Tijuana Flats Tasting Event

Mexican food is one of my favorite foods. I swear I always say that I could live on rice and beans and be perfectly happy.

And while I love hitting up a neighborhood Mexican restaurant sometimes you need something a bit faster and a bit more casual. Enter Tijuana Flats. 

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I was first introduced to Tijuana Flats when I came down here to Florida for college. One of my best friends loved their flautas and Tijuana Flats was our go-to place to get our Mexican fix. Their affordable prices also agreed with our college student budgets 🙂

Today, Tijuana Flats is still a regular place for me to dine. It’s a favorite for me and my mom for a quick and tasty dinner. There are many fast casual mexican restaurants out there, but Tijuana Flats holds the standard high. Their food is consistently good and ALWAYS tastes fresh. Nothing is overly fried or doused in salty sauce. They use fresh veggies and their meat is hormone free. And they use NO microwaves, freezers or canned foods…everything is made fresh to order. 

Tijuana Flats is also just a FUN place. Each restaurant is plastered with funny bumper stickers and cheeky phrases painted on the walls. And the staff is always extremely friendly. They greet you with big smiles and a nice, big “hello!” They check on you while you’re eating and say goodbye when you leave.

When the Tampa Bay Bloggers got asked to attend a tasting at the Tijuana Flats at South Tampa I jumped at the chance. Even though I go there all the time this was a great opportunity for me to try new dishes that I normally don’t get.

First things first…drink me! 

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Tijuana Flats has great sangria, as well as a great variety of beer and wine.

Chips, queso, salsa and guacamole were immediately brought to our table. I LOVE their guac…so fresh!

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As we snacked on our chips and dips the restaurant manager and owner talked with us for a few minutes and told us more about how Tijuana Flats came to be. Did you know it was started by a college kid in Winter Park, FL? Yup! Brian Wheeler opened the first Tijuana Flats in 1995 thanks to a loan from his father. He also created a line of delicious hot sauces, which you can find at the Hot Bar in each Tijuana Flats. Over the next few years Tijuana Flats grew and grew and now there are 100 restaurants in 6 states! 

Tijuana Flats is much more than tacos and burritos, however. They are very big into giving back to their local community. They even have a foundation called Just in Queso, which has given $2,100,000 to date! The foundation helps individuals, organizations and communities in need. Tragedies are never planned and it’s the foundation’s hope to be there to help when tragedy strikes. 

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Tijuana Flats also loves to support veterans!

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This is all another reason why I love supporting Tijuana Flats…they’re not just about good, fresh food. They are involved in supporting their communities and being a part of something bigger. 

Now, back to the food!

First up were their chicken and beef flautas.

I haven’t had these since my college days, but they were SO good. Not heavily fried and they were bursting with yummy meat and cheese.

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Next up was their Bangin’ Chicken Burrito, which was amazing. Their bangin’ chicken is fried chicken covered in their hot sauce. The burrito also has ranch in it so it basically tastes like an awesome game day burrito.

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Next were their tostadas, which I had never tried before. Lightly fried tortillas topped with meat, cheese, refried beans and salsa. This version had the bangin’ chicken on them and they were very tasty.

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Chicken tacos were next! Their soft tortilla tacos are a regular order for me. Simply done with meat, beans, cheese, tomato, lettuce and sour cream. The tacos are the best dish to try different hot sauces on!

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And for dessert we got to try their cookie dough flautas. If I wasn’t so full already I would have housed close to the whole plate. So decadent and so good. Psst…we were told that if you happen to take home leftovers they are also excellent frozen!

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Looking to try out Tijuana Flats? Make sure to check them out on Tijuana Tuesdaze or Throwback Thursdaze!

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Have you ever been to Tijuana Flats? What’s your favorite meal there?

Disclaimer: I attended this event along with the Tampa Bay Bloggers. We were given complimentary meals in exchange for a blog post. All opinions, as always, are my own.

My Favorite Places For Healthy On The Go Meals

One of the major changes I needed to adjust to with my new job was my eating schedule. I’m either at home or I’m out and about going to meetings, events, visiting with coworkers, etc. I’ll often find myself out around lunch time and the inevitable question presents itself…where should I go get lunch?

Thankfully, I’m highly turned off by fast food (i.e. MacDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King). Also, thankfully, I’ve found that there are many places where it is easy to stop in and grab a healthy meal.

Here are some of my favorite places to go and grab a quick, healthy meal. Convenient doesn’t have to be bad for you!

Panera

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This one is probably the post obvious, but who doesn’t love Panera? With an array of soups, sandwiches and salads your taste buds can never get bored. I also love how they list their calories on their menu. I’m a big fan of the You Pick Two and my new fav combo is the Roasted Turkey Avocado Sandwich and the Strawberry Poppyseed Chicken Salad. I highly recommend getting their rewards card for freebies and discounts!

