Cap’s Express on SR16

Cap’s on the Water has been a local favorite for decades. Fresh flavors, the best water views in St. Augustine and a line of locals willing to wait for a memorable meal all await you when you visit on a nice evening.

Cap’s Express now offers the fresh & local flavors Cap’s on the Water is known for. Breakfast and lunch are available for dine-in or take-out weekdays and service is super-fast to fit into any schedule. Ben, my oldest son, and I visited for lunch. My only regret is that I didn’t take the whole family so I could try one of everything on the menu!

Open for breakfast and lunch weekdays, Cap's Express is on SR16 in the Westgate Shopping Plaza.

Open for breakfast and lunch weekdays, Cap’s Express is on SR16 in the Westgate Shopping Plaza.

Ben immediately decided on the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich on ciabatta. All of Cap’s Express’ sandwiches are offered on your choice of 4 breads (pita, ciabatta, health nut & white) and all sandwiches are $9 with your choice of side. This sandwich features a slightly sweet buffalo sauce with the expected kick topping the shredded chicken. Blue cheese nicely rounds out the flavor profile and celery adds a slight crunch. Ben went with the Southern Potato Salad for his side.

Although he is used to eating with his food blogger mamma- we always snap a photo first and share a taste of each dish- I practically had to wrestle a bite from him this time! He gave his sandwich 2 thumbs up and I have to agree. Delish.

Cap's Express offers sandwiches on pita, ciabatta, health nut or farm white bread.

Cap’s Express offers sandwiches on pita, ciabatta, health nut or farm white bread.

I wrestled with my sandwich choice… should I go veggie (the Garlic Mushroom Cheese has goat cheese and cilantro, two of my favorites!) or try something crazy like the PBLT- pork belly, tomato jam, lettuce, tomato and smoked bacon oh-my-gracious! Even the Chicken Waldorf Pita sounded pretty darn good with dried cranberries and apples sweetening the chicken salad… Choices, choices, choices!

I went for the Garlic Gyro in the end. Romaine, cucumbers, beef & lamb are tossed in a creamy garlic sauce similar to a tzatziki sauce then scooped into a pita. The flavors were all right! I ate some as a sandwich but mostly pulled back the soft pita bread and ate the filling with a fork.

The Garlic Gyro Pita was delish and boasted house made creamy garlic sauce.

The Garlic Gyro Pita was delish and boasted house made creamy garlic sauce.

Cap’s Express makes all of Cap’s on the Water’s soups fresh daily, so if you’re a fan of the She Crab Soup ($6) or a good gumbo, you can now enjoy it on days you can’t splurge for a lengthy dinner!

I also have to mention the tea. I’ve needed to watch my sugar intake with this pregnancy and was thrilled to find freshly brewed China Mist teas at Cap’s Express. When we visited, there was a Jasmine and a Watermelon tea- both flavors are unsweetened but take the edge of a bitter plain black tea. (Black is also available if it’s your fave as is sweet tea.) It’s nice to have 4 flavor choices!

When I take the whole family, I’m certain Andrew will go for the Tomato, Basil Pesto Grilled Cheese ($7) and I think Lauren will probably choose her usual, a Pesto Caesar Salad ($9). I know my gluten free friends will ask about options- Cap’s Express does offer 3 salads and a Jambalaya but I didn’t ask about the dressings & sauces… their strength is a good sandwich, so if you’re strictly GF, call before trying them out.

Ben and I chose a table with a great view of the water…

Photos of Cap's on the Water show patrons Cap's Express' roots.

Photos of Cap’s on the Water show patrons Cap’s Express’ roots.

The photos throughout the restaurant are a perfect nod to this little eatery’s roots. Lisa and Cameron carry on parents/owners Bernard & Vivian’s vision beautifully. Great food, scratch made sauces and sides and friendly service… I think Cap’s Express will join Cap’s on the Water as a local staple for years to come. See ya there!

