The Feasts of Florida

A recent trip for my job landed me in Orlando, Florida. Known as home to the Mouse, it, for me, is now home to some of the best, most fresh and flavorful foods I’ve had in a long, long time. While there, my husband and I had the opportunity to enjoy the buffet breakfast from the beautiful Caribe Royale Resort, and its Calypso’s Pool Bar and Grill Restaurant, where we enjoyed great food and watched some great b-ball.

Ceasar Salad from Caribe Royale's Calypso Restaurant
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad with Fancy Flower

We feasted Moroccan-style at Epcot’s Spice Road Table and experienced the most succulent coriander-crusted rack of lamb on a bed of fluffy jasmine rice, and engulfed the spiciest spicy lamb sausage and crispiest calamari we’ve had in…well, forever. Even the water, on that warm March day was especially crisp and refreshing.

Coriander-spiced Lamb Chops
Coriander-encrusted rack of lamb

 

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Aquil enjoying a Moroccan Casa Beer

 

We enjoyed the BEST seafood known to this man and woman from Johnnie’s Hideaway, so much so, we went twice during our five-day visit. The ooey, gooey, cheesy, buttery bread (which put Quincy’s, O’Charley’s and Logan’s to shame at the same time), the fresh seafood, the wait staff, the ambiance, the elixirs, everything was PERFECT!

Fried Seafood Feast from Johnnie's Hideaway
Florida’s Fisherman Feast: Fish, Shrimp, Oysters and Shrimp/Lobster Fritters

 

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Just little ol’ me eating a big ol’ shrimp at Johnnie’s Hideaway

 

Johnnie's Hideaway Famous Rolls
Rolls, glorious rolls

 

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Johnnie’s Hideaway Roasted Salmon with Red Aioli

 

Whiskey Sampling from Johnnie's
Private Barrel Whiskey Sampling for the hubby

 

Rounding out our trip was a trip to Disney Springs where we ventured into Mexican cuisine at the ultra-chic Frontera Cocina from one of my favorite superstar chef’s Rick Bayless. Succulent carnitas with melt-in-your-mouth pork and buttery black beans hit the spot for me. For the hubs? Only the best Red Chile Chicken Enchiladas would do.

Frontera Cocina's Carnitas
Carnitas! Carnitas! Carnitas!

 

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Red Chile Chicken Enchiladas

All-in-all, between an impactful work conference, and combined vacation/honeymoon/birthday celebration, the feasts of Florida were the perfect backdrop to a perfect getaway.@AngelaMichele316

Galley and Garden

Rarely comes the opportunity to WOW  me with cuisine, ambiance, tastiness, coziness, elegance, newness and feeling far from home while being right in my figurative backyard all at the same time. I felt that and then some during in impromptu Girls Night Out because it’s pay day and been a long week experience while dining at Galley and Garden.   The stately restaurant is located in the heart of Birmingham’s Highlands district and is a sight to behold upon approach. The building is simply beautiful. The staff is engaging, attentive and so very knowledgeable about their offerings. The menu is one which might stretch your palate and your pocketbook, but it will be worth every single drop and every single dime, even if you have to tilt the bowl of ice cream over to enjoy the last of its cool, tongue-tingling, lusciousness.

Wood-fired Manchester Farms Quail
Wood-fired Manchester farms quail with fingerlings, foraged chanterelles, prosciutto, pistou and scuppernong jam

 

Southern fry basket of gulf oysters, okra and green tomatoes
Southern fry basket with gulf oysters, green tomato and okra

 

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Pork belly flatbread

 

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Maine Lobster and Ravioli with bacon, mushrooms, boursin and cuttlefish ink aioli

 

 

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LAMB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

White Chocolate and Blueberry Bread Pudding with Cream Angaliese and Creme Fraiche
White chocolate and blueberry bread pudding with cream angaliese and crème fraiche

 

 

Ice Cream
Homemade Ice cream just before it was covered with Sherry Wine (I hear is was the “Best. Thing. Ever”)

 

 

Me. Happy and Content.
Me… Happy and Content.

Mama’s Cooking

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Mama’s Cooking

The words any child wants to hear from a Mama (who can cook) is “Come on over. I’m cooking.” The most recent Sunday supper my family enjoyed was extra-special because it had been three months or more since we’d gotten together as a family for a home cooked, southern Mama made meal.

