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

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Mama Q's Pizza

Last weekend we took a trip out to Mama Q’s Pizza in Mandarin. They are a new family owned restaurant in the area, so I was really excited to try them out! As you know, we love pizza! The restaurant is located on Old St. Augustine Rd in the Walmart Neighborhood Market shopping center. We went in, ordered at the counter, and took a seat. The décor was great, I loved the walls! They were painted beautifully!

We ordered the Meteor pizza, which had Mama’s simmered tomato sauce, pepperoni, ham, sliced meatballs, and Italian Sausage. For starters, I really liked the sauce. It had a great taste and there was just the right amount on the pizza. The toppings were plentiful and tasted fresh. I have been known to give Ivan some of my toppings when they aren’t that good or when there are too many for my tastes…well I ate them all!! I even ate the crust, which never happens! The crust was very soft and had great flavor.

We also ordered some Cinnamon-Maple Sticks for dessert. When they came out, I knew that we were in for a treat! They come with a side of smooth maple icing, and let me tell you, that icing is to die for! It is thick and loaded with flavor! Ivan was the first one to taste the sticks and icing together. He looked at me and said, “Jill you are going to love this!” And yes, he was very right! I can think of many different things that I want to put that icing on!

Verdict: Loved it!
I was really hoping to meet the owner RJ while we were there. Luckily he came in right as we were finishing up our meal. We talked a little bit and he was very charming! I love local, small businesses. And Mama Q’s fits that bill perfectly. If you live or work in the area, you need to try them out! RJ told me that they just started selling slices, so that would be perfect for lunch. They only take a few minutes to come out of the oven, so you can get back to work and still enjoy a delicious slice (or 2!) of pizza!! They also deliver, so if you live in the area you really have no excuse not to order!

Mama Q's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Celino's Pizza

I was surfing Yelp and Urbanspoon the other day and came across Celino's Pizza. We are always on the lookout for good pizza places, so we decided to try them out. We placed an order online (which is a bonus!) and it was ready 20 minutes later. They offer delivery, but we chose carryout instead.
We like different toppings, so we ended up getting 2 pizzas. I got the Carry out Special (a large cheese pizza), and Ivan got the Special #2 XL 16'' Pizza with 2 toppings (pepperoni and bacon). When you are looking at the menu online, make sure to scroll to the bottom of the page to see the specials. The large cheese pizza is only $6.99 for carry out!!

 Both pizzas were great! There wasn't too much sauce and there were plenty of toppings.

Verdict: Liked it!
 We are huge critics when it comes to pizza....and Celino's passed the test! For all of my Arlington friends, this place is a keeper. They are located on Cesery near Merrill (across from ABC.) The pizza was great and the prices were reasonable. I know for sure that we will be ordering again soon!

Celinos Pizza on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Libretto's Pizza

This past Sunday I was sitting at home thinking about where to eat. I wanted something that I haven't had in a while, and thought about Libretto's Pizza. Libretto's is one of my favorite pizza places in Jax.
Before I even walked in the door I know we were getting the Garlic Knots. We ended up getting 2 orders so that we would have an even number and wouldn't fight over the last one.
(I don't know why the marinara sauce looks so red, it looks normal on my computer!)

We couldn't agree on toppings, so we got an XL pizza with half pepperoni/half cheese. I have to admit, this is one of the best NY style pizzas I have had in Jacksonville!! The crust is thin and the pizza is not too greasy. Delicious!

Verdict: Loved it!
If you are looking for some authentic NY pizza, this is the place. We have been a few times and the pizza is consistently good. I even took my mom there (she's from the Bronx) and she approves!

Libretto's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

4 Rivers Smokehouse

4 Rivers is slowly becoming a new favorite of mine. They are fairly new to Jacksonville and have other locations throughout Florida. I have been a few different times since they opened and have never had a bad meal. They have tons of different entrée/side options and are more of a fast casual restaurant. You order at the beginning of the line, then go though and select your choices.

The first time we went, I got the Pulled Chicken. I liked that it already had the sauce mixed in with the meat. That kept the chicken juicy and tender. I am not a huge fan of BBQ sauce, but I really like theirs. I get the same sides every time I go, Baked Cheese Grits and Mac & Cheese. I have wanted to get something else, but these are way too good!

 The next time we went I got the Southern Pulled Pork. The pork was also had the sauce mixed in, and was also very tender and flavorful. I got it without the bun to save on some calories.

And the best part…they have a Sweet Shop!! Here is a sampling of those goodies.

Verdict: Liked it!!
The place has been open for about 6 months or so, and is still super busy. I like the huge menu and love the Sweet Shop! The only thing that I don't like is the seating. The majority of the tables are family style seating. People usually leave a seat or 2 in between them and the next customer. This isn't an issue unless the restaurant is packed and you are trying to find a seat. Other that that, I think this place is great!

