Sail AWAY

While St. Augustine might still be reeling from the storm, some great restaurants that dish up the freshest ingredients are open and ready to serve. For pure, good food, head to Crave, which has a prime spot close to the Saint Augustine Distillery. With wraps and salads, and build-your-own options for both, it’s a customized, delicious, ultra-bright meal.

Crave’s owners, entrepreneurs Andres Guardiola and Renee Spadaro (engaged to be married!), value freshness and taste, and have fun ensuring that’s what you get. Case in point: The restaurant logo is a bright sign with tumbling foodstuffs – and their adorable mushfaced bulldog Lola in the corner.

While several items on the specials board sounded swell, like Happy Hummus ($9.25) or Spicy Shrimp Wrap ($12), this girl wanted a custom salad with everything on it. The base salad, at $6.75, takes three steps: pick your greens, pick your toppings (up to five), and pick your protein. For greens, choose from kale, Romaine or spinach (or a mix of all three); the toppings range from almonds to fresh shredded beets (no pickled beets here) to dried cranberries and sliced almonds; and for protein, there are at least eight: tuna salad ($2), goat cheese (75¢), chicken ($3), shrimp ($5), hummus ($2) and more.

It was a Friday, and on Fridays there’s a fresh ahi tuna ($5) that can go in a wrap or on a salad. I’m not in the habit of turning down a special and I couldn’t have been happier about my selection. The ahi tuna was outrageously good. The fish was seasoned and marinated just right, so it wasn’t overpowering and you could taste the freshness. The thin slices were fanned out on top of the salad – each bite was so tender, it almost melted. Pulling all these together are Crave’s great dressings. With options like garlic nutritional yeast and Thai peanut dressing, it’s tough to figure out which dressing to choose.

The Crave team has put together a few amazing smoothie options for ordering ease and, of course, a build-your-own option, too. I opted for one from the menu, the Fruit of Life ($5.75), which you can get with almond milk or coconut water. The creamier the better when it comes to smoothies, so almond milk was the obvious choice for this gal. The Fruit of Life is replete with antioxidant-rich berries, giving the smoothie a deep purple color fit for royalty. You can choose add-ons, like protein and superfoods and greens, for when your life needs just a little extra boost.

Crave’s selections will make your body happy, but I haven’t even gotten to the best part – its location. Close to several marinas, this unassuming spot has some serious real estate. You’ll want to sit and stay a while on the covered patio, with two rows of picnic tables where the water and seabreeze make you feel like you’re on vacation, even if you’re not. Watching the hypnotizing bobbing of the docked boats, you may find your mind wander to rigging the sails and escaping everyday responsibilities. But you’d have to leave behind the colorful and palatable plates Crave dishes up, so I’m betting you’ll be happy to stay.

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