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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My Florida Trip

I had a fun but very quick trip to Florida this past weekend. It was a whirlwind trip. I got in a little early Friday afternoon. My sister promptly took me to J. Alexander’s where I picked up not one, not two, but eight containers of Not-Your-Ordinary Mac ‘n Cheese. It is simply the best mac ‘n cheese I have ever had. The recipe is proprietary and there are inferior copycats on the Internet. Believe me, I’ve tried them. They don’t taste anything like the restaurant’s version. My sister thought she had a baby spoon in the car so I could take a few nibbles. My digits ended up doing the job just fine, albeit a bit messy.

We then headed to Total Wine to pick up a couple of bottles of Shiraz that are very hard to get in Connecticut. After dropping off the luggage at my sister’s house, and putting the mac ‘n cheese in the freezer (can’t take ice packs on the plane – I freeze them so I can also transport back Publix chicken in a cooler. The frozen food acts as ice packs!), we headed out to Mugs‘N Jugs. It’s a popular sports bar in Pinellas County that has the best boneless chicken wings I’ve ever tasted.

On Saturday we picked up the birthday cake for the little guy and then headed to the park for the big celebration. I was the official birthday photographer and this weekend alone took over 1200 shots.

After the party on Saturday, my sister and I enjoyed some relaxing time at their community pool, followed by wine, while watching Paranormal Activity 3. I only watch those movies when at their house. It started on my visit last Halloween where we watched PA 1 & 2. My sister and I don’t like scary movies, but her husband does (my husband doesn’t like them either). But I was kind of hooked after seeing the first one and wanted to see the rest.

Sunday was my sister’s birthday. I treated her to a mani/pedi at our usual sister Sunday nail salon (the only one we’re aware of that’s open on Sundays). Her husband gave her a lovely gift card to a swanky salon in hopes that we could go there but they weren’t open on her birthday. We then headed to Sonny’s for lunch. I know it’s not real BBQ, but it’s cheap and filling. Plus we both love their garlic toast.
For dinner we met up with our ‘rents at Bonefish Grill (we don’t have those in CT). Mom made Rachel an awesome Devil’s Food cake with butter cream frosting. Bonefish was kind enough to keep it refrigerated for us. My stepdad and I had the specials (he had crab filled fillet and I had scallops). I adore scallops but it wasn’t always that way. And now I like crab! It took 40 years but I finally like shrimp, scallops, and now crab! And Rachel, her husband, and I had to have another glorious piece of cake when we got home Sunday night.

Oh, I forgot to mention the donuts (yes, I went all out this weekend and gorged on all sorts of goodies). Back up to our Saturday morning trip to Fray’s donuts. Their signature honey dipped glazed donut is out of this world! And we picked up a new item I haven’t tried at Chick-Fil-A (cause again, none of them exist in CT) – Chicken minis! Chicken nuggets on honey Parker house rolls. Oh new favorite.
I can’t tell you what I did Monday morning just yet. I may spill the beans later. I then came home, played with the boy a bit more before heading to the airport with an extra bag of Publix fried chicken for the hubby, eight containers of mac ‘n cheese, a loaf of sweet dense bread from an awesome omelet place my sister and I went to Monday morning, and my bags of spicy Mahatma yellow rice. Yeah, I’m a little food obsessed.



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15 comments:

  1. Lovely pictures; you look so happy.

    The donuts look way too good.....putting them out of my hear right now!

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    1. I allow myself two donuts each month. Mostly the glazed croissant donut that is hard to find but is plentiful at ShopRite. Soooo goood. :-)
      Niki

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  2. HI Niki,
    Terrific sampling of pics & your nephew is adorable! What a memorable weekend & btw, really liked your travel outfit.
    All the best,
    Carol

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    1. Thanks Carol. I meant to capture video with my fancy smancy camera but just didnt' remember. He is so adorable and facetiming with my sister has really helped in my nephew being able to recognize me in person.
      Niki

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  3. Looks and sounds like you had an amazing time. Beautiful photos.

    X x

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    1. Yeah I had a fun time. Always hard to leave them.
      Niki

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  4. Awww. You and sis are so cute. That lil' nephew's not bad either. :) All the times I've been to JA's and I have never had the mac n' cheese. That is now on the list.
    -Andi

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    1. Thanks Andi. I love them dearly! And speaking of love, first you are lucky to be near J Alex. and second "what the what???!!!" you've never tried the creamy yummy cheesy goodness of the mac n cheese? Get thee to a JA immediately!! Really - you have to try it. I believe it's made with gryere, swiss, onion, with a parmesan- like crust. Usually with some croutons on top. Just delicious!
      Niki

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  5. I KNOW! I guess I've been burned by bad mac n cheese versions so I quit trying. Will try as soon as hubby gets back in town. Sounds delicious. I have eaten Publix chicken and at Bonefish (I'm guessing that is bang bang shrimp in the picture). Does that redeem me? :)
    Andi

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    1. Good eye! Yes, that is bang bang shrimp. There are restaurants up here that title their shrimp appetizer as "bang bang" but it isn't the same. Although some are good, just not the same. I, too, have tried a lot of bad mac n cheese. JA's is more gourmet and grown up mac n cheese. I'm not even sure if there's cheddar in it. Here's a link to how it looks: http://micuisine.com/lunapiercook/?p=457
      I'm actually not a fan of Publix fried chicken. My husband loves it, my mom likes their chicken tenders, but I prefer Chick-Fil-A. Fried chicken in CT is basically just over battered and over fried, unfortunately. The best fried chicken I had actually came from a grocery store in the midwest. My husband's family lives in South Dakota. Coborn's is the grocery store. Perfectly breaded and fried. YUM!
      Niki

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  6. I'm not a fan of the Publix chicken either, but then I really don't care for any fried chicken on the bone. (I have to be careful or they'll kick me out of the South if anyone hears me saying that.) People love it though so I'm glad you were able to bring some back to your husband. My DH gets back from Boston this weekend and has already been told we're heading to JA's that night for some mac n' cheese!!! (I must have really been pumped about it because he said, "We're going to order other stuff, too, aren't we?")
    -Andi

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    1. Did you get to try the mac 'n cheese this weekend? Would like to know your thoughts. Just like it's name, it really isn't 'your ordinary mac 'n cheese.' I took one of the containers down from the freezer last night to have for dinner tonight. Hopefully we'll have power when I get home. We had some severe thunderstorms come through this morning and wiped out power in our area.
      Niki

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  7. We didn't make it last weekend, but finally went today for lunch and split one. It was delicious. It was so hot at first that the cheese with super thin and I said it looked like mac n' cheese soup. Loved it once I was patient enough to let it cool off and thicken up and my husband really liked it. But man, a heavy lunch weighs on you in the middle of a heat wave! We do love JAs so we had a great lunch and thanks for the recommendation. I'm loving the camera, too.
    Andi

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    1. I'm glad you had to a chance to try the mac-n-cheese. We almost had some tonight (it's in my freezer) with our hamburgers but I'm down to four containers and I'm not sure when my next trip to FL will be. Yes, it is very heavy and my husband and I usually split an order.
      I didn't realize you were the same person with the camera inquiry. Please leave your name if you feel comfortable so we can discuss features in the future. A good thing about having a small blog is that I can communicate with all my followers. :-)
      Niki

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