They grow much of the food locally -- which is big news for foodies -- but the real results come inside the Isle Casino and Racing's buffet.
Renamed the Farmer's Pick Buffet, the casino has improved by using dishes made with ingredients grown in the casino's year-old 1-acre garden and hydroponic nursery located in the back of the property. (The media got a tour on Tuesday; the upgraded buffet opened on Sept. 14.)
"We continually want to refresh all of our products here and food is an important part of that," Isle GM Rob Wyre said. "Casino dining has changed from the days of big covered pans of stuff covered with sauce, and we want to stay ahead of things."
For that reason, Wyre hired Marina Petrakos, a horticulturalist who once was in charge of an organic herb and vegetable garden for the Breakers in Palm Beach. The hydroponic garden produces as much as 25 pounds of spring-salad mix per week, and there's enough basil so that all the pesto is made in-house.
"I'd stack our individual food experience up against any casino in South Florida," Wyre said. The casino also has Farradday's steaks, Bragozzo Italian restaurant and Myron's deli.
Eventually, the garden could grow to six acres, casino officials say.
Farmer’s Pick Buffet will add a new salad bar and sushi station in addition to an expanded dessert selection. The offerings will be significantly more robust with additional greens and toppings for salads and a large array of desserts, including homemade cinnamon rolls with Florida orange blossom honey icing. Just a few new vendors include: Neville and Joe's Key West Lime Juice, Mozzarita, Alderman Farms, Pero Farms, Brother’s Bakery, HOT DAMN Hot Sauce, Sweetwater Creek Honey Farm, Zachs Zombie Sauces-Marinades, Inc., and Dat'l Do-it, Inc.
Chef de Cuisine Aaron Andryka said he has been working directly with the local vendors.
"It’s really great to be able to stand behind Florida purveyors that I’ve personally selected and know that the ingredients selected are the best," he said in a press release. "My favorite dishes are the vegetable whole wheat flat bread with fresh mozzarella provided by Mozarrita and the orange blossom honey-glazed ham with honey provided by Sweetwater Creek Honey Farm.”
Farmer’s Pick Buffet hours and pricing are:
Lunch: Monday – Saturday 11 am – 3 pm $12.99
Dinner: Sunday – Thursday 4 pm – 9 pm $20.99
Seafood Dinner: Friday & Saturday 4 pm – 10 pm $25.99
Brunch: Sunday 10 am – 3 pm $17.99
Coming next week: Photo gallery of the garden and the buffet.Copyright © 2015, South Florida