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Top 13 Florida Foods. Not to Miss while in Florida.

Taste is very personal and there is no point arguing about it. Some people will always say that Italy’s pizza and pasta are the best food in the world, others will be firm about France having the best cuisine with snails and frog legs, and for some of us Florida is where it’s at. Food in Florida is our own and influenced by many different periods and cuisines, so there is a bit of everything.

You will find Latin influence, seafood specialties, comfort Southern food, and Creole cooking. The history of Florida is long, especially in St. Augustine, which is one of the first towns in America, influenced by many cultures from various regions of the world.

Florida is a Southern state, so you will find barbeque, shrimp and grits, and fried green tomatoes.

Colonial-era English and American pioneers settling around St. Augustine were called crackers. They worked cattle in the back country and were seeking comfort foods.

European influence is felt heavily here, brought first with the Spanish conquistadors. They left their mark with wonderful ceviche, empanadas, arroz con pollo, and many others.

And finally, seafood options and Caribbean flavors. Water surrounds St. Augustine from three sides, so seafood is unavoidable. “Catch of the Day” is really caught today here and seasoned to perfection with Caribbean seasoning. Oyster season is legitimately exciting in Florida.

Let’s take a look at 13 delicacies locals and vacationers can enjoy in the beautiful state of Florida:

  • Conch Fritters

Conches are giant sea snails. Conch fritters are those snails mixed with batter and fried until golden brown. This is a popular appetizer in many Seaside restaurants because it’s the perfect mix of Southern and seafood. Southern part basically comes from fritters being deep fried and dipped in creamy tartar sauce.

One of the best places to try this delicacy is The Reef in Vilano Beach.

  • Fresh Catch of the Day

As we said before, fish here is as fresh as it gets. Most restaurants serve fresh Catch of the Day, which is the best way to sample fresh fish from the Atlantic Ocean or Matanzas River. Fish that you can try in St. Augustine are flounder, snapper, and drum. This menu item is served three ways of your choice: blackened, grilled or fried.

  • Shrimp & Grits

This is your Creole dish and close proximity to Caribbean is influencing that. This tasty and healthy meal can be served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – it is quite universal. Shrimp and grits combine low-country taste with fresh seafood for a wonderful experience.

Harry’s Seafood, local Cajun chain, is a perfect place for shrimp and grits.

  • Gator tail

You are in Florida, where we have gator crossings on the roads, so it doesn’t get much more local than gator tails. Local swamps and rivers are home to about 1 million gators and so there are many restaurants that serve their tails. The tail is deep fried and served as an appetizer.

A lot of people compare gator taste to chicken, some say it’s between chicken and fish. While in St. Augustine, visit Florida Cracker Café and see for yourself.

  • Key Lime Pie

You can’t be in Florida and not try the famous Key Lime Pie. It’s everywhere! This baked good originated in the Keys and is beloved here. It is made with key lime juice, egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, and pie crust. The real pie should be yellow, because that’s the color of key lime juice. The pie is sweet tart, garnished with whipped cream, and a slice of lime.

Raintree Restaurant and many other eateries in St. Augustine offer key lime pie for dessert.

  • Minorcan Chowder

Minorcans setteled in Florida, around St. Augustine in 1777 and brought their culinary specialties with them for generations to come. Minorcan chowder is very popular in St. Augustine and can be sampled in many places, but if you are looking for something truly authentic, head to Sunset Grill.

  • Barbeque

BBQ styles are different in different parts of America and it comes down to wood available, sauces used, and species of cattle, hog, and other meats.

Florida is known for BBQ chains, and all of them are here, in St. Augustine, including Bono’s BBQ, Woody’s Bar-B-Q, and Sonny’s BBQ.

No BBQ is complete without coleslaw, corn fritters, green beans, cornbread, and more.

Smokin’ D’s BBQ is one of those amazing places where they don’t take credit cards and don’t have any tables – this is when you know it’s good.

  • Oysters

When oysters come in, locals and guests head to restaurants to slurp on these gifts from the sea. All the months with ‘r’ in the name are great for oysters – pretty much all, except for summer. There are countless ways to eat oysters – raw, steamed, fried, plain, or with spicy sauces. Try Salt Life Food Shack for some amazing oyster experience.

  • Ceviche

This Latin appetizer is very popular in Florida and takes advantage of Florida’s citrus abundance. This dish has raw fish and is magically marinated with the help of lime, lemon, and orange juices. This citric acid creation is a perfect mix of science, seafood, and citrus.

Try beautifully styled ceviche at La Pentola.

