We have a shopping routine whenever we visit Pensacola. The Bodacious Family for olive oil, Joe Patti for seafood, Bambooze for liquor and Bailey’s Produce. We save Joe Patti’s and Bailey’s as we’re heading back to New Orleans (sob). We typically make at least one stop at Bambooze for hard-to-find or unusual spirits. Tucked away in a modest strip mall on N. Davis Highway, the store is visiting. The location is just down the road from Bailey’s Produce and Nursery. Bailey’s has the best fresh produce—especially when Silver King or Queen Corn, tomatoes and peaches are at their peak!
Owner Steve Loveless (lovely and personable) aims to provide fine wines and craft cocktail spirits for both the burgeoning cocktail scene and developed palates as well as for peeps wanting wallet friendly products. His prices are competitive and his selection expansive! I’m always on the hunt for best liquor deals and Bambooze fits my bill! I stock up on Ancho Reyes there as its $35 compared to $40 or higher in N.O. region.
Florida distributors offer products that aren’t available in New Orleans too. We stock up on Florida Reserve Rum, Brinley’s Shipwreck Coconut Rum, 1.75 liter of Brugal Anejo, and the latest Selvarey Cacao infused rum from Panama. Great prices on the Milagro Reposado Tequila too! And Bambooze always seems to have a new orange liqueur or Giffard product.
One of my favorite eye (and taste bud) candy store is the Bodacious Olive!
I love their olive oils! And the table top décor and cooking utensils are wonderful.
SO MANY CHOICES for both oils and vinegars! Of course I had to take full advantage of their recent special buy four get one free! The Green Limonato is my favorite these days—although I almost swooned when I tasted the Blood Orange! The Herbs Provence & Tuscan oils are staples in the pantry. I hope they bring back the Tarragon Oil and Vinegar—the vinegar is incredible!
Joe Patti’s is a jumping and popular place to purchase seafood of all sorts! We’ve shopped there for about 18 years now. BAmWhile some items aren’t the deal they were a few years ago (lobster & Alaskan King Crab Legs) their fish and other items can’t be beat in either selection or price! Where else are you going to find fresh caught Scamp fish or the ever elusive Royal Red Shrimp (headless 6-9 count for $7.00 a pound)!! WHOLE Pompano fish filleted any way you want! And one of these days I’m going to bring back Cedar Key clams for a shell fish Bouillabaisse! I can’t wait for our next trip—which I hope is soon!
While we adore all things Union Public House, one of our most pleasurable activities is strolling along Palafox Street and checking out all the restaurants, bars and galleries. Palafox is downtown Pensacola’s burgeoning food, drink and music scene. The area is redolent with balconies that boast ironwork and architecture much like New Orleans—on a more petite and cleaner style.
Khon’s is another perennial favorite of ours. Located on Palafox–just a short walk from our hotel–the restaurant boasts authentic Southeastern Asian cuisine and it does not disappoint!
I don’t know who devised the décor but its brilliant! The owners’ Dot and Winston Evans acknowledged it was done on a tight budget. Understated design elements evocative of both Asian and Sea influences are peppered around the restaurant to bring a cohesive whole to the place. It’s a very cool place in all!
A standard for the Wild Cocktailians are menu inclusions of innovative and delicious cocktails. Khon’s checks that box and then some. We love sake and tend to gravitate towards sake concoctions containing gin, rum, and tequila!
Khon’s rotates its cocktail menu; sadly a favorite of ours the “Shisho Zen” was not available. We consoled ourselves with the Kyushu Gimlet which our waiter Jason guaranteed would be as good as the Shisho (and they were–full disclosure it was three of them, but hey it was happy hour)! The gimlet was a nice departure from the too often citrus forward gimlets.
We started off with some different sushi rolls. We had Shrimp Tempura, Alyxandria and Blue Angel. What impressed us was the obvious freshness of the seafood—all three had distinctive flavors. Too often sushi all tastes the same. We also loved that the rolls were the perfect 1 bite size—easy to eat for us chopsticks’ challenged folks. In fact, it was easy to use the sticks picking up the rolls!
Not quite satiated we decided to switch to a hot appetizer—and Khon’s has a respectable small plate menu making it difficult to decide. In the end we were swayed by the fresh ingredients for the Pork Spring Rolls.
We thought we were full—until Jason brought us the dessert menu. Normally we’re not tempted by Asian desserts—they tend to be the ubiquitous fried wonton something. Nothing so pedestrian at Khon’s! I do recall seeing some unusual items, but once we laid eyes—and taste buds—on the Vietnamese Coffee Pudding—made from scratch in house we were doomed! That was one delicious dessert! It was hybrid between a pudding and a mousse—with bits of chocolate throughout giving the dish some pleasant texture. We were so stoked about the dessert we forgot to take photos!
