I’ll Have What She’s Having

Summertime, Summertime Salads

If you didn’t just read that title to the tune of Summertime Sadness by Lana Del Rey please go back and do it again. I’ll wait.

Lana is a new-ish obsession of mine, and I’m embracing her low-key (if sad) music, because it’s been the only relaxing or low-key part of my whole summer. Yup, Plan B is still in progress, full revel coming to you in about a month. So, I’ve been pretending I’m relaxing as I try to put my life into a box (which is very rejuvenating and low pressure, right? ha!) to the crooning tunes of Lana Del Rey. The only other things that feel summery to me are of course the heat (!!!), the Olympics and these beautiful salads.

Portofino Salad with Grilled Chicken, Shrimp, Goat Cheese & Pine Nuts

Grilled Salmon Salad with Mango, Grapes and Asparagus

Small Antipasto Salad with Grilled Vegetables

I can’t take credit for their creation, that was all Pomod0ro Cafe, but I can claim the accomplishment of the take down of two of them. Yes, two.

See, what had happened was: Mom & Dad got back from an overly indulgent vacation to Jamaica, and begged for requested that we have salads for dinner.  I LOVE Pomodoro’s Cafe and since I’ll have less opportunities to dine there soon, and they have wickedly good salads, and I always order the Salmon Salad, because it’s amazing, and, well it was a no brainier that we go there. (Was that enough comas for you?)

But when we arrived, the Portofino salad was on special and I just couldn’t turn down the power of Shrimp AND Goat Cheese AND Pine Nuts! So, I noshed on the insalata special and Mom had the Salmon. Dad of course had the Antipasto, and drowned it in balsamic and black pepper before I could get a picture.

Salads for dinner? Done and done..and oh so tasty, refreshing and perfect for a hot summer evening.

Oh, right…I did say I had TWO of the salads above. Now, while I am quite the little FattyFattyMooMoo I did not consume two entree salads in one night.  Nope, I still had that Salmon salad, with it’s savory grilled flavors, crisp asparagus and sweet mango, which all pairs perfectly with the house honey balsamic dressing on the brain after my summertime dinner out with the family, so I did what any crazed Florida Gal would do in the summer, I went two days later and ordered a Salmon Salad all for myself! Nom.

Have you been eating any summertime salads during this crazy heat wave we are calling summer vacation?

And now back to my scheduled blogging absence while Plan B finishes falling in place!

Love to all,
~ the summertime salad nosher gal herself, Jess

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It’s the Breakfast Club, Baby…and I’m a bit biscuit biased

Ok, not that Breakfast Club. (although really, who doesn’t love the classic 80’s teen-angst classic? I adore it! And yes, I’m an 80’s baby…so sue me!)

MY Breakfast Club. Oh breakfast baby, you and I really are quite bonded. No don’t argue with me. We ARE.

I sacrifice an extra 20 minutes every morning to make a hot breakfast of either scrambled eggs, or waffles or oatmeal every morning. (uh, yeah, that means I get up at 4:45am on a work day. ugh….I do love you bfast)

Oh and sometimes I make really awesome sandwiches to break my fast.

Oh yes baby, now that is what I’ll call breakfast.

Role call: Homemade biscuit (admittedly not by me. I’m not much of a baker. Yet.), raspberry jam, over easy (legit local) fried egg, salami.

Woah. Now that is what I call a good morning. Even if I had to consume it before the sun came up.

But here is a breakfast that you will all want to take note of. No, I did not make it. But you guessed it, there will be more biscuits present.

And since that lovely pile of food (“lovely pile of food”??? Dear God, Jess you need better adjectives. Someone get this gal a new thesaurus STAT!) was prepared for me by the gifted chefs at The Flying Biscuit Cafe on my day off, not only did I not have to cook, I got to eat in daylight. Double win, right?

Well, honestly eating this meal anytime of the day would be winning in my book. As you see the classic Flying Biscuit Breakfast consists of 2 eggs any style (I had mine over easy), the “signature” chicken breakfast sausage, creamy dreamy grits and of course, a massive biscuit!

Now, usually for breakfast I’m a protein gal; I love me some sausage and eggs…but when I go to the Flying Biscuit it’s all carbs, all the time. I downed the grits (and as a GRITS gal myself I can vouch that they are truly both creamy AND dreamy. I’m thinking cream cheese? Well and whipping cream, of course), literally licked bowl and made a decent dent in that beast of a biscuit. Oh and don’t think for a second that I truly neglected the eggs or sausage either, second priorities are still a priority after all.  I also snitched a bite (or three) of my Mom’s scramble of the day which was studded with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese.

