Blalocks triple fin done

Blalock Seafood Market – Destin 2015

We’re in Destin for 2 weeks – one of those days we visit a fish market and cook in our condo. I really love that meal and experience. I’ve been to a few fish markets, in Destin – I’ve loved them all. This year, we went to Blalock‘s (it was closest). I called ahead and got some big old shrimp peeled and deveined (only a couple bucks more – so worth it!). Blalock will also season and steam seafood for you. But, since we were taking on the cooking part, we let it go at the raw seafood.

I love the smell of the seafood market – I know, that probably makes me a freak but it just smells like the ocean and freshness!

After looking and looking and looking some more, we picked out our triple fin and tuna. Plus, some seasonings and gumbo. And, don’t forget we got shrimp too.

Triple Fin

Blalocks Triple Fin

Triple Fin Blackened and grilled

Blalocks triple fin done

Super flaky and mild – love the seasoning that I got. Spicy!

Tuna – look how pretty!

Blalocks tuna

Tuna – lightly seasoned and grilled. 

Blalocks tuna done

I think I might even have hit a decent temperature there!

Blalock Gumbo

Blalock's gumbo

You know – there was a sweet man from New Orleans chatting with us in Blalock’s. He was telling us how awesome and authentic the gumbo was. I’m always down with soup and/or gumbo so we bought some. I wasn’t in love. There were pretty many shells in it and it just lost me from there.

Shrimp – seasoned with slap yo mama seasoning!

Blalocks grilled shrimp

There is NOTHING like fresh shrimp. It’s tender and sweet. It makes me so sad, coming back to Cincinnati, that I won’t have fresh shrimp for a year. Doesn’t matter – once it’s frozen, it’s all done. :(

We enjoy dining out while vacationing in Destin but we REALLY enjoy our one night of experimenting and eating locally caught fish! It’s not cheap but not nearly as expensive as going out for a meal. (Plus, there’s no crowds!) Find a fish market and get grilling!

Vinny McGuire pizza

Vinny McGuire’s – Destin 2015

I look forward to Vinny McGuire’s every year. It’s pizza – got a problem with that? I eat seafood 12 out of the 14 days we’re there – a girl needs some pizza! I’m not defensive at all.

And, it’s not JUST pizza. It’s awesome pizza! Don’t let the Irish restaurant next door fool you. Vinny McGuire’s knows how to make some delicious pizza, too. (There’s a new mcguire’s sushi place too – haven’t tried that yet)

My only complaint is the red lighting again. You’d think in this social media day and age that McGuire’s would want some good looking food pictures! I can never do it justice because of that damn light.

Pizzas are HUGE! Like, crazy huge. My husband did some serious damage on his half. Me, not so much. (I’m the pepperoni and onion side)

Vinny McGuire pizza

Vinny McGuire's slice

Vinny McGuire’s has totally nailed the cheese. It’s super cheesy without being stringy or chewy. The sauce is perfect and the crust is thin(er) and flaky.

I love it. If you’re out during lunch time, hit up Vinny McGuire’s – you’ll thank me.

Stinky's pie

Stinky’s Fish Camp – Santa Rosa/Destin 2015

I can’t even pretend to be unbiased here. Stinky’s has my heart. I love that Stinky’s is fun and funky, has great service, is “woodsy” chic on the inside, their t-shirts are awesome (I might own 5) and that the food is out of this world. <–It’s trendy but delicious and the menu is small! Which I love.

Stinky's bar

The only reason I could possibly dislike Stinky’s is because it’s always our last dinner in Destin. It signifies the end of paradise.

I could go on and on but I won’t – I’ll just give you some tasty pictures to drool over.

Spicy Bloody Mary

Stinky's bloody mary

Gumbo

Stinky's gumbo

Seafood Chowder

Stinky's chowder

Buffalo Frog Legs

Stinky's buffalo frog legs

Crab Legs

Stinky's crab legs

Stinky’s Stew (my husband’s fav!)

Stinky's stew

But, I think he really likes it because it comes with this delicious panini

Stinky's panini

Buffalo Shrimp

Stinky's buffalo shrimp

Ribeye

Stinky's steak

Fried Shrimp

Stinky's shrimp

Crawfish Pie – mine!

