The Jax Cash Mob is invading San Marco Square Saturday June 30th with a band of mobbers who all want to shop local.
Take your community’s economic future in your hands and demonstrate your support for local small business owners. When you buy local, our community gets more for it’s money. Nearly 70% of the money spent at locally-owned small businesses stays within the local Jacksonville economy.
Pizza Palace is the meetup spot where at 11AM the cash mob site will be unveiled. Mobbers will then head to the location and each spend between $10 and $20 as a demonstration of your support to the buy local movement. Afterwards, post-mob drinks and socializing will be held at Pizza Palace at 12:30pm. Mobbers are free to discover the many wonderful stores that make up the San Marco Square business district.
What is a cash mob?
A cash mob is a group of people who assemble at a local business and all buy items from that business. The purpose of these mobs is to support both the local businesses and the overall community. Think of the cash mob as a “shop local” flash mob created to spur local economic stimulus! The ten dollars demonstrates your personal commitment and effort to support a local independent retailer while having fun doing it as a part of a larger group. Cash mobs also have a social and community-building component as the interaction between community-minded individuals that meet at these events has a multiplier effect that breeds new projects and contacts.
How do I participate?
Here are the rules:
1. Show up at Pizza Palance at 11AM. Pizza Palace is located at 1959 San Marco Blvd.
2. Spend $10-$20 at a local store (we’ll reveal the store at 1pm)
3. Get connected! Take the opportunity to connect with others in our community interested in Going LO by meeting three new people at the event.
Why cash mob?
When we buy local, from local businesspeople, wealth is both created and retained in the community. Think of what an impact we can all have on our community by simply choosing to shop local. We each do a little. We all do a lot.
~Contributed by MySanMarco.com
Bakery Moderne is closed on Mondays, but pastry chef and owner Nathalie Mockler is hard at work kneading bread dough. While Riverside sleeps, she arrives at 4:30 a.m. daily to prepare her signature baked goods and brew fresh coffee from local Bold Bean Coffee Roasters.
Her hand-shaped artisanal breads, from classic French loaves and croissants to contemporary sundried tomato-basil and asiago-cracked peppercorn, are made from scratch with organic herbs from her garden and without preservatives. It’s “a three-hour process just to make a small batch of French bread” and she’s “got some biceps” from the daily workout. The owner/baker takes a quick break to share how she turned her one-time hobby into Riverside’s hip European-style bakery and café.
Originally trained as an architect, the Jacksonville native earned an architecture degree minoring in art history from the University of Miami. For years she helped design educational and institutional facilities such as the Student Union Parking Garage at Florida State College’s Kent campus and the Social Sciences building at the University of North Florida. While completing those projects, she built a dedicated following among family and friends for making delicious multi-tiered wedding cakes part-time for nearly eight years. She admits that lengthy design and construction processes couldn’t compete with “the immediate gratification” of “putting a smile on a customer’s face right away” with cakes. Eventually she pursued formal pastry training at Florida Culinary Institute in West Palm Beach (now Lincoln Culinary Institute), followed by a three-year stint as a pastry assistant at Epping Forest Yacht Club.
A Riverside resident, Ms. Mockler scouted local vacancies and soon discovered this light, airy space with its tall glass windows, high ceilings and exposed brick walls at the corner of Stockton and Myra Streets. In December 2009, she opened Bakery Moderne with its art nouveau lettering harking back to her architecture and art history roots. The café is located across the street from the John Gorrie Junior High School, where painstaking renovations have burnished the school into an architectural gem (the couple that spearheaded the effort, Wayne and Delores Weaver, recently stopped into the café after reviewing the project’s final “punch list”). The pastry chef hopes the Gorrie development will further revitalize the neighborhood. Giving back to the community is important to her, and the owner/chef frequently donates baked goods to local organizations, such as the Sulzbacher Center, Riverside Fine Arts and Lender Processing Services’ charity events.
At an earlier visit, a lunch-time diner raved to me about the fresh breads and savory quiches. Mockler is especially proud of her Cuban sandwich made with slow-roasted pork and fresh-baked Cuban bread borrowed from her Cuban grandmother’s recipe. But she likes “to keep an open mind” to customer suggestions or ideas for new items. Her husband helps out “a lot behind the scenes” cooking up corn chowder and St. Augustine datil sausage and spicy black bean soups to accompany her fresh breads. With her high-quality standards, one of her biggest challenges has been to find trained staff to help with baking tasks. Admitting that “sweets are her first love,” the chef reminds diet-conscious customers that they don’t have to avoid all pastries. “It’s all about moderation and portion-size,” she says. “Our mini-tarts are all about portion control” and “fresh fruit is good to have.”
