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photo (59)Today I got all this for free. Someone must have known I was on a 21 day fast. I’ll have to eat it all quick and share so none of it goes to waste. : )

Don’t forget to keep checking out Somewhere in the City

#uhmandatodd.

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I was driving home thinking about what I was going to write for this post and how excited I was. I always feel like I’m excited to write about places I go or people I see. I didn’t want to be redundant in your reading but I am really excited to share this post with you guys! My sharing in excitement is always a different level of excitement for each place I go.

The Salty Fig has been one of my favorite food trucks for quite some time now. I anticipated their restaurant opening impatiently, ha!

The Salty Fig is operated by two brothers who are the nicest guys! They’ve been in preparation for this place since last year (probably even before that) They’ve been canning and infusing since last year, I know that part for sure! I mean they worked really hard on the food truck before the soft opening this past week. I wanted to be there on their opening night so I took a group of 8 with me! Everyone I went with ordered something different and before I went I made sure the people I was taking were ok with me eating off of their plates. : ) Everything I tried was awesome and fresh! Staple items from the table were the Shrimp and Grits (Grits are so creamy!) and the Tempura Brownies. Oh man.. I don’t even want to talk about them because I embarrassingly enjoyed them too much. They are the brownies you order to go and eat by yourself.

Ok I’ve already said too many words! PICTURE TIME!DSC_0249The Salty Fig is located at 901 King Street in Riverside. I’m liking all these additions to King Street. Place to be!DSC_0263DSC_0262DSC_0261Canned by the guys who own the place!DSC_0267I rather enjoy this wall.DSC_0258So I took pictures of everyone’s food their opening night but with an iphone and I wasn’t satisfied so I went back for lunch. (Such a hassle I know, had to eat another whole meal there.. what a shame) But it worked out perfectly because my favorite on the food truck was on their lunch menu. The Melt but I add their chicken because I like chicken and theirs is so tasty. Also, look at that salad. Just a plain old salad but somehow they make it the best. I think the secret is fresh produce. All of their items are either local or organic. DSC_0257What a beaut.

If you’ve read any of my previous food reviews you know how much I love knowledge of product. Our waiters and waitresses were all super nice and were able to tell my table things about the menu and more. Good job on properly training your employees and successfully passing off your vision and passions for the place.

I’ll be back!

#uhmandatodd

I’ve had a couple of days off from both jobs, how that happened is beside me? Jared normally has Thursdays off so we decided to go out to eat. We invited some of most genuine kind friends with us. Between the four of us we narrowed it down on where we were going to go. I was excited when the final choice had been chosen, Olio. I hadn’t been there before but heard it was delicious. My expectations were met for sure.  photo (42)Olio is located downtown on 301 East Bay Streetphoto (45)Hard wood floors and chalk menu boards, they must have known my two favorite interior details.

Olio is one of the many restruants in Jacksonville who make everything homemade, fresh, daily with as much organic and local ingredients they can use. On their website they say, “Quality of food, and respect of ingredients is our passion here.”  You can see it and taste it.

Since we were having a great time with our friends I didn’t get to take too many other pictures or talk to any one who worked there. I did however take the important pictures, which of course is of our food!photo (44)I ordered the Blackened Fish Tacos. You can just tell by the picture how flavorful it was. Oh man oh man. I don’t even think I need to try anything else on their menu to know this is my favorite, ha! photo (43)Jared chose the Lamb Gyro. He said it was tasty, I however do not like lamb so I did not agree. But by the picture it looks so delicious!

Everything tasted so fresh! They get crazy busy just so you know, I mean I would expect them to with the way those tacos tasted.

Find out more about Olio here.

Want to view their menu before heading out, do that here.

I’d love to see your pictures from Olio!

#uhmandatodd

lemonsThis is a story of how I ALMOST messed up my portion of Christmas dinner…

For Thanksgiving I really wanted to make homemade stuffing and gravy. Since I wasn’t going to be with my parents, I went with Jared’s family. They really liked everything I made so they asked if I would just do a repeat for Christmas. I did a couple of things differently because I didn’t need to roast a turkey this time around.

All I really wanted for my gravy was homemade chicken stock. So I bought myself a whole chicken and was just going to boil it. I accidentally grabbed a lemon so I thought I’d juice it and I ended up thinking, eh I’ll just throw the whole thing in there.

I went along my merry way and strained my stock and put it into my jars for the night. While I was canning my stock Jared was eating and taking the chicken off of the bone. One dark piece was very bitter but we didn’t think anything of it, we just thought oh it was close to the bone that must be why it tasted a little different.

Christmas morning I wake up, get started on the rest of my cooking and by this time Jared has come over and started on his dish. I’m adding stuff to my stock to make it into gravy and I thought I’d just try it out. Oh my word, worst thing ever. With an hour and a half before leaving I panicked for a second and thought everything was ruined because I even put the stock in with my dressing/stuffing. It was so bitter and it wasn’t even a bit tolerable. Jared assured me I was a good cook after I didn’t start screaming and crying but I quickly made vegetable stock instead. Whew thank goodness for cooking alternatives.

So the point of this post is not to tell you how I messed up big time, it’s to warn you about lemon rinds! ha! Boiling a lemon is awful, it leaves everything so bitter! I thought this was something I just didn’t know because I wasn’t experienced but I told my 66 year old mother what had happened and she had never known of such a thing. So I thought I’d let you guys know and warn you! Lemon Juice is good, lemon zest is good, lemon rinds is bitter.

(The dressing/stuffing turned out fine the bitterness baked out of it and I had only used a cup of stock in it. Also no one at dinner knew and everyone said everything tasted great! Success!)

#uhmandatodd

I am always pleased to write food reviews of places that were so delicious. Along with delicious food, it makes me happy to write about kind service. Tapa That embodies uh-mazing food along with wonderful knowledgeable service!

