Paula Felici and Frank DiMasi are this post’s fun contributors. I know you’ll love reading a his & hers perspective as well as hearing from someone older and wiser than me. 😉 Without further ado, I present She Said & He Said: Ice Plant Edition.
What we love about living in the St. Augustine area is that on any given day, you can get up, head out and have yourself one wonderful day and feel as if you have been on vacation….no packing suitcases, no traveling to the airport, no canceling the mail…..easy breezy….get up, get dressed, get out and your on vacation. There is no better place to spend a cozy vacation day for a couple of any age than St. Augustine.
So, today we headed off to try the ICE PLANT. Although we had attempted to dine here on three other occasions, it never happened because we couldn’t get in. As you probably know, this is a “no reservations accepted” restaurant. While not new, its popularity has not decreased any in the past few years. Just the opposite….because of its reputation, ICE PLANT lives up to the hype and is always busy.
We wanted to do a She Said & He Said: Ice Plant review, so we changed our game plan. We went one afternoon and decided to be a little “edgy” and sit up at the 1920’s inspired bar for cocktails and lunch. Located in a building that once served as an ice plant, Ice Plant is well known for their craft cocktails and they did not disappoint. Our experience was enhanced by our fun and knowledgeable bartender, Joel. One quick note, although the bar and restaurant is on the second floor, there is an elevator so don’t let the stairs scare you off.
We started off with cocktails….that is, I started off with cocktails….Frank opted for an ice tea as he was the designated driver. I had the most delicious and perfectly prepared Cosmopolitan that I have had since I cannot remember when. The secret was the Pomagranate Granadine as opposed to Cranberry Juice. It was phenomenal.
We perused the menu as we enjoyed the atmosphere at this iconic building which used to manufacture ice for the fishing industry in St. Augustine. The restoration of the bulding reflects its 1920 heritage right down to the bar stools we were sitting on. It was such fun taking in the impressive array of ice, ice making tools, ice makers and all manner of ice tongs. But the moment of decision was upon us and order we must.
We opted for appetizers first. Frank had the Hummus, Marinated Olives and Warm Pita Bread and I ordered the Roasted Beet and Apple Salad. We shared and agreed both were spot on. The hummus was smooth and creamy with just the right amount of garlic and the beet and apple salad on a bed of field greens was as beautiful tasting as it was beautifully presented.
We took a little break, sat and relished our surroundings. The restaurant was full for lunch with just about every table being taken. The bar was a mixture of local business people and tourists with all enjoying both their lunch and their surroundings.
On to lunch…..Frank decided he wanted a bowl of soup and ordered the soup du jour which was Apple Celery Root. Of course, I had to have a taste and it was creamy and delicious with the most interesting mixture of flavors. Definitely a very special soup and something we would look forward to having again.
I ordered the St. Augustine Shrimp and Anson Mills Grits which, I am told, is one of the all time favorites at Ice Plant. Boy, am I glad I chose this. It was served in a piping hot individual skillet which held its temperature the whole way through. There had to be at least 12 of the sweetest St. Augustine shrimp in the skillet along with big chunks of fennel sausage, kernels of corn, okra and tomatoes. Beautifully presented and absolutely delicious. It is definitely on my “do again” list.
I would like to tell you we had dessert but we were both way too full. There is no dessert menu but Joel told us that the dessert options were Orange Creme Brulle, Chocolate Pecan Pie, Cranberry Walnut Bread Pudding or an Apple Fig Cobbler served with Maple Whipped Cream. It would have been hard to decide. I think we will go back for just coffee and dessert one day.
We were pleasantly surprised that within ten minutes of finishing our lunch, we could take part in the Distillery Tour right next door at the St. Augustine Distillery Company located at 112 Riberia St., St. Augustine 904-825-4962.
Tours take place seven days a week starting at 10:30 am Monday thru Saturday and 11:30 on Sunday. They run every half hour with the last tour being at 5:00 pm.
The Distillery utilizes local ingredients to produce whiskey, rum, vodka and gin. It is an amazingly beautiful and perfectly designed distillery with knowledgeable and fun guides to lead you on your journey. We loved every minute of it. The tours are free, including samples…..great fun. We concluded the tour in the gift shop which is chock full of craft spirits and every accessory you could ever need to help you make that perfect cocktail. This is a tour we would highly recommend.
So, with our tummies full, our heads spinning with ideas for our next cocktail party and genuine feeling of “all is well” we headed hand and hand to our car and home after a perfectly wonderful vacation day. Another She Said & He Said: Ice Plant was in the books…
Until next time…
~ Paula & Frank
110 Riberia Street