For the Fourth of July, BFTB and I headed down to Jacksonville Beach to visit some of his family and get away from the gross, rainy NC weather. Luckily it was sunny and warm during the daylight hours of our trip, so we got in some beach time and were even able to try stand-up paddleboarding in the Atlantic. Note that I said try... About 30 minutes into our paddleboarding adventure, I saw a giant, dark dorsal fin lurking 15-ish feet behind BFTB's board. Naturally, I flipped out, immediately (and very carefully) headed into shore, and opted to hide from Jaws Jr. on dry land. After confirming that I was not going to die of shock, BFTB was brave and went back in for more SUP-ing, but I opted to hang out on the beach and play "ID the shark" with my new BFF, the lifeguard. I have now seen a shark four times in real life -and that is four too many. Having watched many a Shark Week (and a few Sharknado clips), I realize that sharks are around all the time, but I'd rather be (a) blissfully ignorant of their presence or (b) out of the water. While I really want to give SUP-ing a more complete attempt, I think I'll visit the Whitewater Center or Lake Norman before heading back out in the open water.
|My selection (top left), BFTB's selection (bottom left), the toppings bars |
(top and middle right), and the high tech yogurt pumps (bottom right)
One of our most interesting meals was in the Atlantic Beach area at Joseph's Pizza. BFTB's mom and stepdad visit Joseph's regularly, so it was the first place they thought of when BFTB said that he was craving pizza. The restaurant had a pretty big menu full of relatively standard Italian entrees, sandwiches, and pasta dishes in addition to both NY style and double baked thin crust pizzas. BFTB's mom and stepdad ordered a Joseph's Special (a hand-tossed supreme style pizza loaded with pepperoni, Italian sausage, beef, ham, mushrooms, black olives, onions, and green peppers) to share and BFTB and I opted to split a Gyro Pizza (a hand-tossed pie topped with Gyro meat, mozzarella, onion, Tzatziki, lettuce, and tomatoes). The crust was crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and the pizza itself had a tasty, unique flavor. The Gyro meat was a little peppery, but otherwise relatively mild. The onions and tomatoes were cut to a perfect size -the pieces weren't too big, but they also weren't so small that they blended in with the pizza. I liked that the pizza almost seemed like a deconstructed meal -I could taste each ingredient individually and also enjoy the different flavors and textures in combination with each other. The Tzatziki was super tangy and may not have been my favorite had it been on a sandwich (it was warm and almost dressing-like in consistency), it was perfect for the pizza. Combined with the mozzarella, the sauce kept the toppings from sliding off the slice and provided interesting balance to the Gyro meat and veggies. I look forward to attempting to recreate this pizza at home in the near future.
|Shrimp nachos (top left); Gyro pizza (bottom left); our beautiful|
view while driving around on the Fourth of July (right).
We also visited Lillie's Coffee Bar (twice) and Beach Diner for breakfast during our trip. Despite my love of all things breakfast-related, I failed to take any pictures of my meals. However, I would recommend both places to Jacksonville's breakfast eaters. My eggs at Beach Diner were cooked perfectly and were accompanied by some exceptionally great hashbrowns. I ordered mine extra crispy and they were perfect -not too greasy and not at all mushy, all without tasting burnt, a major feat in the breakfast world! We also spent an evening in St. Augustine where we ate at A1A Ale Works (which we were amused to discover was the exact same restaurant as Ragtime, just under a different name) and enjoyed some frozen sangria at Sangria's Wine & Tapas Bar.