Blue Orchid Thai Cuisine in Jacksonville, Florida, is as lovely and as beautiful as a blue orchid itself. And since our move to The Sunshine State, this restaurant happens to be the very best Thai we’ve found since being Floridians. I highly recommend a visit there; and once you go, you’ll pretty much want to start planning your return visit, right then and there, before your meal is complete.
Located @ 13475 Atlantic Boulevard, Blue Orchid is the winner of numerous local dining awards, including the 50 Best Restaurants Jacksonville Magazine 2018 Award and the OpenTable Diners Choice 2019 Award.
In fact, being an OpenTable member is the reason I discovered this place originally. I reserve nearly each visit on OpenTable, whether for lunch or dinner - and I earn 100 points in the process. If you’re not yet on OpenTable and you love to dine out and enjoy new culinary experiences, it’s something that I would definitely consider.
OpenTable is a free dining membership program based through an app on your smartphone. Instead of calling the restaurant itself for a reservation, I always reserve digitally through OpenTable. The only requirement being that the restaurant needs to be a member of the dining program. And since my membership began, the list of participating restaurants has only been climbing. Each reservation earns 100 points or more, with some exceptions to that. But the average seems to be 100 points. And once you reach roughly 1000 points (meaning roughly 10 reservations) you can redeem those points for rewards such as an Amazon gift card. But there are many options for reward redemption.
And with the reservation in the OpenTable system, my favorite part is the calendar reminder. Chances are if I call a restaurant, I forgot to write down my time, and thus, forget when my reservation actually is. OpenTable syncs with my iPhone calendar, and sends me reminder texts. It’s nearly impossible to forget that I have a dinner outing upcoming. And I always know the time I need to be there.
So, basically, I always reserve through OpenTable whenever I can. When we arrived for our first lunch outing at Blue Orchid, we were given our requested table - a booth. And that’s another nice feature of OpenTable’s app. If you have a special request… whether it’s a birthday celebration and you would like them to sing to your table, a dietary requirement or allergy, whether you are vegan or vegetarian, whether you would like a table or a booth… all of that can be inserted into your OpenTable profile, and restaurants are extremely good at honoring and taking note of these special requests and modifications for OpenTable members.
After we were seated in a booth, and enjoyed an amazing lunch on that first visit a few years back, another lovely experience at Blue Orchid was that we met the husband of the husband-wife team restaurant owners of Blue Orchid. Their passion really shows in the authenticity of the surroundings and the dishes on the menu itself. And it was a lovely experience to hear more about their history and how they are so passionate about serving Thai food to the local community in Jacksonville.
We shared with the owner that no matter what town we are visiting, traveling through, or have lived in, we are always searching for the best Thai restaurants to try. And Blue Orchid is at the top of the list. I was blown away enough by that first meal, that we have gone back consistently throughout these last few years of living in Jax.
So on our most recent visit, I really felt compelled to finally share with y’all my love of Thai food, as well as the beautiful presentation, and taste of Thailand, right here at home.
We both chose the lunch special, which is offered regularly Monday thru Friday from 11am-3pm. The special comes with a cup of soup, an entree with choice of protein, and a side of white or brown rice.
On this visit I ordered a delicious cup of their Thai chicken noodle soup to start, and hubby ordered a cup of the tom yum soup. I noted a generous portion of both soups. Sometimes, I tend to get a tiny little saucer cup of soup which consists mostly of broth when served a lunch special at a restaurant. But at Blue Orchid, the soup portion was much larger, and there was a lot more than just broth in the soup. The carrots in my soup were still so fresh I tasted the crunchy texture, but they were not overcooked and not overcooked, but I could tell the veggies were new and recently chopped.
For our entrees, I ordered the mixed vegetables, priced at $12.00, with beef as the protein option. I selected the side of brown rice - which is a healthier alternative over white rice - and at a $1.00 up-charge, a very common fee that I am used to paying for. Also, I loved the cute little heart-shaped carrot resting atop my rice.
And hubby ordered the garlic and pepper stir fry as his entree. Also priced at $12.00, with a side of the white rice, at no extra charge. The presentation of both dishes was perfection. And we both absolutely loved our entrees. Loaded with savory flavorings from the top of the bowl through to all the delicious juices at the bottom.
And yeah, I did go home with a box in hand. My leftovers made a fabulous dinner another night. But, it’s a darn good thing indeed that Blue Orchid is close by, and we can come back whenever we’re looking for a Taste of Thailand.
For some of the best Thai food within the very large and vast Duval County, I’d highly recommend a visit, whether you happen to be in the area, or, go ahead and take a drive on over and enjoy a relaxing outing, with all the wonderful flavors of tasty Thailand surrounding you. ~
Hey there! Go ahead and check out these other dining reviews and Floridian adventures below, all are pulled straight from my Floridian Dreams:
4] The Boathouse @ Disney Springs ~ Disney Dining At Its Best
5] The Reef On SR A1A: Worth Pulling Over For
11] Eleven South Bistro & Bar ~~ Supper Club Of The South
15] V Pizza ~ The Very Best Pizza In Jax Beach!
*Part of ~ Bean’s Best ~ Award Winner 2019
16] Beach Diner ~ If You Feed Them They Will Come
19] Another Broken Egg Cafe ~ A Taste Of NOLA @ The Beach
29] Dinner & A Show ~The 26th Annual St. Augustine Nights Of Lights
35] Happiest Of Holidays @ Hawkers Asian Street Fare
40] Visiting The Florida Cracker Kitchen ~ Jacksonville
45] Dessert First, My Friends ~ Cantina Louie
50] Sundays Are For Diners ~ Super Diners
What’s your favorite Thai restaurant? I’d love to know! Drop me a comment down below:
Did you know?
It’s hot in The Keys. Very Hot. But maybe the whole world already knows that?
Yet, just in case you’re planning a trip to Key West, Florida - and haven’t been thinking of the heat while planning that trip. Let this be your reminder…
You WILL want to COOL OFF while you’re there.
And while Key West in the winter is simply perfection on an island. Key West in the summer is hot coals - hot off the grill. Grilling hot dogs over those coals. Flatbread pizza in an open oven. Lava flowing from a volcano. The heat of the apocalypse.
The end of days.
Basically, if you’re just standing around in Key West on a random day in, oh, let’s say - mid-July - then you’ll do almost anything, and I mean anything, to cool off. To stop the sweat from pouring down your face. To stop wiping your brow. To stop drying off the moisture accumulating on your sunglasses, over and over, from the humidity. To see. To live. And to stay alive.
And that’s where the old-fashioned standby comes in quite handy.
Or, shall I say? The new-old-fashioned way.
