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The Buzz Has Begun - The Oak Room Restaurant at Double Tree
Thursday January 29, 2015 @ 4:17 pm

The Buzz Has Just Begun: Make Your Reservation
At Oak Room Restaurant Before The Secret is Out!

By Ama Reynolds

Oak Room Restaurant & Lounge:
Classic, Modern and Right-On-Trend

Located in the lobby of the brand new DoubleTree by Hilton St. Augustine Historic District at 116 San Marco Avenue in the heart of St. Augustine, the Oak Room Restaurant & Lounge has everything you’re looking for in a casual fine dining restaurant. 

Featuring upscale American cuisine in a beautiful casual setting, the Oak Restaurant & Lounge also offers an amazing vista view of St. Augustine and a breathtaking fireplace center piece and is open daily for both hotel guests and the public—serving an eclectic selection of dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner

Whether you’re into health food, snacks, or gourmet food all the way, the Oak Room’s got something for everyone, including vegetarian selections. Enjoy a full meal in the beautiful dining room—or unwind in the Oak Room Lounge with one-of-a-kind handcrafted cocktails, as well as top-shelf beer and wine. Food & Beverage Manager Keith and Executive Chef Baker have worked side-by-side at a number of restaurants, moving as a team to Oak Room Restaurant and Lounge. The two created the dining menu and the special events menus together, and created a diverse, flavorful, and distinctive selection filled with delicious dishes for everyone in your party. 

Seriously. 

The Oak Room Restaurant: A Complete Dining Experience

The Oak Room Restaurant & Lounge makes dining a complete experience, the kind where you get to leave the world behind for a little while and revel in great company, transcendent flavors, and a warm, modern atmosphere—complete with beautiful sunlight or nighttime city lights pouring in from the tall, arched windows dressed up with luxurious, iridescent drapes, facing the beautiful and historic Mission Nombre De Dios.

This is a St. Augustine restaurant through and through. And a high-quality, friendly, casual fine-dining restaurant through-and-through. With service so personalized and smooth, you’re certain that no requests or questions will remain unmet—and indeed they’re not. 

Soon to be a very favorite fine dining spot for locals and visitors alike, the Oak Room Restaurant & Lounge belies any idea of what you think a hotel restaurant is like—even some of the best in town—for it infuses its divine and diverse menu with the spirit of St. Augustine itself, offering appetizers like Gator Bites, for instance; fine handcrafted cocktails created with top-shelf spirits courtesy of St. Augustine Distillery; select wines from St. Augustine’s San Sebastian Winery and wherever and whenever possible, the restaurant’s dishes feature local seafood and fresh area fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. 

Dinner Doesn’t Get Much Better: A Night at St. Augustine’s Oak Room

Spare, warm, and modern, The Oak Room Restaurant offers up the kinds of creature comforts you feel you don’t quite deserve: plush dining chairs, low-hanging lamps imparting soothing and smooth light, candle-lit tables ensconced in Moroccan-style lanterns, simple green succulent centerpieces, and a decidedly contemporary dual-sided stone fireplace. 

Upon arrival, you’re greeted warmly by Food & Beverage Manager Keith Claybrook,you’re ushered instantly to the best table possible, and as you’re seated, you feel like the most important person in the room. He welcomes you as he would an old friend, and pays close attention to your needs while leaving the rest of your delicious dining experience up to your professional, patient and extraordinarily attentive-yet-absolutely-unobtrusive server. 

Ours was Janell. She enjoyed attending to our every request and was truly enthusiastic to explain details about the menu offerings.

Pro Tip: All servers are thoroughly knowledgeable about every drink and dish they serve. Each attends a full training and tasting of every menu item, every dessert, every wine, and every cocktail. So you can rest assured that your questions about the nuances of a dish or what a server recommends come from a completely educated opinion. This isn’t quite the case at most restaurants.

My fine dining companion and I enjoyed hearty and tasty breads baked at the restaurant, which certainly whet our appetite. And I’d arrived without one. Our crostini appetizer was almost eaten before I could capture its refined plating on camera. Many restaurants all over the world serve this fine appetizer, but this combination of flavors made it the best I’ve had in St. Augustine.

We each ordered fish dishes. Mine? I couldn’t resist. The Honey Maple Walnut Salmon, a heady and filling filet of local Atlantic salmon baked with a juuust right balance of sweetness, a honey walnut maple glaze, which complemented the salmon in a way I’d never before had the privilege to enjoy. 

