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Archive for the ‘Restaurant Review’ Category

Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill

I don’t know about you, but I am in full recovery mode from 4th of July weekend!

My meals consisted of way too much this:

And this:

And not enough this:

Funny how vacation works that way…

On Sunday, I’m not exaggerating when I say that we spent the entire day like this:

Glued to the Casey Anthony Trial! I was loosely following the case up until this weekend, but Laura has been following it every step of the way and there was no way she was going to miss the end!

Around lunch time, I assumed Corey’s position of “Grill Master” and took the liberty of grilling some hot dogs for everyone.

Next thing we knew, it was 8PM!  We all showered and got ready, and then headed to a great place that Laura told us about, called Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill & Beach Club.

After ordering some drinks, we browsed the menu for a few minutes.

Seeing that we were on the beach, I knew my decision had to involve seafood.  Corey and I decided to share a bowl of SheCrab Soup, and two Grouper Tamales.

We both agreed that our food was excellent- we wish we could’ve eaten there more during the weekend!

Frenchy’s was featuring a live band that was awesome.

We had so much fun singing along to the songs and dancing!  I even got their card from their manager to see if they perform at wedding receptions 🙂 .

We had a great weekend, and we were definitely sad to leave.

Now, it’s back to the grind!

Funky Monkey Wine Company

A few weeks ago, Corey bought a Groupon for $40 to Funky Monkey Wine Company in Downtown Orlando.  Don’t let the name deceive you- it’s a fancy shmancy place!

We attempted to use our Groupon last week, but the restaurant wasn’t taking it until the following day, which was quite a wallet stinger for us.  However, we were determined to get our money’s worth, so we made reservations for Friday night.

Before dinner, we decided to stop by Hot Olives for a happy hour drink and an appetizer.

We ordered the calamari to share, which turned out to be delicious.

The calamari was freshly made and came with a great wasabi dipping sauce that we both enjoyed.

When we arrived at Funky Monkey, we were greeted by our waiter and given a complimentary bowl of edamame.

I wish every restaurant would catch on to this trend- soy beans are much better than a big basket of bread!

Thanks to our last visit, we knew better than to waste our precious Groupon dollars on their very expensive wine list, so we stuck with what we know- beer!

I sipped on a Sierra Nevada while browsing the menu.  Thanks to our waiter’s recommendation, we decided to start with the Stuffed Avocado appetizer.

My only complaint about this is that I wish there were multiple avocados on the plate!  The avocado was filled with Ahi tuna mixed in eel sauce and spicy mayo, served on a bed of sushi rice.  We inhaled it!

For our meal, we decided to share the Drunken Sea Scallops.

I love scallops, so this was an easy choice.  They were perfectly seared, served with lobster mashed potatoes (yes, LOBSTER mashed potatoes!) and big asparagus spears, all swimming in a rich sauce.  Corey may or may not have attempted to drink the sauce off his plate when he was finished.

We enjoyed everything about our date at Funky Monkey Wine Company.  If you’re in the Orlando area and looking for real gourmet food, that’s the place to go!

Guess Who’s Back…Back Again…

Holyyyy technical difficulties, people!

I’m happy to say I have worked out the kinks and Cooking With Carly is back!

When I first came across my space issue, I was in the middle of writing a re-cap of my Memorial Day Weekend.  I hate for it to go to waste, so I’m going to start up where I left off!  I will be updating again soon, with a nice looong re-cap of everything I’ve been up to in the passed two weeks!


Did my post title make anyone flash back to this Backstreet Boys song? 🙂


Memorial Day Weekend

On Friday, Corey and I had a Groupon to a little Italian restaurant called Tolla’s.  We had been there once before and the food was great, so we were excited to go back.

I started with a glass of Cabernet:

And some crusty bread, dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar:

Typically, whenever I visit an Italian restaurant, my entree decision is never a difficult one.  I proved this point, yet again, by ordering the Eggplant Parmesan.  It came with a house salad with balsamic dressing:

I was very disappointed when my meal arrived.  I was not a fan of the heavy breading and “chicken finger”-like appearance of my beautiful eggplant!  Corey and I both agreed that our meals (he had the Chicken Marsala) were not nearly as good as the first time we visited Tolla’s.  However, we knew the one thing that would turn our frowns upside-down; Tolla’s Tiramisu!  We have never forgotten how good their delicious Tiramisu was the first time we went there, and how the waiter told us that a little old Italian man makes pans upon pans of it and distributes it to all the authentic Italian restaurants in the area.

