Saturday, March 1, 2008

Fun Playing With Food in Destin, Florida

We are back from a full two weeks in the beautiful winter paradise of Destin Florida. During this time, we played with all kinds of fresh fish and seafood, as well as some good friends. Located on the Panhandle, February is Destin's off-season (and tends to be cooler, in the 50s and 60s) which suits us fine!

First - a caveat. Any professional restaurant reviewer makes multiple visits before passing judgment on a food service establishment. We go to Destin once a year. Some places are consistently excellent, others have varied. While I feel that I need to be honest to preserve my own credibility, please bear in mind as you read my comments that we usually only visit a place once per trip - so an imperfect experience has to be taken with the proverbial "grain of salt."

We began our trip in Solon Ohio, at Jim's Open Kitchen. That meal will be shown and discussed in a future post.

We flew to Valperasio Florida on February 14 - Valentine's Day. We checked into our hotel (a Holiday Inn right on the Gulf of Mexico!) and then meet friends for dinner at our "go to" favorite - Harbor Docks. While this is not the most creative or fancy restaurant in town - they catch their own fish, and everything from the water that they sell is impeccably fresh and delicious. And they are only a long mile from the hotel and our condo rental!

Sesame Fried Oysters Appetizer

Served with a zippy chili-infused yet sweet dip.

Smoked Tuna with Creole Mustard Dip

This was simply perfect. Fresh tuna with just the right amount of smoke and a tasty sauce for dipping.

Black Bean Soup

Harbor Docks Salad

When oh when will they lose the canned mandarin oranges?? Oh well - it is actually a very pleasant salad.

Snapper Parmadine

I confess - I've gotten so used to the Harbor Docks "specials" board (depicted later in the blog) that I never even look at the menu anymore. But our wonderful server, Sunshine, suggested that we go beyond the "grilled, blackened or fried" choices for the daily catch and try some other variations. This hunk of fabulous snapper was broiled, then topped with crabmeat, which was topped with melted cheese, which was then topped with toasted almonds. It was so delicious I had it again two nights later.

Grouper Parmadine with Ginger Rice

Arthur ordered this combo at Sunshine's suggestion. I have in the past noted that I find that Harbor Docks's ginger rice "lacks profundity." But Sunshine had the perfect antidote - Yamasa Low Sodium Soy Sauce. A bit drizzled into the rice brings out the ginger and makes it quite delicious.

Sauteed Snapper, dusted in seasoned flour, topped with Artichoke Hearts

Vera tried this menu-offered variation suggested by Sunshine, and quite enjoyed it.

Country Fried Snapper

This was Bob's choice - one of the daily specials - fresh, moist and succulent.

Naked Creme Brulee

Creme Brulee after application of Chocolate Sauce

Yum. A sweet ending to Valentine's Day for all four of us!

Though housed at Harbor Docks, this is an independent company that rents the space every morning, serving the best breakfast in town and the best biscuits in the world. I am told that they used to have their own space, but got burned out of it and didn't want to rebuild. There is probably a condo where that space used to be now, anyway.

We chatted with the gentleman who makes the biscuits - I'm not exaggerating, he's got to be about 90 years old, and so arthritic that he can barely move. Yet, he makes these amazing biscuits! I can't bring myself to ever order pancakes or anything like that - I've got to have them biscuits!

Bob's Breakfast: Eggs Over Easy, Grits & Sausage

Yes, that breakfast comes with biscuits!

Nancy's Favorites : Bowl of Cheese Grits, Biscuits and Gravy

Yummy Cheese Grits!

Why are these only made in the South!


I actually like this type of gravy better without the sausage that often accompanies it, especially with the biscuits.

Biscuit Heaven

After breakfast, we helped our friends move the weekend's party into the hotel - another one of those "Regional Gathering" things you've read about before on my blog and on EGullet. But for this one - we were "off" - not doing any cooking or serving.

After a while, we were hungry for lunch. We loaded Arthur and Vera into the rental car and headed off to Dewey Destin's. I've previously posted photos of this cool local place here, so I won't repeat those.

Fried Shrimp Basket

Arthur was very happy with his lunch.

Fried Oyster Basket

Bob's selection, which I also enjoyed.

Grilled Grouper Sandwich Basket

I was disappointed with my Grouper sandwich this year (hence, my indulgence in Bob's oysters). Even though I asked the counter person about local and fresh - this piece of fish was clearly "off." Still, the fried shrimp and fried oysters were very good, so I certainly will give then another chance!

The Gathering kicked off Friday afternoon, and we stayed in the hotel to enjoy their dinner offerings.

Mabel's Home Made Jambalaya

I look forward to this all year. Fresh local shrimp, sausage, chicken and rice - no need to eat out Friday night when Mabel is cookin'!

Thursday night, we had visited a local liquor store on our way to Harbor Docks. We always look for things the Great State of Ohio doesn't let our local liquor stores carry, and we always find interesting choices. This rum and orange liquor (which was yellow before we drank it all) was great both straight and mixed with Banana Rum:

On Friday, we did a little shopping, and passed a truck selling fresh South Florida Produce, so we stopped to check out their wares. We wound up with these incredible Strawberries and some exquisite Grape Tomatoes.

Of course, the ultimate use for strawberries is in bubbly (especially if it is cheap bubbly - we are partial to Jacob's Creek Chard-Pinot Noir for our "sunset" bubbles) - and we have a tradition of sipping bubbles as we watch the sunset from our terrace:

Photos of beach and sunset will go in a separate, non-food post.

Since the Gathering fed us a bit, our next meal out was Saturday brunch at:

We sat in the open-air enclosed patio at the rear of the premises:

The view from our table was photo-worthy:

As we waited for our lunches, we enjoyed viewing and re-viewing the ceiling of the patio, in addition to the lake views; there is some cool stuff up there!

Gumbo (no seafood)

Despite the lack of seafood - Bob proclaimed this the best gumbo he's ever eaten. I don't know if I'd go that far - but it was darned good!

Half Grilled Snapper Sandwich

Bob's order was Half Sandwich and Soup (the gumbo). He was very happy with this.

Grilled Grouper over House Salad

This was one of the best salads I've had in a long time. Rather than a dump of greens from a food service bag and some grape tomatoes - this salad had beautiful and perfectly blanched green beans, sweet fresh corn kernels (where did they get them this time of year??), fresh tasting garbanzo beans (no canned flavor or texture here) and crisp greens. Oh - and exquisitely fresh and perfectly seasoned grouper. At first, I thought the portion of fish small - then I realized the fish portion was fine - it was just that the salad was very large! One must keep a sense of perspective when playing with one's food!

