09 October 2011

The Village Bread Cafe

I should start by saying that I love when a restaurant serves breakfast all day.  It just makes sense.  Why stop serving breakfast foods?   Who determined that eggs, pancakes, grits, hashbrowns, etc, etc, had to be eaten only before 11am.  Or even worse... 10:30am!? I say we stick it to the man and declare that all restaurants serving breakfast should serve it all day long!  Heck!  Why not serve foods like pizza and cold chicken with it?  Those are great foods to munch in the morning.  

Anyway, let’s get my train of thought back on track.  Especially considering the fact that Village Bread Cafe serves breakfast... wait for it... ALL DAY!!  

Now, what makes the above rant even funnier is that I’ve never actually ordered their breakfast.  My hubby feasted upon gigantic, puffy pancakes that were about to float off his plate.  And my Dad has enjoyed their eggs & grits with toast (baked in house), but I’ve never actually partaken of the breakfast goods.

To be completely honest, I’m a one trick pony with their food.  I always, always get the Village Veggie  Pizza with a side of Slaw (and occasionally a salad, as seen below).   Believe me, there is a reason for that.  It is absolutely, without a doubt, as sure as the day is long, the best personal size pizza in Jacksonville.  It’s not traditional pizza crust. Rather it’s baked on ciabatta (also made in house), but my oh my it is amazing.  The goat cheese and mozzarella, piled high with fresh tomatoes, red onions and olives.  I’m salivating just thinking about it.  We intend to go there for dinner next week. Maybe I’ll try something new.  Like breakfast.

Check these out and do some salivating of your own...

(look at that fluff!)

Happy Eating!

Village Bread Cafe on Urbanspoon

19 September 2011

Get your delicious on...

At Soup’s On!  

In Florida, we really only have two seasons: summer and pseudo-winter.  During the summer time, I often lay around my house with the AC cranking and the fans at full speed praying for clouds to offer some respite from the blazing sun.  I feel like a Morlock in those months, squinting and cringing in the harsh light.  

But pseudo-winter... now there’s a different story!  Scarves, sweaters, coats, boots, hats!  I love it all.  But most of all, I love the food.  Hot soup and sandwiches, chili, stew.  So to my utmost joy and exultation, I have discovered Soup’s On.  Granted it’s not cold outside just yet, but I’m counting down the days.  And while I’m at it, I’m enjoying some “made-fresh with local ingredients” soup from Soup’s On.

So far I’ve had the Carrot & Apple soup (I enjoyed it hot, but it can also be served cold); Wild Mushroom & Barley Soup with an open-faced Roasted Eggplant sandwich with goat cheese; and Apricot & Red Lentil Soup with a Portobello Mushroom sandwich. My hubby has twice supped happily on French Onion soup (he ate a whole pint the first time).

(Sorry some of the pictures are blurry and the food half-eaten... usually I’m too excited about the food to remember to take a picture until it’s too late)

Wild Mushroom & Barley with Roasted Eggplant

French Onion Soup with Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil Sandwich

Apricot & Red Lentil Soup and Portobello, Arugula & Pepper Jack Sandwich

Can’t forget the tea!  This was delightfully refreshing: Citronella Tea
No, not the stuff you put in candles to keep the bugs away.  But it is just delicious enough to chase the summer blues away. =)

Yum! Yum!  Happy Eating!  Tchau! Tchau!

Soup's On Jacksonville on Urbanspoon

06 September 2011

Oh the places you'll go...

and the showers you'll throw!

For me baby & wedding showers are usually tossed into the same category as Mary Kay & Pampered Chef parties; that category being “Things I Avoid If At All Possible”. I would much rather hang out and watch a game with my hubby then ooh and aah over shiny things and baby blankets. But anyone who came to my sisters recent Baby Shower never would have believed that for a second.

Not including weeks of idea swapping, tossing, renewing, crumpling, uncrumpling and finally, deciding, my Mom, Little Sister and I spent about 15 hours (9 in a row... from 6pm to 3am) rearranging furniture and decorating for this Baby Extravaganza. It’s wasn’t a shower... it was a Deluge! And it was worth every minute.

We enlisted the help of old faithful - The World Wide Web - in our quest to find the perfect decorations for a Dr. Seuss themed shower. We made out like bandits! In our preparation for the big day, we shopped at Michaels , Joann’s and The Dollar Tree. It was exhausting and a bit of strain on the brain. I think I cracked a little at Dollar Tree...

In the end, we came home with bags and bags of all manner of bright and Suessy things.

The following Friday, the real fun began...


To make our “One of Three Cheese Trees”, I cut a tree shape from poster board and my lil’ sister painted it green. Then we trimmed the edges with bright green pipe cleaners... careful! Hot glue is hot!

The diaper cake was a blast to make! Whoa! That was Suessy! Anyway, LeiLani (or Mom... it was late and I can’t remember) had the nifty idea to wrap the pipe cleaners around a pencil to make them twisty. Then we proceeded to shove all manner of baby items around the cake.

