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Rio Coco Cafe, Vero Beach – What a gem!

RioCocoKaraBeanSalad

Finally, a new post!  It seems like it’s been ages since I had posted anything.  Terrible, I know.  So what’s been going on with me?  Work, traveling, trying to be healthy and enjoy life.  During my little travels to Vero Beach, FL I found a cute little coffee shop.  There’s just something I love about coffee shops.  The smell of fresh roasted coffee beans, the relaxing atmosphere, it’s just a good place for a quick mental getaway.

 

RioCocoExteriorRioCocoCounterRio Coco Cafe has all that and it’s been around for over a year.  Don’t let the exterior fool you, the inside is full of goodness!  It’s located in a shopping plaza near the Vero Beach Airport.

When you walk in the atmosphere is instantly welcoming, filled with the smells of roasted coffee.  I absolutely love coffee shops and this place doesn’t disappoint.

The staff is extremely helpful and friendly!  There’s a food menu, drink menu and a coffee beans menu.  The food menu consists of breakfast items, salads, paninis and wraps.  I’m at a coffee place so you know I’ve got to try some of the coffee here!  White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Espresso Drink it is!  Sweet, strong and tasty.  Not a bad way to get the day started.

RioCocoMacadamiaNutEspressoDrink

 

RioCocoKaraBeanSaladI ordered the Kara Bean Salad with Chicken and my boyfriend ordered the Pesto Chicken Panini.  The Kara Bean Salad ($7.01) is vegan and gluten free unless you decide to add additional items to it.  I added chicken for an additional 2 dollars.  This is a vibrant salad with spinach, romaine lettuce, shredded red cabbage, black beans, corn, mandarin oranges, almonds, Parmesan cheese and balsamic vinaigrette.  This salad had great texture and was very hearty.

 

RioCocoChickenPestoPaniniThe Chicken Pesto Panini ($7.24) has chicken, roasted red pepper, mozzarella, and pesto.  The wraps and sandwiches come with multi-grain flax chips and a pickle.  This was another filling menu item but not overly filling where you want to take a nap after lunch.

 

RioCocoFlankSteakSaladThere are two flank steak items listed with fairly close prices.  The Flank Steak Salad ($7.48) and the Flank Steak Panini ($7.71).  The Flank Steak Salad has steak, spinach, romaine lettuce, sweet peppers,red onions, tomatoes, and balsamic vinaigrette.  The Flank Steak Panini consists of french bread, steak, red onions, horseradish sauce, and RC sauce.

RioCocoFlankSteakPaniniI found the salad to have more flavor and more content than the Flank Steak Panini.

 

 

 

 

RioCocoCoffeeRoasterYou’ll notice their slogan, “good coffee, great cause.”  The folks at Rio Coco Cafe call their coffee 100% humanic.  That’s right, “humanic”, not organic or fair trade.  They have a nifty little video about it on YouTube if you have the time to watch.  Basically the profits that Rio Coco Cafe earns goes to help children and teachers in Nicaragua that are involved with Project Ezra.  The coffee is roasted in small batches, in house.

Overall the food is good and the service is great, but you should really come here for the coffee.   If you aren’t in the local area to try the coffee, you can always order coffee from their website Rio Coco Beans.


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Vespr New Menu Items

VesprMan'sManSalad

VesprCupVespr has quickly become a new favorite of mine.  In my previous post about Vespr, I shared some awesome items such as the “Barrel Smoked Sweet Iced Tea”.  Currently, Vespr has baked treats which is good and all but how about some REAL food?  Don’t get me wrong, cookies and all them baked treats are fine but…this girl likes to eat!  Well, let me tell ya… new items are coming soon.

VesprMotherJarSalads, parfaits and lattes, oh my!  Yes, that’s right…I said salads at Vespr.  The new menu items are set to launch Saturday, July 20, 2013.  The two featured salads are the “Mother Jar” and the “Man’s Man Salad”. Both salads are served in large Mason jars.  The “Mother Jar” is perfect for the vegetarians and it’s a nice, light salad.  Mixed greens, sweet cherry tomatoes, penne pasta, fresh mozzarella, and a delicate spice vinaigrette.   I loved the fresh basil in the slightly sweet dressing.  The dressings are portioned out to be 0.7 ounces.   I’m not a big salad dressing girl but I thought I would need more.  Nope, it was jusssst right.  I highly suggest after you thoroughly shake your salad,  to let it rest.  Letting the dressing permeate into the salad allowed the flavors to really come out.

