Monday, March 12, 2012

Great Southern Dining – Wildwood Florida

Time for another road trip!  This time, (mid-February), we were off to Florida.  As usual I researched where we were going and I listed out the possible attractions and places that we might want to visit…as well as some restaurants we thought we’d like to check out.

Our first stop was in Wildwood Florida.  To avoid the hassle and congestion of the Orlando area, I chose Wildwood because of its location near the junction of I-75 and the Florida Turnpike.  It was a fortuitous decision!

Working from Midwest Living, Southern Living and various travel Magazines, plus Jane and Michael Stern’s Road Food books and website and Guy Fieri’s TV show, Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, I’ve developed a list of restaurants for us to try out around the country should the opportunity arise.  However, I didn’t have any leads listed near Wildwood…

When in doubt or need for the best places to eat, I check in with Trip Advisor at  Trip Advisor led us to the restaurant pictured above, the Cotillion Southern Café!  The exterior certainly offers a warm and welcoming aura to the prospective diner…  The building was originally The Bank of Wildwood.  It was completed in 1905 and it operated as such until the mid-1960’s.  Both vaults are still intact…

The interior of the Cotillion Southern Café is furnished and decorated with a broad selection of antique collectables and furniture including non-matching tables and chairs.  The old wood floor is complimented by the high tin ceilings.  As per the owner and chef, Kathy Hall Vincent, she’d needed a place where she could use all of the old china, lace, silver and antiques she’d collected…

Our dinners came with a terrific side salad consisting of baby mixed greens, strawberries, Monterey jack cheese, sliced green onions and toasted pecans.  The salad dressing consisted of red wine vinegar, canola oil and a package of the chef’s own Cotillion House Dressing Mix.

Several appetizers are available on the menu.  These include such items as Fried Green Tomatoes, Hot Pimento Cheese, Dixie Caviar, Redneck Nachos, Soup, etc.  Prices for appetizers range from $3.99 to $9.99.

A nice serving of ‘Corn-federate’ cornbread also accompanied our meals.  For those, including ourselves, who like their cornbread a bit sweet, this was perfect!  The kernels of corn throughout the cornbread added flavor and texture to help ‘pop’ our taste buds. Oops!  I almost forgot... This little accompaniment was served with whipped cane butter!  Delicious!

The lunch menu includes 15 different sandwiches ranging in price from $7.99 to $14.99.  Choices include St. Augustine Crab Cake, the Fla. Cracker Angus Burger, Shrimp Salad Sandwich, Sunny Egg Salad, Pimento Cheese & Pecans, Southern Style Meatloaf and ‘The Elvis’.

Laurie and I usually order two different entrees just to try different items on the menu.  Not this time!  We both fixated on the Texas Country Fried Chicken and neither one of us would switch... ($14.99) This entrée is described as a hand cut, tenderized and breaded chicken breast, fried and served with the made-from-scratch Cream Gravy over their Fresh Smashed Potatoes. This was a great meal, with the right amount of food, prepared to perfection. 

Laurie generally doesn’t like collard greens… Not this time!  The greens were fantastic and the ‘liquor’ that remained was even better.  We 'sipped it' as enthusiastically as if it were a special treat!
The supper, (evening) menu lists no less than 19 entrees.  Prices range from $12.99 to $21.99.  Selections vary from ribs and pulled pork to Cracker Chopped Steak, Low Country Shrimp ‘N Grits, a Shore ‘Nuff Seafood Platter, Chicken ‘N Waffles to a Baked Mac ‘N Cheese dinner.  I know that the next time we stop by, Laurie will have to try the Last Chicken in Atlanta Pot Pie…one of her favorite dishes. 

We were quite content following the salad, corn bread, our entrees with the greens…and a glass of wine as well.  But, as you can see, we had this visual problem…or, as I like to call it, a visual challenge!

We surrendered to temptation…although we did limit ourselves by sharing a piece of this beautiful Almond Joy Cake. (Note: I’m generally not a big cake fan) However, this dark fudge southern cake with coconut filling, fudge frosting, ganache and Almond Joy topping was moist, rich and spectacular…!

We will return to the Cotillion Southern Café!  They recently started serving breakfast…probably our favorite meal…and if dinner was any indication, breakfast at the Cotillion will be a big winner.  Breakfast items include New Orleans French Toast, Southern Belle Waffles, a Crab Cake with eggs plus a fried green tomato and then there is always Big Daddy’s Breakfast…grilled meatloaf, eggs, cheese grits or potatoes and homemade biscuits. Breakfast prices range from $5.00 to $14.99.
The Cotillion Southern Café is located at 101 Main Street in Wildwood Florida.  Phone: 352-748-1223.  Website:  Note: Not only did Laurie buy Miz Kathi’s Cotillion Southern Café Cookbook, but she’s already gone on-line and ordered Dixie Dust, Chicken Salad Seasoning and Cotillion House Salad Dressing.
Just click on any photo to enlarge it…
Thanks for stopping by and sharing our meal with us!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

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