Categories
Dinner Florida

The Mill

I’ve been anticipating my visit to the Mill since the 15th of August- opening day.  I drove by the new location that day and they were putting the finishing touches on the place, I hadn’t been back since.  I resorted to stalking their menu until I could find the time to go.   This past Friday night that time finally came and I had successfully convinced my husband to go.  Best Decision Ever!! and he’ll vouch for that.
The Mill has this cool vibe to it.  The lighting is dim and gives the illusion of an industrial place – like a Mill but also has a romantic vibe.  It’s the perfect place for either date night or family night.  The menu is broken up in first, second and third plates each offering generous portions.  Everything was beyond amazing and totally worth the trip.  In hindsight, it was probably better that I didn’t go on opening day because we were able to sit and enjoy our time.  I was even able to get my little foodie to try everything we ate and expand her palate.  Here is a breakdown of all the yummy goodness we had.


Cheese & Charcuterie

This cheese and charcuterie gives you so many options to choose from. You can choose from a choice of three, five or seven house made charcuterie and cheeses.  It comes with the standard accoutrements of Mostrada, Honeycomb, Seasonal Marmalade, Carmalized Garlic, Porter Mustard, and Bitter Chocolate.  Now fasten your seatbelt because here is where things get exciting.  The Mill Charcuterie is all made in house and will send your taste buds on a roller coaster ride.

Duck Bacon * Espresso Venison Pastrami * Foie Gras Torchon * Mill Pork Rinds

Lamb Belly Bacon * Octopus Bacon * Exotic Mushroom Terrine

Canadian Gator Bacon * Smoked Salmon * Confit Oysters


We selected the option of 5 which included Canadian Gator Bacon, Duck Bacon and the Foie Gras Torchon for our Charcuterie and it was paired with Brie and Gouda cheese.   I had enjoyed a cheese tasting once before and I throughout enjoyed it.  This however was something I will never forget, it was a life changing experience.  This dish was meant to play on all of your taste buds: Sweet, Salty, Bitter, Sour and Savory.  First of all, I’ve never had honey comb before and if you haven’t it is a must!  The honeycomb itself was almost waxy but in a delicate way.  The honey was soft and sweet almost velvety when you bit it.  The chocolate was great and although it was a bitter chocolate it didn’t taste bitter at all.  The caramelized garlic was delicious, I didn’t care if my breath was about to stink because I was going all the way in (it didn’t smell garlicky after all).  The brie was smooth and I kept spreading it on the toast over and over and just eating it.  Lastly, the marmalade was so freaking yummy, I ate it by itself lol.
Now the Main Event, the Star of the Show, the Talk of the Town – The Charcuterie.  Say it with me,  Bay- Bee (in your most southern voice)!  The Canadian Gator Bacon was tender, salty, smoky.. it was everything.  My daughter enjoyed it so much that we just let her have at it.  It’s always nice when kids try something new so I wanted to feed her enthusiasm about it.  The duck bacon was amazing, but then again when is anything duck not amazing.  We split the slices of duck amongst us until we could no longer cut slivers.  Lastly the foie gras, this was at the bottom of the list for both my husband and my daughter but I enjoyed it.  I paired it with some of the porter mustard and had at it.  If you’ve made it this far without drooling on yourself congratulations.  My jaws are getting that tingling feeling just from writing this and I’m getting the itch to go again.


Watermelon Bruschetta

The name of this should really be mouth watering melon bruschetta. I don’t even know where to start so I guess I’ll tell you what’s on it.  Layered atop a rustic loaf is watermelon, tomato, European cucumber, whipped feta, and smoked pistachio brittle with Añejo agave syrup drizzled on top. All I can say is good googly moogly that thang is good.  Everything about that bruschetta works in unison. The cucumber, watermelon and tomato remind me of summer day. The pistachio brittle adds texture and was an unexpected surprise. When you visit even if you get another first course,  you have to add this.


