Category Archives: seafood

Post-classes: Vacation Day Nine (Tallahassee: Edward Ball Wakulla Springs Park)

I decided to take my parents to Wakulla Springs on their last day here, because it was a sunny day and the last time I had attempted to take it in it had started pouring rain as soon as we got on the trail. It turned out to be a great decision because we saw plenty of turtles, alligators, and even got a chance to see manatees in the wild! This is what I’d been hoping to show my parents all along, so I’m glad we all got a chance to experience it together. If you go to Wakulla Springs, I STRONGLY recommend taking the river boat tour. It’s reasonably priced and without it you most likely will have a very difficult time spotting anything. the glass bottom boat tour wasn’t running when we went, because of “dark water” but we still saw plenty. I highly recommend visiting this park. Also, you will get to see the untouched “real” Florida if you take the tour (from the boat), at the end of the stretch of spring where people are allowed to go, and where they only visit a few times a year. The first and third movies in The Creature of the Black Lagoon series were filmed here, as well as Tarzan. If you’re going to take the trail anytime in the spring/summer, wear bug spray! I got many mosquito bites. We did see some lizards though.

main sign

We even got to see a turtle on our way into the park, crossing the street! The car you see in the sign above contained people that also stopped to admire the turtle.

turtleeeee

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beautiful

so nice

There is also a swimming area, a beach-y place to lay about in the sun, and a lodge with a soda shop (for milkshakes, hot dogs, etc.) and a real restaurant where we chose to eat lunch.

lodge

outside

ceiling

picture

Here’s the menu:

menu one

menu two

We got the Chicken Caesar salad, Po Boy shrimp sandwich, and the grilled shrimp salad.

caesar

shrimp salad

sandwich

Everything was great! My parents agreed the shrimp was very fresh and I thought my salad was great too. The lodge also offers lodging (imagine that) and beer/wine. Anyway, highly recommended, and a great way to end my parent’s visit.

lizard!

Post & photos by: Melissa


Post-classes: Vacation Day Eight Part One (Tampa: Lettuce Lake park, Bangkok Jazz)

On day eight we headed out early from our hotel and over to Lettuce Lake Park, where I had heard we could possibly see alligators. And we did! We spotted two small alligators over the course of the boardwalk, about 3 feet in length, in different spots. We also saw a large variety of birds and at least one turtle.

lettuce lake park

don't mess with alligators

tree

boardwalk

walk it

 

all the birds!

pretty water

bird

other bird

swampy

Do you see the gators in the next two pictures?

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other gator

plants n stuff

After that we went to lunch at Bangkok Thai. I ordered the fried rice, and we also got a steak salad and a seafood dish. Mine was the best of the bunch. The Thai iced tea was also delicious and very refreshing before we started our drive back north toward Tallahassee. It was located in a cute pink building, called a victorian village.

victorian village

building

thai tea

Our lunch also came with soup.

soup

Bangkok jazz also has live music once a week, check them out online.

stage

steak salad

seafoods

my rice!

Post & photos by: Melissa


Post-classes: Vacation Day Seven Part Two (Tampa: Columbia Restaurant, St. Petersburg Beach & Samurai Blue)

After the zoo, we headed to Ybor City for lunch at Columbia Restaurant. It was delicious! We decided to go with the tapas platter (3 to split) and order 2 desserts (key lime pie and bread pudding.)

here it is!

sign

front

Here’s the menu, it has so many pages! Sorry if they’re a bit hard to read. =/

menu

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First, we were greeted with warm Cuban bread and delicious butter.

warm bread

balcony

Above us was the balcony.

crab

peppers

shrimp

Our three tapas choices (above) were the Devil Crab Croquettes, Stuffed Poquillo Peppers and Shrimp Supreme (I believe? we were between the two shrimp choices.) All were good, but my favorite were the peppers. they were very cheesy and had chorizo inside. We just had water but the sangria pitchers looked great. We followed this with the key lime pie (super refreshing and great) and the bread pudding (which was very large, sweet, and flavorful without tasting too much like rum for my taste.)

pie

bread pudding

Then we went to St. Petersburg Beach. It was quite a drive, but not too far for a nice beach on a warm day. We passed the Don CeSar Beach Hotel and parked a ways away, then walked down to it and back. Such a pretty, big building! It looked like a lovely place to stay.

big!!!

beach

There were lots of shells and some were inhabited.

shells 12

aha

And of course, bread-hungry birds.

birdy

so many

Then we went back into Ybor City for dinner at Samurai Blue, which I would say might’ve been my favorite meal of the whole trip. If this place was around where I lived I would go here often. Everything here was delicious. The prices were also great especially considering the amount and quality of the food.

sign

menu

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It has an industrial, old-warehouse kind of feel with brick walls inside, but the interior is also quite modern and nicely done. They have a sushi bar, separate sushi menu, and full bar inside.

