This weekend, I had the opportunity to check out Omni Amelia Island Plantation with my Mom for a perfect girls getaway. Nine years ago, we spent Thanksgiving here with our family and I was speechless upon arriving for this trip. Omni Resorts purchased Amelia Island Plantation in 2010 and did a huge renovation. Omni was able to keep the Magic of the Island while also giving it an upscale resort feel. I spent nearly 9 years in resort development, where we specialized in 4 diamond resorts. Omni Amelia Island Plantation not only impressed me, it left me yearning for more.
Our room and view were perfect. Situated on floor two, overlooking the pool with a stunning view of the ocean. The Omni Amelia Island Plantation has 3.5 miles of oceanfront and this was the perfect location for the Mom and Megan weekend. I am always impressed when I visit a hotel and the interior of the room makes me want to redecorate my house.
Omni Amelia Island Plantation features multiple pools, including an adult only swimming area. With 404 rooms and 600 chaise lounges, you will never have to worry about rushing down in the morning to secure your sun bathing fortress at 7am. There is also a full-service spa, kids' club, fishing lake which is situated between 3½ miles of white sand beaches and the intracoastal waterway, convenient for those with boats. If you wanted to check out 1,350 acre property, there's many options for transportation such as bicycles rentals, Island Hoppers (golf carts), Segway tours, tag-along bikes, baby trailers and jogging strollers.
The food - ohhh the food. We were spoiled this weekend at Omni Amelia Island Plantation. On the first night, we dined at Oceanside Restaurant and feasted on a seven course pairing from Executive Chef Daven Wardynski and his magical team. Chef Daven is all about Southern Food with an Attitude and it showed in more ways than one.
Course 1: Ice Breaker
Chilled Florida Spiny Tail Lobster with edamame and a mango habanero tomato water broth. The flavors of this dish literally danced on my tongue. I am not a spicy girl, but it was the perfect amount of heat. I loved this and ate every ounce, knowing we had 6 courses to go. Oops.
Grilled corn and hominy salad with a sweet pea mouse, savory panna cotta and plantation mushrooms. This dish screamed truffle and was delicious. The panna cotta was a perfect addition to the earthiness. At this point, I realized how talented Chef Devan and his team were and was even more excited for the remaining 5 courses.
Florida Tuna in a can with pickled shishito and basil ice cream. Yes, I said tuna in a can, although this isn't the canned tuna my cat stalks me for. Poor Boo-Kitty is missing out. This was tied for my favorite dish of the night and I even exclaimed a little to happily that this must be what it feels like to be on a Food Network show. The basil ice cream was a perfect companion to the delicious tuna. Using pickled shishito peppers was far more delicious than using jalapenos. Looking at this photo makes me want to get back in the car and drive 4 hours back to Amelia Island.
She-Crab Soup with salmon roe and granny smith apples. This dish gets two photos, a before and after. When the dish was placed in front of us, we all looked with confusion, this isn't what we were expecting. Then came the ladle of the creamed crab goodness. I am a Southern girl who grew up on she-crab soup and this blew my mind out of the water. When Chef referred his cuisine to Southern Food with an Attitude, this clearly took the plate.
I will be honest...Upon looking at the menu, this was the one dish I was least excited for - until it was presented.Out comes plates of chicken and I start having flash backs of my favorite spa. While my spa doesn't serve chicken, it has lemongrass candles burning all day. The beautifully presented chicken with white bean and cracklin' pork came out and everyone tore the plate apart to find the lemongrass - to no avail. We learned that there was a Lemongrass essence rubbed on the plate to play with our senses. You eat first with your nose and this truly did a number on us. I LOVED this dish and what I thought would be the one thing I could skip ended up being my favorite of the night, tied with the tuna.
More food!? Yes, a Jerk spiced pork loin with bacon and plantains. Those who know me are aware of my bacon obsession and I sadly could only taste this dish since I over indulged in the 5 dishes above. It was delicious with the perfect spices and the bacon could have won awards.
While I am not a sweet tooth, I am a total s'mores girl. So I made sure to save a few bites when I saw that the dessert was a chocolate mousse cake with graham crackers and marshmallows. What I wasn't expecting was the presentation. A miniature cast iron skillet filled with wood chips was lit on fire, to give us the true sensation of being at a campfire. This entire dinner was already beyond anything I could have imagined but this truly knocked it out of the park.
Stay tuned for day 2, where the group was given $20 to shop with at the local farmers market - each item was given to Chef and team to create our lunch. There was also a bubble and biscuit bar :)