Forget Jack, Jill Wants a Snack! Jacksonville restaurants Taste Trekkers Guest Forget Jack, Jill wants a snack!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Marlin Moon Grille

We recently took a trip out to the beach to try Marlin Moon Grille. My friend Samantha is a waitress there and has been telling me how great the food is. We finally made it out there, and now we are mad that we waited that long!! The restaurant is located in the spot that Taco Lu recently vacated. We visited on a Wednesday night and they were pretty busy. Even though there were a lot of tables, the service was really good. Samantha came around and checked on us frequently. She was great, and I'm not just saying that because I know her!
We tried a few different appetizers. The first was the Tuna Nachos. They can be summed up in one word, amazing!! The description is Sesame Crusted Tuna on Won Ton Chips with Seaweed Salad, a Sweet Teriyaki Drizzle, Spicy and Wasabi Cucumber Aioli. I loved the teriyaki drizzle, That's not something that you would normally think to put on there, but it works!!

We also tried the Shrimp and Grits, which is Sharp White Cheddar Grits with a Tasso Ham and Holy Trinity Sauce. It is no secret that I love shrimp and grits...and I approve of these 100%! The shrimp were huge and the dish had such a bold and delicious flavor.

For our entrees, I decided on the Crab Cakes. I love crab cakes so I was very eager to try these. Well I was not disappointed at all!! These are seriously the best I have had in Jax. There were large pieces of crab and very little filler. The crab cakes were served with hand cut fries, which were also very good. They were crispy and salted nicely.


My husband got the LaTeDa Pasta (which was hilarious listening to him try to pronounce). It had Shrimp, Lobster, Lump Crab, Shittake Mushrooms and Asparagus in an Asiago Cheese Cream Sauce tossed with Ribbon Pasta. I tried a little bit of it and it was ridiculous good. He was also raving about it for a long while.


Verdict: Loved it!!
If you are looking for a great special occasion place, you should definitely consider Marlin Moon Grille. The food was very fresh and the service was great!!

Marlin Moon Grille on Urbanspoon

Papi Chulos

My friend Angela (who I have known since 1st grade!) told me about Papi Chulos recently, so we decided to go out there and check them out. The restaurant is located on Touchton Rd, where Urban Flats used to be. We sat down and started looking at the menu, which is huge, and ordered drinks. Now I'm going to get this out of the way first, because it tainted my whole meal...my drink glass was dirty. Like dirty dirty. Like someone's drink was in there previously and it wasn't washed, dirty. And the worst part is that it wasn't noticeable until after I drank a little bit of the drink. The only way to describe how this feels is to use an 80's quote....grody to the max!! The waiter gave me a new drink but I was grossed out about it for the entire meal.

Now that that is out of the way, on to the food! They brought out chips and salsa, and I ordered some queso. We really liked the salsa, it tasted super fresh. The queso was also really good. But really, can queso ever be bad?
 

I decided on a few different things, the first was Chicken Flautas. I am always looking for flautas, so I was so excited to find them here. Well I ordered chicken, but I got beef. I ate it anyway because I am not opposed to beef, but I reallllllllly wanted chicken. Still, it they were very tasty and I enjoyed the guacamole and sour cream that came on the side.

My second item was the California Dreamer taco, which is Mahi (beer battered or blackened). nappa cabbage slaw, cilantro, pickled red onions, avocado, cilantro lime sauce, pico de gallo and cotija cheese. I actually ordered mine without the red onion, but it came on there anyway. I scraped it off and moved on. The taco was absolutely delicious!! One of the best fish tacos I have ever had. The fish piece was huge and very tasty!!

I also ordered a Carnitas taco. The pork was very flavorful and juicy. I thought it tasted great!

I also ordered some Fried Plantains thinking I was getting tostones. What I actually got was sweet plantains. They really need to update their menu or add a description, because fried plantains are tostones, period. I am not a fan of sweet plantains, so I can't really judge this one. Angela liked them, and said the sauce on there was really good.
  



  Now, here is Angela's review!!

