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Eating and Cooking are the real keys to a great life. I have created this Food Blog to share with you the places I go. Some may be in your backyard, or mine. If I am eating out, or cooking at home, I will share pictures and thoughts about everything from service and lighting to recipes and vegetable sales. Please join me in this never ending love for food. Find me on facebook! www.facebook.com/SouthernGrub

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Spicy Shrimp Pasta, from my home...

As some of you may or may not know, I've tried to only eat seafood and not redmeat for over 5 years now. This means I eat a lot of shrimp, and have tons of shrimp recipes and ideas. I often make a cream tomato sauce from scratch that is a one of a kind flavor. This meal was a play on that. With the pasta, I used fresh pasta. This will make all the difference in the world! Next, I made a "red-sauce" base from a mix of pureed tomatoes, lots of basil, garlic, onions, evoo, mushrooms, and bell peppers, crushed cherry peppers, and red pepper flakes. I cooked this together and used my hand blender to "melt" the flavors into a thick sauce. Some can be left chunky. I then added ingredients I use to make a cream sauce; cream cheese, parm cheese, heavy cream, etc. These two sauces come together with an amazing flavor. After simmering for a few minutes I added 2 lbs of peeled, devained, jumbo shrimp. When the shrimp hit the sauce, turn off the heat. It is VERY easy to overcook shrimp. The heat from the sauce will cook them evenly with ease. Mix with pasta and serve with a big slice of bread for dipping!
-As an app, I made a simple caprese salad. Slices of fresh tomato, mozzarella cheese, and basil. I like to salt and pepper mine and drizzle with oil and vinegar, and occasionally add a few capers and onion slices.
-Enjoy, and please leave comments with any questions!

Friday, December 10, 2010


It's beginning to get cold here in North Florida. My collard greens are still growing like weeds, although my basil and pepper plants are starting to die. Be sure to pick all of your fruits and vegetables before they freeze. If you can't pick them, cover them. Please keep in mind that most plants die in the winter time from BURNING not freezing. This happens when you don't uncover them the next morning and the sun along with the cover causes them to become too hot. Here is a picture of lemons I picked this morning. Please send me any great lemon recipes you might have!
Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Momo's Pizza... Tallahassee, Florida

On a recent trip to Tallahassee, Florida we were craving pizza. We were hoping to run into a local place and not have to grab something from a chain restaurant. We found Momo's Pizza. The inside has character and lots of different beers. We ordered a Medium pizza with banana peppers and mushrooms, a single slice of cheese, and a calzone. Everything was HUGE. The whole pizza taste the best, the single slice seemed to have too much sauce on it. The calzone also was EXTRA LARGE! The to-go boxes you might think are a joke when you walk in because they are so big, no joke! Not the best pizza in the world, but better than a chain joint. And you get a lot of pizza for your money. Great for a college town! If you check it out, let me know what you think!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Metro Diner... Jacksonvile, Florida

Metro Diner is located on Hendricks Ave in Jacksonville, Florida. The name might ring a bell for those of you who watch The Food Network. Metro Diner was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with host Guy Fieri. If your lucky enough to be in driving range of this place, then why are you still reading? Go eat now! I am always skeptical of places that get a huge ovation, especially being on Food Network. It's like hearing a movie is fantastic and being let down. Metro Diner will not let you down. It usually has a line down the sidewalk, they have chairs out front. The inside isn't huge but they also seat tables outdoors. The weather is perfect this time of year to sit outdoors. The place looks like a mix between an old house and a diner. A great mix to give you a "comfortable Saturday morning breakfast feel" Inside on the blackboard are always daily specials. Try the flavored sweet tea! At our table we had an order of Eggs Benedict that came with hash-brows, a Crab-cakes Benedict that came with hash-browns, and a soup and sam combo of Tomato Basic Bisque and Chicken Salad. Everything was wonderful and lived up to every expectation. The Crab-cakes on my Benedict were amazing, and the hollandaise sauce was creamy. The hash-browns were actually amazing also! The Tomato Basil Bisque was extremely Basil-ish, which I love. The extra basil gives it the fresh flavor, and the cream makes it float over your tongue. Go give it a try for yourself and let me know what you think! I hope someone will try the CHICKEN AND WAFFLES and give me feedback. I can't wait to visit again.