With a busy holiday season right around the corner, she notes that fresh petit fours, dinner rolls, fruit pies and Yule logs will be in demand. The bakery also delivers catering services for special events, including dessert tables, breakfast and lunch platters and custom cakes for client meetings and events. So whether it’s baked goods for breakfast, lunch or a special occasion, be sure to stop by Bakery Moderne, 869 Stockton Street, where flour power rules.
Chef Eddy Escriba, Executive Chef at Uptown Market, demonstrates how to make a delicious Arugula Roast Beef Salad. A Jacksonville favorite serving breakfast and lunch, you won’t be disappointed with what you taste! http://www.uptownmarketjax.com
Originally posted on HealthSource]]>
Thank you, Southern Living, for highlighting the terrific restaurants, boutiques and galleries of Riverside, San Marco and Downtown in your October 2011 issue. The article is billed as “a neighborhood-specific guide to the best places to eat, drink, shop and socialize in the River City,” and three of the four neighborhoods profiled are right here in our historic urban core.
Coincidence? We don’t think so. These are authentic neighborhoods with great architecture, beautiful public spaces and parks, tree-lined streets and interesting people. Our amazing locally owned, locally operated stores play a huge role in helping preserve the unique character of our compact, walkable communities, and the businesses highlighted in the article all operate at the highest levels of excellence.
Southern Living, we’re sending you some love!]]>
Soups have long been popular comfort foods to help maintain good health or to calm jangled nerves after a hectic day. But at Riverside’s Soup’s On, owner and chef Keith Mullaney has elevated this humble dish to new levels.
Since Memorial Day 2011, Mullaney and the staff at his King Street restaurant have been stirring up fresh takes on classic soups like French Au Gratin with Jarlsberg Cheese. They’re also creating new favorites, such as Sweet Potato & Maple Syrup, Banana Coconut & Lemongrass, and even chilled dessert soups, such as Gingered Carrot & Apricot. On steamy afternoons, his fresh fruit “soupersicles” offer healthy, frozen alternatives to sugary, calorie-laden popsicles. Patrons can relax at sidewalk café tables or duck inside the cozy restaurant with its open kitchen and tropical-colored paintings. Rows of refrigerated and frozen pints of soup also offer a variety of quick, take-away meals for busy consumers.
A member of a musical and artistic family, Mullaney grew up expressing his creativity through food, and has worked with diverse chefs coast-to-coast. While managing restaurants, Mullaney discovered he “wasn’t happy with the quality [of soups] I was getting from most of the vendors,” so he decided to develop his own recipes. He first introduced his contemporary approach to soups in university towns in northern and southern California where soup lovers wanted “to stay in shape and fit in their skinny jeans.” His second Soup’s On shop in Baltimore, MD is still in operation and yielded the inspiration for one of his personal favorites, Maryland Crab in Tomato Vegetable Broth (although he’s also partial to his Potato Leek Kielbasa soup).
Expanding to Jacksonville allowed Mullaney to be closer to his spouse’s family and to introduce more healthy eating options into the local restaurant scene. He scouted possible locations for six months, ultimately choosing Riverside/Avondale for its proximity to the bustling St. Vincent’s Medical Center (where his Soup’s On truck makes regular deliveries). He also likes the neighborhood’s “eclectic” vibe with “its wide mix of people, young and old, and vegan palates.” Recently, he was pleasantly surprised to meet his first Soup’s On “groupie”– a Jacksonville customer who previously enjoyed eating at his Los Angeles and Baltimore eateries.
Mullaney prides himself on creating his soup stock from scratch and changing up his meat, fish, vegetarian and vegan soup offerings every day. He also offers a variety of freshly made salads and hot and cold sandwiches. He blends and toasts custom spices for his soups, including traditional and exotic spices obtained from the Jacksonville branch of Penzeys Spices. Through his vendors, he seeks out natural and organic ingredients–especially important for his vegan recipes. He hopes to work with more local farms and to participate in area farmers’ markets in the coming months.
