Florida Eats & Treats
Our short holiday to Florida started well, with a kind gentleman in the airport buying us our first beers of the trip! What luck! He was similarly traveling to Florida (Sarasota, if I recall correctly) to meet his wife where they vacation every year.
Upon arrival, we were hungry! Thankfully, my friend Courtney (pictured above) is an eater, just like me. My greatest friendships to date have stemmed from a shared love of ingesting everything imaginable. Having a hungry friend by my side is one of the best comforts in life. It means we get to hunt down tasty grub together without leaving one person feeling like a hangry freak.
We dropped our stuff at our friends’ place and took a short walk to Windward Bar & Grille where we dined on blackened fish tacos and guzzled Moscow mules.
The next day, we trucked down to St. Petersburg, walked around, and then stopped for some grub. We first stopped at MEZE for a light vegan brunch, complete with mimosas. I opted for an avocado-tomato-tofu-tempeh Benedict.
Next, we stopped in at St. Petersburg’s Hofbrauhaus for a midday litre of beer. Even though it was a beautiful, warm day outside, we had to sit inside. The hokey live music and the packed tables created an irresistibly cheesy atmosphere.
For Valentine’s Day that evening, we went to the Clear Sky Draft Haus for some cozy eats. The girls raved about the deep-fried avocado, and even though they do look like little dog turds in the photo, we had to get them, and yes! they were delicious.
I also went for a seafood dish featuring Mahi Mahi, scallops, shrimp and risotto. I sampled a Two Henrys beer (the Belleview Biltmore), that was tinged with a flavour of blueberry and vanilla… actually a bit too sweet for me but I loved trying many different local foods and drink while I was there.
Courtney and I ventured off the next day while the girls went to work at the clinic. We headed to St. Pete Beach, and after spending some time scouring beaches for shells, we had worked up an appetite. As we drove, we saw Woody’s Waterfront. The packed restaurant convinced us to stop, and we decided to share some clam strips and fish and chips. After a margarita (or two) each, we definitely had to go for a nice long walk before going anywhere else.
The food was great, the location ideal, and they had amazing happy hour deals. I would recommend this spot for sure!
We spent a day journeying to Sarasota, specifically to visit the Ringling Museum. The ticketing, which I won’t get into, was a little confusing, so once we got our tickets, we decided to take a trek to the beach before coming back to the museum to tour the Ca’D’Zan in our allotted time. We skipped over to Sarasota, made our way to Lido Beach, asked a lifeguard to recommend some food for us, and he immediately sent us to the Seabreeze Concession. We ambled down, ordered up some lobster rolls and beer, and tucked in. HERMAGERD, yummmmmm. Even the bun was perfectly toasted in butter – lightly crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside.
Courtney and I decided to hunt down the best key lime pie in Florida. We were working on a recommendation in Clearwater, and headed to Sunset Grill. Not only is the pie award-winning, but this place will give you bottomless coffee and a classic diner experience. I deviated from the classic when I ordered crab cakes, but hey, the theme for me on this trip was more or less Eat As Much Seafood As Possible.
(Side note – normally the dish pictured would have come with a lot of extra stuff, but all I wanted was the crab cakes as I was having a bit of a hobbit moment and this was my second breakfast.)
Courtney wanted to lay out on the beach and catch some rays. Being sedentary in the sand drives me bananas, so I went for a long walk, almost walking the entire length of Clearwater Beach. I eventually ended up at Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill where I set up camp with a book and beer beer beer. Few other scenarios create this optimal and simple state of contentment.
Later, Courtney joined me, and since we’d walked to the beach, we continued to sample beers! She had also never had ceviche in her life, so I decided to enlighten her.
Eventually, our friends finished work for the day and joined us for more beer and food. I had the Caribbean grouper sandwich, grilled with Jamaican jerk spices.
And of course, the famous key lime pie! Do not miss out on this if you are in the area!
On our last day, Courtney and I scavenged for more shells and then made a stop in at the uber kitschy Sweet Sage Cafe. Once again, I went for the crab cakes, this time in eggs Benedict form (!!!), accompanied by a side of warm apple slices. Also, of course, bottomless coffee.
And now, to be swallowed up by final exams. See you on the other side, and send me your positive vibes for success. Following that, I will divulge my plans for the rest of the year. *extended drumroll please*