Destin in December 2013

Life is good.

You know how you know when life is good? When you not only get to spend 2 weeks, in Destin, over the summer but you get to go back, for the bonus week, in December!

We got a glimpse of what it would be like to be a snowbird. But, we still got to eat like rock stars. 😉

I’ll start my winter Destin eating post with this – I was very UNDER whelmed, with the food, as a whole. There were some high points but…not as many. The service, everywhere we went, was awesome! I loved that servers had time to chat and weren’t crazy busy, like they are, over the summer.

Quick story – because we stopped somewhere in Nowhere, AL, to break up the trip, the only available restaurant, for dinner, was a Waffle House. Yes, I said it. A Waffle House. I think I’ve been to one, once. Maybe. My son, up until that night, had never experienced the Waffle House. We broke him in, with a waffle.

First time at waffle house

He liked his waffle. There. Now we never have to go back.

I could chit-chat about our trip. But, I won’t Let’s just get down to food!

Saturday – Fat Clemenza’s

We did eat at Fat Clemenza’s, 2 years ago, but it was for lunch. I was in love with their garlic knots and tomato soup. Going to dinner, was a different (better) experience. Loved the candle light, real italian feel. Love that it’s small and cozy. They have regulars that were chatting up with the owners. The husband and I both are in love with the place. Not to mention, one of the HIGH lights of the week, food-wise. (BTW – lighting still not great for food. Trust me though, it was awesome!)


Fat Clem bread and oil

Cheese Pizza

Fat Clem Cheese Pizza

Diavola Pizza

Fat Clem other pizza

Pasta Carbonara

Fat Clem pasta

All around, a fantastic meal!

Also, since we were just there for a week, we went out for lunch and dinner. Yeah, for me, to not having to cook!

Sunday – lunch – O’Quigley’s

Our goal here? To watch football – the Bengals versus the Ravens. We were overtaken a smidgen by Steelers fans (they’re like roaches…lol).

I might have started the football game off right – with a Blue Moon.

O'Quigley's beer

Cajun Shrimp

O'Quigley's shrimp

Cheeseburger (the boy’s)

O'Quigley's burger

Nachos (mine!)

O'Quigley's nachos

Sorry for the crap, pictures – these were with my cell phone! It won’t happen again. 😉

I had fun that day – O’Quigley’s is, definitely, a good place to watch sports and have “bar” food!

O'Quigley's on Urbanspoon

Sunday – dinner- McGuire’s

Yes! McGuire’s. Let me just say…it doesn’t matter if it’s summer or the dead of winter, McGuire’s is always (and I mean, always!) packed. With our teeny party of 3, however, we only had to wait 10 minutes.

Mc G's dollar

And, really, how can you not love a restaurant that Big Booty Judy approves of?

Every time I go to McGuire’s, I vow that I’m not going to eat a lot. My goal, for this trip, was to NOT eat a lot. I think I did a good job at keeping in line with my promise.

Instead of the gigantor nachos (which, truly, haven’t been as good these days, anyway), we got the Reuben Eggrolls

Mc G's rueben egg rolls

Loved them! Seriously, loved.

The husband got the Yellow Fin Tuna Steak

McG's tuna

My boy ate all the delicious bread...

McG's bread

…and got his normal NY Strip!

McG's steak better

Did I stay true to my word? Yep, I just got a baked potato!

McG's baked potato

With all the tasty condiments

McG's potato condiments

^^^And, see, Jeff Ruby – that’s how it’s done. 😉

I left McGuire’s content and not feeling like I was going to explode. Please remind me of this, over the summer. Also – it was amazing to walk around the gift shop and, actually, be able to look and not bump into 1000 people.

Monday – lunch – Shrimp Basket

I was trying to keep a balance, since we were going out, for both lunch and dinner, of restaurants and prices. I didn’t want to spend a ton, on lunches – keep that, in mind, for some of my odd choices.


Shrimp Basket Burger


Grilled Shrimp Platter


Shrimp Basket grilled shrimp


Boom Boom Shrimp (mine)

Shrimp Basket boom boom shrimp


Let’s just say, it was way too much money, for the quality of both, the inside of the restaurant AND the food, overall. We could have done without this meal.

