Monday, October 3, 2016

Mandola's Gulf Coast Kitchen: More than oysters

Holy moly! I haven't posted on my blog in over a year. It's amazing how much life can change throughout twelve months. I've sold my business, and I have begun a new venture with one of my best friends, Rhonda, called The Fickle Females, so I've been posting there more than this blog or my I Chew and Review Facebook page. Anyway, I still write for PKWY Magazine, so I had the chance to go down to Mandola's Gulf Coast Kitchen for a tasting.

This ended up being way more than I expected. They are launching a Cicchetti (Happy Hour) menu so I got to sample almost everything on that menu. I really love the small bites concept, and I'm glad to see Mandola's has joined in the trend. Sometimes I like to spend hours at a place snacking, having cocktails and socializing with my friends. Small bites play very well into that.

So here's a visual journey of our feast!

Gulf Oysters on the Half Shell
Baked Brie

We started with a dozen Gulf oysters. I'm pretty new to eating raw foods, but oysters have become something I really enjoy. These were huge and went down so nicely with a big dollop of the fresh horseradish. A great start to the meal. The baked brie was very comforting. The melted cheese spread like butter onto the crostini and the sweet jam accented the flavors nicely.

Bone Marrow
This was one of my favorites. Bone marrow is so buttery but also has a deep richness to it. I've been looking for a good bone marrow since visiting the Salted Pig in Chicago, and this one was really good. It wasn't quite as smooth as The Salted Pig's, but tasty nonetheless.

Prosciutto Asparagus
Peel and Eat Shrimp
You can't go wrong with peel and eat shrimp! These were so sweet and fresh. Everyone at my table really enjoyed them.
Audrey Avocado Crab Bites
Shrimp Empanadas
I like the Mexican twist on some of the dishes here. These crab bites had a green chile salsa which was slightly spicy but didn't overwhelm the crab. The shrimp empanadas were one of my favorite bites served that day. They just tasted like more.

Lobster Deviled Eggs

Ahi Tuna Tower

Smoked Salmon

Key Lime Pie
Needless to say, we left very full and I enjoyed the social aspect of shared bites. You can still of course get full sized entrees at Mandola's and the Cicchetti hours are more limited than standard dining (2-6:30 every day). I can't wait to go back.

For more information, reservations, and operating hours, visit