by Lori Allen
525 State Road 16, Unit 101
Saint Augustine, Florida
So the 210Tasting Group was out and about again searching for fun unique places that put a “twist” on food and we found The Press! I had heard about their award winning burger and wanted to give it a try so we packed up and headed down to the corner of a small plaza on State Rd 16. As you walked in the aromas from the grill and the friendly smiles at the bar made you feel instantly comfortable. They have a great selection of specially selected wines and hand-crafted beer so we all grabbed a drink as we waited for our table to be ready. So you get the idea, this is not a huge place but one that smells and feels very inviting.
On to their award winning “best of” burger called The Conquistador! The description reads, "a datil pepper stuffed burger topped with bacon, chorizo, manchego, onion straws, lettuce tomato raw onion, pickles and chimichurri, all on our house made bread". So to break it down; it was a fresh made to order patty stuffed with a cream cheese and datil pepper(medium spice) mixture in the center; a Spanish, not too strong, melted cheese on top; then chopped up bacon and sausage on top of that, crisp onion straws that give a little crunch but get soft when mixed with all the cheese and creaminess that add just enough onion flavor but not too harsh; some fresh veggies on top of that to lighten it up (yeah right??); some of their homemade bread and butter pickles, then homemade chimichurri sauce consisting of parsley, garlic and vinegar, among other things, which does give it a brightness from all the rich flavors. And finally it’s all stuffed into their house made bun. It is for sure more than a mouthful but I attempted to taste all of the flavors at once and it was definitely an award winning bite!
Our group tried the Datil Burger which was a made to order patty stuffed with that creamy somewhat spicy datil pepper and scallion cream cheese served on their house made bun, so if you want to try a stuffed burger that oozes out some spicy cream cheese give this a try!
A chicken sandwich was also given a shot, but it was not your ordinary bird. Pollo Rustica was its name. Blackened chicken breast, with goat cheese, roasted peppers, and balsamic onions (yes they took the onions and marinated them til they were soft from the balsamic vinegar) then topped with their house basil dressing and of course served on the bun!
One of our adventurous girls opted to try their nightly special - Mahi Mahi Francaise with a lemon, mushroom garlic and white wine butter sauce. The fish was cooked to perfection, flaky and tender and not overly battered. The garlic lemon, wine and butter sauce added a nice zing to the fish which kept you coming back for more.
We read about their house brined fried pickles so an appetizer was ordered to share. They were the bread and butter kind not dill so they had a sweet saltiness which was so good. They came with a horseradish mustard dipping sauce that brought out even more flavor.
I know I keep talking about their bread and there is a reason. House made buns that do not get used that day are used to create this amazing white chocolate bread pudding. They serve it topped with whipped cream and a caramel sauce. It’s not the heavy kind of bread pudding you are used to, this is light and fluffy and went so fast at our table I almost didn’t get to try a bite! Luckily my wandering fork (or should I say spoon) found the last spoonful. It was the perfect bite after such a world of flavorful food!
St. Johns Mag
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