by Lori Allen
So us Northerners like to discuss (ie argue LOL) who has the best Italian restaurants, Little Italy or Boston’s Northend. There has never been an agreement on which one prevails but we are always looking for places that mimic those great Italian places. Well Enza’s Italian Restaurant I think is one of those that is close as it gets in our area. From the quaint piano in the corner to the long winding inviting bar you feel like you have just been transported back up North. You are greeted by warm friendly faces and if you are lucky you will even get a special welcome from this wonderful man in a pin striped suit that makes you feel just like family! If this isn’t typical Boston Northend I don’t know what is!
So tonite for us was family/framily nite and we brought the kids and decided to try whatever sounded good on the menu. For Apps we started off with some of their calamari, fried ravioli and meatball (this was a special for the evening). Normally when you think of fried ravioli you think of some crunchy pasta filled with a filling that’s kinda bland and then some kind of red sauce to dip it in. But I was so impressed with these tidbits of flavor. Our waitress (Edna-she was awesome!) suggested that we try both the cheese and the meat ones and get them cut in half which was a great idea for sharing. The meat ones were stuff with what tasted like ground veal and lots of seasonings and the cheese ones had some nice fresh ricotta in them. The breading wasn’t that heavy kind it was light and they were soft to bite into not crunchy and stiff. To dip them you got some super fresh marinara that was so vibrant with fresh tomatoes, basil and garlic flavors you wanted to dip more and more.
So on to the meat ta ball (think like..Now that’s’ ah meat ta ball in your best Italian impression) because this thing really calls for it. It is huge! The meat mixed with all those Italian herbs is so tender you can cut it with a fork. It comes with this rich creamy ricotta oozing down the sides of it sitting in a plate of some of that fresh marinara sauce that makes you just wants to lick the plate!
The Enza salad is a meal in itself! It is filled with roasted red peppers, tons of olives; green, Kalamata, black you name it they are in there! Then they cover the fresh greens with this slightly sweet garlicky homemade vinaigrette along with the fresh crumbled feta. Your mouth is just is filled with garlicky, roasted red pepper, olive and so much more flavor. For those that don’t like vinaigrette they make their own Blue cheese dressing. It’s well worth a try and of course I had to get side just so I could dip some of my salad in there for total mouth bomb of flavor!
For the main dish my son went for their homemade Alfredo. I have just recently introduced him to the creamy goodness a change from the usual mac n cheese. Well this one I fear has spoiled him from many others. Once you’ve had the best ..just sayin…. The heavy cream, tons of parmesan and creaminess of the sauce had him protecting his bowl so that Mama could barely get her fork in there! But once I did oh man the creaminess and cheesiness of it was so good! My hubby gets the same thing every time we go to an Italian restaurant and Enzas didn’t disappoint him. As a matter of fact they far exceeded his expectations. He said it was the best lasagna he has had in a very long time. You could taste their tangy homemade sauce mixed in with fresh ricotta, beef and mozzarella – mozzarel is how the Italians say it..layers upon layers of gooiness goodness.
Our framily had the Shrimp Francesca, and after all the appetizers this was the perfect meal. Big tender shrimp light battered in an egg type batter deep fried and then served with a lemony tarty sauce. YUM.
I of course had to have a sampling of pastas. I had their carbonara which is my personal favorite and theirs was awesome. Fun Fact: This dish forms part of a family of dishes involving pasta with bacon, cheese, and pepper, such as spaghetti alla gricia. And it is very similar to the southern Italian pasta cacio e uova, dressed with melted lard and mixed eggs and cheese. The pasta is cooked and the pork is fried in fat. Then a mixture of raw eggs, grated hard cheese, and ground black pepper is combined with the hot pasta away from direct heat to avoid curdling the egg. Then the fried pork is added, and the mixture is tossed which creates a creamy sauce. Guanciale is the most commonly used meat for the dish in Italy, but pancetta, prosciutto and bacon is used as well. For the cheese Romano, or occasionally Parmesan is used. I am not sure what version Enza’s uses but their pasta is so luscious from the egg, salty from prosciutto and very creamy. Yes its decadent but OH so worth it!
On the lighter side I also had some Spaghetti aglio e olio (garlic and olive oil) which is a traditional Italian pasta coming from Naples. Enza’s tossed in some sun dried tomatoes and some marinated artichoke hearts which really gave it an earthier flavor. I always ask for angel hair pasta for this because its keeps it nice and light for me. For those that want a lighter option get a side of this along with Enzas salad and call it a day. You won’t be disappointed!
