Food Truck Rally – Best Bet Orange Park 3/29/14

This was the 1st Food Truck Rally in Orange Park. I met my friend Dewayne and saw my friend Carlos there. We ordered a lot of food and split everything so that we could eat more =). It was a very good turnout, hundreds of people showed up.  This will be the 1st of many in Orange Park.

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View from upstairs at the Orange Park Best Bet Poker Room
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Hunger games

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What to order?

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1st Stop: The Chew Chew Truck

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Korean BBQ Short Rib Melt and Lobster Corndogs

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Lobster Corndogs – It was ok, nothing special to me. At $10 I wouldn’t order it again.

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Korean BBQ Short Rib Melt – I didn’t get to try this one, but Carlos said it was pretty good.

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2nd stop: What’s the Catch

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Menu

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Key West Grouper Taco $4 – Everything was really fresh, I would rate it a 7/10.

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Key West Grouper Taco – inside shot

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3rd Stop: Trailer Pork BBQ

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Brisket Sandwich $8: Pre- sauce

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Brisket Sandwich was the truth! Add the home made BBQ sauce…game over!

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4th Stop: Baby’s Badass Burgers – If only they looked like this on the truck!

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Line was pretty long but it was worth it. They said if you like their facebook page you get a dollar of a burger….done! Travel Channel rates this as Best Burger or something like that. It was on the side of the truck. Let’s see what it’s about.

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Baby’s Menu – No side chick =(, I guess “The Other Woman” is close enough hahha

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The “Original Beauty”- Very good! It looks like if you took one bite the sandwich would splurge out in every direction, but it held up very well like it was literally glued together. The bun was perfectly toasted and buttery. The cheese and mushrooms  were bomb! I’m not sure if they had any eggs but that would be a nice addition. I like my burger with a lil pink in it, but it suprised me how good it was. They don’t skimp on beef either!

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My friend Dewayne with the OG beauty

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Super line for Mister Softee Ice Cream

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Mister Softee’s shoe game is crazy!

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Carlos and his son

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Carlos son with the Sprinkle Cone

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Carlos with the Chocolate Cone

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Carlos’ son doing work

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Banana Boat…it was only $5!

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Mark your calendars!

 

 

 

Taste Food Studio – Local Jacksonville Blogger’s Private Tasting Event 3/24/14

I got a random message from Jerry of Jaxrestaurantreviews.com asking me if I want to attend a special tasting event. I thought to myself: “Hell Yeah!”

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“Here at Taste Food Studio we use the finest all natural ingredients, carefully prepared handmade food that is truly fresh, light, crisp and Tasty.”

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Some Key Points:

 

-Taste Food Studio is beautiful inside and out. Modern design and decor. Good lookin bar and Pizza  oven area.

-The “Thanksgiving style table was perfect and I love how the plates and silverware were presented. I have done a couple events and this table setup was the way to go.

-Big thank you to taste for opening just for us for this dinner. I’m all about the VIP feel.

-In the beginning we were told 3 or 4 courses, but it ended up being like 14 courses. It was a gift and a curse. If I had known there was going to be that many courses I would of slowed down on the flatbread pizzas.

-I think a 7-9  course smaller portion dinner would have been better.

For example:

Start with one of the cocktails or a 3 small cocktail sampler

1) Crabcake was perfect size

2) 2 or 3  flatbread sampler but smaller bites like  a 3inch by 3inch square

3) 2 taco sampler but smaller tortilla and portions almost like dim sum size would be perfect

4) Shrimp and Scallop dish was perfect size

5) Shimp and grits smaller grits portion

6) Meatball dish smaller portion

7) Filet Mignon dish was perfect size

8) Lamb dish was perfect size

9) Dessert small portions

-I was oh so patiently waiting the whole time for dessert but the manager said that most people were barely eating anymore cause they were so full. =( I was devastated.

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Sign-up.

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Modern.

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Comfy.

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Table setup.

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Bloggers.

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Foodporn!

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Menu.

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Strawberry

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Shortcake – I liked this cocktail. I would call it a dessert cocktail cause its sweet. This is one of those sneaky drinks cause you can keep drinking it and bam your faded!

