Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Seville’s Palace Cafe for Breakfast

We had a favorite place for breakfast, Adonna’s, but first they discontinued AdventureMan’s favorite – Biscuits and Gravy – and then they discontinued mine, which was Cinnamon Roll French Toast. What to do? Where to go? We go often to The Scenic Diner, but we wanted something different.

We checked out a few places but nothing felt right. Then we remembered the Palace Cafe at Seville, a place we had wanted to try for breakfast for quite a while.

They had a good crowd, but we were seated immediately and coffee and tea arrived within minutes. As we ordered, AdventureMan said “oh! We haven’t had beignets here; let’s have those!” and I applaud the waitress, who didn’t bat an eye, didn’t say a thing, not a single thing about all the times I have been there with GCCDC groups and ordered beignets for all the tables, because they are so good.

When they arrived, I told AdventureMan how often I had them before; I just couldn’t let him believe a lie. These beignets are like the ones we ate in New Orleans, a little like the lightest deep fried donut you ever ate. So much air, and powdered sugar – that can’t be all that bad for you, right? Right? Aren’t they beautiful?

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I had the Palace eggs, which comes with grits or hash browns or fruit, and it was perfect:

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AdventureMan had the breakfast croissant. He said it was a pretty good croissant – he still misses our breakfasts in France.
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There were families there, children playing while the adults visited. There were adult groups, there were buddies. It was active without being noisy.

It was also one of the best breakfasts we have had in a long time. We love this place.

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October 24, 2013 Posted by | Building, Character, Eating Out, Food, Living Conditions, Restaurant | , , , | Leave a comment

. . . Red Fish, Blue Fish on Pensacola Beach

I remember reading the book, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish to my son – maybe about a hundred thousand times, you know how kids love Dr. Seuss. This was a restaurant people started talking about months before it ever opened. Great location. New concept, re-using metal shipping containers, very environment-friendly – what’s not to like?

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Our son and his wife got there first, not too long after it opened. Their experience was less than stellar. They loved the ambiance, sitting out by the lapping waves on Quietwater Sound (except when hit by an errant bean-bag, one of the risks you take sitting near the bean-bag toss section, but hey – when you’ve already waited 45 minutes for a table, you take what you get.) They loved the food – when they got it. It took them fifteen minutes, and tracking down a waitress themselves just to get a menu, more time to get their orders placed. All in all, they said, a great evening with some annoyances. That is not a stellar recommendation.

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We tried it a week or so later, at lunch. No crowd, but neither was there a hostess, people just kind of wandered in looking around, a little lost, and some waiter or waitress would holler “just seat yourself!”

No sooner had we seated ourselves – every table has a great view – than our waitress appeared. We have NO complaints about the service; the service at lunch time the day we were there was great. It was one of those perfect Fall days in Pensacola, temperature maybe 75° with blue blue skies, a Blue Angel takes a whirl over us as we are sipping our iced teas, the waves are lapping, breezes breezing – lovely.

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The wait staff wear Tshirts indicating they are “CREW”
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AdventureMan ordered the BLATT, bacon lettuce avocado tomato and tilapia, which came hot and fresh and tasted . . . OK. Fine. Nothing special. Sort of small by Pensacola standards.

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Fries are a side. You pay extra for fries, they don’t come with the meal.

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I ordered Asian Slaw with fish on top. When it came, I was delighted that the fish was not deep fried, but grilled. The fish was delicious. I was not delighted that the Asian slaw was barely there, and had a Caribbean lime flavor. The waitress brought me some soy sauce. Not the same. Tiny portion – by Pensacola standards.

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Great location. Nice, beachy, casual ambiance. Lots of local groups trying the place, having a good time. We had great service, but date nights you might experience slow service.

Here’s the thing. Just a short walk up the walk is Flounders, with great french fries, truly superb, so crispy delicious that people who are not supposed to eat fries have to succumb to the temptation to try a fry or two or three or . . .

Beach food isn’t cheap, but at Flounders, fries are included with the meals. Service is almost always pretty good. You rarely have to wait longer than 20 minutes at a really really busy time to get seated. Larger menu, more entrees than Red Fish Blue Fish.

It’s a tough comparison, but it’s a reality,and inevitable, especially when you are almost next door neighbors. Red Fish Blue Fish is going to have to step up its game.

October 24, 2013 Posted by | Beauty, Cultural, Customer Service, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Restaurant | | Leave a comment

“I’m Sonny’s Granddaughter”

AdventureMan and I have had a small adventure, filled with unexpected moments of fun and interest. Returning yesterday from a four day conference in Orlando, we knew we needed to stop for some lunch, and did not want to repeat our experience on the way down, when we said to ourselves that we weren’t going for great; adequate would do. It was just a pit stop, get off, get gassed, get food, get back on the road.

“There’s a Cracker Barrel,” I said, and it was just off the road, easy on and off.

Never again. Service was great. Our meals were worse than OK. The menu was full of things I never eat. The salad I ordered had a very weird tasting salad dressing. I couldn’t wait to get out of there, and we both felt a little sick later in the day – it was awful. Never again.

Yesterday, on our way back, AdventureMan did the spotting, and saw a Sonny’s BBQ sign. It was easy on and off, and Sonny’s is always predictably good.

“We don’t normally like chains,” AdventureMan said, “but Sonny’s is really good, and the food is real food.”

“It’s a small chain,” I amended, “not like Chili’s or all those others.”

“I don’t think it’s that small,” AdventureMan said, as I parked.

We were seated immediately, ordered, and chatted a little with our waitress. AdventureMan asked her how many Sonny’s there were, and told her how we’ve been eating at Sonny’s since we lived in the Tampa Bay area several years ago. She told us – it was over 150 – so not a small chain, but a good sized regional chain. Then she added the kicker:

“I’m Sonny’s granddaughter.”

What a delight! We were able to ask he to tell her grandpa how much we enjoy his food. We were actually near, but not at, the very first Sonny’s BBQ ever. At Thanksgiving, as you know, we go out of town, but we always have a Sonny’s smoked turkey to pick up when we get back – they are so good.

We really like barbecue. There are so many good BBQ places in Pensacola, and we hit them all 🙂 but Sonny’s has a level of comfort that finds us heading back time after time. Meeting Sonny’s granddaughter was just icing on the cake.

October 24, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Customer Service, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Florida, Food, Living Conditions, Restaurant, Road Trips, Travel | , | Leave a comment