St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos!

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stanpnepa
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2011/01/21 20:39:51 (permalink)

St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos!

Back from a week in St. Augustine, Florida - visiting the in-laws who rented a home for the month.  I am not a big beach person - an hour or two a day is more than enough for me - but some days it was even too cold to WALK  the beach!    That meant more time for...ROADFOOD!
 
Ate in the first day (Sunday) - but by Monday afternoon - after a big home-cooked breakfast, we needed to break the cabin fever - and chow!
 
First stop...THE BUNNERY in Old St. Augustine.  This is near the edge of the brick-layered (walking only) historic St. George Street in Old Town.  We arrived around 2:30.  The kitchen closes at 3pm - staying open for coffee, drinks, etc. until 4pm.   When you walk in, you'll first notice two areas of freshly made desserts - so the Mrs. and I picked our desserts BEFORE deciding on a sandwich.   First, the Sandwich: 

 
The Chicken Walnut Croissant - with chicken salad, walnut and pineapple.  The filling was a little on the light side - but still flavorful.  The croissant was light and delicious.  
 
For dessert, I went with the Pecan Square... 
  
  
  
 and The Mrs. went with the German Chocolate Brownie.  
  
  
 
Both were EXCELLENT.    Before battling the cold, we had coffee (recommended) and a Chocolate Kiss Hot Chocolate with Peppermint and Cinnamon.  My wife had the hot chocolate - but was getting a cold - so I didn't try.  She loved it.   Great start. 
 
THE BUNNERY, 121 ST. GEORGE ST., ST. AUGUSTINE, FL
   
 

 
---------------------------  
 
Our Monday dinner choices were limited.  Most places on my list were closed both Sunday and Monday - but BARNACLE BILLS was open.  This was the A1A Beach location - not the other in Old Town.   It was a slow night - yet the waiter forgot our chowder (Minorcan) but then brought them out complimentary minutes after our meals.    The chowder was supposed to have a bit of a kick - but in all honestly, didn't taste any spicier or different than what we get in PA - so that was disappointing.  
 
  
 
The Fried Shrimp Platter was certainly better than anything I have found back home - and I enjoyed it even more when dipping them in the Datil Pepper Sauce.   The fries, Slaw and Hush Puppies - were all just OK.    
 

 
 
Night shots of BARNACLE BILLS:   
 

 
 
  
 
BARNACLE BILLS, 451 A1A BEACH BOULEVARD, ST. AUGUSTINE, FL
Initially, I put BARNACLE BILLS at a 3 (out of 5) in my Roadfood Excel file - but it moves to a 2 or 2.5 in comparison with the next day's discovery!
 
More to come. 
 
post edited by stanpnepa - 2011/01/23 15:25:37
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    Nancypalooza
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/21 22:21:47 (permalink)
    Oh, you know how to dangle a teaser.  Those are some lovely looking fried shrimp.  Will be looking forward to the rest!
    #2
    leethebard
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/22 01:08:41 (permalink)
    Love St. Augustine. Great report!
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    stanpnepa
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/22 06:42:24 (permalink)
    Tuesday lunch:
     

    We heard a lot of things about O'STEEN'S...

     

    ...including how long we were going to have to wait in line.  (That was kind of OK with me because I like antiques - and the antique shop next door actually has a speaker that plays O'Steen's hostess, so you can hear when your table is ready).

    It was around Noon and we didn't go antiquing until AFTER our meal.  Yep, no line at O'Steens!

    So, it was time for this oft-praised Minorcan Clam Chowder!



    WOW!
     
    And there was that "kick" we anticipated a the night before at BARNACLE BILLS.     Hearty, spicy...WONDERFUL!
     
    Then, the Shrimp Special - 6 Fried Shrimp and Two Sides ($ 7.95).  