And then, this came:


I don’t know where this tiramisu came from, but it was certainly not the delicious slice of heaven we had last time we went to Tolla’s!

Overall, we were very un-impressed with our meals, and sadly, we will not be visiting Tolla’s again.  *Sigh*.

The next day, we went on some wedding-related errands- including looking at ceremony sites!  We went to a park called Azalea Gardens.

While walking up to the entrance, we spotted a strange sight.

I just wanna know where I belong!

This little duck…er…swan?…um…what the heck IS that thing?!

It looked like one of those white Ibis (I totally looked that up) that you sometimes see (at least, in Florida) walking in the street or near lakes, except it had webbed feet like a duck!  The saddest part was that it just sat there, and didn’t even attempt to fly away or even waddle away.  We think it was sick or dying, and Corey gave a valiant effort to try to convince me to take it home and nurse it back to health.  I didn’t think Bella would be very happy about that!

Don't even THINK about it!

We left our sad duckibiswan, and explored the garden.  We didn’t have a guide or anything, so we were left to our own devices to try and determine where a wedding ceremony might actually take place.  We decided this looked like a logical spot:

It had a beautiful view of the lake:

After further research, I discovered that this spot is suited more for small, family weddings.  The search continues!

Sunday at the Beach

The weather in Orlando is getting really hot, which is normally terrible news.  On the weekends, however, hot weather means only one things- beach day!

On Sunday, we made plans with a group of our friends to head to Cocoa Beach for a day of fun in the sun.

We all had a good laugh thinking about what the thought process is behind the items people choose to bring to the beach…

Beach towels? Check.  Cooler? Check.  Giant flag of a pirate drinking a beer? Of course.

After several hours at the beach, we stopped by Katie’s friend Natasha’s house to shower before going to dinner.  The boys chose a different method of washing off- jumping in the intercoastal.  Not exactly the cleanest body of water.

Poor Jess got pushed in, too.

Rocky suffered a pretty substantial injury, but most people know better than to try to grab onto barnacles.  He’ll learn.

After we were all clean (some cleaner than others), we went to a restaurant on the water called Grills.

We grabbed some drinks on the deck, while waiting for a table to open up.

Corey and I

Jess and Jordan

When we sat down, I talked Corey into getting the Smoked Fish Dip- one of my favorite appetizers.  Poor, Corey.  He really likes to try new things at restaurants, but I always hold him back!

Good thing I never make a bad food choice!

For my meal, I was sold when I saw “Fish Reuben”.  I ordered it with tuna, and it was amazing.  I ate every bite!

Rocky suddenly fell asleep when I asked to take a picture of him and Katie, but she looks pretty so I’m still putting it up 🙂 .

Here’s the whole group at dinner:

What is your favorite meal at a seafood restaurant? 

Weekend Eats

Well, just as fast as the week flew by, the weekend also came and went.  So sad when that happens.  At least it was a fun one!

Let’s recap some fabulous eats from the passed 4 days.


I have literally eaten the same thing for breakfast all week.  Oats with peanut butter and honey!


During the week, I’ve been alternating between this simple salad:

Romaine, bell pepper strips, and Natural Fresh Ginger Dressing.

And this Subway sandwich:

Spinach, tomato, green peppers, pickles and banana peppers, toasted with provolone on wheat, with a touch of honey mustard.  After hearing several deli meat commercials talk about “other” sandwich places using turkey made with fillers and preservatives, I took a lucky guess that they were referring to Subway, and I decided it’s probably smarter to just skip the meat all together.  It is pretty creepy looking.

On Saturday, Corey and I stopped by a new place, called Rangetsu.  It’s a really nice Japanese restaurant that doubles as a nightclub at night.

I started with a salad with Soy Vinaigrette, followed by a Salmon Bento Box, which included half a California roll, rice, and 4 fried chicken-something-or-others.

Corey and I both raved about our meals.  It was so good!


On Thursday, we went to Tibby’s.  I tried to be good and steered clear of all the fried menu options, and chose a grilled chicken sandwich, instead.  I clearly told our very rude waiter that I did not want mayo.  What did I get?  Extra mayo, no pickle.   I like pickles.  I was not a happy camper, but I ate it anyways.  I also had sweet potato fries as my side.

On Saturday, we went over to Austin’s house to have a little cook out.  Corey got to work mixing up some burgers:

While I sat around cheating ocolates and magging readazines.  <—— The only way you’re laughing at this is if you have the same last name as me.

