Food on Fridays: Florida Food

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Here at the Food on Fridays carnival, any post remotely related to food is welcome—though we love to try new dishes, your post doesn’t have to be a recipe.If you want, you could simply tell us how much junk food you consume on a road trip—and what kind. On our recent vacation, we ate trail mix, fruit, Pop-Tarts, and lots of chips and crackers.My point is that we’re pretty relaxed over here, and posts like that are as welcome as menus and recipes.When your Food on Fridays contribution is ready, just grab the broccoli button (the big one above or smaller option at the bottom) to paste at the top of your post. It ties us together visually.Then fill in the boxes of Simply Linked to join the fun!

Food on Fridays with Ann

When we travel to Florida or anywhere near the ocean or Gulf, I crave several things:

  • warmth and sunshine
  • long walks on the beach
  • the sound of the waves lapping on shore
  • the feel of my toes wiggling in the sand
  • seafood like grouper, perch, crab, and shrimp
  • hush puppies
  • sweet tea
  • grits

Thankfully our low-budget road trip to the small town of Carrabelle, Florida, included some of each. Since this is Food on Fridays, I will skip over the warmth, walks, waves and sand, and instead talk exclusively about the seafood, hush puppies, sweet tea and grits.One evening we ate dinner at 2 Al’s at the Beach, a quirky cafe that we could walk to from our campground. The food at 2 Al’s was not high-end, but I got a generous serving of seafood (fried shrimp) and hush puppies, temporarily satisfying some of my hankerings.On another day, we drove a little farther down the road to The Fisherman’s Wife, a bright red food trailer like those you see at carnivals or fairs, in which two women fry or grill seafood and serve it in Styrofoam containers packed with hush puppies, coleslaw and cheesy grits.We ordered both shrimp and grouper, some fried and some grilled—all fantastic. The breading used for the fried food is very light and tempura-like; the hush puppies were crispy and flavorful; the cheesy grits were rich, creamy comfort food.As we were leaving town—our pop-up camper already hitched to the van and kids belted into their seats—we stopped by The Fisherman’s Wife to order one last meal for the road, a treat to savor on the drive home.”Do you sell sweet tea?” I asked.”Of course!” the server replied.”Is it real? I mean, do you brew it here? These are my last moments in the South, and I want some real Southern sweet tea.”She thought for a minute and then said, “If you want some good tea, drive about a quarter mile down the road to the Dollar General store. They sell Milo’s tea by the gallon. That’s what you need.”So while I waited by the picnic benches for our order, my husband drove to Dollar General. He came back with a jug of Milo’s tea, and when the Fisherman’s Wife opened the window and reached out with the Styrofoam containers of seafood bliss, she also handed me a cup of ice and a lid with a straw. I thanked her. She grinned and nodded.As we drove away, I filled my cup of ice with Milo’s tea, secured the lid and took a long sip of that sweet nectar of the gods.Then I turned to my husband and asked with a hint of melancholy, “Remind me again why we live in the north?”

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Photos by Ann Kroeker
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  • Comments

    1. *No one* makes grits like the south. I’ve tried in vain to recreate the texture and flavor, but haven’t mastered it quite yet. :)

    2. My first trip to Oklahoma, I was introduced to grits that came with my breakfast of eggs. Now my hubby has his own grit recipe that he fixes for me. (that is the (and) for my entry #11. Amazing how wonderful it is to find sweet tea and such a nice lady to let you in on her secret!

    3. I came back to link my recipe from where I came from. Thanks and have a great weekend to all

    4. Sounds divine, all of it. I’m all about sand and surf, but food is the true barometer by which I measure my memories of an adventure. Glad you had a chance to get to the south, and glad to hear you survived!

      I’ve lived in the south for almost four years now, and I still haven’t got the hang of sweet tea. But last fall I did add okra and black eyed peas to the list of things I enjoy and can cook. Was pleased to learn I can roast okra instead of frying, and my family and I enjoy it the same. We are fake southerners, I suppose.

      If you ever get to central Texas, I will be happy to go on a local southern food tour with you. Complete with sweet tea.

    5. Sounds devine! I’ll have to go to Dollar General tomorrow and see if I can find some of that sweet tea here in TX.

      Thanks for sharing that!!!

    6. OH! We just moved back to Michigan from Florida 2 years ago, and I agree about the sweet tea. They just don’t get it up here. I grew up in Ohio, yet apparently that is far enough south to prefer sweet over non. My husband thinks I’m crazy. And now I miss Florida!

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