5/11/2020 0 Comments
Always and forever in the search of the best dessert on the planet - today, I’m bringing you two more ice cream adventures:
Rita’s vs. Whit’s
In a battle of wits… for Bean’s Best @ The Beaches 2020 ~ Ice Cream Edition ~
For the purposes of today’s competition, I went to both Rita’s and Whit’s, almost back-to-back. Two ice cream outings in less than one week’s time. I might at well become a formal dessert critic - because my tummy knows a good dessert when it meets one, that’s for sure.
We started out at Rita’s. And by we, I mean hubby and I. We planned our visit for directly after he picked me up at work back on Monday, April 18.
Keeping in mind, this challenge took place during the worst of the worst of the economic shut down. So as you may be able to tell, we were in desperate search of a food outing. With a whole ton of businesses and restaurants completely shut at that time, I was determined to patronize as many local businesses as possible that were still open. And I’m happy to report that both Rita’s and Whit’s made it through, intact. And both are still open today. The only offering not available to us at that time back in April, was not being able to dine inside - but - Florida - we don’t really need dining inside here in The Sunshine State. Plus, Rita’s is strictly outdoor grab-and-go counter service anyway - no dine-in option available - with a drive-thru around the side of the building.
Also, note that if you are interested in drive-thu at Rita’s, you’ll want to make note that the transaction window is on the passenger side of the car.
We opted to skip the drive-thru, parked and walked up for the counter service option, for purposes of my review. I ordered one large soft-serve chocolate/vanilla swirl with extra sprinkles for myself, and one large cherry Italian ice for the hubby. He is a huge fan of Italian ice, in any flavor, and I am a big fan of chocolate - anything.
Both of our treats were delicious. Our total came to $11.64, plus tip. My large was not “large” - to me - I would say more like a size medium at the biggest. But for the Italian ice, Bryan received a huge, generous cup of cherry flavored ice. Either way though, I was simply happy to have something cold, because is there anything better than something cold after a long and sweaty shift?
We love Rita’s and go there semi-frequently. Sometimes we are fortunate enough to find the $2.00 off coupons in the monthly coupon mailer, but we haven’t had any lately.
Always extra creamy, and always delicious. Rita’s remains a fabulous and inexpensive dessert outing, and the location can’t be beat. Three blocks from the beach, and directly on A1A, Rita’s location is directly in the heart of Jax Beach. You can easily grab a cone, and head straight out onto the sandy shores a few minutes later.
Moving onward to Whit’s, we ventured over there, on Beach Boulevard, on the evening of April 20th. Once again, after hubby picked me up from work. Our second ice cream location of the week. And after another long, hot shift at work.
Whit’s also usually has $2.00 off coupons in the Jax monthly mailers, but, of course I am always without my coupon clippings and am forever ill-prepared to save a buck. Yet, always prepared to spend... Why is that, by the way?
And while Whit’s does not have a drive-thru, or window service, their dining room remained open for to-go service. So, there we were at Whit’s, for our second ice cream adventure of the week. We ordered a large chocolate Whitsper (their version of a Blizzard) for $7.00, and a medium Butterfinger Whitsper for $6.00, for a total of $13.91, plus tip.
While both of these outings took place smack in the middle of the Presidential Guidelines of 30 Days To Stop The Spread of the Coronavirus, in my opinion, it was fabulous that so many dining establishments remained open and available for take-out. Especially for everybody still working… long, hard hours outside the home. Restaurants and coffee shops and treats have been imperative and a literal lifeline to making it through an extra-long, extra-stressful shift.
I love Rita’s and always have. We continue to go there on a regular basis. But, in my dessert foodie opinion, Whit’s win’s the award here. Their portions remain solidly larger than Rita’s. Large - to - Large comparison, you get way, way more ice cream at Whit’s than at Rita’s. Even if you ask for more at Rita’s, their largest does not compare to Whit’s. And when I go out for ice cream, give me the largest size please.
Whit’s is also very pet-friendly, and even has a doggie menu. My furry baby has had their ice cream/dog bone sundae, and she very much approves.
And now that the 30 Days to slow the spread are complete, and businesses are resuming operations, here in Florida we are at 25% dine-in occupancy. And outdoor dining feels fairly normal. Meaning, if you grab ice cream at either of these locations, right now, you can once again grab a bench, grab a chair, pull open the umbrella, and eat under the sun. Or inside - if you need the air conditioning. Ahh the little things in life… 25% occupancy.
Overall, Whit’s definitely wins the day for me, simply on their sizing. I love ice cream, maybe as much as donuts… and coffee, oh jeaz. I think I just love a lot of things. But when I pay for a large, and then get a really generous helping, they win. Hands down. Plus - doggie menu. Any place that keeps some dog bones on hand, is a winner in my book.
