I hope you enjoy this new section of our family website. Eating out is always a treat! Finding a healthy and tasty place is even better!! Here, I’ll try to give you a list and short descriptions of the best places we’ve found along the way. Hope you get a chance to visit these coastal and inland waterway gems!
Jensen Beach, FL
Crawdaddy’s – Plenty of great seafood cooked to order (grill, blackened, fried) with pastas, sandwiches, salads and soups. Great live music and fun cocktails. New Orleans ambiance outside with picnic tables under the old oak tree. Lots of things to choose from at this N’awlins, family style, casual restaurant. Located on 1949 Jensen Beach Blvd.
11 Maple Street – Organic, local, and very upscale, with lots of different things to eat from Thai flavors to seafood, elk, and truffles. Tucked away along a side street in downtown Jensen Beach and housed in an historic home with beautiful indoor or porchside dining, this is your place to go if you’re in the mood for romantic dining. Both small and large plates available in addition to an extensive wine list and delicious desserts. Located on 11 Maple Street.
Stuart and Vero Beach, FL
Lemon Tree – a local favorite for those in Vero Beach, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with plenty of local favorites such as the breakfast sandwich, crab cakes, and their classic pot pie. Salads, sandwiches and soups available as well.
Kilwins – Chocolate factory and ice-cream parlor galore. Amazing chocolate creations including some of the best fudge we’ve tasted. Always homemade. Huge display of candy confections for the sweet tooth. Can be found in most cities along the East Coast. The kids made me put this one on the blog!!!
Ossorio – great stop for a quick bite at this old-world, French style bistro cafe. Flatbread pizzas, salads, sandwiches, homemade ice-cream, espressos and delicious bakery items available. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with seating inside or out. Located on 316 Brevard Avenue.
New Smyrna, FL
Grammy K’s – go into this charming bakery located down the historic district and choose from homemade granola, cinnamon buns, whoopie pies, giant cookies, and definitely order a cheesecake. I think it was the best cheesecake we’ve ever tasted – creamy, smooth, velvety, melt in your mouth delicious! We ordered the Oreo Cheesecake and it was ready the next morning for pick-up. Not to be missed! Located on 215 Canal Street.
Saturday Farmers Market, 8 am – 12 noon – wide array of farm fresh veggies and fruits both local and organic. Honey, breads, orchids, coffee, arts and crafts round out the selection. Located in a park just north of Canal Street and close to the marina.
St. Augustine, FL
Casa Maya – located just off the main street on Hypolita in the Historic downtown district. Plenty of organic, home-cooked Mexican specialties to eat in or take out. Soups, salads, and plenty of main dishes, including vegetarian options, wraps, sandwiches, tacos, quesadillas, smoothies, and delicious organic guacamole, chips and salsa. Open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. You can find a refreshingly light and tasty meal for a very reasonable price. Located at 17 Hypolita Street.
Hyppo Popsicle – Right next to Casa Maya, something to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth after lunch and dinner or maybe just for a snack. Refreshing varieties like cucumber/dill, pineapple/cilantro, and key lime to name just a few. For those who like the spicy side of life, be sure to try Mouth Grenade, a delectable mix of pineapple, hot peppers and plum that is sure to explode with flavor on your taste buds. Also available is a full service espresso coffee bar if you need an afternoon energy boost. Located on Hypolita Street, next to Casa Maya.
Present Moment Cafe – fresh, organic, living food available for breakfast, lunch and dinner in this off the beaten path location just west on King Street outside of the Historic downtown district. Everything is raw and vegan, full of interesting textures and tastes like Kale Avocado a la present Moment, a kale salad massaged with avocado and lemon oil, sprinkled with red bell pepper, diced onion, sesame seeds and candied pecans; or try the Maki Sushi Roll, a seasoned parsnip “rice”, avocado and veggies rolled in nori and served with wasabi and wheat free ginger tamari dipping sauce. Plenty of satisfying meals such as Viva Burrito, Tacos of Life, and a Creamy White Truffle Pesto “Pasta”, Sunlight Burger, Mango Samosas and Portabella Croquettes to fill you up, but make sure you leave room for dessert. Here there are such things as Cacoa Brownie Sundae’s, Warm Live Pecan Apple Cobbler with a scoop of their signature cashew vanilla ice cream or try Chocolate Marble Torte with Drunken Bananas. Also not to miss are the delicious smoothies and fresh raw juices available at the bar as you walk in. Plenty of variety and should just about meet the needs of even the most finicky eaters. Located on 224 West King Street.
Fernandina Beach, FL
Arte Pizza – Delicious Wood Fired Pizza & Calzones with additional offerings such as salads, eggplant or chicken parmigiana, baked ziti, and grilled panini sandwiches. Their pizzas are what most people come in for and they are not to be missed. Thin to medium style crust with only the freshest ingredients available for toppings. We were welcomed to the restaurant by the Italian owner and his family as they were sitting down on the front porch for their evening meal. He waved us back through the staffs kitchen to the seating area on the covered side-porch of the home. Picnic tables, clean checked table cloths, and a friendly staff added to the overall cozy, down-home feel of this Italian Trattoria. Located at 109 N. 3rd Street.
Amelia Island Coffee Shop – This was our stop for a good cup of coffee in the afternoon. They have Lattes, espresso, or chai tea at this full service coffee bar. Lots of tasty baked goods and ice-cream available as well.
Pattycakes Bakery and Pastry Shop – located on 4th Street next to the Library, this word of mouth cafe has some of the most highly decorated, yummy cupcakes around. Pink Lemonade, Ice-cream Sunday, Grasshopper, Oreo Cookie, and Birthday cake are just a few of the selections of cupcakes made fresh at the bakery each morning. Also available are eclairs, cinnamon buns, donuts and fresh bread. Our kids had us going there daily!
Thrive, A Carry out Cafe – A 2 star Certified member of the Green Restaurant Association this little cafe stands out among the other dining options around Thunderbolt. Great place to stop and pick up items for a beach picnic in Tybee Island or for visiting Fort Pulaski or purchase an entire casserole or roasted chicken for dinner one night. They offer freshly prepared carry out dishes, using as many local and organic ingredients as possible. Lots of freshly prepared salads, vegetables, soups, sandwiches and lets not forget the delicious homemade desserts on hand. They also have a small selection of organic vegetables and fruits available for purchase. Located at 4700 East Highway 80E.
Tortuga’s Island Grill – Southern cooking with a Caribbean flare, this little cafe has it covered. Family owned and operated, the Maryland couple that opened this cafe in 2008 strive to make your seafood options unique and tasty with just the right amount of spice added in. Fresh salads, delicious soups, amazing homemade potato chips and fried green tomatoes are a few of the appetizers available. Panini sandwiches filled with shimp, pork, steak or chicken, Jumbo Maryland Crab Cakes, Shrimp and Grits, or try the fresh local catch of the day either blackened or grilled guarantee that you will find something to satisfy your appetite. Located at 2815 River Drive.
Farmers Market in Port Royal – Plenty of fresh, local and some organic produce and food products at this market. Get their early for the best selection because many of the farmers sell out within the first hour of opening. Also available are eggs, dairy, soaps, honey, nuts, plants, homemade pastas, and plenty of on site breakfast and lunch items such as shrimp and grits, crepes, fried dough and fresh coffee. A fun morning activity that you can get to by bike, dinghy, or car if docked in Beaufort.
