Last Tuesday was my second Bite Club event at Mandaloun Mediterranean. I have been to this restaurant before and it’s one of my favorites. I was so excited to go back and try a few items I have never tried!
I arrived just at 5:45 and people were getting drinks at the bar. The walls are painted with mountainous scenery, there are white columns and rich wood high tops that make for a charming and inviting atmosphere.
I finally got my photos from this past weekend and it was a good one.
It started out with a Girl’s Night In on Friday night. Since my husband Chris was out of town on a golf trip, my daughter, Mom and I had a sleepover. We started the night with steamed broccoli and a Kashi Caribbean Carnival Pizza and continued with the chick flick, Valentine’s Day (after the little one went to bed). It was really cute and had an all star cast.
Saturday started out with coffee and a chat on the back porch before the baby woke up and then I was off to yoga. All three of us went to World Market afterwards to do some shopping and then Mom and the baby took off to go to the pool thus starting the highlight of my weekend, Girl’s Night Out.
I headed out to visit my friend Justine at Jacksonville Beach. After a few hours in the sun we went back to her Aunt’s house to get ready.
Dinner was at Taco Lu’s as the original restaurant we were going to try, Salt Life, was way too packed.
Taco Lu’s was excellent, as usual. I chose the first three items on the menu.
Baja Fish Taco: Beer Battered Mahi on a corn tortilla, cabbage, pico, chipotle crema, cilantro and lime
Bangin’ Shrimp: Spicy, Asian style fried shrimp, cabbage and lime
Mahi: Blackened fish on a corn tortilla with cabbage mango salsa and crema
I must say a few glasses of wine made it much easier to splurge on the two fried options and they were excellent. My favorite was the shrimp. The fried outer crust was thin and crispy with a light battered texture and then covered in a salty, sweet, spicy Asian sauce. When I bit through the inside was soft and tender shrimp. The addition of the cool cabbage and crumbly texture of the home made corn tortilla with a shot of lime was an excellent mixture.
We left there and hit the Penthouse at the Casa Marina Hotel for a drink. It was so gorgeous. Three floors up, overlooking the water. The weather was tropical Saturday night…hot and humid with a light breeze which made it the absolutely perfect weather to enjoy an evening cocktail.
After that…dancing at the Brix. A local bar with great music and a young and lively crowd. There were two bachelorette parties that happened to be in attendance hence the photos of the BRIDE DANCEOFF.
Picture this…two brides in the middle of the floor and Lady GaGa comes on. The brides begin to do a sort of GaGa robot dance…..
1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp jerk seasoning (with lime)
1 tsp coarse ground mustard
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1. Whisk olive oil through garlic in a small bowl.
2. Place shrimp in a medium bowl and pour the marinade over the top. Marinate for 20 minutes or so.
3. Skewer the shrimp on metal skewers. Place on preheated grill. Cook until shrimp begins to turn pink. Turn once and once shrimp is pink and cooked through remove from grill.
We had a dinner and concert last night. Dinner was at Mossfire Grill, “a blend of New American and Southwestern traditions” is what the description is on the website. We have eaten here many times and usually get the fish tacos.
Ben Harper Concert at the Florida Theater.
If you live in Jacksonville and like concerts I highly suggest going to the Florida Theater. It only holds 1900 people so wherever you sit you feel close to the artist.
For lunch today I met up with a new friend and fellow foodie blogger, Devon, from Run Sleep Rinse Repeat. We had lunch at an incredible Thai restaurant called Lemongrass. Not only did we both graduate from FSU we will soon be living in the same area as she is building a house out my way! We have a future date to check out a place called Cork and Keg and we’ll be sure to do a review of this cute little wine bar.
We chose Lemongrass as it was a great mid point and is well rated; voted Top 25 by Jacksonville Magazine as well as Folio Weekly’s Best of Jax! I had been there previously but it had been quite a while.
To start, we got the fresh spring rolls. They were crunchy, with that hint of mint that pairs well with the peanut dipping sauce. So refreshing.
She raved about this dish so I know it must have been good.
I like things a little spicy so I branched out (as I would have typically chosen Phad Thai too) and got the “Hot Peppers: Your choice of meat sautéed with garlic, bamboo, straw mushrooms, onions, sweet peppers, wood ear mushrooms, green peas, jalapeno peppers and topped with Thai sweet basil”. I chose the tofu as my protein. The chewey texture and firm, crisp exterior when it’s cooked properly gets me every time. The sauce had just the right amount of spice (that will wake you up!) and flavor. The color was just gorgeous. To soak up the fiery sauce I chose simple rice noodles and they did their job.
If you are ever in Jacksonville and like Thai food I would definitely check out Lemongrass.
Great service (granted we got there just before closing so we were the only patrons)
Not afraid to bring the heat
Large portion size
It was another Indian food night for Dad and me on Tuesday night. Woo Hoo! Good thing we got there early to beat the crowds.
I’m sure they were coming.
Probably a little later.
This is not an unusual phenomenon for our father-daughter dinners. Our first one was to an Asian restaurant where not only were we the only patrons but the hostess ended up being our waitress and disappeared for a while so I think she was the cook too.
After quizzing the server several times on what he would choose out of my listed options I settled on the Baingan Bartha for $9.99 which is eggplant baked in an oven and cooked with onions tomatoes and spices and a side of the Masala Kulcha for $3.99. Naan bread stuffed with spiced chopped onions and herbs.
I was absolutely delighted by the Baingan Bartha and will be learning how to cook this dish for myself. It was a slightly sweet and had a creamy texture and a perfect balance of spices. I did like the Masala Kulcha but I think next time I’ll try the Kashmir Naan $3.99, “A clay oven baked bread filled with almonds, Cashew and raisins” that I completely missed on my first look at the menu. How good does that sound?
Dad chose the Garlic Chicken – Dish for garlic lovers $11.99 and the Garlic Naan, $2.99. Sorry mom! (Dad is obviously a garlic lover).
The garlic naan is always a favorite. You just can’t go wrong. Big flecks of fresh garlic baked on a white tender bread. Deeeelish. And the garlic chicken was also tender with a moderate amount of spice and it wasn’t too garlicky. It would be a great go to dish for a first timer.
Listed clockwise from bottom left:
Baingan Bartha, Garlic Chicken and Chicken Manchuria