**Bean’s Battle For Best @ The Beaches ~ Award Winner 2020!**
It’s a hard job - but somebody’s gotta eat all the chocolate. And for the sake of the written word - that’s exactly what I’ve done.
Besides, with hard work, comes great reward… And chocolate may be the ultimate reward, my dear friends.
I’ve been popping into Peterbrooke Chocolatier since I discovered it a few years back.
Located at 363 Atlantic Boulevard in Atlantic Beach, Florida, Peterbrooke is situated directly in the heart of Beaches Town Center. As soon as I discovered Peterbrooke, I absolutely had to go inside.
So I did, and I ate the best chocolate - ever.
Fast forward to today, in 2020, and Peterbrooke STILL has the best chocolate I ever ate. I’m just grateful I live so close to their shop so that I can visit whenever I want.
And recently, with all this stay-at-home madness upending civil society… and with World War 19 causing Civil War 2.0 - chocolate was subtly calling my name. It may have been just a whisper, but it was calling, nonetheless.
Then, with all restaurants still being closed - and take-out, curbside, and delivery being the only way to dine “out” - a chocolatier, to-go sort of shop was out loud screaming my name.
So after work the other day, I decided it was time to take action on the chocolate front of this global war… I’ll call it - Bean’s Battle For Best @ The Beaches.
Either that, or… The Battle Of The Bulge.
Stepping back into this heavenly chocolate shop after a long parting of at least a year or so, I was simply excited that the OPEN sign flashing in the upper right corner window, actually meant that they were really open. Because as more businesses close by the day, that sign doesn’t usually mean much any more.
Walking in, we were met with another sign - the power was out. But, yes, they were open. Come on in.
We were then met with another sign, and a basket of gloves for us to use, per their request. We both put on the gloves.
I knew just what I wanted. Eyes right on my target.
The Jag Paws - the Jax version of Turtles.
And like I said, for the sake of the written word, I simply had to buy a few more things. I couldn’t buy just a bag of Jag Paws, that’s simply not enough chocolate for a girl! So, I figured since I always purchase a darker chocolate, that my other purchases would be in the white chocolate family. I then grabbed a bag of white chocolate covered pretzels, and a white chocolate lollipop.
I spoke with the cashier as we paid. I had just missed Peterbrooke’s biggest holiday of the year: Easter. Because chocolate and bunnies go together perfectly, of course.
I mentioned how glad I was that they were open. She mentioned that they were not even certain how much longer they would be.
I hoped to see them again.
‘Tis the way of today. I suppose.
I would not be telling you the truth if I said there was a better chocolate shop in Jax. They absolutely are the winner. Peterbrooke is more than deserving of Bean’s Battle For Best @ The Beaches - Chocolate - 2020.
The cost is high. And I’m not gonna lie about that either. But there’s a reason. You just can’t buy the best chocolate of your life and not pay the most you’ve ever spent on chocolate.
So, while $27.02 looks high, sounds high, and is - very - high, it was all worth it, my dear friends. And if you go, you’ll probably agree. You’ll take one bite of the best of the best, and the next thought out of your brain will be - When are we coming back for more?
As we said goodbye, we sat in the little blue chairs and table set up outside the front door, for a mere moment. Our last stop and duty before heading home for the night.
It was Saturday night at the beach. The traditional “Opening Of The Beaches” Weekend in Jacksonville. A yearly celebration, a weekend parade - a tradition in town going back 73 years.
Even though normally, the beaches are open year round here in Jax, the town comes together each spring to officiate a ceremonial opening of the beaches. Think - Gilmore Girls - town square style event - only a bit more wild. And more ceremonial in nature than anything else, the Beaches opening parade is as much of a party here in Jax as Pete’s Bar is on Thanksgiving morning. Just another reason to party. To celebrate life. Life at the beach. On an island. Living next to the sea.
And 2020 would have been year 74 of the parade - before it was canceled due to the coronavirus.
Yes, we were sitting outside, and it was Saturday night at the beach. 2020.
Hubby picking me up from work. Off early on a Saturday. The sun still out. A normal Saturday night in town would have meant the entire area would be hopping. Endless parties. Endless fun. Bike riders everywhere. Music. Talking. Laughter.
But instead, we sat down in front of the chocolatier, and stared at a visibly and noticeably vacant parking lot. A lot that is usually never empty. Diners from Poe’s. From other restaurants. Shops. And on a Saturday, the lot would be even more packed. Cars waiting for spots to open up.
But not on this Saturday night. Empty. Looking around. Soaking in the quiet surroundings.
It was just sooo sad.
When will Poe’s open back up? When will the other restaurants open for dine in? Shops? When will people not be scared to leave their houses? When will life return to this little corner of Beaches Town Center?
