Two Orlando Taco Tours

When you can’t travel grandly and broadly, you adjust your plan. We took a few weekends and completed our very own Orlando Taco Tours. There are waaaaaaaay more places than what we visited, but hey! You’ve got to start somewhere. The others will be saved for future Taco Tours!

I’ll agree, this is probably not something most would expect in Central Florida. But, if you dig deep into some of the small enclaves popping up – g.r.e.a.t local food-foraging trips can be created.

We started with a fan-favorite and a repeat of ours: Tako Cheena.

Prior visits did not allow for on-site seating (hence tailgate eats) but with the recent Covid changes and vaccines available it was now an option. Mexican coke (made with cane syrup) and one taco (Pernil Asado – slow roasted marinated pork, spicy mayo, pickled onion & carrot) was my selection of choice.

Eric got the Char Siu BBQ Pork Belly taco (rich fatty cut of pork marinated Catonese style, cabbage and ginger oil). Nope, no photo. I had to take a work phone call and Eric chowed down on his food before I got back. Very eclectic, brightly painted building with a few picnic tables equates to their eating area. A quick shot before we continued to our next stop.

Onward to Hunger St Tacos. The biggest issue here – parking – especially if you go anywhere near lunchtime. I swear they only have 7 parking spots, maybe. And their workers need some of those spots – yikes.

Their mission is to ‘Serve high-quality Mexican street food in a setting that highlights and celebrates modern Mexican culture and art’.

Their dining has always been outside, open-air, under cover. Quite frankly, the building kind of looks like a former gas station that has been given a new life – I like it. Even in Florida, they have prepared for the diversity of weather we get. Seating was in the back of the building with drop-down sides for rain protection and ceiling heaters when we have colder temps. A taco for both of us and some liquid refreshment rounded out this stop.

They have a nice succulent & cacti garden in front. Not plants I’m usually drawn to, but this caught my eye.

Last stop on this day was Reyes Mezcaleria.

Mid-afternoon, there was plenty of space at the bar, giving us plenty of space from other patrons. While not exactly ‘tacos’ it was still Mexican-themed. Michelada drinks (basically a bloody-mary base with beer of choice) and (finally) chips w/green tomatilla sauce & salsa.

Ceviche was a nice change of pace for our selection. It was citrus cured red snapper, red onion, heirloom tomatoes, lime and cilantro – oops, forgot to ask for that to be left off. Don’t really like that herb, but can tolerate it if I have to.

Taco Tour Day #1 complete.

Taco Tour #2 started with Taqueria Ameca – this is the real deal. We were the only ‘gringos’ inside.

Another michelada (Eric) and Mexican coke (me) accompanied our 3 tacos (with homemade tortillas – just saying!). Presentation of their michelada in the styrofoam cup was a bit off-putting, but Eric (graciously) let me have a few sips and it was mighty tasty.

This WILL be a repeat in the future – very authentic.

Onward to the next stop……………….Black RoosterTaqueria.

It is a tiny little place and their website had a phrase I can honestly say I’ve never heard. To quote info from their website ‘The husband/wife team’s mission was to create a place where delicious food is swiftly serviced and enjoyed by people with a passion for art, sustainability and real ingredients. Their concept is ‘Farm to Taco’.’ Hmmm. I like that last phrase ‘Farm to Taco’.

We squeezed in along a bar facing the street, still trying to maintain covid distance from others. First arrival were the chips and accompanying dips: guacamole and tomatillo.

Tacos arrived soon after. Chicken (L) for me and pork fat (R) for Eric. LOVE the thinly sliced radishes on top for crunch.

We really had planned on one more Taco stop…………………..but the draw of pretzels from a nearby brewery pulled us. One accompanied with beer cheese or mustard dip (left) and the dessert taco (right), topped with cinnamon sugar and a cream cheese dip. OMG!!! Hands down the dessert taco was my fave!

Closing this post with a week of Eric’s Mexican meals that closely followed our taco tours. The protein in Eric’s tacos were fried trout (caught by us not that long ago) with chopped cabbage from our garden and avocado topped with a spicy mayo.

It’s time for Florida’s sweet corn to arrive in local grocery stores. Last year was our first foray into street corn – and it will be repeated, lots.

