Mad Girl Eats Nona Blue In Orlando


Nona Blue Modern Tavern, 9685 Lake Nona Village Place Dr, Orlando, FL 32827.

A new eatery opened recently in the booming, golf-loving, perfectly manicured, high-end area of Lake Nona in SE Orlando. Celeb PGA golfer, Graeme McDowell, is one of the owners. Surprising to me, the interior wasn’t overrun with golf memorabilia. a Friday’s on cheesy golf acid. It was moody, cool-chic….and like its name describes, a modern tavern, luxe style. Definitely not “par for the course”. A large bar surrounded with TV screens, beautiful dining area plus a big covered patio for dining and yet another bar. Bonus! A place men will love, and women will be happy.

A broad menu to tickle anyone’s taste buds, first up from the Sharables, Salt & Pepper Calamari. Light fried rings, nicely seasoned, and served with lemon aioli and Thai chili sauce. An excellent start. Also from the Sharables, PEI Mussels in a garlicy butter sauce served with hearty toast. Wow.  The amount of mussels you receive is overwhelming, the flavor was fly-me-to-the-moon fantastic!

You can’t help but take notice of the Nona Blue Plate Special, GMAC & Cheese. It is a must-try. Hunks of lobster, surrounded by pasta and a trio of cheeses melted into an orgasmic sauce, only to be topped off by the sinful addition of smoked bacon. Filthy rich and loved every bite. When you go to a tavern, it is only right to try their burgers. The Nona Blue Burger, a huge burger with blue cheese, thick slices of smoked bacon, with the ‘fixin’s (L,T,O),  all on a toasted brioche. All is right with the world and this burger. Throw it back with a Guinness, and call it a day!

To finish, this doughnut fiend had to order the Hot Cider Doughnuts. Small round pieces of heaven, 2 of each flavor, chocolate, cinnamon, and red velvet. Plated beautifully with assorted squiggles of sauce. Yum. A hole in one with these…I guess it is actually a hole in 6.

What did we walk away with? Nona Blue’s generous portions had the doggie bags lined up! Mussels, Gmac and Cheese, and Nona Blue Burger are going home for a second round later.

Graeme McDowell and associates have a Championship win on their hands. The menu so interesting, I am chomping at the bit to return and try more!

4.5 out of 5 of me lucky charms, it was magically delicious!

Mad Girl Eats Reggae Shack Café in Gainesville


Reggae Shack Cafe, 619 W. University Ave, Gainesville, FL  32601.

Planning my trip to Gainesville to attend Graduation, I did my homework on where to eat lunch. Perusing through the “Best Of” lists, Reggae Shack Cafe` piqued my interest, their menu intrigued me. Ok, done. Let’s get some Jamaican food, Mon!

A restaurant with the word ‘Shack’ in it, along with being near the University… I didn’t hope for much, ambience wise. Don’t judge a book by it’s name… bad! The interior had a cool chic relaxed vibe, with full table service. Every staff person I encountered was welcoming, friendly, knowledgable and helpful. Shout out to Kalvin, my Server. He went above and beyond and was a genuine delight. Good people.

Undecided by what to order and a bit overwhelmed by the amazing menu, Kalvin was kind enough to ask the kitchen for a taste of their different meats. I tasted Curry Goat, Oxtail, Brown Stew Chicken, Jerk Chicken, Curry Chicken. Each one, mad good! All entrees come with a side of rice and peas (red kidney beans), steamed cabbage, and plantains (a fave). The curry was delicious, not your average yellow store-bought spice. This was greenish and had a level of authenticity you have to taste to believe. True Caribbean flavor. Kalvin said the jerk spice was very spicy, it was indeed, but authentic and delish. The Brown Stew Chicken and the Oxtail with the brown sauce were what I was feeling. A sweet hint in the rich brown sauce was my ticket to Jamaican paradise. Bring on the Oxtail! You can’t leave without having Jerk Chicken, so bring that too!

Oh me oh my. The oxtail was tender, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth extraordinary. I mixed my rice and peas in with the brown sauce and I couldn’t put my fork down! It was on! Everything on my plate kept me wanting more. The Jerk Chicken was very hot and spicy, but the heat of the spice didn’t overpower the flavor. Sometimes the heat is all you get from a dish that spicy, but you get to enjoy it all with this plate. Their slogan is “Culture so rich you can taste it”, no truer words spoken.

I had to run or be late getting to the ceremony. I definitely will return and devour more of this menu. Next visit, the “Dutty” fries, Curry Palm Hearts, and dessert first. 😉

If you’re traveling on I-75 passing thru Gainesville, hop off at the Archer Rd exit and make your way 5 miles east, to Reggae Shake Cafe. You won’t be sorry, only addicted.

Tips:  Eat in or take out available.  Many fab vegan and vegetarian dishes offered. Inexpensive meter parking on the street, bring 2 quarters for an hour. Dimes and nickels accepted too. Open 11am – 10pm everyday. Bam!

5 out of 5 Don’t worry be extremely happy points.  🙂

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