Dining at Jacksonville Beach

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Part of the fun of travel is great food. I must admit anytime I head south I find food just tastes great so we were already on the right path.

We headed out for our family trip with my husband, son and daughter-in-law,  with ice on the ground, and a desire for sun and sea. Our first night at Jacksonville Beach, we dined at the exquisite Casa Marina Penthouse lounge that is located on this historic hotel’s roof top.  After taking in the amazing view of the Atlantic, we perused the menu.

Rather than limit ourselves to just one entrée of Chef Aaron Webb’s delightful choices, we decided to order a selection and share. Chef Aaron Webb has been at the helm of the Hotel’s culinary team for the past 15 years and continues to add new and delightful choices for those dining, planning weddings or selecting catering options. On my last visit a couple of year’s ago I got the distinct pleasure of interviewing this amazing chef and was excited to see him a couple times during our three-night stay at the Casa.

First on the agenda on the Rooftop was selecting a drink.  Since Wednesday night was Martini night, we decided to give it a go. I chose a sweeter drink then we settled in to enjoy our hummus and flatbread, shrimp and grits, crab cakes over greens with sweet chili sauce, Baked Brie Encroute which was a mini brie in puff pastry with raspberry glaze and served with fruit and crostines, yum!

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After walking the beach, visiting the Beaches Museum and checking out the wonders of St. Augustine, the nation’s oldest city on Thursday, we headed back to Jacksonville Beach to eat at Chef Aaron’s other establishment Zeta’s Brewing Company. Since Zeta’s is a brewery as well as an eatery it made sense to try one of their brew selections. I chose Ruby Beach, their classic wheat beer.  I loved the lightness and the name resonated because Jacksonville Beach was originally named Ruby Beach for the founder’s daughter.

Again, the four of us chose to order three selections and share except for my husband.  Keith couldn’t get past the strawberry and goat cheese salad which I got a few bites of, but only a few.  His fork was held at a dangerous angle when he thought I had taken my share!  Otherwise, Stacy, my daughter-in-law selected the pretzel knots and dip, together she and I chose the Barry White pizza which was comprised of garlic cream sauce, shredded mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta, fresh mozzarella and basil.  Jason the resident pizza expert chose the build your own and ordered a sausage and pepperoni pizza.  We couldn’t eat it all though we tried!

On Friday, our last night of the trip, we had come back to Jacksonville Beach tired and hungry from a day at the lovely Amelia Island where we shopped and went on a boat ride.  We fulfilled Jason’s wish for alligator and Keith’s for oysters by dining at Ocean Grill.  It was the perfect ending to our trip  sitting seaside while we dined.

After dinner we decided to head back to Zeta’s for dessert.  We didn’t have room the night before so we went back and loaded up on the amazing warm chocolate brownie and monkey bread. Except for Keith who wanted his own Vanilla Bean ice cream!

While we made memories on our family trip, the soothing and delightful food we ate enhanced the trip, and we enjoyed every bite!