3302 Hendricks Ave
Jacksonville, FL 32207-5302
(904) 398-3701

Friday, September 24, 2010

Casabella Ristorante, Little Italy, NYC

Sun - Thurs 12am - 12pm
Fri & Sat 12pm - 1am

What we ordered:
Fresh home-made mozzarella with tomatoes & basil
Italian Toast with chopped tomato and basil
Baby squid in sweet & sour sauce, balsamic vinegar, raisins & pignoli nuts
with Chicken -$18.50 with Shrimp -$21.50
Wide home-made noodles tossed with fillet of tomatoes & three wild mushrooms

Breakdown: AMAZING!! I wish I had more words in my vocabulary to describe our meal. The best, must order items of what we experienced were the LASAGNA & THE PAPARDELLE ALLA FUNGHETTI. Everything else was good, but these two were TO DIE FOR!!! Ah, my mouth waters just thinking about it. The pasta in both are fresh and melt in your mouth like butter. The red sauce at Casabella must be the specialty, you can taste the years this recipe has been passed from generation to generation. The atmosphere in Little Italy is always perfect, but my favorite is when it starts to get chilly. Most places have a fire place, cozy feel, amazing wine, and a great view to watch the snow fall. If you're in the area, don't forget to try to Sangria at Casabella, delish!!

Grimaldi's Pizza... Brooklyn, NY

In the world of pizza, Grimaldi’s is an institution. Grimaldi’s history of coal-fired brick oven pizza cooking can be traced to the first pizzeria in America back in 1905. Coal-fired brick oven cooking gives pizza a unique smokey flavor and a crisp crust that is just not possible with gas, convection, or wood ovens.We had a large cheese, half pepperoni, and it was gone in less than 4 minutes. Have you ever seen the show on Food Network called "Best Thing I ever Ate?" well this pizza joint was featured on it! You can't make reservations and everyone waits in line, even if you called ahead for a to go. The line wraps down the sidewalk and you are called inside by the nicest, upbeat, man in the place. You can walk to the back and watch the pizza being made. The cheese is fresh and stacked feet tall, all the ingredients are overflowing their bowls and look better than amazing. Next time you're in NYC, venture over to Brooklyn. It's a very safe part of town just over the bridge. You can order you pizza to go, sit on the river bank, and take in all the beauty of NYC.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Going shrimping??

So... as you might of heard the shrimp have been running in the rivers... They are now very large and at the best eating size. Make sure shrimping is legal in your state before catching your own. This blog is not about a recipe on how to cook shrimp, but on how to make the BAIT or CHUM BALLS to catch them. This is my personal recipe that seems to work best. I'm sure plenty of other methods work great as well.

I mix in even parts
-Wet Cat Food (fish flavored only)
-Flour (no longer use mud, flour works better_
-Fish Meal
-Rock Salt

Mix well... you can even use a drill to mix depending on the amount you make. I usually do around 4 cups of each. If needed, add SMALL amounts of water. Too much water will mean your patties need to dry out for a few hours before baiting.

