exploring jacksonville one bite and letter at a time

“F” is for Fox

In Brunch on May 31, 2011 at 5:07 pm

The Fox Restaurant in Avondale

Traditions tend to stem from great experiences worth sharing and repeating.  Dining at The Fox Restaurant is that kind of tradition.

Shrimp Salad anyone?

Beth Says: This vintage meets kitsch meets hipster meets small time restaurant explodes into a four page menu of (too) many breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. Their uber cool sign/label lets you know right away this is a place this has a mom and pop feel that was around before mom and pop were cool.

Tomato Soup, My Favorite

Raven Says:

With friends in town and in tow Beth and I met for a weekend of adventure.

Riding bikes to do some leisurely shopping at the Riverside Arts Market required some fuel for the fun.

The Fox launched our day and said the mood to fill a day with the time of memories that only come from the freedom to be just a little quirky!

Balsamic Shrimp Salad

Beth Says: When you have to choose between pancakes and a shrimp salad, how do you pick? Considering it was way into the afternoon I finally chose the salad. The plate came out with steaming shrimp atop a bed of fresh greens, feta, and crunchy croutons. The thing that made my stomach rumble was the steam I could literally see rising from the four jumbo shrimp. That is the thing about shrimp, it is the best part of any meal. The dressing was a light balsamic vinaigrette which leaned towards the healthy side rather than the doused side of salad dressings. I always want too much dressing for my salads, but since I was afraid to ask the waiter for anything else, I walked away feeling light and healthy from the salad, which is the intention of eating on right?

Light and Hearty and Yum Yum Yummy

Raven Says: The menu at the Fox is filled with options.  As you see our table was littered with soup, salad, omelets, fruit, pancakes and more.

Personally I walked in with a craving for something smooth and rich.  Spotting the soup on the menu was a delight.  Enjoying the velvety texture was a treat.

Breakfast Made to Order

My out of town friend Ashleigh opted for a power enriching breakfast platter.  The omelets are names for different areas of the city.  My favorite is the Ortega which features salsa and chorizo.  Ashleigh accented her biscuit with honey and was a happy happy camper.

Beth says:  Everyone enjoyed their meals, and as I sipped coffee I watched the type of people that came in, couples, friends, but not a whole lot of families. You can also purchase the fox merchandise, I was tempted to purchase my super cool coffee mug. While you chow down on your pancakes or shrimp salad make sure you check out all the vintage deco cluttering your every line of vision. I bet you will see at least one thing that makes you laugh or go “oh I want that sign”.

Dustin's Pancake Platter

Raven Says: We were definitely in the right spot at the right time for this meal.  No one won the lottery but what we did win was a great time with friends.

Ashleigh having a fun time with her fruit.

The large menu made it so we could all satisfy our hunger without compromise.  The staff is so friendly and welcoming that it felt that one of has a culinary student roommate that wanted to make us each whatever we craved.
And it was good.  

Beth Says: This is a perfect satursunday brunch or lunch spot. Located with lots of little shops in the Avondale area you can enjoy a little time, for a little dime. This place is moderately priced the most expensive thing was about 12-13 dollars. Check it out, you can say you ate where all the cool kids go.

Dustin diving straight into his pancakes.

Raven Says:

The Fox serves the kind of good food that sits as the quiet quick witted friend at the table.
You may not always notice they are there but you definitely love the oneliners and are sad when they leave.

Fox Restaurant

3580 Saint Johns Ave
Jacksonville, FL 32205
Fox on Urbanspoon

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“E” is for European Street Cafe

In Brunch on April 22, 2011 at 1:56 am

Coffee Cup full o' joe!

Have you ever been to one of those restaurants that just has amazing food, something for everyone on the menu, and a little shopping alcove within? Well European Street Cafe is just that, and possibly much much more! With four locations around Jacksonville there is bound to be one by you to check out. Just mention the name and someone will tell you of their good experience at this place, or something you just have to try.

Sauerkraut, it was actually really tasty!

For over thirty years, European Street Cafe has been staple of Jacksonville’s tradition. European Street Cafe takes you away from the ordinary into an international atmosphere where you can feel comfortable while exploring, and indulging in the pleasures of foreign countries. Our menu includes over 150 original and traditional sandwiches, salads and soups along with the most comprehensive beer selection in North Florida. Our continual awards include “Where the Locals Eat” and “Best Beer Selection in North Florida.”

Adventures in Trying Sauerkraut


Raven says: Sunday brunch with Beth is definitely becoming a highlight of my week.  There’s even the perfect pre-event soundtrack of catching This American Life on the drive to each location.

Today Ira Glass should had said “Today we bring you a brunch with several acts on a theme.  This week: Sausage”.

Beth says: I did not know what to expect, but I knew to expect good things. Everyone told me this was a GREAT place to eat, all I kept hearing was a cheesy beer soup, and honestly beer and cheese are two of my greatest loves, combine them and BAM! The day was perfect so we were able to sit outside, and our waiter was awesome, bringing us our million requests, refilling water and coffees.

Summer Sausage Snack

Raven says: The warm summer day definitely called for a fun appetizer.  This plate of Bousin Garlic Cheese Spread and Smoked Gouda with Crackers, Apple Slices and of course Sausage was the perfect entertainment as we decided on our main meal.

Beer cheese soup and a pretzel roll, hearty lunch.

Beth says: Beer cheese soup was amazing. The pretzel roll was to die for, this could be a meal, but NO there was more on the menu to experience. The German food section was calling my name in a way that was hard to ignore. 

