Reuben, Reuben, I've been thinking.

I've been on a sandwich jag lately.
Metro Diner, Jacksonville Beach

Reubens, in particular, have captured my attention. I am a fan. Always have been. It's just lately, when I see the Reuben on the menu, all other choices seem to melt away. I don't know how this fixation came about, and I am not looking for it to end any time soon, so be prepared for my next few posts to feature my latest food crave.

Case in point: this whopping good Reuben was served up at  Metro Diner. And what a great addition to the Jacksonville Beach restaurant scene, by the way! Everything you want a diner to be, Metro Diner is. CLEAN, for starters. FAST. HEAPING portions - not by Stage Door Deli standards, but then we're a few blocks south of NYC and north of Miami Beach.

My fave order at Metro Diner is the Breakfast Pie - heaping layers of eggs, cheese, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, red skinned potatoes... ask them to add spinach and ham - trust me! It is way more food that one person can / should eat at one sitting... but it warms up nicely for a snack later... 

This might be a good time to mention - breakfast at this place is hopping. There will probably be a wait for a table, but not too long - the line really moves pretty fast, and the service is always on point.  If you prefer quiet, sit outdoors or ask for a table in the smaller room to the left.
If you're a fan of restaurant operations, a seat at the counter buys you an eagle-eye view of the show. Cooks, expediters, runners, all making sure food gets out fast - and as ordered.  It's a well-oiled machine.

One dish I probably won't order again is the Crab Cakes Benedict. The crab cakes were mushy. Flavor was ok, but texture left a lot to be desired. I have come to believe this dish is on beaches breakfast menus strictly for the tourist trade. Stick with standard bennies - or one with Canadian Bacon, maybe. 

The Madre ate this humongous fried fish sandwich, or the fish, anyway. She wasn't a fan of the bread, and she wishes there had been some other "good sauce" to go with it besides tartar. I should note, she almost always orders a fried fish sandwich, and she almost always doesn't like it. Just an observation. Apparently there was a good one once, and she's been chasing that dream ever since. So maybe skip the fish sandwich here too.

You can't go too far wrong with basic deli faves like the Reuben, and short order breakfast staples like eggs, bacon,  toast, etc., but if you want to go fancy, Yo Hala on the Square will get you there. 

See you at the Metro Diner - Jax Beach or any of three First Coast locations.

Metro Diner on Urbanspoon
Metro Diner
1534 N Third St. 
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250


Hot Giveaway from Firehouse Subs!

Hey friends - I'm back from Ohio - with plenty of Winter Wonderland memories and new (to me, anyway) and old places to tell you about - but first I have some unfinished business to attend to!

Late last year I was invited to meet local restaurateurs and Firehouse Subs co-founders Chris and Robin Sorensen, two hot ex-firefighter brothers who parlayed a $30,000 investment into a multi-million dollar operation with over 500 locations world-wide. Wow - that was a long sentence. Hand cramp! I could write all day about these two - their story is such a blast - but I'll let them do the talking!

Hook and Ladder
Anyway - I have to admit - as much as I love sandwiches, I'm not usually a sub-girl - I'm more the deli-type. So in my 15 + years on the First Coast, I had never, until last year, eaten at Firehouse Subs.  It was a post from friend, neighbor and CrackerJax blogger Cam Brown that made me take the leap and snag the first of many subs at Firehouse. The Hook and Ladder, it was called, and I was hooked! Apparently I have good taste - the Smoked Turkey, Honey Ham and Monterrey Jack masterpiece is the chain's fan favorite by far.

New York Steamer - Medium
Far from those cold, oily, flavorless  bread-bombs from you-know-where, the Firehouse Sub is a juicy, cheesy, saucy, flavorful thing of beauty. They really are "the Hottest Subs In Town!"

I frequent the Jax Beach store and one or two others, and have so far sampled the Firehouse Meatball sub, the New York Steamer (corned beef brisket, pastrami, provolone), The Italian, and my personal favorite so far, the Smokehouse Beef and Cheddar Brisket. These guys are not afraid of flavor! 

Meatballs! Like 'em? Get this!
So here I was, admiring from afar, when I got this invite to join a few of my fellow bloggers and bloggesses at the preview of their newest location in Mandarin. We sampled a couple of their tasty specialty subs (although not the ones pictured here - these were happily purchased on my own dime, my own time, thanks very much) and got the scoop on how they parlayed a few thousand dollars and a dream into one of the hottest restaurant franchises around. 

Meeting the family and staff behind the scenes of Firehouse Subs, one thing was clear. This business is a labor of love. Dad, mom, siblings, all play a role in their success. 

Next to the subs themselves and the overall family vibe, the thing I was the most impressed about is that they clearly remember their roots. Success has not spoiled the Sorensens. A case in point - the good works being done through their charitable foundation, the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, which provides funding, life-saving equipment, disaster assistance and educational opportunities for first responders and public safety organizations. 

Share The LOVE! Enter to win one of these $10 gift cards!
Another example of their generosity was found lurking at the bottom of this adorable recycled red pickle bucket - one of the ways they raise donations for the foundation is by selling these for $2 each in their stores. 

As our visit concluded we were given one these lovelies and asked to "Share the Love" with our readers - by giving away five $10 "Firehouse Funds" gift cards! So - I am about to do that - right now!  

Comment on this blog post below - or tweet @Nancy_White on Twitter - and tell me why you love your favorite Firehouse sub - or if you haven't tried them yet, which one you think you'll order first when you do! From these comments and tweets, five lucky winners will be selected at random to receive a gift card, courtesy of Firehouse Subs. Good luck, peeps! I'll announce the winners next week. 

Firehouse Subs on Urbanspoon