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.


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.


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.


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!