16 October 2006

Getting Fat in Paradise

Remember, we just returned from 10 days in what we consider to be one of the most beautiful places on earth: Destin Florida.
The beaches there are literally white as snow. At night, sitting in a beachfront restaurant with a window seat, a Northerner can easily be lulled into thinking she is looking at snow- they use snow fences to control the drift of sand the same way Northern fences keep snow off highways where it snows and blows.

We love the beaches, and we love the restaurants on the beaches.
We try to visit at least one place where we've never eaten each time we go to Destin. That's easy...... there are LOTS of good places to eat! And there are a few that fall into a "must return" category.

Some of those are ratty looking. Some are definitely upscale.
What will cause you to return to a restaurant?
For me, the food is the focus, but while we're in Destin, other factors also come to mind.

First, make sure to bring your checkbook or credit card.
I try to take a quick look at a menu before we are seated to eat, so I know whether we need to discretely duck out the door before embarrassing ourselves. Sometimes that's not really the best technique...... let me tell you why-
One restaurant we enjoy would scare you off if you looked only at the bottom line. But the food is very good, and when you've eaten enough of your entree that you are turning green, there is enough food left on your plate to comfortably feed two more people. A "doggy bag" is procured, and for lunch the next day I will frequently eat the rest of what Sara Jean ordered while she checks to see if my order, a day old, is as tasty as hers was the night before.
Dividing the overall cost by making two or three meals out of one, makes the tab seem much more reasonable.

This time down we met old friends at a place called "Baytowne Wharf".
It's a beautiful area with lots of shops and restaurants, located in Sandestin, Florida. When you arrive, you know your meal is gonna be dear.......

someone has to pay for the wonderful atmosphere.
We allowed our friends to choose the restaurant. They picked a place, a chain, that serves good Bar-B-Que. Sara Jean and I had eaten in another of their locations in another town and enjoyed the food there. While I'm near the ocean I try to eat seafood, because it is fresh and we cannot get great seafood at home. This restaurant specialized in cooking beef, so I was not surprised that my fried fish dinner was less than spectacular. The food was good, not great, and when the check came we could tell who was paying for the ambiance.....

we were!
We'll surely go back to Baytowne Wharf, but we won't be returning to this restaurant.

Polo shirt, shorts, and sandals will suffice in 95% of the restaurants here.
I've eaten in a dockside diner where Mallards literally patrolled beneath the tables for the errant scrap dropped by the careless (sometimes intentionally) diner.

I loved the food, (breakfast in this case), and the price was really right.

It all really does boil down to a formula that probably works for most people:
Seat me fairly quickly.
Take my order shortly thereafter.
Serve good food and serve a portion large enough for me to take some home in a plastic container.
If you meet those requirements you'll quickly have trouble with the first two requirements, because customers will beat a path to your door.

It's okay to charge a fairly high price for good food, providing I'm surprised by the quantity served.

We eat well and often while in Destin.
You can also see why we walk 2 miles, twice daily while we're in town!


Infinitegtr said...

I remember in the mid to late 1990's when Burger King briefly flirted with the idea of parading around as a "sit-down" joint... except they didn't change anything else. The food looked like fast food, still had the goofy pics of the Burger King on the wall. To think, they probably paid millions of dollars to an ad agency to suggest that they have their customers order their food, sit and wait for 10 minutes, then have the same old tired food served in the same wrapper on the same plastic tray. I am in the wrong line of work...

Neil said...

There are worse places to get fat. ; )