Cap’s Express
Westgate Shopping Plaza
525 State Road 16
(904) 679-3357
Breakfast & Lunch hours: 7:30 – 2:30 weekdays

Cap's Express on Urbanspoon

We were invited to lunch at Cap’s Express in order to share the experience with you. All photos and thoughts are mine.

Phō Real

~ Pho Real closed November, 2014. ~

I tried pho once… and left the Jacksonville hot spot unimpressed. It took several facebook friends to convince me to try again- it appears that St. Augustine’s Phō Real has a devoted local following! So on a recent date night, hubby and I headed over the Bridge of Lions to Phō Real. We reasoned that even if we didn’t love pho this time either, we could check out their sushi and the night wouldn’t be a complete wash. We were in for a few surprises that night!

Surprise #1: I actually like Kimchi.

Spicy Kimchee with a sweet twist of spiced peaches at St Augustine's Pho Real.

Spicy Kimchi with a sweet twist of spiced peaches at St Augustine’s Pho Real.

The only thing I knew of kimchi was that it’s fermented a long time. At $6, I figured I could afford a taste adventure…

Spicy and slightly sour {did I mention spicy?}, I thoroughly enjoyed Phō Real’s take on kimchi! I have since tried the papaya salad (also fermented) and did not like it as much. Both are highly nutritious and worth a try!

Surprise #2: Phō Real really knows how to make sushi.

The hand roll special at Pho Real had a slice of spiced peach- unique and flavorful!

The hand roll special at Pho Real had a slice of spiced peach- unique and flavorful!

We ordered a hand roll off the special board and a Hooper Roll {$12} as appetizers. I’m 7 months pregnant and always hungry these days, so I was excited to have a filling start to our evening while we waited for the pho. The sushi looked and tasted amazing when it arrived… with our Phō. I think next time I’ll ask for it to come before dinner.

If you’re a sushi fan, sit at the sushi bar or just let your server know you’re up for an adventure. I hear they do many rolls that aren’t listed on the menu.

My favorite sushi in St Augustine is at Pho Real. It's always been fresh and flavorful and many combos are unique!

My favorite sushi in St Augustine is at Pho Real. It’s always been fresh and flavorful and many combos are unique!

And then the moment of truth arrived. Phō. Would it be “meh” like the other restaurant? Or would Phō Real’s slow roasted, small batch recipe prove more rich and flavorful?

I asked Gat, our server, how in the world to eat it. He suggested adding the veggies from the accompanying plate and then seasoning to taste with sriracha and hoisin sauce. I tentatively took a sip and decided the broth was quite flavorful so I added a bit of sriracha for a kick and dumped in the sprouts, aromatics and veggies but decided not to mess up the rich beefy flavor with too much hoisin. It was warm, rich and comforting… I found a pho I love.

Beef Pho St Augustine

Beef Pho St Augustine

Now what in the world do I do with all those noodles? They certainly won’t fit on the spoon! We had fun making a video on “How to Eat Pho” to help other newbies:

Toward the end of dinner, Janetta came in and we heard her story of being introduced to Vietnamese food and how much it became part of her life from childhood. Asian food is probably the fare I’m least versed in, so it was such a treat learning the how-to’s of some dishes I’d tried but knew little about. We also learned that Joel is the mastermind behind the sushi bar {great combos, Joel!} and Janetta convinced him to slip outside for a quick picture.

Hands-on Pho Real owners, Joel and Janetta.

Hands-on Pho Real owners, Joel and Janetta.

As a new St. Augustine restaurant in its first year, Phō Real is experiencing some growing pains. Parking seems trickier than it is (turn into the lots on either side of the sign and low wall, both belong to Phō Real), the sign has weeds at the foot of it but it’s not because they’re closed, and they’ve recently added some seating outside which is starting to warm up the exterior a bit! Inside, expect a sparse, urban, clubby feel that is unusual for St. Augustine. Set aesthetic expectations aside and give the food a try. You’ll find it to be REAL good!

Phō Real
113 Anastasia Blvd
~ Pho Real closed November, 2014. ~

Pho Real on Urbanspoon