There are so many homemade dinner options on the menu I am sure you will have a tough time choosing. For the grand finale we got a tasting of a cannoli and tiramisu which was my favorite desert here at Enza’s. Tiramisu which typically is mascarpone custard layered with whipped cream and rum and coffee soaked ladyfingers. It was so light but just enough of the sweet that you are craving. There was not a drop left at our table that’s for sure. Mangiare!
by Lori Allen
Summertime summertime heading to the beach time! I know a lot of us like to head down 95south to exit 206 and the beaches at Crescent, St. Aug, Matanzas inlet for paddle boarding and even for some a little area known as the Triangle. So after we’ve rinsed off the sand and ocean and are in need of a nice casual Air Conditioned place (because we are starving!)Look no further. Just a few miles down the road (a left instead of a right over the bridge at 206) you will run into this great place tucked into a strip mall called Redfrog & McToad’s. This place looks like a fun sports bar (so no worries if you are a bit sandy)…but believe me they serve way more than sports bar food that’s for sure! The menu has so many darn things on it you want to try them all! So to start we decided to go with the sports bar theme and move on from there…we got the Buffalo Chicken Dip and something they call Chicken bombers. The dip was cheesy and creamy filled with shredded chicken. I think that they make it so creamy with blue cheese mixed in with the melted cheese. Scoop some of this up with a tortilla chip, hot cheesy spicy crunch! It didn’t last long. These bomber thingys are so unusual that I just had to try them. They sort of look like a chicken wing drum but all the meat is pushed down to one end. Then they marinate them in a special seasoning, roast them then drop them in the fryer. They are crispy on the outside and tender on the in and you have all these choices of sauces to choose from! Hot, Mild, Bourbon Glaze, BBQ Hot Datil Pepper, Teriyaki, Garlic Parmesan and Extreme. Really really good!
The next thing that’s worth trying is their Great Chowder Debate 1st Place Winner New England Clam Chowder (or as I would say it Chowdah). The owners have this Bohemian/Irish heritage so the Chowder is not exactly like us New Englanders would make it but its Outstanding as my dad would say. The base has some kind of sherry/cooking wine in it along with cream and its super light and not fishy at all. There are lots of clams, potatoes and onions to give it tons of flavor and yes it does come with the traditional Oyster crackers (gotta have those!)
I tried one of their signature dishes, their famous Giant Pork Fried Tenderloin Sandwich. They take pork tenderloin, pound it out thin, season it up and then batter it with what tasted like seasoned flour along with panko breadcrumbs. If I had to guess they probably double battered it, first with flour, egg and then the panko break crumbs but whatever it is it makes a super crunchy batter and the pork has so much flavor you don’t even need a sauce with it! They serve this Ginormous piece of pork on an extra-large bun. It’s so big that the top of the bun along with the lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles and it has to come on a separate plate! I would highly recommend this with some of their Onion Straws. You can’t find super thin, super crispy onion straw/rings many places in the south. But you can find them here!
If you are feeling like something cool and fresh give their Black N Blue salad a try. This is a really good portion and you get tons of fresh mixed greens, bacon, crumbled bleu cheese, red onions, and tomatoes and on top you can add blackened Chicken, Shrimp or Mahi Mahi. The mixture of all the goodies makes this salad so delicious and you won’t go home hungry that’s for sure.
So when my son gets good grades he gets to have a special meal…their Lobster & Shrimp Mac-N-Cheese is one of those meals. Rotini pasta with Gruyere (Gruyere is named after a Swiss village, and is at first fruity to taste and later becomes more earthy and nutty flavor) and white cheddar combined to make a creamy sauce. Filled with shrimp and lobster then crunchy parmesan bread crumble on top. You have to be fast with the fork if you want to get a bite of that!
I guess having that Irish Heritage you will also find Sheppard’s Pie and Bangers and Mash (sausage links and mashed potatoes) on the menu but I think their Fish fry is off the chain good! They use Yuengling beer (kind of an amber ale) and make a light beer batter with it. Then they dip a thick generous portion of Haddock into it and deep fry it. When it comes served to you all hot and steamy you sink your fork into it and the fish just flakes away and it is so juicy you can’t stop eating it! I personally love the traditional way with Malt Vinegar to give the fish that tang. But they do make a rich creamy dill tartar sauce that is equally as good. But if you want to go all out like one of our friends did try the Fried Haddock and “Ultra” Shrimp plate. They add their Ultra-Light Ultra-Crisp beer battered shrimp to the already delicious fish for the best of both worlds!
