where to eat, drink & be merry

Jimmy Saal photo: Daniel Goncalves

by erin thursby
Fleming Island is opening up a Farmer’s Market starting December 5th, each Saturday thereafter. Fair weather or foul, the market will be open at the parking lot of Fleming Island Shoppes off of Highway 17 at Village Square Parkway. For more info, email [email protected].
Some vendors at the Jacksonville Farmer’s Market will now accept EBT/SNAP cards for purchase of food, plants and seeds to grow food for their households as well as credit/debit cards for all purchases.
Raglands on Park Street in 5 Points has shuttered its doors, but a place called Deco Bistro will be replacing it. There are conflicting accounts as to who will be running the place. EatJax.com reports that former employees of Raglands have been seen going in and out of the building.
Bluefish Restaurant and Oyster Bar should be open this month where Sterling’s in Avondale was.
Panera Bread in San Marco will be closing for good in December. As of this writing nothing was yet slated to go in the space as a replacement.
More outdoor seating was approved for restaurants in the Beaches (The Loop on Third Street and The Wipeout Grill) and they also extended the outdoor seating permit for Caribbee Key and Sun Dog.
Tired of seeing Salt Life logos plastered over the the backs of cars and on t-shirts? If you are, you’re going to feel just a little more weary with this news: they now have a restaurant named after them. Come January, the Salt Life Food Shack (1018 Third St. N. Jacksonville Beach) will open its doors.
A new Mexican bakery called Mi Pueblo is across from Sam’s Club on Beach Boulevard.
Just open at the end of last month in the Sawgrass Hilton is the Tex-Mex Salty Rock Cantina on PGA Tour Boulvard in Ponte Vedra.
Prime steakhouse lll Forks has opened on the Southside in Tapestry Park, near Tinseltown.
Besides the local gift card deals we’ve highlighted elsewhere this month, the national chain Maggiano’s is offering an extra $20 on your gift card for every $100.
Publix is partnering with the Children’s Home Society of Florida. Through December 27th Publix customers can buy Santa Dollars for $2.50 with $1 going directly to charity. A Santa Dollar is a regular dollar bill with a Santa-faced seal over George Washington’s face. The seal is removable so that you can spend the dollar–or you can keep it on as a collectible.
November 28- December 23 The Gingerbread Extravaganza and Victorian House Tours This annual South Jacksonville Rotary and society event at the Old St. Andrews brings thousands to the site to enjoy the artistic Gingerbread exhibit installed in a National Register Site, the Merrill History House, open for tours, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, 1 pm to 3 pm. www.jaxhistory.com
December 5 Breakfast with Santa What could be better than a day at MOSH that begins with a eating a meal with Santa Claus? Santa will be at MOSH to listen to children’s Christmas wishes. Admission to “Breakfast with Santa” includes admission to MOSH. So, skip the mall and have a stress-free day at MOSH! 9 am-5 pm. $10 for children and $12 for adults. Children 3 and under are free. 1025 Musuem Cir.
December 4 & 5 Victorian Tea Enjoy a seated Victorian Tea in the fabulous Bailey House at the corner of S.7th and Ash Streets in historic Fernandina Beach. A choice of teas and an abundant assortment of sweet and savory treats will be served on the current owner’s finest china. Adding to the festivities, Kate and Effingham Bailey, the original owners of the home, now portrayed by local residents, will greet and visit with guests to share stories of life in Fernandina in the late 1800s. Reminiscent of Holiday Teas in the 19th century, this memorable event will enhance your holiday experience in old Fernandina. Tickets may be purchased by calling The Amelia Island Museum of History at 904-261-7378, ext. Seatings at 2 pm, 3 pm and 4pm. $15.
December 9 Sterling’s 60th Birthday Party Sterling Joyce is a well-recognized gentleman who has made the restaurant and hospitality industry his career for nearly 35 years. He has created an annual fundraising birthday party that benefits Toys for Tots, celebrating more than a decade of gift giving to deserving children in Jacksonville. This year is Joyce’s 60th birthday with a James Bond Themed Gala. As the dining room and special event Maitre ‘D Hotel at the historic Casa, his role is pivotal to the property’s enduring history of Jacksonville Beach. 6 pm-11 pm. FREE when you donate unwrapped toys for ages 4-14, books or canned food. Optional barbecue $15. Casa Marnina Hotel, Jax Beach
December 19 Chocolate & Champagne Gala You’ll have to take a road trip to enjoy this food and dance event. With the Nutcracker Winter Wonderland as your background, you’ll dance on the stage of the Phillips Center to the fabulous sounds of Gosia and Ali. You’ll dine on gourmet delights, sip sparkling champagne and delight in decadent chocolate desserts. Enjoy exclusive holiday shopping and a fun filled scavenger hunt through the Center to make this a perfectly amazing night. Call for ticket prices and info at 352-371-2986. 8pm. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Gainesville, FL
December 12 Breakfast with Santa at Maggiano’s Buffet includes scrambled eggs, Maggiano’s breakfast casserole, bacon, sausage, ham, French toast, breakfast potatoes, assorted cereals, homemade pastries, fresh fruit, juices and coffee. Jolly Old St. Nick is the guest of honor. $17.95 adults, $9.95 kids 5-11 years, kids under 4 eat free, not including tax and gratuity. Call 380-4360 to reserve. 8 am-10:30 am Maggino’s 10367 Midtown Pkwy
December 21 Tastings and Trivia at the Grape The Monday before Christmas we’re guessing you’ll need to unwind. Why not shop at the St. Johns Town Center and then get in on some trivia and wine? Live music, prizes, light apps and wine. Bottomless glass for $14. 5 pm – 9:30pm The Grape Wine Bar & Bistro 10281 Midtown Pkwy
December 24 Holiday Cookies Cooking Class Those looking to do something memorable with a family member on Christmas Eve Day can take this holiday cooking class either at noon or 2 pm. As the description of the course states, you’ll get to take home an assortment of five dozen cookies for everyone to enjoy. Call to reserve at 262-4187. $35. Apron’s Cooking School inside Publix at 10500 San Jose Blvd