A bit outside our orbit, but Orlando Eats was recently lured to Saint Augustine where we were treated to a wonderful lunch at Ice Plant. Big bonus points to this gem of a joint for being located away from the Old-Town schlock. Ice Plant loosely occupies the same space as the St. Augustine Distillery so there’s branded knickknacks and tour groups about, but the restaurant itself – set inside a 1927 ice factory that serviced shrimp boats – scores big points with us for its scratch kitchen, farm-to-table sourcing, genuine industrial atmosphere and fantastic cocktails featuring homemade sodas, syrups and so forth.
A highlight among the highlights was a Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich on brioche with collard green kimchi, tonkatsu sauce, toasted benne seeds, cucumber, and curry aioli. The type of sandwich that talks you into taking a second bite before you’re even done with your first.
We also loved the cocktails, slurping down a Little Red Corvette (London Dry Gin, Cranberry, Thyme, Lemon, Campari) and a Tiempo de fiesta Excelente (Tequila Blanco, Capaletti, Hamilton Pimento Dram, Pineapple & Lime Juice, Bubbles), which I’m almost certain is an agave-fueled nod to Wayne’s World. Ice Plant actually still produces ice onsite for its cocktails, carving various shapes away from large blocks. A first for me and kinda dang cool.
Overall, we found Ice Plant a great experience – its sheer gravity threatens to pull us off of 95 every time we find ourselves driving through the South up North. We remain torn though. Our quick visits to St. Augustine never fail to disappoint. Wonderful architecture and history but the entire town feels like it’s being shot out of a t-shirt cannon. Does anyone know if there are areas of San Auggie that aren’t anchored by a Kilwins, Dollar General or Barefoot Bill’s Island Grill?