May 20, 2010

Dreaming of Paradise on 30-A

The Beach Barn

In a few weeks I will be at the beach, relaxing on the white sands, buoyant in the salty clear water (or avoiding plumes of oil, but I'm focusing on the positive here, ladies).  I just adore the Design Coast/Redneck Riviera/Florida Panhandle.  Highway 30-A was where Hubs told me he loved me for the first time, and where we went on our honeymoon.  Obviously two different trips, some time apart- other wise that would be a bit bizarre, no?

So here is what I am dreaming of as I work away,

The Red Bar  in Grayton Beach
Ahhh, crab cakes made even better by the fact that you can only get them on Friday and Saturday nights.  Cash and check only- four items on the menu for dinner.  It's always packed, so plan on an early or late dinner.  You will always run into someone you know at the bar- it never fails, from random Georgia folks, to my dentist.

The Great Southern Café- in Seaside
Eat these super rich shrimp and grits- ahhhhh.  Just don't do it for lunch- you will not want to be in a bikini.  You will want to lay down and let your tummy deflate.  Probably for hours.  Seriously.  It's too delicious to be moderate.  My mama swears by their burgers, but I can't stay away from the grits or the veggies.

For lunch, if I'm not partaking in the crab cake salad at the Watercolor Beach Club, or my fave beach lunch-  a sun respite of tuna salad accompanied by classic 90210 re-runs at home, I hit up the grouper sandwich at  the Seagrove Market which is basically on the edge of Seaside.  Hubs likes to top that off with some nanner pudding from Modica Market  which also carried amazing cheeses like Humboldt Fog and Cowgirl Creamery.  Try their pre-made Greek salad too!

For fine dining, there are tons of fabulous options, but my favorite is Café Thirty-A.  My favorite meal on our honeymoon was a fried oyster salad, with spinach and bacon, and a tuna tartare.  Sigh.. . I am stuffed to the gills after a Thai feast tonight, but I could eat that right now. 

I bet y'all didn't expect an essay on my favorite meals did you?  I just can't narrow it down- so many drool-worthy options!

Hurricane Oyster Bar for beers, oysters, and a fun time. 

Try the Orgasm roll at Old Florida Fish-house.  It's not on the menu, and I blush every time I order it.  It's worth it.

Bud and Alley's for mojitos and the sunset (but I do not recommend downstairs for fine dining- over-rated).  Here's what happens to me after a few of those-

A big old time!  I'm sure I left some places out. . . where am I forgetting?

What are y'all's faveorite beach haunts?  Are you gulf coast gals?  Or like me growing up, Hilton Head, Pawley's ladies?


  1. Dang, I am hungry for some beach food now!

    I am an Outer Banks girl through and through. As if our wedding didn't make that clear :-).

  2. I love love that area. That is where we got married. I believe we are going to head down there for memorial day weekend/our anniversary.

    Bud and Alley's is one of our faves for sure!

  3. I love cafe 30-A!!! Yum! We were just planning our family trip last night and the first thing we ALWAYS do is name all the restaurants we want to go to, ha!

  4. While the motels and beach fronts we frequented in college left something to be desired in the class department, I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Myrtle Beach! Happy Hour at Duffy's featuring you peel 'em / you shuck 'em shrimp and oysters for pennies on the dollar and their key lime pie daiquiri (with a full slice of homemade pie tossed right into the blender)... and of course, late night hot dogs at Hot Diggity Dog - I'm a California Dog girl myself!

  5. Oh how I love the beach. Having the spoiled opportunity to grow up in California, I'm not picky when it comes to beaches because as someone who lived 2 miles from it (I know, I'd hate me too) and now lives 4.5 hours from the nearest body of salt water, i could case less where you plant me! Just give me sun and sand and I'm happy.

    I must say, I haven't really gotten the chance to explore the Gulf Coast or much of the Southern beaches (Outer Banks, Hilton Head, etc). I plan to rectify this. And soon!!

    Also, I need a vacation. With sand.

  6. Looks like such fun - enjoy your vacation! It's been years since I've been to the Gulf Coast - Destin, Ft. Walton area. Since hubby and I were married, we've been Outer Banks folks. Heading to Kure Beach, N.C. in June. Can't wait!

  7. We actually never did the gulf growing up... my parents like to drink (shocker) so we always did all inclusive resorts in Mexico. It's less than a 2 hour flight to Cancun from Dallas, so much easier than getting anywhere else!

    And so jealous - think of my while you're beaching it and I'm stuck at Bar/Bri. :(

  8. Oh I love the panhandle so much, my friends and I would gather at different family beach houses on summer weekends after we had all graduated from college. One of my favorite memories is after a round of Friday afternoon cocktails we all fell asleep on the sand with waves lapping at the shore. We didn't wake up until the tide started coming it.

  9. I've never been to the Panhandle. I'm a SC coastal girl myself. I love Hilton Head, Fripp Island, Edisto Island, and Folly Beach. Not a lot of nightlife or restaurants at Fripp or Edisto, but I think that's why I like them so much!

  10. We live here, so I love to hear of others who love our beaches as much as we do. I'm biased, but I have been to so many other beaches and I think 30-A has them all beat! No oil are on these beaches and Walton County is taking many measures to not let it reach within 20 miles of the 30-A shoreline. Enjoy your visit!

  11. I'm a Destin Memphis grandparents have a house right on the beach and were hit by Opal. My uncle redesigned the little cottage. You can rent it at Oceans Reef but warning the photos are horrid. We just redecorated. Averitt's Favorite. We LOVE Busters for fried oysters and frosted mugs of beer. The Bay Cafe in Ft. Walton was my fave when we were little and of course the Elephant Walk was where I had my first ever soft shell crab. So much fun to see your faves.

  12. Oh my mistake, they did change the photos! We are in between Mainsail and Sandestin on Tang O Mar which is the tiniest little road across from the outlets. :)


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