To spice up the table clothes we found shiny tissue paper and used generous amounts double-sided tape to make sure the window unit didn’t blow anything away.

Just some final touches to the cheese tree... we hot glued puffy blue balls to the tips to make it look a little more festive; and to protect our fingers from the metal pip cleaner tips. We hung Chinese lanterns, balloons, and little paper Hats from the ceiling. We stuck Dr. Seuss characters all over the house, made Truffula trees and even had Thing 1 and Thing 2 running through the front yard ( I failed, much to my dismay, to take a picture of that** ). From the driveway to the bathroom, we went Suessical! And most importantly, it was a hit with our Mommy-to-Be!

Thing 2 & Thing 3 (Technically I'm Thing 1 because I'm the eldest)

**A word of advice: If you're planning something like this and want to document it, DO NOT rely on yourself to take all the pictures. I was too caught up in the hosting and forgot to take half the pictures I wanted.

***I forgot to mention (thank you, Bethany for reminding me) to really get people oohing and aahing, we hung pictures of Courtney when she was a baby. The guests just loved it! We joked about what the Lil' Momma would say when she saw them and I think it was my Mom that guessed it right: "I was such a cute baby!"

Happy Eating and Showering! =P

03 September 2011

Customization is wow!

Customization! I made a background all by me onesies. And now I’m trying to figure out how to get around the image upload limit in Blogger. Will I be successful?

Sam's excitement suggests that I am!

The simplicity of it suggests that I really should have figured this out a long time ago.

01 September 2011

From the rising of the sun to its setting

This photo was snapped with my phone whilst driving over a bridge with my mom saying "be careful!" I couldn't get over the way the rays so vividly cut through the clouds. It was breath taking. I captured this on the same day we were going to visit my grandmother's grave. It was the one year anniversary of her death, August 20th. To memorialize her, we sat on a bench near her headstone and ate one of her favorite breakfasts: Hardees biscuits. (Her favorite was sausage, but Mom went for chicken and I skipped the meat, just egg and cheese please.)

Despite my mom's throbbing headache and a sweet, but annoying old lady who would not go away, we had a nice morning. It gave us at least a little time to reflect on the woman we loved and still love. Lately I've been reflecting on her more often. And so this musing took shape in the form of words on a screen...

On August 20th, 2010 Mammaw passed away. She was a beautiful woman in a spectrum of ways; a true southern lady. She wouldn't dare leave the house unless her hair was fixed and her stockings were on. A hard working mother, wife & friend, she gave of herself completely until she took her last breath.

She fostered my love for food at a very young age. Waking up to her frying eggs in bacon grease (in theory: disgusting, in reality: delicious) or skipping school lunch to have an egg sandwich will always be some of my favorite memories. And oh boy! could she cook a roast! Or fried chicken and gravy! or chicken pot pie! or biscuits! (I apologize for the punctuation overdose, but if you had experienced this food, you'd be exclaiming too!) Anything she set her mind to, she could cook.

Thankfully, she passed that trait onto my mother. Mom's forte is baking, but really if she were given the ingredients of the "Chopped" crew, she could whip up a tasty dish in 30 minutes or less. Drat! I'm making myself hungry!

She not only passed on the cooking gene, but the industrious one as well. My mother worked hard to help our Mammaw, forfeiting a job of her own and even time with her family to assist her as she aged. And the aging process was not always easy or graceful for Mammaw. However, she always wanted my mom to be successful at everything she did.

So I diverge a little to remind my mom of that; seeing that she started a new job this week (yay!). Mammaw may have been her biggest fan, but she is just one of many big fans. We're all rooting for her to succeed. And Mammaw would be to.

24 July 2011

Donut feel like forever...

to me it does.

Once again I've put this off for over a month. I'm sure I would be motivated to post more if I knew I had more followers. But since I'll never be Julie Powell I should be content to enjoy posting for the simple pleasure of writing about something I love... life & food. And since life has been busy as of late (fyi: learning a new language is hard) I suppose I'll take a brief moment to blog about the latter.

The specific food of the moment is the all powerful Donut. Not just any donut. It's a Julie Darling Donut. Behold...

The work of art you see here is a Pancake 'n Bacon donut. No, not bacon bits. Puh-lease. These folks do it right. They fry the bacon in house, crumble it up and sprinkle it on the icing like Tinkerbell's fairy dust. Pure magic. And, naturally, if you have donuts, you must serve decent coffee. Once again, Julie Darling did not fail to please. Bold, tasty coffee and a lovely little lounge with couches on which one can sit and enjoy said coffee.

Julie Darling is just one more brick in the wall of evidence that proves Chattanooga is one of the best cities in America.

Enjoy the photos below. And be careful not to let the drool puddle up on the keyboard. It's rather damaging.

Bavarian Cream


Pancake 'n Bacon

Classic Chocolate Frosted

Happy Eating!
(thanks, Megan for the use of your pictures!)

Julie Darling Donuts on Urbanspoon

14 June 2011

Sneak Peek

After spending way too much of my life uploading and organizing pictures from our trip, I was positively exhausted. Aside from that, I'm not feeling too well. Perhaps it's all the blasted smoke in the air... Florida is on fire... again.

