Monday, October 29, 2012

Tally's Grille is a No Go- And that is being nice

I went to an event that Tally Grille catered.  And to put it nicely it was terrible.  This is the first meal in Tallahassee that I do I type this nicely?
Below par....
The chicken was OVERsmoked.  I mean chicken is quite forgiving.  At least for me, when I am in my normal everyday kitchen and roasting it whole.  But this smoked chicken tasted like smoke which in my lack of formal culinary training means the chicken was smoked WAY too long!!!

The beef was bad......I mean I like Arby's roast beef sandwiches which is terrible meat and probably not meat...This stuff was uneatable.  It was weird shade of grey.  The taste was not much better being salty and overly chewy....think mad packaged lunch meat.

The sides were unimpressive but eatable.  The only stand out was the dessert which was an apple crumble

Tally's Grille on UrbanspoonWe ended up filling up on liquor and boiled peanuts. After the event, we went home and eat dinner.  Needless to type, Tally's Grille catering is not my cup of tea or cup of anything.  Maybe this was an isolated incident or just the restrant struggled making things on a larger scale....I mean I have trouble cooking for 6 people let alone 100.  Either way,  I am sad to post my first negative blog review!

Ok-In order to protect people's privacy,  I waited to post this blog and did not include pictures. I do like to respect some people's privacy (my husband does not count since the blog was his idea).

Friday, October 19, 2012

How to order the perfect Publix Sub..seriously not matter what kind this works

I love Publix subs.  They are my favorite hungover food EVER (Sorry Mom)!  I do like them for lunch or dinner or in the middle of the night.... Needless to type, there is something about a Publix sub that makes me happy.

20121016_181135.jpgThis week for date night my Husband (OMG)  decided to take me to Publix Deli to get subs then bring them to Lake Ella for a picnic.  The weather has been perfect as fall is in full swing in Tallahassee so I was excited!

I ordered my usual..white bread with turkey and muenster cheese.  Publix deli is know for there amazing bread which far surpasses Subway bread.  In addition, all the meat and cheese are cut daily. So super fresh on the best bread.
Now there is a little know trick to ordering the perfect sub at publix.....ask for your toppings on the side.  I know weird...but go with me on it
 Tomatoes, onions, lettuce, pickles and ect make sandwiches soggy if you don't eat them right away. Instead, you can ask the very nice deli person for your toppings on the a bag or small container.  If you are super picky, (the Hubby hates onions) you can ask to have each topping individually bagged...this way the pickles are not contaminated by the onions.  (Seriously he HATES raw onions!)   I have also noticed by asking for the veggies on the side I get more.  So, I am not the person say, "No more even more please!"  Now before you think this is an unusual request and the very nice deli person is going to make faces at you or object.  I have been requesting this for years and have never had that occur.  I always split a Publix sub with my Mom when I go to school with her. If we get the sub the night or morning before, we get the veggies on the side so there is sogginess.  Plus, then her veggies don't get on my half and my veggies don't get on her half.
Publix Deli- Lake Ella Plaza on Urbanspoon

20121016_182152.jpgEither way, I love me some Publix subs.  Beware the lines get crazy at lunch and dinner times.

As for my sub on my picnic,   it was fabulous with the view of Lake Ella in the background.  We did have a black duck that must have found our sub appetizing because he circled around us the WHOLE time we ate.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wharf Express has Oyster po-boys and shrimp but it is the sauce that standsout

I have no idea how I went so long without ever trying Wharf Express.  I have been to Salty Dawg many times over the year (I love wings), but somehow missed this neighborhood seafood place.

Let me type that again, this is a seafood smells like seafood.  If you are not a fan.....RUN not walk away.
Wharf is a super casual food place where you order at the counter and   can eat at picnic tables outside.  There is also inside seating.

20121012_192721.jpgNow, I went with the boil shrimp entree with fries and green beans.  I have to admit I was not impressed with the sides.  They were not bad.  However, I LOVE green beans.  I adore cooking them and eating them.  So just ok green beans were a let down.  Let me type this again, the sides were not bad or uneatable, they were just ok. Having typed that I still ate all my fries.  However, I did hand the hushpuppies over to the Hubby(OMG).  The Shrimp were well cooked and seasoned nicely.

The Hubby (I promise I will get past my shock one day) ordered the Oyster po-boy.  This sandwich comes with an amazing sauce that you can not see in the pic (Sorry) but trust me it makes the whole sandwich AMAZING.  I am not the biggest fan of fried Oysters (I like mine on the half shell fresh from the ocean), but with this sauce it was worth ordering and maybe getting a second one!

