Folio Weekly Bite Club at Crabcake Factory

6 Sep

A week ago (yeah, I’m slow on posts lately), I had the privilege of being invited to the Folio Weekly Bite Club monthly event at the Crabcake Factory.  From their website, “Bite Club is Folio Weekly’s Northeast Florida food enthusiast’s dining club hosted by Caron Streibich. Once a month, on the first or second Tuesday evening, an area restaurant partners with Bite Club to host a private tasting event.”

The Folio Weekly Bite Club was a lot of fun.  I got to meet a lot of people, many that I’d been following on Twitter, but hadn’t had the opportunity to meet.  It is definitely just as much of a networking event as it is a foodie event.

About a week before the event, we were emailed that nights menu.

Our private menu (subject to change):

Everyone is offered 1 complimentary beer or glass of house red/white wine and passed starters will be circulated from 6-6:30 pm:
-Maryland-Style Crabcake
-Jumbo Lump Crabcake Napoleons with tropical fruit salsa
-Ahi tuna and jumbo lump crab meat timbale

Buffet-style soup and salad 6:30-6:45:
-Cream of crab bisque
-Louisiana seafood gumbo
-Tossed mixed greens served with homemade champagne vinaigrette

Happy hour pricing on all drinks and 1/2 off martinis.

Dinner:
- Pan-seared sea scallop with lemon caper beurre blanc
- Mahi mahi stuffed with blue crab and served with tropical fruit salsa and a lemon chardonnay beurre blanc
- Crab stuffed shrimp
+ potato and vegetable of the day

Dessert:
-Bread pudding
-Chocolate mousse obsession

Drink specials for the evening are: $5 martinis, $3.50 house wine, $2 domestic drafts, $3 well drinks. 1st beer/house wine is complimentary.

I’ve not always been a HUGE seafood fan, but Adam is.  He has definitely opened my eyes to the world of seafood, so I was excited for a FREE opportunity to try new things.  Plus I love, love crabmeat and crabcakes.  When I saw scallops on the menu, I was thrilled.  A few months ago we went scallopin’ in the Gulf of Mexico.  Before then, I had never tried a scallop.  After we caught over 5lbs of scallops, we definitely had to cook them and I quickly became a fan.

So back to Bite Club…this is basically the recap I posted to the Folio Weekly Bite Club blog.  For the event, everything is free (minus the alcohol).  While it is free, “all attendees are asked to share their feedback about The Crabcake Factory by leaving a detailed comment on www.fwbiteclub.com after the event. Folio Weekly asks that you (and your guests) leave feedback on your overall experience and thoughts on the dishes you sampled, service, atmosphere, food, presentation, etc., so Crabcake Factory can use your valuable, candid feedback.”

Here’s my post:

Wow!  I am impressed.  I really didn’t expect much walking into Crabcake Factory.  I’d heard some mixed reviews, which I later learned was probably from the previous owners.  I have wanted to check out Crabcake Factory for a while, so when I heard that Bite Club was headed there, I signed up immediately.

When I first arrived, everyone was chatting candidly in the bar area. I am really happy I had this opportunity to meet so many new people.  Everyone was really nice and friendly

Appetizer:

The servers brought out little one serving square dishes with crabcakes. I THINK this was the Jumbo Lump Crabcake Napoleons with tropical fruit salsa.  (They did forget silverware, but I snagged some off the soup station. lol) The crab cakes were super moist and flavorful. The tropical fruit salsa wasn’t too overpowering, and really helped tie together the flavors of the crabcake and sauce. Instantly impressed.

(I didn't get any pics of this, so huge thanks to Tia for posting!)

I saw the servers with the Ahi Tuna and jumbo lump crab meat timbale.  I had some sort of bright neon green topping and did not look appetizing to me.  I’ve tried and tried to get excited about Ahi Tuna, but to me it is just gross.  Everyone that tried it seemed to think it was really good, but I’ll just have to take their word for it.

Thanks to Aloha Meisha for this pic.

I must have missed the third appetizer option, the Maryland-Style Crabcake.  That’s ok though, I was ready for the next course!

Souper Salad:

Next we were welcomed to try two soups and a salad.  I instantly went for the Cream of Crab Bisque.  So super delicious, it had huge chunks of crab meat in it.  Definitely a hit!  There was also Louisiana Seafood Gumbo, but I was afraid this would be spicy so I passed.  There was also a bowl of tossed mixed greens served with homemade champagne vinaigrette.  Lots of people raved about the dressing.  I was there to try all the seafood options, so I passed.

Another thanks to Aloha Meisha for this pic

Entrée:

After everyone devoured the souper salads, we were welcomed to sit down in a small private dining room.  Everyone was eagerly waiting to place their order for one of the dinner options.  Tonight they were serving pan-seared sea scallop with lemon caper beurre blanc, mahi mahi stuffed with blue crab and served with tropical fruit salsa and lemon chardonnay beurre, crab stuffed shrimp, and a potato/vegetable of the day.  Well everyone was definitely surprised when we found out we didn’t have to pick just one.  We were given a plate containing one serving of each and a delicious creamy mashed potato and asparagus side.

Thanks again to Tia. This pic shows more food, less mash..)

The first thing I tried was the scallop.  I absolutely love scallops, so I was definitely looking forward to this one.  It was incredibly moist and the lemony sauce fit the flavor perfectly.

Next I tried the crab stuffed shrimp.  When I first looked at this shrimp, I noticed it was a larger than usual shrimp, plus with all the crab meat bursting out, it looked mammoth.  It too was juicy and perfectly seasoned.

Third I tried the mahi-mahi. In all honesty, I initially forgot this was fish.  It had a texture just like chicken.  I was told it was overcooked, and that’s why it was fairly dry.  I really didn’t mind though, everything else had been so delicious.

Last I dove into the long awaited mashed potatoes and asparagus.  So light and creamy, they were quite possibly the best thing on the plate.

Dessert:

Finally, to conclude the meal, we were welcomed to choose between bread pudding or chocolate mousse obsession.  It honestly was hard to pass up a dessert that had the word ‘obsession’ in the title, so I selected the Chocolate Mousse.  When it arrived, I admit I was slightly disappointed.  Personally, I hate when anything is fruited.  Whether its cake, cheesecake, or in this case, chocolate mousse.  This chocolate mouse was paired with a raspberry sauce, which while I tried, just wasn’t my thing.  I wish the name of the entrée had hinted at the raspberry sauce, because I would have gotten the bread pudding instead.  I did get to eat plenty of the chocolate mousse that hadn’t been disturbed by the raspberry sauce, so I’m sure I’ll survive.

Another table mate of ours, had tried her bread pudding, but offered it up to the rest of us to also enjoy.  When I tried it, I definitely wish I had ordered that.  It was soo delicious.

Finally, to wrap everything up, the owner and his son came out and thanked everyone for coming. He mentioned that they had bought the restaurant back from the original owners back in January, and they were pleased with the changes that they had brought on.

Overall, I really enjoyed the Bite Club experience, and definitely hope to have the opportunity to come out to another event.  I can safely say I will be dining at Crabcake Factory again soon.  I heard they have a really good oyster special one night during the week.  Combine those with some Cream of Crab Bisque and a Crab Cake, and I’ll be in heaven.

If you haven’t previously made it out to a Bite Club event, I highly recommend it.  Plus it was really interesting to read everyone else’s reviews afterwards knowing they had experienced almost the same dining experience I had.

Here’s some other reviews of the event:

Crab Cake Factory on Urbanspoon
Have you been to a Folio Weekly Bite Club Event?  Where did you dine? Would you do it again?

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