Wicked Lick, located at 335 Duval Street in Key West, Florida, serves an altogether different type of ice cream than anything I’ve ever had before. And, residing straight in the heart of downtown Key West, the location doesn’t get any better than this.
The unique production of each serving of their cold, creamy and quite cool concoctions are custom-made, and churned in a stand mixer. Yeah - a stand mixer.
While each order really is made-to-order, on the spot, be prepared to wait just a bit. But it’s worth the wait.
Made with pure liquid nitrogen and custom flavoring put in to the mix, no two scoops and no two cones will ever be quite the same.
Quick service meets personalized service.
The liquid nitrogen, at a temperature of -321 degrees Fahrenheit, instantly freezes what it touches. Anything it touches. And while your ice cream is being prepared and spun and blended in the Florida heat, a magical looking steam flows off the mixer, enveloping the surrounding area.
I ordered the chocolate, size large - with sprinkles - of course.
And hubby ordered the coffee flavor - medium…. My dessert stomach has always been bigger than his.
As we chose two pretty standard flavors of cream, they had many other unique flavors, both sweet and savory. Like bacon. Bacon flavored ice cream, anyone?
And as this unique type of frozen fun served to us was very new to me, I would say that there was one thing about this place that was sorta strange to me… and that’s the price. Well, maybe the word isn’t strange, it was more shock.
And yes, the menu was right in front of us, and it was entirely our fault for not really adding it all up ahead of ordering. But, it ended up costing us over $20.00 for two servings of their ice cream. And after being told our total, swiped our credit card and paid, we walked away to find a seat. I reviewed our receipt, as we strolled. At this point we were both slightly shocked that a dessert on-the-go was that expensive. And basically it boils down to this:
For each order, there are two, possibly three or more, charges associated with it. There is the basic ice cream fee, which is the largest charge on the order. Then there is a cup size fee. A medium cup adds a $1.00 fee on to the itemized ticket, a large - $2.00. The third fee added onto our order was for sprinkles. They cost $1.50 per each cup. And we were charged this fee for both cups, despite the sprinkles being added to only one of our orders.
I am used to being up-charged for sprinkles onto an order, as we love going out for cold treats, and I love sprinkles just as much. But I'm not used to paying for sprinkles on an order that was not supposed to have them in the first place. And I’ll assume this was a mistake or oversight on behalf of the store, and not a deliberate up-charge.
But either way, the math boils down to this. After paying $6.50 for a large chocolate. And $6.50 for a medium coffee. Plus a $2.00 charge for a size large cup. Then a $1.00 charge for a medium cup. Then the sprinkle fee at $1.50 - per cup. Plus $1.43 in tax. Our order came to $20.43. Plus a tip we added on after that.
Expensive cold treat.
And, I know. Many would say, well... It's Key West. It’s a small island. We’re tourists. Expect to pay more… Especially on vacation?
Well, we did a lot while on the island. And this outing was the only venture in which the price shocked us as it did. And it happened to be one of the least expensive things we paid for on our entire traveling and road trip adventure early in 2020. And it happened to be the only place, out of everything we did, that we did not desire a return visit. So, while we enjoyed our treat, due to the so-called sticker shock of the receipt, we determined that next time we’d probably be trying a different dessert shop.
However, I only mention this not as a complaint, but to thoroughly and completely honestly review this outing for you. And make you aware of the cost and/or up-charges as you consider your own outings in the Keys - as you may also be considering and factoring in pricing to your outings if you are traveling there.
Regardless of price though, the ice cream itself was still very, very good. It just wasn’t out of this world good, or $20+ good, but it was still very good indeed.
Plus, we enjoyed walking around after our purchase. And we found a lovely little place to sit, and just chill out and enjoy our wonderful and unique surroundings, as we quickly ate our cold treat before it melted. As, yes, maybe when we’re talking about Key West, one other thing might go without saying… It’s a fabulous spot to do some good, old-fashioned, people-watching.
And there’s many options on Duval Street alone for a cold treat. So whether it’s Wicked Lick, or another treat shop, grab yourself a cone or a cup, and cool yourself off. Wipe all that sweat away with a cold one. And enjoy a night out, walking the streets of America’s Southernmost Point. You can’t go wrong on Duval Street. All you need - is The Keys. ~
Have you spent an evening walking Duval Street? Enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of pure Americana at its finest? I’d love to know. Drop me a comment down below.
Howdy Y’all ~
Check out more of my adventures in the Florida Keys, right here:
42] Where Does The Chicken Cross The Road?
44] Nothing Finer Than Coffee In The Keys ~ The Coffee Plantation Cafe
46] Key Largo, Montego, Baby Why Don’t We Go?
And feel free to check out these other accounts and narrations as well… all straight from my Floridian Dreams:
1] Happy Birthday America! ~ 4 Simple Steps To Help You Have An Easy Americana 4th:
2] 3 Wows Plus 1 Piece Of Magic I Experienced At Jacksonville, Florida’s Cummer Museum Of Art & Gardens
3] The Dog Days Of Endless Summer
5] The Reef On SR A1A: Worth Pulling Over For
8] It’s Fall ~ In Florida ~ Y’all!
18] Sea & Sky Jax Weekend ~ Fun In The Florida Sun, Sea, Sky & Sand
22] Saturday On San Pablo Island
24] In Real Life ~ My First Visit To A Southern Living Idea House
29] Dinner & A Show ~ The 26th Annual St. Augustine Nights Of Lights
You know how life is just a bowl of cherries?
Well, how about how life is just a strainer full of heart pasta?
I’ve been making pasta with my own red sauce for years and years now. 20 years to be exact... And pasta always sounds good to me.
And while I’ve never made such adorable heart-shaped noodles to go along with my sauce until this month, I’ve always put a lot of heart into the recipe and the act of cooking it.
Back during my sophomore year in college, I was able to room and board in the newest dormitory housing style available on campus at that time. Now formally named after a donor to the college, back then the building was simply called “The Townhouses” - and it was, and is, in my opinion, the best dorm on campus of the small liberal arts college I attended back years ago.
So, going from a tiny and basic dorm room during my freshman year, into a suite of rooms connected with a kitchenette inside a shared living room, my second year, I was living the very best life for me at the time. And I loved that dorm as much as I loved my studies there.
The other amazing thing about The Townhouses, was the basement sitting deep underneath it.
The building houses a vast and open traditional basement, set up feeling just like a house. Even complete with a full kitchen downstairs. You know, for all the scratch made meals, Thanksgiving dinners, and home-cooked Sunday brunches that college students make on a regular basis while doing their coin laundry next to the computer lab.
And while that kitchen sat empty and collecting dust much of the year. I was determined to make use of it.
Eager to cook.