As with any creative person, he likes to experiment and draws inspiration from those around him, including his customers. From time to time, patrons ask him to make or add a special twist to their favorite soup recipes. He notes that if a customer’s recipe “works out well for us” and “is put on the menu, each time we make that soup they get it for free.” In addition, he has shared his love of soup and healthy eating with local youth groups, hospitals and churches.
As an entrepreneur, he notes that to be successful, “you can’t look at it as work–look at it as something you enjoy doing.” He believes putting “a lot of dedication and heart” into your efforts will positively impact your business—and evidently one’s appearance, as well. It is hard to believe that the youthful-looking Mullaney has spent nearly four decades in the food services industry. Perhaps fresh, healthy soup is the true fountain of youth in Florida.
Get your bowl of liquid rejuvenation at Soup’s On, 1526 King Street, order by telephone at (904) 387-9394, or on the web at www.soupsonjax.com.
For 15 years, Miss Marva has been serving up delicious food reminiscent of her native Guyana at Caribbean Stone Restaurant, 217 W. 8th Street. In 1996, Miss Marva took over the restaurant from her brother who, at the time, was only serving vegetarian dishes. Revamping the menu was the first order of business and we, the customers, are the beneficiaries of that change! As Miss Marva said, people want to eat meat, too.
While the chicken curry is a customer favorite, on a recent visit, Miss Marva served pepper steak with pigeon peas and rice. The meat was fork tender and the sauce flavorful. Thank goodness for the rice which helped to soak up every last drop of the delicious sauce. Other customer favorites include the shrimp curry with cabbage and the stewed beef. She also makes goat curry, salt fish with spinach and other delicious entrees. There are also vegetarian dishes available upon request.
Just as if she were cooking for her family, the menu changes based on the ingredients available and the inspiration of Miss Marva. However, she has been known to make any dish on the menu if requested. So, it is a good idea to call ahead (554-9033) to see what’s cooking or to request a favorite!
While Miss Marva has been making it happen in the kitchen, she has not been able to devote much time to renovating the restaurant itself. So, SAMBA (Springfield Area Merchants and Business Association) and Preservation SOS have gotten together to “Make It Happen” for the restaurant and Miss Marva. Preservation SOS is an organization dedicated to preserve and restoring the structures and fabric that make up the Historic District of Springfield, Jacksonville, Florida.
In a 3 phase project, SAMBA and Preservation SOS will beautify the restaurant’s exterior and interior, utilizing materials and labor largely donated or steeply discounted by area merchants and suppliers. The exterior design was created by Jason Fisher of Content Design Group*. Mr. Fisher, who is also First Vice President of SAMBA, wanted to use a color scheme to highlight Miss Marva’s Caribbean roots. The crimped metal awnings add to the Caribbean themed design. Mr. Fisher’s
design adds interest and dimension to an otherwise flat exterior through the use of color and the awnings. The exterior painting will be tackled by volunteers from Preservation SOS and SAMBA (and whomever else wants to lead a hand, hint, hint) in the second phase of the project.
The first phase, the landscaping will be tackled this weekend beginning at 8 a.m. Created by Laura Byres of Yard Chicks, Inc.*, the landscape design focused on xeriscaping or using plants which are low maintenance and reduce the need for irrigation. Ms. Byres also included a beautiful stone path feature to set Caribbean Stone apart from its neighbors. The plants have largely been donated by Williams Plant Nursery and Breaking Ground Contracting, Inc.* The stones have been supplied by Stone Plus, Inc. at an extremely reasonable cost. Florida Transom has donated new wheel stops for the parking lot as part of the exterior renovation. While the labor is mostly a volunteer force, Steve Johnson Home Repairs will be leading their skills to the project.
The interior renovation is being lead by Allison Behringer of Sweet Pete’s All Natural Sweets*and SAMBA board member.
This portion of the project will be tackled at a later date. But Sargent Upholstery* has already committed to re-cover Miss Marva’s chairs to get the interior renovation started.
Come and partake of Caribbean Stone Restaurant’s delicious food and watch the changes happen! You could even lend a hand for this extreme makeover-small business style. Rumor has it that Miss Marva will be serving up chicken and rice this weekend.
* denotes a SAMBA member]]>
Jerome Brown’s barbecue sauces have gone from being handmade in his restaurant’s kitchen to being mass-produced for sale in 14 Sam’s Club stores.
Great story via Barbecue sauce gets ready to spread.
Every business needs a Katrina Brown. With a degree in business and finance, and huge personality, she pushed her father to patent and market his barbecue sauce.
