Friday, March 24, 2006

The Best of ...

Maybe some of you have seen this show on Food Network. Anyway, with all of the food and booze posts I've seen lately, I thought this might be interesting, and possibly even of value to everyone...

Here's what we do:

List a food, drink, or experience that you think was especially extraodinary throughout your travels. Perhaps it was the best martini you ever had, or maybe the best steak, the best movie theater, etc...

Tell us where you had said experience, why you thought it was the best you ever had, and any other pertinent details. For instance, is the place still open. Can we go and expect to have a similar experience...

Jacksonville 411 - Since no one wants to play my little reindeer game here, I'm just going to put in what I think is best in Jax, at least until somebody provides something.

Some Catagories of interest:

Best Irish Bar = Lynch's & McCools (North side) & Shannons (South side)

Best Italian = Carabbas - Thanks WTG

Best Calzone = TJ's - Thanks WTG

Best Happy Hour = Chili's & Gold Club - Thanks WTG

Best Beer Selection on Tap = European Street Cafe - Thanks Maki

Best Seafood when travelling by boat = Clark's Fish Camp, Whitey's Fish Camp, and Outback Crabshack - Thanks WTG

Best Hole in the Wall Bar = Monkey's Uncle - Thanks WTG

Best Wings = BW3 (Prove me wrong.)

Best Martini = My Place. You STIR, you don't shake, you twit!

Best Steak = Yup, My Place. Moooooo

Best Pool with Twisty Slide = My Place.

Best Hot Tub = WTG's Place.

Best Prime Rib = WTG's Place.

Best BBQ = Sticky Fingers

Best Al Fresco Dining = I like Blue Fin's outdoor patio.

Best Water Front Restaurant w/ Outside Seating = Barbara Jeans (Ponte Vedra)

Best Seafood = Roys and/or Bonefish

Best Chinese = P.F. Chang's

Best Social Group = Social Spirits

Best Mexican = Castillo de Mexico (Kernan & Beach) or El Ranchito (San Pablo & Beach). - Thanks Katie.

Best Thai = Lemongrass - Thanks Tracy.

Best Sushi = Sushi Cafe (Riverside) & Blue Fin (South side)

Best Carpet Cleaning Service = Process Master - Thanks WTG

Best Bargain Home Supplies = Jax Bargain Plywood
- Thanks WTG


Blogger ANONYMOUS said...

I'll go first...

I usually don't share this with the world, as it has been my little secret since 1999.

When I was consulting at Lockheed Martin in Iowa, we used to drive 90 minutes through the corn fields to get to Montour, Iowa.

The place was called Rube's Steak House. The first thing that hits your nose when you pull up is the smell of steak over charcoal. It was one of those places where you walked in the door and before you were even seated, you picked out your meat of choice from the meat locker. Various sizes of Sirloins, T-bones, Filets, NY Strips, you name it.

They then took your selection away for some 'grill-prep' and you were seated at these long picnic tables in a huge room. After ordering and getting your drinks, they'd bring out the raw 'grill-ready' meat that you selected, and then the fun began.

Inside this room were three indoor charcoal grills, each about the size of three pool tables put together. Around each of these huge grills were patrons socializing while they were cooking their own steaks, sipping on drinks, and overall having an awesome time.

Let me tell you that seven years later, I still have yet to have a better steak. The good news, they are still open. The even better news, you can order their steaks online for dry ice shipment. They aren't cheap, but right now they are running a sale for Memorial Day, so it's a bit less expensive.

Here's the link to their site:

Mon May 15, 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger ANONYMOUS said...

OK people... This doesn't have to be the BEST in the whole friggin world. I've only been living in JAX since Jan. '05.

Maybe someone has a clue as to where the best wings, martinis, happy hours, car washes, etc... are in Jax?????

Give it up dammit!

Tue May 16, 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy said...

I have nothing to say.

Best social group: Social Spirits.

Wed May 17, 09:58:00 PM  
Blogger ANONYMOUS said...

you have nothing to say? How is that possible? :)

What about best smoothie joint?

Thu May 18, 06:16:00 AM  
Blogger kitkat said...

Best Mexican food: Castillo de Mexico (Kernan & Beach) or El Ranchito (San Pablo & Beach).