Sweet Potato Soup

I believe that the best way to welcome fall is with soup.  Even though Florida doesn’t really have a true fall season, it’s still  nice to enjoy a bowl of soup during the fall months.  Soup not only warms the body, it also warms the soul.   The right soup can bring back many memories.   This sweet potato soup is one of a kind. I’ve had tons of tomato soup, butternut squash soup and lobster bisques.  This soup was like thanksgiving in a bowl. It had the perfect amount of sweetness and was balanced perfectly with the pecans.  They truly captured the essence of a sweet potato pie in a soup.  It was the soup of the day so if you catch it on the menu ORDER IT. I promise you won’t be sorry.

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Sorghum Braised Pork Cheek

From the second plate we ordered the Sorghum Braised Pork Cheek.  It was served in a cast iron skilled on a bed of sweet corn casserole then topped with spiced apple cider slaw, natural jus and crispy smoked onion.  The pork cheek was so tender you could tell that it has been roasting away for hours in the natural jus.  We were so full at this point I only took a few bites then packed it up to bring home.  The next day I reheated it and man oh man it was just as amazing as the night before.  You know something magical has been created when you can reheat it and it tastes just the same or better.  The sweetness from the corn casserole was balanced out by the jus and the pork cheek.  The apple cider slaw added just enough acidity to give it a nice crunchy bite.  The second bite is enough for two people to share as a large appetizer or one person to eat as a main entree.  I truly believe this entree recipe was dreamt up in a southern chef’s kitchen because everything about this says southern comfort.

I’m looking forward to going back and trying the third plates and trying either the seared  diver scallops, honey seared tuna or the lamb shank pot pie.  So many delicious options to choose from but after experiencing the first two plates I’d expect nothing less.  If the Mill isn’t on your list of restaurants to visit, it should be.  I see the word regular next to customer and my name in the near future.

The Mill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Uncategorized

October 28th is National Chocolate Day!

I hope it’s your cheat day because it’s National Chocolate Day. Chocolate is like a multi purpose tool. It’s an aphrodisiac, a PMS notifier, a food staple. I mean the list could go on and on. I plan on consuming as much chocolate as I can because National Chocolate Day deserves to be honored.

Categories
Florida Lunch

Ciccio Cali

Ciccio Cali

11230 Sullivan St. Riverview, FL 33578

Today’s visit to Ciccio Cali’s was spur of the moment.  Life has been extremely hectic these past two weeks.  It’s hard not having access to your kitchen during the common meal times.  I was stuck between two house showings with the kids and decided it was best to stop and eat before we got hangry.

BENNY BOWL

It’s probably no surprise that I went looking for the Eggs Benedict on the menu.  It wasn’t there, the menu was full of bowls, wraps, and pizza.  There were a few breakfast items such as pancakes, french toast and even eggs but no traditional Eggs Benedict.  I flipped the menu back and forth three or four times before I finally gave in and ordered the Benny bowl.  It was the closest I was going to get to my Eggs Benedict today.  The  Benny bowl had scrambled eggs and ham on top of Ciccio potatoes (homestyle potatoes) topped with a hollandaise sauce, scallions and sliced english muffin pieces.  I must say I was pleasantly surprised, it was really good.  It just goes to show that when you are good at something, you can recreate something as iconic as the Eggs Benedict into the Benny Bowl and make it your own. Bravo Ciccio Cali, Bravo!  The egg and ham scramble was light and not overly seasoned. The potatoes were cooked to perfection and the english muffin well…it was an english muffin. The Benny bowl was basically a deconstructed Eggs Benedict and once I poured that hollandaise sauce on top….forget about it.  I was already ready for the encore.IMG_20171022_162441_315IMG_20171022_162441_319
Whether it is for brunch, lunch, or dinner… Ciccio Cali aims to create delicious eats.  I recommend you eat out on the covered patio and enjoy the weather and palm trees.  They are even dog friendly so bring your 4 legged friend.  If you see something familiar but unconventional try it, it will probably be the best decision you’ll make that day.

Categories
Florida Food Truck

Anju Korean Gastrotruck

One of the greatest things about the food culture these days is the uniqueness of food trucks.  Each truck has its own flair. I stumbled across Anju one evening when I was on a mission to find a food truck for a Trunk or Treat event. One of the greatest things to ever happen to me. Their menu is both simple and elaborate and you can tell a lot of thought was put into their items.  My eyes were bigger than my stomach that night but it was okay because their serving dishes were the perfect to go containers.

