Spotlight: Brick City Food Tours

I started a business!

Brick City Food Tours is an idea that was born out of a search on Airbnb on a weekday afternoon. I was feeling uninspired and dreaming of the day I found *the* thing that would light my fire.

I searched Airbnb Experiences, curious about what adventures or classes were offered in Ocala. It honestly surprised me when I saw there wasn’t much available. That’s when it hit me; my husband, Kendrick, and I went on a food tour in Chicago before we moved back to Ocala and absolutely loved it.

Why couldn’t there be one in Ocala? The economy is growing, families are moving here and there are new restaurants popping up all over downtown. Residents and guests are excited about seeing Ocala gain businesses similar to other Florida hubs like Orlando or Tampa. In short, there’s never been a better time to start.

I’ve lived in Ocala for half a decade and through my work with nonprofits and artists have come to appreciate the downtown food scene, as well as the history that surrounds it. I’m passionate about sharing the unique cuisines, crafted by talented local chefs, that make Ocala’s downtown eateries worth exploring.

What is Brick City Food Tours?

Uncover a vast spectrum of cooking styles in Ocala’s historic downtown. Your guided Brick City Food Tour visits 5 sit down tasting locations in the downtown neighborhood. Between samples, your informative guides (Kendrick and I) will share their experience of local customs, historic stories and specialty shops. This walking tour is ideal for Ocala residents and travelers eager to discover the culinary secrets and traditions that compose the horse capitol of the world. Whether you’re vacationing in Ocala for the first time or a long-time resident, you’re sure to walk away with a greater understanding of the geographic history and culinary techniques of the city.

Where You’ll Be

We’ll most likely visit Sayulita Taqueria (Mexican street food), Ivy on the Square (southern delicacies), Ocala’s Chocolate and Confections (the finest European chocolate), Pi on Broadway (gourmet pizzas and tapas), and Feta Mediterranean Cuisine (generational Greek tapas). However, we could do a slightly different version of this tour, depending on the weather and availability of the restaurant.

What Are People Saying?

  • “I cannot recommend this tour enough! It really showed off the diverse cuisine options all in walking distance in downtown Ocala. There really is something for everybody! Even as a local, I got to taste items off the menus I hadn’t had before that were so delicious I plan on going back and ordering again. I also enjoyed learning more about Ocala from the awesome tour guides. This was a great way to spend an afternoon, and my husband & I left full and happy!” – Brittany
  • “The Brick City Food Tour was a great experience. The food selections were great and the tour/learning about some of the history of downtown Ocala made the experience worthwhile. Enjoyed being able to connect and get to know the other members of the tour group. Thanks Brick City Food Tour for a great experience. Would highly recommend to others and will definitely make it a point to do it again!” – Justin
  • “I loved the day and enjoyed the experience! Was introduced to several places that I had not dined in before but will make a trip back to in the future.” – Michele

How Can You Support Us?

Book a tour here! With a maximum of 10 people per tour, it’s the perfect way to experience downtown Ocala and hopefully make a few friends along the way. The tours run from 2 PM – 5 PM, so it’s great for a fun afternoon adventure or a unique way to show out of town guests your city. We even do private tours for birthdays or corporate outings!

If you aren’t a foodie, you can still support us! Please share with your friends and family, spreading the word about our passion. Thank you in advance for supporting us, Ocala!

-Kait

5 True Crime Podcasts To Binge This Fall

If you know anything about me you know this: I love true crime. The maid of honor at my wedding even brought it up during her speech – and reminded my new husband of my extensive detective knowledge.

In recent years I’ve narrowed the scope of my consumption to something easier to devour: podcasts. From the grandfather of true crime podcasts i.e., Serial, to chilling cases like COLD, if you can name it I’ve probably listened to it.

These are what I consider the greatest hits of true crime podcasts, perfect for getting in a spine-chilling mood this fall:

My Favorite Murder

mfm

By far my favorite podcast OF ALL TIME. MFM (My Favorite Murder) was my gateway drug into true crime podcasts. What I love most about MFM are the hosts, Karen and Georgia, who every week tell each other about a murder that interests them. Listening to them gives me the same feeling I get when I call my best friend to divulge the details of a gruesome case I just read about in the paper – might not have all the details or pronunciations correct, but it sure as hell is going to be entertaining.

I love these ladies so much I made a trip to Atlanta for a live show at the Fox Theatre and am a proud member of their fan cult. I even wear a Murderino shirt around town and don’t pay any attention to the strange looks I’m given. I guess you could say we’re going steady.

