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Many of DeLand’s restaurants were represented in the 100 block of West Indiana Avenue Jan. 18 for the Taste of DeLand event.

I noticed it was important to arrive early, or at least near the 1 p.m. starting time, if you wanted to make sure you secured tastes of the restaurants’ most popular items before they ran out. Some booths offered more than one sample-sized dish, while others served one dish for the duration of the event.

My first taste of Taste of DeLand was none other than that offered by Cress Restaurant.

Cress, which recently resumed five-nights-a-week service, offered a freshly prepared dish called the Gnocchi alla Bolognese.

<img class="wp-image-4465 size-large" src="https://www.beacononlinenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/380fddbc23e9316d93c6f434caead473.jpg" alt="

TRILOGY DUO Trilogy Coffee Roasting Co. baristas Matthew Creech and Sky Fitzgerald pose for a quick photo at their tent. Trilogy was serving samples of the cold brew and regular ol’ hot brew at their table. They’ve also recently introduced a new, more fleshed-out menu, which can be seen in front of the duo on the clipboard.  ” width=”696″ height=”464″ />

TRILOGY DUO Trilogy Coffee Roasting Co. baristas Matthew Creech and Sky Fitzgerald pose for a quick photo at their tent. Trilogy was serving samples of the cold brew and regular ol’ hot brew at their table. They’ve also recently introduced a new, more fleshed-out menu, which can be seen in front of the duo on the clipboard. 

 

The gnocchi parisienne was served with house lemon ricotta and garlic rosemary crumbs. I very much enjoyed the hints of rosemary and the overall herb flavor, along with the cheesy gnocchi.

Cress Executive Sous-Chef Sam Bove was preparing the dish, with co-owners Tom Brandt, Hari Pulapaka and Suran Brandt staffing the tent and helping where they could.

Suran let me know that Cress Restaurant’s new hours include lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and dinner 5-9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

My next stop was the Pelican Water Systems tent for a sample cup; it’s important to stay hydrated. I jokingly remarked after taking a hearty gulp that they had the best water at the event.

If water isn’t your cup of tea, there was a beer tent nearby.

There were quite a few tables and chairs available for guests to sit and converse while chowing down on the diverse offerings. There were also benches along the sidewalk and high-top tables for people to congregate around.

<img class="wp-image-4466 size-large" src="https://www.beacononlinenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/e6f379c0cc4083131b380d2514288545-scaled.jpg" alt="SOME HAPPY EATERS — Jack and Shirley Burnett pause in front of the Brian’s Bar-B-Que tent for a quick photo as they prepare to dig into a sampling of the restaurant’s cuisine.” width=”696″ height=”522″ />

SOME HAPPY EATERS — Jack and Shirley Burnett pause in front of the Brian’s Bar-B-Que tent for a quick photo as they prepare to dig into a sampling of the restaurant’s cuisine.

Positano Trattoria Pizzeria’s tent was next up on my journey.

They had started with Chicken Marsala, but it was gone.

“The Chicken Marsala flew out of here,” server Stephanie Shea said.

The garlic knots were gone, too.

There were still Penne Vodka and housemade meatballs, and I scooped some up.

The penne was very creamy, and no doubt made fresh, as owner Salvatore Mandara told me when I profiled the restaurant that Positano’s makes all of the pasta in-house.

Another hot commodity at the Positano’s tent was slices of pizza. They were serving pizza sporadically as it was baked, and I was unable to catch it as it disappeared as soon as it arrived each time.

Dunkin’ Donuts, Boston Coffeehouse, and Trilogy were all present and serving their signature coffees.

Dunkin’ was also offering doughnut holes, while Boston had samples of their Chicken Velvet Soup, and a peach apricot tea.

Venue 142, an event space at 142 N. Woodland Blvd., had a decorative display showcasing the food and décor that can be arranged for events scheduled there. Venue 142 was also serving brisket short ribs on a tostada chip.

The chip was very crunchy, with a yummy flavor. Couple that with the flavors of the microgreens and braised brisket, and you had a nice appetizer.