Crawfish Hushpuppies w/Slaw and House-made Tarter

These were the best hushpuppies we had on the trip - the only ones that were truly fresh and original.

The slaw had more celery seed than I like - but it was fresh and crisp - Bob ensured that none went to waste.

House-Made Tarter Sauce

Horseradish in it, I think. Yum.

We planned to play with our food on Saturday night with Ike and Stormy - and Stormy asked if her friends Maggie and Ed could join us. We said "sure" - until Maggie asked if we could go to the Back Porch! I said something to the effect of "I'm not drinking any f*cking merlot" and asked why that place?? They wanted close, not too expensive, and fresh fish and seafood. Now, Back Porch isn't horrible - but you can do a lot better. So, I suggested Harbor Docks - and they said "where is that" (and they've been coming down here as many years as I have!). We loaded them into the car and headed to the old faithful. While I try to avoid repeats - especially so close together - I knew we'd get a much better meal at Harbor Docks than at Back Porch. And I was right.

Buffalo Shrimp Appetizer

Think Buffalo Chicken Wings, but made with the most fresh, sweet shrimp you ever had. Finger licking good!

Country Fried Grouper

Bob's tasty entree.

Snapper Parmadine Again?

With Sunshine serving us again - I could not just order a piece of grilled fish, and I was glad I didn't. I did try the ginger rice this time, with the soy sauce addition that made it very tasty. Another observation - there were fewer varieties of fish to choose from this year than I could ever remember - mostly Grouper and Snapper (and the Snapper would go out of season very shortly - I think it did before we left). I'm not complaining - there just seemed to be fewer choices, which is unusual.

Shrimp With Crabmeat Stuffing Wrapped In Bacon And Broiled

Ed's entree - he was very glad that we skipped the Back Porch once he tasted this, and had enough stuffed shrimp on his plate to share!

Now - going to Harbor Docks for Sunday lunch, after eating dinner there two nights out of three, was NOT my idea - but others at the Gathering, who live a distance from Destin, really wanted to go - and how could we say no? Especially with the skies hanging low and threatening (the Weather Channel had warned of severe thunderstorms) - closer was better.

Corn Muffins

Special - grilled fish (grouper??), topped with a skewer of Curried Shrimp, w/Field Peas and Ginger Rice

Vera was happy.

Grilled Grouper w/"Fried" lunch sides - hushpuppies and cheese grits

They were very busy - and our large group of 8 or 10 did not help. The plates were not as hot as they could have been, and my fish seemed a little overcooked. Still - the fish, the most important thing, was fresh and tasty.

Blackened Amberjack, Cucumber Salad, Ginger Rice

Bob got the best meal here (if you like cucumbers) - his fish was perfectly cooked.

After lunch, Bob and I packed up and checked out of the Holiday Inn, then drove East two driveways and checked into our rented condo at Sundestin Resort . Photos of the condo and the views from both accommodations (including a spectacular sunset) will be posted in the next post I make on this blog. Sundestin is a great deal - in the off season, we can rent a 1 bedroom, 1.5 bath condo right over the Gulf for less than the discounted group rate at the hotel!

As predicted, by the time we checked into Sundestin, the sky and the Gulf were angry. Rain, thunder, wind and lightening soon followed - which did not deter us from a couple of hours sitting in the living room watching and listening to the Gulf, nor from our planned dinner appointment. Neither rain, nor hail, nor lightening, nor flooding shall keep us from an appointment to play with our food.

For dinner Sunday night, six of us convened at my favorite Destin-area restaurant - Cafe Tango, 14 Vicki Street (just off 30A), Santa Rosa Beach, (850) 267-0054. Unfortunately, due to the severe weather, and general absent-mindedness, I left my camera in the condo. Though I tried to at least capture a couple of entrees with my cell phone camera - the photos came out pretty poorly (first time I ever tried to use the silly thing). So, you'll just have to look at the photos from last year's dinner.

Sadly, Cafe Tango no longer has the Tuna Mojama. This item started as a special appetizer, then graduated to the menu: Air dried, Salt Cured Bluefin Tuna, marinated in Olive Oil. The server explained that they were having trouble getting the special tuna they needed to make the dish. This may have been a blessing in disguise, because we really didn't need any appetizers. Instead, we started with their fabulous bread service and salads.

For entree - I had the Dancing Fish - Pan-Sauteed Grouper topped with Shrimp, Blue Crabmeat, Grilled Scallops and Spinach in Jalapeno Cream Sauce. I only wish the photo had come out - this was an intricate dish but it all worked together beautifully.

Bob had the Panko Crusted Grouper with Horseradish Bacon Cream Sauce, topped with Shrimp and Crab. It tasted as good as it sounds.

Niki had the Pistachio Crusted Fish, which remains a favorite. The crispy pistachios and the nutty flavor of Amaretto go so well together.

Another unique item at Cafe Tango is the combination of Asian-flavored vegetables topped with goat cheese, which seems odd, but also really works.

We were all too stuffed for dessert, which was a shame, since they have wonderful desserts.

Arthur and Vera had to fly out on Monday, late afternoon. For our last lunch together, they wanted to go to Giuseppe's, on the other side of the Cross Bay Bridge. At the last minute, they ascertained that it hadn't yet re-opened from the hurricane damage several years ago (though it is due to open in April). So where to go for a view and a fabulous lunch on a 65 degree sunny day in Destin? Beachwalk Cafe!

We didn't make it to the Beachwalk last year, but we'd lunched there the year before. Chef Tim Creehan is Destin's best known "celebrity chef", and the Beachwalk experience is very classy and tasty. So I made a reservation for a beach-patio table for 8 of us. The next two photos are the views from our outside-patio table:

Yummy. And we haven't even started playing with our food yet!

Several dishes of this olive oil, cheese and herb mixture were waiting for us on the table. However, in case diners should consume all of this fabulous dip with the incredible freshly baked bread (which we did), the fixin's to replenish it are on the table:

Olive Oil and Vinegar Decanter

Cheese and Herb Mixture

Freshly Baked, Heavenly Bread


I really liked this Gumbo, but Bob pronounced Stinky's superior. A couple of folks had the Tomato/Bleu Cheese/Shrimp soup, and it was also very good.

