Cantina Louie

Cantina Louie… there’s been a lot of buzz about this Mexican Street Food restaurant. Can it live up to the hype? The kiddos and I went recently- this was our experience:

Cantina Louie's vibrant decor makes for fun I Spy games while you wait for dinner!

Like most Mexican restaurants, Cantina Louie brings chips & salsa while you peruse the menu. We added an order of Guacamole Dip {$5.99} since we were eating a very late 2:30 lunch. After a squeeze of lime and extra dash of salt, we dug in & enjoyed this traditional avocado dip.

Cantina Louie's guacamole is pretty darn good.

I really wanted to try some of the Mexican Street Food items like street corn and tamales but they’re available weekends only {tamales only on Sunday} and Friday doesn’t count as a weekend. So I’ll be back for those! Specialty tacos are available all week so you can still enjoy the street food flair without a special trip.

I wanted to order one of each street taco and everyone share tastes… but I let everyone order whatever they wanted. {good mommy points, bad food blogger points LOL} Ben went with the Kids Menu #2: One enchilada, rice & refried beans {$5.99}.

Lauren opted for Vegetarian Fajitas {$9.99} and shared with her little sister. They had fun assembling them as they ate and it was more than enough for a 12 year old & a 5 year old. So far the food was all tasty but nothing spectacular- seasonings were simple, ingredients the usual.

Timothy and Andrew scoured the menu for the weirdest thing they could order. They found the West Coast Burrito {$7.99}. It’s stuffed with grilled chicken and french fries {more like potato wedges than fries} and served with queso. I say weird but hey, I asked for something out of the ordinary, right?! They loved it. This burrito wasn’t quite the sharing size but since it was our first visit, we weren’t sure what to expect & didn’t want to over-order.

Check out the cute tin trays most meals come on. Love 'em!

I made a mistake when I ordered. See, after mamma helps 6 hungry chillens order lunch at 2:30 in the afternoon, she likely has very little time left to pick her own meal. I thought when I ordered huevos at a Mexican restaurant I was getting the traditional fried egg dish. When I saw jalapenos in one version of the huevos, I quickly decided on that one- glossing over the whole “scrambled” part of the order. My Huevos a la Mexicana {$6.99} had a little heat but I couldn’t get over my frustration that I ordered scrambled instead of yolky eggs! Drat. My bad, not theirs.

Huevos a la Mexicana $6.99

I was still hungry after this dish plus the appetizer order of chips & salsa and guac. I am pregnant so maybe baby needed extra… but if I ordered this again {which I wouldn’t because I’d get the Huevos Rancheros with yolky centers and add jalapenos!} anyways, if I ordered a huevos dish, I’ll add a side or not wait until 2:30 for lunch. ;)

Since several of us shared lunch portions, we decided we definitely needed to order dessert. Cantina Louie offers both flan and churros- since there were 7 of us dining, we ordered both and shared bites. Eating with a big family is so much fun!

Cantina Louie's serves up a tasty Flan.

The menu says their Flan is a “traditional Mexican dessert made of spongecake with a sweet & savory filling.” Wait… what? Flan has never consisted of spongecake in my experience nor been savory so I was confused. Our server {who was a handsome American kid but didn’t know much about hispanic food yet nor about how to keep water glasses full or bring chips and salsa out right away for a table of hungry littles so I’m not sure if he really knew what he was talking about…}. Where was I? Oh yeah, our server assured me there is no spongecake in the flan and so I ordered. I’m mostly gluten free but don’t have an allergy… if you’re eating there and have an allergy to wheat, I’d suggest confirming with the kitchen.

It tasted like “normal” flan… creamy, custardy, not too sweet but resting in a puddle of sweet syrup. Yum. At only $3.99 each, that may be the best deal on the menu!

The kids will disagree with that… they loved the Churros {$4.99}.

Crispy, briefly rolled in cinnamon & sugar, filled with bavarian cream and served with a dollop of whipped cream- my children thought they’d died and gone to heaven. I’m not gluten-free enough to resist a bite of that goodness {sorry, doc!} and I concur. Yum.

