Take a hike

When we moved to Florida almost three years ago everything was new. New restaurants, new places, new adventures….. then we started to fall into a routine of ‘favorites.’ (Netflix and delivery also took a toll on our adventuring and trying new things…). So for 2020 we set a goal to get out and try more new things. Woo hoo! (A nice vague goal, huh?)

For our first 2020 adventure we took our new pup, Winnie, to Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens.

Dogs (on leashes) are allowed on the trials, but not in some areas of the gardens. We meandered around on the trails for a couple of hours and I never ran into an area where dogs weren’t allowed. So there’s plenty to do/see/sniff with your pup.

Most of the trials are fairly ‘rustic,’ meaning bumpy and filled with tree roots and such. I saw people running, but they must have way better balance than I because I’d have been on my face. I’d say these trials are great for most ages that have decent balance and footing. There are some small climbs (this IS Florida, we don’t really have ‘hills’) and plenty of boardwalks. Mom enjoyed checking out the labels on the various trees and native plants along the trails.

There was a nice picnic area with several tables nestled under a stand of Live Oaks. Next time we’ll bring our lunch and plan a whole afternoon.

There were restrooms, but they looked ‘rustic’ as well. I didn’t go in to check them out so I can’t say for certain, but there were restrooms. And according to the website they’re handicapped accessible.

This will definitely be on our list of places to visit again soon!

Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe

A few weeks ago I noticed the sign for Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe and immediately googled the menu.  Jackpot!  Right on the front page of the menu it said that most items either were, or could be Gluten Free.

I’ve been trying to drag Mom and Brian there, but they kept making faces at me.  I like really Greek food… the more olives, grape leaves, lamb and feta that you can throw at a dish the better.  Mom and Brian aren’t quite into it that much, so I had to keep giving them the menu and whining to get them to go.

It’s a good thing it took me several tries to get them to go since apparently Taziki’s didn’t open until that very day.  We missed the grand opening event by an hour, but they were still quite busy.  The owner, John, came over to greet us and chat about the menu.  I told him that we were excited to see so many Gluten Free options on the menu.  (I like to make tell the owners/staff/chefs how much I appreciate the GF options.  I know it can be more work to keep things safe for us GF people and I like to make sure they know how much it is appreciated… and that it affects our decision to choose a restaurant.)

John was super sweet and knowledgable about the menu.  He mentioned a lemon chicken soup and since Brian was working on a cold I asked if that one was GF.  He thought for a moment and then replied that no, it wasn’t because the stock had wheat.  I was impressed that he knew.  Later when he visited our table to check on us he told us that everyone who works at the cafe has to take tests on all the menu items and has to know what is in everything.  Nice.

I ordered the Taziki’s Feast without the skordalia sauce, since it isn’t GF.


 Taziki’s Feast with the Chargrilled Lamb – Fresh grilled lamb, carefully seasoned, and served with our homemade skordalia sauce 

It was fabulous! I really liked the salad too.  Could have used more olives, but that could just be me and my olive obsession.

You’ll notice the Pita triangle on the edge of my plate.  Not Gluten Free.   I mentioned it to John when he stopped by to check up on us.  I said it would be nice if they had a button or something to denote Gluten Free orders to prevent cross contamination.  He was very apologetic and said they did have a GF button (or something similar) and that the kitchen should have known better.  They’d only been open a few hours, and it was crazy busy.  I was impressed with how well they did with our orders as it was, so I didn’t really want to complain… just point it out.  It was obvious and I was able to remove it and just avoid that area of the salad.

Mom and Brian really enjoyed their lunches too.  Brian had salmon, Mom had shrimp and I stole nibbles from both.  I think I’ll order the shrimp next time.  It was quite tasty with the lemon and butter.

All in all I’m pretty excited about the new restaurant.  They’re impressive with they’re understanding of the menu and all the ingredients.  The Pita Triangle guy needs a bit of work, but it was the first two hours, so….  The food was delicious, fresh and bright and the restaurant is pretty and spacious.  I’m looking forward to going back soon.  Mom and Brian even agree… I win again!

14035 Beach Blvd.
Suite 8
Jacksonville, FL 32224


Larry’s Giant Subs

We stumbled across Larry’s Giant Subs with the help of the Find Me Gluten Free app the last time we were in Florida. Since our move to Florida Larry’s has quickly become a favorite.

I’ve been to three different Larry’s locations and each one has been great about reassuring us of the gluten-less-ness of our sandwiches.

The first time they handed me my sandwich I thought they’d made a mistake and given me ‘real’ bread. I tried to hand it back, but the lady just laughed and said it really was their gluten free bread. It’s really good GF bread… fluffy with a nice flavor, and not crumbly or grainy like some GF breads. Like most sub sandwich breads, it’s still more bread than I want/need and I tend to yank hunks off and discard them. Mom liked the GF wrap… I need to try that next time. She said the flavor was good and it seemed to hold up nicely…’bendy’ would be the technical term, I suppose.

It was a $2.25 up charge for the GF bread on the 8″ sub and $3.00 on the 12″

They could be a little more generous with the meat on the deli sandwiches, but the chicken breast sandwiches are just the right amount.

All in all, I love that sub sandwiches are available to me again. Few GF carry out options travel well…. It’s nice being able to pick something up quickly and take it home or to the beach… wherever.

Epik Burger

One of the (many) things that I am loving about our new life in Florida is how easy it is to find good Gluten Free food. I am blown away by how many places offer delicious gf options and how no one (so far) treats us like freaks. Back in Missouri we were always getting the eye-roll or the blank stare when we’d say we were gf. So far everyone has been nice, understanding and reassuring about the safety and gluten-less-ness of our food. It’s been an amazing relief. 

Epik Burger has quickly become one of my favorite places to eat in Jacksonville. There are lots of great sounding places with good reviews on the Find Me Gluten Free app, but I’m struggling not to ask for Epik Burger all the time!  

Maybe I wouldn’t feel so bad if I’d at least try a different burger each time I went. There are a ton of gluten free options, but I’ve already fallen in love with the Epikurean Burger… I want to try other burgers… but it’s sooo good…. I’m addicted. 

Epikurean Burger -Maytag Bleu Cheese, Truffle Mousse, Pancetta, Mushrooms, Blackberry Jam, Balsamic Mayo, Green Onions, Parmesan Cheese

Yes, blackberry jam, I am so serious… it’s insane… with the Bleu cheese… oh! 

The gluten free bun is really good too. Not the best I’ve ever had, it’s just slightly on the crumbly side, but not bad. 

And what overly indulgent burger would be complete without an equally indulgent side of Bacon Cheese Fries?! (The French fries are GF too!) 

Bacon Cheese Fries –
Cheese Sauce, Bacon, Green Onion, Jalapeno

Epik Burger
12740 Atlantic Blvd
Unit 105
Jacksonville, FL 32225