(Jared recently got an Iphone so I thought I’d use that to take pictures on. They’re not the best but they’ll do for this post.)

I had been wanting to try this place out for quite some time now but I always get nervous about tapa places. I’m scared they’ll overcharge me and I’ll leave hungry. Tapa That is not that way at all. If you like good food and like sharing, go here!

They don’t have a walk in fridge so that means everything is local, fresh, and delicious. When they run out of a produce item for a tapa they start making a new tapa.

The biggest thing to note is this place is making your food to order. This means it’s going to take a little while to get your food. Take a group and some great conversation!

photo (40)Their menu is constantly changing. Everything available is local, organic, and fresh.photo (39)This is Pumpkin Cider. I love ciders! I have dreamed of pumpkin cider in the past but didn’t think it existed  IT DOES! I am so excited to go back soon to get this seasonal drink again.photo (38)This was my choice and my favorite. Spinach and Crab Stuffed Mushrooms. photo (37)Jared’s choice, his favorite. Cubano Cakes. photo (36)Banana Beignets. I researched these guys on Yelp before we went and saw that these were a staple item and that I needed to try them. They were so delicious. (I think I’ve said delicious like 10 times during this post. I’m ok with that)

Our whole entire meal excluding tip was $25. That’s pretty darn good considering the quality of food they’re giving. We left full and happy.

Every person who came to our table was so helpful and knowledgeable  If you’ve read my posts in the past you know that employee knowledge and customer service are the most important to me. They had both and it was so genuine.

I can’t wait to go back and try more!

#uhmandatodd

Recently Black Sheep opened up on the corner of Oak and Margaret street. Their main focus is fresh local ingredients.They’re a restaurant who encourages the term, “Farm to Table.” Jared and I got to visit this past week for a very late lunch. Since it was in the middle of the week and not prime lunch time, we were basically the only people in there. It was very yummy and we can’t wait to go back!When we got our menu Jared and I decided that we’d split what we got. At this time is when he decided our main dish. Can you guess? ha.The burger.. Jared’s manly choiceI had read and heard that their mac and cheese was to die for. So I decided our side dish. I love the way they plate all of their dishes. Mac and Cheese was very tasty and held up to my expectations.Just making sure we were going to waste anything ; )One of the coolest things about the Black Sheep, in my opinion is, right outside they’ve built these herb gardens. If you didn’t know or pay attention you’d think it was just a flower bed to be a part of their outside decor. How cool is that though? I just hope the people who walk by respect their property. I do think that this is such a cool thing!

I can’t wait to go back and get more! We had such a good time and I’ll be recommending this place to anybody who eats!

If you want to know more about Black Sheep. Click here.

What did you guys get from here?

#uhmandatodd

So as Thanksgiving is coming to a near. I want to encourage a ton of people to take full advantage of everything that bird has to offer. We go out and buy chicken stock all the time. Well, cut it out! You can replace chicken with turkey easily. We’re going to be using it on gravy and stuffing, and who knows what else! Unless you use all packaged stuffing, in that case, we need to have a more in-depth talk. Maybe I should do a post on why homemade is better. Especially in this sense, home made taste better, it’s cheaper, and it goes a long way. You can easily make homemade chicken/turkey stock with the bones of a roasted turkey. However for this occasion I boiled my chicken. I knew I needed some chicken stock before I had roasted a turkey so this is why I chose to do it this way. Also with this boiled chicken there was so much meat that Jared and I are still eating off of it. Anything we can add chicken to, we’re doing so.The basics of what you’ll need are carrots, celery, onion, a whole chicken, and whatever spices you’d like. I had some rosemary in the fridge so I used some of those guys. Along with Adobo, an every day seasoning, sea salt, and lots of fresh cracked pepper. After you have gather everything open up that bird and rinse it off. A lot of places online will tell you that maybe rinsing off isn’t the best idea because of cross contamintaiton. But I personally feel a little bit better when I rinse it off. Sometimes there’s feathers left on it and I don’t know, it just makes me feel better. Do be careful because this is a big huge raw piece of meat. Make sure you’re rinsing it in a clean sink and make sure you rinse that sink out afterwards. Rinse the cavity of the bird as well. If you’ve never done this before don’t be alarmed of the bag inside of the bird. Remember to take it out, ha! That’s the heart, liver, neck, and gizzards. Some people eat them. My parents use to put it in the dressing. I just use it as extra flavor in the stock.Put you chicken/turkey into a pot that will hold it. It needs to be big enough to the point it can be covered with water. Cut up all your veggies and throw them in. I brought mine to a boil and turned down to low for an hour and a half. Always keep it covered. You’ll know this is done if the meat falls off the bone. I honestly thought this was going to take forever. I wasn’t expecting it to be an hour and done. Another way to check to see if it’s finished is if you were to take it out if you stabbed it if the juices ran clear.

Set aside to cool. This is for no other reason then to make sure you don’t burn yourself.

Carefully pull out the whole bird. Note:Some pieces may fall off in the process.

Get a colander and pour your juices out into a bowl. You can discard onions, celery, and carrots along with the innards of the chicken. There’s not much else you can do with them after this.

You are now free to start canning and using your stock right away. Chicken noodle soup is always a good start. ; )

The thing I did not do which I should have done was after the pot cooled down skimmed the top off. You can tell in the first two jars that I did not do that. ha! That’s fat… It does however just melt when heated and doesn’t hurt anything other than your heart, ha. Not a big deal just a little gross.Trying to get fancy with my photo taking. Clearly not working. However, you can see in the background the apartment has already decided it was Christmas.

Do you guys have any fancy secrets to chicken/turkey stock?

#amandatodd

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