Okonomi Fries

Words can’t even describe how good these fries were.  These fries have me wanting to move to Japan they are so good.  The portion size really is enough for 2 people to share. By the time I finished eating them I was full and I still hadn’t touched my mmm bap bowl.  These fries are topped with Japanese mayo,  okonomi sauce,  aonori, bonito flake, scallions and pickled red ginger. I honestly hadn’t heard of 3 of those ingredients so I googled them out of curiosity.  Now I’m sitting here thinking to myself there is no way seaweed is that good. There was a smokiness to the seaweed so this dish yelled comfort food.  I could totally see myself sitting on a couch stuffing my face with this while binging on Netflix.  You can find their link here follow them, find them, eat them  (the fries of course). You won’t be disappointed.
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Categories
Florida Lunch

I ❤ DE

Have you ever seen a place so popular its everywhere but you can’t find it? That was me until today. My social media was full of posts from daily eats yet I had been unable to find it.  Today my luck changed when I was out looking for one place and saw the name as I looked up. I made a hard right turn because they were not about to slip away.
Daily Eats has a true diner feel to it.  From the fresh made pie on the countertop to the separate bar with stools in front of the kitchen it feels like somewhere you want to go where somebody knows your name.  Breakfast is served all the time in addition to their lunch and dinner menu.  I especially loved how they incorporated the staff faces in their menu and with names like the Kong and Jersey Shore they have to be epic.

Shredder bowls

It took me awhile to decide because they had many options that sounded delicious.  I got the Tuna taco bowl which has seared yellowfin tuna, diced tomato, red onion, black beans,  corn and pickled jalapeños tossed in white balsamic vinaigrette them topped with cilantro tartar sauce and crispy tortilla strips…. pretty much true love in a bowl. You have the opportunity to play with a few ingredients such as your base: brown rice or quinoa.  I substituted my brown rice for quinoa one because I love quinoa and two its packed with nutrients. I also substituted my lettuce with kale for the same reasons.  It made my bowl taste 100% better.. in my mind at least.  The bite from the vinaigrette worked perfectly with the pickled jalapeños.  I must admit I always order my food with no jalapeños but these were so good.  Perhaps it was the pickling that transformed them into something magical.  The cilantro tartar sauce was genius, it was creamy and light with that tang that hits the back of your jaw…just what you want to coat the seared tuna.
They have two sizes a small and large… don’t order the small unless you are ordering two different bowls to taste. You will be sad as you are trying to scrap the bowl wondering where your food went. Here’s what it looked like before I inhaled it.
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Daily Eats has created something special. There was buzz and excitement from the staff down to the guests. I understand the love for Daily Eats.. because I now love it too. I’ll be back so I can conquer the menu one dish at a time.

Categories
Dinner Lunch

Tampa Bay Tailgate Taste Fest

One of the perks of living in Florida is the almost constant sunshine.  Saturday is college football day but it’s often the day families get out and spend time together.  I was extremely excited when I heard about the Tampa Bay Taste Fest.  They were showing college games in two projectors on the lawn of Curtis Hixon Park. If you’ve never been to Curtis Hixon, it has a water splash pad for kids to play in and on the other side it backs up to the Hillsborough river with access to the riverwalk.
Towards the top of the lawn there were several corn hole games set up along with a football toss for the kids.  There were 10 -12 food vendors lined up on the edges and two bars because what is football without beer. An array of bands took center stage throughout the day and covered various genres.  This event was perfect for families and was even dog friendly.
Now on to why I’m really here… The food.  Since it was a tailgate most of the food samples were tailored to game day food i.e. wings,  nachos, ribs etc.  You were required to purchase tickets to exchange for food samples.  Since I’m a food blogger I went for the VIP ticket so I could have unlimited food and drinks instead of trying to choose from five vendors.  You know expand my opinions and bring you guy’s more.  Here’s a feature of each of the restaurants I had the pleasure of trying.