Head on over after the beach or go down to watch a game. I am sure you will keep going back to see what else you can try!
by Lori Allen
6323 Racetrack Road
St. Johns, Florida
It’s that time of year and so I thought it would be a great idea to try out one of those favorites people love to eat at the ball parks…peanuts! Although this is not your ordinary roasted peanut….these are Gourmet Boiled Peanuts!
Randezz Nutz is the place to go if you want to try out original gourmet boiled peanuts. He is portable, but he does have a set schedule where he is on Race track road the majority of the time and makes what he likes to call the first ever Gourmet Boiled Peanuts. He told me that there has never been a market for gourmet peanuts so he created one. I asked him what makes them gourmet so he proceeded to have me taste them and see what I thought. Regular Gourmet was the first flavor I tried, these green peanuts are boiled with pineapples, carrots, ginger, lemon zest, onions and seasonings to give you a sweet tangy flavor. You can’t help but to suck out the juice before you pop open the peanut and delve in. It is so fully of sweet juicy fruity flavor and still a little salty because it is a peanut after all. The next kind we tried is called Cajun Gourmet boiled peanuts. These are similar to his regular gourmet ones but he adds Pepperoncini= banana pepper= sweet Italian pepper (that’s right, those funny yellowish green peppers you get with pizza or on a Greek salad) and Jalapenos which gives that tangy sweetness you get from the regular gourmet ones plus the extra heat you need to be calling them Cajun. He also throws in garlic and of course Cajun spices. They are hot enough that you might want a cold beer to go along with them but not so hot that you stop eating them! The heat is just enough to keep you coming back for more. These two flavors are what he has every day on the menu. But then he always has a special flavor of the day. When I stopped in the specialty of the day was Smoked turkey. That’s right smoked turkey boiled peanuts! The juice of these tasted like you were eating a thanksgiving peanut! He boiled them with smoked turkey (of course), celery, garlic, rosemary, thyme and a bunch of other seasonings. These were my son’s favorites and as an added bonus you sometimes even get actual chunks of smoked turkey...yum!
Some of Randezz other flavors include Korean barbeque, braised beef ribs with toasted sesame seeds, smoked kielbasa and bacon, lemon pepper and many more. You can call ahead and see what flavors he’s got going on that day or ask him on Facebook. I asked him where did he get his talent for making such tasty food and he told me although he was born and raised here in Jacksonville he spent some time in Mississippi as a sous chef…well that paid off because you can sure taste some of those Cajun flavors in his peanuts!
Randezz said it takes 12 hours to make one batch of boiled peanuts and he makes about 3 batches a night and up to 300lbs a week. These fine green peanuts are shipped to him from Virginia the peanut capital of the US.
Fun Fact: Boiled peanuts are widely consumed and commercially available in an area of the Southern United States from southern Virginia, south to central Florida, as far north as Ohio and west to Mississippi. The peanuts are sold in the hull and either boiled with only salt or with a piquant spice mixture such as Old Bay. Boiling peanuts has been a folk cultural practice in the Southern United States, where they were originally called goober peas, since at least the 19th century. The practice of eating boiled peanuts was likely brought by slaves from Africa. In July and August, when the peanut crops would come in, unsold and surplus peanuts would be prepared in a boil and extended families and neighbors would gather to share conversation and food. Boiled peanuts are symbols of Southern culture and cuisine. The first recipe for boiled peanuts was published by Almeda Lambert in 1899!
705 Hortons Trce, St. Augustine, FL 32095 (World Golf)
by Local Foodie Lori Allen
There's a new or place in town...or maybe not so new but a second locatiohas moved closer to our 210 quadrant. St. Mary's Seafood & More has opened up a second location across the street from the World Golf Village, making a total of 3 but the original one is in Georgia. So some of us girls managed to sneak away from the weekly routine and give it a try!
The restaurant is owned by 5 brothers/brothers in laws some of whom live in St. Mary's Georgia where as others decided to call Jacksonville their home. The second location is located on old St. Augustine road and became so successful that they began their search for another area to grow. They found this spot last July and began the renovations. Once you step your foot inside you will notice how light and bright the place is, they really did a great job to make it such a nice family atmosphere.
All of us ladies tried something different which was a great way for me to get to taste a variety of things! Anyone who knows me knows that I love to taste not only my food but yours as well so you better guard it or that
wondering fork may find its way over to your plate! (I have no shame when it comes to food) Starting off with the scallops, I was able to try them both seared and fried. Both were equally as good, sweet, seasoned well and tasty.