Add in a cheese & jalapeno quesadilla and dinner was complete.

This meal was just one example of our home-life furlough during Covid. It gave us time to more widely explore a variety of cuisines, indulge in time for their creation and enjoy eating at home. There is a silver lining – if you just look for it.

Ginny

Those drinks on the white tray……..Eric’s home-made michelada base and Mexican beer. Everything for this meal was delicioso!

S.G.I. 2021 Chapter 5

Can I just say that work REALLY interferes with writing blog posts! Of course finishing this up has n.o.t.h.i.n.g to do with my procastination for that last vacation blog post from a trip. Nope.

Regardless, let’s put this one to bed…………………

The Beach. Even in the winter months, there is still beauty along the surf and in the sand.

One enterprising family created this and so far, the surf had not destroyed it. Not sure how long before the surf crushes their creation.

A little further, sand, water and wood made an interesting photo. It kind of looks like a castle.

Weather at the end of the week was less than charming, but it didn’t stop our anglers.

Dennis was sure he could catch something on the other side of the rocks.

Just to prove that I walked down in ‘yucky’ weather……………..the hood is up for a reason, it’s lightly raining.

Luckily for me (and Warner) he hooked a fish and the action began.

Team effort – remember? Dad gets to climb over the wet, slippery, dare I say ‘treacherous’ rocks to net the catch.

Once again, it was a team effort, as Warner (somewhat) patiently waits for the verdict concerning length of his catch.

Yeah! It is within the slot. The left photo had a freshly caught redfish (minutes out of the water) and the right photo a redfish (after some time on ice) back at the rental after everyone cleaned and warmed up.

Catching such a beauty was a nice way to end the week, fishing The Cut.

Let’s get back to the meals………

Sometimes you need meat, like these burgers and dogs. Grilled outside gave a nice char to them.

Add in some beans and baked potato wedges – and you have a meal.

The last night’s vacation meal is usually a bit over the top, on purpose. We’re celebrating a week with good friends and good memories in a special place. This trip was no different.

With shrimp being locally caught, it is always included in the meal planning. A trip to Dail’s was an easy task. It’s located midway on the island. This time the final product were stuffed with crab.

Our fish for the evening was redfish, blackened. It is a production. Fillets are prepped, along with the necessary butter.

Warner and Eric took care of lighting the grill. Yes, it got dark before we ate.

No matter, the fish was mighty tasty. Add in the green beans and rice and the meal was (mostly) complete.

I say mostly complete, because you ‘need to fill in the cracks’ with ice cream.

Alas, the week on S.G.I. was over except for a last few group shots. Dennis staged this one.

While I wanted a photo on the beach. Yes, the wind was still blowing.

I don’t know Dennis, I may like your photo better. 🙂

You may have noticed another member of our vacation party which made their photo debut above. Remy. It took him a bit of time to get used to us – he was very protective of his family of four. By the end of the week, he came around. That and I was the only one in the house for a short time on Saturday.

I’m not really a dog person, but did enjoy his antics throughout the week. Although Eric fed him tidbits of meat and sat as his feet during dinner – you never knew what Remy was thinking.

So ended another fun-filled week with friends at S.G.I.

Ginny

Eric’s Easter Eats or E3

Easter Eating for Eric was a time for a special meal and this year was no different. He had been planning this for a number of days. Me? My plans involved a bunny and plants. We named her Georgette.

We started our morning with early brunch at ROOT & BRANCH bistro + bar, in Clermont. It’s a nice local chef-owned eating establishment having cozy (but spaced out) seating and a locally-sourced menu. Their farm to table concept incorporates ingredients sourced from farms within a 200 mile radius of Orlando.

While waiting for a plate of their delicious homemade biscuits, we enjoyed a beverage.

Snapaloopza Spritzer on left, Bloody Maria on right.

Drinks were quickly followed by the biscuits – BTW ordered before the drinks! Yes, we were that determined to order them.

Biscuits with a side of strawberry preserves.

Oops, another bunny photo of Georgette. Hanging out in the driveway with the blue sage.

I ordered the Egg Sammie and almost forgot to take a photo. Deliclious eggs were accompanied with smoky cheddar cheese, sitting on a slab of ham. Mixed cut potatoes accompanied my meal. You can almost see my sammie at the bottom of the photo.