And the moral of this story? I like breakfast. A lot. And biscuits. Thank you.

Love to all,
~the biscuit biased gal, Jess

Categories: Break Yo Fast, I'll Have What She's Having | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

The Best Brunch Bagel….ever.

Better known as BBB(e).

Readily available at Bagel Bakery of G’ville.

110% Sunday morning perfection.

It’s no secret around this gal that I have a very strong affection for Everything Bagels. (but not the store-bought precut ones. ick!) I think it stems from having New York State Aunties who always spoiled me with them during my summer stays as a child and teen, which was only reinforced by going to university in West Palm Beach, aka NYC of the South! So yeah, I like my bagels boiled, with everything on ’em…heavy on the salt please.

If you read any of the Yelp reviews on Bagel Bakery you will note they are most “known for” their Eggel Bagel, which is a bagel sandwich of “scrambled egg” with meat and cheese of your choice. Cream Cheese, Sausage and Egg on an Everything has been my standard order for the last 2 years at B.B. but a few months ago I started feeling really gaggy about the microwaved “scrambled” egg….they microwave the crap out of what seems to be egg beaters (?) in what should be throwaway Rubbermaid containers. I have a few of those bowls and I don’t microwave anything NEAR them, much less in them.

But getting just a bagel with veggie smear seems so mundane. Not to mention I carb load and then crash in about 22 minutes flat. Ugh.

Sunday morning, as ‘Stiner and I dragged ourselves out of a Cinco de Mayo induced haze, and off to B.B. I knew right away I wanted a classic. Bagel with Lox. (ok, it’s Nova Smoked…same diff in this Floridian’s book….I have NY family, I myself do not hail from the state) So, I placed my order and then miracle of all miracles the kid behind the counter asked what veggies I wanted on it. At first I thought he must have stuttered over my odd order of an E.T. toasted with Veggie Smear & Nova, but NO he was giving me more! A free pass to veggie heaven.

The final product was glorious. Salty bagel, smokey fish, savory cream cheese, crisp lettuce & sprouts, sweet tomato and sharp biting red onion. Perfection on a circle. Best Brunch Bagel. It’s a classic taken to a whole new level in my book. The perfect (if a touch strong and stinky) flavor profile, with protein staying power.

Just don’t try to kiss me for a while, ok? At least until lunch.

Love to all,
~the BBB(e) eater, Jess

Categories: Break Yo Fast, I'll Have What She's Having | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Up the Creek without a Paddle

And by creek I mean river.

And let me tell you friends, when that river is 4Rivers Smokehouse you will chuck the darn paddle right out the canoe and stay a while.

Summer must be in the air if I’m making references to eating BBQ sandwiches in a boat, but considering how deliciously messy the Messy Pig sandwich is eating it on the water isn’t too bad of an idea.

Don’t believe me? See for yourself.

Big. Beautiful. BBQ.

Oh and coleslaw, and pickles and jalapenos. Messy Pig, I love you. The 4Rivers sauce is worth keeping around too.

See, I’m very picky about bbq….I don’t like just smoky meat. It’s far too abundant in the world of every boy next door having a smoker attached to his grill. I’ve had a lot of dry pork in my life time, and let’s just say this gal like to keep it a bit wetter and sloppier. My bbq, people. Keep your head in the game.

If you have similar feelings about the good ol piggie than this Messy Pig is the sandwich for you. 4Rivers smoked, pulled pork is moist and tender on it’s own, but when you sandwich it between two juicy layers of coleslaw (that has fresh parsley in it…so good!) and drown it in the vinegary 4Rivers house sauce things are indeed a bit sloppy. This is a knife and fork sandwich through and through.

The toppers of pickles and jalapenos just add that kick to take the flavor profile from “wow this is good” to “oh my goodness, can I eat this everyday for the rest of my life?” Yep, I like a little zing with my ‘Q.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All served up on a lovely afternoon date with my best foodie Michael, alongside some fresh out the oven mac n’ cheese and classic collard greens.

Life is good in the South, friends. Now go wipe that sauce off your chin.

Love to all,
~the messy little southern gal, Jess

Categories: I'll Have What She's Having, Midday Munchies | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Medium & A Pinch and Other Things that Shouldn’t Go Together but Do

Some combinations are sound strange and yet they go together so well.