And very desperate for a home-cooked meal.
So when I realized one of the benefits of living in The Townhouses was that I was allowed free-reign over that basement kitchen, I knew I wanted to get down those stairs to that windowless basement and make myself right at home.
And, standing there looking at this really fun feature of my dorm, I immediately knew I wanted to do something special.
So, instead of just cooking a simple dinner for one, or two, or for even all my suite-mates, I had this grand and elaborate idea of cooking for the entire cross country team.
If you’re familiar with cross country and track, then you know about the traditional Friday night pasta dinners that go along with it.
Many such events were hosted by our coaches and assistant coaches, or alums, each and every week throughout the long autumn season of NCAA Division III athletics.
Well, I guess I decided I wanted in on this long-standing tradition and fun cooking festivity and celebration. I had a kitchen... I had a kitchen and I was going to use it.
I told everyone... pasta party at The Townhouses.
And word spread fast.
Not via cell phones.
And certainly not even through simple messaging or texting.
Four years before Facebook was invented.
Literally - just word of mouth.
And, knowing that I had just committed myself to host a team pasta party, I had to get supplies…
With little money - no credit card, or even a debit card yet, and a bit of cash, I went shopping.
I remember buying lots of boxes of pasta noodles. And lots of cans and jars of all that tomato-ey goodness.
With no recipe to follow...
I was getting myself ready to make A.LOT. Of sauce.
But before I could start cooking, and become Chef Bean in the kitchen of my dreams, in the windowless basement of a large building, I had to do one more thing.
I probably shouldn’t have told everyone that I was going to be cooking pasta and sauce for them without checking that basement kitchen for supplies… Or even merely for some pots???
Yes, there was a kitchen, but it was only after the informal and casual invite went out that I then discovered there were no pots, pans, mitts, serving utensils. Etc. Something… anything…. essential to the meal preparation - essential to any chef. But all things that a college student on a meal plan would not ever need to be thinking about.
If I needed it to pull off Bean’s Basement Bash with success, it was NOT going to happen at this rate.
I needed to buy a whole lot of stuff.
And I mostly needed a pot...
And so, without access to a car, I was limited to walking distance of the college. And I went shopping.
I was in search of a kitchen supply store.
Naperville, Illinois is part of a small and gorgeous downtown - a very nice, upscale, expensive, and fancy, and wonderful downtown. And while I do very much love downtown Naperville, there’s not much shopping a college student could do there any day of the week.
Knowing I couldn't drive anywhere, I looked up kitchen supply stores closest to me, and found a place called: Williams Sonoma...
Ok? I hope that's really a kitchen store? …..
Never heard of it at the time.
I walked there.
I went inside.
And I immediately knew I was in big trouble.
As my jaw dropped... at the prices….
Of the most beautiful copper pots my eyes had ever seen. I asked if they had anything less expensive? Oblivious, and not knowing anything about the store that I was standing inside.
The price tags sent me away in quite a little hurry. Actually, the price tags practically pushed me out the door and slammed it in my face.
But not before I took one last glance at the shiny, beautiful, and DREAMY copper pots. I stood outside the doors of the shop. Clueless. Shocked. And feeling very, very defeated.
Face to face with breathtaking pots, way over my price range, I said goodbye to Williams Sonoma. I said goodbye to a store that is now one of my favorite stores in any shopping mall it resides within. I may not own much of anything from there, still to this day… but I thoroughly enjoy looking at all the products when out and about. Browsing and dreaming.
And I didn’t know much about copper back then either. I just knew I liked the look of it. It brought back memories of Sunday with my father’s side of the family - the Italian side of my family. Sunday’s meant cooking in big old pots. And copper on the backsplash walls of my Papa and Grandma’s old kitchen - sitting inside their old house in the city of Chicago.
And also to this very day, I have a digital list on my phone, sitting in my notes app, entitled: Bean’s List.
I have lots of lists in my life:
I have Rory Gilmore pro-and-con lists.
I have grocery lists.
Two Week Plan lists.
I have lots of lists.
But my favorite list of all is Bean’s List.
Bean’s List is simply my ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING list. It’s my DREAM list.
It’s random. It’s anything I want to buy. And it’s everything I cannot afford.
It’s goals and wants and desires and dreams.
It’s my fun list.
And on that list - a list that I used to house on physical paper - sits a copper pot from Williams Sonoma.
Yes, I’ve now wanted a real copper pot for 20 years. 20 freaking years… Since the year 2000, during my sophomore year in college. Since Bean’s first Basement Bash held outside the walls of my family home growing up. Since my pasta party for the cross country team. Since that day I was in literal shock, and since the day my jaw sat on the ground as I dragged myself out of Williams Sonoma. Since the day I goodbye to the kitchen store of my dreams.
That’s how long I have wanted my own piece of copper to place inside my very own kitchen.
A beautiful, shiny, new, dreamy, and very large, copper pot. One that was sitting high up on the highest shelf in the expensive and wonderful Williams Sonoma.
Someday I will get that copper pot.
Even if I have absolutely zero space in my small kitchen to store it. I don’t care. I will sit it out on display somewhere. It can be housed on my stove top for all I care. That way I can stare at it. And dream of parties. Dream of cooking. Dream of cooking for other people. Dream of carb-loading for cross country meets. Dream of my grandparents house as a child. A small kitchen, with lots of food, lots of laughs. Italian Papa cooking the red sauce, Irish grandma talking with us kiddos. And copper hanging on the wall of the kitchen backsplash.
So that’s why a Williams Sonoma copper pot has been on Bean’s List for over twenty years now...
And yes, I ended up finding a pot for that party. And, I ended up hosting the Bash, just as planned. And yes, it was a fun night.
It was so fun that I never forgot that night. That Bash. At a place where any night and every night is a good night for a party - college. That night - was a great night.
And today, I don’t remember how well the food turned out? I don’t remember what ingredients I used in my first attempt at red sauce?
I just remember the joy of cooking. But mostly, I remember the joy of cooking for other people. And wanting for as many people as humanly possible to feast from that pot of sauce.
And that’s why red sauce is such an important meal to me, why we make it all the time, why we love it dearly, and why I wanted to share it with you today... Today - during the season of love… and during the month of Valentines… and red… and hearts. A time for simple - and shareable - red sauce.
But regardless of how many people one is cooking for. And regardless of the size of the pot. And regardless of the brand name of the pot that the meal is being cooked within. In the end, maybe cooking doesn’t have to be about any of that.
Maybe it’s about all the heart and soul that is poured, and grounded, and crushed, and chopped, and heated, and sautéed inside of that pot that really matters the very most.
