Archive for the 'Food & Drink' Category

Turtle Kraals – Key West, FL

After enjoying a day in Key West, my family and I headed for Turtle Kraals for dinner. One of our initial draws was to see their evening turtle races, but we ended up not staying late enough to see it. Our kids were tired from our adventures of the day, so we opted to head back to our resort earlier than planned.

Outside Seating

However we did enjoy the outside dining and views of the Key West Bight Marina from their spacious and relatively cool patio. We arrived in time for happy hour, which runs daily from 4:30 – 6:30, and enjoyed half off their decent draft list. A variety of food specials are also offered, most of the appetizer variety.

Harbor View

I knew going into our visit what I wanted to try for dinner, and that was their arepas ($13.99). Here the Venezuelan corn cakes are topped with a pistachio and raisin chicken salad, mango, tomato, and avocado. This is served with a field green salad on the side. The arepas themselves were good, but the real standout here was the chicken salad. I really enjoyed their unique take and found the addition of pistachios to be amazing! The toppings were fresh and complimented the rest of the dish quite well.

Chicken Salad Arepas

My wife chose the fish tacos on flour tortillas served with yellow rice, black beans (market price, $16.95 during our visit). The serving was large with three tortillas stuffed full. The fish of the day was mahi mahi and my wife really enjoyed that.

Fish Tacos

We also shared some of the happy hour appetizers with our kids. The pretzel bites ($6) were fried to perfection and served with a tasty mustard based sauce on the side.

Pretzel Bites

The cheese sticks were also good ($6.99) and was more than enough for a meal for our four-year-old. Kid’s meals are a bit pricey ($8.50), so if your kids are on the younger side the appetizers can make a more affordable option.

Cheese Sticks

One of our favorite things about Turtle Kraals were the bocce courts near the outdoor dining area. This allowed my wife and I time to enjoy a second happy hour beer while playing some games with our kiddos.

Bocce

We had a great time at Turtle Kraals and would not hesitate to visit again. The food was really good, the service was attentive, and the environment was perfect.

Turtle Kraals Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Herbie’s Restaurant – Marathon, FL

We didn’t leave the resort much during our stay at Hawks Cay Resort, so when we did I wanted to find the best places around. For our first lunch away from the resort I chose Herbie’s Bar & Chowder House. I first found this place due to their excellent craft beer menu. But I was happy to find that they are wonderfully kid friendly as well.

Outside

Their screened in porch is the room for families wishing to dine in. There are fans throughout so the heat wasn’t overbearing. There are child seats that clip on to the table ends, as well as small chalkboards for each kid with a bucket of chalk to help pass the time for food to arrive.

Screened In Porch

There are two other rooms that are inside, but these feature high top tables and bar seating. Either way there is plenty of room that you wouldn’t expect there to be from viewing the restaurant from the outside.

Front Room

I ordered from the smoker side of the menu, the pulled pork sandwich with in-house smoked pork butt on a brioche bun with lettuce, tomato, and onion ($13.95). The pork had a wonderful smoke flavor and was lightly topped with a tangy sauce. I also enjoyed a side of black beans and rice ($3) though wish the beans had a bit more kick to them. With that said my daughter really enjoyed not having them overly spiced.

Pulled Pork Sandwich

My son really enjoyed the cheese burger sliders with fries. The burger was thick cut and cooked perfectly. I stole a couple of fries and these were fresh-cut and fried to perfection.

Kid’s Sliders

My wife’s only request was crab cakes. They appear as a starter on the menu ($12.95 for 2). However our server recommended adding a salad to this as she thought the crab cakes alone are not enough food for a solid lunch. My wife agreed but actually ended up with more food that she could eat. The salad ($8.95) portion was quite large with a blend of mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onion. This might be a good dinner option but too much for lunch. With that said, my wife really enjoyed the crab cakes and the salad was of highest quality.

Crab Cake Salad

Finally my daughter is big macaroni and cheese fan. She was given a massive bowl of the stuff and it was just as expected. No complaints from her on this dining adventure.

Mac & Cheese

We had a great visit to Herbie’s and would not hesitate to stop in again on future travels to the area.