Saffron Bakery – This was a favorite cafe for us! Plenty of middle eastern dishes such as falafel, kabobs, and curry mixed in with a sprinkling of other staples such as pasta, pizza, sandwiches, salads and soups. If you like spice and Persian cooking, this is the place to stop for lunch or dinner. They also have a wide selection of specialty pastries, desserts, baked goods and breads for breakfast as well as a fully stocked coffee bar. Located at 333 East Bay Street just near the Aquarium.
Morsels Market – What do you get when you cross a terrific selection of wine, organic produce and market goods, a full service deli with sandwiches, wraps, salads, and a full selection of take out foods such as lasagna, pizza rolls, meatloaf, salmon, and egg rolls plus a super knowledgable owner who wants to cook for you using the freshest, organic and/or local ingredients? You get this terrific little market with a super friendly owner/chef who does everything possible to provide you with superior service, delicious, healthy, and tasty food items for you to enjoy in your home or out on a picnic. Take out specials change daily depending on seasonal availability of produce and the owners daily preference for cookbooks, but you will always be pleased with the selection and abundance offered. Get there early if you want one of the chef’s super tasty and highly coveted tomato pies. You can even special order some of the seasonal organic fruits and vegetables delivered to the store if you give her a day’s notice. A definite no miss for this town! Located at 619 Front Street.
Moore Street Market – Great place for breakfast or lunch. They have delicious breakfast sandwiches, bagels, belgian waffles, homemade muffins and a large selection of fresh brewed coffee, tea and latte specials. Lunch classics such as the rueben, grilled cheese, and BLT club sandwich accompany other creatively named specials such as The Hipster (hummus with veggies in a wrap), Sweet Daddy’s (cranberry and walnut chicken salad on a toasted pretzel roll with lettuce) and Grandma’s Best (homemade herb egg salad with crispy bacon and lettuce on toasted wheat bread). Fresh chopped salads and plenty of homemade sides make this market a no miss for the lunch crowd! Located at 130 East Moore Street.
The Provision Company – The ultra laid-back, casual waterfront dining cafe serves fresh local fish, shimp, crab, and many other seafood options grilled, blackened or fried in a sandwich or over a salad with french fries and a cold beer from the cooler on the back porch overlooking the river. This is as fresh as it gets. You can see the fishermen hauling up their catch right behind the restaurant and bringing it in for lunch or dinner. Fun atmosphere and live music offered on the weekends. Located on the corner of Yacht Dr. and Bay Street.
Live Oak Nutrition – Everything you need in terms of holistic health food vitamins and supplements. It is kind of like the organic version of a GNC store. Pretty nice variety of herbs, vitamins, drink mixes, electrolytes, aromatic oils, homeopathic medicines and plenty of nutritional bars and snacks to stock up on. Free copies of the popular health/ holistic living magazine “delicious living” are also available in the store. Located at 114 E. Nash Street.
Side Street Bakery – Fresh pastries, bread, cakes, fruit turnovers, eclairs, cinnamon buns, muffins, cookies, and the most amazing variety of fresh baked doughnuts available for miles around. Need I say more?? This cafe is not listed in the cruiser guides, but it should be. The freshest and most tasty baked goods in town. It is worth the extra few blocks you have to walk in order to find it. As the name indicates, its located just north of the main road that runs into town at 105 West St. George Street. Don’t miss this one!
Hot Pink Cake Stand – Wow! is what we said when we saw the most fabulously decorated wedding and party cakes showcased in the front window of this delicious bakery/coffee/tea shop in downtown Wilmington. Every day they serve – from scratch – muffins, cookies, and the most deliciously flavored cupcakes we have ever seen! Try the traditional flavors like the Carrot, Vanilla or Chocolate. Or maybe try the Oreo Cookie, Reeses Peanut ButterCup, Lemon Drop, Coconut, Chocolate-Mint or Lime Coconut. Also available are most of the flavors in a vegan variety. Whatever you choose, you’re in for a flavorful treat! Located at 114 North Front Street.
Ocracoke Island, NC
Back Porch Restaurant and Wine Bar – Local, fresh, some organic, and cooked with a decidedly southern twist, this little upscale restaurant is sure to please. Portions are large, so order wisely. Appetizers include a cheese and fruit platter, seared tuna and delicious salads. Main courses follow along the seafood options; whatever was caught that day is on the menu. An extensive wine and cocktail menu plus some delectable desserts round out the menu. If you are lucky enough to find the Fig Cake listed on the dessert menu, definitely try it. This cake was developed by one of the locals and has been featured in Southern Living Magazine. A great place to chill at the bar or enjoy a great dinner on the back porch. Don’t miss this one. Located at 110 Back Road.
Ocracoke Coffee Company – If you need caffeine this is your place to go. They have a huge selection of fresh brewed coffee, coffee specialty drinks (both cold and hot) as well as a large selection of exotic teas. Don’t miss out on the homemade bagels, muffins, and cookies prepared each morning to go with your steaming cup of java. They also prepare fresh fruit smoothies and juices for those that need a healthier alternative to the caffeine buzz. Plus they have lots of guitars sitting around for any interested or aspiring musicians. Definitely a hang-out kind of place.
Zillie’s Island Pantry – If you are in need of an exotic beer, fancy bottle of wine or maybe just some good cheese, don’t miss this cute little wine and beer bar. A whole wall is devoted to as many different beers from all over the world for you to purchase. The best part is that you can make up your own 6 pack. Choose from their extensive collection to take home or just sit and chill on the front porch with your chosen beverage. They also offer a wine tasting in the afternoons. Cheese, crackers, chutneys as well as other gourmet pantry products are sure satisfy your afternoon munchies. Located on 538 Back Road.
Shady Grove MarketPlace – Stroll along cobblestone streets down by the waterfront on the Freemason Trail (located on the other side of the Nauticus Museum by the battleship Wisconsin) and you will find this little gem of a marketplace. They offer a variety of locally grown, organic fresh fruits and vegetables as well as deli items, frozen products, fresh sandwich and lunch items, sushi, and also have a small selection of household items and pantry supplies to restock the necessities on board. It is a new business in the neighborhood and the owner, Emily Stephens, wants to get the word out about the great, local products they sell to you directly from the local farmers nearby. The neighborhood is really nice and it certainly makes for a worthwhile stroll away from the hustle and bustle of the downtown area. Located at 501 Botetourt Street
Five Points Community Farm Market – If you get into Norfolk between Thursday and Sunday, you have to stop and check out this great farmers market. Unlike other farmers markets, where the farmers themselves set up stands and sell their goods, this indoor market has worked with the farms to collect, price and sell the produce. This allows the farmers to spend more of their time doing what they do best growing fresh, delicious and healthy food. In addition to the wide variety of fresh produce, you will also find some household goods, pantry items and fresh baked goodies to take home. They have an onsite cafe serving delicious lunch and dinner items (both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options) and also have a full class schedule of events, workshops and activities for locals and visitors to Norfolk. Located at 2500 Church Street. www.5PtsFarmMarket.org.
Carrot Tree Kitchen – If you are looking for a delicious home cooked meal with all menu items prepared from scratch daily, this is your place to stop. Open for lunch and dinner, this cafe is in one of Yorktown’s oldest homes, the Cole Digges House. The menu includes a nice variety of soups, salads, sandwiches, and platters each with a colorful description of which historic figure may have enjoyed eating them. Plenty of choices to satisfy many different tastes and don’t forget to leave room for the amazing Carrot Cake. Probably the best I have tasted this far into the Loop. Located at the corner of Read and Main Street.