Bob's Caribbean Fish Taco Lunch

Grilled Lime-marinated yellowfin tuna, soft flour tortillas, shaved cabbage, pico de gallo, and chipotle lime sour cream.

This was probably the best lunch choice anyone made. Every element was perfect. Fries or potato salad?

Potato Salad

Made from scratch and wonderful - good choice, Bob.

Chipotle Lime Sour Cream

Daily Special - Fish/Seafood Cake, topped with Shrimp, with Mashed Potatoes and Grilled Asparagus, topped with Pancetta and a sauce I don't remember but really loved!

What a great way to use up the weekend's leftovers - and I'm sort of kidding, because there wasn't a stale flavor there! Well - a bit of the shrimp was a tad stale. But overall, this dish really wowed. The cake was a combination of ground fish and seafood - crab, shrimp, grouper, and perhaps others. And it had bacon, after all!

Grilled Pork with Fresh Sweet Corn and Mashed Taters

Mary Ann was a happy landlubber with a heavy take-home box.

Piece of Seared Tuna

I had tossed up hard between the fish cake and the seared tuna lunch. Thanks to Arthur, I got to taste them both!

We also enjoyed several 50 cent Lemondrops. It was the perfect farewell lunch. After lunch, we drove Arthur and Vera to the airport via the Mid-Bay Bridge, and enjoyed breathtaking scenery as we crossed.

For dinner, we decided to try a place I'd learned about on the South Walton Chat Board, Cafe Locanda Italiana and Colosseum Bar, 4942 HWY 98 W, Santa Rosa Beach, (850) 622-1119. Our host, Lorenzo, made us feel right at home, even though the place was pretty darn empty (everyone else's loss!), a pattern we would see over and over again on this trip.

We started with this lovely spiced oil (sorry the photo is so fuzzy) and very tasty bread service, and a nice bottle of wine:

Next - Calamari.

Last year, Bob and I pronounced the Calamari at Borago the best we'd ever had. Well - even without having gone to Borago yet (and that is a sad story to be told a little later) - we had no problem proclaiming a new King of Calamari - Chef Alfonso! His calamari was perfect - fresh seafood (note the small size of the rings and the delicate pink tentacles - these did not come out of a food service package), soft yet effective Marinara sauce - we cleaned the plate!

Salad with House Made Sundried Tomato Vinagrette

What can I say - greens and carrots that did not taste from the "triple wash" topped with the most succulent dressing. We were almost full before our entrees were even served!

Grouper alla Piazzaiola

Bob's entree was superb! 8 oz of fresh grouper cooked in a light tomato sauce, with oregano, garlic and black olives, and served with a non-breaded Eggplant Parmesan and Puffed Potatoes. I enjoyed my tastes of this dish, and almost felt a little jealous that I hadn't ordered it. Until I dug into my entree:

Spaghetti Del Pescatore

My entree was so good, I'm posting all three photos I took of it (because I can). Forget everything Anthony Bourdain told you about Monday seafood when you visit Locanda! My bowl was stuffed with exquisitely fresh fish and seafood - shrimp, mussels, tiny scallops, fried grouper, crab, and yes - more of that fabulous fresh squid - tossed gently with cherry tomato, garlic and white wine. No cheese, no heavy sauce - just fresh seafood and good quality, perfectly al dente pasta. I only wished I could have finished it!

Dinner at Locanda is a casual, quality delight. And the bar looks like it will be a fun spot when the "season" gets rolling. So go visit Lorenzo and Alfonso and have a great meal!

Our usual pattern for this trip is to sleep through breakfast time, and eat two meals per day - an early lunch and dinner. Sometimes, though, we do crave breakfast (in which case, we have a light snack instead of lunch).

Tuesday was a Breakfast Day! (I took the above photo to remind me to mention that they also sell Fried Chicken to go, which we've never tried - but if it's as good as everything else, we should!)

Bob Opts for the Ham Steak

Good quality product, but too salty for me. Bob loves it.

Hash Browns

Bob decided to try them instead of grits. Made the right way - from scratch and cooked to order.

Oh Yes- More Biscuits from the Mighty Silver Sands Biscuit Man!

Nancy's Breakfast - Eggs over Easy, Cheese grits and Thick Cut Bacon (and Biscuits)

I must digress a little here. This was our sixth consecutive February visit to Destin. Every year, we've browsed at Chan's Wine World, which has a fabulous cheese selection, but haven't had the need to buy. This year, we were determined to have some of their cheeses. So, on Monday, we visited Chan's (and discovered that a new Thai place has opened next door, where Nim's used to be, Jasime Thai, which we unfortunately did not get to try) and sampled cheeses. They will open any package of cheese you want to taste and offer you a taste, so you always know what you are getting. We bought five varieties, which made a lovely cheese plate to accompany our sunset bubbles:

Clockwise, from one o'clock: Black Diamond Cheddar, Gouda Mediterranean, Gourmandise Kirsch, Morbier Raw Milk, Cave Aged Gruyere

Grape Tomatoes from the farmer-marketers

These strawberries have been prepped for bubbles or just plain nibbles! The above is was what we nibbled in place of "lunch" on Tuesday. Playing with food and bubbles on the terrace while watching the sunset - life doesn't get any better than that!

For Tuesday's dinner, we met our friends John and Mary Ann at Stinky's Fish Camp. It is always so fun to introduce locals to great eats that they don't even know are near!

Bob had to have the Gumbo again!

Fresh Corn Chowder

This was a daily special and not on the menu. I'm pretty sure there was crab in it. It was as tasty as it looks.

Stinky's Stew - Shrimp, Mussels, Grouper, Snow Crab Legs, Oysters, Wine, Tomato, Lemon, Garlic Broth, Roast Potato and Corn

What can I say - this rivaled Locanda for the most memorable seafood dish of the trip - I called it a delicious draw! I could not finish this bowlful of seafood, either.

Pressed Crab Po Boy Wedge

Served with my stew - as if I didn't get enough food! Oh, what I'd give to get crab this good in Cleveland!

Cornish Game Hen w/Rice, Gravy and Veggies

Mary Ann and Bob both got the same Daily Special (see the next photo) - and my taste of it was out of this world good!

Jumbo Fried Shrimp Basket

John was very happy with his dinner (crawfish hushpuppies - yum!) and glad we'd shown them Stinky's!