Potato Chips/French Fries on Deli Sandwiches.

Cheddar Cheese and Apple Pie.

Peanut Butter, Bacon and Bananas.

Salt and Melon.

Pickles and Ice Cream.

Penn and Teller.

(Not sure how that last one got in there!)

Another one of those wonderfully wacky (and incredibly tasty) combinations can be found at Bahn Thai.

Actually Bahn Thai is is a rather wacky, yet wonderful, place itself as it is located in a funky old hotel on the south end of Gville. In fact, due to it’s arrangement in the hotel, BT has no windows, instead they have framed old Thai motif printed wrapping paper hanging where windows would be. It’s awkward to be sure but the food is so good that no one cares.

I actually chose what would become my favorite item at Bahn Thai based on what sounded like a random combination of things.


Gang Kua w/ Tofu Red curry sauce with coconut milk along with tofu and sweet potato, pineapple, bean thread noodle, snap bean, asparagus and black mushroom.   

Yep, you heard right. Sweet potato AND Pineapple AND Asparagus? Whoa. Of course I had to order it. It was during the ordering process that things got even more wacky, wonderful and combination challenged.

See, Thai and American spice tolerance levels are quite different.  For some reason they forgot to put “Thai Hot” on the Scoville Scale but I’m pretty sure it falls in somewhere around 2,000,000 units. Phew. (and yes, I just made that measurement up, but it sounds reasonable, don’t you think?)

Now most Thai restaurants have a “star scale” that you use to order how hot you want it. Five stars is “American Hot” and well, you just order Thai Hot if you are Thai. (my boy bestie is…so I’ve been this move in action) For reasons unknown to this customer Bahn Thai isn’t a fan of the star system. Or at least the star scale was missing on the menu.

When asked by the owner/server how spicy I wanted my Gang Kua I said “two steps down from American Hot, please.” She replied “ok, how about medium with a pinch?” “Sure.” I innocently replied.


See all the red flakes on the top of my lovely meal? I’m guessing it was the “pinch.” Let’s just say medium is sufficiently spicy for this gal. However, I discovered the odd sounding combination of flavors actually go together beautifully, and if I killed a few taste buds while savoring the sweet, tangy, green, sour flavor profile so be it.

But next time Bahn Thai, just medium will do it.

Love to all,
~the weird combination loving gal, Jess

Categories: I'll Have What She's Having, Waz Sup(er) | Leave a comment

Sanaa Makes Me Say "Ahhhhh"

An optional title for this post would be Fatty Fatty Moo Moos go Carby Carby Moo Moo 

Bestie Michael came up with the term Fatty Fatty Moo Moos for our group of friends, because we all LOVE food so much and are always going out on quasi extravagant dining outings together. (or at home, Michael is a great chef!)

But when this Fatty Fatty Moo Moo gal heads to Sanaa it is all about the carbs, specifically these beauties:

Warm, ghee drenched Naan will you marry me? Well, I guess we won’t be monogamous, because I do tend to wander over to spend equal time with the Onion Kulcha and the Paneer Paratha too. Actually that is a threesome I can really get behind. Is that ok, Naan? We can invite these guys too:

Woah. I still write a food blog, I promise. Not one of those websites. Back to the yummy bites.

Even after the bread and dipping sauce orgy I had no problem making room the in bottomless pit I call my stomach, when this beautiful platter arrived in front of me.

From the Vegetarian Sampler: Paneer Cheese and Spinach, and Spicy Peas, Chickpeas & Potatoes with Five-Grain Pilaf.

It might come out from the kitchen in neat bowls, but nothing stays orderly around this messy Jessy gal. (Yep, I’m a huge fan of entropy…well, and playing with my food. duh.)

In fact no one at our table went home with empty stomachs or clean fingers. The spread at Sanaa is so simple, so satisfying and yet filled with such complex flavor profiles.

It’s any foodie’s (or Fatty Fatty Moo Moo’s) afternoon delight dream lunch.

Now, when this herd of Moo Moo’s take on Sanaa we really have no choice but to finish out the meal with this divine little cup. 

Oh Chai Cream, how are you so refreshing yet silky and rich? And Sanaa, why are you literally breaking my heart by taking it off the menu?

And our dessert’s dessert? Why some giraffes and an ostrich!

The giraffes were particularly active and our party of 6 ended up spending nearly an hour out by the fire pit watching the animals and gossiping about food, fashion, career changes, technology and basketball. Just another Sunday afternoon for the Fatty Fatty Moo Moo crew.

