Weekend on Florida's First Coast

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Post
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
2008/10/07 13:42:18
I have been wanting to go back to St. Augustine, my favorite city in Florida for a while. Since Southwest Airlines offers cheap, direct flights to Orlando from Pittsburgh, it made more sense to go that route, rather than to fly into Jacksonville.

Friday October 3, 2008 

Since my flight didn't leave until after 8:00PM, I had time to stop for dinner on the way to the airport. Not having been to Pierogies Plus in McKees Rocks for a few months, I made that my destination. Two excellent Roadfood indicators about the place are that it is in a former gas station

and the smiling pierogie on their sign.


It seems everytime I come here lately, they have made some more changes. The red neon "OPEN" sign is new, as is the display case just inside the door.

Although it is nice to see that they are offering new menu items, I hope they don't forget what they do best. I never thought I would see this place make lobster cakes.

While I was waiting for my food, I noticed that they are selling dvds on how to make some of their specialties.


There are some interesting looking specials available,

but I was most interested in the old stand-bys. So, I got the combination plate, which includes four pierogies, a stuffed cabbage and a huge mound of halushki.


Once I got my food, I sat at the lone outside table, as there is no indoor seating here. Most people get their food to go. The pierogies were stuffed with potato and although I prefer the sauerkraut, they were as good as always. The last time I was here, I did not like my stuffed cabbage (it tasted old to me), but it was much better this time. And the portion size of the halushki (noodles, with cabbage and onions) was so big, I couldn't finish it all.

For the first time ever, I saw that they were offering potato pancakes.

You get two for $2.25. Good crunchy exterior, with a creamy inside. Still, I would have liked some apple sauce to go with them.

Even though it isn't made here, I almost always finish up my meals here with a small container of tapioca.


http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=5041&RefID=4999

After landing in Orlando, I picked up my car rental. When I got to my car, it was obvious that it had not been washed. Besides a lot of dirt on it, the entire back end was covered in dead bugs. I complained and although it took a while, got a different car.

I drove straight to my hotel, just north of the city. Feeling tired, all I wanted to do was watch the baseball playoffs. When I walked in my non-smoking room, there was a strong smell of smoke. Also, my tv didn't work and I couldn't get an internet connection on my laptop. I complained, but no other rooms were available.

Honestly, I hate complaining. Things go wrong sometimes when you travel and I am a roll with the punches kind of guy. But both instances bothered me enough to complain. Who wants to be touching all those dead bugs everytime you get in and out of the trunk?

Much more to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/02/27 14:11:09
firecommander3565
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/07 13:51:05
B-Buster,

The bugs all over the trunk of your car are called ROADFOOD in some countries!
Rusty246
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/07 14:15:28
Those "dead bugs" must be our infamous "love bugs". I made a trip up to the panhandle(Milton, FL) last Wednesday, I too have a dead bug issue. Wait, you say they are on the trunk??? That's a mystery.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/07 14:19:21
Saturday October 4, 2008 

My breakfast destination, Sugar Mill Restaurant,

is about 50 minutes north of Orlando. Located inside De Leon Springs State Park, it is one of the very most atmospheric Roadfood spots.

I arrived outside the park around 7:45AM and cars were already lined outside the gates, waiting for the park to open.

It costs three bucks just to enter the park, if you are by yourself, which I was. Four dollars if there is two or more of you. The restaurant itself is an old sugar mill



and the wheel is still there on the side.

Inside, it is all wood and is a very pleasant place to relax and enjoy your meal.

The attraction here is the make your own pancakes. They give you pitchers of pancake mix and you do the pouring and flipping on the griddle right inside your table.

Now, I have been here twice before, but in both instances, my fellow diners (once my girlfriend and once cousin Johnny) took care of the pancakes, while I was taking photos. Since I was by myself, I was looking forward to doing it all.

On each table is syrup, honey and molasses and of course, some EZ Coat for the griddle.

When you order the all-you-can-eat pancakes, you get two large pitchers of pancake batter.

The one on the left is five grain, consisting of rice, rye, corn, whole wheat and buckwheat. The one on the right is traditional white unbleached early American. You can also order some mix-ins at an additional cost. After all, what are pancakes without chocolate chips or blueberries?


I will definitely admit to not being the best pancake maker in the world. Trying to keep an eye on things while taking lots of photos was a bit challenging. But, it was also lots of fun.



Not pretty, but they tasted good!

I also ordered a side of bacon.

