{Pensacola Eats + Drinks} George Artisan Bakery & Bistro

George Artisan Bakery & Bistro | George Artisan | Pensacola | The Gallivant

This just in, lovely people--I have a new favorite nosh spot in town, and I know you are going to love it. George Artisan Bakery & Bistro, from it's exposed brick and marble surfaces (I have yet to see that combo go wrong...) to its artisan bread and pastries, coffee, and "South meets South" themed fare is guaranteed to steal your heart the way it has mine. Keep reading if you would like to hear more...

George Artisan Bakery & Bistro | George Artisan | Pensacola | The Gallivant

For the past few summers the way to my heart has been pretty simple--a chilled glass of crisp rosé.  (I know, I know, #yeswayrosé) When I walked into George Artisan Bakery & Bistro a few weeks ago to do some research for an article I was writing, Luba Lazi, hostess extraordinaire and wife to Chef George himself, read my mind. After introducing herself in her slight Russian accent she headed behind the bar while exclaiming “Let’s start with rosé!” 

Don’t have to ask me twice.

Rosé Flight | George Artisan | Pensacola | The Gallivant

As I sat down at the lovely marble counter Luba, who curates the wine list at George, explained to me her summer special. a flight of three different rosés. I took sips of each one, all remarkably different, but, to my surprise, loved the fuller-bodied yet still nice and dry Mas Carlot Rosé the best. 

Rosé Flight | George Artisan | Pensacola | The Gallivant

After the flight Luba poured me one of her favorite concoctions, aptly named the “Luba’s Favorite”—champagne poured over fresh strawberries and ice and served with an iced tea spoon. “To eat the champagne soaked strawberries with at then end.” She explained, smiling.

The simply but elegant cocktail is popular in the South of France, a place which hugely inspired Chef George when creating the Provençal-style menu for George Artisan. In his own words, his style is all about “highlighting the freshest ingredients, not hiding them.”

Luba's Favorite | George Artisan | Pensacola | The Gallivant

Luba and George, who both worked in New York City before moving to Pensacola,  exude passion for what they do and their attention to detail is exceptional. Everything about George Artisan is hand-crafted—from the food to the space, and their “South meets South” theme is foodie genius. It’s all about the experience, and they take good service seriously.

“I consider it an honor anytime anyone walks into our restaurant.” Chef George humbly remarked. 

Luba's Favorite | George Artisan | Pensacola | The Gallivant

Luba insisted that I try the Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta, which proved to be divine. Not something I would normally think to order for myself (total choca-holic), the panna cotta is flavored with real vanilla bean, as evidenced by the slight grittiness of the flecks of vanilla. The custard is bathed in fresh grapefruit juice, which keeps it from being cloyingly sweet. I took a bite, and another, and then before I knew it I had cleaned the dish…that good. The perfect little “something sweet” to cleanse the palate. 

Panna Cotta| George Artisan | Pensacola | The Gallivant

After drinks (and dessert--woops) Chef George came out with a slew of his favorite summer dishes in tow, including homemade burrata, tuna niçoise, seafood salad, and beef carpaccio.

The burrata immediately captured my attention, with it’s thicker, pillowy outer layer, which enveloped a delightfully creamy and soft oozy center. Such a step above the typical mozzarella capresé. 

“Burrata is one of those things like iberico ham and foie-gras—a real specialty ingredient.” Chef George mentioned, after explaining how they make the burrata in-house. 

The dish, completed by a medley of heirloom tomatoes and greens, drizzled olive oil, aged balsamic and cracked pepper on top would make for a fantastic light summer lunch.  In fact, I felt like I had been transported to the Cinque Terre after my first bite. One can dream...

Burratta | George Artisan | Pensacola | The Gallivant

The beef carpaccio, a perpetual favorite of mine, was also delicious—topped with shavings of parmesan, tomatoes, peppery arugula, flakes of sea salt, and a drizzle of rich olive oil. 

Beef Carpaccio | George Artisan | Pensacola | The Gallivant
George Artisan Bakery & Bistro | George Artisan | Pensacola | The Gallivant

How cool is that wine display?!

George Artisan Bakery & Bistro | George Artisan | Pensacola | The Gallivant
George Artisan Bakery & Bistro | George Artisan | Pensacola | The Gallivant

Needless to say, I was one happy girl. As we finished chatting and nibbling Luba remarked, “Pensacola is interesting. There are a lot of people who are well educated and well traveled, who know good food. We have just given them a place to satisfy that.”

…This little foodie could not agree more. Next time you are downtown Pensacola make sure to stop by George Artisan Bakery & Bistro, whether for an expresso and almond croissant (which just made the #1 spot in InWeekly’s 100 Things to Eat + Drink This Summer issue), brunch, or a delicious lunch. It’s a great place for a day date, or to take friends from out of town whom you want to impress with all that Pensacola has to offer. Also, if you hustle over early in the morning on the weekends you just may be able to snag a freshly made baguette for dinner that night. Everyone set their alarms for tomorrow morning! 

George Artisan Bakery & Bistro, 1123 W. Garden St, Pensacola, FL (850) 912 4655

What is everyone up to this weekend? Hope it is a great one!



P.S. All opinions are, as usual, my own. 

P.S.S.  Like what you are reading? Go ahead and subscribe by entering your email address into the form on the left-hand side of this page so that you never miss a post! Or, you can follow me on Bloglovin. Also, follow along with The Gallivant on  pinterest, instagram,  and Twitter!

A Flight School Update + Thoughts on "The Next Thing"

Happy Friday people! The past few weeks were busy, and I have wanted to spent as much time as possible with John when we are both off because it has seemed like we have been on opposite schedules a bit, hence the lack of blogging. I am getting back in a groove though, and am so excited to share some recent adventures! First off, though, in accordance with one of my blogging goals for 2015, a general update and some thoughts about where we are in the flight school pipeline.

