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Taking a bite out of the Nature Coast

cryriver_food-1 While exploring the waters of the Crystal River, Florida area, we made sure to do a little food exploration, too. After our paddle up and dive down Rainbow River, we made a stop at the Blue Gator in Dunnellon. It’s mainly bar food, but good after the exertion and Brandon was a happy camper with the hushpuppies. What was great about this place was the huge patio that would be awesome in the warmer months. We still sat outside, but it was rather sparse that night.

We also stopped by The Front Porch and Pie Shop hoping to grab lunch with our dogs on the, well, front porch. A call that the technicians were ready to replace our windshield changed those plans to grabbing slices of pie to go. The pie was good, but we really didn’t get a meal there, so we’ll have to try this cute place next time we’re in town.

We did get to experience two places that we would highly recommend if you’re in the area, The Pizza Joint Wood Fire Pies and Lynn’s Homemade Ice Cream & Belgian Waffles.

cryriver_food-3 I saw the The Pizza Joint on Google maps while looking at our campground and thought, “Perfect!” If you know Brandon, you know he loves pizza and this place looked good. We went with our friends the first night we got in town and were not disappointed. It shares a building with a gas station, but don’t let that fool you. You can see the wood stacked up when you walk in and then you look through the window and see the pizza oven, both good signs. The owner greeted us like family and was enthusiastic about his product. Brandon and I split a pie (the eggplant special with pepperoni on his half) and it was delicious. The wood fire blistered the crust in all the right places and the toppings were fresh and evenly distributed. We liked it so much we went back later in the week! Take note that it is cash only and BYOB, but you can always grab something from the gas station next door.

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Our Old School Margherita with pepperoni on half

Our Old School Margherita with pepperoni and sausage on half

We met up with our friends later in the week who had moved a tad farther south to visit other friends that had just moved to the area. These recent transplants already learned of a great ice cream place and shared it with all of us. Lynn’s Homemade Ice Cream & Belgian Waffles in Inverness is like one of those build your own burrito type joints except instead of tortillas, you get to choose your waffle type. They make crispy waffle bowls, fluffy Brussels waffles, and sweet, chewy Liège waffles. I immediately knew which I was getting; every once in a while I’d treat myself to a Liège waffle from the Wafels & Dinges truck back in NYC and today would be no different. Next you choose your ice cream and toppings. They had lots of delicious sounding flavors and Brandon went with his typical chocolate, but I spied another of my flavor weaknesses. Labeled as “Belgian Cookie”, I knew this was American for speculoos. You know when you fly Delta and they give you those little packages of Biscoff cookies? That’s speculoos and I try to limit them to flights rather than purchasing a box or making them for good reason. When I heard the owner’s accent, I knew this was the real deal. She recommended the chocolate sauce as the topping, so how could I say no? The flavors were decadent and I think this waffle was even better than in New York.

These two places were so good that if I were only allowed two foods while in Crystal River, pizza and ice cream waffles would be it!

Speculoos Waffle   Chocolate Waffle

To see more about the adventures in the area, see the post Snorkel, Scuba, Paddle: Adventure’s on Florida’s Nature Coast. DSC05318

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