There are so many reasons I love our trips to the Tampa coast of Florida. I should begin by sharing that we found this particular area when I was only a few months old. My parents were driving the coastline from Clearwater to St. Petersburg when I became fussy and they pulled over in Treasure Island. They went back to Canada and told everyone about the hidden jem they discovered. Since then my grandparents spent their winters here and in total over a hundred different Canadians have vacationed here because of the word of mouth. My grandparents loved to tell the story about how Erin discovered their spot.
But, you know, it's nice to revisit vacation spots because you get to know what to pack, how to spend your time and the familiarity of people and places is always welcoming. We actually have several foodie haunts we never miss while on vacation I wanted to share.
While in Florida I always, always get a grouper sandwich. Can't say I've ever seen grouper in the grocery stores in Niagara, but it's plentiful and fresh where we stay. I only indulge in one because it's not the most sustainable fish and it also has a high level of mercury, but once a year is alright with me. This one I had at Keegan's in Indian Rocks Beach and is served blackened. LOVE IT!
I enjoy many other items such as key lime pie and almost all my dinners are some sort of fresh seafood.
Not too far from where we stay is Ted Peter's Famous Smoked Fish. This is an institution along the Tampa coast. This restaurant smokes local fish (mullet, mackerel, mahi mahi and salmon) on racks of smoldering red oak.
The taste is really smokey and totally delicious. I bought a pound of mahi mahi because I didn't want to have to deal with bones and was looking for a milder flavour. It was my lunch on top of a bagel with cream cheese.
We always visit a local market called The Orange Blossom to get our citrus. Usually Fall Glo Tangerines are ripe and juicy from the groves during our stay. Owen still only drinks water and milk. We allow him apple juice boxes once in a while, but are pretty careful to not allow him too much fruit juice (since he eats all these fruits fresh I feel that's a more nutritious option anyways). But I wanted his first sip of orange juice to be in Florida. And... he didn't like it! What he did enjoy was fresh lemonade. Go figure!
The Orange Blossom makes fresh ice cream made from the orange juice. Owen opted for the pumpkin chocolate swirl this year instead of dreamsicle flavour.
And, there are the cuban sandwiches which you can expect to hear me gush about, but the Floridian is such a wonderful place to get a taste of the Tampa cubano. They also make KILLER rice and beans as well as cuban bean soup. I'm right now collecting ingredients to make my own versions of the aforementioned.