  • Cuban sandwich

Miami and Tampa are birth places of this creation, but by now it’s an unofficial state sandwich of Florida. The flat sandwich is made with ham, roasted pork, mustard, pickles, melted Swiss cheese, and pressed Cuban bread. The Cubano goes great with chips, French fries, or best, plantain chips.

Head to ‘A1A Ale Works’ in St. Augustine for a truly amazing Cuban sandwich experience.

  • Fried green tomatoes

Green tomatoes are horrible on their own, but dipped in batter and fried are a totally different story. It’s totally up to you what you will dip them in next: spicy mayo, blue cheese, ranch, or your own sauce creation.

The Blue Hen has some wonderful fried green tomatoes as an appetizer or part of Fried Green Tomato BLT.

  • Empanadas

Empanadas are part of Florida’s culture and have become popular nation-wide. If you want an authentic experience, try Spanish Bakery’s empanadas in St. Augustine, where all parts are made from scratch, hand rolled, and cooked in an old fashioned stone oven with real flames.

  • Arroz con Pollo

This simple yet delicious meal is offered in many Florida restaurants and has Spanish and Puerto Rican roots. The spiced chicken and rice can be served with peppers and black beans.

The Columbia is a good place to go for an authentic plate of arroz con pollo.

Best Golf Lessons for Kids in Orange County

The beginning of learning golf can be tricky, especially for young players. Orange County has plenty of golf courses, perfect weather, and naturally, a few schools where kids can learn the sport. The schools specialize in age-appropriate teaching methods at full-service golf courses. Summer camps are also available for those who desire to spend the summer active and outside. Kids of any age can start improving their birdie-making skills; all they need is the desire. Parents might be surprised to find out that the lessons are not as expensive as it might seem. So get ready to visit some links with your little players in tow!

Orange County Golf Academy (Santa Ana)

This school is known for training young athletes at every level of their skill. Kids that never held a set of clubs and pretty advanced players have equal chances for success at Orange County Golf Academy. Teachers can work with kids as young as 4 years old and teach them all the basic moves and what’s behind those moves. If you want to test the sport before signing up for lessons, you can walk-in every Friday at Junior Clinic from 4-5 pm for just $10. Kids who want to continue their golf journey and delve deeper are welcome to summer camps.

Tustin Ranch Golf Club (Tustin)

Kids 6 to 17 can participate in various programs for different levels. Four levels are color-coded and include golf tournaments, rules and tips, and skills. This system gives a chance for all players to cover all aspects of the game. If your family is ready for more in-depth lessons, you can enter Junior Golf Camps or purchase annual or seasonal passes to get more off-peak time to practice at a discounted rate.

Coach Ish at Orange County Junior Golf Academy (Irvine)

Players as young as 3 years of age can start learning the sport at this academy. For the past 10 years the school focused solely on kids and devised a few methods to achieve success. Kids can participate in group lessons or take private classes, which allow parents to make arrangements that fit their budget. Kids will get instructions and will get their swing analyzed V1 golf swing software. If you don’t know if your kids will like the lessons, you can give it a try with first few free lessons.

Mile Square Golf Course (Fountain Valley)

This golf course is one of the most distinguished and well-known public courses in Orange County, so there is no surprise that kids lessons here are top notch. All coaches have certificates to teach junior level golf. Group lessons or private classes are available for kids of 5 and above. Junior Golf Camp is open all summer long for weekly sessions. Each weekly session costs $95 and includes instruction, hat, shirts, towel, tees, balls, booklets, and a closing party with pizza and open golf course.

Tiny Tees Golf (San Clemente)

This program is geared toward very young players, ages 3 to 7. They work on golf skills and overall coordination – cornerstones of every game in the future. The program started in 2000 and is getting more popular with each year, so make sure you sign up for classes early, because they fill up quickly. Golf clubs are provided to students and can also be purchased for just $20 each. Classes take place in one of three locations in Southern California, including Talega Golf Club in San Clemente, Pechanga Resort near Temecula, and the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach. Kids 8-13 can be referred for special programs at the school.

The Best Birdwatching Locations in Orange County

California has the perfect weather and climate for many outdoor hobbies, and bird watching here is one of the best in the country. Southern California is home to many species of birds and offers some great bird watching locations, so great in fact, that bird enthusiasts come from all over the world. This hobby is more than just watching – you have to spot the birds, identify them, and learn about their habits and distribution. If you are ready to take it on, we are here to point you towards some perfect locations for your passion:

Crescent Bay (Laguna Beach)

This place is perfect for beautiful Pacific Ocean views and for spotting Wandering Tattlers, Surf Birds, and Black Turnstones. You can spend some time at the overlook and admire all this coastal area has to offer. The bay is at the north end of Laguna Beach and is known to have some of the best ocean views around. The beach itself is loved by locals for its remoteness and peacefulness, which is very difficult to find in many other Southern California beaches.