After mixing well, form hamburger like patties. Bait the area you will be shrimping just an hour or so before you are ready to throw your net!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tuna Salad... from Costa Rica

This might not look or sound appetizing. Trust me, one of the most amazing things to ever happen to your mouth! In Costa Rica they sell canned tuna, as we do here in the states. Certain companies make it with different flavors or add ins. In this case, my favorite, it comes with JALAPENOS! The jalapeno mixture that is a staple on most tables in Sodas (local cafes)includes jalapenos, onions, and carrots. You can see in the picture the carrots mixed into the tuna. After draining the can I usually add : mayo, sweet relish, pecans or walnuts, grapes or raisins, cilantro, onions, and salt/pepper to taste. Mix together and serve with veggies, crackers, or on a sandwich.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mortons Steak House, Jacksonville (Downtown)

Only a few tables were occupied, the economy is taking it toll. Visited Morton's for my fathers birthday and had a great time. The martinis were fantastic! Pictured: The Tuna TarTar was good, the bottom layer was tomatoes not tuna. I make it better, but the fish was fresh! The smoked salmon platter was also good, but something that is very easily made at home for a fraction of the price. The Ocean Platter was amazing. We ordered it for 4 people, and had plenty! It had oysters, lobster, lump crab meat, jumbo shrimp, and more. Steaks were good, and no other complaints except a lime in a drink that was ordered with no lime. The desserts were a hit! The Grand Marnier Souffle is the best, but you must order at the beginning of the meal because it takes a while to cook. The Creme Brulee and Chocolate Lava cake were close seconds! The cheesecake was wiped off the table because the other desserts were to die for.
Leave me a comment and let me know how your experience at Morton's was!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Blueberry Coffe Cake!

Saturday was my Fathers Birthday and I made him Blueberry Coffee Cakes... Please enjoy the pictures! If you would like the recipe please send me an e-mail. :)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Home Cooked like Grandmas...

Last night, July 28th, I made a meal that you get at your Grandmother's when you visit. My last trip to the grocery store I found all of the fresh vegetables to be on an extraordinary sale. I made zipper Peas with smoked neck-bone, served with corn relish on top; mashed turnip roots with cream and butter; brussel sprouts in garlic sauce; greens with smoked neck-bone, and fresh talapia, soaked in a buttermilk/egg mix and fried in a Cajun flour mix. Not pictured, for dessert we had fresh peaches. The GA peaches being shipped around right now are mouth watering. They are the sweetest and juiciest of the year!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Green Boiled Peanuts!

North Florida Green Boiled Peanuts
Written by my father; Jim Arnold
If you haven’t noticed, we are pretty serious about peanuts in our family!

Start by checking all local produce markets for the freshest raw green peanuts you can find. This is an art that can take 50 years or more to develop so pay close attention. NEVER, NEVER buy raw peanuts without carefully inspecting them in a see-through bag. You need to check for a light yellowish color and they need to be moist to the touch. Sprouts coming from too many in the bag or lots of cracked open peanuts means they have been out of the field far too long. Keep looking for fresher ones because it’s worth the wait!
Now, the best peanuts are the little ones that you can eat without even shelling them with your teeth. That’s right! Eat the whole thing, shell and all. Of course proper manners dictate that you shell your nuts in your mouth so as to get all the salt off the shell. It also was helpful growing up in the south to be able to drink a beer, drive a stick shift, change radio channels all while have one arm around your gal without having a wreck or slowing down the fun of eating the best snack in the whole world!!
Back to the basics. Next, start nibbling on the raw peanuts on the way home to see if you made a good decision on the quality of your purchase. I usually leave about 75% of the nuts to boil when I finally get home. Next get a large pot of water and pour about 4 seconds worth of salt from the large containers into your water and add peanuts. Turn the heat on high and get a cold beer. Try very hard not to revisit the kitchen for at least 5-10 minutes so the nuts can at least be warm before you start devouring them. Of course you can make an exception if you need another beer or two.
As soon as you begin to smell the rich aroma of the best smell in the world, you’ll know you’re getting close. Don’t resist the temptation to start eating early, because you never know who may show up to help you eat “your” peanuts. It is always- not really – so embarrassing when you’re caught hiding hot peanuts from your friends or worst, your family, so as not to share too many of your special treasures.
Finally, eat as many as you possibly can before they are fully cooked. The Big Secret of perfect peanuts is now out of the bag! Never wait until they’re done to eat em. Then they’re really overcooked.
P.S. If you can’t possible eat all you have cooked, it is best to refrigerate over night or at least until you get home if going out for the night. When coming home after the movies or whatever, there’s nothing better than a coke and chilled peanuts in the bed while watching late night TV. I would caution you to make sure the shells fall away from your spouse as you doze off for the night. Many good relationships have been soured by a bed full of shells. Good Luck!!!

