Left at the Fork

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Category: Florida (page 1 of 2)

Jefferson County Watermelon Festival, Monticello FL, June 4th through 18th 2016

Hot summers call for cool watermelon! For over half a century the town of Monticello, just east of Tallahassee in northern Florida, has put on an annual celebration of this ultra-refreshing summer fruit. Jefferson County has been a major supplier of fruit and seeds to the rest of the country since the late 1800s. This year’s 66th annual festival begins Saturday, June 4th, with the Watermelon Pageants, and will continue through Saturday the 18th of June. Continue reading

Tony Luke’s Expanding Down East Coast

Gotta admit, when we first started making regular visits to Tony Luke’s in South Philly in the early ’90s, we never imagined it would ever expand to a second Philadelphia outlet much less become franchised up and down the east coast. The roast pork Italian and Uncle Mike sandwiches had us thoroughly seduced, as did the very scruffy, bare-bones location, alongside a barbed wire encircled “parking area” beneath rumbling Interstate 95 next door. Continue reading

Zingerman’s Deli vs. New River Groves in Citrus Bowl

The Michigan Wolverines play the Florida Gators on New Year’s Day in the Citrus Bowl. While we are not college football fans we most definitely are regional food fanatics, so we always keep an eye out for the wagers politicians make on their hometown sports teams. This one leaves us torn. Do we side with Representative Debbie Dingell of Michigan, who is putting up food from Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor? Or do we favor Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her key lime pies from Bob Roth’s New River Groves in Davie? Both are spectacular. This will be one closely fought battle (food-wise).

Nikki’s Place of Orlando Reopening Early 2016

It was back in March when Nikki’s Place, 16-year soul food favorite in Orlando, FL, suffered a devastating fire that closed the restaurant. It’s been closed ever since. Now, with help from a Minority Women Business Assistance Program loan/grant of about $25,000, they are planning to reopen early next year. The MEBA money will be used for things like a stove, convection ovens, and new signage. We are happy for owners Nick and Elaine Aiken, of course, but this is also great news for those visitors to the area’s theme parks who might choose to search for some real food in town. Which we always recommend!

Grimaldi’s Bringing Coal-Oven Pizza to Tennessee

Brooklyn, NY coal-oven pizza specialist Grimaldi’s has been expanding like mad across the U.S. This year’s new openings in Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina bring the total number of Grimaldi’s to 39. And the expansion hasn’t slowed: they’ve just announced their first Tennessee store, in the Memphis suburb of Germantown in the Saddle Creek center. If there isn’t yet a Grimaldi’s in your vicinity rest assured there probably will be before too long.

Florida Seafood Festival, Apalachicola FL, November 6th and 7th 2015

The fun begins at 10 a.m. on Friday, November 6th, when the booths open at Battery Park in downtown Apalachicola for what is termed “Florida’s Oldest Maritime Event,” the Florida Seafood Festival. If it swims in Florida’s waters you’re likely to find it somewhere in the park, all prepared and served by local non-profit groups. Continue reading

25 Stone Crab Claws in 14+ Minutes

To mark the long-awaited start to the stone crab season, which begins in Florida on October 15th each year, Keys Fisheries holds a stone crab claw eating contest (open to amateur eaters only). The goal is to eat 25 medium claws in the fastest time. This year’s winner, in the contest held yesterday, consumed his 25 claws in 14 minutes and 20 seconds. Now, to stone crab novices, that may not sound like speed eating, but part of the contest involves cracking the claws to get at the meat, which is no easy task — in restaurants, the claws generally come pre-cracked. Continue reading

Shake Shack Colonizes NL East

It began in 2009 with Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. When the stadium opened, Shake Shack was there, and it instantly became a huge hit. In 2011, Shake Shack traveled down I-95 to Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. where, despite its New York origins, the Shackburger and Nats fans have become fast friends. Latest word is that, when the Atlanta Braves open in the new SunTrust Park in 2017, Shake Shack will be there for the first pitch. At least, that’s what they’re hoping for, as the two parties are still in negotiations. All that’s left in the National League East would be Philadelphia and Miami. There are already Shake Shacks in both cities but our money is on Marlins Park, as Citizens Bank Park just added Wayback Burgers this year.

Jefferson County Watermelon Festival, Monticello FL, June 6th through 20th 2015

Hot summers call for cool watermelon! For over half a century the town of Monticello, just east of Tallahassee in northern Florida, has put on an annual celebration of this ultra-refreshing summer fruit. Jefferson County has been a major supplier of fruit and seeds to the rest of the country since the late 1800s. This year’s 65th annual festival began last Saturday (6/6/15) with all the pageants and will continue through Saturday the 20th of June. Continue reading

Bradford County Strawberry Festival, Starke FL, April 11th and 12th 2015

Strawberries, BBQ, seafood, shortcake, country cooking… it must be the 17th annual Bradford County Strawberry Festival in Starke, Florida! The strawberry party begins tomorrow morning (Saturday, April 11th) at 9 a.m. Besides offering your fill of fresh strawberries (and really, is anything else necessary?), there will be plenty of live entertainment, arts and crafts, a kids zone, free train rides, and $25 helicopter rides. Admission is free. Continue reading

