Food Adventure Hall of Fame

We can’t believe it has been over two years since we launched our adventure dinner series.  Along the way, we have met some amazing chefs and restaurateurs in town.  We’ve also met tons of awesome foodies that keep us excited about our goal of seeking out and sharing the best that Jacksonville dining has to offer.

Our adventure dinners give diners the chance to meet other foodies (plus the reviewers here at Jax Restaurant Reviews).  We love seeing adventurers trade restaurant recommendations, share opinions and more.  Our events also give restaurants and chefs a chance to share some of the items that stand out on their menu, as well as to introduce some closely held favorites that aren’t always available.  Not only do our events offer you a dining and social opportunity, but a cultural experience as well.  At a JRR adventure dinner, the chef will be front and center to share their recipes and to tell you the stories behind the dishes you’re enjoying.

Here are the adventures we’ve had so far. Which ones have you been to? Which ones would you like to see added to our growing list?

Are you a foodie adventurer?

Are you a foodie adventurer?


Vegan Dinner at Ocean 60 (June 27 & 28, 2016) – Chef Daniel Groshell at Ocean 60 is known for utilizing his passion & detail-oriented techniques to make every menu offering shine.  His vegan dishes are no exception.  He created six incredible vegan courses for this dinner.  The first night sold out so quickly that we added a second seating the next night!  Chef Daniel won the hearts of vegans and non-vegans alike with his inventive and delicious menu.

Dessert Adventure at Orsay (June 20, 2016) – There are no better desserts in Jacksonville than the ones developed by the immensely talented Chef Michael Bump of Restaurant Orsay. Foodies were in for a real treat at our incredible Tour of France Dessert Adventure that included macarons, crepes, cheesecake, tiramisu, and more.

Cuban Adventure at Tapa That (June 16, 2016) – We love good Cuban food.  For this event, asked the best Cuban chef we know to get back to her roots for this one night only Cuban-themed dinner at one of the best tapas spots in town – Tapa That.  Chef Arielle created a dinner that featured some delicious, authentic Cuban eats as well as options for our vegan foodie friends.

Craft Cocktail Class at SideCar (May 22, 2016) – For this event, we were thrilled to introduce a new series – Craft Cocktail Classes.  We began our Jacksonville cocktail journey at SideCar in San Marco, learning the art of mixology from some of the best.  Adventurers were treated to a wealth of cocktail knowledge, tapas, and some tasty libations.

Royal Palm Village Wine and Tapas (May 3, 2016) – This event took place at Royal Palm Wine and Tapas, a hidden gem that beach locals keep as their secret spot for incredible food, a huge selection of wine, and a beautiful atmosphere.  Chef Chris Robert used international flavors blended with local ingredients to create an amazing 6-course meal.  From Oxtail Tacos to Singapore Street Noodles to a Moroccan Tagine and dessert empanadas – this dinner had a little bit of everything!

Slider’s Seafood Grille (April 19, 2016) – Our Overload Dinners are not for the feint of heart and this Oyster Overload event was no exception.  Slider’s Seafood Grille is a favorite in Jacksonville for fresh and delicious oysters amongst a sea of other mollusks.  Slider’s cleverly designed seven courses that incorporated oysters in a fun and tasty way.  The whole meal was an oyster lover’s dream, all topped off by a yummy Chocolate Oyster Pop from Bold City Pops.

Little Chef Adventure at Your Pie Southside (April 16, 2016) – It is so important for the little foodies in our lives to learn about the food that goes into their growing bodies.  For this event, we put these little chefs into the kitchen at Your Pie, letting them craft their own pizza from start to finish. There were definitely some creative and tasty finished products!

Little Chef Adventure at Your Pie

Little Chef Adventure at Your Pie

Vegan Dinner at German Schnitzel Haus (April 11, 2016) – “Vegan” might not be the first word that comes to mind when you think about German cuisine.  But, as we are known to do we asked a chef in a non-traditional vegan setting to prepare a vegan menu.  Chef Steve Thurston of the German Schnitzel Haus definitely stepped up to the challenge, creating a delicious 6-course vegan meal that included Spinach Spätzle, Vegan Poutine Polenta Fries, and Pretzel Bites with Vegan Beer Cheese.

