Here comes my big Florida exploration trip. Being a West Coast guy, I really find the south intriguing because its so different from the west. The whole thing about travel is to explore for me. So, I’d like to explore in the USA more than foreign countries. I have little desire to go back to Asia. No desire to go to the Middle East or Africa. And only little desire to go to Europe. I love the Caribbean and I would like to explore more in Central and South America. But, I really look forward to exploring Florida.
It’s not my first time in Florida but every other trip there had limited me to specific areas like Miami and Orlando. For this trip, we’re starting in Miami and exploring the Keys. Then we intend to go up the west coast of Florida and heading over to Jacksonville, FL. From there, we’ll take the east coast back down to Miami again.
I’m intrigued by Jacksonville and really look forward to experiencing it first hand. One thing that I always start looking at when planning a trip is the dining options. Jacksonville doesn’t seem to have as many fine dining restaurants but I still think that we’ll find a few to try. I’m also looking for more of the standard fare dining in Jacksonville. You know, the kind of food that you’d hear about through Guy Fireri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives television show. I expect to find some very southern and eclectic food in Jacksonville.
I started to make a list of some Jacksonville restaurants that I look forward to trying. I also contacted my buddy Michael who owns a Jacksonville hood cleaning company. Mike is great at giving insight to restaurants and is super opinionated on food and commercial kitchen cleaning. Since its his bread and butter, he’s truly in the know on all the restaurants in Jacksonville. I like local knowledge in making dining decisions so restaurants on his ‘must dine’ list are definitely something I will pay attention to.
First on my list is The Bearded Pig BBQ. Yep. This is one that I would fly all the way to Florida and then drive the length of the state to try. If there’s a better bbq restaurant in Jacksonville, FL, someone needs to tell me now. I am so ready for this! The menu is intriguing and they have great online reviews. Seriously. They have 623 reviews with a 4.6 average rating. And everyone talks about their baby back ribs as though nobody else in Florida or anywhere in the USA can do better. Yeah, I’m hitting that! They’re located in an odd spot at 1224 Kings Ave, Jacksonville, FL. But that works for me.
I also have to try Southern Charm in downtown Jacksonville. I don’t think that I’ve ever had true southern soulful food – so this is a total experiment for me. But the menu sounds delicious and again, it’s another place with excellent reviews and a strong locals following. The menu is a crackup. Nothing over $17 and simple explanations like: turkey dinner $10.99 and the one I’m looking forward to: Redneck Surf & Turf $17.00. I just wish they’d beef up their website. It’s a little weak for such a cool joint.
Now, you have to wonder about fine dining in Jacksonville. Just seems like Jacksonville is an eclectic southern town but you know, they have to have a few hot spots for high end dining. It looks to me that my choice is going to be to go to Salt in the Jacksonville Ritz Carlton. They have an amazing menu and the reviews are pretty strong. The site of the restaurant looks cool too. Maybe a walk on the dunes after dinner? Anyway – it’s definitely a restaurant that we’ll be trying.