The day after our arrival, Sunday, it rained, well, no actually it poured! Yuk! But that didn’t deter us from going out in the morning for our usual breakfast especially since we had no eggs, no cereal, no muffins, nope, nada, ne rien – get the point, we had nothing on board to eat for breakfast.
As we discovered back in 2012, breakfast options in the area were pretty limited (or very expensive as we experienced at the Great Southern Cafe in nearby SeaSide) but we were hoping that maybe that had changed. Maybe the natives and the tourists suddenly realized that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. Nope, didn’t happen – things were pretty much a status quo from our last visit.
One option was to revisit the Donut Hole, which we had tried in 2012, with its mediocre food and high prices for what you got. Nah! Instead we decided to take a ride to nearby Grayton Beach to a restaurant, Another Broken Egg which is a chain with numerous locations in FL, AL, GA, NC, TX and IN. Being a rainy (and lazy) Sunday morning, it was mid-morning by the time we headed out. Was going out to breakfast on a rainy Sunday, late in the morning a smart idea? Either everyone else would have the same idea and it would be very crowded or maybe everyone else would hibernate at home to avoid the lousy weather. Hmmm, which would it be?
Oh, oh, we knew as soon as we pulled into the parking lot, it was the former rather than the latter! People were standing outside under the overhang of the roof, trying to stay dry. I expected that my darling hubby would immediately start mumbling that he didn’t want to wait but to my surprise he didn’t so I went in to give our name and was told it would be about a 20 minute wait. OK, that’s not too bad – later, I realized the guy taking the names was telling everyone “20 minutes” regardless of how many names he had on his list.
Since we were already there and other options were nonexistent, we decided to claim space under one of the overhangs and wait. I asked the couple next to us if they had been here before and if it was worth the wait and their reply was “it was the only game in town”. Hmmm, that doesn’t sound promising! The wait wasn’t too bad, about 25 minutes when finally our name was called and we were seated.
The menu had a lot of yummy items so it was a difficult decision – finally I decided on the Floridian omelet, filled with cream cheese and topped with fresh crabmeat sautéed in their special house-made garlic butter and finished with melted Jack cheese and a touch of scallions. Delish! Rob had corned beef hash with two poached eggs also excellent. Both were served with home fries and an english muffin. Even though the prices were probably on a par with the Donut Hole, at least the atmosphere, the quality and the portion sizes were superior. And with our leftovers we ended up with the fixin’s for breakfast the next day!
OK, now you know about the broken egg, what’s the scoop with stinky fish you are probably asking? Did we have leftovers from a restaurant that found their way to the back of the fridge, never to be seen again? Not the case at all. It’s all about a restaurant we went to – Stinky’s Fish Camp.
Okay, okay, I know I took liberties with the name to make the title more intriguing! Can you blame me? Quite an appetizing name for a restaurant, don’t you think? Conjures up all sorts of thoughts doesn’t it? Their motto is “With a Name Like Stinky’s It Better Be Good!” Guess a lot of people think it is, Stinky’s Fish Camp was recently named one of the Top 10 Places to Eat Like a Local by USA Today and has been featured on The Cooking Channel’s Show, Emeril’s Florida.
Stinky’s Fish Camp Restaurant and their next door Bait Shack (yes, they actually do sell minnows, shrimp and other bait, after all fish have to eat too!) is located between a small lake and the gulf beaches, just a few miles from Topsail State Park on CR 30-A. From what we have heard, this place is usually very crowded so we decided to go for a late lunch, arriving there around 2 pm. Hardly anyone there when we arrived but it was beginning to get crowded by the time we left.
Similar to Eddy Teach’s, they have oysters all day, both raw and cooked. We both had their fried oyster basket ($10.99) – probably a dozen, very delicious, lightly battered and very tender oysters served with lightly seasoned fries and a smoky tomato tartar sauce. So good!
Our tummies were full and we should have stopped there, but when the waitress mentioned one of my dessert weaknesses, bread pudding with rum sauce, who could resist? OMG, it was so totally awesome (even my chocoholic hubby enjoyed it)! We shared – can anyone actually eat all of this by themselves after a meal?
As we waddled our way to the exit, I was intrigued by several adult beverage dispensers at the bar labelled strawberry, lemonade, margarita and stinky juice. Okay I get the strawberry, lemonade and margarita, probably different flavors of ritas but what on earth is stinky juice? Is it some type of healthy, veggie juice packed with of vitamins for those who don’t drink alcohol? Highly unlikely.
