Breakfast at Dixie Belle’s

The brunch spot for the past two year’s has been KeKe’s (I’m all about 2 pecan pancakes with eggs and bacon, the bacon is really good – the coffee is sub-par). However, due to a noticeable drop in service level we’ve (the bestie and I) been searching for a new breakfast/brunch spot.

In a google search of “top restaurant spots in Orlando” I came across Dixie Belle’s Cafe. Top reviews on Yelp plus the proclamation of “home of the sweet potato biscuit” cemented the decision to give the joint a try.

A super cute little place, very homey and causal. I decided to go with pancakes, eggs, bacon and a sweet potato biscuit.

Service factor: 5 out of 5. Very happy with the waitress. She had a wonderful personality, offered suggestions, made sure coffee was always filled, and was attentive without being overly attentive.

Food: 4 out of 5. The pancakes were delightful and the eggs cooked as ordered. The bacon was ok, a little flimsy for my taste. The coffee sadly was sub-par (not strong at all). The sweet potato biscuit tasted like someone captured the essence of fall, wrapped it up and delivered it on a platter. Sweet without being too sweet – and hints of cinnamon and nutmeg – I could have eaten another!

I highly recommend this little place and definitely will be going back.

 

 

 

2016 – A Reflection in Clicks

Slightly late in post…please pardon the lack of appropriate timing. 

It has been a challenging year for me on many levels. I decided that instead of dwelling on all the ups and downs associated with the past year, I would revisit the year in photographs. I chose two sets of photos to look through: 1) photos taken with my camera and 2) photos taken with my phone.

As I went through each album, I was reminded of the adventure that the set of photos represented – each of these shots is a reflection of a memory of an event, a person, an entire experience…all captured in moment. From each album, or set, of photos I chose one photo that I liked the most (for whatever reason – maybe the memory of the particular moment the photo was taken, in some the photo subject represents an inspiration, maybe just from a technical perspective, the reasons are varied). I did realize that trying to sum up an entire trip, or adventure, in a single photo is not easy! I’m sure I may have missed some things, but the following slideshow is a pretty accurate representation of 2016’s major events summed up.

I hope you enjoy the trip through 2016 as much as I did!

Sometimes it takes looking back, to realize how much fun you had and how many adventures you experienced in the course of a year. Life is a learning experience – and the attitude you go into the experience with dictates what you learn and how you grow. I am finally beginning to understand that my reaction and my attitude towards what life throws at me is completely in my control – I am the captain of my own ship. While the seas may not always be smooth to sail upon, it doesn’t mean that I can’t approach the storms with a smile (granted sometimes forced), a positive attitude, and a willingness to learn from whatever the storm brings. A wise person said to me recently, “adversity brings growth.” 2016 has been a growing year! While I know it wasn’t all smiles, I bear the year no ill will.

As another section of my story comes to an end, I’m looking forward to 2017 and the adventures that it brings! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

2016 Mantra: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”

 

Going Green

While visiting in Ft. Lauderdale, I went out for lunch with friends. (Honestly, I just got in the car and found out we were going for lunch – I’m always up for an adventure!)

Ended up at a Vegan restaurant called Green Bar & Kitchen. Located in a strip plaza off of 17th street in Ft. Lauderdale, this hidden gem serves delectable food that vegans, vegetarians, and food lovers will enjoy.

On the advice from a frequent visitor, I had the Green Bar Burger: brown rice, quinoa, chickpea, roasted vegetables, sunflower seeds, garlic, lettuce & chipotle mayo served on a burger bun (gluten free bun available upon request). It was excellent, great flavor and excellent presentation.

The table shared an order of loaded fries: *seasoned with chili, “cheese” and scallions. If there are toppings left from the loaded fries, I suggest adding them to the burger for a little extra “pow”. I also tasted the Mac-n-Cheese – you would never know it isn’t real “cheese”!

Eating there is dine-in or take-out – the staff is very nice and has great suggestions in the event you don’t know what to order.

Overall – I give this place an A++! 🙂

P.s. The outside patio is dog friendly!

*Photos (and restaurant selection) courtesy of Aneysi Fernandez

Sending Postcards from the Inn

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Beach Chair View of St. Petersburg

Several years ago, while job hunting I came across the Postcard Inn. I applied for a job but at the time they were unfortunately (or fortunately) fully staffed. Since then, this property has been very high on my list of properties to spend a night (or several) at. Needless to say when the opportunity arose to stay at the property, I was all over it. To that end I would like to thank the gang from Crossfit Hunters Creek, Crossfit Taino, and The Pit Athletics for deciding to compete in Battle at the Beach! Now then, on with my review.

Upon walking in the front doors to check-in, the vibe was relaxed and casual but with a wonderful Gulf Coast flair. There was an immediate feeling of relaxation (complimentary postcards are available at the front desk…they will even mail them for you, postage included!!). The front office staff was perfect the entire weekend – always smiling and happy to help with questions (regardless of how silly they might be…not that I would ask such questions!)

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All about the balance

Throughout the hotel you can find a variety of wonderful touches that are reminiscent of a beach vacation back before there was internet or cell phones. From a variety of games available (pool table and ping pong in the courtyard, connect four, scrabble, and giant jenga in the lobby), a fire pit that is lit at night, rocking chairs, and lounge chairs galore to movie night in the lobby on Fridays…there is plenty to do when you feel the need to take a break from the sun.

The room was very well decorated. Bright, happy colors. Old photos on the wall, taken during various eras. A sitting area with a surf board on the wall. Plenty of room to lounge…but really who needs to spend time in the room when the fun is outdoors?!