Herbie's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Spring Creek Tavern – Hot Springs, NC

After our exciting rafting trip my family and I walk over to Spring Creek Tavern for lunch. We arrived around 1:30 on a Sunday and found that most tables were occupied. Fortunately a high top table for four was just leaving as we arrived. We grabbed this table inside near the bar and kitchen. There is also a large outdoor dining area.

Kick’N Chick’N Sandwich

My wife and I split the Kick’N Chick’N Sandwich with blackened chicken, sautéed onions and mushrooms with a sweet Carolina BBQ sauce ($9.49). All sandwiches and burgers are served on garlic toasted Texas toast with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle and your choice of fries, chili, salad or slaw. This was a really good sandwich and I especially liked the waffle fries.

Classic Burger

There is no kids menu, which was a little disappointing. We ended up with a classic burger with cheddar for our six-year-old son ($8.49). He really enjoyed having the burger on grilled bread rather than the traditional bun. This was a lot of food for him though.

Cheese Pizza

Our four-year-old daughter wanted pizza. Again there is no kid size so we ended up with a full cheese pizza ($10.99). This is why my wife and I split a sandwich. We knew there would be plenty of pizza leftover for us to enjoy. The pizza features handmade thin crust and a delicious red sauce.

There aren’t a whole lot of options in Hot Springs. While the Spring Creek Tavern was not very kid friendly, we made it work for a weekend lunch.

Spring Creek Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Marley’s Island Grille – Hilton Head Island, SC

My wife and I took advantage of our family trip to Hilton Head for one night out without the kids. Based on the recommendations of our group we headed for Marley’s Island Grille. This restaurant is up near what our group always calls the second traffic circle, where Pope and William Hilton Parkway meet. This is one of many restaurants owned and operated by the SERG Restaurant Group.

Kitchen

Inside Marley’s feels a bit tropical and for the most part very casual. There was a wait for a table when we arrived, but we found plenty of open seating at the bar. We enjoyed having a close view of the kitchen staff working hard to get a ton of food out in a timely manner.

Inside

My wife is nearly always ready to try something new, and she was immediately drawn to their shrimp burger feature. I don’t think we’ve ever seen a shrimp burger before but she was very impressed by it. The toppings were simple and allowed for the flavor of the shrimp patty to stand out, with citrus mixing well with old bay. This was served with fries on the side ($11).

Shrimp Burger

I was in the mood for something hearty and immediately found the Rasta chicken pasta with blackened chicken, red peppers, and mushrooms tossed in a Cajun crème sauce and topped with cheese and scallions ($17). This dish was a touch on the spicy side and had a great Cajun flavor. The penne pasta was a solid choice for this dish and I really enjoyed it. A petite size is offered, but for only $2 you should get the entrée size and take some home if necessary.

Rasta Chicken Pasta

Overall we were very pleased with our dinner at Marley’s and would not hesitate to go back. A lengthy kids menu is offered so perhaps next time we will make a reservation and take the whole family.

Marleys Island Grille Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Frosty Frog Cafe – Hilton Head Island, SC

The Frosty Frog Cafe is a always a must hit on our vacations to Hilton Head. On this most recent trip I actually dined in twice. Our group all went out to dinner the second night of our trip, and when my brother joined in later in the week I took one for the team and made a return visit. I think by that point I had finally recovered from the large jungle juice daiquiri I had the first time around.

Daiquiris

I’m not going to lie, the main draw here is the frozen daiquiris. Their jungle juice is a favorite of mine, a combination of hurricane and jump start (mango), both of which are mixed with 190 proof grain alcohol. One large (32 oz, $13.75) should probably be considered the limit per visit. I made the mistake of having two of these on my second visit!

Jamie’s Sorta Chicken Philly

With all the talk about their daiquiris, I should mention that their food is actually pretty good too. The first meal I went with Jamie’s sorta chicken Philly with sautéed mushrooms and onions, loaded with cheddar and mozzarella ($11.99). This is served with a choice of side, either chips, fries, baked potato salad, or southern peach coleslaw. The roll was toasted, the chicken was plentiful, and there was more than enough cheese to blanket it all.

