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Salt Winemaker Dinner Celebrates Ritz-Carlton’s 25th Anniversary

This fine event immediately caught my attention because my husband and I spent our first wedding anniversary at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, the year they opened the resort. At the time, they were offering a $99.00 per night Florida Resident Special to entice visitors to check out their 5-Star resort, and we jumped at the opportunity to enjoy this gift from my in-laws.

I remember the views were spectacular, and the room service and attention to detail impeccable. We enjoyed taking a swim, and having a poolside lunch. We invited friends to meet us for cocktails, and enjoyed the atmosphere of the lounge. We dined at their finest restaurant, were entertained by a fabulous pianist, and the final morning before our departure I treated my husband to one of their amazing massages. Those were fine memories indeed.

Now, as we approach our 26th wedding anniversary, the The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island is celebrating their 25th Anniversary with a special edition of Salt Winemaker Dinner series featuring Grgich Hills Estates located in Napa Valley, Califorina.

The evening begins at 6 p.m. with a reception and passed hors d’oeuvres and a glass of Grgich Hills Estate Fumé Blanc. Dinner will start at 6:30 p.m. with Blue Marlin ceviche and Grgich Hills Estate Chardonnay, 2012. Throughout the evening, winery representative Frank Markovich will share stories of the winery’s heritage and details about the famous 1976 Pairs Tastings.

Chef Rick and Wine Sommelier Taylor Thompson will take you on an adventure of impeccable food paired perfect with some of the finest American wines.

You won’t be disappointed in attending this special toast to 25 years! The event is Friday, June 24th, at 6:00 p.m.; tickets are $150.00 per person.

For reservations or more information, please call the Ritz-Carlton at (904) 277-1100.

Townies Pizzeria Amelia Island Recycles Bicycles and Creates Art

Townies Pizzeria Amelia Island Recycles Bicycles and Creates ArtFernandina Beach, FL – Townies Pizzeria announces a “Bike Wall” community outreach. Coordinated by popular local artist Lamar Miles, a bicycle wall has been created at the Amelia Island restaurant. Recycle your bicycle and eat dinner on the locally owned pizzeria.

(If you are not familiar with Lamar Mile’s artwork, visit Townies and check out the murals he has already painting at the Pizzeria.)

Townies is dedicated to providing great food and fresh food that is prepared to order. They make their own sauces and dough daily from fresh ingredients. Using fresh local produce, you will taste the difference!

Remove the chain and bring your bicycle to Townies, located at 819 TJ Courson Road (the old Kentucky Fried Chicken building).

Your bicycle will become part of a permanent art wall at the restaurant!

To thank those donating bicycles Townies will offer a free 18″ cheese with two toppings and a two liter soda. Bicycles need to be in good shaped to be used as art.

The locally owned pizzeria is about fun and good pizza and is committed to community projects.

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Celebrity Chef Kenny Gilbert Brings Southern Dining to Fernandina Beach

Celebrity Chef Kenny Gilbert Brings Southern Dining to Fernandina BeachUnderground Kitchen will feature rotating monthly menus showcasing different culinary themes, while also serving as a Culinary Think Tank for local and traveling talent.

Fernandina Beach, FL – Celebrity Chef Kenny Gilbert returns home to the Jacksonville area with the opening of Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen, a neighborhood-driven Deep Southern American restaurant. Located on Eighth Street, Underground Kitchen (UK) will offer residents of the Fernandina Beach area, the ideal spot to grab a seasonal, comforting and delicious meal.

With over 20 years of professional culinary experience, Kenny rose to fame in 2010 as one of the fan favorites on season seven of Bravo’s Top Chef. Since then, he has cooked for the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Gayle King, Stedman Graham, Samuel L. Jackson and A.J. Calloway, just to name a few. Kenny began his culinary career in Jacksonville when he took a position at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company as an apprentice in the garde manger kitchen of their Amelia Island property. Kenny worked his way up to Chef de Cuisine at the age of 23 at the Ritz, helping to consistently secure the AAA Five Diamond Award for the property during his tenure. He would then set about, cooking in restaurants in Naples, Sea Island, Jupiter and Telluride, before returning to Jacksonville to open Nippers Beach Grill, where Folio Magazine named him Chef of the Year. Next up was Miami, where Kenny served as the Corporate Chef at the James Beard nominated Yardbird Southern Table & Bar and Khong River House. Now back in Jacksonville – third time’s a charm – UK is Kenny’s first solo venture with his wife/partner Anna. In addition to the restaurant, Kenny has a line of spices, Chef Kenny’s Spice Blends, which will also be available for purchase at the restaurant, and at the Fernandina Beach Market Place farmers’ market.