The Mahi Mahi was thick and meaty like it's supposed to be, blackened with lots of seasonings (not too spicy), paired along with some fried okra and fried zucchini my southern girlfriend totally enjoyed her plate! We all compared the fried squash(which was good) to another favorite the fried green tomatoes and the majority voted for the tomatoes... their tangy slightly sour flavor works well with a crunchy coating .They were not too thick and not too thin. Perfect!
Probably one of the most commonly ordered dishes would be their seafood combo platters, especially if you have a large family to feed. These platters are pretty big in portion size and what I love about them is that you can get parts of them broiled, blackened, grilled or fried. You can mix and match which is great way to try out different flavors, blackened fish,broiled scallops, fried shrimp..the list of possibilities is endless. This makes it way more fun because you can customize your very own platter! We tried the grilled fish which was super light, blackened scallops (cooked perfectly) and then the rest was fried, shrimp, oysters, clams. And of course add in the stuff crab and hushpuppies you definitely won't leave hungry!
They cook up some really interesting sides to add to your main dishes like their sweet potato casserole. This recipe traveled down thru the family from the great grandma, down to the sister n law passing it on to us. They have frequently been asked for the recipe but they won't budge, so I had to guess what's in it. To me it tasted like sweet potatoes, cinnamon, nutmeg and other spices and heavy cream all blended together to make a creamy deliciousness. All of us ladies tried to figure it out so that's our best guess. But whatever is in there it sure is good! The collard greens are one of the sisters recipes served with smoky bacon so they are packed with lots of flavor. They have this creamed corn that is not completely creamed so you have lots of corn kernels for a little crunch in your creamed corn along with bacon and fresh cream who wouldn't want to try that! For the big finale of Sides give the Loaded Sidewinder fries a try, these come served piping hot, covered in green onions, cheese, bacon and topped off with a light ranch sauce! Yes it's decadent, but hey it's only a side so we are all good.
Nammour one of the brothers told me that the one of the most popular items is their stuffed flounder or Basa. (The basa fish (Pangasius bocourti) is a species of catfish in the family of Pangasiidae. Basa is described as having large, white fillets with no bones, and flesh that is moist with a light, firm texture and a mild fish flavor) These fish are stuffed with real crabmeat, topped with cheese, mushrooms and onions. Unfortunately I didn't get to sample this but it's on my list for next time! His motto is" If you offer a good product for a good price, people will show up".
They have a full bar so you can pretty much get any cocktail you want. They also have a large beer selection and if you love beer like I do, order one of their tall beer holder thingys. I have no idea what they are called but they hold a lot of beer and are pretty neat looking in addition to keeping your beer ice cold! Great for hanging out and catching a game! We mustn't leave without mentioning their Elevated St. Mary's Margarita. All of us girls thought this was one of the best cocktails ever! Even those that don't like margaritas enjoyed this! This enticing concoction comes in its own shaker (so you get way more than one drink) and is filled with Avion Silver, Bauchant Orange liqueur, agave nectar and fresh squeezed lime juice. It is so light and refreshing but packs a nice punch...you will not be
One of my favorite spots in the restaurant is their back patio; it looks over a manmade pond so you feel like you are surrounded by a bit of the outdoors. So grab one of those Elevated Margaritas, some steamed shrimp,
crab legs...a platter or two and head to the patio for a relaxing evening...you can't go wrong!
Just so you know: You can make reservations during the week but on Friday
and Saturday its first come first serve.
by Local Foodie Lori Allen
Just a guy who likes to cook
So today I’m going to take you a little bit out of the 210 area but well worth the short drive. The place is called Ned’s Southside Kitchen off of US1 south, Saint Augustine. Ned’s Southside Kitchen is like an upscale diner. It is not fancy and there is even a cozy counter to dine at like you would find at other diners. But unlike other diners this place even has a drive thru for those that love home cooking and want to enjoy it in your own home without having to make it yourself! Ned is longtime St. Augustine resident Ned Pollack ~ the genius behind the Malaga Street Depot and Gypsy Cab. But if you ask him, he'll say he’s “just a guy who likes to cook." Funny story was that he was driving down from North Jersey looking to settle somewhere in the south. Ended up picking up some Nuns that needed a ride to St. Augustine…and the rest is history.
