Just returned from another trip to Northwest Florida.
Haven't been for two years, so I was apprehensive
about returning to one of my fav restaurants anywhere,
Criolla's in Grayton Beach. There has been such a boom
in that area, I was wondering how some of our
mainstays were holding. I shouldn't have worried. The
food was as good as it gets, with a decidedly
Carribean push on this weeks menu. I opted for the 4
course "Y-2K Jamaican" Prix Fixe menu for 45 vacation
bucks. I am a huge fan of Jonny Earle's starters and
these were no exception. First,a crawfish and boniato
accra served over just-fished #1 tuna carpaccio. The
fritter was topped with a creamy cho-cho remoulade,
and the carpaccio finished with ripe mango and vanilla
bean viniagrette. It worked beautifully; shades of
Patria. Second, Blue crab pepperpot soup, an aromatic,
broth with chunks of blue crab and calabaza, shredded
greens and hints of scotch bonnet chilis and allspice.
Third, roasted rack of jerk-spiced lamb with a
plantain samosa ,guava & smoked tomato coulis; green
papaya-mint slaw. I thought the sauce was a little
heavy on the smoke, but every thing else was perfect.
Dessert was a fresh baked banana torte with gingersnap
crust, coconut rum sauce and house-made tamarind ice
cream. Anything banana at Criolla's is a winner. Aside
from the lamb sauce, the only flaw was my hubands'
Mahi Mahi, (over vindaloo crawfish), being overcooked.
There are hundreds of places to go for fried and
broiled seafood, and to get the obligatory fried meal
out of the way, we went to Nick's " The best shrimp on
the beach". I don't know about the best shrimp, but
they certainly had the best onion rings I've ever had;
really crispy, light batter reminiscent of tempura.
The fried gulf shrimp were good, as the Apalachicola
oysters. I'm not a big fan of these warmer water
oysters on the half shell, but they are beauties in
We lucked out and had really good pizza and calzone
(a couple of times), from Angelina's in Seagrove
beach. See y'all later.
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