The boys drank a concoction that is probably better suited for frat parties than cook-outs- Loaded Coronas.

You drink the top off of the beer, then add Bacardi Limon and a lime wedge and wave goodbye.

Once the burgers were ready, we dug in while watching a marathon of Lady Gaga videos.  What can I say- just your typical wild, post-college Saturday night.


On Thursday, after Tibby’s, we decided to get some frozen yogurt.  Corey and I shared a cup of Red Velvet and Cake Batter, topped with a few of our favorites, like Golden Grahams.

I was overly excited to discover an amazing topping- Frosted Animal Cookies!

I was obsessed with these in middle school- and possibly high school.  I even divulged to Corey that I had a shirt with a string of frosted animal cookies across it…he’s still making fun of me.


I took another accidental 2 days off after Wednesday’s workout.  I really need to stop doing that.

On Saturday, we went to the gym and I completed 25 minutes on the elliptical, followed by 20 minutes of running on the treadmill.  And, yet, another day off was had yesterday.  Ugh.  I’ll get it together this week!

Grill Pasta

Happy Friday Eve, everyone!

This week has flown by, which makes me extra happy, since I am wearily counting down the days until I am done with this hellish class!  4 more weeks, for those who want to count down with me 🙂 .


On Tuesday, I did a solid cardio session, starting out on the treadmill with 30 minutes of running intervals, followed by 15 minutes on the elliptical.

I have been seriously missing strength training in my routine!  I inadvertently took a week-long break from weights, so I was excited to get to a BodyPump class yesterday.  It felt good to be back, and I am definitely feelin’ it today!  After class, I did 15 minutes on the elliptical before heading home.


Look out, smoothies– I have a new go-to breakfast! At least for this week.

I’ve been making lots of oats!  I’ve switched from my usual packets of flavored oatmeal to using “old fashioned oats”, cooking a serving (1/2 cup) with either water or almond milk in the microwave, and then stirring in some flava!  The “flavor” part has been in the form of peanut butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, honey, or all three!

I love oats because they keep you full for a longer period of time, which has been great, since I now have less opportunities to eat throughout the day during the week.


Go-to breakfasts have been followed by go-to lunches lately.  It’s actually starting to get a tad on the boring side, but I’ve found that this routine is helping power me through my looong class, so I’m going with it.  Enter: Salad with Ginger Dressing.

Romaine lettuce, bell pepper strips, and a serving of Naturally Fresh Ginger Dressing.  On the side, I enjoyed a Granny Smith apple and a spoonful of peanut butter.


On Tuesday, Corey and I went to Dexter’s for “$1 Burger Night”.  Nope, you didn’t read that wrong.  It literally is $1 for a burger.  Can’t beat that!  I ordered mine with bleu cheese and mushrooms.

Last night, we concocted a little something I’m referring to as “Grill Pasta”.  I’ve found that grilling food takes it to a whole different level.  I would much rather eat grilled vegetables than steamed, and I would much rather have chicken cooked on the grill than in the oven or a skillet.  Corey grilled some vegetables and chicken, and I got busy making a simple sauce.  We tossed everything together and sprinkled with parmesan cheese, and it was just delicious.

Grill Pasta

Servings: 3-4


1/2 box whole wheat spaghetti

2 cups chopped broccoli florets

1 large Vidalia onion

4 chicken cutlets

1/4 cup sundried tomatoes

1/2 cup white wine

1 tablespoon Smart Balance

3 garlic cloves, diced

1 pinch red pepper flakes

salt and pepper

1 teaspoon dried chives


Slice the onion in half.  Chop one half, and slice the other half into wedges.  Place the onion wedges and broccoli in tinfoil, spray with non-stick spray, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Prepare the chicken for grilling, any way you like.  Place vegetables and chicken on the grill until cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.

Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain.

In a skillet over medium heat, spray with nonstick spray and add the chopped onion.  After 2 minutes, add the garlic.  Add the Smart Balance and then the white wine.  Add the sundried tomatoes and other spices.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes and remove from heat.  Add the hot pasta to the sauce.  Cut the grilled chicken into bite-size pieces, and add that and the grilled vegetables to the pasta and toss everything together.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve.

You could add any grilled vegetables and meat you like to this dish, and it would still be great- and the best part- it’s ready in minutes!

