Christy’s Dream Ice Cream Bar

Why didn’t I know this place was here??? I’ve lived in the area¬†for over 2 years and¬†JUST found this pace today! The ice cream had a wonderful texture and great flavor. Not too sweet either. The names are super fun too! I had the “serenity now” which was raspberry liqueur and white chocolate. As a huge Seinfeld fan it was calling my name.

Christy's Dream Ice Cream Bar - Serenity Now
Christy’s Dream Ice Cream Bar – Serenity Now

It’s also from the “adults only” section of the menu where they have alcohol infused flavors. This place has a really fun vibe and an inviting atmosphere. I appreciate that I was also given a reasonable size of ice cream. ¬†I’ll definitely be back!

 

FYI – It’s right near the Sawgrass Marriott, in the way way back of the Sawgrass Village Shopping Center in Ponte Vedra.

 

Check them out here: https://www.facebook.com/christysdreamicecreambar/

Orsay Dessert Foodie Adventure

My¬†friend Jess invited me to a “Dessert Foodie Adventure” at Restaurant Orsay. ¬†It was fun, but I do have to say, a bit overwhelming to the palate with all of the sugar by the end of the night. ¬†And there were wine pairings! The pairings were very thoughtful. ¬†Some of the dishes I loved and some I think suffered from being made earlier in the day. ¬†I believe a few¬†of these actually are on the menu so I’ll share some pics and my thoughts on the dishes.

Course 1: Foie gras macarons with a sour cherry gastrique

Course 1: Foie gras macarons with a sour cherry gastrique
Course 1: Foie gras macarons with a sour cherry gastrique

First course started off with a bang! I love the foie gras mousse at Orsay and this one paired nicely with the sweet and tangy sour cherry gastrique. Felt like a meaty play on PB&J. Delish!

Course 2: Apple tarte tatin with brown butter ice cream

Apple Tart Tatin
Apple Tart Tatin

Second Course was also a home run. ¬†The apple wasn’t too soft and the brown butter ice cream was creamy and divine!

Course 3: Lemon crepes with blueberry compote and lemon thyme syrup

Course 3: Lemon crepes with blueberry compote and lemon thyme syrup
Course 3: Lemon crepes with blueberry compote and lemon thyme syrup

Unfortunately, here’s where things started to go downhill. ¬†I’m not a huge lemon fan but that was not my problem. ¬†The crepes must have been made en masse which I believe resulted in overly thick, dry, and chewy crepes. The lemon creme inside was tasty but this definitely wasn’t my favorite.

Course 4: Lavender br√Ľl√©e served on wonuts with Tahitian vanilla anglaise

Course 4: Lavender brulee served on wonuts with Tahitian vanilla anglaise
Course 4: Lavender brulee served on wonuts with Tahitian vanilla anglaise

I wanted to like this one, I really did! These were my least favorite of the night. The “wonut” was a fried waffle. Sounds delicious, right? Sadly, wrong. ¬†They must have been done earlier in the day and were tough and chewy. This whole dish was just cloyingly sweet too. ¬†And to add insult to injury, there was cotton candy too! I appreciate the idea though…

Course 5: Valrhona dulcey cheesecake with bacon caramel and hazelnut croquant and lamb pancetta

Course 5: Valrhona dulcey cheesecake with bacon caramel and hazelnut croquant and lamb pancetta.
Course 5: Valrhona dulcey cheesecake with bacon caramel and hazelnut croquant and lamb pancetta.

A much needed salty reprieve came with this course!  I could eat pounds of that lamb pancetta Рif someone would make it for me!  Cheesecake was nice and creamy too. Very well balanced course.  It did feel a little heavy but I think by the time we got to course number five, anything would have felt that way!

And finally….

Course 6: Tiramisu infused with 66% shaved chocolate, Marsala, and Madeira

Course 6: Tiramisu infused with 66% shaved chocolate, Marsala, and Madeira.
Course 6: Tiramisu infused with 66% shaved chocolate, Marsala, and Madeira.

An appropriate ending to the night. ¬†It was a nice tiramisu but I don’t remember anything specific that stood out in this one.

The Bearded Pig

After it rained all week, spending the afternoon outside was just what we needed!

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We decided to check out one of Jacksonville’s newest restaurants – The Bearded Pig BBQ¬†Located in th San Marco area.

The restaurant has a cool atmosphere. Large bar on the inside with seats on the outside as well. Also, a covered beer garden that’s pretty much the same size as the inside. It’s a quick serve restaurant so you order at the counter, pick up your drinks, and put a number on the table. This adds to the overall relaxed atmosphere. You can head back to the bar for another beer at any time.

The menu is pretty standard for a BBQ joint Рbrisket, pulled pork, chicken, ribs, etc.  I ordered the pulled pork sandwich

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and Matt got The San Marco, a ridiculously large plate of brisket, pulled pork, 1/4 rack of ribs, 1/4 chicken, macaroni & cheese, and cole slaw. I was more than happy to help him finish it!

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The ribs were huge!

