Space Coast Java Users Group starting in May

Brian LeGros | May 1st, 2013 | programming  

I’m excited to announce the first meeting of the Space Coast Java Users Group for the Brevard area. TrepHub, our local co-working space, has offered up a meeting space and Coders, Hackers, and Founders is helping to promote the group. For the first meeting, we have 2 great speakers giving us a tour of Spring and Spring MVC. Come out and join us on Thursday, May 16th @ 6:00 PM for pizza and soda and meet your local Java development community.

More details @ http://www.meetup.com/Coders-Hackers-Founders/events/117100292/.

Del’s Freez – Melbourne, FL

Brian LeGros | June 15th, 2011 | food  

With the rare opportunity to dine out this week and finally coming into the 21st century with my Nexus S, I thought I’d start blogging again about some of the great local establishments I was able to favor this week. First on the list, a true Melbourne landmark for a late night treat, Del’s Freez!

Del’s Freez has been around since the mid-1950′s and has been a part of virtually every central Brevard resident’s childhood, from what I can tell. When moving to the area, my wife raved about Del’s; I never understood how she could be so excited about soft serve. After finding myself at Del’s for every late night ice cream craving over the last 2 years, I can definitely say I now share in her excitement. If you don’t believe me, try stopping by most any evening to witness the lengthy lines of patrons (waiting up to 30 minutes on weekends) eagerly awaiting a cold treat. In addition to the tasty dessert combinations available at Del’s, the other large draw is the nostalgic prices that seem to barely change as the years pass.

This week we were lucky and found ourselves only waiting in line 15 minutes. We ordered 2 medium soft serve cones; one vanilla with cherry dip and other strawberry/vanilla swirl with toasted coconut dip (~$2.50 each). We always order a cup for each cone ($0.10 each) since they are so large and begin to melt within 5 minutes of taking hold of them. Two of my other favorite menu items are the banana shake and pumpkin shake (~$3.50 each) which are served in a restaurant-sized medium styrofoam cup with straw and spoon. When we have a group of 4 or more we go for the “monstrous” sundae, I have no idea what it’s called, but it’s basically 4 enormous servings of soft serve (any flavors), a series of ridiculously portioned toppings, 2 whole chopped bananas, and a large can of whipped cream for less than $10. When you consider that two individuals can barely get out of a ColdStone for less that $12, you can begin to see the appeal that Del’s brings to the Melbourne area.

If you find yourself on US-1 just south of Babcock Road and in the mood for soft serve, look for the small ice cream shop opposite the river. They only take cash, but you don’t need much to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Del’s Freez is located 402 N. Harbor City Blvd., Melbourne, Florida.

 

Del's Freez on Urbanspoon

 

Negril’s – Winter Park, FL

Brian LeGros | June 19th, 2010 | food  

Yesterday we were tossing around ideas for lunch and nothing seemed to be fitting the bill. I suggested swinging by Negril’s: Flavors of Jamaica, off of Lee Road, since we always pass on the way to another one of our favorite joints, Rhino Subs. In any case, I haven’t had really great Jamaican food since living in South Florida, so I was eager to give it a try and hope for the best.

Nigril’s is tucked away in the back corner of the shopping plaza at the intersection of Lee Road and Orlando Avenue. It’s a very small restaurant with about 7 tables crammed in with a drink cooler, service counter, and kitchen. They have a small menu with a stock set of lunch specials ranging from ~$6.50 – $7.50 each from 11:00am until 2:00pm. Even better though, is that they keep a nice stock of D&G Ginger Beer as well as a nice variety a patties. In terms of patties, they have beef, chicken, jerk chicken, and veggie, each going for about ~$2.

I ordered the Jerk Chicken lunch special (~$6.50) with the rices and peas and salad as well as a veggie pattie (~$2). The special comes with a small portion of salad, a large portion of seasoned white rice with black eyed peas, a fresh baked roll, a couple of fried sweet plantains, and 4 to 5 pieces of jerk chicken. The salad was mostly romaine lettuce with a house dressing (tasted like an Italian dressing). The rice had lots of black eyed peas and what looked like chunks of cooked down port fat which gave it a really savory taste. The chicken was a bunch of thighs and legs and had an incredible flavor but lacked the heat I was hoping to find; definitely tasty, but a weak jerk seasoning. The veggie patty was smaller than I was used to and was barely filled, so I was a bit disappointed. Others had ordered the beef patty and said it was good, so I’ll have to try that one next time. I was a bit spoiled by the patty cart outside of the Physics building during my days at UCF however, so I’ll hack it up to me being snotty. To finish off my lunch I also got a D&G Ginger Beer (~$2); not as spicy as I like, but still a must have with a Jamaican lunch.

