Foodie Files Orlando Edition: Todd English’s Blue Zoo

Hi Guys!

The month of June was literally here and then gone and here we are in July! Crazy right?!?! I am a June baby so a lot of my birth month was spent celebrating. I missed you guys sooo much so I decided to share my most recent foodie experience from my birthday which was Todd English’s Blue Zoo. I loved the ambience, the service, the selection of choices from the menu and overall the experience. It’s great for everyday dining when you really want some quality seafood or a special occasion/night on the town. It is tucked nicely inside the Walt Disney World Resort in the Dolphin Hotel. Here are some highlights from my experience:

Blue Zoo Menu

Pictured above is my smoking watermelon sangria. It was absolutely yummy!

Dancing fish with marble potatoes and seasonal veggies
Birthday girl in her birthday dress
Beautiful ambience inside the dining area

It’s definitely worth a try if you’re in the Orlando area.

What are some of your favorite seafood spots in your city or state? Leave me a comment below! I love hearing from you guys!

Foodie Files Jax Edition: River and Post

Hi Guys,

Happy Sunday! I hope you’re excited for the start of an amazing week! I got the awesome opportunity to visit one of Jacksonville’s newest jewels in the area, River and Post. Can I just say I definitely am adding it to my list of fave restaurants! It’s an amazing Riverside/ 5 Points area spot to pop into, enjoy some great food, surrounded by very chic and modern accommodations, excellent service, a beautiful salt water aquarium with a diverse ecosystem and live coral and sea anemone, and a stunning rooftop view. ( I didn’t go upstairs this visit, but plan to on my next visit as it was raining) I was pleasantly pleased and if you’ve been following my blog or just new here (welcome and thank you so much for your support!) you know I am a HUGE FOODIE and ambience and experience are EVERYTHING TO ME. But let’s just jump right into my dining experience today!

River and Post
Isn’t this gorgeous? I love the open layout of their floor plan! These lights are everything!
River and Post
Wine List! I am also a wine girl! They have a great selection of wines to choose from by the way.
River and Post
Probably my favorite part of dinner! Blue crab beignets!

These delicious blue crab beignets with kernels of corn inside (yum) and just the right amount of spice and seasoning to really give your tastebuds some bite! The sriracha citrus crema dip is amazing and brings all the flavors together!

I also had a glass of Gazela Vino Verde that paired well with the entire meal, especially the blue crab beignets! (pictured above)

River and Post
Entree: Broiled Ocean Platter
River and Post
Entree: Broiled Ocean Platter

Let me reiterate that the service was amazing! My entree and appetizer came out mere minutes a part and even though it wasn’t an inconvenience my amazing server Jessica, kept my entree warm for me while I finished the beignets!

The platter included mahi mahi ( I believe the fish is based off the day’s catch), sea scallops, shrimp, market veggies (very flavorful and fresh) and some of the best mashed potatoes (very well seasoned and creamy) that I’ve had in a very long time!

River and Post
Aquarium view 1
River and Post
Side view of Aquarium
River and Post
The sea coral and anemone are amazing in person!! These pictures do them no justice!
River and Post
I found NEMO!
River and Post
Aquarium view 3

 

The aquarium was simply beautiful and I had the amazing opportunity to speak with the curator Barry who I was really thankful took time  with me  and shared some amazing information regarding the marine life in the tank, the ecosystem and some other really cool facts (ask for him if you go, he’s amazing!)

Overall it was an amazing experience and I am sure i will be making several return trips! If you’re in the Jacksonville area, definitely do yourself a favor and check them out!

What are some of your favorite seafood places? Any cool or wonderful restaurants that really stand out in your area? Leave me a comment in the comments section below, I always love to hear from you guys!

 

Yummy Dessert Recipe: Baked apple crisp

Apple Crisp Recipe
Yummy! The ice cream really set it off!
Apple Crisp Recipe
Finished crust! So good and so worth it!
Apple Crisp Recipe
Side view of Apple Crisp and Ice Cream
Apple Crisp Recipe
Some of my ingredients!

In total it took about about 2 hours to make and that included prep and cook time so it’s definitely something you can whip up really quick during the week for a dessert or as a sweet treat on the weekend when you want something tasty, homemade and comforting.

So let’s jump right into the recipe!

Fruit Filling:

About 2 1/2 tablespoons of flour

1 cup of sugar ( I used pure cane but feel free to use a mix of brown sugar or any other that you would like.)

