Saturday, July 31, 2010

Down by the Water - Part II


Part II of my St. Augustine Food segment is about Saltwater Cowboys, a restaurant set among the salt marshes just off the inter-coastal. If we looked hard enough, we could have tried to spy my dad's place, but we were focused on the fare - namely getting our fill. Luckily it was still early and we had beat what everyone promised to be "the crowds." It seemed strange to imagine as we walked toward the shack-looking hideaway with it's great old wood and worn out feel. It seemed completely deep south, as if frog legs and alligator tails SHOULD be on the menu in a place like this (the South has a way of making me feel like I'm in a foreign country of sorts for that reason).


I'm not sure what got in to me but we happily chose to sit out on the back porch, forgetting the weight of humidity on our skin the past few days. The view drove home the southern feel with a long dock that seemed to lead to no where, at least with the tide out. The strange sounds of zapping and late afternoon crackled in the background and a den of "stray" cats sat just below the deck, waiting for handouts (during the meal, a few came up to take in the guests, explore their options, and Jedi mind trick us into giving them scraps).


Adding to the already heavy air, we choose to dig right in to the fried goodness of it all. D went with soft shell crabs and I choose to get a good ole fashioned southern fixture - fried chicken, baked potato and cheese grits (cheese in grits?! yes please! with a side of heart-attack thank you very much).


Our server gladly took our order and promised to return with cheesy bread. We had clearly discovered a cheese mecca deep fried in fat with a side of marmalade for sweetness. I was in heaven.


And then the food arrived...


and we lost all real estate on the table (and in our bellies).


By the end of it all, we were in pain with the amount of food we had eaten in the heavy humid air - it felt unbearable. Even our drinks were sweating.


We still managed to order take-away key lime pie and pineapple pecan pie (what I imagined to be different than it was b/c I LOVE pecan pie - the key lime beat it out hands down). Inside the restaurant AC felt unbelievable especially since our pores no longer worked properly - now clogged with both sweat and oil. Families were stuffed in to tables at the front end of the experience while their kids ran around squealing (soon to be in food coma). We looked at some of the old-fashioned photos along the walls and D stopped for a hat (he had to commemorate the best soft-shell crabs he has ever had). When walking out, we passed the droves of people waiting on the front porch to get in. Thank god they had an outside bar or surely the would loose business on the wait. One man said to me as I passed by, "look, dessert!" I wish I would have coolly said, "Thanks, I hear the pie is good too!" (It was one of those moments that you want to have a re-do on for the sheer comedy lost).


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