Roux

Roux which is known as the base for many creole/cajun dishes is a restaurant in south Tampa.  I had the pleasure of dining there on my birthday one year so I was delighted to see them at the event.  The food was great.  They came to bring the flavor with their shrimp and grits.  It was so good, I went back twice.
Roux's shrimp and grits

Sonny’s BBQ

I’ll be honest, I’ve always driven by Sonny’s and never thought to give them any play.  In Oklahoma we are big on our bbq –  I love a good brisket.  Since it was free and it was BBQ I figured it wouldn’t hurt to give them a try.  I have to admit that I’ve been underestimating Sonny’s all this time.  I tried the brisket and it was so tender and moist.  Almost as good as my cousin Larry’s BBQ.

Grillsmith

Anything with the words artichoke, Feta and lemon will pretty sell me.  I tried the Lemon Feta Chicken which had chicken, artichoke, sun-dried tomatoes, Feta cheese, basil and a lemon-butter white wine reduction.  If you ever visit Grillsmith this is a great option for lunch or dinner.20170930_184820

Champions

Perhaps the real champions of the night were Champions Bar.  They were serving up 5 Cheese Mac and Cheese with a burnt end in the bottom and topped with brisket and bacon jam.  Lawd!  It was so good I forgot to take a picture.  I had to snag a second shot of my mother in laws.20170930_173952

Jeremiah’s Italian Ice

It’s always nice to have a little something cold and sweet on a hot summer day.  Jeremiah’s Italian Ice was scooping up some goodness.  I had the cookies and cream and it was good but the best flavor in my opinion was the strawberry lemon.Strawberry lemon

American Social Bar and Kitchen

This restaurant is new to the Tampa bay area so I’m thrilled to visit and try out their menu.  If the rest of their food is anything like their wings they’ve got it going on.20170930_200546

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop

You can always count on nachos to come through and save any tailgating party.  Fuzzy’s chicken taco’s did just that.  I only tried one nacho because these were for my daughter.  However we have Fuzzy’s often and they have yet to disappoint.
My family and I enjoyed our time and we’ve been talking about the event all week.   If you are in Tampa Bay next year around this time, look up the Tampa Bay Taste Fest and go or you’ll be sad you didn’t.  Lastly,  splurge I  the VIP ticket,  unlimited food and drinks and that includes beer and alcohol.  Thank me later.

Categories
Breakfast and Brunch Florida

Noble Crust

Noble Crust – Wesley Chapel

28330 Paseo Drive, Wesley Chapel, FL

I follow several local restaurants on Instagram and with so many great options around the Tampa Bay area it’s hard to get to them all right away.  I had been putting off going to Noble Crust despite their relentless posts of delicious looking food trying to lure me in.  But when I saw that Noble Crust won best brunch earlier in the week, I had to go check them out I could procrastinate no longer.  Now, if you’ve been following me on any of my social media you would know that brunch has become a thing.  To get voted the “Best of the Bay” is a big accomplishment…there is a lot and I mean a LOT of good brunchery to be had.  I wanted to in the in crowd..the crowd that has experienced a Noble Crust brunch.


Fried Green Tomatoes

I’m a country girl and we fry green tomatoes in Oklahoma.   I have never had one like this! Pimento cheese, pork belly… yes you read that correctly pork belly and tabasco-honey glaze atop a perfectly fried green tomatoe. There were only two so I had one and my husband had the other.  These were easily some of the best fried green tomatoes I’ve ever had. This hit almost every tastebud. There was sweet from the honey,  salty from the pork belly,  spicy from the tabasco and savory from the pimento cheese and tomatoes.  If you’ve never had fried green tomatoes try them, if you have still try them.. or don’t that’s more for me.  The only disappointment you will have is that there are only two.


Chicken and Waffles

My husband ordered the chicken in waffles.  Turns out it is one of their most requested items.  Once you taste them you will see why.  The chicken and waffles is paired with the same honey-tabasco sauce as the fried green tomatoes and a maple syrup so you can choose which one you like most.  Let’s just say by the time I had finished stuffing myself with my food; I had to beg for a taste from my husband so I could have an honest review. The chicken was fried well and it had a nice crisp to it.  It didn’t get all soggy after you poured the syrup on it.  The waffles were nice and thick and browned to perfection.  If you’ve ever had a soft waffle you know what I mean.  The ratio was just right so by the time he finished he didn’t have more chicken left over than the waffle. Hat’s off to the chef for this one.. I wonder if his name is Roscoe?