San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary (Irvine)

This sanctuary is one of the best bird watching places in Southern California. It all started with Peer Swan, who is the visionary of San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. It has evolved into a popular place for all nature lovers looking to escape the city for a few hours. More than 282 bird species have been recorded here with 170 of them migrating regularly. You will always find birds here – some constant residents, some wintering birds, and others just seasonal guests.

Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve (Newport Beach)

The reserve is 1,000-acres wide and is open from 7 am to sunset every day. Birds live and nest here year-round. Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center is located on the park, which includes 135 acres of bluffs around the bay. This topography creates coastal wetlands famous for bird watching. Over 35,000 birds migrate here and six endangered species reside in the bay permanently. Those species are Light-Footed Clapper Rail, Brown Pelican, Beliding’s Savannah Sparrow, Black Rail Peregrine Falcon, and the California Least Tern.

Heisler Park (Laguna Beach)

This is another Laguna Beach spot perfect for birding. Even if you are not into bird watching, you will be amazed by the spectacular views of the ocean and shore cliffs. The park can be reached from the Pacific Coast highway and includes the Bird Rock. It is located just north of the Main Beach and is famous for shore birds. Another point of attraction of this park is the fact that it is included in the California National Coastal Monument.

Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve (Huntington Beach)

This reserve is a sprawling 300-acre coastal sanctuary with Pacific Coast Highway on one side and oil fields on the other. Migratory birds favor these wetlands and it is of vital importance because 20% of all North American migrating birds use the nearby Pacific Flyaway. Because of habitat destruction, migrating bird numbers have gone from 60 million to just 2 million in recent years. This sanctuary provides home for 163 pairs of endangered Belding’s Savannah Sparrows. In addition to them, bird watchers can often see the rare Clapper Rails and many other species: Great Blue Herons, Avocets, Black-necked Stilts, Snowy Egrets, and White and Brown Pelicans.

Best Horseback Riding Lessons for Kids in California

Enterprise Farms (Los Angeles, near Griffith Park)

This facility offers summer camps for kids that include training, lessons, hunter, jumper, equitation, dressage, parties, and U.S. Pony Club Riding Center.

Canyon Lake Farm & Training Center (Chino)

The farm specializes in Arabian horse breeding, training, lessons, hunter, saddle-seat, Western, and sales. Summer camps are offered for kids who want to specialize in Youth and Amateur rides with Multiple National Champion Tracy Fincher.

Bridges Equestrian, Inc. (San Juan Capistrano)

This farm is the only U.S. Pony Club & U.S. Hunter Jumper Association certified riding school in Orange County. They also have a show barn and offer riding lessons for all ages and levels. The facility maintains lighted covered arenas, has 25 horses, 6 instructors, Pony Club, show teams, and summer camps.

They also offer full training, a-circuit showing, and leases for horse and rider with the Bridges Training Stable. The school has been training local champions since 1981.

Great Pony Parties & the Kountry Kritters Petting Zoo (OC, San Bernardino)

If you want to have a party that will include ponies and a petting zoo, they can come to you. Book pony rides, pony cart rides, or petting zoo with extras, like face painting, the clown, and riding lessons. The facility itself offers summer camps and horse shows.

LionHeart Ranch (Agoura Hills)

The ranch has full-care equestrian facility, boarding, training, lessons, clinics, holistic bodywork & equine nutritional programs, and nationally-acclaimed equine therapy sessions.

Kids can participate in various activities on a daily basis or sign up for summer camps as long as they are older than 6. The programs for kids are geared towards building confidence and life skills while learning the techniques of riding. The atmosphere is fun and relaxed with trainers ready to help kids who are just starting out or about ready to compete in Dressage. Lessons are taking place from Tuesdays to Saturdays and include training horses if needed.

Anderson Equine Assistance Program (Orange County and Riverside)

Mary Rose Anderson focuses on kids’ needs and offers training, lessons, and clinic at her ranch. Students are learning what it takes to take care of horses and become an avid rider. They are encouraged to be organized, responsible, self-aware, work in teams, solve problems, communicate and lead.

Students have a chance to advance in horsemanship, showmanship, ground & body control, obstacle challenges, trail and extreme racing, gymkhana, reining & ranch versatility, and cutting.

Mary Rose leads by example and emphasizes that persistence, discipline, and dedication are needed to be successful not only with horses, but life in general. Kids can attend summer camps and learn a lot about setting goals, planning ahead, being prepared, and all the practice needed.