Wendi’s Chicken Walnut Salad Wrap

On my second visit I enjoyed Wendi’s chicken walnut salad wrap ($10.99), again served with your choice of side. Their chicken salad also features grapes, which always mix well with walnuts and a mayonnaise base. This was mixed with lettuce, tomato, and onion and wrapped up with a tomato basil flour wrap. I think I preferred the Philly over the wrap, but both were pretty good accompaniment to the frozen deliciousness.

Frosty Frog Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Sandbar Beach Eats – Hilton Head Island, SC

During our recent trip to Hilton Head Island, we ordered a carry out lunch from the newly opened Sandbar Beach Eats in the Coligny Plaza Shopping Center. I picked up our order around 11:30 and found a decent crowd already gathered at the outdoor bar area.

Outside

In addition to the large outdoor bar, there is an equally as large bar inside as well. There are also plenty of tables both inside and out for those wishing to dine in. The entire space definitely has a beach feeling to it and is very clean and modern.

Inside

For lunch I ordered the Cuban sandwich with roasted pork, sliced ham, Swiss cheese, creole mustard, and sliced pickles on a toasted baguette and served with fries ($12). I found the baguette to be a little thick for a Cuban, but that is as far as my complaints go. The ingredients inside were top quality and true to the Cuban style. The fries reminded me of the fresh fries we would make at home as a kid, freshly cut potatoes that are fried to order, and lightly salted.

Cuban

A popular item for our groups order were the tacos. The tacos de pescado combine fresh local blackened fish with Caribbean slaw, sriracha mayo, sour cream, and lettuce (2 for $12). The jerk tacos combine jerk chicken with pickled peaches, sour cream, and lettuce (2 for $10). Each taco order was served with chips and salsa on the side.

Tacos

Everyone loved the freshly fried taco shells. Both styles were spicy, with the jerk being true to style and quite hot! The meats were fresh, and the toppings were minimal to allow for the meaty flavors to shine. I especially liked the pickled peaches, which I had never had before.

Our kids enjoyed a quesadilla ($7) and the single size son of a bun burger, plain of course ($8). Sandbar had something for everyone and we would not hesitate to enjoy their food again. In fact, I think next time a dine in visit will be on our agenda.

Sand Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Southern Coney & Breakfast – Hilton Head Island, SC

We spent all last week on Hilton Head Island. Our car arrived just before 7:30 in the morning and we were ready for breakfast. We’ve tried a couple other restaurants for breakfast upon our arrival in the past, but wanted to try someplace new. I quickly found a place with a funny name, Southern Coney & Breakfast, but good reviews online.

Outside

They are located in a strip mall with a few other restaurants and the BI-LO grocery store, fairly close to Coligny Circle. The inside is a no frills but clean-looking diner. A rows of booths line one wall, eight stools are located at the bar overlooking the kitchen, and one larger table sits just inside the front door.

Inside

Several reviews mentioned that the southern style biscuits and gravy were excellent. I went with the full order, two split biscuits smothered in homemade sausage gravy ($6.99). The biscuits were light and fluffy, while the gravy was full of sausage and flavor. The combination of creaminess and pepper flavors were perfect!

Southern Style Biscuits & Gravy

They advertise as having the best pancakes ever. My son is becoming a bit of a connoisseur, eating pancakes nearly every chance he can, and he did think this were very good. The three silver dollar pancakes ($3.99) was the perfect serving size for a six-year-old.

Silver Dollar Pancakes

My four-year-old daughter decided on oatmeal with the extras ($4.99). There are over a half-dozen of extras that can be added to the oatmeal, and you can have as many as you like. I think she had almonds, dried cranberries, and brown sugar. It was more than enough for her, though she did seem to really enjoy it.

Oatmeal

My wife enjoyed the egg and cheese biscuit with sausage ($3.29). Most of the food seemed to be cooked fresh from scratch, and the egg on this sandwich was no exception. This was enough food for her, but if you’d like to add a side there are a variety of potatoes or grits available.

Egg & Cheese Biscuit with Sausage

We really enjoyed our breakfast at this casual diner. One thing I will note is that no alcohol is served. So if a Bloody Mary or mimosa is a requirement for your breakfast, you better head elsewhere. Otherwise this is a great spot for a quick and easy meal.

