Cool-weather cuisine is abundant in Seaside by Susan Benton
Fall season has arrived. Time for football and comfort food.
When family and friends gather to spend time together in Seaside come autumn, food is often the focus, with the grill typically taking center stage. That is where Modica Market comes in. They are game day ready with all of the essentials. And on any given Saturday, owner Charlie Modica, makes certain that the top college game is playing on the market’s TV for shoppers to enjoy.
Most who frequent Modica Market already know about the hot wings and blue cheese dip, a winning combination. It’s the best appetizer to lead into the entrée of the amazing Buckhead Beef steaks that Charlie cuts to order. A bevy of gourmet condiments, and a curated wine and craft beer selection are also available to round out the perfect meal. “Everything is ready to be picked up and taken out,” says Modica.
One of the most beloved restaurants in Seaside is Great Southern Café, known for their fresh local seafood, and a happy hour that is perfect for people watching on the side deck (there are heaters to warm you up on cool nights). Chef and owner Jim Shirley has perfected a Southern coastal menu. If you have a hankering for something that will stick to your ribs, order the chef’s famed signature dish, Grits à Ya Ya — blackened Gulf shrimp served on a bed of smoked gouda cheese grits that’s topped with a sauté of applewood-smoked bacon, spinach, portobello mushrooms and cream. Nothing screams comfort food more.
Grab a jacket, because Wild Bill’s Beach Dogs is located on Airstream Row just one block from the beach. Plan to take your food to go, snag one of the outdoor seats, or bring a blanket to lie on the grass at Seaside’s Amphitheatre where you can get cozy and take in the sights and sounds while eating. Order the Frank Dog, an all-beef grass-fed dog, and top it with a heaping scoop of Heavenly’s homemade chili — a secret family recipe that is certain to satisfy.
Where the restaurant motto is good food, good people, good times, Bud & Alley’s is well recognized for its waterfront views and for serving up a rich and hearty bowl of seafood gumbo. Filled with Gulf Coast favorites like shrimp and blue crab, there is nothing more beloved and soul nourishing to consume when there is a nip in the air. If you are looking to try something a little more hearty, order the BBQ Braised Pork Shank, which will melt in your mouth.
If something warm and sweet is what you crave for comfort, look no further than Amavida Coffee Roasters, Florida’s only Certified B Corp in the coffee industry. My go-to when feeling a chill is to order a big hot cup of sipping chocolate with a fresh baked scone on the side for dipping. Plan to take home a bag or two of Amavida’s organic and Fair-trade coffee beans roasted right here in South Walton, to fondly recall your Seaside experience with each sip.
Susan Benton (30AEATS.com) is a food and travel writer with published articles, recipes, and photography in many local, regional and national publications.