Tag Archives: tallahassee

4th Annual North Florida VegFest

As the Birthday Week Princess, I decreed that we would spend Saturday late morning/early afternoon at the 4th Annual North Florida VegFest. Vegan vendors and educators from all across Florida gathered to celebrate all things vegan at Cascades Park here in Tallahassee. Unfortunately I have some health issues and dietary restrictions that preclude me from a full on vegan lifestyle, but I’m of the opinion that every vegan choice we make is a step in the right direction.

 I got distracted on our walk from the parking lot and spent about five minutes crouched down taking pictures of the daffodils. I didn’t see one IRL until I was in college, and they still fascinate me.  We didn’t get there early enough to secure a free swag bag, but we did manage to catch the vendors pretty much as soon as they opened.  The first (and best) purchase I made was from Simply Scented Candles. Homemade, hand poured and metal free, these little guys smell divine, and their creator couldn’t be a nicer guy. We chatted for a bit as my friend and I smelled every last candle. Finally, after much debate, I selected a mini “Grapefruit” and “Watermelon” candle in honor of the warmer weather. The two close seconds were the “Cup of Joe” and the ” Citrus Coconut”.   A few corporate vendors had set up tents offering samples, and after trying Peanut Broccoli Salad and some sugar free strawberry jam, my grocery list for the week got a bit longer.  Finally, after much browsing,  we made it over to the food tents. One of the first places I visited was Sweet Pea Cafe – they’re a local place and anytime I get the chance I HAVE to get a couple of their Green Tea Sugar Cookies. They are my favorite cookie of all time. Next door to them was the place I’ll be having my birthday dinner, Nefetari’s. They make a vegan mac and cheese that’ll curl the toes of even the most devout meat eater. Seriously.  The real star for us though was an Ethiopian restaurant from Jacksonville called Ibex. I’ve only had Ethiopian food twice before, but you better believe that any time I am going to be near Jacksonville from now on, I am hitting this place up. Everything, and I do mean everything, on their sampler plate was incredible. Things that I don’t normally care for, like beets or greens, I couldn’t get enough of. I actually regret not getting food to take home with us.   After loading up on far more food and beverages than we needed, we found a patch of grass near the amphitheater to enjoy our lunch and listen to some of the people who were presenting and performing. Afterwards, we walked around so I could make new furry friends. This may have been my favorite part of the festival.  This last little girl completely stole my heart. She is a deaf, a tripod, and the sweetest soul you could ever hope to meet. I may have gotten a little teary after scratching her ears; she has so many disadvantages, but her human clearly adores her and takes excellent care of her. As a parent of several special needs cats, it means a lot to me when I see other people who have animals who are “damaged”. Especially when they so clearly understand how wonderful they are and how lucky they are to have them. We had an absolute blast, and I can’t wait for next year. This was the perfect kick off for my Birthday Week, and I just hope the rest of the week will be able to live up to it.


Sweet South Cottage Country French Flea Market

Quite the name, right? This event takes place once a year, and though I’ve considered going in the past, the stars never really aligned to make it happen. This year, however, things fell into place perfectly so Saturday morning my friend Cassie and I found ourselves pulling into the farm at 9 with all the other “gotta get there early” shoppers and handing over our $10 to peruse what is supposed to be one of the best antique and craft fairs in Tallahassee.

I have to admit that I underestimated this event a little. I mean, I’ve been to local craft fairs and you can find some really incredible stuff, but the furniture at this event… it’s probably better for my bank account that I couldn’t fit most of the larger items in my vehicle.   I would have been HGTV worthy I promise you, oh well… maybe next year 😉We really lucked out; the weather was gorgeous for most of the morning, which is something that is never a given here in Florida, but it did start to warm up around lunch time. By that point, we’d made our way to the booths that were more small items and crafts. We also made some furry friends along the way, like this sweet guy named Diesel. I think Cassie would have stolen him if she had the chance.   I wanted this bed so badly! It was so gorgeously detailed and colorful. The kind of thing that would make Andy roll his eyes, but makes my little hippy heart sing.I bought a lot more things than I intended; one of the impulse purchases was some really incredible soap from a local vendor. I’ll post more information later after I’ve used it for a while and make sure it really is as good as I think it is.   On the way out, we picked up a few pastries from one of my favorite local places Trevas, who had a booth stocked with some of their most popular items. We made some final purchases and listened to some music by this talented father and son duo.If you happen to be in Tallahassee around this time next year, you should definitely plan to check this event out.


