Inlet Beach is the quite beach of the east end of 30A. There are a number of up and coming dining options such as Roselie Dining and Seafood Bar and Cuvee 30a.
Story by: Natalie Haddock
The diverse communities along 30a offer a “small town feel” with big town taste. Residents and visitors can walk from the condo to the beach, to shopping centers, and to restaurants. But when a little shop offers great food and a little something extra, it’s certainly noteworthy. This week’s installment of 3 for 30a is to highlight the small, but special, markets and café’s along Hwy 30A.
Friday January 23 –The first stop for many after arriving at the beach is Seacrest Sundries, where market groceries meets beach store meets café. Begin with a quick bite of their addictive “Crack” Salad Sandwich (homemade chicken salad) and then peruse the market for a few essentials like hats, towels, bottled water, wine & beer. They also have basics for your condo like condiments and detergent. Full café menu available at http://www.seacrestsundries.com/
Saturday January 24 – “Praise the Lard!” The Perfect Pig Café and Gourmet Market in Seagrove Beach boasts hand-sliced ham and bacon as their specialty along with hickory smoked pulled chicken and pork. They also serve homemade sauces and sides and offer a variety of gourmet market items such as pancake mix, jellies, mustard, sauces, chips, snack crackers, and coffee. Be sure to stop by anytime from 8:00am – 9:00pm or visit their new location in Gulf Place, opening this weekend! For a full menu check out http://theperfectpig30a.com/
Sunday January 25 – If you didn’t get enough southern BBQ by Sunday, the Cowgirl Kitchen has you covered. The Pulled Pork Tacos are a house favorite, but if you’re still in the mood for breakfast the Praline Bacon along with their full breakfast menu is happily served until 2:00pm. Wake up for their “Grumpy Hour” at 8:00am to enjoy 2 for 1 draft beer and $1 off wine and libations. Their market includes fresh take-and-bake casseroles, specialty sauces, and a variety of wine. Visit http://www.cowgirlkitchen.com/ for more info.
By Natalie Haddock
This week I took an adventure along 30A to seek out a few hidden gems. I found a few old favorites and discovered new loves. This installment of 3 for 30A shares with you these little mysterious pieces of paradise that may be a bit off the beaten path, but find a way right into your heart.
Friday, July 31st – The Caliza Restaurant in Alys Beach seemed like an obvious first choice in my quest to find the lesser-known pearls of 30A. Their Facebook page reads “We believe that every great meal is a journey. Our menu is an opportunity to explore places that you’ve never been – or perhaps return to a favorite spot.” I stopped in to sample one of their happy hour cocktails, the Indian Summer, made with Don Q rum, coconut milk, chai tea, and a hint of lemon, and to take in the setting next to a peaceful infinity pool. Dinner reservations are required but come hungry. Guests can choose from a four-course tasting, or simply order from their enticing fine dining menu that lists several pasta dishes, seafood options, and assorted meat selections like duck, lamb, and brisket.
Saturday, August 1st – La Crema isn’t exactly a hidden gem, with its beautiful location near the beaches and shopping in Rosemary beach, but for me it is a place not often visited and sometimes overlooked. Yes, there is an amazing menu consisting of chocolate desserts, fondue, and coffees but don’t fail to check out their varied list of delicious tapas. The Brussel sprouts are crisp and buttery, and the Spanish eggplant bites are made sweet with a drizzle of molasses. Try a little seafood, a little steak chimichurri, a little jerk pork, and forget the guilt. Its tapas – you can have a little of everything! And when you find your eyes are bigger than your stomach, take a little home with you. I’ve got some chocolate dipped bacon waiting in my fridge. (Yum!)
Sunday, August 2nd – For a place that is really off the beaten path, enjoy brunch this Sunday hidden away in the Backyard of Love. The Hibiscus House in Grayton Beach is inviting visitors once again to their shady paradise for good vibes, live music, waffles, and mimosas from 10am – 2pm. A portion of the proceeds (20%) is given to a local charity each week and such charities include Caring & Sharing, Children’s Volunteer Health Network, H.E.A.R.T. Animal Rescue, Food for Thought, and Walton County Animal Shelter. Feast on fresh fruit and waffles, French toast, biscuits and gravy, or organic old fashioned oatmeal with brown sugar while Drew Tillman takes the stage for a morning of relaxed delight.
