Bahama Breeze Blogger's Tasting (Preview Event)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I'm always giddy when I get invites to events and screenings from unfamiliar PR Agencies; because it means what little I understand and try to make happen in terms of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is working!

Last week the Caribbean influenced chain restaurant Bahama Breeze Island Grille invited food writers to come and sip their two new Legendary Island Cocktails:


The pink drink Yaka Hula Hickey Dula, named after a Hawaiian love song, features pineapple juice blended with Meyers' Dark and Bacardi 151 -  This drink was a bit strong for me, the bartender told me to stir it some more to bring out the flavors of the juice, but it still seemed like a mixture that was gonna knock me flat, so I only drank half. - 2.5 Tines

The shorter cocktail is called the Daisy de Santiago, invented by Don Facundo Bacardi.
It's a Cuban inspired drink made with Bacardi rum, Chartreuse liqueur, lime juice and mint leaves.- I'm a big fan of the Mojito, so this drink was up my alley, although it differs from a Mojito in that it doesn't contain any simple syrup or grappa, so it's less sweet and more refreshing and limey - 3 Tines

Side note: actually the Daisy de Santiago was probably the more potent drink, as Chartreuse liqueur is 110 proof. Bahama Breeze had to get permission from the LCB to use the elixir in the recipe.

Movie side note: In Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof, the bar owner Warren serves a green liqueur. After being asked what was just served, Warren says, "Chartreuse, the only liqueur so good they named a color after it."

Chef Bryant Bailey with effervescent server and aspiring photographer Natasha Kopa

Obviously you're not going to liqueur up food writers without serving up some eats!
Chef Bryant Bailey personally presented a variety of their appetizer dishes:

Chicken Empanadas -  handmade pastries filled with savory chicken, mushrooms and peppers with a side of corn salsa - 3 Tines

Crispy Onion Rings - hand-breaded with a dusting of coconut flakes. Served with a citrus mustard dipping sauce - 3.5 Tines
 
Warm Goat Cheese and Flatbread Crips - Fire roasted red peppers stuffed with Goat Cheese & salsa severd w/ Lavache crackers - 3 Tines
 

Coconut Shrimp - crispy shrimp with citrus-mustard sauce.- 3.5 Tines

Habanero Chicken Wings - Buffalo style in a spicy habanero pepper barbecue sauce. - 3 Tines

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings- oven roasted and marinated for 24hrs in authentic jerk seasonings.  These are really large wings, cooked to a nice firm, plump done-ness - 4 Tines!

(see more photos in below slideshow)

I started off this post by mentioning that Bahama Breeze is a chain restaurant. This is something General Manager Gary Bowen bristles at. Yes, it is a chain under the Darden Restaurant Goup headquartered in Orlando Florida, with 33 location around the US.  However, Gary passionately talks about the uniqueness and attention paid to each location:
  • He personally takes pride in hiring the best Caribbean musicians to play live music on the indoor/outdoor deck.

  • Bartenders are given a rigorous training, as drinks are made from scratch, with plenty of squeezing, grinding and mixing- no frozen or powdered mixes.  The bar even boasts a sugar cane crusher.

  • Bahama Breeze has two very lucky people on staff, whose job it actually is to visit all the tropical islands in order to sample, taste and discover popular and legendary drinks being served in these paradise watering holes.  - If it were food instead of drink, that job has my name on it!

  • The restaurant's aim is to give patrons an hour or two or more of escape with not only special drinks and island inspired dishes, but through vibrant colors and a relaxing vibe.

  • The menu changes twice a year. With specials running quarterly. The next special will feature fresh Big Eyed Tuna straight from Hawaii, caught and delivered to each Bahama Breeze location within 24hrs. The menu will feature the tuna in a salad, entree and appetizer.
(Above picture slideshow from Preview Event) 

I was invited to the King of Prussia location (320 Goddard Boulevard). I told Gary I'm often in the vicinity seeing a screening at the Stadium 16 & IMAX theater adjacent to the restaurant, but figure I don't have time to order and get to the movies on time. He assured me that although they don't take reservations, anyone trying to get in and out for a movie can call ahead and they will do their very best to accommodate your show time schedule.

Although attendance was light for this event, I still managed to do a little networking. I also appreciated our parting swag bag containing a Bahama Breeze Gift Certificate, a real Hawaiian shirt and a wonderfully kitschy dashboard hula doll.

Dining "Tine" Rating System:
* Excellent - 4 Tines / * Great - 3 Tines / * Good - 2 Tines / * Fair - 1 Tine / * Poor - Tarnished

Bahama Breeze on Urbanspoon

Bahama Breeze on Foodio54


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In Support of my friend and fellow blogger/journalist Thomasena Farrar of MusicMoviesThoughts who is a "thriver" with MS. I am doing the MS Walk in Philly on May 3rd. I'm trying to raise $150 for the cause.

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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

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Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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