Doesn't it seem silly to deliver two slices of bacon in a big pan like that?

Since I was taking so many pictures, my waitress grabbed the camera and took a photo of me, too.


By the way, how many other Roadfood restaurants can you also rent an inner tube?

You can use those on the lovely swimming pool or lake just outside the restaurant.



Those photos really don't do the place justice, because it really is gorgeous! Johnny and I once swam in the pool, but didn't last too long, since the water was so cold. This was much to the delight of the senior citizens doing laps, whom very much enjoyed heckling us!

Just inside the one building is a nice small history museum of the area.

For anyone traveling in central Florida, this is one of the coolest Roadfood restaurants I have been to and I highly recommend it!

http://www.planetdeland.com/sugarmill/

Okay, so who is going to be the first one to say, "Why should I go to a restaurant to make pancakes, when I can do it at home"?

Much more to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/02/27 14:12:09
Foodosaurus
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/07 14:28:10
Are you kidding me?? I know why you go out. NO DISHES!
seafarer john
Filet Mignon
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/07 14:31:21
Been there ' tried that, and we'd love to do it all over again - That pancake place is a real one-of-a-kind.

Cheers, John
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/07 15:31:07
Saturday October 4, 2008 cont.

Two hours later, I arrived at T-Ray's Burger Station in Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island. There is no indication I saw on the outside telling you that this is a restaurant. As the Sterns' often say, one of the best signs for a great Roadfood place is no sign at all.

It is actually on the inside of an Exxon station,

although it doesn't look like the gas pumps have worked in a while.

I walked in at 11:20AM and there was a sign next to the cash register saying that breakfast was over and that they would start serving lunch at 11:30. So, I walked around the tiny inside and took a few photos. There are two small counters, one facing the kitchen and one facing the window. Another half dozen tables make up the small dining area.


An interesting sign.

Oddly, here in Florida Gator country, the place is practically a shrine to the Georgia Bulldogs.

I'm thinking UGA would love this place!


A few minutes before 11:30, people started to line up to place their orders. Since everyone else was getting the burgers, that was obviously the thing to eat. I ordered the Small T Burger with fries and a drink. They asked what I wanted on it and I got the works.


Since I planned on doing lots of eating this day, this smaller burger was just the right size. It was also plenty juicy and I was very happy with it.

The fries were big, skin-on steak fries. It is easy to see why this place is so popular.

The one disappointment was they were all out of their famous banana pudding.

Before I left, I bought a t-shirt, with the house motto, "Eat Here and Get Gas"! Classy!


Since it was right around the corner, I stopped in to see how the Florida House Inn was holding up. This place has appeared in some of the older Roadfood books, back when they served big Southern boardinghouse meals. I spent three days here during the holidays in 2000 and enjoyed several wonderful meals. Unfortunately, when I came back in 2005, they had changed to a traditional upscale restaurant and it wasn't the same. A nice place to eat and stay, but not really Roadfood material. Still a great looking place on the outside, though.

BTW, I believe this is the oldest hotel in Florida.

http://www.floridahouseinn.com/

Much more to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/02/27 14:13:02
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/07 15:45:45
quote:
Originally posted by Rusty246

Those "dead bugs" must be our infamous "love bugs". I made a trip up to the panhandle(Milton, FL) last Wednesday, I too have a dead bug issue. Wait, you say they are on the trunk??? That's a mystery.
I'm guessing someone must have been driving really fast backwards.
bosco lover
Cheeseburger
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/07 17:20:33
i love deleon springs. even when i have gone with 4 big eaters, we've never been able to finish the pitchers of batter. and the springs are wonderful to swim in. once you are in you get used to it, but yes, quite a shock to the system when you first jump in. i was here just 2 weeks ago and going again tomorrow. for anyone planning on going, it is much less crowded during the week if you can manage it.
i look foward to what you have to say about my home town, st auggie
Rusty246
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/07 17:27:27
quote:
Originally posted by buffetbuster

quote:
Originally posted by Rusty246

Those "dead bugs" must be our infamous "love bugs". I made a trip up to the panhandle(Milton, FL) last Wednesday, I too have a dead bug issue. Wait, you say they are on the trunk??? That's a mystery.
I'm guessing someone must have been driving really fast backwards.

