The perception of Barnie’s as being only the purveyor of fine coffees and teas is slowly changing with the efforts of some fierce marketing campaigns by Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen’s elite team of marketing gurus. The fact that Barnie’s has been located in it’s flagship Park Avenue shop for 38 years should tell you that the brand alone has held it’s own despite the continual pop up of other coffee shops and cafes. The quality of product speaks for itself. However, did you know that Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen also has an outstanding menu and extremely talented chef? I didn’t, until recently this year and I’ve lived in Orlando for 43 years! So, after meeting some of the men behind the marketing, I was given the opportunity to attend a tasting of Chef Camilo Velasco’s fall menu at Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen on Park Avenue.
We started out inside the shop, but with the great weather we are currently having this October, we moved outside to the lovely courtyard.
After a sip of our choice of a lovely Chardonnay or refreshing Reisling, we were provided with an incredible spread of “Firsts” at our tasting. We sampled the Zellwood corn chowder, which had lovely bits of Spanish chorizo…
and, the Loch Duart salmon tartare with pickled ramps, salsa verde and radish…
(one of my favorites from the Firsts selection).
We also enjoyed an order of mussels, in a tomato fennel broth…
served with toasted baguette (which I ate with the salmon tartare too, so order extra!).
The arugula and red watercress salad was incredible!
This salad contains grapes, parmigiano reggiano and white balsamic vinaigrette. A special addition to this salad is the marcona almonds. (I am now in love with these almonds and will never be able to settle for a lesser variation of almond.) They are fantastic!
Continuing on with the Firsts, we were served a roasted beet and quinoa salad with sherry vinaigrette and pickled carrots.
This was delicious, and I’m not someone who would necessarily order quinoa.
The only First on the new fall menu that wasn’t available to us the evening of our tasting event was the potato gnocchi with duck confit, brown butter and sage. Reading this line alone should get your taste buds amped! This is going to be a wonderful addition to the menu, and I’ve already heard that it is very tasty. I look forward to returning to Barnie’s to enjoy this dish soon.
So, just when we didn’t think the selections could get any better, we moved on to “Seconds”.
We couldn’t get enough of this Carolina gold risotto.
Anson Mills rice with heirloom tomatoes and parmigiano reggiano make up this dish. We learned that the rice is cooked in tomato sauce, and this made for an incredible, light tomato undertone of flavor in this dish. Crazy good!
This flounder filet was served with roasted red pepper, coconut milk broth and baby bok choy.
This dish was light and flavorful, and the texture of the bok choy with the fish was a great combination.
I also really enjoyed this Joyce Farms roasted chicken breast dish. I don’t generally order chicken all that much when eating out, but I would order this dish again.
The roasted, crispy skin on the breast was delicious. Also in this dish was butternut squash mash, pumpkin seed pesto and Swiss chard. (I love me some Swiss chard!)
The Kurobuta pork tenderloin was on point with its mushroom ragout, creamed faro and truffle. I think this dish will be very popular.
Also among the Seconds, a very flavorful, moist braised short ribs dinner with smoked potato puree, tomato jam and glazed heirloom carrots.
This was also a favorite.
Despite the fact that we stretched out this tasting over a couple of hours, we managed to get quite full; yet, somehow we still had just a little room left for a few desserts.
We sampled the South Florida passion fruit crème brûlée.
This silky, smooth dessert was very sweet!
Next, we enjoyed an incredible olive oil cake with Sicilian pistachio gelato and macerated berries.
Wow! I have never had olive oil cake but I am now a super fan! It was light and flavorful and the gelato and berries were a great addition. Definitely give this dessert a try!
Last but not least, a chocolate pudding served with biscotti and house-made espresso syrup.
Let me tell you…I am not one to order espresso, but this house-made espresso syrup with the chocolate pudding was unbelievably good. (I only had two bites, but man…if you love chocolate and you love espresso…this is the dessert for you!)
I sincerely enjoyed this tasting. Chef Velasco joined us a few times during our meal to discuss his new menu and his passion for this fall selection was infectious. His talent and skill is obvious, and his maturity and knowledge is unsurprising given his mentorship under Chef Norman Van Aken. Much success with this new menu, Chef.
Special thanks to Addison Ames for hosting this amazing tasting at Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen for us. It was a wonderful event with delicious dishes, fun friends and decadent desserts.
Go to Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen for dinner and enjoy Chef Velasco’s new fall menu for yourself. Tell your friends about them as well! Barnie’s is located on Park Avenue at 111 Park Avenue South, Winter Park, FL 32789. You can find more information about their dishes via their website at http://barniescoffeekitchen.com/pages/our-cafe. You can also follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BarniesCoffeeKitchen and on Twitter at @BarniesCoffee. Check out their great pics on Instagram at BarniesCoffeeKitchen.
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