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  • Writer's pictureKristi Dao

6 Things I Tried (and Loved) in 2020

To say this past year has been unconventional would be quite the understatement. While there were a lot of struggles in the year, there were also good things that came out of it. Like a deeper appreciation for good health. Then there's the opportunity that I got to spend more time with my family, including my grandma who inspired this blog, and I'm so grateful that she lived to see 90. There was a break from work, which was stressful, but also gave me time to try some new things out.

I wanted to give 2021 a positive start by highlighting some of my favorite foods that I tried in 2020. From new foods to new restaurants, here are a few of my favorite things.


105 Magnolia St, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168

When I think of this restaurant, I think of it as an extension of my favorite brunch place in my hometown. That's because the owner of Manducan's is son of the owner of Wake Up Cafe, and the menus are actually pretty similar. The main difference is the aesthetic of each place is so different. The thing they share: the food is absolutely tasty. Argentina was not on my map of places I wanted to visit until I had Wake Up, and I think that desire has deepened with Manducans.

My sister constantly recounts how she went to a friend's house once and tried bratwurst and that she wanted me to try it. Then the pandemic hit, and with the realization that we would not be going to Epcot at Disney World to try international foods for the foreseeable future, we thought we would do weekly themed meals by country. Germany was the first one, and luckily we came up with this idea during Oktoberfest. It is definitely something up my alley, because I love a hot dog. A bratwurst is pretty much a fancy German hot dog with more complexity in flavor. I can see why she was consistently talking about it now. I'll share the video recipe that we used down below.

12 Cathedral Pl, St. Augustine, FL 32084

Like many places in St. Augustine, my boyfriend and I stumbled upon it when we were wandering through the streets. Or rather, it was good timing, because we were talking about possible food options when a guy in a Santa outfit stumbled out and said, "Sample?" The sample was tasty enough that my boyfriend had it and said that it was what we were getting for dinner. With Brazilian friends that always feed me when I come over, I was definitely excited to try the food. I would definitely recommend having the Picanha (steak) with yellow rice and a Guarana soda if you ever go!

When I am out and about, I can't say that I enjoy a macaron. Maybe it's because I've been to France where I can get a pack of six for a single euro, and because buying one here is around three dollars. Thankfully, when quarantine first hit, my sister Jasmine wanted to try making macaroons. At this point, I would call her an expert because I asked her to make them so often after the first time. We found the first recipe on Pinterest, and I've linked it here. From there, we've experimented with taro, smores, and even red bean. It's been a tasty time in my home, just make sure not to breathe on them the wrong way when you make them. They're a bit temperamental.

Grandma Sau's Favorite: Trevi Pasta

2120 Edgewater Dr, Orlando, FL 32804

I've seen this place on Instagram and have been wanting to try it, but we actually came here at the recommendation of my boyfriend when we were hanging out with my sisters. It is, hands down, the best pasta that I've had in all of Florida, maybe in my entire life. It's made to order, and the server even invited my baby sister to help cut the pasta she ordered. We even bought extra squid ink pasta to try at home, and my grandma was wildly impressed. When Grandma Sau is impressed at homemade leftovers, you know it's good.

617 Primrose Dr, Orlando, FL 32803

I have been wanting to try this restaurant since I saw Guy Fieri try it on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. The food was definitely on par, but I'm going to say that what really made my dining experience was the staff and Southern hospitality that I typically don't experience in Florida. The first time I was there, the staff made me feel welcome, gave me compliments, and even doted on me as I was waiting for take-out food. The second time, I had to resist the urge to laugh because I had a mouth full of food when a server came to check on me, and I was trying to chew so that I could thank her for the refill, when she was like, "Get it girl, 'cause I know how tasty that is." I will definitely be back to stuff my face with all the other menu items soon.

What is something positive that came out of 2020? Did you try anything that stood out to you? Are you manifesting anything special for 2021? Tell me in the comments below!

Thanks for taking the time to read the blog. Until the next one, I hope you have some tasty times.

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