Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Best Breakfast Ever at Bageland, Gainesville, FL

Enjoying an amazing breakfast with amazing friends
 What do you want the most after a long night? 

An incredible breakfast! 

Bageland is the best breakfast place to go when you are in Gainesville. Bageland has been serving Gainesville for over 35 years.

Bageland makes their baked goods fresh every day. You can definitely tell everything is fresh. 

Fresh baked croissant, egg and bacon sandwich- DELICIOUS
My recommendation is the egg sandwich special, with bacon and american cheese, on a croissant.

I have to admit, this sandwich is so good we went two days in a row! 

A traditional deli feel with incredible food- Bageland

Hours of operation:
Sunday 7-2
Saturday 7-3
Monday-Friday 6-6

Call them: 352-371-3354

croissant sandwich
You will not be disappointed with Bageland
Like them on Facebook.

View the Bageland website.

Bageland on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 24, 2014

Ulele- Florida Native Inspired Foods and Spirits,Tampa, FL

Native Summer drink
As a Florida Native, when a restaurant claims to be "Native Inspired" you can bet that I am going to try it out.  

Ulele which is pronounced You-lay-lee, is located just north of Downtown Tampa on the Riverwalk.

Ulele "celebrates the vibrant fusion of ingredients from Florida waters and land once home to many Native Americans, including the young princess Ulele." (according to the Ulele website)

As soon as we walked in, we loved the atmosphere.  It has exceptional lighting and it appears to be a contemporary-remodeled warehouse.

Alligator Hush Puppies
We started with the Alligator Hush Puppies and Ulele beer, which is brewed in house.  The puppies were very crispy and the beer greatly complimented them. However, we just wished we could taste the alligator.

Flank Steak
For my entree, I had the the 8 ounce "Fresh from Florida" Flank Steak- Garlic sea salt and olive oil marinated, thinly sliced, Florida avocado "Jimmychurri."

The meat was cooked a perfect medium rare.  Surprisingly, the popcorn on the potatoes was a great addition! I would definitely recommend ordering this entree.

Ulele also creates their own wine, which I very much enjoyed with my steak.

Unique blend of wine
Brian ordered the "Chief Red Eagle" Duck- Charbroiled roasted Maple Leaf duck breast, port wine orange marmalade.

Chief Red Eagle Duck
He is a duck connoisseur, as an avid duck hunter. He was very surprised that the duck was cooked correctly and had incredible flavor. 

His only concern was that the duck was from Canada, not Florida. 

Overall, as a Florida Native, I would highly recommend giving Ulele a try. Just make sure you make a reservation because they are very busy. We talked to other customers while at Ulele and they enjoyed the "Crackling Pork Shank" and the "Florida Jumpers."

For even more information view the article by Kat Lewis from Visit Tampa Bay.

Make a reservation by calling 813-999-4952.

Brian enjoying the Ulele beer

Ulele on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Woody's River Roo, Ellenton, FL

Our view while dining at Woody's River Roo
On the way home from Englewood beach, my parents and I stopped by the Ellenton Premium Outlets. We really were not interested in eating at the outlet food court.  

I did a little mobile digging and uncovered a mom and pop, less than a mile away from the outlets, and on the Manatee River- Woody's River Roo.

We were able to find a table on the patio with a great view of the river.  Even though it was hot, they had misting fans blowing. It was perfect!  

Delicious Onion Rings
We decided to start with an order of onion rings.  They were made fresh and to order. 

Plus, the horseradish dipping sauce was amazing! 

It was packed but there was plenty of seating!

Florida Gulf Shrimp basket
I ordered the fresh gulf shrimp basket.  It was nice to actually eat fresh shrimp from Florida and not Indonesia.

However, next time I would order the shrimp dinner instead of the basket because the basket was a tease! They were so delicious!

The Woody Burger topped with fried onions
My father went with the Woody Burger- topped with American cheese, fried onions and sliced mushrooms, finished with homemade BBQ sauce.  

He enjoyed every bite!

My mother went with the Patty Melt- certified black angus patty on grilled rye bread with swiss cheese and grilled onions.  

It was juicy and full of flavor.

Patty Melt with cole slaw
Overall, Woody's is a Florida mom and pop you must stop by and visit! 

They have a great tiki bar area if you just want to stop by for a relaxing drink.  I definitely recommend visiting Woody's the next time you are in Ellenton.

Woody's River Roo Pub & Grill on Urbanspoon

Give them a call- 941.722.2391

Check out Woody's menu

Like them on Facebook

Monday, May 19, 2014

DC Mom and Pop Spots

At graduation with Sarah and Whitney
This past weekend, I graduated from The George Washington University and hit up some amazing Washington, DC mom and pop spots. 

As a supporter of local businesses, I could not resist the opportunity to highlight these amazing locations. Go local only. Never go chain. Ever.

