I so needed a quiet beach, a place to forget about people and work. Despite the summer high season, such a place was found away from the crowd at the brand new Watersound resort on the gulf. Miles of white sand and blue sky were ours and ours alone for most of the weekend, one of the unexpected benefits of the horrible economy.
We had plenty of room to hang about in our suite and a very nicely outfitted kitchen in which to cook. But we were in a lazy mood, so mostly just assembled our lunch with the exception of pan frying some potatoes and mushrooms for the salad. Looking at this photo makes me happy. Champagne and snack food just shout out vacation.
At night fall, we ventured out to where the people are and found us a two top in front of the band at Bud & Alley's, a local favorite. One glance around the room and we had no doubt that we'd be getting seafood (that's what everyone is eating.) The menu confirmed our observation. Of the short list of eight entrees, six were fish.
We started things off with a crab salad of sort. The presentation was impressive and the tomatoes weren't all for colors either. They were bursting with brightly flavored juices. Most lovely, of course, was the crab meat. Translucent and firm, the tasty morsels needed no extra flavoring and were indeed treated with a light hand.
I was told that grouper is the fish of the gulf, so naturally I ordered it. This B&A special was pan seared and still showed the bright colors on the skin side (unfortunately blocked by the mango cubes in this photo). The meat was moist, but firm. This I learned is not a fish that flakes or falls apart easily. I liked everything including the plump shrimps that came along for the ride, even though they weren't exactly needed on this plate.
Jason's pan fried flounder knocked it out of the park. Lightly coated with panko, the fried fish combined an extremely satisfying crunch with very flaky white flesh. The homemade tartar sauce did a great job of introducing just the right amount of tartness.
When in Florida key lime pie is a must for me. I took this photo to show the cool way that Jason learned from his mama to squeeze juices out of a slice of lime. First he cut the slice so it is only attached on one side of the rind, then he stabbed the halves with forks and twisted in opposite directions. I was amazed that he was able to get every last drop of juice out of the single slice without breaking it. Very cool! Mama really knows!
The extra tang from the lime juice elevated this already very good dessert to awesomeness. Creamy middle and buttery crust, what's not to like?
An exception meal to end a great beach day!
Bud & Alley's
2236 E County Highway 30A
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459