The past few months have flown by, and a couple of exciting things have happened in terms of our flight school journey: John finished Primary, selected Helicopters, started Advanced training for Helos, and promoted to LTJG! Luckily, Advanced for Helos is in Pensacola (Milton actually) so we didn’t have to move. We were so excited to get Helicopters because John has been pretty sure that is what he wanted to fly since day one of flight school.

While it seemed like API and Primary dragged on a bit a times due to cancelations,  since John started Advanced he has been flying through (see what I did there?) and we have started talking about potential winging dates. Crazy, right? We have been in Pensacola for almost a year and a half, and even though we have about four to five more months here it is starting to feel like our Pensy time is winding down. We have grown to love Pensacola so much and will miss it hugely, but with winging comes moving, (we won’t know where until John wings,) and recently it’s been hard not to obsess a little over what is next.

There are so many unknowns in the military, and flight school is just a little microcosm of that: Where will one go through API? What aircraft will one select? Where will one be stationed after they wing? There is a tendency to constantly be looking ahead, to the "next thing.” Before I go any further I want to say...it is ok to talk about the possibilities of what is next, and we often do, but the point is that it is tempting to talk about it all the time, and we have to balance that with the healthy perspective that we simply aren't there yet and our life doesn't begin then--it is happening now, right now, this very second, here.

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I have been trying, and at times wrestling, to be present through this. I have been frequently reminded of my last semester of college, when I was simultaneously preparing to graduate, nannying, planning a wedding, and wrapping up my time leading Younglife. I had never been so busy in my life, and it was a temptation to put my head down, chug through school, and just focus on the future:  our wedding and moving to Pensacola. Early on in the semester, though, I realized that God was doing so much in those last few months of school—in my friendships, my ministry, and even my relationship with John, and I needed to be present in order to experience that. In the midst of so much transition and a grueling schedule, I needed to seek Jesus in the morning and claim Him as my peace. I had to take in one day at a time. The future would work itself out, and if I had spent all of my time worrying and dwelling on it I would have missed the joy and growth and deepened friendships that were such a sweet part of that season.

I am feeling similarly now, in another season of huge growth. It is easy to make “the next thing” the topic of every conversation, with both our Navy and civilian friends and loved ones. It is so tempting for John and I to spend all of our (sometimes hard-won) time together weighing the pros and cons of each possible location and the available aircraft. (More on that in a later post, but in a nutshell: we have five different options for locations and three different possible types of helicopter.) Too often we find ourselves talking about moving dates, and possible job options. I even catch myself asking friends in the Navy community what their thoughts are, whether students pilots or significant others, because sometimes it seems like the easiest way to start conversation.

None of these things are inspiring presentness.

The problem is that when we aren't present we miss it, we miss what is here, we miss time and the infinite things that could happen in that time. We miss people. We miss learning about our friends. In the hours we spend talking with them about “the next thing” we miss learning how our friends are now, what they have been up to, what is inspiring them, what they are learning, what keeps them up at night. I don’t want to miss that, and I don’t want the remainder of our time here to morph into a waiting game, because that doesn’t feel like it will honor the time we have spent in Pensacola and the way we have grown here, both individually and as a couple. I don’t want to miss what the Lord is doing in this place. I want to finish well here, and as gracefully as possible.

The truth is, though, sometimes the future is the thing that is keeping us up at night. I know I am not alone in that. And yet again, it seems as though so often my life is an exercise in giving up control, in recognizing that I am not actually the “captain of my ship,” but that the One who is in control, who does steer our fate, is immeasurably better at it than I am. Our job is to pray and wait, to be patient and present, focusing on what is right in front of us. “The next thing” will come, that is certain. And I do believe it will be good.

Obviously, I will post updates here as we get closer to the Fall and John’s winging date. I am also looking forward to sharing a little bit about what the second half of flight school has been like, as well as our favorite places and things to do in Pensacola. Also, we have a jam-packed summer ahead, full of exciting travels, weddings, and time spent exploring more of the Gulf before we head to our next destination, so stay tuned! 

Hope that everyone has a lovely weekend! If you would like to see what we are up to than follow along on instagram @evr_thegallivant ! As always, thank you so much for reading. 



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{Pensacola Eats + Drinks} Constant Coffee & Tea

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My friend Kiley, a Pensacola native herself, is always up to date on hip new places in the area. She had mentioned Constant Coffee and Tea a few times, so recently, when we were trying to figure out a place to meet up, we headed East so I could finally check out what she had been raving about.  After the best cappuccino I have had in Pensacola so far, (it's all about the ratio, as you will learn below) and an entire morning spent catching up, laughing, and just generally sharing a brain, I knew I had to mention Constant here.

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Located off Scenic Hwy in East Pensacola Heights, Constant's space is lovely and airy inside, with gorgeous high ceilings and big windows. There is plenty of seating, perfect for an afternoon spent working on a laptop or catching up with a friend. The outdoor patio is great too, especially during those few, but precious, just-warm-enough Spring days we experience down here before Summer descends in full swing.

Phil, the man behind this sweet Coffee house, was kind enough to answer a few questions.

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What was the inspiration behind Constant Coffee & Tea, and what sets it apart?

I've been in the specialty coffee industry for about 15 years now. Every position from dishwasher to FOH manager. In this world if your not growing your dying. Stagnation is the worst thing in the world, and that is the inspiration behind Constant. I didn't feel that any shop in the area was actively growing. There was no Innovation and no opportunity to create innovative programs. So, I started my own shop. I recruited my brother Jason and we went to work. We started with the classics. Traditional cappuccinos, great lattes, awesome pour over coffees, and classic teas. After that came pharmacy sodas, house made syrups, house made milk alternatives, unique specialty coffee drinks, and a wonderful food service. Next up is house made sausage, cheese, cola, and on and on. I think what really sets us apart is that we are willing to do the research and spend the time to get things right. We only offer a 6 ounce cappuccino because anything larger throws the ratios off and ruins the drink. We went out and found phosphate because that's what pharmacists used to sour the original sodas. We tracked down pharmacy manuals from the early 1900's because we wanted lactarts, mazes, and shrubs.  In the end, this shop is for us. We just want to have fun. We just want to share our passion.

