Tuesday, March 10, 2015

New Smyrna Beach Eats

We took a 2-day trip last week to New Smyrna Beach on the east coast.  It was just over 2 hours from Tampa, so it was far enough away to feel like a vacation, but close enough that we didn’t waste our days off driving a long distance. 

We stayed at the Black Dolphin Inn, which I found on this list of top 10 bed & breakfasts in Florida.  I can’t recommend it enough – I just wish we could have stayed more than one night.  It’s right on the Indian River within walking distance to downtown New Smyrna and only a few minute drive to the beach. 

The building has a Spanish Mediterranean style, and the interior was surprisingly modern (I’m used to most B&Bs having outdated furnishings and floral wallpaper & bedding).  You can see a video with owner Brett Smith talking about the inn here. 

After checking in, we walked to Yellow Dog Eats Kitchen & Bar for lunch.  They’ve had a location for decades in Gotha, FL just west of Orlando, but the New Smyrna location only opened 6 months ago.  They specialize in BBQ, sandwiches, and salads.   

Large red marquee letters spell out the name of the restaurant and colorful art depicting different dogs decorate the walls.  We thought it was funny they had the same yellow china cabinet as we do at home!

I had their Baa Baa BLT – with smoked pancetta, tomatoes, field greens, watercress, pecan smoked bacon, goat cheese, and orange Cointreau mayo served on multi grain bread.  I absolutely loved this twist on the normal BLT – the watercress gave it a peppery flavor and the mix of ingredients was perfect. 

Lance had the Florida Cracker – with pulled pork, coleslaw, Gouda, pecan-smoked bacon, pickles, fried onions, and BBQ sauce on white bread.  Messy but delicious.  Both sandwiches came with kettle cooked chips, which we saved for later. 

We had hoped to go to New Smyrna Beach Brewing Company after lunch, but it turns out they’re closed on Tuesdays!  We wandered around downtown New Smyrna and visited Canaveral National Seashore. 

For dinner we heard good things about a restaurant called The Garlic.  It took us awhile to get hungry after our lunch at Yellow Dog.  I didn’t expect a wait on a Tuesday night, but it was actually really busy at The Garlic.  The restaurant is huge and decorated with cloves of garlic everywhere you look.  Some of the entrees are cooked in their wood fired oven that reaches 800°F+ temperatures. 

We ordered a bottle of Malbec and they brought us some of their famous garlic – a whole bulb slow-roasted, smashed with oil and balsamic, then served with crispy bread. 

For dinner I had the Surf & Turf – an 8 ounce sirloin with shrimp and garlic mashed potatoes.  Lance had the Seafood Cannelloni – scallops, shrimp, and mahi mahi blended with cheeses and wrapped in fresh pasta with Newberg sauce. 

I regret that I didn’t get one of the Il Forno dishes prepared in the wood-fired oven.  The shrimp and mashed potatoes were great, but my steak was actually very dry.  And Lance enjoyed his cannelloni, but I personally thought it was all sauce & cheese with very little seafood.  This place had such great reviews that I think my expectations were too high so I was a bit disappointed – maybe we just ordered the wrong dishes. 

The next morning we woke up early to see the sunrise from the dock at our B&B.  We had a nice relaxing morning enjoying broiled grapefruit and omelets for breakfast (mine was cream cheese with smoked salmon, Lance’s was cheddar & sausage).   

We spent another afternoon seeing the sites – we walked the beach at Smyrna Dunes, climbed to the top of the largest lighthouse in Florida (Ponce De Leon Inlet Lighthouse), and explored the Sugar Mill Ruins. 

We always like to find a nice ice cream shop to indulge when we’re on vacation.  We found the perfect one, Banana Split Republic, right off A1A next to a produce market.  Their ice cream was some of the best I’ve had – their chocolate chip cookie dough had globs as large as a whole cookie!  The birthday cake had real chunks of cake, and the lava – caramel ice cream with caramel & chocolate swirls, cashews, and almonds – was incredible.  

Afterwards we went to New Smyrna Brewing since it was actually open on Wednesday.  I liked their Inlet Amber best and Lance enjoyed the Shark Attack IPA (they also had guest taps from other Florida breweries). 

We had an early dinner – we researched other restaurants to try out, but Yellow Dog Eats was less than a block from the brewery and it was so great the day before, we wanted to enjoy more of their sandwiches before we headed home.  Seriously, if this place was in Tampa, I’d be there at least once a week. 

This time I had the Classic Yellow Dog Club (honey mesquite turkey with Gouda, pecan-smoked bacon, cucumber, lettuce, and orange Cointreau mayo on multigrain bread.  It was pretty similar to the Baa Baa BLT, but I liked having the cucumber for a bit more crunch. 

Lance had the Holy Crap sandwich, also with the mesquite turkey, but with avocado, bacon, goat cheese, red onion, and basil mayo.  As the art says on the wall, their sandwiches “make me so dog-gone happy”. 

It was the perfect way to end our trip.  Our trip went by far too quickly, but we enjoyed a lot of great food in our short 2 days there!

The Black Dolphin Inn is located at 916 S Riverside Dr, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168. 

Yellow Dog Eats Kitchen and Bar is located at 147 Canal St, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168 and is open 11am – 9pm every day. 

The Garlic is located at 556 E 3rd Ave, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169 and is open 4pm – 10pm Sunday – Thursday and 4pm – 11pm Friday – Saturday. 

Banana Split Republic is located at 1042 N Dixie Fwy, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168 (their hours aren’t online…)

New Smyrna Beach Brewing Company is located at 112 Sams Ave, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168 and is open 5pm – 10pm Wednesdays, 2pm – 10pm Thursdays – Fridays, 12pm – 10pm Saturday, and 12pm – 6:30pm Sunday (they are closed Monday – Tuesdays). 

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