Dining Outside the Home: The Dock at Crayton Cove in Naples, Florida! Open waterfront dining has been drawing people like a moth to flame since 1976. Could it be the tropical paradise setting? Or the splash of a wave against the floating dock stretching out into Naples Bay? What about the low hum of the motor on a distant yacht? It’s not hard to imagine when you are seated at the open-air restaurant sipping on a refreshing cocktail basking in the afternoon breeze. Order a Crayton Cove Cobb Salad. Enjoy it as served or add lump lobster meat for a taste extravaganza. Afterwards take a nice long walk around this “Back Bay” area. It’s seeped in history for the early pioneers as well as the fishing community.
Dining Outside the Home: Doug’s Seafood in Bonita Springs, Florida! Drive a little off the beaten path for a quaint little fish house, part seafood market, that feels as though it has transported you off the coast of Maine. Perhaps that is due to the owner, Captain Doug, who made his living from lobster boats for over 20 years before gravitating to Florida. The extensive menu offers buttery lobster, fried clam strips, grilled shrimp, and outstanding chowders. But that’s not all. Try the fresh catch, blackened and seasoned to perfection. The authenticity of this eatery may seem humble and cozy, but rest assured, the staff is waiting with open arms to share the essence of Maine’s seafood culture.
Dining Outside the Home: O’Quigley’s Seafood Steamer & Oyster Sports Bar in Destin, Florida! Question: What do you get when you combine fresh seafood with an Irish sports bar? Answer: A name that says it all. When you’re craving seafood and everyone has a different idea of what that might be, choose a restaurant that not only keeps the kids occupied with private tv screens in comfy booths, but also an incredible menu items plus a wide selection of crafted beers for the grownups. Sit back and relax. The portions are generous and the choices seem endless. Seafood can be prepared steamed, blackened, fried, or sautéed. Burgers, steaks, wings, and soups are other options worth considering. On second thought, better plan on taste-testing each other’s platters.
Dining Outside the Home: Celebration Park in Naples, Florida! Food trucks are all the buzz. Think about it. Resident chefs tend to zero in on specialized foods, are typically fresh, and often prepared on the spot when you place the order. They offer unique combinations for trying something new as well. In the mood for seafood? Try the lobster roll. Care for a cocktail? Permission granted. At Celebration Park an added bonus is a waterside table, a seat at the open-air tiki bar, or picnic table-style dining. With over half a dozen stationery food trucks, order a bite to eat or a complete meal. Happy Hour is often highlighted with live music. Green space encourages lawn games for friendly competition. An atmosphere filled with memories that encourage hanging out for relaxation turns an ordinary outing into a contagious destination.
Dining Outside the Home: Mr. Big Fish Seafood Grill in Naples, Florida! When a city thrives bordering on the Gulf of Mexico, seafood restaurants are a natural choice. One glance at the menu brings assurance that the fish is either freshly caught by local fishermen or flown-in daily. The casual vibe invites patrons to gather around the bar, choose a table for two, or dine alfresco surrounded by activity. Either way, the wait staff is attentive. Specialty cocktails, like the Ultimate Bloody Mary, include fresh garnishes for snacking. Tasty. As for the menu selections…raw, seared, grilled, or smoked, each entrée is prepared to perfection. The Chilean Sea Bass is critically acclaimed and reasonably priced. You should try it. And before you leave, snap a photo of the big fish in the waiting area. It’s postcard-worthy.
Dining Outside the Home: Sand Bar on Marco Island, Florida! Talk to any local about an island favorite off the beaten path, and you’re sure to hear about the Sand Bar. The drinks are cold, the bar bites are amazing, the music is lively, and the cheers come in waves. With walls of big screen televisions, there’s bound to be something interesting to pique the conversation, should the need arise. From startups to salads, sandwiches, flatbreads, or platters, the favorites keep coming. Happy Hour often means standing room only, but that’s part of the allure for stopping by. Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner offer specials that are worth checking out, too. Being open every day all year long kinda proves this local joint is spot on. Better check it out.
Dining Outside the Home: Pinchers on Marco Island, Florida! Stumbling into a place that boasts Happy Hour Every Day All Day is definitely an unexpected pleasure if you appreciate liquid refreshments and crave seafood. At Pinchers, their motto is “You can’t fake fresh!”, which is important when you’re located steps away from the Gulf of Mexico. It helps that local fishermen keep the restaurant supplied with fish from local emerald green waters. When the wait staff rolls out a sheet of brown paper to cover the table, it’s practically unspoken permission to eat with your fingers. Slightly chilled peel ‘n eat shrimp, dunked in a homemade cocktail sauce, is good enough to devour in one bite. Save room for more, though, because the clam strips are coated in a tasty batter and deep-fried to a golden brown; crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. Even if you have to share, the meal wouldn’t be complete without the favored Floridian dessert, Key Lime Pie.
“When you fish for love,
bait with your heart,
not with your brain.”
~ Mark Twain
The cat is out of the bag, or rather the Fish, when it comes to nifty thrifty kitchen gadgets. I recently received this unusual object, from a dear friend of mine. At first I was totally confused. I even tried to open it, thinking there had to be something useful and remarkable inside. Was it a bottle opener? Or a refrigerator magnet? What about a cocktail ice cube? Nope. It’s kinda like assembling a coffee table from IKEA. If all else fails, read the package instructions. This quirky little fish gadget turned out to be invaluable. It’s purpose is to eliminate strong odors from smelly foods like onions, garlic, and you guessed it…fish. Too often we rinse our hands with soap, lemon juice, or vinegar without success. Most times the odor is heightened rather than diminished due to the sulfur molecules. Evidently stainless steel is a negative-charged metal that, when combined with the positive-charged amino acids in cold water, will remove irritating odors. I know this to be true because I put it to the test. I was chopping raw onions to toss onto a steaming bowl of homemade chili, so naturally I scooped up the onions with my hands. Afterwards my hands smelled pungent, like onions. I turned on the faucet, placed the fish in the palm of my hands, and vigorously rubbed together under the stream of cold water for about 15 seconds. It miraculously worked. Poof, like magic the odor had disappeared. Thanks, Judy. Your gift is pure genius.