Local Bites: Birthday Foodie Adventure

This weekend, I rang in another year of life with my loved ones - if it was any indication of what this next year holds, I cannot wait to experience it all! This past week, pH could barely contain his excitement for the "surprise" he'd been planning for my birthday. If you know me, you'd know I'm not much for surprises, so his excitement and building up of the surprise was practically killing me.

On Saturday, I woke up to a 9 a.m. wake up call from pH and was handed several numbered envelopes, with one envelope marked with a question mark. pH told me that the envelope was a wild card, and could be used at any point throughout the day if I wanted to mix things up. So, I got myself all prettied up, got in the car, and opened up my first envelope. What it contained, was the start of a "Birthday Foodie Adventure," and I'm so excited to share all of it with you!

Breakfast: Nicko's Fine Foods

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Our first stop was Nicko's Fine Foods, a nostalgic, quaint diner where Elvis Presley dined at in 1956 - I love little, cozy spots like this for breakfast! pH and I were able to snag a table without a wait, and I ordered two fried eggs over-medium, with hash browns and bacon strips. Everything was delicious, and the eggs were the most perfectly fried over-medium eggs I've ever ordered - seriously.

Brunch: Jet City Espresso

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The next envelope brought me to Jet City Espresso, a homey coffee shop with specialty drinks and a yummy brunch menu. After breakfast, though, I couldn't imagine eating any more, so I opted for a hot, Milky Way latte to cleanse my palate. Since the weather was so nice and breezy, we sat out on the porch and enjoyed our lattes while giving our stomachs time to recover from a hearty breakfast.

Lunch: Front Porch Grill

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The third envelope led us to the Front Porch Grill, another homey spot in Seminole Heights. Unfortunately, the grill was broken that afternoon, so our menu options were a little limited. Because we were still full from breakfast, though, it ended up working out - I ordered the Peel-N-Eat Shrimp and pH ordered the Blackened Sesame Tuna. Both were pretty satisfying, but I definitely plan on returning for a real visit when the grill is working and I can order their delicious-sounding Porch Burger.

After lunch, we took a much-needed three-hour break, because let's face it - food comas are real, guys. After we woke up to a little wake up call from little Miss Sadie, I pulled out the Wild Card, because it was time to get crazy.

Wild Card: Bo's Ice Cream

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It was the best time to pull the wild card. I've heard so many wonderful things about Bo's Ice Cream, but hadn't gotten the chance to try it - until now. I'm pretty picky about soft serve ice cream, so the real test was in the texture of their chocolate soft serve, which was amazing. pH ordered a Hot Fudge Brownie Thick & Chunky, which was super decadent - I'm heading into a chocolate coma just thinking about it!

Dinner: Fodder and Shine

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Fodder and Shine was THE spot of the night and we went all out! We started off with the Minorcan Clam Chowder, Cheddar Cheese Sofkee and Bacon Braised Greens. I can confidently say that the Minorcan Clam Chowder is the most tasty chowder I've ever had in my life. Littleneck clams are mixed with chunks of potatoes, green peppers, Minorcan house sausage and more in a mullet broth - it was oh, so delicious. pH was very keen on the Cheddar Cheese Sofkee, a creamy, cheddar porridge. We added bacon tomato gravy on top for an extra $1, and it made all the difference to the flavor. The Bacon Braised Greens were tasty as well, although I do prefer my collard greens a little less tender.

For my main entree, I ordered Pilau, a Florida Cracker twist on shrimp and grits. Rice cakes are covered in tomato gravy, sautéed shrimp, Minorcan house sausage, onions, green peppers, and finally, a fried egg. Mixed, they all come together to deliver one flavorful bite. pH ordered the Beef Pot Roast, slow-braised in rye whisky, tomato and herbs, served with root vegetables and sofkee. It was a hearty, flavorful dish, and the cheddar sofkee paired perfectly with the pot roast.

With Seminole Heights' growth and hot foodie spots popping up at every corner, pH took to Google to see if there was some sort of Seminole Heights foodie tour. Since there weren't any, he decided to take matters into his own hands and create one himself, designing each invitation and getting them printed on matte, heavy card stock.

I had such an amazing day filled with nothing but delicious food. pH really went all in with this surprise, and my foodie heart is content!