Best Breakfast in Florida: Andy's Flour Power ... Jaunt.ca cruise deal
Somedays you just get lucky in this business.
A public relations person for Panama City Beach, Florida a couple weeks ago asked me where I might want to have breakfast. He gave me a list of five or six spots and, for some reason, (maybe the name and the fact they advertised great breakfast potatoes), I chose Andy's Flour Power.
It was a brilliant call, as it turned out. The minute I walked in and was greeted by bright, colourful paintings and a cheery atmosphere I knew it'd probably work. By the time I met owner/chief chef John Certo the deal was sealed.
Certo was born and raised in Staten Island, New York, with Italian grandmothers who knew a thing or two about cooking. Another grandmother, I think he said, lived part of the time or full-time near Panama City Beach, so he became familiar with the area ... and with grits and southern food.
He fled New York a few years back to raise a family in clean, comfortable Panama City Beach and hasn't looked back. His funky and fabulous restaurant is open only for breakfast and lunch, so he gets home by 3 p.m.
"My son can go out and play with his friends and I tell him, 'I'll whistle for you when it's dinner time.'"
How cool is that?
Certo uses as many local ingredients as he can, including delicious, locally smoked ham, but volunteers that his bacon comes from a smokehouse in Texas. Wherever it comes from, it's absolutely unbelievable. The eggs and omelettes are perfect and he makes fabulous grits with Vermont white cheddar cheese, not to mention a spicy, perfect sausage gravy that's poured onto homemade biscuits. My Dad would be in heaven. The potatoes were quite good. Maybe not quite as wonderful as I'd expected, but everything else more than made up for a very minor disappointment on the tater front.
I also sampled the French toast, which is a fresh baguette (they do great baked goods) topped with strawberries and nuts. Sinfully good. I'm allergic to nuts but my breakfast companions said Certo's large - and very green - pistachio muffins are outstanding.
All in all, a perfectly wonderful and very reasonably priced to start your day. It's worth the visit to Panama City Beach just to talk with Certo and watch him smile in his kitchen and restaurant and, of course, eat his food.
Made a very long drive from Panama City Beach to delightful Dunedin during the day, avoiding Highways 10 and 75 and instead driving along smaller highways parallel to the interstate. A few slowdowns to go through small towns such as Perry and Chiefland, and Highway 19 isn't much fun from Port Richey down to Dunedin with all the stop lights and tile stores and strip clubs and such. But it's a nice drive; very pretty and relaxing and with a lot more to see, including signs for local events and advertisements for "Ed and Bernice's Fish Camp." Beats the heck out of counting Waffle Houses on the Interstate....
I hadn't been before, so I stopped in at Pan Y Vino on Main Street in Dunedin for dinner. Service was quick and the pizza with arugula and proscuitto was quite good. They have a wood-burning oven and serve almost exclusively pizza, although you can get enormous salads for about $6, too. The pizzas range from $11.50 to $14 or so and they have a good list of fun beers and a decent wine list for reasonable prices, so check it out.
More on delightfully different and occasionally decadent Dunedin in tomorrow's report, and then on to St. Augustine....
JAUNT.CA DEAL OF THE DAY
Jaunt.ca, a division of Torstar, has a deal on for a free-drinks Caribbean cruise with Celebrity. The cost is $1,344 and includes $220 in taxes and also includes air fare.
- BONUS: Includes Free Beverages - valued at $88 per day! See offer details for more info.
- 7-night Eastern Caribbean Cruise sailing on the Celebrity Reflection
- Includes return airfare on WestJet from Toronto or Montreal to Miami
- Two itineraries available, both Departing and returning to Miami, Florida. Ports of Call include:
Option One: Miami, Florida; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Basseterre, St. Kitts
Option Two: Miami, Florida; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Philipsburg, St. Maarten
- Accommodations in one of the following staterooms: Oceanview (Category 8 or AY), Balcony Partially Obstruced View (Category 2C) or Balcony (Category X or AX)
- The brand new Celebrity Reflection has the most up-to-date amenities and attractions
- The beautiful grassy knoll of the Lawn Club has private alcove hideaways, a delicious grill and other activities
- Visit some of the best ports the Eastern Caribbean has to offer
- Free Beverage Bonus includes the following: beers up to $5 per serving, spirits, cocktails, and wine up to $8 per serving, all soda selections, fresh squeezed and bottled juices, premium coffees, teas and non-premium bottled water. Server gratuities are included.
- Valid for travel on the following departure dates:
Toronto: March 2, 16, 23, 2013
Montreal: March 9, 16, 23, 2013
- Pricing (Rates are per person based on double occupancy):
Oceanview (Category 8): $1149 + $220 tax
Balcony Partially Obstructed View (Category 2C): $1309 + $220 tax
Oceanview (Category AY): $1299 + $219 tax
Balcony (Category AX): $1449 + $219 tax
Oceanview (Category 8): $1124 + $220 tax
Balcony (Category X): $1224 + $220 tax
Oceanview (Category 8): $1149 + $219 tax
Balcony (Category X): $1249 + $219 tax
Oceanview (Category 8 & AY): $1349 + $220 tax
Balcony (Category 2C): $1409 + $220 tax
Oceanview (Category 8 & AY): $1399 + $219 tax
Balcony (Category 2C): $1459 + $219 tax
- Airport/port transfers are NOT included
- This offer is 100% non-refundable at time of booking