Shrimp Basket on Urbanspoon

Monday – dinner – Stewby’s


Stewby’s is in FWB – and, it takes a few more minutes to get there. But, it is, hands down, one of my favorite “Destin” restaurants. It’s locally owned. Fresh caught. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Our total bill, was about $36! Yep, that’s it. And, a highlight of this trip. Probably my absolute favorite of this trip!

We shared a cup of gumbo

Stewby's gumbo


I’m not a fan of okra but, it didn’t even bother me, in this perfect gumbo. It had depth of flavor, tender shrimp and just enough veggies. Loved it. (the husband agreed)

The boy got chicken fingers

Stewby's fish tenders


And, since the husband and I got the same thing – I just took one picture! It was grilled Amberjack (I got fried onions and baked beans, as my sides)

Stewby's grilled amberjack


Loved every aspect. One of the things that I love about Stewby’s, is their sides. Most of the restaurants, just don’t pay attention to their sides and serve the same routine stuff, as everyone else. Stewby’s has unique, delicious sides and I love that they take the time and care, to follow through with the whole meal.

My one complaint (and, to be fair, I have this complaint about EVERY seafood restaurant, in the Destin area) is the tartar sauce. I might be spoiled since we have the perfect Frisch’s tartar sauce but…I haven’t met a tartar sauce, down here, that I like. I’d love to see someone branch out and do a jalapeno tartar sauce or a spicy remoulade or, maybe, even a lemon mustard sauce. Please, Destin, take my sauce suggestions to heart. I’m begging of you.

Stewby’s has my love – go visit them if you’re vacationing, in Destin or FWB, next summer! You’ll thank me.

Oh, I forgot! Destin has a new cupcake place called Small Cakes!

Small cakes

Small cakes case

Small cakes case close


They just opened and are doing very well – selling out, every day! I’m not sure if the cupcakes are made, from scratch, or not. (being as once they’re out, they’re out – no “hold on while they defrost”, I’m thinking that they are) They’re beautiful and have a great variety – pretty darn tasty, too!

Small cakes box

Small cakes cupcakes


I don’t really need to say anything. The picture says it all.

Cupcakes make everyone happy.

Tuesday – brunch – Another Broken Egg Cafe

You know, I really thought, given that we were in Destin, in the dead of winter, that we’d be able to get into The Donut Hole. Nope – busy as ever. I have, after 8 years of going to Destin, given up on The Donut Hole. All done. Not even going to try. It can kiss my ass. And, I might even flip it off now, when I pass it. So – our plan B, that day, was Another Broken Egg Cafe. Yes, I have my issues with them but I wanted another coffee cup, dammit.

Cinnamon Roll (Mikey’s – he’s, at least, cheap for me)

ABEC cinnamon roll


He tore into that bad boy.

Mike got the Lafitte’s Tortilla with pancakes

ABEC Burrito


ABEC pancakes


And, I got the Hey Lucy

ABEC Hey Lucy


This is my problem with Another Broken Egg Cafe – my meal was $11.49. It’s eggs, potatoes and an english muffin. You would think that they could put some actual FILLINGS in my filled omelette. As it was/is, I had to search for the chorizo and avocado. The husband and I agreed, that when we return, we’re splitting a meal.

Another Broken Egg Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tuesday – dinner – Crab Island Cantina


Yes, this is where we were having New Year’s Eve dinner. It’s in Harbor Walk and we thought we’d chill (literally!) and watch fireworks. It was, definitely, different not having to fight for a parking spot. 😉

Chips and Salsa

Crab Island Cantina Chips and Salsa


I wasn’t a fan of the chips or salsa – I realize I’m hard to please.


Crab Island Cant Guac


It was okay

The boy got Grilled Steak Ranchera Style

Crab Island Cant Steak better


While it looks good, it had a lot of fat (yes, even for a ribeye). Mikey didn’t like it.

Mike got the Crab Legs

Crab Island Cant Mike's


Mike raved and loved it!

I got the Seafood Enchiladas

Crab Island Cant Mine


I wanted to like them. Mostly because our server was awesome and I wanted an excuse to come back. But, I really didn’t like them…at all. The sauce was wrong – the seafood was non-existent. Just very “blah”.

I never told Mike how much I didn’t like my meal at Crab Island Cantina – I didn’t want to hurt his feelings since he liked his so much.

