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Azurea at One Ocean- Gluten Free

One of the things that is so hard about having Celiac Disease is that dining out has really become a major stressor for me.  I am stressed about talking to the waiter (which I have to do EVERY SINGLE TIME) about Celiac Disease and all of the precautions of prepping the food as well as the actual ingredients I cannot have in my food.  Last night, I was far from stressed.  Some friends of mine invited my boyfriend and I to join them for a double date post-valentine’s dinner at Azurea at One Ocean Resort in Atlantic Beach.  This wasn’t just a normal night out at the restaurant, we were invited to do a 5 course tasting that included wine pairings.  When we were first invited I was seriously stressed but was reassured by Chef James King when he came out and asked who had the Gluten Alergy and quickly reassured the group I was taken care of when it came to addressing my alergy.  Prior to the first course we enjoyed an amuse-buche, defined by wikipedia: amuse-buche is a single, bite-sized hors d’œuvre.  It was delicious, a delicate blend of an asparagus puree, shrimp and cilantro.  My palet was definitely amused- haha.  Next we were treated with an amazing sushi grade seabass with flavorings of lime, cilantro and jalapeno.  It was garnished with the caviar of citrus- finger lime.  Just as in caviar, they are a garnish that burst with flavor the second you bite in.  It was paired with a Rose Champagne.  I was far from thinking about Celiac Disease, the flavors were perfectly paired and I trusted the Chef.  Next the server brought a tray of 4 different dipping sauces- all gluten free- , a delicious basket of breads – not gluten free- and for me some vegetable chips (made from some variation of tapioca)- gluten free, crunchy and delicious.   Following the devil (bread) course we received our next course, gourmet succatash and lobster garnished with the cutest presentation of peas on a pod (I had to eat that first).  This was paired with a Vouvrey white wine- delish!  For our main course we enjoyed an amazing meat dish.  This was the first variation of the night, the chef replaced pasta for me with rice paper while the rest of the guests had pasta (I liked this, because I was feeling that the meal was very much about my disease so it was nice that everyone could enjoy a little gluten without me).  Inside the wrapped pasta was a mixture of braised short ribs, mushrooms and some other various spices that made this one of the best meat dishes I have ever had.  It was also accompanied by a malbec sauce/gravy that I could have licked off the plate (we were in a nice restaurant so I behaved).  Between the last two courses, we enjoyed a nice palate cleanser of home made sorbet, passionfruit and champagne.  It was a nice little treat.  Lastly we enjoyed a decadent and delightfully displated dessert paired with a tawny port.  Dessert consisted of bananas with a sugar glaze, chocolate ice cream they made in house and a chocolate flourless tort.  Needless to say nothing was left on any of my plate.  At the end of the night I did not feel sick.  I really believe Chef James King cared about my experience and my health.  I left feeling just a bit full, and happy, very happy.  I recommend this splurge every once in a while with people you love.  Make sure to call ahead if you plan to do a tasting so the Chef can be prepared.  This made everyone happy.  We had a great night talking about food and wine and our lives, it may go down as the best meal I have ever had (besides my mom’s meals of course)

Azurea at One Ocean on Urbanspoon

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