SoDough

Tallahassee has a new bakery, and I am delighted! Shocking, right? But you heard right, I’m here, I’m chubby, and I like pastries! SoDough opened its doors a week and a half ago, and the buzz around town has been palpable. They have no parking, limited seating, long lines, and it’s worth every damn minute you have to wait. I’ve been twice now for early morning weekend pastry runs with my friends and not a single thing we’ve tried has been anything less than amazing.

A group of us got up early and decided to make our first visit at 8 am the day of the grand opening.  The line was out the door, but the staff bustled around filling cases, offering coffee cups to people who were planning on purchasing so they’d have something to sip in line.   The crew behind the counter was hustling, filling orders, making/decorating donuts, and ringing up purchases, all while being helpful and pleasant to each and every customer.     After securing a box full of pastries apiece, we retreated to the seating nook near the window and proceeded to over indulge. We all got a couple different things so there was a lot of “try a piece of this” and “holy crap, this is amazing – you have to try this.” There were also some wordless happy dances performed after trying a bite of something especially amazing. Between what I’ve purchased and what my friends have let me try I can whole heartedly recommend the following: the Strawberry Lavender Sugar Donut, Delta Butter Donut (Andy’s favorite), Key Lime Pie Donut, Chocolate Stout Donut, the Indigo Shibori Bread, The Everything Bagel Kolache and the Mushroom Pastry (my favorite). The pastry case always has something new and interesting to try, but this at least gives you a place to start. 

Since both of my visits have been on the weekends, I am trying to figure out how to get over there during the week to see if things are a little less hectic. No luck so far, but it’s only been two weeks.


Dandelion Donuts – Step Up Tallahassee

Good morning readers! Do you like donuts? Do you like supporting local businesses? Do you live in/near Tallahassee? If so, I am about to make your day. Allow me to introduce you to Dandelion Donuts! They’re vegan, they’re organic, they’re delivered in a wonderful eco-friendly modified bicycle, and most importantly, they are INSANELY delicious. They had a launch party for their Indiegogo fundraiser this past Saturday at Sweet Pea Cafe, and Andy and I had to stop by and try things out.

Strawberry Basil! These were Andy’s favorites by far, and I have to admit that I love how they were delightfully pink without any artificial coloring.  The Summer Herb was my runner up favorite. It was perfectly tart and a tiny bit herbaceous. I could eat these all summer long! Double Chocolate with Cocoa Nibs! Me with my favorite, the Maple Facon. I don’t know how I have lived this long and never tried coconut bacon. It’s perfectly crispy and exactly what this donut needs to contrast that rich maple glaze.

To find out more about Dandelion Donuts and to support this local venture, check out their fundraiser Indiegogo page, and to receive updates on progress and availability be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram.


Im a Happy Happy Fat Kid

I’ve been in this town long enough to know about all of the great local places to find sweet treats, and I enjoy sharing my finds with pretty much anyone remotely interested. Consequently sometimes people assume that my delight in local means that I must also have a disdain for chains. Not true; well, not entirely true. I respect quality, and while I do try to help support local businesses, if it’s after hours or a day that there shop is closed? You better believe my chubby butt isn’t going to let that get in my way.

Recently, a new chain called Nothing Bundt Cakes opened up near a couple of the restaurants Andy and I frequent. Unfortunately for Andy, I found out it was open while I was out a dinner with a friend, and she and I hit it up before parting ways. Don’t feel too bad for him, though; I, of course, softened the blow of my betrayal by bringing him a mini cinnamon bundt.

This shop is undeniably cute; I mean, it is pretty much tailor made for baby showers. They have nine different flavors of cake all topped with their signature cream cheese “frosting” and are available in a couple different sizes.

I thought it was pretty cool that they had a tiered option (see above) it was something I hadn’t really considered with bundt cakes.

In addition to cakes, this shop also offers cute party supplies and kitchen items. I had a brief, but very real moment when I saw the Kate Spade display where I wanted to just throw my credit card at the cashier and buy ALL the things. Things I don’t even need, but I love Kate Spade so much and those lemons were just like  this gorgeous pair of wedges she had last year (which legit almost bought). Ultimately, I decided I wouldn’t get a lot of use out of lemon print wedges; stupid practicality, stupid.

Yes, my husband is in a tank top. It pains me, but he was on the tail end of a skin allergy flare and was doing his best to keep cool. This did not keep me from mocking him, though. I also gave him his bundt cake first, so the cats would swarm him and I could eat in peace.

Not entirely effective as you can see. Stanley figured out my game and might have gotten the teeniest bit of frosting from mommy. He ended up with most of it on his nose which led to me having to chase him down and wipe it off. I live a charmed life.

If you’re interested, three flavors have been tried so far; the double chocolate, cinnamon and pecan bundt cakes all get a big thumbs up from us. Be prepared though; it took me two sittings to make it through mine, those things are rich!