Spliff’s Gastropub (March 20, 2016) – We headed downtown for this adventure at one of Jacksonville’s newest eateries.  Chef Cassie Romines created some unique and delicious comfort food for us to enjoy.  Her take on a “hot pocket” was an especially popular item at this delicious 5-course meal.

A&J’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream (March 15, 2016) – What’s better than bbq and ice cream?  This adventure dinner combined them both into one delicious dining experience.  Foodies converged on one of Jacksonville’s best hidden gems for some mouth watering bbq and a flight of ice cream.

Trasca and Co. (March 1, 2016) – This indulgent adventure at Trasca and Co. was all about brunch for dinner, including bottomless mimosas.  Yum!  This was our first foray into hosting a buffet-style event and while it may not have gone exactly as we had planned, everyone agreed that the food was amazing…especially those Mayport Shrimp and Grits.

Tres Leches (February 24, 2016) – For this event, we found ourselves back at Tres Leches for an incredible vegan dinner prepared by owner and pastry genius Irene Sweda and Michelin Star trained Chef de Cuisine Sean Sington.  The 6-course dinner showcased Latin American influences using fresh, local fruits and vegetables.  All this was complemented by a very tasty sangria.

Aphrodisiac Dinner at This Chick’s Kitchen (February 13, 2016) – We had worked with Chef Rosaria several times in the past, but we were eager to host a dinner in her brand-new space, This Chick’s Kitchen in Jax Beach.  This Valentine’s Aphrodisiac Dinner (available in both vegan and non-vegan) was not only tasty and fun, but also healthy and locally-sourced.  As always, Chef Rosaria treated diners to some delicious and artful dishes.

Epik Burger (January 19 & 20, 2016) – A fun and tasty adventure at one of our favorite burger spots.  Epik Burger is still somehow flying a bit under the radar, so we were excited to share one of our fave spots with other Jax foodies.  The folks at Epik Burger treated us to mini sizes of some of their best burgers – the Fruit and Cheese Burger and the Epikurean Burger.  And we finished off the meal with not one, but TWO decadent handcrafted milkshakes.

Epik Burger - Milkshake

Epik Burger – Milkshake

Blue Bamboo (January 5, 2016) – Blue Bamboo was one of the first restaurants we reviewed and it has remained one of our favorites since then.  This event was all about Hip Asian Comfort Food, and as always, Chef Dennis Chan delivered an incredible meal.  The meal boasted a variety of Asian influences, from Vietnamese and Chinese, to Indian and Taiwanese.

 The Blind Rabbit (December 1 & 2, 2015) – Chef Jason Swank offered up a delightful Southern menu with lots of unique twists to keep diners guessing.  Local beers were paired with each course, adding some local flare to the menu.

Ariana Kabob (October 26, 2015) – What an amazing Middle Eastern dinner at one of our absolute favorite hole in the wall restaurants – Ariana Kabob.  We were thrilled to share this hidden gem with fellow foodies, and folks left absolutely blown away by this delicious food.  The Lamb Qabili Palau was amazing, as was the Ferni for dessert.

Ariana Kabob Qabili Palau

Ariana Kabob Qabili Palau

Ocean 60 (October 19, 2015) – An amazing 6-course dinner at one of our favorite date night spots in town.  Ocean 60 offers some of the freshest seafood around, in a beautiful setting with some incredible staff.  So this Foodie Adventure was all-around enjoyable.  A luscious Butterfinger Martini added the perfect sweet finish to the meal.

Vegan Dinner with Chef Amadeus (October 13, 2015) – A pop up vegan dinner with Celebrity Chef and winner of Food Network’s Mexican Challenge, Chef Amadeus at the Miles Jaye Cafe.  His delicious vegan menu had touches of Southern cuisine along with Latin American influences.  It was a fun, colorful, and flavorful meal.

The Candy Apple Café (October 6, 2015) – This was six playful courses of candy-themed creations from the culinary crevices of Chef Jamey Evoniuk’s cranium!  The menu was comprised of dishes bringing together the best of both worlds – sweet and savory.  Dinners loved the Rock Shrimp “Lollipop” and of course, their signature candied apples were a huge hit!  This dinner perfectly showcased what The Candy Apple Café is all about. 

