We are in Palm Harbor, Florida, visiting some good friends for Passover tonight. We are not Jewish but these friends are, and we are here to share and learn and eat really, really well.
We flew in to Tallahassee Thursday and spent a day in our Apalachicola house, relaxing and taking a long, long walk on the beach. Wonderful day. Had dinner at Avenue Sea, in the Gibson Inn (perfectly fabulous food as always, but the usual slow and dodgy service.)
Saturday a.m. we loaded up the rental car with empty Styrofoam coolers. Highway 98 (which we live on – the main drag along the bay in the Panhandle) is chock full of seafood houses, some of which do a retail business. By the time we started the 5 hour drive to Palm Harbor we had picked up a bag of oysters (the oysterman we bought them from wouldn’t hazard a guess as to how many there were in a bag, but it was a lot), four dozen fat shrimp, a couple dozen Alligator Point clams, a bag of bay scallops, a smoked mullet and two containers of some absolutely heavenly smoked grouper dip from Seafood-2-Go. Hog heaven.
When we got to Ronnie’s and Evan’s (where Ronnie had been cooking all day already in anticipation of 32 guests on Monday) we steamed the clams in garlic wine broth, shucked some oysters to eat raw, barbequed others, and boiled some shrimp. No fuss, no fancy sauces, just cocktail sauce nippy with horseradish and some garlic butter.
Took it all outside to a wooden table overlooking the water and ate it as the sun set. What a feast.