Monday, July 30, 2018

The Bellwether

Working in Downtown Jacksonville, it’s a daily struggle to find lunch inspiration, and one can only eat Jimmy Johns so much. But there’s a new kid on the block and it’s name is Bellwether: The quintessential lunch spot that will have you feeling fancy.


The space is unique with barn style doors, cool wall art and even a wine cellar.


Though they boast of ‘southern classics’, the menu is more of your favorite cafe classics with a twist.


I ordered the superfood salad with Tempeh and was mildly impressed. Tempeh is one of those new foods I’m trying out, but it added delicious dimension to the salad and was filling. My lunch date ordered a classic burger and fries and raved about them.


We even tried their “gluten-free” soft serve and it was fantastic.

But on the flip-side, the Mac and Cheese was a disappointment. It looked great with the shells and breadcrumbs, but lacked substance i.e. salt and pepper.


Our reaction to the first bite was comical. I just don’t understand how this is supposed to be a ‘southern classic’ restaurant, but the staple southern dish is bland...

Anyways, I digress. You can’t win them all, right?

The verdict: The menu is a bit ambitious, but a great variety that caters to both the adventurous and the safe.


Bellwether
100 North Laura Street
Jacksonville, FL 32202
Bellwetherjax.com

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Cookbook Restaurant

Have you ever been so excited for something, but keep missing your opportunity for it?

I have. And it's called The Cookbook Restaurant.

After holding the #1 spot on my to-do list for weeks, I finally had a chance to visit. Located in the historic Springfield, there is a small brick strip that houses The Cookbook restaurant, an apothecary and a barbershop with the signature rolling pole under the sign. You get the picture-this entire block is something out of a Lifetime movie. With the chalkboard sign greeting you, walking into The Cookbook is nothing short of sweet anticipation.


The atmosphere of the restaurant is a mixture of the eclectic and authenticity of a small business and the potential of something greater with a fully loaded stage for live music.




Every employee I came in contact with was so warm. You can't buy this type of hospitality. They weren’t too sweet where it was obviously fake, but just genuine. Especially Ms. Patsy who is one of the cooks, but also served us some of the best fried chicken I’ve EVER had. I can’t make this stuff up, y’all. My friend, who is known as an insufferably picky eater, demanded I give her the leftover fried skin-which would be way gross if the food was less than wonderful.


I also ordered the greens and mac & cheese. I know-I could’ve ordered something more adventurous, but I’m a firm believer that these two staples will always tell the worth of a restaurant. And they didn’t disappoint. They tasted so much like my family’s recipes, that my first thought was the chef and I must be related.

My companions had the lasagna, which was comparable to Italy itself and the fish & grits, which were not spared a crumb. We skipped desserts, but did get to take home some delicious, homemade cupcakes for the owner’s birthday. Happy 33rd Brandon!

Only time will tell if the Cookbook will remain a favorite, but from my first impression I would say this could be exactly what Jacksonville never knew it needed...


The Cookbook Restaurant
1827 North Pearl St., Jacksonville, FL 32206
www.facebook.com/TheCookbookRestaurant/
(904) 802-7080
Hours Vary


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Gilbert's Social

Back with another restaurant review! I feel as though I haven’t wrote anything substantial since..March? But I’ve been on a rollercoaster for the past few weeks with transitioning from a one bedroom back to my parents home until my roommate is ready to get a place. Phew. Then, I just CELEBRATED MY 25TH BIRTHDAY in Savannah with friends and lets just say it was a movie 😁


But now that my life is settled for now, I gotta tell you about Gilbert’s Social. Located on Southside Blvd, this unassuming culinary hotspot is a hidden gem. If you’re familiar with the area, you may know it as the orange building with multiple bbq pits blowing smoke daily. Well, Gilbert’s Social is definitely a book that shouldn’t be judged by it’s cover. My first impression was startled by the bright orange, but the warm interior is very cozy and southern chic.




Owned by the famous Chef Kenny Gilbert-Top Chef Season 7 contestant, Cutthroat Kitchen and Beat Bobby Flay winner-Gilbert’s Social is one of Chef’s multiple dining concepts around Jacksonville. And I’ll be here to report on all of them. But in the meantime, let’s get into this food…


The menu details Chef Kenny’s famous BBQ, but the real fun is with the specialties items: southern remixes to international classics, like Southern Ramen, which features smoked ham hock broth, pulled pork, and shrimp cakes alongside the popular egg noodles.




