The Cellar.

My review for Floridian View Magazine Aug. 2012

The Cellar.

Growing up in this area I’ve known of the home my entire life, built in 1907 it was the home of our nations 29th president Warren G. Harding. Today it is the location of one of the most beautiful and delicious restaurants in the Daytona area, The Cellar. Owned by Sam and Lina Moggio it is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

With a desire for something different and to seek out an eating experience in a more tranquil setting, we chose the Cellar.  Would it meet our expectations?

Currently, the upstairs dining area is being remodeled so we were led to a lovely, cozy dining area downstairs.  Our waiter, Gene, courteously advised us of the specials and wine choices but ultimately suggested what we considered the best choice to sample everything The Cellar had to offer: the tasting menu.

The tasting menu is a five-course selection of pure, fresh, amazing food.  You can order the menu with or without wine pairings.  We elected to choose our own and selected a Chianti and a “Merchant of Venice” which is a beautiful, crisp Prosecco with pomegranate syrup instead.  They were delish!

We made different selections from the Tasting Menu so that we could share a bit of everything. Starting with an Amuse’ of Tuna tartar, the tasting took us on a journey of culinary expertise and care that tickled our taste buds at every turn. The highlights of the evening for me were the Air-Dried Beef with arugula, peach vinaigrette and apple salad garnish, as well as the fettuccine, smoked duck & seasonal mushroom ragu.  The only misstep in our entire meal was that the potatoes in my main dish, which was a Paillard of snapper with fine chopped vegetables, potato galette and walnut oil, were a bit overdone for my liking.

One area of the Tasting Menu generated consensus with my dining partner and myself: Dessert!  We both insisted on ordering the Dark Chocolate Torte with creme anglaise and chocolate sauce. Served warm, the torte was delicate and rich every bite making us want another, it did not disappoint.

It’s clear from the flavors and presentation that Sam and Lina have a love for fine, fresh foods, and the flavors of Italy.   It shows in every dish, as well as the way Lina floats throughout the dining room greeting each guest with her beautiful smile and charming accent. I recommend you give this quaint old home a taste, you won’t be disappointed!

A Taste of Webster: Amuse-bouche; a single, bite-sized hors d’œuvre. Amuse-bouches are different from appetizers in that they are not ordered from a menu by patrons, but, when served, are done so for free and according to the chef’s selection alone




Beef Carpaccio.

The Perfect Beautiful Bite: An amuse-bouche is not only beautiful, but the beautiful flavors that take over your taste buds when eating one, should send you on a journey of culinary amazement. Here’s one you can try at home.

Beef Carpaccio Amuse Bouche with Radish and Cucumber Salad 

What you need: 

10 oz. best quality Beef Tenderloin

1 Cucumber finely chopped

2 Radish finely chopped

Fresh asiago cheese


1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon raw sugar

pinch kosher salt

Pinch freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tablespoon white sesame seeds, toasted in a dry pan until golden

1/4 tablespoon soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil

What you do: 

Wrap the tenderloin in plastic wrap or wax paper and place in the freezer for approx. 2 hours.

While your beef is in the freezer prepare your vinaigrette and salad.

Finely chop and mix together your radish and cucumber.

For your Vinaigrette: whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients until emulsified.

After 2 hours, unwrap the tenderloin and thinly slice the beef.  Place each slice on wax paper. Top with another piece of wax paper, and gently pound the meat with a meat mallet until it’s paper thin. Repeat until all of the meat is sliced and pounded.

When you are ready to plate your Amuse, mix your salad in with your vinaigrette tossing carefully. Plate Salad on spoon or in small dish, take one piece of beef and roll into a loose ball and place on top of the salad and add a ribbon (or grated) Asiago on top.

*NOTE: The salad flavors the beef if you do this as an Amuse, if you choose to plate pieces of beef, marinate it before freezing with the vinaigrette.


Apple Pie.

A Friend of mine mentioned she needed a drink this morning, so I am finally writing up a recipe I had from when I was Food Editor of a local magazine. When I think of Apple pie, its all about this!

Apple Pie Concoction

It’s like a party in your mouth!

What You Need: 

2 cups ice

1/4 cup Vanilla Vodka

1/2 cup Green Apple Vodka

1 cup cranberry juice

Sliced Green Apple

Cinnamon/Sugar to rim the glass (optional)

Add to a shaker, ice, Vanilla Vodka, Green Apple Vodka and cranberry juice. Pour into rimmed glasses, garnish with apple slice, and enjoy!