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Oct 13, 2006 02:46 AM

SF Hound's 4 Days in the Melbourne Area

Thank you very much to all the Florida hounds who took the time to make suggestions, particularly Covert Ops and Bob Mervine! I had a great time in Melbourne: wonderful weather, lovely beach (swimming pool-warm water!), laid-back people, and delicious things I can't get back in the Bay Area.

First up, the just-defunct Strawberry Mansion. I had two brunches at this place, waffles two days running. Truly excellent Belgian waffles! Topped with that unctuous caramel sauce, they will live in my tastebuds' memory a long, long time.

Monday dinner was at Dixie Crossroads. The rock shrimp were tiny but good; the sides and boat-run shrimp were mediocre at best.

Tuesday dinner was at Djon's where I had the pan-grilled seabass with beurre blanc. Very nicely done fish, though the sauce could have used a touch of acidity. A risotto cake accompanied the dish, and though it tasted wonderfully of herbs and tomato, the rice was undercooked and as cold as if it had come straight from the fridge. The waitress explained that they are made at the start of the day, and not meant to be served hot. I'd agree that this is the sort of thing that would be best served just above room temperature, rather than hot, but chilled, with the fats coagulating doesn't show anything off to advantge. With a couple of tablesoons worth sauteed spinach as a side, the tab came to around $42. Rather steep for one plate.

Lunch at Haru yesterday was the sashimi bento box: 3 thick slices of salmon, tuna, and hamachi, 2 of grilled tuna, 4 pieces of California roll, salad and miso soup. Decent, but not cheap at $14, tip included.

Dinner at Robertos's Little Havana Restaurant in Cocoa Beach last night was probably the best meal of the trip. We have practically no Cuban food in the Bay Area, so this was an adventure for us and we enjoyed every morsel. To start, carnitas de puerco, deep fried chunks of pork sauced with lime juice and garlic. DH had the Pollo Enchilado, described as "chicken creole Cuban style", sort of a Latin sweet-and-sour chicken. I went for the "Classic Cuban Sampler": roast pork a la cubana, picadillo, and ropa vieja. All delicious. Both orders came with rice, raw chopped oinion, a choice of platanos maduros (sweet plantains) or tostones (green plantains), chickpeas or black beans. I think the sweetness of the platanos were a better foil for the sampler. Dessert was a shared order of tres leches cake--my first taste of this sweet, but it won't be my last! I've already checked out recipes for tres leches cake, relying heavily (as usual) on Chowhound sources. Dinner came to around a very resonable $40 for 2.

Missed lunch today, but more than made up with another delicious dinner: the BBQ Feast for 2 at Meemaw's: a chicken quarter, around 7-8 pork ribs, thinly sliced beef brisket, thinly sliced pork (not sure which cut). The chicken was probably the smokiest tasting of the meats, but the ribs were certainly not deficient in flavor either. Both the sweet and spicy barbecue sauces complemented the meats nicely, and the side dishes were uniformly delicious: coleslaw with a nice sweet-tart balance, the rich, smoky beans with lots of pork bits, crisp fries, and tasty garlic bread. Excellent value at $20, plus tax and tip.

I wish I had another half-dozen meals to enjoy before flying back. I'd be first in line for those stone crabs; I'd root out Melanie's pompano; I'd try lots more Cuban food, and go back to Meemaw's. I'll have to console myself with what's in my luggage: 3 lbs of chocolate-covered potato chips from Grimaldi's and several small packages of pumpkin-pie and tin-roof popcorn from the Tin Roof Popcorn Company.

Again, Florida Chowhounds, I thank you for making my visit a delicious experience!

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  1. Thanks for the comprehensive report, which is helpful to us all.

    We're glad you enjoyed it, and come on back -- those airplanes fly here eveery day.


    1. Thanks, great report! That stinks about DJon -- I certainly wouldn't want cold gloppy risotto. I think that's the worst answer from a server: "It's supposed to be that way." I dont' care how it's SUPPOSED to be, make it the way *I* want it! lol But I digress. Good luck on the tres leches quest!

      1. Did the Gramaldi chips survive the luggage handlers?

        1 Reply
        1. re: cavandre

          I haven't opened the sealed 1 lb and 1/2 lb boxes, but the little 3 oz. plastic containers show all the chips intact, so I think the chips should have been just fine. I haven't checked on the crunchiness of the popcorn yet, though, having gone through an entire package of cheddar corn just before leaving. But I'm sure I will find out soon just how my pumpkin pie corn has fared. (That reminds me, I must find out if there's anything like Tin Roof Popcorn over here.)