Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Calling all Jacksonville, Florida Scrapbookers!

And the winner is....Jacksonville!  I know, I know I thought it was going to be Tampa, but alas, JAX is calling us.  It's the biggest city in the contiguous U.S. of A. and has lots of culture, sports, outdoor activities and most importantly great jobs.  The city is huge with so many neighborhoods to pick from to live in.  We took a reconnaissance trip yesterday to check out places to live and barely scratched the surface.  We are leaning toward the south part of the city, which is only about 15-20 minutes away from the beaches on the Atlantic Coast.  I'm so excited that we will be living the "Florida lifestyle"!

Prior to our decision to go for Jacksonville, we have spent the past two weeks driving around the Gulf side of the state exploring several cities of interest.  The best part of that for me was finding fun places to eat.  So for those that are considering a Florida visit anytime soon, here are a few recommendations:

St. Petersburg - Kopper Kitchen

This was a total accidental find!  We set out from our base of operations in Lakeland to check out the Sanding Ovations sand sculpture competition on Treasure Island.  We knew that we'd be passing through St. Pete around lunch time so we took a look at restaurants featured on Food Network's Diners Drive Ins and Dives.  We picked out a place to eat that was not too far out of the way of our route.  Well, when we found it, we turned right around!  I won't mention the name of the place, but it was very scary looking!  So we got back on the main road towards Treasure Island with our stomach's growling ferociously.  Low and behold, on the left side of the street, my husband spotted the Kopper Kitchen.  There were quite a few cars parked outside (a sure sign that it is popular), so he made a possibly illegal u-turn in the middle of the street and squeezed into one of the remaining parking spaces.  I can't tell you how glad I am that he did!  The food was so amazing.  Most everything was made from scratch including the corned beef and thousand island dressing on hubby's Reuben sandwich to the tomato sauce on my lasagna.  You must eat here if you are ever anywhere near the Tampa Bay area.  Triple D should have stopped here instead.

Lakeland - Cuban Delight Cafe
1039 East County Road 540a, Lakeland FL  33813
(863) 701-0190

We're in Florida, so in my mind, it goes without saying that we must have Cuban food.  I love Cuban sandwiches, black beans and rice as well as chicken and yellow rice.  So how did I find Lakeland's best?  I Googled!  Not only was it authentic, but it was very reasonably priced; only $5.75 for a half a Cuban sandwich and a bowl of black beans with rice.  The portions were huge.  Their idea of a half a sandwich was bigger than the average slice of white bread.  Even though we were stuffed, we had to try an dessert!  We shared a warm guava filled puff pastry that was fantastic.  Give this small restaurant a try when in Central Florida, you won't be disappointed.

We hope to be moved during the early part of December, so I will keep you posted as to my new location.  Once I get situated, I'll be looking for a place to hold crops and get togethers.  Don't forget the new Close to my Heart Idea Book will be coming out in January with lots of new papers and accessories to play with.  

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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