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Rio Coco Cafe, Vero Beach – What a gem!

RioCocoKaraBeanSalad

Finally, a new post!  It seems like it’s been ages since I had posted anything.  Terrible, I know.  So what’s been going on with me?  Work, traveling, trying to be healthy and enjoy life.  During my little travels to Vero Beach, FL I found a cute little coffee shop.  There’s just something I love about coffee shops.  The smell of fresh roasted coffee beans, the relaxing atmosphere, it’s just a good place for a quick mental getaway.

 

RioCocoExteriorRioCocoCounterRio Coco Cafe has all that and it’s been around for over a year.  Don’t let the exterior fool you, the inside is full of goodness!  It’s located in a shopping plaza near the Vero Beach Airport.

When you walk in the atmosphere is instantly welcoming, filled with the smells of roasted coffee.  I absolutely love coffee shops and this place doesn’t disappoint.

The staff is extremely helpful and friendly!  There’s a food menu, drink menu and a coffee beans menu.  The food menu consists of breakfast items, salads, paninis and wraps.  I’m at a coffee place so you know I’ve got to try some of the coffee here!  White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Espresso Drink it is!  Sweet, strong and tasty.  Not a bad way to get the day started.

RioCocoMacadamiaNutEspressoDrink

 

RioCocoKaraBeanSaladI ordered the Kara Bean Salad with Chicken and my boyfriend ordered the Pesto Chicken Panini.  The Kara Bean Salad ($7.01) is vegan and gluten free unless you decide to add additional items to it.  I added chicken for an additional 2 dollars.  This is a vibrant salad with spinach, romaine lettuce, shredded red cabbage, black beans, corn, mandarin oranges, almonds, Parmesan cheese and balsamic vinaigrette.  This salad had great texture and was very hearty.

 

RioCocoChickenPestoPaniniThe Chicken Pesto Panini ($7.24) has chicken, roasted red pepper, mozzarella, and pesto.  The wraps and sandwiches come with multi-grain flax chips and a pickle.  This was another filling menu item but not overly filling where you want to take a nap after lunch.

 

RioCocoFlankSteakSaladThere are two flank steak items listed with fairly close prices.  The Flank Steak Salad ($7.48) and the Flank Steak Panini ($7.71).  The Flank Steak Salad has steak, spinach, romaine lettuce, sweet peppers,red onions, tomatoes, and balsamic vinaigrette.  The Flank Steak Panini consists of french bread, steak, red onions, horseradish sauce, and RC sauce.

RioCocoFlankSteakPaniniI found the salad to have more flavor and more content than the Flank Steak Panini.

 

 

 

 

RioCocoCoffeeRoasterYou’ll notice their slogan, “good coffee, great cause.”  The folks at Rio Coco Cafe call their coffee 100% humanic.  That’s right, “humanic”, not organic or fair trade.  They have a nifty little video about it on YouTube if you have the time to watch.  Basically the profits that Rio Coco Cafe earns goes to help children and teachers in Nicaragua that are involved with Project Ezra.  The coffee is roasted in small batches, in house.

Overall the food is good and the service is great, but you should really come here for the coffee.   If you aren’t in the local area to try the coffee, you can always order coffee from their website Rio Coco Beans.


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Hot Krust Panini Kitchen

HotKrustCactusChili

HotKrustExteriorI walked into Hot Krust Panini Kitchen not knowing anything about it and left loving it.  Recently, I had an opportunity to attend an event where I got to sample many of the food items.  I meet the owner Evan Dimov and he’s so genuinely nice and super passionate about this place!  Everything is fresh, no processed meats, the meats are actually roasted in house and they don’t even have a deep fryer.  I did have a little difficulty locating this place.  It’s somewhat hidden from the main road of Turkey Lake but it’s next to Barnie’s right by the Whole Foods.  I really came in here with no expectations aside from knowing that they offered sandwiches.  As I entered inside, I get a sense of a simple, clean, and open atmosphere.  The menu is on a screen above the registers.  It’s definitely got this “new” appeal in here.  By the soda fountain, there are Fat Cat hot sauces which are locally based.  The Purry-purry sauce was my favorite, garlicky flavor with a medium level of heat.

HotKrustInterior

 

HotKrustCactusChili

I had the cactus chili first.  It was hearty but not the typical dense chili I was accustomed to.  The menu description lists: “Savory cactus, ground beef, diced tomatoes, onions, corn, northern beans & spinach in a spicy broth.”  Spicy broth?  Well, it wasn’t THAT spicy which is fine since some people’s heat tolerance can be quite low.  The cactus chili wasn’t just a name, it actually had cactus in it.  That was a first for me but no complaints on my end.  Next, I tried the waffle fries.  Hot Krust offers three types of waffle fries where are regular, spicy and sweet potato.  These fries are actually baked so I didn’t feel as guilty about eating them.

Then I see the Burgernini “HK Monster”.  Wow, what is this?  I took a bite and wanted more!  The  100% Angus beef burger patty was cooked perfectly.   Wait, am I eating fries in it too?  Yep but it works especially with the BBQ-honey mustard sauce.  I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of a burgernini before but whatever this is, it’s just great.  The actual size of this sandwich is an 8 ounce burger on a huge bun.  The Cowboy Jack was my second favorite sandwich.  It has steak, horseradish peppercorn, black olives, tomatoes, spinach, red onions and Monterrey Jack cheese.  Fear not, the horseradish peppercorn is mild.  It does sound a bit intense but the sandwich is seriously fantastic.

The Florentine chicken panini had roasted chicken, sundried tomatoes,  havarti cheese, spinach,  lite mayo & pesto sauce.  It was really good.  And I mean, really good.  The Buffalo Bill Chicken (chicken, buffalo sauce, onions, jalapeno peppers, lettuce, provolone cheese and blue cheese crumbles) was a bit strong on the blue cheese flavor.  A little blue cheese definitely goes a long way and in this instance it managed to overpower the other ingredients.

My vegetarian friends, I can assure you the veggie sandwiches here are great.  The Alibaba Veggie (hummus, fresh mozzarella, red onions, lettuce and tomatoes) was good but Veggie Vacation (freshly roasted portobello mushroom, Swiss cheese, bell pepper, pesto, spinach, red onions and tomatoes) was even better.  They definitely don’t skimp out on the toppings here.

The Sangria Shrimp was “different”.  It has grilled shrimp glazed with sangria vinaigrette, pesto, red roasted pepper, spinach and provolone cheese.  I’m sure there’ll be fans of this one but it was a tad too sweet for me.  I do appreciate the originality of this sandwich.  If they have any chocolate chip cookies, go for it.  MMMM cookies…..  My only gripe would be that I wish the chicken wings were a bit more crisp aside from that, everything really was enjoyable.

I’ve tried enough sandwiches here that I bet everybody will find something they’ll like.  The price of the food is definitely reasonable considering the quality of the food here.

 

This place may be small but the flavor certainly isn’t!

www.hotkrust.com

HOURS:
Mon-Sat: 8am-8pm
Closed on Sundays

Hot Krust Panini Kitchen on Urbanspoon