Eric ordered a new entre for himself: House Benedict (one of my previous choices and a top contender for me).

We were waaaaaaay too full to order any dessert. Let’s just say we were keeping any extra space for our afternoon Easter meal prepared by Eric.

We leisurely enjoyed the fine weather (Yes, really! Excellent weather, sun, with clouds, temps in the 70s) as the meat was cooking. What meat you ask?????? Hang on, you’ll see very soon. We broke up the afternoon with a few other delicacies, Texas oysters. Definitely not something that was any part of my Easter tradition growing up, but hey! We live in Florida.

While they were very tasty, I was ‘jonesing’ for some salty popcorn. Never expected that did you. It’s a typical Sunday snack when we’re out and about tasting craft brews.

Voila!

Eric came outside, grinning from ear to ear…………with a bowl of salty goodness. I knew there was a reason we’ve been married for 26+ years.

Georgette slipped in again! This time sitting with the amaryllis blooming in the back yard. Sneaky bunny.

One of the best ‘foodie’ things resulting from our Iceland trips were adding lamb to our meat menu. Okay, okay, it had always been in Eric’s food realm, not so much mine. He has searched for Icelandic lamb (it’s something very special) but availability is limited, in the fall and generally a special order or request from the butcher. Truthfully, I’d rather journey back to Iceland for my next lamb meal – just saying.

Meat prep included deboning a leg of lamb, salt/pepper/herb rubbing while sitting in the (garage) fridge two days, drying to concentrate the flavors. Braised for 5 hours adding red wine, some garlic and herbs from our garden. Here you go.

Okay, maybe not my most photogenic meat shot, but hey, we were hungry and they were breathing down my neck!

Green beans & new potatoes along with an interesting radish salad rounded out the meal.

Plated

One more thing is needed to take the meal over the top – dessert. Strawberries are a favorite spring treat. Pair them with angel food cake, topped with cream cheese icing and a dollop of freshly whipped cream. This was a meal fit for a king and his family.

Georgette? Where did she go? She’s hiding in our veggie and herb garden. Can you name plants seen below? There are 5.

I can’t believe it. Started a post in the morning and posting before bedtime – that’s a first for me. I’ve got my last 2021 S.G.I. post to complete (yikes – way, way over due) and another one lined up for street tacos.

Soon, I promise.

Ginny

What were those plants with Georgette?

bottom left, clock-wise: kale, cabbage, collards, fennel and bronze fennel. I will admit, the cabbage is hard to see behind Georgette’s head – but it’s there.

Spring has sprung in the Darden Garden

I’m interrupting the SGI saga to show pretty pictures of flowers. 🙂

Typically when Spring arrives it is a very subtle thing. Not this year. While I need to finish the last few days of SGI, upon returning home we had a plethora of things blooming.

With that short introduction………here you go.

Tabebuia chrysotricha – what? How do you pronounce that? It’s tough even I will admit. Much easier to call it a yellow Tab. Another common name is yellow trumpet tree. Hopefully that’s obvious once you see the flowers. Ours was planted in the backyard and I’m guessing approximately 15 years old.

This bougainavillea was also being grown in the back yard. Watch out! Those branches have long thorny spikes.

Looks really bright and colorful – yes? The true flowers are seen in the photo below. That little tiny white thing. The hot pink color that is the most striking are actually bracts.

Another backyard blooming thing is this peach tree.

This is not a typical fruit tree you would expect to see in Florida, but this newer variety doesn’t need as many chill hours to bloom and product fruit. Got to love photos taken with an i-phone!

Terrestrial Orchids. They are also referred to as ground orchids since they are grown in the ground – duh. A great deal of orchids are consider epiphytes and they grow on trees. Years ago I bought a plant – probably at a local plant sale, can’t remember – and it’s kept growing and growing and growing.

You might notice that I have them growing in a pot – 6 pots to be exact. Usually once a year, after they bloom, I repot them since the bulbs get overcrowded and the older bulbs eventually die. This may be the year I finally plant some in the ground. Holy cow! I’m still amazed at the shots from my (old) i-phone.

There’s one more plant(s) blooming in the backyard – azaleas.

After moving in, we wanted some separation from our neighbors, not necessarily a fence. This was a perfect solution.