Overall Nigril’s: Flavors of Jamaica was a quick, tasty, and cheap lunch option close to the office that’ll definitely stay in the rotation. That being said, I’ll be looking for another Jamaican restaurant in the area to bring the heat for which I’m nostalgic.

Nigril’s is located on the corner of Leed Road and Orlando Road at 501 N Orlando Avenue, Winter Park, Florida.

 

Negril's on Urbanspoon

 

Cafe Maspero – New Orleans, LA

Brian LeGros | June 6th, 2010 | food  

Before we caught a flight home, we had a few hours to spend in New Orleans to see the usual sites. We took our daughter to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, which was a lot of fun, and then headed down Decatur Street to find some lunch. My cousin works in the area at a local university and suggested we give Cafe Maspero a try. He said it was basically a simple sandwich and seafood joint that was a solid staple of eating in the French Quarter.

Cafe Mesparo is on the corner of Decatur Street and Toulouse Street with a small double door facing Decatur used to enter. Once you go inside the restaurant, there is a large space filled with tables and a bar running along the wall into the kitchen with a order-up counter in the back. They have a few domestic beers on tap including the local favorite blends of Abita. The menu is relatively straight forward with lots of sandwich choices as well as seafood plates and a couple salads (I believe). We ordered the catfish sandwich (~$9), the shrimp sandwich (~$9), and the roast beef and swiss sandwich (~$8). All of the sandwiches came with fries, but note that the restaurant does not allow substitutions for sides which seems to be a common practice for an establishment in a tourist district unfortunately. I also ordered an Abita Amber on draft (~$3) which was very thirst quenching and finally redeemed Abita a bit in my mind from all of the fruity concoctions they produce. When the sandwiches came out, they were much bigger than I expected. Each was served an a large French bread bun with cabbage and pickles on the side; keep in mind, these are really po-boys, but they are still delicious none the less. The catfish was lightly breaded and prepared in a such a way that it simply fell apart as I bit into it. The shrimp was fried to just the right temperature and not chewy at all. The most pleasant surprise was the the roast beef which was fresh sliced and served with the swiss cheese melted over it. The fries were common steak fries with nothing outstanding about them.

Be aware that Cafe Mesparo only takes cash and traveler’s checks, so make sure if you visit you come prepared. They’re good food, reasonable pricing, and generous portions are enough to warrant a trip to the ATM. Overall though, we left Cafe Maspero energized, ready to dive into the dessert portion of our day with beneigh’s at Cafe Dumonde and pralines at the Southern Candymakers. If you’re looking for an easy decision for lunch in the French Quarter, make Cafe Mesparo your pick for fresh, simple, and great tasting food.

Cafe Maspero is located at 601 Decatur Street, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Café Maspero on Urbanspoon

 

Olde Tyme Cakery, Creamery, and Candie Shoppe‎ – Broussard, LA

Brian LeGros | June 6th, 2010 | food  

After a very satisfying meal at Nash’s Restaurant, we walked across the street to Olde Tyme Cakery, Creamery, and Candie Shoppe to look for something sweet for later. At Old Tyme’s they produce all types of cakes, sweets, ice cream, and candy, but the speciality of the shop, according to shop girl, is red velvet cake and wedding cake. My wife, mother, and aunt were pretty excited upon hearing this for two reasons: they love wedding cake and where there is wedding cake, there are usually petifores. Sure enough, the shop had chocolate petifores made with red velvet cake and chocolate filling as well as the traditional white petifore with white wedding cake and butter cream filling. We grabbed a few of those (~$1 each) and a slice of a red velvet cake made that morning (~$3) along with a brownie that was calling our name (~$2). The cake was delicious, very silky in texture with a cream cheese frosting that was very rich in flavor; some of the best red velvet cake I’ve had to date. The brownie was coated in chocolate frosting and topped with pecans and very moist considering it had been pre-cut that morning. I didn’t get to try the petifores unfortunately, but I did hear a lot of, “Oh, you won’t like this…” and “You shouldn’t try this, its terrible…” accompanied by lots of laughs so I’m guessing they were a hit.