    I must note that when I was a kid, I LOVED fried shrimp and would order them everywhere.  Then, around my teen years - I declared that - at least in our area - fried shrimp were usually too heavily breaded and greasy - masquerading the taste - or perhaps - more truthfully this bread and oil masquerade was the perfect companion for second rate shrimp.   This changed at first bite!   O'Steen's Fried Shrimp are very lightly battered and lightly colored.  The shrimp were fresh, sweet and delicious.  The Russian dressing-like dipping sauce was right on - and the (later added) Datil pepper sauce fantastic.  My wife and I both agreed immediately that these we the best we've EVER had!     The fries were heavy on the crisp - and we were told that these are frozen.   The hushpuppies were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside - AMAZING again - and probably the best I've ever had (yes - we're Yanks - but I don't remember any on my NC BBQ trips being this good).   The pickled cucumbers added a little sweetness to close out the meal.   In a way, I'm glad we had Barnacle Bills the night earlier for comparison purposes.  Not even close!!   O'STEEN'S is FIVE STAR ROADFOOD.  ESSENTIAL!     
     

    O'STEEN'S, 205 ANASTASIA BOULEVARD, ST. AUGUSTINE, FL
    post edited by stanpnepa - 2011/01/23 15:27:26
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    kland01s
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/22 08:41:31 (permalink)
    I like these shrimp better. I don't like it when everything is piled like the shrimp are on the fries in the first picture. Nice chowder!
    #5
    stanpnepa
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/22 09:28:06 (permalink)
    Nancy and Lee - thanks.   Thought it was going to be difficult uploading photos (I sell on Ebay and they have their own software).  Once I threw 'em in Photobucket, it was pretty simple.
     
    Kland - yep -- better presentation too at O'Steen's.  The plates are (though it's difficult to see) in compartments. 
     
    The bottle closest to the plate (just upper left) was a bottle of Grolsch - but now home to the (awesome!) Datil Pepper sauce.
    #6
    mar52
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/22 10:20:02 (permalink)
    Datil Do it!  Their Hellish Relish is wonderful.
    #7
    jaylhorner
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/22 12:43:29 (permalink)
    Nice report!
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    MiamiDon
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/22 12:46:26 (permalink)
    I like your choices!  Everything on the plate at O'Steen's looks great except for the fries.  What is the pink sauce in the middle?
     
    I was in St. Augustine years ago, but knew nothing about what restaurants to go to.
    #9
    stanpnepa
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/22 13:41:20 (permalink)
    The pink sauce was a bit like Russian dressing.  We added the Datil pepper sauce (from the Grolsch bottle) soon thereafter and dipped the shrimp, fries and hushpuppies in it.  Great stuff!
    #10
    stanpnepa
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/22 14:23:02 (permalink)
    After lunch - it was time for a drink at the World Famous...
     

     
    Not exactly a fountain - and they had plastic cups full for everyone.  My wife didn't like the taste of hers, so she gave me what was left in her cup.  If I start looking younger than her - she only has herself to blame.   
     

     
    Yeah - it didn't taste too good - but some sacrifices must be made. 
     
    Our mode of transportation around town was the Old Town Trolley Tours, which also offer free parking.   So after The Fountain, it was back to Old Town for shopping and a hot drink.  We were thinking coffee or tea, but Hot Sangria caught my eye at The Taberna del Gallo on St. George Street - a 1740's Spanish Tavern run by the Colonial Spanish Quarter Museum.     No photos, sorry.   Hot Sangria didn't taste too different than mulled cider to my amateur wine pallet
     
    ----------------------- 
     
    Dinner-time.
     
    The in-laws would be joining us and after Bill's (our choice) on Monday night - they wanted Italian.    So, we went to Amici on A1A - not far from where we were staying.  There's an "Amici" in our area - good Italian - so why the heck not?   I must admit I was skeptical - since there are so many good Italian restaurants in Northeast PA - but I enjoyed the meal from the table-made garlic bread, to the salads, to my Chicken Limone (egg batter, lemon and wine) :
     

     
    Plus a tasty red sauce on a side of pasta!    Shared Tiramisu was a nice way to finish.
     
        (A little blurry, sorry).
     
    A nice surprise! 
     
