My Seaside Foodie experience
I just got back from Seaside Florida.
If you haven’t been there, you should go.
It’s a real family oriented area between Rosemary Beach and Watercolors on the Florida panhandle. We have been going over 20 years for our family vacations.
One of the things I do on vacation is cook every meal. I hate going out to those Florida restaurants that are packed with tourists all the time. The wait is forever, it’s loud, the service is so so at best, and the food is never great.
I cook breakfast and dinner every night and we have leftovers, salad or sandwiches for lunch. I am a regular at the local Seaside grocery, Modica Market, and actually have a house account there. They have everything from dirty martini olive juice to prime steak - all crammed into about 1000 sq/feet. It is family run and we have seen the parents Charles and Sarah retire and hand over the reins to their kids.
We bring lots of food with us, some stuff ready to eat like homemade lasagna, or gumbo I make at the shop. I also bring my spice mixes, bases, and sauces along with steaks, or seafood to cook fresh there.
This year we had some excitement cooking as we attracted the fire department 3 different times and then they paid us not to COOK ANYMORE.
The hood didn’t work on the nice Vulcan stove top they had. The first night was just the reheating of BBQ baby racks and I made some mashed potatoes and pork and beans, we had no issues.
But the next night was seared scallops and jumbo shrimp with a brown garlic butter sauce.
I wanted to do a test of the scallops to check their consistency and how the sauce worked with it before I made dinner. I got a pan hot and seared 1 scallop and turned on the hood. I realized the hood didn’t work right away and told the crew to open the doors and start fanning to try and not set off the alarm but that was hopeless. The smoke detector went off, then the condo mangers showed up, then the maintenance man and then the fire department came over.
They were all good natured about it and management said they would see about getting if fixed tomorrow. Unfortunately, I still had to cook for everyone else and I told them I was going to be doing more cooking that night. They couldn’t disconnect the smoke detector because of the lawyers. We did our best to avoid another visit by rigging a portable fan to blow the air out on the porch.
So now it’s time to cook the real dinner. Well, it didn’t take long for the alarm to go off again. This time, by the time they got there we were eating and offered them some dinner and some ribs for the night before. They were cool with it. The photo below was taken by my wife after she started digging into it so it’s a bit messed up.
The diner was really good though, we had the seared scallops, jumbo shrimp, crab claws with angel hair pasta tossed with artichokes and fresh peeled and seeded Roma tomatoes in a brown garlic butter sauce.
Directions for a brown garlic butter sauce.
First saute´ what ever seafood (or chicken/veal/pork) you want to cook in the pan the way you like to. Then remove the seafood and add a good bit of chopped garlic to the hot pan and stir it around until it starts to brown. It will smell completely different than regular garlic. It is important not to let the garlic burn so when it is nice and brown and fragrant you add some wine, and/or some moist veggies like artichokes and tomatoes. The wine and liquid will stop the browning. Now reduce the wine a bit and add a dash of cream (optional but helps keep the sauce from separating) reduce the cream until the pan juices have a nice viscosity. At this point whip in some butter and shake and whisk constantly to make a creamy sauce. Don't get it to hot or come to a boil or it will break. Move the pan on and off the heat so it is hot but not boiling. Add enough butter to make the amount of sauce you need. Taste for salt and pepper, add a dash of hot sauce and worstishier sauce add the seafood and/or pasta to the pan and mix together. (Quick video below to demonstrate the method of making a brown butter sauce)
After that dinner they asked us to go out for breakfast the next day and gave us a 200.00 credit on the condo. So we did, reluctantly. (there goes the french toast with fresh berries and hot maple butter syrup)
The next night for dinner was TexMex night so I did chicken enchiladas, and Spanish rice, a family favorite. I was able to pull this off without an alarm and the dinner came out well. Photo below.
However, the next day I had all these left overs and some eggs so I wanted to make Huevos Rancheros. That was one of my favorites from Coffee Cottage.
I make these on a bed of western breakfast potatoes. I got through the potatoes without an alarm going off, but when I tried dipping the tortillas one at a time into a shallow pan of hot oil to soften them, I set off the alarm again. I swear there was no smoke anywhere.
Well, we thought we would get in trouble this time so we hurried up and finished the dish and hid the bacon. When they showed up they saw a dark piece of toast in the toaster and they just assumed that was the culprit. No harm, No foul, we offered them some coffee and we all ate a good meal.
However the condo management gave us $500.00 for as they put it, “WOULD YOU PLEASE GO OUT TO EAT,” so my last planned meal was nixed.
(Mediterian Shrimp with orzo pasta)
They made us reservations at what used to be an acclaimed restaurant called Bud and Allys. We ate there years ago when they used to get all kinds of awards. They always had cutting edge menu with really great execution. I hate to report that it is barley average restaurant now (yelp 3.6 review) with a not too interesting menu.
My Son and I both ordered seafood gumbo and when we tasted it we both said, “this is a great minestrone.” I swear it was minestrone soup. It had okra, shrimp and rice in it so I guess that is why the called it gumbo.
We told our friends at Modica Market
the next day about the dinner and she said had she known she would have sent us to Cafe Thirty A.
The service at Bud and Allys was ok, but nothing like home. Going out to a place like that makes you appreciate home and restaurants like Brigtsen's and Commanders even more.