Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Great Southern Cafe

Seaside, Florida has quite a few restaurants in the downtown area.  During our previous visit to the town, we tried quite a few of them but didn't get to dine at all of them.  The Great Southern Cafe was one of them that we did not get to try on our first trip to Seaside.  We made it a point to remedy that situation on this trip because several friends highly recommended the restaurant.
Covered Patio Area 
Since my wife and I are both fans of collard greens, we started with the Soul Rolls.  They were essentially spring rolls filled with chicken and collard greens.  We both enjoyed the Asian-style take on a Southern-style food.  The rolls themselves were quite good, but I didn't particularly care for the peach chutney or the horseradish sauce that was served with them.
Soul Rolls
I had heard through the rumor mill that their Grits and Grillades was a dish that was not to be missed.  Having never had grillades before, it was a very unique taste and reminded me of gumbo made of beef.  This restaurants version of the dish consisted of slow roasted beef in a Shiraz stew and served over smoked Gouda cheese grits.  I absolutely loved the flavor of the dish and it was unquestionably the best-tasting food item I had on this trip.  It was so good that I almost cried when I shoveled the last bite in my mouth.
Grits and Grillades
My wife decided that she wanted to try the vegetable plate.  When people order the vegetable plate, you assume that they are trying to eat healthy.  This was not the case this time around as my wife chose fried okra, fried green tomatoes, grits, and black-eyed peas.  Everything on the plate was delicious, but the fried okra cut length-wise was absolutely incredible.
Veggie Plate-Fried Okra, Fried Green Tomatoes, Grits, and Black-Eyed Peas
We enjoyed the food at The Great Southern Cafe and were pleasantly surprised how cool the breeze as it was blowing off the ocean while we sat on the patio.  The place always seems to be packed to the gills, but the service was more than adequate despite the large crowd.  This place will definitely get a return visit from me the next time my family visits Seaside!  

The Great Southern Cafe
Livin the Good Life Rating=4
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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Cowgirl Kitchen

While exploring Rosemary Beach and walking around with the family, we decided we should stay there and eat lunch.  We decided to grab a bite to eat at Cowgirl Kitchen.  I had read several positive reviews of the place, so we thought it would be a good choice for a causal lunch.  The restaurant was packed on the afternoon we visited, but it was a beautiful day and we chose to sit outside rather than wait for a table indoors.
Cowgirl Machita Dip
This little diva enjoyed the sidewalk dining
Several appetizers sounded promising, but as usual, we couldn't pass up queso.  Two different versions of queso were available, but we chose the Cowgirl Machita Dip and it was top notch.  The queso blanca had chorizo, jalapeƱos, diced tomatoes, and green onion.  This might just have been the best queso I have ever had in Florida and I highly recommend it.
Pulled Pork Tacos with Caesar Salad
Not wanting to get too full after eating the queso, my wife and I both ordered tacos with a side Caesar salad rather than a heavy meal.  I had the Pulled Pork Tacos, which were topped with cole slaw and my wife had the Drunken Shrimp Tacos.  The pulled pork was okay, but I actually liked her tacos better and enjoyed the spicy chipotle salsa and shredded cheese.
Drunken Shrimp Tacos
They also have a kids menu and the little one gave a thumbs up to the mac n' cheese and chips.  Our waitress was attentive throughout and was very accommodating to us.  This location at Rosemary Beach is in a beautiful area with lots of shopping in the area.  Another plus about this restaurant was the price, which was much less than a lot of other restaurants in this tourist haven.  We really intended to go back and try their dinner menu, but regrettably, we didn't have the opportunity.  

Cowgirl Kitchen
Livin the Good Life Rating=3
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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Old Florida Fish House

My family loves Seaside, Florida and I was excited to eat at some of my favorite restaurants in the area and try some new ones during our most recent family vacation.  Having passed by Old Florida Fish House several times on our last vacation to the Seaside area, we decided to dine their on our first night of vacation.  The restaurant has their regular dinner menu, but they also have a sushi menu and even a sushi bar.  
Caesar Salad
For starters, I ordered a Caesar Salad and split an order of Fried Green Tomatoes with my wife.  The Caesar salad was pretty basic but it had a simple, yet flavorful dressing and had croutons that had a faint hint of garlic to them.  The fried green tomatoes were outstanding, mainly due to the fact that they were topped with a fantastic beurre blanc sauce and butter poached lump crab meat.  I wouldn't hesitate to order either of these items again.
Fried Green Tomatoes topped with beurre blanc sauce and butter poached lump crab meat
I went with the Chef's Special for my entree, which was Blackened Mahi Mahi over spinach and herb rice pilaf and topped with crawfish beurre blanc sauce.  This dish was the best seafood dish I have had in several months and I was blown away by the combination of flavors and textures in the dish.  The blanc sauce tasted similar to the sauce on the fried green tomatoes, but the crawfish put this dish over the top.  
Blackened Mahi Mahi topped with crawfish beurre blanc sauce
My wife went with the Sauteed Grouper Fish House, which our waitress claimed was the house specialty.  It was served over mashed potatoes and topped with a lemon beurre blanc sauce.  This dish was outstanding as well and my wife allowed me to eat several bites.  Although I loved both entrees, the mahi mahi was slightly better than the grouper.
Sauteed Grouper Fish House
Other members of our party ordered the sushi and were very pleased with what they ordered.  The food was outstanding and the service mostly good, although there were a couple of hiccups.  Bud and Alley's Seafood Restaurant seems to be the most popular seafood joint in the area, but the food at Old Florida Fish House was considerably better than any dish I have had at Bud And Alley's on my three visits there.  I highly recommend a visit to the Old Florida Fish House if you ever find yourself in the Seaside area.

Old Florida Fish House
Livin the Good Life Rating=4
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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Rum Runners

On our way to Seaside, we stopped in Sandestin around lunchtime. Having some time to kill until we were able to get into our beach house, we decided to go The Village of Baytowne Wharf because our kids had enjoyed it on a previous visit.  After walking around for while and perusing the various restaurants, we decided to dine at Rum Runners.

Having never dined here before, I asked our waitress what she would recommend for an appetizer.  She suggested the Caribbean Egg Rolls, which were crispy flour tortillas stuffed with Jerk chicken, onions, peppers, black beans, pepper jack cheese, corn, and salsa.  The dish was served with what tasted like sweet and sour sauce.  I anticipated a flavorful dish, but the egg rolls were very bland.
Caribbean Egg Rolls
Knowing that we would probably be having a big dinner with my in-laws, I decided to just order a sandwich and fries for my second course.  I chose the Fried Grouper Sandwich, which was the fresh fish of the day.   The fish was crispy and the sandwich was better than our appetizer, but nothing special and the fries tasted like they were frozen and out of a bag.  
Fried Grouper Sandwich
My wife had the Spring Salad and the kids ordered mini-corn dogs. The kids didn't seem to mind their food, but my wife barely touched her salad.  The service could have been better too.  While our waitress was friendly, she went long periods of time without checking on us and refilling drinks.  The restaurant had only a handful of other customers, which should have been a sign to stay away since it should have been busier on a Saturday at lunch.  Overall, I was disappointed in the restaurant and I cannot recommend it because there are much better casual seafood restaurants in the area.

Rum Runners
Livin the Good Life Rating=1
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