What a vacation
View from the roof deck of the house we rented.
Got back late Saturday night from our vacation. We had a blast and really didn't want to leave. The house we rented had only one house between it and the ocean. A rooftop deck gave us great ocean views and cool ocean breezes. We spent many an hour sitting up there totally relaxed with a cool drink in hand watching the occasional pelican or two fly overhead. When the 'skeeters got too bad, we'd head down to the screened in porch where we had less of an ocean view but still had the breeze. Ahh.........
But man does not live by great views and cold beverages alone........we had some good food too. We hit some of the usual places we go to every time we're in New Smyrna Beach like JB's Fish Camp, Black Beards, and Spanish River Grill. We tried a new place called Scott's Bluewater Grille which was very good and will be in the repitoire from now on as well.
Seafood Chowder from Scott's Bluewater Grille.
At JB's you can't go wrong with the Pompano or the rock shrimp (when they have them). The pomp is best when you get it grilled. Fresh flaky fish with a mild flavor. And the rock shrimp are served steamed with a little melted butter. They're a bear to get out of their shells but the taste is worth it. Think of little miniature lobster tails. When all else fails, my backup favorite is the blackened grouper. Oh, the taste is out of this world. Flaky, like the pompano, a little meatier and with just the right amount of seasoning. It's possibly the best grouper I've ever had. Biscuit Boy is partial to the raw oysters. I've witnessed him do damage to 2 dozen on more than one occasion. Personally, I'd rather lick a cow's snout before I ate one of those slimy little buggers, but I'll take his word that they serve some of the best ones around. Second on his list of favorites at JB's are the hush puppies. And I'll agree with him on this one, they are blissfully good. Sweet cornmeal with just the right moistness to them and fried perfectly to a nice golden brown with a little crust.
Blackbeard's is another favorite place for Biscuit Boy to get his oyster fix.
A dozen oysters from Blackbeard's.
A little bit cheaper than JB's and usually just as good. Again, I'll have to take his word on it. I like the salad bar. Usually after a few days of little or no veggies, it's the perfect place to graze. There's nothing special about it, it's just a good standard salad bar. And when you get dinner there, they serve you a little bucket with hot rolls and cinnamon buns. We usually take the buns home for breakfast the next day.
A fairly new restaurant to the area is the Spanish River Grill. I overheard a waiter telling someone that they had been open 5 (or was it 6) years now. We discovered this gem last year. The owner's grandparents were from Cuba and his menu reflects much of that heritage. We went twice while we were down there, once with Biscuit Boy's parents and a couple of days later by ourselves. On our first visit, we started out with the Ceviche made from a fish called triple tail or Blackfish. It was out of this world. The fish was very tender and tasty and had just the right amount of lime juice, onion, and seasonings. Biscuit Boy ordered the Blackened Flat Iron Steak served with Lagonstino Scampi and fried potatoes. He asked the waiter for a wine recommendation and the guy knew his wine. He brought out a glass of some Spanish red that was perfect. The steak was fantastic as well. Tender as a filet and as big and beefy flavored as a sirloin. I snatched two bites but feared loosing a limb if I tried for a third. I ordered Wild King Salmon served with a sweet pepper stuffed with crab and yukon gold potatoes. The salmon was good but not the best I ever had. However, I could have eaten a dozen of the little crab stuffed peppers. The sweetness of the pepper and crab were a wonderful combination. The only problem with the meal was that we were too full for dessert. They sounded so mouth-watering that we had to go back a couple of days later.
The second time we ate there we skipped the appetizer and ate just an entree and dessert. Boy was it worth it. I ordered the Pan Seared Ahi Tuna.
Pan seared Ahi Tuna with a chimichurra rub.
It's cooked medium rare with a chimichurra rub and served with smashed yukon gold potatoes and garlic green beans. The fish was excellent and tender. The chimichurra rub added a nice flavor without overwhelming the fish. I loved the smashed yukons. They were nice and creamy without being overly rich. And the garlic green beans were amazing. If we had known how good these were, we'd have ordered another serving of them as a side dish. Garlicky, buttery and cooked until they were just barely crisp but not mushy.
Biscuit Boy ordered the whole fish of the day cooked Cuban style.
Whole Yellow Tail Snapper - Cuban Style.
The fish was a yellow tail snapper. It was fried whole and served with a cucumber-jalapeno relish over a bed of saffron rice. It was a very pretty, very tasty fish. Biscuit Boy picked it clean. While we were eating dinner, we were negotiating what to get for dessert. Several things sounded intriguing, the empanadas with guava filling, the manzano banana's foster or the chocolate bread pudding with dulce de leche ice cream. We saw the bananas foster and the chocolate bread pudding being served and both looked really good. But we were swayed by hearing all the waiters gushing over the bread pudding. We chose wisely. It was sooooooo good. It was moist and warm and had little pockets of chocolate interspersed throughout. Combined with the caramel ice cream, it was plate licking good. I kept scraping my spoon along the bottom of the plate trying to get every bit of melted ice cream. The only bread pudding better than this would be my late grandmother's.
So we enjoyed the sun, the beach and good food for two weeks and did not want to come home. It was a very relaxing trip which was much needed. The house we rented was great and I'd be glad to give anyone the owners name and number if you're interested.
Now we're back home and have the rest of the holiday weekend to re-adjust to our normal routines........and to begin planning our next trip to Florida this Fall.