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Jackie Colson-Miller

Jackie Colson-Miller, CIPS
Direct - (813)629-5757
Homeward Real Estate
3401 Henderson Blvd
Tampa, FL 33609
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Real Estate Sizzle Tampa Bay restaurants
Tampa Restaurant Reviews


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Archive for August, 2010


It’s Restaurant Week in Tampa…Enjoy!

Filed under: Real Estate News

This is Restaurant Week in the Tampa Bay area, with many of the restaurants featuring prix fixe menus, of three courses, for $25, $30, or $35.

What a great way to try some of the best Restaurants in Tampa at reasonable prices!

You can find a complete list of all of the participating restaurants, and their menus, right  here.

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The Real Estate Sizzle in Washington, DC…Great Restaurants…Tampa Real Estate News and More

Filed under: Real Estate News

I have enjoyed the past few days attending a conference in Washington DC. To my delight, it happened to be “Summer Restaurant Week”, with many of the best restaurants in the city participating in “prix fixe” menus for Lunch/Brunch and Dinner. I had done plenty of research prior to my trip, and had a list of many “must try” places, including plans to visit all of these restaurants, but was pleasantly surprised with the opportunity to sample more of the menu items at each venue, during this special week.

“Restaurant Week” prices, in all of the participating restaurants, were set at $20.10 for brunch/lunch and $35.10 for dinner. What a
great way to enjoy some amazing food at rock bottom prices! Most restaurants also offered a “flight” of wines with each menu. Tampa, are you listening? Get with this program!!!

This was my culinary adventure, last week ,in Washington, DC:


POSTE Moderne Brasserie

This top-rated restaurant is located in the classic Hotel Monaco in Penn Quarter. The sleek styling and open kitchen offers diners eggs from local farms, and is focused on sustainability, including greens from their own garden. While deciding on my options for the three-course brunch (for $20.10), the wait staff provided a basket of fresh baked goods, including scones, croissants, fruit bread and a blueberry square on the order of “blueberry bread pudding”. At that point, I knew I was in for a treat. The first courses sampled were the “house made” doughnuts with chocolate ganache, lemon curd and seasonal jam fillings, as well as a granola parfait. The yeast raised, sugar crusted treats, served with a cherry crème fraiche sorbet, were the stuff our sweet tooth dreams about! As I gobbled them, I realized I had forgotten to take a picture, so the waitress happily obliged me with a fresh batch for the photo op! The granola parfait was served in a martini glass, perfectly layered with fresh yogurt, granola, blueberries, strawberries and a drizzle of organic honey! Oh my! I sent pictures ,via my Blackberry, to my favorite foodie friend in Tampa!

Next up, …the Eggs Hussarde .The poached eggs were nestled atop a marchand de vin sauce in the perfectly spiced and crusted potato skins. After devouring them, with the side of nueske bacon and a simple arugula salad, I was wondering how I could possibly manage the “final course”…the 8th Street Market Cobbler. This final “delight” arrived “en pot” fresh out of the oven. A mélange of perfectly chosen blueberries and peaches was topped with just enough sweet and spice to tantalize the tastebuds. A scoop of crème fraiche sorbet “topped” it off.
We enjoyed mimosas, fabulous food and very attentive service. This restaurant would be on my “must go” list for the next trip to Washington, DC.
Poste on Urbanspoon