4 Rivers Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hawkers Asian Street Fare

I have been eagerly awaiting the opening of Hawkers Asian Street Fare for a few months now. My first encounter with them was at Intuition Ale Works' anniversary celebration. Hawkers had a table and a grill set up, so I tried some kabobs. They were delicious so I couldn't wait for the restaurant to open. They officially opened this week, so I grabbed the hubby and my friend Andrew and we went after work. When we sat down, our waitress (she was wonderful by the way!) told us a little bit about Hawkers. They have a large, diverse menu and all of the items are meant to be shared tapas style. They do not use heat lamps on their food, so all of the food comes out as it's ready. I like that because you have time to really enjoy each dish one at a time without being overwhelmed.
When we first walked in, I was really impressed with the decor. Nearly everything is repurposed, which is very refreshing to see!
Everything was priced great, so we ended up ordering a few different things. The first thing we ordered were the Grilled Hawker Skewers (chicken with Malaysian satay). These are the same ones I had at Intuition, so I knew they were going to be great. The chicken was very flavorful and I liked that there weren't any fatty pieces.

Our next item was a dish recommended by our waitress, and it turned out to be a favorite for everyone at the table!! Roti Canai is a Malasian flat bread served with spicy curry dipping sauce. I cannot even begin to describe how delightful this dish was. The bread was very light and airy. It reminded Andrew of "biscuits that come in a can", which made me laugh but is actually pretty true. The dipping sauce was also very good. I'm typically not a huge fan of curry, but I loved this stuff!

Our next dish was Basil Fried Rice. We knew we wanted a rice dish, and this one looked very interesting. Well we made the right choice because we all loved this dish! The basil gave it a very unique flavor and the rice was cooked perfectly.

We had a hard time deciding on a noodle dish because everything looked yummy, but we ended up deciding on the Char Kway Teo, which is wide rice noodles stir-fried with shrimp, chicken breast, scallions, and bean sprouts. This dish also turned out to be a favorite of the table. I don't usually like bean sprouts, but they didn't bother me in this dish. Everything blended nicely and the flavor was outstanding!

Our last dish was the Pot Stickers. I hate to say it, but after all of the other dishes, these just seemed average. They weren't bad, but they didn't really stand out to us.

Verdict: Loved it! Hawkers is located right down the street from work, so I can easily see this becoming a new lunch spot for us. The food comes out pretty quick and the prices are right! Plus, they have this handy guide on their menu :)

Hawkers Asian Street Fare on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 17, 2014

Copper Tap House

I was recently invited to Copper Tap House. They are a new restaurant in town located on the corner of Beach Blvd and Hodges Blvd (in the corner of a strip mall). We visited on a Thursday night and they were pretty busy. We were seated right away and our waitress came over to take our drink order/appetizer order. We ordered the Arrogant Bastard Pepperjack Queso for our appetizer.
Menu description - "Our Pepper Jack Queso, an Albuquerque, New Mexico favorite, is spicy and smooth and made with the rich full flavor of Arrogant Bastard Ale. Full of flavor but not heavy, which makes it the perfect pairing with our Tap House chips." 
The queso was really good and didn't thicken up fast like some queso dips do. 
We were dipping throughout the entire meal!

We decided to get a variety of sliders for our entrees. I got the Buffalo Chicken Slider, which is tender chicken breast filet deep-fried, and tossed in buffalo sauce. For starters, the chicken is a huge piece of chicken! The buffalo sauce was really good, not too hot, and completely covered the chicken.
I also got the Kalua Pig Slider, which is Hawaiian BBQ Sauce covering smoky pulled pork. I really liked this one. The sauce had a hint of sweetness, but not too much. The waitress told me that this is their most popular slider, and I can see why!

Ivan got the KC BBQ Slider, which is pulled pork covered in sweet & tangy Kansas City BBQ sauce. I took a bite of it because I wanted to compare it to mine. Well I don't know which one I liked the best! This sauce wasn't sweet like mine, but the taste was still great.
He also got the Chorizo con Huevos, which is spicy Chorizo sausage, grilled and topped with an over-medium fried egg. The chorizo is a patty underneath the egg. I also took a bite of this one. Ivan neglected to mention that the egg didn't break yet, so I took a bite and it went everywhere! I missed my shirt by a fraction of an inch! This slider was also delicious. The chorizo was tasty but not greasy and the egg was a great addition.

Verdict: Liked it!
Everything we had was great, so we know we will be back. We liked that the sliders were served with very minimal amount of toppings. What it says on the menu is what is on the slider. I know some people might be put off by that, but to me it's very ballsy. They really showcase the taste of their sliders without hiding behind generic toppings. I loved that. They also have a great selection of local craft beer from across the US, so we are definitely going back for a beer flight.
We liked the atmosphere of the restaurant as well. There is a stage in the corner so I bet local artists have a great time on the weekends there. We also had a chance to meet the manager Juan. He was very nice and accommodating. We kept seeing him bussing and checking on tables, so he seemed to be a very hands on manager. I think that is great!