walls

tables

We got the calamari and blue crab rangoon hot starters and they were both great but the sauce on the crab was amazing.

starters

sushi bar

We also split the cucumber, seafood salad. I LOVED this salad and I am not a salad kind of girl.

cucumber salad

miso

For main dishes my parents split two sushi rolls and I had the amazing Tokyo Beef Short Ribs. The hibachi rice underneath was possibly the best fried rice I’ve ever had, and I love fried rice.

roll

roll2

RIBS!

so so good

We walked around the square afterward.

theater

We discovered the Tampa Bay Brewing Company and I thought I’d just mention them and their beers.

brewing

I'd tap it

I hope you enjoyed! If you’re in the area and like Japanese food at all, DEFINITELY stop in Samurai Blue (either location is probably great.) I was very impressed and they were very friendly.

Post & photos by: Melissa


Post-classes: Vacation Day Six (Tampa: Oakley’s Grille)

Sorry I’ve been slacking on blog posts! Just been very tired, a little bit under the weather, and busy. But I’m here to finish up the last 4 blog posts from the trip for you now.

On this day we really didn’t accomplish much, as we got up late-ish and had a bit of getting ready to do (and catching up from our previous day of excitement) before we got to driving to Tampa. Today was mostly full of driving, and then having a quick but nice dinner at Oakley’s Grille by our hotel in “New Tampa” and then swimming in the evening, and enjoying the hotel’s promise of free ice cream.

menu title page

page one

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I had the bacon cheeseburger, plain, with pepperjack cheese. Sorry it looks so plain, but it was juicy and delicious.

plain like I like it

All burgers come separately from sides, so we split a basket of sweet potato fries.

mmmmmm

My parents also shared a burger and a fish sandwich (the blackened tilapia)

fishy

This was painted on the wall and I liked it.

nice!

Sorry the post is so short! To make up for it you will get WAY more than enough in the next few, so don’t worry. I’m off to make them now!

Post & photos by: Melissa


Shopping in Ballard & Hale’s Ales (+ Cupcake Royale and Majestic Bay Theater)

Near the end of my time visiting home I went to Ballard with my mom. You will have already seen some of the things we did, but here’s the last post from that time period!

Ballard! We parked near here

My mom and I planned on going to The Hobbit at the Majestic Bay Theater in Ballard. This is a small (though 3-story) locally owned theater which has nice, big screens, comfy seats, and no annoying ads at the beginning of the showings (which I appreciated). We had a lot of time (though not too much) before the movie, so we went to a few of the shops around the area and I took pictures at one, which was called Lucca.
They had some really cute things that I thought I would share here, although I can hardly summarize the number of things in the store. This is just a sampling.

Then I thought I would share the two interior nighttime pictures I took of the theater.

And, while we split a cupcake we didn’t eat it right away. But we did buy it before dinner, right next door to the theater at Cupcake Royale which was luckily open till 10 pm!

We split this one:

Then we finished the night at Hale’s Ales.

We ordered the fish & chips to split. The fries are under the fish.

Then we each ordered a beer, my mom got 2 of the 5-oz tasters whereas I just got a pint of one kind. We did each try all 3 beers though. First, the drink menu:

So here are the beers we tried:

El Jefe

El Jefe and Kolsch

And I’m 90% sure that the last one was the “visiting” Double Mountain India Red Ale.

We all preferred the two tasters, but I thought El Jefe was alright as well. Just not my favorite. As far as beer goes, though, I liked all of these and my favorite was the Kolsch. Which isn’t seasonal, so I guess that’s a good thing. Overall we had a good time in Ballard and I’d definitely come back to Hale’s. We sat in the bar and everything was great; it might be fun to come here just for drinks sometime.

Post by: Melissa
Photos by: Melissa


Pike Place: A day in Seattle

My family decided to go downtown Seattle to complete some Christmas shopping and generally do some walking and looking around. It was fun and a nice welcome-back-to-Seattle/Washington activity. Be warned: LONG POST.

The first shop we stopped in was Cicada, which was so pretty. It’s a bridal store in downtown Seattle. We noticed the dresses and had to pop in and look around. Although we made it clear we were just looking, the salespeople were very friendly and told us that the prices listed on the tags (tucked inside the dress) include alterations, which prices at bridal shops typically do not. Also, FYI, they’re having a 40% off sale on their 2012 sample dresses for December. Here’s one of my favorite dresses…

gorgeous wedding dress

After that we headed down to the market and a few of our favorite standard shops with their own separate storefronts. I thought I’d add in a few of the stores and restaurants we didn’t stop in as well, just to give a general picture of the area. One of these is Crepe de France, which looked delicious…

Crepe de France

crepe de france menu

One of the places I always recall when I think about Pike Place Market is The Great Wind-Up. For some reason I can’t open the website on Google Chrome when I try… but maybe you’ll have better luck. Essentially it’s a shop full of wind-up toys & gag gifts and it’s completely adorable. The space is small, but not an inch is wasted. They even have a testing area for kids (or really anyone) to try out the toys.