Stinky's pie

The most delicious thing ever. It’s a spicy crawfish pot pie. Comes out blazing hot so you need to break the crust as soon as it’s put in front of you. But, it buttery, creamy, spicy, tender baked crawfish, fried crawfish, vegetables – the best of all things. It is HUGE – so, if you want to share an item, pick this one! My husband finished with his food and tackled some of mine. I feel like I ate a ton but didn’t even make a dent in it.

Stinky’s isn’t IN Destin – it’s only about 22 minutes away, depending upon where you stay. GO! Also, it’s valet (free!) only. Which is AWESOME. Hey for a $5 tip, it’s worth not having to worry about parking. Another must – visiting the gift shop next door. Stinky’s shirts are fun (and, oh so, cute)

I love Stinky’s.

Lulu's fish sand

Lulu’s – Destin 2015

I only occasionally preface my posts and opinions but here it is – I was crabby heading into Lulu’s. I was sunburned. It was crazy hot. We needed to take our beach pictures that night and I was feeling ugly and frizzy (that would be the hair). I just wasn’t feeling it. It being anything.

Lulu's restaurant

In retrospect, we should have sat “inside” – not on the picnic tables on the deck. Even though it was shaded, it was still blazing ass hot.

Lulu's looking over the menu

The view was nice but…

Lulu's view

…all this “stuff” makes for a chaotic environment. Kids are running back and forth – playing and eating at the same time. Great that the kids are entertained. Bad that I wanted to throat punch their parents.

Please remember – bad attitude. ;)

First, I’ll address the service. We were greeted promptly. Our appetizer came out fast. Food, not so much. We waited a while. In the extreme heat. Got the food and we waited even longer to get our check and pay. Like 30 minutes longer. I was a server for a long time – newsflash, people want to pay and LEAVE. That’s the natural progression – you sit down, you eat, you pay, you leave.

Food – really, this is the first time that I was having difficulty figuring out what I wanted. I’m a menu stalker but nothing was really jumping out at me.

Lulu's cup

For an appetizer we got Nachos

Lulu's nachos

They were good because they had a LOT of melted, nacho-y cheese on them.

Fresh Gulf Red Snapper Sandwich

Lulu's fish sand

Mahi Tacos

Lulu's fish tacos

I didn’t order the fish tacos because they had the wrong items on them – cheese (wrong), black beans (wrong). My best friend liked them AFTER she asked for a side of the Lulu’s WoW sauce. However, you shouldn’t have to “fix” them.

Fried Crab Claws

Lulu's fried crab claws

Grilled Fish (of some sort – sorry!)

Lulu's grilled fish

The “Pa-menna” Cheeseburger

Lulu's burger

My son hated it. But, to be fair, he didn’t understand that it was going to come with pimento cheese and he wasn’t sitting next to me. ;) He grimaced the whole time and focused on his fries.

 

Also – sandwiches come with a bag of fries. Seriously? That’s such a pet peeve of mine. If I’m spending $14+ on a sandwich, you can give me some damn fries with it!

Hush puppies

Lulu's hush puppies

And, I got a Shrimp Quesadilla (I needed my mexican fix!)

Lulu's shrimp quesa

It was fine. It tasted like shrimp, cheese and grilled tortilla. I added hot sauce hoping that would help. Not really. I asked for a side of guacamole.

Lulu's guac

No – didn’t help either because the guac wasn’t good. I dislike tomatoes in guac. Remember, I’m cranky!

I DID ask everyone if they liked their food because I realize that I wasn’t in top form that night. Everyone (and that is everyone!) gave it an “eh”.

The ONE appealing thing about Lulu’s is their merchandise. Seriously, they have some cute things. We were the happiest at the gift shop – there were fans blowing, lots of fun items and at that point, we had been released from our hostage (waiting to pay) situation.

I’m unsure at this point, whether to give Lulu’s another shot. Truth be told, looking at their menu, there’s nothing that I “have” to have. So, we shall see in 2016.

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Hurricane crab cake poboy

Hurricane Oyster Bar – Grayton Beach/Destin 2015

Hurricane Oyster Bar is one of my favorite restaurants in the Destin(ish) area. It’s not on the ocean but it sits on a cute little pond in Grayton Beach. There’s also a cool alligator that lives there. It’s laid back. The menu is small but has some pretty innovative and original items on it. You can dine outside and it doesn’t get unbearably stuffy. And, they have the BEST soup in the whole world. That last one is totally true and everyone in my dining party is in complete agreement with it. We’re like senior citizens with our love of great soup.

