Until this past weekend, all I had really experienced of Lakeland, Florida, was their Moe's. This past weekend, with help from a lovely friend/tour guide, I gave Lakeland a proper gander, and I liked what I saw.
My tour of Lakeland kicked off with a trip to BD's Mongolian Grill. Now, long time readers will know that one of my favorite restaurants in Kansas City is Genghis Khan, so my expectations for a Mongolian grill place are mighty high. And I'm going to be honest, BD's doesn't even stack up to Genghis Khan, BUT - since I'm many, many miles away from my beloved Genghis Khan - BD's is a decent substitute. I appreciate that they advertise their veg-friendliness (this was especially comforting after a disgusting experience at a different Mongolian grill place in South Dakota).
My friend and I also got there at 3 in the afternoon, so there was no line, so the grill was all ours, no need for partitions. (Mwa ha ha ha!)
BD's has a variety of spices and sauces to add to your plate (pre-grilling) and a nice selection of veggies, as well as the oh-so-necessary tofu. They also offer brown rice, and any restaurant that offers brown rice gets a gold star for that. A and I did the one bowl deal, but if you decided to go for multiple bowls (at a higher price), soup and salad is included (but I'm not sure if any of the soup offerings are vegan).
From BD's, we went to one of Lakeland's many lakes, and clearly the best one, Lake Morton. Lake Morton is officially one of my favorite places in the world, and you'll see why in the following pictures.
Lakeland is called The City of Swans for a reason! You can read about how the swans came to Lakeland HERE. (You never know -- this may be a trivia question some day.)
From Swan Lake (tee hee!), A and I moseyed on over to Chamberlin's Natural Foods, because I have a nerdy interest in all health food stores.
Chamberlin's is small, but carries some of the essentials, as well as a nice selection of chocolates. A and I picked up some goodies, and you can look forward to a review of those products soon.
Our headliner for the evening was downtown Lakeland's First Friday art crawl. There were tons of people filling the streets. We surveyed a little art, strolled past some antique cars, glimpsed a fire juggler, and then headed down to another lake for the hot air balloon launch, which ended up being canceled due to the wind. We were sucked into an antique shop for a little while, then popped into Mitchell's Coffee Shop and discovered there was an improv comedy show about to start. Hey, why not? We stuck around and watched the Improv Addicts get silly.
All in all, a good full afternoon and evening in Lakeland! More Lakeland coverage coming soon.