Being a Flaglerite (someone that went to Flagler LOL) and on a college budget it was a rare treat to go out to dinner but once in a while we would make it out to a nice dinner and I would always get what is now called the Dixie chicken. They take the chicken and pound it out thin then stuffed it with fontina cheese (mild and smooth) roll it in seasoned bread crumbs, pan fry it then smother it in mushrooms with a brown wine type of sauce(Probably similar to marsala but not so winey). This dish has been around for as long as I can remember and even with its cheese and delicious sauce it’s so light. I have no idea how he does that!
For an appetizer try their fried cheese Spedini. This is a little gold mine of fried melted cheese, covered in bread crumps topped with this homemade garlic butter that is chilled but starts to melt the minute it hits the hot cheese. Every bite is decadent cheesy garlicy wonderfulness. Along with a little somewhat surprising fruity salsa, this puts your average cheeses sticks to shame!
Then there are their salads, huge and plentiful. I had the roasted veggie goat cheese one…Yup that’s right roasted veggies and tons of goat cheese. The veggies are so thick, well-seasoned, grilled and hardy that you don’t even miss the meat. And then topped with their homemade dressing it’s a mouthful of flavor that’s for sure! Their house salad dressing recipe came from a farm hippie who brought it down from up north made with red wine, olive oil, nutritional yeast and garlic. Ned said his chef emulsifies it (Emulsify means to combine two ingredients together which do not ordinarily mix easily. The force of beating is used to combine these ingredients.) This brings it all together to make it so light yet creamy and really full of flavor.
My son loved their kid’s meals. I was so surprised that everything he got was homemade…even the meatballs! I had to have a bite just to check it out and it was big in size and seasoned so well you didn’t even mind eating them without the sauce(how he prefers them). They have really good fried shrimp for the kids too, fresh not the frozen popcorn kind. He loved it!
They have daily specials just like you would get most diners, BBQ Brisket, Mojo Pulled Pork, Salman Scallop Provencal, Scallop St Jacque and Spaghetti and Meatballs but all with a little gourmet twist which makes it fun for us fellow foodies. And the best part is that you don’t pay the gourmet prices!
So my very favorite thing I have to get here every time I come is their escargot. Ned has served it the same way since his first restaurant and I totally understand why he has never changed it! You get a big bowl filled with angel hair pasta, sautéed in garlic and a ton of soft juicy escargot. If you have never tried escargot…these are the way to go. I honestly think he would even put some of the French to shame with these!
Here’s a little tidbit on Escargot if you were ever afraid to try it…
One of the most famous dishes in French cuisine is escargot, a preparation of snails that can be served with a variety of sauces. Some Americans find the thought somewhat disconcerting, as snails are not associated with food in the United States. But when well prepared, their flavor and texture can be really good, and they have been enjoyed in many Mediterranean nations for centuries. While people who are not from France think that the word refers to a specific dish, in fact it is a generic term for edible snails. Snails can be collected in the wild or farmed for prepared escargot. Farmed snails are fed on a mixture of green and dried foods, with some producers preferring dried food because it is less messy than fresh greens. Some cooks also feed the snails herbs like dill to give them a delicate flavor. So give snails a try…you won’t be disappointed!
From their staff:
Ned's is a great place to eat and it's also a great place to work. Most of our customers have known Ned for a long time and the servers and staff at Ned's Southside Kitchen have been with him almost since day one...we might not all be family...but we sure feel like it!
NED'S Southside Kitchen
2450 US1 South St. Augustine, FL. 32084
by Lori Allen, Local Foodie
They say the best way to start your day is with a good breakfast. Well mostof you know that there are a few very good chain restaurants around here...but are you aware that there are equally as good family owned ones?
One of my favorites is Bayard Café, here the food is what I like to call "clean cooking". What I mean by that is that every time I go it seems as though the food is super fresh and seems to be cooked with minimal amount of
grease. (You need a little of it for flavor but not a ton!) They have a nice choice of freshly made omelets to choose from and they also make homemade quiche with such a variety of ingredients that make them so interesting and delicious that it's hard to choose from! The mushroom, cheese and bacon one for example, usually you would get cheese and bacon but why not add some fresh mushrooms to it to bring it to a whole new flavor. Who doesn't love that?
Of course you can get your eggs, bacon and pancakes but if you feel like taking an adventure try one of their breakfast burritos. These are stuffed with delicious breakfast ingredients, fresh eggs sausage, cheese and more cheese then rolled up in a big soft tortilla served piping hot. They also
have one stuffed with steak, eggs and cheese that is for a heartier eater and so darn good!
