In all reality, that is how this blog began. We were in Charleston, SC with my awesome extended family. My cousin, his wife, IPA-hole, and I managed to get the grandmas to volunteer to watch the kids. We so needed this night out - I was pregnant with BabyGray, my cousin's wife was still not off the baby wagon, and all 7 of the other 20-something cousins were in vaction-mode. We wanted to go into Charleston, but had no idea where to go. I was reading review after review to try to find the perfect spot for us. That's when my lovely aunt, let's call her BloodyMaryC, mentioned, in passing, that I should start a blog in my "spare time." Yeah, spare time, that's funny.
But she was on to something. I started to think and realized that, not only were friends in Pittsburgh asking me where to go, but I was always looking for where my friends had gone on vacation. I use "1000 Places to See Before You Die" as my guide, but it doesn't always point in the practical direction for food. We ended up at The Black Pearl instead of Magnolia or the Rooftop, or any other guide-mentioned joints. Considering it was last year, The Black Pearl was the perfect solution for the evening, but I have no idea what we ate.
But this is not the point. Forget Charleston. Let's head out to my favorite place in the USA - Seaside, FL. Seaside is perfect. And I mean that. Have you seen The Truman Show with Jim Carrey? That town in the movie is an actual place - yep: Seaside, Fl. Its a planned community, started by a family in the early 80s, with the input of some great architects and urban planners. We've spent a week here almost every year for the past 14 years. This is my happy place.
Its a beach town, a artsy town, a family spot, and a yummy destination. Every house has a name (this year was Wilder-by-the-Sea), porches, towers, and is painted with beach appropriate colors. IPA-hole and I drove the 19 hours to avoid the fresh hell that is flying with young children. When we finally arrived and unloaded, the first thing we did was head into town to grab a bite.
Along the main road, Seaside has old-school airstream trailers as food stands. IPA-hole's favorite is Barefoot BBQ, which he claims makes the best baked beans ever. Ever. He really does wait all year to get there for the baked beans. He tried to recreate them at home once. Bad idea. But they are delicious - they are sweet, tangy, with a little bite, butter, and pulled pork mixed in. I usually opt for the bucket of ribs. Its a half rack, perfectly smoked. They make 4 different bbq sauces and have them out on the tables so you can mix & match your flavors. BigBrother obviously goes for the mac & cheese. This one tastes like it has just a touch of the bbq sauce in it, giving it a little bit of bite - and suprisingly, BigBrother likes spicy.
The gem we discovered this go-round was the BBQ nachos! Fantastic!! They're sweet, spicy, cheesy, meaty deliciousness! They combine the whole menu in one pile of bbq goodness - you have the brisket (or pork or chicken if you so choose), the baked beans, bbq sauce, onions, peppers, cheese, & sour cream. We always share this with everyone, but I think we had 3 of them over the course of the week.
On another note, Bloody Marys seem to be common practice around here. IPA-hole goes up to the window to order 2 waters. The girl behind the counter grabs 2 glasses, fills them with ice, and then starts pouring vodka into them. I'm not sure how you make your water, but apparently she likes hers to knock her over at lunch. IPA-hole must have had the strangest look on his face because she realized what she was doing, stopped, laughed, and then explained that most people order Bloody Marys and she was just on autopilot. So we ordered 2 of those to go with our water - when in Rome...