 Hi I'm Angela, an old school (literally) friend of Jill & lover of all things foodie related. I was immediately intrigued by the Papi Chulos sign I saw on Southside but surprised to discover that it was a Mexican restaurant considering the "Papi Chulos" term is more associated with other Spanish speaking countries, but back to the main subject... the food! I ordered the Flight which was a sampler of all three of their ceviches (again, not really something you find at a Mexican place!). Papis Ceviche was a combo of mahi mahi, scallops & shrimp. I failed to taste any scallops but it was very citrusy and not too bad. Probably my least fav though! The second was Mango & Mahi ceviche. My mango pieces were partially frozen which took away from the dish. Very citrusy tasting. The last & my fav bc I LOVE avocado was the Shrimp & Avocado ceviche. It was an even mix of both but also an almost overwhelming citrus taste. I really enjoy ceviche but I feel all three of these lacked flavor. It felt like the star was the citrus instead of the seafood! However their menu held other tasty treats that Jill sampled so I would definitely go back!


 Angela also ordered a Chelada, which is Beer with clamato and lime juice. She really enjoyed it!


Verdict: Liked it
 The food was really good and they had a variety of different menu items. They are still new so they have to work out the kinks, but I think they have potential. If you are in the area, give them a shot!
Papi Chulo's on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Blind Rabbit

I have heard nothing but good things about The Blind Rabbit, and I have had lots of friends tell me I needed to go there, so we did! They have 2 locations, one at the beach and one in Riverside. We visited the Riverside location since it was closer to home.

 We decided on the Poutine for our appetizer. For those of you unfamiliar with a Poutine, it is Hand-Cut Fries, Pork Belly, Tasso Ham, Cheese Curds, and Gravy....aka delicious! The gravy had a very nice taste and the fries were crispy.

I got The Holick Burger for my entree. It had a Sunny Side Egg, Intuition Braised Pork Belly, Tomato, Arugula, Homemade Bread & Butter Pickles, Lemon Aioli, on a Brioche Bun. I thought the burger was very good, but it didn't really need the pork belly. I don't think it did anything for the burger and it wasn't very flavorful. However, the rest of the burger was great. I got mac and cheese on the side. It was very creamy and the topping was crunchy and flavorful.

My husband got the Blues Burger, which had Maytag Blue Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Lettuce, Tomato, Homemade Bread & Butter Pickles, and a Brioche Bun. He has been craving a good burger and said that this one hit the spot! He got fries on the side.

Verdict: Liked it
We really liked everything and were pleasantly surprised. We didn't try any whiskey on this trip, but  they have a very large whiskey menu for those who are interested. While the prices are not outrageous, they are a little higher than some burger places in town. Still, I think it is definitely worth it. We plan on visiting again soon!

The Blind Rabbit - A Burger & Whiskey Bar on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 13, 2014

Tropical Smoothie

When you think of Tropical Smoothie you don't think about them having food. I mean they are a smoothie place after all! Well we took a trip out there for dinner to try out a few different menu items. I wanted to try a few different things so we got 4 different items and shared everything. 

We tried one of their limited time menu items, Spicy Mongolian Steak Bowl. It had Steak, red & green peppers, baby spinach, scallions and noodles with sesame seeds and Spicy Asian BBQ Sauce. To be totally honest, we did not like this at all. It came in a plastic container which immediately gives the impression of a microwave meal. It actually tasted like one as well. I was expecting a nice, fresh steamed noodle dish, but this tasted and looked like it came right out of a freezer.


Next up was the Buffalo Chicken Wrap. It had Chicken, Low-Fat Mozzarella, Tomatoes, Romaine, Buffalo Sauce, Light Ranch in a Toasted Flour Tortilla. I actually ordered mine without the tomatoes, but the wrap still had them in there. It wouldn't have been so bad if it was a few, but it was loaded with them. I ended up picking them all out and moving on. The actual taste of the wrap was very good, but it didn't have that much chicken in there. It was more tomatoes than anything.


Our next wrap was the Thai Chicken. It had Chicken, Wontons, Carrots, Sesame Seeds, Romaine, Thai Peanut Dressing in a Toasted Flour Tortilla. I hate to say it, but we weren't a huge fan of this one either. Just like the buffalo chicken, there wasn't much chicken in the wrap. However, there were tons of carrots. 


Our last item was the best of them all, Chiptole Chicken Club Flatbread. It had Chicken, Pepper Jack, Bacon, Romaine, Tomatoes & Chipotle Mayo on a Toasted Flatbread. We really liked the bread, and it had a very nice flavor to it.


Verdict: It was ok.
It's not that anything was bad, it just wasn't what I was expecting. I could see Tropical Smoothie being a great place to swing by for lunch if you are in the area. I really liked the flatbread and I would like to go back and try some of the other ones that they offer. 