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Crabcake – This is what im talkin bout! I’m a sucker for mango and I can literally eat it until I get sick. It was all crab and very little filler, seasoned and cooked perfectly. I loved the presentation and I want to know what they did to the mango on top. 5 stars

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Meatballs – This is a picture of the larger portion on the picture taking table. We received one meatball each which was more than enough. I think half the size would of been better. This dish is also 5 stars in my book. That homemade marinara, super fluffy puff pastry, and scrumptious meatball is the perfect combination.

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All the flatbreads were good and were even better the next morning lol. My favorite was the KONA ISLAND – Mango sauce
with premium whole milk mozzarella,grilled chicken, mango chutney, and bacon. Just read those ingredients…..enough said.  Honey Mustard Hawaiian- Creamy honey mustard with
premium whole milk mozzarella, grilled chicken, bacon and pineapple is a winner also. I could rotate these 2 all night.

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Shrimp Scallop and Parmesan Crostini Scallop and Shrimp cooked perfectly and delish. I loved the Crostini, it had a perfect toast on it. Not too soggy not to crispy and i enjoyed the seasonings.

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Braised Short Rib Taco – It was ok, I think all tacos should have some sort of salsa or pico with it. That would give it more flavor and enhance the presentation

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Pork Belly taco – This one was scrumptious! That was a nice piece of Pork Belly…no pico needed here! Bacon lovers unite!

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Smoked cheddar grit cake, topped with a house made Creole sauce, blackened jumbo tiger shrimp and andouille sausage. For this plate I would went with one shrimp, that sliver of sausage, spoon of creole sauce, and a much smaller grit cake. I liked everything but I believe the grit cake was a little dry.

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When he said Filet, I said oh la la! I really didn’t have much room for this cause I was so full, but I quickly told my stomach to digest double time. I really wanted to make sweet love to this dish but it was overcooked as seen below =(((( my knife was struggling. I should of sent it back, a couple of people around me were overcooked as well.

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=(

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Knife

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The Grilled Lamb Chop with Truffle Mashed potato and Balsamic reduction. This dish is straight money! Line a couple of these lamb chops up and  ill destroy them. Super tender, seasoned perfectly, nice grilled flavors…this is how I wanted my filet to be cooked! If you go to Taste, Taste this!

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**Another key point is the time in between courses. I like at least 5 more minutes in between courses would have been optimal.** This was my setup at one point.

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Taste has ALOT of potential! They have special events like Taco Tuesday, Wine Down Wed, local bands, comedy shows, DJs.

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Taco Tuesday

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Wine Down Wednesday

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Manager doing work

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Noms.

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In the end, I would say 4/5 stars. Taste Food Studio has some dishes that are 5 stars and some that are like a 3-4. Maybe some just weren’t executed properly this night. When I come back I’m hitting the Lamb Chops, Meatballs, Mango Crab or Mango Pizza. Thank you to Jerry from jaxrestaurantreviews.com for inviting me to this amazing event. Thank you to Stacey from www.starpulp.com for putting me on her links page so Jerry could find me.

*I really would like to work management and the chefs at Taste and host 5-9 course dinner for say 8-12 people on a private Monday night.

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Interview/Giveaway – Alpha School of Massage with Rachel Stancil 2/4/14

I recently got inspired by a recent interview my Yelp Community Manager did and decided I need to do some damn interviews too! I thought about what is interesting and awesome right now? Freakin full-body massages of course! Name a place where you can get a premium one hour massage for less than $35? It’s ok, i’ll wait…..the place your searching for is Alpha School of Massage.

They have a student named Jennifer and she is the best masseuse in the world! I have gotten at least 5 massages from her in the last 2 months and have one scheduled for tomorrow 2/5/14. Just tell her what aches and close your eyes! That is why i’m giving away a free one hour massage from Jen!

I’ve been coming to Alpha for years now and nothing comes close. I feel like a lot of people still don’t know about it, so I decided to do an interview/giveaway. I called Alpha and asked them if they wanted to do an interview and bam i’m a news reporter haha.

