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Expat wanderer

Two New Restaurants to Open on Palafox Place, Pensacola

Woooo HOOOOO, Carleton Proctor at the PNJ just tweeted there will be two new restaurants, one Italian, opening this year on Palafox Place in downtown Pensacola:

The menu of downtown Pensacola’s restaurants is about to add another entree.

David Hambrick, owner and manager of Jaco’s Bayfront Bar & Grille, has reached an agreement with Durnford Enterprises Inc. to lease the former Distinctive Kitchens property on Palafox Place.

Hambrick said Thursday he plans to open an Italian-themed restaurant in one half of the 11,000-square-foot building, and eventually will open a second adjacent restaurant within that space at a later date.

“We’ve been talking to them (Durnford) since October when he heard the property had become available,” Hambrick said. “We’ve verbally agreed to a lease and now we’re just waiting for incorporation papers and a name for the restaurant.”

“The core menu will be modern Italian,” he said.

The deal and lease is expected to close March 1, Hambrick said.

Durnford Manager Frank Webb confirmed the agreement with Hambrick. Durnford owns the building, which has addresses of 29 and 31 Palafox Place.

First opened in 2004, Distinctive Kitchens and Culinary Arts Center closed late last summer, and the building has been unused since then.

Hambrick said he is working with Pensacola architect Brian Spencer on the interior design of the proposed restaurant.

Hambrick and business partner Paul Bruno will design the entirely rebuilt kitchen area, which eventually will serve both proposed restaurants.

Follow Carlton Proctor at

February 1, 2013 Posted by | Community, Cooking, Cultural, Food, Living Conditions, News, Pensacola, Restaurant | Leave a comment

Kuwait’s National Day – belated Congratulations!

Oh! I had it on my calendar, and then I was so sick I didn’t look at my calendar! Kuwait’s National Day and Liberation Day passed, and I didn’t say congratulations! I am so sorry!

Wishing all my Kuwait friends, in and out of Kuwait, a prosperous, safe and eventful year, with a breakthrough in improving all the infrastructure, so Kuwait will once again be on track for fulfilling it’s true potential.


I love this photo, and I can’t figure out where it came from; it’s not mine. It reminds me how quickly we forget, and what a catastrophe can do to a national mentality. Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait was devastating, and the devastation continues, so many years later, 23 years later, an entire generation of young Kuwaitis who only hear these stories as if they were of some ancient time, but a war which changed everything, and shook the forward-looking Kuwaitis so that they now look to the past, and have little trust in the future.

On! On! Kuwait!

February 1, 2013 Posted by | ExPat Life, Kuwait, Leadership | , | 3 Comments

Kuwait Quilt

There have been some good moments in the course of this nasty cold, good enough to finish my work on a quilt for a baby who is fast making his way into this world, a Kuwaiti baby :-). This is a quilt he can crawl on, snuggle under, take to school for nap time, and then take off to college to put on his wall:


We had some wonderful moments in Kuwait, many of which, for me, were spent in the fabric souks of Kuwait with other quilters from many nations, including Kuwait. Many of those fabrics are quilted into this piece, along with my everlasting gratitude to the friends we had there who made the experience so much the richer for us.

February 1, 2013 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Friends & Friendship, Geography / Maps, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Work Related Issues | , , , , | 8 Comments

Carmen’s Lunch Bar on Palafox in Pensacola

Yesterday, AdventureMan was on an adventure, but I knew there might be an opportunity to grab lunch with him ‘downtown’ so I suggested we try Carmen’s Lunch Bar, which has only been open four months. When I got there, it was full – inside and outside – but an ideal location opened moments later – we were in luck! I ordered a Cranberry Orange Iced Tea, just what the doctor ordered for the remnants of a bad cold still lingering, and shortly AdventureMan arrived, then another, and then two more – we couldn’t all eat together, but we found spaces for groups of two and three, oh what fun. (You can see more photos and take a look at the menu by clicking on the blue hypertext above.)

Here is how to find Carmen’s – next to the Bodacious Olive. There is seating at a large bar inside, against the window and at three or four tables outside:

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In my group, we all ordered the North Carolina BBQ plate, which came with potato salad and cole slaw – all good. I loved the sauce, which had candied orange peel in it, piquant and tasty:


It’s not a large restaurant, but it has a happy buzz about it. It’s a mix, the downtown business crowd and locals dropping by for a good lunch and a good chat. They don’t rush you. The menu is concise, but offers an intriguing variety – you can’t go once, you have to go back and try those Moroccan vegetables, say, or the Chicken Tikka Masala. I’m intrigued by the Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs.

I even found a free parking spot, away from the nasty downtown ‘improvement’ board spots where you now have to pay for parking, not far away. There are also parking places behind the Bodacious Olive, which shares space with Carmen’s.

The story behind Carmen’s is also interesting. There is a couple in Pensacola, Quint and Rishy Studer, who worked hard and made a lot of money, which they are now using to benefit Pensacola. Carmen’s resulted from a contest; over 100 people submitted business plans to have this spot, Mari Josephs won. I am guessing some of the close runner ups will be featured at the Al Fresco lot nearby where airstreams are showing up with fun names, including Jerry’s Cajun, which a lot of people have missed greatly since it closed.

If you look at the photo of the exterior tables (above) you will see another building the Studers have bought and are renovating; I can’t wait to see what this building becomes. AdventureMan asked what I would do and I told him I would make two condos on the upper level, perfect for Pensacola as long as downtown remains sleepy once the sun goes down except for Gallery Night. Other than that, just a parade now and then, otherwise, fairly quiet and great location with one of those old Spanish balconies overlooking the street. What’s not to love?

February 1, 2013 Posted by | Character, Charity, Community, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Food, Leadership, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Restaurant | Leave a comment