At the top of every “list” I had seen about great restaurants in Washington, DC, one name kept reappearing…Zaytinya. Described as Mediterranean/Greek, I was expecting something one might find in a typical Tarpon Springs restaurant. Wrong, I was. The glassy, open and contemporary, Zaytinya, occupies a prime corner in the Penn Quarter area. I stopped in for a “late” lunch after a full day of sightseeing. Also participating in the “Restaurant Week” adventure, I was beginning to REALLY enjoy this concept of the long, leisurely, multi-course lunch, which I so loved while living in Europe many years ago. I settled in at the bar and the affable bartender offered me the menu, along with the “Four Course Lunch” ,for this special week. Four Courses, fourteen options…this was getting to be lots of fun!
I chose the crispy eggplant with roasted garlic-yogurt sauce as my starter. The generous portion arrived perfectly seasoned and fried to perfection. Next up, the Garides Me Anitha..sauteed shrimp swimming in a delightful blend of dill, shallot, mustard and lemon . I had to pace myself, at this point, and ordered a glass of Tempranillo, a great choice for the third course…Lamb Kleftico…tender morsels of lamb, with feta and spices, wrapped in phyllo and served with a dill yogurt. It was sublime! The finale, was a “shot glass” of Muscat-soaked apricots , vanilla yogurt cream, apricot sorbet and chopped pistachios…a festival of flavors for my tastebuds. Some of the “regulars” were lamenting the recent loss of Zaytinya’s Executive Chef. No need…this place is “humming” with a great staff and a creative menu. The bar was packed on Friday night, so consider this a “must go”…and RUN!
Zaytinya on Urbanspoon

Scouring the reviews for the “perfect” DC Restaurant prior to my trip, I settled on the unique, CEDAR
, both for it’s menu , rave reviews and unique location and secured a reservation in advance. Nestled in a basement space, in the restaurant-filled Penn Quarter, it was small, quiet and intimate, the perfect respite after a long travel day, at the best table in the house… A quiet corner to relax and enjoy the feast ahead. This was my “first” adventure for Summer Restaurant Week and a very special one, indeed. Cedar was offering a Three Course dinner for the “Restaurant Week” Price of $35.10, along with a Wine Pairing with each course for $20.
The bread basket arrived with a side of unsalted butter and sea salt, a nice European touch.
Of the five offerings for appetizers, we chose a Market Lettuce Salad with fennel, corn, tomatoes, parmesan and an mustard-tarragon vinaigrette. This light tasty mix was served with a Domaine de Bernier Chardonnay, from the Loire Valley. Light and crisp, with no hint of oak, it was the perfect choice.
Partial to Red Wines, I chose the Roasted Beet Salad with dates, carmelized pecans and goat cheese, appropriately paired with the Spanish Garnacha Campos De Luz. Other unique offerings included a Crispy Pork Belly with watermelon/jalapeno jelly, Chilled Corn Soup with Blue Crab and a Marinated Calimari.

The Creekstone Farms Flat Iron Steak was served with white bean ragu, bacon, green garlic and pea tendrils. It was deliciously paired with a Rutherford Ranch Cabernet, one of my favorites, and not listed on the wine list! The Grilled Fin Tuna with cherry tomato confit was perfectly done and paired with the same Chardonnay as the salad. The staff was very willing to “swap” wine pairings, as they did when I ordered my dessert course and opted for a St. Germain/Elder Flower Liqueur & Champagne, in lieu of the assigned Riesling, which paired with a heavenly Yellow Peach-Almond Crumble Cake topped with Tahitian Vanilla Chantilly. Due to a mishap in the kitchen, we were able to sample ALL of the desserts that evening. The Coconut Tres Leches Cake with passion fruit sauce arrived overdone and was promptly replaced with a Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Bar with Candied hazelnuts…a chocolate lover’s dream.
CEDAR earns major kudos on every level….creativity, ambiance, service and quality…put it at the top of your list for great restaurants in Washington, DC.
Cedar Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Of course, there are some “less than memorable” Restaurants…let’s say they are on my “didn’t love it” list.

