Monday, March 12, 2012

Columbia Restaurant

This is the last vacation post. Although I am happy to be back in my own kitchen I am most certainly not happy about being back from Florida. I could stay there forever.  OK maybe not during those really hot months of August and September but all the other ones.  

We had the most wonderfully relaxing time. I didn't want it to come to an end.  During our stay I was able to eat at the most famous Columbia restaurant twice.  Both times were for special occasions.  The first I was able to meet Ann over at Healthy Cooking for Me. We have been corresponding via email and blog posts since last summer and it was great to finally meet in person.   It is a good thing we live so far away because if we were any closer I am sure we would spend a lot of time together.  Our little lunch date flew by.  She as all sorts of yummy, HEALTHY recipes so be sure to check her out. 

The second occasion was to celebrate my mom's birthday.  I had already scouted the menu out from my first visit so I knew I was in for...a gigantic menu with some many options two dining experiences weren't nearly enough. 

These photos are from my second chance since the two crazy bloggers really didn't take photos of the first meal.

You get a wonderfully large hunk of Cuban bread before your meal comes out. It is freshly made and still warm.  I could have a bucket of this and be happy.

They also make some marvelous drinks. I was able to sample both the Sangria and Mojitos. If you order a pitcher they make it table side. I am not the biggest alcohol person but both of these drinks left me wanting another one.  Seriously, they were fantastically full of flavor and so fresh.  I think the mint was just picked from some special garden out back.

They are famously known for their "1905" salad.  It was named one of the country's 10 best salads by USA Today.  The thought was this little salad had all of the best toppings from the salad bar without having a true salad bar.  It comes with Swiss cheese, ham, tomatoes, and olives and is then topped with the most delicious dressing.  This is also made table side.

1905 Dressing

by Columbia Restaurant
Prep Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin Spanish olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • ⅛ cup white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Mix olive oil, garlic, and oregano in a bowl with a wire whisk. Stir in vinegar, gradually beating to form an emulsion, and then season with salt and pepper. For best results, prepare 1 to 2 days in advance and refrigerate.
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I should have taken notes on what we ordered because to be honest I kind of forgot.  There menu is similar to a novel.  Very extensive and descriptive, just the way I like it.  My dish was the Shrimp Salteado.

"a twist of a classic Columbia favorite, inspired by
Chinese immigrants to Cuba in the 19th century.
Wild-caught Gulf of Mexico shrimp, sautéed
with extra-virgin Spanish olive oil, onions, green
peppers, garlic, mushrooms, diced potatoes,
chorizo, simmered in rich Demi-glace sauce, and a
splash of red wine. Served with yellow rice."

Mr. J, of course, couldn't decide and ended up with the combination platter.  

La Completa Cubana
"To sample the flavors of Cuba, we offer this
Cuban feast of Roast Pork, Boliche, Empanada de
Picadillo, platanos, yuca, black beans and yellow

We also got another shrimp dish that was much more "hot" spicy and the Palomilla, which I think was the winner of the night. 

“If you haven’t been to Cuba or Miami lately, you
probably haven’t had a steak like this.” Marinated
top sirloin cut very thin and quickly grilled,
topped with mojo crudo (chopped onion, parsley
and lime juice). Served with platanos and french
fries or rice."

And did I tell you about the plantains. I think I stole the ones off of everyone else's plate.  There was so much food.  Everyone walked out with very full and happy tummies.


  1. So cool that you got to meet Ann in person! I used to live in Florida and there is some amazing Cuban cuisine there. Your food does look delicious and I am not surprised that you went to this place more than once. Glad you enjoyed your time in Florida. Happy Monday!

    1. Cuban food is something I am now interested in learning more about. The way they prepared the shrimp dishes was fantastic.

  2. Oh, I wish I'd known you and Ann were getting together for lunch! I would have loved to have joined you both - Ann is the sweetest! I'm glad you got to meet her though!

    1. For some reason I thought you lived in the Carolinas. Next time for sure!

  3. nice review..


  4. Sounds like a great lunch! Florida looks lovely :)
    Mary x

  5. One of my favorite parts of traveling is definitely the food. Such yummy pictures to end my day with. Hugs and love from ATX!

  6. I had SUCH a good time meeting you and I'm glad you enjoyed Columbia Restaurant...AND that you tried a mojito the second time.....they are SO good! FUN post and I'm glad you enjoyed lovely, warm and beautiful Florida & St. Augustine!


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