“I’m excited to be back in the Jacksonville area – besides spending a considerable amount of time working here throughout my career, I am also not far from my family’s roots in St. Augustine which feels good,” said Kenny.

While UK will feature a daily seasonal menu based on the best local produce availability, there will also be weekly specials celebrating a particular region or cuisine from around the world, showcasing Kenny’s diverse international cooking style. Upcoming special themes include: Italian, Asian, Mediterranean, India, Caribbean and Latin Cuisines. In addition to the international specials, UK will also serve as a culinary think tank for traveling, young and visiting chefs from around the country to demonstrate their talent. Unique guest chef dinner events will be offered up on a monthly basis on Mondays, and will be ticketed for an all-inclusive price. “In addition to being excited about my first solo venture, I want to make UK a place for young and talented chefs to come learn and experiment – helping to support developing talent is so important to me as a seasoned chef,” said Kenny.

All of the dishes at UK are intended to be shared, and will come out of the kitchen as they are ready. Menu highlights include: BBQ Alligator Ribs with Carolina Gold Rice Porridge, Citrus Mop, Padron Peppers and Brussels; Magret Duck Tasso Ham with Pickled Pineapple, Anise, Mustard Leaves and Country Bread; and Smothered Organic Chicken and Dumplings with Green Beans, Carrots and Sage. Kenny’s famous Fried Organic Chicken will also be available daily, served with house made Datil Pepper Hot Sauce, Drop Biscuits and Greens. Collards, Hoppin John, Mac and Cheese and Cheese Grits will all be offered as a side, while desserts include: Coca Cola Chocolate Cake with Sour Cream Chocolate Icing and Dried Cherry Preserves; Yam Turnover with Buttermilk Glaze, Blackberries and Cracked Pepper; and Banana Fosters Parfait with Gingersnap Cookies. Seasonal sangria’s and mimosas will be available, as will craft beers, including People’s Pale Ale, I-10 IPA, Kings Street Stout and Jon Boat Coastal Ale from Intuition Ale Works, all by the can. A selection of international and domestic wines will be available by the glass or bottle, as will a rotating list of wines and beers brought in to complement each of the weekly international menu specials.

UK will serve brunch on the weekends, with a live trio band, and will also offer a special BBQ Express lunch on Fridays only, teasing one of Kenny’s next concepts scheduled to open late this summer, Gilbert’s Big Oak BBQ Shack. The BBQ Express Lunch menu will feature items like Deviled Egg Parfait with Tasso Ham Vidalia Onion Jam, Redneck Caviar and Country Bread; Fried Fernandina Beach Shrimp Po Boy with LTO, Charred Jalapeno Tartar Sauce, Organic Leaves and Lemon Dressing; and Meat and Three: Smoked Spare Ribs with Beans, Slaw, Greens and House Garlic Texas Toast. Off-site catering will be available starting in the fall, and will be available for events ranging in size from 25 – 500 guests.

The interior of UK evokes old-fashioned meets modern southern. Throughout the space, antique elements and touches are on display, including enameled cooking pots, milk jugs, old railroad signs, reclaimed wood window pains, burlap curtains and more. The restaurant has three main sections, totaling about 62 seats: The Safe House Lounge, Muscadine Hall and Datil Pepper Park. The Safe House Lounge offers guests a place to relax over a glass of wine and some small bites in the comfort of a love seat or decorative chairs, while Muscadine Hall offers the more traditional table and chair setup. Datil Pepper Park is the outside patio and will be open year-round, with a fire pit and heaters in the winter. The Park will also house a pepper and herb garden, which the restaurant will source from.

Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen will serve dinner Wednesday – Monday, 6PM – 10PM; BBQ Express Lunch on Fridays, 11AM – 2PM; and Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, 10:30AM – 2PM. The restaurant will be closed on Tuesdays. UK is located at 510 S. 8th Street, Fernandina Beach, Fl 32034.

Reservations are available via the restaurant’s website, OpenTable, or by calling the restaurant directly at (904) 310-6374.

For more information visit: www.undergroundkitchen.co.

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FORK Dinner Sold Out in Less Than Four Hours

FORK Dinner Sold Out in Less Than Four HoursThe FORK Dinner being held on April 26, 2015, a fundraiser for the Barnabas Center, sold out in 3 hours and 42 minutes!!!

FORK stands for Fernandina Outdoor Restaurant Kitchen. This fabulous evening of dining was imagined by Tapha Sears and Melanie Grimley three years ago. The two wanted to see a multitude of chefs cooking together in an outdoor setting, taking away the comforts of their kitchen and giving them a chance to cook together.

The chefs involved this year are Chef Andrew Yeo of The Ritz, Chef Wesley Cox of Davids, Chef Adam Sears of The Maxwell Group, Chef Roberto Pestana of Espana and Chef Brian Grimley of LuLu’s.

This is a very unusual dining event and apparently it is not easy to get tickets!

The first year Chefs were Scotty Swartz of 29 South, Luca From Ciao and Brian, Roberto, and Adam.

The second year Chefs were Chef Ricky Pigg of Joes 2nd St Bistro, Chef Marshall from The Florida House, and Brian, Scotty, Adam, and Roberto.

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2015 Salt Cooking School

2015 Salt Cooking SchoolThe Salt Cooking School is returning to the Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island, for 2015. Class will be held on Mondays, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

Chefs welcome students with a tour of the kitchens, mimosas, breakfast treats, and a Salt apron. Then students will learn techniques, cook and dine with the chefs and they receive a class photo.

March 23 – Asian Food Truck Fare: Prepare Asian Street Food with a modern approach
June 15 – Italian Favorites: Learn the art of making sauces, handmade pastas and fish fabrication
September 14 – Classic German Cuisine: Braising, soups, dumplings and meat selections
November 2 – Holiday Classics: Learn new techniques with some surprises

Tuition is only $250 per person and reservations are required. (This is a great gift idea, especially for birthdays, Mother’s or Father’s Day)

For information and reservations please call Leisure Reservations at (904) 277-1087.

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Jack and Diane’s 2015 Valentine’s Day Menu

Jack and Diane's 2015 Valentine's Day MenuJack and Diane’s 2015 Valentine’s Day menu offers paired wine tastings, available with each course, for only $4.00 more. But, if you do this with each course, be sure to arrange for transportation home!

Appetizers
Smoked Salmon Blini
Blackened Chicken Flatbread
Bruschetta
Suffed Artichoke Heart (VGF)

Soup and Salad
Garden Salad
Fattoush Salad (VGF)
Caesar
Tuscan Red Pepper (VGF)
Gumbo

Vegetable Selection (VGF)
Pan seared swuash
Balsamic grilled green beans
Garlic Broccoli or Brussel Srpouts
Candied Carrots

Featured Entree
Inside-out Beef Wellington
Island Mango Shrimp Crepe
Southwest Vegetable Pastelle (VGF)
Salmon Pasta Alfredo
Creole Chicken Marsala over rice

Dessert
Chocolate Apple and Berry Parfait
Chocolate Souffle
Raspberry Chocolate Dream (VGF)
Caramel Bread Pudding
Key Lime Mousse

(VGF) = Vegan Gluten Free Choices

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Valentine’s Day Dinner at Ritz’s Cafe 4750

Valentine's Day Dinner at Ritz's Cafe 4750Looking for a great Valentine’s Day dinner? Celebrate your Valentine with a special dinner menu presented by the chefs and staff at Café 4750 at the Ritz Carlton Amelia Island.