While the meal may not have turned out perfect, the pot may have been old and scratched - a team of people still showed up to dine and to have some fun together. As they all sat inside of The Townhouses. Thinking about the upcoming run, and maybe even discussing the race taking place the following morning. But probably, and mostly, just chatting about that week’s episode of Dawson’s Creek. Or maybe The Princess Bride was being watched yet again.
And maybe while chatting over prime-time television, somebody was thinking of a pot… A pot made of copper, shiny and new; a large beast of a pot - taking up a lot of space inside the small kitchen of a very small apartment. And maybe while contemplating that shiny pot, the chef was dreaming of all the pasta-bilities yet to come. ~
Bean’s Red Sauce Recipe
Do you use any copper pots in your kitchen? I would absolutely love to know. Drop me a comment down below:
Also, y’all can check out these other delicious and comforting recipes from Bean’s Kitchen, here:
10) Bean’s Soulful Southern Chili
38) The Year Of The Sweater ~ Bean’s Minestrone Soup Recipe
43) Bean’s Bold Beef Stew Recipe ~
47) Bean’s Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnut Recipe ~ A Super Food For A Super Sunday
And, if you want to find out more about how I lost a whole lotta weight - completely naturally, and while utilizing the above recipes - plus, tips on maintaining weight loss, you can check out some stuff on all that right here:
7) My ‘Before & After’ ~~ How A Single Act Of Kindness, Lime Bubly, And MyFitnessPal Helped Me Lose 77 Pounds In One Year
17) Fall Flavors ~ Six Simple Steps I’m Taking This Fall To Maintain My Massive Weight Loss
21) Cinotti’s ~ And Why Life Is Too Short To Not Eat Donuts
37) New Year/New 007 ~ Here’s 20 Tips That Will Have You Seeing 20/20 In 2020 ~
Hey there yall!
Happiest of Happy Monday’s to you - each and every one. I hope you had the very best weekend of your life...
I hope your Sunday was: Simply. Swell.
Actually, I hope you ate a delicious ice cream Sundae. On. Sunday.
I hope you got your Sun Daze On. On. Sunday.
But, you know what I really hope???... I really hope and wish that your day was a supercalifragilistic one. On. Sunday.
I hope your Sunday was a full blown expialidocious one. On. Sunday.
And, even if you didn’t happen to devour a delicious sundae - on Sunday - and, even if you didn’t have a long and repetitive song stuck in your head - on Sunday - then I hope you did the very next best thing to that. Sang the very next best song to that. And dined on the very next best thing to that.
I hope you enjoyed a delicious meal. On. Sunday...
On my Sunday, I dined at a diner.
The Metro Diner - to be exact.
Metro Diner has grown significantly in recent years. And on our busy, yet lovely and leisurely Sunday, hubby and I dined at the Ponte Vedra Beach Metro Diner location. However, there are many locations throughout Jacksonville.
And we’ve been to most of them. Metro Diner is a regular part of our “dining out” experience.
The one and only original Metro Diner, located in San Marco, is the perfect and very quintessential diner. And this diner became so popular that others were built around and throughout Jacksonville. And now, very recently, Metro Diner has spread throughout the entire SouthEast and is growing at a fairly rapid pace.
But San Marco is and remains probably my favorite of their locations. Old trees. Historic neighborhood. Directly next to the gateway to Downtown Jax. Yet, this past Sunday, we stayed on the island, not venturing over the bridge, for anything.
So we chose a Beaches location to dine at. Still the same food. Still the same atmosphere, service, and friendliness. Just a different area of town, very and much closer to home.
The Jacksonville area Metro Diners are so popular, that Guy Fieri found himself making a stop to Jax, FL. He featured Metro Diner on the popular cable series Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. And that stop in by Guy has only made Metro Diner even more famous.
And while it started out and is known as the place “where the locals eat” - Metro Diner has grown to be a must-visit stop on the list of business travelers, tourists, and spring-breakers, and families young and old, while they are visiting the greater Jacksonville area.
I know that I am always recommending Metro Diner to lots of out-of-town visitors. And I’ve had many a wonderful meal there myself, whether it is just with the hubby, or with lots of friends and family too.
So while I had a leisurely Sunday yesterday, it was also filled with busy and errand-filled tasks that needed to get done.
But, you know what? Life, every day, isn’t just about “getting stuff done.” Running around: doing tasks, and chores, and a list of never-ending errands…. Even if you have an errand-filled day, there’s always room for good food.
And Metro Diner was a no-brainer choice for us. We were in the Ponte Vedra Beach area, and planned lunch out at the Diner while doing my long check-list of things I knew I wanted to get done that day.
I simply added Metro Diner onto that to-do list. And it became a must-do.
And there we went.
While I love the Jax Beach location; and it’s so close to home. The Ponte Vedra Beach location I might love even more.
The Diner in Ponte Vedra is part of the Sawgrass Village shopping complex. A complex filled with a grocer, a variety of restaurants, lots of clothing shops, a surfboard shop, stationary, treats, and most importantly - a Peterbrooke Chocolatiers. There’s also hotels and other restaurants around back. Including the Sawgrass Marriott Resort. So, while from driving down A1A, Sawgrass looks like it’s just a Publix and a few other things, there’s a lot of other treasures mixed in and behind.
Location, location, location.
And when you pull in the complex, and drive toward the Diner, if that lot is full, just keep rounding the corner, and there’s an entire, larger, hidden parking lot in the back.
The Diner also has a nice, covered, outdoor patio for dining facing the water in Sawgrass.
And at Metro Diner, when you walk inside, they always thank you for coming in, and say goodbye and thank you on the way out.
We were seated in a booth of a crowded restaurant during the lunch rush. Not an open seat or table to be had. Families on outings, couples, very large parties, and very small ones too. Metro Diner is the place to be for everyone on a Sunday morning at the Beach. Very crowded. Expect a potential wait if the timing is just right.
And while we were seated immediately and didn’t wait at all, I also easily and immediately chose the lemonade to order, no decision making time needed. I love their lemonade and I almost always it. And hubby ordered the iced tea.
And, in about two seconds, I chose the French Toast with a side of Bacon.
When my meal was served to me, our lovely server put it down in front of me, and before the plate even hit the table, I already smelled cinnamony goodness. My meal had the scent of a bakery. It was heavenly.
The bacon at Metro Diner is perfect, so I always recommend ordering a side if your meal doesn’t come with it.
All the Diner’s have a large chalkboard inside, clearly listing the daily specials, and maybe special pies, drinks, deals, or holiday-themed goodies. So, while my hubby always seems to order the Eggs Benedict, he chose the Sunday Special this time around - which happened to be spicy fried chicken Benedict. And the meal came with a generous side of hash browns.