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Beautiful room

The weather the entire weekend was beautiful and therefore I spent most of the weekend outdoors! In addition to the fun indoor games, the hotel has a beautiful pool, bicycles for use, and … did I mention it is right on the beach? Sure is! With beach chairs and beach couches for hotel guests to use. The PCI Beach Bar was were I spent a good chunk of my time, when I wasn’t on the beach. The bar staff was great (they even found the Dolphins game on tv for me!), the drinks were well priced (I suggest enjoying happy hour!) and the food was rather good (I suggest the fried shrimp or the Island chicken wrap!).

In addition to the bar, the Boathouse Kitchen & Bar is the full service restaurant on premise. I decided to treat myself on my last night for dinner in the restaurant…I enjoyed a wonderful lobster bisque, followed by a lobster ravioli (the seared scallops were out sadly) and paired with a Carnivore Cabernet. I decided to stave off my food coma with a sit by the fire pit, it was rather relaxing!

While there is more that I could go on about, all in all the experience exceeded my expectations. It was exactly what I needed after an intense 3 month of coursework. I would also like to congratulate my crossfit peeps for hitting the podium in 3rd place (respectively for male and female teams)….I can’t think of a better way to spend celebrating being ABD than to be able to grab clicks of my crossfit homies, enjoy some great beach weather, beautiful sunsets and finally get to stay at the Postcard Inn.

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Sunsets on the Gulf Coast

Hola, Cuisine de Peru

A little while back I noticed that a Peruvian restaurant opened up near me, Rustics’s Chicken: Rotisserie & Peruvian Cuisine. My mom was visiting and I decided it was the perfect opportunity to try something new.

The restaurant is small but clean and the staff was friendly. The menu was extensive with sections for appetizers, chicken dishes, beef dishes, seafood selection, and desserts. Prices ranged from $5.95 to $20.00. We tried the following:

Appetizer: Causa de Pollo: A friend explained this dish to me, so I knew I had to try it. The dish was made with yellow potato, hot pepper, lime juice, and chicken. It was very tasty, with a touch of heat and lots of flavor.

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Main dishes

Aguadito de Pollo: This chicken and cilantro soup was bursting with flavor. It was beautifully presented and pipping hot. The price of the dish was $8.95 but this is a full meal and the serving size was generous.

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Chaufa de Carne: This dish is fried rice with beef, green onions and eggs. The meat was well seasoned and this dish, like the other dishes was so full of flavor. It was served fresh and hot. The serving size was a generous portion of rice and plenty of beef.

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Having never tasted Peruvian food before, I had no point of reference as to what to try, what is traditional, and how things should taste. For me, I’m a fan of everything I tried and want to try more of the menu. All dishes were served fresh and hot. The service was wonderful and it was well priced. I would recommend the restaurant and will definitely go back.

Top of the Box: Edition T+T

The creative coaching minds at Crossfit Troika put together a competition style event in which teams are randomly created and athletes of all fitness levels can work together in a multi-wod event. The event is held once a month, typically on a Friday, and is hosted by various boxes across the Central Florida area. The purpose of the event is to promote community building and teamwork while having fun!

Crossfit Taino hosted the Top of the Box event this month and it was such good fun!

I’ve missed the several of the previous events (including when my home-box hosted) so I was very excited to attend this event. I was initially very intimidated to take part, as the majority of the athletes were experienced and advanced athletes (I’m very much a beginner!). Thanks to my teammates (I was lucky to have been randomly paired with a long-time teammate) and the assistance of those around me, I did very well and the nerves quickly dissipated.

I continue to be in awe of the crossfit community. Everyone is friendly and supportive. It is the one place that for just a little while I feel as if I’m not being judged by how heavy I am, rather I’m seen as just another athlete. Don’t get me wrong, being surrounded by six-pack abs, hot-squat booties, and overall athletic bodies that are made for fitness magazines, is a little overwhelming … but the focus is on enjoying the journey, supporting each other, and being good ambassadors for the sport and community. Music, laughter and fitness are paired with good vibes and, in my mind, that is the formula for a good time!

The turnout was great, the event was organized, and everyone had such fun. I managed to grab some clicks after my team’s heat was up (lucky for me we competed in the first heat, so I could take pics the next couple rounds). I’ve never multitasked as both competitor and photographer before, so it was rather interesting!

A special thanks to Crossfit Taino for allowing me to photograph and to all who were so friendly and supportive!

(Hopefully all facts regarding the event are correct! I apologize profusely if I missed giving any credit to where it is due!)

Artegon Marketplace

A movie afternoon with the roomie, was in the books and a Saturday matinee was chosen as the day/time, with Cinemark at Artegon as the location. Why these deciding factors? Have you seen the price of going to the movie theatre lately?!? You need to hock a kidney! $7.50 for a 1:50 showing was a deciding factor. Bonus: Recliner seats! (The cheapest and most comfortable movie experience ever!)

Neither of us had never been to Artegon Marketplace (formerly known as Festival Bay), so we arrived a little early to walk around. What a treat! Artisan shops, all individually designed and decorated make up the interior of what once was a traditional indoor mall. Various open hallways hosts game stations with games like ping-pong, air hockey, giant checkers, etc. There is an indoor ropes course along with trampoline fun and putt-putt golf. There is a blown glass studio, where you can get lessons!

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Art work lines the walls and there are sections that showcase art by high-school students. There is even a postcard station!

The best part? It is dog friendly!!!

The only downside is that there are minimal food spots, so I recommend dining before and stopping at the bakery or waffle stop for a sweet treat.

Overall, this is a great spot for girls day/night out, a date spot, or just an afternoon out and about. I will be going back as I’m excited to do some Christmas shopping, with Ruby, and finding interesting, non-commercial, gifts.