The Perfect Bite
St. Johns Magazine's exclusive reviews of Local Restaurants by Local Foodie Lori Allen
by Debbie Gaylord
105 Nature Parkway, #108 (on CR 210)
Have you tried Bite A Bagel yet? The cozy new eatery brings the taste of New York to North Florida with its authentic bagels and unique cream cheeses. Kathy & Rich Borsody dreamed of opening a bagel store for years. They wanted it to offer delicious wholesome fare and be family friendly, the kind of place where they knew customers on a first name basis. Last spring they took the plunge and with the help of their extended family opened Bite A Bagel on County Road 210. We wanted to help our readers get to know a little bit more about this welcome addition to the neighborhood.
Bite a Bagel is all about family. Besides you and Rich, who is part of it? My sister Nancy, and her daughter Alex (my niece), my daughter Danielle, my son Bobby, my youngest daughter Olivia who helps me behind the scenes and sometimes my parents, Dan & Addy, come to give us a hand. We also have a great “BAB” family, who may not be related, but are a huge part of the success of BAB – Jordan, Hailey, Daniel and Dan.
One of the things that makes Bite A Bagel so unique is the cream cheese flavors... How do you come up with ideas? I honestly don’t know – it just hits me. I can see something, or hear something, and I will wonder if I can make it into a cream cheese spread. Some work, and some don’t.
Do you test them out on anyone first? Yes. Anyone who is working that day will have a taste test – and they are all very honest with me. When I create a new flavor, I usually make a very small batch and test it. I will ask our customers to try it and tell me what they think. If customers like it, I will make it again and again – but will fine tune it each time I make it until I feel it is just right. We always have the most popular flavors daily, but the many other flavors are alternated each week – and new ones added. If you don’t see your favorite, please let me know and I’ll make it for you the next time you come in. Many customers have asked me to make their favorite. I love that! Makes me feel good and very happy knowing they enjoy something I created.
What are the key ingredients in creating an outstanding cream cheese spread? Each cream cheese spread has unique ingredients, but the key is “fresh” ingredients. What are the top 3 sellers? Bacon and Chive, Veggie, and Jalapeno .
Which one is your favorite? My favorite is the Pumpkin Pie! It really is so good.
Where do you get your dough? Our dough is made in Brooklyn. They are purchased from a Bagel/Bialy company who has been in business for over 65 years.
Since you make the bagels fresh daily, what is the process? There is a long process. The bagels have to be prepared, proofed and then refrigerated over night before they are steamed and baked. It’s hard when we run out of a specific flavor for the day, because we can’t just bake and serve. We try to always have enough, and sometimes we have too much. At the end of the day, all remaining bagels are donated or discarded.
Other than bagels, what types of foods do you serve? It is important to know that we do not have a microwave at Bite a Bagel – everything is made fresh on the grill. For breakfast we have omelet sandwiches and platters, egg sandwiches with or without cheese and choice of bacon, ham or sausage, Lox sandwiches, and we even have Fried Taylor Ham for our New Jersey customers. Our most popular breakfast sandwich is “The Brooklyn” – two eggs any style with your choice of meat on top of Jalapeno cream cheese and choice of bagel. Recently we added a healthier option, “The Lean &
Mean” made with egg whites. For lunch you can create your own sandwich with all Boars Head Meats & cheeses. We have tuna, egg and chicken salad everyday. Soup, when the weather is not so hot, and the very popular Bagel Burger. Another favorite is the Wrangler – hot roast beef and provolone cheese smothered with mushrooms, onions and our homemade horseradish sauce.
The coffee is delicious and its nice that the flavors change often. Where do you get your coffee ? We buy our coffee from Kaffe Magnum Opus, a specialty coffee roaster in Southern New Jersey. We love to pick the different flavors – they have so many! The most popular is Almond Biscotti, Salted Caramel, and right now – Harvest Spice. We serve a very popular Brazilian blend –a medium roast and the Italian Roast – which is a bit bolder. We have a very good Decaf House Blend as well.