Wednesday was a beautiful day, so we headed out to 30A to try lunch at Gravel Road, which we'd not gotten to last year and which was at the top of my "to go to" list. As we entered, we could see (and smell) trays of beautiful bread dough proofing. They take a lot of pride in their bread - which is why it was so strange that our bread service was all toasted!

Herbed Butter

Tasty as this bread, er, toast was - I have to conclude that it was yesterday's. Oh well. I appreciate the server's honesty in fessing up that the crab cakes are not made from fresh/local crab.

Meatball, Pepperoni, Mozzerella and Goat Cheese Pizza

I don't know if the half-price special is what motivated Bob - but this was a damn fine pizza.

Grouper Sandwich with Candied Pecans, House made Tarter Sauce, Lettuce, Tomato on Whole Wheat Bun (Toasted, again)

I needed to be a serious fresser to get this sandwich in my mouth - but it was well worth it. The candied pecans were the perfect foil for the grouper, and the tarter was delcious. Even though the bun was toasted - it was very, very tasty. And the sheer physics of this sandwich guaranteed that at some point, I would be playing with my food. Yum.

Wednesday turned out to be a strange food day. After first inhaling fresh bread in waiting then eating toast (which comment is not intended to deter the reader from the fact that we had an excellent lunch at Gravel Road), we intended for dinner to eat at Royal B, a recent high-end entry into the Destin dining scene from New Orleans's storied Brennan family, specifically, Clark and Blake. We arrived around 7pm and the place was half empty. We were told that there would be a 5 minute wait for a table, and were "strongly invited" to have a drink at the bar.

Thinking nothing of it (we've been invited to cocktail bars before), we sat at the bar. But the "five minutes" stretched into at no less than 15-20 minutes. I enjoyed a delightful Bananas Foster Cocktail and hubby had a beer. I also noted the two surveillance cameras conspicuous above the bar, and the electronic pour system that limits how much alcohol the bartender can dispense per pour. Don't they trust their bartenders in a high end joint like this?

The restaurant looked absolutely gorgeous, and the food smelled good. But though it was half empty, I noted that the party next to us (which was celebrating a birthday) had also been parked at the bar long enough for more than one round of drinks.

Being ignored, we decided to leave. A young lady chased after us and asked why we leaving - so we told her! She insisted they'd have a table for us "in just 5 minutes". I asked if they had that many 8pm reservations (it was about quarter to by then) - and she explained that they "serve as a team" and didn't have enough servers to seat the whole room, so they weren't seating the whole room. Come again?

It just felt so weird! So, we went to Camille's at Crystal Beach. Shame, I've heard that Royal B's food is outstanding. But there is more than just food involved in having fun playing with your food!

Succulent Bread Service

Appetizer - Fried Won Tons Stuffed with Three Cheeses & Crab

We were very hungry by this time and this helped to tide us over.

The weirdness of this night continued. I had ordered sushi, Bob a steak. The server explained when we ordered that the dishes might not be served together, because two different kitchens were involved. We understood that and were ok with it. And, in addition - neither the sushi bar nor the dining room were very crowded (it was about 8:30pm when we ordered). Yet, all of the service was very slow.

It took a while, but we were enjoying our drinks and the environment - Bob's dinner arrived.

Grilled Ribeye with Bacon Wrapped Potato Cake, and Green Beans

I remained sushi-less - and most enjoyed a bite of the perfectly medium-rare steak and succulent potato cake.

But where, oh where, was my sushi? I understand a short lag between the kitchens - but that was a honking big steak and Bob was 2/3 through it.

Finally - two of the three rolls were served. I was so hungry - I had to eat a piece of each before I could take photos. Sorry - the first didn't come out so well.

Destin Roll - Tuna, Avocado And Green Onions With Spicy Sauce

Rock 'N Roll: Eel, Avocado, Cucumber And Spicy Sauce Topped With Smoked Salmon

Ahhh - that's better. The third roll arrived shortly thereafter, while I was eating the others.

Red Dragon Roll: Soft Shell Crab, Smelt Roe, Avocado, Green Onions And Spicy Sauce Topped With Tuna

The sushi was as wonderful as the sushi we enjoyed at Camille's last year - Yoshi was in the house, though Danny was not. We had been told that Danny, who took such great care of us last year, had opened a new place in Crestview - Bamboo Sushi and Hibachi Express, 2511 S. Ferndon Blvd., (850) 689-1391. We never made it to Crestview, about 25 miles to the north, to check it out, which is too bad. Hopefully, we'll get there next year!

We woke up Thursday to another strong storm system. In six years of visiting Destin, we never saw weather this violent, and so much of it. And it just refused to stop, even though it seemed at times like it seemed it was going to stop. To put this in perspective, the 30A strip of restaurants is a good 20 miles from our condo - an easy, fun drive in sunshine, not so fun in a monsoon. But I was determined to try the new Fabrice restaurant in Watercolor this day - so off we went. The chef-owner of this lovely place used to be Pastry Chef at Ciolla's before setting out on his own and opening in Santa Rosa Beach. I read that they recently relocated to 30A, in the town of Watercolor.

Fabrice Tuna Burger

Not really a "burger" in the true sense - strips of sweet fresh tuna topped with both a pesto and an aoli. Lettuce, tomato and freshly baked bread - heaven!

Seared Tuna Salad Nicoise with Anchovies, Hard Cooked Eggs, Potato and Tomato

Yes, Bob did eat the Anchovies - and he cleaned his plate very happily.

But, after being tortured by the aroma of the bread from my sandwich, and the fabulous "bakery" smells of the establishment, Bob had to ask for some bread to accompany his salad, which was promptly obliged. Now he could really play with his food!

Heavenly Pastry - we took an Apple Turnover for later

We also took out a package of Chocolate-Sea Salt Cookies
. We learned that the original Fabrice on 98 in Santa Rosa Beach is also still open, though only for lunch. Happy day!

Back in our living room, it seemed, as the afternoon wore on, that the weather was breaking. How silly I was - we drove to Niceville and it started raining again before we hit the Mid-Bay Bridge! I had to have boiled crab claws at the venerable Nick's on Rt. 20. But lo - they were out of crab claws this rainy Thursday - what would we do??

Eat something else! There's always another way to play with your food!

Cole Slaw


We each got a cup, and it was most delicious.

Fried Alligator Plate

I swear - I tasted the alligator with no preconceived notions - but it really did taste like pristinely fresh farm chicken to me! It was darn good!