By Natalie Haddock
“Four for the 4th Edition”
Parades, barbeques, and fireworks, oh my! It is July 4th weekend and that means it’s time to celebrate! Grab your family, friends, and fellow Americans because 30AFoodandWine.com has your weekend line up. But with so much to do and fun to be had we couldn’t limit ourselves to 3 for 30A this week. Check out what’s in store on this week’s edition of 4 for the 4th!
Thursday, July 2nd –
This weekend is all about celebrating good ‘ole red, white, and blue and Frost Bites in Seaside is serving up their “American Shave Ice” for guests to kick off the weekend. This delicious treat is a rainbow of cherry, vanilla, and blue bubblegum flavors and is the perfect snack for a hot summer afternoon. The Frost Bites airstream specializes in Hawaiian shave ice and offers an impressive number of flavors like “ninja juice”, “tiger’s blood”, and “razzle dazzle”, just to name a few. Sugar free flavors include grape, strawberry, and cherry. Menu items also include such classics as root beer floats, orange crush floats, and frozen custard. Stop by from 9am-11pm to get your frosty fix.
Friday, July 3rd –
Festivities abound in Watercolor this Friday with a bike parade and carnival in Marina Park. Start off the morning by decorating your bike in Cerulean Park and then cruise with community participants through the streets of Watercolor. At 11am make your way to the Carnival and enjoy games, waterslides, a dunk tank, face painting, and classic American treats like hot dogs and ice cream! In the evening the Fourth Annual “Easy on 30A” Concert at Marina Park will take place 6pm-10pm. Live music will be performed by Forrest Williams Band, The Ripps, and Geoff McBride. Local businesses have also donated raffle and silent auction items benefitting Alaqua Animal Refuge, the Lighthouse Family Retreat, and the Muscogee Nation of Florida. For admission to the Easy On 30A event, bring one can of non-perishable food. Donations are also welcome.
Saturday, July 4th –
In the evening gather your friends and family on the green in Seaside for an evening of pride and spectacle for America. Bring a lawn chair, a blanket, a picnic basket, and a loved one and find your spot for an amazing evening of classical music and fireworks. Patriotic music by the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra Pops will begin at 7:15 with a firework spectacular to follow at 9:00p. A free shuttle is available from South Walton High School 6am-midnight.
Sunday, July 5th –
This Sunday we want to see you really hype up that American spirit as your root on the U.S.A. Women’s soccer team at Steamboat Bar and Grill in Seagrove! Fresh seafood and a family atmosphere make this restaurant a local’s favorite hideaway and happy hour runs 3pm – 6pm every day. Feast on fresh oysters, crab balls, or fried shrimp as you watch USA score that winning goal on one of Steamboat’s 5 TVs. The menu also includes hearty burgers, po’boys, salads, pasta, and crab legs! For more information on hours and menu checkout http://www.steamboatgrill.com/ or download the 30AFoodandWine app today!
Story by Sarah Murphy Robertson
Our ongoing column, Dishes of 30A, is all about taking the best and boldest of what 30A restaurants are creating and making sure everyone knows their intricacies. Novices and foodies alike will savor Stinky’s Stew at Stinky’s Fish Camp because it hits upon everything a seafood stew should be and is, simply, a showstopper.
Let’s talk about the base of this dish. The stock is layered with flavor from onions, celery and leeks, the gentle heat of red pepper flakes and garlic, and a briny umami from the shrimp and crab shells used. With the addition of fresh tomatoes, corn and beans, the resulting garlicky broth is not your typical bouillabaisse, but rather its own matchless masterpiece.
The stew’s seafood components themselves are rock stars – fresh gulf fish of the day, shrimp, crab legs, mussels and scallops. Each bring their own unique textures and flavors to the Stinky’s Stew Party and all are expertly cooked. Upon learning we were writing this story I was told time and time again this is the dish locals crave from Stinky’s. I agree and can confirm each bite is exquisite.
The stew is also served alongside half of Mema’s Crab Cake Po Boy. The crab cake is seasoned perfectly with lemon and a dash of Tabasco and then pressed onto New Orleans’ celebrated Leidenheimer bread. Place this order and you’re sure to get the tables next to you talking!