A completely original and satisfying myriad of flavors I savored with pure delight. 
My dining companion’s Macadamia Encrusted Grouper, a crisply clean filet of fish rolled in macadamia nut crumbs pan seared with hazelnut buttercream, an unexpected combination of ingredient and method resulting in an earthly medley that was decidedly out of this world. Both dishes were served on the kind of risotto that makes you say to yourself, “So this is how a risotto is supposed to taste.” And as any novice cook knows it takes a supremely talented and skilled chef to create the perfect risotto.  Add to that some divinely prepared asparagus, and your balance of flavors equals a warm, crisp, creamy, and fresh balance of flavors most chefs work a lifetime to perfect.

A Divinely Diverse Selection of Dishes

You may not really note it, but it takes great talent to make the perfect menu, one that offers just the right amount of options and tastes. It's an art. And it's been mastered here.

Another testament to a skilled vision and well-planned menu? Its variety and originality. 

Who wants to eat the same sort of dish you can find anywhere else?

Not many.

Who wants to find a menu that serves up a balanced selection of entrees, appetizers, and desserts sure to satisfy everyone in your dining party?
All of us. This menu achieved both. There is indeed something for everyone. In addition to original veggie and pasta dishes as well the seafood selection—two entrees of which are noted above. 

A Healthy Sampling of the Oak Room Menu

ENTREES

Entree
 Salads: The Oak Room’s Caprese Salad—one of several salad entrees—features mixed spring greens, fresh mozzarella, Roma tomatoes topped with a house-made fresh pesto, and balsamic vinaigrette.

Steak:The Black and Blue Rib Eye—one among a selection of the most popular steak varieties, this entree features a 10-ounce Rib Eye steak, blackened with a Blue Cheese gratin and served with Merlot jus.

Burgers: DoubleTree Burger, a double burger complemented with thinly sliced ham, deli mustard and provolone, and a single onion on a Brioche bun.

Chicken & Duck: One option includes this decadent dish: Port Wine Cherry Lacquered Duck—boneless breast of duck with port wine and cherry reduction.   

DESSERTS

Flourless Chocolate Cake
Made with blend of four chocolates finished with a Ganache topping.

Salted Caramel Cheesecake
Caramel is blended into a graham-crumb crust, folded into a layer of cheesecake batter then salted and dolloped on top the whole thing. Bruleed with caramelized edge.

Blackberry Cabernet Cheesecake
Cheese cake topped with the star of the show--vine-ripened blackberries blended with a fruity, floral Cabernet. 

(Oh-My-Wow-This-is-Soooo-Good. That's my pro opinion on the above dessert.)


WINE, BEER, AND SPIRITS

Wines: Order an impressive bottle or half bottle of high-end varietals by the glass or the bottle. House wines include Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, White Zinfandel, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Recommended reds: St. Francis Zinfandel, Sonoma and Cline Cashmere, Sonoma—a blend of Mouvedre, Syrah, and Grenache. Recommended Whites—St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc, Napa, and Banfill San Angelo Pinot Grigio, Italy.

SIGNATURE COCKTAILS

DoubleTree Cookies & Milk Martini: Ice cream, vodka, butterscotch schnapps, creme de cocoa; served straight up in chocolate swirl glass with DoubleTree cookie crumb topped with DoubleTree walnut cookie crumbs.

Oak Leaf: 
St. Augustine gin, fresh basil, lime, and sugar—on the rocks.
Hungry yet? 

Get Into the Oak Room Restaurant & Lounge at
DoubleTree St. Augustine While The Getting’s Good.

Its warm ambiance, divine service and incomparable dishes will soon give the Oak Room Restaurant & Lounge the recognition it deserves. Especially as a casual fine-dining restaurant with reasonable prices and a supreme historic district location. Make your reservations now...this so-far-St.Augustine-secret is soon to be one of the most popular in town. That’s my educated opinion, anyway. And from what I hear, I know I’m not alone.
 
Insider Tip: Book a table right away by calling 825-1923. The restaurant offers free parking across the street as well as in-room dining for all hotel guests. Reservations are accepted. Seasonal hours may vary.    

Disclaimer: Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of information on City Blog, but please verify hours, prices and important information before embarking on your Old City adventure. Sharing and re-posting this blog is encouraged.  Please credit OldCity.com when sharing.   