Crab Island Cantina on Urbanspoon

And, to finish off my NYE, back at the condo (where I whooped up on the boys at Uno!)…



Wednesday – lunch – Vinnie McGuire’s


The word must not be out yet. But, Vinnie McGuire’s has awesome pizza. We loved it last year but we learned a lesson – we only needed ONE.

Vinnie McG's pizza


We got cheese on half (Mikey) and pepperoni, italian sausage and mushrooms, on the other side. Pure pizza perfection. One of the high food points, of our trip.

Wednesday – dinner – Groovy Grouper Grill


This is a new restaurant, in Destin Commons – the menu looked a little interesting, so…off we went to give it a whirl.

They had some great happy hour/snow bird specials. From about 10 entrees, BOGO free. And, on their bar happy hour menu “$5” apps!

For an appetizer, we got Fish Tacos

Groovy Grouper Fish Tacos


They were fine – not the best and not the worst. Very average.

Mikey got a cheeseburger

Groovy Grouper Burger


And, one pic, since Mike and I got the same thing! Fish’n’Chips!

Groovy Grouper Fish'n'chips


I did like the fries. Again, the fish was just average and the tartar sauce = horrible.

While the winter pricing was great, the food wasn’t.

Groovy Grouper Grill on Urbanspoon

Thursday – lunch – Dewey Destin


One of my favs 😉

During the winter months, they close at 4, so we had to make it a lunch!

We started off with some Tuna Dip (the best we’ve had down there!)

DD Tuna Dip


Yum! Just as tasty as ever!

Now, this is my problem. We started talking, to a table next to us, and I forgot to take pics. Yes, I have a talking and multi-tasking issue.

Mikey got Chicken Tenders and Mike got a grilled Tuna Sandwich – there won’t be pictures but they both, thoroughly, enjoyed their meals.

I caught mine, after a couple of bites – the grilled Mahi sandwich

DD Sandwich Mahi


The fish was perfect! I love Dewey Destin (Crab Island side!) for their freshness and simplicity. You just can’t beat it. But, I wish that they’d work on their sides. And, tartar sauce. 😉

Thursday – dinner – Grin-go’s


Okay, I always joke with the boys, that I want them to do the Gringozilla contest – but, they never take me seriously and refuse to do it. Bunch of wimps. So, I had to settle for just a normal dinner experience.

It’s very tiny and in Baytowne Wharf. I’ve been obsessed with eating there, for about 3 years but, over the summer months, I’ve just been unwilling to give up a full-on dinner, to eat there. That’s what winter eating’s for.

They have a salsa bar – which looked like it had been attacked. By a bunch of wild salsa eating monkeys.

Grin Go's chips and salsa


The salsa was awful. It tasted like PASTA sauce, not salsa. I couldn’t even choke it down.

I got a side order of guacamole 

Grin Go's guac


Horrible and you can keep that sprinkle of chili powder/paprika (couldn’t figure out which one it was). That little, baby ramekin of guacamole was $5.49. I guess the one avocado, that it took to make it, was lined with gold? I didn’t finish it, that’s how terrible it was.

Mikey got a cheese (well, he ordered it with chicken but it didn’t come that way) quesadilla

Grin Go's quesadilla


He did enjoy the potatoes.

Mike got the Big Tex Combo

Grin Go's Mike's


Grin go's taco


Mike loved all of his, of course.

I got the Fish Tacos

Grin go's fish tacos


Hated them. Hated the beans. The wasabi ranch sauce was good. And, on top of it, they were $16.99! At what point, did that meal above, deserve to be $16.99??!!

I wanted to like Grin-Go’s. But, it’s in the “don’t do it” category, for me.Mike disagreed but…it’s my damn blog.

Grin Go's on Urbanspoon

Friday – lunch – Outback

Yes, an odd choice, for lunch, in Destin but we had a gift card. 😉

No one’s bread is as good as Outback’s honey wheat.

Outback bread


Mikey, of course, got steak – sirloin

Outback sirloin


Mike got Tilapia

Outback tilapia


And, I got Coconut Shrimp

Outback coconut shrimp


I worked at Outback for a long, long time. Coconut Shrimp is one of the things that I still, tremendously, enjoy.