My apologies, I'm just whining now.

Anyway, I at least wanted to post something to gain a sense of accomplishment. And 'to see good because of my hard work.'


11 June 2011

Chattanooga Revisited...

So we are once again in our home away from home. The trip has been exciting to say the least; from jellyfish and penguins to a church on fire to homemade Chicago-style hotdogs. Tons of pictures soon to follow.

But that will have to wait. I leave now to indulge in fish tacos with zesty corn salsa and jalapeno guacamole! Yum!

Bon Ap├ętite!

29 April 2011

When the moon hits your eye...

like a Carmine's Pizza Pie (or lasagna or manicotti...), that's Amore!

Ate at Carmine's just this evening and had to come home and immediately write the review... no hesitation or procrastination, as usual. This is the second time I've enjoyed this restaurant and like a good wine or cheese, it gets better with age. I only imagine this place will become more and more popular and will join the ranks of Riverside's best eateries.

My hubby and I had a date night, so we started with "a little sumpin' sumpin'" ale (Lagunita's), which was offered on the honor system upon request. By that I mean I asked if we could have a beer while we waited for our table and he said, "Why yes!" No tab necessary, just an honest agreement that we would pay up once we were sat. I dig that kind of service!

So anyway, on to the important stuff... Onion Rings!

The Remoulade dipping sauce completed this trinity of delightfulness. The rings were crispy on the outside with a juicy, sweet burst of onion inside. We forced ourselves to stop a little short, to leave room for the ...bum bum bah!

Done Right Manicotti

I apologize for the messily strewn pasta, but in our greedy haste I forgot to take the picture when it first arrived. Oh well. As you can see, one meal easily feeds two. Stuffed with spinach, ricotta and happy pills (at least that's my opinion), the Manicotti was perfect! The pasta was neither too tough, nor mushy. The harmonious union of tomato sauce with spicy sausage slices was the icing on the cake... not the best analogy, but it will have to do.

All in all, I love this place! The meals might appear to be a little pricey at first glance, but, trust me, it is too much for one and more than enough for two. The atmosphere and service is fantastic too! I can't sing this places praises enough without actually bursting into song.

Happy Eating!

Carmine's Pie House on Urbanspoon

16 February 2011

Confection Perfection

Goodness me! While sifting through some old pictures the other day, I found a restaurant that I completely forgot. Since it reminds me of one of my favorite places - Asheville, NC - I decided it would be a travesty to forget it.

True Confections was our "alone" time spot while on our Asheville trip with a couple of good friends. No matter how much we get along, at some point we all want to go in different directions and get some time apart. So that's what we did. Sam and I found this quaint little bakery near the Art District in Asheville. It was cozy and from our window seat we were able to engage in a favorite pastime... People Watching. Which can be crazy fun with all the hippies in Asheville. No offense, hippies! You're just interesting to watch!

Anyway, back to the important stuff: FOOD! Sam indulged with a hearty slice of warm Cherry Pie whilst I snacked on yet another scone, Blueberry or Blackberry; sadly I can't remember because it was so many months ago. Either way, both desserts were delicious!

The staff was pleasant and fast too. Although speed was not on our minds at that point. When I get to go back, I hope to keep my seat in the window a little longer next time.

Happy Eating! Tchau!

True Confections on Urbanspoon

15 January 2011

Smells like coffee

(Ok, so that was my lame attempt at a Nirvana reference.
Simply because the coffee served here will take you there.)

Ever walked into a Starbucks and thought, "It smells like a Mocha Frappacino" or "I just love the aroma of Pumpkin Spice Lattes"? Most likely you have. But when was the last time you stepped into the store with the green sign and thought, "Gee, this place smells like fresh ground coffee"? ...

Can't remember, can you? That's because it probably hasn't happened in a long time. If ever.

Smelling fresh ground - make that fresh roasted - coffee is always a guarantee at Coffee Roasters. Also guaranteed is friendly service and fantastic tasting coffee! Bob was kind enough to give us Cliff's Notes on coffee roasting - why coffee sometimes tastes burnt, how they grow coffee to be flavored, etc. ... Oh what's that? Did you think I was going to tell you? Pish! Go see Bob at Coffee Roasters to find out.

I had a Brazilian roast my first visit and an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe on the second. My hubby and I were astounded at the bouquet of flavors found it the latter. To best experience the subtle hint of citrus (I say, lemon to be exact, but I may be wrong) drink it black - which really is the only way to drink coffee in my book (or blog).

Word on the street is they may be moving. So if you don't live in Mandarin, check their site before trekking across the river. However, if you're questioning whether it's worth the drive in the first place, allow me to reassure you; it is.

Roasting is done on site! Ask for a tour!

You can buy the beans, but you can't buy Alf
(2nd shelf up from the bottom on right)

Sit and play a spell!

Happy Eating! Tchau!

Coffee Roasters of Florida on Urbanspoon