Explorers

June 21, 2009

Hey guys! I’m sad that we’re wrapping up the weekend tonight. It feels like we just got here, yet, it also feels like yesterday was a week ago.

After some relaxing, Matt, Canada and I went out to see a few recommended neighborhoods in JAX for potential bakery/relocation.

We drove through Mandarin, where I found this !!!!!!!!!! -

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We liked the area, which had nice neighborhoods near modern commercial areas

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And bike lanes!

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We meandered through a few more neighborhoods – San Marco and Avondale – and ended up stumbling upon the European Street Cafe, which was recommended by reader Jordan. (Sorry we didn’t get to get together on this trip Jordan!)

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E. Street is known for having lots of foreign beers, so Jordan knew Matt would like it :) And like it they did!

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I stuck to water, as I was feeling a bit parched.

After an hour of beers and conversation, we made our way to Bistro Aix, which was also recommended by Jordan.

This place ROCKED!!! We had super friendly service by Jessica, who gave us tons of details about moving to and living in Jax.

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On the outside, the neighborhood was a bit run down, but on the inside!!!

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VERY cool. Modern. Hip. Interesting ingredients. Long wine list. Gourmet pizzas. Fru-fru salads. Small wine pours. Just my style!

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How to choose between these drinks!?

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When I saw they offered 3 oz pours I squealed! That means I can try more wines for less :) I ordered an old favorite: the Erath Pinot

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I almost got the strawberry vodka infused cosmo special –  the Aix-cellent Cosmo

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The boys got this barley wine, which was thick, sweet and amazing. Like wine + beer mixed. Matt explained it as the “first batch” of beer made from a set of grain so it’s high in sugar = high in alcohol and super flavorful.

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Liv 4 Bread.

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My piece x2:

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We decided to share 3 courses between the 3 of us to maximize flavor and enjoyment variety. We started with small salads. I got a spinach with candied nuts and pears and blue cheese. It was awesome!

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The we got Crispy Fresh Black Grouper in a yogurt-potato-lemon-garlic sauce. It was like a different kind of hummus.

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I got a second 3 oz half glass of wine with our 3rd and final course – this time the David Bruce Petit Syrah (I always order Petit Syrahs whenever I see them on menus)

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PIZZAAAAAAAA!!! Canada and I had been craving pizza all day ever since we walked by a by-the-slice place at lunch. This one did not disappoint. It was prosciutto, goat cheese and peppers.

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I had this plus one more

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And finally – we split the Whole Wheat Fettuccini in a Smokey Corn, Tomato and Poblano Sauce. Our server told us it was actually vegan and that the sauce was not cream-based – only pureed corn. It was good, but not my favorite ever. Still very healthy and fresh tasting.

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This was one of those nights that I didn’t realize how full I was until I stood up after dinner. GUF! Despite being more full than I was after the wedding last night, after a 30-minute drive back to our hotel at the beach, I dug into the wedding favor bag to find this choco popcorn. We had considered going for ice cream, but I was stuffed, so I think my brain was rebelling my stomach’s protest with some chocolate cravings.

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x3. It’s like chocolate air!!

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I am feeling quite whale-like in water retention at the moment. Per usual after a vacation, I’m ready to resume normal eating (but not normal living – let me stay here!!)

We actually really liked Jacksonville. It has a really modern beachy feel that doesn’t feel tacky like many other coastal areas. We could really see ourselves living here. I think at the moment Charleston (sniff sniff) is still the most “us” and Charlottesville is at the top of the list to-be-visited, but Jax has secured a spot as a high contender.

Matt and Canada are playing on the balcony and I’m about to hit the pillows. After last night’s lack of sleep, I’m really tired tonight.

Tomorrow we’re hoping to finally spend a little time on the beach before we leave after a very early lunch and airport trip to drop off Canada. If any of you JAX people have lunch recommendations for some place healthy between Ponte Vedra and the airport, please lemme know!

Nite!

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Help Meghan Run June 21, 2009 at 10:05 pm

Whoa! That restaurant looks *amazing*. Yummy, yummy pizza…now you have me craving it, too. :)

HelpMeghanRun.com

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2 Jeanie Cloninger June 21, 2009 at 10:06 pm

We had dessert at that restaurant this spring
Very nice place, hope to get back there sometime soon

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3 Jenn (www. j3nn.net ) June 21, 2009 at 10:07 pm

I get all excited when we spot a Whole Foods, too! Our closest one is ~85 miles, so it’s like a lemonade stand in the desert lol.

Another great restaurant pick. How lucky to have so many good dining experiences in such a short amount of time.