Friday – dinner – Stinky’s Fish Camp


I’m a big fan of Stinky’s! Loved it, when we went, for the first time, over the summer, so we were really looking forward to returning. And, oddly enough, it was our last meal, of this trip, too!

Loved that we got right in and it wasn’t a clusterpluck!

Mikey got a Ribeye (it was a special)

Stinky's Mikey


He loved the mac’n’cheese – next time around, that’s all he’s getting. My boy is just not a fan of ribeyes. (has nothing to do with Stinky’s or any other restaurant – it’s just him)

Mike got the Stinky’s Stew

Stinky's Mike's


He LOVED it. He was, absolutely, obsessed with the po-boy panini to the left. He just couldn’t quit telling me how great it was!

I got the Smoked Braised Short Ribs

Stinky's short ribs


Loved the cheese grits. And, loved the sauce. I liked the short ribs, but, after a few bites, the smokey flavor started getting to me. It was just too much. I’m going to pull a Mikey and next time around, maybe get the shrimp and grits! Or the Crawfish Hot Tamales and a side of cheese grits.

That was our December Destin “food” trip, in a quick breakdown. I didn’t really find anything “new” to like. A little sad that I was so underwhelmed.

But, still looking forward to our 2 weeks in August! And, I’m hoping for some better culinary delights.


17 thoughts on “Destin in December 2013

  1. We really enjoy your blog! We live in Destin and we use your reviews to help us find new and interesting restaurants to try. We are currently trying to make the attempt to open a new take-out/lunch restaurant that specializes in southern cooking! Casseroles, fresh baked breads and desserts. We are doing it a bit different than the traditional restaurant, most of our food will be refrigerated for our customers to bake when they get home. We will also be open in a traditional manner for lunch. We would love to have you come by once we’re open! We are also focusing on giving food to families in need and in crisis. A portion of every dollar spent will be spent on feeding families in need from our kitchen! We are so excited!

    We are launching a campaign to help offset some of our costs. Once we launch it, would you be interested in helping us? If you would simply post about it in your blog we would truly appreciate it! If you can’t, no problem, we want you to come by and try our daily lunch specials the next time you’re in town. Check out our WordPress page: to see a few of our specials. Any critiques are more than welcome!

    Thanks again for your amazing blog, we truly enjoy it! 🙂
    – Wendy

    • Thanks, Wendy!!! Sounds like a great idea, you have for a new way of getting delicious food, in Destin! We always visit, in August – so, I’ll make sure to shoot you a message, before we come down. We’d love to try you guys out!

  2. Enjoyed reading your restaurant crawl reviews. I am a snowbird and always looking for a good restaurants to eat at. I am from Texas so always looking for decent Mexican food in the Destin area. If you know of any places that are worth checking out post it.

  3. I enjoyed browsing through your Destin eats reviews. We typically travel from south Ohio to Seagrove Beach every August and have been to a few of the restaurants you’ve reviewed. I’m kind of surprised you haven’t been to the Red Bar in Grayton Beach. It’s our favorite and suggest you try it next time your there. You probably won’t like the red lighting but the food is excellent.

  4. Going to Destin in 34 days, woop woop. Reading your trip reports and blog has really been an enjoyable way to pass the days planning. For me, my mantra is “Planning is half the fun.” (Actually planning is a quarter of the fun, the actual fun is half the fun, and going through pics and writing trip reports and re-living the awesome times is the remaining quarter of the fun…but I digress)

    That baked potato looks ridonk! I have scoured the McGuire’s menu….I’m embarrassed to admit how many times….but I haven’t seen the baked potato listed as an ala carte item. Can you order only the baked potato? Do you remember the general price point? Also, I know the baked potato is an option for most entrees, but can you substitute it for the fries with the burgers and sandwiches, even if at an upcharge? Any information you can give me would be so much appreciated!

  5. I have been to Destin several times. McGuires is always on my restaurant list to visit. It is truly a landmark. If at all possible, if you want to save room for dessert, split an entree. I might suggest the 18oz lobster tail. Comes in two 9oz portions. A side baked potato is plenty big for two to split. Order one side salad if you both want a salad. I always get a Ceaser salad (yummy). The salads just themselvese are plentiful. Then split one of their wonderful desserts.

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