Best bar experience: Cigar Brewery, Pensacola, FL. Not in business anymore :(

Best Chinese food: North Gardens in Everett, WA. They served it up family-style, and it wasn't the cheap, nausea-inducing crap that I've had here.

Best wine: a Pinot Grigio from this little Italian place on Laura St. downtown--anyone know the name???

Happy now, anonymous?

Sat May 20, 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger ANONYMOUS said...

I'm happy you stopped by. Thanks for the contribution.

I'll update some of the JAX 411 in a bit.

Sat May 20, 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy said...

Chinese food around here stinks. Urg. This is why I eat Thai food.
And my favorite Thai place? It was Royal Thai in Dallas...
Here it was Thai Garden over near the Orange Park Mall. Haven't been there in ages.
Now I go to Lemongrass.

Mon May 22, 08:34:00 AM  
Blogger ANONYMOUS said...

Best Thai I've ever had was at a little place in downtown Boston, across from the large mall there. Can't remember the name of it off hand. Best Green Curry ever.

I've been meaning to go, but I haven't been to Lemongrass as of yet.

So, is Lemongrass 'it' for best Thai in Jax at this point?

Mon May 22, 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Tracy said...

I dunno...
I think I am burning out on pad thai. Think I will have to find something new. That's why I miss Royal Thai. They had the best chicken dish EVA. Really. And I got it mega hot... and loved it.

Oh... but speaking of chinese, there is ONE place I've been in town that had good chinese food. PF Changs.

Mon May 22, 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger ANONYMOUS said...

Let me know if you find something better than Lemongrass. I'll put it up there for now as I've heard good things about it as well.

Yeah, PF Changs is pretty good for a national chain. They are really consistant as well. I've been to the Changs in Colorado Springs, Denver, Boston, and Glen Mills PA. They were all good. Can't go without having the lettuce wraps!

Mon May 22, 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Ok so I know zero about Jax, seeing as I live in Orlando. I originally read this and tried to think of something that really stood out in my experiences, after reading about Rube's nothing I could think of came close. Then this weekend I went back up to Villanova for my sisters graduation and it hit me.

Pat's Cheesesteaks.

It didn't hit me at first because it was more a part of my college experience than part of my "travels".

For those who don't already know, the two major places to get cheesesteaks in Philadelphia are Pat's and Geno's. They sit caddy corner, facing each other accross the intersection of 9th and Passyunk. Both places are constanly busy, this past weekend we arrived at 2:30AM to find the line wrapped around Pat's. There is no indoor seating, simply a walk up window where you order your cheesesteak and tables around the outside of the stand. There is a separate window for drinks and other sides(cheese fries are a must, a cup stuffed with fries, cheese poured over the top, creating what pretty much amounts to cheese and potato soup), first window is strictly cheesesteaks.
You order by simply stating what type of cheese you want(american, provolone, or whiz, yes cheese whiz)and whether you you want it with or without onions. Extra Whiz, with. Thats my order. Extra cheese whiz, with onions. I know you're thinking "Cheese whiz? Gross!" but there is no other way to get it. The very first time I went I got provolone, the next time my roommate convinced me to get the whiz, I never looked back.
The best experiences I had there were standing there at around 2 in the morning with my friends(in various degrees of intoxication) in the middle of winter, half frozen, waiting to get my cheesesteak, then devouring it, still freezing, but not caring a bit.

Mon May 22, 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger ANONYMOUS said...

Cool Tom. I've had both Pat's and Geno's, and I prefer Pat's as well.

However, my favorite has got to be Tony Luke's on Oregon Ave. Have you had their cheese steak?

They're all so good, that it's really just a personal preference. Although, many a war/argument/fistfight? has started over which place has the best steaks, eh? Hehe

Mon May 22, 11:02:00 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Yep had Tony Lukes, their cheesesteaks are very good, too. They rank third on my list, behind Pat's and a place near Villanova called Ardmore Pizza. Fourth is another place near Nova called Garret Hill, Geno's is fifth.