Leeward Market, Cafe and Grocery – A wonderful little gem to explore if you happen upon it over the bridge from the Marina in a little neighborhood called Eastport. Fresh, hot croissants, baked goods and egg sandwiches to go with you coffee in the morning, soups, salads and a variety of creative sandwiches for lunch, plus hand made, thin crust pizza’s if your in the mood for Italian. Many to go foods and pantry staples available along with a small assortment of fresh produce, milk products and eggs. Most of the ingredients used are sourced locally, their organic waste is composted, and they are adamant about their own recycling and reuse program. Great little place for a casual bite to eat or to pack a picnic. They are open till 3pm daily and stay open later for Friday night dinner. Located at 601 Second Street, Eastport.
B.B. Bistro – This is a don’t miss, great little organic, sustainable, green restaurant just over the bridge in the charming neighborhood of West Annapolis. Awarded Annapolis’s highest green seal as a certified environmental steward, this cafe offers breakfast and lunch in a cozy, homestyle type of ambiance. All foods are locally and organically sourced with many of the herbs and vegetables grown out back. A full array of breakfast sandwiches, eggs, oatmeals, baked goods and quiches offered for breakfast with a large selection of farm fresh sandwich, salad, soup and quiches offered for lunch till 4pm. A fully stocked coffee and smoothy bar along with a nice selection of homemade desserts available daily. Reasonably priced and an exceptionally friendly staff, often with the owners there to answer your questions. Don’t miss this great little cafe! Located on 112A Annapolis Street, West Annapolis.www.bbbistroannaplis.com
Level, a small plates lounge – Another Annapolis favorite, not only because they are certified members of the Annapolis Sustainability Stewardship Program, but also for their amazingly creative small plates and dishes served at this dinner-only lounge. Call ahead for a reservation because this one gets crowded with plenty of locals seeking out the freshest, local and simply prepared, delicious shared plates in all of Annapolis. An extensive wine and cocktail menu accompanies such creations as grilled bison satay, seared sea scallops, handmade gnocchi, arugula & berry salad, flatbreads, hand cut fries, fresh regional cheeses, sauteed seasonal greens and my favorite, the grilled asparagus with blue cheese, tea salt and red wine syrup. Plenty of choices to satisfy a variety of food preferences all within a lively, hip atmosphere in the lively neighborhood just north of Capital Circle. A definite no miss if you want to be part of the Annapolis see and be seen crowd! Located at 69 West Street. www.levelsmallplateslounge.com
49 West, Coffeehouse, Winebar, Gallery – If you are looking for a great place to listen to live music while dining, this is your place. Offering a full menu from breakfast through dinner to cocktails, coffee and lounge music this place has it all. Check their website for a listing of the latest Jazz, Blues and Folk musicians to hear each evening. Plenty of sandwiches, salads and delicious entree’s to choose from along with a delicious brunch served daily. Located at 49 West Street.www.49westcoffeehouse.com
Baltimore, MD – No shortage of great places to choose from in this city. Check out Fells Point, Little Italy and Charles Street if you stay in the City. The options below are some of my favorites that shouldn’t be missed if you’re able to get a car for the weekend.
Prigel Family Creamer – Fresh ice cream cones, milk shakes and ice cream sandwiches made with milk from their organic grass fed herd, here you will find what your sweet tooth has been craving. We came across this great little barnyard creamery while driving around the beautiful Baltimore countryside. Field after field of grass, cows, corn and crops await you if you take this drive out to one of the most scenic areas of Baltimore County. Pack a picnic lunch, enjoy your ice cream then stop by nearby Boordy vineyards to make your day complete with a wine tasting and tour of the vineyards. Along your drive through the countryside you will encounter several roadside stands offering for sale some of the best local produce, so enjoy the day and soak up all the fresh air and sunshine the countryside has to offer! www.prigelfamilycreamery.com and www.boordy.com
Woodberry Kitchen– From farm to table offering the seasonal best organic produce and meats cooked using traditional ingredients of the Chesapeake Bay, this place is sure to please the palate. Make sure you call well ahead (a couple of days) for a reservation because this place is hopping with those that know good cooking is worth waiting for. The menu changes daily according to what’s in season but with appetizers such as Warm Skillet Cornbread, Ladyfinger Popcorn, Deviled Eggs, fresh salads and regional cheese plates to entrees including Tilghman Island Crabcakes, Springfield Chicken n’ Biscuit and Melted Richfield Farm Squash there is always something to please. They are open for dinner and weekend brunch only. Don’t forget to stroll around the newly restored, historic area to observe artist and artisans creating unique jewelry, clothing, glassblowing and metalworks crafts. It’s a full afternoon of entertainment. Located at 2010 Clipper Park Road, just off the Jones Falls Expressway. www.woodberrykitchen.com
Cafe Hon – Get ready for an eclectic, homegrown, Baltimore experience at this hometown favorite in Hamden. If you saw the movie Harispray, filmed in this neighborhood, you will know what I mean when I say, Welcome to Bawlmer HON! Downhome, comfort style food awaits you in this colorful landmark on West 36th Street. Get ready for jumbo size hotdogs, grilled cheese, and crabcake sandwiches hon and don’t forget the over the top pies, cakes and cookies offered for dessert. Leave your diet at the door and just sit, relax and soak up the Bawlmer atmosphere at this great little urban oasis of charm. Located under the giant pink flamingo at 1002 West 36th Street. www.cafehon.com
New York City
You certainly don’t need a dining guide for the Big Apple. Pretty much any cuisine is available and there are so many places to choose from and dining guides to follow, the suggestions here will only be the tiniest tip of the iceberg. With that said, I would like to recommend a couple of places we found to be healthy, satisfying and delicious as we walked around the city. Le Pain Quotidien (www.lepainquotidien.com), a small chain bistro, has delicious, healthy, organic options available for breakfast and lunch. Great for a quick bite or a long lunch with plenty of salads, sandwiches, quiche, tartines and soups all made fresh daily. Breakfast options include an array of freshly baked breads, croissants, turnovers and danish. They also offer eggs, granola, oatmeal and some of the best brewed coffee and lattes around. Their desserts will have you stopping back in as we did throughout the weekend.
Next up, be sure to check out the Magnolia Bakery located on Bleeker Street (original location), Columbus Avenue, Rockefeller Center or Grand Central Terminal anytime you’re sweet tooth says so. The bakery, made famous by the Sex in the City girls who frequented the bakery in its original location, offers an array of delicious cupcakes, cookies, old fashioned pies, tarts, puddings and much more. The vintage decoration and old world charm of this family owned business add to the childhood nostalgia you will feel when entering any of their locations. Don’t miss it!
If you are as into bakeries as we are, then you won’t want to miss Carlo’s Bake Shop, (www.carlosbakery.com) the official home of the TLC reality TV show Cake Boss, staring Buddy Valastro an accomplished fourth generation Italian baker, located across the Hudson in Hoboken, NJ. As the website indicates, be prepared to wait in a line outdoors, sometimes stretching around the block, in order to enter this hometown favorite. The line moves quickly and it will be well worth the wait to see what all the hype is about. They offer some of the most intricately and uniquely decorated cakes and treats around. Take something home or have a cake specially prepared for you. You may even get a chance to see Buddy and/or some of his family members at work. Check it out!