Little Greek

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Even though this place is a chain it’s my favorite Greek place in St. Pete (there’s not a lot of options). I haven’t even had their gyro because every time I go I can’t help but get their Greek salad. Their grilled chicken is amazing! It has that grilled taste and really makes the salad.

Chipotle/Tijuana Flats

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I’m a burrito bowl lover and both of these locations offer an awesome, fresh tasting burrito bowl (in Tijuana Flat’s case it’s the Noritto Bowl). Rice, beans, meat and salsa. Can’t go wrong with that.

Rollboto

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This is a local eatery that serves up sushi at a fast pace. Think of Subway but with sushi. You can choose from one of their signature rolls or create your own. You can even substitute brown rice! They also have lots of healthy side options such as miso soup, seaweed salad and cucumber salad.

Publix/Whole Foods/Fresh Market/Rollin’ Oats

I love Publix for when I want a freshly made wrap. It’s also easy to grab healthy snacks like fruit bowls, veggies, etc. Whole Foods has an awesome (albeit costly) salad bar and I love that I can grab a pre made juice/smoothie. Fresh Market also has freshly made sandwiches, salads, sides and sushi already ready to grab and go. Rollin’ Oats is one of my favorite grocery stores in St. Pete. They also have a grab and go area with freshly made sandwiches and salads. Or you can order off their menu at their café. I also love getting a fresh juice or smoothie here as well.

What are your favorite on the go places?

Girls Just Want to Have Fun

What. A. Week

Of fun!

Jon’s sister and our friend Nick ended up staying another night 🙂 I already had plans for a nail/hair/dinner date with my mom so that happened first. We had dinner at Tijuana Flats. We’ve been there a few times now and before that I hadn’t been since college. I must say it’s a lot better than I remembered! For a chain they really have it going on. They make everything to order, use hormone free chicken and you can customize your meal like crazy. And even though it’s no Taco Bus, they’re food always tastes pretty fresh! I’m a fan 🙂

Once I got home we rallied to go out for a drink at our fav place, The Ale and the Witch. They’re having their 1 year anniversary this week! We all were a bit tired so no whacky shenanigans except for going through silly trivia cards and laughing at how easy and/or ridiculous they are.

I’m usually no good on Fridays. The weight of the week just makes me want to lounge on the couch all night. And I was especially tired after a long week of nights out and visitors. Alas, I rallied for a girls night at my friend Rebekah’s. Glad I did!

It was low key, which was just what I needed.

White wine, beer cheese dip with bread and fritos, hummus and veggies, brownies and banana nut muffins. Yum.

Those movies never made it on. Instead we ended up gabbing all night about high school boyfriends and cats 🙂

Saturday was filled with errands with Mom, plus a stop for homemade ice cream. I was feeling the urge to satisfy my inner child and got Superman.

Yummy and fun to eat. Anyone know exactly what’s in this stuff?

Sunday was ultimate girliness. Jon’s mom and sisters came up for the day to accompany me and my mom to the Junior League’s Tea Party at the Hilton Bayfront.

I volunteered to be a model in the fashion show so I had to get there early to rehearse. Luckily I was done right as everyone was taking their seats. I had an hour to peruse the raffle items, eat some finger sandwiches and cupcakes and chat before I was needed backstage.

I love the rush of being on stage. A fashion show feels the same to me as a show, except there’s no long weeks of rehearsals and no lines to memorize. It’s just get up there and strut your stuff. Or “turn and burn” as Jon’ sister Tori put it 😛 Getting your hair done and putting on pretty clothes certainly helps the experience as well. I wore some red jeans and a black party dress that I absolutely loved from White House Black Market. Maybe they’ll show up at the outlet in a few months?

After the party we headed back to mine and Jon’s place, where he had a delicious roast pork, black beans and rice and plantain dinner waiting for us.

Jon’s black beans and rice would most definitely be on my “Last Meal” plate.

The night ended with Dulce de Leche cheesecake. It didn’t turn out like Jon wanted but it was still yummy!

After everyone left I most definitly passed out on the couch at 8 p.m. I tried so hard to keep my eyes open but it did not happen. I. Was. Pooped.

Monday was uneventful, but I have another big week planned!

Tonight: Keep St. Pete Local Launch Party

Wednesday: St. Pete Chamber Young Professional Happy Hour, Junior League Committee Dinner Meeting

Thursday: The Ale and the Witch Birthday Party

Saturday: Les Miz at The Straz plus fun with Jon’s sisters!

What do you have planned for the week?

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