Yes, many, many wars/arguments/fistfights have begun over Pat's Vs. Geno's, some resulting in people not speaking to one another for a few days. I don't know what it is, but I have never found a place outside of Philly that comes close to anyplace in Philly(that includes the dining halls at Villanova).

Tue May 23, 07:30:00 AM  
Blogger Maki said...

Not sure about the categories, but I know what I like.

I have to agree with Katie that Castillo de Mexico is terrific. I've been going there for almost 7 years now and I don't think I've ever had a bad meal. I also really like West Inn Cantina (aka Monty's) in Avondale, but that's more a place for drinking than eating, though if you like spicy, they tend not to skimp on the spicy.

As far as sushi goes, I really like Sushi Cafe in Riverside. Granted, I only eat 2 or 3 types of sushi, but everyone else I know has enjoyed everything they've had, whether it's the dragon boat or hibachi. Sitting out on the porch is always nice, too.

Beers on tap? I think European Street is tops in that category. They really take the cake when you include all the bottled beers they carry in addition to the tap beers. Mellow Mushroom has a surprisingly diverse beer selection as well, but it pales in comparison to E-Street. I'm gonna be honest... Why is Ale House even listed in that category?

For Irish bars, I have to go with Lynch's for the go-out-and-get-rowdy place, though getting a drink at the bar can be a nightmare if you're not a young, attractive girl. If you're looking for a more low-key warming-up-for-the-night-ahead type place, I think Culhanes in the Publix shopping center on Atlantic by Mayport Road is great. I don't think I've ever gone there and not run into somebody I know at some point. Friends and I have done shots with one of the owners (a hilarious Irish girl) a couple times, too. Great place but don't go after 11 or it's just about dead.

This is getting long. I'll post some more places later.

Tue May 23, 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger ANONYMOUS said...

Thanks Maki!

I put up Ale House just to piss people off enough to give up the 411. Glad it worked...

I'll add your sushi joint and 'fix' the beers on tap.

Tue May 23, 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger Who's That Girl? said...

Irish Pub--McCools

Thu May 25, 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger Who's That Girl? said...

I dont play because I am a sucker for going to the same places and ordering the sameeeeeee thing. Best Italian-Carabbas
Longest time looking at menu trying to decide cause everything is good-Cheesecake factory
Best Happy Hour-Chilis-always 2 for 1
Gold Club actually has really good food---including Italian.
Best Chicken Sandwich-Chick-Fl-A
Best Food period--Anywhere in Boston
Best Seafood for the price-the little Chinese restaurant next to Winn Dixie on San Jose (It's like 12 bucks for AUCE crablegs, shrimp, oysters...)
Best Handyman-Larry
Best Carpet Cleaning Service-Process Master
Best Bargain Prices on house supplies-Jax Bargain Plywood
Best lil hole in the wall redneck bar-Monkey's Uncle
Best Calzone-TJ's
Best Prime Rib-MY house
While we are doing "bests" we should also do "worst" of the bunch too.

Thu May 25, 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger ANONYMOUS said...

Awesome WTG!
I'll update the list later.

I agree. 'Worst of' would be helpful as well. Always good to know where the hell NOT to go.

Oh and I've got another one...

Best Restaurant with outside water front seating - Barbara Jeans in Ponte Vedra on the ILW.

Thu May 25, 10:58:00 PM  
Blogger Who's That Girl? said...

Best Seafood Places with awesome views, people AND bars!
Clark's Fish Camp
Whitey's Fish Camp
Outback Crabshack

Fri Jun 09, 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger ANONYMOUS said...

Hmm... I wonder if we should call those best pull up with the boat places?

Fri Jun 09, 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Who's That Girl? said...

yea, "Best Seafood you can get to by boat"

Fri Jun 09, 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger Who's That Girl? said...

Best Pool- TONY's!!!

Mon Jun 12, 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger ANONYMOUS said...

Also, Best Music at a Pool = Mine again. Only when WTG & Anon are there tippin a few back though. ;)

Luvs ya girlie!

Bring PK & J next time... I'll confirm that the twisty is operational prior to your arrival.

Mon Jun 12, 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger Who's That Girl? said...

Awesome! And yeah, they played over an hour of Jack Johnson!!!

Tue Jun 13, 01:55:00 PM  

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