Kings Head British Pub
by Jeanne Lagoutarus
www.kingsheadbritishpub.com 6460 US Highway 1 North, St Augustine, FL 32095 (904) 823-9787From pint to pudding (Sticky Toffee Pudding, that is!), King’s Head British Pub will have you wondering why it’s taken you so long to find this hidden gem. Immediately as you step through the doors, you are embraced by the old world charm, amazing smells, and warm “welcome”.
For starters, we ordered the Scotch Egg and Sausage Rolls. Both were delicious and there was plenty to share. Of course we washed them down with the perfect pint, at the perfect temperature, served with a smile. They’ve got a nice variety of imported beers on tap, as well as bottled beer. Wine is also available, but no liquor. Making a dinner choice was tough because everything we saw coming out of the kitchen looked and smelled amazing! Everything from Bangers and Mash to Cottage Pie caught our attention. However, we couldn’t resist the traditional Atlantic Cod Fish and Chips. It was fresh, flakey and lightly beer-battered. The Cornish Pastie, a fluffy pastery filled with beef, rutabagas and potatoes, was also a very pleasant change of pace. It will take you back to that special little pub you visited in Gloucester way back when...
Sticky Toffee Pudding! Need I say more? Oh yes, with custard! BEST! THING! EVER! Warm, gooey, and definately something I will be going back for!
Following dinner, we enjoyed a few games of darts and even challenged a couple friendly blokes to a game. If you want to feel like you’re “on holiday” for an evening, leave your passport at home and head on over to Kings Head Pub. We’ll meet you there!
What you need to know:
Lowest price entree - $7
Highest price entree - $12
Kids menu - yes $7
6460 US Highway 1 North
Look for the red double-decker bus parked outside
Closed: Monday and Tuesday
Weds.-Sun. 11:30 am -10:00 pm
by Amanda Wood (2015)
PAPPARE PRIMAVERA Choice of blackened Florida shrimp, herb-marinated chicken breast, or tofu served over a bed of zucchini pappardelle "noodles" simmered in a rich ginger and lemongrass coconut sauce with house creamed corn, carrot, sweet potato, and summer veggies. Topped with Mango-Pepper Slaw and fresh herbs.
Imagine walking into a gorgeous, leafy green patio with a southern charm feel and tons of shade. That is what you will see at The Floridian. Inside the restaurant you will find local artwork depicting beach and local art themes with a boat hanging from the ceiling. There is a small, quaint bar located in the back of the establishment with few small tables. Inevitably, you will feel like you are on vacation.
The menu boasts fresh, healthy local favorites. Datil BBQ, Not Your Mommas meatloaf, shrimp and sausage pilau, corn bread stack and shrimp and grits (of course). There’s also healthy fare including a delightful Pork Belly Caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes and a delicious southern Belle salad loaded with your choice of meat and peaches, sweet potatoes and candied pecans. They also offer tempeh or tofu as vegetarian options and substitutes.
This writer highly recommends the cheese board as an appetizer. It is loaded with cheeses from Sweet Grass Dairy from Thomasville, GA, local FL honey, pecans, apples, peaches and a French baguette. There are daily desserts including seasonal cupcakes, key lime cheesecake and a chocolate coconut pecan bar (is your mouth watering?). They offer several local wines and beer. They have several (7) aperitif/digestive aromatic wine drinks, which include a Madeira Cobbler with ingredients of a fortified wine, seasonal fruits, citrus/vanilla simple syrup and nutmeg (yum). They offer a moderately priced kids menu with staple entrees including quesadilla, chicken, shrimp and ribs. By the way, several menu items can be made gluten free!
The Floridian has a reputation of being a fine establishment and appears popular with the locals and tourists alike. They find the finest local, fresh ingredients from local farmers, seafood vendors and ranchers and this is quite evident in their food. The Floridian is a part of the sustainable food movement, which is quite commendable. It embodies “clean eating” at its best! The atmosphere is nice enough for a Saturday Date night dinner wearing a cute sundress or laid back enough for stopping by on the way back from the beach wearing shorts and a tank. The next time your near 39 Cordova St. in old St. Augustine, stop on in and enjoy a local meal and drink!
