Seaside is abundant with yummy spring break eats and drinks By Susan Benton
Finding the perfect spring break location can be tricky for families, as college craziness takes over some of our favorite destinations on the Emerald Coast. Fortunately, Seaside is still the go-to place for the best family-oriented vacations. And, with only 18 summers that we get to spend with our kids, we have to make each school vacation count.
Beach house rentals have just about everything you need, from boogie boards to floaties — but the pantry and fridge are going to be bare. Before you unpack your suit and hit the shore, make a quick pit stop at Modica Market and stock up on the essentials. Adults, don’t fret because they also sell craft beer, have perfected their wine offerings, and have an amazing deli case filled with prepared food to go, like crab cakes, chicken salad and boiled shrimp. Plan to send the kids over each morning for the most amazing hand-crafted waffles, piled high with whipped cream.
Whether you’re kicking back on the powdery white-sand beaches, paddle boarding in the blue-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico, or hitting a round of golf nearby, eventually the hunger pangs will strike again. Luckily, you don’t have to stray far to find some of the best eats from the locals in town.
The Meltdown on 30A serves the ultimate cheesy goodness. I prefer ordering the good old-fashioned American with a cup of the tomato soup. The classic soup-and-sandwich combo makes a satisfying yet light dinner after a day at the beach.
If a larger meal is on your radar, then The Great Southern Café is the family-friendly eatery that is certain to satisfy. Seating is available inside, but my family enjoys the side porch, especially on a beautiful day. While the smoked gouda Grits A Ya Ya topped with spicy shrimp is a popular choice that will stick to your ribs, I’m all about the West Indies “Crab Martini” with jumbo lump crabmeat, tomato, and avocado that won’t weigh you down if heading back out into the Gulf of Mexico.
On Saturday mornings, plan to take your family to the Seaside Amphitheater to explore the Seaside Farmers Market. Locally grown produce, homemade baked goods, jams, and the best dairy products are just a few of the offerings by the vendors. It’s a great place to walk and to enjoy food samplings while the kids run around the rolling green field. Local tip for the adults: Stop back into Modica Market to pick up a made-to-order freshly squeezed orange juice and champagne mimosa to sip on while you peruse the market.
The sign of a true culinary institution is when the locals happily wait with the vacationers for a chance to eat. You’ll find that is the case at Bud & Alley’s Waterfront Restaurant, known far and wide for its rooftop bar, where folks pile in to watch the sunset. Try my favorite, peel-and-eat shrimp and smoked tuna dip with lavash. Enjoy these while you guess the exact moment that the sun goes down. The winner gets a free drink!
Fortunately for us, Seaside’s beaches are lined with places to pick up a great meal whether you’re in the mood for sushi at Ji•Shi Ki•Chn, artisan hand-tossed pizza made daily from Pizza Bar, or a memorable piece of chocolate-dipped key lime pie on a stick from Shrimp Shack.
The key to family success and building deep and loving relationships is by doing simple things together, like sharing family dinner, and just having fun. In family relationships the greatest gift you can give is your time. Seaside offers a respite for families where lasting memories are waiting to be born.
Susan Benton is a food and travel journalist. She writes about the secrets of Gulf Coast food on her website, 30AEATS.com.