Blog Archives

Seafood “Shacks” Serving 5-Star Eats

Newport, Rhode Island

Some notable highlights for good Rhody food include a hidden delight, Belle’s Cafe, at the Newport Shipyard with really good lobster rolls and an interesting setting featuring many of the yachts and sailboats in the area. Relax and enjoy all the activity around you.

Flo’s Clam Shack (in Middletown), is a local favorite for fresh fried clams and fried everything else! Best fried clams I’ve ever had.  Bring your appetite.

Bodega Bay, Northern California

The Russian River flows into the Pacific on the Sonoma Coast and much of the coast is part of the Sonoma Coast State Beach.  Highway 101 runs along this dramatic, protected area.  We drove the stretch between Bodega Bay and Jenner. It was uncrowded and seemed so remote, with wild, uncorrupted beauty.  There was no cell service.

All this scenery and wine tasting made us hungry and we headed back towards Bodega Bay (where Alfred Hitchcock filmed The Birds) and the Spud Point Crab Company.  You don’t come here for a luxury setting, comfortable chairs (picnic tables outside), bathrooms (across the street at the marina), or heat (it was cold and windy); what you will get is terrific crab, shrimp and clam chowder.  They have won awards for the best clam chowder on the Pacific coast and I can taste why, it was wonderful. Service was fast and friendly and we were soon on our way to San Francisco.

Key Largo, Florida

Alabama Jacks has the best conch fritters ever. We can’t even remember how long we’ve been coming to this great South Florida spot – at least 25 years, and it is always consistently fun. First, let me say, the food is great. The Conch Fritters are incredible, actually one large mound, not wimpy, little bite-size croquettes like most places. Other favs include the smoked fish pieces, fish spread, and peel & eat shrimp.
The setting? Well, it’s special too: all the way down deserted-looking Card Sound Road, right where Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties meet, on a permanently anchored barge, with a water view on the Gulf side.

It’s casual, very casual; a weekend-bikers destination that attracts boaters who dock, as well as a mix of locals, tourists, kids, Coast Guardsmen, red hat ladies, and every type of person you can imagine. From tattoos and designer shorts to sunburns and square-dancing costumes, nothing is out of place. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons they play host to a country music band, and patrons will be even more entertained by the friendly local clogging crowd.

Alabama Jacks is the way Florida used to be and has a vibe far too few get to experience these days. So, when you’re in Miami/South Beach for a visit, keep driving south and see what Florida is really about.

Pensacola, Florida

Pensacola is pleasant, walkable and friendly. We were visiting on a Monday and the historic tours weren’t operating, but on the plus side, Monday is 25 cent oyster night at Atlas Oyster House. So, that’s $3 for a dozen terrific, plump Louisiana Gulf oysters! I think we ate about three dozen.

 

The Sonoma Coast

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Today we had to say goodbye to our charming bungalow.  A typical shotgun home, it has been beautifully restored in an updated Victorian-style. DSCN3602We didn’t get to spend much time just hanging around, but it was a perfect spot, in a really convenient location.  We’ll miss our little yellow house.

But today we had new places to go and we headed off to the Sonoma Coast. The Russian River flows into the Pacific on the Sonoma Coast and much of the coast is part of the Sonoma Coast State Beach.  Highway 101 runs along this dramatic, protected area.  We drove the stretch between Bodega Bay and Jenner. It was uncrowded and seemed so remote, with wild, uncorrupted beauty.  There was no cell service.DSCN3662

The few houses and buildings that dot the coast date from around the 70’s before the area was protected and will not be able to be rebuilt. New building is not allowed; if it were, this incredible scenery would surely be blighted with development. We were surprised we had not heard more about this region – truly one of the most beautiful coastal dries we have ever seen, anywhere.

We were headed to Jenner and the Fort Ross Vineyard & Tasting Room, which includes a deck overlooking the forest with views that stretch all the way to the Pacific.  You can bring a picnic and enjoy the setting on the back deck while you have your wine tasting ($15 pp). Among the wines we tried, were two really excellent Pinot Noirs and a Pinotage, a blend I had not seen outside of South Africa.  It was no surprise to find out the vineyard’s owners are South African.  They have planted the Pinotage grapes on their property and even filled their front garden with South Africa’s colorful Protea* flowers.DSCN3622

It was a different and relaxing setting, and the excellent wines were a nice surprise.

All this scenery and wine tasting made us hungry and we headed back towards Bodega Bay* and the Spud Point Crab Company.  You don’t come here for a luxury setting, comfortable chairs (picnic tables outside), bathrooms (across the street at the marina), or heat (it was cold and windy); what you will get is terrific crab, shrimp and clam chowder.  They have won awards for the best clam chowder on the Pacific coast and I can taste why, it was wonderful. Service was fast and friendly and we were soon on our way to San Francisco.DSCN3707

San Francisco is amazing, but more about that tomorrow.

 

*Trivia Facts of the Day:

Bodega Bay is where Alfred Hitchcock filmed The Birds.

Protea is South Africa’s national flower.

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Bodega Bay.

Bodega Bay.