39 Cordova Street St. Augustine, FL 32084,
What you need to know:
Kids menu price range $5-$8
Lunch menu price range entree $10-$16
Dinner menu price range entree $10-$25
Lunch 11:00-3:00 daily
Closed Tuesday for lunch!
Dinner 5:00-close every day!
St. Johns residents looking for a restaurant that encompasses casual beach energy with high end cuisine should look no further than The Reef. Set against the backdrop of the Atlantic, with stunning vistas of the ocean in every direction, dining at the Reef gives one the feeling of being aboard a yacht, complete with a first class chef and live entertainment.
The Reef originally opened as Compton’s in 1989 on a high dune overlooking the ocean at North Beach. The story goes that Mr. Compton, a local businessman and Mr. Usina, whose family is of direct Minorcan descent collaborated to create the new restaurant. Compton’s was popular but closed about a decade later in 1999 when Mr. Comptom fell ill. In 2002, after a brief but unsuccessful time as ‘McMulvie’s Reef’ the Usina family took over direct ownership of the property continuing business as The Reef, as it is known today. Since then under the ownership and support of the Usinas and the management of Jeremy Ticehurst and his team, The Reef has achieved a reputation of excellence.
Located as it is on the beach in a tourist town the concept is relaxed elegance. Outside, The Reef is a rustic-looking building with weathered boards and a North Florida feel. Inside, the scent of sea air mixes with diverse spices and fresh seafood while live music plays in the background every Friday and Saturday. It is a place where everyone and anyone is welcome, whether it is celebrating couples, families with children, casual groups or business people. People love the food, the daily happy hour, the music and the staff. Indeed, at the heart of what makes The Reef amazing is the well trained, courteous waiters, hostesses, bartenders and prep cooks who assist Executive Chef Bob Henle.
Manager Jeremy Ticehurst is passionate about maintaining a local focus. The Reef sources food, mostly seafood, produce and fruit locally whenever possible and has extensive bar offerings, including cocktails from The St Augustine Distillery, wines from San Sebastian Winery and craft beers from St Augustine, Jacksonville and around Florida.
As befits an oceanfront restaurant there are an abundance of fish and seafood dishes, balanced by some fine meat and vegetarian dishes. Chef Bob Henle lived and worked in Spain for many years and that influence can be seen in his special creations. Standouts include; the chicken liver pate with delicate onion and sage herbs; the Zarzuela, a Catalonian bouillabaisse seasoned with saffron; or the mouthwatering, spicy Datil Peppers Shrimp and Grits.
The Reef is also renowned for its award winning Sunday Buffet Brunch. With a dizzying array of hot and cold items, carving station, crab legs and complimentary champagne, it's a wonderful way to relax for a couple of hours with friends or family.
The Reef also features a second floor banquet room with two balconies that seats up to 80 and offers the same great setting and ample parking. It's an ideal place to hold receptions, rehearsal dinners and family or business events.
So here's an idea. This holiday season, head down to North Beach with visiting family members or a group of local friends and treat them to all The Reef has to offer. It's the quintessential taste of the good life in St. Johns.
What You Need To Know:
4100 Coastal Highway
St. Augustine, FL 32084
*The Reef is located just ten minutes from downtown or 20 from Ponte Vedra
or the 210 corridor and with easy parking.
Reservations: Available directly, through the website
or by OpenTable.
St. Johns Mag
Assorted guest bloggers and foodies looking for the Perfect Bite
Lori Allen is a local who moved from the Boston area to attend Flagler College and never left. She is a family person that loves the beach, football, working out and finding new places to try. Her love for food comes from her northern background and her love of cooking as well as meeting new and interesting people. She has never met a stranger nor has she ever been afraid to try an intriguing place. (Check out all her reviews on stjohnsmag.com)