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"The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar, familiar things new."   ~ William Makepeace Thackeray

It has been 15 years since we pulled up our shallow stakes in St Louis and headed to Florida's First Coast. Lately, I've been reflecting on how much has changed since we arrived, and looking forward at how much potential for greatness is stirring in our Bold City. Even the beaches have transformed significantly in that relatively short time.

Bowl of Pho - Atlantic Beach
A few months ago, the Madre and I were at Table 1 in PVB enjoying lunch and libations, when a couple a few seats over confided to our server that they had recently returned to the beach after a decade long absence. They wanted an insider's perspective on which of all these new beaches area restaurants were the best of the best

If you know me personally, you know I wouldn't think twice about interrupting / adding to their conversation. On this day, however, Madre and I shared a giggle at the ironic situation, but did not chime in. I wanted to hear the server's suggestions.

PVFC Conch Fritters. Get your own order! Palm Valley
Off to a promising start, she mentioned Palm Valley Fish Camp, which is on my permanent short list of places to recommend. Of the next three spots she named, one had taken over an infamous venue the couple would have recognized as Ward's Landing and morphed it into a seafood version of the meat-n-three spot for the blue hair crowd, one was a chain, famous for its Bang-Bang Asian appetizer. I refer to this one as "Fish Back" as a nod to its cousin, the Australian themed joint cranking out giant breaded deep-fried onions and large hunks-o-beef. One just happened to be next door to PVFC, and that's about how she stated it.  "Oh, and ______ is down there too." I couldn't have said it better. In fact, my directions to the place would include, once you see their sign, slow down - the very NEXT turn is the PVFC parking lot. Turn THERE. 

Brisket Taco, Avocado Taco. Taco Lu - Jax Beach
HAD I chimed in, I would have also suggested they check out TacoLu, Salt Life Food Shack, North Beach Fish Camp, Royal Palm Village, Culhane's, The Fish Company, Bowl of Pho, Simply Tasty Thai, DaVinci's, Poe's Tavern, Pho Viet, Bongiorno's, Safe Harbor Seafood, Firehouse Subs, DeliComb, Metro Diner, The Blind Rabbit, Caps on the Water...

You get the drift. Plenty to choose from.

The Sleeper - Poe's Tavern - Atlantic Beach
All of these are on my list of go-to places (or NOT on my list, for that matter) for specific reasons, and explaining the nuances would have taken all afternoon. So we ordered another round of drinks and kept our opinions to ourselves. That is, until now. 

What's YOUR favorite beaches area restaurant? No crossing the ditch...

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