View from across the hall

Tah-dah! Such a cute shop

Mr. Bacon toy

Stick-on Mood Mustaches

toy testing area

toys to test!

Me with the Christmas pig and my rain jacket

Friendly flying squid

Here’s the Mt. Townsend Creamery. We didn’t go in but it looked great!

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Of course we had to stop and watch the Pike Place Fish Co. guys toss around some crabs.

Pike Place Fish Co

delicious fresh seafood

I didn’t catch the sign fully (it was a blurry picture) BUT apparently Pike Place Fish Co. has the only 100% sustainable seafood in the Market. Here’s Don and Joe’s Meats.

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We stopped by Market Galbee at the market and I got a skewer of sausage and my parents got an assorted skewer of food. I wish I had been hungrier so we could’ve gotten some good Korean food and bubble tea! Maybe next time.

Market Galbee

festive menu

food case

Lowell’s Restaurant advertised cocktails and looked like a fun place to get a drink. I liked their slogan: Almost Classy Since 1957.

Lowell's

We also saw the Pike Place Bakery.

pike place bakery

looks good

yum

Also, a cute shirt! And a crab apron!

Cute shirt

apron!

And a lavender goat. 🙂

and a lavender goat

Some sad social-commentary-type graffiti.

clever graffiti

We managed to get a glimpse of the Ferris wheel from a park, even though it was a cloudy day. We also saw it later at night, all lit up! Sorry about the quality especially of the nighttime pictures. We were trying to get home after a long day of being cold.

Victor Steinbrueck Park

the Ferris wheel!

and a bit closer

woo

Ferris wheel

side view

We stopped into Bavarian Meats, a German specialty shop. So many good things in this place.
Especially sausage samples.

Bavarian Meats

marzipan pigs and pretzels

We picked out a Christmas Soda for me, and my mom got one of those from the top row, which
we think is a German lemonade.

special drinks

Meats and cheeses! We picked up some of each.

lots of meat

sausages

cheeses

and desserts!

Then we headed into Piroshky Piroshky, a Russian bakery. The only place we went with a line out the door! It smelled amazing as we walked by, so we couldn’t pass it up.

Piroshky Piroshky

yum!

so amazing

piroshky~

We had to go to Le Panier (French Bakery) as well. We picked up some macarons, bread, and pastries. But no pictures! Sorry!

Le Panier French Bakery

We went around the market a bit more after and came across Pike Place Pigs. Pigs are kind of a big deal around Seattle but for the life of me I can’t remember why. Anyway, they’re everywhere.

pike place pigs

pigs!

We also went to Free People to pick up some things (yay I love them) but there are no pictures of that. Then we went to Japanese Gourmet Restaurant, and at this point my fingers were freezing so it was a good reprieve from the cold, and gave me a chance to warm my fingers up so I could take a few more pictures after we got out. We were there for Happy Hour, so we ordered a variety of food.

menu front

happy hour menu

gyoza

tempura plate

garlic beef short ribs

sesame scallops

While walking back to the car (yay parking garages) I had to stop and take a few pictures of the market all lit up.

Christmas tree~

Public Market~

I hope you enjoyed reading about my family Christmastime outing and thanks for sticking with me!

Photos by: Melissa
Post by: Melissa


Visiting Wewahitchka/Mexico Beach & Fish House Restaurant

My mom and I left Tallahassee to visit a relative in the Wewahitchka area. (I also learned it’s not whey-wah-hitch-kuh, it’s WE-wah-hitch-ka.) Anyway, she has two adorable dogs and I could not help myself with taking pictures, and we also visited the beach and a nice seafood restaurant in the Mexico Beach area. It was really cool being more out in the country like that, and we saw lots of frogs and such and less bugs than I would have imagined to be in the area, except on the road (and subsequently on my car) and then there were WAY too many lovebugs in the Mexico Beach area, especially by the gas station. Eww.

Then we went out to the Fish House.

I got the grilled scallops with cajun seasoning and alfredo sauce over angel hair pasta and it was delicious but just SO MUCH FOOD that I couldn’t finish it. My meal also came with some crispy, perfect garlic butter bread. Two others in our party including my mom got the special which was the grouper stuffed with crab. My other relative got 2 appetizers, one which involved crab and I don’t recall the other.

Before we leave this excursion, I must take the opportunity to show you a lovely flower from my relative’s house, more of her amazing dogs, and the adorable frog we spotted (the only one I managed to capture in a photograph, though there were so so many frogs around croaking all night.)

And lastly, the frog! So tiny.

Post by: Melissa
Photos by: Melissa