The Original Wharf Express on UrbanspoonI must add the service was AMAZING. Now this is a counter order place with no waiters.  So I am impress that outside we were visited three times by different staff members asking if we needed anything and offering refills.  They were so nice and helpful.

Basically- this is a cute and casual seafood place that offers a little bit of everyone.  Go for the seafood not the sides.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Why all the protein?- high protein diets are not just for athletes and men

Ok- So you may have noticed that I have been blogging a lot of recipes using protein powder. To address this issue I created a little Q and A with myself.
 I hate protein shakes.  Seriously the powder never completely dissolves and tastes gross. Therefore, I being the creative  girl I am found other ways to get the protein powder in me.
But why protein?
I am not a big meat eater.  Yes- I do blog about beef, steak, bacon and gosh pretty much everything.  However, if I could eat anything lobster, sushi and chicken would be at the top of my lists.  This is probably because I was a vegetarian for many years. This does not mean I don't like a good perfectly cooked steak  or bacon.  I seriously love me some bacon.  Please ask my father-in-law the baconator for proof.   But I just don't eat tons of protein naturally. I normally eat a protein with dinner like chicken, turkey fish or ect.  
Recently I have started getting back into shape and working out more.  Protein at one meal is not enough protein to help me lose weight and gain muscle.  I would kill for Julie Brown arms.  Having typed all this.  We all know I will not be eating only celery and rice cakes.  So, to facilitate my new workout kick, I am practicing a high protein diet and moderation.
What does high protein diet and moderation mean?
I have a goal of eating 70-120 grams of protein a day.  I particularly need to eat  protein less than an hour after working out and continue the protein eating throughout the 24 hours after my workouts. Moderation mean I can not eat the whole cheesecake, just a slice. What I will never give up good food? So compromise it is.
So what does this all have to do with protein powder?
Well, since, I am not the type to eat steak fro breakfast, lunch and dinner. I need a way to get more protein in me.   Protein Powder offers a great alternative to traditional proteins like steak, chicken and pork.   Plus it is cheaper per serving. Since, protein shakes are out, I am baking with protein to create yummy high protein breakfasts and snacks which I will eat.
Come on tell me the truth, there is more to this protein thing?
Yes- of course, the Hubby is doing this.  But to a more extreme diet.  He aims for 200 grams of protein a day.   He ate this way before we met. He was all boiled chicken, protein shakes and pasta sides.  Now, he is back to eating high protein diet only with it tasting better. Since, i am only going to make one meal for dinner it is easier for me and my time to do the high protein and lower carb.  But ultimately I started baking for him and realized that this could work for me too.  Either way we are eating healthier and it still tastes good!
So how are the arms coming along?
Yes my  arms are coming along.  I will post pictures when they have reached Julie Brown awesomeness.  PS_ the Hubby's arms are coming along just fine too!!!

Here are just a few articles backing me up
Women's Health Magezine
Web MD

WARNING- Super high protein diets like trying to eat 200 grams of protein like my brother and Husband do can cause some tummy Gas and indigestion.  Nothing serious but just be aware and plan accordingly.

Joe Mama's Real Italian Pizza or it's cousin

Now that Tallahassee has gotten it's gourmet style burger place, Vertigo and gourmet style hot dog place, Voodoo Dog, it only makes sense that a gourmet Pizza place would hit the Tallahassee scene too.  And Joe Mama's Wood Fired Pizza fits the bill.

I must type that the owners of Joe Mama's invited the Tallahassee Food Blogger Association for a tour and tasting..... Now before you start thinking anything more...We all know I will not eat food that is bad and I certain would not recommend it  ( Unless, you are my brother. Then yes-Please try the Wasabi you think is Ginger!).  I am typing my opinion.   THOUGH please keep in mind this is a review of a controlled situation where the owners' knew who I was and selected the food just for us.....

Devon, the daughter, one of the owners and manage, welcomed all the bloggers with white and red wine (Wino's they have a nice wine list...just FYI).  After everyone arrived (No, I was not the last one there are no pigs flying outside my window either).  Her Father gave us an introduction to the world of Italian pizzas.  Joe Mama's strives to use local ingredients in combination with Italian style cooking. There is NO FREEZER.  I repeat no freezer so almost everything is made the day of. Apparently, traditional Italian pizzas are cooked at 1000 degrees where Joe Mama's cooks there at only 600 degrees.  After a wonderful talk on pizza, ingredients and of course Joe Mama's, we were invited into the kitchen for a peak behind the scenes.