Jenn

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4 kathleen June 21, 2009 at 10:21 pm

ponte vedra is my favorite place in the world…zaitoon has some excellent Mediterranean food if ya’ll are in the mood.

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5 Courtney (The Hungry Yogini) June 21, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Mmmm what a yummy meal!!! Good drinks, good company and good food..what’s not to love!

I hear you about weekends going by too quick…just in from NYC and feel like we this morning was a year ago! Hope you get lots of rest tonight. Good nigth!

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6 Shannon, The Healthy Beach Bum June 21, 2009 at 10:34 pm

That chocolate air (lol) looks amazing and so does that pizza! Glad you all had a great time :)

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7 Pamela June 21, 2009 at 10:34 pm

Hooray for Jax! How funny, I was at the Mandarin Whole Foods and in San Marco today.

I’m so glad you found some good spots – I just moved here in October (from Vancouver BC) and it is pretty great. You just have to find the gems. I live in Riverside and it is fab!

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8 Danielle C. June 21, 2009 at 10:35 pm

Uhm wow, 3 oz pours sign me up! That restaurant sounds amazing and the pizza looks delicious (and has my most fave toppings).

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9 Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope June 21, 2009 at 10:39 pm

That neighborhood sounds lovely… totally family-friendly and comfortable. I can definitely see you and Matt living there!

The restaurant looks fantastic! Glad you enjoyed your day! :)

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10 Lisa June 21, 2009 at 10:47 pm

Whenever my dad tries to say “fru-fru” it comes out “foo-foo.” As in, “Did you get some foo-foo coffee at Starbucks?”

My fiance LOVES barley wines, but they are not for the lightweight! He’s over six feet and pretty muscley, but even he is susceptible. I do recommend house-made infused vodkas – a bar in my college town does vanilla, pineapple, cherry, even cucumber and pepper!

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11 Anne K. June 21, 2009 at 11:13 pm

Ooh that pizza looks so yummy! And Jax looks like a nice place. Love the bike lanes!

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12 Run Sarah June 21, 2009 at 11:28 pm

The choco-popcorn looks awesome, so does the pizza. Bike lanes are great – we need more of them here.

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13 Amanda (My Summerizations) June 21, 2009 at 11:32 pm

haha i know what you mean about wanting to get back to normal eating but normal living. i have that same feeling after special events too!

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14 J June 22, 2009 at 3:07 am

Kath-long time reader here. Trust me when I say you do not want to live in Jacksonville. I have lived here for 4 years and can not get out fast enough. Yes, it may look nice in some areas on the surface, but it is not a nice place to live. The people are unfriendly, the city is very run down, and the city is so big, you have to drive forever just to get somewhere. I move out of here next month and I hope I never come back. Also, the crime is horrendous, being the city with the higest homocides in America last year. Beware! Good luck too!

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15 Erica June 22, 2009 at 6:29 am

All of your trips always look like so much fun! Love splitting meals at restaurants- you feel like you get so much better of a feel for what the place has to offer. Safe travels home

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16 leslie June 22, 2009 at 6:33 am

I love love love david bruce wines. dinner looks fun! i love how you shared everything to enjoy lots of different flavors.

wonderful that you found a city you like!

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17 HeatherBakes June 22, 2009 at 7:08 am

Glad you had a fun trip! One of our best college friends is from Jacksonville it always sounded like a great place to live- such a pretty downtown area.

I’m anxious to see what you think of C-ville. That’s still my vote :)

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18 Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) June 22, 2009 at 7:08 am

Looks like you guys are having so much fun!! :D Don’t you love splitting meals like that? I’m a huge fan of places that offer tapa plates because I just love nibbling on a lil’ bit of everything. :D

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19 NJ June 22, 2009 at 7:26 am

I agree with J…You would have to pay me an amazing amount of money to move from Charlotte to Jacksonville.

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20 Casey June 22, 2009 at 7:31 am

Kath, I haven’t read all the suggestions for where you should live, so forgive me if this has already been suggested. Have you looked at Greenville SC? I know it isn’t coastal, but it is a fantastic city with lots to do and the downtown area is fabulous! It has great energy and is really beautiful. You should visit sometime!

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21 Recipes for Creativity June 22, 2009 at 7:53 am

No tips for JAX; I’ve only driven through a few times. Glad you found a place that is a contender, though!