Onward to the front yard.

Chickasaw plum, also known as Cherokee plum, Florida sand plum or sandhill plum – who knew? I just wanted to double-check my spelling and this popped up. Mr Google says it is a North American plum-bearing tree, cultivated before the arrival of Europeans.

I’ve been cutting a branch and putting them in my weekly floral arrangements that I take to work. It adds a different shape and interest in my bouquet.

Couldn’t resist a shot of these Johnny Jump ups – LOVE the name.

I mean really, most people would think they were pansies. However, the flowers are much smaller, probably about an inch in diameter. Unless you get a close up……….such an interesting pattern of colors.

I always, and I mean a.l.w.a.y.s have at least one pot of geraniums. They are great plants for the Florida winter. I’ve had pretty good luck keeping them through our hot, muggy summer if they’re placed in a shady or north-facing spot.

You’ve got to cut the stems and add them to your bouquets! It is a game-changer.

For years, we’ve called this plant Russian Sage – it’s not. Yes, it is a sage plant, but the name has stuck. Eric knows exactly what I’m talking about.

Here’s the best thing (besides the fuzzy flowers) it is v.e.r.y. easy to propagate new plants. Cut growing tips 4-6″, strip off the bottom leaves, stick into a well-mixed potting medium (ie, soil) and place in a spot that has filtered light. It roots fairly quickly and can be planted.

A year ago, we discovered a pair of nesting hawks was hanging around the neighborhood. Drinking my coffee one morning, this guy showed up. Nope, not a flower, but for me………it’s a sign of spring.

Ginny

S.G.I. 2021 Chapter 4

Rain greeted us mid-week.

Along with fog – thick as pea soup. Yikes! Driving into town, you can barely see the river from the Apalachicola bridge.

They say take lemons and make lemonade. We’re taking rain and eating oysters! The day was the perfect time to head west for Indian Pass Raw Bar. Outside seating in a screened room was perfect for the current Covid environment.

This is the place that operates on a honor system.

First up was oysters two ways: raw and baked.

Preceded by some fish dip and cups of seafood gumbo.

Cole slaw was my choice of side, to go along with my chicken tenders – sorry Eric. At least the corn dogs were not my choice. Spoiler alert – they were Audry’s, both of them.

Topped it off with a slice of key lime pie before heading back to Apalachicola. BTW – Eric and I both got our own slices. That makes a lot more sense if you read the blog posts for S.G.I. 2020. 🙂

A trip into town was not complete without going to Piggly Wiggly.

I am always amazed at their intense selections. Look at these options for canned artichokes on the top row in the photo – at least 6. My Publix at home doesn’t carry that many! Party-size condiments and veggies underneath. How long would it take to get through that jug of mayo?

What place needs this many BBQ sauces? I stopped counting at 55. Really? Really.

This next photo was intended to show their jelly/jam selections (55+) but then I noticed the nut butters (15+) and that doesn’t count the ones chopped out of my photo.

Okay, you can laugh now. I love to visit grocery stores when we travel. There are usually items I’ve never seen, locally-made product (great for souvenirs or gifts) and just ‘stuff’ that is interesting. Eric just lets me wander as he gathers items on his grocery list.

Still two more stops before leaving town: 13 Mile Seafood Market and OCB. Googled 13 Mile Brand and discovered the name refers to a tiny community 13 miles west of Apalachicola. The family business began in 1957 and four generations harvest oysters, shrimp and fish from the Apalachicola Bay and Gulf of Mexico. Their seafood market opened in 2009 along the Apalachicola River.

Directly behind the seafood market is one of their shrimp boats.

OCB = Oyster City Brewing. Instead of cans, he gets the growlers filled. Also picked up their local newsletter The Forgotten Coastline. It is always interesting reading.

Oops, meant to include a third stop – our lot. It looks rough and definitely needs mowing and some tree trimming cleanup. It’s just not an attractive sight. Ugh.

But no, we can’t head to the rental yet. On SGI are several local businesses and one we occasional visit is Sometimes It’s Hotter. Usually it’s to pick up some locally-baked bread, which was our original intent this day.

They have an amazing wine selection for such a small community. This is only 1 of 4 walls that contain their wine choices.

Although not a purchase – since we make our own – I like they have things made from the area.

