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I recently found myself on the roof of a four-diamond luxury hotel in a spacious private dining room set with pearl-white tablecloths, polished stemware and silverware lined up intricately to guide me and the other guests through our meal.

{{tncms-inline alignment=”right” content=”&lt;p&gt;Address: 2637 S. Atlantic Ave., &lt;br /&gt;Daytona Beach Shores&lt;br /&gt;Cost: $75 per person for the St. Francis &lt;br /&gt;wine dinner&lt;br /&gt;More information: Call Michael Bartscher &lt;br /&gt;at 386-767-7350&lt;br /&gt;Parking: Valet parking is complimentary &lt;br /&gt;for all guests of Azure&lt;br /&gt;Website: www.shoresresort.com&lt;br /&gt;Hours: Outside of special events, Azure is open for dining 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 7 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.&lt;br /&gt;Upcoming events:&lt;br /&gt;October beer dinner: Oct. 18, 6:30-9 p.m., &lt;br /&gt;$55 per person&lt;br /&gt;November wine dinner, featuring Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars wines: Nov. 14, 6:30-9 p.m., &lt;br /&gt;$125 per person&lt;/p&gt;” id=”d36cafde-388b-499f-ba14-42a5218fc7dc” style-type=”info” title=”Azure Oceanfront American Kitchen” type=”relcontent” width=”half”}}

Azure Oceanfront American Kitchen at The Shores Resort and Spa in Daytona Beach invited me to be a guest at a four-course wine dinner, which featured selections from St. Francis Winery and Vineyards in Sonoma County, California.

The dinner Sept. 19 was part of a monthly series put on by The Shores Resort and Azure Oceanfront, each featuring a four-course menu with pairings.   

At the dinner I attended, each table was set to allow for maximum privacy and intimacy. A wine guide from St. Francis was on hand to lead us through their California wine-country vines.

Restaurant staff drew open the curtains, and unveiled a breathtaking view of the beach and the intracoastal waters, just as the sun started to set in a pageant of tropical summer colors.  

The wait staff lit candles, as introductions were made by Nick Antalek, the resort’s director of outlets.

Chef de Cuisine of Azure Patrick Ransom let the hungry patrons know he was executing a fall-inspired dinner, as Chuck Richards, a certified sommelier with Kobrand Fine Wine and Spirits, guided us through the wine-pairings.

The first course was brought out, and servers poured the first wine as a duo of musicians, Memory Lane, played classic favorites.

We were treated to Lafourche gumbo, consisting of chicken sausage, cajun jumbo shrimp, jasmine rice and crispy chicken skin, as glasses were filled with a 2015 St. Francis chardonnay.

Ransom explained the dish thoroughly, and Richards gave insight and details on the chardonnay.

Spices and textures of New Orleans danced across the palate. The chardonnay, with its fresh expression and rich, yet crisp mouthfeel, paired perfectly with the gumbo.

The tables were cleared and the process was started again, as The Ora King was set in front of us: grilled king salmon, wilted arugula, golden beets, haricot vert (green beans) and a sherry vinaigrette, paired with St. Francis pinot noir.  

The dish was light and refreshing, with the strong flavor of the golden beets mixing well with the fresh salmon and greens. The 2015 pinot noir was light, with mild tannins and hints of cherry that added depth to the course.

The third course, oxtail osso buco, featured braised oxtail, cranberry bean cassoulet, Azure duck bacon, and confit carrots paired with a 2015 St. Francis cabernet sauvignon.

“This is my grandmother’s recipe, and one of my favorites to share with you this evening,” Chef Ransom said.

It turned out to be my personal favorite dish, with each bite full of rich and hearty flavors. I sipped the bold and tannin-rich red wine, and I thought I could hear the other guests groaning in a symphony of happiness.

The final course — dessert — was a crepe cake layered with chocolate ganache, raspberry chantilly cream and zinfandel syrup, paired with a 2015 St. Francis zinfandel.  

It was an interesting take on a crepe. The syrup was made with “old vines” zinfandel, using grapes harvested from vines at least 65 years old.

It was a pleasurable end to the meal, with notes of jammy fruit and toasted oak on the palate.

For next month’s dinner, the hotel and restaurant are preparing for a beer dinner, with brews from a local craft-beer brewery and a four-course meal.

Overall, it was a stellar experience. The monthly events are great for a date night, celebrations, or a night out on the town.

I would recommend visitors to the Daytona Beach area who enjoy fine dining and breathtaking views to give it a try.


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