Story by Phil Heppding
The team here at 30afoodandwine.com will be bringing our followers some insight into the unique and popular dishes being served up by the talented culinary minds in our area. We will cover some old favorites and new additions and most importantly, shed more light on this world-class culinary destination we call home!
“Going with the Seasons”
For our first installment of “dishes of 30a,” we sat down with Executive Chef Phil McDonald of the Pizza Bar at Bud & Alley’s.
Being a well-traveled and experienced chef, McDonald is right at home creating true-to form pizzas and pastas with fresh, local ingredients.
One of the new items on the menu garnering rave reviews is the avocado toast. “Its grilled Rosemary bread that we make in house, and then we put smashed avocado on top. It is finished off with a little sea salt and some sliced radishes tossed in lemon juice and olive oil.”
The avocado toast is the perfect way to start your dining experience at the Pizza Bar.
This is just one of the many new additions to menu McDonald has brought to the table. Diners should take note that all dough, breads and pastas are made from scratch at the Pizza Bar.
For the true pizza lover, you are sure to be delighted with the Farmer’s Pizza. This is a mouth-watering creation that strives to include the freshest ingredients from local farmers and purveyors in our area. “It changes every week based on what we are getting from local farmers” said McDonald. “ So this week the pizza is heirloom tomatoes, basil pesto, Turkish eggplant and ricotta.”
Diners partaking of the Farmer’s pizza one week might be delighted to find a completely different, yet equally delightful creation from the last time they ordered up Chef McDonald’s seasonal creation.
In true fashion and commitment to local sourcing, McDonald pointed out the fig trees growing on the property at the Pizza Bar. Interested in finding out where on the table the fresh figs ended up? Stop by the Pizza Bar at Bud & Alley’s in Seaside. They are open seven days a week from 11AM-10PM. For more information call 850-231-3113 or to view the Pizza Bar Menu, visit http://www.budandalleys.com/menu_pizza_bar.php
Story by Sarah Murphy Robertson
Yes, the puns are abundant (Praise the Lard!) and their sunny open atmosphere incredibly comfortable and inviting, but take note: the food at The Perfect Pig is some serious business. Gulf Place’s newest restaurant, The Perfect Pig, takes the Seagrove favorite to the west side with the exciting opening of their second location on 30A.
“Beyond just the menu, we place value on truly feeding people. Their happiness; the laughter and chatter while enjoying a meal here, is food too” muses owner Vickie Miller. Vickie’s skillful prowess for creating a welcoming atmosphere is evident. She and her husband Jeff have been residents of 30A since 1998 and have been in the restaurant business for 35 years, but it was a love for BBQ and an initial dream for a food truck that led them down this current path. Their BBQ food truck business needed a commissary and its unused space spurred a gourmet market. Next thing you know, they opened the Seagrove Perfect Pig location. Even opening this second location was a happy accident as they passed by and casually noticed the space for lease and stars aligned.
Seating up to 80 when the weather warms and the patio opens, the space formerly occupied by Messina’s has been transformed into a tribute to all things pork. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a menu that is approachable and affordable yet also elevated and exceptional. More and more visitors from metropolitan areas are discovering our slice of paradise and “They know good food and they know what they like” Vickie explained.
I asked Vickie what I should order for lunch and without hesitation she began describing their mozzarella grilled cheese sandwich encrusted and griddled with parmesan and served with the optional (yet must-have) avocado and bacon. Owners know best, I astutely assessed, and selected her recommendation. This sandwich is everything a classic grilled cheese or BLT would aspire to become. Take your version’s vision and it is likely akin to a high school quarterback. Then try theirs: instant Hall of Famer. The golden parmesan crust works with every gooey/crispy/creamy/fresh component in perfect harmony. Simply great eats.
I also tried their pulled pork sandwich. This is some profoundly delicious Q – tender and smoked to perfection and served on a buttery brioche roll with their house-made sauce. Again, approachable yet exceptional food.
Our restaurant scene on 30A is continuing to grow and evolve, and with gems like The Perfect Pig placing focus on an overall quality experience for their customers, prepare to hear the squeals of joy.