    AMICI, 1915 A1A South, St. Augustine, FL
     

     
    post edited by stanpnepa - 2011/01/23 15:28:39
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    hannahbannah
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/22 14:23:07 (permalink)
    Well, I hate to be a buzzkill, but I don't get O'Steens.  When u first look at that plate, u see  those frozen frenchfries. ewww.   The shrimp arn't too bad, but lets face it, I could eat another dozen.  The puppies are just ok. 
      I am going to St Augustine on the 30th.  Where should I eat???
      BTW, one of the best meals I have ever had was at Harrys in St.A.  Its overpriced, but the food is fab.  Other Harry's around Florida have special and are cheaper than the one in St.A.  We must have had a really good chef the day we went.
    #12
    stanpnepa
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/22 14:28:20 (permalink)
    Never said the fries were special.  Should've ordered the rice with gravy, but this was the only thing mediocre about this meal.
     
    I stand by my comments on the shrimp.   (Of course, I'm two hours from the ocean - but I've eaten hundreds of shore meals over the years).
    post edited by stanpnepa - 2011/01/22 14:33:24
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/22 17:15:52 (permalink)
    hannahbannah

    Well, I hate to be a buzzkill, but I don't get O'Steens.  When u first look at that plate, u see  those frozen frenchfries. ewww.   The shrimp arn't too bad, but lets face it, I could eat another dozen.  The puppies are just ok. 
    I am going to St Augustine on the 30th.  Where should I eat???
    BTW, one of the best meals I have ever had was at Harrys in St.A.  Its overpriced, but the food is fab.  Other Harry's around Florida have special and are cheaper than the one in St.A.  We must have had a really good chef the day we went.

    Gaufres and Goods for some pierogies.
      
     
    I also like Bistro de Leon.
    http://www.bistrodeleon.com/
    #14
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/22 17:17:28 (permalink)
    Stanpnepa,
     
    Great report, thanks!
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    sk bob
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/22 17:43:29 (permalink)
    nice report,Stanpnepa.
    great pictures too.
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    stanpnepa
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/22 21:06:27 (permalink)
    Thanks.  Two more days to recap.  I'll try to get to it soon!
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    agnesrob
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/23 08:40:35 (permalink)
    We'll be waiting!
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    buffetbuster
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/23 11:42:12 (permalink)
    Stan-
    Thanks so much for the great report.  So glad that you enjoyed O' Steen's as much as you did.  Those fried shrimp are incredible.  The dipping sauce on the side is interesting, but these shrimp are so good, they don't need anything else.
     
    Where did you stay at and did you like it?  I'm looking to visit the area soon myself. 
     
    Very much looking forward to the rest of the report! 
    #19
    stanpnepa
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/23 13:48:22 (permalink)

    Wednesday lunch
     
    After touring the Castillo de San Marcos (highly recommended)..
     
     
    We walked over to the A1A Ale Works just across the way from the statue of Ponce de Leon.

    (view from table):
     
     
     
     
    My wife began with the A1A Ale and Cheese Soup.  
     
     
     
     
    I am not a fan of cheese soup - but you know, this was pretty light yet flavorful.
     
     
    We both ordered the Sesame Tuna with black beans, rice and fried spinach.
     

     
     
    I enjoyed the tuna, loved the rice and beans and found the texture of the fried spinich intriguing
     
     
    We skipped the beer, planning to get back again some evening - but we never did. 
      
     
    A1A ALE WORKS, 1 KING STREET, ST. AUGUSTINE, FL 
     
    ---
     
    My father-in-law loves a good eclair, so we picked up four to go (for nearly $ 20?!!?!) at DeNoel Pastry Shop.  
     


    The shell was soft and light - the filling delicious and the chocolate rich.  Great - and a good vacation splurge.  Difficult to find, down what is essentially an alley!
     
    DENOEL PASTRY SHOP, 212 CHARLOTTE STREET, ST. AUGUSTINE, FL 
     

     
     
    ----
     
    Since Buffetbuster asked, we stayed at a condo rented through a family friend along A1A about seven miles south of Old Town.   So it was very close to our place for Wednesday Dinner at...
     
