Category Archives: restaurants
The Happy Tomato is by far my favorite place for barbecue. Love the pulled pork and the ribs. Rich and his crew also put together some real nice salad sandwiches with either shrimp, tuna or chicken.
The Happy Tomato has a pretty outdoor courtyard with a few tables for enjoying your lunch. But where can you eat if you crave air conditioned comfort? Get your Happy Tomato lunch to go and walk across the street to another of my favorite spots, the Green Turtle Tavern. You can sit at the bar in their AC, enjoy the best barbecue and have a cold pint or two to go with your lunch. With 40 different beers to choose from you’ll be sure to find something that goes with that Rib and Chicken Plate that you brought with you, all in the comfort of air conditioning!
And don’t forget, if you love barbecue the Great Southern Tailgate Cook Off is coming to Amelia Island on August 24th and 25th!
This continues our series on a few of our favorite things on Amelia Island. Please keep in mind that I am not a pro food critic and do not understand subtle nuances of flavor and texture. I comment on restaurants as I would comment on fine art, I know what I like.
I love Espana Tapas and Restaurant for two reasons. I love eating there with my family and I send our guests there knowing that they will come back happy. The food is great, the service wonderful and the staff is not only friendly but they pretend to tolerate me after a bottle of wine.
Espana serves tapas, or appetizers, as well as a full dinner menu. The menu is old world cuisine from Spain and Portugal with a heavy emphasis on seafood. Probably a third of their menu is fresh, local seafood.
This photo shows two of my favorite choices at this, one of our favorite restaurants. The Portuguese Fisherman’s Stew is delivered to your table in a big iron cauldron. The vegetables are tossed in just before serving so they are cooking in the broth on their way to the table and are cooked but crisp, not all mushy. The seafood in the stew is plentiful. The presentation, the taste and the amount of seafood in the cauldron make this a favorite. Not into seafood? The beef tenderloin with a bleu cheese sauce is amazing.
Only two blocks away, great food and excellent service. If this was fine art, I’d eat it off the wall.
We used to go to O’Kanes Irish Pub for wings on Thursday nights after the Addison’s Happy Hour. The wings were good and cheap on Wing Night but we mostly went to see the bartender, Mark. He is a big, pleasant man who could always make your day better. Mark left O’Kanes and we tried Wing Night a couple more times but it just wasn’t the same without Mark behind the bar. I have found our new spot for Thursday Wing Night. I had wings the other night at Halftime Sports Bar that were just wonderful. Big, meaty wings that were moist inside and slathered with a tasty sauce. Bretta was tending bar and, as you can tell by the smile on her face, she loves what she does. Bretta and Jon bought Halftime a few months ago. They upgraded the menu and added some theme nights like Trivia Wednesdays. They both quit their day-jobs and have embraced the life of a small business owner in Florida. Any small business has it’s ups and downs but Bretta and Jon are optimistic that they have made the right move. I’m glad they did. Those wings are great!
We used to go to O’Kanes Irish Pub for wings on Thursday nights after the Addison’s Happy Hour. The wings were good and cheap on Wing Night but we mostly went to see the bartender, Mark. He is a big, pleasant man who could always make your day better. Mark left O’Kanes and we tried Wing Night a couple more times but it just wasn’t the same without Mark behind the bar.
I have found our new spot for Thursday Wing Night. I had wings the other night at Halftime Sports Bar that were just wonderful. Big, meaty wings that were moist inside and slathered with a tasty sauce. Bretta was tending bar and, as you can tell by the smile on her face, she loves what she does.
Bretta and Jon bought Halftime a few months ago. They upgraded the menu and added some theme nights like Trivia Wednesdays. They both quit their day-jobs and have embraced the life of a small business owner in Florida. Any small business has it’s ups and downs but Bretta and Jon are optimistic that they have made the right move. I’m glad they did. Those wings are great!
We have a new restaurant in town and I’m really looking forward to trying their Restaurant Week Special. The standard format for the restaurants is a $19 or $29 price-fixed menu option. Our new restaurant? Tasty’s Burgers. The burgers are great and I love their fries but how are they going to come up with a $19 or $29 meal? This new restaurant could really surprise us!
Sandy Bottoms is the only beachfront restaurant at the north end of the island from which you can actually see the surf. They made a few changes last month that make it even a better spot.
The owners discovered that they owned 30 feet of beach that they were unaware of. They roped it off and added tables and umbrellas so that you can wiggle your toes in the sand while enjoying a Sandy Bottoms lunch or a cold adult beverage.
Where better to get that adult beverage than at their new outside Tiki Bar? Artie-The-One-Man-Party runs the inside bar during the week’s day shifts but we caught our friend Russ tending bar at the new patio Tiki Bar.
We have guests at the Addison who are always looking for that perfect beach. They are concerned that Main Beach might be too crowded for them. The Main Beach photo shown here was taken from Sandy Bottoms at mid-day, mid-week April. As you can see, there is plenty of sand between the towels. If Main Beach does “fill up” on the weekends you just have to drive north or south to one of several beach accesses to find a beach similar to what you see here.
We have guests checking out today that are heading back to Wisconsin. Kyle and Dawn have been hitting the beaches all week from one end of the island to the other. At yesterday’s Happy Hour Kyle told me that it was still snowing in Wisconsin. I think the snow back home just made their last day on the beach that much sweeter.
Happy New Year! May 2011 be a good year for you.
I started off the New Year by marrying a couple of friends. Gil, head honcho of our local Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (CVB), and Wendy, his former girlfriend now wife, asked me to marry them at sunrise on January 1st. They rented a beach house with great views of the dune for a few days. It was a lovely ceremony and the weather was perfect. The morning was warm with enough cloud cover to make the sky interesting. They had a handful of relatives and friends in attendance and finished off the day with a reception at the beach house. I couldn’t stay after the ceremony of course. I had a full house of guests ready for breakfast when I got back to the Addison
|Wendy and Gil getting married|
|View of the dune from the deck.|
That is me on the left there, blocking out the sun. No Hawaiian shirt and I was wearing long pants. And no, Gil and Wendy are not little people. The camera angle just makes me look huge.
So, that is how I started off the month. What’s next? Restaurant Week starts January 23rd. The local restaurants are preparing special menus at special prices for the week. The Olympic Triathlon is on February 7th and don’t forget Valentine’s Day on the 14th. The Book Festival is on February 18th and 19th and is followed by the Third Amelia Island Film Festival starts on February 24th (watch for the Maggie Doone movie to win!). The spring gardening season officially kicks off with the Amelia Island Garden Show on March 5th and 6th. This is all in addition to the weekly Farmer’s Market and regularly scheduled events at Fort Clinch and at our local museum.
So much to do, so little time. And just who is the man behind the scenes who is assisting in the development of these events and promoting them? Well, that job is Gil’s and his team at the CVB. So far, so good. Maybe you can catch some of his handywork on your next visit.
I can’t believe that it is already the middle of October. Where do the days go?
|Center Street, Fine Arts Fair getting set up.|
|Amelia Cruizers Car Show|
Third Street is Lunch Street. Well, not exactly. It isn’t like anyone except for yours truly really thinks that Third Street will be named Lunch Street but there are SO MANY great places to eat lunch within two blocks why shouldn’t the street be renamed?
Those of you who have stayed with us before may have eaten at Cafe Karibo. The cafe is a great spot for salads, light lunches and dinner with their garden patio just off of Center Street. They have just opened up a new section of the cafe in what was an empty builkding next door and they call it Cafe Karibrew.