Have a recommendation? We'd LOVE to hear it!
Salutations Readers!

Kalamazoo has good food.
Great food, in fact. We have made it our mission to check out all the local eateries one at a time - and more for our own poor memories than any other reason, we'll be chronicling our adventures in food here. And some places float our boats way more than others, which is why we have developed the very scientific
five golden forks rating scale. Ok. It is not scientific at all. It is actually quite unscientific. But, it is something. And now, you can search all of our reviews by the forks rating. YAY!

But, wait! There's more!
Kalamazoo Foodies no longer just eat at restaurants then review them. There are recipes posted, some easy, some less easy, all delicious. There are, or will be, book reviews, the new
Foodie Movie Review-y which will focus on movies about food or ones that have a lot of beautiful food in them. There are other food musings, and hopefully soon contests and so much more. But, Foodie Friends, it is all about food. Because we love it!
And, we want to hear from you!

We want to hear your comments on our recipes and reviews. We want to know where you love to eat. And, we are looking for GUEST bloggers to broaden our horizons a bit. And, if you haven't found us on Facebook, you should do that too. Like our page for other fun Foodies stuff like photos, polls, and more.

SO KALAMAZOO PATRONS - where do YOU love to eat? Because we'd love to check it out and share our thoughts here. Give us a comment below, and quickly! Our tummies are grumbling in anticipation.

A Note from the Foodies about our typical fair:
So, you may notice as you read our blog that we often order the same thing wherever we go. OK, maybe not quite, but we do often order similar things. Kristin has her caprese salads and mushroom dishes. Kate has her baked goat cheese and things with tofu. Well, readers, we wanted to let you know that this is absolutely intentional. A) We love those things, so why not order what you love? And, B) It is a lot easier to compare apples to apples than it is to compare apples to comquats. So, we like to order similar things to have a good sense of how to compare them. Just wanted to let you in on that little secret. Bon appetit!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Foodies on Vacay: Espana (Fernandina Beach, FL)

Welcome to our very first Guest Blogger, Miss Niki V.! Niki and I met at a conference held in Amelia Island, Florida. After we quickly established our mutual love of food... we decided to grab a meal together. And, here are both of our takes on that experience!

Kate and Niki's menu for the evening: Goat Cheese Salad-that evening's special (with goat cheese medallions, beet chips and caramelized onions and curried mustard vinaigrette), Gambas Costa Brava (Shrimp sauteed with spicy homemade piri piri and brown sauce), and Tortilla Espanola (layers of thin sliced potatoes, roasted vegetables, and cheese stacked and bonded with a seasoned egg mixture).

Niki's Take

It was great to dine with my new friend Kate downtown. We worked with our great concierge, Gary on choosing a great spot, but nothing too filling because we had an epic lunch. After walking around in some kitschy shops, we found ourselves in quaint, festive Espana.

They had us at goat cheese! We both had to give the goat cheese, beet chips, caramelized onion and romaine salad a try. I chose mine with balsamic vinaigrette and it was just delicious. The cheese had a nice effect on the rest of the salad and two round patties were just enough to have a little flavor in every bite. The beets were a little chewy but gave a nice saltiness to the overall dish. Our bowls were empty not before long.

For our next course, we chose to split (2) tapas plates – (1) potato tortilla and (1) spicy shrimp. I liked the tortilla, but found it to be a little bland. Being layered potatoes and a little egg, there wasn’t much flavor but the shrimp more than made up for that. It was sautéed in this delicious butter, olive oil, pepper and onion broth that was perfect to spoon and eat on its own. We each had (4) shrimp, which I thought was a nice, generous serving. We dipped some bread into the sauce and that was just perfect and the bread was fresh too!

We skipped dessert knowing that we had infamous “Ritz Carlton s’mores” coming our way and soon left to get to our bonfire. It was a great meal with a new wonderful friend. I’m really glad that we got to share good food and stories.

Kate's Take

Niki has summed up our experience so well, there is little to add. But, you know me, I will try!

I opted for curried honey mustard vinaigrette that came with the salad. And, boy, am I glad I did. I think Niki missed out (sorry, Niki!). It really brought the salad together so nicely. The creaminess of the goat cheese, with the crispiness of the beets, and the crunch of the romaine made this a textural masterpiece. Flavor wise, you had the softness of the cheese, the bite of the onions, and then the dressing which stole the show. I could have eaten three of these salads. Honestly. It was complex in all the right ways, and very satisfying. Thank goodness for amazing salads!

I have to agree with Niki on her take of the Tortilla Espanola. I was a bit disappointed. There really wasn't much flavor to this dish. And, texturally, it was pretty bland. So, that was a bit of a miss. BUT, the shrimp more than made up for it. The perfect blend of heat and flavor. And the shrimp were fresh caught that morning. Wow! They were yummy. The fresh bread was the perfect medium to sop up the extra sauce (which we both agreed would have been delicious on pasta!).

The staff at Espana were very helpful (making recommendations and sharing some information about the restaurant) and the ambiance was perfect for a beach town spot. I would love to go back to this spot when I have a bit more of an appetite and dive into some of the amazing looking entrees that are on this menu. We were told that you can get fresher seafood that you can here!

And, I am so thankful to have been able to share this meal with a new friend who also has an appreciation of good food. It truly was a lovely evening!


four golden forks out of five.

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