Now that's funny! And I wouldn't doubt it either. Hey if you do make it to St. Augustine I'd be anxious to hear what you thought of "Borrillos", it's on San Marco Ave, not to far from the Fort and for a good dog, Hazel's AND "Buck's B-B-Q". Give him shot.........
MiamiDon
Filet Mignon
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/07 17:50:29
quote:
Originally posted by Rusty246

quote:
Originally posted by buffetbuster

quote:
Originally posted by Rusty246

Those "dead bugs" must be our infamous "love bugs". I made a trip up to the panhandle(Milton, FL) last Wednesday, I too have a dead bug issue. Wait, you say they are on the trunk??? That's a mystery.
I'm guessing someone must have been driving really fast backwards.

Now that's funny! And I wouldn't doubt it either. Hey if you do make it to St. Augustine I'd be anxious to hear what you thought of "Borrillos", it's on San Marco Ave, not to far from the Fort and for a good dog, Hazel's AND "Buck's B-B-Q". Give him shot.........


It's probably something about the aerodynamics of the car.
FriedClamFanatic
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/08 08:13:55
That park sounds like a great place! Thanks for the info and the pics. I have a brother in Ormond Beach, so I guess a visit this winter is in order.

BTW.....on the beach road north of Ormond Beach, almost to Flagler is a biker bar with some of the best burgers ever. Alas, I forget the name, but it is right on the beach, annd about the only thing there on the beach. Just look for the Harleys
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/08 08:15:13
Rusty246-
Sorry, but I'm already home, without having tried any of those places. There were so many different restaurants I wanted to go to, I could have been there a week!

bosco lover-
Glad to see another Sugar Mill fan on here! Lucky you being able to go so often. Needless to say, I came nowhere close to using all of my pancake batter.

My favorite memory from there was when my girlfriend and I were the only ones eating who weren't Civil War reeanactors.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/08 08:21:12
FriedClamFanatic-
For a unique and fun meal, you should definitely have your brother take you to the park and restaurant.

As for the burger place, Ellen will be visiting that area soon and is looking for burger suggestions on this thread.

http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=30614
Baah Ben
Filet Mignon
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/08 08:54:48
BB - Fantastic pictures of The Sugar Mill Pancake House. Brought back some unpleasant memories. But, glad you like it. The pictures are really wonderful and thanks for that....

We absolutely hated the place! I guess we are "food snobs" At least when it came to that place.

I believe you would have loved Blue Boy Sandwich Shoppes in Jacksonville. But, it does not seem like you went down that far south?
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/08 08:58:48
Baah Ben-
Thanks for chiming in, even if you hated the place. I am very curious about why you had such a bad experience there. Was it one particular incident or just not your kind of place. Oh, and anyone who loves Jo-Jo's as much as I do is not a food snob!
Baah Ben
Filet Mignon
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/08 09:13:43
BB - Well, it was 95 degrees on a Saturday morning and the heat from the griddle was unreal. We were a party of 4 and all of us were sweating. The fans nor the flies were able to cool us off. We took home a bag of their pancake flour (the darker one)...It was good.

Hey, thanks for the kind words on Jo Jo's. No, I am not a food snob ..just the contrary. But, I do know how many people love this place so I had to say something...Your positive complements are in the majority.

Blue Boy Sandwich Shoppes..The location nearest I-95 is at 6514 Norwood Ave - 904-768-9791. Pure roadfood.....
Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/08 09:14:32
quote:
Originally posted by Rusty246

Those "dead bugs" must be our infamous "love bugs". I made a trip up to the panhandle(Milton, FL) last Wednesday, I too have a dead bug issue. Wait, you say they are on the trunk??? That's a mystery.


The back of your rental, Cliff, probably merited a listing on Yardfood.com, the imaginary blog that the birds who visit our feeders keep up.

I love that griddle-at-your-table idea. That is a pretty neato Roadfood stop. So is the pool a 'natural' one--Florida is the only place I've actually seen those.
bosco lover
Cheeseburger
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/08 10:34:04
the pool is a natural spring, 72 degrees year round and bubbles up from the aquifer. it has a concrete sides and stairs, but a sand/ rock bottom. the water is clear
leethebard
Sirloin
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/08 10:37:06
Great report...and oh I want to have that pierogi platter!!!!
ScreamingChicken
Filet Mignon
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/08 14:11:52
quote:
Originally posted by MiamiDon

quote:
Originally posted by Rusty246

quote:
Originally posted by buffetbuster

quote:
Originally posted by Rusty246

Those "dead bugs" must be our infamous "love bugs". I made a trip up to the panhandle(Milton, FL) last Wednesday, I too have a dead bug issue. Wait, you say they are on the trunk??? That's a mystery.
I'm guessing someone must have been driving really fast backwards.