Also not to be missed is a walk through the Chelsea Market (www.chelseamarket.com) at 75, 9th Avenue (between 15th and 16th streets). Once a warehouse bakery for the National Biscuit Company, it now offers those that stroll along the historic corridors an eclectic array of fine dining, cafes, bakeries, coffee shops, groceries, gifts, chocolates, flowers and a host of unique offerings including live music throughout the building. You will be pleasantly surprised at the extensive selection of great food, beverages and goodies that Chelsea Market has to offer.
Hyde Park, New York
The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) – If you are making a stop along the Hudson River to see the FDR and Vanderbilt mansions, be sure to include a side trip to the world’s premier culinary college for a campus tour and don’t forget to make a reservation for lunch or dinner at this amazing place. The tour-guide, a student from the institute, will take you by the kitchens, prep locations and will give you a behind the scenes tour of students learning and working in the 5 restaurants locally operating campus restaurants.
Let your taste buds be tantalized by the artfully presented, delicious food created for you by the students in either their French, Italian and American bistro’s or check out the much anticipated farm to table movement featuring locally sourced, organic produce as well as their amazing baked goods and coffee bar at one of the cafes. You can also visit their gift shop which is stocked with a wide selection of cookbooks, pantry items and gourmet culinary utensils used in the kitchen. A definite, no miss touring destination along the Hudson River Valley. Be sure to call for reservations (both tour and dining) at 845-471-6608 or visit their website at www.ciachef.edu for more information.
Erie Canal into the Oswego Canal
We didn’t get a chance to stop at many towns along the Erie because of the rain and bad weather, but we did happen upon a few spots I will recommend as you journey westward. In Waterford check out the Sunday Farmer’s Market for fresh produce and baked goods. Located on the lock wall before the flight get there early to pick up the freshest and best selection the area’s local farmers have to offer.
In Schenectady if you can get a ride or taxi into the downtown area (no tie-ups nearby) you will be thrilled to find a small selection of wonderful Italian restaurants in the area dubbed “little Italy”. Fresh homemade pasta, grilled meats and seafood, and a couple of well known bakeries offer you the freshest and tastiest Italian fare along the Erie.
Little Falls had a couple of nice places highlighted in the cruisers books. We only had one evening there, so made a beeline to Ole Sal’s Cafe & Creamery for the best home-made ice cream in town. Also available are a nice selection of soups, salads, and sandwiches made to order inside the cafe. A great place for a light meal, snack or coffee break with a full service expresso, tea and smoothy bar. Located at 410 Canal Place.
No more stops till we got to Oswego, the last town before crossing Lake Ontario up towards 1000 Islands. A very cute town, but for us not too many dining options. We did find a great natural foods grocery store, The Mustard Seed, in which we restocked pantry and produce supplies. They have a pretty good selection of everything organic ranging from produce, vitamins, home supplies, and packaged items. We also discovered a pretty good ice-cream stop just outside of the main grocery store in town Mr. B’s. Offering the regionally produced Turkey Hill ice cream brand, we found a wide selection of flavors, slushies, custards, sundaes or just your plain old cone, but be forewarned that the portions are huge, so sharing is an option (maybe 🙂 )
Tin Pan Galley – Anyone who goes to Sackets Harbor should dine in this neighborhood gem. Delicious selection of locally sourced breakfast through dinner options on this menu. Casual for breakfast or lunch, but slightly more upscale for dinner (and the prices reflect that) don’t miss out on your chance to taste this area’s best cuisine. A very nice selection of entrees ranging from duck and filet mignon to more vegetarian friendly seafood, pasta and salad selections. Weekend brunch and dinner get crowded, so show up before 9am for brunch and make a reservation for dinner. Located on Main Street in the center of town.
Chrissy Beanz Bakery – The sister store to Tin Pan, this is where you will fulfill your early morning or late afternoon coffee needs. Fresh homemade baked goods to go with that caffeine buzz. In one word “Yummy”!
The Hops Spot – We loved this new place with the best hot dogs and home brews in town. Vegetarians, fear not; they even had a tofu dog on the menu along with the best salad I have eaten in a restaurant on this journey. They specialize in locally sourced comfort food and craft beer from New York State, most of which is organic. A selection of artisan cheeses and Italian sodas round out the menu and make this place a winner for our family.
Goodfellas Pizza – If you want a pizza, here is your place. Hand-formed, wood-fired, gourmet pizza with fresh, local toppings. Delicious, thin crust and crispy it will delight everyone in the family. Plenty of salads and pasta choices for the non-pizza eaters as well.
Also check out the Tea House on main street for a huge selection of loose leaf tea and a few gourmet pantry items. They have an in-house tea bar where you can order made from scratch frozen tea smoothies or freshly brewed hot tea. Be sure to stop in!
When walking through town, you can’t help but notice the ice-cream stand set back from the main street, but easily identifiable by the colorful tables and chairs out front. Try the flurry, a delicious blend of soft ice cream whipped with candy toppings. Great for an afternoon heat buster!
Curry Original – Authentic Indian cooking in a delightful setting, this Kingston restaurant was a hit with our family. Hot and crispy Naan bread and chapati’s will start you off on a culinary journey around the many cuisines of India. Plenty of hot and spicy or mild curry dishes available, but we encourage you to try the Dhansak dishes which are both spicy and sweet. A lengthy selection of meat, chicken and vegetarian options, but be sure to leave room to try the Gulab Jamun, essentially an Indian doughnut soaked in rose water and the Borfi, the perfect combination of creamy cheese and sweet coconut covered in pistachios, for dessert. Located at 253a Ontario Street.
Farmers Market – If you get into town on a Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday, check out the huge selection of fruits, vegetables, crafts, and products at this great market just behind the City Hall building. Abundant selection of fresh produce to stock up your fridge provided by local farmers. Some organic produce also available, but if you are searching for more organic products be sure to check out Tara Natural Foods, located at 81 Princess Street, about two blocks up from the market. This independent grocer has a wonderful selection of bulk, dried, frozen, dairy, eggs, vitamins, household products and packaged organic foods as well as a large selection of organic fruit and vegetables.
There are a great selection of restaurants and bakeries in Kingston, many of which serve fresh, healthy and local food. Although we didn’t get a chance to dine in all of them, here are a few more suggestions of places that subscribe to the fresh, healthy, local and/or organic way of eating.
Olivea – A rustic trattoria offering Italian & Mediterranean fare and dedicated to supporting local farmers and growers. Vegetarian friendly! Located at 39 Brock Street.
Chez Piggy and Pan Chancho – The former being a restaurant and the latter the bakery, both are great places to get delicious fare ranging from salads, soups, breads, pastries, and fresh, local meat and vegetarian entrees with lunch/dinner options available at the restaurant and breakfast/lunch served at the bakery. No trip to Kingston is complete without stopping in one of these locations.
Sipps Cafe – Great selection of delicious desserts, a full coffee and tea bar as well as fresh, homemade ice-cream, this place has something for every sweet tooth. Located next to Olivea on Brock Street.
Trenton – Not much was open when we stopped through this town, but we did notice a nice looking coffee house called The Grind and across from it a Thai-Sushi house restaurant. Much to the kids’ delight, as soon as we stepped off our boat, the marine office has ice-cream for sale! We were told that its the kind that is made further up the Trent in Bobcaygeon, so we will be on the lookout for about 50 different ice-cream flavors further along in our travels.