Fort Pierce Oyster Festival, Fort Pierce FL, April 4th 2015

True, not everyone loves oysters, but for those who have a true passion for the bivalve, the Fort Pierce Oyster Festival taking place this coming Saturday, April 4th, features a menu sure to satisfy: oysters grilled, Mexicali, casino, and, of course, raw on the half shell. Don’t eat oysters? Here’s a partial list of what else you’ll find: conch fritters and conch salad, crabs, coconut shrimp, chowder, lobster bisque, a grouper basket, jambalaya, crawfish platters… It ain’t all seafood either – you can score some BBQ, burgers, Italian sausage, gator – but, yeah, it’s mostly seafood. Continue reading

50 Years for O’Steen’s in St. Augustine FL

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the restaurant opened by Robert and Virginia O’Steen in St. Augustine, Florida. O’Steen’s has always been known for their local Florida seafood and, especially, for their fresh, locally harvested shrimp, which they shell, clean, and butterfly in-house before frying. Today the restaurant is overseen by Lonnie Pomar, who began working at O’Steen’s as a kid, and Lonnie’s wife Barbara. Continue reading

Catfish Festival, Crescent City FL, April 3rd and 4th 2015

Tell a regional food aficionado about a festival that features fried catfish fingerlings, frogs legs, gator tail, and swamp cabbage stew, and she’s sure to know that festival will be happening somewhere in The Sunshine State. Those Florida specialties and much more will be on the menu at the 37th annual Catfish Festival put on by the Rotary Club of Crescent City, Florida, on Crescent Lake, about halfway between Orlando and Jacksonville. The festivities begin 5 p.m. Friday, April 3rd and continue during the day on Saturday, April 4th. Continue reading

Free Graeter’s Ice Cream in Florida

The Graeter’s ice cream truck has been traveling to groceries all over Florida for the last three weeks, and will continue to do so through April 13th, handing out free samples of their unique French pot process ice cream. Check this schedule on Graeter’s website to find out when the Graeter’s truck will be in your area.

James Beard Award Finalists Announced

The finalists for the annual James Beard Awards were announced this morning. Some of our personal favorites among the nominees include: Continue reading

The Quest for Pensacola’s Best Burger

Two writers for Pensacola Today tried eight burgers around town, looking for the city’s best. They agreed that The Blue Dot, a barbeque joint, is the source of Pensacola’s finest burger (they loved the buttered bun). The Tin Cow, a burger specialist, finished second (the garlic aioli won them over). They also sampled burgers from Jerry’s Drive-In, open since 1939, and Tops, where the Tater Tots “are a must.” See the story and photos here.

Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival, Marco Island FL, March 20th through March 22nd 2015

You’ve got until 9 p.m. tonight, and then all day tomorrow to enjoy the Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival, which began Friday morning. The annual festival, which was first held seven years ago, is put on by the local Rotary and Kiwanis clubs. Seafood and music – that’s what you’re here for! The fresh Florida seafood you’ll find includes fresh fish, grouper, crab cakes, stone crab, shrimp, crawdads, and chowder. That’s just for starters. Continue reading

Arts & Seafood Celebration, Dania Beach FL, March 21st and 22nd 2015

Presented by the Dania Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, the third annual Arts & Seafood Celebration will feature a wide variety of fresh seafood from both local vendors and local chefs, along with a beer and wine garden. There’ll be live entertainment on the main stage all day, and arts and crafts vendors and artists galore. Witness performance artists creating works of art to music. There’s plenty of activities planned for the kids: a hands-on arts and crafts sand clinic, painting the fire truck, creating the Under the Sea mural, face painting, and rides. Watch as Team Sandtastic creates their massive sand sculpture all weekend. Continue reading

Taste of the Sea & Sandy Shoes Seafood Festival, Fort Pierce FL, March 21st 2015

Long-time and former residents of Fort Pierce, Florida have fond memories of a festival that was held in town for many years: the Sandy Shoes Festival. The cattle ranches to the west of Fort Pierce played a big part in Sandy Shoes, especially during the annual Cattlemen’s Parade. Awards were given for the best horsewoman and horseman, most beautiful horse, and best ranch unit. Five years ago, with the rebirth of downtown Fort Pierce, the Sandy Shoes Festival was resurrected and combined with a seafood festival. The fifth annual Taste of the Sea & Sandy Shoes Seafood Festival takes place this Saturday, March 21st, in Veterans Memorial Park, along the Fort Pierce waterfront. Continue reading

Best Key Lime Pie in the Florida Keys

A more than decent Key lime pie can be made with regular supermarket limes, but if you want to experience the pie at its transcendent best, try one made with the very rare Key limes. The best place to do that is, naturally, in the Florida Keys. Here are six of the best Key lime pies to be found in the Keys, in all sorts of styles. Some are topped with meringue, some with whipped cream. At some of these places you can get a frozen wedge on a stick dipped in a chocolate shell and, at one, you can have your pie deep-fried. Us, we’ll stick to the straight wedge, unfried and unfrozen.

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