Each week, the team at 30afoodandwine.com will bring our followers three things for the weekend on 30a. In a nutshell, it might by a wine event, a “can’t miss” happy hour or a special culinary event for the serious food lover. We will also highlight numerous charities throughout the year through our “3 for 30A.”
Check back each week on Thursdays for our “3 for 30a”.
30a and South Walton is a happening place this weekend. October is behind us and with that comes Daylight Saving Time. Don’t forget to “fall back” one hour early Sunday morning at 2AM.
First up for the the weekend is the 7th Annual Taste of the Beach… Friday, October 31 – Taste of the Beach After Dark Gulf Place, Santa Rosa Beach 8pm – 10pm, $55 per person Tickets “Guests at the Taste of The Beach After Dark event will enjoy an unprecedented combination of food, signature cocktails and show beverage mixology. Gulf Place on 30A will provide a beautiful and stunning setting for this special event. Guests will enjoy enjoying magnificent cocktail concoctions, amazing local cuisine and spectacular desserts, all while enjoying live music and a mesmerizing ambiance!”
On Saturday, pack up the kids and head to the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center for their Fall Festival. Events run from 10Am to 3PM. Enjoy the spooky trail, crafts, food, games and more. For more information, please visit E.O Wilson Biophilia Center or call 850-835-1824
Cottages for Kids runs all week from Friday Oct 31st to Sunday November 9th. This is a free event and any and all donations benefit Children’s Volunteer Health Network (CVHN). Ever want to own your own castle or backyard hideaway? Come on out and bid at one of the area’s most unique fundraisers. Builders and designers will knock your socks off with their creations and they are sure to bring out the kid in all of us!
Small Plates, Big Tastes
La Crema Tapas & Chocolate
Story by Sarah Murphy Robertson
An ocean away from the Spanish cities of Madrid and Barcelona is another beautiful seaside town: Scenic 30A’s Rosemary Beach. While visiting Spain, La Crema Tapas and Chocolate owners Kevin and Kim were inspired by the Spanish tradition of sharing tapas and chocolate confections and opened this lovely spot in 2010. The menu has many creative and unique small plates and I recently sampled three customer favorites.
Ordering Sam’s Enfuego Chicken is a sure “fire” winner every time. These tender and crispy chicken bites are tossed in a sriracha chili sauce, honey, and soy glaze. They have a hint of heat but are also sweet, savory and radiating Asian flavors. These nibbles are then served with a cooling goat cheese and caper dipping sauce. Be sure to try their Enfuego Shrimp as well.
Okay, is it time for chocolate? La Crema’s OMG Espresso Cookie is rich and decadent and each texture and component contrasts flawlessly. The warmed house made triple chocolate cookies are fork-tender yet their crunchy edges hold up to the chilled center’s filling. This filling is made with espresso and whipped cream cheese and is tangy with those coffee notes that play extremely well with chocolate. A bite with cookie and cream together reminded me of an airy mocha cheesecake and is sublime.
Next out comes an order of Chocolate Dipped Bacon. Need I really say more? Smoky, perfectly-crisped Applewood bacon is enrobed in smooth dark chocolate. This is the second best seller on their menu and I can see why. It is heavenly: sweet and salty nirvana. And a bonus? This treat is gluten free, vegan, and free of nuts too. Not many desserts can boast those credentials!
La Crema’s sleek, bright décor and exceptional wine list round out an inviting overall experience. Whether you are looking for a light bite or a long linger, this Rosemary Beach restaurant is a great choice.
12 Days Uncorked
Story by Jordan Lacenski
Dec 13, 2016
Written while sipping early on the twelfth day of Christmas.
The holidays tend to bring a full house as families and friends get together. Whether you are stocking up for festive cellar or you are counting down the days and would like a well-deserved treat in the meantime, everyone loves a gift of fermented grapes. Gift yourself and those around you by expanding your palate, as you taste through the twelve days of Christmas. Starting with dry, light-bodied wines and increasing the intensity as you go, you may surprise yourself and fall in love with a varietal you typically avoid.
On the first day of Christmas, bubbles are in order. Toast to the season with a Champagne worthy of December. Always elegant and perfect to toast your arriving guests, Champagne provides a merry and bright beginning to the season. Moet & Chandon Impérial Brut is just $44 and is made from more than 100 different wines. Receiving a Wine Spectator score of 91, it is a divine option to pop, clink, and fizz as you begin to celebrate the success of 2016.