    The Purple Olive, rated # 7 of 265 restaurants on TripAdvisor.
     

     
    Thought it would be a good treat for the in-laws - and we had a $ 100 Rebate card from a recent cell phone purchase.  Funny thing is - we didn't even spend the full $ 100 - thanks to (think Florida, Seinfeld...)
     
    "The Early Bird Special"!
     
    I went with Seafood Marinara ($12, including salad)  Seafood very fresh!  More tasty local shrimp please!
     

     
    And for dessert...
     
     
    Chocolate Flambe - which was soaked in booze.
     

     
     
    Affordable - and a good meal - not to be overlooked - but many areas have restaurants like this.  So, not unique - but a good neutral choice. 
      
     
    THE PURPLE OLIVE, 4255 A1A SOUTH, ST. AUGUSTINE, FL 
    post edited by stanpnepa - 2011/01/23 15:31:19
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    wanderingjew
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/23 14:36:04 (permalink)
    Stan,
     
    I'm enjoying your trip report. I envy you for going to O'Steens.
    I really wanted to go there last year, but since I was with Travelin Man, they were of course closed- luckily we found out before we got there.
     
    I've stayed over in St. Augustine twice and always wanted to go to A1A Ale Works (not for the food, but for the beer) but never made it there.
    #21
    stanpnepa
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/23 15:22:37 (permalink)
    Dale - I like to try local beers as well.   The plan was to get back to A1A on Friday (the final) night, but the in-laws insisted on picking up a pizza closer to the house - so we obliged.
     
    There was a six-pack of Key West Southernmost Wheat in the fridge, and that was pretty good.
     
    That said, you've GOT to get to O'STEEN'S!
    #22
    stanpnepa
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/23 19:09:16 (permalink)

    Thursday
     
    I had Gypsy Cab Co. on my list for lunch - but my wife insisted on O'STEEN'S again - and I certainly couldn't turn her down.  Got the same exact lunch as Tuesday - except BOWLS of the Minorcan Clam Chowder - and I added more Datil sauce.  Plus instead of the fries - I had fried Okra - which tasted great in that breading.     We enjoyed O'Steen's as much as Tuesday if not more - though this time we had to wait about ten minutes to lunch.
     
    After lunch, THE LIGHTNER MUSEUM - really quirky and cool museum with plenty of antiques and oddities.   Don't miss the music boxes in concert twice a day!   Recommended.
     
    Across the way from LIGHTNER - a Roadfood.com touted coffee break at THE HOT SHOT BAKERY AND CAFE (BY LOVIN' OVEN).  
     

     
    Coffee was wonderful - and I went for a Vanilla Cupcake with Nutella.
     

     
    Afterward, we sampled and grabbed a couple bottles of the Datil B Good pepper sauces - though we've yet to try them at home.   (Grabbed another for my brother-in-law and his kids who went through it in about four days!) 
     
    HOT SHOT BAKERY (BY LOVIN' OVEN), 8 GRANADA STREET, ST AUGUSTINE, FL 
     
    ----
     
    In a foodie mood, we also made stops at Claude's Chocolates and The San Sebastian Winery.   Fun, informative tour at the winery with a six round tasting to follow.
     
    ---
     
    On the way back from town, I took these exterior shots of SALTWATER COWBOYS, which is essentially at the end of a road.  Wanted to get these shots in before dark.
     

     

     
     
     
     
    We then arrived for dinner around 7pm - more in a sampling than "meal" mode.   Of course, we were now hooked on Minorcan Chowder - and went with a bowl.  I had to - after Wandering Jew's Best Soup List for 2010!
     
    Hearty, and wonderful!   We found this chowder as spicy as O'STEEN'S - but also a little sweeter.  I slightly preferred O'STEEN'S - but perhaps because I fell in love with it first. 
     

     
    Next up - cheese rolls (OK, but nothing special) and cole slaw (sweet and yummy - lots of sugar in everything here, huh?)
     