Favorite Episode: Episode 18 – Investigateighteen Discovery

Up and Vanished: Season 1 

upandvanished

The Tara Grinstead case is fascinating and deeply disturbing. Tara was a beauty queen, teacher and small town girl – not unlike a lot of women from my hometown. The idea that she went missing without a trace and her killer went free for more than 10 years speaks to the investigation done on this case prior to Payne Lindsey’s (podcast host) examination.

What sets this podcast apart is the ending: they break the case wide open.

Root of Evil: The True Story of the Hodel Family and the Black Dahlia

Remember the Black Dahlia case? Of course you do. Everyone does. This podcast explores the family dynamics of the suspected Black Dahlia murderer and it left me thinking this is definitely the guy.

Warning: if you’re queasy beware. This podcast goes deep into the details of the murder and autopsy, including the torture that was inflicted upon Elizabeth Short.

Root of Evil, paired with its tv counterpart, I Am The Night, delves into the man behind one of the most infamous murder cases in US history. Both are good, but I’d recommend listening to the podcast before watching the show (if you haven’t seen it already). Directed by Patty Jenkins (director of Wonder Woman) and starring Chris Pine, it’s an eerie piece of television that lends itself more to creative direction.

The Last Podcast On The Left

Let’s sit crooked and talk straight: this podcast is raw and raunchy. Marcus Parks is SO GREAT at researching cases and all the guys riff constantly. Their multi-part series are what keep me coming back despite the vulgar humor which is comparable to a Will Ferrell movie and sometimes causes me to shift uncomfortably (especially the Albert Fish series).

That being said, this podcast provides very detailed information with a solid foundation of humor. Their Jonestown series BLEW MY MIND and included recordings from Jim Jones himself. These guys are my fillers when I’m waiting on new MFM episodes and I don’t regret it one bit.

Favorite Series: Episode 300-304 – Jonestown

Bear Brook

You know what I love? Cold Cases. You know what I love more? Cold Cases that are cracked by a librarian turned internet sleuth.

Bear Brook tells the untold story of barrels filled with bodies found in the Bear Brook woods. More than 30 years later, the case takes a surprising turn and is finally solved using familial genealogy. I never saw this ending coming and that’s why it rounds out my podcast greatest hits.

What are your podcast greatest hits and which do you think I should add to my list? Tell me in the comments!

Spotlight: Ocala Downtown Market

The Ocala Downtown Market is the only reason I’ll wake up early on a weekend. With fresh coffee, peach muffins (complete with a crumble top) and pups at every turn, what’s not to love?

The Ocala Downtown Market is one of my favorite spots in Ocala. Every Saturday I make my way to the farmers market to choose fresh produce for my meal prep and support local businesses.

I’ve been craving zipper peas for months and I finally arrived early enough to snag a bag before the sold out – seriously, they are a hot commodity at the market! While there I also bought fresh alligator meat and fried it up for a true southern meal that made my husband glad he wifed me up.

The Ocala Downtown Market doesn’t just have ingredients though, vendors also sell home goods, live plants, pet treats and my favorite mango salsa that is to die for!

This local farmers market has opened me up to so many unique flavors. For example, when my husband’s friend was visiting we tried a raspberry vinegar paired with strawberries and WOW! Our friends poked fun of us for being bougie with this treat at game night but with flavors this amazing, we’re the real winners here.

If you haven’t visited the Ocala Downtown Market I highly suggest you check it out this weekend! It’s open every Saturday 9 AM – 2 PM rain or shine and if you come early it’s likely I’ll see you there.

Have you checked out our local farmers market? What unique finds did you discover?

Spotlight: Ocala’s Chocolate and Confections

You know what’s better than a chocolate covered banana? A truffle. You know what’s better than a truffle? Ice cream. You know what’s better than ice cream? FUDGE.

Good thing Ocala’s Chocolate and Confections has them all! I’m always so surprised when friends tell me they’ve lived in Ocala for years and have yet to visit Ocala’s Chocolate and Confections.

This neighborhood store looks like it’s come straight out of Stars Hollow (if you don’t get the Gilmore Girls reference, I’m sorry.) It’s perfectly situated in downtown Ocala near the movie theater and is the perfect place to enjoy sweets this summer. Could there be anything cuter than a movie date at the theater and an ice cream cone night cap? I think not.

Last weekend I stopped by with my friend Brittany as we caught up and explored downtown. I had the blueberry cheesecake ice cream in a waffle cone while she treated herself to a truffle. It was worth EVERY calorie!

Have you ever visited this downtown spot? If so, what’s your favorite treat there?