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After a lot of wishing, hoping & praying, finally the Food Truck scene is emerging in Jacksonville. Evidence? The Jax Truckies - The Jacksonville Food Truck Championships held this past Saturday at Bold City Brewery:
When tickets went on sale in early March, I was supposed to be out of town that weekend, so I didn’t buy a ticket. But then my plans fell through & I found myself scrambling to find a ticket at the last-minute. Thankfully Stacey knew her friend Cassie wasn’t able to attend & I was able to buy her ticket from her. Thanks Cassie! I promise I exist!
Despite the rainy, dreary weather, I donned my pink polka-dot rain boots & braved the downpours to taste what our local food trucks had to offer.
I started out with a Pork Egg Roll from Mother Fletchers:
A delicious pulled pork slider from Monroe’s On the Go (I smothered that sucker in their sweet BBQ sauce):
A Bold City Killer Whale Cream Ale & a chocolate peanut butter cupcake from Mike B’s:
That cupcake rocked my happy little world. The cake was moist & chocolatey while the whipped peanut butter frosting was divine.
Also from Mike B’s, I had the Cleveland – a turkey, slaw, tomato, provolone and FRENCH FRY sandwich (sans tomatoes of course):
Heart attack on a plate but worth every single delectable bite. My world is changed. The Cleveland won for the Best Sandwich! Totally agree with that call!
And just because… I made another trip to Monroe’s for mac & cheese & sweet potato souffle as well as a slice of pepperoni from my beloved Brucci’s:
& then it was time for a chicken taco from On the Fly:
& teriakyi wings from Monroe’s:
I think I’m still full.
Overall, the Jax Truckies was an awesome event. All of the seating was inside of the brewery, so it was fairly easy to stay dry. Beer was flowing. People were friendly. Excellent time had by all!
The Cleveland Mike B’s
Best Side Item:
Collard Greens Monroe’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Q & Catering
Runner-up for best Overall:
Shout-out for the steak & provolone and Teriyaki wings
On the Fly Sandwiches & Stuff
Shout-out for the Tuna Tartare and grilled chicken taco
Situated right on the water (hence the name) in historic Fernandina Beach is great little gem called Brett’s Waterway Cafe.
Can I just say I loved the lighting in this restaurant? It was a food blogger’s dream. The huge windows overlooking the harbor provided tons of natural light as well as scenic views:
Another thing I really loved… Instead of a typical bread basket, they served warm & delicious carrot raisin muffins:
From the moment we sat down, the service was impeccable. Our server, Blake, was friendly, knowledgable & attentive. As a former server & bartender, I can be kind of a snob when it comes to good service. I know what it is. I know what it looks like. & you know what? I expect it. Plus he was such a good sport about my obnoxious overuse of my camera that day.
My mom had the Quiché of the Day – a crab quiché with potato salad & homemade applesauce:
My brother’s mother-in-law (say that 10 times fast) ordered the Fish of the Day (sorry, I didn’t hear what it was because I don’t give a rat’s ass about fish) with a mango salsa & rice:
My brother order the Mahi Mahi tacos (he’s an addict.. he orders them every where he goes):
I did try his black beans. While he wasn’t a fan, I thought they were incredible. They were just spicy enough & the beans were soft & flavorful.
& I ordered the Chicken & Brie salad:
If it has brie on it, I want it. My favorite part about this salad was the hot chicken. Not only do I love something warm on top of cool, crisp greens, it was also hot enough to melt the brie, so I had gooey briey goodness in my salad. Absolutely delicious.
I’m not even going to beat around the bush here: Bold Bean Coffee Roasters absolutely, 100% lives up to the hype. I am so glad to have this place right around the corner from my home (& it’s on my way to work, score!).
Situated at the corner of College & Stockton, Bold Bean Coffee has created a fresh & modern space cool for early morning coffee, late afternoon lattes & evening beers. Yes, they serve beer (Bold City, to be exact). You’re welcome.
I was a little overwhelmed looking at the menu:
I mean, so many options… Where do I begin? I’d heard plenty of raving about the honey latte on Twitter, but I was skeptical. I mean, Starbucks tried this a few years ago (when I worked there actually) & I felt it was a massive failure. It just missed the mark completely.
But Bold Bean? Hit the nail on the head with this one. The espresso was fresh & strong, while the honey gave it the perfect complement of sweetness.
& of course, I had to try the Bacon & Cheddar scone:
I mean, I wouldn’t have my bacon-loving reputation if I didn’t try the bacon item almost every where I go. Typically, I’m a fan of sweet scones & not necessarily savory ones, but this was also fantastic. Like many scones end up, this wasn’t too hard. Not too bacon-y. Not too cheddar-y. Jussssst right.
