Posts

Bonsai Pensacola Beach

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 6/6/21

Bonsai Pensacola Beach

Luxurious delicacies from the sea are on beautiful display at Bonsai Pensacola Beach! Located in the Hilton Pensacola Beach, we were treated to their amazing Omakase experience with wine and sake pairings. This waiter guided 6-course experience was top notch and you could go at your own pace. The best part is the food is just as delicious as it is looks! Get ready for the Omakase Experience.

Kicking-off our Omakase Experience was with course 1, the A5 Wagyu Striploin paired with a Cabernet Sauvignon. This was the best piece of meat I (Liz) have ever had with an almost buttery like feel on the tongue that literally melts in your mouth. It is the right amount of meat and fat then the addition of the salt from the Himalayan salt block underneath adds an element of saltiness that elevates the flavor. Would NOT change one thing about this bite.

Moving on to course 2, the Nama paired with Asahi Shuzo Kubota Sparkling Dew. This was my (Liz’s) personal favorite sake with the perfect body and finish for a fish pairing. Plus, course 3 was the Nigiri and Sashimi paired with, Kikusui Shuzo Perfect Snow, an unfiltered sake. All being the same mix of fish, one being without rice and the other with, the fish they provided was all very VERY fresh and tender. We got a sampling including Steelhead trout, tuna, salmon, and Hamachi to name a few. Of the fish a few highlights included the salmon that was actually creamy, while the Hamachi is lighter and paired with the caviar added the right amount of salt. The favorite was the Steelhouse trout, it literally melted in your mouth and had an amazing flavor. Once you pair all of them with a little bit of real wasabi root and rice, you’ve got an amazing bite.

On to Course 4 that was the Pork Ramen perfectly paired with Chardonnay. A ramen lover, this one didn’t disappoint with a flavorful pork broth and tender pork belly. The noodles had the right tenderness, while the tang of the green onion and savory of the egg comes in at the end for a great bite.

One of the best courses was course 5 with the Hickory Smoked Tuna and Florida Citrus roll paired with Kikusui Shuzo Chrysanthemum Water. This was the best experience of the entire dinner as they smoke the salmon and bring it in a dome of hickory smoke. Once at the table, they open the dome and the smoke billows out, while leaving a slight smokiness on the tuna itself. As for taste of the roll, the tuna is light and pairs well with the creamy avocado and savory rice, then on the back you get the smoked flavor. Divine. The Florida Citrus roll is also very light but has tons of fresh fish flavors mixed with lemon. Lemon is really the best pairing with fish!

To end the night, course 6 is the Anmitzu dessert with Optimia Port Wine. The Anmitzu is a hodgepodge of ingredients like ice cream, passion fruit, matcha, gelatin, and other fruits. Each element brings a different flavor and all together is an amazing bite. Paired with the port wine, that is brown sugar forward, yet boozy, you’re in for a treat.

Beyond the meal, some of the authentic touches make this meal one-of-a-kind. One of these is the wasabi. They literally grind the wasabi root at your table and it’s so mild and doesn’t give you that nose feeling that typical wasabi would give you. Did you know that what you get at most restaurants is horseradish? Another of these was the soy sauce in both whiskey barrel aged and mushroom. They were less salty and more earthy than a typical soy sauce. Preferred the whiskey barrel aged as it was even more savory and a little bit boozy on the end. I’d take that home with me and use it on everything. The final touch was the white glove, server guided experience that gave the whole night an intimate feeling.

If you’re on the beach in Pensacola, we’d highly recommend getting to Bonsai for the Omakase Experience. What course speaks to you?

ACTIVITIES ABOUND AT SANDESTIN, FL

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 5/6/21

Activities Abound at Sandestin, FL

As the sunsets over the luxurious rooftop bar, the rays hit the beautiful bay water throwing up shades of purple, orange and pink, enveloping all spectators in the final moments of the day’s light. Down below a large stream interconnects with lakes, rivers, and eventually into the ocean where sunbathers sip cocktails under branded umbrellas. There’s also a walkway covered in palms and other lush trees where a couple walk hand-in-hand pass a treehouse and a large bridge with marina views. The rows of boats bob up and down in the water as the blue and purple of the evening sky meet at the horizon. Did you feel that? That’s Sandestin.

Grounds

The gates opened to the Bayside of Sandestin, and we drove around the first traffic circle and exited to the first right. Just to the right is one of our favorite spots on all the grounds, what we call the long walkway! The entrance to the wooden walkway and pier is wrapped in palms and other greenery and as you pass through, the long walkway opens into a breathtaking view of the bay dotted with grasses and lone trees. Go to the end and take in the beauty of the entire space. When you’re done there, keep going toward the Lakeside area, you’ll notice that it’s lined with a canopy of arching trees that create a beautiful dance of contrasting light and dark. It’s worth just driving through it to enjoy the natural beauty. Beyond that, the golf grounds are pristine and lush, the beach is gorgeous, and everything is freshly landscaped. There is not a lack of beautiful spots in Sandestin, so find your favorite locale.

Osprey Pointe – Accommodations

Near the Marina and Baytowne Wharf, the luxurious Osprey Pointe has 2, 3, and 4-bedroom condos that are great for couples, groups, and families. The second you enter the spacious condo, you feel right at home. With all the bells and whistles, the impeccably decorated kitchen has a full group of appliances and everything you’d need to make a meal! The kitchen is open to the living space and looks out onto the beautifully landscaped bay nearby. Out on the patio, you could sit all day and gaze at the bay view! This 2-bedroom has 2 bathrooms, and the master is spacious and has a huge, sparkling master bath with two showers! Beyond the beautiful condo, Osprey Pointe boasts a beautiful pool with a ton of seating, tables, and shade! So, take a dip in the pool, then take a bike ride or walk down to the Marina and Baytowne Wharf. It’s just minutes away. Even if Osprey Pointe isn’t for you, they have so many accommodation options from beachfront to bayfront.

