own little tv’s hooked up to Dish Network and a wall control that would change the channel.   This is awesome for families with little kids because you can put on cartoons and keep them from wanting to run all over the place.

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Dinner at Bootleg Barbeque, and it rocked (review)

Last night, my wife and I had dinner at Bootleg Barbeque. I have to say, it wasn’t our first choice, but I’m very glad we had the opportunity to eat there, it was great. Actually, great was an understatement.

One of the things that excited us about Pier Park, is that it is an all inclusive date. We got their early for our movie, walked up and down the boardwalk, and came back to eat at Camile’s Sidewalk Cafe, but to our surprise, they closed at 7. I’m not very familiar with them, but it would seem that on a Friday night, they would be leaving some business on the table by closing so early.

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Lunch at Back Porch Seafood House at Pier Park

I had lunch with John Comer, the President of Southern Restaurant Group in Destin, who just opened Back Porch Seafood and Oyster House in Pier Park.  This concept was brought from Destin where they own and operate the Back Porch, Pompano Joes, Fisherman’s Wharf Seafood House and Louisiana Lagniappe.  They also own and operate Caribbean Soup Company in Pensacola, Cafe Grazie in Destin and Orange Beach, AL and San Roc Delicatezza in Orange Beach, AL.

Click the “more” link for the rest of the post.

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Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Pier Park (review)

Everyone has been telling me that I needed to go to Five Guys and get some burgers. I’ve heard only one bad thing about Five Guys and it was that the were too expensive. My opinion? Not so much.

My wife and I try to go on dates every week, and it usually consists of dinner and sometimes a movie, depending on how rich we are that particular week. If I can feed us both for $20, I’m usually pretty happy. Our ticket last night? Right at $15 with two burgers, two orders of fries and one soda.

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