Now that's funny! And I wouldn't doubt it either. Hey if you do make it to St. Augustine I'd be anxious to hear what you thought of "Borrillos", it's on San Marco Ave, not to far from the Fort and for a good dog, Hazel's AND "Buck's B-B-Q". Give him shot.........

It's probably something about the aerodynamics of the car.

The fact that it's a rental car might've had something to do with it...

Brad
Greymo
Filet Mignon
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/08 15:16:28
Loved reading your report. We have always enjoyed going to the Old Spanish Mill. It is a one of a kind place, making it a real Roadfood treasure. Years ago, they would bring you your order of meat raw and you cooked it yourself. I believe that they told us that the state made them stop doing it.

The time to enjoy swimming there is when the temperature is 70 degrees or cooler, and then the water is warmer than the air!

It is particularly beautiful there when the azaleas are in full bloom.
blue heaven
Cheeseburger
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/08 15:42:16
Hi BB great report and pictures! That natural spring that looks like a swimming pool....are fish or any creatures swimming in it, like the ocean or a lake? Not to sound dumb I was just curious?? I would love to swim in it. Never been to a natural spring before.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/09 09:22:31
Baah Ben-
I can certainly see the heat from the griddle would make a visit to the Sugar Mill much less enjoyable. All of my visits have been in cooler weather, so it has never been a problem.

Nancypalooza-
Looks like bosco lover has already answered your question about the pool. Maybe it is only in my head, but it very refreshing to swim in the pool. Just that the water is very cold!

Greymo-
I didn't know they used to bring you your breakfasts meats uncooked, too. There are a lot of boneheads out there, so it is no surprise they can't do this anymore. Would love to see the park when the azaleas are in bloom!

blue heaven-
Thanks for the compliment. Other than the senior citizens doing laps, no sea creatures in the pool!
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/09 09:58:57
Saturday October 4, 2008 cont.

Since I had the smaller burger at T-Ray's, I still had plenty of appetite for a second lunch. Wanting to head south towards St. Augustine, Singleton's Seafood Shack became my destination.

But to get there from the north, you have to take the St. John's river ferry.

The ride was very short (approximately 10 minutes), but I still very much enjoyed being out on the water.

When you land on the south side of the river, Singleton's Seafood Shack is right there.



As soon as you walk in, there is fresh seafood out and available.

No wonder that shark is dead. It drank too much Bacardi!

This place is extremely casual, with nothing but wooden benches and tables and a bar in the middle of the main dining room.

I was originally going to eat in the screened in room in the back, which had a nice view of the river and the fishing boats.

But, they had a tv tuned in to college football, so I plunked myself down in front of that and watched the Florida-Arkansas game.

Wanting to try as many things as possible, I ordered the Three Item Combo. There is other seafood to choose from, but I went with the fried oysters, fried shrimp and the deviled crab.

All three items were very good, but the lightly battered fried shrimp were my favorite.


But best on the plate goes to the fantastic collard greens.

The one item I thought was substandard the dry hushpuppies.

The menu says they have homemade pie, which was all I needed to hear. Key Lime Pie was available, but I figured I would be eating plenty of that later in the trip. So, I went with the peanut butter pie.

This was one of those pies that you really enjoy the first half dozen or so bites and then you get tired of the taste real quick. Peanut butter pies in general are rich and this was especially so. But, if you are a big peanut butter lover, you may very well love this pie.

BTW, the service here is very friendly. Three different waitresses called me hon or sweetie!

http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=5608&RefID=5517

I got back in the car and continued the beautiful drive south on A1A towards St. Augustine.

More to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/02/27 14:14:01
blue heaven
Cheeseburger
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/09 11:45:55
Wow BB you should quit your day job and do this professionally....great writng and pictures!
Bluemaxx
Cheeseburger
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/09 14:08:05
I just died reading this post, BB. Although I have been to Singleton's, the trip you took and the places you stopped are exactly what I want to do. Thanks for all the pics. GREAT read!
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/09 14:28:17
Saturday October 4, 2008 cont.
 
After arriving in St. Augustine, I checked into my hotel, the Comfort Suites. Seeing that I had a working tv, a good internet connection and my room did not smell of smoke, I was a happy boy! I walked into the downtown area and explored for a couple of hours. Since my day on Sunday is lighter on food, I will put the photos there.