I don’t know. And I do care.
In the interim, however, there is always chocolate.
And the world still keeps on turning. And awards still must be handed out.
So, plague or no plague… civil war or no civil war, life as we know it, or life as we know it not, the chocolate must be eaten.
And Peterbrooke Chocolatier is hereby officially awarded Bean’s Battle For Best @ The Beaches 2020.
Congratulations, my dear and chocolatey friends. You’ve won The Battle Of The Bulge.
Thank you for the sunshine you add to the sky.
In a vast sea - of open parking spots… Thank you for being open.
Thank you for still fighting to survive, and sticking it out this long.
And mostly, thank you for the best chocolate I ever feasted upon. ~
*Have you been to Peterbrooke Chocolatier? Where did you eat the best chocolate you ever had? I’d so love to know. Drop me a comment down below:
Also, for Bean’s Best Award Winner of 2019, be sure to check out V Pizza, below:
15] V Pizza ~ The Very Best Pizza In Jax Beach!
Plus - for some further fun in the Florida sun, and lots of sweet treats in Jax and beyond, check out the links below:
52] Keeping Cool - And Creamy - In Key West
45] Dessert First, My Friends ~ Cantina Louie
40] Visiting The Florida Cracker Kitchen ~ Jacksonville
39] The Very Official & Quite Serious Donut Debate Of 2020
31] Tuesday’s On First Street ~ The Jax Beach Art Walk ~
21] Cinotti’s ~ And Why Life Is Too Short To Not Eat Donuts
14] Finding Trinkets & Treasures @ The Jax Beach Vintage Flea Market
11] Eleven South Bistro & Bar ~~ Supper Club Of The South
3] The Dog Days Of Endless Summer
2] 3 Wows Plus 1 Piece Of Magic I Experienced At Jacksonville, Florida’s Cummer Museum Of Art & Gardens
1] Happy Birthday America ~ 4 Simple Steps To Help You Have An Easy Americana 4th:
*Winner: Bean’s Best Award*
[The 2019 Annual Bean’s Best Pizza in Jax Beach Award]
If you want to sit only mere steps from the oceanfront, and engage in some good quality people watching, lots of dogs included, when in Jax Beach - all you have to do is grab a slice and sit in the window at V Pizza. I’ve never seen so many people, skateboarding with their dogs leading them rolling down the street, than I can see during even just one meal alone, while sitting at the wooden bar-top tables in the large picture windows at V Pizza’s counter service.
I've been coming to V Pizza since I moved to Jax Beach. I’ve ordered to-go, I’ve ordered on the quick service side, and I’ve had dinner in the full-service dining area with the bar and televisions. I’ve brought my family here who live out of state up in the Chicago area. Plus, V Pizza is the regular dining establishment of choice by my husband and I whenever we simply need a quick and easy, guaranteed delicious meal. We’ve tried many of the surrounding other local pizza joints. And I firmly believe V Pizza is the best in town.
And here’s why:
I grew up in the Chicago area - THE FOOD CAPITAL OF THE WORLD.
I was surrounded by good food… ALL. THE. TIME. And I mean some really, darn, good food. Nothing - at all - compares, on the face of this planet, to food in Chicago. And specifically… Chicago pizza.
My whole life I heard people talk about food in Chicago, as if it were special? I always wondered, why does everyone talk about how special the food is? The implication and emphasis not about the type of food being served, the meal, the location, the neighborhood, what kind of restaurant...but just simply that it was “Chicago” food. That’s all that mattered. If it was from Chicago, it was some real good food.
But Chicago’s food was all I ever knew. So when something is so perfect, consistently, all the time, over and over, that’s what one gets used to. Taste buds acclimate to what is familiar to them. And since it was all I knew, I literally thought that all food, everywhere, was just that good. I expected all food to be great. That’s just what food tastes like right?
Well, it took me moving out of state, and eating hundreds upon hundreds of meals outside of Chicago to fully appreciate in all honesty and sincerity how good Chicago food really is. And my life has basically become just as the saying goes…
“You don’t know what you got till it’s gone…” Right?
And gosh, I really didn't know until I left.
When you part ways with Chicago, you part ways with a foodie life that will never again be the same.
As soon as we moved away from that delicious food capital of the world, suddenly, good food was harder to come by. Much harder. Most everywhere we went food was just OK. And after leaving literal perfect food behind - PERFECTION and OK - are really far apart from one another. And very noticeable… immediately noticeable. And that’s not just me talking... it’s my taste buds. They just can’t help it. They been acclimated. All my taste buds ever knew was perfect food. So anything but perfect was now…
Everyone asks me what do I miss about leaving home… my answer is the Chicago food… the pizza.
