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May 24, 2009 02:18 PM

Crescent City

I decided to leave I-95 behind and travel on U.S. 17 for a bit. I spotted a little outdoor Mexican cafe on the East side of 17, just South of the light at Central Ave. It is called El Amigo, open 7 days a week until 8 p.m. They make their tortillas by hand, served nicely grilled. The food was cooked to order, tasty and reasonably priced. The most exciting part of the delicious meal were the sweet tamale options. There was a sweet corn, a guava and I think the third was pineapple. I had the sweet corn which was wrapped in the purple outer petal of the banana flower. It was lovely, subtlety sweet. Times like this I wish I was capable of eating much more!
The young woman who took orders at the window was knowledgeable, helpful and proud of their menu. English was not a problem. The diners were evenly split between Hispanic and non-Hispanic, and all seemed very happy with their meal. The menudo at the table next to me looked fantastic. The Florida heat made that option not too appealing to me...

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  1. Sounds delightful! My husband and I love to drive up that way (from Altamonte) once and a while and will definitely look for El Amigo on next trip.....thanks for posting.

    6 Replies
    1. re: bcodom

      I was on 17 from De Land to Orange Park. There appeared to be 6 or more BBQ possibilities, but it was Sunday and most seemed closed...Have you tried any on this route? I also had a chance to stop by the E. Palatka fruit stand (?) and bought their last datil pepper plant! I hope my non-green thumb can keep it going long enough to make some Minorcan chowder. The stand wasn't as big as I remembered, but then my last visit had been in '81!

      The drive gave a nice glimpse of the Florida I remember from my youth, which keeps getting harder to find.

      1. re: meatn3

        The only restaurant we've stopped at up that way is the some place on the lake In Crescent City whose name I can't recall -- two story older building with a deck on the water playing the ubiquitous (and so tiring) Jimmy Buffet music. Don't recall the food so it must not have been that great. That fruit stand sounds like another great find. Just give your pepper plant lots of sun and with all this rain, he'll do fine!

        1. re: bcodom

          Crescent City,,,what a place!!
          It's a growing town with a big mexican migrant worker population. Kinda like deleon springs. This whole area is very chow worthy if you know where to go. If you drive south towards Barberville take a right on hwy 40 until you get to the saint johns river.
          There you will find THE BEST fried catfish in florida at a place called the Blackwater inn. There are several fried fish joints along this strech of road./

        2. re: meatn3

          Sorry to report the fruit stand is no more - the victim last month of an out of control semi.

          1. re: Bumstead

            Oh my...I hope no one was hurt.

            Please keep us posted if/when they reopen.

            1. re: meatn3

              No one was hurt but the stand is gone.

      2. bcodom, Maybe you are thinking of the Sprague House , . I have stayed there many times when I used to attend the Catfish Festival in Crescent City., but I haven't been in years. I always loved that little city.

        4 Replies
        1. re: HotMelly

          Actually, the restaurant I was thinking about was right on the lake, down the street from Spraque House, which was being renovated last time we visited town. I can see we definitely need to visit Crescent City again soon! Thanks for the info on the B&B.....

          1. re: bcodom

            Was it 3 Bananas? I drove by and it was hopping! Looked like a popular stop for motorcycle day trippers.

            1. re: meatn3

              That could be it....very popular with the bikers as I recall.....

            2. re: bcodom

              My friend lives just down the street. He says the Sunday brunch at Sprague House is fantastic. We always walk down to 3 Bananas when I visit. It's a great place for a drink (or two or three) by the lake on a lazy Sunday afternoon. He reported seeing a small school of manatees just last week churning in the water by the boat launch. He watched for about 45 minutes before they all stopped and took off.

          2. Looks like the address is :

            209 SUMMIT
            CRESCENT CITY, FL 32112

            I'm heading down this way later in the week - if anyone has updates or other ideas for this area please post!

            1 Reply
            1. re: meatn3

              This place is seriously good! Tacos, tamales $1.50 each. Really nice horchata too. They don't have all menu options every day, but there is plenty to choose from. They have some larger dinner plates too.

              It is a lovely detour too - pretty country. There were some signs north(?) of Crescent City advertising elk jerky, but I never did spot the outlet...

            2. Just returned from Crescent City. Had a great meal at Belle's Bistro, newly opened across from the Sprague House. Gourmet Hot Dogs and salads with a daily special.

              Reasonably priced, great addition to the area.

              New antique stores and occupied storefronts has Crescent City looking better than it has in years. A great destination for a Sunday drive.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Bumstead

                So good to hear! This town has so much charm and a nice "old" Florida feel. Harder and harder to find these days...

                1. re: Bumstead

                  its sad belles bisro is closed, it was a fabulous place great simple food done excellent,