As a perpetual traveler, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing some amazing sites, culture, and traditions. But one of my favorite things to do anywhere is to find where I can stuff my face in any destination especially during my latest visit to Florida.
I’ve become a foodiehalic (look at that, I just penned a word!) and the pleasure of finding a great place to eat is as much fun to me as researching my next journey.
I’ve been calling DeLand, Florida my home base for the past 6 months and, what surprises me most, is the sheer number of restaurants within and outside the city limits.
Each one is unique and offers interesting and delicious food created by inspiring and passionate chefs.
I love downtown DeLand. Main street Deland is home to small, family owned shops and restaurants and visitors can’t help but feel as if they’ve “come home”.
Another very impressive aspect of this small town is the number and variations of restaurants and I’ve been indulging in stuffing my face at each one.
I was told that I couldn’t miss this Italian restaurant located right in the middle of Main Street and so, I didn’t!
A warm and gregarious staff that obviously loved their jobs immediately greeted me the second I entered Urban Brick.
The manager and owner greeted me and told me a little about the restaurant’s background. Their passion for the restaurant and producing the best possible food in their town was palpable.
I knew I was in for a treat and was happy to let them recommend and serve what turned out to be an amazing meal.
I started with a delicious glass of red Italian (for those of you who know me you know that I was a happy girl immediately!), some fresh, crispy bread, olive oil, and balsamic.
As I was enjoying my wine I took notice of the unique décor. One wall is covered entirely with a scene of 5th Avenue in Manhattan. If you get a chance to visit, take a long look at the mural, it’s quite interesting and fun!
My first course was an amazingly delicious salad called Insulata UrbanBrick. Made of mixed greens, candied pecans, red onion, strawberries AND blueberries, gorgonzola freshly made and sent in from Wisconsin, extra virgin olive oil, locally sourced honey and a splash of lemon, this is one of the best salads I’ve ever indulged in.
Each ingredient ads texture and flavor to the salad in a way that doesn’t over power but perfectly blends and tastes amazing!
What followed after my salad was nothing short of genius.
I love pizza and my favorite type is simple with a bit of fresh cheese and a good red sauces full of flavor.
What was served to me was not just exceptional but it completely unexpected and mind blowing.
Apparently famous (and rightfully so) in DeLand is Urban Brick’s house favorite pizza called, Sweet & Salty.
Made with fresh Gorgonzola and mozzarella, red onion, candied fig, fresh parsley, pecorino Romano, fresh garlic, extra virgin olive oil and finished with prosciutto, this pizza is a-freaking-mazing!
I can completely see why people line up at the door to wait for the chance to indulge in this gorgeous pie! I am definitely returning for it again.
Next came traditional shrimp scampi. The shrimp were perfectly cooked, as was the pasta. Fresh, robust garlic, tomatoes, and basil finished the dish and it was easy to tell that nothing at all was or had been frozen.
I didn’t know where I could possible fit another bite of anything but when the chef came out and set down my next dish, all I could think was that I’d died and gone to foodie heaven.
I was staring at a beautifully presented plate of Braised Boneless Short Rib with Chianti (kudos for the right wine). It was paired with pan fried freshly made Gnocchi with tomatoes, prosciutto, mushrooms, and arugula in a roasted garlic butter sauce.
As if that wasn’t enough to make any foodie scream with joy, the dish was garnished with espresso balsamic reduction and crispy onions.
I almost squealed out loud!
After thoroughly enjoying every single bite, I was then asked if I could fit dessert!
Urban Brick is an Italian restaurant so how could I not try their cannoli? As expected, they were fresh and delicious and I enjoyed them with another glass of wine.
I was also given the flowerless chocolate cake. I can only say….OMG! Amazing and delicious.
I thought the surprises where over and was reluctantly preparing myself to end my meal when the chef came out with a plate filled with small balls of pizza dough, filled with cheese, deep fried, and doused with a generous coating of powdered sugar.
Accompanied with a generous amount of dipping chocolate they were pillows of genius!
To say that I was exquisitely satisfied would be an understatement but that’s all I can verbalize about my time and meal at Urban Brick.
If you are in the area…or even if you are not but find yourself in Florida, however far you have to travel to experience this restaurant is worth every single mile and I suggest that you don’t miss an opportunity to eat at Urban Brick.
Here are there deets:
112N Woodland Blvd, DeLand, Florida
So, this restaurant isn’t in DeLand, however, it IS in a small town called Mt. Dora.
Another quaint, distinctively unique small town, Mt. Dora, too, is filled with small, family owned shops and restaurants.
It’s a foodie wonderland and I am slowly working my way through each of the restaurants there.
The restaurant is wrapped around a Florida cracker bungalow style home that was built in the 1920’s, and overlooks Lake Dora.
The location is a perfect place to enjoy delicious food and a wonderful sunset over the water.
Jessica, the restaurants general manager, greeted me as well as the smiles of all the other staff.
I was seated outside with a view of the water and a great spot to enjoy the sunset.
As I always like to do, I asked that the chef send out his favorites for me to enjoy.
First up was a really distinctive take on spring rolls.
Cubana Mix Spring Rolls are filled with mojo marinated pulled pork, ham, Swiss cheese and served with a delicious mustard-pickled dipping sauce.
I’d never quite tasted anything like the spring rolls before and I was pleasantly surprised. I’m always in search of unique food and this did not disappoint.
Next came a wonderful take on the typical Charcuterie board.
Served with a homemade onsite pretzel, the seasonal cured meats and wonderfully blended cheeses are served with fresh berries, pickled vegetables and wonderful ground mustard.
Next up was a gorgeous duck skewer. Right?! A DUCK SKEWER?
Yes, this delicious skewer was served with fresh tomatoes, crispy skinned and nicely cooked duck, apple wedges and a nice sauce with walnuts.
I was so very pleasantly surprised as duck is not one of my favorite proteins and definitely not one that I would have chosen for myself.
My wonderful server told me that up next would be the house shrimp and grits.
Now, I’ll be honest here. I’ve traveled throughout the US South and I’ve had every version of shrimp and grits that I can think of. So, when I was told that I would be served Pisces Rising’s version I was kind of under impressed.
Well, you would think that at this age I would know not to put the cart before the horse. And this time I quickly realized my mistake of assumption.
Hands down, this version blew me away.
Served with blackened shrimp, Gouda grits, gator Andouille, peppers, red onion, garlic, spinach, and a white wine cream sauce, the purple tinted grits were A-MAZING-BALLS!!
Every single element of this dish was perfectly cooked and complimented the other ingredients.
I was more than pleasantly surprised and enjoyed every bite.
My meal was completed with a Red Velvet Cake.
Now, before you think, “okay, what’s so special about red velvet cake”, let me tell you…
This one was served with a caramel mousse, Bailey’s cheesecake filling, topped with a merengue cookie, edable gold covered nuts, and silver honey sauce.
What a finish! This indulgent meal was one of my favorites so far and one that will be hard to beat!
If you find yourself in Mt. Dora, definitely stop and take in her unique little town and don’t miss a chance to grab a meal at Pisces Rising. You will not be disappointed!
Here are there deet:
239 W. FOURTH AVE.
MOUNT DORA, FLORIDA