     
    Then, Fried Gator.  We've had it back in PA from a touted seafood restaurant - but I never cared for it.   The texture was hard to pinpoint - not meaty like chicken, but not fishy either.  At first I didn't care for the orange dipping sauce, but grew to really like it by the final few bites.  Don't know if I'd order gator much - but you know - it was pretty good.
     

     
    For dinner - Rock Shrimp.  We were pretty full from a full day of eating, snacking, "wining" - and this was plenty enough.  Rock Shrimp (new to us) were a bit like lobster - sweet, tasty and AMAZING!
     

     
    Thought about dessert - but just couldn't do it.
     
    Next to O'STEEN'S, SALTWATER COWBOYS was our favorite meal on the trip.
     
    House rule:
     
     
     
    SALTWATER COWBOYS, at the West End of DONDANVILLE ROAD, ST. AUGUSTINE, FL
     
    ---
     
    Friday - breakfast and lunch at "home" and then a pizza to go (not special by any means) from AMICI for dinner.
     
    There were a lot of places we wish we could've made (including Columbia, Gypsy Cab, Schooner's, Prince of Wales, Gaufres and Goods - which a shop-owner was raving about too, etc.).  Maybe next time?
     
    Thanks for all the tips and thanks for reading.
    post edited by stanpnepa - 2011/01/23 19:20:37
    #23
    quijote
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/24 01:24:28 (permalink)
    Thanks for this enjoyable report! I go to the St. Aug area a couple of times per year to visit family, but still haven't been able to get to a couple of places you've reviewed. I'll have to try Denoel for sure on my next visit! 
    #24
    ann peeples
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/24 05:29:32 (permalink)
    I absolutely enjoyed your trip, stanpepa!
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    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/24 09:44:23 (permalink)
    Great report, Stan!  Looks like you went heavy on the seafood, which as another resident of the inner U.S. I totally understand...I would've done the same thing.
     
    stanpnepa

    If the moderators installed this policy here all future Roadfood gatherings would be bought and paid for...
     
    Brad
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    Rusty246
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/24 11:00:49 (permalink)
    Years ago when I drank the water from "The Fountain" it tasted of sulfur. For 50, I look 49.
    #27
    crew84row
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/24 11:24:10 (permalink)
    Rusty246

    Years ago when I drank the water from "The Fountain" it tasted of sulfur. For 50, I look 49.


    Ah! But when Dr Oz does his internal age calculator, you'll find you're really 31
     
    Nice report Stan.   Sorry, you didn't get to Gypsy Cab Co.  But you certainly hit the great pastry/coffee places.  I think had you not been so enamored by your first tastes of O'Steen's Minorcan chowder, and so full from all the  naching you'd find  Saltwater Cowboys the better deal.  But that's what makes Roadfood so enjoyable, all the varying mileage from different preferences.
    #28
    stanpnepa
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/24 11:41:44 (permalink)
    Crew84row - you very well could be right about Saltwater Cowboys.  The atmosphere was more fun - but after a big lunch and then chocolates, wine and sweets - you only have so much room.  Either way, O'Steens and Saltwater Cowboys are both MUSTS for any future visit - and who knows, we might get back sooner than later.   Mood, appetite, time of day, etc. always figure in our opinions - we're human - they have to. 
     
    The one Roadfood experience I'm not entirely sure of is Libby's Lunch in New Jersey - the last stop of seven NJ Hot Doggieries in about six hours.  So full, I was alternating between exclaming "Oh my God - this is amazing" and "Oh my God - if I finish this I'm going to be sick".       I ranked it second (next to Rutt's Hut) - but it could've been first.  Guess I need to go back there also.
    post edited by stanpnepa - 2011/01/24 11:43:27
    #29
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    • Joined: 2009/12/12 19:34:00
    • Location: Florence, SC
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    Re:St. Augustine, FL (Jan 2011) Recap with Photos! 2011/01/24 18:00:14 (permalink)
    I love German chocolate, but never thought about making brownies that way.
    #30
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