Grilled Tilefish Platter with Cheese Grits and Hushpuppies

I really enjoyed this. The grits needed salt, but it was available. The fish was pristine and perfectly cooked.

Yummy Cocktail Sauce

The next morning, we decide to try the local chain, which we had heretofore eschewed, known as "Another Broken Egg". It seemed like the storms were finally over, and the sun actually peeked out as Bob picked up newspapers from the Chevron station. Little did we know.

The house was packed, mostly with tourists. I will give them credit for a couple of things. Silver Sands, and most places, don't have "fresh squeezed" orange juice. Drinking food service OJ in Florida is simply torture for me - so I thought we were off to a good start when I was able to get my first (and only, as it turned out) glass of fresh OJ at the Broken Egg.

This proprietary hot sauce is just as the label describes - Sweet, tart and fiery. We both liked it!

Popeye Scramble - Eggs, Spinach, Baked Bacon, Onion, Cheese, English Muffin

I would have enjoyed this more had the english muffin been fully toasted to warm crispness. Still, it was a satisfying breakfast, for the most part.


Unfortunately, both my breakfast and Bob's lunch were served with these same food-service potatoes. Nothing wrong with them - just not the same as Silver Sands's fresh shredded home fries.


Bob enjoyed this, and I must say I was impressed with my bite.

The rain had stopped around the time we entered the Broken Egg - but it resumed with a vengeance shortly before we left. We slogged to the car, ran into the condo, and hoped it would stop soon.

We finally accepted that there would be no sunset to watch this day. So, we decided to leave earlier than usual, and hit two places - happy hour at the Hurricane Oyster Bar, which is located in a newish plaza just off of SR 283 in Grayton Beach, and dinner at Fire, located in the same complex.

Hurricane Oyster Bar is a fun and happening place (though a lot better in nice weather, when people can hang on the patio - it gets loud at the bar when its very crowded). We arrived during the 5-6pm happy hour. The rain, which had actually stopped for a few moments as we drove East on 98, suddenly opened up with a vengeance moments before we parked. We moved as fast as we could (and despite my umbrella, got soaked anyway). We made for the nearest door, which we thought was a shoe store - and wound up in Hurricane Oyster Bar's Kitchen! The cooks were very nice about it, though, and let us play through. We finally squeaked up to the bar and ordered some beers (domestics $1 during Happy Hour). The bar was crowded with Happy Hour revelers.

What a clever way to serve bar peanuts - with a larger bowl on the bottom to hold the shells!!

On to the oysters - though the raw ones looked lovely (and were $5/dozen during Happy Hour), and with due respect to Anthony Bourdain's oyster epiphany - I cannot deal with eating them raw. So - we ordered 1/2 dozen grilled "chimichurri" and a 1/2 dozen baked "Casino–" - with Garlic, Andouille, Red Bell Pepper, & Butter.

We ordered "Chimichuri" - but were served Pesto - they were most delicious so no worries

Oysters Casino– with Garlic, Andouille, Red Bell Pepper, & Butter

House-Made Cocktail Sauce

It was our taste of this lovely sauce - after we'd inhaled our oysters - that motivated us to order a dozen in more pristine condition - not raw, but steamed:

We were told that Hurricane gets its oysters from Apalachicola. I'm no oyster maven, but these were the finest I've ever had.

After happy hour, we got back in the car and drove to the other side of the parking lot for Fire - we had to drive, it was raining that hard.


I wish I could remember what type of perfect fish was perched on this house-made crisp, and what the sauce was. I remember that I really liked it. Again - we found ourselves in a nearly empty restaurant, and this was Friday night! And a shame too, because they are making some mighty fine New Orleans-inspired food at Fire.

Since we'd had appetizers at the Oyster Bar, we started with the salad course and some wine. I was thrilled that they had two of our favorite Oregon Pinot Noirs - Cloudline and Elk Cove. We ordered a bottle of the latter and it was wonderful.

Grilled Romaine Salad

Bob enjoyed this unusual salad.

Pineapple Salad

This was simply fabulous - my only complaint was that there was a little too much cheese and buttermilk dressing, which overwhelmed the tender Bibb Lettuce a bit. The candied nuts and grilled pineapple were sweet and the dressing complimented perfectly.

Bread service came a little late - after the entrees were served. But it was lovely.

Pork Roulade Stuffed With Chorizo, with Beans and Bacon and Red Cabbage

Bob cleaned his plate and it was very good, if a tad salty for my taste.

Sauteed Grouper with Vegetables and Sweet Potato Cake

This was recommended by the couple at the next table and a winner. By the time we finished our leisurely dinner, the rain had slowed to a drizzle, and we headed back to Destin. Our only regret was that we had no room for dessert - they looked so good and were recommended by the other table - but we just couldn't.

We awoke Saturday to a beautiful sunny day - not a cloud in the sky. After nibbling leftovers for breakfast, this seemed like a good time to share a "cheeseburger in paradise", since the chain hasn't come to Northeast Ohio yet, and after all, we were in paradise:

Songwriting Notes Laminated into the Bar Surfaces

The place was packed! We sat at the bar, and once it became apparent that we were going to be a small ticket, the bartender totally lost interest in us. Too bad.

Mini Cheeseburgers

Overcooked (the menu said they are "cooked to order" but no one asked us how we wanted them) and served below temperature (ie - cold) - hard to judge if they could have been good. I appreciate that they put the pickles on the side for me.

You can see how the cheese isn't fully melted. Those are onions up top. The bun was toasted and cold, so we couldn't tell much about it, either.

This snack unfortunately left us with no room for lunch. So, our next foray out was for our much anticipated Saturday night dinner at D&K Cafe, 850-231-0455, 63 Hotz Avenue, Grayton, FL. Everything about D&K says "New Orleans" - starting with the way they fold the napkins!

Bread Service

Wine Service

D&K is revamping it's wine list, so our initial selection was not available. The server suggested this wine, which he gave to us at the lower price. It was perfect with all of the food we ordered!

Sun-Kissed Martini Trio

We shared this delectable assortment of pristine seafood for appetizer - Boiled seasoned Shrimps, Fried Crab Claws, and Lump Crab Meat drizzled with Remoulade.

Cocktail Sauce

We were so busy eating the seafood that we didn't even notice this ramekin until after we'd finished it all (and the Remoulade was oh so good)! But we kept this handy during dinner, since it was quite tasty.

