Pensacola, Florida
Thursday December 14th 2017

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The Chef vs. The Foodie: chizuko

One of us is a Chef and the other a Foodie. One of us is a local, the other is new to town. One of us was raised on the beach, the other in the mountains. But we both absolutely love food and talking to anyone who will listen to us about it.

Thankfully, after spending years annoying our friends and family with our never-ending opinions on texture, taste, décor, etc… we found each other. After many meals and debates, we decided to start writing it down and Inweekly agreed to publish it—anonymously, of course, because that’s how all good critics do it.

So here we are using this column as the ultimate excuse to eat everything we can, everywhere we can and then tell you all about it—the good, the bad and the meh.

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October brings lots of things to the Pensacola area—like the first hint that summer is ending and fall is going to be here anytime soon. And although it’s still usually hot, October also always signifies Best of the Coast—Inweekly’s annual issue that showcases those businesses that have been killing it all year long.  This year our personal Best of the Coast favorite shout out goes to a newbie in town. They won Best New Restaurant, Best New Bar and Best Bar Food, along with a slew of runner-up nods for things like their beer selection, food and ambiance. Yeah, we are talking about chizuko and here’s our take on their small, yet diverse, totally vegan menu.

THE CHEF
chizuko has easily become my neighborhood go-to for healthy late night eats and a good beer selection,  which after a long day of work is exactly what you need. Their edamame is always killer with just a hint of spice, and paired with the coconut miso soup your mouth will experience a perfect balance of flavor and heat. Sticking with their Asian influenced options, the Banh Mi slider rounds out a full meal leaving you happily full but with enough space for a few more of your favorite beers. From a different cuisine, the bruschaletta always satisfies and reminds me of a Greek pizza layered with delicious textures, salinity and acid. No matter what you get, you’ll be left full, but without feeling gross inside.

The Foodie
Picture a casual punk bar with Asian inspired dishes to satisfy my refined foodie palate and you have yourself chizuko. This is the place to go when you want great food on a budget. Sure, their funky bar vibe doesn’t totally scream “Hey, we have delicious food too!” It’s almost like they want it to be a secret…  Well, I (plus everyone who voted for their bar food)  are outing their secret. Don’t leave without having their coconut miso soup—it’s creamy, savory, and sweet spoonfuls of heaven. And you must save room for their Double Decker PB&J. Their combination of fresh fruit, Nutella and potato chips between toasted bread amounts to double perfection. Eat here, be full, be happy and give thanks to the boss ladies at chizuko.