2 tablespoons lemon juice (this helps keep the apples from browning)

6-8 apples (I used about 7-8 but depending upon how large of a serving you want you can adjust out as necessary)

Crust:

2 cups flour

1/2 cup of rolled oats or oat flour (you can blend or chop up rolled oats in a food processor or blender to create oat flour)

1 cup of sugar (I used pure cane sugar but you will get the same effect with brown sugar)

2 teaspoons of cinnamon (I love the smell and taste of cinnamon and how it livens up my food so I added an extra bit here)

1 teaspoon of nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon of table salt

12 tablespoons of butter

1/2 cup of nuts, chopped (feel free to pick your favorite kind, I used almonds for mine)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut the apples in half, remove the seeds and cores and peel. Place aside.

Toss together your cut apples, lemon juice, sugar and flower until the apples have a light coating over them.

Mix your rolled oats or oat flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and butter until it begins to clump with either a spoon or your fingers. Lightly sprinkle in your nuts into your crust mixture and you may want to leave some out for putting on top of the crust.

Place filing mixture into a baking dish and pour crust ingredients over filling mixture and sprinkle nuts.

Place in oven and cook for about 50 mins to 1 hour and 10 mins until you see filling start to bubble and crust start to brow. Allow to cool and then serve warm or with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream! It will be the best apple dish next to apple pie that you’ve ever taste or made! What are some of your favorite apple treats or dishes? Leave me a comment below! I love hearing from you guys!

 

 

 

Foodie Files Jax Edition: Restaurant Orsay

I pretty much love food and having a sensory foodie experience. I will literally go to any restaurant, food truck, cafe,  establishment that sells food or drink, you name it in the name of trying out something new to titillate my tastebuds. This time around I had the great pleasure of visiting Restaurant Orsay located in the Avondale area which is also one of my favorite culture and eating spots in general in Jacksonville.

Can I just say that it was well worth the trip? From the cozy yet sophisticated ambience to dishes that are flavorful and pleasing to the palate to the knowledgeable and amazing service, this a great treat for a special occasion, date night, or just step outside of the ordinary. It’s fine dining chic with casual cozy appeal and the French style cuisine allows you to get a gourmet twist on some well-known dishes. Overall, I was pleased with my entire dining experience and definitely plan on returning very soon to indulge a little bit more. Here are some quick recaps from my trip. I wanted to surprise my mom and do something extra special for her birthday (who came into town to spend the weekend for her birthday so several dishes will be featured below.) I almost forgot that I didn’t get a chance to snap a picture of the lobster mac n cheese that we had as an appetizer but it was absolutely delicious and was a great start to the meal.

Restaurant Orsay
Prosecco and Birthday Champagne. Added a nice touch and brought out the flavors of the dishes that came afterwards.
Restaurant Orsay
Eden Farms Berkshire Porkchop
Restaurant Orsay
Sea Scallops
Restaurant Orsay
Beef Stroganoff

 

 

Do you have a favorite French restaurants? What are some of your favorite restaurants or areas in your city that offer hidden jewels? Let me know about your fave food and culture spots in the comments! I love to hear from you guys!

Foodie Files Jax Edition: Palm Valley Fish Camp

Hey again guys! I had the amazing opportunity to go and get some great seafood in Ponte Vedra Beach a couple weeks back at the Palm Valley Fish Camp. Truly a one of a kind and delectable experience. Everything is made from scratch right when you order, it’s truly a hidden gem right off A1A and Palm Valley, and the seasonings and preparation are apparent and seasoned with love. This is a great spot to go and enjoy some great views and sit on their dock and enjoy an afternoon cocktail or wine on a quiet Sunday or lazy Saturday while ordering some great seafood and beautiful ambience. 

This time around I ordered their signature shrimp and grits. By far some of the best, creamiest, melt in your mouth grits I’ve tasted EVER. And believe me when I say I’ve had a lot of grits in my lifetime. The shrimp tasted fresh and the grits are made with a white wine butter sauce and I believe a splash of bacon, tomatoes, and a few other secret herbs and spices. I was in a bit of rush on the day that I visited as I was in a bit of adventurist mode so I didn’t get a chance to stop and linger for too long but I know for sure I will definitely be back. I saw several other items on the menu that greatly peaked my interest and with their location being right off the water its guaranteed to be caught and served fresh.