Another option would be their homemade super fluffy biscuits. I personally love the BELT biscuit (they have lots of bread choices if you aren't into biscuits) it is like having breakfast and lunch all in one..Brunch! The biscuit is super light and fluffy with lettuce, tomato, 4 pieces of bacon
topped with a scrambled egg and it takes two hands to hold it for a good flavorful bite!
On the sweeter side you can try one of their Belgian waffles- these are good size and come with several topping choices but even plain it super thick and full of flavor. Another sweet treat that comes highly recommended would be one of their other homemade specialties...the Cinnamon bun! This thing is huge and comes covered in cream cheese melty frosting such gooey goodness! With a nice hot cup of coffee you can't go wrong when you really need something sweet. Along with their misspelled signs (on purpose) and bat search (for fun) it's a nice family owned place. The cool thing is that they even have a drive through for your convenience so you can swing on in there to get your coffee, burrito, biscuit and Cinnamon bun to go and not be
late to work. Genius!
So our next stop was Café Genovese - this place is a hidden gem here on 210 past the truck stop on your right in a small plaza. When you pull up you think well I wonder what this place has to offer? But once you open the door to the warm inviting smells and smiles of the locals you swear you can hear the jingle inside your head going "Sometimes you wanna go where everyone knows your name...!" You know the one.
You can start with a traditional breakfast of eggs, bacon and fluff pancakes and up it a notch by adding some chocolate chips to the pancakes (always a favorite in my family) or you can try their "Grit Bowl". This thing is filled with creamy grits, several choices on cheese (I like the monterey pepper jack), sautéed onions, peppers, cheese, bacon or sausage or ham and then topped with 2eggs! I love sausage in it instead of bacon, it adds some nice spice along with the onions and peppers for the veggies there is so much flavor. The last time I was there I tried over easy eggs on there instead of your traditional scrambled and the yolk just ran thru the bowl covering everything with such a rich sumptuous taste that I will be getting that from now on! For the sweet lovers they do have French toast and Belgium waffles all made to order and can be covered with fresh strawberry's for a special treat. They also have nice fresh 3 egg omelets with several choices; my hubbys favorite is bacon, onion and cheese....so
If you want to try one of my foodie things try their corn beef hash. Corn beef for us Northerners (and I do believe the owners are Northerners...but from the other side of the tracks because I always see lots of NY paraphilia along the walls) usually means a nice piled high sandwich with thinly sliced corn beef on Rye with Sauerkraut and spicy sauce..otherwise known as the Reuben.
We never want to waste such good food so we make sure we use every part of the rich flavored meat covered with spices(One of the key ingredients in making corned beef is a curing salt called Prague-Powder, which is what gives the corned beef its distinctive pink color)in a flavorful hash. Any dish that starts out with diced up meat, potatoes, vegetables and spices was designed to fill bellies and satisfy a taste for warm and savory comfort food along with a side of eggs and toast. I don't think you will be leaving hungry. The interesting thing about corn beef hash is that it started out because the main ingredient was leftovers but today corned beef hash has been elevated to a whole new level and is even served in high-end restaurants. Here's a little foodie fact for you...
More sophisticated versions of the original recipe, as well as unique recipes are being served all across the country. Southern hash is made from a blend of barbecue pork, barbecue sauce and rice. You can find this version at barbecue restaurants throughout Georgia, South Carolina and the other southern states. Texas hash is a southwestern variation that is made from a stew of pork, chicken and/or beef that is seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked over an open flame in a traditional hash pot. These varieties are about as far from traditional corned beef hash as they can get, but they are still a part of the growing trend. So give it a try for breakfast you won't be disappointed!
By Lori Allen
So you know when your kids tell you that they want Pizza for dinner and you groan and think not again! Well there is one place right here at Bartram Oaks Walk called Moon Dog Pie house and let me tell you..this is not your
average pizza joint!
First of all have you ever tried their BRUCHETTA-EXTREME....MOON DOG STYLE -It comes out on this plate that looks so pretty you don't want to eat it! But once you smother a piece of their lightly toasted garlic bread slices
with it you can't stop! This stuff is made with their "House Ricotta" which is so creamy you swear they must have put it in a blender because it's almost like you are eating whipped cream! Then it is topped with diced roma
tomatoes, fresh chopped basil, fresh garlic, extra virgin olive oil and drizzled with balsamic glaze which makes it taste so light and fresh!