Beach

Speaking of Beachfront, the wooden walkway maneuvers gracefully through the large sandy dunes and opens onto a spectacularly white and pristine beach. Dotted with blue, branded chairs, people lounge in the shade, build sandcastles, and play in the clear, blue-green water. Beyond relaxing and gazing at the beautiful water, there’s so much to do at Sandestin Beachside! You can grab a drink at the beach bar on the beach, lounge in a beach chair and umbrella with a good book, stay for lunch at The Beach House, get a sandcastle building lesson, or even take a ride on a jet ski or kayak.  We’d recommend a key lime daiquiri from The Beach House, then opt for a pair of chairs and an umbrella to enjoy the natural beauty of the beach!

Marina

Rows and rows of all types of boats bob up and down as the water ebbs and flows in the beautiful bay. Diners at the Marina Bar and Grill sip on cocktails and bite into tasty tacos, as they watch the sun set over the boats and disappears into the horizon. The Marina Bar and Grill is a chill little outdoor spot on the Marina with some serious eats like the grouper sandwich and fried fish tacos! Wash it down with a cocktail! Plus, they have a spot that you can bring your own fish, clean it, and they will cook it for you right there!! On one side of the restaurant is the resident Macaw, Mary Ann. She is out during the day when the Marina Bar and Grill is open and is a great photo op for you to catch. She was born in 2010, and did you know Macaws can live 50 years?

Next to the restaurant and set back from the water is the bike rental where a row of bikes are available for Sandestin guests and owners to use at their leisure. It’s so easy to bike around Sandestin, and beyond the golf cart parade we witnessed daily, is the preferred way to get around. On the other side of the lot is where you can rent kayaks and water toys to explore the bay even more.

Our favorite spot at the bay, is the wooden path between the Marina and Baytowne Wharf. Entering next to the Marina Bar and Grill, the thick trees feel like a jungle on one side with beautiful Marina and water views on the other. As you walk, the wooden path winds through the trees and views of the Marina and the boats are stunning. Stop off at the treehouse for the best top views of the entire area! As you find your way around from there, you’ll come upon a long wooden bridge where the marshy grounds turn into a beautiful stream and empties into the bay. It’s gorgeous. You’re reward is at the end with Baytowne Wharf upon you.

Baytowne Wharf

THE spot to shop, dine, and drink IS Baytowne Wharf. Taking a tour in a circle, your greeted with the sound of children laughing on the brightly lit carousel. Beyond that everything a child could want waits for them with an arcade, sweet shops, games, and a ton of activities! If you follow the circle around from there is where the dining and drinking options start. If you like bull riding or country music is your thing, they have it. If you want to sit with the view of the bay while you sip and nosh, they have that too at Hammerheads and Village Door. Village Door has a large 40 oz cocktail with a souvenir cup so you can remember your time there, plus they also have a great spot to eat on the bay. Hammerheads has a fantastic happy hour daily from 4 to 6 pm. We’d suggest grabbing a seat right at 4 pm on the water!

Sandestin doesn’t have a lack of places to see the sunset, so you should stay for the sunset here and walk out to the Wharf Pier and watch the sun disappear into the watery horizon. For the kiddos, they have fish food you can purchase and feed the fish below.

Continuing the circle, there’s a street that mimics New Orleans! That’s our favorite spot in Baytowne Wharf with several food and drink spots like Hartell’s Diner and Fat Tuesday, as well as a row of cute shops! Fat Tuesdays has great deals on daiquiris for $8 bucks and a shot for $1 extra. We’d recommend the Miami Vice or 44 Magnum. Plus if you’re looking for a fun evening out? Start at Fat Tuesday, then head over to Rum Runners for a dueling piano experience. You can pick your favorite songs for the piano players to sing, take a seat, and sing along!

Our favorite restaurant in the Wharf has to be The Marlin Grill. We stopped by there for dinner our first night and we fell in love with the Roasted Duck and the Scottish Salmon appetizer. Please make sure to make a reservation because they’re always busy or cross your fingers for a spot at the bar.

Hotel Effie

Only steps from Baytowne Wharf, Upscale, modern, yet, inviting, Hotel Effie is THE SPOT to stay in Sandestin. She is adorned with Ara Rooftop Bar where a luxurious rooftop pool meets the sky, cabanas, and a stunning almost 360 view of the entire Sandestin grounds. Stop by for a fantastic Toasted Coconut daiquiri and catch the sunset from multiple views! Downstairs, you should also visit the newest and hands-down best restaurant in Sandestin, Ovide. From Atlanta Chef, Hugh Acheson, this lavish dining spot has wonderfully crafted cocktails like the grapefruit forward Sun Kissed or our favorite cocktail, Shore Leave. They have fantastic dishes like the stellar filet mignon, flavorful blackened mahi mahi, uniquely good farm egg, rich prime beef tartare. We’d recommend anything on this menu, it’s that good.

As the gates closed on our time at Sandestin, we reminisced about our favorite memories and thought about all the wonderful food, drinks, and sunsets we got to witness. We felt we actually needed more time to explore even more that Sandestin had to offer. We’d recommend at least 4 nights to get the full experience. What would you like to experience most?

Sandestin, FL is located in Miramar Beach, FL in between Destin and Santa Rosa Beach on the Emerald Coast.

Website: Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort | Your Place in the Sun