“He always had a good attitude, and I’ve always wanted to be just like him,” she said. “So I said: ‘You know what? People should have your sauce on every table.’ I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool, Dad, to walk into the store and see your face on the bottle?’ ”
You may know about City Kidz Ice Cream Cafe’s many different flavors of hand dipped ice cream and wonderful sandwiches and salads but did you know that a new brand of premium ice cream is being developed right at the Cafe? This Friday, you will have the opportunity to get in on the action.
The City Kidz Food Science Educational Laboratory is designed to provide local middle and high school students’ access to an innovative food science program. The program, hosted by Pastor Clinton Bush of City Kidz, uses a Cornell University approved curriculum. http://foodscience.cornell.edu/ Using a hands-on approach, students are taught food science by professors and food industry executives from throughout the country.
The students have successfully completed the program and have created their own signature Vanilla flavor by combining natural Vanilla extracts from Vanilla Beans from different origins around the world. The students’ flavor, Viva Vanilla, will be incorporated into their own branded Ice Cream to be marketed to local supermarkets. A portion of the ice cream sales will go to the City Kidz Food Science Educational Lab Endowment Fund, managed by Community Foundation In Jacksonville Inc. The Fund will be used to offset college cost by providing scholarships for students who go one to study food science. The program has been featured in the industry publication, Dairy Foods. http://www.dairyfoods.com/Articles/Departments/BNP_GUID_9-5-2006_A_10000000000001064136
The sensory taste testing for the students’ Viva Vanilla Ice Cream will take place at City Kidz Ice Cream Cafe on Friday, June 24, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. A donation of $5.00 is being requested to help offset the costs of package design. Come out and show your support for Jacksonville’s students!
Vegetarians are not in pursuit of the latest diet craze; many simply seek a well-balanced diet or choose to not eat meat for a variety of other personal reasons. It’s a lifestyle that, if practiced properly, has the potential to decrease disease and increase strength and endurance. Veggie lovers seem to be on to something!
You may not realize it but Downtown Jacksonville has an array of restaurants that cater to all your veggie needs. Akel’s Delicatessen offers plenty of great meals. Stop in to try the Veggie Log, a fresh Feta, lettuce, spinach and black olives wrap. Many claim it’s the best wrap Downtown. The deli also offers two pitas named after the owner’s daughters, Leana’s Oasis and The Alexis Sandwich – both served with hummus.
For those who crave the taste of meat but don’t indulge, Jax City Café offers veggie dogs and burgers, made just the way you like it.
They also have other meat alternative meals available. Jax City Café’s most popular meal is the meatball sub with organic marinara and a choice of mozzarella or American cheese. Of course it’s vegetarian friendly, or it wouldn’t be a part of this blog post! Jax City Café also offers fresh baked croissants, pastries, subs and a plethora of other great meals for both the non-vegetarian and vegetarian.
From the outside, Chamblin’s Uptown looks as though it’s only a bookstore but hidden inside is a charming café. While reading a
book, try the Veggie #1 Wrap, made with homemade hummus, a variety of vegetables and roasted pumpkin seeds. Who doesn’t love roasted pumpkin seeds? A meal that could be eaten breakfast or lunch is their Big Bang Bagel loaded with melted cheddar, red bell peppers, sprouts, and spring mix. If you’re not in the mood for a sandwich, Chamblin’s also makes vegan and vegetarian soups.
Vegetarian Prix Fixe Thursday at Chew is an enjoyable place to surround yourself with friends and delicious homemade food. Chew serves food that is sourced locally and from around the world. Each Thursday for $22 a person you can enjoy a 3-course-dinner veggie style. The menu changes every Thursday so you’re able to spoil your taste buds with a different meal each time.
Vegetarian or not these are great local restaurants to chow down on some mouth watering meals. Akel’s Delicatessen, Jax City Café, and Chamblin’s Uptown are not the only restaurants to offer vegetarian meals Downtown, so make sure to check out Downtown Vision’s Directory for the full list.
Chef Anthony Bourdain, of Kitchen Confidential fame, says you can tell a lot about a restaurant by the trucks that pull up outside its delivery entrance.
If the trucks are from reputable vendors of seafood or meat, or are emblazoned with the names of local farms, that’s a good sign. But if the restaurant’s food deliveries are offloaded from “sinister, unmarked vans,” or “those big tractor trailers from national outfits (the ones that say, “Servicing Restaurants and Institutions for Fifty Years”),” that should be a warning flag. “Remember what institutions they’re talking about,” Bourdain cautions, “Cafeterias, schools and prisons.”
