Besides turkey, we ate fairly well while in Florida for the week of Thanksgiving. My brother and his family recently moved to Indialantic. We’re always game for exploring a new area, especially for its restaurants. Also, about an hour away in Port St. Lucie, I met up with a dear friend at a popular breakfast place. What follows is a wrap-up of my dining adventures including the best home fries EVER!
BeachSide Cafe, 109 5th Ave., Indialantic, FL 321.953.8444
At first glance, The BeachSide Cafe looks like just another hole-in-the-wall dive. This locals’ favorite is just a block from the beach near the intersection of Highway 192 and A1A. Park around back.
Step inside and the welcome is warm. The service matches the welcome and the food! The food surpasses all expectations.
Everything everyone in our group of six ordered was delicious, from the Eggs Benedict to the Eggs Benedict Florentine with fresh baby spinach to the pumpkin pancakes. But what stands out for me are their home fries.
Home fries seem so simple but are rarely cooked well. Most of the time they are crunchy on the outside but hard and not fully cooked on the inside. Not so at the BeachSide Café. These nuggets of deliciousness have the consistency of mashed potatoes on the inside encapsulated by a perfectly light char. Woven through out are browned bits of onions to add just enough flavor. I don’t remember ever having any home fries like them anywhere. I wish I knew their secret.
Bizarro New York Pizza, 4 Wave Crest Ave., Indialantic, FL 321.724.4799
About a block and half away from the BeachSide is Bizarro New York Pizza. Evidently there are several Bizarro Pizzas in the area but this is the original. Bring cash. That’s all they take. There’s an expensive ATM if you are short on hard currency. We called in our order for 3 giant pizzas.
Bizarro is not a sit-down restaurant. Customers order at the counter and stand around waiting. Or claim one of a handful of tables inside or the several picnic tables outside.
Bizarro offers whole pies, or by the slice as well as baked pastas, hot and cold subs and other Italian fare.
I know what I’m about to say is sacrilege to most of the world; I’m cheese impaired. I don’t like melty goopy cheese. As I’ve gotten older I have learned to tolerate some types of cheese, usually grated, in some dishes and even use some in a select few recipes (such as Caesar dressing) at home. Other than that, I steer clear. Still, the only way I eat pizza is cheeseless. (I’ll pause for the gasps.)
In every other place I’ve ordered a cheeseless pizza they just omit the cheese but make it as they would any other pizza. My half pizza had mushrooms, garlic and tomatoes…and that’s it. I guess when they read no cheese, they thought it also meant no tomato sauce. Imagine a very thin New York style crust baked with some mushrooms, tomato slices and some garlic. I don’t even think there was any olive oil or anything else so it was kind of tasteless cardboard. Mike wasn’t impressed with the cheesed up slices he had either. But for beachgoers, it’s a casual atmosphere steps away from the shore.
Thai Thai II, 2324 North Hwy A1A, Indialantic, FL 321.773.6144
Seven of us were sick of turkey and wanted something different for dinner. The thought of trying to get a table on Thanksgiving weekend made our heads explode. We decided instead on Thai take-out.
Initially, my reaction to the prices on the Thai Thai II menu was that they were kind of steep. In the long run, it turns out I was wrong.
No one held back. We got everything from Gyoza to Green Curry and Pad Thai to Panang Curry.
We called in the order and when we arrived 10 minutes later they were putting the food into bags. For about $90 we got an unbelievable amount of good food.
The order was perfect. We got everything we asked for and it was packed well for travel. While the prices are a bit higher, the value is better. The containers are twice as large as my hometown Thai place. Much to our delight, there were plenty of leftovers which lead to experiments with various iterations of turkey curry.
Berry Fresh Cafe, 1718 SW St. Lucie West Blvd, Port St. Lucie, FL 772.336.5693
I moved to Florida when I was a sophomore in high school. My English teacher seated students in alphabetical order by last name. That’s how I met Leanne. Back then we both had last names that started with G so we always sat next to each other. We’ve been besties ever since.
Since I was going to be only a two-hour drive from Indialantic to her house in Palm Beach County, instead of eleven from Charlotte, we decided to meet halfway in Port St. Lucie. Leanne did the research and came up with the Berry Fresh Cafe. It’s in a strip mall across from WalMart close to I-95 and the food choices were very tempting.
After catching up over coffee, we turned to the daunting menu. Everything looked good. Leanne settled on the Traditional Very Berry Eggs Benedict. I was all set to get the O.M.G. Shrimp-N-Grits but at the last minute I decided it sounded too heavy after Thanksgiving dinner the day before. When I saw that they had Challah bread, I knew I wanted thick buttery Challah toast, smoked bacon and home fries. It was everything I hoped for. Leanne’s was wonderful as well. She was happy she danced on the wild side and got a side of grits.
Our waitress had no problem with us lingering for as long as we wanted. She even took a few pictures of us. When the manager found out that it was the first time there for both of us, he gave us each a certificate for $5 off. What’s even more amazing is that they allowed us to use one on this visit. If I’m ever in the area again, I will definitely be back. Leanne is already planning on going to their Jupiter, FL location.