Jeremiah’s Italian Ice

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As a last stop on my visit in Orlando, I had to drop by Jeremiah’s. There was a shop right across the street from my college campus (brilliant location), and I used to go all the time. Now with 8 locations in Central Florida, there’s one even closer to my old home. So, it was time to get my fix at their Maitland, FL location.

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Using fresh fruit and filtered water, they make their rotating 40 flavors fresh daily. The ices are churned in an ice cream machine, giving you a super smooth finished product. Lots of people know ices as those little cups you get as a kid from an ice cream truck, you know, the kind you work your muscles scraping just to get a little bit of sour shaved ice from that wooden pick of a spoon. Well, throw that image out of your head (at least for this post), because these ices are nothing like that. They also offer the ices as gelati, layering in their homemade soft serve vanilla ice cream. 

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My usual was always their Cookies and Cream, but, I saw a new (to me) addition on the menu and wanted to switch it up. I went for the Cake Batter, and it was awesome. You get all the nostalgia of that cake-batter-in-the-bowl flavor in a cold, creamy, frosty treat. And because it’s an ice, it’s much lighter, allowing you to really enjoy it without feeling too full and heavy afterward. 

The Shorts:
Name: Jeremiah’s Italian Ice
Location: 111 South Orlando Avenue, Maitland, FL
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Duh, as long as they’re open, and as long as I continue to visit home at least once a year, I’ll be back.
Would I recommend it? Definitely. And they don’t need much help from me. There’s always a line or crowd outside trying to get some ice. In fact, I’ve never not seen a customer there at any point throughout the day or night. Way to go, Jeremiah. 

Mercer Kitchen

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I’ve been to a couple of Jean-Georges’ restaurants, and they were excellent. So, I was prepared to be dazzled again at Mercer Kitchen in SoHo, also a part of my Michelin Challenge.

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The restaurant is downstairs in a dimly lit basement, serving American fare. There are two types of seating, conventional tables, and then banquettes with small circular tables. We were sat at the later, and, I wasn’t a big fan of the seating, especially since there were three of us, a table really meant for two, so, we had to play a bit of Tetris to fit all our plates. 

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You’re served bread to start, everybody loves a snack. For my entree, I ordered the Steamed Skate (with Tarragon, Sesame Seed, Asparagus and Sushi Rice). This was a really great dish. The fish is super delicate and generously portioned. It’s almost bathing in a savory broth, in the best way possible. The asparagus was perfectly cooked, not too crisp, not too tender, Goldilocks style. And the sushi rice was a perfect compliment, substantial and sticky, and really great when soaking up the flavors of the broth and fish.

The Shorts:
Name: Mercer Kitchen
Location: 99 Prince Street, NYC
Michelin Stars: One Star
The Long and Short: Would I go back? I would, the food was delicious, but I’ll request on OpenTable, “no banquette seating, please”. 
Would I recommend it? Yes, it has a sleek and cavernous aesthetic with a pretty good playlist.