The drink menu is impressive as well. The Social Red Sangria tastes as good as it’s aesthetics. The fresh ginger is the perfect balance for this fruity drink.




I hear the Southside & Hogan is the bomb, too. How amazing does strawberry watermelon puree, wine based tequila and florida citrus sound?


I ordered the Loaded Chicken & Biscuit-which was glorious. Fried chicken between two jalapeno cheddar biscuits with pimento cheese, turnip & mustard greens, and bourbon sauce on the side. This may sound like too much, but somehow Chef Kenny made these ingredients taste amazing. This dish was the perfect balance of savory, sweet and spicy. It was difficult not to overindulge, but somehow I showed a little self-control.




These brussel sprouts tho! This green goddess and I have a weird relationship because I tried to make them once and it didn’t end well. Yet when I tried others’ recipes (including Gilbert’s Social), they were amazing so I felt some type of way...but anywho, these brussel sprouts were crispy and simply delicious. I also tried their homemade hot sauce and this stuff was the perfect dipping sauce for the meal.




My first impression of Gilbert’s Social was successful. I can’t wait to go back and try the Kenny’s Southern Bowl, which takes me back to how I prefer to eat my holiday food-all mashed together, the Roasted Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower, and the sweet plantain skillet cornbread. So pretty much the whole menu. I can’t forget the beloved Southside & Hogan. And if I’m feeling extra saucy, I’m getting Anna’s Kitchen Sink too. Beware that parking is a pain, and everything is cooked to order so don’t visit with a tight schedule.




GILBERT'S SOCIAL
4021 SOUTHSIDE BLVD. #200
JACKSONVILLE, FL 32216

www.gilbertssocial.co/

Saturday, March 3, 2018

ShilahEats: Feta Fiesta Kale Salad

It seems that the older I get, the more cynical I become. Prime example, I wasn’t expecting much from this recipe. I thought the flavors wouldn’t mesh and I would end up wasting a whole salad. Boy, was I wrong.

I picked this recipe up from COOKIE+kate. She has a plethora of salad recipes and after this, I’m committing to trying them all.

I paired this delicious salad with a separate stuffed cabbage recipe to add some variety to my diet. You know, warm and savory vs. cold and tangy. I also had a lot of ingredient substitutions at home already, so I made some minor changes to Kate’s recipe. I would suspect that this wouldn’t make a noticable difference, but who knows?


The goal here was to make something good and quick so because I don't have time to massage kale, I used spring mix. The original recipe also calls for lime juice and pepitas (pumpkin seeds), but I used sunflower seeds and lemon juice. And I just knew the avocado wasn’t going to last on it’s own, so I used it in the dressing. Finally, instead of corn tortillas, I used pita chips.



The only downside was I didn’t chop the jalapeno enough so when it was time to blend the dressing ingredients together, everything blended-except the jalapeno..sigh.. So I had to take them out and mince them by hand then pray everything would fix itself when I pressed the button. Thankfully, it worked and tasted well. In the end, I kept the dressing separate to preserve the salad.




Verdict: As you can probably guess, I give this ‘Feta Fiesta Kale Salad’ two thumbs up. The honey and jalapeno balanced the dressing perfectly and the avocado made it creamy enough that I didn’t even miss my beloved ranch. Add the salad and you have something short of Heaven. Tossgreen, watch out.

Till Next Time,

KB + Co.



ShilahEats: Pear Walnut & Blue Cheese Pizza

I’m a vegetarian. Or pescatarian if you count my indulgence in seafood every now and then. Frankly, I’d rather not have a label and just live my life. But that’s not why we’re here. We’re gathered because I found this recipe from one of my favorite bloggers, The Novice Chef, while researching vegetarian meals and couldn’t wait to try it out. The only thing I didn’t use was fresh arugula, just because I’m not a fan of adding a whole salad on top of my pizza. I either bake it in or leave it off.




Now, forget the packaged personal pizzas that taste like cardboard. In this recipe, Naan bread is used as the base. Naan bread is an Indian flatbread that is buttery, soft and just provides elevation to any dish.