So, congratulations to Whit’s Jax Beach for being the very Official Winner of Bean’s Battle For Best @ The Beaches - Ice Cream Edition ~ 2020.
And an amazing and huge and heartfelt thank you to both locations, for being open during the worst of days, and feeding us good and conforming treats to brighten our saddest of very sad days. ~
*Have you been to Rita’s or Whit’s? Which do you like better? Are you more of an Italian ice person, or an ice cream swirl sorta person? I’d love to know. Drop me a comment down below:
Also, for more dueling dessert/debates around Jacksonville, check out some more of my flavorful Floridian adventures, below:
70] Peterbrooke Chocolatier ~ Bean’s Battle for Best @ The Beaches
*Bean’s Best Award Winner! ~ Chocolate ~ 2020
39] The Very Official & Quite Serious Donut Debate Of 2020
And, if you’re searching for a fabulous diner while in town, you can check out a variety of my local Jacksonville area diner reviews, right here:
57] First Watch on the First Coast
54] Um, Open @ Angie’s Subs
50] Sundays Are For Diners ~ Super Diners
40] Visiting The Florida Cracker Kitchen ~ Jacksonville
19] Another Broken Egg Cafe ~ A Taste Of NOLA @ The Beach
16] Beach Diner ~ If You Feed Them They Will Come
**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:
*Part of - Bean’s Coffee Shop Challenge - series
Is it me, or does everyone debate EVERYTHING nowadays?
Flip or Flop
Who wore it better?
Kate vs. Meghan
Netflix vs. Hulu
Disney vs. Universal
Coke vs. Pepsi
What came first… the chicken or the egg?
Who played the best James Bond ever?
Jelly vs. Jam
Is breakfast the most important meal of the day?
Paleo vs. Keto
Do plants have feelings?
Blake or Miranda?
N’SYNC v. NKOTB (wow, that’s a tough one)....
Oh wait, I think I’m starting to date myself over here… Moving onwards… pay no attention to me sitting in front of a square box tv watching NKOTB. Wait, they are still really together!
Yes, the list could go on forever… Because, guess what? Everyone does seem to debate everything nowadays. Ha, would who have thought?
We even debate on Twitter if an award show was totally awesome? Or was it horrible and the worst award show that ever aired on network television? In fact, now we debate not only who the host of the award show should or should not be, but if there should be a host at all? Huh?
And we have all this before even mentioning politics. The dreaded word. Lest we all forget the upcoming presidential debates ahead of us this year - yes, an official presidential election year. It looms ahead of us, taunting us all. Ahhhmmm… whether we like it or not, it’s all coming, and it’s all coming for us.
Yes, we are alive during a very interesting time… Or wait, is this time period actually interesting? Maybe we’re not even really alive? Maybe we live in a simulation. You’ve heard about that one, right? Or maybe we’re living and breathing inside an alternative universe - right now. And yep, you can easily fall into a YouTube rabbit hole on that one… Do we live in a UNIverse or do we live in a MULTIverse? THAT - is the question. Or do I have too much time on my hands? That - might be the question also.
But any way you shake it, if you are in need of a debate topic for a school project, the list is nearly endless. NO ONE should fail debate class nowadays. It should be a minute and mere impossibility.
Or should it?
So with most everything and anything up for debate today, I’m throwing my hat in the ring.
With all the seriousness going on everywhere, how’s about a good old-fashioned and silly and completely useless and utter waste of time and ridiculous debate. A debate that no matter who wins and who loses, the world won’t end. The loser won’t cry. And the winner didn’t actually even win anything? Cause, guess what else? I Don’t even have a trophy to present.
So to the loser, I say here and now: No hard feelings. It’s all just for laughs… Well - and to give me something to do...
So earlier this week I decided to go on a couple of outings, all involving donuts... I wanted to conduct a taste test and experiment of my very own. So, my husband and I played out my first ridiculous challenge of 2020. And I am hereby calling it:
“The Very Official And Quite Serious Donut Debate of 2020”
Nope, I’m not here to talk politics. Nor the Golden Globes. Nor the Oscars. Nor the Twitterverse. Nor even the Universe V. Multiverse theory. I’m simply here to talk about donuts.
And to make matters even more nonsensical and useless and to waste even more of everybody's time and efforts - I was completely biased going in, and I had many preconceived notions... How dare I?
I thought I knew who was gonna win, and I was overly confident in who I thought would lose. Yes, I was completely biased. And bias is allowed. Cause guess what? It’s all for F.U.N.
I mention my bias, my preconceived notions, etc. because at the end of the day the winner actually surprised me. Honestly. Yes, I was wowed by one, and I was under-wowed by the other. And the winner was NOT at all who I thought it was going to be.