By the time we got back, the rain had stopped and I had a chance to walk to the beach. I started walking along the coastline, no storm in sight, just clouds. But boy, was I glad I wore my raincoat. The weather changed that fast and I would have been soaked in just a few minutes.

One more post is coming to finish out the week. Stay tuned.

Ginny

S.G.I. 2021 Chapter 3

Ahhh, the meals. Some could argue this is the best part of any vacation. Traveling with Eric, food is never far from our agenda. SGI food is mostly (but not always!) about a meal that is a ‘production’. And by that I mean it is a good thing.

Our first production meal was Paella. A Spanish rice dish, generally accepted as originating in Valencia, Spain. A unique seasoning associated with this dish is saffron. Depending upon your location the veggies and meats can vary. We’re using clams from Cedar Key, Florida and shrimp from the surrounding bay.

No finished photo, we were too busy eating this delicious dish. Maybe next time.

Another evening turned into a (former) typical SGI meal: fried fish and fried shrimp.

Sushi, Poke’ bowl and rolls. Who would have guessed in those first SGI trips I would be eating raw fish for dinner. And, who would have guessed that a sushi mat needed to be packed from home. And, who would have guessed that you could find a sushi mat kit on the island! Below are the results, courtesy of Dennis.

This production involved Eric and Dennis.

The shrimp were steamed before topping the rice, along with a slab of raw tuna, sliced thinly for the other offering. Someone made plans………otherwise why would you pack black sesame seeds – just saying.

The Poke’ bowl I mentioned earlier………….here it is with some asian-marinated and grilled redfish, tuna, cucumber, shrimp and avocado.

Etouffee, a dish found in both Cajun and Creole cuisines, typically served with shellfish over rice. Etouffee is French for ‘smothered’. Also, one of Eric’s favorite dishes to prepare and eat. Warner prepped the shrimp.

While Eric chopped some green onions. Along the side you can see part of the ‘trinity’: onions, celery and bell pepper, chopped and diced.

Yeah, I got a photo of the finished meal.

Here was a first for us (really, just Eric and myself)………….baked, lightly seasoned, crisp greens. Ansley had done this at home and it was a great idea to use some of the greens we ‘gifted’ them from our garden. Collards, mustard greens and kale were trimmed for step 1.

Before tossing with olive oil, salt and freshly chopped rosemary for Step 2.

Then came the waiting game in a low and slow oven. Very nice and quite tasty! Nope, no photo. 😦

Prior to any S.G.I. trip, Eric usually brings along some home-made frozen food. It was perfect for lunches. Thaw, heat and serve. Can’t get much easier – at least for me.

A week prior to the trip, Eric smoked a chicken and made gumbo – my absolute favorite and always requested recipe from Eric’s repertre’. Gumbo comes from the Bantu langage, meaning okra, a typical ingredient used for thickening. It’s defined as ‘aromatic soup-stew charactistic of Creole cuisine’. Eric always has to serve it over rice. Me? I can eat it with or without rice. Yes, there are bits of okra in Eric’s gumbo.

We also brought some frozen chili. Love my beans in chili. Can you see them below? Eric – maybe a few more beans next time?

Potage soup – what is that? Old French calls this ‘food cooked in a pot’. It had its origins in the medieval cuisine of northern France. It’s different every time and created from what it’s on hand. Ours was composed of potatoes, carrots home grown arugula & mustard greens. Add in a drizzle of creme fresche and you have a tasty, warming meal.

And a frozen package of our cooked greens. We periodically harvest our greens in the winter and blanch before putting them up to serve the remainder of the year. Those ‘white’ pieces of goodness in the pot – pork, for extra seasoning.

My contribution………………..frozen cookie dough balls. One evening I actually baked them, while the rest of the week, they were eaten as is.

Why did I include the shot below? Peas. These were supposed to be a part of the paella and they were missed. Sorry Dennis. Maybe Eric will remember next time.

Ginny

S.G.I. 2021 Chapter 2

The previous post I mentioned The Cut. Formally it was known as Bob Sike’s Cut. A google search revealed it as the #2 activity from TripAdvisor. BTW – #1 was the State Park, ironically at the opposite end of the island. Ha! It’s odd this being #2 since they only way to access this area is (1) rent/own a place inside The Plantation or (2) have a boating vessel to get you there.