It goes without saying that you don’t want your neighborhood chef to get his fish from the same folks that also deliver the restaurant’s cleaning supplies. But dedicated GoLO’ers know that the best chefs hold themselves to a higher standard. They work hard to incorporate fresh, locally sourced ingredients in their cooking–and not just because locally grown food is unquestionably fresher than meat, seafood and produce that has had to travel thousands of miles to reach your plate.
There’s the deeper question of environmental sustainability at work. If your produce or meat or seafood remains a generic, anonymous product that seems simply to come from a warehouse somewhere, it’s easier to overlook the damage that industrial farming, fishing and livestock production have inflicted on our landscapes and oceans. If instead you choose to enjoy food seasonally and with knowledge of its origin and harvest, you can support farmers, growers and fishermen who are acting responsibly, which in turn will help create more sustainable methods of food production.
Fortunately, our GoLO neighborhoods are blessed with standout restaurants like ‘town, Bistro Aix and Orsay that have taken local food sourcing to heart.
Scott Ostrander, Executive Chef of Avondale’s ‘town restaurant, is a New York native who grew up on a farm. He believes in the importance of creating strong relationships with farmers, and has constructed ‘town’s menus around seasonal dishes with ingredients sourced only from local farms and specialty food purveyors. So how does he define local? As Chef Ostrander told the King’s Bay Periscope, “I try to keep it to no more than a two-hour drive. For poultry, pork and beef, you have to veer out a little farther, but for produce I try to stay within about 50 miles.”
Chef Tom Gray, of San Marco’s Bistro Aix, has been a proponent of local, sustainable sourcing since his early career in New York and the Napa Valley. He admits that sourcing products from multiple smaller vendors, many of them local, requires a lot of time and energy, but insists it’s worth it. “Relationships build trust for me with my purveyors and for my guests with me.”
Chef Brian Siebenschuh of Restaurant Orsay adds that there are also economic benefits to eating locally. “Obviously, it’s great to know where your food comes from and use fresh ingredients, but–beyond that–every dollar spent on local, responsibly produced food is a dollar that is not going to industrial food producers.”
So if locally raised and produced food is better tasting, better for the environment, better for local economies, and better for your health, how can the novice locavore find quality local food purveyors that support best practices for the planet?
We’ve asked our great GoLO chefs to share their secret sources and spill the beans about how to make sure you’re buying food that is simple, delicious and sustainable. Here are their recommendations. We urge you to share yours!
JACKSONVILLE LOCAVORE SHOPPING SOURCES
According to Chef Gray, late spring/early summer is a “good season” for locally grown north Florida produce. Showing nicely at this time are field peas, eggplant, the start of good tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, pole beans and peaches. Gray advises that whether you are buying at
the most important thing a consumer needs to do is ask questions. “Ask the vendors, point blank, where their farm is located and if they grew the items they are selling. You must be specific and be willing to ask the questions, otherwise, you might not be getting what you presume to be locally-grown and farm-fresh.”
Chef Ostrander adds a special caution about tomatoes: Refrigerating tomatoes ruins their flavor and, unfortunately, state law requires that all tomatoes sold in Florida grocery stores be refrigerated while transported. He recommends smelling the tomato’s root end; if it smells of hay and the fields, then it’s fresh. No smell? It’s been refrigerated and won’t taste like a tomato should. Chef Ostrander gets his tomatoes from a trusted Jacksonville Farmers Market vendor, Pete Yarbrough (Pete’s Produce stand, 458-6145).
Meats and Poultry:
When selecting seafood, Chef Gray advises, “Again, ask the questions to ensure you are purchasing local items as the vendors know their sourcing and should be willing to answer any questions you may have. The same goes for restaurants. “Being an inquisitive consumer will help ensure you are getting what you expect. For example, if the chef or server cannot tell you where that particular fish on the menu was sourced, don’t buy it.”
A note for Locavore novices: Not sure how to prepare the variety of produce that is sure to show up at your local farmer’s market or in your CSA basket? Sustainable Springfield has teamed up with local chefs who believe in local sourcing for their ingredients, and offers “Cooking in Season” classes at the start of each season to instruct home cooks in how to prepare seasonal offerings.]]>