 

VesprMan'sManSaladNext up, the “Man’s Man Salad”.  Mixed greens, bacon, grilled chicken, cheddar cheese, toasted pecans, with whiskey and candied bacon vinaigrette.  Let me tell you, this was a hearty salad.  The whiskey and candied bacon vinaigrette was something I hadn’t had before.  By itself, I can’t say I’m terribly fond of it but with the salad, it was really good.  This salad  is full of protein with the chicken, bacon (who doesn’t love bacon?!) and blocks of cheddar cheese.  Each salad is uniquely different but delicious.

 

The new menu features a “Smart Snacking” section.  This is the perfect snack food while working or studying.  There’s the Agave Parfait (low fat yogurt, agave nectar, granola), the Vespr Parfait, and the Vespr JAB.  The Vespr Parfait is composed of greek style yogurt, speciality jam, and granola. All the specialty jams come from local Forbidden Fruit Jam Company.  For the Vespr Parfait, you have your option of Sweet and Sassy Tropical Jam or the Watermelon Mint Mojito.  The Sweet and Sassy Tropical Jam is pineapple, blueberry and grapefruit.  Just so ya know, the Watermelon Mint Mojito does not contain any alcohol.  I am not the biggest fans of mojitos in general but I fell in love with this jam.  It tasted like a sweet minty watermelon jolly rancher.  MMMMMM….   I decided to go with the sweet and sassy tropical jam for the Vespr parfait.  It is served in a long jar so that you have enough room to stir the parfait.  As soon as opened my jar, I smelled the parfait.  AHHHH…. The delightful aroma reminded me of a blueberry pie.  The tartness of the greek yogurt, the sweet jam, the crunchiness of the granola.  Me gusta!  I even found some almonds in here!VesprParfait

TheVesprJABThe Vespr JAB (Jam & Almond Butter) is served with celery sticks.  The jam choices are the  Ménage À Trois Berry (raspberries, blackberries and blueberries) or the Peach-Raspberry Seduction (made with Jupiter peaches).  This is another great healthy snack.  Nuff said.

VesprButterscotchLatteVespr has 3 new specialty lattes they will be introducing.  The Butterscotch Latte, the Maple Madagascar Vanilla Latte, and the Lavender and Rose Latte.  The Butterscotch Latte is amazing!  Served with whip cream on the side of the cup, you could either stir it in or drink it from the whipped cream side.  A little whip cream mustache never hurt anyone.  The espresso still really shined through even with the extra flavors.  Needless to say, I drank all of this to the very last drop.

VesprMapleMadagascarVanillaLatteThe Maple Madagascar Vanilla Latte has real maple sugar around the cup.  This is a very sweet latte and it’s pretty much how it sounds.

VesprLavendarRoseLatteThe Lavender and Rose Latte is definitely interesting.  It has rose sugar crystals around the cup and lavender syrup in the latte.  I probably could eat this sugar by the spoonful.  It was floral, sweet and tasty.  And did I mention this latte is pretty?  Before you take a sip, make sure you stop and smell this latte.  One of my friends loved the latte but for me, it left me a bit perplexed.  I’m not quite sure what to make of it, I didn’t necessarily dislike it nor did I love it.  I kept smelling and drinking it, it really left me on the fence.  This latte is one of those you either hate it or love it, except for me.  I’m still not sure how I feel about it.  It’s a latte of interest.

 

So, my fav picks from the new menu: Man’s Man Salad, the Vespr Parfait and the Butterscotch Latte.  Bottom line… lots of new delicious items at Vespr!

 

http://thevespr.com/
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Ynot Pizza & Italian Cuisine Ghent

YnotSaladChop

YnotExteriorYnot Pizza & Italian Cuisine is a local restaurant chain in the Hampton Roads area.  There are five locations, two of which are in Norfolk, VA.  I went to the Ghent location on Colley Avenue.  I remember when this used to be Szechuan in Ghent.  You really can’t tell that it used to be a Chinese restaurant here.

I decided to come here because I wanted a good salad for an affordable price.  Through the power of Internet search, I found a blog listing “Best Salads in Hampton Roads“.  I saw Ynot at the top of the list, and figured I’d give it a go.  My friends had told me the “it’s good” but that really doesn’t say much.

Parking can be a bit tight, there’s street parking available but I just parked behind the restaurant.  The interior is spacious , outdoor seating is also available.  I had Alex as my server, she was very nice and prompt.  I had met up with my friends and we all ordered something different.