What are some of your favorite local foodie spots for seafood and good eats? What are some hidden Jax gems you’ve come across? What are some of your favorite local Jax seafood spots and dishes? Leave me a comment or suggestion below! I would love to try it out, review and chat food with you!

Florida Girls take Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival 2017

This past weekend I had a wonderful opportunity to attend the Epcot Food and Wine Festival with my mommy and sister. Talk about amazing! I am a Florida girl and visit Disney quite a bit but had never experienced it quite like that. So much good food and so many good drinks! Overall a cultural and sensory party and a great way to spend time to with loved ones. I will definitely be returning! The only recommendation I would make is to get there as early as possible so that you can enjoy all that all of the continents has to offer.

After paying for admission you can either buy the gift card and load on the desired amount you want to spend, buy a sampler set of 8 tickets and in your party do a sampling of everything that sounds appetizing or you can buy everything a la carte or a mix of the three.

Now here comes the highlights of my trip!

 

Epcot and Food Wine 2017
Top of the Morning at Disney entrance
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
Parking at Epcot heading in
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
What’s a morning without Starbucks?And it’s even better at Disney!
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
The Mouse himself giving us a warm welcome amongst this beautiful garden!
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
First Continent Stop: Mexico!
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
Down Under! First food stop that made it on camera! Australia! Grilled Lamb T-Bone with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies. So flavorful!
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
On to New Zealand! Seared Vension Loin with Wild Mushroom Marsala Sauce and Kumara Puree
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
Lamb meatball with spicy tomato chutney
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
Next Stop! Canada! “Le Calier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
O Canada! Cheddar Cheese Soup with Pretzel Roll
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
Le Slush! Le Passion Martini Slush! My fave! Hello Paris! Bonjour France!
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
Pit Stop in Japan!
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
Hops and Barley New England Lobster Roll!
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
Kalua Pork Slider and Mai Tai! Yummy!
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
A beautiful fountain and set of potted plants in the Caribbean Islands!
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
Mojitos from the Caribbean!
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
Some of the most TENDER chicken nuggets I’ve had in a while, Pineapple Rum Ice Cream, and the BEST croissant doughnut ever!
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
Artisan Cheese Trio!
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
Loaded Mac N Cheese
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
Till next time Epcot Food and Wine!

It was so much fun literally eating and drinking around the world, I literally rolled myself out to my car. If you get the chance definitely check it out! It is quite the dedicated foodie dream!

Foodie Files Jax Edition: Sunday Brunch at Casa Marina

Hi ya”ll! Can you believe that it’s already November? I feel like the year flew by super fast but I am very grateful to have encountered so many wonderful souls in this period of time.

As always because I have a bit of wanderlust and  I discovered yet another amazing brunch spot here in Jacksonville. It is Casa Marina one of the oldest and most historical hotels in Florida and America. How cool is that? Not only does this place boast some amazing architecture but also some amazing food and views. It’s an all you can eat brunch with a prime rib carving station, omelette station, eggs benedict over fried green tomatoes, an assortment of cold salads, seafood paella, herb roasted chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, shrimp cocktail, a tropical fruit display, a yummy dessert area, and endless champagne, mimosas, and poinsettias as well as house wines. Truly a Sunday Funday spot. And all under $35! Can we say awesome?!?!?!?!

The food is fresh, yummy, and flavorful and the service is impeccable. My servers always made sure I was well attended to and the vibe is so relaxed with a very beachy vibe and a view of the Atlantic Ocean via their balcony.

I will definitely be back very soon! Definitely worth every penny! I will caution those who are true foodies to pace yourself because you will want to try everything and you just want to make sure you don’t fill yourself to the brim like I did. 🙂

Casa Marina Sunday Brunch
The banquet style of the brunch layout as the crowd trickled out
Casa Marina Sunday Brunch
Mimosas and chocolate mousse!
Casa Marina Sunday Brunch
Garden salad with house dressing which was absolutely yummy, rice pilaf with salad shrimp, shrimp cocktail and broccoli
Casa Marina Sunday Brunch
Veggie omelette from the omelette station, bacon, breakfast potatoes, eggs benedict over fried green tomatoes, fruit salad, and a poinsettia!
Casa Marina Sunday Brunch
Front entrance! See you soon Casa Marina!