When you think of "southern homestyle cooking", Paula Deen comes to mind: butter, starch, grease and cream. Not here. The Floridian offers innovative and refined southern style cooking. I left without feeling heavy or sluggish which is hard to come by in the south. This little oasis sits in one of the best neighborhoods of Old St. Augustine - the road is paved with cobblestones and the restaurant is retrofitted into a beautiful bungalow. The outdoor patio is lined with tropical plants, string lights and bright umbrellas - perfect for those warm summer nights. The menu is seasonal, changing with the available ingredients on the market. No one at the table was disappointed with their dishes. You really can't go wrong with most things offered on the menu, not to mention the cocktail list...
What to eat: Fresh Catch Floridian
What to drink: Poblano Pineapple Margarita
Dessert (duh): Key Lime Cheesecake
Hands down one of the best meals I have experienced in a long time. Seriously, my tastebuds are still bowing down. Not only is the service impeccable, but the food is made with the best ingredients and their water doesn't taste like sewage (fun fact: Florida has the most rank of all the tap waters). Our meals came and I ate in silence. Perfectly seared scallops over a bed of creamy herbal pomme puree with Florida citrus infused butter topped with a fresh salad of arugula and radish. For dessert we got almost the entire menu, but my favorites were the homemade blueberry ice cream or the chocolate bouchon with chantilly cream and brown butter pecan ice cream. If your tastebuds aren't watering yet, call a doctor.
What to eat: The Scallops
What to drink: Rosé - La Galoupet Côtes de Provence la Londe
Dessert: Seasonal Blueberry Ice Cream or Chocolate Bouchon
Ice Plant was actually an old ice plant turned into a restaurant and vintage bar and is now attached to the St. Augustine distillery that makes local gin and vodka. We didn't get to try any of the food, but they serve some of the best (and most interesting) craft cocktails I have had in a long time - the perfect place to enjoy some after dinner drinks. This place looks like it belongs in SOMA or Dogpatch in SF; all original warehouse finishes with refined decor sitting right on the marina. And to top it all off, every waiter was complete with a pair of suspenders, chambray button down, and of course the 'stache. Here's a list of some of my favorite signature cocktails, cheers!
Adventurous: The Yellow Submarine (Goslings rum, curry, 5 spice, ginger, lemongrass, bitters)
Girly: Parker Posey (Aperol, hibiscus, bubbles, lime, salt)
Spicy: Wicked Games (tequila, strega, ancho, pineapple, strawberry falernum, lemon, bitters)
Visit Old St. Augustine. Extremely touristy on the main drag, but you can find little neighborhoods and alleys with hidden gems. It is so picturesque and worth seeing!
All other days, stick your booty in the sand and make yourself a frosty drink.
Bikinis, bikinis, some sunnies and sandals and more bikinis.