Lobster Risotto
As soon as we got to DC we went to a fun restaurant called Cities Restaurant and Lounge. I found this place through a unique website called DC Happy Hours. The website let's you pick the day of the week, the time of day, then maps out what locations provide happy hour during that time. We ordered the Lobster Risotto and the Peking Duck Flat Bread.  Both were delicious.

medium rare
Steak and Eggs at Medium Rare
Do you love steak and eggs for brunch? We went to a tasty little spot called Medium Rare on Saturday.  The menu is set at $23 and it includes bottomless mimosas, bloody marys, or screwdrivers, and your meal. I went with the steak and poached eggs.  It was awesome!  

Medium Rare offers brunch on Saturday and Sunday.  This place won't leave you disappointed!  I stumbled across Medium Rare through a helpful DC blog called The Bottomless Mimosa

Over 14,000 students graduated at the National Mall
 My commencement ceremony was Sunday morning at the
National Mall.  That will probably be one of the most memorable experiences of my life.  Imagine 14,000 graduates around you, in-between our U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument.  #LIFECHANGING

Check out this hilarious video shown at GWU commencement with cameos from Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Owen Wilson, and more: 


Our speaker at graduation was Jose Andres.  According to Jose Andres website, "Named 'Outstanding Chef' by the James Beard Foundation in 2011, Jose Andres is an internationally-recognized culinary innovator, passionate advocate for food and hunger issues, author, educator, television personality and chef/owner of ThinkFoodGroup." 

Enjoying the Pan de cristal con tomate
After graduation, we decided to eat at one of Jose Andres' restaurants, Jaleo. We ordered the Pan de cristal con tomate (etherel bread brushed with fresh tomato), Patatas bravas (fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce), and Datiles con tocino 'como hace todo el mundo' (fried, bacon-wrapped dates served with an apple-mustard sauce).  

This food is like nothing you have ever had before.  The flavors are intense and you will want to savor every bite!

Roast Duck with Mein Foon
We ended our trip with a visit to Chinatown.  Chinatown Express provides customers with hand-made noodles.  We know we went to an authentic place because most customers were speaking Chinese! Our eyes were a lot bigger than our stomachs when we ordered Fried Rice, Vegetable Dumplings, Wonton Soup, Steamed Pork Bun and Roast Duck with Mein Foon. It was a great place to end our trip.

Sarah, Whitney, me, Mike after graduation
I was so fortunate to have amazing friends to spend my graduation weekend with! 

Check out my friend, Sarah's blog!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Tony's Studio B, Lakeland, FL

It has been called the hidden gem of Lakeland.  Tony's Studio B is exactly what has been missing in Lakeland.  

Look for Studio B on Bay Street
Located on Bay Street, across the street you will find plenty of free parking. Walk through the gated alley way to find great wine, food and live music.

Open from Tuesdays to Saturdays, Studio B offers customers live music almost every night of the week. Make sure you stop by after work on Tuesdays through Thursdays to take advantage of happy hour from 5pm-8pm.

Enjoy live music at Studio B!

Happy hour includes 2 for 1 specials on select wines and beers.

Made to order fresh pizzas

I have been a few times and every time I go, I always look forward to coming back.  The owner, Tony Guinn, greets you and makes sure you are enjoying your time.

Sarah, bartending at Studio B

The first time I went with Brian we weren't sure what to expect. As soon as we walked in, the band was playing amazing music. 

Enjoying the Meiomi Pinot Noir
We fell in love with the chic atmosphere. The style is similar to that of prohibition days. 

The bartender, Sarah, was quick to say hello and ask us what we would like.

Tony's Studio B has a great craft beer selection such as SweetWater 420 IPA and Beer Barrel Bourbon

You won't find Turning Leaf on this wine list but brands such as Meiomi, Layer Cake, William Hill, and Stonecap. My favorite is the Meiomi Pinot Noir.

Check the board to see the specials!

They offer a tapas menu and also have a board with options such as specialty pizzas and stuffed tomatoes. I have tried the bruschetta and the pesto, sausage, poblano, mozzarella and tomato pizza. Both were very delicious!

They have a variety of bottles as well
Studio B is now open on Saturdays at 11AM to serve you brunch. It is a great place to stop after visiting the Lakeland Downtown Farmer's Curb Market

It is a convenient location for business meetings, girl's night out, date night, or even a glass of wine with dad.  If you are looking for that unique place that you can relax, listen to good music, drink delicious wine then Tony's Studio B is the place you want to be!  
sarah summerlin
Sarah, from Shechic, and I enjoying our girl's night at Studio B

Make sure you say hello to Tony when you visit Studio B!

Tony's Studio B on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida

Flying animals, melting clocks, nuclear war, beautiful women, Abraham Lincoln, the crucifix: if any of these interest you then you need to immediately visit The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. 

"Slave Market with Disappearing Bust of Voltaire" (1940)

Staircase in the Dali
The last time I toured the Dali, I was in fifth grade.  Now looking back, I am shocked that a religious-affiliated private school took us on a field trip to the museum. Now that I have a better understanding of art, I look forward to visiting the Dali multiple times in the future.