Copper Tap House on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 16, 2014

M Shack

The newest M Shack location opened in the Town Center recently, and I finally got there! We went one day for lunch and they were packed. The line was to the door, but it moved really fast!

I got the Portobello Truffle Burger, and it was amazing! The portobello is chopped up and added under the burger patty, which was very unique. The burger has a thick slice of cheese, bacon, and a little bit of chopped tomatoes in the truffle oil. This is one of the best burgers I have ever had! All of the ingredients worked well together and everything was very fresh.

Ivan got the Sunrise Burger. This was the burger I was planning on getting until I saw the portobello one. I was scared because Ivan always gets the better meal...well not this time!! Yeah his burger was good, but mine was better!

We got a few different sides to share. They were all good, but we could have easily shared one side. After eating the burger, we were stuffed! The fries were good, but pretty basic. The onion rings were really crunchy, and I liked that.

I have heard good things about the milkshakes, so we had to get one to try it out. Yep, it was gooood! Nice and thick! And to make it even better, they have their milkshakes priced on the lower side so you don't have to break the bank to get one!

Verdict: Loved it!
This is truly a gourmet burger at a great price. The restaurant is visually appealing and the service is very speedy. They also have an awesome bar at the front that is accessible from inside and outside! The next time you are in the Town Center, stop by and check them out!

M Shack on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Firehouse Subs ~ Blogger Dinner

We were invited to a blogger dinner at Firehouse Subs to celebrate the launch of their new under 500 calorie menu. I was thrilled because Firehouse is my favorite sub place in town, so I was excited to try out their new items. The night started with Robin Sorensen telling us a little bit about the new items and how they came about. Let me tell you, he is very charismatic!


We started the tasting with the Italian with Grilled Chicken Salad. Now, anyone that has read my blog knows that I am not a salad girl….but this salad was sooo good! It had copious amounts of salami and grilled chicken and the dressing was delicious. I really like that they mix the salad for you. To me, that is very important. I like to have that even coverage!

Our first sub of the night was the Hook & Ladder Light (450 calories). This is their best-selling sub, and can tell why. The combination of turkey and ham is always a winner, but Firehouse somehow manages to make it taste even better!

The next sub we tried was the Sriracha Beef. I was very eager to try this one. I love Sriaracha anything, so this was right up my alley…I absolutely loved it! The beef was thinly sliced and the Sriaracha gave it a big ol’ kick. It had my mouth numb for a little while, but it was worth it!

Next up was the Capt. Sorensen’s Datil Pepper Grilled Chicken. Robin told us that they have a machine that cuts each piece of chicken to exact dimensions, which is pretty awesome! This was actually my least favorite of the night though. It wasn’t bad, but there were a few things that I would have changed. For starters, I’m not a huge fan of chicken breast sandwiches. I don’t like biting into a big hunk of chicken. I think this sandwich would have been a lot better if it was sliced chicken instead. The whole piece kept sliding off of the bun because of the sauce. Taste wise, it was still really good.

The next sub was the big winner of the night according to an informal poll at the end, the Turkey & Cranberry. Robin told us about how hard it was to find something to make the actual cranberry with, which is funny because that’s not something you really think about while you are eating it, but it makes sense. I bet it’s difficult when you are trying to come up with a new menu item. There must be a lot of trial and error! I am not a huge fan of sweet foods (unless it’s dessert), but I really liked this one. Firehouse’s turkey is my favorite to begin with, and the addition of the cranberry was genius. While it was sweet, it wasn’t overpowering. I can see this one becoming a top seller with the ladies.

Next in line was the Turkey Salsa Verde. Again I was excited to try this because it was turkey, and it was everything I imagined it to be.  I really liked how the salsa complimented the turkey. It gave the sandwich a south of the border type of feel and I really liked it!

The last sandwich of the night was Momma’s Homemade Chicken Salad. I don’t typically eat chicken salad on a daily basis. No specific reason, just never got into it. However, if you are a chicken salad fan, you will like this. It has everything a traditional chicken salad has, but with lower calorie values. It had big chunks of chicken, pecans, swiss, tomato, and was covered with light mayo. Delicious!
Verdict: Loved it!
I was a little nervous when I heard that it was on a light wheat roll. My favorite thing about Firehouse is their bread, so I was skeptical. Well I am pleased to report that the bread tastes just as good as their regular white sub roll, so you can rest easy! Plus, the size of the sandwich is bigger than a typical low calorie one you will find elsewhere. You can eat these subs and not feel like you are missing anything!
Firehouse Subs on Urbanspoon Firehouse Subs on Urbanspoon Firehouse Subs on Urbanspoon Firehouse Subs on Urbanspoon