1 Day With Mom

I sure managed to cram a lot of stuff into 24 hours!  My mom had her 30th Annual Spring Recital for her piano students yesterday.  She teaches over 120 students, and the recital is a big affair.  Every year, she performs a special song for everyone.  This year, I volunteered to sing, which meant I took a short road trip to Ft. Lauderdale on Saturday, and got back yesterday.


On Saturday, I knew I had to get in a workout of some kind because a) I really slacked off last week, and b) I knew I wouldn’t have a chance to workout on Sunday.  Corey convinced me to try out his new running route around our new neighborhood.  Exciting news: not only did I run the whole time, but we tacked on an extra mile to our distance!  Goodbye, 2.5 miles, helloooo 3.5!

And it feels soo good…


I opted for my new go-to breakfast: the classic PB ^2 + H.  In case you’re not a math whiz, that’s Peanut Butter, Banana and Honey.


Corey treated me to lunch at my favorite spot- Green Lemon Cafe- as a mini-farewell for the weekend.  As I’ve mentioned, Green Lemon is known more for their delicious crepes than anything else, but I always go for the awesome Tuna Salad with Balsamic.

Corey ordered the Chicken Florentine Crepe, which comes filled with chicken, monterey cheese, spinach, and pesto.


I arrived in good ol’ Laudy daudy at around 5 o’clock.  Just in time for Happy Hour on the porch with my mama! We had a glass of wine and chatted away before heading to one of my favorite restaurants ever (even though I’ve only been there once before)- Seasons 52!  If you are not familiar with Seasons 52, it is an upscale restaurant that features seasonal menu selections all under 475 calories.  Don’t worry, nothing on the menu lacks in flavor!  The food is fresh, cooked to perfection and just simply to die for.

When we sat down, we ordered drinks, and then I insisted that we order probably the most high-calorie appetizer they had (oops)- Mushrooms Stuffed with Shrimp and Crab- because I am a sucker for anything stuffed inside a mushroom.

The mushrooms were all covered in a crispy layer of cheese (yes, please), and even came individually tucked into mushroom-sized holes in this special ceramic dish!  On a side note, I will be registering for similar dishes, because I’m sure I will need to make these every night.

For my main dish, I opted for the Rainbow Trout, served with grilled carrots, asparagus, new potato wedges, and a grilled lemon, for extra flavor.

I was starting to get full when my meal arrived, probably because I ate my weight in cheesy mushrooms, so I boxed up the half of my meal that I didn’t finish.  Don’t worry- there’s always room for dessert!

Fortunately, Seasons 52 doesn’t offer gigantic desserts with names that make you gain 5 lbs. just from reading them- instead, they offer a variety of small bites, that come served in shot glasses.  I went with what our waiter described as a cousin to Tiramisu.

Everything was so delicious!  I wish I could eat there every freakin’ night.

My mom and I had a lovely time, and the service wasn’t bad either- my mom was a big fan of our waiter, Pete.

Hi Pete!


On Sunday, we woke up pretty early, because we had lots to do before the recitals started at noon.


I made a quick breakfast sandwich- egg whites on a toasted whole wheat sandwich thin, spread with Laughing Cow Sundried Tomato and Basil Cheese, and topped with diced tomatoes and onion.

After running recital-related errands and setting up the hall, the students and their families began trickling in, and the first show started.  I opened each of the 4 recitals by singing, “I’ll Stand By You” (video soon to come!) You can see my sister and I singing the opening a few years ago, here.

While the students played I headed into the back room of the hall to study for my class, and do other productive things, like take obnoxious pictures of myself:

I'm workin' my butt off over here!

I took a lunch break in between shows, which included a 6-inch turkey and provolone on wheat with lettuce, tomato, banana peppers, and pickles from Subway.

My mom and I in our recital gowns (told ya it’s a big affair!):

The last show ended around 6:30PM.  We packed up the car and headed home after a long day!  I changed out of my gown and into some comfy clothes, packed up my car with my own stuff, and got back on the road to Orlando.


I wish I could say dinner was as impressive as the night before, but…it was a big FAIL!

I tried to be a good girl and ordered a grilled chicken sandwich from Wendy’s, but I took one bite, spit it out, and threw the sandwich away, vowing to become a vegetarian. It was sick.

BAD sandwich!!!

Instead, dinner looked more like this:

(Thank you to the students who gave these to my mom- you saved me from starvation! 🙂 )

All in all, it was a fun weekend, and I loved getting to spend some much-needed time with my fabulous mom!

It’s Monday- back to the grind!  

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