Around five, I headed to my dinner destination, Saltwater Cowboy's. In a previous visit to St. Augustine, I ate at O'Steen's and had the best fried shrimp of my life. Since I would be driving right past O'Steen's, I figured it wouldn't hurt to stop in and see how busy they were. From past experience, I expected there to be a very long wait, which I wasn't willing to do.

When I pulled in, the benches in front were all but empty.

But, looks here can be deceiving. There is an antique store next door and they have a loudspeaker in there where you can hear your name called. Everyone could be over there shopping. Sure enough, the lady at the window told me a 45 minute wait. She did mention that if I was willing to sit at the counter, I could get in much quicker. Sold! 15 minutes later, I had my seat at the counter.

My meal started with a bowl of the local specialty, Minorcan chowder.

Hotter than I expected, this was excellent soup!

Of course, the thing to eat here is fried shrimp. Even the sign out by the road can tell you that.

I got an order of a dozen.

They weren't quite as sublime as I remembered, but these lightly coated butterflied beauties are still as good as fried shrimp get. A really good pinkish dipping sauce comes with the shrimp.

Lots of interesting choices for sides and both the porky, soft green beans and squash casserole

were winners. The hushpuppies were crunchy on the outside with a wonderful faint sweet taste.

Much better than what I had earlier in the day.

While sitting at the counter, I saw the couple next to me sharing a piece of banana cream pie. I asked them how it was and they praised it effusively. Since banana cream pie is my personal favorite, I was excited to hear this. As I kept eating my shrimp, I heard a waitress come out of the kitchen with a slice and call out "One banana"!

Now, I have never worked in a restaurant, but I knew that this was trouble. I flagged down my waitress and asked her if that meant there was only one piece left and she said yes. Needless to say, I asked her to reserve it for me. She just laughed and called out, "the banana is gone" and fetched it for me.

Ultra soft, it reminded me of banana pudding with meringue on top. This was good, although not great pie. Still, a great way to finish my meal.

http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=2901&RefID=2890

By this time, I was completely full. I relaxed at the hotel watching the baseball playoffs and college football for the rest of the night. I did consider going out for another meal, but I was way too full.
post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/02/27 14:15:26
joerogo
Filet Mignon
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/09 14:34:43
BB, After the car and hotel, it sounded like you were going to have a Rodney Dangerfield trip. Glad to see all went well from there.

The Sugarmill looks like a really cool place. If you liked the pancakes, I hope you tipped the chef well.

Great combo platter at Pierogies Plus. I hope to make it there someday.
wheregreggeats.com
Filet Mignon
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/09 14:48:58
Thanks for the nice report.
Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/09 16:26:20
Oh those shrimp make my mouth water. Beautiful!
RibRater
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/09 16:38:39



Great report BB. I've never had halushki but that looks like my kind of dish. I think I need to give that a try at home.
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/09 17:51:39
BB - As always, great report and even better chocies. You always get the best out of each trip! How many flavors of pierogies are avaiable? Are there variety or sampler plates of different flavors? Did the potatoe pancakes have an option of sour cream or no to either apple sauce and sour cream?
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/10 10:13:36
Rib Rater-
Halushki is pure European comfort food! I have never made it myself, but I have heard it is easy to make. Let us know how it turns out.

Nancypalooza-
The shrimp at O'Steen's are beautiful to look at, for sure! I took multiple close up shots, but all of them turned out too blurry to use.

CTD-
Welcome back! Pierogies Plus has four types of pierogies available everyday. They are Potato & cheese, Sauerkraut & potato (my favorite), cottage cheese & chives and meat. But, if you give them two days notice, there are another couple dozen types you can get. There are also four different sampler plates to choose from.

As for the potato pancake, I didn't ask. It did not come with either sour cream or apple sauce. By the time I started eating it, time was short for me to get to the airport. Next time I go, I will find out.

BlueMaxx
-
Thanks for the compliments. I have checked out your website in the past and it is extremely well done.

joerogo-
I thought this may end up being one of those trips where everything went wrong, but luckily, things got much, much better!
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/10 11:08:05
Sunday October 5, 2008 

Just around 8:00AM, it was odd walking along St. George Street in downtown St. Augustine and seeing it so deserted.

At normal hours, this pedestrian street is packed. My breakfast destination was The Bunnery.

This is a bakery that does serve regular sit down meals. But, I was more interested in picking up some pastries and just strolling around the town.

I bought a big, sweet blueberry muffin.