Where is your coffee and tea from?

Our coffee is from Counter Culture Coffee. Out of all the specialty coffee roasters in the U.S. they are hands down the best. They are the bright shining star in the coffee world right now. Our tea comes from Rishi Tea. No one even comes close to Rishi's quality and service.

What trends are you excited about in the coffee world?

I'm most excited about cold coffee right now. From nitrogen cold brew to espresso tonics. Cold brew and espresso as ingredients is going to be fun. We've already started experimenting.

East Pensacola Heights is becoming such a fun neighborhood--what do you love most about being there?

I love everything about EPH. The businesses are amazing. The view from scenic is beautiful every day of the year. The people are perfect. I think I love the people the most. They have fully embraced the neighborhoods growth. While downtown is starting to cater more to parties and tourists, EPH is going to be for locals.

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Thanks for sharing Phil! Your passion is evident, and we can't wait to come back!

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Constant Coffee & Tea, 615 Scenic Hwy, Pensacola, FL (850) 432 3991

Where is your favorite place to grab a quick cup of java? Are you a coffee or tea person? I would love to hear! I am both...more tea than coffee these days, but it switches weekly!



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{Pensacola Eats + Drinks} Nom Sushi Izakaya

Nom Sushi Izakaya // Places to Eat In Pensacola // The Gallivant

To my Pensacola friends--there is a new Japanese restaurant in town, and let me tell you..it's good. Phenomenal, even. Fellow sushi lovers, your prayers have been answered. 

I have been dying to check out Nom Sushi Izakaya for the past few months since it opened, and finally had the opportunity this weekend when my friend Haley was in town. We were down on  Palafox, and popped in for a late lunch. We raised our eyebrows as we sat down opposite each other in our booth and admired the zen space around us, wondering if we had been transported to hip neighborhood in NYC when we crossed over the door thresh hold. 

The menu is not crazy long, focusing primarily on sushi/nigiri/sashimi, with a small section of Izakaya, and three different ramen options. The sushi rolls are inspired, with an emphasis on fresh and unique ingredient,  rather than mayo based sauces and tempura, which has become so typical of American sushi. 

Nom Sushi Izakaya // Places to Eat In Pensacola // The Gallivant

We ordered the Grafitti Bridge roll ( shrimp, avocado, cucumber, topped with blackened tuna tataki & spicy snow crab salad) as well as the vegan miso ramen. While I don't normally gravitate towards vegan options, our server encouraged us to forego the oh-so-trendy pork belly ramen and assured us that the vegan broth was by far the best broth in the house. It didn't disappoint. Rich and flavorful, the broth was teeming with mushrooms, kale, noodles, and ramen, and we couldn't slurp it up fast enough. (Note to self--bib next time.)

Nom Sushi Izakaya // Places to Eat In Pensacola // The Gallivant

I had only heard good things about Nom before we went, and I was so thrilled to experience it firsthand and prove that it completely lives up to it's hype. Our food was delicious, our service was great, and the atmosphere is beyond cool. I can't wait to tow John there when he gets back! 

Nom would be a great spot for a fun Valentines date, so head down there this Saturday! Get there early though, because it is sure to be packed. 

Nom Sushi Izakaya, 410 S. Palafox St., Pensacola, FL, (850) 466 3125



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Life Lately: An Update on All Fronts

Scottish Sunrise | St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland | The Gallivant

Happy Wednesday Everyone! The past few weeks have been pretty wild, and I never had a chance to post our Month 11 Marriage update so I thought that I would just give a few quick life updates today. I write a lot about things we are doingbut I also love to share occasionally about how we are doing because I feel that that is more authentic and authenticity is of the utmost importance here. This post is a little bit of both :-)

Life lately:

John soloed and started the Aerobatics portion of Primary, which he has been loving. Typically once students complete their solos they gain "cred" with their instructors, and the rapport is a little more relaxed. Aero is fast paced, (he will hopefully solo on Friday, only a week after his last solo) but John has been enjoying flying everyday and learning the maneuvers. Check out this and this for a better idea of the type of stuff he has been working on.  (Total adrenaline junkie..)

He also flew his first night flight on Monday night, which he said was nerve wracking and awesome all at once.  While he was flying I had a movie night with some girlfriends (Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason-never gets old..) and when I got home I looked up into the sky and was  amazed that one of those tiny moving lights could be my husband. Wild. It's sort of hard to explain, but when I listen to him talk about flying ie. actually being able to fly a plane I feel so awestruck at the fact that that is what he does everyday when he goes to work. It's hard to articulate, and that is just one of the many reasons I am proud of John, but it  reminds me of what a blessing it is to be married to a man that I so strongly admire. 

Our best friends moved away, and it is tough. Our friends Haley and Travis moved to Kingsville, Texas, last Friday, where Travis will start advanced training for Jets. While we are so excited for them as he moves forward in his career, we were also so sad to see them go. They were like family to us, and we will miss them so much. I have lived in a few different  places over the past decade, (Boarding school, Scotland, Massachusetts, Virginia) and said my fair share of goodbyes. Leaving Fredericksburg (My college town) and all of the incredible friends I made there was probably one of the hardest transitions I have made so far, but I would say that this goodbye was a close second. In many ways it seems like a milestone in our Navy career, because this was the just the first of many times that we will say goodbye to sweet friends that we have made in the places the Navy sends us, whether because they are moving or because we are moving. So begins the process of finding the balance between letting myself be a little sad and the "get used to it" attitude. The truth I will cling to is that just because we don't know exactly how long people will be in our immediate lives there is no excuse not to pursue deep and meaningful friendships.  The good news is that we have so many amazing friends still here with us in Pensy, so I know that we won't be lonely, and Haley and Trav are just a road trip away. 