House Salad with "2000 Island" Dressing

Nancy's entree: Grilled Grayton Grouper with Soft Shell Crab, topped with Seafood Cream Sauce

We both noticed that D&K was the first grilled fish purveryor whose fish actually tasted of a wood smoke grill. And softshell crabs are in season - and this one was fabulous! There is a portion of rice under all of that fish, also. Yum from top to bottom and all the way around.

Grilled Grouper with Crawfish Cardinal

Named for the red Catholic Cardinal's robe - this was another spectacular dish. Fresh crawfish and fish redolent from the wood smoke.

The food at D&K is so good - we couldn't understand why the place was so empty on a Saturday night. This was when it really hit our consciousness - this was the worst "off season" this part of the country has seen since it was last hit by hurricanes. We would see more evidence of this going forward, and we realized how much of it we'd already seen.

We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner and our wine, but had no room left for dessert.

Sunday morning, we looked forward to a treat in Fort Walton Beach that I had read about online, and shared with my friend John, who had checked it out and pronounced it terrific. The Thai Charity Food Court is open 9am-3pm every Sunday at the Wat Mongkolratanaram Buddhist Temple at 741 Mayflower Avenue (turn left off of Lewis), FWB, (904) 863-2906. We arrived with open hearts, open minds and empty stomachs. We planned to try everything they had!

Unfortunately, two of the vendor's tables were idle, so we got no fish, beef jerky or black rice. But we left stuffed and carrying leftovers!

Rice Noodle Soup

We shared one bowl of this fabulous soup, loaded with fish cake, pork, chicken, vegetables and rice noodles. I failed to get a photo of the vendor's row of condiments - homemade hot sauce and pickled peppers, dried peppers and other items. We tasted the hot sauce and chilies - wow!

Taking an idea right out of Alton Brown's playbook - the vendors used the bottom, business end of a turkey frying rig to generate the BTU's necessary to boil soup, or oil, as the case may be, outdoors.

Not KFC's Fried Chicken!

And this, my friends, is what fried chicken is supposed to look and taste like!

Thai Cook's Mise En Place For Slaw Making

Thai Style Slaw

Mixing the magic dressing ingredients the old fashioned way

The vendor asked us if we wanted it spicy and we said yes - but she only added a couple of peppers. She was pleased and amused when Bob returned to her stand to get some more chilies and hot sauce for it!

Steamed Jasmine Rice to accompany the chicken and slaw

Battering Sweet Potato and Banana Sections for the Deep Fry

Final Product - Crunchy, Hot and Sweet

I asked what the following dish is called, but the ladies only knew how to say it in Thai, and my brain couldn't hold the word. An amazingly thin batter made with coconut milk, sugar, rice flour, scallions and other ingredients is ladled into the greased form, which is set on a charcoal fire.

As the cakes set, the maker makes "sandwiches" of them, placing the half moon shapes together to make a loose ball, which still has two distinctive parts.

The cooker is then covered until the cakes are finished. They are scooped from the molds, and plated as follows:

Simply amazing in taste and texture - sweet and savory at the same time, and crunchy yet viscous and pudding-y at the same time.

My bad for failing to photograph these next treats in their festive banana leaf wrappers, in which they had been steamed:

Steamed Rice Powder Cake (2 types looked the same - Taro & Banana)

This one was yummy and stuffed with coconut - but I'm not sure what the outside was made of.

This repast left us most satisfied and happy. So a number of hours passed before we could even consider food again. But no decision-making was necessary - we had already decided to return to Borago, where we had enjoyed a fabulous meal last year. This year, unfortunately, it was the first of two extremely disappointing dining experiences.

As last year when we visited on Sunday evening, the dining room was sparsely attended - another manifestation of this especially "slow" slow season. The server didn't seem very knowledgeable about the food or anything else. I asked her if the pasta was home made and she said no. As you can tell from the photos below, the pasta may not have been made in Borago's kitchen, but it was fresh and not dried pasta - it was the fresh pasta that made me fall in love with them last year, so I was initially confused by the implication that it was not fresh.

Bread Service

Cornmeal dusted Calamari with a roasted garlic aioli and pomodora sauce

As noted above, we had pronounced this calamari tops last year. This year, it tasted frozen, cooked in oil that was too hot, and it smelled off too. When the server checked on us, we told her how we felt (we had eaten just a few bites of it). She took it away - no apology, no apparent concern that customers weren't happy - a bad sign.

I quizzed her about the fish and seafood (which I did at most places, to avoid disappointments). She heartily recommended the Angel hair with pan seared shrimp, prosciutto, basil, olive oil, garlic and a mirror of tomato mascarpone cream, which I ordered. "That's fresh shrimp, right?" I asked.

As beautiful as this dish looked - one sniff and bite of the shrimp confirmed that it was not fresh, so I summoned the server back. Again, the lack of genuine concern with unhappy customers was amazing to me, given how empty the place was and how good the food was a year ago.

Three meat Bolognese with Cheese Tortellini and shaved Parmesan

Bob's entree was outstanding - fresh pasta and tasty sauce. As I puzzled over what to order in place of shrimp dish - I realized after two poor courses with seafood, I ought to just stick to the pasta.

Angel hair with red chilies, olive oil, garlic and Parmesan

Though it lacked the fresh fish or seafood I craved, I confess that the flavors and textures of this dish were excellent. We finished, paid (the calamari was still on the check, though the pasta with shrimp had been taken off) and left - no one from the FOH or kitchen ever said a word to us about the two bad seafood dishes, or anything else. What a shame, but with Locanda Ristorante around the corner, I know I will not lack for great Italian food here next year.

Monday night, we planned to go with friends to Blue Orleans. But what to do for lunch? Since we'd be going to 30A for dinner, I wanted to stay more local. We planned to lunch at the Destin Taqueria we had enjoyed so much last year, but with the sun shining, and rotten weather forecast for Tuesday, I wanted a view with my lunch. I had noticed a few places along 98 that we'd never tried - now seemed as good a time as any. The sky was sunny and blue as we ambled rather randomly into Fisherman's Wharf. Little did we know that this restaurant is actually part of Southern Restaurants Group, which owns, among other places, the Back Porch! But we were already seated, and after all, how bad could they screw up a lunch? The view was lovely, in any event.