Our service was awesome – I believe her name was Katie. I think. But, she was on top of things and cheerful. Even though she was serving in the extreme heat. I’d be a crybaby mess.

Oddly enough, none of us like oysters – so, yes, there’s other delicious food on the menu!

First – a couple of shots of the pond area

Hurricane lily pads

Hurricane alligator sign

Hurricane turtle

Nature is lovely ;)

Our food lineup…

Crab and Lobster Bisque

Hurricane soup

Perfect soup – all the adults ordered a cup. I was chatting with the server and she said that they made the soup a permanent fixture because too many people complained when they tried to order it and it wasn’t the soup of the day. Hey, if you’ve got a good thing, keep it on the menu. They did.

And, some drinks…yeah for happy hour! $1 amberbock!

Hurricane beers

And because I have a slight iced tea addiction

Hurricane iced tea

It was nice with our new “no lunches” eating plan. We just had a very light snack for lunch so we were all starving by dinner! Hence, the appetizers at most restaurants.

Hurricane Debris Nachos

Hurricane nachos

These are damn delicious nachos. The only thing missing is guacamole. But, I say that about most food items. ;)

Tuna Dip

Hurricane Tuna Salad wrong

Hold up! We accidentally got a tuna salad instead. It’s beautiful but not the…

Hurricane tuna dip

Tuna dip! I didn’t try it but our best friends really enjoyed it. I was too busy taking down the nachos.

Shrimp and Grits

Hurricane shrimp and grits

And, can you believe it? Not mine!

Crawfish Enchiladas

Hurricane enchiladas

Shrimp Tacos

Hurricane shrimp tacos

More shrimp tacos but altered a little

Hurricane tacos

Hush puppies

Hurricane hush puppies

What did I get since I didn’t get my usual shrimp and grits? I got the Crab Cake Po’boy!

Hurricane crab cake poboy

I loved the bread, I loved the brie and bacon. I even loved the fried green tomatoes. And, I really loved my side of grits. Personally though, I would have liked it better with shrimp versus the crab cake. The crab cake was kind of mushy – I needed something with a bite too it. I enjoyed it (especially the bites with the bacon) but next time I’ll see if I can swap out the crab cake for shrimp. My daughter, who ordered the po’boy too, felt the same way.

No matter where you go for dinner in Destin, chances are it’s going to take you 30 minutes to get there. Drive to Grayton Beach and try Hurricane Oyster Bar. It’s one of our favorites and I look forward to it every year!

BTW – it’s cash only (but there’s an ATM inside)

 

 

 

 

 

Breakfast table sundae

The Breakfast Table – Destin 2015

We eat one breakfast out while in Destin. My breakfast usually consists of coffee and later, pina coladas on the beach. I enjoy Another Broken Egg cafe but it’s pretty pricey (like $80+) for breakfast. I go to my normal mantra…it’s EGGS, people. So, every year we try a new breakfast place. This year, it was The Breakfast Table.

Our group of 8 got right in around 9:30AM – the place is cute but small. (closed on Wednesdays)

Breakfast table clock wall

I had no clue what I was going to get. I think I was still deciding right up until we ordered. You know what I did need? Coffee!

Breakfast table coffee

Coffee is heaven in a cup.

Items ordered…

Chocolate Milk – not pretty but it’s chocolate milk

Breakfast table chocolate milk

 

Breakfast Sandwich

Breakfast table sandwich

Omelette

Breakfast able breakfast

Some sort of breakfast – hey, it was early!

Breakfast table breakfast 2

Fried egg

Breakfast table fried egg

Breakfast Burrito (mine’s so much better!)

Breakfast table burrito

Pancakes – chocolate chip

Breakfast table pancakes

Both of my kids thought that the chocolate chips in the pancakes tasted weird. Not sure if they use a dark chocolate chip or what but they both said it wasn’t good.

Mine – the Breakfast Sundae

Breakfast table sundae

It was hash browns topped with eggs, bacon and cheese. I added avocado and hollandaise sauce because I wasn’t happy with the “sundae” ;)

The portion was kind of small for it being $10ish. Taste-wise – it was just okay. If I wouldn’t have added those 2 toppings, I would have been pretty disappointed.

