|The sweet potato waffles at Hot Shot Bakery|
If you're visiting St. Augustine with your special someone, make sure to include an evening at The Raintree while you're in town. Lorna MacDonald's family, originally from England, traversed the Atlantic on their 45-foot yacht, and ended up in St. Augustine where they promptly bought the Raintree. Now, in their 34th year, the restaurant has passed from Lorna's parents to her and her brother, who still serve up classic American cuisine interspersed with Asian and Mediterranean flavors. The Beef Wellington is done to flaky, moist perfection, and your meal there should end with a crunchy, creamy creme brulee!
|The Beef Wellington at the Raintree|
O.C. White's, at 118 Avenida Menendez, is a St. Augustine tradition in more ways than one. For starters, the building that the restaurant occupies has been in the city since the late 1700s, and has served (among other things) as a hotel, a wax museum, and a private residence. About 50 years ago, the building was moved, stone by stone, to where it now stands, more than a block away from its original location. As for the food, it's all good! I had some of the best chicken parmesan that I'd ever tried, while other members of my party swore by the parmesan and herb encrusted group, Chatty's homemade blue crab cakes, and the surf and turf. Come for the delicious food and long drinks list, and hang around for the live music and lively atmosphere.
For inventive tapas, head into the Colonial Quarter's La Taberna del Caballo. Try out the sangria (red and white are equally delicious) as a refreshing addition to your meal. The tiny Cuban sandwiches are perfect for nibbling with friends, while the goat cheese terrine pairs perfectly with the salty meats on the Spanish tapas platter. If you're a fan of barbecue, the Taberna has a unique twist on this Southern favorite: the datil pepper BBQ pork flat has a great balance of sweet and hotness.
|The Spanish tapas platter at the Taberna|
The newest of John Meehan's culinary offerings, Johnny's Oyster Bar is located above Meehan's Irish Pub. With an emphasis on fresh seafood and Chef Paul's unique flavorings, Johnny's has a casual atmosphere with food that's anything but. Since I'm allergic to shellfish, I wasn't able to sample the famous Oysters Johnny, but I have it on good authority (from the rest of my dining party) that they're worth making the trip to St. Augustine. For those who are allergic, or just don't like oysters, the chef is equally adept at pastas and curries, so you're in good hands. I tried the chef's daily curry--which was a chicken tikka masala that day--and was happily surprised to get such spicy, flavorful dish in a seafood restaurant. So often the landlubbers amongst us get short-changed where seafood is the star of the menu, but not here!
|Chicken Tikka Masala at Johnny's|
|A case of frosty, yummy snacks at the St. George location of Hyppo. I got the Pistachio Coconut and was pleased with my choice!|
You should include a stop at the St. Augustine Distillery for a few (free!) samples of their locally brewed liquor. They've currently got gin, vodka, and rum available--both for sampling and purchase--and their bourbon is anxiously being awaited. All of their products use locally sourced products, including sugar cane grown in Florida.
|Casks of Bourbon at the St. Augustine Distillery, just waiting for their time to shine!|
Just around the corner is the San Sebastian Winery, which offers free tours and tastings. You can hop on the trolley to get between the two beverage companies, or you can walk the two or so blocks.
Have you visited St. Augustine, Florida? Where did you eat? Which of these restaurants would you like to try?
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