Another great app is their Cosmic Street corn- Which is whole ears of corn roasted then they put some kind of butter sauce on it and sprinkle it with parmesan cheese and fresh herbs. The roasting gives it a tougher quality which is good because it soaks up all the goodness you get in every bite. It is a little price (4 buck an ear) but it is something different to try if you are looking for something a little less Italian that nite. I have heard that people rave over their wings(half price Mondays).....for me that was not a favorite but if you like really saucy wings( I prefer to call it glompy) then order the Chipotle Ranch ones.. There's not much heat but there's TONs of sauce and flavor!
Another non pizza item that is worth a try but it is not for the light eater is their APOLLO'S GYRO- this thing is Ginormous! Being from theNorth we like to call it a Jiro (with a J) but however you want to pronounce it you won't be disappointed.loaded with really good seasoned meat, lettuce, tomato, onion and Greek yogurt sauce its a 2 hander for sure!
There is something to be said about their sauces...most are homemade so of course I had to try their alfredo sauce but if I ate a pasta dish I was afraid I wouldn't get to try their famous pizza so I asked them for a side to dip my pizza crust in. Boy oh boy was that a good move...so good and Ididn't have to miss out! This stuff is made with 40% heavy cream, fresh garlic, butter and some kind of 3 secret cheese blend...when you dip in your crust and lift it out of the cup the cheese just follows you up to your mouth..YUM!
So lastly the pizza....the dough is homemade (of course) light and crispy and then the list of choices are crazy. I tried 3 (with the help of my friends) HOLY MAC N CHEESE, BAT MAN- is just what it sounds like , their rich creamy mac n cheese on top of a pizza. The cheese from the mac n cheese oozes out all over the pizza dough along with a little extra then they add bacon- real- not bits, pop it into the oven so that the cheese crisps up and what comes out is a cheesy, gooey somehow crispy wonderful pizza. SHROOM MY SHROOM- is a much lighter pizza. There is actually no real sauce on it, instead it has olive oil, garlic, rosemary, sliced sausage and of course mushrooms! They then cover that with Fontina, Mozzarella and Gouda cheese and top it off with arugula and balsamic glaze for the veggies.
It's a great alternative to a sort of veggie pizza minus the sausage...I'm
sure you can ask for it without. And last but not least GOAT, WITH FULL MOON PRESENTATION- this is a pesto base (the green stuff made with basil, pine nuts, garlic and a few other ingredients) has that Prosciutto (spicy ham) on it along with goat cheese that they melt then pop in the oven to crisp up and throw on the top tomatoes, spinach more basil, olive oil and balsamic. Such a great combination of flavors kinda like a fancy grilled cheese on pizza dough with lots of fresh greens added. It surprised me when it came out loaded with fresh spinach on the top but after the first bite I was sold! And later for left overs the spinach melts and is just as good the second time! Enjoy!
by Kara Pound
The St. Augustine Distillery is proud to announce the official release date of its eagerly awaited Florida Double Cask Bourbon, the first bourbon to be put into barrel in the State of Florida since Prohibition. Florida Double Cask Bourbon will be available at the distillery’s gift shop on Friday, September 9th from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and select retailers, bars and restaurants shortly after.
“Developed by the best craft distillers in the world, Florida Double Cask Bourbon is a celebration of the Sunshine State, its agriculture and unique maritime climate,” said Philip McDaniel, co-founder and CEO of St. Augustine Distillery. “Florida’s year-round heat and humidity ages our bourbon faster and with greater intensity than anywhere in the country. Our distillers have a running joke that our barrels ‘age in dog years.’”
St. Augustine Distillery’s production team utilized several industry legends to assist in this release. Jake Norris, Founding Distiller of Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, developed the mash bill. Dave Pickerell, former Master Distiller of Maker’s Mark, designed the production facility and guided the final blending.
Florida Double Cask Bourbon is a dark amber, malted bourbon distilled and bottled on-site using local ingredients to capture the distinctive flavors of the region. The spirits in this first bourbon release range from 16 to 28 months.
“New federal regulations require the ‘stated age’ be that of the youngest spirit in the blend,” McDaniel explained. “We aged our whiskey in a sequence of new, wine quality 25-gallon and seasoned 53-gallon barrels. To achieve our flavor profile, we hand-selected dozens and dozens of barrels to blend a unique and robust bourbon.”
ABOUT FLORIDA DOUBLE CASK BOURBON
• Tasting notes: full-bodied, deep, and complex with notes of caramel, dark fruit, oak and dark chocolate.