Tapa That Vegan Dinner (September 30, 2015) – At our last Tapa That event, diners were treated to a bacon bonanza.  This time around was at the other end of the spectrum – vegan.  Chef Arielle created a vegan meal that was both beautiful and flavorful.  Her vegan dishes were just as inspired and delicious as her standard fare.  The Vegan Paella was a crowd favorite.

Paddy’s Pizza Bacon and Beer Dinner (September 15, 2015) – We were hankering to do another bacon event and Paddy stepped up to the challenge.  Can you say Bacon Breaded Pork Chops??  Yum!  We once again had Certified Cicerone David Rigdon on hand to select the perfect beers to pair with each course.

Paddys Brick Oven Pizzas - Bacon Breaded Pork Chops with Tomato Bacon Gravy

Paddys Brick Oven Pizzas – Bacon Breaded Pork Chops with Tomato Bacon Gravy

Orsay (September 6 & 7, 2015) – This was an exciting event for us, as we were thrilled to show folks the best of what Jacksonville dining has to offer.  Diners were treated to some amazing upscale cuisine in a beautiful setting.  Anyone who has dined at Orsay knows the high caliber of the food they serve and this dinner was no exception.

Tres Leches (August 27, 2015) – We were excited to be back at Tres Leches to work with Chef Irene and her amazing staff once again.  This time, diners were taken on a flavorful tour of Spain, highlighting the country’s different regions.

Chef Rosaria’s Cooking Class (August 19, 2015) – For this cooking class we once again worked with the very talented Chef Rosaria Anderson.  The class was laid back and relaxed and gave Chef Rosaria an opportunity to share some of her healthy cooking on a budget tips.  She also whipped up some very tasty food for us to sample!

Motion Sweets (August 17, 2015) – This event at Motion Sweets in Five Points was our first all dessert event!  Known for some of the most unique macaron flavors in town, they teamed up with us to let diners help select their newest flavor.  We voted on our favorite macaron flavor and then stuffed our faces with a variety of other sweets after that.

Motion Sweets - Macarons

Motion Sweets – Macarons

German Schnitzel Haus (July 20, 2015) – We love German food, so this adventure dinner was a fun one for us.  Chef Steve Thurston created a delicious menu filled with classic German dishes, all given a fun modern twist.  The Beer Cheese Soup and the handmade pretzel were especially tasty.

Vegan Pop up with Chef Ashley (July 15, 2015) – This event was a 6-course vegan pop up dinner with one of the country’s best Indian chefs, Chef Ashley Amin of Fusion Food Truck.  The menu was beautiful and inspired, featuring unique vegan dishes that stretched our diners’ palates.  Dishes incorporated the tastes of India in interesting and unique ways.

904 (July 7, 2015) – 904 Restaurant was one of the most talked about restaurants in town last year, so we were excited to have the opportunity to host a farm to table dinner there.  The menu was created using farm fresh, locally sourced ingredients and that came across in each dish.  Especially tasty was the blueberry crisp with house made salted caramel ice cream. 

Kids’ Cooking Class at Tres Leches (June 30, 2015) – We welcomed some budding foodies to our first ever kids’ event, held at Tres Leches.  Chef Irene taught our aspiring chefs how to make arepas and meringues.  It was a huge success, as evidenced by the big smiles on our adventurers’ faces.

Tres Leches - Kids Cooking Class

Tres Leches – Kids Cooking Class

Uptown Kitchen Vegan Dinner (June 20, 2015) – Another exciting vegan event, this time created by Chef Eddy Escriba at Uptown Kitchen.  The roasted eggplant and red pepper terrine was a crowd favorite, as were the fried hearts of palm and oyster mushrooms, Chef Eddy’s vegan take on calamari and oysters.

V Pizza (June 8, 2015) – Chef Matt Kepp of V Pizza created a menu that took diners on a “Tour of Naples” through six courses of amazing Italian food.  Dishes included Italian marinated chicken wings, smoked caprese bites, and a duo of pizzas.  The meal was capped off with a salted caramel gelato brownie for dessert.

Your Pie (May 21, 2015) – What a fun and delicious pizza and beer dinner at Your Pie! Diners were treated to a variety of pizzas, along with craft beer pairings. We had Certified Cicerone David Rigdon from Team Hopheads on hand to explain his beer pairings.

