Caring Chefs Congrats

Just a quick congrats to the Children's Home Society of Florida and the 50+ restaurants and food businesses who participated in the Caring Chefs event last night!

Wonderful food, a great crowd, and I hope a fundraising success for CHS!

Thanks to Jodi K of EatJax for playing wing-woman on this manic chow-a-thon! Afterwards it felt like we actually did EAT JAX.

I'm still dreaming about those escargot from Matthews - and I bet I know what Jodi's dreaming about today!

And Thank YOU Josh - for the tix! Luckily for this Beastie, you're a health nut who would rather spend the weekend RUNNING in the Marine Corps Marathon in DC instead of grazing on bite after bite of fabulous eats at Caring Chefs!


Bar Snacks Rule At Mitchell's

Quick visit to Mitchell's Fish Market after work = YUM! We always sit at the bar, but I can see how settling into one of those booths would be a great option. At the bar there is an appetizers menu - small plates of heaven - specially priced - just the right size for a snack - or get a couple and share w your friends. My fave, the crispy fried calamari.

Dan loves the Codfish Slider. MAJORLY addictive. The chicken wings are fab, and peel and eat shrimp is predictably fresh and delicious. New Zealand Mussels, California style Fish Tacos, etc. etc....

They fresh squeeze all their fruit juices, so bar drinks are amazing too. I love the grapefruit and basil martini.

Oysters are remarkable here too - an
d any of the fish or other seafood dishes are bound to be delish! We'll be back SOON to find out!


Let There Be Laughter and Sharing Of Pleasures

When out-of-town friends come to visit, where do you take them for lunch? What do they like, where will they feel comfortable?

For me, the answer often is The French Pantry.
Tucked into the front end of a venerable commercial bakery in an industrial park, it hardly looks the part from the street. A green awning atop the brick wall, a lot full of cars, happy diners grasping takeaway containers.

The menu is on chalkboards at the entrance. The Fare is sandwiches, salads, delicious desserts. Plenty to choose from. There is always a line. It files past a case of the most amazing cakes, cheesecakes, enormous muffins, brownies "blondies" and assorted cookies. This is not the place to be on a diet. Sheer lace curtains diffuse the sunlight and sturdy vintage tables fill the single room, which reminds me of a french farm-house where workers gather for lunch and to escape the sun. If you come, be prepared to share a table with strangers, or take your lunch to go. The French Pantry is only open for lunch. Their main business is a commercial bakery, supplying some of Jacksonville's finest restaurants.

The friend - visiting from Charleston. We hadn't seen one another since school days, let's just say decades ago! Facebook has reunited several of us from Lancaster High School, and we talk most every day now, exchanging witty banter, sharing the smallest of sentiments and revealing sides of ourselves we had long since forgotten.

We ordered sandwiches for our lunch, and thick slices of cake for sharing with family later. The Muffuletta was piled high with tender, salty ham, tangy olive salad and cheeses. A nostalgic choice for my friend, who was transported to New Orleans by its mere mention.
I wanted something that made use of their amazing farm loaf - the bread of my dreams. Chicken Panini filled the bill nicely - two large, hearty slices packed with fresh field greens, tender grilled chicken, pesto, thick slabs of ripe red tomato and plenty of melted cheese. The portions here are large, so ask for a takeout container if you want a nice snack for later.
Thankfully we were there late in the lunch rush, so our lingering at table wasn't a problem. Tucked away in a corner by a sunny window, our conversation bubbled like the fountain of youth - washing away the years. Joy and pain, love and loss. Life's universal lessons. Before we knew it, two and a half hours had slipped by.

"And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed."

- from "The Prophet", by Kahlil Gibran

French Pantry on Urbanspoon

The French Pantry

(904) 730-8696
6301 Powers Ave
Jacksonville, FL 32217