Menu includes:
Chilled Seafood Display with shrimp, crab claws, freshly shucked oysters
Scallop, Key Lime and Coconut Shooters
Seared Marinated Salmon Belly, pickled cucumber and dill Crème Fraiche
Marinated Seafood Salad
Florida Tomato Panzanella Salad
Ultimate Salad Bar
Chef’s selection of Artisan Cheeses and Bread

Plated Entrée – Choice of:
· Crab crusted Filet Oscar
· Butter Poached Lobster
· Vegetarian House-made Pappardella

Complete the meal with a luscious dessert station serving Flourless Chocolate Cake, Strawberry Champagne Sweetness, Chocolate Passion Fruit Mousse and more.

Enjoy the Action Station with a variety of house-made Gelatos and Toppings.

Dinner prices are $80.00 per adult, and only $32 for children ages 6-12. Dinner is served form 5:30 to 9:00 PM.

For information and reservations, please call Leisure Reservations at (904) 277-1087.

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Amelia Island Concludes Restaurant Week with Finale Dinner

Amelia Island Concludes Restaurant Week with Finale DinnerI have been hearing wonderful things all week regarding Amelia Island Restaurant Week 2015, and it is all coming to an end.

The Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, in conjunction with Amelia Island Restaurant Week is bringing the event to a close featuring an exciting four-course dinner, with each course perfectly paired with a complementing wine. The intimate, Chef’s Kitchen inspired evening will have limited seating available.

The menu consists Red Snapper with coconut, lime, cilantro and lotus for the first course, followed by winter squash with lemongrass, lemon, yuzu and watercress for the second. The third course will feature a smoked beef tenderloin with carrot, parsnip, swiss chard and peanut, followed by a strawberry semifreddo with rhubarb, basil and pink peppercorn for dessert.

Dinner will be served Saturday, January 24 at 7 p.m., at the Sunrise Café at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort.

Prices are $69 per person plus gratuity. To make your reservation visit opentable.com or call 800-684-9999.

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Hola Cuban Cafe Offers Lunch Option for Restaurant Week

 Hola Cuban Cafe Offer Lunch Option for Restaurant WeekAmelia Island Restaurant Week 2015 offers a NEW $12 lunch option and Hola Cuban Cafe is excited to be a part of it!

Hola is taking advantage of this great week to showcase some menu items which are reserved for Special Events because Restaurant Week is a special event!

Please see our Restaurant Week 2015 menu for your enjoyment:

Choice of 2 Croquetas:
Lightly breaded rolls
with chicken, ham or cheese fillings.

Choice of 1:
La Completa
White rice, black beans and shredded mojo pork.

The Classic Cuban
Tavern ham, slow roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on Cuban bread.

Media Noche (the Midnight)
Tavern ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on sweet bread.

Elena Ruth
Cream cheese, roasted turkey and strawberry jam on Cuban or sweet bread.

Pan con Lechon
A layer of shredded roasted pork is topped with garlicky mojo sauce for an acidic tang on Cuban bread.

Cuban Grilled Cheese
Swiss cheese and sweet plantains on your choice of sweet or Cuban bread.

Served with two sides:
Maduros A sweet tender order of fried plantains.

Yuca Cassava root fried to a golden crisp served with our signature mojo dipping sauce.

Served with your choice of drink:
Jupina, Materva, Iron Beer (cream soda), Malta Hatuey, Coco Rico, Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Bottled Water, Orange Juice, Apple Juice.

For more information please visit www.holacubancafe.com or www.ameliaislandrestaurantweek.com

Thank you and enjoy!
Marisol Triana
Hola Cuban Cafe
904-321-0163

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Restaurant Week 2015 Offers Mixology Tours

restaurant-week-2015-amelia-tasting-toursAmelia Island’s Restaurant Week 2015 is offering special Mixology Tours brought to you by Amelia Island Tasting Tours!

These tours, offered Jan 16th, 17th, 23rd and 24th 2015, showcase the wonderful local bars Amelia Island has to offer, wonderfully complimenting the unique Amelia Island eateries during Restaurant Week 2015!

These Mixology Tours are an on-the-go walking cocktail party in beautiful downtown Amelia Island! On this 2 hour tour, guests will meet some of Amelia’s best bartenders while enjoying the unique character of our local bars. Each Mixology Tour stops at four watering holes where tour guests will meet the fun, creative people behind the bars that mix exciting, unique, and flavorful drinks. Guests will hear about the art and craft of mixing cocktails while finding out about each bar’s history, and then enjoy a tasting of a specially prepared craft cocktail in each of the four stops. To add to the fun, guests vote for their favorite drink, helping us decide on our “bartender of the week” (a coveted prize amongst our bartenders).

While walking between stops, your guide will provide the happenings of beautiful downtown Amelia Island to ensure guests know what’s going on and can take full advantage of their visit to our beautiful island! For more information or to book a tour please visit ameliaislandtastingtours.com or call 1-800-979-3370.

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Amelia Island Cooks Up 7th Annual Restaurant Week

Amelia Island Cooks Up 7th Annual Restaurant Week Amelia Island, FL – Northeast Florida’s Amelia Island will host its seventh annual Restaurant Week from January 16 through 25. The ten-day, culinary showcase of the small barrier island’s top restaurants will offer visitors and residents the opportunity to try new restaurants and enjoy old favorites.

jack-and-dianes-fernandina2014In 2015, 30 of the island’s popular dining hotspots are participating in Restaurant Week.

This year, guests can enjoy restaurant week dining for lunch and dinner, with different restaurants participating in each. Both lunch and dinner will offer a special fixed menu.

The lunch option will be priced at $12 and includes an entrée and a drink.

The dinner option (priced at either $19 or $29 per person) includes three courses and a beverage.

Restaurants participating include:


Restaurant
Phone
Serving
website
29 South 277-7919 Dinner www.29southrestaurant.com
Bar Zin Bistro & Wine Bar
310-6620
Dinner
www.barzin-bistro-winebar.com
Brett’s Waterway Cafe 261-2660 Dinner On AmeliaBites.com
Cafe Karibo 277-5269 Dinner www.cafekaribo.com
Ciao Italian Bistro 206-4311 Dinner www.ciaobistro-luca.com
Crab Trap 261-4749 Lunch and Dinner www.ameliacrabtrap.com
Cucina South 432-7920 Dinner Cucina South
Espana Restaurant & Tapas 261-7700 Dinner espanadowntown.com
GG’s Bistro 261-8973 Lunch and Dinner www.gourmetgourmetfood.com
Halftime Sports Bar & Grill 321-0303 Lunch www.halftimeameliaisland.com
Hola! Cuban Cafe 321-0163 Lunch www.holacubancafe.com
Horizons 321-2430 Dinner www.horizonsameliaisland.com
Jack & Diane’s 321-1444 Dinner jackanddianescafe.com
Joe’s 2nd Street Bistro 321-2558 Lunch and Dinner www.joesbistro.com
Leddy’s Porch (904) 261-7251 Lunch floridahouseinn.com
La Mancha 261-4646 Dinner www.lamancharestaurant.net
Le Clos 261-8100 Dinner www.leclos.com
Lu Lu’s at the Thompson House 432-8394 Lunch and Dinner www.lulusamelia.com
Marina Seafood Restaurant 261-5310 Lunch and Dinner On AmeliaBites.com
Oceanside 491-4113 Lunch and Dinner www.omnihotels.com
Pate Sucree Restaurant 626-1677 Lunch On AmeliaBites.com
PI Infinite Combinations 432-8535 Lunch On AmeliaBites.com
PLAE 277-2132 Dinner www.29southrestaurant.com
Sandy Bottoms 310-6904 Lunch and Dinner www.sandybottomsamelia.com
Sliders Seaside Grill 277-6652 Dinner www.slidersseaside.com
The Courtyard Pub & Eats (904) 432-7086 Lunch www.courtyardpubandeats.com
The Salty Pelican 277-3811 Dinner www.thesaltypelicanamelia.com
The Surf Restaurant & Bar 261-5711 Lunch and Dinner www.thesurfonline.com/
Verandah 277-5958 Dinner www.omnihotels.com

During the 2015 Amelia Island Restaurant Week, two Amelia Island resorts are offering special events to celebrate the destination’s dining attributes. On Thursday, January 15, The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island will kick-off the week with “A Tribute to Modern Southern Cuisine” event. Starting at 6 p.m., the event will feature a wine tasting and passed hors d’oeuvres, followed by a seated dinner featuring cuisine from several of Amelia Island’s phenomenal chefs. The dinner will feature a course from chefs from The Salty Pelican, Espana, 29 South, and two chefs at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island.

amelia-sunrise-cafe-omniTickets for the dinner are $68 and available by calling 904-277-1087.

On January 24, the Omni Amelia Island Plantation will close Restaurant Week with an exciting four-course dinner paired with wine. The event will start at 7 p.m. in the Sunrise Cafe. Tickets are $69 per person and can be purchased through opentable.com or by calling (800) 684-9999.

In conjunction with Restaurant Week, several of Amelia Island accommodators are offering special accommodation packages. For more details about packages and restaurant week, visit www.ameliaisland.com/yummy.

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Dining With Dogs Business Applications are Available

Dining With Dogs Business Applications are AvailableThe application for dining with dogs is now available. This form is used to apply for a permit to allow dogs to dine in outdoor areas of food service establishments, in accordance with Florida Statute and the City’s Land Development Code.

There is a one time fee of $40.00 and no annual renewals are required, unless the establisment changes ownership.

Approved establishments will be hung in a visible location at the approved establishments so that it is easy to identify who has gone through the process.

Per the City Commission, this process is effective JULY 1, 2014. Applications will be accepted at that time.

The four page application includes the basic questions you would expect, and you’ll need to draw up where the designated doggie dining areas are located… and SHOCKER “a licensed design professional does NOT need to prepare the drawing.”

The form will require a Notary’s signature and there are specific regulations about “Dining with Doggies” such as employee hand washing, removal of dog waste, etc.

This is a “dog friendly” town, no doubt about it. I’ve often said, “This town likes dogs more than it does kids.”

Download the form here: Dining with Dogs Application.

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Looking for Vegan or Gluten Free Hanukkah or Thanksgiving Dinner?

Looking for Vegan or Gluten Free for Hanukkah or Thanksgiving Dinner?More and more diners are moving to a gluten-free or vegan lifestyle and with it comes challenges when dining out in Fernandina Beach. Well, Jack and Diane’s, located on Centre Street, Amelia Island, is offering a special Thanksgiving menu, as well as a Hanukkah menu, too.

Consider this Special Thanksgiving Menu:
Santa Fe Pastelle (Vegan and GF) for $17.50
Southwest corn turnover, stuffed with seasoned soy dip, topped with veggies and guacamole, served with Spanish green beans and dirty rice… yes, really, it is Vegan, gluten free and delicious.

Also on their Thanksgiving menu:

Traditional Turkey Dinner $22.00
Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy, served with Spanish green beans and a roll.

Bayou Pork Feast (Gluten Free) $18.50
Dirty rice topped with crispy taters, Mrs. Brown’s famous beans, spicy Creole pork and gravy served with Spanish green beans.

Vegan Quiche $17.50
A fluffy mix of soy bean curd, nut cheese and veggies baked to perfection served with Spanish green beans, stuffing and gravy.

Crab and Shrimp Crepes $19.50
Delicate crepes stuffed with their signature cheese blend topped with tender crab and shrimp in a cream sauce served with Spanish green beans and a roll.

Kid’s Wrap (under 9) $7.00
Small flour tortilla stuffed with chicken or ham served with mac and cheese, salad and chips.

Special Hanukkah Dinner Menu

(Offered Wednesday, November 27th, thru Monday, December 2nd, from 5:00 to 8:00 PM)

Appetizer:
Smoke Salmon Blini

Salad:
Fattoush Crackle Salad

Vegetable:
Greens and Peas and Lathes

Entree Choice:
Brisket or Salmon

Dessert:
Rice Kugel

All are gluten FREE and Delicious!!!
(Starting at $19.50 per person.)

Jack & Diane’s is located at 708 Centre Street. For more information please call them at (904) 321-1444.

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