We left happy and full- lunch was good.

Will I rush back? No. Cantina Louie is a drive from our house and the experience wasn’t good enough to make it worth that for us. We have a favorite Mexican restaurant a block from our house that doesn’t look as fun but serves up delish meals & hearty portions {which is good for our big family}.

Will I go back? Yes. I do want to order some of the Mexican Street Food & Specialty Taco items. The social media buzz is that those are what sets Cantina Louie apart.

For now, when I want authentic Mexican food in St. Augustine, I’ll head to Casa Maya- but it’s a whole different {and more $$$} kind of menu- not an option when we’re dining as a family of 8.

What’s your favorite Cantina Louie dish? I need to know so I order right next time!

Cantina Louie
1900 US Highway 1 South
(904) 770-2608

Cantina Louie on Urbanspoon

Jaybirds Restaurant

I’ve driven by dozens of times… maybe hundreds. From the road, Jaybirds wasn’t quite convincing enough for me to stop. But when friends raved about the fresh lunch they enjoyed there, Georgia Anne & I decided to try it out on a “girls night out”. {Thanks, John & Michelle!}

My dinner buddy, Georgia Anne.

After grubbing potatoes at a Blue Sky Farms event earlier in the day, we were hot & thirsty and ready for an early dinner.

Our server Chris {who happened to be the friendly & super helpful bartender} helped me come up with a light & fruity cocktail. Jaybirds stocks several craft beers and all the usual cocktail staples but not my favorites, so we bounced ideas back & forth until he mixed up something just right.

I sipped the drink, Georgia ate the orange. Teamwork.

Jaybirds dinner menu is pretty ambitious. They have a pizzeria, burgers, entrees like fish tacos, ribeye and fish, and soups, salads, etc. I have only been there once, so my review is based on that dinner. Chris insisted the pizzas are great… maybe we’ll return to try one out sometime soon.

Georgia Anne and I decided to share a salad and a burger for dinner. Our blue cheese salad was generously topped with spiced pecans and blue cheese – she whisked the apples away before I could eat any of those.

Since we were sharing a burger, I opted for the 1/2 pound Stuffed Gorgonzola Burger ($12.95). The kitchen cooked it perfectly and the gorgonzola added a great flavor. Georgia Anne disagreed.

“The white stuff tastes icky,” she said, so she ate the burger around the outside & I ate the center w/the cheese. Teamwork! The fries were what you’d expect- hot & crisp on the outside, potato on the inside. Not hand-cut but tasty.

I mentioned the location earlier… Jaybirds has a lot to overcome in that department, IMO. It sits in front of a wing of the synonymous hotel that has yet to be renovated. While the restaurant is bright and clean, the hotel behind it looks a bit sketchy. A fence borders Ponce de Leon Boulevard so it leaves a lot to the imagination when driving by.

It turns out that fence is there to reduce traffic sound and create ambiance via a planted courtyard. There’s a covered porch with fans and umbrella-clad tables for those seeking Florida’s sun. No koi swim in the pond {the birds kept eating them!} but the waterfall’s cascade helps cover some of the highway noise from the other side of the fence.

Annnnd the patio offers pet-friendly dining- we met a friendly pooch while waiting for dessert.

And what a dessert it was! Bananas Foster ($9.95) was meltey and gooey with caramel sauce and a very sweet ending to our girls night.

Jaybirds surprised me! I’ve only been once and have heard mixed reviews, but if you’re looking for a spot to grab a pleasant meal outside the hustle and bustle downtown, I think you’ll enjoy a quiet breakfast, lunch or dinner there. The price point is a little high for it to be a regular stop when I’m in town with the whole family so if you beat me back, leave a comment with your experience to help others out!

Jaybirds Restaurant
2600 N Ponce de Leon Boulevard
(904) 429-7153
7 am – 9 pm Sun thru Thurs
7 am – 10 pm Fri & Sat 

Jaybirds Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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