Well, no sooner had the thought of "how badly could they ruin a lunch" crossed my brain, when a very large, loud truck pulled out and around the restaurant. I kid you not - it was the Sysco truck, making it's delivery. And every single thing that we were served - except for the fish itself - came right off that truck - right down to the tarter sauce.

Our server was affable and put up with my gentle questioning about the food. And I have to say that despite the Sysco-ness of everything else - the fish did taste very good.

Bob's Grilled Grouper Sandwich Plate

Nancy's Grilled Mahi-Mahi Sandwich Plate

The mahi was good enough to deserve a close up! The fries were cold and not very good - but I don't need to eat those anyway, so I'm not complaining. Much.

By the end of lunch, it became apparent from repeated calls that Blue Orleans was not open on Mondays. In a quick change of plans, I suggested the Hurricane Oyster Bar to our evening dinner companions. Since all Bob and I had tasted there were oysters, which we enjoyed, I was interested in trying them for a full meal. About 6:30pm, John picked us up, and 6 of us headed for Hurricane Oyster Bar. Again, we encountered the "empty restaurant" phenomenon. And what was even more strange was that the service was so spotty, since they surely weren't busy. We'd had that issue during happy hour, too, but attributed it to the weather and how busy they were, so I didn't even mention it. Until now.

Out table started with a selection of appetizers.

Oyster Nachos

These should have sang! But they were served ice cold. A shame, too, because the flavors were wonderful in spite of that.

Coconut Breaded Jumbo Shrimp Lightly Fried & Served with Mango Salsa

These were the best coconut shrimp I ever tasted! What a difference fresh seafood makes!

Lightly Battered & Fried Blue Crab Claws Served with Fried Artichokes & Buttermilk Lime Sauce

Like the Nachos - these would have been better piping hot than lukewarm as they were served. Still, they tasted so good that we cleaned the plate.

Hurricane Grilled Wings


John and I both ordered this "special" - Seared Grouper topped with Crab and Shrimp and served with Mashed Potatoes and Grilled Summer Squashes. While it was very good, the crab was not pristine. The shrimps were good, but not the most pristine I'd had on the trip. After all, it was Monday. I wished that they had just left the crab off, since the rest of the dish was so good. More is not necessarily better when playing with your food!

Pecan Crusted Chicken topped with Grilled Red Onion- Tomato Relish, Garlic Spinach and Mashed Potatoes (served instead of Gouda Grits)

Mary Ann is not only a landlubber, but she hates grits. She was accommodated with mash instead - but the table also got a sample of the gouda-grits and damn were they good!

Southern Fried Grouper Platter

Bob's fish was perfectly cooked and delicious.

BBQ Shrimp Appetizer: Fresh Gulf Shrimp Tossed in Turbo Dog Sauce, served with Grilled French Bread

Linda enjoyed this as her entree and took a box of it home.

All in all, our little group really enjoyed Hurricane Oyster Bar. Freshness rules!

Our story now moves to the second (and last) major disappointment of the trip. On Tuesday, with clouds overhead, we sought out the Destin Taqueria at 208 Main Street Destin, which had been a favorite with us last year. We noticed that it seemed different the minute we walked in. It was 11:30am and there was only one customer - this used to be a place that the Hispanic construction workers frequented in large numbers for lunch and after work - but not now.

We approved of the new hot sauce.

Ahah! One bite of the stale chip and it was apparent that there was a new sheriff in town. Last year the chips were fried to order.

The owner's daughter, who works in the kitchen, came out to take our order and chatted with us a bit. The original owners retired a few weeks ago, she explained, and the restaurant was now La Mexicana Market & Taqueria (and the business includes a meat and grocery market that they also acquired, on the other side of the driveway). She was very helpful and nice, and we certainly wanted to support the new owners. She suggested that we try the flavored waters made by her mother, and we did. Bob's Tamarindo was a little strong for my palate, but interesting. Mine was called Jamayco, and neither mother nor daughter could translate exactly what it was - but it tasted almost like a berry-accented fruit punch.

One difference immediately apparent from reviewing the menu was that there was almost no fish or seafood - and the only fish they had was Tilapia (cheap and not local). The menu last year was loaded with fresh fish and seafood options, and we had watched in amazement as a table full of Hispanic construction workers polished off plate after plate of raw oysters during the happy hour!

Sausage Quesdilla

This meat was dry and overcooked, and the sides were cold. They served me a plate of sides, too, which I didn't photograph and which were also cold.

Barbacoa Taco

This was so bad it left me speechless. In contrast to last year's tortillas, which were made from scratch and cooked to order - this was as stale as the chips. The meat was tasteless, dried out and stringy.

Pork Tamale

This was really terrible - a previously frozen, stale tasting, dried out thing.

So, after all of this disappointing food - was I brave (or foolish enough) to eat seafood? I originally ordered Ceviche (made from Talapia) to be served in a cold tomato soup, but after a while, I was told that it wasn't "cooked" and wouldn't be ready for lunch today. Would I like to try the same dish with Shrimp? Me - Miss totally fussy shrimp eater? Why, yes, I'll try it.

Coctel De Camaron

This dish was like a Gazpacho with shrimp. Given the color of the shrimp, I don't think that they prepared it using the ceviche method; I assume that they were boiled or otherwise cooked.

And do you know what? It was Shrimpishly delicious. Despite that - and despite how nice the people were - I give 'em six months, tops. While we were there, the lone customer left and a deuce of construction workers came in. And they didn't look happy with their food. And they were the only ones left when we departed, and it was well into the lunch hour.

So, lunch was mostly a wash out. But now the sun was coming out (would we actually get a sunset tonight?) so hope sprang. After a few hours of terrace bumming (like beach bumming, but without the sand between your toes) and watching a beautiful sunset, we headed off to Blue Orleans. I'd enjoyed a fabulous scallop salad there for lunch last year, and was looking forward to a delicious fish or seafood dinner.

We arrived around 7:30 to find ourselves the only customers. Again. Worse - they had no fresh fish or scallops - just shrimp, crawfish and catfish (how could I eat a farmed fish with all the fresh fish in the neighborhood?? I couldn't). We politely drank a beer and left. I can't blame them for not wanting to buy such perishable products when they don't know if they are going to sell any - but in six years, I'd never seen conditions like this in the local restaurants. Meanwhile, the parking lots by the chain places were packed. HELLO!! What is wrong with this picture?

