This post brought to you by Fresh from Florida. The content and opinions expressed below are that of 30A Eats.
Sparkling crystal white sand beaches and the turquoise water of the Gulf of Mexico draw millions of visitors each year to the Emerald Coast, and some of those are beckoned back to live and work permanently, like Tim Creehan, proprietor and celebrity chef of Cuvee Bistro, Cuvee Catering, and Grill Plus™, an instant marinade he created and patented in 1997.
Creehan, who grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was brought to visit the Emerald Coast many times by his parents, and was drawn to the boats sailing in the harbor. He fueled his passion for food first, mastered the art of sailing, and with his adventurous spirit opened several area restaurants, with Cuvee Bistro-Destin, his biggest success yet. Creehan says, “ I love a challenge. With sailing, it is the wind, environment and the sea, but the same remains true in the kitchen.”
Destin’s stunning location, vast array of local seafood, and fresh Florida produce at ones fingertips are a chef’s dream, and provide patrons dining in local restaurants with the highest quality product available.
Whether seeking casual fare or upscale cuisine, Cuvee Bistro offers classic French, Asian and Mediterranean influenced delicacies, along with signature preparations like the famed ‘Amy Grant’s Seared Tuna Rare’ and ‘Vince Gill’s Pecan Crusted Grouper’ (Creehan catered the country singer’s wedding). This wildly popular eatery also boasts one of the best happy hours in town, with drink and food specials, and live music Wednesday through Saturday evenings.
Cuvee Bistro was just awarded its fourth ‘Award of Excellence’ by Wine Spectator (2011-2014), and is the only Florida Trend Golden Spoon Winner-2014, located in Destin. On an assignment recently seeking ‘Fresh From Florida” menu items, specifically seasonal blueberries, I began my evening with a muddled blueberry martini from the craft martini menu. Light, not too sweet, and refreshing, it was the perfect cocktail for the dishes to follow.
With rain in the forecast, I ordered comfort food at its finest, as Cuvee Bistro is known for their classic Fresh Onion Soup. The broth was rich and sweet onion filled, then topped with cheese over a French baguette slice, served piping hot, and bubbling on top.
The service of bread was served warm, and came with a dish containing olive oil, spices, and Parmesan cheese, that was blended tableside, complimentary for those ordering from the dinner menu.
Knowing chef Creehen for two decades, and eating at Cuvee Bistro often, I am aware the restaurant procures the best sourced Florida product possible. The menu however, was not labeled with the Fresh From Florida logo at my visit, and there was not an entree selection with blueberries. It took no time at all for the chef to whip up a delicious blueberry compote glaze that surrounded a plump bone in pork loin chop. It was pan seared to perfection, tender, juicy, and served alongside Arborio rice and fresh steamed carrots, enhancing the natural sweetness and acidity of the overall dish.
Do you have a favorite restaurant serving Fresh From Florida fare, or have a favorite Florida food you like to prepare at home? I’d love to hear about it in the Fresh From Florida comments below!
As a Florida Gulf Coast based freelance writer, passionate about promoting local farmers and fishermen, I was honored when asked to share one of my favorite recipes along with with other noteworthy individuals and celebrity chefs in the Spring 2014 cookbook- Lodge Cast Iron Nation-Great American Cooking From Coast To Coast. My grandmother’s Florida Blueberry Cobbler is seen on pages 260 & 261.
36120 Emerald Coast Pkwy
Destin, FL 32541
Phone: (850) 650-8900