On a rainy President’s Day 2016, an in-home accident changed my family’s otherwise normal routine and my Daddy’s life. Needless to say, with weeks of his hospitalization and drastic changes upon his discharge like dietary adjustments, therapy, doctor’s appointments, more than one dozens medications, limited mobility and around-the-clock watching we’d not gathered together for a meal made by Mama in far too long as she rightfully shifted her entire focus to taking care of husband. As my Daddy literally walks the path through to continued healing I had sort of settled in my mind that it’d likely be around the 4th of July or beyond before we gathered for some of our renowned family festivities. I would joke with my Mama in the weeks following my Daddy’s release from the hospital as she bragged on the healthy meals she’d prepared for them fitting to his new food way of life. In jest, but a bit serious, I would say how they could have at least invited us to eat the carb-counted, sugar-less, salt-reduced, same-time-a-day meals, which she would tout as “delicious”, and I believe had grown to appreciate them as a “date”. When life happens, it’s often the little things which mean so much that we missed the most. I’d missed my Mama’s cooking. So when the call came about a Sunday supper I did a little jig on the inside.

In no way doing it justice, take a peek at the picture of my Mama and quickly snapped pictures representing her reintroduction to the world as Best Cooking Mama in Maylene, Alabama! The grilled steak, fried pork chops, sweet potatoes, baked potatoes, black eyed peas, fried okra, brocolli, corn on the cob, and apple pie crumble were perfect. Even more perfect was the return to the routine which is my family. @AngelaMMoore316

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Joe’s Knows Italian

Many a Shelby County, Alabama resident will tell you about the culinary landmark known as Joe’s Italian. Built on the foundation of love, quality ingredients and fresh, delicious food, the “baby” of Papa Joe and Mama Elvira has been serving up the best in Italian cuisine for years. Sadly, in 2013 Papa Joe, who was a staple on a stool in the front of the restaurant passed away. However, his legacy of amazing food lives on.

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On my most recent trip, rushing to try to dine in less than 45 minutes before Wednesday night service at Church of the Highlands I branched out on a limb and sampled the pizza my dinner companion ordered. It was a CHICKEN ALFREDO PIZZA made with Cream sauce, roasted garlic, red onion, chicken, fresh tomato & basil. Gaze up there at it again. Go ahead. I know you want to. The pizza was as good as it was pretty! Ample cheese was not overshadowed by fresh herbs, seasoned chicken, the savory cream sauce and a sweetness to the crust which was the perfect combination to balance out the red onions and tomatoes. The pizza was perfect, in my opinion. It really was. I felt the need to hop on a gondola and speak the little Italian I learned from two years of classes in college.

I ordered my usual children’s portion of Spaghetti and Meatballs covered with fresh parmesan cheese. You can’t really see it from my picture, but there’s enough on this “small plate” for two meals. Trust me. I ate my leftovers for lunch. This was especially easy to do when paired with their fresh bread and herb, olive oil which comes as freely as the oil flows.

 

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To top it off, being so big it toppled over, is their famous Strawberry Cake. I was too full to eat dessert before church, but boy-oh-boy, the four forkfuls I ate around 9pm hit the spot and didn’t even keep me up all night.

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Joe’s Italian is located at:

21 Weatherly Club Drive​, Alabaster, Alabama 35007 (205) 663-4111

Opening Hours:

MONDAY – SUNDAY
​​10:30am – 9:00pm

The food at Joe’s Italian is delicious. That’s the only word I can use to describe it. The staff is friendly, especially our server Felicia who clarified her name by saying, “as in Bye Felicia”, and the environment is perfect for a hot date, a birthday party, a quick meal before church or a family feast just because you’re in the mood for Italian. And while Papa Joe no longer greets his guests at the door when they arrive, his presence is surely felt throughout the restaurant.

@AngelaMMoore316

Food Memories: Make It Last Forever

Several years ago I fell while walking into a local pharmacy which caused me to be badly hurt, and for quite some time. During my couple/few years of downtime and in between frequent doctor’s and physical therapy visits I decided to gather recipes from my immediate and extended family and compile it in a cookbook. The ending result was a clip art covered, yellow, spiral-bound, 8 ½ x 11 portfolio of recipes, moving and funny anecdotes and family memories to last a lifetime.