When ordering, they asked if he wanted white or dark meat on the chicken and fatty or lean brisket. I appreciated ¬†the options. ¬†All items were juicy and delicious. The rub on the ribs was really flavorful as well. Mac n cheese gets an A+, not grainy or gummy and actually tasted like cheese! (I’m pretty picky about my mac!). I personally prefer a mayo based cole slaw but if you’re more into a vinegar based slaw, this one’s for you. The acidity pairs well with the fatty meats.

On each table are 4 sauces: mustard based, standard sweet barbecue, vinegar based, and xxx, a super spicy version of the vinegar based. I can’t say for sure, but it looked like they were all made in house.

Oh, I have to give a shoutout to the pickles! Briny and salty, yes! I loathe sweet/bread & butter pickles so they were a very pleasant surprise!

We’ll definitely be coming back, and you should too! Let me know if you’ve been there and your thoughts.

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Ample Hills Creamery at Disney’s Boardwalk

We didn’t have time to join the chaos that was the opening of Disney Springs over the weekend but we did get to snack on some creamy deliciousness from Ample Hills Creamery that just opened at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort. ¬†Just a short walk from the World Showcase in EPCOT.

I absolutely love the cute little cartoons everywhere!

How to Order
How to Order

 

We tried 3 flavors and ended up with 2.

Ooey Gooey Butter Cake – with real pieces of cake! Delish

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Malty Salty Pretzel Punch – my personal favorite! The malt flavor was not overwhelming which can happen sometimes with malted shakes but I thought it was perfect. The crunchy pretzel added a nice texture.

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And who could go wrong with chocolate chip cookies + brown butter cookie dough!

The prices start at $5 and change but look how big the small is!

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We take a lot of walks from EPCOT to the Belle Vue Lounge at Boardwalk or Il Mulino and Shula’s at the Swan & Dolphin and I’m pretty sure we’ll be stopping here on the way each time!

Have you been there yet? What’s your favorite flavor?

Murray’s Cheese 101

Over the weekend I spent time with my family in NYC and signed up for a cheese class at Murray’s Cheese, located at¬†254 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10014.

Murray's Cheese
Murray’s Cheese

I like to think I know a lot about cheese, or at least know about lot about eating cheese. I really enjoyed this class! Along with learning some new types of cheeses, we got to do a lot of mixing and matching with different flavors to see what works and what doesn’t with each type of cheese. Also, the best part of a tasting is that it’s your palate and preferences so you’re never really wrong.¬†I’m not sure if they have the same instructor every time, but if you get Christine Clark, you’re in good hands!

As you can see behind me, it’s a pretty great setup…including unlimited red and sparkling wines (or appropriate non-alcoholic beverages)

Excited for Cheese
Excited for Cheese

Also, a plethora of snacks to mix and match with our food – walnuts, dried apricots, Marcona almonds, and dried cherries.

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And…of course…who could forget….the cheese! Each participant gets about a half pound of cheese.

Cheese 101 Board
Cheese 101 Board

The cheeses, starting from the top going clockwise: Vermont Creamery Goat Log, Nettle Meadow Kunik, Winnimere, Mrs. Quicke’s Goat Cheddar, Pleasant Ridge Reserve, Parmigiano Reggiano di Bruna, and Ewes Blue. ¬†All were good, the Winnimere is definitely an acquired taste but I highly recommend the blue cheese – it was excellent!

 

Unfortunately, since I was flying back and didn’t have much extra space, I couldn’t take back any of the goodies I saw in the shop. They’ve got the most comprehensive olive bar I think I’ve ever seen. Not to mention a plethora of cured meats to go along with all their cheeses.

Murray's Olive Bar
Murray’s Olive Bar

 

If you’re in the area I highly recommend going to Murray’s.

California Grill Brunch (in pictures)

Charcuterie, Sushi, Deviled Eggs, Pickles
Charcuterie, Sushi, Deviled Eggs, Pickles
Assortment de Patisserie Croissant, Pecan Sticky Bun, Country Cheddar Biscuit, Huckleberry Muffin
Assortment de Patisserie
Croissant, Pecan Sticky Bun, Country Cheddar Biscuit, Huckleberry Muffin

Wedge Salad IMG_5782 IMG_5783

Grilled Hanger Steak Two Eggs-Any Style, Chimichurri, Marble Potato Hash, Charred Red Onion
Grilled Hanger Steak
Two Eggs-Any Style, Chimichurri, Marble Potato Hash, Charred Red Onion
Eggs Benedict Two Soft-poached Eggs, Toasted English Muffin, Honey Ham, Classic Hollandaise. Additionally available with Butter-poached Main Lobster or Smoked Salmon
Eggs Benedict
Two Soft-poached Eggs, Toasted English Muffin, Honey Ham, Classic Hollandaise. Additionally available with Butter-poached Main Lobster or Smoked Salmon

 

Desserts

What it’s like to NOT run during WDW Marathon Weekend

If you’re asking me what it’s like to watch what seems to be practically everyone I know run at Disney and not run it too? Well, it sucks! Seriously…what was I thinking when I didn’t sign up for the WDW Half Marathon weekend this year??? Then, to top it all off, New Balance releases sneakers that can only be purchased AT the expo or none other than my favorite Disney Princess, Ariel. What was a girl to do? As my Team RunDisney friends know, you’ve gotta make lemonade outta lemons of course!

