Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Florida seafood and the best meal

Sure was toasty down in Florida. As they say, it's not the heat, it's the humidity. Tried amberjack for the first time. It was very good. Place called Rick's Crab Shack. They grilled it, and it was done perfectly. Just as good were the fried shrimp -- just lightly coated in flour and fried, so no bulky breading. Later in the week I went back there and tried their grouper nuggets with hush puppies. Also perfectly cooked, and a huge portion for lunch. More grouper at RumRunners. One of the best pieces of fish I've ever eaten. Coated in ground pecans and coconut and sauteed. Nice and firm, with a lobster-like texture, but not rubbery or dry. Served with a beurre blanc. I was in heaven. AJ's in Destin claims to have originated chargrilled amberjack. It was okay, a little dry. But still a nice assertive flavor without being fishy. Also had assorted fried fish sandwiches, and a grilled striped bass sandwich. The latter was served as two big chunks of fish, which I kind of had to mash up to make it a sandwich. That was a little fishy for me but not bad. My biggest complaint about the grouper sandwiches was that the grouper filets were too thin, so there was as much breading as fish. But my best meal down there wasn't seafood, it was prime rib. And really prime. A place called Callahan's in Destin, where they have a butcher shop and a bunch of plastic picnic tables (with umbrellas!) inside the shop. You choose your steak from the case, or in my case choose to have a (massive) slice of medium rare prime rib. That was one of the best pieces of meat I've eaten in a long time. Beefy, very velvety, none of that graininess that can show up. Perfectly seasoned, it had no need of the au jus or horseradish that came with it. Strange little place, but one I'd go back to if I'm ever in Destin again.

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