By the time I reached the next table, BakeChop had run out of what sounded like it had been a very tasty take on grilled cheese, served with bacon jam, brie cheddar and apple, with brassica slaw on the side.

<img class="wp-image-4467 size-large" src="https://www.beacononlinenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/ede0848198a6aa262d7837cd108e0de3-scaled.jpg" alt="WOULD YOU LIKE YOUR CHEESE GRILLED? — Chef Michael Ellis of BakeChop prepares a very tasty take on grilled cheese, served with bacon jam, brie cheddar and apple, with brassica slaw on the side. That kind of meddling with traditional dishes is something BakeChop is known — and beloved — for.” width=”696″ height=”928″ />

WOULD YOU LIKE YOUR CHEESE GRILLED? — Chef Michael Ellis of BakeChop prepares a very tasty take on grilled cheese, served with bacon jam, brie cheddar and apple, with brassica slaw on the side. That kind of meddling with traditional dishes is something BakeChop is known — and beloved — for.

A good friend of mine, Kenny Long, was lucky enough to get one and said, “it took something familiar and bumped it up a notch.”

That kind of meddling with traditional dishes is something BakeChop is known — and beloved — for.

Next up was The Table Restaurant, which was serving shrimp and grits. I asked server and bartender Devon Russell, “Is this just plain shrimp and grits?”

His response was much more detailed than I expected, with plenty more ingredients that I could barely catch as they were told to me.

It became clear that this wasn’t your grandmother’s shrimp and grits, and the taste was nothing short of extraordinary.

The shrimp were buttery and the grits herby. They also had a display of what the dish looks like when you order it at the restaurant, which I thought was a nice touch.

The DeLand Stockyard was serving a four-hour slow-roasted prime rib with a ciabatta roll, horseradish cream, and green beans.

Green beans are a guilty pleasure of mine, and these were excellently spiced with an exciting crunch. The prime rib was cooked perfectly. My guest thought the horseradish complemented the flavor of the meat very well.

Stockyard also had a list of Valentine’s Day dinner specials that will be served 3-10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14. They are accepting reservations now for the big day.

My last two stops were Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe and Kneading Sweets Bakery.

Kermit’s had run out of its signature Key lime pie on a stick, but had meatballs available. The meatballs were marinated in one of the Kermit’s sauces that had a sweetness to it.

A fitting conclusion to my Taste of DeLand experience was Kneading Sweets Bakery.

<img class="wp-image-4468 size-large" src="https://www.beacononlinenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/f1fde669dff8cdc1e850722a67b2b834-scaled.jpg" alt="DO YOU LIKE AUTHENTIC ITALIAN CUISINE? — Marty Booth visits Stephanie Shea at the Positano Trattoria Pizzeria tent for a quick bite of one of the dishes Positano’s has to offer. The Chicken Marsala, Penne Vodka, housemade meatballs, garlic knots and slices of pizza were all available at some point during the event.” width=”696″ height=”522″ />

DO YOU LIKE AUTHENTIC ITALIAN CUISINE? — Marty Booth visits Stephanie Shea at the Positano Trattoria Pizzeria tent for a quick bite of one of the dishes Positano’s has to offer. The Chicken Marsala, Penne Vodka, housemade meatballs, garlic knots and slices of pizza were all available at some point during the event.

Elyse Hinman, a baker at Kneading Sweets, had what seemed to be an infinite number of samples of banana cake available. I have to admit I went back multiple times to try what I thought to be a very tasty dessert. I’m not usually a sweets person, but, for some reason, I couldn’t resist it.

Kneading Sweets doesn’t do samples only at Taste of DeLand. You can try things at the bakery, too.

“You can sample anything that’s already been cut to see what emotionally speaks to you,” Hinman said.

Perhaps I’ll have to check out Kneading Sweets one of these days to sample a few items.

At about 3:45 p.m., many places began to pack up — likely because they were running low on food.

While I couldn’t get to every restaurant at Taste of DeLand, the ones I did try convinced me of one thing: DeLand sure is a tasty city.

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