A disappointing cinnamon sugar cookie.

A wonderful, but very messy strawberry strudel.

The best thing I bought, though, was the ham & cheese croissant.

It was perfectly buttery and flaky.

http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=5605&RefID=5516

I really love the Spanish architecture in St. Augustine. The Lightner Museum

is beautiful inside and out. The old fort, Castillo de San Marcos is well worth the tour.

A nice little park downtown.


But, my favorite place is Flagler College.



I particularly like the courtyard on the campus. One of the things I learned on the tour I took on this trip is that the fountain here is also a working sundial. Cool!


I walked back to my hotel and checked out.

More to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/02/27 14:16:22
Foodosaurus
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/10 13:35:43
quote:
Originally posted by buffetbuster

Saturday October 4 cont.


No wonder that shark is dead. It drank too much Bacardi!



I think that is Captain Morgan's in the shark's mouth.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/10 13:52:43
Sunday October 5, 2008 cont.

Just over an hour after leaving St. Augustine, I arrived in Gainesville, looking for the University of Florida.

It has been several years since I have been here, but what a nice town this is. At the bookstore, I loaded up on some Gator gear. During the winter, I love to wear heavy, hooded sweatshirts. I was paying for what I picked out at the cash register when the lovely checkout girl asked to see my ID. She looked at it and said, "I knew it"! I asked her what she meant and she said she knew I had to be from back north, because no one from around there would buy such a thick sweatshirt. Turns out she was from Dearborn, MI.

Outside of the bookstore, they had some nice Gator heads.

CHOMP!

Time for lunch and I was really looking forward to the place I picked out. Everyone remember the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings book The Yearling? They have a restaurant called The Yearling right in Cross Creek where she used to live and write.

Only about 15 miles from Gainesville, it was easy to find. But, it sure didn't look like much on the outside.



Southern Stamps?

While walking in, I noticed a sign that said live music on Fridays and Saturdays. Too bad, I thought, that would have been nice. But, they sat me down in the front dining room no more than 15 feet away from a blues guituarist named Willie Green.


Man, was he good! I can't begin to tell you how much my experience here was enhanced by hearing him play. There were a lot of songs he played that I didn't recognize, but my favorite was when he did an outstanding version of Otis Redding's Dock of the Bay. I am kicking myself for not picking up one of his CD's that were for sale.

No surprise that The Yearling restaurant is The Yearling book themed.

Still, it is a little strange to see a boat in the middle of the back dining room.


My meal started off with what they called Yearling chowder, which was basically a gumbo.

Truthfully, it was really bad. Thin, watery, old, it was really bad. This got me wondering if eating here was the right decision.

Luckily, my main entree was much, much better. I got the catfish, which came with two lovely fillets.


This was some of the best catfish I have had in a while. My sides were fries and bacony black eyed peas.


As usual on my trips, I have neglected to talk about what I drank. When I am in the South, I always get the sweet tea. Considering northern Florida is very much part of the deep South (unlike many parts of south Florida), I thought I should be able to get good sweet tea. Nah, I didn't get one really good glass of tea my entire trip. I think I was spoiled by my recent trip to Memphis, where just about every place has really good sweet tea. At least at The Yearling, they did give me an entire pitcher, which I always appreciate.


The first dessert my waitress mentioned was Sour Orange Pie. I asked her to tell me more about it and she said it was basically Key Lime Pie, but with orange instead. I told her she didn't have to go any further on her list, that is the one I wanted.

And what a beautiful piece of pie this was! Cool, refreshing, it was wonderful. CajunKing, you would have loved it!

I don't recommend everything about The Yearling restaurant, but the pie, the atmosphere and Mr. Green made it a meal I will long remember.

http://yearlingrestaurant.net/

More to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/02/27 14:16:56
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/10 14:17:29
quote:
Originally posted by braunsteinm

quote:
Originally posted by buffetbuster

Saturday October 4 cont.


No wonder that shark is dead. It drank too much Bacardi!



I think that is Captain Morgan's in the shark's mouth.
Is it? I thought I remember it being Bacardi, but I didn't go right up to the shark and look. I'm not much of a drinker, so most would recognize the bottles better than I would.
Rusty246
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/10 14:32:00
I live in Gainesville........
Greymo
Filet Mignon
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/10 15:29:21
Great report. It is nice to see all the places that I have been to, and not the usual tourist places. I was so surprised to see your photos on "The Yearling". The food there used to be just wonderful and we would drive from Daytona Beach to eat there. The last I knew it had been closed for quite a while. I had no idea that it had reopened but certainly glad to hear it. It is another one of Florida's Roadfood treasures.
John A
Filet Mignon
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/10 16:48:16
"Considering northern Florida is very much part of the deep South (unlike many parts of south Florida)"
Isn't that the truth?