THE. PIZZA. PERIOD.
Whenever I come back to Illinois for a visit, whether it’s a few days, a week, or a two week visit or longer, every day I need pizza. I can’t get enough of it. And I’ll try as many places as I can. And my mom asks me if I’m sure that I want pizza? She asks - Again???
Yes… of course.
I can go through my entire visit in Illinois and only eat pizza, and I will never tire of it. Because, I know, but most importantly my taste buds know that I will not have that food again for potentially a year. A YEAR? That’s literally like going through food withdrawal; I have to prepare myself for the reality that awaits me. My body, mind, and soul. Yes...I’ll eat again, but it will never be quite the same… as Chicago pizza.
And thus, with every meal in life I now eat, to this day - food is different. Food is not what it once was. I didn’t know what I had until it was gone. And as soon as it went missing, I noticed, fast, and I’ve been mourning my loss ever since.
When we left Illinois, we left the food capital of the world behind, we said goodbye to amazing Chicago pizza; only I didn’t know we were saying goodbye, so I never kissed it on my way out the door. I didn’t know to say goodbye.
A simple head’s up would have been nice. Some forewarning, from anyone, anywhere??? How come no one told me? Are you sure you want to move to Florida and leave all this perfect food? They didn’t tell me because I wouldn’t have believed them. I needed to experience it for myself to believe it, and I would have just laughed.
And I’m still laughing at myself now.
Each pizza restaurant in Chicago has its own ‘specialty’ - what they are known for. You can go to any pizza place in Chicago and the surrounding area suburbs, have the best pizza of your life, and each pizza establishment will taste completely different from one another. Palermo’s has heavenly red sauce, and the best dough you will ever eat, anywhere. Rosati’s has great sausage. Gino’s East has phenomenal deep dish. Lou Malnati’s has the best deep dish buttered crust, worth the wait for the crust alone. And Pizza Lia has the best fresh-frozen pizza on Earth (the handmade dough cannot be replicated by anyone but the owner, my uncle).
Those are only a tiny fraction of pizza establishments in the Chicago area. And most importantly, NOT ONE of them is the same as the other in any way. They are all distinctly different from one another. And that’s what makes each one special.
Chicago pizza is at the top of the pyramid, placed high on a pedestal, deserving of the crown of crowns. When something is rated that high, how can anything match up. It sort of doesn’t. You just can’t beat Chicago pizza. No matter where you go. In my travels and adventures I have learned that much. But if you can’t beat em, join em.
And, I’ll be clear here, it’s not that the food elsewhere is bad… it’s literally just that Chicago has the best food.
Yes, I like the other local surrounding pizza place here. And to be fair, I have not tried every place in town - I don’t believe anyway - but I have tried many, and many much more than once. I love Milano’s, I love Biggie’s, I love D&LP, Al’s, etc.etc.etc. But I REALLY love V Pizza. And, naturally, I have a theory as to why.
V Pizza doesn’t pretend to be something they are not. Their pizza knows exactly who it is and is not ashamed of itself. Their pizza is a proud and unique and distinctly different individual. That individuality and uniqueness is what makes it special. And as a bonus, they offer a variety of other specialty and Italian menu items as well.
V Pizza is consistently fabulous, tasty, and unique - in my Chicago foodie’s opinion. The dough at V Pizza is so tasty, freshly rolled and made in house. The sauce is unique unto itself. And the sausage and meats are high quality, and perfectly seasoned. The cheese is fresh. There is not one part of their pizza that lacks in any way. They don’t overdue it on the cheese, they don’t underdue it on the cheese. And the same goes for the sauce. Each ingredient is the perfect consistency.
And in my experience and many tastings, I firmly believe V Pizza comes the closest I’ve tried thus far, to not replicate any others pizza, but to make their pizza all their very own, and have their own distinct taste and texture and flavor and seasoning, and basically the dough and the entire recipe altogether. And to be proud of it - own it! They own their pizza; they are proud of their pizza. They are not trying to be something they are not. The are being themselves. And THAT is why they win this award.
So, to V Pizza, I hereby declare you the winner of the first ever Bean’s Best Award. Deserving due to your serving of the very best, highest quality, and most unique pizza in the town of Jacksonville Beach, Florida.
And to the rest of y’all… Get out there and grab a slice, or a whole pie, sit down at the counter, and watch all the countless happy doggies, dragging their humans on their skateboards, roll on by… ~
*So, why would anyone leave Chicago if the food is that good? And come down to Florida? Because the sun never sleeps, Endless Summer reigns supreme, and waking up in the morning looks like this...
Yeah, it needed to be this good, to go. And say goodbye to the best pizza on the planet, and hello to the sun. ~~~
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