On Saturday I flew into Panama City Florida to join my family for vacation. We have been going to Blue Mountain Beach for several years now for vacays. Blue Mountain is close to Destin, about 30 minutes away. When we were very young, we would stay in Destin, but we have slowly ventured over to this beautiful area. My parents drove down from Tennessee on Friday evening and my sister and brother in law flew in Friday night as well. I left Saturday morning at the wonderful hour of 5:30 am. Just a side note to my fellow non morning people, if you have a “before the crack of dawn” flight out of Palm Beach Airport, the security line does not open until 4:45. I arrived at 4am only to find that I had to sit on the floor like a weirdo and wait for 45 minutes. When you love sleep almost more than anything else in your life, you sit there and calculate how much longer you could have stayed in bed. Sigh. Any who, I joined the rest of the family by 10am and had my toes in the sand by 10:30.
My family loves good food. And let me tell you, there is some incredible food in this area of Florida. I’m desperately trying to work out every day and play a massive amount of paddle ball in deep sand to burn calories, so I can eat everything in Florida. On Saturday night we went to our absolute favorite for dinner, The Red Bar. The Red Bar is located in Grayton Beach. We have been coming to this eclectic restaurant as long as I can remember. You walk in to find a slightly dark ambiance with a poster covered ceiling, a disco ball hanging in the middle of the room and a small amount of tables. They don’t accept reservations so we got there right at 5pm when they opened. You might find yourself waiting a long time if you don’t get there early. They come up to your table with a chalk board menu with only about 5 items. On Fridays and Saturdays they have a crab cake special. My mom always orders these and they truly are incredible. Two large crab cakes served with their signature salad and mashed potatoes. One of our other favorites is the Panne Chicken. You better be hungry for this one. It comes with 2 lightly breaded chicken breasts served with a lemon caper sauce, salad and mashed potatoes. The flavor in the delicious chicken is incredible. I have been trying to recreate this meal at home and it’s just never the same. What is your secret Red Bar!? Even though the chicken is amazing, it’s the Grouper special that I fall for every time. A huge piece of fresh grouper comes blackened and it is placed over a bacon grit cake. Bacon. Grit. Cake. It will make you think you’ve died and gone to heaven on the first bite. It’s probably one of my favorite meals ever. Truly fantastic. Make sure and try to save room for dessert. They have a key lime pie that is one of the best. One piece is big enough for 3 people. It’s deliciously tart and has an impossibly thick graham cracker crust. Starting off the vacation right… jeans are already tight.. so excited about that bikini I’m putting on in the morning.
Woke up Sunday and got my workout in, literally so I could go down the street to Black Bear Bread company without quite so guilt. I had read about this bakery on instagram and was very excited to try it for the first time. It is also located in Grayton in a quaint little white house. There’s nothing I love more than walking into a bakery that smells like coffee and has a full pastry case. I imagine that’s what heaven is like. I walked in with my mom and brother in law and we all could not decide what to get. So we decided the only logical answer was to order almost one of everything. I wish I was joking, but I’m actually serious. I ended up with a massive cinnamon roll that was out of this world. Wonderfully goey in the middle, perfect glaze over the top and just the right amount of cinnamon. We also walked out with a parmesan cheese bagel, a cream cheese danish, a chocolate croissant and bear claw. All of which were beautiful and equally tasty. They offer Stumptown Coffee and I had to try their cold brew. I had a plain cold brew with my cinnamon roll and I had to grab their chocolate cold brew for later. Both were fantastic and left me bouncing off the walls and talking 90 miles an hour for the rest of the morning. Their menu also offered lunch that looked wonderful and I hope to stop in later in the week to try that.
We spent the rest of the day on the beach, unfortunately it was a bit cloudy but that made for good napping weather and perfect for a paddle ball tournament. Had to work off some of that cinnamon roll. But more importantly, on to dinner! We decided on a place we have never been to, 723 Whiskey Bravo. Again, I had seen it on Instagram and the menu looked great. It is located in Santa Rosa Beach. The decor is beautiful and you can immediately tell it’s going to be a great experience. First and foremost- order the fried Mac and cheese appetizer. It will change your life. The center is the cheesiest, creamiest, gooeyist Mac and cheese and then it is deep fried in a not too heavy batter. Whoever invented that, I would like to thank. I ordered the grilled grouper (yet again). It was served on top of cheesy grits (there’s a pattern here isn’t there), with asparagus and topped with a lobster cream sauce. Pretty darn good. Mom and sister went with the scallops. They were pan seared served over risotto with a cilantro oil over the top. Scallops aren’t my thing but it looked beautiful. Brother in law offered the shrimp and grits which he said was fantastic and my dad ordered chicken wings… the man could find a burger or chicken wings anywhere. Really good restaurant that will probably become a regular for us.
We finished the evening at Blue Mountain Creamery… because we’re on vacation that’s why. Great little ice cream shop just down the road from where we stay. I had dark chocolate raspberry that was divine. So it’s only day 3 and we’ve already had some pretty amazing food but I know there’s still some of my favorites to go. If you don’t already, follow me on Instagram under kenziesaidwhat for daily updates! Stay tuned to find out what delicious food is left! Now I’m off to the gym…