Nice trip and report BB, this one is pretty close to home. Thanks
Baah Ben
Filet Mignon
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/10 17:03:27
So BB..Did you get to Salt Water Cowboy's? I wondered what you thought of it..We've been there 5-6 times and I think it is ok....I like the scenery best but those chairs are literally a pain in the ass. You know I have never been to O'Steens (looks like cracker crumb breading?) in all the times I've been up to St. Augustine. The do very well. We jsut always went to the Cab Company or Saltwater...I know lots of people love St. Augustine..We never found dining to be that great up there.

Hey, there's two other places if you are coming further South. Both in Palm Coast..One is Thai By Thai right off I-95 at the Palm Coast Parkway Exit (small palce with very good Thai food) and the other is the A&D Deli near Publix which makes really good sandwiches...In that same shopping center. Both very good for a lunch. Any further and you're hitting Ormond at RT 100 and Hooligans for wings and Hog Heaven for "Q" E- mail me and I'll meet you for lunch or dinner!
Greymo
Filet Mignon
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/10 18:23:47
Seems like Ben and I have agreed to disagree. St. Augustine has great places to eat...............thankfully, there are no chains near the historic district. We often drive there just to eat at one of their restaurants.

Of course, we have not tried them all but these are our favorites and I think that St Augustine should be recognized for their good dining.

Barnacle Bills'

Creekside Dinery - N. Fla Low Country Cookin'

Le Pavillon of Saint Augustine


95 Cordova Restaurant at The Casa Monica Hotel

Raintree Seafood & Steakhouse

Salt Water Cowboys Restaurant

Columbia Restaurant

And of course there is O Steen's for wonderful shrimp and the wonderful chowder
seafarer john
Filet Mignon
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/10 21:58:20
It must have been 20 years ago when Gail and I had a wonderful lunch at the Yearling-it was, at that time, a fairly upscale restaurant; well maintained , good service, and excellent little whole fried catfish, frogs legs, cooter and gator on the menu.
It looks from your photos that it has fallen on bad times. But a good blues guitar and a great slice of pie can make up for a whole lot of other failings. i had thought the place had closed years ago.

Cheers, John
mar52
Sirloin
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/10 23:19:36
I want that pie!
CajunKing
Sirloin
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/11 16:03:55
BB

YOU ARE KILLIN ME!! - You are right I want to try that pie, hmmm I am headed to FL in Nov.......
wanderingjew
Sirloin
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/12 18:15:11
BB,

O'Steen's is on my "hit list" of must tries. Having been to St Augustine twice- in 2002 and 2005 I can say it's truly one of my favorite places in the US to visit. Hey, I just realized it's 2008- I'm due again!

leethebard
Sirloin
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/12 19:02:50
Great report...and St.Augustine is,I agree Wanderingjew...onr of the greatest places to visit...beautiful and great atmosphere...Columbia restaurant is our favorite...nice atmosphere,,,great seafood...my wife had a grouper dish that was heaven!!!
ces1948
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/12 23:15:54
During the mid-seventies I lived in Gainesville and worked as an electrician. We worked on an extensive remodel or addition to the Yearling, don't remember which. The Yearling was very popular at that time and I enjoyed several meals there. It was considered expensive if I recall correctly.
MetroplexJim
Filet Mignon
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/13 07:52:20
WOW! What a trip! All those fried shrimp and pierogies, to boot!

My triumvirate of favorite entrees are fried shrimp, a Peter Luger porterhouse, and broasted chicken.

And speaking of broasted chicken, I'm looking forward to your visiting the Breezy Heights Tavern in Avella.

BTW: Mrs. Metro will soon be whipping up a home-made version of that SourOrange Pie!
MiamiDon
Filet Mignon
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/13 08:16:28
Another great trip report, BB. I went to St. Augustine 22 years ago, but the only restaurant overlap that I recall is the Raintree.

That sour orange pie looks great!
crew84row
Cheeseburger
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/13 11:53:48
BB,

Looks like you were at Singleton's about a week after my wife and I were there. I had taken a picture of the front but once inside the camera batteries went kaput, so my pics of the sheepshead sandwich were too dark even with Photoshop lightening.