 

We only live about 2 hours away from The Mouse so early Saturday morning I set out on my quest to obtain these sneakers. ¬†The official RunDisney word was that the expo opened at 10. We made it to the parking lot at 9:30 so I figured, what the heck, I can stare at my phone standing around Wide World or Sports just as well as I can in the car! ¬†To my delight, the doors to the expo swung open about 9:40! ¬†I’ve never seen an expo so empty! It was eerily quiet.

I rushed…in an orderly fashion….down the stairs and straight to the New Balance zone. ¬†10 minutes later, the shoes were mine! And since Matt was napping in the car I used some extra time to peruse the raw threads booth and got myself a nice matching Little Mermaid tank top.

On the way out I snagged a few pictures of the Princess and Star Wars Darkside medals ūüôā ¬†Is it time for Glass Slipper Challenge yet?!?!?!?!

 

 

 

All that success was pretty tiring. ¬†We had a little time to ride a couple rides at Magic Kingdom and then had a little snack at the new JOCK LINDSEY’S HANGAR BAR

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We tried to have a drink here once before but the place was packed! ¬†The building looks huge but unfortunately doesn’t have enough seating in my opinion. ¬†Saturday we scored seats at the bar easily and had a great view of all the tchotchkes on the walls.¬†image

After reading the extensive drink menu I settled on the Cool-Headed Monkey. ¬†It was very refreshing and not too sweet. ¬†I’d highly recommend this one. ¬†I could easily drink 3 or 10 of these in a sitting.image

 

Matt was driving us back so he had the Poisonless Dart which was sort of a virgin mojito, also good for what it was.

What was less than tasty were the:

Air Pirate’s Pretzels:¬†A flight of Everything Pretzels with House-made Mustard and Beer-Cheese Fondue:¬†$10.50

The pretzels were lackluster even for having all the “everything” seeds, etc. on them. They tasted stale as well. ¬†Even the beer-cheese fondue couldn’t save them – and I’d eat that on a flip-flop! ¬†The house-made mustard was a little sweet for my taste. They do get a few points for this adorable little airplane though!image

Overall, the drinks, servers, and ambiance were fantastic but the pretzels were not. ¬†We’ll definitely be back to try some more drinks and snacks next time.

Thanks for sticking with me through this LLLOOOONNNGGG post!

 

New Year, New Blog

Okay guys….I’ve tried this blog 3 times and I really, really, really want to stick with it this time! ¬†Welcome to my hodgepodge of a life. Let’s start at the very beginning (of the year), as Julie Andrews says, a very good place to start.

NEW YEARS EVE. Sometimes when I’m left to my own devices I start channeling my inner Martha Stewart and think up elaborate meals and/or craft projects.

I’m still a little under the weather so I wasn’t in the mood to go out. ¬†And I feel terrible leaving this little guy image¬†alone trembling to the sound of fireworks all night.

 

I set out to make french onion soup and grill some NY strip steaks. And since I can’t leave well enough alone, I made salad with homemade Caesar dressing. So, I fired up the myriad of devices that connect to the internet, and set out to find some recipes. ¬†Hope you enjoy – I did!

So wash your hands and let’s get started.

CAESAR DRESSING

I wasn’t particularly interested in dealing with raw eggs, so this recipe cheats a bit and uses mayo. Here’s the link¬†to the recipe where I found it online.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, from one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt¬†(I found that I didn’t need to add salt at all, the anchovy paste and cheese provided plenty of salt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper¬†(I probably used close to 1/2 tsp)

Instructions

In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic, anchovy paste, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Add the mayonnaise, Parmigiano-Reggiano, salt and pepper and whisk until well combined. Taste and adjust to your liking. The dressing will keep well in the fridge for about a week.

And, the best part about making all of that food, leftover steak Caesar salad!

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And, only because I don’t want to bore you to death on my first post. ¬†I’ll just link the french onion soup recipe here.

Hope you have a delicious New Year!

That’s a nice glass of Chardonnay

We recently spent Christmas time over in California, complete with wine tasting!

First stop was Dutton Estate

Dutton

Dutton Estate Is located in the Russia River Valley. The woman in the tasting room was incredibly knowledgeable and we were given delicious small bites to go with the wine. ¬†My favorite was the Farro Salad paired with the 2013 Karmen Isabella Pinot Noir. ¬†I’ll post the recipe soon! (Update, here it is!)

 

Next, we went to Fog Crest Vineyard wich had this beautiful view,

 

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This winery was very pet friendly and we met some very cool dogs

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I was told they had a delicious rosé but they were sold out! So tragic! They also had some nice Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs too.

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