Campbellford – Again we arrived late, so most things were closed, but we did pop in the Brew House and it really did have quite a nice selection of hand-crafted bottled beer as well as a nice selection on tap. A limited food menu is available with a couple of salads that looked pretty good. In the morning we were surprised to find theGrind House Cafe open for business located on 31 Front Street. They make all kinds of delicious coffee drinks and can just about satisfy anyones dietary requirements by serving skim, lactose-free or whole milk lattes or my personal favorite, the almond milk latte. Serving fair trade and organic coffee and tea, this is the place to get your caffeine buzz started. Of course the latte would not be complete without a stop inDoohers Bakery for the huge selection of freshly baked muffins, bread, bagels, butter tarts and doughnuts. They even had a selection of gluten-free goodies for sale.
Peterborough – This town is about food! We were told there are more restaurants in town than any other type of business. We did try a few local joints and here is our list.
Farmers Markets – Wednesday from 8:30am-1pm in a parking lot off Louis Street offers a nice selection produce, local meat products and bakery items. On Saturday, they have a larger market at the other end of George Street where it ends on Landsdown Street. This market is quite a bit larger and you can pick up breakfast or lunch during your visit.
Dancing Blueberries – a wonderful little cafe that offers a nice selection baked goods and ice-cream in addition to a full menu for breakfast, lunch or early dinner. Try one of their gluten-free waffles or better yet a farm fresh omelette with local vegetables. Salads, sandwiches, crepes, and waffles are the favorites on this menu, but be sure to leave room for a delicious, home-made cupcake or apple-pie after your meal. Located at 360 George Street.
Silver Bean Cafe – a morning bike ride along either the Trans-Canada or the local Greenway trail will lead you to this little gem located right on the river just up from the railroad bridge. Nice selection of sandwiches, calzones, quiches, salads and baked goods to choose from in addition to the many hot (coffee and tea) and cold drinks (fresh squeezed lemonade and smoothies) to choose from.
Elements – Gourmet dining using fresh locally sourced ingredients is the key to this little bistro’s success. Both small and large plates are available with offerings such as chainti wine creme brule, tomato zucchini soup, herb crusted fish, bruschetta, toasted pita with a selection of spreadable compotes and fettucini with shrimp and asparagus to just name a few of the selections we saw on the menu. Menu offerings change daily depending on what seasonal produce and meats are available. An extensive wine and cocktail selection as well as their artfully presented food and cozy outdoor seating area make this a nice place to splurge for a special meal. Located on the corner of King and Water Street.
Kelcey’s Nutrition Center – a small organic grocery store on the east side of town, this place will be your stock-up center for organic pantry items, dairy, nutritional supplements, bulk items such as nuts and dried fruit, natural health and beauty products, holistic pet supplies, and many frozen items. Only a limited selection of produce items available.
JoAnnes Market – Similar to the grocery above, yet they offer a wider selection of fresh produce for sale. If you missed either of the farmers markets in town and are willing to walk or better yet, bike-ride towards the North end of town (near the zoo) on Water Street, this is a great option to try.
Bobcaygeon – No stop is complete without visiting the Kawartha Dairy Ice-CreamFactory, located on Prince Street. Over 48 ice-cream flavors plus a nice selection of milk, cheese and pantry items await those that venture away from the main shopping district. We also enjoyed the Kawartha Coffee Company for a breakfast goody or healthy lunch. In addition to the fair-trade coffee and tea, they offer a nice selection breakfast baked goods and locally grown, organic vegetables in a variety of lunch salads and sandwiches. A cozy atmosphere with inside/outside seating and free wi-fi make this cafe a no-miss stop in this town. A small truck with locally grown fruit and vegetables is also available at the triangle between Joseph and Main Street monday through Friday till about 1pm. Although we missed it, they also have a local farmers market in town from 8am-1pm every Saturday.
Fenelon Falls – We stopped and tied up for a quick caffeine stop at Sweet Bottoms Coffee, located at 19 Colborne Street. A great stop for coffee, tea, and home baked pastries and baked goods. For a nice change be sure to try the London Fog – a frothy cup of steamed milk mixed with Earl Grey tea, delicious!
This area is known for its natural beauty and landscapes, and with so many beautiful anchorages, we didn’t stop in too many of the towns. Here are a couple of the places we did find when the chef (me) needing a cooking break. The Cruiser Guides also listed quite a few farmer’s markets, most of which we missed by a day or two. In any case, when provisioning was necessary, we relied on the small, but decently stocked organic sections of the local Valu-Mart food stores. Not as much selection as a farmer’s market, but sufficient till our next port of call.
Midland – Ciboullet et Cie – Local, green and with a variety of tasty snacks and lunch items, this little cafe is sure to please. Order at the counter and eat in house or take out a delicious salad or sandwich of your choice, fresh and made to order on house baked whole wheat or ciabatta bread. Daily menu specials such as grilled chicken breast or portobello mushrooms are also available in addition to many types of healthy side dishes and salads. Make sure you leave some room for their fresh baked cookies, pies and bars to go along with a delicious cuppa’ fresh brewed coffee or tea. A selection of gourmet pantry items are also available for sale. Located just a few blocks up the main street in downtown Midland.
Parry Sound – If you need to re-provision before heading out into the North Channel this is the town to do it. While many recommend taking the shuttle out to the local grocery story Sobeys, we managed to find everything we needed just a few blocks into town at the local Georgian Bay Wholefoods. This small green grocer stocks all the mainstream organic pantry staple items, dairy products, bulk foods, and also had a nice selection of fresh produce. Green toiletries and household items, vitamins and supplements are also available. Located just past the railroad bridge at 20 James Street.
Little Current – Short of reprovisioning in an extremely small organic section of the ValuMart, we did happen upon “Manitoulin’s First Coffee House” Loco Beanz. Fair trade organic coffee and tea, hot chocolate, smoothies, steamers (hot milk with flavored syrups), freshly baked bagels, muffins and sweet treats, in addition to a large selection of lunch sandwiches. They have three locations, two of which are in boat friendly locations: 7 Water Street, Little Current and 50 Meredith Street in Gore Bay.
Mackinaw City – Well known for it’s fudge shops and candy stores, we did not find a whole lot of healthy dining options available. We arrived into the City Marina on Friday and were lucky enough to happen upon a roadside farmers stand (only available on Friday), located 2 blocks east of the docks. Lots of fresh produce for sale late into the afternoon (I got there at 4:30pm!) from Farmer Brown and Mary. Now, you could not run across two nicer or more knowledgable local farmers. Ask them anything from how they choose the seeds and cultivate their crops to rotation of their fields and you will see why they have maintained a successful family farming business that will carry forth into the future. Ruby red, juicy tomatoes, freshly picked sweet corn, peppers, potatoes, onions, crisp green and purple beans, zucchinis the size of a rolled daily newspaper and brightly hued carrots were some of the produce selection available. They also provide environmentally friendly (low or no spray) fruit from a neighboring farmer that tasted just like what you imagine it would when you pull it off the tree. Cherries, apricots, blueberries and peaches that require you to eat them over the sink (they are so juicy!) were a few of the fruits available. Wow was I amazed at the delicious variety of produce Farmer Brown and Mary provided. A definite treat on your way into Michigan!
