Savory Faire: The Original St. Augustine Food Tour
The ultimate attraction for a foodie like myself a food tour. I was so excited to be invited to Savory Faire, a part of the original CityWalks food and wine tours. It turned out to be the highlight of our family vacation to Florida’s historic coast. My family, as well as four other people, joined guide Shawna as we embarked on this three-hour award-winning walking food tour. This St. Augustine food tour traditionally makes five to six culinary stops for food and/or drink.
Old City House Inn & Restaurant
Our first visit was a quick walk to the Old City House Inn & Restaurant, where we were taken into a beautiful courtyard adorned with lovely orchids and fragrant flowers. The Inn dates back to 1873 and is one of the premier Bed and Breakfasts in St. Augustine. Our plate at Old City House contained a small piece of succulent lamb atop a bed of cabbage risotto that would knock your socks off. It is rare that I eat lamb (it is psychological), but this melted in your mouth. The creative risotto recipe would be an addition to my recipe book had they offered it.
Cafe Alcazar: A Gorgeous Hotel and Museum
Next, we took a stroll through the Lightner Museum to sample food at the elegant Cafe Alcazar. Our dining spot once held the largest swimming pool when the Alcazar Hotel was operational, circa 1887. The sampler they had prepared for us consisted of hearty Mediterranean foods: creamy hummus, tomatoes, cucumbers, pita bread, and olives, plus classically prepared escargot with white wine, garlic butter, and minced herbs. I didn’t want to leave this restaurant!
FYI: The Alcazar Hotel was built by Henry Flagler. It was a health center and stomping grounds for the rich and famous. Its freshwater pool was the focal point and was built in the center of a four-story-high building that had a retractable glass ceiling that could be cranked open to see the stars. The second story was home to the musicians and non-swimming guests. A swanky ballroom completed the third floor. Pictures of the hotel and swimming pool can be found upon entering the museum.
We detoured through Ancient Olive, a bonus stop, where we sampled olive oils, balsamic vinegar, spreads, honey, and pepitas (pumpkin seeds). My family enjoyed this stop and made a purchase. Tour participants were offered a small discount. The group also stopped at a wine store which gave us a small orange wine sample as well as a sherbet-like frozen drink that was quite tasty.
Opa! A Greek Offering
Athena, the premier Greek taverna in St. Augustine, was most-likely the favorite stop on our Savory Faire food tour. We were welcomed by a friendly staff and treated to pure deliciousness on a plate starting their Saganaki, flaming goat cheese. The waiter flambéed the cheese in brandy then dowsed the fire by drizzling lemon juice over it. It is customary for the crowd to cheer Opa! as the cheese burns. The Saganaki was served with fresh pita bread and it was heavenly! I really expected that to be the only thing we received at Athena but they also brought out small gyros. The gyros were perfectly cooked and the pairing of tzatziki sauce was fantastic.
95 Cordova Restaurant
The final stop for the food portion of Savory Faire food tour was to the opulent Casa Monica Hotel. Our group had a private room in their lavish Costa Brava at 95 Cordova Restaurant where we shared grilled shrimp, Papas Bravas with tangy smoked paprika tomato aioli, and a traditional charcuterie platter. The fig bread with manchego cheese, quince jam, and Italian meats were delectable. I was one happy camper! My husband and daughter tried 95 Cordova’s chocolate martinis from the bar and gave them the thumbs up. Both the Moorish hotel and restaurant’s thick wooden furniture, white leather chairs and couches, and Turkish light fixtures were exquisite. We found it very “Game of Thrones-ish”.
Sweet Treats at Claude’s Chocolates
Dessert was a hit from Claude’s Chocolates where we were treated to a 60% chocolate sample, their best selling caramel sea salt bon-bon, and a chocolate and vanilla soft-serve ice cream with a decorative chocolate garnish that was a delightful touch! Claude’s Chocolates also sells beautifully packaged candy and treats.
Learn About St. Augustine One Bite at a Time
For those wishing to participate, the Savory Faire Food Tour is $59 per person and includes a swag bag with some goodies to take home as well. In addition, for $19 per person, you may also add on a wine sampling that includes paired wines at the restaurants. My best is to book it now and come hungry; we had not eaten all day when we arrived for the 1:30 tour and were incredibly stuffed by the time we finished. Our group was treated like VIP’s at each stop and we did not have to wait for food or service.
I wish to give Shawna from Savory Faire a big shout-out for entertaining us with historical facts and friendly conversation in addition to strategically timing the food presentations. We enjoyed her wit and personality which made us feel as if we had known her forever. She is a real asset for the CityWalks.
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