I was looking for something better and a little less expensive. This wasn’t it. Guess we’re back to the breakfast hunting next year! (My kids are pushing for The Pancakery again – they love it)

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Surf Hut fish tacos

Surf Hut – Destin 2015

I spend a lot of time talking crap about how terrible restaurants on the beach are – about how they don’t have to be good because of the ocean view. About how prices are jacked up because of the location. About the lack of good service because we get to stare at the ocean while eating. I really had low expectations for Surf Hut. The only reason I get suckered into trying it was because I was told that the fish tacos there were awesome. Fish tacos? Yes, my ears perk up automatically. But, again, low expectations.

First glance, Surf Hut is cutesy. (good parking though!) Menu is a little different and limited <–which I, admittedly,  love. But, I was skeptical.

Our server was Derek (he gave me Surf Hut’s card – too cute and good social media attention!) Derek was awesome – attentive, approved our choices, got us drinks fast and without asking – everything you could hope for in a server. ;)

Pretty much, I knew what I was getting going in (um, fish tacos – duh!).

Surf Hut cup better

We started off with a couple of appetizers – Fried Pickles

Surf Hut Fried Pickles

I knew that they were sweet bread and butter pickles before I ordered them. I liked them – great crunch- but I would have preferred just regular dill pickles.

Calamari

Surf Hut Calamari

Mozzarella Sticks

Surf Hut Fried Mozz

My son was in love with these cheese triangles. I consider him a connoisseur of fried cheese so I’ll have to take his word for it.

Crab Dip (my daughter’s meal)

Surf Hut crab dip

She said it was the best crab dip that she’s ever had – in her whole 18 years of life.

Cheeseburger

Surf Hut Cheeseburger

Gumbo

Surf Hut gumbo

This was voted the 2nd best gumbo of the trip (Stewby’s was first)

Fried Fish (Grouper) Sandwich

Surf Hut fish sandwich

That’s a nice coating!

I *believe* this is the Seared Gulf Grouper

Surf Hut fish

Shrimp Tacos

Surf Hut shrimp tacos

And mine – the Taco Trio (fish, shrimp and pork)

Surf hut taco trio better

Pork Taco solo

Surf hut Pork taco

You know, the pork taco was a mighty fine taco too. LOVED the pickled onions on top. And, Surf Hut wasn’t afraid to give me a good portion of pork in the taco.

And, the fish taco – solo

Surf Hut fish tacos

That, my food gazing friends, is a perfect fish taco – blackened fish, cabbage, pico, drizzle of chipotle aoili and…guacamole!

Surf Hut nailed and perfected the fish taco. The BEST fish taco in Destin. I’ve tried them all – really. I even told our server that and his response? “I knew you’d say that.” Yep, he knows that the fish taco is damn delicious. What’s the magic? Simple ingredients, fresh fish, specific toppings and GUACAMOLE. I might have yelled there.

Everyone enjoyed their food. I can’t say that about every restaurant we visit! ;)

Surf Hut, to me, is the best restaurant directly on the ocean. Back Porch can take a leap.

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Elmo's crab

Elmo’s – Santa Rosa/Destin 2015

One night, while on our 2 week vacation, we go out for all you can eat crab legs. Yes, I understand that they’re NOT local! It’s not something that we do at home – it’s a vacation luxurious eating thing. So, don’t bother sending me messages “informing” me of the crab’s homeland (or water).

The restaurant we used to go to (Rick’s Crab Trap), closed – it really wasn’t a good restaurant minus the AYCE crab. No issues here.

Thankfully, Elmo’s Grill in Santa Rosa has AYCE crab, too. Score!

I realize that it’s Florida and that the weather is warm. Like REALLY warm. (no good hair days here) Elmo’s is NOT air-conditioned and it’s also not on the ocean. Doesn’t make for a good combination. There are fans but not enough to do any real cooling down. My 40 yr. old self was sweaty. I don’t like sweating and eating.

I did think it was funny that we were sat by 3 other tables from Ohio! Us Ohioans love our Destin vacations.

Service was spotty. Started off strong and then she got lost…somewhere. Maybe the hot air ate her.

Elmo’s has AYCE crab legs for $40 but what’s truly awesome is this…you start with 2# for $30 and if you decide you need more, then you can upgrade for $10 to the AYCE. Brilliant. Perfect for us lazy crab leg openers that are quitters.

MOST of us got the starter crab legs – there were a couple of non-crab eaters.

My son – the picky eater – got steak! He was pretty excited that it was a sirloin and not a ribeye.

