Well, Mom and I didn't come home with a carload of bargains or good deals. But...we did return with full stomachs. From the time we set foot in Florida until the time we reached home, we savored and enjoyed ah-may-zing food. I wanted to share some of the highlights!
Wild Olive in Crestview - Crestview is always our first stop for thrift stores and antique malls. In the past, we haven't deemed it a culinary destination. However, Mom recently read about Wild Olive. It had a small menu - usually a sign of good food. There was a lovely outside deck where you could enjoy dining alfresco and enjoy the aroma of jasmine.
I ordered this pasta dish and loved it. The pasta was al dente (a rare occurrence in restaurants), the sauce was creamy and hey, how can you go wrong with spinach, bacon and tomatoes?
Old Bay Steamer in Fort Walton Beach - Upon arriving at the beach, we were craving seafood. Duh. So, we ventured to Fort Walton Beach to Old Bay Steamer. I had read decent online reviews, describing it as your basic seafood place. The reviews were right. This was a nice restaurant with no-frills, steamed seafood. Mom and I both ordered the Lobster Dinner with two lobster tails. They were cooked perfectly. What is it about eating with a bucket on the table that feels so good?
Vin'tij Wine Boutique and Bistro in Destin - Located right across from the outlet malls, this restaurant is located in a small strip mall. From the exterior, you would never guess the quality of food or wine here. Their signature lunch dish is the Fried Oyster BLT with Brie and it is their signature for a reason. Oh. Em. Gee. It was every bit as mouth-watering as it looks in this image. My other favorite dish is the fried oyster appetizer with pickled onions.
San Gelato Cafe in Sandestin - so many flavors to choose from. I tasted so many and debated and tasted and debated and tasted. I finally settled on Salted Caramel. Perfect combination of sweet and savory.
Stinky's Fish Camp in Santa Rosa Beach - We have gone to Stinky's for the past few years. This is one of our favorites along 30A. Typically, we order some of their signature oysters and shrimp po' boys. This time, we ventured off the beaten path and tried their ceviche. Our risk was rewarded. It was so fresh with lime, shrimp and fish. I could easily have made a meal of this.
Cuvee Bistro in Destin - Again, one of our ol' faithful restaurants. A trip would be remiss without a visit here. We like to arrive early and sit in their lively bar area where you can order a selection of their appetizers at half price. We like to order a melange of appetizers and share with cocktails. You seriously cannot beat this.
Beachwalk Cafe, Henderson Park Inn in Destin - Mom loves to Google, and in one of her random Googling sessions, she came across the Henderson Park Inn. We tried to get reservations at the Beachwalk Cafe earlier in the week, but were unsuccessful. Luckily they had openings on Friday evening. YOU. MUST. EAT. HERE.
I went with our server's recommendations for all three courses. And, there's something to be said for that. Each course was better than the last. To start I had the Portabella Mushroom, grilled with sauteed spinach, goat cheese, applewood bacon and veal glace. If you're mouth isn't watering right now, it should be.
Next, I ventured to New Zealand with the New Zealand Venison, a skillet roasted filet with sweet potato gratin, red wine basil and tomato reduction and tobacco onions.
To finish, I had their classic Key Lime Pie. It was tart, light and smooth.
Green Papaya in Montgomery, Alabama - After seeing an image on a friend's Instagram feed, I wanted to end our trip home by stopping here. Mom doesn't particularly care for Thai food, but we both enjoyed our meal. That speaks for itself I think. And the fact that it has a 91% rating on Urbanspoon.