Harbor Springs/Petoskey/Charlevoix – There is a wonderful farmer’s market that goes throughout these three different towns during the week. Check them out in Harbor Springs on Wednesday and Saturday, Charlevoix on Thursday and Petoskey on Friday. They have a really nice selection of produce, homemade baked goods, eggs, organic meats and cheeses to check out. One of my favorite vendors were the farmers from Pond Hill Farm. Fresh, organic and oh so delicious produce and canned goods await you. They even had some nice variations of traditional produce such as lemon cucumbers and freshly foraged wild onions (spicy!). If you are in the Harbor Springs area I would recommend taking a trip out to their farm for an authentic farm to table experience. Pet the geese, chickens, pigs, sheep, goats and cows, have lunch in their roof top cafe, try a wine tasting from their vineyards, shop for the freshest, hand picked produce in their country store and don’t forget to try your hand at the squash rocket – a giant slingshot that shoots squash out into the pastures for the sheep and goats (they love it!).
Also to recommend in terms of dining options are the following: Turkeys Cafe and Pizzeria for the freshest and most tasty pizza in Harbor Springs; Palate Bistro in Pestosky for an elegant, tapas-type lunch or dinner and Cornichons in Harbor Springs for their fresh salads and yummy lunch sandwiches. Also, check out American Spoon in all three towns for the best selection of jelly’s, salsas, sauces and gelato. The original store in Petoskey also has a cafe serving delicious breakfast and lunch items till 4pm. Their ginger and chocolate gelato is not to be missed!
Leland/Frankfort/Manistee – Dining options were limited along this stretch of the water, but we were pleasantly surprised at the availability of organic grocery stores and farmers markets along the way. Be sure to stop in Leeland for the most picturesque little town in all of the great lakes. Check out the gourmet sandwich shop in “Fishtown”. You’ll know your in the right place by the take out lunch line that forms around 11:30am for their delicious sandwiches, baked goods and coffee. They also have a nice selection of cheese, breads, gourmet pantry items and wine. The Leeland Farmer’s market is held on Thursdays from 9am till noon. This town was one of our favorite stops along the coast of Michigan.
Check out Fusion (300 Main Street) in Frankfort if you have a hankering for Asian food. Yes I did say Asian food! Hard to find anything like that along these waters. We didn’t get a chance to stop in, but the restaurant came highly recommended by a variety of local folks and their menu did look delicious. Frankfort’s Farmer’s Market takes place on Saturday’s from 9am to 1pm. Also noteworthy if you have access to a car is a small organic grocery store located about a 5 minute drive from town. Glen’s Markets at 1002 Forest Ave., just heading east on 22, stocks all your favorite organic packaged grocery and pantry items, bulk foods, fresh produce, meat, eggs and dairy items. They just opened this summer and are planning on offering transportation to/from the store for boaters.
Another option if you don’t stop in Frankfort and need to stock up on organic meats, fish, groceries, gluten free items, or vitamins is Port City Organics (328 First Street at Division Street) in Manistee, about a 10-15 minute walk from the marina. Quite a good selection of grocery goods, however no fresh produce is available. For that check out their farmers market on Saturday’s from 8am to noon.
Ludington/Pentwater/Grandhaven – Again, limited healthy dining options, but there are a few coffee shops and grocery food stores to check out. In Ludington stop in the Evergreen Natural Foods Market (106 W. Ludington Ave.) for the biggest and best selection of organic produce and groceries along Lake Michigan. Think of it as a mini-WholeFoods; you can find everything you need to stock up in this store. They also have a nice selection of fair-trade gifts, chocolates, and home accessories up in the front of the store. Across the road is a great little coffee shop, Redolencia, that roasts their own fair-trade coffee beans. The atmosphere is a funky, laid-back kind of style with plenty of sofas and armchairs to get comfy in with your fresh brewed latte. A nice selection of organic tea’s and alternative, house blended hot drinks are available as well. It’s probably the only coffee house that makes it’s own chai tea using black tea, milk and spices to come up with a delicious drink from scratch. Alternative milk products are also available (coconut, hazelnut, almond, soy, and hemp milk) to mix into your latte. A great place to relax and read a magazine. Ludington’s Farmer’s Market (North James Street Plaza) is available Friday’s from 3-8pm and has an abundant selection of fresh produce, Amish baked goods and a couple of organic (though not certified) farmers.
Saugatuck/Dougless – Healthy dining options in these two towns were notable. We really liked this area for the cute shops, artist galleries, coffee houses, and restaurants after having gone weeks without eating out. In Saugatuck we had delicious baked goods, sandwiches and soups, fresh squeezed juices, and fair-trade coffee in Uncommon Grounds Cafe. They have a partnership with farmers in Honduras, Ecuador and Nicaragua to buy, roast, brew, and sell the best tasting coffee we’ve tried for a while. Plenty of indoor and outdoor seating on the deck or in the backyard garden make for a relaxing breakfast/lunch or late afternoon dining experience.
Pumpernickel’s Eatery is also a good stop for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This casual, order at the counter off the chalkboard menu cafe offers many choices for any type of eater from baked goods, eggs, and other breakfasty items to soups, salads and sandwiches. Fresh, tasty, often times with live music in a pleasant screened in porch-like setting make you feel like you are dining right in your own home. Another option that we weren’t able to visit, but that looked to have a nice menu was Wick’s Park Bar and Grill. The organic greens and homemade veggie burger sounded delicious.
Don’t miss our absolute favorite restaurant in all of Lake Michigan for an amazing dining experience. Everyday People Cafe in downtown Douglass offers a diverse selection of menu items that change daily. Fresh, local and organic they offer “eclectic comfort food”. Things like gourmet Mac ‘n cheese, gorgonzola pork chops, sweet wasabi salmon, chicken and gnocchi, and my favorite, sea salt roasted beet salad. Go online at www.EverydayPeopleCafe.com for a list of what they will be serving for lunch and/or dinner.
If you crave something sweet, check out Cookies on Call, next door to Everyday People, for a delicious selection of freshly baked cookies, cake pops and brownies. They feature over 40 different, made to order, cookie flavors and can have them delivered and/or shipped to any location. My favorite was the Chocolate chip-cherry cookie loaded with dark chocolate and dried, tart Michigan cherries. Delicious!
Also not to miss is the Summertime Market, located on the Blue Star Highway, just after the bridge crossing into Douglass. They are all about eating local. They sell produce from farmers that live within a 30 mile radius, so you can get the freshest, just picked, taste of summer that same day. They also offer fresh cheese, wild game sausages, farm flowers, grass fed meats, honey, maple syrup and freshly baked pies, cookies and breads. They are the best and only produce location around this area. Open daily during the summer months from May-October.
Wow, we are back in the big city for a while! Food? Hard not to find something that we love. Again, another search on the web for organic, healthy eats and we came up with Karyn’s: a place for health, inner beauty and detoxification (www.karynraw.com). That may sound like a spa there is some of that, but it is so much more. It’s a way of thinking, eating, and caring for your body so that it can take you to the next level of health and wellness. Intriguing! I had to check this place out! Turns out there are three locations: Karyn’s Raw Cafe and Inner Beauty Center (1901 N. Halsted Street), Karyn’s Cooked-Conscious Comfort Food (738 N. Wells)and Karyn’s on Green (130 S. Green Street). All three serve some of the most healthy and truly delicious food in Chicago and each one is uniquely different in terms of ambiance and food served. Fresh raw meals, served in house or take-out, organic produce, pantry items, supplements, classes, spa treatments and detox programs are offered through the North Halsted cafe. Cooked, vegan food (breakfast, lunch and dinner) in an eclectic, artsy style bistro are served at the North Wells location and if you need upscale and trendy, try the Green Street location. You can’t go wrong with any of the locations and your body will thank you for it!
