Thursday, September 30, 2010

Review: Urban Flats

Located in the heart of the hustle and bustle of the Southside is a new place called Urban Flats. It's the newest apres-work watering hole for the blue collar workers. The inside is sleek and modern, there's a huge outdoor seating area with barstools, tables, and comfy couches that will be wonderful for those nights it finally starts to cool down here in Jacksonville.

For a starter, I ordered the Urban Stix ($4.50). These are flat straws made from the same whole wheat dough as their flatbreads. They're baked with smoked gouda cheese and sea salt. What a great bar snack..... the spicy mustard is perfect accompaniment with the smokiness of the cheese. You'll want to enjoy these with a icy cold beverage. I paired it with a generously poured glass of Wente Vineyards Reisling ($8.00).

Since Urban Flats is mainly known for their flatbreads, I ordered the prosciutto and fig flatbread ($9.00). It's topped with slices of prosciutto, bleu cheese crumbles, honeyed figs, mozzarella, and chives. The flatbread is slightly crisp on the bottom and still semi chewy. You get this great combination of savory/sweet with the sweetness of the rich honeyed figs and that salty hit from the prosciutto and bleu cheese. The mozzarella is there to bind it all together and makes sure that the other toppings don't go sliding off every which way.

I really enjoyed my evening here. There was an acoustic guitar performer strumming away and the crowd was quite lively. It makes for a nice spot for a evening with your significant other, girls only night, or your work crew. Try it next time after you're catching a movie over at TinselTown!

Urban Flats on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Easy Key Lime Pound Cake

Anytime there's a bake sale at my work, I always get asked to bring a little something. I decided to switch it up from my normal goods and bring a pound cake. I have a great and super easy pound cake recipe that impresses everyone!

1 box Lemon cake mix
1 box Lemon flavored instant pudding
4 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup Key Lime Juice
1/4 cup water
Zest of 1 lime
Can of cream cheese frosting

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F . Prep your Bundt pan with Pam or any type of grease or flour.
  2. Combine all your ingredients (except for the frosting) in a mixer, and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour batter into prepped Bundt pan.
  3. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Once you remove it from the oven, let it sit in the pan for about 10 minutes on a cooling rack. After resting, take it out of the pan and sit on cooling rack until completely cooled. Transfer to plate or platter of your choice.
  4. When ready to frost the cake, remove the lid and seal from container of frosting. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, until frosting is pourable.
  5. Casually pour the melted frosting over the cake, looking like a complete domestic diva.
This cake is fabulous and easy for so many occasions. And you can change it up with different cake flavors and juices. I think a chocolate cake with coffee used in place of the juice and water, along with some melted Nutella drizzed on top would be wonderful!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Review: Bistro Aix


Right in the heart of San Marco and 5 Points, lies Bistro Aix. I have had many of my foodie friends gush over how delicious it really is, so I decided to treat my mom to a dinner there before catching Mamma Mia at the Times Union Center.

The atmosphere is bistro/lounge hybrid. Exposed brick walls combined with hammered metal bartops creates a cool look.

Our server handed us the menus, and even they had a nice well worn copper look about them. A definite first for any place I've been to in Jacksonville.

Mom and I scanned the menu and each decided to try the $29 Prix Fixe menu. I decided to get the Fire roasted Tomato soup, Mussles Frites, and Profiteroles. Mom got the French Onion Soup, Roasted Chicken with port and mushroom sauce, and the German Chocolate cake.

Our soups came out, steamy and hot, in these adorable mini tureens. My tomato soup was garnished with a dollop of creme fraiche and chives. Mom's french onion looked like it was straight from a Parisian Bistro with the broiled gryuere and toast on top. The first taste of my soup, I could taste that delicious smoky tomato note. I took a bite of mom's and the broth had a deep and rich onion and herb flavor. We both at as much as we could, and our server brought our entrees.



Mom's chicken looked delicious, the chicken's skin was roasted to perfection and was lovingly surrounded with the roasted mushrooms and cipolini onions in the decadent port reduction.


My Mussles Frites looked incredible. They were drizzled with a saffron garlic aioli, served with toast pointes to soak up the broth. But the superstar of the evening was the fries. I could sing praises for days about these fries. Hand cut, double fried, tossed in cracked salt and pepper, chopped rosemary, and thyme. Every bite had me groaning and exclaiming how amazing they really are.

I was completely shocked that I actually saved some room for the dessert, and I am glad I did. My profiteroles were served with vanilla bean ice cream and drizzled with warm chocolate ganache and caramel.

Profiteroles at Bistro Aix

Mom's German Chocolate Cake was a generous slice, served with fresh berries. She said it was one of the best tasting German Chocolate cakes that she has ever had.

German Chocolate Cake Bistro Aix

If you're looking for a fantastic meal here in Jacksonville, but want to try something new, drive over to Bistro Aix for a meal you're not soon to forget!

Bistro Aix on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Review: Bento Cafe at St. John's Town Center


One of my new go-to places out at the Town Center is Bento Cafe, located in the same area as Best Buy/Toys R Us/ Ulta.

They call themselves "Pan-Asian", and they have menu items featured from multiple Asian cuisines. In fact, when you walk in, there's two menus, one is the Kitchen Menu and features dishes like Garlic Broccoli, Curries, Kung Pao, and the other menu is strictly sushi. For this visit I figured I'd try a little of both.

I start off by ordering one of my favorite cold drinks.... Boba Tea ($3.25) . It's a blended drink that has sweet and chewy tapioca pearls floating in the bottom. I was delighted to find they had Honeydew as a flavor choice, it's always my preferred flavor! Within a minute or two, I was happily slurping down my drink. Cold, sweet, refreshing. Make sure you don't suck up that drink too fast, otherwise you're likely to start choking on one of those tapioca pearls!


For my sushi selection, I picked my old standby, a spicy tuna roll ($6.25). I can always judge a place by how good the spicy tuna roll is. The roll arrived so nicely plated and drizzled with a spicy shrimp sauce. Inside the roll, the tuna was seasoned perfectly, with the perfect bite of heat from the sriacha mixed in with it.


For my entree, I ordered the Garlic Chicken and Broccoli Bento Box ($7.50). I love how visually appealing this looks in the seperated compartments! Each bento box comes with small sides of ginger salad, white rice, noodles, and vegetables. You can also order the entrees as a Noodle Bowl (served over udon noodles) or as a Rice Bowl (served over white rice). My garlic chicken was very flavorful, and even had a slight bit of spicyness from the kung pao sauce they toss it in. The ginger salad was fresh, I always enjoy the ginger dressing. After my tea and sushi roll, I couldn't finish my entire bento box.


I frequent this place quite often now, pretty much go every other week. I always know I can get a good meal here, and get my sushi fix for a great price! And right next door is the ever delicious Mochi frozen yogurt... but I'll save that review for another day!

Bento Cafe Pan Asian and Sushi on Urbanspoon