I'm taking a quick recess from my "Breakthrough + Balance" series because the next installment will be about careers and after the crazy workweek I had, I need to give myself a mental break from work!
As many of you know, I am originally from Northern California but I'm now living in Tampa, Florida. When you move to a brand new city, it's only natural to compare it to home. To be honest, nothing will ever compare to HOME. Sacramento is where most of my friends are. It's where I worked my butt off through college and learned to be an adult. San Francisco (Marin County, more specifically) is where I go to spend holidays with my mama and family. And the Mendocino coast is my favorite place in the world, where later this year I'll be marrying my best friend! But Tampa has its charms as well.
I love dining out so I guess it's fitting that my first Florida v California (FLVCA) blog post will be about food! And man this is a tough one. Sacramento is the Farm to Fork Capital of the country. Farmers markets and localvore menus abound! It has more fine dining restaurants than any city needs. But here's my shocking conclusion-- Tampa wins the restaurant category! Why? How? Dear Lord, please explain! I know, right? Here's my reason: Tampa has a higher number of amazing, affordable restaurants. Yes, Mulvaney's B&L is probably better than any restaurant here in Tampa but how often can you drop $250+ on dinner?! Tampa has a great variety of HEALTHY food options that you can afford on a daily basis.
First, let me start with breakfast and introduce you to Sweet Soul.SoHo. This little gem just added loads of farm-fresh charm to my neighborhood and I couldn't be more obsessed. With tons of Açaí bowl options out there, Sweet Soul has stolen my heart with it's amazing bowl options, generous helpings of bee pollen, and an atmosphere that makes me want to move right in and never leave.
Next... the restaurant that made me realize that I could do this. I could live in Florida. Fresh Kitchen, oh how I love you. My first day in Florida, I went to a vegan cafe in St. Petersburg and I was SO disappointed. The next day, I found Fresh Kitchen in the Hyde Park/South Howard (SoHo) neighborhood and went back to my hotel and told Kolby on the phone that I found a neighborhood I could love. And now I live here. Fresh Kitchen is served up Chipotle style with the quick moving line where you build your bowl full of the most amazing, fresh foods. My favorite? The sweet potato noodles (better than you would ever imagine!) and veggies (brussels sprouts if they're in season, usually broccoli, green beans, braised beans and kale, or the veggie chili). Kolby loves loading up on the sauces, like cucumber jalepeño and coconut sriracha.
There is one more spot I must mention, even though it is in Orlando. Market on South is a vegan restaurant that absolutely blew me away. I could eat it everyday and often consider driving the 1.5 hours just to eat there and drive back. I had veggie chili dogs and Kolby ate a jackfruit carnitas and tofu scramble brunch burrito. And of course we both devoured our own orders of brussels sprouts. This is another great, farm-like environment. And the food could not be better.
I have to admit, I miss Mother in Sacramento so much it hurts. And I'm definitely eating there when I visit California. But the rest of the affordably-priced food scene in Sacramento seemed a bit stuck (maybe it's changed, I don't know). I do know that whenever I move away from Florida, I am really going to miss the restaurants out here. This has been a small sampling but trust me, there's more. The veggie hot dog and air baked fries at Evos to the black bean dip and cauliflower tacos at the Green Lemon, Tampa has a lot to offer and I'm excited to continue my search for all the healthy and delicious foods!