One sweet outcome of Haley and Trav's move is that I have been so reminded of God's faithfulness over the past week. As I have thought back over the 11 months we spent together here in Pensacola, John and Travis supporting each other through flight school, Haley and I supporting each other as we learned to support our husbands, and all of us traversing new marriages together-- I realized that their friendship was the answer to a prayer that I, as well as many other people, prayed for months leading up to our move to Pensacola. Because of them, John and I know more of His goodness and His provision,  and are assured that He does hear our prayers and delights in answering them. We are nearing the part of Flight school where many of our friends will select and move away, (unless they get Helos) and I am so grateful for this perspective now, at the beginning. This is one the harder parts of Navy life, but I am comforted by the fact that we do not live our lives at the whim of the Navy, but rather in the hands of the Almighty. 

Finally, I started a new job (sort of)! For a few months now I have been baking homemade pound cakes and muffins for a boutique bed and breakfast in downtown Pensacola, The Lee House. I was filling in at the front desk occasionally for them, but I  just started working there consistently two days a week. It has been a blast, and I adore the awesome team I work with. I have a little bit of hospitality experience from my summer spent interning with FOCUS, but I am excited to learn way more about the industry. Lee House also hosts the most beautiful weddings and events, so I am pumped to get a little peek into the Events industry as well! I have been training there these past few weeks, so that plus my normal work hours at Bluetique along with baking and writing at home have kept me pretty busy the past few days, but I am loving every second of it. 

What's new with you?! Anything cool that you have been experiencing or learning about? I would love to hear!



P.S. Like what you are reading? Go ahead and subscribe by entering your email address into the form on the left-hand side of this page so that you never miss a post! Or, you can follow me on Bloglovin. Also, follow along with The Gallivant on instagram and pinterest!

{Pensacola Eats + Drinks} The Cactus Flower

Growing up I never ate a lot of Mexican food, but down here I find that we eat mexican alot. (Probably because some of our best friends are Texans and they could die happy eating only Mexican for the rest of their lives.) We have tried many of the Mexican restaurants in Pensacola, but we always end up coming back to the same one--The Cactus Flower Cafe. I went to the Cactus Flower with some friends for lunch and could not get their fish tacos out of my head for weeks, until finally John heard my pleas and we went back. He was instantly won over by their California-style Mexican menu, and since we have ordered  take-out from the CF at least once a month. 

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Last night we headed over to the East Pensacola with the above-mentioned Texans for an impromptu mid-week double date. We kicked off our meal with some of Cactus Flowers white wine margaritas, which were delicious. What is a wine margarita you might ask? Simply a classic margarita made with pinot grigio instead of tequila. Now, I am a tequila girl through and through so I was a little bit skeptical, but after a sip I decided that I actually adore this spin on a marg. It was super limey (just how I like it) and very refreshing, with just a tiny hint of sparkle. 

For dinner John had a mix of different tacos, and I had the enchiladas verdes. I actually have never gotten anything but the fish tacos (they are to die for) but for the sake of mixing it up I decided to try something with the verde sauce, which everyone raves about. 

Needless to say, I was not disappointed. The verde sauce was incredible, and the enchiladas themselves were perfect--a little crisp on the outside, and full of cheese and chicken. John also loved his tacos, as well as the cilantro lime rice that came with them. Chipotle ain't got nothin' on that rice. 

If you live in Pensacola and like Mexican than you have to try the Cactus Flower. I actually cannot believe I haven't blogged about them sooner--they are seriously our fave. 

 Cactus Flower Cafe, 3425 N. 12th Ave., Pensacola, FL 32503, (850) 432-8100

Happy Thursday you guys!



P.S. Like what you are reading, want to keep up with our latest gallivants, or looking for fun things to do in the Pensacola area? Go ahead and subscribe by entering your email address into the form on the left-hand side of this page so that you never miss a post! Or, you can follow me on Bloglovin. Also, feel free to check out my instagram and pinterest.

{Pensacola Do} The Blue Angels

The Blues are back! Last saturday, my friend Haley and I headed out to Pensacola Beach to watch the Blue Angels perform in the Pensacola Air Show. We left a bit later than the rest of the thousands (!) of other people who were hoping to watch, and therefore got stuck in traffic for roughly 3 hours on I-10, but it was SO worth it. 

Haley had seen the Blues a bunch of times before, but I had only seen them once as a little girl and barely remember it. She couldn't stop laughing at the look on my face every time they flew by us, which I am sure was an expression of pure awe. We got to the beach right at 2:00 pm when the show started, and after one of the solos flew right over our car as we were driving along looking for parking, we decided to just ditch the car in a random lot and book it down to the beach as fast as we could so we didn't miss anything!

Even though it seemed as though we were late, we actually ended up with the best view. We posted up to the right of the main part of PB, sort of half way to Fort Pickens. Turns out we were standing right where the planes would hook as they turned to head down the beach. Insane.

It is hard to describe the kind of exhilaration that the Blues invoke. There is just something so wild about watching F/A-18s flying up to 18 inches from each other (18 Inches!!) performing these crazy maneuvers at outrageous speeds, that,  as Haley would say, really "gets the people going." But seriously, it really is amazing. The solos reach speeds up to 700 mph! It was unlike anything I have ever seen. Such an amazing display of discipline and skill. Also, it was wild to think that each of those pilots started right where are husbands are now--at flight school in Pensacola. While watching I felt so proud of them, proud of the guys up there, and proud of our Navy. 

If you missed the show, or just want to watch the Blues again, than check out their practice schedule here and head to the Naval Aviation Museum at NAS Pensacola on a Tuesday or Wednesday morning when they are home in Pensacola to watch them practice. 

Also, If you are an email subscriber and couldn't see Scott and Sarah's fabulous wedding video from the last post than click here to open the post in your web browser!

Happy Wednesday, Friends!



P.S. Like what you are reading, want to keep up with our latest gallivants, or looking for fun things to do in the Pensacola area? Go ahead and subscribe by entering your email address into the form on the lefthand side of this page so that you never miss a post! Or you can follow me on Bloglovin

{Pensacola Eats + Drinks} The Magnolia

The other night, to celebrate six months of marriage, John and I went out on a date to The Magnolia in East Pensacola Heights, and we loved it! I had heard about the cute little restaurant from a few different people, and was dying to check it out. With only five or so tables and a bar, The Magnolia is intimate and fun without being oppressive. John was seriously impressed with their extensive list of craft brews, and we were both pumped about the range of southern-inspired small plates, salads, and sandwiches. 

John started with a Naked Pig, while I sipped a glass of Pinot Blanc. 

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We decided to go heavy on the apps because everything looked so yummy. The cheese plate was perfect, consisting of an aged chedd, smoked gouda, and Dutch blue drizzled in honey, with thick slices of toasted crusty bread and cocoa almonds. Divine, especially the blue + honey combo.

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The pulled-pork slider with blue cheese coleslaw looked amazing, but John gobbled it up so fast that I didn't get a chance to try it! Turns out that it is owner/chef Kiley Manning's current favorite as well, so I am sure it was fantastic. 

We also tried the bacon pimiento cheese toast--a decadent twist on the classic southern spread. 

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For mains, John went light with the beet salad, while I tried the rosemary chicken salad. Both were delicious and full of flavor. I love beet salad but am not a fan of vinegar-soaked beets. However, I was delighted to find that these beets were juicy and sweet without tasting pickled, which we both loved. The rosemary chicken was also super tasty, especially loaded onto the ritz-like crackers on the side. We ended up sharing both plates, and by the time we were done we were stuffed! I also want to mention that the service rocks--our waitress was fantastic, funny, and had awesome suggestions!

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The Magnolia is owned by the kick-ass husband and wife duo of Bill and Kiley Manning. I got a chance to meet Kiley before we left and followed up with her before writing this post so that we could get to know them a bit better!

Meet the magic behind The Magnolia:

TG: When did The Magnolia open?

KM: We opened on Halloween, 2011.  We were supposed to open on November 1, but at the last minute Bill requested we have a Halloween party to open- and the rest is history.

TG: What inspired your concept/menu?

KM: Shortly after Bill & I met, we both quit our jobs and moved to Maui to open a business together.  We ended up not liking Maui so we traveled the country for about 3 months, looking for a city to settle in.  We returned to Pensacola to literally repack our bags and keep traveling when we stumbled across the building that is now The Magnolia.  It just felt right so we made an offer and leased it.  Six weeks later we opened our doors.  Our menu is heavily influenced by the different food styles we experienced all over the country for those months right before we opened.  The Seafood Roll is inspired by our time in Boston, the Beet Salad by our time in Sonoma, Pimiento Cheese (and our Texas Oktoberfest we throw every year) by places where we ate in Texas, on and on.  

TG: Is this your first joint business venture? What is it like to be in the kitchen together?

KM: This is our first business venture together. :)  I love working with my husband! Not only because I love the guy but because I truly respect his opinion on everything and seek it often.  He has a completely different approach to every situation and yet, we share a vision on the final result and support and challenge each other every step of the process.  Even though we own a business together, we rarely get to see each other because of our separate responsibilities, but our flexible schedule allows us to take advantage of off-days together for a quick weekend getaway.  

We actually aren't ever in the kitchen together!  Bill runs the front of the house, does all of the accounting and maintenance on the building, food and alcohol ordering, office stuff.  Bill is really the backbone of the business- he does all of those million little things to keep us on track.  I work in the kitchen, manage our catering business (we do on and off-site catered events.  Most recently we catered and coordinated a wedding for 120 guests at The Barkley House for a couple who met at The Magnolia! That was a real treat!), am an event coordinator and am the Editor of Gulf Coast Bride Magazine.  He refers to me as his Hummingbird since I am always flying from one thing to the next.  :)

TG: What is your favorite thing on the menu, and which beer/wine would you pair it with?

KM: What is your favorite thing on the menu, and which beer/wine would you pair it with?  I go through phases with different menu items but right now I am loving our Pulled Pork Sandwich.  Bill rubs then smokes the pork shoulder for several hours then finishes it in the oven for up to 18 hours.  We pull and sauce the pork in house by hand.  We top it with our house-made blue cheese cole slaw. The pork is a two-day process and all of those personal touches really come together to create a symphony of flavors.  Sweet, smoky, peppery, savory... sooo good.  I love pairing it with a Truckstop Honey Brown Ale by Back 40 Beer Company.  Geez, now I want one....

How romantic are they?! I love knowing that their menu is completely inspired by their wanderlust. No wonder we loved it so much! Thanks so much Kiley for all the cool and thoughtful info. After hearing how much love goes into that pork I will definitely have to come back soon to grab a Truckstop + Slider combo...

Next time you are looking for a fun date night, or someone to cater your latest shindig, definitely give Kiley a call or head down to the Magnolia for some great drinks and eats. 

The Magnolia, 2907 E. Cervantes St., Pensacola, FL 32503, (850)-912-6196

Also, be sure to check out Gulf Coast Bride!

Happy Wednesday, friends.



P.S. Like what you are reading, want to keep up with our latest gallivants, or looking for fun things to do in the Pensacola area? Go ahead and subscribe by entering your email address into the form on the lefthand side of this page so that you never miss a post! Or you can follow me on Bloglovin


{Pensacola Do} Blueberry Picking at Blue Basket Farms

Last week,  I spent a beautiful afternoon picking the most gorgeous blueberries anyone has ever seen at Blue Basket Farms with some girlfriends. The South is covered in U-Pick farms like this one, which sell all kinds of produce from berries and fruit, to fresh veggies and local eggs and meats. 

Going the U-pick route is typically cheaper than buying from your local farmer's market, as it cuts the cost of labor, and it also makes for a fun day! We had the best time walking along the rows of huge blueberry bushes and picking our favorite varieties. At Blue Basket Farms, each row is a different type of blueberry, so they all taste slightly different. Despite some being tarter or larger than others, they were all juicy and delicious. 

Group collage blueb.jpg.jpg

When we arrived at the farm we were given big basket "fanny packs" to wear around our hips and collect our berries as we went. You are allowed to eat as you go, so as we picked we chatted and sampled (read: gorged ourselves) happily. 

All in all, it was a lovely day, and at $2.50 a pound--the blueberries were a steal. Before we knew it, we each had gathered about six pounds, and were full of fresh, juicy goodness. Needless to say, our man-friends were shocked when they opened their fridges that evening to massive amounts of bluebs. I froze about 3/4 of ours for smoothies, but also whipped up some insane blueberry-cinnamon scones, which I can't wait to share here soon! 

Blue Basket Farms is open from 7-7 on most days of the week. I would recommend getting there earlier side, just because of the heat. The blueberry season is well underway, but should last until about mid July. If you like bluebs and are looking for a fun outdoor activity than head on up! 

Blue Basket Farms, 8655 Highway 89, Milton, Florida, 32570

Happy Monday Everyone!



Pensacola Floods & Babies

I am sorry for the delay in posting this week! I would normally have posted yesterday, but we had a wild first half of the week and my brain felt like mush by the time yesterday morning rolled around due to lack of sleep. Many of you have probably heard about the monster storm we experienced this week, and the flooding that ensued. Thank you so much to everyone who checked in on us yesterday, we are totally fine, but we did have a crazy time. Here is a little recap of our experience...

We get flash flood warnings a lot here, to the point that we got used to just rolling our eyes and dismissing the emergency alerts on our phones. On monday night we had an epic thunderstorm which kept us up all night. When I got home from work on tuesday night the rain was coming down pretty hard and there was frequent thunder and lightning, but I didn't have any troubld driving home so John and I got ready to leave for the Navigators dinner that we go to every Tuesday. We joked about whether or not it was safe to drive the 20 minutes across town, and John suggested we take my SUV versus his sedan. 

We left Navs around 9:30 and the storm was raging outside. As we drove out of the neighborhood we saw we both had missed calls and texts from our friend Cotter from an hour earlier, wondering if he could drive to our house from where he was waiting for a friend at the airport, because he wasn't sure he could make it home with all the flooding. That is when we began to notice how the water running along the sides of the roads we were driving on was starting to look more like streams which were rising onto the road. By the time we talked to Cotter he had decided to try and brave the bridge to get across the water to Milton because he had found our apartment locked. We, meanwhile had gotten on the highway and weren't too concerned until we came around a corner and realized that about 100 feet ahead of us the whole highway had flooded out and there were three abandoned cars in the middle with water up to their doors. The local news was setting up cameras as we turned around in the middle of the highway to try and figure out another way to get home. Meanwhile, the rain was coming down so hard that we learned later it had rained 5 inches in 45 minutes. That is more rain than Pensacola received during Hurricane Ivan. 

For the next hour we drove through backroads trying to find a way towards the area we live in. We had to turn around multiple times when we found the road blocked by rising water. We saw tons of abandoned cars completely washed out, or sitting on high ground stranded. At one point I saw a couple cars completely submerged up to their roofs just a short ways through an intersection to our left, with their lights still on. By then we had realized that we were in a pretty scary situation, but eventually we made it onto I-10 which would take us up north towards the area we live in. We heard from Cotter that the bridge over the bay was completely flooded, and even when he had gone over it earlier one side was flooded all the way to the top of the guard rail. The whole time we were talking with 5 of our friends who were in two separate cars, trying to figure out where they were and if they could get through. They all live in Milton, so they decided to try to make it to our house which was closer and stay put there until the water went down. 


As we neared our exit we saw more massive flooding on the highway in front of us, but there was a suburban slightly ahead of us that decided to try and go through so we followed suit. At one point a jeep was driving next to us and it felt like we were driving next to a moter boat because the water was so high that it's wake was splashing my passenger side window. Eventually we did make it home, and hour later, around midnight our friends Mike, Kori, and Sarah Beth arrived who had luckily been been driving Sarah Beth's jeep. Our other friends, Travis and Haley, who were in a sedan, were stuck in one of the most flooded areas, Pine Forest Rd. They had had to seek high ground because at one point they found themselves floating on the road and knew they couldn't risk trying to get to our house. They sat stranded at a What-a-Burger with tons of other folks who couldn't get home. We were up all night, anxious about possible tornados and amped up from our drives. At 5 AM Haley and Travis burst into our apartment, recounting how they had had to abandon their car and had gotten a ride from a guy driving a Semi-Truck big enough to get through some of the deeper water. Even so, it took them three hours to get to our place, which normally would take 20 minutes from where they were, because they were diverted so many times by water that the Semi wouldn't even had been able to get through. 

Needless to say, we were all pretty exhausted yesterday. The rain had stopped, but the news showed massive sink holes that had occurred, people floating on kayaks in their living rooms, entire pieces of roads missing. We didn't leave the house until around 4:00 pm when we decided to go and rescue Haley and Travis's car. The day-time pictures are all from that drive, the flood water still there even after having half a day to drain.

All in all it was an insane 48 hours. When the weather station recovered from being shut down due to a lightning strike we learned that Pensacola received 22 inches of water in 24 hours, almost a third our average yearly rainfall.  I, the girl named after a hurricane, have seen some bad weather first hand, but nothing like this. While it was a thrill for an adrenaline junkie like myself, in hindsight I cannot believe we were driving when the floods hit. It is one thing to be holed up having a hurricane party when a storm hits, but a completely different thing to be caught by surprise in the middle of it without the immediate option of retreating to your safe and cozy home. I love a good storm, but I think we all learned a bit of a lesson about how quickly it can become an incredibly dangerous and violent situation. We felt blessed yesterday, after learning of how many homes had been ruined in our area and the two lives that were lost to drowning, that all we had to show for the past two days was a good story. 