Perfection. Can’t love it enough.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking that I did something to have bad karma. I mean, who takes a tumble down the stairs & fractures her shin? Yeah, I know.
I figured my luck was changing when I was somehow invited to the Seasons 52 Spring Menu Preview. I’ve been dying to try this restaurant since they opened up at St. Johns Town Center last fall, but had never made it over there.
I knew I was in trouble when I sat down & saw multiple wine glasses sitting in front of me:
Always a good sign? Never a good sign? You be the judge.
I started off the evening with a glass of the Zardetto Prosecco, a fresh & lively sparkling wine:
The evening begin with a little over a dozen food bloggers & lovers introducing themselves before we moved on to the appetizers & flatbreads. I found myself rapidly falling in love with the Artichoke & Goat Cheese Flatbread:
There’s something truly wonderful about the mating of artichokes & balsamic, isn’t there? The flavor combination is totally a party in my mouth.
While we enjoyed the appetizers & flatbreads, a webcast by Master Sommelier George Miliotes & Culinary Director Cliff Pleau introduced us to our remaining courses along with their wine pairings. The webcast was informative – with more than just information about the actual dishes. Cliff discussed how to tell if an artichoke is fully cooked as well as how to properly de-shell an avocado. I’m always a fan of culinary tips, so they get a huge thumbs up from me.
After the webcast, we moved on to the salad course of the meal. For your viewing pleasure, the Tomato & Haas Avocado Salad:
Once again, balsamic glaze rocks. The dressing was actually made from the rind of the avocado, which I found especially intriguing. In my opinion, the best way to eat this salad is to pile it on top of the toasted ciabatta & let the drippy goodness sink into the bread, thus saving the best part for last. Mmm carbs.
After inhaling the salad, we moved on to the entrée portion of the meal – starting with the Columbia River Steelhead Trout:
Let me preface my opinion with this… I hate fish. Fish are stinky. They taste all fishy & just eww eww eww. I’ll pass.
But this? Wow. Not fishy at all. The lemongrass sauce on top created a crisp & light taste which is perfect for spring. The basmati rice & spring vegetables were also delicious. It’s so nice to go to a restaurant that serves more than broccoli as a vegetable.
This entire meal, I tried to pace myself. I’d heard rumors of the dessert portion. I knew I was screwed on the whole “pacing myself” thing when a glorious platter of Lamb T-Bone Chops with asparagus & TRUFFLE MASHED POTATOES was sat down in front of me:
Come to Mama.
& finally! Red wine!
Red wine makes my soul happy. It’s as simple as that.
The last portion of the entrée service was the Spicy Snow Peas & Shiitake Mushrooms served with a fruity Lioco Indica Rose:
This was easily one of my favorite selections of the night. I loved the flavor combination of the spicy snow peas with the fruity & sweet wine. Once again, party in my mouth. And I always love the crunch of almonds on top of salads and vegetables. Excellent choice.
Then the moment we were all waiting for:
The Mini Indulgence Desserts are individual servings of classic desserts such as pecan pie, key lime pie, red velvet cake (my kryptonite), peanut butter pie, fresh fruit, and other various delicious goodies.
I quickly grabbed the Red Velvet & the Macchiato:
I truly believe you can never go wrong with red velvet. Once again, I was proved right.
The meal & the service was absolutely fantastic. The waiter called me “young lady” for goodness sakes. Winner in my book. Executive Chief Partner Stephen Hicks & Field Sales Manager Amy Drafts were friendly, knowledgable & accomodating in presenting the preview. Many thanks for an incredible meal!
Hey guess what?
Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day!
& since I am part Irish (& Scottish & English & Cherokee Indian), you can bet I’ll probably be drinking green beer somewhere. More than likely, I’ll be drinking said green beer at O’Brothers Irish Pub in Riverside.
During happy hour, draught beers are $1 off, so domestics are $2.50 & imports/crafts are $3.50. I opted for a Bold City Killer Whale Cream Ale (shocking):
Since we were just in a quick happy hour mood, we didn’t get a chance to delve into some of the more traditional Irish fare like the Guinness Mac & Cheese or Bangers & Mash offered by the menu:
But we did order Spinach Artichoke Dip (served with the best pita chips in the entire world… holy crap they were good):
& fried pickles (which I didn’t touch with a 10-foot pole because I hate pickles & want them to die):
How very Irish of us.
Overall, O’Brothers has a great atmosphere, affordable menu, a great outside patio area, & fantastically cold beer. Not much to complain about!