I’ll admit, I was wary to make the sauce, but it brought the dish together well. The aesthetics didn’t help the cause, but we all know not to judge a book by it’s cover.






Verdict: It was delicious and I think I enjoyed making it more than consuming it. I realize that I’m more of a BYO taco than BYO pizza kinda girl, but the different textures- crunchy walnuts, tangy blue cheese, and sweet pears- made this Pear Walnut & Blue Cheese Pizza at 10/10.

Till Next Time

KB + Co.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Reflections

2018, Im ready for ya. At risk of sounding cheesy -shrug- this year is all about elevation. With my writing. With my fitness. With exploring this World. And with Jesus.

2017 was one of the rockiest years yet. I’m sure every year has its ups and downs, but I feel last year was a battle the whole 365 days. I became a real adult and moved into my own apartment, which challenged my maturity. I started locking my hair, which challenged my self-esteem. I had multiple relationships end on bad terms, which challenged my faith. But the good news is I lived to tell the tale.

I’m so proud that this blog has taken off. It will be 2 years in August since I began and I’m so excited to continue. My goal is to just write until my fingers fall off. I guarantee y’all will get tired of my notifications of new posts, but it’s ok. I appreciate you being willing to read my work. This year the focus is consistency and content. I started this blog to grow as a writer and over the past year I’ve explored different ways to do this through reviewing books, interviewing, and daily journaling. This year I want to expand on that and incorporate my life into this blog more. For example, I am starting the 52 Week Money Challenge:


And I’m so excited because my savings are non-existent thanks to 2017. I’m also thinking about starting a section on here for all things books. One of my resolutions is to finally finish Sophie’s World, which I’ve been reading since 2016. Once I finish that, I’m starting this other challenge of 50 Books to Read Before You Die. Well, it’s not so much a challenge, but it is something that I want to accomplish as I wrap up my first quarter of living.

Speaking of my first quarter, I’m turning 25 this year!

Yikes.

But, no worries. I plan to bring it in with a bang surrounded by good people and hopefully on an island.

Once again, I’m tackling Spanish. But I’m optimistic this year is it. By December, this blog will be in Spanish lol.

Anywho, drop a comment below of your #NewYearNewYou goals and we’ll keep each other accountable.

Till Next Time,

KB + Co.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Cowford. Chophouse.

I’ve been waiting a long time for you..


But seriously, being tempted by the loong construction of this beauty was a slow torture. Plus, being that I work just across the street only made it worse. But. Once it did open, it did not disappoint. If you’re familiar with the old Barnett Building in downtown, you may remember the jaguar that would seem to follow you as you traveled by the building. I was disheartened when I found out that they were not keeping that landmark, but the designers were able to find the perfect way of incorporating it into the renovations.

HIgh ceilings, polished floors, and black and white decor with luxe accents greet you upon arrival. As you walk up the three levels, pictures on the walls narrate the demolition and rebuilding of the entire space, including the finding of safes with valuable items still in it.



Each floor told it’s own story. The first floor welcomed you in and drew your attention to the wine cellars on display and the huge, comfy rounded booths that faced the bar. The second floor is held for private dining and events.



With the impressive wine lockers and masterpieces, there is definitely more than meets the eye at Cowford Chophouse.


The third floor is the rooftop and is beyond beautiful with a view of the St. John’s River and Main Street Bridge.


The staff were friendly, and besides a long wait, the food was outstanding. The salmon tartar was a delight to the eyes.


I ordered the oysters and was impressed that the chefs were genius to include a lemon sachet that prevented the seeds from dropping in the shells and a raspberry mignonette to dip the oysters in.


The she-crab soup is just as good as it sounds. It lived up to its name and did not leave me feeling gypped.


All in all, this place was amazing.
P.S. Check out this Cinnamon Bun Brulee, one of their amazingly decadent desserts.


Don’t be jealous. Go see for yourself.

XO,

KB+Co.




Cowford Chophouse is located at 101 East Bay Street Jacksonville, FL 322202
Hours of Operation:

M-Th:11am-10pm
F:11am-11pm
Sat:3pm-11pm
Sun:3pm-9pm

Phone: 904-862-6464
Website:cowfordchophouse.com