From a quick glance at the display counter, it looks like Old Tyme’s also does custom spun sugar sculpting as well as custom cakes and day-to-day sweets. There were a few shops in the same building as the “cakery” but I’m not sure if they were affiliated with Old Tyme; that being said, they had a lot of Cajun trinkets that were fun to peruse though. Although, we didn’t try the dessert at Nash’s, if you find yourself in a similar situation to us (being stuffed with no hope to eat dessert directly), then give Olde Tyme Cakery, Creamery, and Candie Shoppe a try. I think you won’t be disappointed.

Olde Tyme Cakery, Creamery, and Candie Shoppe is located at 210 N Morgan Ave, Broussard, Louisiana.

Olde Tyme Cakery Creamery & Candie Shoppe on Urbanspoon

 

Nash’s Restaurant – Broussard, LA

Brian LeGros | June 5th, 2010 | food  

While visiting family in Louisiana this past week, we happened to be in town for my aunt and uncle’s wedding anniversary. To celebrate, we decided to grab lunch at Nash’s Restaurant in Broussard. Nash’s follows in the well established practice of converting an old home to a restaurant. For some reason, this seems to always give me the comfortable feeling of being in someone’s home rather than lost in a busy or non-descript building. Nash’s decor reminds me of restaurants such as the Veranda in Fort Myers and, the now closed, Strawberry Mansion in Melbourne. Nash’s is an Italian and Cajun restaurant with an Acadian influence who’s head chef is very well known. My cousins couldn’t recommend this restaurant enough to us, so I was stoked to try out the menu.

Even though we had been on a non-stop seafood eating marathon for the entire trip, you just cannot travel to Louisiana and eat anything but seafood; at least a true Cajun should not. I started with a cup of the Seafood Gumbo (~$6) and, trying to stay in the theme of the cuisine, ordered the Shrimp Creole (~$13) with the Italian Olive Mix (+~$2) salad. Others at the table ordered cups of the Shrimp, Crab, and Corn Bisque (~$6) and Chicken and Sausage Gumbo (~$6) along with the Crab Cakes (~$13), Mini Seafood Platter (~$13), the Open-face Roast Beef Sandwich (~$10), and the Seafood Salad (~$13). The seafood gumbo didn’t miss a beat although I did have to season it a bit more than expected. It was a combination of lump crab meat, shrimp, and crawfish made with a traditional roux. It was also served with a large de-shelled crawfish claw which was the perfect garnish for the dish. I heard similar comments about the other soups at the table. The salad was made from a bed of Italian greens with tomatoes, many different type of pitted olives, a quarter of a boiled egg, and dressed with a muffaletta olive mixture that brought every bite together. I will say that for the entree I was a bit disappointed. When I typically think of Shrimp Creole, I picture a sort of rustic dish made with large Gulf shrimp and generously cut portions of pepper and onion in a tomato-based sauce that has a bit of a kick to it. This dish had relatively small pieces of pepper and onion, the shrimp were much smaller than I expected, and without a spicy kick in the sauce, the tomato flavor was a bit more than I expected. That being said, the overall flavor of the dish was still good. The other meals at the table were extremely delicious. The crab cakes were served on a fried eggplant and I believe were made with blue crab meat, so they were had that savory and sweet combination going for them. The “mini” seafood platter was much larger than we expected having fried oysters, shrimp, and catfish. The seafood salad was also a good portion coming with grilled shrimp, salmon, and another seafood item over a bed of what looked like romaine and other veggies. At the end of the meal, our waitress brought out fresh-baked French bread rolls which she had forgotten to bring earlier. We were all full, but the bread was so fresh and hot, we each had to sample a bit of it, just so it didn’t go to waste.

We skipped out on dessert, but I have to say although the lunch entree wasn’t everything I expected, the meal as a whole did not disappoint. If you like spicy food, make sure you request it when you order, but don’t let that discourage you from the great flavors on the menu. The Amberjack with Seafood Au Gratin sauce looked amazing, so I’ll have to make my way back one day. I’ve been told that every occupant of this building has done an amazing job with their food, and Nash’s Restaurant is no exception. Although, it’s a bit of a hike for those Lafayette folks, it’s definitely worth the visit. Don’t be coo-yôn; give Nash’s a try.

Nash’s Restaurant is located at 101 East 2nd Street Broussard, Louisiana.


Nash's Restaurant on Urbanspoon



Frey’s Crawfish House – Jennings, LA

Brian LeGros | June 5th, 2010 | food  

Having just returned from Louisiana I can definitely say I ate well and often. Since we spent most of our time at our relatives’ homes enjoying crawfish boils, étouffée, rice dressing, po-boys, BBQ, and other favorites there was little reason to go out, but we did get a chance to try a few good places. Early in the trip we found ourselves at Frey’s Crawfish House in Jennings for a family reunion.