Another great place we found, but were unable to eat in was Prasino (1846 Wicker Park and two other locations outside of the city). We did stop by late Friday evening and found the place packed with the ultra hip and trendy. Reservations are advised! Prasino was just written up in one of the local food magazines, so it was obvious that Chicagoans were happy to partake in the great food, drinks and ambience. Prasinopromotes organic agriculture by supporting local growers and artisanal foods, as well as supporting the environment by reducing energy consumption using high efficient technology and building materials at each location. They offer a full menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner including options for vegan, vegetarian, non-vegetarian and gluten-free diners. Sounds like a good place to eat. Next time I will call ahead with a reservation!
“No one leaves Chicago without eating deep dish Pizza”, we heard that a few times! I guess we are the exception to that rule because the typical deep dish pizza does not rate high for healthy eating in my book. Lucky for us a friend directed us to Crust Pizza (2056 W. Division Street), an organic flatbread pizza eatery, serving fresh, local, organically topped wood-fired pizza’s in a sleek and trendy location just north of the city center. Plenty of salads, antipasti’s, and sandwiches on the menu to satisfy an array of food choices. Try the Arugula and Quinoa Salad followed by the Harvest Pizza – herbed olive oil, thinly shaved zucchini, yellow squash, red onion, rainbow chard and slices of fontina val d’oasta (cheese). Wow was it delicious! We had no left-overs! They also offer a gluten-free crust, seitan, tempeh and soy cheese options for the vegans out there. So skip the deep dish and do your body a favor, eat at Crust!
St. Louis, MO
Food choices in this city were amazing. We did on a web search to find some organic eats and here is what we found. Our favorite was Local Harvest Cafe, located at 3137 Morganford Rd. They offer breakfast lunch and dinner in a cozy neighborhood style cafe. They are serious about offering locally grown food. Over 50% of the menu comes from farms with 150 miles of St. Louis. Menu items change weekly with plenty of specials depending on what is locally available and in season. They buy their meats and fish from small, local producers and do all of their smoking in-house using apple wood from local orchards. Everything is fresh and deliciously prepared with options for the vegetarian, vegan or meat eater. If you need some local produce, check out their grocery store just down the same block. Plenty of produce, dairy, eggs, bread, pantry and freezer items to restock your supplies. This was a great find!
If you need a quick breakfast, lunch or cuppa’ jo, check out Foundation Grounds in Maplewood located at 7298 Manchester Road. Plenty of Fair trade coffee and locally grown food on their menu. Delicious salads, soups, sandwiches and baked goods all made from scratch using the best ingredients. A great spot to chill out and relax after shopping or taking the beer tour down the road at Schlafly Bottleworks. Schlafly is the place for locally brewed beer. They also have a restaurant which is stocked with produce from its own garden where workers grow thousands of pounds of greens, tomatoes and other veggies to use in the kitchen. Schlafly is also the host to the Maplewood Farmer’s Market every Wednesday afternoon, showing their support for local farmers in the area. Also don’t forget to check out KaKaO chocolate in two locations (7272 Manchester Rd. or 2301 S. Jefferson Ave.) for the most eclectic pairing of chocolate and exotic ingredients around town. A must-stop if you are a chocolate connoisseur.
Other restaurants that cater to local and/or organic food that we didn’t get a chance to stop in, but are probably worth checking out include Rooster (1104 Locust Street, downtown), OR Smoothie & Cafe (6654 Clayton road in Richmond Heights and 3 North Euclid in Central West End), Black Bear Bakery (2639 Cherokee Street), Cafe Osage (4605 Olive Street), Home Wine Kitchen (7322 Manchester), Water Street (7268 Manchester) and Monarch Restaurant (7401 Manchester)
Although we spent a lot of time in St. Louis, we were docked at a great place called Alton Marina located just upriver about 15 miles. We didn’t find many dining options in town, but with two notable exceptions. The Alton Farmer’s Market takes place each Saturday morning May-October behind the marina. Plenty selection of fresh produce, artist wares, pantry and bakery items. Also to try, if you don’t mind a hike up the hill to combat the pounds you will put on, is Duke Bakery located on 819 Henry Street. Fresh pastries, cakes, cookies, bread and donuts available daily and made from scratch. Delicious!
Mississippi – Illinois – Tennessee Rivers
Stock up your food supplies in Chicago and St. Louis because there were not a whole lot of healthy eating out options available along these great rivers. During the fall what you will find (if you rent a car and drive along the countryside) are the fall harvest roadside stands with plenty of local apples, gourds, amish baked pies, honey, and apple cider. Brochures in each of the marinas will direct you to these areas.
If you stop alongside Hoppies barge (after St. Louis) go into the town of Kimmswick, MO for a look around the historic buildings and homesites. There are a couple of restaurants vying for your attention, but we didn’t end up eating in either of them. I have a hard time eating out unless it’s a really special place that serves local, organic food or something I can’t make onboard. The Blue Owl Restaurant and Bakery is worth mentioning however. Since 1983, this quant style, down-home like eatery started out with just a handful of customers vying for Mary’s (Hostetter’s) homemade bakery and pastry items around the holiday season. Word spread and soon she was serving over 300 customers a day her delicious, made from scratch creations. She soon expanded to include breakfast and lunch menus that includes homemade soups, salads, and sandwiches. The kids did try one dessert at the Blue Owl — The Mississippi Mud Cake — an ooey, gooey, concoction of chocolate, caramel and marshmallow, that they found so rich, they couldn’t even finish it. Let that be your guide when choosing something!!!
Grand Rivers and Paducah, KY
For those river weary folks coming off the Mississippi, Green Turtle Resort and the surrounding towns of Grand Rivers and Paducah are a welcome sight. While there are a few places to eat in Grand Rivers, we didn’t come across anything particularly “healthy” until we journeyed by car to Paducah. For organic produce and pantry items check out the Golden Carrot Natural Foods (433 Jefferson St., Paducah) for all your healthy re-provisioning needs. If you are in need of a coffee, juice, tea or a light bite to eat, head round the corner to Etcetera (320 North 6th Street, Paducah). This would be one of your only places to find local, organic and fair-trade beverages in addition to a pretty nice selection of sandwiches, soup, quiche, bagels and baked goods. Nice atmosphere and a great place to just relax and enjoy the local photo’s and artwork displayed around the shop. If you are looking for more upscale dining, stop in Cynthia’s (125 Market St., Paducah) for fresh, local and many organic menu offerings in a french bistro-like setting. Open for lunch and dinner by reservation.
Our trip to Green Turtle would not have been complete without a stop in Sugar and Spice Cafe (147 Barkley Drive, Grand Rivers). Homemade baked goods made to order and on-sight fine dining is available by reservation. The owner and chef Marilyn Kunz encourages you to come in and discuss menu options; whether it’s a catered meal, sit down dinner, or a cooking class, Marilyn offers it all. We took her up on a private baking class for six of us (2 moms and 4 kids). Each of us picked out a dessert item that we wanted to learn and she provided the recipe, instructions and a step by step demonstration to accomplish the task. It was a whole afternoon of fun in the kitchen. The kids got to use a lot of neat kitchen gadgets, experiment with measurements and ingredients and learn basics cooking principals, all while making their masterpieces. Of course the best part was sampling the end results and taking home the leftovers. Delicious!
