There are few pleasures in life as simple and perfect as hitting the beach at 10 am and not leaving. Not leaving to cook, not leaving to wash clothes, not leaving to go out to eat. Not leaving even when the sun goes down.
While hitting all the seafood restaurants is one of the perks of being on vacation, eating ON the beach (thus ensuring you don’t have to miss a wave or sunset or favorite song or some random spontaneous conversation) is a real treat – and one that too many folks overlook.
I have to give credit to Stan for this one. Getting me off the beach is a pretty difficult task. So one day, several years ago, my lovely husband (who loves the beach, but the fisherman in him also loves hitting the docks in the afternoon to see the local catch) took off for an hour or so and headed to the marina. What he brought back started a whole new tradition for us.
No, he didn’t bring back fresh grouper or snapper. But he was hungry after such a dreamy excursion of looking at dead fish (actually the dreamy part of the excursion for him was fantasizing about his future boat).
So inspired by thoughts of anglers and marine life, he had a thought: Why not pick up shrimp for supper? But instead of picking up pounds of raw crustaceans that then required de-veining and cooking, he picked up several pounds of fresh, steamed shrimp – seasoned with butter, hot sauce, sliced lemons, chopped scallions, red onions, and, of course, crab boil. And what would a true southern crab boil be without corn and taters? He was then on a roll: a few containers of crab dip, tuna dip and the obligatory cocktail sauce and crackers and he had all the fixins for the finest seafood supper one could request.
Somewhere on the way home he had brilliant idea number two: carry the supper directly to me.
So, as I’m sitting there, enjoying my sunset and waves, I look up to see Stan headed my way – not only with supper, but with paper towels, forks, paper plates (even garbage bags to whisk away the peelings), and a boogie board to use as a makeshift table. We feasted until we could shovel shrimp no more in our restaurant of sand and ocean and breeze.
Fell in love with him for the umpteenth time right there on the spot.
What’s your favorite meal on the beach?
(If you love shrimp and fixins as much as I do, check out Buddy’s Seafood Takeout Steam Bar – located on Hwy 79 in Panama City Beach, Fl.)