But I digress. It was created in 1954 and I found an on-line photo from that time. It was named for Bob Sikes, a prominent politician from this area. He was a state representative for the US Congress 1941 – 1978.

It’s creation was for efficiency, giving more direct access to the Gulf – both for recreational fishermen and commercial operations. Here is a more recent photo I found on the internet. Weather and hurricanes have taken their toll. And yes, so has development. Looking at the bottom photo you can see some docks and houses have been built. This area is gated off – a gated community within a gated community.

Take a glance as the anglers. You can definitely see the rocks that keep The Cut channel open.

Notice all the coats? These were the temps that greeted us one morning. Add in the wind, the moistness, and sitting on the rocks – you have one cold day.

It wasn’t too bad walking to The Cut to grab my photos but was a real bear walking back. Not running today.

So how was the fishing? See for yourself. Audrey was the first angler to hook a keeper redfish. That wording was deliberate. She hooked it, Eric reeled it in and Warner netted the fish. Definitely a team effort.

Dennis caught this beauty. There are a minimum of 10 ‘spots’ on this Redfish and we only see one side………..

Eric pulled this one in – out of the slot, thus after a quick photo it went back into the water. Redfish this size tend to be the females and are a breeding size and are not kept to ensure the Redfish population continues. This lady is only showing 1 spot near the fin.

The following day Dennis caught another redfish.

Winter fishing (for us, well not me) was all about The Cut. Next up, some of the fabulous meals that sustained us during the week.

Ginny

S.G.I. 2021 Chapter 1

Yeah! We headed back to St. George Island. The drive up was going to be a bit harrowing with this storm in our path. But, the mighty Tundra pulled us through.

We knew from last year’s drive open restaurants were few and far between. Some old favorites had fallen on hard times and were no longer open. Although we had eaten breakfast at home before starting, driving all the way to St. George Island was quite a stretch. Maybe I should clarify…..there were plenty of fast food joints, but we make every effort to eat local. BBQ was Eric’s ‘snack’ of choice – really? BBQ is a snack? He thought a few ribs would carry him over until supper. Me, I just wanted the fries. Dipped in hot BBQ sauce – mighty tasty!

We can’t check into our rental until after 5pm due to all the enhanced cleaning protocols. Rats! In the past it was 3pm and sometimes we could ‘cheat’ the check-in if no one had been renting our selection. Not now. What to do?????? Drive into Apalachicola of course.

Eric needed (I use that word loosely) to fill his 2 Oyster City growlers and this task would help eat up some time.

While waiting in their line, he started up a conversation (I know, everybody’s shocked) and the gentlemen turned out to be a real estate agent……..who could help with selling our land, east of Tallahassee – great! Eric needs to keep that connection going.

Soon enough time passed and we could check into our rental. First you had to get onto the island. BTW they really could upgrade this welcome – just saying. The grass is scraggley, shells in disarray not really a beautiful spot.

Leading to our next sign……….

Houses are a bit pricier here, but winter fishing is most successful at The Cut. Did you notice, we didn’t bring the boat. This time of the year, boating was not the preferred method of catching fish. Plantation is a gated community at the far west end of SGI and The Cut is the furtherest point of land.

FAITH was the name of the rental. Yep, we drove right past it the first time.

Typical SGI beach house: parking underneath, first floor had the bedrooms.

Top floor had the kitchen and gathering spots.

Have to walk to the beach! We can see glimpses peeking between the pine trees and the few houses built nearby.

Interesting boardwalk and literally right across the street from our rental.

The unsettled weather had the beach churned up quite a bit as seen by the erosion. Besides myself, there are a few hearty souls.

If you look waaaaaaay in the distance of the photo below, you can just about see evidence of The Cut – large rocks lining the opening. That’s where the guys and the kids will be spending most of their time fishing – not me.

First dinner on the island is rarely about seafood, or at least not about seafood we have caught. This time was no different, except for our appetizer. Naturally, oysters start the evening.

Grilled steaks, Eric’s homemade scalloped potatoes and Dennis’s famous brussell sprouts rounded out our meal.

I just need a little something sweet to finish the night – Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies – delicious!

