Pardon my absence here – we took a last minute family vacation to Seacrest, Florida last week. Seacrest is sandwiched between two famously planned communities that epitomize New UrbanismRosemary Beach and Alys Beach – along County Road 30A that stretches between Destin and Panama City on the Florida Panhandle. It is a beautiful spot. We love it because we rarely have to use our car once we get there, there are nothing but local places to eat and drink, and our toughest decision every day is whether to spend it at the pool or the beach.

Because we enjoy food so much, I thought I would recap here some of our favorite meals, and how I plan to recreate them at home.

  • Our first stop for food is usually Goatfeather’s Seafood Market. We bought two pounds (!) of shrimp and had them steam and season them for us. We rode our bikes to the market and devoured the shrimp as soon as we got home. I don’t plan on recreating this one at home because there’s no way for me to match the freshness, and I like looking forward to having it at the beach.
  • We always go to The Red Bar, a local favorite with a great atmosphere and out-of-this-world crab cakes. Jasper refused to sit down at the table because he was so consumed with dancing to the bluegrass band, so Grant and I enjoyed our meal while the rest of the diners laughed at our son’s dancing skills. Grant ordered the blackened grouper special, possibly the best meal of the week. It was only blackened on one side, so it didn’t have that overwhelming flavor that blackened things can sometimes have. It was served on top of a pan-fried grit cake that I could have eaten ten of. While looking for grit cake recipes, I came across this recipe that I think I’ll make for Grant for his birthday because if it tastes as good as it sounds, I won’t have to buy him anything at all 🙂 I stuck with the crab cakes that were delicious as always.
  • We went to George’s, which boasts a fried grouper sandwich that Gun and Garden Magazine lists on their 100 things you must eat before you die. Grant obviously went with the grouper sandwich. I can’t remember what I ordered for lunch, but it was accompanied by this delicious dill cole slaw. I think I’ll try to recreate it at home because my dill is always out of control. I saw this recipe, but I think I’ll up the dill to 2-3 tablespoons.
  • We always go to Pizza by the Sea, and I think it was even better than we remembered, which is saying something since you tend to remember things better than they actually are. We enjoyed it so much (and it was so easy because it was very kid-friendly) that we went back a second time. Their marinara sauce was addictive. I asked for some tips, and they attributed it to the type of tomatoes they used, which I wrote down but lost the piece of paper somewhere along the way. I’ve emailed them, so I’ll let you know if I find out anything helpful.
  • My favorite meal of the week was the coyote fish tacos at La Botanas. If we’re being honest, I had a few glasses of delicious Spanish and Portuguese white wine prior to my meal, so I don’t remember much of what was in them other than they were by far the best fish tacos I’ve ever had. And I don’t think that’s the wine talking because I shared a few bites with Grant, and he agreed.
  • Our other favorite stop is Baja Burrito in Nashville on our way to the beach (actually, we find any excuse we can to stop here on any trip remotely close to Nashville). They always offer a few local, sustainably-raised meat options on the menu, which makes me happy of course. They have this amazing pineapple salsa that I could eat on just about anything. This time through, they had Texas-style brisket from a local farm. It was so tender and delicious that we stopped back by on our way home and both ordered the exact same thing. I’m anxious to experiment recreating our own version here at home. I’ll let you know if I find a winner!

All of our meals were delicious, but the ones listed above were the most memorable. Thanks for sharing in our traveling food adventures!