Turning Point Farms (Coto de Caza)

This farm is dedicated to both horse and rider training programs and show barn. First time riders and experienced racers are welcome to participate in hunters, jumpers, and equitation lessons.

The main focus of this farm is to nurture the understanding, respect, and love for horses. This affectionate relationship between humans and horses has benefitted many high level competitors that started here. Young horse training programs are also available.

Dana Smith Show Team, Inc. (San Juan Capistrano)

The farm has been open to all levels of raiders for 31 years and invites beginners and professionals alike. Equestrian programs for kids and adults are available and so are parties and holiday or summer camps. Horses are available for lessons or lease. Families enjoy the atmosphere here and many options of customized programs.

Goldspirit Farm (Lakeview Terrace)

The farm is operated and owned by USEA certified instructor and USDF bronze medal winner Suzan Friend LeTTourneur. She keeps the farm pristine, clean, and peaceful. Boarding, training, and lessons are available for eventing, jumpers, and dressage. The riding center is approved by US Pony Club and provides horses for lessons.

The farm is at the base of Los Angeles National Forest and just a 30 minute drive from major metropolitan areas. You will find year round footing, lighted areas, gallop track, and cross country course.

The Paddock Riding Club (Los Angeles Los Feliz)

This family friendly facility offers boarding and training in the beautiful and secluded farm located right in the city. Here you will find gates and security, six arenas, jumping courses, all-weather footing, box stalls, hot walkers, wash racks, access to 55 miles of trails in Griffith Park, bathrooms with showers, lounge, coffee, Wi-Fi, picnic areas, shows, and clinic.

Experienced trainers offer lessons for all ages. The center is approved by US Pony Club.

Hidden Creek Ranch (Orange)

You can choose from lessons and training in horsemanship, English and Western riding camps all year long with curriculums. The mission of this ranch is to provide an excellent riding academy and professional training facility. They seek to facilitate love for horses and knowledge about care of the animals so needed for success in the horse industry.

 

Pottery Classes for Kids in Orange County

If your child has been born in the last decade, he or she definitely has a vivid imagination and can work with their hands, thanks to all the small electronics. If you want to channel that inner creative genius and talent, pull your child away from the smart phone or tablet, and bring him to one of creative classes that Orange County has to offer. Take a look at our list and find a private pottery studio, instructional painting party, or ceramics classes close to home.

Muddy’s Studio in Santa Ana

The studio specializes in creative ceramics. Your child will not only have fun, but will also learn some fundamental basics about the creative process. He or she will learn design, throwing, shaping and glazing secrets and techniques. All the teachers are talented artists and invest their time shaping the young generation of artists.

The studio offers Thursday and Friday after school classes and Saturday sessions. The classes are wonderful and very popular, so call or log in online to preregister in advance. You can always stop for a look at this 5,400-square-foot facility to meet the teachers and learn more about what they do.

The Ceramics Studio in San Juan Capistrano 

The studio invites you to come and play with clay. The classes feel more like a playtime, and kids love that. You and your kids will work together and create one of a-kind masterpieces by throwing, sculpting, and painting. Families with toddlers are also welcome as the studio has some activities designed specifically for the smallest hands. The teacher reads popular stories for the class and then works with you to recreate popular characters. At the end you get to glaze your own creation and take it home with you.

Color Me Mine in Brea

Visitors can select one of about 400 different ceramics items and create their own version of it. The choices are very wide, from plates, picture frames, and piggy banks to cookie jars. Once you pick the item, you will be given supplies to color it the way you want it. You can choose to work with friends or on your own.

The classes are tailored to your or your little one’s needs. You can paint a unique masterpiece or just put some dots, do whatever you like. The classes range from very simple to complicated projects, so the choice is yours.

Hidden Talents Ceramic Studio in Huntington Beach

All ages are welcome to this studio. You can come in with a party or stop by yourself – everything works. All you need to do is come in; leave the rest to the Hidden Talents. They will provide all the needed materials, paints, firing, advice, and studio time.

Are you are an educator and would like to host a ceramics making party in your classroom? Home? Park? No worries, Hidden Talent will travel to you and bring everything that’s needed to your location. Ceramics camps are available all summer, but sign up in advance, because they fill up pretty quickly.

The staff is available to answer any questions and can help you host a private party or a fundraiser.

Irvine Fine Arts Center 

If your child shows interest in art, consider bringing him here. He will not only learn how to glaze the pot and understand the artistic process, but will also learn a bit about himself. The Center is staffed with professionals who understand the importance of art and creativity for the young minds. Children of all ages are welcome to a great variety of studio class media.

Young children, school aged artists, teenagers and the entire family will enjoy not just coloring a few vases, but will get a sense of community that exists in this wholly creative environment.