Ginny

Sanford’s Shantell

Previously, while visiting historic Sanford, Florida, we had never noticed Shantell’s restaurant. It’s a local fan-favorite featuring comfort soul food. It’s a gathering place, a social hall and an entertainment venue. And oh yeah, it has good food. 🙂

Sanford is not a decision made on a whim – waaaaaay too far for us to go on a moment’s notice for eating. Typically our Sanford destination is a (fabulous & authentic) German restaurant but one weekend we went outside our norm.

At this time in our world, we’re looking for outside dining and this location fit the bill.

Let’s talk the food before going any further. It all starts with a way to ‘whet your whistle’. No soft drink but nice ‘southern’ refreshments with lemonade and ice tea our drinks of choice. Got to tell you, most every time I’ve ordered lemonade somewhere, it’s too sweet and I keep adding water to make it something I can drink. Not this time – perfect.

Typical Dardens, we ordered way too much food. Eric thought this was interesting and we asked for it before our meal arrived – Jam-faican Beef Patties. Totally loved the dipping sauce, it had a kick to it! Oh, and the patties were good also. For me, it’s all about the sauce.

My choice was Jerk Chicken & Rice. The spices were spot-on. The portion was too much food for me and half went home.

Eric ordered their fried chicken, accompanied by collard greens and fried okra (of course!).

My next visit I will order the fried chicken – it looked absolutely delicious, very tasty and very crispy. We couldn’t stop there – nooooooo. Eric ordered a slice of hummingbird cake – made locally – and we shared it. Oopsie, we were in such a hurry to dig in, I forgot my photo. GOT to remember that next time.

Near the end of our meal, Shantell drove up, on her motorcycle. (FYI, not my photo but one I found on the internet.)

She has a big personality with a big smile. She’s a chef, business owner, mother of 10 and holder of a Harley Davidson world record, driving through the 48 contiguous states in 27 days. She set out on her journey to draw attention to a Floridian named Bessie Stringfield – VERY interesting story. Google it to find out more details.

Since it was mid-afternoon we were one of the few guests on-site. Shantell stopped to talk after driving up on her Harley and her story was even more interesting in person. Totally enjoyed talking with her. The food is good but talking with Shantell takes the whole experience up a notch. We’ll be back!

BTW – I have a number of blog posts that need to be written up and shared. I soooooo want to travel overseas but that is obviously on hold at the moment. In the meantime, we’ve been traveling the state, finding interesting spots that probably we would have missed and never discovered. There is an upside to everything, sometimes you have to hunt harder to find it.

Until the next blog arrives……..

Ginny

2020 S.G.I. – Chapter 7

The beaches of SGI are a main attraction for most and we were no exception during our visit. Even when the weather was dicey, it’s interesting to see the beach in all its various moods. Our last day we visited the Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park at the east end of the 28 mile long island – occupying 9 of those miles.

We got Eric here with his fishing poles.

Even in the surf, he caught something – a small whiting, edible but not needed on our last day.

Feathered wildlife joined us, curious why we were invading ‘their’ beach. This little guy came over to check me out, getting closer than I expected.

This Great Blue Heron was curious and persistent.

Adrienne went over to check him out.

He kept showing up in our photos.

The same bird…………..

…………..closer and closer.

Eric was using live shrimp while fishing and this bird knew it!

Finally……………..he got his shrimp. Eric was done and dumped the remaining shrimp.

Taking off after he was full.

One last stop before packing up – Paddy’s Raw Bar. It used to be a real dive, a biker bar – pretty rough and not a place I would go. They’ve changed with the times.

Naturally, we had oysters. I get it. After awhile, oysters look like more oysters, which look like more oysters – unless you’re the one(s) eating them. They had different tastes and different levels of salinity, but all mighty tasty.

Sunday we had to head home, and found one more place to have more oysters, in Panacea. BTW – that’s a live palm tree they tacked the city sign on.

This is part of our regular route home, but had never found this restaurant.

Oysters and mullet fish dip – delicious.

Those that know us would not be surprised to know we brought oysters home. Adrienne and I had them in New Orleans several years ago ‘char-grilled’ and that was our request for the ones we got.

That evening we had them grilled, oysters rockefeller and raw.

This was a different SGI trip – still fun, but a different focus and laid-back vacation. Until next time………….

Ginny