Union Public House in Pensacola, Florida never fails to deliver the best in drinking and dining for us! We stopped in to get our fix of always impeccable concoctions made by the master spirit handler himself Patrick Bolster. Barry ordered from the drink menu specials–The Birds and Bees.
Made with rum and garnished with Asian chili pepper threads–a new one on me. I just have to get some now!
Citrus was starting to get to me so I asked Patrick if he could concoct something with Brinley Gold Shipwreck Coconut Rum Cream—as always he delivered divinely! Giffard White Crème de Cacao and rum and mole bitters rounded the cocktail. Damn but I could drink those all night! I will definitely be making those—once I get my hands on the Coconut Rum cream!
I placed an order for a bottle at Bambooze but the delivery truck never showed up after waiting for 3 days!
The Wild Cocktailians can always count on UPH upping the spirits game! Speaking of games, whenever we visit we bring or mention obscure spirits to Patrick in hopes of tripping him up–but we’ve yet to stump him. The man is a wealth of all things cocktail and adult beverage—he’s a walking encyclopedia! Patrick genuinely enjoys sharing his vast knowledge on the how, when, and what—of these spirits. He doesn’t have one iota of superior ‘tude in his bones—like some arrogant bartenders we’ve had the displeasure of enduring! That’s why we go to cocktail establishments to learn, understand and use different spirits and ultimately recapture the occasions at home!
De rigueur for our hunger was Chef Blake’s fine charcuterie—this time deftly prepared Beef Carpaccio! The only criticism of the dish: should have ordered TWO! Chef Blake could show some of the New Orleans chefs a thing or three on cured meats—dude has some SERIOUS street culinary cred!
Wrapping up our final night in Pensacola (aka Paradise) we had early reservations at UPH to enjoy a full-up dinner there. I’d sent Patrick a recipe for a Chartreuse Swizzle that I found on Neat Pour –another local blog we just discovered.
Move over Mojitos and Juleps—THIS should be the quintessential quaffer for New Orleans summer—sublime sophistication! Barry so enjoyed the Birds N Bees from the other night he ordered another.
The meal started with an app and salad: Shishito peppers blistered and presented in a small cast iron skillet (say that 5 times) sprinkled with light dusting of coarse fleur de sel and coated in a lovely olive oil.
Salad was composed of brilliant bits of lightly pickled beets, baby greens, candied walnuts, shaved parmesan curls, and tucked throughout an addictive truffled goat cheese mousse all delicately coated with a beet and balsamic vinaigrette!
Supper was a seafood affair (hey it was Friday) Swordfish for me, Scallops for Barry. My Sword was a 2-inch thick filet and cooked to perfection! It came with black-eyed pea fritters—I sure wish I’d had more of the truffled goat cheese to slather on them! Served with arugula salad, heirloom tomato, sun chokes and topped with a red-eye gravy the ingredients not only satiated me but portions are very generous.
Barry’s diver scallops were large and plentiful—and the succotash is enough to convert any meat eater to vegetarian! A smoked potato croquette and King Oyster mushrooms masterfully completed the dish!
We each had a glass of wine with dinner—and the wine list succinct but varied in varietals and price.
You’d think with all that there wouldn’t be room for dessert. It’s a vast
understatement to say Pastry Chef Corey Wall has upped UPH dessert game! Her pastries should almost be illegal as they’re so surreal! Our waiter Alden mentioned the magic word Crème Brulee we had to order! And no mere run-of-the-mill Brulee either! This was a smoked sweet potato w brown butter gelato and served with dehydrated spice cake and candied walnuts. Now that’s a recipe I’d love to serve to dinner guests! I’m telling you Chef Corey needs to be arrested and do community time at OUR house!
To seek out, sample and sieve through the myriad spirits and their accompanying accoutrements–be it food that titillates the taste buds, music that soothes the senses, and the places where they all converge.
Research, Review & Recommend:
Booze: Cocktail recipes—video and print
Liquor: The best brands, prices and locations
Cocktail lounges–from Craft to Dive
Highlight Industry Movers, Shakers, Spirit Handlers aka bartenders/mixologists
Bites: Food recipes, Eateries–brick and mortar to mobile
Tunes: Playlists recording artists
Flights: Travel destinations–domestic and foreign places that encapsulate these elements
Showcase noteworthy events