First, this kitchen was sooooo clean!!!!!  So any germophobes I highly recommend eating here.
Second, I so want a convection oven!
Third, this kitchen is HUGE.

OK- so the FOOD
I am a sucker for a good salad.  And I LOVE plating table side. I have only ever had a Cesar salad plated table side so I was super excited to see this done outside of an expensive steak house and with with a different type of salad.  The house salad which is HUGE is put together table side then handed over to you so you can inhale it!   THe table side plating adds a nice personal touch.  Plus, for you picky eaters you can just request things you dislike not be mixed in. The house salad which is an awesome twist on the typical house salad adding artichokes, prosciutto, olives and house made croutons.

For picture of the actually salad, please click for here for Kristoph's blog which has a gorgeous one.

The pizza is italian style or as the owner described it "the cousin of Italian pizza!"  The crust is thin and crispy with a nice chewy middle.  This is not thin crust pizza just thinner.  The cheese topping was amazing.  I, a rat in a past life, was impressed with the flavorful not greasy cheese combination.  Plus, the Pizzas looked pretty.

Four pizzas were sent over but I only tried the Quatro (left) and Fumoso (right).  The Quatro was my favorite with fresh AND dry mozzarella  basil and prosciutto   I could taste the freshness and creaminess of the fresh high quality mozzarella.  The basil which was huge played off the homemade tomato sauce and add nice herby freshness. I am in love...Sorry husband (hee hee I am married).  The Fumoso

To the left-Cheese Pizza- I didn't get the chance to try this but it looked fabulous!

To the right is the Due pizza which features sausage, peppers and caramelized onions.  Again, I didn't try this one but isn't it pretty...I am getting hungry just staring at the photo.

My biggest and only  issue with Joe Mama's is the name.  How nit picky is that?  I just wanted a place with this quality food to have a name matching.  I must have been corrupted in Atlanta by all the Mama's pizza place. Afterall what is in a name? That which we call a rose....

Joe Mama's Wood Fired Pizza on UrbanspoonBasically- This is an awesome date place or dinner out. The family style service and food paired with the decor makes this place quite intimate.  If you want quick and cheap head down the road to Little Cesar  Momo's or Decent Pizza.  If you want high quality and  Italian style....this is your place...And please order the house salad.  Seriously....that thing is good!
While we all know I rock, but check out  Tallahassee Food Blogger Association for other reviews of the tour, pizza and food porn photos.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What to do with ripe bananas, nuts and protein powder-kinda part two

My father-in-Law loves bananas so they are always AROUND.  Or at least I try to make sure they are always around for him.  And sometimes that means stocking up on 1-2 weeks worth at the store.  Seriously, I got three pound bag of bananas from Costco three weeks ago, and there was NONE...I mean none left over at the end of the week when I went to make banana protein bars.  Needless to type.....I HAD to make the bars last night because I went banana crazy after the 3 lb bag was eaten....Actually I may have to make more bar tomorrow night too!!!

Well, I really enjoyed the banana chocolate protein bars I made previously in What to do with ripe bananas and protein powder!  The Hubby (yup still married despite the fact I always type about him) loved the not too sweet flavor.  I wanted to add more protein.  the last batch had about 10-11 grams of protein.  Also, I wanted to add more texture to this bar.  After eating multiple bars a day, the Hubby would like some crunch which i can not blame him for. So, I am back to experimenting.

For the extra protein, I just doubled the amount put in from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup.  this small change brings the amount of the protein up to 17-18 grams per bar.  AWESOME!!!  As for texture, this was an easy fix all you need to do is add nuts.  My Hubby suggested it.  After all my banana bread have nuts!!!

The third and final change I made to the recipe was splenda.  I recently discovered that you can replace honey with splenda when cooking.  The texture does change though so beware. In this case it made the batter a little thicker. This substitution decrease the amount of calories s and  sugar.     Of course there is something to be typed about clean eating and using all natural ingredients...however, I am straddling the fence in the debate of calories vs clean eating/paleo/no chemicals
the bars came out great!!!!  The texture makes them feel like banana bread not another protein bar......These are a little dry and unsweet but that is how the hubby likes them.  PS- I will be lucky if my batch of three makes it till tomorrow....

