been cooking ourselves silly this last week in Apalach. Tomorrow we need to hit the road home, and
are planning on doing some shrimp smoking today, so last night we took
ourselves out on the town.
a permanent population of way under 3000, Apalachicola has more than its share of good restaurants, even if you don’t count the oyster
bars and fried fish houses (several of which are excellent.)
newest and best in my opinion is Avenue Sea, at the Gibson Inn, which I have
written about before, and will no doubt write about again.
At Avenue Sea, though there are occasional (and
sometimes dramatic) service issues, the food is always superb. The Inn is
charming, in an old and weathered way, and the restaurant fits in – tall
ceilings, wood floors, shuttered windows, and minimalist table decorations
(which pretty much amount to a votive candle set in the middle of a white
the food — be still, my heart, the food! David Carrier, late of Trio (Chicago) and the French Laundry, and his
pastry chef wife, Ryanne, do an amazing job. Fortunately for them it is being recognized not just locally (the Tallahassee Democrat gives them lots of hats) but
nationally, in the form of a lovely write up in this month’s Gourmet.
menu is a listing of smallish courses – firsts are light and salady, seconds
are a little heavier and complex, and thirds are what you’d normally think of
as “main courses.” Last night, with a
nod to our weight loss goals, we each had two first courses and a second (no
third) and then split dessert.
started with salads of local greens dressed with the incredible cabernet
vinaigrette we have had there before. Then I had a super composition of roasted golden beets with a very thin
slice of cabrales (a tangy Spanish blue cheese) and a heap of nicely dressed
arugula. Sweet earthy beet + sharp musty
cheese + acidic, biting arugula salad = bliss. Jerry had the iced soup – luminous orange musk melon soup poured over
bits of melon wrapped in Benton ham, salty and sweet. This was really, really great, but so far every Carrier soup I have tasted
has been a liquid masterpiece. (I still dream about the sunchoke cream….)
I had tagliatelle with Oregon morels and baby spring vegetables in a pea cream sauce. It was sweet and perfect, each pea exploding
with springtime flavor and the pasta tender and toothsome. Jer had braised pork belly, on a kind of confit
of Vidalia onions and thyme, with a couple of fat fried Vidalia onion rings on
top. Succulent, sweet and yummy.
had ordered a side dish that didn’t come out with any of the other dishes (one
of those service issues I mentioned) so it was like a course of its own – a
small plate of baby leeks and what I think the menu called bluefoot
chanterelles. They were sautéed with
thyme and just wonderful. I mean wonderful.
dessert we had “vanilla scented hominy puddin’ with strawberries” — really
coarse-ground grits, sweetened and topped with rosy red berries and some tangy
crème fraîche. WOW. Scrumptious, and what an idea!.
all the food, it felt light and we felt great. Drove home in a freshening wind under scudding clouds and slept like
(Wish the photos could do the food justice. Had to use the flash, with the usual, less-than-appetizing results.)