S0 - what was Plan B? We didn't really have one. We'd hit most of the places we wanted to hit that were available to us. I recalled that we'd had a good meal a couple of years ago at Captain Dave's on the Gulf, and that they had a weeknight special (good all night, not just for the earlybirds) for around $15.

We arrived around 8pm, entering with another couple also looking for dinner, but otherwise facing a nearly empty house. This might explain why the bread, which was freshly baked and delicious the last time I was here, was "toasted" and kinda stale on this night:


This received the Bob seal of approval.

Clam Chowder

What was I thinking? I was thinking I hadn't had any clams this trip, so I ordered this. I still didn't have any real clams - this came from a food service package.

Bob's Dinner Salad

Not a bad salad, with a few nice touches.

Nancy's Cole Slaw

Also ok - might have been house made, might not have.

Catch of the Day Special

Blackened Mahi-Mahi with Steamed Veggies and Hushpuppies. It was actually pretty good, but not the outstanding food I remembered. Still, for $15, it was fresh and tasty.

Grouper Ponchatran: Baked grouper topped with fried soft shell crab in sweet basil béarnaise sauce, sprinkled with honey roasted almonds

Bob really enjoyed this, though I wasn't impressed. He didn't even touch his sides, below.

So a potential dinner disaster was avoided.

Wednesday was our last full day in Paradise. For lunch, I wanted to try a place on 98 in Destin that we'd passed, and stopped on Monday to look at - The Boiling Point. Serving boiled seafood etc. with a view. Looked good.

Entering the dining room from the side door around 11am this chilly morning (the front door was still locked - not a great sign), we discovered a business in transition. The friendly gentleman who served us explained that the entire menu was being revamped, and the place would be renamed "Woody's" and reopen with a new menu emphasizing pizza, and a new "brand" in about 2 weeks. Great. Should we stay or should we go?? Have the Shrimp Po Boy he recommended. Bob did. And he was glad.

Blackened Shrimp Po Boy

This was really, really good.

Daily Fishwrap

While I would have liked a bigger portion of grouper - this sandwich was very good. And the fries were far superior to the ones we were served the day before.

House Made Tartar

See the specks of chile? This was very good, too. And the view couldn't be beat.

Wednesday afternoon - our last bubbles, wine and cheese, and sunset. What's that down there on the beach?

A wedding! On a Wednesday afternoon? Yes.

This scene made us feel so romantic that we decided for our last dinner to go back to Old Faithful. Yup, Harbor Docks again.

Smoked Tuna Appetizer

Grilled Amberjack

Bronzed Swordfish Topped with Scallops and Cream Sauce

A wonderful dinner served up with Sunshine's smile!

And then it came to be Thursday - the LAST DAY. Adding insult to this injury - we had to be checked out of the condo by 10am, though we were welcome to spend the day on the property. We made it out with nothing to spare, then headed over to Silver Sands for one last infusion of biscuits.

These views illustrate why this is one of our favorite dining locations:

After breakfast, we returned to Sundestin and sat by the beach. It was chilly, but the sun shone! We enjoyed the beach until about 1:40pm - with a 4:30pm flight, we'd have to get lunch now if we were going to get it at all. And since we wouldn't be in Cleveland until around 10pm EST, we knew we needed lunch. We decided to stick with Harbor Docks - after the Taqueria and Blue Orleans, I wanted fresh fish with no surprises! We had read the specials board earlier that morning, as breakfast ended, so we knew what to expect.

The Harbor Docks Specials Board:

The special that had sold out was Salisbury Steak.

Bronzed Swordfish with Red Pepper Cream Sauce and Shrimp

Yes, Bob had almost an exact re-run of his last dinner. Now I don't feel so bad about repeating the Snapper Parmadine on semi-consecutive nights.

Sesame Fried Tilefish

I got the last order of Tilefish before they ran out - and it was so fresh it practically jumped off of the plate!

And with these tasty hushpuppies, another sweet Destin vacation ended.

We dropped our rental car at the airport and winged towards Cleveland. And snow. And ice. And cold. So - would we succeed in finding a place to play with food after we finally emerged into the frozen tundra? Stay tuned for a later post.


  1. Your post made me beachsick for the Panhandle area. I first visited Destin in the early 80's when there wasn't much but a little Holiday Inn. Then again several trips to Seaside in the 90's. The amount of construction in the area is staggering. Still, the beaches are amazing and it looks like the dining options are plentiful and delicious. They certainly have a way with the deep fryer down there! Thanks for all of the photos - I'm stuffed.

  2. Loved your pics & commentary. I do wish I liked seafood, I feel like I'm missing out so much! Giuseppe's had their soft reopening this past Monday so your friends just barely missed out. I live within walking distance of the restaurant, and it's been packed every night!

  3. Thank you for taking the time to write this- we have been going to the panhandle every year for the last 25, and almost every single place that you wrote about will be new to us when we return in May!

  4. Thank you for your wonderful reviews & pictures! My husband & I have been visiting Sandestin every year since purchasing a timeshare with Club Intrawest. As convenient as it is to stay in the resort area & eat at Baytowne Wharf, we have never had a good dining experience. From just bad tasting food & rudeness to cockroaches! We have resorted to cooking at our place. We will be there for New Years and look forward to venturing out & visiting some of your suggested places. Just curious, have you ever dined or heard of anything good about Bistro Bijoux or 3 Graces Taverna?
    I have noticed that Bistro Bijoux has been the only consistent restaurant at the Wharf over the years, but have yet to dine there.
    Thank you & Happy Holidays!

  5. @ Tippy - we only went to Baytowne Wharf that one time. We prefer locally owned places to chains.

    Check out my 2 posts from last February's visit here:


    We've never been to Bistro Bijoux or 3 Graces Taverna; I recommend that you scout them out on

    Have a great trip!

  6. Oh I hope these places are open years after your post. What a great post! I am going to Destin for the first time and want to make the most out of my dinning experiences. Thank you!

  7. @WheresMyAngels - if you search this blog for "Destin", you'll find posts from our 2009-2011 visits. Some of the places described in this post are gone, some have gone downhill, others have thrived. Hope you have a great trip and enjoy Destin!

  8. YUMMY! I literally went to my kitchen and cooked something after reading your post. Haha! I can see that you’ve enjoyed playing with food. I hope that I can taste more of the delicacies that you’ve posted here when I come to Destin next month. :D

    + Danny Riddell +

  9. Hi-
    My name is Amy and I'm with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blogs about Destin to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at amy(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you soon!