Here is what I did

1 cup Grams Rolled Oats pureed in the blender or Oat flour

1/2 cup  Chocolate Whey Protein Powder (mine is rocky road but it tastes like chocolate)
3 Tbsps  Smooth PB  but any nut butter works
3 egg whites
2 medium bananas
2 Tbsp Splenda
1/4 cup Milk
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 walnuts unsalted 
pam or butter or wax paper....something to grease the pan
9 by 9 pan

  1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all the wet ingredients- eggs, milk, peanut butter, bananas
  3. Separately mix all the dry ingredients- protein powders, splenda, cinnamon
  4. Slow add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.  Mix well.
  5. mix in walnuts.
  6. Spray pan with pam or wipe with butter
  7. Pour batter in pan
  8. Bake pan for 40 degrees or until done (I like to do the tooth pick test!)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Dagoba Lavender and Blueberry Chocolate- better if Yoda was involved

20121007_141448.jpgNot to brag but I have an awesome....husband...still weird. He is always buying me unique and interesting presents no red roses and boxed chocolate s(unless they are Godiva) for me.  Please see past blogs such as Heirloom Tomatoes
for past evidence.   I received a Dagoba Lavender and Blueberry Chocolate bar as part of my anniversary present from the husband.  I will blog more about the other food presents soon.

First, the name  Dagoba.  For those not as dorky as me, that spelled with an "h" is the name of the planet Yoda lived on.  As a totally lover of all things sci-fi, this was the coolest chocolate brand name EVER.  I mean who doesn't love Yoda?
So, did the bar live up to the awesomeness of it's name?
The percent of cacao used was perfect.  The bar was bitter but not too bitter as you get with 90% cacao. As well as rich but not too rich as you get with less then 40% cacao. The husband and I have differing opinions on this one.   The dark chocolate (my favorite), lavender and blueberry combo did not work.  It tasted soapy to me and not good soap but BAD like blueberry soap after eating chocolate.  I think the lavender addition missed the mark.  If Dagoba had more restraint and left the bar just Blueberry Chocolate, I think the force would have been with it.  However, the soothe aromatic flower did not work.  In opposition, the Husband like the soapy taste (weirdo).  He thought the dark chocolate, lavender and blueberry combo was too much as well. HOWEVER, he thought the issue was the blueberries. He thought was the blueberries made the bar too sweet overwhelming the lavender and making it soapy.

BASICALLY-too many ingredients in this organic bar.  Please remove one of the flavors to perfect the flavor!!

Oh and Thank you, Honey.  I loved trying this unique flavor combo even if it was not my favorite.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Trader Joes is coming to Tallahassee in...2013

OMG-Tallahassee is getting a TJ's.  Yes that is what people call this amazing Grocery store. And OMG.....Trader Joe's invaded Atlanta while I lived there and I loved it.  I made 30 minutes drives just to go to this place.  Seriously, Trader Joe's is like a Whole Foods or Fresh market without the meat and seafood counter (they do sale meat and seafood but not at a counter where you can order specific amounts.)
They have all kinds of fresh vegetables and fruit.  I love their baby heirloom tomatoes and pre-cut butternut squash.  On top of that their prices are very competitive with Winnie Dixie and Publix.  On top of that the frozen selection is a dream offering frozen quiches, rice, fish (I loved the langustines), mochee, naan (I loved these with a nice homemade curry) and enough apps to keep everyone hope during game day.

My all time favorite thing that TJ's offers is the wine selection.  You can buy a Barolo (a very pricey type of Italian wine) for $14.99  which is unheard of.  However the best deal is Two Buck Chuck.  This is wine that is ALWAYS under $3.  TJ offers their Two Buck Chuck in everything from Merlot to White Zinfandel  The quality of the wine varies from bottle to bottle because Two Buck Chuck is made from grapes leftover from a variety of vineyards.  So sometimes this is out of this world good.  And sometimes, this wine is better for braising meat.  Either way it is cheap wine.  If you want to spend more, like $5 TJ's offers a ton of selections from organic to Kosher.  that is right kosher.  I found kosher Moscato I used at my wedding.  Did I mention TJs is amazing?

For more information check out  or Urban Tallahassee

Friday, October 5, 2012

Swimming with Gordos and freakishly good Yuca

Gordo's was a staple for my dates with the Hubby (OMG i am married) in college. It was close to campus and affordable.  But the biggest reason was the Hubby (still weird) then boyfriend LOVED diet coke and could chug it like no else I have met.  At Gordo's the drink are in LARGE plastic cups which you can put a lid on and take with you.  This was a huge plus for a man who cant go long without his caffeine fix.  Also, I love fried plantains.  So naturally Gordo's was an  cheap, yummy and mutually agreed upon place for dates.  However, it has been years since I have been back.