Bistro Bis
Highly recommended, I stopped in for a nice breakfast to “power” me for a long day of sightseeing. While the corned beef hash was delicious, and the poached eggs perfectly “runny”, as requested, the staff was “stiff and rude”. It felt like a scene from the Stepford Wives. No personality. No verve. No return visit.
Bistro Bis on Urbanspoon

This restaurant was touted for their char-grilled oysters and New Orleans Style food. The large space and outdoor patio were busy and the bar area was packed on a Friday night. The service was slow and the wait staff a bit surly, with a 15 minute wait on the bottle of wine. I ordered a Red Snapper that I am convinced was really Grouper, which arrived uncooked. It later reappeared seemingly “trimmed” of my initial bite and, I suspect, had been “microwaved”. Nothing special here…plenty of better options in DC.
Acadiana on Urbanspoon

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Where Are the Best Places to Live in Tampa? Tampa Real Estate Market

Filed under: Best Places, Buying a House in Tampa, Historic Tampa, MacDill AFB, Moving to Tampa, Places to Live, Plant High School, Relocation, Schools in Tampa, South Tampa, Tampa Neighborhoods, Tampa Schools, Waterfront Homes in Tampa

The latest news on the Best Neighborhoods in Tampa, Moving to Tampa and PCS to Macdill Air Force Base….
Many Families are searching the Tampa Real Estate Market for homes in highly-rated school districts in Tampa.  The Plant High School District is always at the top of that list.  Here is another article in my series on “Plant High School Neighborhoods.”  Plant High School is one of the “Top 100 High Schools” in the U.S., so I am always relocating families into the Plant High School District.
I have been spending a lot of time in Beach Park and Sunset Park lately, as I am looking for a “teardown”, for some clients who are looking to build a new home in the Plant High School district.
Beach Park and Sunset Park, two well-established South Tampa neighborhoods, run South of Kennedy Boulevard and East and West of Westshore Boulevard and border Tampa Bay.  Large lots, along with grandfather oaks, line the winding streets that Tampabeachparkhave been popular since their development in the 1950’s.  Brick ranches, Mediterranean and Traditional styled-homes fill these neighborhoods which include waterfront homes in Beach Park Isles and Sunset Park Isles, commonly known as the “fingers”, which dead-end into Tampa Bay, making this area very popular for boating enthusiasts!

Grady and Dale Mabry Elementary Schools, Coleman Middle School and Plant High School are all “top” rated, making Beach Park and Sunset Park an ideal choice for families with children. Just a ten minute drive to Tampa International Airport, or Downtown Tampa, it is very convenient for the busy professional!

Prices range from $400,000 to several million. For a list of the homes available in Beach Park, or Sunset Park, you can contact me today!

You can read some of my previous articles about Tampa neighborhoods:

New Suburb Beautiful

Parkland Estates

Culbreath Isles

For more information about the Tampa Real Estate market, Tampa Neighborhoods, including Culbreath Isles. South Tampa, Harbour Island, Davis Islands, Beach Park, Sunset Park, Hyde Park, Channelside, Palma Ceia, Westchase, Waterchase, Odessa, Cheval, Avila, Brandon, Riverview, FishHawk, New Tampa, Tampa Palms, Hunters Green, Arbor Greene, Apollo Beach, South Shore, MiraBay, Golf Communities, Waterfront Homes, Luxury Homes in Tampa, Condos in Tampa and International Real Estate contact me!

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Dishtopia and the Anytime Tea Bar…A Unique “Tea” Experience in South Tampa…Tampa Real Estate News and More

Filed under: Best Places, Best Places in Tampa, Restaurants in Tampa, South Tampa

Dishtopia….it’s a funny name for a really “cool” place to hang out and enjoy an interesting “tea”, or one of Dottie’s homemade scones or a piece of quiche. Located, right next door to my office, in the Outback Plaza, you will often find me at the tea bar, with my laptop, enjoying a “cool” respite on the hot, humid Florida Summer Days. I’m on a mission to try each of the 100+ teas available, but my favorites are Key Lime iced, Schizandra Black Currant and Bohemian Raspberry.

Also on the menu are  cookies, cheesecakes, pannini and tea sandwiches…I love her Chicken Salad with dates or apricots!

On any given day, you might find a Jigsaw Puzzle challenge event, or some cool music on a Friday evening, or a “mini meeting” with local professionals, who need a break from their  office scene.