German Smoked Bratwurst

Beth says: Being a German gal the words brat and kraut were tantalizing and enticing in a way that made it impossible to ignore. So I ordered the German smoked bratwurst and it came with a hearty side of amazing sauerkraut. Doubly lucky for me the Ravester donated her plate of Kraut to me. Can you say LEFTOVERS!

Kielbasa served with Chips and Sauerkraut

Raven says: Beth’s a German girl but I did  my time over there as my Dad served in the Army.  We had our share of bratwurst, currywurst and schnitzels but so how never made it to Poland, the Ukraine or Czech for some Kielbasa.

Which is fine because now I know I can always hit up European Street for a toasted bun and some European meat.  The spicy pork and beef had a bit of a kick but not too much.

The best thing in Beth's opinion!

The sauerkraut was a different story.  Because Beth is a huge fan I wanted to try it out.  Nothing against the restaurant I just discovered that it’s not for me.

However Beth was more than happy to take my leftovers so nothing went to waste.  I returned the contagious spirit of adventure by introducing her to one of my favorites: Nutella!

Nutella on crackers for dessert. Just a sample!

It wasn’t even a splurge to start with an appetizer and end with a dessert here.  We even had a chance to gobble up this chocolate hazelnut spread on crackers and apples.  It was a perfect ending to our sunny brunch.  Check this place out!

European Street Cafe

2753 Park Street

Jacksonville, Fl 32205

http://www.europeanstcafe.com

European Street Cafe on Urbanspoon

“D” is for Don Juan’s Mexican Restaurant

In Uncategorized on March 15, 2011 at 6:34 pm

a family owned place

Sunday afternoons are becoming a highlight of my week.  It’s a fun moment to think “Oh, what letter are we on?”

There were so many “D”s to choose from yet Don Juan’s turned out to be a good choice.  No, great choice actually.

Beth getting her Mexican grub on

Beth Says: Can a dining enthusiast really go wrong picking a Mexican restaurant? Most likely not. We were all craving some hearty fare on this Sunday afternoon. Don Juan’s offers the familiarity of a neighborhood eatery combined with the originality of dishes the ensures a unique, albeit a spicy experience.

Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy! Prepping for another culinary adventure!

Raven Says: Our booth was the perfect size for our rotating dining family.  This time with real flesh and blood family in attendance.  Kurt, Beth’s brother, sat in on this outing along with repeat offender, Angel Marie.   Mexican restaurants seem to always add to feel of family.

Maybe because this time it actually is a family owned place. (Story of Don Juan’s here).

Nevertheless, I am a sucker for a place with numbers on the menu and where I know the food comes out fast and on hot plates.

Now let’s talk about this food!

# 1 Speedy Gonzales

Beth Says: We started with the usual chips and salsa, but since Kurt and I are huge Guac fans we got a side of guacamole. I wish I had taken a picture of the ‘side’. It is seven dollars, which is a little bit more expensive than the normal price for a side but it came on a huge plate with “Prepared with fresh premium avocados,
cilantro, tomatoes and onions”. It was delicious, the kind of guac that really hits the spot. This is perfect for two-four people, and do not be afraid to scoop big or even double dip.

16. Don Juan's B.L.T.

Raven Says: a B.L.T may not sound very adventurous but to someone who rarely ventures out of quesadilla territory it was a step in the right direction.

Don Juan’s B.L.T. adds a little something extra with their well seasoned grilled skirt steak.  It also had a bit of a kick which may be attributed to the chile arbol.  That is some good stuff.

Now if I knew they seasoned meat like this then I would love to go back and try the cheese dip again but next time the Queso con Chorizo.

#9 Burrito and Tamale

Beth says: For lunch I ordered a speedy Gonzales combo, which is a taco, enchilada, and refried beans.  Kurt ordered a burrito and tamale combo. Both lunches were great, I wish I could say that we left even a bite, but alas we cleaned our plates right to the last spec of cheese.  Not overly spicy but still full of flavor.

12. Enchilada & Chile Relleno

Raven Says: I sat next to Angel Marie and apparently didn’t come up from air enough to ask her how her meal was.  This is her Enchilada and Chile Relleno.  Personally it was news to me that a dish could be made out of a pepper stuffed with cheese.  Apparently it can and be made so deliciously that it put Angel Marie in a terrible state of wondering if she would ever be able to find a place that could make it as well.

Banana Chimichanga

The more people present the more items on the table – unless we’re at a buffet.  Well Angel Marie talked us all into sharing the calories of this Banana Chimichanga.  Dividing a dessert makes it near impossible to overindulge but quite possible to enjoy something sweet.  Well played Miss.

The sweet, crunchy and flaky combination was a nice light touch to top of a nice gathering of old and new friends.

Angel Marie twirling not one but two hot plates.

Beth Says: I am sure my brother and I will be coming here again, we never even got to enjoy a pitcher of margaritas. The food and service was great, the food came out hot and fast, and my coke glass was never more than half empty. This restaurant is centrally located on San Jose, and is the perfect spot for Salsa Sundays, or Margarita Mondays.

Raven Says: An unexpected by product of this A to Z experiment is going to be deciding on a favorite spot.  Ever place is a new favorite and Don Juan’s falls right in line!

Kurt enjoying his Mexican fare.

What a perfect Sunday afternoon to seemingly all drive up to this eatery as if it were “our place”, be treated like family and enjoying a perfect nap-inducing meal.

Good times.  Thank you Don Juan.

 

Don Juan’s Mexican Restaurant

12373 San Jose Blvd

Jacksonville, FL 32223

http://www.donjuansjax.com/

Don Juan's Mexican Restaurant on Urbanspoon

A small request for any readers.  Please let us know what you think of the side by side review style?

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