Chad and I recently went up to St. Augustine to participate in a 5k race to benefit breast cancer. As part of our entry fee to the event we were invited to hang around the city and enjoy some of the sites after the run. Our first order of business after running 3.1 miles was lunch. What I had on my St. Augustine bucket list was a tiny little joint that also had a great vegetarian selection on the menu, also near the heart of downtown. This little place was called The Floridian.
We were first in line when they opened and got a cozy little table right by the window.
What I was looking forward to most was the Black-Bean and Sweet Potato burger. That’s right- I said it- Black Bean SWEET POTATO burger. We are always on the hunt for new and exciting vegetarian burger options and let me tell you- The Floridian did NOT disappoint!!
We ordered ours with a pimento cheese topping but the cheese is certainly not required to enjoy this burger!! We had also ordered the Fried House-Made pickles and the Spicy Melt (blackened fish of the day on whole wheat bread with veggies). The pickles tasted so fresh you could tell they were made on the premises and the Spicy Melt was about the best tasting fish sandwich we have ever had. The atmosphere was very cute but small. We are sensing that most of the restaurants in the heart of St. Augustine are very tiny- but we didn’t mind- we love the cozy places.
After lunch we boarded the Red Train Trolley which was included in our entry fee we paid to run the race. It was a very informative 90-minute tour through the town. We went past the Whetstone Chocolate Factory and Flagler College– we saw the oldest house in America, the entrance to the Fountain of Youth and a 600-year old oak tree called “The Senator.”
We enjoyed the tour- normally it is $22.99 for an adult for three consecutive days. The tour takes about 90 minutes all the way around the city with 20 stops along the way. You can step off the train, go visit an attraction and hop back on at a designated stop. The trains run every 15-20 minutes. The day we were there we got caught on the train during a typical Florida afternoon rainstorm and our kind driver host gave everyone on the tour complimentary rain ponchos which kept us dry and happy on the tour.
Even the rain in St. Augustine is gorgeous. The tour is worth your time- but not really worth the money unless you have a hotel int heart of the city and plan to park your car for three days and take the train everywhere. The downtown area of St. Augustine can be walked from one end to the other in less than 15 minutes (without stopping to sightsee) for most people.
Another part of our package included admission to the Ripley’s Believe Or Not Museum. According to their website, they have 26 museum locations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Honestly, if you have seen one you have seen them all. We have been to the one here in Orlando and were really disappointed. It is certainly not worth the $13 admission. Basically, the whole museum is a bunch a displays built out of matchsticks, pictures of weird things and optical illusion puzzles. Truly nothing you can’t find on the internet in the comfort of your own home.
After playing tourists for awhile, we got hungry again and it was pouring rain. We realized we were only about a block from Casa Maya – a great little Mexican place we visited and LOVED the last time we were here. In the six months since our last visit they’ve moved!! Only across the street though- however- no longer was a quaint tiny restaurant, now it has 2 floors of dining rooms and no longer was the atmosphere cozy- it was modern and uninviting(?). The second floor dining room had a banquette along the back wall with so many pillows it was uncomfortable. I can’t imagine being able to keep that clean for too long. Opposite the banquette were white plastic chairs- like the kind you put on your back porch. No lie.
I had ordered the iced tea which I was so excited about because last time they served it with a bottle of agave nectar instead of traditional sugar….but this time they were out of agave nectar.
However, we did order the fish tacos just like last time and we were reminded why we loved that place so much!! The fish tacos are so fresh and tasty………
Don’t get me wrong….the place doesn’t look bad- it is just very modern and not the cute cozy place we went to before…..we decided though that there are so many other great places to eat in St. Augustine so we would probably not return there again any time soon. I mean plastic lawn chairs? REALLY???
The rain had let up so we got back in the car and began to head home. It was a long day- started at 5am for us to make it to the race on time….a 5k run, a train tour around the city, a torrential rainstorm, many miles of walking and 2 meals later, we were ready to head back to Orlando. Until next time St. Augustine!!