Vegan Popup with Chef Rosaria at Tea Haus (May 8, 2015) – A Dining Around the World Vegan dinner held at the Tea Haus in Jax Beach.  We were excited for the chance to work with Chef Rosaria Anderson (This Chick Can Cook) for this pop up farm to table vegan dinner.  Dishes were created using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.  A favorite was definitely Chef Rosaria’s beautiful Garden Flower Salad, which was almost to gorgeous to eat…almost.

Vegan Foodie Adventure - Salad

Vegan Foodie Adventure – Salad

The Blind Rabbit (April 20 & 21, 2015) – Six courses of deliciousness at The Blind Rabbit’s Riverside location.  The menu incorporated Southern comfort food dishes like fried green tomatoes and shrimp and grits, but with some unexpected twists.  Plus local craft beers.  And who could forget that amazing Cereal Killer Milkshake for dessert?

Nippers Vegan Sushi Adventure (March 10, 2015) – Chef Jimmy at Nippers created some imaginative and delicious sushi for this vegan sushi Foodie Adventure.  It was eight courses of some of the most unique sushi we had seen in a while.  Among the favorites were the Cantaloupe Sashimi, the Rasta Mon Roll, and the Vegan Hazelnut Chocolate Wontons.

Perard’s (February 23, 2015) – Diners were treated to a 6-course Italian feast, complete with house made minestrone, ravioli, risotto, and pizza.  A luscious lemon blueberry goat cheese cheesecake wrapped up an excellent meal.

Culhane’s Irish Pub (February 10, 2015) – Scotch eggs, Shepherd’s Pie, Corned Beef and Cabbage…this was an Irish comfort food dinner if there ever was one.  Add to that a decadent bread pudding plus an Irish coffee and we had a lot of full and happy foodie adventurers.

Culhane's Irish Pub - Guiness Stew

Culhane’s Irish Pub – Guiness Stew

Papi Chulos (January 19, 2015) – This event at Papi Chulos featured eight courses of festive Mexican fare, plus a tasty margarita.  There were guacamole flights, Mexican street corn, and tacos aplenty.  A good time was had by all!

Cafe Kabab (December 9 & 10, 2014) – An adventure dinner at Cafe Kabab highlighting fresh Persian cuisine.  The 8-course menu included a hummus sampler, chicken and beef kabobs, and some decadent baklava for dessert. 

Mama Q’s (November 22, 2014) – A pizza extravaganza at one of our favorite pizza spots in town – Mama Q’s.  This was an all-out pizza fest, with seven different kinds of pizza on the menu.  Diners also enjoyed delicious garlic knots as well as maple cinnamon sticks for dessert.

A Cornucopia of Flavors with Chef Amadeus at Azucena (November 12, 2014) – Chef Amadeus, winner of Food Network’s Mexican Showdown, created an inspired 5-course plant based dinner at Azucena Corner Deli in downtown Jax.  The crowd favorite was definitely the black-eyed pea sausage with tea-braised green beans.  Yum!

Cornucopia of Flavors - Black Sticky Rice with Strawberry and Mango

Cornucopia of Flavors – Black Sticky Rice with Strawberry and Mango

Tapa That (October 21 & 22, 2014) – Six unique courses, all incorporating one of our favorite ingredients – BACON.  Plus wine.  What could be better?  Chef Arielle at Tapa That created some delicious bacon-centric dishes, including a bacon bowl of salad and also a bacon puff pastry with bacon cream cheese frosting for dessert.

Dirty Reds’ (September 24, 2014) – This dinner brought together Cajun fusion and a Memphis Blues feel.  Dirty Reds’ has since closed, but this was one of the most fun places we had visited.  Fried green tomatoes, seafood gumbo, and crawfish were just some of the menu items for this dinner.

Tres Leches (August 26, 2014) – Our first “official” adventure dinner at one of our favorite places in town.  Chef Irene created six incredible courses of authentic Spanish deliciousness.  On the menu were her amazing empanadas, which we firmly believe are the best in town.  Diners also enjoyed truly delicious paella and some divine tres leches cake.

Tres Leches - Empanadas

Tres Leches – Empanadas

Midori Sushi Class (May 27, 2014) – We teamed up with Midori Sushi Grill in Orange Park for a sushi making class. Class members were able to craft (and then eat) their own sushi rolls.