Every time we go to Saint Augustine we talk about going to the Columbia Restaurant, but for some reason or another we end up choosing to eat somewhere else. It’s a good thing that we kept skipping the Columbia and tried all those other places…. because now that I’ve visited the Columbia I never want to go anywhere else!
We planned to spend the day in Saint Augustine. I wanted to find a couple of gifts to send to friends back in Missouri, take some photographs and lunch, of course, was high on the ‘to-do’ list.
I made reservations using the Open Table app, mostly because Open Table gives you points for making and keeping reservations that can be used to earn gift cards to restaurants or Amazon. I didn’t really expect to need reservations… it was a chilly, grey Saturday afternoon in February. Silly me. The restaurant was packed. I heard other people being told that there was a 45 minute wait to get a table. Fortunately, with our reservations, we walked right in and got a table.
We asked for a Gluten Free menu and the server returned quickly with three ‘real’ GF menus. Not those dingy, mangled paper menus that some restaurants grudgingly hand out to the GF people. These were real menus… with lots of options!
Mahi Veradero –
Grilled boneless fillet of Mahi Mahi crusted with ground crispy green plantain chips, topped with a citrus butter sauce. Served with yellow rice.
It was SO good. Mom and Brian ordered… other things… I can’t even remember… I was so distracted by my own plate. It was fabulous! Mom and Brian loved theirs as well… whatever it was. We all agreed that the Columbia was our new Very Favorite Place in Saint Augustine.
That opinion wasn’t in the least bit influenced by the pitcher of Sangria that Mom and I shared.
Sangria de Cava –
A sparkling white sangria made tableside with Jaume Serra Cristalino Spanish Cave brandy, orange liqueur and fresh citrus juices.
The restaurant itself was beautiful, with art, sculptures and fountains… beautiful tile-work and graceful columns. I would have loved to have taken more photos, but the place was fairly packed and people get all weirded out when you start taking photos… or when you ask them to move so you can take a better photo!
After lunch we picked up a few packages of the Columbia’s Sangria mix to take home and add to our gifts being sent back to Missouri. Next we headed into Saint Augustine to shop and explore. Brian wasn’t feeling up to walking around a whole lot, he sprained his ankle earlier this week, so he let Mom and I wander off to find the restrooms…. totally unsupervised. First we found Le Macaron French Pastries. And we definitely needed to try a few of those… Then there was Claude’s Chocolate and a few more gifts and a few for us to sample later…..
I’m pretty sure that Brian realized that it wouldn’t take us that long to find a restroom… public restrooms are pretty prevalent (and nice and clean too!) around Saint Augustine…. I think his ankle hurt bad enough that he didn’t care how much candy Mom and I were out buying… and ‘sampling.’
When we caught back up to Brian, our arms loaded with sugary treats…. for gifts! (and sampling) I insisted that I had to go see the lions at the bridge. We’ve been to Saint Augustine a handful of times since we moved to Florida and I have yet to get close to the guardians of the Bridge of Lions. I was already this close and I had my camera with me and everything! He wasn’t super amused, but he was resigned and really, Mom and Brian have no room to complain about my photography. Mom bought me my first camera and indulged me with rolls and rolls of film throughout my childhood….. and Brain keeps buying me new lenses for my ‘grown up’ camera…. so really….. they’re enablers.
I am absolutely, completely and totally in love with the lions of Saint Augustine…. and pretty much everything else about Saint Augustine. After a few dozen photos of the lions… from every angle… and a few using my phone and the selfie-stick, I relented and let Brian take us back to the car. I miss our little French town of Kimmswick back in Missouri… but I’m loving that I’ve got the Spanish town of Saint Augustine to explore.