 

YnotSaladChopI came here with a plan, I hadn’t had a good salad in awhile and hoped Ynot would not disappoint.  They have a “Custom Made Chop Salad” where you get the paper and make your selections.  The salad starts off at $5.95 but with the addition of cheese, meats, other veggies, it’ll add up quickly.  You pick your greens, toppings, meat/cheeses, dressing, and style of chop.  I ordered the mesclun, broccoli, alfalfa sprouts, mushrooms, bacon, and fat-free raspberry vinaigrette.  There are definitely lot of options here so it’s a great place for a vegetarian.  Yum!   I am definitely a fan!  Although the flatbread crisps on the side didn’t do much for me.

 

YnotDeluxePizzaOne of my friends ordered the Deluxe Pizza.  It has pepperoni, black olives, green bell peppers, sausage and mushrooms.  Her and I agreed the pizza wasn’t that good.  The crust was terribly hard to chew through like ciabatta but even more dense.  I just wasn’t feeling this pizza.  I mean I’m not saying it’s terrible but it certainly wasn’t great.  My friend typically likes to cut through her pizza with a fork.  Don’t ask me why, but she does.  And I just watched her struggle.  And continue to struggle.  One good note, this pizza isn’t super greasy.

 

YnotLasagnaMy other friend ordered the lasagna which included a garden salad and Italian bread.  Nothing too special about this.  I do not recommend ordering this dish.  Yes, it was a good portion size; however, it was bland.  I’d give it points for giving a comfort food feeling but it would have definitely been better with more flavorful sauce.

 

 

 

 

YnotBakedGood

YnotGelatoDisplayYnot offers different menu items aside from the pizza, salad and the main entrées such as subs, pasta and dessert.  Oooh, desserts.  They have a display cake of the baked goods and gelato.  I ordered the wildberry gelato.  MMMM…  I liked the gelato here and there’s quite of bit of variety to choose from.

YnotWildberryGelato

In general, Ynot is a good option with an extensive menu.  I’d definitely come back for more salad and gelato.

http://ynotpizza.com/

Hours:
Sun – Thurs: 11am – 11pm
Fri & Sat: 11am – Midnight
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Greens & Grille Millenia

GreensGrilleSteakHouseSalad

GreensGrilleExterior
So I finally stopped in to see what Greens & Grille was about.  Why has it taken me so long?!  Well, let’s see…Whenever I drive past this place, it looks closed.  That dark tint threw me off and then the restaurant didn’t really stand out to me.  The sign looked gimmicky or perhaps TOO healthy.  I don’t know, there was just something that never made me stop in to eat there.  Also, I didn’t know anyone else who had ate there before.  Finally someone I knew ate there and just raved about it.  Well, you don’t have to twist my arm to get me to eat food!  Maybe bone marrow.  Maybe.  As soon as I walked in, I see the menu on the wall to the left.  It’s got nice, vibrant colors in here.  As soon you walk up to the counter, the employee takes your order.  It’s not till the end of the line where you pay for your meal.  In between the trip from the ordering station to the register you’ll pass the salad station and then the grill station.

GreensGrilleInterior

 

 

 

 

I was a little overwhelmed at first.  It seems so simple, salad or sandwich but the choices were abundant.  If you weren’t feeling either option then you could also order some grilled items.  I selected the “steak house salad”.  The menu description reads: ‘Mixed greens, candied almonds, sliced egg, cranberries, grilled onions, bleu cheese with aged sherry thyme dressing served with flank steak.’  There’s always a moment of ‘will the description match the dish’ and in this instance, it really did.  I thoroughly enjoyed my salad.  The portion was generous, the flavors were great!  I kept eating more than I should have but it was just so good!  Even the candied almonds were amazing.  Instead of just roasting whole almonds or roasted pieces, they used sliced almonds.  The great part about this was the fact that it was candied all together so there was a layering effect and then broken into pieces.  Thus more flavor achieved and easier chewing.  My flank steak was very tender and flavorful.  I tried some of the baked mac and cheese, pretty tasty as well.GreensGrilleSteakHouse

I like how Greens & Grille uses half sheet trays as trays for the customer.  How resourceful!  The employees were quick and attentive. My only quip would be that the outdoor seating was so crowded. I thoroughly enjoyed this place and will definitely return for more!

http://www.greensandgrille.com/index.shtml

HOURS:
Mon-Sat: 11am-9pm
Sun: 11am-8pm

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