Here’s my bias:
First of all, I LOVE donuts. Yes, I love donuts so much that people have made fun of me about it many times in the past. I am the donut girl. Long story. Not relevant. No big deal.
But, anyways, I love donuts. So, naturally, I love Dunkin Donuts. Or, ‘Dunkin’ as they are calling themselves nowadays. I know and love their coffee, and I know and love their donuts. I know how many calories are in their donuts and how to plan their donuts into my day no problem without gaining a bit of weight. Cause since we’re talking scientific theories today, weight maintenance is all about the Calories IN V. Calories OUT theory.
And, here’s my preconceived notions:
I always assumed Krispy Kreme was THE BEST. And I have NEVER ever, once ever, been to a Krispy Kreme. Did I mention never?
I know, I know…. How does someone who loves donuts not once have stepped their feet inside a Krispy Kreme?
It’s possible. Because I have never been to a Krispy Kreme until this week, for this challenge.
And, again, I just assumed through my preconceived notions and probably through their very good marketing strategy throughout the years that reflected upon me a highly sought-after and nothing-like-it-on-this-Earth quality donut.
So, I decided that I wanted to finally try Krispy Kreme, and see if they measured up to my beloved Dunkin. My forever faithful, my forever reliable, my delicious, and my heavenly, Dunkin.
So, naturally, step one of my challenge meant that I needed to go to Dunkin. Because it all starts at Dunkin. I needed to purchase their plain original glazed Dunkin Donut to try before trying the exact same at Krispy Kreme.
And yes, we ate a lot of donuts this week, and all for the sake of the written word, or for science. My tummy thanks you for the opportunity to present this completely educational and very scientific information to you.
So off we went to Dunkin. One large hot latte for myself at 130 calories (my favorite drink of the moment), and one large iced latte for the hubby - who doesn’t need to count a single calorie... so none will be listed here.
We each tried one original glazed, which clock in at 260 calories per donut. Good. Great. The best ever. According to me.
Hubby thinks they are just fine - he is not at all passionate about donuts like I am, so this answer was exactly what I expected from him.
Dunkin is busy. Always. Very busy. We always wait in a line - during the morning commuter rush. No complaints, just mentioning because they seem to have a large fan base. There are always customers. And, most all of the tables are taken inside the small shop on Beach Boulevard in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. As just as many people sit and linger, and talk, or work on the WiFi, as they do take their orders and run out the door with them. After all, American Runs On Dunkin, right?
Up next - Krispy Kreme. The next morning - same time of day. To finally try my first original glazed, fresh out of the fryer. The original. The classic. Since 1937.
So there we off and went, and actually left the island… “Over the Ditch” as the locals say.
So over the river and through the woods we went. Or over the Intracoastal and through the swamps. Same thing. Until I had finally arrived for the first time in my entire life at a Krispy Kreme. Specifically, the Krispy Kreme in the city of Jacksonville, Florida - the one on Atlantic Boulevard.
They were busy but not too busy. There was always someone placing an order, but only one table out of all the many was actually taken. Almost the entire dining room area was empty. Most everyone took their orders to go, and no one stayed, or lingered, or worked or conversed, even for a second. It was buy and run. And most ordered a box of a dozen - Just as we did.
We asked for two coffees and a dozen original glazed @ 190 calories per specimen placed atop the Bunsen Burner.
They immediately proceeded to inform us their coffee machines were broken and they could not serve us any coffees, lattes, espresso, or even any of their delicious and temptation-filled-looking frozen drinks - etc.
I was crushed. I can’t even tell you how crushed. If there’s anything I love more than donuts - it’s coffee. My laboratory might have well just exploded in my face. Ouch!
So, minus our coffee, we proceeded to sit at the counter overlooking the bright and sunny day outside the window. And we took our dozen shiny specimens and tried them hot and fresh, straight out of the fryer, and straight off the belt.
They were good. But that’s just it. They didn’t wow me! They were simply good. Immediately I was completely shocked at myself. I was expecting to be blown away. I was expecting to tell myself that these were the best donuts I ever ate and that I would be needing them in my life, every single day. For the rest of my life. But, Nope. They were just “fine” to me.
And not only were they just fine, they had a strange aftertaste. In each bite. I naturally attributed this taste to the donut coming straight off the conveyor belt? And I thought I’d wait it out before trying another one. To see if that taste went away?
So after I ate one whole donut very, very hot, and had this realization, I immediately decided I would try my next one well after they were cooled off. To taste the difference based on the temperature of the donut. All for research purposes, of course.
So we went home, and I placed the donuts delicately on top the kitchen counter.
And there they sat… thumbing their fingers at me... just waiting… yep, begging to be devoured. And still fresher-than-fresh mind you. They were just letting off some steam, I guess.