As is typical in Florida, but not so much so in the winter, it rained while we were enjoying our meal inside, and by the time we left, the rain had cleared and the ground was drying.
We said goodbye and carried on with the rest of our day on the coast. The misty air and salty breeze all-consuming and heavenly, indeed. Over and over I told my husband how much I love a Florida winter day.
And my tummy was full of Sunday goodness.
And my heart was full of gratefulness too.
And my head was full of song.
Yes, inside it a little tune…
And I'm really not quite sure what song was in there???
And I’m not sure where it came from?
Or what the words were?
I just think I recognized it as a little hummm, and a little garbled… and I think it went a little something like this:
Check out these other delicious and diner-filled stories below, why don’t ya?
16) Beach Diner ~ If You Feed Them They Will Come
19) Another Broken Egg Cafe ~ A Taste Of NOLA @ The Beach
22) Saturday On San Pablo Island
Y’all may also enjoy:
9) Sago Coffee: A Cup Of Friendly & Flavorful Florida
*Part of ~ Bean’s Coffee Shop Challenge ~
11) Eleven South Bistro & Bar ~~ Supper Club Of The South
39) The Very Official & Quite Serious Donut Debate Of 2020
40) Visiting The Florida Cracker Kitchen ~ Jacksonville
48) Love & Donuts In The Air @ Beaches For Australia
Have you been to Jacksonville’s Metro Diner? What’s your favorite Metro Diner location? I’d love to know! Let me know with a comment down below.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
Or, maybe, a picture is worth just a few more words than that….
Happy Valentine’s Day y'all.
I want you to think of love.
I post to you each Monday and each Friday.
And today is Friday.
And as I do each and every week, I had been working all week on a post for today.
Sometimes, I write to you immediately after an experience - such as right after the Key West Half Marathon, or after Sea & Sky Jax Weekend, or Beaches for Australia, or my visit to the Southern Living Idea House, or lots of other events I attend and write about immediately thereafter...
And sometimes, what you receive from me is something else entirely. It’s something that I work at for a very long time. And it’s something that builds into what you eventually receive for publication when I deem it complete and ready.
Just like paint brought to a canvas…
I paint two ways. Sometimes, I paint long, and slow, and detailed, in many layers. And the painting builds and builds and builds over time. Over time equals hours, days, weeks, or months. Many, many months. Until I have a complete story displayed on canvas and ready for eyes to view it. To read the story of the painting itself.
But, sometimes, this idea, my story - my painting - comes to me immediately, in the blink of an eye. Literally. And I paint it, immediately. Quickly. Fast. I have to get it onto the canvas or my brain will burst from the passion coming forth.
Today, your post was going to be a completely different post than the one you are receiving and now reading. I had been diligently working and preparing the post as I always do over a matter of time. And then…
THEN, Valentine’s Day EVE came. Valentine's Day very late night EVE actually arrived.
And everything about that EVE - that YESTERDAY, and that TODAY - changed.
And EVERYTHING - means EVERYTHING.
In the blink of an eye. In the click of the camera. In the sight of a photo. Everything changed. And I had a new story to tell. A new story to write. Quick! Need to get the paint onto canvas. Brain is bursting and overflowing! Right. Now.
So today’s post that you are now reading is completely different - world’s away from the one I had planned to publish today for your reading pleasure and enjoyment.
On Valentine’s Eve, after coming home and entering my very cozy, and my very small, and my very basic, and my very, very perfect little apartment, I instantly changed once again. Merely because the LOVE I feel inside me grew bigger in that one second. That one moment in time.
I came home and received love and happiness. Something I am met with every night, the only difference is last night we took a photo of it.
I came home to my own Valentine love nest, and received love in return.
Valentine love nest.
Are you picturing two cute little feathery birdies yet? If you are not imagining birdies. Go ahead right now and queue up bird imagery in your head..
Will now proceed.
Imagine a nest.
A nest with cute little adorable birdies sitting inside it.
Maybe some red birdies? Or brown birdies? Maybe those birdies are sitting in an evergreen tree? They are sitting in their nest on a branch, and they are looking down on the world right now.
Or maybe that soft and cute and cuddly and quite feathery little birdie isn’t even an actual bird by the way.
Maybe the birdie is really a doggie.
Or maybe our little, figurative, and way too cute birdie is your spouse.
Your significant other.
Your furry critter.
Your friend - who lives many states away. Your friend you just had to say goodbye to. Your friend who hopped on a train to ride the rails to a far off land. That friend - who just visited you at work. Your workplace being her final stop. Her final stop on a very important visit to a very important place. And she came to your work to say goodbye to you upon her departure. And as you hugged each other. As you took one last selfie. And as she walked away to go drive to the train station…. you both yelled out “I LOVE YOU!” In front of a million strangers. But neither of you cared. Because your love for each other and the experiences you’ve shared together matter more than what any stranger could ever think of you shouting out your expression of love. Of one another. And of life itself.
Maybe, you came home last night from work, and you were met with love. That love from your turtle. Your guinea pig. That love from your critter. The love from another. The love from yourself. The love from God himself.
Love in all its forms.
Maybe, the love from our dearly departed filled your home. Maybe they were watching you eat dinner. And you felt their presence inside your warm house. Knowing full well they are always with you.
Maybe you came home to your dog who missed you dearly while you were away for nine hours.
Maybe you sat down with your doggie and hubby and you watched Blue Bloods and ate a quick late night dinner from Wendys. A burger with no mayo at 510 calories. Maybe you watched Danny Reagan kick a few butts. And maybe you watched Jamie Reagan change the word in 42 minutes and 30 seconds flat, as he tends to do every episode. Maybe you watched Danny Reagan eat his Sunday dinner while you ate your Thursday night dinner.
Maybe Danny Reagan had to say goodbye to his eldest son, who was leaving to go off to college in Season 9.
Maybe the Reagan family opened their home to the newest member of the family.
Maybe while the Reagan’s had to say goodbye to Jack, they said hello to Eddie. And Eddie now eats dinner with the Reagan’s each Sunday. An empty seat is filled by another. Love all around. Love in the air.
So, getting back to our love nest. And the cute birdies sitting in the tree in their own nest.
Because that’s what happened to me last night. I went home. And I was met by my own birdies in my own nest.
I came home, after a long and wonderful and blessed day, and I was met with the birdies who share that nest with me.
My birdie was brown!
It was a SHE!
Oh wait… and a HE!
My birdies in my very own nest were my very own brown doggie. And my husband.
I came home to them both - and it was Valentine's EVE.
I had a great, and a long, and a fabulous day yesterday. As I do each and every day. I told you each day is the best day of my life, right?
I worked all day. Then. My husband picked me up. He had a load of groceries in the back seat, by the way.
