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"Just off the boat" seafood on Florida's Gulf coast
June 6, 2007
By Jennifer Chandler

'Just off the boat' at Gulf Coast

By Jennifer Chandler
Special to The Commercial Appeal

June 6, 2007

I spent last week down on the Gulf shore with my family and some dear friends. My husband and I just love the crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches and lazy attitude of the Emerald Coast.

But I think one of things I look forward to most about our annual trip to Florida is the great seafood. Just as locally grown produce tastes better than the grocery variety, seafood fresh out of the ocean is far superior to what we can get in Tennessee.

What's wonderful about the Florida panhandle is the variety of fish available "just off the boat" from the Gulf. Grouper, scamp, all kinds of snapper, mahi mahi, yellow fin tuna, and amberjack are just a few of the species caught daily.

And the shellfish: An Apalachicola oyster is like no other. Everyone in our crew devours the succulent little crab claws that come ready to eat -- and nothing compares to a Gulf shrimp.

I highly recommend cooking some of this great seafood while you are down in the Destin/Panama City area. My favorite market is Goatfeathers Seafood Market. With two locations on Hwy. 30A, one in Santa Rosa Beach and the other in Seagrove, they are convenient to just about all areas of the region. Their steamed-to-order shrimp is far better than anyone else's I have tried and they can also order live blue crabs, as well as soft shells, for you.

If you want a vacation from everything including the kitchen while at the beach, pick up some great seafood to bring home and order the local fish when you dine out.

A taste of East Memphis

The Blue Streak Scholarship Fund's third annual wine tasting and silent auction fund-raiser, "A Taste of East," is at 6 p.m. Saturday at Regions Bank, 6200 Poplar Ave.

The event features East Memphis restaurants such as Erling Jensen, Interim and Lucchesi's. All proceeds will benefit the Jubilee Schools of Memphis. Tickets are $50. Call 326-0691 or visit bssf.net for more information.

A new summer menu

Chef Jeffrey Dunham of The Grove Grill has introduced new items to his menu for the season.

The dishes include such summertime favorites as chilled tomato gazpacho, roast rack of lamb with asiago cheese grits, and grilled tuna with Carolina mustard barbecue sauce, tasso ham butter and fried oysters.

Ridge Vineyards

It's rare to have folks from a winery at a wine tasting. But lucky for us, Star Distributors has brought not one, but two, folks from California-based Ridge Vineyards to Memphis.

Christina Donley, Ridge Vineyards tasting room manager, and David Gates, vineyard manager, will be guest speakers at a special wine dinner at McEwen's on Monroe tonight.

For reservations and information, call 527-7085.

What's $7,500 a bottle?

The Victor L. Robilio Co. has sold a rare single malt Scotch whisky, the Balvenie Cask 191, aged 50 years.

Robilio sold bottle No. 66 to Buster's Liquors and Wines, 191 S. Highland.

The bottle retails for $7,500, including tax -- making it one of the priciest bottles of Scotch in the country.

Please share your fabulous food finds and restaurant news with me at jennifer@cookwithjennifer.com.

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