DAY 58 July 21, 2009

I didn't get to sleep until the wee hours of the morning and woke just in time to check out at 11 am. Good thing I got out in time, because the first order of business today was to check out O'Steens. I joined the huge line just in time, because I got the second to last seat in the joint! I heard one of the waitresses tell a person waiting to be seated that the wait was about 35 minutes. When they questioned her, she let them know that people had been lined up since 9:30 am. That is 90 minutes before opening time!

Oh...but it was worth it! I ordered the Minorcan Clam Chowder. The broth was red and spicy filled with veggie chunks, but clams were chewy and there weren't many of them present. I ordered the six piece fried shrimp with two sides (rice and gravy & macaroni and cheese) and a hushpuppy. I loved the shrimp! It had the lightest coating on the sweet and succulent morsel of flesh. Their special pink sauce for the shrimp has mayo, ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce. You can spice it up with their thick datil pepper sauce that is somewhat sweet and moderately spicy. The rice and gravey not what I expected, but okay when I doused it with the hot sauce. The mac and cheese had curdled during the cooking process, so not exactly the best I have eaten. They had the fluffiest, biggest hushpuppy I have ever had. I think this behemoth starts out as a normal little puppy, but fluffs up to its huge size-yummy!
Down to Fort Mantazas to check out the second oldest standing fort on the North American continent. They had a boat ride over to the island that the tiny little fort sits on (free). I heard what was probably the best ranger talks I have ever experienced at a national park. Tons of information!

Then there was this huge spider-look closely the beast is right next to his last meal. He had to be at least 3 inches in diameter. Oh my!

Then I drove down to St Augustine. I thought I would buy some wine, so I stopped for the complimentary tasting at St. Augustine Winery on King Street. When I walked in the lady at the desk was too busy talking to a man (who later caused me all kinds of grief) to pay any attention to me. I walked back to the serving area and was told that even though he was serving two people outside of the tour that I should wait 10 minutes for the next tour tasting - okay. So I went up to the counter to be added to the list. As I was talking to the lady (who now had time to answer my question) and she told me she would add me to the list, the nemesis guy said that wouldn't work because the half dozen people who walked in after me would be tasting. I explained that I had been there before them. To this he said that he had placed them on the list first. I told him flat out that he could keep his wine. That they were not the only winery in Florida and that he should be ashamed of himself for treating a customer so rudely. I hope that none of those people purchased any wine and that all readers of my blog will consider going elsewhere also.

Coincidentally, I had tasted two of their wines at Publix when I bought sushi after going to Bathtub Reef last week. I wasn't impressed enough to purchase it then, but knew they had several other varieties and was hopeful for a good port or sherry. Too bad, because I am on my last bottle of wine right now and really could have used a resupply. Not from this vinter. Not now Not ever.

I drove around town enjoying all the historic buildings in the oldest constantly occupied settlement in the United States. Then I went over to the Castillo de san Marcos National Monument. I arrived just in time for a great parking space with time left on the meter! Then I walked in two minutes before a ranger talk. He explained the 8 layers of clothing in a typical Spanish outfit. The fabric alone weighs 30 pounds!! The view from the top of the fort was amazing!

I stayed in the Plaza Inn Jacksonville. I had been looking forward to this place since my great experience in Boca Raton. Jacksonville's location is not nearly as nice. Don't get me wrong - it is quite nice for a 2** motel, but the advertise a "pillow top mattress" and a "deluxe continental breakfast". My mattress was one step above a Motel 6 mattress, but not plush by any stretch of the imagination. Speaking of imagination, I can't imagine what about the breakfast was deluxe. Perhaps it was the prepackaged muffins, honey buns, or bagels. Or maybe it was the prepackaged Kellogg's breakfast cereal bowls or the yogurt??? I did find the lemonade in their fruit juice machine to a nice surprise, but it could not have brought the offerings to the level of deluxe (or could it?)

ROUTE: A1A South>A1A North>Fl 206 West>US 1 North>A1A North>9A North>I 95 North

Lodging: Plaza Inn Jacksonville

Osteen's (*****Food ****Service)
Waffle House (****Food ****Service)

$$$: $19 Meals $43 Motel = $62

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