Southern Coney Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cork & Cap

Cork & Cap has been operating out of the their Hyde Park Square location for over a year, occupying the space formerly held briefly by J Bar Pizzeria and Indigo Casual Gourmet Cafe for many years before that. The dark interior is very similar to the remodel that was done when J Bar took over.

Inside

Pizza is still on the menu but main entrée selections have been added and are more of the focus here. With that said, I’m a pizza addict so I quickly decided on the sausage pizza for my meal. This combines Italian sausage, rapini, red onion, three cheese blend, and black truffle oil ($15). The serving size is good, my wife stole a slice and I still had another leftover. This could be shared if you added salads. The toppings were plentiful and all very fresh. Initially I missed not having red sauce on it, but this actually allowed the other ingredients to shine.

Sausage Pizza

My wife tried something that I no longer see on the menu, the pulled pork sandwich served with fries ($14). This was a little pricy but again the ingredients were high quality. I much preferred the pizza to this sandwich as the pork was a touch too dry and could have used some more sauce. Honestly I’m not surprised to see this is not on the menu anymore.

Pulled Pork

Overall we enjoyed a nice meal away from the kids. The food was mostly good, the prices were a tad high, but this makes for a good date spot. We will have to give it another try now that some of the menu has been redone and recipes have been tweaked.

Cork and Cap Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Woodburn Brewery

I’ve slowly been making my way through the growing list of Cincinnati breweries. It is definitely a good time to be alive for craft beer drinkers! The Woodburn Brewery has been open for nearly a year in East Walnut Hills. So far they have been solely focused on their draft beer, but they will soon have limited bottle releases and I’ve always heard that cans would be in the future too.

Inside

The Woodburn has a beautiful space right on Woodburn Avenue with exposed brick and rafters, skylights, plenty of seating around an L shaped bar, and even more seating at picnic style benches in the back. There is also a nice courtyard at the back of the building for those nice weather days.

Tostada “Sliders”

They have partnered with Mazunte to offer Mexican themed small bites. I’ve long considered Mazunte to be my favorite taqueria in the city. The food served at Woodburn is equally as excellent. I would highly recommend the tostada “sliders” that stuff fried mini tostadas with pork in chile Guajilla sauce, scallion ricotta, pinto bean purée, cabbage, avocado, and arugula (3 for $8). My mouth is watering just writing about these!

Teku Glass

As far as the beers go, it is hard to go wrong with their always available chocolate cherry stout. The chocolate mint imperial stout is also delicious and truly like a Girl Scout Thin Mint cookie in a glass. Now that the temperatures have reached summer highs I need to get back to try some of their IPA offerings, and I’m sure I will do that soon. The Woodburn is one of my favorites around.

Cafe Mediterranean

My wife and I have ordered delivery from Cafe Mediterranean a couple of times recently through SkipTheDishes. In our handful of years living in the area, this might be the longest tenured restaurant in this spot on Erie Avenue. It was previously home to Cumin (for many years but not for long after our move to the area) and Ash American Fare.

Cafe Mediterranean has been around since 2008, first opening in Anderson. They moved to Blue Ash in 2011 and finally settled in East Hyde Park in 2015.

Falafel & Chicken Shish Kebab

We have ordered the same entrees both times and shared them. The falafel ($15) is served with hummus, grilled tomato, and grilled pepper. The falafel is of the flatter variety, but are much larger than other restaurants. The mix of chickpeas, lentils, and spice is very good and they are not dry at all. The hummus was also good, a little more standard compared to other area spots, but still a good chickpea taste.

The chicken kebab ($15) is served with rice pilaf and grilled green beans. The chicken was cooked perfectly, leaving it juicy and seasoned well with herbs and spices. The vegetables were good but I was glad I was eating this meal alone as it left me wanting some hummus, babaganoush, or something similar on the side.

Speaking of babaganoush, we ordered a side ($7) of the smoked eggplant appetizer and I would not skip on this in the future. The olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, and yogurt that go into the mix make this outstanding for dipping. The pita bread that is included with all orders is not like anything I’ve had before. It is much thicker than store bought pita and a little hard to use for the dips. I found it easiest to slice it up rather than trying to tear it apart.

The prices seem a little higher than some other nearby Mediterranean spots, but the quality or ingredients and quantity of food at Cafe Mediterranean are top notch.

Cafe Mediterranean Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato