Despite appearances, the main event when we go to Pensacola isn’t eating (and eating) and coffee; it’s the beach! Our favorite beach is locally known as Johnson Beach: our mother grew up going there, we’ve gone to it since we were kids together, and now […]
As we drove into Pensacola last week, I couldn’t help but notice a restaurant that caught my eye with its bold yellow and orange exterior: Dinner India. With both Melissa and I being enthusiastic about Indian food (Indian Butter Chicken is a family favorite), I […]
Don’t you find that often the best food is in the smallest, most out-of-the-way places? It certainly holds true for some of our favorite food in Pensacola — amazing gyros! May we introduce to you The Original Georgio’s Authentic Greek Food, aka the Greek stand. We look forward to eating a gyro from it (or two, or three. . .) every summer on our beach trips, and have for years. The meat is flavorful and moist, the tzatziki sauce has exactly the right amount of garlic and cucumber, and the portions are generous.
We have a hard time branching out from the gyros because they are that good, but their small menu covers all the bases — between chicken kabobs, vegetarian dishes, kids’ cheese pita, and salads, there’s something for everyone. I don’t think next time I’ll be able to resist the hummus. . .the stand is cash only, and located next to a convenience store (which sells drinks and has an ATM if you need cash). There are picnic tables at the stand to eat, but we don’t go for the atmosphere, just the amazing food.
Last year Georgio’s Greek Food moved to a new-to-us-location, which led us to a happy kid discovery — it’s now directly across the street from a huge brand-new playground, Perdido Key Kids Park. It’s equipped with clean bathrooms and numerous play areas for a variety of ages. The playground is fenced in with only one point of entry, making it more relaxing to watch your kids from one of the many shaded picnic tables. (Tip: the ones under the tree are the coolest!) Other fun aspects are the small nature trail and a Little Free Library in the herb garden, wooden Blue Angels, a mister to cool the kids down, and a little climbing wall. Our kids had a blast exploring the expansive Pensacola-themed play areas.
We used to get our gyros to go for the beach, but this play area is making for a popular Two-Fer anytime we have a hankering for Greek food in Pensacola.
10015 Gulf Beach Hwy., Penscola, FL (Across from the Perdido Key Kids Park, same address)
Monday and Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday-Saturday: 11 am – 7 pm
Sunday: 11 am – 6 pm
The Perdido Kids Park is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Charming, chic, cozy, and inviting, Fosko Coffee Barre should be on your must-go list in Pensacola, Florida. We’re always on the lookout for fun spots to add into our Pensacola rotation, and this coffee shop shot to the top of the list! It’s definitely the […]
I am slowly starting to work my way down my list of places to eat in New Orleans; St James Cheese Company has been on that list for a while! It is devoted to, well, all things cheese, but also excels at turning that cheese into delicious lunchtime fare. Their food menu is not vast, but certainly more than ample. The shop is light and airy, with one wall lined with every imaginable condiment to complement the cheeses for sale in the cooler — multiple sorts of mustard, jellies, preserves, even honeys. I ordered at the counter, and opted for the classic ham and brie on baguette with a side salad. Now, don’t get me wrong, the sandwich was on point; delectable, slightly melty brie, served on an excellent baguette, not to mention the quality ham. But it was the salad, of all things, that I really fell in love with. For starters, it is a rare salad that I don’t have to either cut up to eat it in something approaching a polite manner, or else try to maneuver large pieces of lettuce into my mouth (which never ends well). Not so with this salad. All the greens were bite sized, and each bite was perfectly dressed with a mustard dressing that had the exact amount of zing needed (that is, not too much). I think the salad is indicative of the attention to detail they must put into their food. The baguette was a hit, but next time I’m definitely trying one of their salads! The St James Cheese Company also has $10 cheese platters for happy hour (3-6), which would make an excellent snack when touring the city.
The shop is kid-friendly (at least the one on Tchoupitoulas is); there are both booster seats as well as high chairs available, plus a kids’ cheese sandwich on the menu. They also have a second location in Uptown.
Their gourmet food selection is great fun to browse, but I will definitely be back for a scrumptious lunch again soon!
Last weekend, we day-tripped over to Holland, Michigan, for the 90th anniversary of the Tulip Time Festival. Holland is about three hours west of Detroit and the festival this year is from May 4-12. (Good news if you’re wanting it check it out next weekend when the tulips should be even more in bloom!) Though it was a bit of a hike, we enjoyed the drive through Michigan’s farming country.
Tulips abound in flower beds and planters around town, and the tulip action is kicked up a notch at Windmill Island Gardens, a garden on an island in the Macatawa River that pays tribute to the town’s Dutch roots. It was the perfect spot to mill around (so to speak…) and we spent several hours enjoying all the island has to offer – acres of tulip gardens, an Amsterdam street organ, dikes and canals, a frontier encampment (complete with blacksmith demonstrations, soldiers, and many reenactors), a Dutch carousel, and a village street. The namesake of the island is their original Dutch windmill, De Zwaan (the Swan). Signage at the gardens explains how unique it is to have a Dutch windmill (it’s the only one in the States!) since windmills are considered national monuments in the Netherlands after so many were destroyed during WWII. This particular windmill was heavily damaged during the war and the city of Holland purchased and transported it in the 1960s. Pretty cool stuff!
Adding to the cool factor, De Zwaan isn’t just for show – it still actively grinds flour which is used in some bakeries and restaurants throughout town, or you can buy some to add a little pizzaz to your own baked goods!
After exploring the gardens, we headed downtown to take in the festival. There were street food stands scattered throughout the town and we made good use of them. 😉 It was fun to see a large number of townspeople in traditional Dutch garb, including wooden shoes! Even apart from all of the festival trimmings, Holland is a really charming town. There are coffee shops, restaurants and breweries with outdoor seating areas, and squares and fountains that make it a great spot to wander around.
In front of the Civic Center is where our kids’ favorite part of the festival was – the Kinderplaats (Children’s Place)! At the welcome tent, each child chose a snack and got their “Province Pass.” Different tents and areas were set up as each of the 12 Dutch provinces (see the picture below of Utrecht’s for an example) and the kids were able to learn about each province by doing a related activity. As a reward, they got stickers from each one until they filled their passport. They had a blast!
Notes for Next Time:
- We’ll be sure to catch some Dutch Klompen dancing! (If you’re interested, check the events page for the schedule.)
- Eat more Dutch food! We tried some imported licorice (the salted and sweet varieties) and kept searching for fresh Stroopwafels but sadly only found the packaged variety. On our list to check out next time is DeBoer Brothers Restaurant and Bakkerij for all the baked goods! Banket (puff-pastry dough filled with almond paste), butter cookies, apple tarts, Olliebollen (Dutch donuts), and Saucijzenbroodjes (Dutch sausage roll) are a few of the food items on our list.
- I’d love to see “Big Red,” Michigan’s most photographed lighthouse. It’s located in Holland State Park, about 20 minutes away on the shores of Lake Michigan.
- Peter’s Gourmet Market is near Grand Rapids, but it seems to be the place to head if you’re in search of imported Dutch goodies.
- There are more Tulip Time areas around town that can be explored, we just didn’t have time for them all. Check the map to make sure you see it all!
Know before you go:
Parking on Windmill Island was full when we arrived, so we ended up parking at a (free!) recommended lot on this map. If you are touring the garden and attending the festival, you might want to plan on parking in between the two. Admission to Windmill Island is $10/adult and $5/child (ages 3-15). There is no additional cost to take a tour of the windmill but you’ll want to make a beeline for the windmill once you enter the park to get your timed tickets to go up.
You might want to bring a little cash. We waited through a short line to buy tickets to enter the gardens but there was no line for the cash only ticket window. While most vendors at the Dutch frontier camp took credit cards, a few didn’t. A few booths at the festival had minimum purchase amounts for using a credit card. You’ll want to baby-wear for the windmill tour, but everything else was quite stroller-friendly.
Tulip chairs imported from the Netherlands!