Love to all,
~the, carby moo gal herself, Jess

Categories: I'll Have What She's Having | 1 Comment

A Teahouse the Mad Hatter Would Approve Of

Anyone who is friends with me in real life, on Facebook, Twitter or even just follows my boards on Pinterest may have noticed I’m a pretty huge Alice in Wonderland fan. Basically anyone who could get me an original edition of Alice Through the Looking Glass would be my BFF forever. (and yes, I know that is redundant, thanks) 
 

Any girl who follows instructions on glass bottles reading “Drink Me” and glass classes containing cakes labeled “Eat Me” is obviously a winner in my book.  While I’m a big fan of door mice, late white rabbits and silly, emotional girls, one character who still freaks me out a touch is the Mad Hatter.

And Johnny Dep’s portrayal, with the awkward chemistry with Alice? Only made me scareder. (and yes, I know that isn’t a word, thanks) But finally the Mad Hatter and I have something we can agree upon.

That something is Pom Pom’s Teahouse and Sandwicheria located in the funky Milk District of Orlando, FL. Pom’s is a pretty popular hangout spot with the older emo/hipster scene. While I personally didn’t see the appeal of hanging out in a crowded, slightly smokey from the sandwich press, atmosphere for an extended period of time, I will gladly stop in for a quick lunch and a brief perusal of the newest rotation of art on the walls. (both for sale, of course. The lunch and the art, I mean.)

Behold my newest aquisistion from Pom Pom’s.

The Fu Man Chu – Asian Pulled Pork, Watercress, Goat Cheese, Ginger Cranberry Chutney & Red Onions on Pumpernickel Bread. 

Aka, a delicious wacky, perplexingly rich and light with each savory, sharp and sweet bite, sandwich. A sandwich that is I dare say, befitting tea time with the Mad Hatter. And considering I had this delight of a meal with a side of hot, sweet, oolong tea in the middle of the afternoon that is close enough to tea time for this gal!

And just think, I didn’t have to fall down a rabbit hole, defeat the Red Queen at croquet or even paint a single rose red while enjoying my sammy. A win for me, and a well deserved nod to the Mad Hatter, himself.

Love to all,
~the silly gal who sometimes wishes she could escape to wonderland, Jess

Categories: I'll Have What She's Having, Midday Munchies | Leave a comment

Pretty Little Things

As much as I love cooking, my passion for dining out and trying new foods is pretty equal. And you know what else is pretty? The three amazing meals below.   

Spicy Cream Shrimp

Bacon & Bleu Cheeseburger with Parmesan Potato Wedges

Southwestern Falafel “Burger” with Sweet Potato Fries
The Top Restaurant 

Kinda makes up for a dull Thanksgiving fare, eh?
Love to all,
~the “if only my wallet was a deep as the pit in my stomach” gal, Jess
PS. This was also an interesting look at my photography skills. 
Photo one was taken at lunch, sitting by a window, using my DSLR.
Photo two was taken in a dark bar with my point and shoot (post two martinis = shaky hands), I was using the flash, but trying to deflect it with my sticky gin fingers!
Photo three was taken in a smoky dinning room, by the light of a dim on table retro lamp, also with the point and shoot.
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Spooky’s Black Cat Cafe

Can you feel it? Can you?

Halloween is a mere week away, friends!

So, it’s about damn time I told you about Spooky’s Black Cat Cafe, in the Milk District of Orlando.

(in case you are going, “milk district, wha?” like I was when I first heard the term, it’s just little nickname Orlandoeans have given the neighborhood around the T.G. Lee plant. When I questioned if that was a kosher way to name a neighborhood, I was told the point is mute. You can’t argue with a stubborn Orlando native. Trust me on this.)

Back to Spooky’s. It’s fun, it’s funky and it’s damn tasty.

Oh and did I mention they have a great draft list? ‘Cause they do.

I don’t 100% remember what this was, something by Cigar City? (I actually visited Spooky’s back in the summer, I was just saving this post for Halloween!) Regardless, it was tasty and I believe I had a second round!

We split the Tour of India appetizer sampler.

From the menu: A trio of Baigan Bharta style eggplant curried dip, Pav Baji style vegetable curry dip and Patra style aloo leave, curries and a tamarind roll with a side of curried yogurt, toasted Naan bread, and today’s crisps.

