Callahan Barbecue, Callahan FL

Florida does not have a reputation for barbecue, that’s pretty clear. My hypothesis is that, more than any other southeastern state, it’s where people move or retire with their hometown’s recipes and try to bring those to life. So you’ll get individual restaurants with very distinct and individual flavors, but never a general sense that in this-or-that region, you can generally expect this kind of sauce or that kind of side dish. I can give you general ideas of what you may find in northwest Alabama or the South Carolina piedmont, but in Florida, it’s every restaurant for itself. Continue reading “Callahan Barbecue, Callahan FL”

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Hamburger Mary’s, Jacksonville FL

Overshadowing this visit to see our friend Chris in Jacksonville was this unfortunate little incident at his house. See, we thought we had worn out the toddler in the morning. He ate well, got to visit a dinosaur, and spent an hour at a super-fort playground. Then we drove around the city’s southern beltway for the Orange Park neighborhood. He slowly started nodding off. We got to Chris’s place, climbed up the stairs and looked forward to putting him down for a nap, and— Continue reading “Hamburger Mary’s, Jacksonville FL”

TacoLu, Jacksonville Beach FL

A year back, after our last visit to Jacksonville, I was looking at Urbanspoon to make sure that the links to our most recent blog updates for that city looked okay, and somebody had recently posted some photos of the mural on the outside of TacoLu. I took one look and said we’d visit on our next trip to Florida. How could we pass this up? Continue reading “TacoLu, Jacksonville Beach FL”

Photo Post 14: The Rex in Jacksonville FL

In August of last year, we spent a day in Chattanooga and made a stop by Sir Goony’s for me to run around with the camera shooting the various mini-golf obstacles. One of these obstacles was a big orange tyrannosaur. The Goony Golf chain was a 1960s-era ripoff of Florida’s Goofy Golf. Roadside Architecture has documented all these surviving places fairly well – about a million times better than we can ever do – and while I was looking around her site for ideas for toddler-friendly things to do and see in Jacksonville, I was pleased to see that a lone Goony tyrannosaur was still standing guard at a shopping center. (You want dinosaurs in Florida? She’s got two pages of them!) Continue reading “Photo Post 14: The Rex in Jacksonville FL”

The Sheik, Jacksonville FL

In the 1960s, as fast food really began to take off, every business owner was looking for an angle. In Jacksonville, a fellow named Tarzan Akel came up with a winking little way to get attention. Several of the area’s delis had been building sandwiches in pita bread for a few years, looking to win the attention of the city’s large Arabic population, and he decided to go full-bore into middle eastern imagery. In 1965, he opened the first of what would be a six-store chain called The Sheik, specializing in a pita sandwich filled with ham, salami, bologna, cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion, along with a special sauce. It’s called a camel rider. Continue reading “The Sheik, Jacksonville FL”

Kickbacks Gastropub, Jacksonville FL

Anybody looking to our blog for coverage of beer is bound to be disappointed. Barbecue we’re pretty good about, and Buford Highway we’re getting better with, but since only one of us drinks, and only occasionally at that, we are scattershot journalists at best. But this visit to Kickbacks wasn’t about getting better coverage for our blog, it was because I wanted to marvel at their selection and try something new for myself. I crossed my fingers that I might leave with a new favorite, hoping that Kickbacks’ reputation might show off something new and neat. Continue reading “Kickbacks Gastropub, Jacksonville FL”

Metro Diner, Jacksonville FL

We had originally planned to visit a breakfast joint called the Metro Diner in December 2011. I found it via Flavortown USA, a fan site for TV’s Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, and saw that it is one of five Jacksonville-area restaurants to have made it to their show. We don’t get to Jacksonville very often, but it’s always nice to step away from Saint Simons for a few hours and go visit our old friend Chris. Anyway, much of that last trip had to be scrubbed, including breakfast, but this time I was determined that we’d leave the island on time and make our way to the San Marco neighborhood in the early hours and maybe even beat the breakfast rush. Continue reading “Metro Diner, Jacksonville FL”