For me, it’s a nice respite in the middle of my hectic day…stop in..and make yourself a “regular”!

Dishtopia & The Anytime Tea Bar on Urbanspoon

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My Endorsements in Hillsborough County Primary Races…Tampa Real Estate News and More

Filed under: Real Estate News, Tampa Real Estate Agent, Tampa Real Estate Market, Things to Ponder

The State and Local Primary Races have become hotly contested topics in recent conversations.  Since the 2008 Election, I have committed to be more involved in the political process… a commitment to know the candidates that I am voting for. As a result, I have had the benefit of meeting nearly all of the candidates* in these races and have asked them some tough, and pointed, questions. I have listened to their speeches, their histories and their personal philosophies. I have listened and listened and listened….for consistency,  and ethics.  I have read their body language and have  seen how they respond to difficult questions. Some candidates squirm and evade real answers.  Their names are not on this list. While I do not agree 100% with ANY candidate, I will always vote for the candidate that answers my questions with eloquence and honesty.

While many voters are using the “rail” issue as a litmus test for a candidate this year, I have not used that  single issue as a reason for, or, against an endorsement in any race.  I care more about ethics, business experience,  and a commitment to more efficiency and less waste in Government. I want to see “principles” not “promises”.  Enough said.

At a political fundraiser several years ago, I met an eloquent, fiscal conservative, who gave the following message, with respect to cutting the State Budget in Tallahassee: “This is the year for “requireds”, not “desireds” and that is the message we need to “get” in Florida this year”.  It was a memorable speech. He is a memorable candidate. I took that message home to my kids that night. My son, 16 at the time, rolled his eyes at me and exclaimed, “Mother, you really need to stop going to those political events”.  I laughed, and told my son that would not happen. I’m involved in the process!

Who was that candidate? Jeff Atwater!

Here are my endorsements in the State and Local Republican Primary:

Florida Governor – Bill McCollum

Florida Chief Financial Officer – Jeff Atwater*

Florida Attorney General – Pam Bondi

U.S. Senator – Marco Rubio*

US House District 11 – Mike Prendergast*

13th Judicial Circuit Group 4 – Liz Rice*

Hillsborough County Commission*

District 1 – Trey Rustmann*

District 2 – Victor Crist*

District 5 – Ken Hagan*

District 7 – Mark Sharpe*

Rep District 56 – Irene Guy*

Rep District 67 – Greg Steube*

Vote…Make a Difference!

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Great Places for Lunch in Tampa…Lauro Ristorante…Tampa Real Estate News

Filed under: Best Places in Tampa, Buying a House in Tampa, Davis Islands Real Estate, Hyde Park Real Estate, Jackie Colson-Miller, Luxury Homes in Tampa, MLS Listings in Tampa, MLS Search, Restaurants in Tampa, South Tampa, Tampa Real Estate Market

The First in a Series on “Great Places for Lunch” in Tampa.

One of my favorite things about selling Real Estate, is introducing newcomers to some of my favorite restaurants in Tampa. I live, and work, in the Plant High School District, so Lauro’s, on Henderson Blvd, is one of my absolute favorite places for lunch, not only for the food, but the atmosphere.  There are plenty of “loud” places, with each of them boasting to have the “best sandwich” for this, or that! Plenty of places where you stand in a very crowded  line, place an order and try to find a (dirty) table where you “wait” for your name to be called.  I don’t do “cattle call” lunches. No cafeteria style. No one screaming my name, or my number, to get my lunch.  It’s neither cheaper, nor more convenient, to dine in one of those places, but it is really annoying.  It’s just not my “thing”.  My work days are hectic.  When I take a break for lunch, I like to sit, relax, peruse the menu and be served by a professional wait staff, not a gum-chewing, tatoo bearing,  piercing loaded, post-teen/pre-adult who doesn’t know on which side of the plate to place a fork.