I intentionally did not review any smoothies on this trip. I have had them before and they are great, but I wanted this review to be on the food only.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 29, 2014

Corner Bakery Cafe

I was lucky enough to attend the pre-grand opening celebration at Corner Bakery Cafe this past weekend with the Yelp crew. The restaurant is located on Bonneval Rd and JTB. It is in a great location that is easily accessible from 95. They have indoor and outdoor seating and lots of parking. 

We were treated to a sampling of many different menu items, and they were all delicious! Here are the goods:

Buttermilk Pancakes - So light and fluffy!

Anaheim Scrambler - Scrambled eggs, tomatoes, green onion, bacon, and avocado. The avocado was what really made it special. They also have a breakfast panini with the same ingredients!
 

Pesto Cavatappi - Grilled Chicken, pesto cream sauce, sprinkled with bread crumbs. I might or might not have grabbed seconds when they offered.

 Zesty Chicken Tortilla Soup - Chicken, corn, black beans, and roasted poblano peppers topped with tortilla strips. Just a little bit spicy and a lot yummy!

Turkey on Pretzel -  Smoked turkey with shaved red onions, tomatoes, caraway Havarti cheese and stone-ground mustard-mayo. I really liked the bun. It was very soft and even had some salt on it!

 Chicken Pomodori on Sourdough - chicken, fresh basil and spinach, oven-roasted tomatoes and provolone cheese with pesto mayo. So many great ingredients all melted together!

Cheesecake Brownie. Just look at it. You know that thing was good!!

Verdict: Loved it!!
I can't wait to go back and try some other menu items, especially the desserts!



Corner Bakery Cafe on Urbanspoon

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Promised Land Moo Crew!

Every now and then I like to break up the reviews with some awesome food news or giveaways. I was recently contacted by Promised Land about their new Moo Crew program.I got my kit in the mail and I can honestly say that it's pretty cool! There is a nice shirt, a membership card, and some coupons in there! It doesn't cost anything to sign up, so go do it! In case you are wondering, I checked and Publix sells Promised Land in the Jacksonville area.

 I also wanted to share the following press release that has all the info and how to sign up:


 Promised Land Dairy Leads the Herd with New Ambassador Program

“Moo Crew” Membership Offered to Promised Land Superfans

(DALLAS) June 25, 2014 – From driving more than 500 miles to stock up on fresh bottles of Promised Land milk, to spreading love for the brand across the web, Promised Land Dairy’s fans are truly one-of-a-kind. Now, the premium line of all-natural dairy products is offering VIP access to its most dedicated fans. Beginning June 25, the “Moo Crew” program will provide members with insider updates, coupons, contests and rewards for demonstrating outstanding brand loyalty.

Fans can sign up for Moo Crew membership by visiting the Promised Land Facebook page or www.promisedlanddairy.com/moocrew.html and filling out a special survey. The survey asks fans a series of questions such as “What’s the craziest thing you would do to get a bottle of Promised Land milk?” and “What’s your favorite Promised Land product?” The sign-up process also gives fans the option to sign up for VIP “Moo-Mails” from Promised Land, in addition to exclusive insider emails. Upon joining the Moo Crew, members receive a VIP welcome package that includes a membership card and limited edition Moo Crew t-shirt, among other surprises.

“Just like our special Jersey cows, our fans are one-of-a-kind, and we’ve created the Moo Crew program to satisfy their thirst for knowledge and insider scoop. Think of it as a backstage pass for our Promised Land fans,” said Allen Spence of Promised Land Dairy. “We want to reward our fans for supporting Promised Land over the years and sharing our excitement for new flavors and developments. With the launch of the Moo Crew, we are now able to connect with our fans more than ever."

Promised Land’s array of products comprises white milks, creams and its highly desirable variety of flavored milks. White milks include Homogenized Whole, Reduced Fat 2% and Fat Free. Promised Land’s core flavored milks include Midnight Chocolate, Very Berry Strawberry and Cookies N’ Cream. Promised Land also offers seasonal flavors such as Marvelous Mocha, Cotton Candy, Southern Pralines N’ Cream, Double Cream White Chocolate, Peaches N’ Cream, Cinnamon Vanilla and Egg Nog.

All Promised Land products come from pampered, “cream of the crop” Jersey cows that naturally produce creamier, nutrient rich milk. Promised Land products are completely free of artificial hormones, artificial flavors and antibiotics.