Elmo's steak

Tuna Dip

Elmo's tuna dip

That was my best friend’s – we both found it odd that they served it with tortilla chips?

Oh, I did get a cup of gumbo (a cup was only .99!)

Elmo's gumbo

Elmo's gumbo 2

It was okay gumbo. The crackers were really stale. Not sure if it was because of the extreme heat and humidity in the place but…definitely stale.

And, the CRAB LEGS!

Elmo's crab

Elmo's crab legs

I do like crab. I enjoy it much better than lobster even. But, I really can never decide if it’s the crab that I like or the drawn butter…

My husband was the only one that moved onto Round 2 of the AYCE crab.

Mike with crab

This is the damage left behind…

Elmo's crab shells

Those crab never had a fighting chance!

Since it’s the only restaurant in the area with AYCE crab legs, I’m sure we’ll be back. But, I really wish they’d invest in some A/C.

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Stewby's grilled fish

Stewby’s Seafood Shanty – Destin 2015

It’s really just Stewby’s to me – because I’m cool like that. Or lazy.

I’m not even going to pretend like there’s any aspect about Stewby’s that I don’t love – I think Stewby’s is seafood perfection in one tiny shack. it’s not on that beach (that doesn’t impress me much anyway), it’s a mini-drive into Fort Walton but…it’s so very much worth it.

A few years ago, I wouldn’t say this. Stewby’s is better (much better!) than Dewey Destin. I said it. You might think differently and that’s okay. You’re wrong but it’s still okay. ;)

Let me show you the ways that it’s oh so amazing…

Fish Tacos

Stewby's fish tacos

Grilled Shrimp (note the baked beans and cole slaw)

Stewby's grilled shrimp

Fried Fish

Stewby's fried fish

And, mine – Grilled Fish I want to say it was Mullet (not my hair, the fish)

Stewby's grilled fish

Stewby's mine

Stewby's onion rings

Stewby's potato salad

Take note, Dewey’s – THIS is how you nail sides! LOVE the onion straws and hushpuppies. And, the potato salad was tasty too. <–gave that a whirl since it was one that I haven’t tried yet. None of that soggy crinkle fry crap.

The fish was fresh, tender and flaky and I loved the seasoning. Plus, since Stewby’s isn’t on the water, their price point is excellent. One of our best meals and one of our most least expensive meals. Screw the view of the ocean.

If you’re in the area, get thee to Stewby’s! Your tastebuds will thank you.

Back Porch blackened amberjack sandwich

The Back Porch – Destin 2015

You don’t go to the Back Porch for awesome food. You don’t even really go to the Back Porch for average food. It’s just about the view. It signifies salty sea air, the beginning of a no worries vacation and eating while gazing at the ocean. I think I might have wrecked the Back Porch last year – I was really irritated with their crappy seafood nachos and the horrible, cranky service.

Just to be clear, there ARE a few menu items that can be delicious. But, I don’t always feel like shelling out $30 for something that should be half that. I have my pride and all. ;) Well, sometimes.

Our service WAS awesome this time. Back Porch also redid the whole entrance and gift shop area. Makes for a more pleasant waiting/exiting area.

I love the Back Porch day because it means our best friends have arrived in Paradise!

Time to celebrate with a cocktail – Key Lime Freeze

Back Porch key lime freeze 2

My ONE redeeming factor of the Back Porch and it wasn’t as good this time. Not very lime-y.

Like always – I’ll post food pics and mine will be last.

Cheese Sticks

Back Porch cheese sticks

My son’s – what 14-year-old boy doesn’t want and/or love cheese sticks?

Cheeseburger

Back Porch cheeseburger

Chicken Fingers

Back Porch chicken fingers

Onion Rings

Back Porch onion rings

Pasta

Back Porch pasta

Grouper Destin

Back Porch stuffed fish

Blackened Amberjack Sandwich

Back Porch blackened amberjack sandwich

Okay – and the next picture is supposed to be mine. Either I had a major fail and didn’t take a picture OR my camera was just randomly deleting things. I’m going with the option that’s NOT my fault.

I got the Angry Amberjack sandwich – the description is Spicy Fried Amberjack with cheddar cheese. Well, I got the Fried Amberjack sandwich but the spice came from some random, sort of like buffalo sauce but not really slathered on top. So very off-putting. It’s too bad because the fish part was good – the sauce just sent it spiralling into gross-land.

I’m still not in love with the Back Porch. It serves its purpose and is what it is.