Frey’s occupies a large space in the new “Grand Marais Courtyard” building right off of Lake Arthur Avenue, the main strip in Jennings. As with most restaurants in Louisiana, they specialize in Cajun food (if you couldn’t tell from the name). They’ve kept the decor light and easy-going with various juju’s, photos, and murals of Cajun mascots and culture. The restaurant has a full bar in the back with a large set of tables in the main area, booths lining the side wall, and a register up-front.

When we settled in to order, I was pleasantly surprised to see all of my favorites on the menu. Being that I can never seem to get good Catfish in Florida, I decided to give the small catfish platter a try (~$10), ordering it with a side of steamed vegetables. The meal was preceded by an iceberg lettuce salad and when the entree arrived it was accompanied by a small cup of jambalaya. The jambalaya was a mixed combination of white rice, lump crab meat, shrimp, and crawfish in a tomato-based sauce which was, on a whole, nice and spicy. The catfish was breaded in a seasoned cornmeal mixture and fried being served in a 3 half-fillet portion. The steamed veggies were a combination of yellow carrots, red peppers, green beans, and squash (I believe). Overall a comforting meal, with perfectly sized and tasty portions. There were about 14 dining in total, so luckily, we got a chance to try out a good portion of the menu. The Shrimp Po-boy and Oyster Po-boy (~$9 each) were served with a really generous amount of fried seafood, lettuce, and tatar sauce. I saw a gentleman across the restaurant who had a huge order of rice and gravy that looked delicious, but by that point any more food would have done me in; I definitely had to pace myself for the eating marathon that is vacationing in Louisiana.

Overall, Frey’s Crawfish House is a great local restaurant that is doing Jennings proud. I love the fact that they have a website with a menu with prices on it; most big city restaurants can’t even seem to get that right. I can’t imagine that there are many local dining choices like Frey’s in Jennings, so if you find yourself traveling, out by exit 64 on I-10, take the time to stop by and enjoy a great Cajun meal.

Frey’s Crawfish House is located at 919-A-North Lake Arthur Avenue, Jennings, Louisiana.

flexRpcStubs 0.3 released

Brian LeGros | April 10th, 2010 | news, programming  

I’ve pushed out a couple new features and a bug fix for the flexRpcStubs project. Release 0.3 of the library is available for download on github. In terms of features, you can now filter HTTP calls by HTTP method as well as parameters and HTTP headers. Arguments provided to the result/fault method of HTTPServiceStub and RemoteObjectStub can now be of type literal, Class, Date, RegExp, or Hamcrest matcher rather than just literals and Hamcrest matchers; thanks to Drew for letting me steal the idea from Mockolate, my new favorite mock object framework for AS3. I also fixed a bug in RemoteObjectStub which was not dispatching events on the RemoteOperationStub; thanks to ropp for the fix.

If anyone has SDK classes they’d like to see stubs for, please let me know. I’ve been sent a draft of a ModuleLoaderStub and have a couple ideas for handling SWFLoader, so keep an eye out for more updates as I find time.

flexRpcStubs version 0.2 released

Brian LeGros | March 1st, 2010 | programming  

I burned the midnight oil tonight and was able to get release 0.2 of the flexRpcStubs project out on Github. In this release I’ve added the ability to add a rootCause to a fault on RemoteObjectStub, the ability to match parameters and headers on HTTPServiceStub, and the ability to use hamcrest-as3 matchers along with literals for both HTTPServiceStub and RemoteObjectStub. Additionally, I’ve thrown up some concise examples which, I hope, will help to show simple use cases using stubs in your unit tests. Here are links to the examples for HTTPServiceStub and RemoteObjectStub, just in case you don’t want to dig in. As always I look forward to feedback on the project. If you don’t want to build it yourself, I’ve thrown out a SWC for download on GitHub as well.

Stubs for mx.rpc classes moved to GitHub

Brian LeGros | February 9th, 2010 | programming  

A short note. For simplicities sake, I’ve created a project on GitHub (http://github.com/blegros/flexRpcStubs) to house the mx.rpc stubs which help with testing Flex service classes. The HTTPServiceStub and RemoteObjectStub classes have had a couple of bugs fixes and I’ve added build script to generate a SWC for simplicity. You can read more about the stubs in my initial posting; I hope to update the project soon with some practical usage examples.

If you have any suggestions for changes, feel free to fork and pass a pull request my way. Hope this helps those who asked for a bit more structure.