Columbia Restaurant, St. Augustine, FL
April 21, 2013
Well, I wasn’t going to write about this meal, but it was so amazing as breakfast the next morning I could not neglect to share. Last month I flew down to St. Augustine, FL for the wedding of one of my best friends from college. The day after the wedding I went out to Columbia Restaurant, a grand Spanish restaurant in the heart of old town St. Augustine. It is quite unassuming from the exterior with a plain white stucco wall bearing its name in blue sweeping letters, but inside it feels like an elegant, but relaxed hacienda.
Upon entering you are met by calming white walls, warm wood, deep blue painted tiles around the walls and soft brown ones below. There are quite a number of dining rooms on the first floor and once you head upstairs they seem to only continue to emerge, little nooks as well, like the one we were seated in.
I ordered a salad which sounded scrumptious and was presented as a work of art, see? I know, looks amazing, right? But, unfortunately, not much to talk about. So, I will not waste time with that and get right to the Pompano en Papillot, a dish recommended by the waitress which my friend ordered and the leftovers of which I enjoyed the next morning for breakfast.
Sadly I have not photos, so instead I will attempt to paint it with words. This rich seafood dish entertained a hearty serving of pompano, a mild white fish, stuffed with various kinds of maritime goodies saturated in white wine and butter, baked in papillot, parchment paper and accompanied by rice. The simplicity of the rice was an excellent pairing with the fish, cutting the richness and lightening it up a little. Each bit was a different experience. Hidden amongst the fish I’d discover the occasional plump crunch of a mini coiled shrimp, followed by the silky, slightly sour layers of a tender artichoke heart, and then the creaminess of a hunk of crab. It was a decadent way to start the day and, to my gratitude, kept me going for some hours…till it was time for afternoon coffee.