Photo Credits: Ama Reynolds and DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel St. Augustine Historic District.
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A new era begins: OldCity.com
Tuesday January 10, 2012 @ 9:37 am

As of January 10th, 2012, Old City Web Services has launched the new era of St. Augustine's most popular web portal. The new OldCity.com is now completed and has been launched in place of the old website. The remodel is complete!

So what does that mean for residents and tourists who visit the site?

We're still the best source of St. Augustine information on the web!
All of the resources and tools that make OldCity.com Northeast Florida's most popular web portal are still available on the new site. We've reorganized things a little bit just to make the site a tad more user friendly. Now you can easily search through one of our three main categories: Where to Stay, What to Do or The Community. In each section you'll find details that will help you plan your next vacation to St. Augustine (if you're visiting us from out of town) or find important community news and updates (if you're a local). Either way, OldCity.com is here to help you get the most out of St. Augustine!

Directories have been transferred to the new site as well. 
One of our most popular tools, our informational directories, have also been moved to the new site including our lists of hotels & motels, restaurants and places of worship in the St. Augustine area. You can find quick links to them below to update your bookmarks:

You're now able to add events to the OldCity.com calendar.
Our interactive "Submit an Event" tool now allows businesses and community organizations to easily submit upcoming events to our free community calendar. Once our staff looks them over and approves them, they will be added to the website for visitors to see. This is an excellent way to promote local events to thousands of visitors to OldCity.com.

So what does that mean for our advertisers?

Your existing advertising is live on the new website.
All of the advertising that was on the old website has been transferred to the new website, but we've made all the banners and expanded listings even bigger to get more attention for your ads. We also have new advertising opportunities available (including video ads), call if you're interested in more information.
 
New statistics will be available for advertising.
Your February hit reports will be a big change from what you've received in the past--in a very good way. Not only will you see the number of clicks on each of your advertisements, you will also see the number of times the page your ad appears on was viewed. Customers with Listings will also be able to see the number of clicks and views their basic listings received on the site.
 
Some pages were redirected to increase advertising views.
We studied our statistics for OldCity.com meticulously in the process of developing this new website and noticed that many of the sub-pagesweren't getting a lot of traffic. As a result, some sub-pages under a few of our categories have been redirected to the main category page in order to keep traffic more concentrated on the main category pages. 
 
For example, the sub-pages for each business type under Area Businesses have been removed but all the listings that were on those pages are now categorized on the main Area Businesses page for easier use.
 
Our search engine rankings will be closely monitored.
Our SEO Specialist has gone through the website with a fine-tooth comb to make sure that our keywords and descriptions are transferred over to the new site. We have covered all of our bases and will closely monitor the stats after launch. 

We hope you enjoy the new site and would love to hear your feedback through our Facebook or Twitter pages. It's been a long journey to reach this point in the process and we're so excited to bring a new site with new features to all of our supportive fans, visitors and advertisers.

- OldCity.com
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St. Augustine named in National Geographic's Top Ten Cities for Christmas Light Displays
Tuesday December 20, 2011 @ 11:14 am

The city of St. Augustine received a high honor this week as National Geographic named the city's Nights of Lights festival one of the Top Ten Place to See Holiday Lights in the world.

Not the U.S., not North America...the world.

St. Augustine was one of only two places in the U.S. (the other being Callaway Gardens in Georgia) that made the list along with major international cities such as Hong Kong, Vienna, and Madrid. A feature photo of the Lightner Museum, one of the city's best Nights of Lights vistas, decked out in its traditional holiday glow was included along with the article.

This tremendous honor for the Nation's Oldest City is a testament to how hard the city works to put on the display each year, which added an additional one million lights in 2011, bringing the total number of tiny white bulbs to three million. The nearly 20 year-old tradition was brought to life by local service organization SerToMa in the eighties, but did not become an official city celebration until a decade later. Since then, it has expanded in size, scope and staying power, now running from the Saturday before Thanksgiving through the end of January.

You can enjoy the Nights of Lights by trolley train, carriage, electric cart or on foot. The decorations also include an enormous Christmas tree in the city plaza surrounded with colorfully wrapped gifts -- it's the perfect spot for a family photo!

We hope you'll visit us soon to experience one of the world's greatest Christmas light displays. If you can't make it this year, start planning your trip for the winter of 2012!

- OldCity.com



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