Its my last night in Jacksonville and my co-worker has joined me for a couple of uninteresting meals. Bored, and a little confused from the concierge’s directions we set out on foot for dinner.
The air is thick with humidity and the smell of nearby wildfires. After just a few blocks I’m sticky. We pass a few bars the don’t seem to serve food and a few places that I don’t want to know if they serve food. My co-worker doesn’t really eat carbs or seafood so the creepy Thai place upstairs from the creepier burrito place was out (I was not upset, this is a food adventure, not Russian Roulette).
Cranky, hungry and tired we decide to head back towards the group of restaurants we’ve been at all week and return to a place where we had a passable lunch. There wasn’t room at the bar for use this time so we got a table. The dinner menu was different from the lunch menu and offered a few large steaks, fish with buttered seafood and little else.
I struggled to put together an order when my co-worker ordered just a side salad. After our server left he said he would just get something back at the hotel. We called the server over, cancelled our order and paid for our iced teas. – Back on the streets toward the hotel for dinner. I wasn’t going to make him watch me eat a meal I wasn’t even excited about.
We wandered back to our hotel and sat down in the sports bar area. www.hyattregencyjacksonville.com
There is a small bar called JAXX advertised as the place to be to watch the game and enjoy apps. Ok, I’m in. The menu is short but has more variety than the last place. He chooses a cobb salad for now and chicken wings to go for later. I chose the small dinner salad and the chicken tortilla soup. Iced tea in this town is fantastic. It’s not anything crazy – it’s just actually brewed. Well. Without powder.
My soup comes first. A bowl is set before me with bite sized pieces of chicken, avocado and tortilla strips. The server pours a small carafe of thick red/orange broth into the bowl drowning the “stuff”. I was concerned that even after I had asked to be sure that it was not cheesy that they had lied. Nope – it was a spicy thick tomato broth, not cheese. The broth was well-balanced with spice and richness from cilantro and cumin. The chicken was tender but the star was perfectly ripe, firm avocado that was cut seconds before it arrived at my table. No lemon juice to keep its color – this was fresh. The cool avocado and spicy broth were fantastic together and since the tortilla strips stayed dry until it was at the table they remained crunchy and seemed to be thick enough to still carry the corn taste through the rich soup. Not only was this the best thing I had to eat in Jacksonville but this was probably one of the best soups in my eating career.
Next our salads arrived. My Co-worker’s cobb looked awesome with the second half of my avocado, lots of crispy bacon, salmon, and all the usual fixings. The bacon here is just how I like it, walking a fine line between crispy and chewy and super thick cut. My salad had thick slices of tomato, cucumber, carrots and a variety of greens, very refreshing after the last three bowls of iceberg I’d eaten.
So even after our long walk and attempts to explore the city, the best meal was right under our nose. Not even at the hotel’s restaurant but at their after thought of a bar.
And yes, I did walk across that bridge after dinner one night – it was gorgeous!
Until we eat again,