So, later that day I succumbed to all temptation and tried my next specimen, my room-temperature Krispy Kreme original glazed donut. And to my sincere shock and great surprise, that donut utterly and completely WOW - ed me. It really tasted a literal THOUSAND times better than the first one!
Ok…..? So, I just don’t like HOT donuts? I asked myself. I guess I like ‘normal’ temperature donuts?
And without even mentioning as much to the hubby… he then came along and tried his second donut. And he said the same exact thing. Wow! They are much better cooled off.
So, there ya go. We were both in agreement as to the fact that we did not care for the hot donuts. But we both loved them cooled off, after they had a chance to breathe fresh air before consumption.
Turn the page, will you?
The very next day came along.
And we both tried ‘day-old’ donuts...
Even better, yet again. 1000% better than the previous 1000% upgrade! Wow!
So basically, I came to the conclusion that the hot ones tasted like fried dough, from a carnival booth, which I love, but also with some strange and funky aftertaste. And the older ones tasted like a real, normal donut. A really good donut, an amazingly good and delicately frosted donut. And the older the donut got, the farther away that aftertaste was in my mouth.
So after all that, I really was genuinely surprised. I challenged myself to try Krispy Kreme for the first time. I sincerely thought that after one bite I would fall in love and tumble into and under a terrible spell and never to be awakened. But alas, that was not the case.
I still loved Dunkin better. Yes, even though Krispy Kreme did WOW me. I guess it’s all because they didn’t WOW me right away. I went all the way there to truly be wowed by their donuts. But that didn’t happen till much later on. And let’s not forget about the coffee - although I understand they can’t help that their machines were down. But Dunkin - omg - I love their every donut, I love their coffee selection. And I love that they are just about anywhere and everywhere you need them to be. And I love that their coffee machines have never been down on me once. I just - LOVE them.
And even though I loved the Krispy Kreme better the older it got, I still favored Dunkin after all that. After all said and done. And eaten.
Of course, I’m being completely biased, and to be completely fair I totally understand that I may have arrived at a Krispy Kreme for the first time in my life on the very day their coffee machines went down, and much to my detriment. However, the donuts just weren’t that ‘special’ to me. They were normal. They were not “leveled up” as I sometimes say. They did not wow me in any way - except - in the act of comparison to itself as it changed temperature - the thing that did WOW me was the difference in taste between a hot donut and a room temperature donut. That was the only real and true wow Krispy Kreme gave me.
I did like them enough that I will go back though. In fact, we purchased the dozen this week on a coupon they sent us in the mail for $5.99 per dozen. And our receipt revealed that deal gave us $3.00 off. And then, so ironically and only one day later after our scientific experiment concluded, and after never receiving Krispy Kreme coupons in my life until just this past month, yet another coupon arrived in the mail. Giving us a few dollars off a future dozen.
So, I’ll be back. And I’ll get that coffee I missed out on too. And I’ll be sure to try some other flavors in that dozen… like some frosted, and some sprinkled. And I’ll fill you in, if you want to be filled in on my future findings? After all, what’s a scientific experiment without repeat trials?
But for now, I’m sticking with my reliable and consistent Dunkin Donuts.
Dunkin - who is never far away from me.
Donuts - that always wow me with every bite.
Latte - that is my drink of choice for the time being.
All in all, and to summarize my findings, I hereby present and give to ‘Dunkin’ the award for best glazed original donut - over Krispy Kreme, coming in a not-far-behind second place, with a very doughy taste. Both were wonderful. But Dunkin is my go-to, and like I said... I guess I’m just completely biased.
I went into it all thinking Krispy Kreme was going to win, hands down. Thinking I’d be awestruck by them. To go over the moon for them. But that did not happen. And Dunkin it was for me, and still is. And that shocked me too.
So while this was all for fun, and our tummies consumed much deliciousness and many calories all for nothing really except this herein stated conclusion, maybe we all can take something away from this today.
Maybe we all can just laugh at ourselves more… and hate ourselves less. Maybe we all can be nicer to one another… and more forgiving of one another... Maybe we can all sit atop the counter for a while… and let off some steam before taking our next bites. After all, things might taste very different after some time has passed.
And so to conclude today’s task at hand, while I can tell you which donut I like better - please, please, PLEASE - don’t ask me to choose between Kate and Meghan. I’m begging you. That’s much too serious a topic; and I just can't do it. I love them both equally... There are some things in this world that just aren’t up for debate. ~
Hey! You there -
For more stories like this one above, check these out while you’re at it, why don’t ya:
21) Cinottis ~ And Why Life Is Too Short To Not Eat Donuts
17) Fall Flavors ~ Six Simple Steps I’m Taking This Fall To Maintain My Massive Weight Loss
7) My ‘Before & After’ ~~ How A Single Act Of Kindness, Lime Bubly, And MyFitnessPal Helped Me Lose 77 Pounds In One Year
*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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