About Promised Land Dairy
The secret to Promised Land’s decadent, delicious dairy products begins with a cherished herd of Jersey cows. Promised Land’s founders believed that better milk comes from better cows, and Promised Land Jerseys are the cream of the crop. These divine bovines have delighted customers with naturally creamier, nutrient-rich milk for more than 25 years. Since its founding on a small, family-owned farm in Floresville, Texas, Promised Land has continued the tradition of sustainable sourcing, providing only the highest quality care for its beloved Jerseys. You won’t find any artificial hormones, artificial flavors or antibiotics in Promised Land products. Just premium, all-natural ingredients that combine to create an unforgettable flavor experience. From unique notes of Cotton Candy, Pralines N’ Cream and Cookies N’ Cream to classic favorites like Midnight Chocolate and Very Berry Strawberry, Promised Land’s array of products please every palate. For a map of store locations that carry Promised Land products and more information, visit www.Promisedlanddairy.com or www.Facebook.com/promisedlanddairy

Thursday, September 4, 2014

House of Dog

We were invited to the grand opening celebration of House of Dog in Mandarin. They are located in the Bonefish shopping plaza near 295. We walked in and felt like we were transported to a different city. The place is unlike any other place in Jax! The decor is very whimsical and up-cycled. The tables are wood with old tin signs as the tabletops, and there are vintage signs all over the restaurant. The place just has a cool vibe...and they play some great rock music!

We were treated to an assortment of menu items including Pastrami, Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Onion Rings, Fries, and Chicken Tenders. Everything was extremely delicious, but the one thing that won me over was that they had pretzel buns!!!! If you have ever had one, then you can understand how exciting this is. Pretzel buns are very popular in other cities, but they haven't caught on in Jacksonville yet. I'm really hoping that changes soon, because pretzel buns are amazing!


 




Verdict: Loved it!
This place has some serious potential! It seems like a fun place to go hang out (they have a bar area) after a long day at work. The food was outstanding, and they have a very large menu that is Kosher! As I said earlier, I'm particularly fond of the pretzel buns, but I don't want to downplay the food. The flavor combinations are unique and the burgers were thick and juicy! We we definitely be back soon!


House of Dog on Urbanspoon

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Pig Bar-B-Q Restaurant

I'm all about BBQ, so I'm always up for trying new BBQ places in town.The Pig Bar-B-Q Restaurant has been around for a while, but this is a new location for them. I went out there with my parents on evening to try them out. I got the Turkey Sandwich (minus the bun) with Mac & cheese and fried corn. The meal was not bad, but it wasn't impressive either. The turkey was thinly sliced and was a little dry. The mac & cheese was not very good at all, and y'all know that I am a mac & cheese connoisseur. Now I do have to say that the fried corn was pretty good.


My dad got a Pulled Pork Sandwich with Fries and baked beans.
 My mom got a Turkey sandwich with baked potato and cole slaw.

Verdict: Didn't like it.
It's not that it was bad, but it wasn't really good either. The food was just basic and didn't stand out at all. With so many other BBQ places in Jax, I don't think we will be going back. I will say that our waitress was great. She was very friendly and attentive. Now the other waitresses, I'm not sure about. One in particular kept staring at me and talking about me to other waitresses (they would look when she was talking). I'm not sure what that was about, but it was very uncomfortable. If I would have been there with just my husband, we would have definitely left without even eating.


The Pig Bar-B-Q on Urbanspoon

Three F(x) Ice Cream & Waffles

I have heard a lot of buzz lately about Three F(x) Ice Cream & Waffles, so I was eager to try them out. They have such a unique concept to making their ice cream...they make it right in front of you! You select the flavor and how you want it made (whole milk, skim milk, soy, yogurt, etc), then you select 2 toppings. They mix the flavor by blender, then bring the liquid over to the cold plates. Then they work the ice cream all over the plate until it's frozen.

 We have been a few times now and we are hooked! They don't just make ice cream, you can also get Taiyaki, which is basically a fish shaped waffle with your choice of filling. Those things are amazing!! Get the Nutella one, you can thank me later.

 


Verdict: LOVED IT! 
While the ice cream is not the best in Jax, it's more about the experience and the ability to customize that makes this a winner. The Taiyaki is unique and absolutely delicious. The waffle portion tastes like a butter cake and the addition of the filling makes this a must have dessert! Three F(x) is one if those places that is great for everyone (including families), and I highly recommend it!

Three F(x) Ice Cream & Waffles on Urbanspoon