My curiosity got the best of me so I asked our waitress. Definitely an adult beverage, definitely not healthy and definitely not packed with what most of us consider vitamins! It’s made with Diesel 153 proof grain alcohol (well grain must have nutrients, so maybe it is a little healthy?). Yikes! Not sure what it is mixed with but it sounds pretty toxic! I wonder if it could be used for fuel in the beast? Can anyone drink stinky juice and still walk?
Denise and Lee, our new raw oyster connoisseur friends, had been to Stinky’s as well and learned that the raw oysters weren’t from Apalachicola Bay but from Louisiana so they were disappointed. Not entirely sure what the entire explanation given to them by their waiter was, but it had to do with the fresh water supply flowing from Georgia which eventually flows into Apalachicola Bay.
So what does that have to do with the oysters served at Stinky’s? Since oysters need a mix of fresh and salt water to grow optimally, without the flow of fresh water the supply of Apalachicola oysters is dwindling and the oyster industry there is allegedly on the verge of collapse. With additional research I found out that there is a legal battle between Georgia, Alabama and Florida over the distribution of water from a river system shared by the three states which is summarized in this article.
According to a few other websites I found, Stinky’s used to serve oysters from Apalachicola Bay. Perhaps the fact that they switched to another source has something to do with the feud over the water and the decline of the oyster industry in Apalachicola Bay? Maybe price issues? On the other hand, based on the Oysters we saw being consumed at Eddy Teach’s, and sold for well below market prices, one would never know there was a decline in production from Apalachicola.
Another restaurant recommended to us by Denise and Lee was The Crab Trap in Destin, where they had reasonable lunch specials ($6-$10) between 11 and 4. So on Saturday we took a ride to Destin along scenic route 98.
Being a Saturday, the beaches here were very busy even though the temps were still quite coolish (in the low 60’s). The majority of the folks here were swimsuit clad beach goers who must have been visiting snowbirds. The natives on the other hand were walking around all bundled up.
The restaurant was directly on the water and the parking lot was shared with public access to the beach so the lot was pretty full, but luckily a spot opened up almost right away and we were able to park quickly. Once seated in the restaurant, we perused the menu but there were no lunch specials – everything on the menu was pretty expensive and more than what we wanted to pay for lunch. Perhaps we had the wrong restaurant? There were a number of restaurants in the area with “crab” in the name. We ended up leaving without ordering anything.
We pondered our options for a bit and found two more places with the name Rick’s Crab Trap plus a Crab Shack not too far away. None were on the water though or otherwise matched Lee’s description. Being a Saturday afternoon and now around 3 pm, we knew places would start to get crowded so we decided to just head back to Stinky’s again.
I was tempted to have the oysters again but this time I decided to try the Crab Cake basket and Rob had the Gulf Grouper Sandwich. Both were excellent! If you are ever in the area, be sure to stop by Stinky’s. Talking with other customers we heard that the Crawfish Pie at Stinky’s is legendary and the burger with the Crispy Brie and Sauteed Onions option looked awesome!
The next day we saw Denise and Lee – turns out on Sunday they went back to the Crab Trap and realized that the Lunch Specials were on weekdays only. Maybe next time we’ll get a chance to try it!
On a different non-food note, in between Another Broken Egg and Stinky’s, on Tuesday, the 25th, we took a ride over to Destin. We have been there several times but it is always worth a visit to HarborWalk Village. A bit touristy, but a great place to walk around, lots of shops and restaurants right on the Destin inlet. We don’t care for the shopping but enjoy watching the harbor activity and the views are great.
This entire coastal area is known as Florida’s Emerald Coast, named for the emerald green waters. The color is a result of light reflecting off the micro-algae which gives it a lovely green tone. On this particular day, the waters weren’t emerald green just the regular ol’ blue you typically see. It wasn’t like it wasn’t sunny out – did the micro-algae decide to take a day off? If it had been our first visit there I would have been really disappointed but since we’ve seen the emerald waters before, it didn’t matter.
Despite the plain ol’ blue waters, we enjoyed our visit anyway and were surprised by all the changes since our last visit there in 2012. From the Emerald Grande Hotel, there are beautiful views overlooking the boardwalk and the water. We spotted quite a few dolphins traversing the inlet along with numerous fishing boats and other nautical traffic. A zip line and climbing wall spanning across the shopping area have been added, the boardwalk has been extended along the marina and there seemed to be several new shops. After spending an hour or two walking around, we headed back to the hacienda.
Here are more pictures of Destin…