Bronzed Salmon Benny

My oh my we’ve finally gotten to the main event.  My Benny my boo! As many of you know I rank my Benedict’s and this one is a top contender.  The bronzed salmon benny had poached eggs, salmon… nice thick chunks of salmon with sauteed garlic swiss chard a lemon-dill hollandaise sauce on a buttermilk biscuit.  I just love lemon and dill together; there is just something about it that says fresh.  Not to mention both lemon and dill go well with salmon.  This was the first time I had tasted swiss chard.  I’m usually a spinach and kale kinda gal.  I must say I was impressed and I will be adding swiss chard to my wheelhouse soon.
I also had a side of four cheese grits and let me tell you.. whew.  If you are a cheese grits lover then these are just for you.  The combination of cheeses was just right, even my 7 year old liked them.  I couldn’t keep her out my bowl.

 


Chocolate Chip Pancakes

My daughter ordered the chocolate chip pancakes and they were scrumptious.  I managed to sneak a piece away when I was cutting them up for her.  The portion size is large enough for an adult, but don’t order off the kiddie menu guys…there are some lemon, blueberry and ricotta pancakes waiting for you on the adult menu.
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Lastly, I would be amiss if I failed to mention the complimentary mimosa served with the order of a brunch plate.  So cheers!! And congrats to Noble Crust on winning the best of the bay brunch.   You definitely deserve it.
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Categories
Florida Lunch

Bamboozle Cafe Brings Unique Flavor to Downtown Tampa

Bamboozle Cafe

516 N. Tampa St.  Tampa, FL 33602

Bamboozle…to be bamboozled is defined as to fool or cheat.  But if you pass up this place you will only bamboozle yourself.  I must admit, I myself had been bamboozled and passed by this place several times.  Yesterday I finally mustered up the courage to go in and give it a try.   Perhaps the words Bahn Mi Tacos had a slight influence on my decision but that is neither here nor there.  Bamboozle seems to be a favorite amongst the downtown lunch crowd.


Bahn Mi Tacos

I decided to get a combo of chicken and pork.  These tacos were bite size but they were so flavorful.  The carrot and daikon slaw with the cucumbers was perfection. I just topped these babies with some Chinese 5 spice sauce and gobbled them up.  It was the daily special so I’m not sure how often they feature these tacos but in honor of Taco Tuesday I couldn’t pass them up and you shouldn’t either.


Spring Rolls

I only tried one spring roll because I didn’t want to look gluttonous.  Besides, one spring roll is a pretty decent portion alone.  The way the restaurant is set up is similar to an assembly line.  You pick your protein and then you are given the option of choosing four veggie toppings.  There are two things I like about this set up.  First, you get to see them roll your spring rolls in front of you.  Second, you get to pick the options so your spring roll is unique to you.  I chose duck as my protein and decided to top it with cilantro, carrot and daikon, cucumber and roasted shallots.  It’s okay you can stop salivating now… After I got my food, I moved over to what I will call the sauce station.  There were about five different sauces to choose from.  I paired mine with peanut sauce and hoisin sauce and it was super delicious.  Bamboozle has really created a cool concept of customization without much effort – no two rolls, salads or tacos are the same.


 
Finally the decor is unique.  There are paintings all along the walls but these aren’t just any paintings.  These paintings appear to be from local artists and are actually for sale.  I included three in my feature photo because I thought this was a cool concept.
If you are in the downtown Tampa area for lunch, stop by and give it a try.  The prices are fair and the food is great…don’t be bamboozled like I was.
 

Categories
Florida Lunch

1895 Kitchen ☆Bar☆Market

1895 Kitchen Bar Market

510 N Franklin St. Tampa, FL 33602

Newly rebranded and only 4 weeks old is the 1895 Kitchen Bar Market and it’s bringing big flavor to downtown Tampa Bay.  Their slogan is “we are southern comfort”, which explains why their menu boasts chicken and waffles (in both a regular size and minis of you aren’t too hungry), shrimp and grits, and BBQ pork sandwich.  I mean honestly, how much more Southern or Comfort do you need?  1895 is located in the oldest building in downtown Tampa which was constructed in 1895 hence the name.  Everything about it speaks comfort from the bar staff to the decor, it’s just a real down to earth place.
One feature I particularly like is that 1895 was previously the Urban Juice Co. so they also offer cold pressed juices.  If you’ve ever experienced the Tampa heat, you’ll find that it’s a nice way to get something refreshing and healthy.