You need to visit soon. Right now, the Dali is showcasing works of art by Andy Warhol.  If you aren't familiar with Warhol, Men in Black 3 provided him with a quick silhouette (of which, Warhol would probably be insulted by).  Our favorite part of the Warhol exhibit was the "Heinz Tomato Ketchup Box."  Is it art or is it bologna?  Go see it and you decide.

View Warhol artwork now until April 27.

According to Warhol.org (regarding the "Heinz Tomato Ketchup Box"), "Warhol later said that he wanted 'something ordinary' and it was this mundane, commercial subject matter that infuriated the critics." The Warhol exhibit is available until April 27.

"Santiago El Grande" by Salvador Dali
Another reason to visit the Dali soon is to view "Santiago El Grande." This extraordinary piece is normally housed in Canada;only available to view in Florida for a limited time.  

At over 15 feet tall, this piece is so exquisite, it is hard to find the right words to describe it.  You must experience it in person.

Make sure you make it a day trip when you visit.  Directly across the street from the museum is The Hanger Restaurant and Flight Lounge.  The Hanger overlooks a small airport. It is a nice place to have lunch or dinner after visiting the museum.

The Hangar is located across the street from the Dali. 

The Dali offers other entertainment other than artwork.  "The Dali Enigma" is a short, 6 minute film that plays every 15 minutes.  Presented by Bright House Networks, Bay New 9, the film provides you insight on the museum.  It is located on the first floor.  

View from outside of the Dali museum

Outside of the museum there is a water-front garden. According to the Dali,  "The Mathematical Garden allows students to experience the relationship between math and nature, and a labyrinth in the southeast corner invites exploration and well-being."

Suggestions for your trip to the Dali:

1. Bring your own earphones. If not, you will be using the provided earphones. Who knows who used them before you! Earphones are necessary for both the Warhol and Dali tour.

Experiencing the Warhol exhibit

2. Make sure you have a form of identification on you.  It is necessary in order to check out the Dali audio tour.  (We learned the hard way about this one.)

3. Request a private tour.  The audio tour is educational but it is rated PG. A private tour will provide you with more in-depth information regarding his unique artwork (PG-13).

4. Order a glass of wine at Cafe Gala and go into the "additional seating for the Gala" room. There is no one in that room and the view is incredible.

Cafe Gala is located inside the Dali Museum.

5. Make sure your phone is fully charged. The Warhol tour requires your smart phone.  

6. Have cash ready because it is $5 to park at the Dali museum.

7. Try to not go on a Saturday.  It is packed on Saturdays!

The talented Dali. Photo from here.

Hours of Operation:

Open daily from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Thurdays open late from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Sunday from 12:00 PM to 5:30 PM


General Admission / Adults: $21
Seniors 65+, Military, Police and Firefighters: $19

Children 13-17 & Students 18+ w/ ID: $15
Children 6-12: $7
Children 5 and younger: FREE

After 5:00 PM on Thursday: $10

1 Dali Boulevard, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Patio850, Lakeland, Florida

It was Friday night, date night. We were ready to be fed without having to clean up the kitchen!  Patio850 was the perfect choice for us.  The patio has a live band playing on Friday nights.  It was phenomenal- live music, delicious food and unique draft beers!

Enjoying my Goose Island draft beer

When we got there, we decided to try a draft beer.  Patio850 has beers that you do not find at other locations.  We went with the Goose Island draft.  This delicious beer is made in Chicago, Illinois. 


If escargot is on the menu, I am going to try it.  Patio850 did not let me down with my favorite buttery snails! They offer a wide array of unique appetizers such as bacon popcorn, marinated olives, and even duck liver with pear pate. 

Not Your Everyday Wings
For our main dishes, Brian ordered the chicken wings and I ordered the pizza. Now, do not think that these are items similar to what you get a bar.  The chicken wings are entitled "not your everyday wings."  The pizza was Patio850's "stone perfect" pizza.  The chicken wings are first beer braised then oven roasted. They are served with a special house sauce, herbs and blue cheese. 

Stone-Perfect Pizza

The pizza had mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, goat cheese, arugula, baby spinach, mushrooms, red onions and truffle oil.  Without a doubt, it was "stone-perfect." 

Other pizzas I am interested in trying that are unique: the To Brie or Not to Brie- red onion jam, great brie, cranberries, candied walnuts and fresh herbs, and the Swine Smackin' Good- BBQ Pork Butt, Bacon, Red Onion Jam, Mozzarella.  If you want something other than pepperoni pizza, this is the place to visit.

Photo obtain from  Facebook

Patio850 is open:
Monday and Tuesday from 4:00 PM- 9:00 PM
Wednesday and Thursday from 4:00 PM- 10:00 PM
Friday and Saturday from 4:00- 11:00 PM

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