Chef Eric Bartholomew, who leads the kitchen at LaCo, 30A’s Latin coastal kitchen in Seacrest Beach, is bringing the heat with this refreshing summer dish.
“Aguachile is a classic Mexican dish that hails from Sinaloa, a coastal state located in the western part of the country,” Bartholomew explained. Enjoy his take on Watermelon and Chilled Gulf Shrimp Aguachile.
Watermelon and Chilled Gulf Shrimp Aguachile
Recipe: Yields one serving
1 cup fresh lime juice 1/4 cup light agave syrup 1/4 ounce jalapeno 1/2 pound fresh Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined 1/2 cup watermelon, cubed 1/2 cucumber, cubed, seeds and skin removed 1 avocado 1 radish, thinly sliced Kosher salt to taste Chili oil to taste Cilantro to taste
Bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil in a saucepan. Make an ice bath with equal parts ice and water in a large bowl.
Cook shrimp until 90% done, carefully remove and submerge in the ice bath to stop the cooking process.
While shrimp are cooling, cut watermelon, cucumber and avocado into small cubes.
Combine lime juice, light agave syrup and jalapeños in a blender; blend on high until smooth.
In a shallow serving plate, arrange shrimp and season with kosher salt. Cover shrimp with jalapeño-lime broth from the blender. Drizzle chili oil over shrimp and broth.
Add watermelon, cucumber and avocado. Garnish with cilantro and sliced radish.
SEACREST BEACH – La Cocina, the Latin coastal restaurant serving up ceviche, tacos, burritos and achiote fried wings along 30A, has reopened its doors as LaCo, a shortened moniker for both “La Cocina” and “Latin Coastal.”
Over the winter, the eatery also underwent a top-to-bottom remodel of the dining room and bar, and has debuted a new brunch menu from Executive Chef Eric Bartholomew. From the floors to wall colors, lighting, even the chairs are new, all the work of Z-Space Design out of Atlanta.
“We’ve been transitioning from Tex-Mex to more Latin Coastal over the past couple years, so we wanted to reflect those menu changes in the name and the ambiance of the restaurant,” explained Manager Sarah Hampton. “It’s the same owners, the same great staff, and the same menu we’ve used for the past three years.”
To the left of the entryway is the revamped main dining space, which includes fresh tile work in muted beachy tones that add to the coastal feel. New booths offer fun, comfortable seating options to the space. To the right of the front door is the remodeled bar area with seating, including the gorgeous white bar top, accented by handsome dark woodwork.
“The remodel definitely lightens up the dining room and the new bar is a great hangout place,” Bartholomew said.
The newly debuted brunch is served 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. seven days a week, while the regular menu is offered 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, including takeout, according to Christy Spell Terry, who co-owns LaCo with her father, Rick.
“We wanted to give locals and tourists alike a dining option they could enjoy earlier in the day,” Spell Terry said. “LaCo’s culinary team created an exceptional menu brunch-goers can enjoy as early as 10 a.m. daily – and that includes kid-friendly dishes, too! It makes for a great start to a day at the beach.”
The Breakfast Burrito, Tacos Desayuno and Chilaquiles Rojo come with the guest’s choice of grilled steak, bacon, chorizo or grilled veggies.
“When I think coastal, it’s certain ingredients we use, some seafood, but also being a little bit lighter,” the chef said. “This is not your typical bacon-eggs-potato type place. It’s a different option for someone, and a lot of these are gluten-free or can be vegetarian, so they’re good for people with alternative diets.”
Chef’s Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash is not to be missed, with its roasted Brussels sprouts, whipped avocado, lime vinaigrette and a sunny side up egg.
“The sweet potato is a little bit of a healthier option, while the Chilaquiles Rojo is a real traditional Mexican breakfast dish,” Bartholomew explained. “It’s kind of a hangover meal! It’s a very homey dish that we can offer to guests that they might not have been exposed to before.”
Younger diners can chose between French Toast Sticks with fresh berries, or the S’mores Waffle with chocolate mousse.
Hampton admitted the Lobster Avocado Toast was her favorite new brunch item.
“It’s sourdough bread, avocado, and delicious lobster,” she said. “It has a sweetness and also a little heat, too. The flavors are just awesome.”
Brunch also includes new drinks, like the Sunrise Smoothie (banana, blueberry, vanilla yogurt, almond milk) and the Blood Orange Mimosa, to complement the food.
“Guests love the new brunch dishes and drinks!” exclaimed Spell Terry. “Our culinary team works hard to create Latin-inspired, coastal cuisine with fresh seafood and local ingredients, and guests really appreciate it.”
The regular menu that debuted three seasons ago is still in use, continuing to use fresh, local purveyors. Chef rotates out his very popular Pescado Del Dia special every week or so. Other highlights include the Ribeye Asado plate with red chimichurri, as well as the 10 taco options featuring everything from achiote fried pork belly to chili butter-poached lobster.
LaCo is located at 10343 E. Co. Hwy. 30A in Seacrest Beach. They are open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and do not accept reservations. Reach them at 850-231-4021 or view the full menu at www.laco30a.com.