And we went home.
And at this home, it had been a very long day for a little doggie to be parted from her Mama as usual.
Upon walking in the door, my precious little doggie greeted me as she always does.
But one thing was different about that greeting last night. That one thing is the reason you are now reading this story instead of another one.
I sat down on the kitchen floor.
To receive the love from my dog straight on. And at her height level.
And we cuddled as usual.
But it was just so very cute.
And I became so very curious?........
I asked my husband to take a photo of my doggie.
My doggie was giving me a big hug. And I always wonder. How does my little birdie in her nest look out at the world beyond me when she is hugging me? I can’t see behind me, of course. I want to know what all that love she gives me looks like from behind?
And my husband was standing in our kitchen with me and our little birdie angel. He was unloading the groceries he had brought home. Loading them onto the counter top, behind Me…. And I said to my husband… What does our little doggie angel look like when she hugs me? Here - take a photo for me would you please?
I reached into my stuffed pockets. From my heavy and thick and full and very dirty work pants.
I grabbed my iPhone out of the big pocket. And handed my phone to my hubby to take a photo.
And he did just that.
And that photo is why you are receiving this post today instead of something that’s been since erased.
Happy Valentine’s Day WORLD.
Today, I want you to love yourself. I want you to love others. I want you to love your Valentine. Love those who live in your love nest with you. Better yet, love those who live in other love nests that surround yours - all the nests sitting in the very same tree, but just sitting and resting upon different branches. Or merely different twigs.
And, maybe your nest has more than one birdie sitting inside it. Just like mine does.
After I got home. And after I received the unconditional love from a dog hug. After my husband snapped a digital picture. And after a story came to me in a flash. In the blink of an eye. There was one more surprise waiting for me at the end of the night last night.
I was gone from home yesterday all day. I was very messy and I was very dirty. I felt love and life and God himself inside me though.
So as I sat on the kitchen floor.
And as my brown doggie greeted me and hugged me.
And after husband took that photo that I requested… He said...
“Happy Valentine’s Day”
And, all three of us turned to face each other. Me. Husband. Dog.
And Hubby handed me a bouquet of beautiful pink tulips.
Flowers for HIS own Valentine Birdie. I guess I’m a bird too? I instantly grabbed the flowers. And I cried of happiness.
So there we all sat.
On the kitchen floor, of the nest, in our second story tree house villa.
Brown Birdie was hugging Mama Birdie.
Husband Birdie was handing Mama Birdie some flowers.
Mama Birdie was very hot, very messy, and very sweaty. Spills and stains and hours of that sweat all over her dirty clothes. With hugs and flowers. And lots of happiness. And lots of endless love.
And Husband Birdie took the picture.
The picture worth a thousand words… Or, 1661 words to be exact.
Happy Valentine’s Day, from my nest, to your nest. And to all birdies, and all the eggs, in all the nests, resting on all the branches, in all the trees, in all the World.~
What do you love the most about Valentines Day? I’d love to know. Tell me with a comment down below:
And. By the way… Here’s some more STUFF for y’all:
2] 3 Wow’s Plus 1 Piece Of Magic I Experienced At Jacksonville, Florida’s Cummer Museum Of Art & Gardens
11] Eleven South Bistro & Bar ~~ Supper Club Of The South
18] Sea & Sky Jax Weekend ~ Fun In The Florida Sun, Sea, Sky & Sand
21] Cinotti’s ~ And Why Life Is Too Short To Not Eat Donuts
23] Faith ~ And Life Lessons Learned Living With Wild & Untamable Hair
24] In Real Life ~ My First Visit To A Southern Living Idea House
26] Deck The Chairs ~ BE THAT CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THIS OUR VERY OWN AND SHAREABLE WORLD
28] The Scent of Christmas in the Air
34] Merry Christmas ~ And How To Buy For That Person On Your List Who Saved Your Life ~
36] The End Of A Decade & My New Year’s Wish To You ~
48] Love & Donuts In The Air @ Beaches For Australia
*Part of - Bean’s Coffee Shop Challenge - series
It’s that time of year again, my friends. Love is in the air. Valentine’s Day is upon us. Whether you have a Valentine in your life or not, go ahead and celebrate. Be your own Valentine if you must. Love yourself as much as you love those around you… Or, at least love yourself as much as I love donuts.
And so with donuts in mind, if you haven’t been to the Mini Bar in Jax Beach, it’s time to seriously consider the following question:
What else on Earth are you waiting for?
In my case, I guess it was the fires in Australia that finally led me to the land of the most magical and mini donuts.
I know, I know. I live in Jax Beach. The Mini Bar is located in Jax Beach. I love donuts. I love coffee. How - How is it humanly possible that I never visited this establishment before now?
Believe you me when I say that I had been wanting to go to The Mini Bar for quite some time. I had even popped my head in back in the past. It was on a busy day, and I had been next door at the Dollar Tree running errands. And curious about this amazing looking place, I glanced inside before popping back in my car.
So I had seen, but I had not tasted. I never took a seat, and never ordered a coffee, and most importantly, never ordered the donuts, yet.
I had just never got around to it, as they say.
But when I saw the Facebook and Instagram posts telling me about an event at both The Mini Bar and Southern Swells to raise funds for the wildlife affected in the Australian fires, I knew it was finally time to officially check the place out.
On Saturday, February 8th, both The Mini Bar and Southern Swells co-hosted the fundraiser, along with a variety of local vendors set up in the outdoor courtyard area surrounding the businesses.
While all those koala bears seem so far away to me, it doesn’t mean seeing their burned hands hasn’t had me wondering what can I do to help. The images of all those homeless animals hurts my very soul. A huge animal lover in my heart, it crushes me to see our Earth’s defenseless creatures not being able to survive and thrive on their own, let alone their entire houses - their natural habitat - being utterly destroyed. And, if I can contribute even a tiny bit, each person doing their part makes a difference. So I knew I wanted to attend.
And I’m very glad I did. I love seeing all the local small businesses that attend these types of events. But mostly, I just enjoy checking out the atmosphere. Seeing new establishments and shops that I’ve never been to before. And of course, looking up at all the donuts in the sky.
I really enjoy checking out how a variety of local small business owners such as jewelers and artists incorporate local coastal treasures into their designs and wares for sale. Local honey, local seashells and oyster shells, local sea glass, local clay molded into jewelry. We even have a local dog park here at the beach y’all! Sign up to become a member why don’t ya. And my favorite item of the day, locally poured soy candles.