Hands massaging beautiful women

Alpha School of Massage was started by Michael Laney. He attended the Jacksonville School of Massage which use to be down the road from Alpha. He decided that Jacksonville needed a better school and opened Alpha in 1995. Another graduate of Jacksonville School of Massage, Edward Driggers bought the school the same year and has owned it ever since.

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with Rachel in front of Alpha School of Massage

Rachel says that people should come to Alpha because: “It gives people the opportunity to receive an excellent massage at a very low cost.” For me, I have always wanted to do a Hot Stone Massage. Unfortunately, most places charge $150-$200. At Alpha it’s the same price as their other massages $25-$30. If you haven’t tried it, it’s a really unique experience. They also offer a Chronic Headache Massage, a Couples Massage, a 4-hand massage with two therapists, a Barefoot Deep Tissue Massage, and of the course the good old Swedish Massage.

I asked her: “Why are the prices so cheap?” You could easily charge double for the massages you offer. Rachel says: “The massages are from students and they believe that is a fair price to charge for a student massage.” Alpha’s massages are worth every penny! Trust me, you’ll thank me later!

Alpha is also a school hence the name Alpha School of Massage. I asked Rachel: “Why should people enroll at Alpha?” It cost $200 to enroll and $99/month. You have two options. If you do the 900 hour program, they will waive the $9,000 tuition. If you choose the 500 hour program tuition is $5,000.

Why are the massage therapists so good? Rachel says Alpha has excellent instructors! “Alpha School of Massage has two instructors (Michael & Driggers) that have been continuously employed at Alpha School of Massage since 1995. That’s right, two instructors that have been here well over 15 years. Experience does make a difference.”

Tell me about Jennifer? Jennifer enrolled in June 2013. She told me that Jennifer gets tons of requests. I always ask for Jen when I get a massage and usually I have to schedule my massage 2 days in advance….but it’s worth it! I asked her: “Why is Jennifer so good?” Rachel says: Jennifer really cares and she truly wants people to feel better. In my experience with Jennifer, you can really tell she knows her stuff. She will find places with tension that you have never thought about. Her scalp massage will put you to sleep and she does a long stroke from your foot to shoulder to your hand that will put you on Cloud 9.

For more info: go to http://www.alphaschoolofmassage.com/

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Here are your giveaway instructions:

1)     Like the Alpha School of Massage Facebook page

2)     Leave a 3 sentence comment here or the bottom of this page on why you deserve a massage!

3)     On Feb 7th, I will pick a winner and you will receive one massage from the best masseuse in town, Jennifer! (A time will be scheduled from 9-5pm)

Restaurant Orsay: Special 7 Course Dinner – Jacksonville, FL 12/12/2013

This is easily my favorite restaurant in Jacksonville. I worked with the Executive Chef Brian Siebenschuh and the Yelp Community Manager Allie A. to host a fundraiser at Orsay to fund this special dinner for my culinary class. This was one of the best dinners I have ever had in my life, and hands down the best value. The menu was beautiful, and it was fun using it as a map for what’s to come next! It shows eight courses but it should have been seven (Red Snapper =( ). The Popcorn Ice Cream dessert would blow your mind! You have to see the video reactions! It was so good that we’re planning an eight to twelve course menu for my birthday in February. If you want to attend click here:

If you want to attend click here: http://www.yelp.com/events/jacksonville-uye-nates-birthday-dinner-at-orsay-8-12-course-menu-2-25-14

Orsay’s Website: http://www.restaurantorsay.com/

menu

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Pictures of some of the Cocktails we tried: (I forgot some of the names.)

Orsay’s Cocktail Menu: http://www.restaurantorsay.com/menu/cocktails
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Eastbound & Down: Cherrywood smoked Bourbon, sweet vermouth, fresh orange juice, Cherry Heering, The Bitter Truth lemon bitters

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Blood Orange Martini: House infused orange vodka, Campari, fresh pressed lemon & orange juices, blood orange puree, orange peel

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My favorite: French Pear Martini: House infused pear vodka, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, pear puree, pineapple juice, sparkling wine