Food & Dining Guide

Purple Olive marks 10 years of feeding St. Augustine Beach

Peter Kenney is glad he and wife Deidre opened the Purple Olive Bistro 10 years ago rather than trying it today. First, they know they’ve made it through the toughest part of establishing a business. But also, Peter said the competition in the St. Augustine Restaurant business is just getting stiffer. “There are really good chefs coming around, people who really know what they’re doing,” he said. “That makes it harder to keep yourself ahead.” FULL STORY

Seasonal, local, fresh: A recipe for fabulous

Were it not for the ultra-modern food and cocktail concepts, one would think they’d stepped back in time when they walk through the Ice Plant Bar doors. The women wear pretty cotton dresses and the men button-down shirts with suspenders. More than one male employee sports a vintage, early-1900s mustache, too. Everything from the multi-paned industrial windows to the clear glass bud vases filled with purple and white flowers is intended to invoke the 1920s and 1930s — an era when the building was truly an ice plant and workers hoisted 300-pound blocks of ice around with hook grapples and cranes. The old ice plant was purchased by the Dettra family and McLemore family three years ago with the intent of converting the old building into a distillery and bar. Read More

Whetsone chocolate cabernet wine sauce

Though Henry and Esther Whetstone started out in the ice cream business, they began experimenting with chocolate almost immediately. By 1967, they were selling 13 flavors of fudge and an assortment of hand-dipped chocolates. Read More

St. Augustine Distillery introduces New World Gin

St. Augustine Distillery has announced its latest release, New World Gin. The gin is the world’s only, and possibly first, Florida style-gin made from Florida sugar cane, oranges, lemon, juniper, cassia bark, angelica, and a proprietary blend of botanicals.

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Plans for datil pepper festival are heating up


The University of Florida Extension Office will host the Datil Pepper Cook-off Festival from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 4 in conjunction with the St. Johns County Home and Garden Show.

Currently, the extension office is seeking restaurants to participate by preparing both an appetizer and entrée made with the region’s datil pepper.

Restaurants that participate will be judged and prizes will be given for the entrée and appetizer in two judging categories: Professional and People’s Choice.

The People’s Choice Award division will be judged by the participating public at the festival.

Tickets for this division will be sold the day of the event. Judging will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Datil Pepper Festival supports local agriculture and features “growing local and selling local.”

For information, call Family and Consumer Sciences Agent at the St. Johns County Agricultural Center Joanne Cooper at 209-0430 or email jgcoop@ufl.edu.


Local Flavor: Claude's chocolate chips

The allure of America enticed Claude Franques to leave Toulouse, France for New York City in the 1970s and become one of America’s fine French chefs. Franques and wife, Nicole, spent nearly 20 years operating a restaurant in Manhattan’s theater district, until St. Augustine’s charm and European style beckoned them to stay. Here, they created a new culinary adventure, Claude’s Chocolate.

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