I purchased a very generously sized two-wick candle from Lumi Bean. Vegan, soy, and locally poured in Jax. I’ve been drawn to anything citrus scented lately; whether it’s been citrus candy, citrus all-natural household cleaning spray, or citrus body wash, etc... if it’s citrus, I’ve been wanting it. So I immediately grabbed the citrus candle, breathed in the refreshing and clean scent, and knew that’s what I wanted to purchase at the event. Candles were $18.00 or 2 for $30.00. I went with one of the 16 oz. large candles, and am quite excited about my purchase.
After checking out all the vendors in the courtyard, we then went inside The Mini Bar to finally purchase a box of their signature mini donuts.
‘Treat Yo’self’ lit up on the wall, and donuts served out of an orange and white automobile, the vibe inside the Mini Bar is one of modernity, openness, clean, and fun.
Coffees, teas, and local beer on top, the menu is broad and basic at the same time. It’s coffee and donuts… or donuts and beer… or… whatever you like. Either way - get the donuts.
We purchased a small hot latte for myself, and hubby ordered the 16 oz. nitro cold brew.
And we also ordered a box of 16 mini donuts. They have boxes of 4, 8, 16, and 24 to choose from. We chose 8 of the classic cinnamon sugar donuts, 4 of the Boston creme, 2 espresso buttercream, and 2 bulls eye - which consisted of powdered sugar and a dollop of raspberry jelly on top. With my favorite of the day being the Boston creme and the cinnamon sugar… I know, that’s two favorites - not one favorite, but trust me, I couldn’t pick just one, I love them both equally.
Quite happy with this selection, I would so order this exact box all over again. However, there are so many flavors to choose from - that I’m sure I won’t be 100% completely satisfied until I try them all. I’d call this a good and solid “start” though - I’ll definitely be back.
If you haven’t been to The Mini Bar, get yourself over there. You won’t be sorry. And I’m 100% sure of that.
Treat Yo’Self. Look up and see all the love in the air... And all the donuts in the sky.
Buy a box of fried goodness, and bring it with you to the beach. Walk barefoot in the sand, sip your latte, as you hold hands with your Valentine.~
P.S. ~ Did you know? Leftover donuts are a very good thing to have sitting inside your house.~
Have you been to The Mini Bar in Jax Beach? What’s your favorite donut they serve? Let me know in the comments down below:
If you’re enjoying my Floridian Dreams, check out some of my other adventures living and dreaming in The Sunshine State:
9] Sago Coffee: A Cup Of Friendly & Flavorful Florida
*Part of ~ Bean’s Coffee Shop Challenge ~
14] Finding Trinkets & Treasures @ The Jax Beach Vintage Flea Market
21] Cinotti’s ~ And Why Life Is Too Short To Not Eat Donuts
22] Saturday On San Pablo Island
31] Tuesday’s On First Street ~ The Jax Beach Art Walk ~
39] The Very Official & Quite Serious Donut Debate Of 2020
44] Nothing Finer Than Coffee In The Keys ~ The Coffee Plantation Cafe
Go ahead and sign up to be a Sunshine Subscriber below. You’ll never miss a story, and you’ll be the first to know of all my latest artwork too.
2/6/2020 2 Comments
#47) Bean’s Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnut Recipe ~ A Super Food For A Super Sunday
If you’ve never had bacon wrapped water chestnuts in your life, I suggest adding them into your life - as soon as humanly possible.
There’s a reason I continually make this delicious dish on special occasions. These terrifically tooth-picked creations are most definitely a quintessential party food… A happy food. A celebratory food. They are such a delicious treat that the dish garners a special occasion to quite naturally go along with it.
So, I tend to make this dish on the Christmas Eve holiday, on a night of casual and easy and most importantly, tasty, appetizers in my home. I also recently decided to make this on Super Bowl Sunday. A day which is Holiday in America - Holiday with a capital H.
And, although I don’t even watch the game…
I know, I know. I am one of those people who don’t even watch. Or should I say, I just don’t pay attention. I only watch the Puppy Bowl - if that. And the National Anthem. But - it’s Super Bowl Sunday in America - and I have to celebrate along with the rest of the country. If I must - I must.
I’m forced into it by tradition, whether I like the game of football or not. I’m just there for the puppies. And the commercials.
With that in mind, I’d highly recommend this dish if you need something to bring to a Super Bowl party, or any fun party really. It’s a great take-along dish. Something you can either prep entirely in advance and bring, hot, to a party that’s close to your home. Or, you can prep all the steps in advance except the final one. And then, once you arrive at your destination, bake the final step at the home you are bringing it to for the party. The chestnuts can then be served fresh and hot at your party location.
Either way, this dish is easy, quick, and a fabulous party food.
And guess what else, I absolutely promise you that your dish will be the highlight of the party. No other dish will bring such praise… The bacon alone will create quite a stir, but add in all the other flavors, and you are the hit of the party - guaranteed.
So prepare for this dish to go fast, whether you want it to or not, I promise.
For more of Bean’s Best Recipes, go ahead and check out these creations below:
10] Bean’s Soulful Southern Chili
38] The Year Of The Sweater ~ Bean’s Minestrone Soup Recipe
43] Bean’s Bold Beef Stew Recipe
Do you love incorporating bacon into your recipes? Go ahead and step foot in your kitchen and make this dish; then - tell me how you like it? I’m so curious - go ahead and share with me in the comments down below.
I have always, always loved that song. The first time I stepped foot on Key Largo, I had that gosh darn song stuck in my head long after my short visit had concluded.
So why don’t we go to Key Largo, y’all?
Take my hand and right there we’ll be.
During my recent travels driving on down to the Florida Keys, we were lucky enough to have one, single, solitary, quick night to spend on the small island mentioned in that classic Beach Boys song.
I had been once in the past - to Key Largo - not Kokomo. However, my visit was merely for a short lunch break on our drive down toward that last Key on the map. You could say that my visit to Key Largo was a “If-You-Blink-You-Miss-It” type of visit.
So I obviously didn't have much time at all on the island to speak of… But during that short experience a few years back, Key Largo was so very intriguing enough to me that I knew we needed to come back. And I knew I wanted at least an overnight on the island.
I thought… If I couldn't stay forever, I’d at least need that.
So, we booked one night at the Hampton Inn Key Largo. Located at 102400 Overseas Highway, Key Largo, FL 33037. Its location is right in the middle of it all; in the middle of everything that is Key Largo. If merely because Key Largo is so small that, to me, anywhere in Key Largo is everywhere in Key Largo.
We reserved a standard king with a balcony and pool view. Our total cost was zero dollars for this stay, as we used Hilton Honors points for the entire cost, taxes, all associated fees, etc.
And let me just say, if you are not a Hilton Honors member, and you love to travel, go get yourself a Hilton Honors Membership - pronto. Like - you know, stop reading this. And go sign up my dears.