So, in the interest of keeping our weekly dates cheap and I was craving Cuban food, we decided to take a stroll down memory lane.  However we went to the Timberlane location.  The new location looks alot like the other location with bright colors and lots of light wood.  The restaurant feels casual but friendly. We went on a Tuesday at 5:30 and it was like dead. I am not sure if this is because it is Tuesday at 5:30 or something we should be concerned about.  The lack of patrons meant we had our pick of any table.  We requested a booth and the too cute hostess suggested we take on of the fishy tables.  We agreed and were sat in a booth next to the aquarium photographed to the right.  Now, we don't have any kids but I would imagine these fishy booths are great for kids.  After all I had a blast watching the yellow fish swim around in the tank and making "Finding Nemo" jokes.
We started the night off right with the fried yucca. Now, I have no idea how to cook yucca   It is on my very long list of things to learn to cook....somewhere between cactus and sweetbreads.  Anywho I loved these app.  The yucca comes out HOT like burn your tongue hot with a side of Gordo's special sauce.  Yucca has the texture of potatoes but way less starchy   I highly recommend you squeeze the lime on the yucca and add salt.
For the main course I had the Media Dia which is turkey and swiss on sweet bread toasted.  I splurged and got a side of Gordos sauce to dip my sandwich in.  This will run you 50 cents but so worth it.
20121002_174854.jpgThe sandwich was good.  Though nothing to crazy or must try.  However, the Pan con Leche that the Hubby ordered was AMAZING if you like pulled pork.  Me- I am not a pork person  I often type.  But the Hubby inhaled this thing so fast, I got worried the cute little yellow fish was next.
20121002_174818.jpgThe only so-so thing was the plantains which as you can see from the pic were a little overcooked and dry.  I think these plantains were probably leftover from the lunch rush or something. I mean the plantains were still yummy and I totally ate them.  But just not great.

Gordos - Market Square on UrbanspoonOverall- I found this Gordo's much cleaner and geared to a little older demographic (not college kids) than the original Gordos on Pensacola.  The servers were super friendly and helpful.  And I highly recommend sitting with the fishes and ordering Yucca.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Whatburger- I missed you

In Georgia there is no Whataburger.  In South Florida there is no Whataburger.  So,  I was deprived of the thin beef patties and shoe string fries that make Whataburger standout and a late night favorite.
In moving back to Tallahassee after 5 years away...there were many things I wanted to do.....eating at Whataburger was one of them

The chain I grew to love in Tallahassee did not crumble with the crazy economic situation.  In fact, the place has gotten better or maybe I am just sober (Sorry, Mom).

The service was surprising good.  Our food was delivered to our table which was nice.  But the cherry on the top of this customer service surprise, was when the Whataburger associate who delivered our food asked if we needed any ketup, sauce, salt or ect......
I understand fast food means easy and convenient food with no waitress, BUT this was a definite big positive for me.  I think the more personalized attention to detail Whataburger is going with makes them standout.

As for the burgers....they have not changed......They are still YUMMY and tasty in their simplicity.  A nice thin patty with American cheese, ketup, mustard, pickles, tomato and lettuce.  The burger is not greasy or covered in some weird special sauce.  Basically....this is a BURGER and a good one!

Sidenote- the fries are thin and lots of them.  I normally split them with the Hubby (OMG) or the fry hog.

Whataburger on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 1, 2012

McDonald's Oatmeal did not go straight to my thighs....but the hash browns will

I don't normally associate McDonald's with healthy.  In fact, my mind normally things of amazing fries and awesome kid's meal toys (Yes- I did collect beanie babies and the barbie ones!).  My husband (OMG) loves their Big Mac.  And my in-laws often get breakfast here.
20120929_092241.jpgAccording to, a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit (which I love)  is 420 calories.  And the with hashbrown because lets be honest the biscuit is never filling enough you add another 150 calories.  So basically, eating at McDonald's starts your day or at least mine off with 590 calories and this is not including your drink of Orange Juice or coffee.

However, McDonald's now (well they have had it for a little while but it is still new to me) has Oatmeal.  And it is not half bad.  Granted this is  not  the healthiest thing ever, but it sure beats my heart clogging bacon egg biscuit.  the fruit and maple oatmeal comes in at a whopping 290 calories with 5 grams of fiber and less then 200 grams of sodium( I know this is high but it is more then 300% lowers then everything else on the menu).  The taste is yummy.  I loved the different textures that the fresh crispy apples and chewy craisins add to this item.  Plus, I ate this before going to the gym....And I never crashed or felt like I didn't have enough energy.  So in a pinch, try McDonald's might surprise

McDonald's on UrbanspoonSIDENOTE- I totally agree with the Urbanspoon review.  The service was terrible.  Like we wait 20 minutes for half our order.  I get that fast food gets busy but it is called fast for reason.