• Triple Gold Medal winner in the 2016 MicroLiquor Awards and Triple Gold Medal winner for package design.
• Bottled at 93.8 proof with 46.9% ABV.
• Price in the gift shop will be $50/750 ml.
The setting at Aunt Kate’s gets me every time. Its like going back in time to what I imagine Florida was like in the old days. I love driving down the old beachy road and coming up on those giant live oaks and then to the restaurant set along the intracoastal marshlands. The views are truly spectacular. This is one of our favorite places to bring the kids but we also go on little date nights for just the two of us.
Specializing in old Floridian style food, Aunt Kate’s serves a variety of seafood and other tasty dishes. The simple yet incredibly delicious cornmeal crusted fresh caught flounder is one of my favorites - its the whole fish simply prepared.
We also love the datil pepper cornbread and clam chowder. The datil peppers are locally sourced. Another thing to try is the pilau (perlo), an old-fashioned Minorcan rice dish. Our kids tried fried gator here for the first time and they say it is delicious.
Chef Jake Hollander creates many seafood specialties. On a recent visit we tried the Sesame Seared Tuna. It's a 6oz Ahi tuna steak pressed in sesame seeds and seared to rare, topped with orange teriyaki and an Asian slaw and garnished with crispy wonton strips. And the Cajun Mahi Florentine, a blackened 6oz Mahi fillet topped with a Cajun spiced spinach cream sauce and topped with flash fried leeks. Mouthwatering goodness!
Of course, the best way to finish to off your visit to Aunt Kate’s is with a sunset over the Tolomato River and a short walk to soak in the view and help digest your meal.
What You Need To Know
612 Euclid Ave, St. Augustine
by Debbie Gaylord
“We are lucky to be standing here,” said the woman next to me at the Reef. “This place could have been destroyed by the hurricane but magically it is still here, intact”.
My husband and I were at The Reef for the famous Sunday Brunch and I had been thinking the same thing. It was the first St. Augustine restaurant we visited since the storm and as we drove down A1A, lined with rubble and buildings with orange x marks, we were saddened but grateful to see the familiar ship-like exterior of The Reef.
What could be finer on a Sunday morning than escaping for a little day date at a St. Augustine (Vilano Beach) icon. The Reef, known for its casual elegance, is welcoming for families as well as those who wish to linger and enjoy leisurely dining experience with an unmatched view of the sea. We arrived around noon and we were able to get a seat on the patio on this perfect fall day. The downside of patio dining is that we couldn’t listen to the lovely live music inside.
If you haven’t tried Sunday Brunch at The Reef, save up your appetite and expect to spend a few hours devouring some of the best food in town. (And don’t plan on eating dinner later – you’ll still be full). We began with a Mimosa for hubby and a glass of champs for myself and these were magically refilled by our sweet server whenever their contents dipped below halfway.
I started with the chef’s creations, including datil pepper chili, okra and tomatoes, Asian braised short ribs, andouille sausages and peppers and baked manicotti. Stand-outs were definitely the smoky flavor of the datil pepper chili and delicious goodness of the Sriracha spiced cheese grits.
Next up was the chilled salmon with capers and onion, cooked to perfection, followed by the carving station with a delicious roasted beef, very tender and spice encrusted, with a mild horseradish sauce. My husband loves his omelets so he enjoyed a made to order omelet. Although we did not try it you can order Eggs Benedict from the kitchen as well.
We then decided to go to the sweet side and shared some excellent Belgian waffles and cheese blintzes with a light orange zest. We had to go back again to have a few more blintzes because the cheese filling was that good.
Lest we not forget the seafood station including crab legs with fresh drawn butter & jumbo shrimp. There was a lovely salad station and extensive cheese offerings, including blue cheese & brie. There was literally everything you might be craving. I tried to space it out so I could have a nibble of everything but I had to skip the salad offered simply because there was no room and I wanted another Belgian waffle!
I plan to return to The Reef on a Sunday morning in the near future with all my out-of-town guests as well as in town friends to enjoy another Sunday morning at the beach. So grateful The Reef was spared by the storm.
On our way out we purchased a St Augustine Strong T-shirt *The shirts are available at any SAIRA restaurant and proceeds will benefit families severely affected by Hurricane Matthew. Check here for a list of restaurants. www.staugustinerestaurants.com/
What you need
$37 per person
$15 kids 12 and under
4100 Coastal Hwy, St Augustine, FL 32084:(904) 824-8008
St. Johns Mag
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