Here are some links to news stories with some good footage during the night:



It never ceases to amaze me how Nature has the power to derail our lives in one short day. Please pray for those who have had to evacuate their homes, and the Tornado victims as well. 

Finally, in the midst of the craziness in the wee hours of the morning yesterday we did get some other very exciting news....


John's sister Boo and her husband Matt welcomed our beautiful new niece Sophie yesterday morning. We absolutely cannot wait to meet her, and we are glad we happened to be awake to hear she was coming! 

Hope everyone is having a great week and staying dry...




{Pensacola Eats + Drinks} Beignets

Joe Patti's was one of the first places that John took me to when I visited him for the first time in Pensacola last September, while we were engaged. Joe Patti's is a Pensacola institution--the local fish market with a gourmet twist and an allegedly fantastic sushi counter. My favorite part of the whole experience was visiting the truck which is (it seems) perpetually parked outside of the market, and turns out freshly made beignets all day. 

If you have never had a beignet than you are seriously missing out. Half fried-dough, half cream filled donut, these french treats are often thought to be a New Orleans specialty, but can actually be found all over the Gulf Coast. We brought my bestie Emily over to try them when she was visiting, and as evidenced by the photos below, she thought they were soo yummy.


If you havn't been yet, head over to Joe Patti's to try these sweet treats and check out the market itself. It reminds me a lot of a little market at home in Massachusetts called Henry's--locally owned and wonderfully curated.

Joe Patti's Seafood Company, 524 South B. St, Pensacola, FL 32502




{Pensacola Shop} Bluetique

The Bluetique, Pensacola

The Bluetique, Pensacola

I stumbled into Bluetique a few weeks ago while exploring the Seville Historic District in downtown Pensacola, and realized I definitely needed to share it here! Located right in the middle of the district on Alcaniz St, Bluetique is a wonderfully curated boutique stocked with a great selection of stylish women's clothing and accessories, candles, as well as an adorable children's clothing section. With a lovely collection that boasts brands like Lilly Pulitzer, Three Islands, Elizabeth McKay, Julie Brown, and Grayling Jewelry, Bluetique caters to fashionable women of all ages who are looking to add a few fun and trendy yet elegant pieces to their wardrobe. They also have a killer sale rack in the back ;-) 

Laura Belsinger and her mom Susie Endry, the stylish masterminds behind The Bluetique

Laura Belsinger and her mom Susie Endry, the stylish masterminds behind The Bluetique

When I popped in I was able to meet the talented owner, Laura, and her amazing mother and partner-in-crime, Susie.  (Who, we realized, actually went to my alma-mater, Mary Washington! Such a small world..) This wonderful mother-daugher team opened Bluetique just over a year ago, and have been working together ever since. Not only do they have killer style, but they are also just lovely women. I went back in last week and sat down with them to ask them a few questions about Bluetique, and we ended up chatting and having the best time visiting. 

Laura and Susie described their style as "beachy, coastal, bright, elegant, timeless, fun," which I would say aptly describes Bluetique. Laura recounted how her little daughter received a Three Islands dress from a family member up north a few years ago, and tons of Laura's friends commented on how cute it was. They  wondered where they could find one for their own daughters, since there wasn't a store in Pensacola that stocked them...yet.  Previously, Laura had run a home and garden store with her sister in Asheville, North Carolina, called The Gardener's Cottage, so she had plenty of experience in running her own store, and in March of 2013 she opened Bluetique. Both Laura and Susie describe the past year as an adventure in learning the ropes of owning a clothing boutique, but it is evident from the success of the store and the way these two interact that they are a great team. Laura recounted how she has always admired her mom's taste in both interior design and fashion, and how it has been a joy to work with her in the store, adding that she is fantastic at helping customers put incredible outfits together and she learns from her everyday. I loved seeing these two interact, and couldn't get over how special it was that they get to work together. 

The children's section.

The children's section.

Another highlight of my visit was getting a real local perspective on Pensacola.  It was fascinating to hear Susie describe how Pensacola is growing, and how small businesses are really making the downtown a more vibrant place. She described the energy downtown as more alive and stronger than she has seen it in years. Susie and Laura also had some great recommendations for restaurants and things to do, many of which I had never heard of. I am excited to try them all out and then share them here!

Over all, if you are in Pensacola and are in need of a new outfit for an event, a mother's day gift, or just a little shopping, I highly recommend stopping by Bluetique. With a lovely collection, and such warm and friendly service, you won't be disappointed.  The Historic District is a great place to explore anyway, (it's actually one of my favorite parts of Pensacola), so you could even make an afternoon of it! 

Bluetique, 212 S. Alcaniz St, Pensacola, FL 32502

Happy Monday Everyone!



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{Pensacola Eats+Drinks} The Bodacious Brew

Cinnamon Rolls from the Bodacious Brew I Photo: Author

Cinnamon Rolls from the Bodacious Brew I Photo: Author

Here is the first of what I hope will be many posts highlighting some of our favorite spots in Pensacola. The longer we live here and explore the more we discover and are pleasantly surprised by how much Pensy has to offer. If you are one of our friends or family and are coming down at some point to visit we can't wait to take you to some of these places. If you are just looking for fun things to do in Pensacola then I hope this is helpful. Cheers to gallivanting! 

Growing up we always ate pretty healthy in our house, with only a few exceptions. One of those exceptions was for Pillsbury Grand cinnamon rolls, which my mom rolled out (hah see what I did there?) on special occasions like weekends my brother and I were home from boarding school, or holiday mornings. I have a weakness for cinnamon rolls, but no matter how many I have tried I have never found any that compare to the Pillsbury rolls. (Generally I am very anti-processed food, but I do make an occasional exception for these as well as box cake mix. Sue me. Im human.)  That is, until I tried a cinnamon roll at the Bodacious Brew, in downtown Pensacola, which turned out to be the best cinnamon roll I have ever had. 