Salt water, seagulls and pelicans greeted us in Mobile Bay as we motored into the picturesque town of Fairhope, AL. Ahhh…, it finally feels like home again with a touch of humidity and warm temperatures that we are more accustomed to at this time of the year. The town itself has everything a boater coming off the river system needs — nice restaurants, coffee shops, bookstores, boutiques, grocery stores and lucky for me, Fairhope Health Foods, located at 320 Eastern Shore Shopping Center (you will need the courtesy car), a great little health food store offering fresh and frozen produce and organic pantry items. As an added bonus to your shopping excursion outside of the main section of town, you can catch a quick, healthy bite next door at the Sunflower Cafe. They offer weekend brunch, lunch and dinner with meals made from fresh, organic ingredients. The menu has enough vegetarian (vegan and gluten-free options as well) and non-vegetarian options to satisfy all members of the family. Well worth your car ride!
If you take the bike path along the road that follows Mobile Bay, stop into Thyme by the Bay for a delicious brunch (weekends), lunch or dinner. Using fresh, seasonal ingredients they put together a nice assortment of soup, salads, sandwiches and dinner entrees that diverge from the typical seafood, chicken and steak options so prevalent on other restaurant menus. Hand cut, truffle or sweet potato fries, grilled fish with shaved fennel and citrus aioli, and the Fig Pecan salad were a few of the items that caught my eye.
As many of you have read in all the guidebooks, LuLu’s on the ICW (between Mobile Bay and Pensacola) is THE place to stop. Given all the hype, I was thinking that it was just a tourist stop. Well, was I wrong! LuLu’s turns out to be quite possibly the greenest, most environmentally friendly and healthy restaurant this side of Florida. LuLu’s is serious about sustainability, pure food, and quality ingredients. They are committed to finding trusted suppliers with a heavy emphasis on local sourcing. Grass fed beef, free ranging chickens, and lots of organic produce supplies the restaurant kitchen which in turn offers delicious entrees such as L.A. (Lower Alabama) Caviar, peel and eat shrimp, seafood gumbo, mahi soft tacos with chipotle sauce, and an array of burgers, salads and seafood to delight everyone. Gluten-free and healthy menu offerings are also available, using the same fresh ingredients, but swapping out the cream and cheese in favor of more vegetables and seasonings. Live, local music, picnic benches, pink flamingos and plenty of sand make this place a must-stop location that you will look back upon for years to come.
We didn’t have a whole lot of time to check out this charming town, having arrived late at night and planning on spending most of the next day at the National Navel Aviation Museum. Searching for a quick (and healthy) bite to eat, we went looking for the Ever’Man Deli and were pleasantly surprised to find that it was located inside of the Ever’man Natural Foods Co-op (315 West Garden Street). Great organic, vegetarian and non vegetarian sandwich, soup and stir-fry options along with a juice and smoothy bar set inside the fresh produce department made for a delicious lunch experience. For those of you needing to restock fresh produce or pantry items, the selection was great. Quite a few local farmer offerings as well. A great find if you don’t mind a 4 block walk away from the main avenue that leads to the marina.
Located along the historic waterfront, Cafe Con Leche (234 Water Street), a Venezuelan family owned and operated cafe offers the best cup of coffee in town. Offering a full breakfast and lunch menu, in addition to a large selection of home made pastries and baked goods, this little cafe is sure to please. Be sure to try the arepa – a freshly pan-fried yellow cornmeal cake traditionally eaten with melted cheese on the inside. Delicious as they make them or for the vegans out there, try it with grilled vegetables. It’s truly delicious!
Also worth checking out is Tamara’s Cafe (71 Market Street) owned by the same family as Cafe Con Leche, but as a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and tapas with a definite Latin flare. They are well known for their Pecan Crusted Grouper and their creamy black bean soup. They also offer local oysters and a delicious sounding seafood paella over saffron rice.
If you are looking for boat provisions, The Natural Medicine Store (56 Market Street) has plenty of vitamins and supplements, herbs and homeopathy, organic pantry items, wine, beauty products, natural home and pet care and some frozen organic items. The only thing missing was fresh produce. For that you have to hit the Piggly Wiggly, a few blocks down on Hywy. 98 for a limited selection of organic produce, but if you wander the isles, you may come across a wider selection of organic pantry items.
This is a great town full of restaurants, cafes, cute shops and museums. Our two favorites that made the list were Meze 119 (119 Second Street, North) a vegetarian bistro serving delicious middle eastern cuisine that will make even the non-vegetarians converts and Central Cafe & Organics (243 Central Ave.) a small all-around healthy cafe featuring fresh juices, smoothies, coffee, soups, salads, sandwiches, vegan and gluten free offerings. Both are great and highly recommended. Meze seemed a bit more upscale for a nice evening out while Central Cafe would be more for a quick bite or snack in between museums or shopping.
Also not to be missed is the Saturday St. Pete’s Farmers Market, (Al Lang Stadium, 1st Ave. and 1st Street) one of the biggest markets we have been to. They offer a wonderful selection of seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables, many from local farms and organic. Vendors with handcrafted goods, fresh meals, and plants round out this great market.
While we did not get to try some of the many restaurants in this cute little town, we do have to mention the Whole Foods Market (1451 1st. street) located walking distance to the waterfront. This is a brand new store using LEED certified green technology in the building. An amazing produce, flower, meat/seafood, and bakery section along with an in store cafe serving smoothies, coffee drinks, salads and sandwiches with a nice sit down eating area make this a must stop for all boaters passing through. Pick up a copy of edible Sarasota COOKS! at Whole Foods for the best reviews on restaurants, local eating and food events around town. Also to check out would be the Saturday Sarasota Farmers Market (Main Street & Lemon Ave). Open year round from 7am to 1 pm.
Lots of great healthy choices in this town, but you will have to use a car to get to them with one exception, Adelheidi’s at 505 5th Avenue. We went to Fifth Avenue looking for lunch and were pleasantly surprised to find this cool little organic cafe. Sweet or savory home made crepes, coffee, baked goods and delicious gelato round out their menu and of course, all are made from scratch using the finest organic ingredients. The gelato is to die for with interesting flavors such as strawberry basil, avocado, saffron and vanilla chai, in addition to the more mainstream flavors. With all the delicious things to choose from you will want to go back for more! Definitely a must go to kinda cafe!
If you miss the Old Naples Farmers Market (located on Third Street) on Saturday morning like we did, be sure to stop in our new favorite grocery store Food & Thought Organic Farm Market, Cafe & Coffee Shop, (2132 Tamiami Trail). Their mission is to provide “without exception only food that is grown sustainably and organically”; a promise they live up to. In addition to a superb small grocery store that has amazing produce and brand items, they also offer a great selection of locally sourced, organic sandwiches, soups, salads, entree’s, side dishes, baked goods, smoothies, juices and coffee bar at their in-store cafe. You can dine outside in their shady courtyard or take home some of their pre-packaged meals after shopping in their well-stocked store. Of course if they don’t have everything you need (impossible!) you can also drive another 3 miles up Tamiami Trail to the local Wholefoods Market, (9101 Strada Place) which also offers superb produce and grocery items along with their own in-store cafe. Both are sure bets to get your boat well-stocked and underway.
One place we did not get a chance to check out, but came highly recommended from some local friends was Loving Hut (975 Pine Ridge Rd.), a vegan family owned restaurant. Take a look at their web page (www.lovinghut.us/naples_01/about.html) to see for yourself the kind of healthy, wholesome food we like to promote.