On the second day of Christmas, savor the season with a Sauvignon Blanc. With our favorite scents in the air, Sauvignon Blanc pairs perfectly with fresh pine. Grassini 2015 Sauvignon Blanc is fresh and inviting. Floral and citrus notes swirl through the nose while grapefruit acidity and pear; honeydew flavors wash through your palate.
On the third day of Christmas, cheers to Chenin Blanc, one of the classically important white grape varietals. With a range from dry to sweet, be sure to pick for your preference. Domaine Patrice Colin 2014 Vieilles Vignes Chenin Blanc comes with an extra tang. Crisp baked apple flavors provide a sweet but structured wine for just $16.
On the fourth day of Christmas, we recommend Chardonnay. Most frequently aged in oak, this grape is described as round, full bodied, and lush. The 2015 Hamilton Russell Chardonnay Hemel-en-Aarde Valley greets you with tropical fruits, apple, peach, and honeysuckle. As these ripe flavors dance on your tongue, you are reminded why this wine garnered 94 points and was listed on the “Top 100 Wines” of 2016 by Wine Spectator.
On the fifth day of Christmas, Rosé adds a tiny splash of festive color to your lineup. The popular partnership between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie with the Perrin family has produced a very popular Rosé, great for gifting or consuming yourself. A perfect balance between crisp fruit and acidity, the touch of tannin allows a light pink color to swirl your glass.
On the sixth day of Christmas, we have a treat for you, and your wallet. The 2014 Mud House Pinot Noir Central Otago is particularly appealing. This 90-point $15 Pinot Noir graced the Wine Spectator “Top 100” list. With a velvety texture and strong notes of cherry and plum, this is a great way to ease into bigger reds. Nutmeg and black tea flavors are indicative of the season.
On the seventh day of Christmas, Leonettie Cellar 2013 Sangiovese stretches its legs as light tones of herb, earth, cranberry, and cherry show hints of its barrel age. Given 91 points by Wine Enthusiast, this Walla Walla Valley wine brings you holiday wishes.
On the eighth day of Christmas, Spann Vineyards 2012 Tempranillo is the perfect wine to pass around the table with a mild texture and layers of fruit. Spice and oak balanced ripe cherry and raspberry. From Lake County, California, this 91-point wine (WE), is very well balanced for all of your guests.
On the ninth day of Christmas, Carlisle Zinfandel Russian River Valley Montafi Ranch packs a lot of luxurious flavors for under $50. Rich aromas of black raspberry and orange zest are met with just as complex flavors. Blackberry, mint and baking spices are sure to match up to any traditional Christmas dish.
On the tenth day of Christmas, Arbor Crest 2012 Four Vineyards Merlot is smooth and rich, although just $18. Made from high quality grapes, the tobacco and cherry aromas precede a dense palate with flavors of framboise and crème de cassis. Concentrated fruit runs deep earning this wine an “Editor’s Choice” from Wine Enthusiast.
On the eleventh day of Christmas, we recommend a bottle as beautiful as its contents. The Mollydooker Shiraz McLaren Vale Carnival of Love is bold. The complexity of this wine lasts through the finish, which follows rope cherry and plum, vanilla bean, licorice, early grey tea, and the very appropriate, gingerbread. Ranked number 30 on the Wine Spectator “Top 100” list, this 95-point wine is well worth it.
On the twelfth day of Christmas, Cabernet Sauvignon, treat yourself to the number one rated wine on the Top 100 list by Wine Spectator. 2013 Lewis Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley is under $100 and earned 95 points (WS). Described as “elegant and refined for a wine of this size and depth,” flavors of plum, blackberry, and currant pair perfectly with all of your holiday fare. The taste lingers, as we all wish the holiday season would.
Feel free to extend the celebration with a port or dessert wine. Savor each sip with those around you. May the wine at your table bring you all closer as you gift each other with your company.
Happy Holidays. Cheers. Proost. Sláinte. Salute. Salud.
– Jordan Lacenski: Founder & Chief Innovation Officer of BrandBoss Creative