I have been “lunching” at Lauro’s for years. I love it when one of my friends calls and says she is in the mood for a “Lauro” day.   The same staff greets us at the door. They know our favorite table. The dining room is quiet, the servers are professional  and the owner is always mulling about checking on things.  The lunch specials can’t be beat, as they include the entree and a soup, or house salad.  My favorite soup is the cream of mushroom, but the lentil soup or minestrone are also good choices.  Try a Trout Cleopatra or Grouper Livornese. In the mood for Pasta? The gnocchi, agnolotti and lasagna are all fabulous.  The staff is very accommodating and you can order any fish, or pasta, in any style or sauce.  Each lunch entree comes with either pasta or vegetable. I doubt you will have room for dessert, but you should try the tiramisu!  So, you’ve just had a fabulous lunch, in quiet surroundings, for the same price as one of those “cattle call” places…what kind of lunch hour would YOU prefer?

Try Lauro for dinner….they are offering a three-course meal for $22.50!

Lauro's Ristorante Italiano on Urbanspoon

For more information about the Tampa Real Estate market, Tampa Neighborhoods, including Culbreath Isles. South Tampa, Harbour Island, Davis Islands, Beach Park, Sunset Park, Hyde Park, Channelside, Palma Ceia, Westchase, Waterchase, Odessa, Cheval, Avila, Brandon, Riverview, FishHawk, New Tampa, Tampa Palms, Hunters Green, Arbor Greene, Apollo Beach, South Shore, MiraBay, Golf Communities, Waterfront Homes, Luxury Homes in Tampa, Condos in Tampa and International Real Estate contact me!

For more news on the Tampa Real Estate Market, go to my Home Page.

For more of my Restaurant reviews, go to my Urban Spoon profile!

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Looking for a Deepwater Lot in South Tampa! Tampa Real Estate

Filed under: Real Estate News

I am looking for an oversized lot on a deepwater canal, lagoon, or Open Bay in Beach Park, Sunset Park or Davis Islands. I have clients who are ready to build!  If you have a property that is not currently listed, please contact me today, either by email, or phone…813.629.5757

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Best Restaurants in Tampa? Try the “Yummy House”!

Filed under: Real Estate News

Chinese Food would normally be LAST on my list of dining choices, so when I RAVE about the Yummy House you must ignore your experiences with the typical “mushy” chow mein, or “chinese buffet” that is your “typical” Chinese food experience.

One bite of the Salt and Pepper Calamari and you will be hooked! The combination of ginger, garlic and scallions is “right on” …spicy and flavorful. Not on the menu, you can also have the Grouper done this way, as well. In my opinion, anything done “Salt and Pepper” style is amazing. For “traditionalists”, try anything with the XO sauce and don’t miss the Hot and Sour Soup. While the menu has a plethora of mind-boggling choices, always check the daily specials and ask the waiter for recommendations. On my last visit, I had baby clams, in the shell, sauteed with ginger and scallions…. by far, some of the best, most flavorful, mollusks I have ever tasted.   Quite a feat, since I am from New England, where clams are practically served every which way, even for breakfast! Now, I ask for that dish even though it’s not on the regular menu.  They are very accomodating with special requests.

Every visit to the Yummy House requires a new dish to try!  Last week, the Grouper in Coconut Curry Sauce called my name from the “specials” board.  The fish was fresh, perfectly seasoned and absolutely delicious.

Be prepared to wait for a table, but it is worth it! The servings are huge, so order several different items to share and count on a return visit!