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I took at peek at that cookbook recently and realized that, while those memories are sure to last a lifetime the people and circumstances in it don’t always. Flipping through the flour-graced pages of one of them, I saw names of far too many loved ones who are no longer here, who, in 2006 were alive and vibrant enough to share some of their food favorites. I saw distinct changes in relationship statuses and submissions sent by persons who are in totally different phases of life since sent.

Looking through that recipe book, and being reminded of my love for food, especially when rooted in my love for family made me extremely grateful for the beauty of memories. If you’ve not asked your loved ones for their famous recipes, or taken the time to capture your family’s history of food in some written form I would definitely encourage you to do so. It’d be a shame for Big Mama or Uncle So and So to take their 30-year-old secret barbecue sauce or 7-Up pound cake recipe right on up to Heaven with them. Plus, spending time sharing the legacy of those special dishes you’ve come to know and love is a special way to spread more love, and make it last forever, in the words of the superstar crooner Keith Sweat. And while you’re at it, look at this recipe featured on one of the pages of my family’s cookbook.

Recipe For a Family Pie

1 handful of FORGIVENESS
1 heaping cupful of LOVE
1 pound of UNSELFISHNESS
2 tablespoons of GOOD NATURE
*******************************************************************************
Mix together smoothly with complete FAITH in GOD.
Then sprinkle generously with THOUGHTFULNESS.
This makes a wonderful Family Pie.
ENJOY !!!

@AngelaMMoore316

Y-E-S, to Urban Cookhouse

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Y-E-S, to Urban Cookhouse!

An impromptu lunch meeting turned into a surprise middle-of-the-day food fest when I stopped by Birmingham’s fresh hot-spot, Urban Cookhouse. Getting there just before the crowd, I was able to peruse the menu at my leisure and was surprised to see that they had much more than the orange rolls and salad I’d been accustomed to.

Taking far too much time to peruse said menu, I finally decided upon an entrée from their “Fork and Knife” section from their menu. I ordered the lime-marinated steak & rice, served with garden salad and a warm orange roll. It was delicious!!!!! I enjoyed a tender, medium rare steak, crispy, flavor-filled salad (even with the onions on top) and fluffy, tender rice pilaf which was perfect with the warm, orange roll on the side and the strawberry lemonade which was about as sugary-sweet and tangy as can be.

Since its first restaurant opened in 2010, and with a menu featuring gourmet selections like wraps, sandwiches, salads and entrees, Urban Cookhouse is a southern specialty serving up the freshest, local ingredients, with a side of undeniable hospitality in the heart of Homewood.

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Warm Orange Rolls and Sweet Tea
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Urban Cowboy Lime-marinated steak, caramelized onions & peppers, pepperjack, aioli on a French roll
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Lime-Marinated Steak & Rice Served with garden salad and a warm orange roll

@AngelaMMoore316

Just a Little Something to Break the Monotony

For the month of November we were challenged by Javacia Bowser of See Jane Write to #BlogLikeCrazy, which means we are charged to be purposeful about writing a blog post every day. At first I was reluctant, like I was last year, but this year I decided to do it, unlike last year.

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I needed this subtle nudge to get into a routine to break my routine. I’ve been so bogged down with the affairs of life lately that mundane had become my monotony when it came to writing. Yes, I write. I probably write a lot compared to the time others might have to devote to their craft, but of late, I’d not been purposeful about my posts. I was just writing and posting when I felt like it. Blah….

Well, no more, at least not for the month of November. I’m going to break the routine of randomness by writing and/or posting each day according to my topics on Life Gets Better and Angela Eats the Ham. So starting now, I’ll offer a sampling of my a’ la carte menu in the following categories (unless something major happens like I meet the man of my dreams, meet Oprah and/or Gayle, receive a HUGE lump sum of money, get a fabulous new job or witness a miracle performed in the life of someone I love, self included).

I’ll post from the following topics and categories in an effort to be even more organized for what’s next for my blog sites and all the crazy/good, wonderful, hopefully motivational, delicious, thought-provoking, spirit-lifting, mouth-watering, sometimes scary, reflective, many times TMI (too much information) thoughts which come to mind and make it to the post.

Buckle up and let’s enjoy this ride. Let’s make it a November to remember.

i-love-to-write

@AngelaMMoore316