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22 G. June 22, 2009 at 8:03 am

Well, if you’re gonna think of Jacksonville, then go to Tampa. It’s a nice-sized market, and will probably support your business. There is a Whole Foods, and the local natural market was just bought by Rolling Oats. There’s a lot of backwards thinking, still. But there is also a younger, more open-minded crowd that is moving in and looking for better food alternatives. There are also WAY more tourists than in Jacksonville. There are the folks who stop in to winter, and it’s also a major cruise port. Check out Channelside and New Hyde Park, as well as S. Tampa. It’s probably worth a look.

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23 JENNA June 22, 2009 at 8:12 am

that restaurant looks amazing!! :)

Note on C’ville, VA: We get bad ice storms in the winter! It gets much colder here than NC! There is not a lot to do after the novelty of things wears down. On a positive side we do have tons of vineyards around! :) The area is beautiful! C’ville is really a beautiful town.

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24 K June 22, 2009 at 8:15 am

I love the restaurants you guys visit! They always sound so delicious!

That place looks like a nice area!

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25 Shannon (The Daily Balance) June 22, 2009 at 8:15 am

Looks like a fun trip — that pizza looks amazing — mouth watering!

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26 Anne P June 22, 2009 at 8:20 am

You should have come on down to Tampa to say hey!! :) Glad you enjoyed JAX! I’ll be there next weekend visiting a friend actually. I’m sad I just missed you two!

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27 brandi June 22, 2009 at 8:29 am

looks like some cool places there! that pizza + bread look amazing :)

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28 Emily June 22, 2009 at 8:36 am

I love restaurants like that! They usually have the best specials, too! If you have a minute, visit my new blog – loveandlibations.blogspot.com

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29 Holly (The Healthy Everythingtarian) June 22, 2009 at 8:46 am

that pizza looks soooo good!

glad you liked jacksonville, although i am still sad savannah wasn’t as good. i always hear such fab things about that place.

enjoy the rest of the vacay!

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30 Leslie June 22, 2009 at 8:58 am

Eek #14 made me sad. :-(

I’ve lived in Jax all my life and while it’s not perfect it’s certainly not Hades (although it was hot as Hades this weekend!)

I live about a half mile from the Whole Foods and it’s a lovely area.

Hmm… lunch… well, there’s a Healthy Way Cafe at 13500-39 Beach Blvd which is on your way to the airport. The Loop is good too, not sure if you have them in your area– they have AMAZING salads!

Safe travels home!

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31 Katharina June 22, 2009 at 9:12 am

I love the picture of Whole Foods! It looks like you are a creature in the wild and you’ve just spotted the Holy Land bahaha!

It looks like you thoroughly enjoyed your weekend madame :)

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32 Kath June 22, 2009 at 9:12 am

Casey ,
There’s already a GH in Greenville. And Matt’s from Spartanburg, so it’s not his top choice for location.

K

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33 Danielle June 22, 2009 at 9:27 am

Looks like such a fun weekend!

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34 Jenn Eats Nutritiously Now June 22, 2009 at 9:36 am

That grouper and the pizza both look fantastic!

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35 Sarah June 22, 2009 at 9:40 am

Hey Kath,

I may have missed something, but why is Charleston out? From the pics of your trip there and Jenna’s blog entries about the city, it seems so perfect!

Sarah

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36 Kayona June 22, 2009 at 9:53 am

I would be so happy if you moved to Jacksonville. I actually live in Fleming Island but it is really close. (The whole foods is about 20 minutes away)
Yes Jacksonville has its bad areas but what place doesn’t. There are many very nice areas such as Mandrain, Fleming Island, and Oakleaf just to name a few. I love it here and have lived in the area all my life.
Good luck with your search.

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37 Anne June 22, 2009 at 10:54 am

Seriously, what your guys’ blood-alcohol count as your drive?!

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38 tracy June 22, 2009 at 11:56 am

I may have missed this, but why is Charleston off the list?

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39 Amanda @ Cakes and Ale June 22, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Fried grouper… delicious!

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40 Oh She Glows June 22, 2009 at 4:48 pm

Aren’t 3oz pour the best???

So exciting about your potential move…I can’t wait to see what you decide!

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41 Kath June 22, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Sarah + tracy ,
Someone is already starting a Great Harvest in Charleston :( They just beat us to it.

Kayona ,
Cool! We looked at Mandarin (Whole FOODS!!) and thought it looked very Great Harvest friendly. I’d love some recommendations on family friend planned community type places to check out.

Kath

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42 Renee June 23, 2009 at 11:23 am

I am glad that you enjoyed your trip to Jacksonville Beach. I have lived here for 19 years and it is a wonderful place. I really enjoy reading your blog. I have been following your blog for several weeks now and I really enjoy it. I am a runner too and I enjoy eating healthy fresh foods. Thanks for the wonderful blog.

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