Wish you had a op to eat at Saltwater Cowboys. We like it a bit better than Osteen's, but have only been to both once. Glad you for T-Ray's. I see why we missed it when we were there. Next time we're on Amelia Island, I'll head there for breakfast and order biscuits with butter! We may be doing the Trukey lake regatta in Orlando this year, if I'll talk the crew to going to the Sugar House.

Glad you had a nice trip, food wise.
Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/13 12:01:16
Cliff, Julie says to tell you you take great pictures. And Don, you might have to share your pie with me.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/14 14:18:09
Sunday October 5, 2008 cont.

Just a few hundred yards away from The Yearling restaurant, is the historical site dedicated to Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.


I would have liked to have taken a tour of the house, but I would have had to wait around over an hour and I didn't have the time. Here is the house anyway and some of the scenery.




Time to head back towards Orlando and my flight home. On a whim, I thought I would drive by Vega's Cafe,

where I had a terrific Cuban sandwich and black bean soup a few years ago. Alas, they are closed on Sunday. So, I just headed to the airport.

On the way, something caught my eye. There was a giant wiener on a prong, just like at Wolfy's in Chicago.

Turns out it was a Chicago style hot dog place called Hot Dog Heaven.


I had to get one and it did look reasonably authentic.

I am far from a Chicago dog expert, but I thought it was quite good. My only complaint was that the steamed bun disinigrated from the weight of the dog and its toppings. What do you Chicagoans think?

A strawberry shake completed the quick meal.


I flew back to Pittsburgh and walked in my front door around 10:00PM.
post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/02/27 14:17:50
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/14 14:26:34
quote:
Originally posted by Rusty246

I live in Gainesville........
So what do you think of The Yearling Restaurant?
Rusty246
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/14 14:45:09
quote:
Originally posted by buffetbuster

quote:
Originally posted by Rusty246

I live in Gainesville........
So what do you think of The Yearling Restaurant?

Honestly I haven't been there since they re-opened, years. The last time I was there was in oh, 1983ish. The owners name was Pat, I did her hair. The closest I have gotten to "The Yearling" since was "Blue Highway Pizza" off 441 in Micanopy.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/14 14:53:38
Rusty246-
You should be proud to know that I wore my Gators t-shirt around Baltimore last weekend.
Rusty246
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/14 15:07:04
quote:
Originally posted by buffetbuster

Rusty246-
You should be proud to know that I wore my Gators t-shirt around Baltimore last weekend.

WOOOHOOO! Looking at your pictures of our campus felt kind of weird. When I got sick and tired of the whole hair business thing my next job was temporary at the "Campus Shop and Bookstore" it was just two two buildings over from where I'm at now. The new one is behind me and it's a pain to get to, you have to go through the entire(chain)food court, or to the front entrance which seems like miles. I wish you'd have gotten a Copper Monkey University Avenue steakburger before you left!
roossy90
Sirloin
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/14 22:10:05
I love St.Augustine..
I am repeating myself here.
It is my favorite city in ALL of Florida, and yes, the fort is well worth the trip, as is just strolling around old town......Did you hit the old military hospital?..
That is another interesting little mini tour.....
leethebard
Sirloin
RE: Weekend on Florida's First Coast 2008/10/15 06:52:21
quote:
Originally posted by buffetbuster

Sunday October 5 cont.

Just a few hundred yards away from The Yearling restaurant, is the historical site dedicated to Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.


I would have liked to have taken a tour of the house, but I would have had to wait around over an hour and I didn't have the time. Here is the house anyway and some of the scenery.




Time to head back towards Orlando and my flight home. On a whim, I thought I would drive by Vega's Cafe,

where I had a terrific Cuban sandwich and black bean soup a few years ago. Alas, they are closed on Sunday. So, I just headed to the airport.

On the way, something caught my eye. There was a giant wiener on a prong, just like at Wolfy's in Chicago.

Turns out it was a Chicago style hot dog place called Hot Dog Heaven.


I had to get one and it did look reasonably authentic.

I am far from a Chicago dog expert, but I thought it was quite good. My only complaint was that the steamed bun disinigrated from the weight of the dog and its toppings. What do you Chicagoans think?

A strawberry shake completed the quick meal.


I flew back to Pittsburgh and walked in my front door around 10:00PM.



This was interesting...she sure had a way with description...a great writer...nice trip...thanks!!!!!
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