The Yummy House does not serve beer or wine, so BYOB. There is no corkage fee!
Yummy House on Urbanspoon

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Harbour Island…A Popular Neighborhood in the Plant High School District…Tampa Real Estate

Filed under: Best Tampa Neighborhoods, Buying a House in Tampa, Celebrity Homes inTampa, Channelside Tampa, Gated Communities in Tampa, Harbour Island, Luxury Homes in Tampa, MLS Listings in Tampa, Moving to Tampa, Places to Live, Plant High School, Schools in Tampa, South Tampa, Tampa Home Search, Tampa Neighborhoods

If you are moving to Tampa and looking for a home, and a neighborhood, that offers a “low maintenance” lifestyle in the heart of the city, Harbour Island may be for you! Located in the Plant High School District, it is the MOST desirable school district in the County. Rated in the “Top 100 High Schools in the U.S.”, families with children and busy professionals enjoy the lifestyle and the resale value of the Plant High District and  Harbour Island.

Popular with boaters, there are a limited number of slips available on the Seddon Channel. On the waterfront, just blocks from downtown Tampa, Harbour Island offers the combination of prestige, convenience, 24 -hour Harbour baysecurity in a gated environment, and a comfortable lifestyle, in a variety of neighborhoods. You can walk to Jackson’s Bistro for dining on the Terrace, or over to the Channelside area for dining, movies or shopping. The Harbour Island Athletic Club has a pool, tennis, spa and the ultimate workout facilities. The St. Pete Times Forum, home to The Tampa Bay Lightning, is just a short walk from home. Harbour Court and Seddon Cove feature condominiums with city, or waterviews, with prices startinPort royalg in the 200’s . Townhomes are available in several neighborhoods, ranging from the 300’s to the 600’s in Harbour Bay. The Keys is a “Key West” style neighborhood with prices from the 600’s. Villas dominate Port Royal and St. Tropez, with non-waterfront starting in the 800’s and waterfront prices over 1.5 million. Single Family Homes are available from 1 to 5 million.

I just listed this townhome for $389.000!  Located in the Plant High School District, and walking distance to Downtown, it is the perfect location!

Considering a move to Tampa? Contact me! Read some of my previous articles on Relocation to Tampa, or Tampa Neighborhoods: Davis Island, Cheval

Moving to Tampa? Check the School District!

Looking for real estate in Tampa? If you are buying a house in Tampa, or Selling a house in Tampa, I can help with any Tampa neighborhood, including: South Tampa, Davis Islands, Beach Park, Sunset Park, Hyde Park, Culbreath Isles, Palma Ceia, Westchase, Waterchase, Odessa, Cheval, Avila, Brandon, Riverview, FishHawk, New Tampa, Tampa Palms, Hunter’s Green, Arbor Greene, Apollo Beach, South Shore, MiraBay, Golf Communities, Waterfront Homes, Luxury Homes in Tampa, Clearwater Beach, St. Pete Beach, Condos in Tampa and International Real Estate…contact me! Just give me specifics of what you are looking for and you will receive the newest listings on the market!


You can search my site, on the right sidebar, for any article related to Tampa Real Estate, Neighborhoods, or Restaurants.  Just type in a search word in the search box!


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Forget the Cantina…Stick With Red Mesa…Tampa Real Estate News and More

Filed under: Best Places in Tampa, Restaurants in Tampa

One of my absolute favorite restaurants in St. Pete is Red Mesa. Though the dining room is boring, the food is amazing and I have been dying to try their “downtown” spot…Red Mesa Cantina.  On a recent Saturday night, we ventured into the downtown spot for a late dinner.  The cavernous dining room was packed with large parties of the “yuppy” variety.  We were offered a high top in the bar and I was happy to be tucked away in a quiet corner, as my first reaction to the place was…IT IS REALLY LOUD IN HERE!  The server was very attentive and the food was good, but I found the menu far more limited than the original Red Mesa. And, the noise level was very annoying due to the “open” dining room.  Yes, it’s geared to the “tapas” crowd, and I love Tapas, but would find better options at Ceviche, along with a cozier setting.  I will head back to Red Mesa on Fourth Street next time and enjoy the same sangria and a wider variety on the menu. I’ll sacrifice “looks” for “great food” any day!
Red Mesa Cantina on Urbanspoon

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