Photo: Author

Photo: Author

Located at the end of 407 C S. Palafox St, the Bodacious Brew is coffee and tea shop that serves breakfast, lunch, assorted treats and pastries, and gelato as well. They have a beautifully curated tea collection,  expresso bar, and multiple brewing options for drip coffee. The service is great, and there is a generous seating area with tables and counters perfect for coffee dates, meetings, or workspace.  The breakfast menu includes things like breakfast wraps, "bodaciously grits" with roasted corn, green onion, gouda cheese, and gremolata olive oil, and of course--cinnamon rolls. Get there early to grab one of these perfectly flaky on the outside-gooey on the inside buns, and you will thank me. 

While in the area, pop into the Bodacious Brew's sister store, The Bodacious Olive, and sample a few of the olive oils from their vast collection, or peruse the specially curated wine and cheese. Then head upstairs to the SoGourmet kitchen store, which is also owned by the same people, and explore their incredible kitchen wares. Between the three shops you could easily spend an afternoon indulging your foodie fantasies! Confession: I've done it. 



The Bodacious Brew: 407 C South Palafox St, Pensacola, FL 32502

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Happy Sunday!

Snapped a picture of this corner while downtown on friday because there is something about the colors that seemed quintessentially "Pensacola" to me...

Snapped a picture of this corner while downtown on friday because there is something about the colors that seemed quintessentially "Pensacola" to me...

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you have had a fantastic weekend! We sure have! We celebrated our friend Cort's birthday friday night at our apartment, which was a blast. The best part was that his girlfriend, Katherine, came all the way from San Diego to surprise him! The look on his face was priceless. It was so special to have John's wonderful friends, who have become my wonderful friends, over to our apartment. As I was standing by the stove I looked out into the living room and saw six happy men and one lovely lady kicking back and enjoying our home. I remembered that we take pride and put effort into making our home comfortable and cozy not just for ourselves to enjoy every day, but to share and invite people into

The Birthday boy and his wonderful girlfriend.

The Birthday boy and his wonderful girlfriend.

Got to use one of my favorite Christmas gifts for the first time on friday night! 

Got to use one of my favorite Christmas gifts for the first time on friday night! 

This morning I have to admit that I was fighting a rare impulse to want to ditch church, but John dragged me out of bed. (And so one sharpens another...) Boy, am I glad he did. When we arrived at church we realized that there was a guest speaker today, a Chinese Pastor named Shi Weihan. Shi Weihan was tortured and imprisoned in China for distributing bibles and heading a house church. He served his time from November 2007 to January 2008, and then from March 2007 to February 9, 2011. As Pastor Shi shared with us his story, through the mouth of his young daughter, Lily, we were so humbled by his faith in the midst of persecution. While Shi was imprisoned, his wife continued to preach in his place every Sunday in their church. Meanwhile, at one point Shi was put in a detention center of the highest security, and every one of his cell mates was there on the same charge: murder. Slowly but surely, Shi shared the Gospel with each of his cellmates, and each one met the Lord. 

I could write pages about what we heard today, but instead I am just going to share one more story of Shi's time in prison. While imprisoned outside of Beijing, Shi was made the leader of his cell. So, he oversaw and made sure each prisoner in his cell stayed in line essentially. Beijing can be very cold in the winter, similar to New York, and many of Shi's cell mates did not have enough clothes to stay warm. He wrote his wife and asked for her to send him more clothes, and she, thinking he just needed more clothes, quickly complied. When he received the clothes he distributed them to his cell mates, but it was no where near to enough. After receiving two or three more post cards asking for clothes, his wife realized what he was up to. She then asked their church to give, and clothes began arriving for Pastor Shi by the load. His guard, who was stumped by Pastor Shi, took notice and came to speak with him. He asked him if he kept asking for more clothes because someone in his cell was bullying him into giving them up to others. Shi replied, no, in fact he had asked specifically for his cell mates. His guard was uncharacteristically moved by Shi's compassion, and told Shi he had never met anyone like this 'Pastor man.' 

The next week his guard returned, and brought his own old clothes for the cell mates. 

The week after that he invited Shi into his office to ask him about his faith, and where his joy and peace came from. 

A few weeks later he gave Shi a bible he had confiscated from another Christian prisoner, so that Shi could begin having bible study with his cell mates.

By the time Shi was released, his friend the Guard had given his life to Christ. 

Hearing Pastor Shi and his daughter speak today only did more to confirm the tugging on our hearts that John and I both cannot deny we feel towards China. Hearing Shi speak, with John quietly translating beside me, gave us unspeakable hope, and overwhelming joy. As we walked to the car John turned and said to me, "Makes me can't wait to go back."

Happy Sunday everyone. Be grateful today for your loved ones. Be grateful for the snow up North. Be grateful for the winds whispering of Spring down here in Pensacola. Be grateful for the blessings you have been given, and share them. 

Here are some fun weekend links to check out if you are having a lazy Sunday afternoon:

  • We are heading to New Orleans for Mardi Gras at the end of the month, and since we are going to meet our good friend Austin's family, I've got hostess gifts on the brain. Check out this awesome list from Refinery29. I'm digging the incense pyres, recipe cards, and rose gold salad set...
  • Feeling crafty? Check out my best friend Lindsey's awesome blog Mac & Marlborough. She made me that great cheese platter from earlier in the post! I love what her latest post says about Valentines Day. 
  • I've been studying this book from the editors of Garden & Gun. Its chockful of fascinating southern history, recipes, and sage advice on things like manners and hostessing. Would be a great hostess gift as well!
  • Looking for a little inspiration in the midst of winter blues? My friend Lily has the most beautiful instagram. See for yourself--follow her @lily_shiland