By Dave White, Publisher, SoWal Life
I have driven past “The Melting Pot” on Highway 98 in Miramar Beach just about every day since moving to South Walton three years ago. I often wondered what was behind the name I had never heard of and hadn’t formed an opinion about either. I finally decided to stop in to resolve the mystery. Wow, was I pleasantly surprised! Turns out The Melting Pot is the premier “Fondue” restaurant on the Emerald Coast. If you are looking for a unique and interactive dining experience, this is the place.
Owned and operated by Lucinda Hollis and her fiance, Auburn Bridge, this restaurant is the one place where the owners encourage their diners to “play with their food.”
The four-course evening begins with your choice of six classic cheese dishes, from Classic Cheddar, Alpine Swiss, French Onion Gruyere, Fiesta, Quattro Formaggio or loaded Baked Potato Cheddar. Your server then brings your choice to you unmelted in a hot, 6-inch melting pot, while you choose the ingredients to accompany your cheese selection. You’re then served a mix of dipping choices from breads, apple slices, veggie mix, etc. No matter the choice, you will not be disappointed! Next is your choice of salads, ranging from the House Specialty Caesar, Caprese or California. Part of the experience is the server who works at your pace. You are never rushed. It’s a very relaxing climate.
Your main entrée comes to your table unprepared. Yes, each diner cooks their own serving. The choice of cooking accoutrements are the melting pot with canola oil, chicken or vegetable broth or the greaseless cooking grill. There are a variety of entrées to choose from including the all-natural Chicken Breast, Memphis style Dry Rub Pork, Honey Orange Duck Breast, Premium Filet Mignon, Teriyaki Marinated Sirloin, Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna and many more. Visit the website for a full list. While you’re cooking your main dish, the server will bring out a tray of warm dipping sauces to try. Teriyaki, Cream Cheese Sour, Blue cheese Port, Ginger Plum, and a spicy cocktail sauce are some of the dipping sauces you can choose from. My suggestion: try them all!
If you are at all overwhelmed, remember your server is right there to help and guide you through the process of mixing and matching the variety of flavors you’ll have to experiment with. Believe me, it’s a lot of fun and the food is out-of-this-world!
As you can imagine, the final course is dessert. Your server will bring you a warm Fondue bowl of fresh melted chocolate with your choices ranging from “The Original” milk chocolate with peanut butter, “Flaming Turtle” which has milk chocolate, caramel, candied pecans and Flambeed, “Bananas Foster, which is a white chocolate with bananas, Dulce de Leche, cinnamon, and Flambeed and many more. It’s quite a selection. Your selection of chocolate is then accompanied with a variety of dipping choices including fruits, pound cake, pretzels, marshmallows, blondies, brownies and bananas. “It’s really a joy” says Lucinda, when describing customers experiencing The Melting Pot for the first time. “It’s a little surprising and a bit overwhelming,” she said. “But quickly they find themselves engrossed in the experience. You can’t be on your cell phone because your focus is on the pot in the middle of the table. It’s wonderful watching families spending quality time together—that’s the best part.”
Lucinda also mentioned you do not need to participate in the full experience. There are “fast Fondues” for those in a hurry or you can simply stop in after work, sit at the bar and order just one course: Cheese, Salad, Entree or Chocolate. And so, no matter the occasion or how many courses you choose, The Melting Pot provides an unforgettable, interactive dining experience that turns moments into memories. From the time the first piece of bread is dipped to when the last nibble of dessert is savored, you’ll have the time to discover new things about people you thought you knew, and those you’re getting to know. A dining experience like no other.
The Melting Pot is located at 11394 US-Hwy. 98 in Miramar Beach. Call 850-269-2227 or visit www.meltingpot.com/destin-fl to view the complete menu or to make reservations.