So, I have been spending a lot of time there the past weeks, literally every weekend and then some, doing photography, tasting drinks and food....I know its a rough job being friends with a chef....bringing family and friends to dine, and really the same word that escapes everyones lips upon their first taste of either a signature cocktail like the Ginny Rogers, or their first bite of, well anything is the only word I can choose to sum up the entire experience.
Not my literary best I concur, and will not win me any food journalism accolades. I should be using others such as, divine, exquisit, epicurean mastery....but lets be honest people, this isn't food and wine magazine, its just little old me and I am going off of the real life reactions of every person I have brought in there to try it for the first time including myself, just WOW.
The view is one of a kind, nothing but aquamarine crystal blue seas during daylight hours. Poolside and beachside dining by day, upscale casual elegance with a bit of gangster whimsy and homage to the great Sophia Loren (a personal idol of yours truly, to look like her at ANY age would be a dream) by night.
Then again a place can be as beautiful as they come but it's the food that makes it or breaks it baby, and Alba does more then deliver the goods. They own the goods.
Comfort Food is an over used phrase for sure, and completely relative to most people, but Chef Ralph Pagano takes comfort food to a level I have never seen here in Florida. I know I sound biased but I am a Northern East coast Italian food snob who has been disappointed with the food options in Florida for years now.
I have brought friends from Los Angeles, my family (the mother is the toughest critic of them all) a columbian couple who have seen and tried every single restaurant in south Florida and most recently our celebrity host from LA Julie Moran, and every single one of them starts by uttering...."Wow". See its back to that word - in encompasses all there is to say about Alba Seaside.
|You have NEVER had mussels cooked to perfection like this I am willing to put money on it.|
|Yes I work for Oysters, not a bad gig|
The biggest compliment is that every single person I have brought there, immediately starts planning when and how they can return. It could be Chef Pagano's dynamic personality and infectious enthusiasm as he brings the bingo wheel over at the end of each meal to explain the game of chance, "The Vinny D Split". You have to go and find out, I can't give away everything all at once, what fun is that?
It could be the special attention from the staff and manager that we always receive, although even though I am a friend I have noticed that kind of personal attention and service is lavished on all clientele - which probably accounts for the repeat business. It could be the food, every dish hitting the mark of perfectly cooked and executed. Have you ever had Lobster cooked the correct way? I have now, twice...at Alba.
My guess is it is combination of all of the above and more. There is always something new to discover and it keeps bringing people back again, and again.
Personally its just fun for me to walk into a place and have everybody know your name ....yes you get the reference, I mean come on...who doesn't love being treated as one of the insiders? Shooting photos for Alba means I am constantly being fed oysters, mussels, stone crabs and being sent home with top shelf wine. Membership has it's privileges.
Alba. Check it out. Once you are in, you can't leave. You won't want to.
Check out Alba Seaside Italian on Facebook for events, and specials such as WTF -something I can't wait to attend!
And if you have any problems getting in - let me know.
I know a guy. ;-)