Why? You may ask me…
For the simple reason that a completely free membership will bring things into your life like the example I just named above… A free night stay in Key Largo. No darn, yucky, gunchy, stringy, strings attached. Yep, it’s that easy.
And I NEVER pay for memberships that provide rewards. I believe in making my own money work FOR me, not the other way around. Once I’ve already earned the money, why do I need to spend it again to get the benefit of something. It’s kinda like how Suzy Orman taught me a very long time ago… You know. Like on a cold winter's day back in 1987, and the snow was falling, and I had to walk uphill to school both ways… with no buses even running then... she said to me,
“Don’t pay for memberships, my dear child.”
Well, scratch that. She might not have told me that personally. Actually, she might have never even said those exact words... But in my mind she did, and in my mind she taught me that. In my head I hear her voice when it comes to spending. Because she helped teach me about responsible finances, spending, and saving too. And I do think of Suzy Orman every time I think of memberships.
So folks, you see… Why pay to have your money work for you? When you can work your money yourself?
Here’s an example: I have the Disney Visa. But I don’t have the Platinum-Gold-Shiny-Heavy-Carved-Straight-From-A-Diamond-Mine-Disney-Visa that costs $50.00 a year plus. I have the free version. And all I have to do is swipe it and my money works for me on both ends.
And as I now tend to travel outside of the Disney gated kingdoms more so than within, I also have Hilton Honors, because it’s free as well. And just by swiping at the grocer each week, and for clothes and gas etc. etc. my money paid out is earning me stays. Stays that are easy to book, without blackouts and fine print that you would need a magnifying glass and a law degree to interpret. Get Hilton Honors, and honor yourself with vacations. Or any free hotel reward program - there are quite a few to choose from.
So there you have it. Swipe and earn, my friends. Swipe and earn.
Our room was just perfect for a Hampton Inn stay. I’m a huge fan of Hamptons all around and have been to countless of their locations.
I suppose I’d say that while I’ve never been to THE Hamptons, I’ve been to plenty of OTHER Hamptons.
I actually couldn’t count my stays in Hampton Inns if my life depended on it. But let’s just say that this hotel room was as nice as all the rest of those ‘other’ Hamptons or even more so. I’m kinda biased because of the view we had:
The room was clean. The bathroom was spacious. There were lots of towels and toiletries. But mostly there were the cups. The famous moustache cups.
Dear Hampton Inn:
Would you please make note to never discontinue your moustache cups? I love them. I need them in my life. They make me smile.
Thank you kindly,
Nice shutters with lighting behind delicately lit the room. And there was an extra comfy chair in the corner, as well as a desk to work upon. For all that work one has to do while on vacation in Key Largo, you know.
And speaking of work, our Shetland Sheepdog was along for the journey. And prior to our arrival at this hotel, she had been working hard all day in the fields, rounding up the sheep of her namesake. So when we got to our room she was a very tired little doggie.
*Fine print = PET FRIENDLY!!
Yes, the Hampton Inn Key Largo is currently pet friendly. I say that with some real and serious fine print though. Always double check when making your reservation if you are bringing a pet along. Because with lots of those hotel stays in all brands of hotels, it has been my experience that pet policies change quite regularly.
It’s almost as if like… um, one day hotels are pet friendly and one day they are not. And then one day they are again, and one day they are not. Like - pet policies change as often as hotels change out the bedding. And that is not a good thing either way you slice it.
So I highly recommend always double-checking the pet policy before you travel. Even if it means picking up a cell phone and doing the actual manual labor of typing the hotel phone number into your phone and calling that hotel. Speak with someone at the front desk. Verify they accept pets. End phone call. Or get an email from the establishment confirming prior to travel. End of manual labor.
So the good news was that this hotel was pet friendly from booking through the end of our stay. But if you’d like to stay here, I do highly recommend a quick phone call to confirm while booking. Things change quickly in the hotel business. Very quickly.
So like I said, after our Shetland Sheepdog was done rounding up all those countless sheep throughout the day, she was very happy to be snuggled inside a hotel room that welcomed her species at their establishment, and she promptly fell right asleep looking out the big window, gazing toward that vast Key landscape. I’d say she had a diligent and good night's sleep that night. As good of a rest as we humans did, in fact.
The beds were very comfy. The Hampton’s of Hampton Inn are not cutting any corners and cheapening up the bedding, at all, and it is much appreciated and noticed by frequent travelers. The blankets are thick, I’m not too cold because they actually give you more than a thin sheet and something that is supposed to resemble a blanket. And the bed is soft. And I’m very partial about my own bed so I say that with extreme pickiness in mind and as a great compliment to the hotel.
The room was quiet. We were on the second floor balcony brought up by elevator, with a view the stuff dreams are made of. Needless to say, our little fluffy creature had a great time, and so did we.
Free breakfast of croissants and muffins and fruit and coffee the next morning before checkout. Tiki bar out back. And yes, my first very real, in Mother Nature, sighting of a manatee out the back door beach area of the hotel.
Steps from my room, manatees were just hanging around. I honestly thought seeing that was one of those lifetime experiences I will always cherish. As an animal lover, and lover of animals living out their lives in their natural habitat and not behind chains and fences and walls and tanks if at all possible, it was very special for me to see these magical creatures just doing what they do…. chillin out... in the Keys. Floating on by. A way of life so innocent and special and cherished, and I was very blessed to meet them.
So, overall our stay was fabulous. Even if I was paying the rack rate, I would definitely stay here again. I absolutely and 100% highly recommend the Hampton Inn Key Largo.
Whether you’re on your way to Montego, and just stopping in to say Hey along the way. Onward to Key West for more fun in the sun. Or making your entire vacation on the island of Key Largo itself. Definitely consider this hotel. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
So we swiped away
Till we got away.
We got there fast.
And then we took it slow.
I watched my tropical drink melting in my hands
As my furry baby barked at manatees while sitting in the sand.
Then we put out to sea, as we perfected our chemistry.
We said goodbye. With a great big sigh.
We headed on down to the Southernmost Point
And checked into our next cool joint.
Baby, why don't we go?~
Have you been to Key Largo? Have you been to an island named in a song? I’d love to know - let me know in the comments down below:
Check out more of my Floridian Dreams right here:
13] 2 Pro’s & 2 Cons About My 2 Night Stay ~ In Celebration, FL
18] Sea & Sky Jax Weekend ~ Fun In The Florida Sun, Sea, Sky & Sand
22] Saturday On San Pablo Island
24] In Real Life ~ My First To A Southern Living Idea House
42] Where Does The Chicken Cross The Road?
44] Nothing Finer Than Coffee In The Keys ~ The Coffee Plantation Cafe
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