Ahi Tuna Tower

Today I was feeling a little mettle so I decided to go for something outside my norm.  The Ahi Tuna Tower is layered with spicy ahi tuna, guacamole, and sticky rice then garnished with siracha sauce and served with tortilla chips. This tower might not be stacked high, but it’s big on flavor.  The tuna was so fresh it felt like velvet and the guacamole… forget about it… it was absolute perfection.  The serving is enough for two to share, but to be honest I’m glad I ventured out alone.  If you are around during lunch and want something light but filling this ahi tuna tower is the way to go.
 


1895 Signature Grilled Cheese

I was trying to keep it pretty light for lunch then this awesomeness was recommended by the bartender.  Let me just tell you this grilled cheese isn’t for your five year old.  It’s featuring bacon jam, avocado, mild cheddar cheese and a fried egg.  Talk about being signature.  The egg was cooked perfectly and the yoke was just enough to bring this grilled cheese together.  Order it add bacon if you want but you have to try it. 20171002_154027


Fried Oreos

Last but not least dessert… I usually don’t indulge in dessert at lunch but when the words deep fried and oreo are put together it’s okay for you to break the rules Right?

 
Stop by for lunch, dinner or just to have a drink.  You’ll be treated with southern hospitality and comforted with food that has a southern twist…. after all their slogan is “we are southern comfort”.
 

Categories
Breakfast and Brunch U.S.A

Green Eggs Cafe -Philadelphia, PA

On my second trip to Philly, I stopped by the one breakfast/brunch restaurant that is a must – Green Eggs Cafe.  Before I started food blogging my friends brought me to Green Eggs Cafe and that experience was life changing, I’ve thought about it for over a year.  Quite frankly it should be on my top 5 breakfast places found here but since I wasn’t officially blogging I didn’t include it.  I had the red velvet pancakes which obviously must still be a hit because they are still on the menu.  This time I decided to try two items on their menu which proved to be difficult.  After all they had 6 Eggs Benedict options and ya’ll know how I am about my eggs benny. None the less here’s a review of what we had.


Pecan Pie French Toast

You know the part at the end of your prayer when you say Amen?  Say it twice because this french toast is a blessing. I have never..Ever..EVER had french toast this good.  It is the perfect balance between sweet and savory and good down to the last pecan.  Here’s the breakdown of this masterpiece.  First you start with two pieces of challah bread dipped in cream brûlée batter….wait what?  Cream brûlée batter..*insert drool*  then it is stuffed with pecan pie filling *screams hallelujah* and lastly it is topped with maple syrup, vanilla streusel, chantilly cream and pecans.  Go ahead and say it….AMEN!  I stopped eating this only to share with my daughter (who instantly fell in love) and to breathe. If this is on the menu when you visit…get it! Don’t hesitate, don’t think about something else, like Nike says Just Do It!


Eggs Benedict

You’ve heard of chicken and waffles I’m sure…but a chicken and waffle benny…that’s a whole new level.  I loved that my waffle was cooked fresh..I could literally taste the waffle iron on it.  The chicken was cooked well and the perfectly poached eggs with hollandaise sauce. MWAH!  The rosemary potatoes were great as well but the star of this dish was definitely the chicken and waffle benny.  This is a must try when you visit.


Steak and eggs

My husband ordered the steak and eggs…a more traditional breakfast staple but don’t let that fool you.  The steak was cooked perfectly and seasoned well. The grits were off the chain and the eggs well, they were eggs.  I think the secret was in the spinach that is was layered over.  It added a sophisticated element to the entire dish.

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Steak with Eggs and Cheese Grits

Hot Chocolate

Because no little girls meal is complete without a cup of Hot Chocolate.  She didn’t share but it looked amazing lol.

There are locations in Philly and Miami so find one ASAP and stop in for Brunch.