Tag Archives: Tallahassee

Tallahassee’s Real Paella Offers Authentic Spanish Cuisine


Gorgeous Real Paella
Gorgeous Real Paella

Spanish paella is a traditional dish made from a mixture of seafood and saffron infused rice, cooked in a flat, round pan. Living in St. Augustine, Florida’s Spanish founded in 15 65, I am lucky to find it locally.  But, when I visited the state capitol of Tallahassee, I discovered paella to beat all others. My meal from Real Paella was served on the grounds of the historic Spanish Mission San Luis.

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Florida’s Museum of History Celebrates new exhibit: Forever Changed: La Florida

Native Peoples Diorama  at FL Museum of History
Native Peoples Diorama at FL Museum of History

Florida’s documented cultural history dates back more than 12,000 years to Native Americans. The first inhabitants were hunters and gatherers whose diets consisted mainly of small animals, plants, nuts and shellfish. They learned to cultivate agriculture and began trade with other native groups in the Southeast. They developed a social organization and built large temple mounds and village complexes.


I recently visited the Florida Museum of History in Tallahassee to learn more about the state’s illustrious past.  The Museum proudly presents its new permanent exhibition called Forever Changed: La Florida 1513-1821,  in conjunction with Viva Florida 500. Phase 1 exhibits were opened March 3, 2013 and include three interactive galleries and artifacts showing 16th century European presence in Florida.


Wooly Mammoth
Wooly Mammoth at Florida Museum of History

In the Land of Many Cultures tourists learn about the native peoples shortly before the European arrival. They have a fabulous fossilized Wooly Mammoth, life size diorama, and a recreated Timucuan house. I was attracted by a rare (and gorgeous) ceramic bowl dating from 1350-1500, and a 1593 Astrolabe used for navigation.


The second section called Meeting of the Cultures showcases Spanish explorers such as Hernando de Soto and Tristan de Luna. Stop to hear these historical life size figures tell their stories. Note to parents — kids really like this area.

Life size model of Ana Menendez
Life size model of Ana Menendez


The third new section, Spanish Exploration, boasts a portion of a 16th-century Spanish ship which everyone can board, plus investigate the dock area. The interactive exhibits, such as knot tying, allow guests to learn about life on the sea, navigation and what items the settlers needed to bring to the new world.


Spanish Ship within FL Museum of History
Spanish Ship within FL Museum of History

In addition to the Forever Changed exhibits, I found a fabulous collection of sunken treasures and gems discovered from Florida shipwrecks. Made me think of gold doubloons and pieces of eight! I also viewed displays on Florida’s involvement in the Civil War, WWI and WWII.


Sunken Treasures
Sunken Treasures

Personally, my favorite exhibits were the array of kitschy Florida souvenirs spanning many years:  an orange shaped tea set, mermaid memorabilia from Weeki-Wachee Springs, early Disney bric-a brac and the artwork on Florida orange crates.


Florida Orange Crate Art
Florida Orange Crate Art

The Florida Museum of History in Tallahassee also offers a changing collection of art, alone worthy of a visit.


Best of all, there is no entrance fee.


Mysterious Entry into Tallahassee’s Speakeasy Bar: Alchemy

A Bee's Knees: Drink in Alchemy Speakeasy Bar
A Bee’s Knees: Drink in Alchemy Speakeasy Bar

Restaurant/Bar Review

A speakeasy bar in Tallahassee, Florida? You bet, but only if you can find it and know the secret word.

First make an online reservation and receive a special return message. Arrive at the Midtown Filling Station and pass a storefront of blacked out windows. Then, locate the correct doorman and say the code word. Ours was “Fitzgerald.”

You’ll be led down a clandestine alleyway to a gatekeeper. The gatekeeper stands before an unmarked door. He explains that Alchemy follows traditional speakeasy etiquette: proper attire, no men in hats, and gentlemen must go through the bartender to ask for an introduction to a lady.

Following the rules is the only way to be admitted into Midtown Tallahassee’s Alchemy: a revival speakeasy bar paying homage to those who found a way to circumvent outlawed liquor during Prohibition. A speakeasy is actually defined as,”an establishment that was used for selling and drinking alcoholic beverages during Prohibition (1920-1933, longer in some states), when the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol was illegal.” The term comes from a patron’s manner of ordering alcohol without raising suspicion – a bartender would tell a patron to be quiet and “speak easy”.

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