It was mighty tasty, and great fun to play with, as most Indian inspired dishes are. I liked the veggie curry dip the best, but ended up going to town mostly on the tamarind roll, because the rest of my party didn’t care for it. It was strongly spiced, but I enjoyed it with the yogurt.

For my entree I got the cheese board of the day. This has become one of my favorite “go to” meals, and the spread put out by Spooky’s did not disappoint: brie, wensleydale with cranberries, an herbed goat log and some variety of aged, hard cheese that had a nice bite; all served with strawberries, blueberries, crackers and crouton-thingies (yes, that is a very advanced culinary description. Also, I did not care for said “crouton-thingies). Overall, I demolished this plate, because it was that good!

Ok, well I actually shared some with my friend Jesse, because he ordered my second choice, The Fungi Fun Pizza, and then we taste swapped.

One blurry half, as described on the menu: Ricotta and garlic base, fresh mozzarella, shitake, crimini, and portabella mushrooms. I’m glad of two things here: One that my best boobies friend lets me taste test with her hubby and two, that I stuck with the cheese plate. This pizza was, well, seriously and overwhelmingly fungi-lous. And coming from the gal that ate wild mushrooms at the tender age of 4 because she loves them so much (and the rest of that story is for another day, thank you) is really saying something. Holy moly mushrooms!

If you are visiting Orlando for a spooky good time this weekend, in celebration of All Hallow’s Eve, trick or treat your way though the Milk District and have a pint and a bite at Spooky’s….if you dare!

Muahahahahah.

Love to all,
~the creepy little cafe lovin’ gal, Jess

Categories: Celebrate Good Times-Come On, I'll Have What She's Having | Leave a comment

Disney Dining: Sanaa (and Zebra Butts!)

Little known fact to most people who live outside the boarders of Buena Vista, Florida, aka Mickey Mouse County, is that many of the Disney resorts have restaurants open to the public (“public” meaning non-park going/ resort staying patrons).

One such restaurant is Sanaa, a self-proclaimed work of art, serving “African cuisine with Indian Flavors”located at Kidani Village of the Animal Kingdom Resorts.  Well, we all know that I love ethnic foods and art, plus this is bestie Michael’s favorite restaurant in all of central Florida, so obviously I was stoked to go….but I really didn’t care if the food was horrible, I just wanted to see the zebra butts! 

oh, and the giraffe butts!

What was that? You wanted to know how the food was? oh, ok…well, I guess I did have a pretty fantastic lunch, while enjoying the simulated African Safari outside our window-side table.

We started off with the infamous “bread service.

From the Menu:

Choose three you say? What is this word “choose?” What is this limitation “three?” Not when your bestie’s step-mum is the special events coordinator for the resort. High rollers, babycakes, high rollers.

I pity anyone who would have to choose between the beautiful, bright flavors of the sauces, and the diverse textures and flavors of the breads. My favorites were the Papadum or the Paneer Paratha breads, with the Cucumber Raita and Tamarind Chutney. Can I just eat this everyday?

Entrees:

For my lunch I was immediately drawn to the Paneer Cheese and Spinach option of the Vegetarian Sampler.  I randomly got the Sambar to go with it, since that was something I’d never heard of before, with basmati rice.

This was so good! You know I love to play with my food, so I thoroughly enjoyed this meal: Playing with extra naan to make the perfect bite…dipping the bread in the sambar, adding a piece of cheese, topping it with some chutney. Repeat. Play with rice. Repeat. Yum.

Michael chose off the more “popular” section of the menu: 

He got both the shrimp dishes, which were very tasty. He also got a side order of the Five Grain Pilaf, and I now know that is the way to go for my starch choice next time. And yes, there will be a next time.

Cindy, Michael’s step-mum, eats at Sanna countless times a week, so she got her favorite, the Tandoori Shrimp. 

She also shared a bite and it was so good! So, maybe next time I’ll get the Tandoori Chicken (which was my second choice….I just love Paneer too much to not to get it!) with a side of the pilaf, of course!

Michael insists that you cannot go to Sanaa without getting the Chai Cream for dessert, so of course, we got the Chai Cream for dessert!

I love that the spoons come chocolate dipped! Possibly my favorite part of the dish. This was a wonderfully cool and creamy way, with the perfect touch of mild spice, to finish out such a rich and vibrant meal.

That and more animal butts!

Love to all,
~the “I don’t know what I love more: drooling over amazing food, or drooling over cute animals” gal, Jess

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