Has Spring Sprung?

It appears that winter is finally ending in north Florida. The highs are forecast to be in the 70s for seven of the next ten days.

Yesterday, the highs were in the mid-70s and the sky was almost cloudless. So it was time for a trip along the coast to the quaint coastal fishing town of Apalachicola, about 70 miles from where I live.

First stop to stretch our legs and enjoy some white sand was Carrabelle Beach.

robin

Next stop was the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve. It features a few nature walks and a nature center. The nature center has fish found in the Apalachicola River estuary, including bones from a whale which beached itself nearby.

sf-reserve

Then over the bridge which is in the background of the above photo and into Apalachicola. We weren’t the only ones to take advantage of the nice weather to get out of town and roam the small tourist area’s shops and enjoy some seafood in Florida’s premier oyster grounds.

We settled on the Seafood Grill, which offered various seafood “plates” with minor various on non-seafood “sides.” I went with the “Southern” plate, which has shrimp, fish, scallops and Andouille sausage with collard greens (the “southern”) and corn bread. My companion went with the “Cajun” plate, which has shrimp, fish, scallops and Andouille sausage with red beans & rice (the “cajun”) and corn bread.

I passed on some tempting desserts, including “Death by Chocolate” (a five layer dark chocolate cake) or a monster size slice of  strawberry cheesecake. The plan was to go to an old fashion ice cream parlor with stools and a counter for a banana split.

But first, we checked out a microbrewery. After sampling a few of their offerings, we settled on a pint of summer ale called “First Light of Day” which we washed down some free popcorn with.

oyster city

Since discretion is the better part of valor, I decided to forego the banana split. Today’s diversion is to catch the final game of college baseball’s season opening: Florida State University against Rhode Island. The first game (Friday) was FSU 18-1; the second game (yesterday) was FSU 8-1. So this third game is not going to affect who wins the series.

I’m already looking to Monday evening, when the foodies (whose membership broke 1,000 about a week ago) converge on Habana’s for some fine Cuban fare. Many restaurants are closed on Mondays because many folks don’t dine out that day after partying during the weekend. Habana’s stays open and uses a 20% off all entrees to get folks in the door.

And it works, because that’s when I go! I usually order lechon asado (roast pork with grilled onions), moros (rice mixed with black beans), and maduros (fried plantains) with a dessert of flan and either cafe con leche or cafe cubano. Viva Habana’s!

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5 responses to “Has Spring Sprung?

  1. Well you’re in my sweet spots now. Love “Apalatch” and the whole area. I would probably order exactly what you did, except work in some oysters. My wife and I took a 1 day course through the Estuariane research center, and learned quite a bit about the estuary. It ended with a field excursion to a small island in Apalachicola Bay. I believe we stayed at the Gibson Inn that time.

    My boys and I spend many fond days at Dick Howser. I actually remember Dick managing the Noles 1979 team before moving on up to the Yankees and Royals. Also remember pulling my VW Beetle up to the left field fence and watching the noles play, back in the 60’s.

    Sounds like you had a great week end. Have you tried Carols’ Cuban cafe on Capital Circle?

  2. Carlos Cafe I mean.

    • That’s on my list. Isn’t this the same Carlos who had a bigger place on Tennessee and Gadsden? Went there one time and was shocked he didn’t have olives in the picadillo. Decided to be adventurous at Habana’s and tried the filetillo salteado – steak bits with onions, peppers and tomatoes in a wine sauce. Excellent! I’ll start having that regularly now…

      Next week, I’ll write about the baseball game. Not what I thought it’d be…

  3. Yes it’s the same place. Food is OK not great but OK. There’s just nothing like the real Cuban bread in Tampa for a great Cuban meal. But I eat at Carlos’ on occasion mainly because its convenient to my boys location in Killarne.

    Were the Animals in section B up to their “normal” hijinks? They make the games more fun.

    I see that Howser is now selling beer that’s a first. But $7 for a $1.50 beer is ridiculous.

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