Salt Life... Jax Beach

All the stickers you see on cars all over town...Salt Life... has now opened a restaurant/bar in Jacksonville Beach. A surfer atmosphere inside with young servers hopping all around. The televisions blast fishing and surfing videos much like in small surf towns in Central America. The menu reflects small towns in other countries that I have visited/lived in and it gives you a good feeling! Like at home but on vacation. Pura Vida! I ordered Calicheis Poke Bowl ($14.99) and it was served just as is says. The way it is at Wishbone in Playa Jaco, Costa Rica. I have had the Poke Bowl at Wishbones a few times, but was a little surprised that Salt Life would go for a Costa Rican Poke style over Hawaiian. Don't get me wrong, the Poke was good, but it's consumed much much more in Hawaii. We also had the Seared Ahi Tuna Salad ($10.99) and it was fresh and flavorful. The Tuna was seared lightly (which it should be) and the dressing was amazing. Soft Shell Crab BLT ($7.99) was also on our table and looked good. We also had pretty good Chicken Quesadillas and I can't wait to go back for the Ceviche. If you're in the area, or even if you're not, go check out Salt Life Food Shack and let me know what you think. You can leave comments on my blog below or on my facebook page. www.facebook.com/southerngrub
Salt Life Food Shack is at 1018 Third Street North... JACKSONVILLE, FL 32250.
904-372-4456. Open for Lunch and Dinner!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mitchell's Fish Market.. Town Center

Mitchell's goes for an old Boston Oyster house feel. I love that they give the option of sitting at a raw bar. Not many places around do that. I've been in them around New Orleans, Boston, New York, or other cities that have large crowds or are close to oysters or clam suppliers. Many do not know about different types of oysters or clams and the extremely different flavors and sizes they have depending on the time of year and the location they come from. Cherrystones or Littleneck Clams are my favorite and I prefer oysters not too large and extra salty. If you ask your Raw-Bartender they will be able to tell you about what they have that day. Mitchell's has fresh ingredients flown in twice a day and prints different menus at that time. We dined at Mitchell's over the weekend for a Birthday, which they also kindly printed on our menu for a little personal touch. Different things to taste... The Kung Pao Fried Calamari ($9.95) had chopped peanuts with a zesty dipping sauce. The slices of calamari were very large but still very tender. Peppers (not too spicy) are mixed in as well. It's good. The Pan Roasted Wild Blue Mussels ($8.95) are in a white wine, butter, garlic sauce with fresh tomatoes diced. In previous blogs I have tried this at several places. This order is good, the sauce is thinner than Bonefish and BlueFish but the Mussles are much larger with a better taste. I still have to say BlueFish was the best, then here, then Bonefish. All three places, still good mussles. The Char-Broiled Oysters ($11.95) is a New Orleans delicacy and features 8 oysters smothered and broiled with bayou cajon butter, parmesan cheese, and a baguette for dipping. I usually prefer oysters raw or Lightly steamed but this was very good. Here at Mitchell's they offered a Birthday dessert on the house not only for the Birthday man but for myself as well for it still being my Birthday Week!!! I chose the Creme Brulee of course. The custard was much thicker than the one I had days earlier at Bonefish. Delicious. Check out Mitchell's Fish Market and let me know what you ordered and how it was in the comment below. You can also leave comments on my Southern Grub Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SouthernGrub
You can also find a Mitchell's near you at www.MitchellsFishMarket.com